Psychic methods revealed - hot reading

What is Hot Reading? – Psychic Methods Revealed

Have you ever wondered what tricks psychics and mediums use to learn things about a complete stranger that they couldn’t possibly know without supernatural powers? Psychic methods are easy to explain if you know what to look out for. Today we’ll be explaining hot reading, and how psychics perform a hot reading on their prey so that you know what to watch out for and can guard your wallet next time one of these vultures comes calling.


Thomas Westbrook: “Oh Psychics. Most people aren’t that impressed when one of them spits out a mundane vaguery like:”

Theresa Caputo: “Was your husband ill prior to her passing?”

Michael Strahan: “I was amazed. I was amazed! It was remarkable.”

Thomas Westbrook: “I said most people.

Thomas Westbrook: “But when a psychic gets a hit like:”

James Van Praagh: “Are you adopted?”

Psychic Guy: “I see a house for sale: 795,000 euros.”

Rosemary Altea: “I know that she took her own life.”

Thomas Westbrook: “That’s something else entirely.”

Psychic doing internet research

Psychic Vulture Researching his Victims

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Thomas Westbrook: “For the first type of prediction, cold reading tactics are usually used. It’s called ‘cold reading’ because the psychic is going into the reading cold without any prior research and they use a couple clever tricks to fool their audience.

Cold Reading: A set of techniques used on someone, without prior research, by psychics, palm and tarot card readers, mentalists, fortune tellers & mediums to pretend they have more information about that person than they actually do.
Cute Psychic Kid With a Third Eye

I can see into your soul.

Thomas Westbrook: "But with a few tools and a little prep time, psychics can perform a hot reading, in which they do research prior to preying on their victim."

Hot Reading: A psychic reading in which the reader performs research and gathers details on the sitter prior to the reading.

Thomas Westbrook: "I’m going to reveal some of the methods that these vultures use, so that next time one of them tries to take advantage of you and tells you to have an open mind."

James Van Praagh: "Don’t be closed minded.”

Thomas Westbrook: "You can do so with guarded skepticism, remembering the old skeptic maxim:

Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

Thomas Westbrook "The first and most obvious method of gathering information is internet research. Most people don’t realize just how much information about them is publicly available on the web. When people buy tickets online to psychic shows, at bare minimum, they enter their full name, billing info, and email address. You may be thinking that a spineless con artist can plug that info into a people search site or private investigator software package to gleam public records including a person’s address, phone number, marital status, criminal background, and more, but they don’t even need that. In a packed out audience, there are bound to be at least a few dozen people with no Facebook privacy settings set.

Sites like reveal the names of relatives as well as family death records. And tools like Google maps and street view show cross streets, neighborhood info, and even details about what a person’s house looks like – knowing this, is it really that impressive when a psychic says that they’re ‘seeing a red door’?"

"I'm seeing a red door."

"I'm seeing a red door."

Thomas Westbrook: "It’s even less impressive when a psychic does a reading of any kind of celebrity figure whose information is publicly accessible all over the web.”

Josh Elliott: "I’d know that there was plenty of information regarding my past readily available with a cursory internet search, including an extensive interview I had given to a website two years before.

James Van Praagh: "And would you know Susan?”

Josh Elliott: "Yes.”

James Van Praagh: "Was Susan your mother?”

Josh Elliott: "Yes.”

James Van Praagh: "How interesting. You’re part of two families – she’s saying to me. Does that make sense to you?”

Josh Elliott: "Yes.”

James Van Praagh: "Are you adopted?”

Josh Elliott: "Yes.”

James Van Praagh: "Oh. That’s what I thought.”

Josh Elliott: "But I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.”

James Van Praagh: "Do you know the name of L E… Lenard? or Leo? Leon? Leo? Leon? or Leo? Leo-something?"

Josh Elliott: "Yes. Leo was the name of my adoptive mother’s long-time companion whom I loved as a stepfather for almost 25 years. Leo died suddenly in 2009 – until I looked again upon my return home. And there it was: a reference to his passing, able to be exploited along with all the rest.”

Thomas Westbrook: "But not all research is done over the web. Some shows have information packets for audience members to fill out before the show, asking attendees who they wish to connect with. This is a pre-internet trick that goes back to the days of faith healers like Peter Poppof, only he called them ‘prayer cards.’”

Peter Popoff - I'm not a crook

Faith Healer Peter Popoff - Caught Using an Earpiece

James Randi: "To his followers, Popoff seemed to have divine powers. He also knew the personal details of their lives. The radio scanner we brought to the hall picked up a decidedly worldly source.

Popoff’s wife: "Hello Peety, can you hear me? If you can’t you’re in trouble.”

James Randi: "Popoff was being prompted by his wife through a wireless earpiece. She’d gotten her information from prayer cards, filled out by the faithful before the show began.

Popoff’s wife: "She wants to get rid of the walker.”

Peter Popoff: "You want to get rid of this walker, sister?”

Popoff’s wife: "She lives at 1627 10th street.”

Peter Popoff: "1627 10th street? Is that right?”

Old Lady: "That’s right.”

Popoff’s wife: "She has arthritis all over.”

Peter Popoff: "Wooo! Burning this arthritis!”

Thomas Westbrook: "Since Poppoff’s days, earpieces have gotten smaller, cheaper, and more commonplace. And Poppoff is far from the only person claiming to have other-worldly information sources who’s been caught wearing an earpiece.”

TV Show Host: "A member of the audience claimed they heard a man backstage feeding Sally information in secret. A fan who was sitting in the back row of the Grand Canal Theater in Dublin during one of Psychic Sally’s shows told a radio station that she could hear a man’s voice through an open window behind her, claim that everything he said the psychic was saying 10 seconds later. Well, she says that her headset is purely a microphone, she does not receive.”

