(names and screennames have been changed to protect the identities of the ignorant. Admittedly, I’m not good at pseudonyms)
I spend a good amount of time on Yahoo! Answers’s Religion & Spirituality forum, mostly trolling Fundies and Newagers and the likes, but occasionally answering seriously (often a mixture of the two). Anyway, yesterday someone posted a question asking for “psychic help”.
Question posted by &
Help what’s our future?
Have any one had dreams that came true? If so did your dreams had a virus out break which makes the dead walk like zombies? Tell me if your dream cames (sic) true and like visions of the future and tell me about your dream that always comes true. If u had a dream about a virus out break that involves zombies can you tell me what your dream was? I mean only peoples dreams that come true like visions of the future. This is my dream.
I had a dream just months ago and my dreams always came true so I saw my self grabbing to big blades and I was hunting zombies and I was enjoying it. Until I got biten (sic). So then I just woke up. I have alot (sic) of dreams that turns out to be visions of the future. And there could be a virus our break very soon in our life time. But it was like the walking dead like zombies. The zombie I was biten (sic) by was slow and I got biten (sic) by the hand. Please people who’s dreams always come true tell me what you’ve dreamt (sic) because I think there’s going to be a virus out break in 2012 or 2011. Please answer this. When did u have the dream? And what did the dream look like? What did you do? And what where the zombies I should say doing? Please answer this.
As I usually with questions directed at “psychics”, I donned my sarcastic satirical psychic persona and chimed in with my “prediction”
Answer by BrokenEye Evoluted:
The spirits are telling me that you will die on the last day of your life, and you will die of old age, unless something else gets you first.
Obviously lampoonery, right? Apparently not. A few minutes later, I received a personal message from that user (who I refer to above as “&”), requesting further psychic assistance from me.
Hello BrokenEye Evoluted,
You have received a message from another user!
Message: alright this i have hard time believing anyways ive (sic) been getting dreams that came true but the mayans (sic) predicted that there will be a virus out break that involves the dead walking. just testing you answer one of these answer
I have one problem will alot (sic) actually but one of these following questions is true:
A. I have a ghost following me
B. I have two demon kids following me
C. i have a good spirit following me
D. i have no spirits or demons following me
so answer this is it A,B,or C,or D my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
My first thought was “wait a minute, why does this guy think I was serious? My sarcasm was pretty blatant. Can’t see why he didn’t pick up on it.”
Then I just shrugged and thought “alright, he thinks I’m legit. I’ll play along and see how long it takes ‘im to figure it out,” so I emailed him back
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2010 19:21:16 -0800
Subject: Hello, its BrokenEye Evoluted
I’m going to need a more little information before I can tell you what your dream means.
1. What is your name?
2. What is your star sign?
3. What was the date and day of the week on which you had the dream?
4. What colors were you wearing at the time?
The thing about what color he was wearing should have tipped him off, but then again, some Newagey types attach a lot of significance to the colors of things.
That was last night. I got a response from him this morning, and kept up the charade over the course of the day.
Date: Fri, Dec 24, 2010 at 6:28 AM
Not sure about the second and third question but I think I wear light blue. The dream was almost for months ago now. I don’t know which star sign I have. I’m Rowan Martin Elmo Smith. Thanks for answering my email.
The star sign wasn’t important, as astrology is a load of crock anyway, but I was playing the psychic so I decided to make him think it was important
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 07:37:47 -0800
What’s you’re birthday then? I can figure out what your star sign is based on that.
Date: Dec 24, 2010, at 8:48 AM
my birthday is december (sic) 10 1992 i was born in watertown canada (sic) at 9:20am
more information than I “needed”, but what the hell
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 10:07:17 -0800
I see. That would make you a Sagittarius.
Now are you seeing any other psychics? I ask, because their astral field signatures may interfere with my ability to get an accurate reading.
I made up the term “astral field signature” on the spot. I was completely pulling shit out of my ass at this point, but he still bought it.
