Psychologists and researchers who studied Pearl Curran's automatic writings in the 1930s came to the conclusion Patience Worth was a fictitious creation of Curran. In 1931 George Valiantine was exposed as a fraud in the séance room as it was discovered that he produced fraudulent "spirit" fingerprints in wax. The "spirit" thumbprint that Valiantine claimed belonged to Arthur Conan Doyle was revealed to be the print of his big toe on his right foot. It was also revealed that Valiantine made some of the prints with his elbow.
Illusionists, such as Joseph Rinn have staged 'fake' séances in which the sitters have claimed to have observed genuine supernatural phenomena. Albert Moll studied the psychology of séance sitters. According to (Wolffram, 2012) "[Moll] argued that the hypnotic atmosphere of the darkened séance room and the suggestive effect of the experimenters' social and scientific prestige could be used to explain why seemingly rational people vouchsafed occult phenomena." The psychologists Leonard Zusne and Warren Jones in their book Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking (1989) wrote that spirits controls are the "products of the medium's own psychological dynamics."
Most card readers recognize that the associations and preconceptions of the person being read for are just as important as the actual drawings on the cards: Divination cards offer a way to project certain ideas, whether subconscious or not, and to toy with potential outcomes for important decisions. Thus, like scenes from a picture book, the best illustrations typically offer clear visions of their subjects with an open-ended quality, as though the action is unfolding before you.
Sometimes I may even come up with a word or saying in their language that I’ve never spoken before. One time I did a reading for a woman who was from Romania. Her mom came through, and she’d never spoken English in her life. When she connected with me, it was all in pictures and symbols. I wasn’t remotely surprised to find out that her mom was an artist and was a visual person. It was as if these pictures and symbols had words attached to them.
In 1785 C.E., the French occultist Eteilla (Jean-Baptiste Alliette) became the first professional tarot diviner. He popularized the use of the tarot as a divinatory tool to a wide audience, and was the first to develop and publish a set of correspondences, linking the cards to astrology, the four classical elements (earth, fire, water, air), and the four humors (black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm). These correspondences are still useful today.
Often, I will do a Skype call with my best friend in the evening, when she is off work. She lays the cards out for me on her Turkish scarves then - ta-da! - the fortune-telling happens. Because she knows me so well, since we were pip-squeaks, it is helpful to have her insight on what each card forebodes. After the reading, I get to process it all with my pal then take it with me into my dreams.