• Tyler Henry, Hollywood’s Newest Medium

    Apparently there’s a new person on the scene who claims they can speak to the dead, and Hollywood wants you to welcome him into your living room with open arms. Tyler Henry is a supposed medium (or, as some call them, ‘grief vampires’), who will happily try to convince you that he is speaking to your dead relatives. The “Hollywood Medium” (as he’s being called) recently did an interview with Dr. Phil (not someone who’s known for being a good scientific skeptic) and apparently has a television show on E!.

    Tyler Henry

    From the religious-movement inspiring Fox sisters and Madam Helena Blavatsky in the 19th century to the television-viewing inspiring John Edward (of Crossing Over) and Teresa Caputo (of Long Island Medium) in the 21st century, so-called mediums have often acquired huge, devoted audiences by supposedly being able to speak to the dead. This generally then translates into financial success, as they often charge people for “readings” or at the very least graciously accept donations. For example, at the time of this writing Edward charges $850 for a private reading, either at his office or over the phone, or $175 to attend a group reading with hundreds of other people (with no guarantee of getting a reading). Caputo has had two best selling books, sells a line of “spiritually inspired” jewelry, and a television show that’s been airing for seven seasons and averages over 1.5 million viewers per episode.

    Luckily, people from Lucian of Samosota to Harry Houdini to James Randi do their damnedest to make people aware of what’s actually going on. Although today’s mediums do not tend to rely on darkened rooms to hide their actions, they do rely on a set of well-documented, well-understood techniques for “reading” people. Typically called cold reading and hot reading, these exploit many of the natural biases of the human mind,require no supernatural powers, and can be learned by anyone. To use Rowlands’ (2002) definition,

    Cold reading is a deceptive psychological strategy. Among other things, it can be used by someone who is not psychic to give what seems to be a very convincing psychic reading. Cold reading is neither one single technique, nor one single procedure. It is better to think of ‘cold reading’ as the collective term for a set of techniques which can be used in different contexts to achieve different goals. (p. 16)

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    Tyler Henry is undoubtedly employing cold-reading techniques, whether knowingly or by accident. Either way, he does not actually speak to the dead. As for if he’s using hot reading techniques (when the medium has gained information beforehand and then uses it during their reading later, acting as if they obtained it from a dead person), who’s to say? He certainly wouldn’t be the first television medium to be caught doing so.

    Regardless, if you do happen to have to watch his show, I’d highly recommend printing out some Cold Reading Bingo cards. Maybe even turn it into a drinking game!

     

    Category: ActivismFeaturedPseudoscienceSkepticism

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    Article by: Caleb Lack

    Caleb Lack is the author of "Great Plains Skeptic" on SIN, as well as a clinical psychologist, professor, and researcher. His website contains many more exciting details, visit it at www.caleblack.com
    • Caleb, thank you so much for this article. You are right on it. I love the idea of a drinking game, but that could mean a lot of hospital visits for people.

      • Ah, but the psychics should know that and plan their cold readings appropriately, right?

        • love pitbulls

          I believe we all have some intuitive ability.
          However, I always wonder, if these people are so good at telling the future, how come they cant fortell the lottery numbers and win millions??

          • Ophelia Keith

            Because “it” doesn’t work that way. D’uh.

    • An Ardent Skeptic

      Damn, Caleb! Does this mean you won’t be going to a psychic when I’m dead so you can continue to hear my ill-informed opinions?

      Actually, what I find most egregious about claims to be “speaking to the dead” is that words are put into dead peoples’ mouths. IMO, it’s highly disrespectful and very egocentric to claim you know what someone else is thinking when you know little to nothing about them. In the case of psychics, they seem to think that all people speak only in cliches while alive and continue to do so after death. Dead Mary says, “She wants you to move on with your life.” How profound!!! What Dead Mary never says is “Why did you spend money to listen to this rubbish?”

      • I’ll just throw all our correspondence into one of those “random phrase generators” and it’ll be like you’re still here 😛

        • An Ardent Skeptic

          With my pathetic writing skills a “random phrase generator” would be EXACTLY like I’m still here.

          • Have you seen this? It’s why I thought about that. It’s hilarious!

            http://www.wisdomofchopra.com

            • An Ardent Skeptic

              I had not seen that. Thanks for sharing the link! It IS hilarious!!! (And, just what I needed after a crappy day of finding, yet another, problem with the ‘Lemon’ house we own.)

            • We are on Lemon house number two (out of three we’ve bought!). The odds do not seem to be in our favor.