Date: Dec 24, 2010, at 11:43 AM
Will I get horoscopes but never talk to psychics but I just got an email of one psychic named clara (sic) but we never talk that much. I do talk to other psychics i just send two psychics a message today just fre (sic) minutes ago.
How do you get horoscopes if you only just now found out what your star sign was? Oh yeah, they say what month each sign is for next to the name of the sign in the newspapers. Never mind, then.
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 12:30:56 -0800
Alright, I’m sure that’s fine. I’ll try to work around that.
Tell me, I’m sensing someone you know, possibly a friend or family member, has had a large change in their lives recently. Does the letter C mean anything to you?
One of the single most clichéd bogus psychic phrases, but once again, he still bought it.
Date: Dec 24, 2010, at 1:22 PM
Oh yeah my mother moved to the webbers trailor (sic) and no the C doesn’t mean anything to me. Wow you sensed a change and it was my mother moving out and that occurred two months ago though. Thank you for answering.
That’s right folks, he bought it even though the letter C meant nothing to him
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 13:36:05 -0800
And have you noticed anything strange or out of place in or near your home lately?
Less clichéd, but clearly the same type of bullshit
Date: Dec 24, 2010, at 2:10 PM
Yes, why do you ask?
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:19:28 -0800
I knew you did.
Now this is slightly unorthodox, but could you by any chance send me an email of your palm so I could get a reading from that?
Do “real” psychics read palms from pictures? I don’t know, and I don’t care. And apparently, neither did he.
Date: Dec 24, 2010, at 3:11 PM
did (sic) you see the pictures? if not then i dont (sic) know how to put pictures in and send them in. Anyways i cant (sic) really see the lines in my palm the pictures ive (sic) taken. if you dont (sic) see my pictures then i dont (sic) know how to put them in.
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:19:37 -0800
You have very impressive phalanges. I’m getting an excellent reading from your carpal lay lines.
I can tell concerned about your life possibly being in danger. Is this correct?
“Real” palm-readers don’t talk about phalanges and carpels. They talk about heart lines and rings of Solomon. Most people don’t even know what a phalanges even is (it’s the sections of your fingers between the knuckles, btw). He still bought it.
Date: Dec 24, 2010, at 3:24 PM
Hmm you maybe right I’m in danger and many finds (sic) this hard to believe.
Earth to Rowan! I got the thing about your life being in danger from your comments about that dream you had. Remember that? I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know (apart from the impressiveness of your phalanges). Dear lord this guy is oblivious.
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:38:09 -0800
Rest easy Rowan. The stars assure me that you are in no immediate danger, and the stars are rarely wrong about such things.
There is an area in the reading that’s a little foggy. It feels important, but I can’t tell for sure what it is.
Date:Dec 24, 2010, at 3:40 PM
Oh thank god for that. Thanks.
Maybe it’s because I felt I knew this guy a little more after all that, but at this point I decided to help him out a bit instead of just doing it for the lulz. He seemed like a decent person, if a bit naïve, and he clearly needed the help.
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:51:58 -0800
I really think it would be wise for you to hear the rest, if I could just reach it. Maybe you could help me. Have you heard of a man named James Randi?
If you know who James Randi is, you can probably see where I’m going with this. If you don’t know, just wait and see
Date: On Dec 24, 2010, at 3:58 PM
No I never hear of that name james.why (sic)?
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:18:30 -0800
He is the founder of the coveted Randi Prize. I’d like you to find out who the last winner was for me. The knowledge may help to bridge the spiritual gap preventing me from accessing this last and vitally important message my Guide Spirit is trying to send you.
Date: Dec 24, 2010, at 4:25 PM
what do you mean by’ I’d like you to find out who the last winner was for me? and randi prize (sic)? um help more details please.
