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"I did not say much more than I am experienced at cold reading. You are the one who thinks I said words like, 'dazzling.'"

At this point, I'm not really interested in talking to you anymore, so I'll make this my last comment to you. Also, since I think you're a troll, I'm not going to include any comments you may submit to other threads, though you can continue to comment on this one, since it specifically concerns skeptics (and Skeptics). I think you are dishonest and not very bright and are simply wasting everyone's time with hackneyed arguments that go nowhere. Sorry to be rude, but that's how I see it.

You certainly *did* suggest that you were very good at cold reading. You wrote, "I am an experienced cold reader who occasionally demonstrates how people are fooled by so-called psychics. And it is amazing how many people who truly believe they can’t be fooled are, in fact, so easily fooled. I can recall instances of demonstrating to people things I 'couldn’t possibly have known,' and then taking them back through the process and explaining exactly where the information came from ..."

If you told them things they thought you couldn't possibly have known, I'd call that a pretty dazzling performance. But I don't believe you have any cold reading skills or experience at all. I think you are a liar.

"And where did I say that I can perform 'impressive mentalist feats'? I’m not a mentalist and I don’t pretend to do anything outside of my capabilities."

A mentalist is somebody who fakes psychic abilities by using various tricks, prominently including cold reading. If you claim to be able to perform cold reading tricks that are good enough to fool others, then you are claiming abilities as a mentalist. The fact that you don't know this very basic fact indicates that your knowledge of this subject is so limited that it is simply a waste of time to continue to talk to you.

My advice: follow my lead and read 200 or more books on the subject of psychic phenomena, from all perspectives, both pro and con, and get a comprehensive knowledge of the field. Then in five or 10 years, get back to us, if this blog is still in operation (which I sincerely hope it is not).

Feel free to continue arguing with other people. I am tired of you.

Sorry you're so upset. You said you had a blog. So I was curious and found it and read it. I didn't call you any names. I did say you are a 20 something year living in your parent's basement. It was an impetuous comment and I apologized for making it. It was bad form. Other than that, your sudden need to become angry and personal seems misplaced or unwarranted to me.

I told you that a medium that had no opportunity to utilize hot reading techniques and who used no cold reading that I could detect, was able to tell me highly unique and personal details that she could not have known. You then replied that I was being duped and am too ignorant and unobservant to understand how she was duping me and that you knew this because you are a clever cold reader that often amazes people with cold reading to the point where, even after you reveal the tricks, silly people refuse to accept that you're not a real psychic.

I was skeptical of your claim and asked you to prove it at the same level the medium did. You then said you couldn't do what you said you could and then you got all kinds of upset and insulted this blog and the people that share here.

So are you willing to concede that If I'm not lying, the medium I saw is for real. Is that what's really bothering you? That not all believers are like the straw men of your blog?

Another reason I commented about your blog is because it is clear to me that you really do not understand the evidence for certain paranormal phenomena and aren't interested in it. IMO, You just like to pump up your ego by imaging yourself to be a superb cold reader while you beat up straw man believers. We are interested in understanding the mindset of the militant skeptic and you seem to be a case study.

Am I missing anything important?

Regarding our distinction between skeptics and Skeptics: the Other Side makes this distinction too, though in terms favorable to Skepticism:

"The soft skeptic suspends judgment .... The hardened skeptic is a disbeliever in all or most occult claims.
"The hardened skeptic doesn't need much more [than his basic disbelief] in the way of evidence or argument to be convinced that any given occult claim is probably based on error or fraud."
—Robert Todd Carroll, The Skeptic's Dictionary, pages 1 &2 (Introduction) (2003 edition)

Interesting find, Roger. It's funny that Skeptics can become exercised over a simple capitalization, when they routinely lambaste the pro-paranormal camp as gullible, credulous, uninformed, anti-science, superstitious woo-woos who are ushering in the Dark Ages.

And now it turns out that some Skeptics recognize the same basic distinction themselves.

\\"Then in five or 10 years, get back to us, if this blog is still in operation (which I sincerely hope it is not)." - Michael Prescott//

LOL! And we sincerely hope it is! Where else am I going to acquire my life after death and paranormal knowledge? I have gotten so many good links from this blog about supernatural and paranormal sites I can go to learn about life after death stuff? Also I have made quite a few friends on this blog, some have become facebook friends, etc. So, we hope you are in the blog business for many years to come, or at least till we all cross over and meet on the other side! Think of the fun we'll have in heaven discussing the stuff we believed in after we find out what was true and what is not? Also we'll find out who exactly William Shakespeare was and who wrote his plays? {grin}


Re the cold reading, I asked you to give a case of how you did it with your friend. That doesn't require you to do anything new with one of us. If you can't supply such a story, I call BS. You are using an underhanded technique: saying that *you* can do something (you can't really do) in order to debunk it. "I can do this, so that totally explains everything psychics do!" Lame.

||Sylvia Browne was an obvious fraud, but would you deny that countless people fell for it, and even now there is a core of her supporters who still defend her? That was pretty much my point: when people believe, they will not be deterred or convinced otherwise.||

People get scammed all the time--most scams have nothing to do with the paranormal. If I say the "Success in Selling--Coffee Is For Closers!" seminar is crap, that doesn't mean that all personal development seminars are crap. People carried around Chairman Mao's Little Red Book as though it was the Bible, and he was an atheist. Etc., etc.

