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Dr. Cloyd Hyten's notes on Ian Rowland's Full Facts book of Cold reading

Dr. Cloyd Hyten's Page at The University of North Texas

Ian Rowland's Book

The Elements

About Personality:


  • Rainbow Ruse- Have one trait and, at times, the opposite

  • Fine Flattery- Clever ways to say client is honest, fair-minded, wise, a good friend, independent

  • Psychic Credit- Credit the client with being psychic too

  • Jacques Statements- about what stage of life they’re in

  • Greener Grass- Wish for what you don’t have

  • Barnum Statements- General statements that fit most people (combine w/ forking)

About Facts:


  • Fuzzy Fact- General broad statement likely to be right

  • Good Chance Guess- ("I see a blue car" or "house with number 2 in address")

  • Lucky Guess- Make 2, 3 parts. If hit, then wow; if miss, they’ll forget

  • Stat facts- Demographic data

  • Trivia Stats- What most people have (box of old photos, jewelry from deceased)

  • Childhood Memory- Ex. The abandoned interest, the illness or accident and overly
    anxious parents, the lucky job

  • Seasonal Touch- Ex. The strains of Christmas holidays

  • Push Statements- State something wrong and keep pushing it!

Extracting Information:


  • Direct Question

  • Veiled Question- "Statement…, is that right?"

  • Jargon Blitz- Ex. Cards say X, blah, blah, blah, is that making sense to you?

  • Vanishing Negative- "You don’t work with children do you?" Then fork (if no, say "I thought not, you’re not cut out to do that"; if yes, then affirm and expand.

  • Sherlock Strategy- Observe client for clues

  • Russian Doll- Statement with many possible layers of meaning; keep working til get hit (e.g., music in your life)

About the Future: (no way for client to verify these!)


  • Peter Pan/Pollyanna- Tell them what they want to hear (everything will turn out right)

  • Certain Predictions- No time frame (Ex. Someone new will enter your life)

  • Likely Predictions

  • Unlikely Predictions- Hits will be seen as proof you are psychic!

  • Self-fulfilling- "You will make a new start"

  • Vague Prediction

  • Unverifiable- "[Something] will happen without you realizing it"

Sequence for a typical "Reading"

Setup and Disarm


  • Encourage cooperative interpretation [retrofitting]. ("The exact meanings will be
    clearer to you than to me")

  • Explain the system in use

  • Supply an excuse for failure ("I am not always right, but I’ll do my best")

Launch


  • Some stock spiel here. Start with childhood stuff: Use Childhood Memories, Fuzzy Facts, Jacques Statements, Fine Flattery

Bridge (almost entirely improvised)


  • Use Principal Themes (Major: Love, Money, Career, Health; Minor: Travel, Education, Ambitions).

  • Use Information Extraction techniques (e.g., Veiled Question, and Jargon Blitz) to get feedback and info from client

Expand


  • Rainbow Ruse, Greener Grass, Fuzzy Facts, Good Chance Guesses, perhaps a
    Lucky Guess and a Push Statement

Conclusion


  • Predictions about the future (e.g., Polyanna Pearls)

  • Summarizing (Reprising with Gold Paint)

Presentation Tips:


  1. Cultivate Feedback

  2. Empathize

  3. State stuff weakly at first, then make stronger if correct [post-affirmative boosting]

  4. Emphasize the conditional (e.g., You could be, or should be, in a different career)

  5. Leave room for interpretation

  6. Forking (stay if client agrees, reverse if client disagrees)

What to do when you’re wrong (How to convince them you’re still right)


  1. Persist, wonder, and let it linger

  2. I am right, but


    1. You have forgotten

    2. You do not know

    3. Nobody knows

    4. But it was kept quiet

  3. I am wrong, but


    1. I will be right in the future

    2. It doesn’t matter

    3. But you wanted to do X or be Y

    4. I am right in general

How to Block Cold Reading!


  1. Tape the reading yourself

  2. Stay calm, polite and good-natured

  3. Act puzzled when asked questions ("Are you telling me, or asking me?")

  4. Don’t answer questions ("I’d prefer not to answer- I’m interested in what you tell me")

  5. Don’t give feedback ("Can’t really decide if I agree with that or not, have to pass")

  6. Sabotage the particular element in use

  7. Bait the psychic (fib about a statement’s truth, let them run with it, then reveal it’s not true). This is a risky tactic!

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