Cold reading also explains why psychics have consistently failed scientific tests of their powers. By isolating them from their clients, psychics are unable to pick up information from the way those clients dress or behave. By presenting all of the volunteers involved in the test with all of the readings, they are prevented from attributing meaning to their own reading, and therefore can't identify it from readings made for others. As a result, the type of highly successful hit rate that psychics enjoy on a daily basis comes crashing down and the truth emerges – their success depends on a fascinating application of psychology and not the existence of paranormal abilities.
No one truly knows when playing cards began to be used for divination, although as early as the fifteenth century, additional picture cards (trumps) were being added to decks of playing cards. These cards depicted images of gods, heroes, or motifs to express philosophical, social, astronomical, or other ideals. The earliest known mention of the practice of tarot-style cartomancy appears in literature in the 16th century. By the 18th century, simple divination methods using cards appeared in several manuscripts.
I think fiction novels from a Catholic author or with a Catholic subject have their place here. Although Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory tells the story of a whiskey priest in 1930s Mexico, the story is really about sin, grace, and redemption. G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown Mysteries feature a clever priest-sleuth and a spiritual lesson in every story. And, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is a masterful epic with Catholic symbolism at every turn. Willa Cather wrote quite a few books; among them, Shadows on the Rock and Death Comes for the Archbishop have strong Catholic influences and characters. Louis de Wohl’s historical fiction novels breathe life into heroic saints.
Attempts to communicate with the dead and other living human beings, aka spirits, have been documented back to early human history. The story of the Witch of Endor (In the most recent edition of the NIV witch is rendered medium in the passage) tells of one who raised the spirit of the deceased prophet Samuel to allow the Hebrew king Saul to question his former mentor about an upcoming battle, as related in the Books of Samuel in the Jewish Tanakh (the basis of the Old Testament).
According to James Randi, a skeptic who has debunked many claims of psychic ability and uncovered fraudulent practices, mediums who do cold readings "fish, suggest possibilities, make educated guesses and give options." Randi has a standing offer of $1 million US dollars for anyone who can demonstrate psychic ability under controlled conditions. Most prominent psychics and mediums have not taken up his offer.
Michael Shermer criticized mediums in Scientific American, saying, "mediums are unethical and dangerous: they prey on the emotions of the grieving. As grief counselors know, death is best faced head-on as a part of life." Shermer wrote that the human urge to seek connections between events that may form patterns meaningful for survival is a function of natural evolution, and called the alleged ability of mediums to talk to the dead "a well-known illusion of a meaningful pattern."