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gettingby
11-23-2014, 03:14 AM
Does anyone know about psychics? Do psychics actually believe they are psychic even if they aren't? How does on set up shop as a psychic because I can't imagine they bring in enough money to pay the rent for their place of business. I am writing a story that involves a psychic and want it to sound realistic. I really like this story and believe it has a lot of potential, but I am realizing this is not something I know a great deal about. Anyone who can shed light on this, it would be much appreciated.

benbenberi
11-23-2014, 03:32 AM
Is your story about someone who actually believes in their own psychic power, or the scam-artist type of psychic? Because the scammers can sometimes make a LOT of money if they target the right marks and milk them hard enough. (And then they may have to get out of town or go to jail, unless they've played the game with exceptional skill.)

shakeysix
11-23-2014, 03:37 AM
I go to a psychic from time to time. She makes a living at it. If you have questions pm me--s6

King Neptune
11-23-2014, 03:45 AM
There's a huge amount of variation in "psychics". There are the ones that advertise online who will charge you by the minute for phone consultations. There are people with various sorts of delusions who believe all sorts of things. And there are people who are seriously into mystical practices. The phone in "psychics" mostly work from scripts rather like other telephone things, and most of those people know that they are not real psychics.

A friend of mine who is a sane, intelligent person used to go to a psychic every few years, and she found the fee reasonable. I don't remember how much it was, but it was in the hundreds of dollars.

You might want to find a psychic in your area and interview the person. Even if a fee would be required, it might be worthwhile.

gettingby
11-23-2014, 04:01 AM
I don't know yet how good my character's psychic abilities are, but I don't want her to be a complete fraud. Is there some sort of middle ground? I am having a hard time figuring out her income as well. Over the summer I went to a psychic because my friend and I got caught in the rain and it was the closet shelter to us. It was a tiny little storefront and the woman was a complete fraud, but for $10 a reading it was fun. However, how would this woman possibly afford a downtown storefront at $10 a reading?

Night_Writer
11-23-2014, 04:27 AM
There's a huge amount of variation in "psychics". There are the ones that advertise online who will charge you by the minute for phone consultations. There are people with various sorts of delusions who believe all sorts of things. And there are people who are seriously into mystical practices. The phone in "psychics" mostly work from scripts rather like other telephone things, and most of those people know that they are not real psychics.

I work as a telephone psychic. And we don't have scripts. I've never heard of anything like that. I don't even see how it's possible to use a script. It's not like other "telephone things" at all.

Kolta
11-23-2014, 04:34 AM
I don't know yet how good my character's psychic abilities are, but I don't want her to be a complete fraud. Is there some sort of middle ground?

I'm not sure what kind of middle ground you have in mind, but maybe she could combine whatever ability she does have with cold reading? It's still dishonest, but you might be able to spin it in a way that at the very least she's able to give her customers peace of mind, or closure on a matter with the amount of info she's able to relay to them.

Take note, in some cases people are aware on some level that they're attaching too much meaning to certain statements from a psychic, but sometimes it might just be about giving people what they want to hear, and in that regard, your character may have good intentions, even if she's not right in what she's doing.

For income, the shop might benefit from word of mouth and repeat customers. Depends on how well she's able to master her techniques and how often she's able to supplement these little tricks with some of her own natural capabilities.

If it's not totally necessary for this to be her sole income, you might have to give her a day job. Or adjust her level of ability so that she holds the sort of reputation that keeps business coming in frequently enough.

And if she doesn't need to stick to the store, she might branch out a bit. Like go to people's homes, get a feel for things, who's present and would like to communicate something to the family. People who used to live in the house ages ago and have something they'd like to say, that sort of thing.

I can't tell if this is a main character or not and if you'd be able to show any of these scenes, but even so, stuff like house calls could probably be slipped in there somewhere as an explanation for the substantial income.