As for Sylvia Browne, she was an embarrassment. I'll put it bluntly: no psychic should ever behave like that, even *if* he or she has ability. That doesn't mean one can't be in the media at all, but a little humility, discretion, and proportionality are called for.

||You’ve gone full school playground on me now; I can’t compete with that.||

First, we're two different people who said different things. But you're being like a child who gets barely bumped into by another child but goes running to his Mommy, bawling and looking for attention. Skeptical trolls are all alike. You don't behave well, you don't bring the goods (knowledge of the topic at hand), and you're shady.

||Do you think that “Michael Prescott’s Blog,” that I used think was a serious discussion area for matters paranormal (which is why I have a link to it on my blog), should now be renamed “Michael Prescott’s Kindergarten”?||

Only if mental children such as yourself are given free rein.

||It would be a pity if those sceptics who read this blog would agree with that idea, but you make this place look as if it’s nothing more than a self-congratulatory back-slapping club.||

Mild turnabout is fair play, isn't it? I can't tell you the number of times I've tried to debate Skeptics online, only to have to deal with a 20-to-1 onslaught of cackling, giddy abuse. I think you've been given a decent amount of respect on here, but you *are* acting like a lame, anonymous troll. They appear here from time to time. *Never* a sincere Skeptic posting under his own name, ready to engage in a congenial debate. Always someone smarmy and anonymous.

||I wouldn’t tolerate that sort of self-indulgence on my own blog, but it’s up to Michael.||

You tolerate your own writing, don't you?

||The real reason why sceptics don’t accept the existence of psi is that it is championed by people like you.||

Then Skeptics are idiots, since one should believe things based on evidence and not on the manner of their proponents.

||I’ll just leave you to your infantile name-calling.||

I and others have called you a troll based on your behavior. I don't think I have actually called you any other names, have I?

"*Never* a sincere Skeptic posting under his own name, ready to engage in a congenial debate."

Some years ago, probably before you started commenting, Keith Augustine would sometimes participate in discussions here. He's knowledgeable (especially about NDEs) and was generally friendly.

And there's Bill, who's friendly enough.

Mostly, however, the Skeptical types contribute very little. I occasionally exercise my comment-moderation powers to preemptively delete their messages, usually those citing RationalWiki as a source.

"I and others have called you a troll based on your behavior. I don't think I have actually called you any other names, have I?"

I called him a liar, but that was after he posted.

Ordinarily I don't accuse people of lying, but Swiftsure's cold-reading claims strike me as ridiculously implausible. Skeptics insist they will not accept any claims without evidence, yet they expect us to accept their own claims without evidence.

I also found it silly that he regarded Sylvia Browne as a "straw man" example of cold reading, when Browne was one of the most successful cold readers in America. She may not have been a world-class talent, but she was at least as good as the average mentalist.

It just occurred to me that an individual could in effect register his premonitions by emailing them to himself. A copy of his email would be held by his email provider so it could be called upon / accessed to verify the authenticity of the email.

Has anyone done this already, I wonder.

This was done for the newspaper tests conducted by Charles Drayton Thomas, involving the medium Gladys Osborne Leonard. Leonard's very specific predictions of words and phrases that would appear in precise parts of tomorrow's edition were posted the night before, at a time when the paper had not yet been laid out, making it impossible to know (by any normal means) where any given words would be. The posted letters were mailed to the Society for Psychical Research.

This was done for the newspaper tests conducted by Charles Drayton Thomas, involving the medium Gladys Osborne Leonard.
Tell me more! If you suspect there's enough known by others, maybe start a thread on the topic, to draw contributions from readers.

I like the idea of low-cost verification measures, as the best way of making our case for psi.

"Tell me more!"

Okay ...

The only available logical Skeptical response to the Drayton Thomas newspaper tests seems to be that they were a deliberate fraud by the SPR, in falsely claiming correspondences between the Leonard mediumship sessions (sent to the SPR by dated mail) and the Times newspaper of the next day after the session. Of course, Skeptics couldn't even use living agent psi as an alternative non-survival explanation. Is there any other "wiggle room" explanation? I wonder how Skeptics have dealt with these experiments, or perhaps they have just studiously ignored and not mentioned them.

When I have dreams that I remember I don't know that they are going to be precognitive dreams. I dream and wake up and remember it and think "what the hell was that?" They might be particularly vivid dream, like the one where I dreamed the space shuttle broke up and fell in our yard, and I sort of remember them but if a week later the space shuttle breaks up and falls all over East Texas and Louisiana and people are told not to touch any of the debris then I think to myself "well I'll be damned! I had that dream a week ago."

