Even if psychics and tarot cards can’t give you reliable advice from the great beyond, what’s the harm? Join us for Skeptical Sunday with David C. Smalley!
On This Week’s Skeptical Sunday, We Discuss:
- Why aren’t psychics and tarot card readers prosecuted for fraud when they can’t genuinely provide supernatural information to paying clients? Furthermore, why do they charge for their services if they could simply use their powers to win the lottery?
- If psychics can’t really tap into the other side for forbidden knowledge from beyond the grave, how do they seem to know so much about my dead uncle’s final wishes?
- Despite a thriving industry of self-proclaimed psychics claiming expertise in finding missing children and solving cold cases, investigative journalists (and normal people just paying attention) have proven their claims wrong more often than right.
- What tarot cards are actually telling you.
- It’s easy to dismiss psychics as harmless fun and a way for people to cope with the loss of their loved ones, but sometimes they can emotionally (and financially) harm those who are vulnerable in their time of grief.
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you have something you’d like us to tackle here on Skeptical Sunday, drop Jordan a line at email@example.com and let him know!
- Connect with David C. Smalley at his website, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, and make sure to check out The David C. Smalley Podcast here or wherever you enjoy listening to fine podcasts! If you like to get out of your house and catch live comedy, keep an eye on David’s tour dates here and text David directly at (424) 306-0798 for tickets when he comes to your town!
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
Want to hear a conversation with an ex-royal/ex-SEAL who fights to end human trafficking and illegal organ harvesting? Check out episode 868 with Remi Adeleke!
Resources from This Episode:
- Are There Any Laws That Regulate Psychics? | HG.org
- Why Is Fraud a Crime but Being a ‘Psychic’ Is Not? | Explain Like I’m Five (Reddit)
- How Does Cold Reading Work? | Vanishing Inc. Magic Shop
- Skeptic Revamps $1M Psychic Prize | Wired
- An Open Letter to James Randi Regarding His “One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge” | McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
- The Men Who Stare at Goats | Prime Video
- Unforgettable Uri Geller Appearance | Carson Tonight Show
- The Bizarre World of Fake Psychics, Faith Healers, and Mediums | Super Eyepatch Wolf
- Inside Edition Investigates Psychic Detectives Who Claim to Find Missing Persons | Inside Edition
- Sylvia Browne Reveals Fate of 9/11 Firefighter | The Montel Williams Show
- Psychics | Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
- John Oliver Exposes the Tricks Psychics Use to Exploit Vulnerable People | Slate
- Psychic Who Said Amanda Berry Was Dead Silent After Berry is Found Alive | ABC News
- This Is What Happens When Talk-Show Psychics Talk About Kidnap Cold Cases | The Atlantic
- Cold Reading: How I Made Others Believe I Had Psychic Powers by Chris Kirsch | Medium
- Mark Edward | True Confessions of a Fake Psychic | Jordan Harbinger
- ‘Hollywood Medium’ Tyler Henry Gives Matt Lauer An Emotional Reading | Today
- Hot Reading | Wikipedia
- Psychic Christina Dawn Eagle vs. David & Talissa | Dogma Debate #541
- Nancy the Psychic Medium | Dogma Debate #548
- Psychic Michael Bodine vs. David C. Smalley, Michael Regilio, and Talissa Smalley | Dogma Debate #488
- Psychic Sloan Bella vs. David C. Smalley and Michael Regilio | Dogma Debate #450
- Forer / Barnum Effect from Trick of the Mind with Derren Brown | Mentalism and Magic
- Tarot | Wikipedia
- Is Tarot Reading Bullshit? | Benebell Wen
- The Five Best Tarot Card Decks, According to Professional Tarot Readers | Insider
- Tarot and the Gates of Light: A Kabbalistic Path to Liberation by Mark Horn | Amazon
- Psychic Hourly Pay in 2023 | PayScale
- Comedian Proves Psychics Are Full of Sh*t With Hilarious Prank | What’s Trending
- Psychic Scams Rise During the Coronavirus Pandemic | AARP
894: Psychics and Tarot Cards | Skeptical Sunday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Maybe you've stayed at an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Yeah, this actually seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. Find out how much your place is worth at airbnb.com/host.
[00:00:21] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger, and this is Skeptical Sunday, a special edition of The Jordan Harbinger Show where fact-checker and comedian David C. Smalley and I, we break down a topic that you may have never thought about, open things up and debunk common misconceptions. Topics such as why recycling might be kind of a sham, banned foods, toothpaste, chemtrails, ear candling, GMOs, acupuncture, and a whole lot more.
[00:00:43] Normally, on The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks, from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers.
