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Should psychics and fortune tellers be handled like con-artists and thieves?

Are they simply entertainers-- such as a magician?
Or, are they preying on the weak like a con-artist?

Should there be penalties for purposefully misleading the public? Or, is it the public's responsibility to just stay away?

silvereyes 8 Mar 18

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Houdini would answer yes I confer. Some speculation this is what might have gotten Houdini killed. He would go debunk these people often having to flee from the parlors.


Preachers too.


If there are penalties, shouldn't chuches also be assessed such penalties?


That depends on how much money they are charging and what abilities they are claiming.
I am all for penalizing proselytizing faith healers, though!


Yes. They specifically prey on gullible people.


They are con artists and thieves, preying on the gullible.
Just like religion.
Which is why they suffer little to no consequences.


One of my personal heroes, Harry Houdini, made it a point to actively debunk psychic and spiritualist con artists as he traveled the vaudeville circuit in the first half of the last century. He made a lot of enemies and was eventually murdered at the height of his fame during a stand in Chicago by those criminal interests. Entertainers are one thing, people who exploit the weak minded are quite another. We all have a responsibility to stay aware, but being duped by a professional conman is no shame, and the ones who do the duping are criminals, plain and simple.

I really admire James Randi for the same reason.


adults are responsible for their thoughts & actions; i reckon that includes credulity. if fortune tellers get treated like con-artists, then yes, where to draw the line? are magicians cheating on our perception? on our children's innocent perception? i am all for un-nannying the people.


The James Randi Educational Foundation was founded in 1996 to help people defend themselves from paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. The JREF offers a still-unclaimed million-dollar reward for anyone who can produce evidence of paranormal abilities under controlled conditions.

The prize is no longer available


Maybe we need a PsiCorps, like Babylon 5. 😛


Politicians and Priests and Televangelists. See any Difference?


You may try to regulate the snake oil salespeople but what about the gullible snake oil buyers. Barnums famous quota, "A sucker is born every minute".


They do not present themselves as entertainers. And I do not think it is good for society to allow such people to part fools and their money. While it is funny in a way to do the WC Fields "never give a sucker an even break" routine, it does not contribute to the sort of civil society I want to live in.


I've been forced to watch most haunted with some guy called Derek Acorah...why can't he get a real job working with police like in Izombie 😉

it truly is amazing the shit people believe..from photoshopped jesus clouds,or gates to heavens in the sky,to amazing footage of the sun in front of clouds...blahhfuckingblahh


Years ago, M. Lamar Keene wrote a book called "The Psychic Mafia." Long before the internet, "psychics" had their own information storage system. They kept information about their customers, and if one would move to another area, their files were sent on to the next "psychic." They referred to those files as their "poems."

I can just imagine how much more streamlined it is now thanks to the internet.

Psychics have always been part of a criminal underground. They should be treated as such.

Or, better still, they should be treated the same way alchemists were. Alchemists claimed to be able to turn lead into gold. On occasion, they would be kidnapped and provided with full laboratories. Their price for release? All they had to do was produce some gold, and they could go. They couldn't admit they were frauds (it wouldn't have helped anyway), so they spent the rest of their lives in captivity with their beakers and chemicals..

Just get some "psychics," put them in holding cells, and have them do some reading on people in the next room. If they have a statistically significant number of hits, they can go. If not, they have to do it all over again. Yeah, that woulod be fair. 🙂


"For entertainment porpoises only"

jeffy Level 7 Mar 18, 2018

Not if you choose to go to them. Now in my mind they’re just a bunch of immoral ass hats. I know they prey on the weak.


Hmm..depends. If they're like carnival status "hey this is just for fun, im gonna pretend to be spooky and read your fortune" its harmless entertainment as long as people don't think they're..real haha.

The problem is the stupid TV shows. "oh my gawd im a psychic for jersey and i'll talk to your dead family for money, I mean closure." Or john edwards back when he was relevant.

ugh. I have co-workers who swear up and down its real, and 100 % follow any advice given, and say things like "i know its real because my aunt is a psychic" uh..huhhhh....this is the same group of people who believe the earth is hollow and inhabited by lizard-men. I wish I was joking. FML.

I've changed my mind! haha. ban 'em all.


Can we prosecute all the religious leaders? Nope.

I think these folk should be accorded the same.


They're entertainers. People choose to pay them, and to believe what they want. Any reading I've ever had they clearly (and are obligated to by law) state that the reading is for entertainment purposes only.


Only if they claim any sort of accuracy in their predictions, or go back on any form of guarantee. If they let you know it is only for entertainment, then that is not an issue


How about "faith" healers and homeopaths?


depends on the legitamacy of their ability. i believe some have a gift and many do not

In every case where someone has attempted to prove a supernatural ability they have failed. Where is the evidence that anyone has any sort of supernatural ability?

@silvereyes NO i don't believe to that extent but i believe that anything is possible and we don't always have the answers to everything. I have been fortunate to meet some amazing people who have given me some insight and i didnt know them personally.

I also can meet a person and can pick up bad vibes from them. Perhaps its a guess but i havent been wrong so far.

@icolan you have no proof that all cases of super natural ability has been proven failed.
That statement is inaccurate! there is no way you can say ALL. there are 8-9 billion people on Earth. The internet is great for information but its not always facts you read online. I consider myself an open minded person who do not pretend to have the answers to everything and willing to consider the possibility of things that man will never comprehend.

