Friday, April 07, 2006

4/7/06 (PMP) The Amazing Mom Who Knows Things

Today’s guest writer is James Randi Educational Foundation forum member, Meg Mullett, known as “meg” on the forum. Meg is a typical mom, but her children don’t think so.

“My 14 yr old daughter thinks I am psychic. She really does. She believes it 100%. I have freaked her out enough times that she tells her friends things like "No, I *can't* lie to her. She *knows* things."

The truth of the matter is that I, like most people who call themselves "psychic", am actually just a pretty good study of people. I quickly found my mother's lost keys the other day. My daughter saw me think about it for a second, then walk straight to the bathroom and find them behind the toilet. She thinks that was astounding. I know it’s because my mother has a bladder the size of a baby pea, and that she often rushes franticly into the house from a car trip, on a beeline for the bathroom. It doesn't take superpowers to figure out she probably had them in her pocket when she ran for the toilet, and they fell out when she dropped her pants. She's hard of hearing, so she wouldn't hear them when they fell.

In general, I'm pretty good at finding lost things for the people I know and love. Not because I have an amazing gift, but because I am observant.

Sometimes, when the phone rings, I say "That will be Mary. I'll take it." My daughter picks up the phone or looks on the caller ID and sees it is indeed Mary, and she is properly amazed at my powers. I know it's because either Mary and I talked earlier today and we set a time to call each other again, or because we often call each other right after certain television programs to talk about what happened. She's also the only person that ever calls me after 9pm. My daughter logically knows all these things, but she doesn't put them together. She assumes when I say "that will be Mary" that I'm using my super-magic-mom powers.

I've caught my daughter attempting to lie a number of times throughout her life. The truth of the matter is that my daughter is a *terrible* liar. Her voice gets a kind of whiny tone, her eyes get shifty, and her hands twitch when she lies. It doesn't take psychic powers to see it and look her deeply in the eyes and say "Now tell me what REALLY happened.." and watch her crumble. It is easier to do it now that she thinks I am psychic than it was when she was little. Now, she already believes that I *know* things, so she's already set up thinking that she won't get away with lying to me, so she's even more nervous and obvious about it when she does it. Don't get me wrong - she's really a great kid, and for the most part is very honest. She's a typical teenager, though, and occasionally does stuff she knows she shouldn't do, and then tries to fib about it.

She and a friend walked into the house once, and I asked "When did you start smoking?" to the friend. They were shocked. They thought they were amazingly sneaky and no one could have possibly known that the friend had smoked. This, too, was proof of my magical abilities.
"See??? I TOLD you she would know!" The truth, of course, is that I could smell it on her and saw a rectangular cigarette pack shape in her pocket.

Mostly, I use my powers for good. When my step-son was an older teenager, back when I was a bit "woo", meaning back when I thought there really might be something to this psychic stuff, I would sometimes do tarot readings for him and his friends. I would say things like "You be verrrrry careful this next year! There's baby energy around you. One of them later told me "Your reading was SOO TRUE! Two girls in my school got pregnant last year. Definitely a lot of baby energy around. I'm glad you warned me. I've been very careful." I made up the same kind of stuff about drugs.

I have never taken money for my "gift". I use my powers to do good. Does that mean I'm not a liar, a fake or a fraud? NO. I AM a liar, I AM a fake and I AM a fraud. No question about it whatsoever. I TRICKED my kids, and I did it for power over them. It doesn't matter that I did it to get them to do the right thing. It's still a TRICK.

Someday my daughter will figure out the truth, just like my step-son did. James Randi's excellent book "Flim-Flam" is in our living room right now. All my daughter has to do is pick it up. We watched his "Secrets of the Psychics" video just last week. All she has to do is put two and two together. She knows I like to frequent the James Randi Educational Foundation internet discussion boards ( All she has to do is go there and start reading. There is a whole section of bookmarks on our computer devoted to debunking psychics, how to do cold reading, exactly how they do it, all sorts of skeptical stuff. All she has to do is look. All she has to do is ask me "How did you know that?" and I will tell her the truth.

Until she asks, though, she will always be tricked. Until she quits "just believing" and starts looking, she won't find out the truth.

So this article is for those of you who think psychics are for real, especially if they don't charge money, or they do it to help people. I'm telling you straight up that I, a known psychic (just ask my daughter) am a complete and total fake. Even though I've never charged money, and even though I use my powers for good, I am a fake. A big fat liar liar pants on fire fakearooney bend your spooney.

