Former 'psychic' reveals con-artist tricks

Published Thursday, 01 May 2014
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As part of This Morning's Supernatural Week, Phillip and Holly have been taking a look at the negative side of psychics and mediums and spoke to a former 'psychic' who admitted he used to con people on a regular basis to see how much they would believe.

Mark Edward has now used his experiences to write a book on the subject and says the psychic world is based simply on knowing how to read people.

Phillip and Holly first spoke with *Sheila (name changed) who was concerned about a strange feeling in her house and consulted a medium who built up a relationship with her.

After apparently banishing a demon from her home, the psychic abused her trust by making sexual advances towards her and she realised he was not all he seemed.

"He said we had to make (the spirit) jealous and by doing that I had to say I was in love with him (the medium)," she explained.

Sheila admits she now feels very "foolish" for allowing the man into her home and believing he could help.

Mark said this was not an unusual case as 'psychics' often prey on the vulnerable.

"I learned about giving readings - people want answers, so I saw how easy is was," he explained.

"I saw some of the most egregious forms of this happening so I thought: "If they can do this, I can do this, but I'm going to rise as high as I can", or as low, depending on how you look at it, and see what I (could) learn."

I realised the power of charisma and suggestion, so I learned that the very simple suggestions of a good performer can be very powerful.

Mark Edward

Mark explained some of the techniques used by these mediums, revealing: "A cold reading is pretty standard, most people know about it.

"That's pretending that you have great knowledge about someone by just using random generalities and honing in on that person, watching their body language, watching how they react, you use a lot of verbal deception and you're constantly course correcting to get to that vulnerable hook.

"Once you get the hook in, everything else falls away and you go forward."

Mark also explained a new online trick known as "hot reading" which is very common in the US.

He said: "Normally you would be on the internet where you would be on the screen, like on Skype, and you would be looking at the psychic.

"Now when you use your credit card, the psychic or medium will be able to look at you on one screen and all your credit card information on another.

"So they could literally say: "Oh, you had a lot to drink at the pub the other night, didn't you?"

"They can do that in the United States, but I hear in the UK using that kind of information is illegal."

Having met a huge number of mediums and psychics during his research for his book, Mark said he had yet to come across anyone who he felt was genuine.

"I have met some people who are very intuitive," he said. "But there is nothing supernatural about it, they are just open and they are able to assess the sort of information that most people don't even think about."

© UTV News
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