John Edwards, the psychic medium known for talking to people’s dead relatives, makes millions selling tickets to two-hour events all over the world where he performs (key word: PERFORMS) his psychic feat to people wanting to believe in the afterlife, the ability to connect with lost family members and who have an intense curiosity to discover if he’s the real deal. What he’s actually doing is called a cold read, where a “psychic” can propose a vague statement (“I sense someone with a G or a J name…?”) and then watch for confusion OR confirmation, asking the subject to interpret the image he’s seeing. This is exactly what Chris Voss describes as a “label” in his book Never Split The Difference. You make a statement (“It seems like you’re uncomfortable about the price?”) and watch their reaction. Either they agree they ARE, which opens the discussion, OR they CORRECT you. Either way, you learned something.
What Edwards has working for him is that the people who attend his event WANT to believe and ARE searching for a connection; therefore, one is made. What you also don’t see on the videos and TV shows is that much of the session is carefully edited, sections cut and pasted together, so it appears everything he says makes a connection. The “hit” that lands and surprises the person is filmed, then their reaction is replaced again and again in the same sequence, making it appear that everything said is met with surprised confirmation. Read full article and comment →