Learn about the origins of clairvoyance and psychic abilities. Understand how to spot their grifter con-man tactics so you can avoid being a victim.
Psychic and Clairvoyance Abilities
The word Clairvoyant is French. It comes from the word “Flair” which means clear. They combine this with the word “voyance” which means extraordinary vision. The guise of extraordinary perception is the basis for spiritualist confidence games. This is where the term con man comes from.
Spiritualists have a rich heritage dating back to the 1600s. The Gypsy and Traveler cultures of Europe include those traditionally known as the Roma (1). It also includes Sinti, Calé, Romnichels, Ludar, Irish Travellers, Scottish Travellers. The Roma made their living as grifters. They often used the cover of doing odd jobs, handyman tasks. They used these jobs to gain intelligence to find the right mark for their next confidence game.
These nomads used a variety of confidence games under the umbrella of psychic and clairvoyant abilities. The umbrella of these abilities includes spiritualists, mediums, and fortune-tellers.
Some claim this extrasensory ability is like that of the Shaman. This is because they claim to act as intermediaries with the spirit world. This similarity is overshadowed by the intent of the clairvoyant. The medium or clairvoyant performs a show in order to gain the trust of their client. This trust is used for financial exploitation.
Those selling clairvoyance abilities set up shop in North America in the 1800s. This band of grifters became The Modern Spiritualist Movement. They traveled to North America where they offered their services to the wealthy aristocrats. This movement spawned several performers. They perfected the showmanship enabling them to become very successful and sought out acts of high-society.
The Fox sisters (2) (1814-1892) set the bar high for showmanship. They became famous and wealthy traveling the circuit of rich merchants. Their success spawned more and more people began using these con man tactics. Channeling took on new heights with the likes of Esther Hicks and Abraham (3). Séances and automatic writing became staples on the spiritualist tour.
The Litany of Clairvoyance Abilities
As we discussed above the confidence game has gone virtual. Not only can you get your fortune read, but you can also learn how to do it yourself. Psychic and clairvoyant abilities are for sale.
- Astral Projection – The ability to project the consciousness or the astral body to another vantage point. This is also known as an out-of-body experience. Those who practice certain types of meditation like the Siddhis say this is the natural growth of consciousness. It is not supernatural but a natural progression.
- Automatic writing – The ability to draw or write without conscious intent. This is a technique to open the subconscious mind. Anyone can do this one. All you need to do is follow the process.
- Divination – The ability to gain insight into a situation via some mystical process.
- Dowsing – The ability to locate water, sometimes using a tool called a dowsing rod.
- Energy medicine – The ability to heal with one’s own empathic etheric, astral, mental, or spiritual energy. Also known as Pranic Healing.
- Levitation – The ability to float or by mystical means. This too is a claim of some Eastern mystics. Those who practice the Siddhis are also familiar with the Sutra that makes one “lighter than air.”
- Mediumship or Channeling – The ability to communicate with spirits. This has proven to be one of the most profitable spiritualist circuit scams.
- Precognition – The ability to perceive future events. This is the domain of the fortune teller. The most well-known fortune teller is Michel de Nostredame or Nostradamus. He was a French astrologer, physician, and Seer. His book Les Prophéties, a collection of 942 poetic quatrains which make predictions of future events. It was first published in 1555 and has rarely been out of print. The fortuneteller is a skillful interrogator. They learn to use questions and generalized statements to find the marks “soft spots.” They use a variety of research techniques to learn about their marks so they can exploit them.
- Psychic Surgery – The ability to remove disease or disorder via an “energetic” incision that heals immediately. Another magic trick that uses a variety of sleight-of-hand techniques to conceal and then produce blood or tissue.
- Psychokinesis or Telekinesis – The ability to manipulate objects by the mind. These psychic abilities are the showcase of the famous spoon bender Uri Geller. He is known for his trademark television performances of spoon bending and other illusions in the 1970s. After his psychic powers were exposed as stage magic he fell back into obscurity.
