Fortune telling has always been a popular form of amusement. There is an irresistible longing to know what our future holds. You may meet someone who has a real gift of “second sight” or incredible intuition who can tell you things that will come to pass in your life. While these people do exist, they are vastly outnumbered by the charlatans who pretend to have these gifts.
One sure-fire way to know if you’re dealing with a false fortune teller or psychic is to listen for Barnum statements. A Barnum statement is a vague, general statement that is true of most people but is used to imply the fortune teller has some special insight about you. For instance, if a man has his fortune told, a false fortune teller might say, “I sense a good deal of anxiety in a particular situation in your life. But also that there is a little feeling of hopefulness. And I see someone who cares a lot about you. I see her quite clearly, and she has brown eyes.”
Most people who seek out fortune tellers feel anxious about something specific happening in their lives and they desperately want to receive good news. Also brown eyes are the most common eye color. Most men have known a woman who has brown eyes–a girlfriend, a wife, a mother, a sister, or a friend. Everything the fortune teller said is true. Depending on how credulous the person is, it might be all the evidence he needs to trust the fortune teller since they have specific knowledge about him.
The following photos of fortune tellers are from the Library of Congress. After examining each picture, there’s only one who I think could potentially be legitimate! I’ll let you come to your own conclusions.