Paul Zenon: "Yeah. The headset with the microphone is purely a microphone, and she can’t get messages from that, but she hasn’t denied having a separate earpiece which is on the other side. If you have a look at her biopic (it’s called the psychic life of Sally Morgan) there’s a shot of her walking off stage taking off the microphone and a separate earpiece which she leaves dangling. It’s an earpiece.”

Thomas Westbrook: "Now this explains how psychics can get amazingly accurate hits on their own turf, but how do they pull off this same feat on other people’s shows?

Well, it’s pretty easy to rig the reading by planting a few of your own people in the audience of a show that you’ll be on, which Rosemary Altea’s agent got caught doing by Penn and Teller on an episode of Bullshit.”

Rosemary Altea: "I know that she took her own life.”

Mark Edward: "How did she know it was a suicide? I knew there had to be some link because suicide is not something you want to be wrong about.”

Parents of suicide victim: "Joni spoke with Rosemary about the possibility of our being here?”

Penn Jillette: "And who’s Joni?”

Parents of the suicide victim, Joni is Rosemary’s literary agent.”

Penn Jillette: "That’s right. She works for Rosemary. Joni asked us if she could bring people to the taping. Suspecting a set-up, we agreed.”

Mark Edward: "Turns out, you know, that they are her literary agent’s best friends, so I mean, you know, that took the air out of that one.

It's Raining Bullshit. Hallelujah!

Thomas Westbrook: "Or how about the self-proclaimed psychic Joe Power? When Joe’s own agent supplied a client named Vonda, Joe got hit after amazing hit. But on further investigation by magician Derren Brown, it turned out that.”

Derren Brown: "Joe has always said he did not know any of her details, but what I’ve discovered is that Vonda’s next door neighbor is in fact, Joe’s sister.”

Thomas Westbrook: "And even if cheaters didn’t stack the deck by rigging the audience, they often sift the crowd for information prior to the start of a show.”

Rosemary Altea: "It’s a mother-son connection here. I feel I’ve got your mother here trying to communicate with you, OK?”

Penn Jillette: "Hmm. How’d she know that this poor guy’s mother was going to come through.”

Mark Edward: "If you look at the tape again. The first thing she did when she arrived, was drift right over to the people who she knew were going to be in the audience. So the information gather starts immediately.


Rosemary Altea: "Who do you want to connect with?"

Rosemary Altea: "Who do you want to connect with?”

Guy in audience: "My mother. My mother. My mother.”

Rosemary Altea: "Your mother?”

1 hour later

Rosemary Altea: "It’s a mother-son connection here. I feel I’ve got your mother here trying to communicate with you, OK?”

Thomas Westbrook: "Rosemary’s hardly the only one. The Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, requested 45 minutes alone and without cameras with Howard Stern’s audience as a prerequisite to going on his show.

But what happens when these same psychics are asked to do a spontaneous reading on someone without being able to perform prior research? Well, they have to resort to cold reading which I’ll cover the techniques for that in my next video, so make sure you’re subscribed and you hit the 'bell' button so you get notified. But till then, here are some of those same psychics you just saw absolutely bombing later on in the same exact show when asked to give a spontaneous reading.”

Rosemary Altea: "I’m seeing a man who is standing by your side – quite broad-set, big, very black. He tells me he had a massive heart attack prior to his passing, he just went bang, just like that. And he refers to you as, ‘his boy.’ OK? Confusing you?”

Sitter: "Yeah.”

Joe Power: "There was some type of split up. Umm, going back quite a while.”

Sitter: "No.”

Joe Power: "Why does she mention 17 years ago, then? …Is there a Jimmy or James connected?”

Sitter: "No.”

Joe Power: "She’s saying yes. On grandfather’s side?”

Sitter: "No.”

Rosemary Altea: "But I have a man who’s standing between us. He passed with cancer. He was very, very sick before he died. You understand what I’m saying, don’t you?”

Sitter: "Yeah, I understand, but I don’t know who that could be.”

Josh Elliott: "And when we asked him to read our producer on the spot, that didn’t go so well.”

James Van Praagh: "(humming) I’m tired. I’m not going to be able to give you a clear, quality thing.”

The Mentalist: "We both know what you are. I mean, let’s be honest here, you’re a con man.”

Thomas Westbrook: "Before you guys go, you may be familiar with a YouTuber name King Crocoduck. He’s a physicist who’s been fighting pseudoscience on YouTuber for a while. Well, he just got in a pretty bad motorcycle accident the other day. Can you do me a favor? Can you go subscribe to his channel and follow him on Twitter? Let’s see if we can cheer him up with a bump in his sub and follower count. Thanks, guys!

King Crocoduck's Motorcycle Accident

King Crocoduck's Motorcycle Accident

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Psychic Methods Revealed: Hot Reading
Psychic Methods Revealed: Hot Reading

Detecting psychic scams & debunking mediums is easier when you know how psychic methods like hot reading work. Don't be fooled by psychic misdirection. Expert mentalists, skeptics, and magicians Penn and Teller, Derren Brown, Paul Zenon, James Randi, and Mark Edward will reveal the secrets of psychics by exposing disgraceful psychic tricks used by psychic Sally Morgan, The Long Island Medium (Theresa Caputo), Rosemary Altea, Peter Popoff, Joe Power, James Van Praagh, and more. Stay skeptical, dare to be curious, but don't fall for this bullshit, and don't drink the koolaid.

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