Observations of a Parapsychologist/Psychic Entertainer By Loyd Auerbach
I’ve worked with some genuine psychics and mediums of extremely high caliber and psychic functioning, in investigations, under laboratory conditions, and in situations where they applied their talents.
Several years ago (2005), I wrote and presented a paper to a Parapsychology Foundation conference on mediumship in Charlottesville, VA, on what I’ve learned about psychics and the commonalities of the very best from working with some of the best over the years. I’ve since presented the topic at several parapsychological conferences, and had lots of feedback from colleagues that they, too, came to similar conclusions (but hadn’t really made a list).
In this article, I pass along what I’ve learned about the commonalities of the best psychics – and when I say “best,” yes I do to some extent mean the most accurate (really, the ones who are accurate most of the time). But what’s below is really about the more personal commonalities of the psychics and mediums who often seem impressive to people, and who work best with researchers and investigators.
How Psychic Is A Self-Proclaimed Psychic
It is not my intention to discuss in this article how to judge “how psychic” is a self-professed psychic, psychic medium, or medium. That requires a separate piece of its own. To my mind, choosing a psychic practitioner to work with can be summed up in two points: (a) how useful is the information provided by the practitioner and (a) how useful is the practitioner.
As to the first, one can only judge the usefulness of information within the context of the situation itself. I have observed a number of psychic practitioners provide information irrelevant to the situation. For example, in working with them in investigations of reported apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists, one should look at more than the verifiability of the information and consider how the information explains, supports, or melds with the experiences of the witnesses and information gathered in researching the case. Much of the usefulness of a psychic practitioner’s information in the resolution of cases rests with how that information is received and accepted by the clients (and perhaps the discarnate entity).
Psychic Practitioners and Ego
The usefulness of psychic practitioners is often related to how ego-involved the psychic is and his or her interpersonal skills. A psychic should not be the main focus of the investigation process or reading, as that should remain the experiences of the clients. Certainly while the focus in an experiment is on the subject, it’s the experiment itself that needs to be the focus.
Look At Me I’m a Great Medium
Many psychics and mediums seem to have a need to be the center of attention, but if they are good at communicating and working with people, they can still be good team players. It is those having a need to be “right” who can be real problems to deal with, especially when their perceptions are contradictory to the experiences of the witnesses and to other data collected, or to the results of an experiment.
The best practitioners are those who understand that their psychic perceptions may sometimes be incomplete, influenced by their biases or personal problems, symbolic, or even from a different source than the current situation. Furthermore, they are willing to take each perception and examine it for both validity and relevance. The practitioner recognizes that others on the investigative or research team and perhaps even witnesses in a case investigation, or the client in a reading, may need clarification or may need to fit the practitioner’s perceptions into other parts of the case or even disqualify them for lack of validity or relevance. The Psychic or Medium does not become defensive if told that a particular perception is incorrect, misinterpreted, or misguided.
They realize that they may not be psychic in all situations. For example, many mediums who spend their time communicating with spirits are good when it comes to apparition (ghost) cases, but lousy – even totally “blind” – when it comes to reading living people. Many psychics who can read people or objects can’t pick up anything in apparition cases.
Consider The Science
They are willing to consider various non-paranormal and non-spiritual explanations for events in a case or experience and to consider fraud. They will follow suggestions from the field researchers, especially where focusing their perceptions to gain more or different information is concerned. They will participate with the investigators in trying to understand the initial and subsequent factors that led the clients to believe their building is haunted or to an individual believing he/she had an intense psychic experience. They are willing to discuss and consider their perceptions in light of the observations of the other investigators. They are willing to let go of ownership of their perceptions in discussion with the investigators and witnesses.
They are willing to learn the perspective of the researcher and field investigator, even to the point of understanding good investigative and experimental procedures. They may have their own personal spiritual or religious beliefs, but they do not force them into the cases or on others.
They consider the clients’ needs above their own.
They have a sense of humor, especially with regards to how seriously they take themselves.
Most of all, they have a real curiosity about their own abilities, what their limits might be, how they do in different situations and conditions, and how psi might actually work. I will note that those working as mediums seem to express much more curiosity about understanding what’s going on and the scientific studies of their abilities (and the possibility of life after death/Survival of Consciousness) than those who work as psychics (with no mediumship practice). On speculating about this, I believe it may be a result of mediums being focused on communication with living and deceased people – and the communication process — while psychics are often more concerned with the information rather than the people.
Psychics and Mediums Must Work In Harmony With The Investigators
The best psychics and mediums seem to work with the investigators and the clients to set expectations of success at a reasonable level. While they are able to cite past successes, they are aware of their own limitations and are honest about them.
The best seem to display many additional qualities beyond their psychic talents. They have excellent interpersonal skills, and because of that are confident without being egotistical. It has been said that psychics often have great egos. This can be a plus if the practitioner understands the place of a big ego and is able to both freely admit this and most importantly to be humorous about it.
You Need a Good Sense Of Humor
The best psychics and mediums generally display a good sense of humor, especially about themselves. They do take their work seriously, but because of their maturity, they see the lighter side of life as extremely important. They actually enjoy watching (good) psychic entertainers and magicians, unlike many who don’t fit the criteria of this article who voice objections to “making fun of” the paranormal.
Personally, I’ve always said I take my subject seriously – but not myself. And I can have fun with it all. That sums up the attitude of the best psychics and mediums.
One special note: There are some very famous psychics out there who don’t fit these commonalities. They’ve often bullied their way to the top, or used any bit of mystery and/or fame and/or publicity to get there and frankly, what I end up observing about their psychic abilities (in my role as a parapsychologist) is extremely unimpressive. But even if they were incredibly psychic, I still wouldn’t recommend people to them because as people, they leave much to be desired. One of them (who has since died) was downright mean to people even in her TV appearances!
To sum up, here’s a list of the qualities I’ve found. I encourage all mentalists/psychic entertainers to incorporate these into your performing persona, naturally adapted to your own personality.
The best psychic practitioners
• Are confident without being egotistical (but still have a healthy ego)
• Display good “people skills” (with the living and the dead)
• Don’t set expectations too high, and know their own limitations and biases
• Are still willing to learn (i.e. from a parapsychologist/field researcher)
• Are curious about their own abilities, how they work, and what their limits are.
• Do not force their beliefs on others, even as they stand by their own beliefs.
• Put the clients first.
• Don’t claim to be right all (or even any particular unverifiable percentage) of the time.
• Display a good sense of humor, especially when it comes to themselves.
In other words, good psychic practitioners have good people skills above all else!