A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

From Abracadabra to Zombies | View All

intuitive (intuitionist)

An intuitive or intuitionist is a person who claims to have psychic abilities. Intuitives are sometimes called sensitives. Some intuitives earn a very good living telling people things they want to hear or helping them make decisions. Intuitives don't have to know anything about the subjects they give advice on. They must, however, appear confident and knowledgeable to the one paying the bill. Being an intuitive is not as risky as it might seem. If you are charging a client $10,000 a month to be on call 24/7, as Laura Day claims she does, you don't have to worry about giving bad advice. Anyone paying that kind of money to an alleged psychic wants to remain anonymous, especially if he or she realizes she's been taken to the cleaners. Thus, only those who are satisfied customers are likely to speak up and they will testify to your wonderful abilities. Those who have been burned will keep their mouths shut out of embarrassment for wasting their money.

Day came to the forefront of the "corporate intuitive" movement with her 1997 book Practical Intuition. (You can pick up a used copy for a penny from Amazon.) Not surprisingly, several celebrities have endorsed Day: Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, and Demi Moore. Day believes she has a number of good anecdotes and exercises that will help you put your sixth sense to work. She says she's pulled in $10 million over the past fifteen years helping people learn how to find their keys or helping businesses maximize their potential by keying in on such things as conflicts between the research and marketing divisions of a company.

In 2006, Gabriel Lawson, executive director of software engineering for Seagate Technology, hired Day to run a workshop, even though she has no technical training or experience. Lawson claims she was "amazing." I would be amazed if Lawson knows anything about subjective validation or cold reading. Those who invest in companies like Seagate might wonder what is going on with corporate leadership, but apparently there are many corporations hiring psychics to put on seminars for their management and staff. Those who are required to sit through these demonstrations by so-called "intuitives" might not want to tell their bosses what they really think of being advised by people who admit up front that they don't have any credentials except the endorsements they've picked up along the way.

According to Newsweek, attorneys are using psychics to help them pick juries. George W. Bush has stated several times that he is ruled by his gut feelings. (Remember his words on meeting Vladimir Putin: "I looked the man in the eye....I was able to get a sense of his soul.")* Some of the most popular television programs today have psychics as their central figures. The latest show, on A&E, features kids who think they're psychic or at least will say they're psychic to get on TV. It seems as if America has become a nation of anti-rational worshippers of the gut feeling. This has happened before in history during very troubled times. Who can deny that this world we wake up to each day seems to be disintegrating? We have wars without end, terrorist bombings, a ruined economy, continued corporate corruption,* and a seemingly unprotected environment. Add a few huge natural disasters to the mix and things start to look pretty bleak. What better anecdote than a cheery, chirpy woman who will tell you she has the secret to make things better?

All you have to do is listen to a few stories about how it has worked for one woman who has gone from rags to riches helping people get in touch with their sixth sense.

Do I sound jealous?

See also intuitive healer and medium.

further reading

My commentaries on various alleged psychics and psychic powers:

books and articles

Alcock, James E. Science and Supernature: a Critical Appraisal of Parapsychology (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1990).

Alcock, James E., Jean Burns and Anthony Freeman.  Editors. Psi Wars: Getting to Grips with the Paranormal (Imprint Academic, 2003).

Blackmore, Susan J., In Search of the Light: The Adventures of a Parapsychologist, (Buffalo, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1986).

Christopher, Milbourne. (1975). Mediums, Mystics & the Occult. Thomas Y. Crowell Co.

Frazier, Kendrick  and James Randi, "Predictions After The Fact: Lessons Of The Tamara Rand Hoax," in Science Confronts The Paranormal, ed., Kendrick Frazier (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1986), first published in the Skeptical Inquirer 6, no.1 (Fall 1981): 4-7.

Gardner, Martin. Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1957), ch. 25.

Gardner, Martin. How Not To Test a Psychic : Ten Years of Remarkable Experiments With Renowned Clairvoyant Pavel Stepanek (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1989).

Gordon, Henry. Extrasensory Deception: Esp, Psychics, Shirley MacLaine, Ghosts, Ufos  (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1987).

Hall, Trevor. (1984). The Medium and the Scientist: The Story of Florence Cook and William Crookes. Prometheus Books.

Hansel, C. E. M. The Search for Psychic Power : ESP and Parapsychology Revisited (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1989).

Hansen, George P. (2001). The Trickster and the Paranormal. Xlibris Corporation.

Hyman, Ray. The Elusive Quarry : a Scientific Appraisal of Psychical Research (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1989).

Keene, M. Lamar. The Psychic Mafia (Prometheus, 1997).

Kurtz, Paul. ed., A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology, (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1985).

Lamont, Peter. (2005). The First Psychic: The Peculiar Mystery of a Victorian Wizard. Little Brown.

Marks, David and Richard Kammann. Psychology of the Psychic (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1979).

Paulos, John Allen. Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences (Vintage Books, 1990).

Radford, Benjamin. "Worlds in Collision - Applying Reality to the Paranormal," Skeptical Inquirer, November/December 2000.

Randi, James. Flim-Flam! (Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books,1982), especially chapter 13, "Put Up or Shut Up," where he gives accounts of tests done on several psychics who have tried to collect the $10,000 Randi used to offer to anyone demonstrating a psychic power. So far, no one has collected, even though the offer is now over $1,000,000!

Rawcliffe, Donovan Hilton. Occult and Supernatural Phenomena (New York: Dover Publications, 1988).

Stenger, Victor J. Physics and Psychics: the Search for a World Beyond the Senses (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1990).

Stein, Gordon. "Spiritualism," in The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal edited by Gordon Stein (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1996).

Steiner, Robert A. "Fortune-telling," in The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal edited by Gordon Stein (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1996) pp. 281-290.

Stollznow, Karen 2009. Psychics Aren’t Psychic Anymore.

Williams, William. Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience. (Facts On File, Inc. 2000).

Wiseman, Richard. Deception & Self-Deception : Investigating Psychics (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1997).

Wiseman, Richard and Robert L. Morris. Guidelines for Testing Psychic Claimants (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1995).

websites

New Zealand Skeptics - Guide to Scoring a Medium/Psychic

Psychic Scams by May Chow

Psychic Experiences: Psychic Illusions by Susan Blackmore, 1992, in Skeptical Inquirer 16 367-376.

"A Guide to Cold Reading" by Ray Hyman

Psychic Sophistry by Tony Youens

An Unpredictable Business: Professional psychics face same challenges as other entrepreneurs by David Lazarus

Secrets of a Telephone Psychic by Jane Louise Boursaw

Frank Browning of Salon reviews Lives of the Psychics: The Shared Worlds of Science and Mysticism by Fred M. Frohock 

The Research With B.D. and the Legacy of Magical Ignorance by George P. Hansen

Deception by Subjects in Psi Research by George P. Hansen

Slate's Human Guinea Pig: Telepsychic by Alex Chadwick

So Far, Psychics Are Batting .000 by Leon Jaroff

The business of psychics

Psychic Friends Get The Call From Corporate America  (The Marketing Fray blog)

Psychic vs. Skeptical Predictions by Max Fagin

Guess What I'll Write Next: Psychics continue to make outrageous claims by Leon Jaroff

Last updated 11-Jul-2014

© Copyright 1994-2013 Robert T. Carroll * This page was designed by Cristian Popa.