Hope this helps.

frimble3
11-23-2014, 09:07 AM
I don't know yet how good my character's psychic abilities are, but I don't want her to be a complete fraud. Is there some sort of middle ground? I am having a hard time figuring out her income as well. Over the summer I went to a psychic because my friend and I got caught in the rain and it was the closet shelter to us. It was a tiny little storefront and the woman was a complete fraud, but for $10 a reading it was fun. However, how would this woman possibly afford a downtown storefront at $10 a reading?

Tiny little storefront in a low-rent neighbourhood? Not on the ground floor, a walk-up 'office'? Landlord believes having a psychic on-site is good luck? Maybe the landlady gets a regular free reading? Psychic's family owns the building, actual tenants pay the bills, she gets the office and acts as manager on the side? She's got a pension, disability payments, settlement from insurance or lawsuit?
Then, if she's got one of those little ads in the classifieds, builds up a clientele, and does 'outside' jobs, she could do it. You and your friend went because it was raining, consider that you may have merely replaced a regular who stayed away because of the rain. How long did the readings take? $10 a head, 10 times a day, isn't bad. It's not like she needs expensive equipment like a dental office. Some regular furniture, maybe a deck of Tarot cards, or some smooth surface to scry with.
Then, if she can get hooked into the 'girls' night out' or bridal shower crowd, she's looking at group bookings, some of whom might become steady individual patrons, or refer other people to her. Occasional booths at fairs and bazaars would also provide a hit of money, as well as getting the word out.

As to how 'real' her abilities are, it probably depends on what your story needs. It could be anywhere from 'she's really good at listening to people, and perceptive, too', essentially a cold reader, to 'sometimes she just knows stuff that she has no reason to know'.

Marian Perera
11-23-2014, 01:56 PM
I used to work part-time for a psychic. She had a used book store with a room in the back where she gave readings, so I ran the bookstore side of it. Here are some of the crazy experiences (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=237223&highlight=psychic) I had there.

She also charged $75 for a half-hour session, but said it was "85% accurate" and that people would get a cassette tape of the reading for that money. She went out of business.

Once!
11-23-2014, 03:14 PM
I think you have a decision to make. It's probably a decision that only you can make, but it's a pretty critical one: in the world of your story, are psychics genuine or not?

I see four possible scenarios:

1. It's a con. Psychics are fakes and they know that they are.

2. Some people might think that they have some form of psychic ability, but they are deluding themselves.

3. It is real. Some psychics genuinely do have otherworldly powers.

4. A mixture of 1, 2 and 3.

It's very hard to establish the truth of this one. Some psychics have been exposed as frauds - I cam recommend that you Google James Randi. But that does not necessarily mean that all of them are frauds. Or that some may be genuinely self-deluded.

Some people will tell you that they are a psychic, but we have no way of knowing if they are telling the truth. There is an element of "they would say that, wouldn't they?"

Many people will claim to have had a psychic experience, although these usually turn out to be a pure coincidence that only looks to be supernatural.

It's your world - you decide. If I were writing a realistic story about psychics, they would all be fakes or self-deluded because that's what I happen to believe in. Your point of view may be different.

frimble3
11-23-2014, 03:18 PM
I used to work part-time for a psychic. She had a used book store with a room in the back where she gave readings, so I ran the bookstore side of it. Here are some of the crazy experiences (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=237223&highlight=psychic) I had there.

She also charged $75 for a half-hour session, but said it was "85% accurate" and that people would get a cassette tape of the reading for that money. She went out of business.
Probably better in the long run to charge less and forgo the recording of the session. Let their memories build it up to 95% accuracy. People who believe in psychics want to believe in really good psychics.

Why give people something they can take home and pick apart? Or, show to friends and family (a group that always seems to include at least one skeptic and mocker), for them to pick apart.

The bookstore is a good idea. There's a certain kind of little bookstore, usually used books, that never seems to do much business, but is always there. I have no idea what they're actually selling in their back rooms, but psychic readings are a possibility, and certainly more legit than some of my theories.