Lesson in Hedgewitchery

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22 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I’m really surprised that none of the convicted psychics challenged the charges against them on First Amendment grounds. In the early 1980s, a Californian psychic escaped conviction by invoking the First Amendment. Its true that the psychics in this case were indicted on ordinary grand larceny charges but a good defense lawyer should have been able to bring in the First Amendment. The psychics certainly charged enough to hire excellent counsel.Report

  2. Avatar zic says:

    “Sometimes you don’t see anybody,” she said. “Sometimes you see four, five people a day. It depends. It’s a flow. It could be nobody. It could be some days you don’t make anything, and some days you can make three, four hundred dollars a day.”

    In NYC, is that good money?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      It depends on how you live and where you live.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Let us say that the average psychic earns around 900 a week, assuming that they get three hundred a day for three days a week. If they work 50 weeks a year than they get around 45,000 a year. That isn’t great money for New York but plenty of people manage to live in New York City while earning a lot less.Report

  3. Avatar zic says:

    Before this falls off the bottom of the page, I’m terribly let down nobody got this as an OT pay-grade post.

    Sometimes I’m just too subtle?Report

    • I fear I missed the subtlety. (Does it have something to do with hedge funds and stock market gurus and baiting people for witchcraft and the “crime” of being a psychic? Sincere question, by the way.)

      I admit that I read the nyt article only when you made this comment. This following comment is enough to inspire at least a double take from, say, Jon Row:

      “Have you lied to us here today?” a commissioner asked at her hearing.


      She was denied parole, but had a second hearing a short time later, in January in Albion Correctional Facility near Rochester.

      “Has anyone at Albion asked you for a little fortunetelling?” a commissioner asked.

      “No.” She said no one at the prison knew why she was there.

      “You don’t forecast the future?”


      The transcripts suggest the commissioners were not above having some fun at the expense of the inmates, who were hoping to be given what is known as an open date for early release.
      Continue reading the main story
      Recent Comments
      B. 2 hours ago

      Which is worse, a person who pretends to see the future or a person who believes that people can see the future? A person who pretends to…
      CityTrucker 3 hours ago

      Anyone who gives a fortune teller $700,000 ought to see a shrink rather than the police.
      Matt 3 hours ago

      $713k on a psychic? Save yourself the time and money and go read anything by James Randi.

      “Are you going to be given an open date or not?” Joseph P. Crangle, a commissioner, asked Ms. Vlado. “You’re a fortuneteller. Tell me what I am thinking.”

      “I am hoping you’re thinking to give me a chance to go home,” she replied.

      “That’s not what he asked you,” another commissioner interjected.

      Commissioner Crangle asked again, “What am I thinking?”

      “I am not going to read your mind.”

      That doesn’t seem like the way a parole board should act, I think. They’re dealing with other people’s freedom. And the one seeking parole isn’t even, in this example, claiming that psychic powers are real.

      I personally have very mixed feelings about all this, at least in theory. In theory, I believe that it’s important to respect people, even if they believe in things that I don’t. In other words, some people are spiritualists and believe in psychics and whatnot. In practice, I also know that people can be highly suggestible or sometimes duped by others who gain their confidence somehow. (I once almost signed a gym membership that I knew, at the time, I didn’t want and couldn’t afford, simply because the sales reps put a lot of pressure on me.)Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        “If they are taking your money,” she said, “they are not for real.”

        I am not taking your money for practicing hedgewitch prognostication here; the infamous OT paygrade.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        And I totally agree that the punishment doesn’t really seem to fit the crime; but I think of fortune teller as an entertainment; and shafting someone for nearly a million bucks does seem like a crime worthy of something.

        The question, really, is what? What’s the path to retribution?Report

        • Yeah, I don’t know. I do have a very close relative and her wife who’s kind of into that stuff. They probably approach it at least 51% as entertainment, and while they spend some money, it’s certainly only entertainment-level amounts, say, the price of a movie with snacks. But on some level, I think they really believe it or at least think there’s something to it. And frankly (and this might raise hackles from the more rationalistically inclined here), I’m not 100% certain they’re wrong.Report

          • Avatar zic says:

            So long as it’s only entertainment, I do thing there’s something to it:

            It makes you consider things from a different perspective as you scan the prediction against your known knowns. It kilters you. This is a very worthwhile thing,for while it promotes silly beliefs, it also promotes some degree of introspection and self-analysis.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    A couple weeks ago I was leaving my neighborhood and had to stop behind a bus at the nearby railroad tracks. One of the railroad company’s service trucks — the pickups that have drop-down steel wheels that fit the rails — was parked on the tracks a ways past the crossing. Between the service truck and and the crossing there was a guy with what was clearly a pair of wire dowsing rods.Report

  5. Avatar Kazz says:

    One of my favorite signs I’ve ever seen in NYC was on the door to a walkup apartment. It said, “Please ring bell to let psychic know you’re here.”Report