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Ask a psychic

Bruce Cabot, the Hollywood actor, seen here in Palm Springs having his fortune told in 1932.
Bruce Cabot, the Hollywood actor, seen here in Palm Springs having his fortune told in 1932.

You’ve probably seen sidewalk signs advertising a “Palm Reading” or passed by a shop with crystal balls on the display window. You might’ve even seen this in a movie or show.

Psychics have been around for centuries claiming to predict the future and to connect people with the deceased. Forty-one percent of American adults today even believe in them, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center poll.

Many have turned to psychics during the pandemic for spiritual guidance. The New York Times reports:

James Alcock, a professor of psychology at York University in Canada, who has spent his career looking at belief systems and debunking scientific studies of the paranormal, said he is unsurprised (albeit concerned) by the appeal of such services. “If you look throughout history, whenever there has been some sort of upheaval or some sort of collective anxiety in society, interest in psychics has shot up,” he said.

“The reason is simple,” Mr. Alcock continued. “People experience a lack of control and anxiety. We’d all like the pandemic to end.” And without definitive answers from scientists, physicians or elected officials, people are turning to more spurious sources for reassurance.

As part of our “Ask A” series, we sit down with two psychics to ask them about what they do and how they do it. We also talk about the psychology of what we believe with two professors.

Produced by Haili Blassingame. Text by Mia Estrada.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.

Haili Blassingame, Mia Estrada