8 Cold Reading Techniques That Psychics and Mentalists Use To Trick You

A cold reading is a set of techniques used by psychics and psychics to pretend they know more about someone's life than they actually do. A skilled cold reader will ask someone question and then skillfully extract information analyzing their body language and facial expressions in response.

A cold reader can use the information you gather to make educated guesses about someone's life or situation. Their goal is to show that the information they have is psychologically derived.

In this guide, we'll look at 8 different examples of cold readings that mediums and fortune tellers use to trick people into thinking they're psychic.


#1: Shotgun Statements

Shotgun ads are very general based, so something needs to be relevant to your customer's life. These announcements get their name because the shotgun fires a ton of mush instead of a single shell. The point is, something is bound to hit the mark.

These statements are meant to be very vague and general, so the psychic is likely to strike a chord with the audience. It shouldn't sound too vague, but specific enough for people to buy into it. For example, you can try

“You have recently lost someone”


“Something in your life has recently changed.”


#2: Barnum Statements

Barnum's announcements are called P.T. Barnum's name, and these statements appear to be personal, but actually apply to a large number of people. These are based on the phenomenon of people tending to believe what you say and fill in for you. These statements work like horoscopes. Readers want to believe them and therefore look for recent events in themselves and their lives to make the reading relevant to them.

The difference between an astrologer and a normal cold reading is that there is feedback in the latter. A psychic can use that interaction based on their subject's reaction to gauge where to go next.

Again, these statements are very broad and can generally be applied to anyone. They are usually very open and then you can narrow the field from there based on subject feedback to be more precise.

#3: Recap/Reuse

This cold reading technique refers to when the psychic uses the information that the subject has already discovered during the reading and processes it during further predictions.

If the psychic has already started talking to your subject, you can use some of Barnum's phrases to start and hear what they say in response. They may mention some specific things, or you may infer something from what they say.

In this technique, fake psychics will not take what you say, but present the information for further reading. When the time comes, they will extract that information and watch as the subject is amazed by the personal touch of the reading and captivated by the psychic's “power”. This is one of the main ways psychics trick you.

#4: Encourage Them to Reveal Important Information

Most people who go to a psychologist are there because they want to be there. Most of us don't have an annual psychiatric check-up, which we dread going to the same way we dread going to the doctor or the dentist. Because of this, most objects are very cooperative and can be easy to play with. This is why some psychics use their people skills in this technique to encourage subjects to reveal important information about their lives.

The psychic will begin using this technique by explaining that the initial messages they receive through their spirit connection may be vague, but with the help of the subject they can understand together why they are important. If the client agrees to this, then he knows that he has a cooperative entity.

From there they can say something like:


“I’m seeing a name that starts with the letter F…I’m sensing that they have something to do with your father, maybe they knew him. Maybe they’re on his side of the family? I might need some help from you here. Oh, it was your mother’s father – that makes sense. I knew it involved a father. Now everything is starting to become clearer.”

In such a session, by the time it ends, the client has done most of the work. This works so often because clients are so ready to believe that they don't realize they've answered most of the questions.

#5: Vagueness Allows for Backtracking

Sometimes a psychic makes a vague statement that still misses the mark. When this happens, they use backtracking techniques to compensate for the mistake they made.

If a psychic claims that they are talking to a client's aunt, only to find out that she is still alive, they can be corrected by saying that it must be someone who knew their aunt well or is a relation. had with him. If the psychic has just told his subject that he is ready

By keeping things vague and telling the client that the spirit world is not very clear in their communication, the psychic can make it seem like they know what they are talking about, even when they are making it up as they go along.

#6: Reaction Reading

Having a theme that you personally work on is very helpful for psychics using cold reading techniques. They can read feedback on that topic, and subtle feedback can sometimes reveal key details.

This is why you often see psychics speak slowly. It's not just because the cell signal between our world and the afterlife is a bit spotty; when they make a statement, they look for how their subject responds.

Even if someone isn't talking at the time, most of the psychic's work depends on the subject revealing things that direct the psychic while they are talking (“No, I think you're talking to my about my sister, not about my cousin.” These verbal cues or changes in facial expressions, body language, and other subtle reactions tell the psychic whether or not they are on the right track.

For example, if the clairvoyant says something meaningful to the subject during the reading, they may smile or nod. Being the subject of a reading is like listening to a joke, waiting for a fist bump. When the psychic says what the client is expecting, the client will respond and that is what the psychic will pick up to help continue the reading.

#7: Searching for Minor Clues that Reveal Essential Information

Many people share information about themselves in a variety of ways that often don't involve saying a word. For example, a wedding ring indicates that a person is in a committed relationship and has the life experience of a married person. Leaning in close during the reading shows that you want to believe what the psychic has to say.

Using cold reading techniques, psychics have learned to pick up these clues very quickly and use them when reading their subject. You can learn a lot about a person by paying attention to their behavior, clothes, speech patterns, etc. Psychologists do this better than most of us, but with practice, it's a skill anyone can acquire.

#8: Do Your Homework

A witch reads someone's hand
Many psychics learn everything they need to know about their subject before they begin a reading. If the psychic works with an audience or just a large group of people, then it becomes easier.

Many psychics use the simple trick of choosing their subject ahead of time by spotting the person they want to focus on. From there, they are given plenty of time to look for clues to help them understand who they are dealing with. In many cases, they are even able to start a conversation between themselves and someone else in the audience. By listening to this conversation, they can gather a lot of information and use it to their advantage when the reading comes.

If a psychic is planning a demonstration, they often choose their subject before even mentioning their psychic abilities. In fact, these days they can often get the subject's name and then check their social media accounts using the phone to learn a lot of information about the person before the subject even knows they're getting a reading. Therefore, in most cases, this means that psychics are often just really good Googlers, or you could call it a haunting. But either way, it gets the job done.

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