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I Was A Psychic Phone Line Operator. Here’s What Really Happened Behind The Scenes.
14-11-2019, 06:47 AM
Post: #1
I Was A Psychic Phone Line Operator. Here’s What Really Happened Behind The Scenes.
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“This is Dwayne,” the man said. “I need to get rid of a curse.”

“A curse?” I said, trying to buy a little time. I had no idea how to respond, but my minutes were down, and I needed to think of something.

“Yeah,” Dwayne said, “this lady, she put a curse on me, and I gotta get rid of it.”

I recalled reading a science magazine article about curses.

“Research shows curses only work on people who believe in them,” I told him. “Don’t believe in it, and everything’ll be fine.”

There was a long silence.

“Yeah,” Dwayne said, sounding unconvinced, “I just need to know how to get rid of this curse, man.”


It’s true. I once worked for a psychic hotline in the late ’80s. I’m not a psychic (I knew you were wondering), but that didn’t matter.

It was a paying job that didn’t require me to expend any physical effort. I was tired of kitchen work. On my feet for eight hours, low pay, driving home late smelling like bleach and garlic. It sucked. I was done.

I wrote for the college arts paper for a short time. That was much better than filling five-gallon buckets with sliced onions. I needed another job like that one, and my only other marketable skill was reading tarot cards.

I remember being in bookstores as a kid and seeing the signs for the “occult” section. Something about that word always interested me, and I liked to look at the artwork in the books. The decks of tarot cards reminded me of Dungeons & Dragons.

When I was older, the mother of a friend gave me a reading. Some of what she said made sense to me, and the whole thing appealed to the fantasy- and comic book-reading part of my brain. I was surprised to find that people said my readings were accurate.

I didn’t learn until later in life that this can be attributed to a psychological phenomenon called the Barnum effect. Vague language, which can apply to anybody, seems tailored to us when we are told that it is. There’s a viral video that shows people reading and agreeing with astrology descriptions that they were told were for their sign but which were actually for a different one. They still found the descriptions accurate.

As a 19-year-old, I didn’t know about any of this. All I knew was that Psychics-R-Us was hiring. My friend Dave got a job there, and he said it paid well. The people who I’d been giving readings to for free said they found them helpful. I didn’t see a problem with it.
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