Every single "psychic detective" in the world is just exactly as powerful and magical as me, The Amazing Mom Who Knows Things. In this, we are exactly the same.

We are fakes. We are liars. We are frauds.

But here is how we are different. And this is important. When I hear about a family in the horribly tragic circumstance of having one of their loved ones missing, I DON'T think, "Hmm. I wonder if I can use them to get my name in the paper.." or "I wonder if I can exploit them to make a little money.." "I wonder if I can get a free trip to wherever they are out of this.."

I DON'T think it's a good idea to deflect the family's attention away from putting up fliers, questioning people that might have seen something, getting all possible information to law enforcement and/or search parties, in other words, the people and activities that really have chance of actually finding the loved one.

I DON'T think it's a good idea to deflect attention away the family's activities of just being there for each other, talking to each other, supporting each other in this time of crisis.

I DON'T think it's a good idea to steal their attention, their money, or their time away from all those good activities in order to send them on a total wild goose chase, searching random places just because I get a goofy brain flash of "the number 4, or "near trees", or "I see a yellow house".

I DON'T think it's a good idea to make up horrible graphic stories about their loved one's death, and possibly cause these people to give up hope and start grieving for someone that may still be alive.

I DON'T think it's a good idea to make up more fantasies about how the loved one is alive and being held hostage somewhere, in pain, causing untold grief, stress, pain and heartache to these families.

I DON'T think it's a good idea to impose my dreams, my fantasies, or even my opinions on the family at all.

Let's make no bones about this; when I play psychic for my kid, I do it to get something. I do it to get her to stay honest, or to alter her behavior in some way, to keep her on the straight and narrow. When these "psychic detectives" play psychic, they're doing it to get something, too. They do it to get attention. They do it to feed their own ego. They do it to feel special. And the worst scumbags of them all do it to make money.

Whether they really believe they have this "gift" or not really doesn't matter. What matters is that these people are indeed the lowest form of predator. They seek out people in a stressful, tragic situation, and then exploit the situation for their own self-gratification. These people are the lowest of the low.

If I sound angry here, it's because I AM. I am angry that these liars are permitted to steal money, publicity and attention from victims of a tragedy. I am angry that "psychic tips" waste untold thousands, maybe even millions of our tax dollars because our police and other law enforcement officers have to follow up all tips, no matter how assinine they are. I am angry that newspaper and television stories "report" that a psychic is working on such-and-such a case, encouraging a misguided public to be further snookered by this chicanery. I am angry that television stations broadcast programs about psychics that are nothing more than masterful pieces of lies, misdirection and editing. I am angry that talk show hosts bring psychics onto their programs, encouraging them to hoodwink the American public every week.

These people are liars, fakes and frauds who are preying like vultures on the victims of tragedy.

I hope, after reading this blog series, that if a psychic contacts you offering their version of "help", that you feel empowered to not only say "No", but "@#$! NO!" to their offer. These people have no help to offer. No psychic has *ever* found a missing person. The only thing they've ever found is how to get money or publicity from grieving people.

I am as real a psychic as you'll ever meet. And I'm telling it to you straight.

We psychics, every last one of us, are liars, fakes and frauds.”

Let’s consider that it is certainly possible that some psychics got their start from encouragement from friends and family members, just as Meg’s children think she is psychic and regularly voice that opinion to her. A person could easily take that to heart and start to believe it, not realizing that they are simply being observant.

We understand that many people believe that psychics are effective in solving crimes and finding missing people. Please keep in mind that the goal of this series is to help families understand techniques used by persons making these claims and make better decisions about the use of psychics.

Project Jason and its volunteers cannot act as a clearinghouse for persons claiming success in using paranormal means to locate missing persons. We will be unable to respond to emails or other correspondence sent to us from persons making these claims or persons offering information about or referrals to psychics.

We instead invite those persons to present their evidence to the members of the James Randi Education Foundation. They have a forum available for you to discuss your claims.

Jump to the next story in the series:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved your article, meg, especially:

"So this article is for those of you who think psychics are for real, especially if they don't charge money, or they do it to help people. I'm telling you straight up that I, a known psychic (just ask my daughter) am a complete and total fake. Even though I've never charged money, and even though I use my powers for good, I am a fake. A big fat liar liar pants on fire fakearooney bend your spooney."

That made me laugh for quite a long time.
orphia nay

P.S. Hi Kelly! :) Good work, and best wishes.

3:25 AM  

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