            • An Ardent Skeptic

              This is our first house, and will be our last. We never want to go through the aggravation of home ownership again.

            • Byrdz Ofgrace

              Sorry for troubles with your house. Hope things get resolved.

            • An Ardent Skeptic

              This latest problem has been resolved with minimal expense for the time being. We will need a new roof along with having to have the belly band replaced because it’s rotting away as a result of shoddy workmanship during the construction process. But for now, we no longer have water running down the interior walls. YAY!!!

              Thanks for your best wishes!

            • Byrdz Ofgrace

              Glad to hear of the improvement. I understand I’ve been through it with the home. God’s brought me a long way. I pray for you’ll.

            • RON FILMAN

              oh no I am a Psychic and I hate to tell you but there is not God

    • im-skeptical

      What are the odds of finding someone in the audience, on one side of the room, who knows someone who died at the same time his heart stopped – AND whose name starts with a letter of the alphabet? Incredible.

    • Sohan Dsouza

      /it can be used by someone who is not psychic to give what seems to be a very convincing psychic reading//

      “someone who is not psychic”? As far as we have evidence, that’s every human ever.

    • Sharon Numnut

      THese mediums say they see hands doing this and that , so how do they know what that means. Because they MAKE IT UP. You can not be following the word of God if you are going to a medium because God says you are not suppose to. You talk to God not anyone else. If you want to feel better listen to the word of the Lord and stop following everyone else but him. THese people are making money off of others grief and some are buying right into it. Its hard to lose a love one, I know this from personal experience, but faith in God gets you through it not someone who makes money off of these people.

      • Kathleen melville

        You need to read my post! Im no damn liar and wouldnt waste my time posting if it wasnt true. Be a sceptic if you want but keep your negativitu to yourself. Your not conyributing positively to the thread! We have enough negativity in the world and in our daily lives to fral with. Reading through disqus should be a fun positivr experiencr not a downer.

        • Sharon Numnut

          It is not being negative when you say what is in the Bible which is = you are not suppose to go to people who say they are mediums. If you want to go against the word of God then that is your right = with prices to pay of course. Your are buying into foolishness that could cost you a lot more than a few dollars out of your wallet. I am not a skeptic but a person who understands if you have questions you ask God not a person who is after your money.

      • Byrdz Ofgrace

        Thanks for letting folks know what’s really true!

    • Sharon Numnut

      I feel someone who is reading these posts have had a loved one that has passed. Am I right? Send me money now because I am a medium lol

      • Byrdz Ofgrace

        Lol!

    • Kathleen melville

      I am 50 now but when i was 14 my mom and i went to visit my brother in spokane and when we reached city center my mom discovered she had lost the directions to my brothers place. Neither one of us had been there before. I told my mother for 5 miles precisely and exactly how to get there i have always had exceptional abilities where this is concerned. I am not a medium but clairvoiant? Yes since around the age 14!

      • Or maybe you had seen the directions and remembered them? And over the past 36 years forgotten that detail (or others that could easily explain this so-called clairvoyance)?

      • 1 proud granny

        I do think there are true mediums-there have been several who help police and others. I have a hard time believing the “mediums” who only do readings for rich people and celebrities. Now Tyler Henry only does reading for those people, and that’s the kind of people who are easily researched. If he did a reading for a regular person that he did not know and who gave him no information during the reading-then I would not be so critical

        • Crookid

          There has been a study and news report done on “psychics” helping police.

          There is not one case where a psychic has led to any evidence whatsoever let alone a conviction.

      • Ophelia Keith

        My daughter has an almost inhuman sense of direction and always has. It doesn’t matter where we are or if she’s ever been there, if we get lost she can get us home. Since she was 5 or 6! She’s practically a human GPS. Me, I could get lost in an elevator. Go figure.

      • Alphonso de Barbo

        …I have this ability too, but I put it down to logical deduction…the word and its conotations, ‘clairvoiant/clairvoyant’ is… too… flaky…

    • 1 proud granny

      The easiest people in the world to do a “physic reading” on is the very rich and very famous and the ones on tv & in movies. All Tyler Henry has to do is a good background search, watch online interviews, and watch some of their shows. Then just give one fact from that background search and go from their reaction. I don’t believe for one minute that line that he doesn’t know who he will be doing the reading for

      • dan

        Have you seen his show? He doesn’t know the person or persons he’s going to read at that time. Your so close minded. almost gureenteed, you’re an atheist.

        • He’s the latest in a very long line of so-called mediums who use cold reading. I can (and have) done this exact thing for strangers or in classes and can always get the same level of “hits” this fake does.