- Psychometry or Psychoscopy – The ability to gain information about a person or an object by touch. This was another one of the stage tricks exposed by researchers. Peter Popoff was a popular televangelist. Popoff was exposed in 1986. He used an earpiece to receive radio messages from his wife. She gave him the names, addresses, and ailments of audience members during Popoff-led religious services. He still performs his routine on the Christian Faith movement.
- Teleshesia – Remote viewing or sensing is the ability to see a distant or unseen target using extrasensory perception.
- Retrocognition or post cognition – The ability to perceive past events. Using memory recall techniques almost anyone can gain insight into their history. Misuse of the imagination can stretch real memories beyond actual events.
- Telepathy – The ability to transmit or receive thoughts.
- Teleportation – The ability to undergo materialization, disappearance, or teleportation of an object. This is one of the illusions you see done on TV. Making something disappear with a trapdoor or mirrors.
Psychic and Medium Abilities
Magical showmanship is still the main cash generator. Spiritualists moved to the USA in the early 1900s where they pandered to the new wealthy industrialists. Since that time psychic readings moved to the telephone and now are online. Here they use the internet to research their prospective clients. Beware. Any information you have online can be used as a “sweet spot” to be leveraged.
Above all, the Spiritualist must be a good showman. They often begin their training conducting sleight-of-hand tricks at magic shows. Spiritualists claim to have precognition. For a price, they will contact the deceased and relay messages. And, they act as an intercessor to facilitate miracles of healing and prosperity.
In short, it’s an expensive parlor game. It is a grifter tactic that preys on the emotions of people. The entertainment is designed to gain the trust and confidence in the audience or participant. Mediums or clairvoyants use a variety of confidence tactics. This is where the term conman comes from. They use staged events to distract and perform sleight-of-hand tricks. These include séances, gazing in a crystal ball, spirit channeling, fortune-telling, and tarot card readings.
Rebranding and Selling Clairvoyance Abilities
This profitable showmanship caught the eye of the early Christian faith movement. They turned the stage theatrics of the spiritualist to work for the Church. Out of this show were born the Christian Faith movement and Spiritualist Churches.
Some of the most famous Christian teachers built empires cashing in on selling faith. This too is one of the tools of the clairvoyant. There is a long list of Christians that use these tactics. Some of the well-known include Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947). He was an early pioneer televangelist. Aimee Elizabeth Semple McPherson (1890-1944). She was another radio show pioneer. Johanna Kuhlman (1907-1976) was famous for her showmanship healing services. And last but not least and Granville Oral Roberts (1918 – 2009).
Hugh Marjoe Ross Gortner (born January 14, 1944) is a former evangelist preacher. He first gained attention on the revival circuit as an ordained minister at age four as “Marjoe”. He possessed extraordinary memory and speaking ability. He was the youngest known in that position.
As a child, Marjoe preached on the revival circuit and brought celebrity to the revival movement. Then in the early 1970s, he exposed the tactics of the Church in a documentary. He showed how prayer cards were used to garner information that would be used during the show to prompt donations. He also exposed how healthy people paid to come in wheelchairs so they could be healed. And, it works because it preys on people who are desperate and in need. He isn’t the only one exposing the blatant fraud and deception of the clairvoyant grifters.
Exposing The Fraud in Clairvoyance Abilities
The sad part about it is that the people who use these grifter tactics taint those seeking their real spiritual gifts. The counterfeit of the clairvoyant gives spirituality a bad reputation. There are indeed spiritual gifts and spiritual technologies that can change awareness. Some techniques can open doorways to higher states of consciousness.
The best way to keep from becoming a victim is to shy away from anyone who uses titles such as clairvoyant, medium, or psychic. We suggest you watch any of the TV shows with magicians. They will demonstrate the sleight-of-hand techniques used by clairvoyants. You will see how people mistake these illusions for clairvoyant ability.
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(1) The Roma, Wikipedia
(2) The Fox Sisters, Wikipedia
(3) Esther Hicks, Wikipedia
(4) An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural by James Randi
(5) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia