What is cold reading?


Cold reading is a group of techniques that presents to the sitter general information and statements in the hope of drawing other information from the sitter.  The person utilizing cold reading draws upon verbal devices such as Barnum phrases and rainbow ruses to give people the illusion they know more than what is actually being said. 

Cold reading is used by psychic readers and intuitors, psychic entertainers, mentalists, and con-men to give the impression of being able to read another person's mind, to tell them what their personalities are like, what has happened in the past, what is going on in right now, and what the future holds for them.  Another branch of cold readers (the spiritualists) uses these techniques to give the impression that they are talking to those who have passed on.

Cold reading leads a sitter to behave in a certain way.  It makes the sitter think that the cold reader has some sort of special ability that allows him to know things about the subject.

Cold reading allows the intuitor to interact with another person (the sitter) and draw out information.  The intuitor listens to her responses and behavioral pattern and uses this information to make her believe that the intuitor actually knows information about them.

Not only can cold reading techniques used in psychic readings and the like, but also other professionals can put them to use.  A good salesperson is likely to be a good cold reader, as with a good therapist.  When one meets a politician, they seem to know something of what you are thinking.  Using elements of cold reading, human nature and body language, they seem to say the right thing to pander votes or to change their opinion.  An astute businessperson can use cold reading techniques to examine the motives and goals of his clients and co-workers.

Cold reading relies on the use of sufficiently vague statements about the sitter’s personality, feedback of the sitter’s own statements, selection of correct impressions, and an assortment of other tricks detailed later.  The intuitor must keep in his tool bag what known as, a “stock spiel”; a set of general statements about people that could fit anyone yet is directed it at the sitter.  The intuitor must observe the person closely and feedback information to make an accurate reading.

With practice, a psychic intuitor can quickly obtain information about the subject by analyzing the person's body language, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity, level of education, manner of speech, place of origin, etc.  Intuitors often use guesses about the sitter by noticing and using signals.  The intuitor determines if the guess was correct or not by watching the reaction of the sitter and then reinforces the guess by pressing forward or quickly covering up on missed guesses.


You will use many general techniques during a reading.  Each has its use and each is limited, but used together they form a set of powerful tools to be used by the intuitor.  The good psychic intuitor knows the trick is to appear as though they are providing specific information, but provide only strategically vague suggestions, which the sitter can interpret to her own situation.


Each of these techniques and more are explained in detail in the book.

The Forer effect (Barnum statements)


Praise Statements

The Intuitive Gift Statement

The Saccharine Statement

The Phase of Life Statement

Missed Opportunity Statement

Open Ended Statement

The High Probability Statement

The Lucky Guess Statement

The Statistical Fact

Superficial Statement

The Fashion Statement

In Your Youth Statement

Old-Fashion Wisdom Statement

Seasonal Statement

The Question Statement

The Baffle Them With Bullsh*t Statement

Sherlock Strategy

How to recover from a missed statement



"The Psychic Intuitor's Handbook"
Also Available on Amazon.com