        • 1 proud granny

          I am not close minded- I am a realist. I absolutely do believe that some people are talented mediums. There have also been shows that have been proven to be fake reality shows because the producers put stuff in the storage units to be “found”. Pawn Stars was really bad at staging their shows. Even a gifted medium can have a bad day and look at a person and get absolutely nothing. You think the show execs and producers that have a lot of money in that show are gonna that that chance? No-they are going to give Tyler Henry some “just in case information” the him to use just in case he looks at that person and gets nothing. Viewers won’t like that and they would stop watching.

          • 1 proud granny

            And I am sceptical of the situation-not an atheist. No tv executive is gonna take a chance with millions of dollars when they can have a back-up plan”in in case”

          • Kate Richards

            And they only say that he doesn’t know who will open the door when he arrives. They don’t promise that they don’t tell him who will be on the show that week or season. Just that he doesn’t know who he’ll be reading for that day.

        • Brian Turner

          It really has nothing to do with religion

        • larry

          I am a true psychic and here is my reading for you…you are a Christian and like some sort of sports character like maybe wrestling and I am seeing the letter H for like Horkan or Holman.

          • Valiexi

            Well played.

        • MeMeandMe

          That’s what your TOLD.
          Unless you work for the production company that does the show, you have no idea how things are really done.

        • Michael Cooke

          you MUST be a trump supporter!

          • Alphonso de Barbo

            …that’s good, right?

            • Michael Cooke

              yes, particularly when he is impeached

        • RON FILMAN

          what guaranteed , hahahaha dummy

        • Kate Richards

          God and ghosts are not the same thing. And if you truly are a believer of God, then you know their souls are either in heaven or hell. Not roaming this planet. So I guess you’re the atheist?

    • FutureFox

      Stuff like this makes me wonder what makes one psychic scam more tolerant from a legal standpoint than the recent news of the mysterious Maria Duva or Miss Cleo?

      • This is for “entertainment purposes only” would be their reason, if I had to guess.

    • Ophelia Keith

      I can’t believe even believers in mediums believe one who only reads celebrities. You know celebrities, those people whose entire lives are scattered across readily available media worldwide. How hard can it be to even accidentally know details of their lives? “I haven’t told anyone how my brother died.” Well no, but he was a rock star and he has a Wikipedia page. Sheesh! It’s incredible, it really is. I don’t even rule out supernatural phenomena as a general rule. Heck, I don’t know everything there is to know but Tyler Henry? Really? Come on, peeps.

    • Doin the Wright thing

      This is the latest rip off. People are so gullible.

    • Daughter of M

      I was hoping with all my heart that this would be true…

    • larry

      Watched the kid last night. He talked a lot, wiggled his eyebrows, gave maternal toothy smiles but actually said nothing. “There is someone I am seeing and that is a red flag!”

      • snarkylarky

        Yup agreed, his random laughter and smiles and everything screamed of show business. What a fucking phoney! Great actor though.

    • larry

      I am a true and genuine psychic. I will give a free reading here. “I see someone who has passed over…they have like…two eyes a nose and a mouth…they used to eat and sleep”.

    • larry

      Is an overweight medium called a large?

    • Shaydee

      I think Henry is using that new technique: googling!

    • PowerPathGS

      It’s funny that none of these people lined up for the James Randi foundation 1 million dollar prize. All they needed to do is prove that it is real. No takers…Now why would that be? Hmmm… Because they can’t do it! FAKE FAKE FAKE FRAUD and FAKE.

    • WiseGuy

      Who cares. It is entertainment and nothing more. If you are relying on a 20 year old to give your life meaning you may be in trouble.

    • yaegerj

      Lay off the kid. He’s done nothing to you. If you don’t like what he does, shut the uck up. but don’t taint other peoples experiences with your acid mouth. There is enough folks out there for many who need help. If you don’t like what he does that is your right, but don’t taint other folks experience with him, with your acid negativity and mouth. To each his own. Tyler, James Praagh, long isand medium, and many others keep doing what your doing, because you are helping tons of people on this side, and the other side to connect with loved ones, and friends, and there are no amount of words that can say thank you enough to all that you all do. God be with all of you, there is enough for everyone to assist with folks who need the help. And those who don’t need it, move on.

      • Crookid

        There’s actually plenty of detailed write ups on the dangers of looking to a medium for closure both psychologically and emotionally.

        There’s also HUGE danger in people reaching out to “psychics” for help in solving a crime or a lost person.

