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Medium Or Mediocre? | Brian Byrne

Can Psychic Wayne live up to his name? Former Deputy Editor Brian Byrne finds out…

Psychic Wayne of Psychic Readings Live performed a reading for me today.

I’m convinced he was reading the wrong page.

     Of the twenty seven or so statements he made about me and the people in my life, more than half were completely wrong.

     If you were to ask Wayne, he might tell you he was having an off day. “We’re not God. We don’t get it right all the time,” he told me before the reading began. But my results make his abilities seem like little more than guesswork—and not very good guesswork at that.

     The cold reading technique is infamous among skeptics. So called psychics make probing statements in an attempt to reveal information about their subject. Every time Wayne stated something about me or the people in my life, he asked me to confirm or disconfirm it. This is also part of the technique. If the subject dismisses the statement, either verbally or via facial or bodily cues the psychic quickly moves on; if not, the psychic knows they’re onto something and narrows their scope.

     I did my best not to give Wayne any hint as to whether he was on the right track. I tried to keep a straight face; to neither nod nor shake my head. This seemed to make him uncomfortable; on two occasions he asked me to relax, that I was nervous, that the more open I was, the better the reading would be. That’s certainly convenient, isn’t it?

     Wayne’s attempts at the technique, with me at least, weren’t very successful. First, he said my mother had a miscarriage. She never did. Later he told me my sister had blonde hair. Wrong. When I told him this he changed tactics and told me my brother did. Again he was wrong. So he said it was my mother, maybe. Still wrong.

     “There’s a lady in your life that there’s been problems with,” he said. “It’s a love situation.” He was wrong here, too. I’m a homosexual, and have never been in love with a woman. Wouldn’t you think Wayne would have sussed that?

     But his reading wasn’t a complete failure. Wayne successfully named a person who died in my family (albeit my extended family), and he also named one of my good friends, even if he did have to ask whether she is my girlfriend. That means either one of two things: Psychic Wayne is a fraud or I’m so good at hiding my sexuality even a psychic can’t out me.

     Before the reading, Wayne pointed out that there was no accurate way to test a psychic’s ability. While he was unable to give me an accurate reading, that right there is something he was right about: until we find a way to police psychics and their supposed abilities, people like Wayne Isaacs will carry on giving out inaccurate readings and, in the case of Psychic Readings Live, continue making money from them.