Monday, May 18, 2009

How To Choose A Psychic - Or Not

Every year millions of hours re spent in private psychic consultations. People choose their clairvoyant, make an appointment or speak online immediately, and all this is done often and without much thought. Why do users turn to clairvoyants? The list of reasons is long and wide. Some seek solace in times of grief; others are looking for excitement and fun. While the motivation for the consultation is rarely discussed, it is the outcome of the transaction (for that is what it is) that interests me more.

Clients are unlikely to prepare themselves for their sessions by asking such questions as "what do I hope to get out of this?" or "how will I get value for money?" but these are just the questions, I suggest that should be asked. Who owns the psychic realms? Who are the gatekeepers and are they charging a fair price for access? Generally, the supernatural planes are not discussed in such terms and yet I think it is for this very reason that so many charlatans are allowed to flourish. The question of whether all psychics are equal is a question for another time. that’s a different issue. What I’m calling for is more accountability and guarantees regarding quality of service. Is it too much to ask? With the advent of online psychic websites it is now possible to choose from a smorgasbord or talent.

Photos, audios, bios and even testimonies are the order of the day. But have you ever looked behind these sites, at the small print? It makes for interesting reading, or not, depending on whether you are a user or non-user, sceptic or believer. Some disclaimer statements refer to on-selling personal information (I wonder what that means, given we are talking about oftentimes very personal information not only about the client but also those who are drawn into the session from the metaphysical spheres). There is even talk of psychic sessions being for entertainment purposes only. Tell that to the grieving widow or the distressed parent. I doubt if they’ve signed up for a round of diversion and amusement. Such people are oftentimes vulnerable and lacking in judgement. Is this a case for more openness in the industry?

Websites can reserve the right to edit or omit any feedback items which they consider inappropriate, whatever that means. Seemingly this allows them to control the image which they project. Not very reassuring I would suggest. I’m not talking about content here. Where are the regulations and consumer protection? There is always the old dictum ‘buyer beware’ but that is not enough. The psychic industry is huge. It involves numerous people - on both sides of the transaction - and yet it’s almost impossible to get any data on the industry. How much money is ‘invested’ in this type of ‘entertainment’? How many individuals derive their income from this source? How many people use the services of psychics and how often do they outlay their cash? And just as importantly, are the end users satisfied customers? Sure, feedback is subjective. Sure, it is open to misinterpretation but what is the alternative. Silence! It’s been the only option for too long. I don’t know the answer to these questions but I’m going to try and find out. Someone has to.

Article Source: How To Choose A Psychic - Or Not About Author: The writer recently graduated from Monash University, Australia with a Master of Education degree. The subject of her dissertation was parapsychological experiences, and this work was based on an online survey which is still referenced on Wikipedia. Rosemary is currently writing a book on psychic experiences and would also like tips on what to look for when choosing a clairvoyant. Rosemary can be contacted through her blog sites.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Action in Cyberspace

When I launched my Paranormal Survey onto the net I had no idea what the response would be - or how large - for as far as I could see this was the first time such an endeavour had been undertaken on such a scale. So, undaunted, I launched to questionnaire in September and left it open till the end of the year. From time to time Id check to see how the numbers were going. Of course it started off slowly but, once it gained momentum, the word spread, and the marketing campaign kicked in, the response to the survey was overwhelming and heartwarming at the same time.

My survey was handled by a third party - a company called SurveyMonkey. I used their infrastructure to format the survey, set the parameters and design the overall look and feel of the onscreen questionnaire. I tested and modified it before going live by using friends as the guinea pigs. They were patient and effusive with their comments and as it turned out, so were more than a few of the survey respondents. I couldnt count the number of times that survey participants left me a note thanking me for the opportunity to tell their story. Many expressed a sense of relief to be given the chance to document their anecdotes; others spoke of this being the first time they felt able to bear their souls and talk from the heart about incidences that had obviously impacted them greatly.

In stark contrast to the deeply personal narratives sits the quantitative data. It seems somehow wrong to reduce the participants to numbers - but that is the nature of research that deals in numbers. On the one hand quantitative data gives the reader (and the researcher) a handle to hold onto - facts to easily quote, an elegant way of managing a mass of data. But, it also veils the personal, the intimate, the heartbreaking stories behind the numbers.

I'm very pleased I chose to use a new research model - Mixed Methods Research. There is a lot of heated argument (or to be more polite, discussion) within academia about the merits of this method but, having used it so successfully, I'm in no doubt that it has its place in research. The book which became my permanent point of reference and one I'd recommend is entitled "Mixed Methods Research" by John Creswell and Vicki Plano Clark. This is widely regarded as the bible of this particular research model and for those contemplating formal research - be it in psychic studies of otherwise, it is well worth investigating.

Mixed Methods Research requires the gathering of both statistical and qualitative data - and therein lies its elegance. Statistics hide the true face of the topic under review - the human element - and in the current instance, it was the personal impact of parapsychological experiences that I was looking to document. Using the Mixed Methods Research model I achieved this and a whole lot more........

Friday, May 1, 2009

Paranormal Books and Websites

Themes emerged from the self reports that I collected for my paranormal thesis.

Given my sense of knowing from my earliest moment, I was keen to see if those who had experienced the paranormal would report experiences that dated back to their early childhood. I wasn't disappointed. People confided intimate details about experiences that happened very, very early in their lives - before the second year of life. So, Im not alone in my early knowing!

I was curious to know whether more males or females report paranormal experiences - and statistically my research confirmed that there is a gender bias. In the past, it was shown that men tended to answer online surveys more frequently than women, but more recently this balance has swung the other way and my study confirmed this too. More women than men responded to the call to participate in my anonymous survey and the difference in the level of paranormal experience reports was statistically significant in favour of women.

All good stuff really and every bit of formal research helps, especially in an area like academic paranormal research where so little work is being done. Partly, there is a shortage because it's a matter of funding; partly it's a matter of career suicide for members of the paid academic fraternity (of which Im not a member, so I have nothing to lose).

During the course of my study I read a lot of books and articles and journals. Some of these are readily available online; many are only available through university libraries and the international network that binds them. Of course, over the years while waiting for the world to turn far enough for the paranormal to come out of the shadows, I read a lot of paranormal books, searching for confirmation that I wasn't alone in all this.

I'd like to share some of my references - from both of these sources. Some you may be familiar with, others are more obscure. I'll also start to place links to websites and blogs that I recommend.

One of the first serious books I read was Parapsychology by Richard Broughton. I'll review it next blog. In the meantime, here's a link for you to have a look at.