I had a psych professor who could do a cold reading—some of you may think of it as mind reading or communicating with the dead—as well as a professional psychic. He was really good. He said that essentially all you needed was the ability to pay close attention to body language and what someone said and make intelligent assumptions. (Let’s see. Elderly, very overweight woman in audience. “Does a lady here suffer from back pain?”)Somebody asked him why he didn’t do it professionally. He chuckled, and said, “Because I am an honest man.”
I also once worked with an orthopedic surgeon who had pinned the broken hip of an elderly woman. Unfortunately she made the mistake of going to a faith healer for the residual pain a few weeks later. He got her up on stage and had her out of her wheelchair and dancing. She didn’t feel any pain during her performance (if you are very suggestible and someone tells you that you’re healed you might not feel any pain) but afterwards, after her self-hypnosis wore off, had to be rushed to a hospital because she had re-fractured her hip and torn muscles in the process.