        Unfortunately, the closure thing doesn’t fly. When people take advantage of another’s grief for profit, the negativity outweighs the positive.

        Also, you mention God. It is against most, if not all religions to seek out a psychic or to act as if you speak to the dead or to try and speak to the dead.

    • pacholiejb@aol.com

      I wonder about the skeptics myself. Researching a bit on youtube the comments interest me even more. So my question is; what does it matter to you? Are you trying to help or save someone from this evil beast that is making them feel better? So what if it is cold or hot or purple. These people he is interviewing seem to be happy with what he is telling them. It is closure for them so shut the hell up and find something or someone else to pick on. I would like to know what makes people tick that are the skeptics, the cynics that always ruin every party, every feeling, every event with their darkness. How did they arrive at a place that only wants to hurt? I am indifferent either way, but I do not feel a need to stock this kid, or tear apart what he is doing for others to make myself feel superior. Hummm…sounds a little like Trumpism.

      • Warren Power

        Well done Patchy. I enjoy these shows on TV. However, I went to a Clairvoyant in Auckland New Zealand in 1976 and he asked about a person called Pop. Had no idea. Told it would come back to me. Given a description of my Guardian Spirit, like we all have, and also an Every Day Helper. Appears not every one gets one of these. The Reverend told me I would go overseas, and go to another clairvoyant and he would describe these two Spirits exactly as he had, and then would tell me their names. I laughed …. just arrived home from Australia and had no intent to go back overseas again. Turned out Pop was my Father in Law whom my kids called Pop all the time and I had forgotten. I had been told he would be with us for a few more years. Died in April 1980 from cancer. At that time there had been nothing wrong with him. Fell off an elephant in Thailand in 1978 and broke his hip and it spread from there. In January 1979 we left and returned to Australia. Saw a very good clairvoyant at Church and booked to see him in 1980….took six to nine months before we saw him. Walked into his Office and as he walked in behind us he said he had my Guardian Spirit with him …and then corrected himself…Oh no…he is an Every Day Helper; ah…here is your Guardian Spirit, and proceeded to tell me an exact description of my Guardian Spirit, followed with my Every Day Helper, and gave me each of their names whilst speaking about them. Then in 2010 a Psychic Artist drew a 75cm x 60cm pastel painting of the two of them, emailing me to say the picture was on it’s way and I had got two for the price of one …$90. This had all been done by me mailing her a copy of my handwriting. The two Reverends never charged me whatsoever. Oh …. my Bible is two books I read many years ago; Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls, by Michael Newton PhD. Also have Sananda Volume one and two, and a couple of books on the Essene’s.

    • Disgusting. These fake scammers are the lowest of the low.

    • Skeptic

      His brother is a child molester. Ryan Koelewyn. http://abc30.com/archive/9508944/

    • Alley Sun Aura

      This article has more padding than the mediums its about lol

    • barnstormer

      “Tyler Henry is undoubtedly employing cold-reading techniques, whether knowingly or by accident.”

      You’re not a “skeptic”; you’re a cynic.

      • RON FILMAN

        He is neither . He is not a moron.

    • Doriblue

      It’s beyond ridiculous that these celebrities hang on every word, like he’s a prophet, he isn’t telling them anything that they didn’t already know or something pointless, like this man is showing me a coin, I see some kind of stuffed animal or I see a bird flying into a window and somehow that makes them connect and break down in tears for the rest of the reading. Allen Thicke who was a skeptic but listened and was honest in saying there wasn’t heart disease in his family, unfortunately passed away after the reading. I think it’s disgraceful how Tyler, E and his widow are exploiting his passing for their own agenda, I believe the story was he went to the Doctor and had a complete check up and they couldn’t find anything, then how did the reading help?? Also I’m sure his wife, who would know the most about how he was feeling and his health told producers or someone that he needed to get a physical and if necessary scare him into going, which is as plausible as Tyler talking to a dead relative while scribbling on a notepad and the relative saying that he needed his heart checked out,The older people get, the more likely they are to have high blood pressure, from diet, lifestyle, weight gain or general aging. If Tyler can talk to the dead and get knowledge from people who have passed then why wasn’t the information that Tyler kept hammering home more specific in nature, like you have a very serious valve problem that will not show up on a routine physical, check into a hospital and have an echo asap or you will die within a few months. The Bible says that we can’t communicate with the dead and speaks against mediums and says they are being deceptive, Instead of putting your faith and trust in a teenager with limited life skills, experience whose ambition is fame and fortune, put your Trust & Faith in God who ask nothing and gives everything.