@twshield I said that in all cases where someone attempted to prove supernatural ability they failed, I did not claim that all cases of supernatural ability had been proven false. There is a difference.

The population of the Earth is irrelevant, until someone can reproduce a supernatural ability in a setting where they do not control the setting and it can be reproduced at will there is no justification to believe that such abilities exist.

I also consider myself an open minded person, and I have never claimed or suggested that I have the answers to everything. Our comprehension of the universe around us is governed by our ability to investigate based on evidence, and in the case of supernatural abilities there is no evidence.

@icolan there is no evidence that YOU are aware of, which is why i mentioned the population of the earth. again, you said" in every case some one attempt to prove supernatural abilities they have failed" Produce me some evidence of your statement.

@twshield If someone had actual evidence of a real and provable supernatural ability they would have claimed the James Randi prize by now.

Furthermore the burden of proof is on the one making the claim, you are claiming a belief in supernatural abilities, where is the evidence to back up that belief?

I am saying that there is no evidence and thus no justification for belief in such abilities.

@icolan you make a broad statement claiming no evidence . if there is no evidence anywhere on earth...prove it. its a simple request.
no matter if you believe or not believe in supernatural, doesnt effect its existence or non existence

@twshield I never claimed that there is no evidence anywhere on earth, and I don't need to prove that there is no evidence, I am not making a claim that needs proving.

You claimed belief in supernatural abilities and until evidence of such abilities is provided there is no justification to warrant belief in those abilities.

I also never claimed that such abilities don't exist, you are the one making the claim that they do. I am simply saying that without evidence there is no justification for believing in such abilities, and there is no evidence that has stood up to scientific scrutiny or someone would have claimed the James Randi prize and it would be news.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." -- Carl Sagan

And now I am done, good bye.

@icolan i think you have an issue with comprehending. Here is your quote:
"In every case where someone has attempted to prove a supernatural ability they have failed."

Your statement suggest you have facts to back up every case pertaining to supernatural and you know that is quite untrue.

If you go back and read the comments, at no point have i stated i had any facts however i believe that my mind is open to the possibilities of supernatural.

Point is anyone can believe what they want personally

@twshield I think you have a problem with reading comprehension. I said "In every case where someone has attempted to prove a supernatural ability they have failed." The key phrase there is "attempted to".

I never made any claim about every case pertaining to supernatural. I said that every case where someone attempted to prove supernatural ability. Most people who claim supernatural ability have never attempted to prove that ability, them make the claim and use it to make money, they don't actually prove that ability in any controlled situation where it can be repeated and documented.

You are free to believe what you want, just like everyone else but I stand by my earlier statement that until evidence of supernatural abilities is provided there is no justification to warrant belief in those abilities

@icolan using the word "Every", is where you error. it suggest you have proof for every case where someone has attempted to prove a supernatural ability they have failed.
still waiting on proof if these cases you mentioned...

@twshield Go look up the James Randi Educational foundation and the James Randi prize. Every case does mean every case. If anyone had successfully been able to prove supernatural ability in a controlled, scientific situation with repeatable results it would have made news world-wide, there would be peer reviewed articles on it in reputable scientific journals, and they would have claimed the $1 million James Randi prize.

I am not making a claim that the abilities don't exist, I am saying that there is no repeatable, scientific evidence to back up claims that they do. Every case where someone has attempted to prove such abilities in a controlled, scientifically monitored environment has failed.

As for my claim, that every case where someone attempted to prove such abilities. The proof for that is that there are no articles in peer reviewed scientific journals supporting the abilities thus there have been no cases where someone has been able to prove the abilities to scientific standards.

Until evidence of such abilities is brought to light in a scientifically rigorous fashion where the evidence can be examined, the ability repeated on demand, and every other step of the scientific method followed there is no value or point in belief of such abilities.

If you actually believe in these abilities I would suggest you look into all the sites and people who devote their time to debunking supernatural claims.

I stand by my first question which you still have not answered. Where is the evidence that anyone has any sort of supernatural ability?

Unless you can answer that question there is no further point in discussing this as you do not seem to understand that the person making the claim (person saying such abilities exist) has the burden of proof.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." -- Carl Sagan

@icolan until you can show evidence of "Every" case where someone has attempted to prove a supernatural ability they have failed, I'm still waiting.....


At best, they are entertainers.
At worst, they are con-artist charlatans who would take advantage of people.


Psychics and fortune tellers prey upon people who are hurt and upset ... the people who seek their 'services' are usually grieving or very worried about their ability to make ends meet.

They are parasites and charlatins. They use old tricks on gullable people.

They label their enterprises as 'entertainment' , but only so they cannot be sued when their predictions are incorrect.

They should be held accountable.

But more importantly, people everywhere need to be educated and taught to separate fantasy from reality. Of course, that applies to magical thinking and religion as well.


It should be "enter at your own risk". Firstly, ESP can neither be proven nor disproven. Stephen Hawking tried and failed to produce conclusive results. Even a consistent "lucky guesser" is just a possible outcome or set of outcomes. Human behavior and it's connection to celestial progression and the changing of the seasons is a valid study with some efficacy, but it's also a tool for charlatans and swindlers to hornswoggle you.

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