Really? Of all the ridiculous things I’ve said to you so far, that is what you question me on? The Randi Prize is a prize, founded by James Randi, and I want you to find out who won it last. I understand that you’re not the sharpest spoon in the drawer, but honestly Rowan, even an idiot would be able to figure that out
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:36:38 -0800
It’s not directly related to your inquiry. I just need to know so that the fog separating me from the most crucial message in this reading will clear, allowing me to relay that message to you. I need to know who the last winner of the Randi Prize is. The message is of vital importance, but I can’t see it clearly until you find that information for me.
Just Google it, you stupid git!
Date: On Fri, Dec 24, 2010 at 4:43 PM
i (sic) think it was Christopher Kimberlin
Actually that’s the ACA Pauling Prize, but thanks for playing.
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 17:18:38 -0800
Really? That’s odd, because according to the website, in the 47 years since the Randi Prize was founded, none of the over six-hundred and fifty people who have applied for the Randi Prize have ever collected the one million dollar Randi Prize which is offered to anyone who can empirically prove that they have psychic powers.
Ah yes, and that brings me to the vital message I was trying so hard to reach. And that message is as follows:
I, Rowan, am not actually psychic. Nobody is. You have been duped, bamboozled, hoodwinked, deceived, defrauded, hoaxed, swindled, and played for a fool. Every question I asked was intentionally vague, specifically designed to prompt YOU to supply ME with the reading. These are some of the most basic tricks in a practice known as cold-reading, which has been used by so-called psychics, fortune tellers, diviners and oracles for centuries to give the appearance of being psychic. I did not do this out of malice or desire to take advantage of you, however. Rather, I did this to demonstrate just how easy it was for someone to wrongly convince you that they had powers of extrasensory perception. A less honest man than myself would have let you believe the lie and then charged you for his “services”. I suspect that some of the other “psychics” you see are doing exactly that, and I strongly suggest that you no longer pay for such things. I hope this has been a valuable learning experience for you.
And just so you know, your dream is not an omen or anything of the sort. Merely the subliminal activity of your sleeping brain, although the fact that it was a nightmare does suggest that you might be under a good amount of stress at the moment. I know this not because of any psychic powers, but because of my knowledge of basic human psychology, of which I am an avid student.
So the next time you feel compelled to seek the aid of a “psychic adviser”, I hope you think of me and what I’ve taught you here today.
That’s where I was going with this, btw
Date: Dec 24, 2010, at 5:28 PM
Wow I actually learned something here. And your (sic) not psychic?
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 18:40:50 -0800
Not psychic, and only an extremely amateur cold-reader.
And while its possible that you may be in some sort of danger, but it’s not particularly probable and if you are, it’s entirely unrelated to your dream. So unless there’s some sign in the world o’ the waking that you’re in danger, it’s probably safe to assume you’re not.
Date: Fri, Dec 24, 2010 at 6:52 PM
Oh ok thanks.
And that was my day as a psychic adviser. In retrospect, I’m slightly worried about how he just accepted my explanation without argument. I mean, I’m glad I was able to teach him about psychics and everything, but a normal human being would have gotten at least a little pissed that A) he had been tricked and B) something he strongly believed to be true had just been disproven. Does this kid just believe everything people tell him is true at face value? If he’s that naïve, then maybe he is in danger after all (but not from Mayan demon ghost zombies). Someone’s gonna take advantage your dumb trust someday, Rowan, and you can bet that they’re not going to be as friendly as I was. The world is a cruel harsh place, full of identity thieves, scammers, muggers, politicians, ad men, and other manipulative bastards who will stop at nothing to get from you what you want. I just hope you learn that before you have to find out the hard way.
Postscript: I still occasionally got emails from Rowan after this encounter, generally asking whether something was legit, including one regarding a website where you could pay to have wishes granted (hey, we’ve already established that this guy was a few major arcana short of a deck). After a while, though, I started getting spam from his address, which had apparently been hijacked by a hacker of some sort, which I was afraid was gonna happen. Of course, he didn’t notice this until I emailed him to point it out. He apparently changed his address, because I haven’t heard from him since. The spammer’s still there, though.
Maybe I should be worried.