Art said:

"When I have dreams that I remember I don't know that they are going to be precognitive dreams."

Same here, Art. Except that I *have* learned to recognize certain clues. And strangely enough, the most reliable one is this: the dreams that come true are the ones that seem least likely to.

Which makes sense. Because if a dream is about routine stuff, then even if it did come true, it would be impossible to tell, right? Like if I dreamt last night about taking a walk in my neighborhood—well I do that every day. So how can I know if the dream is about the past or the future?

But years ago, when I had a dream in which I saw a huge tree limb lying on the ground in my yard—well, in 30 years, no such accident had ever happened. So I recorded the dream, and five days later, my eugenia did, in fact, drop a limb. And all but one of the specifics in the dream were accurate.

So for my experiment, I've learned to focus on the oddest dreams only. And one like your space shuttle dream would surely qualify.

By the way—my friend Cal also had a dream predicting that disaster, though in his case, just hours before it occurred. When he then watched it actually happen on TV, he was stunned!

I dreamed about a great big old mud turtle last night. It was sort of oval shaped, not round, and dark black. I was picking it up by the back of the shell and moving it somewhere? I have picked up and moved numerous box turtles and snapping turtles off the road so they don't get smashed but I don't remember ever picking up and moving a mud turtle, especially one this big? Very strange dream.

Well I went and looked up mud turtles online and it says they are generally small, not over 4" or 5" inches? In my dream it was a great big mud turtle? So I don't know what kind of turtle I saw in my dream? In my dream it was big but size can be a funny thing in dreams because it's sort of like photographs you can manipulate how big something looks by where you place it in front of the camera. The closer to the camera the bigger it looks?

I don't normally dream about turtles. I have dreamed about snakes quite a few times but this is the first turtle dream I remember? We'll see what comes of it...{grin}

Art said:

"this is the first turtle dream . . . We'll see what comes of it..."

If your dream about getting those huge bass is any indication, we might have to wait a few years. :)

Bruce I swear the Striped Bass story is true. I dreamed about two huge bass and it took a couple of years before my neighbor called me up and gave me a couple of huge striped bass. What was funny was at that time I was having a lot of precognitive dreams. They all seemed to end after we moved from East Tennessee to Middle Tennessee and I started going to the doctor and he put me on Lisinopril for high blood pressure and Simvastatin for high cholesterol? I was having quite a few "mystical" experiences and they pretty much ended after I started going to the doctor? Maybe I was getting closer to the other side? One foot on this side and one on the other side? I'm just conjecturing? It was nice though being connected. I had some other things that happened to me that answered a lot of questions for me and they make sense to me and I have a lot of confidence they are probably true.

Art said:

"I started going to the doctor and he put me on Lisinopril for high blood pressure and Simvastatin for high cholesterol? I was having quite a few "mystical" experiences and they pretty much ended after I started going to the doctor? Maybe I was getting closer to the other side?"

Are you saying you think the drugs stopped your mystical experiences by pulling you back from the brink of death? My guess is that if the drugs were responsible, it was for a different reason entirely. I'm less convinced of the positive effects of such medicines than you. I've become a strict, low-fat vegetarian (the Ornish diet) and daily walker, rather than take them!

I would rather not have my dreams come true because I tend to dream about ugly things. I hope not all dreams come true.

Luciano said:

"I would rather not have my dreams come true because I tend to dream about ugly things. I hope not all dreams come true."

You're not alone. In my book I talk about a young student of mine who had a dream that clearly helped him to avoid injury the next day. A remarkable case, with stunning detail. But his father was unimpressed, and doesn't believe the phenomenon is real. When I asked why, he said it's "creepy" to think that some of his worst dreams could come true.

Sometimes I feel this way myself, though not often. I recently had a dream in which a dear friend had contracted a specific form of cancer. I woke up feeling deeply concerned. (Happily, months later, she's still fine.)

And shortly before my heart attack last year (a minor one, thankfully) I had a horrendous dream of seeing, out my window, the bright flash of a nuclear explosion. It made me suspect that something awful would soon happen to me.

But for the most part, my dreams are gifts, and delightful ones. Almost always, they predict events that are pleasurable, meaningful, or simply intriguing, with each one providing further evidence that this universe is magical indeed.

Well for the most part I dream about things that have not come true yet and tend to be fears I have in real life. It only makes sense that if I put my attention on some topic I'm going to dream about it later.

I think it's time to start a dream journal!

Hey, Michael, I was looking through your old articles, and found the one with South Park's take on John Edward. All I can think is; did they really try to make a real-life point about how a medium was fake on a show in which ghosts, psychic powers, appearances from living religious figures, and bodily resurrection happen roughly every episode, and that same episode involves possession by an actual ghost? Are people really trying to use this as a coherent point?

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