[00:01:01] If you are new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about the show, and you're like, "How the hell do I do that? There's 800-plus episodes." I suggest our episode starter packs. These are collections of some of our favorite episodes organized by topic that'll help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on this show. Topics like persuasion, influence, disinformation, and cyber warfare, China, North Korea, crime, and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start, or take a look in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:28] On this edition of Skeptical Sunday, psychics, they come in different varieties from mediums who—
[00:01:33] David C. Smalley: Hey, Jordan.
[00:01:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:01:36] David C. Smalley: Yeah, I know what you're going to say.
[00:01:38] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:01:38] David C. Smalley: You're going to say, "They come in different varieties from mediums who communicate with the dead to fortune tellers and tarot readers. And here to talk about it is skeptic comedian David C. Smalley." Know how I know that?
[00:01:50] Jordan Harbinger: Because you're the head writer on this episode?
[00:01:53] David C. Smalley: No, because I'm psychic, Jordan.
[00:01:55] Jordan Harbinger: I had no idea.
[00:01:57] David C. Smalley: I am. Yeah.
[00:01:58] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:01:58] David C. Smalley: It's something I've been honing in on. Other than doing the show, I have other things I do, which is mostly psychic training.
[00:02:05] Jordan Harbinger: Psychic training? Okay. Sure.
[00:02:07] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:02:07] Jordan Harbinger: Why not?
[00:02:07] David C. Smalley: I figured out I've cracked the code. I know what I'm doing. You want a cold read? I'll do one for you.
[00:02:11] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Are you going to read me? All right, let's do it.
[00:02:14] David C. Smalley: I will.
[00:02:15] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:02:15] David C. Smalley: Let me get a good look at you. Now, I'm really going to do it.
[00:02:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:02:19] David C. Smalley: People are expecting me to just mock it and have — no, I'm going to do an actual read for you.
[00:02:23] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:02:24] David C. Smalley: Okay?
[00:02:24] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Do it.
[00:02:25] David C. Smalley: Okay, okay, let's just see how this goes. Okay, now, to be fair, I'm going to be communicating with your spirit guides.
[00:02:35] Jordan Harbinger: Naturally, yeah.
[00:02:36] David C. Smalley: So, I mean, they're going to take this where they want to go. They may communicate from beyond, they may talk to me about people who have passed, who you love, or you know, maybe they'll talk about your past, present, or if you're lucky, the future.
[00:02:49] Jordan Harbinger: Perfect.
[00:02:50] David C. Smalley: So, okay, I'm getting a little—
[00:02:52] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:02:53] David C. Smalley: Do you know what time you were born? About what time of the day?
[00:02:55] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, you know, I don't remember. I should know this, but I don't remember.
[00:03:00] David C. Smalley: Yeah, you probably should. Yeah, they're telling me something about the sun. So this is either morning or dusk.
[00:03:07] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:03:08] David C. Smalley: The sun was around.
[00:03:10] Jordan Harbinger: It was around.
[00:03:10] David C. Smalley: And this wasn't like a middle of the night, three o'clock in the morning thing.
[00:03:13] Jordan Harbinger: Got it.
[00:03:14] David C. Smalley: You were very, a corporate baby, you know? I'm getting that from—
[00:03:18] Jordan Harbinger: Corporate baby?
[00:03:18] David C. Smalley: You're a very corporate-friendly baby.
[00:03:21] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm. During business hours, meaning?
[00:03:23] David C. Smalley: Yeah, yeah, something like that.
[00:03:24] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:03:25] David C. Smalley: So has there been anyone who passed with like an M or a J name? Can you think of an M or a J that was recently passed?
[00:03:32] Jordan Harbinger: Recently passed M or a J name, anyone in my life at all.
[00:03:39] David C. Smalley: Yeah, I don't know about recently. I mean, anyone just that could be on the other side. I'm getting an M or a J from the spirit guides.
[00:03:47] Jordan Harbinger: My grandma's last name, maiden name was M.
[00:03:50] David C. Smalley: Okay, maybe that's who we're talking about, and she passed.
[00:03:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's a while ago. Not recent.
[00:03:56] David C. Smalley: Okay. No, they're showing me something silver or red and it's kind of shiny. That would be a connection somewhere.
[00:04:05] Jordan Harbinger: She had a really brightly colored kitchen floor and my mom used to be like, "Is she colorblind? This is so ugly because it was like bright colors." And yeah, and it was like these shiny bright colored tiles.
[00:04:16] David C. Smalley: Very shiny. Okay. Yeah. Okay, and you would always go there, like you remember seeing the floor like being shiny.
[00:04:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:04:23] David C. Smalley: So when you think of grandma, that's what you think of.
[00:04:25] Jordan Harbinger: It's one of the things that I think of when I think of my grandma because they were so weird.
[00:04:29] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:04:29] Jordan Harbinger: It was so weird to have those tiles in your house, let alone in your kitchen. It's like, who picked these?
[00:04:33] David C. Smalley: Yeah, absolutely. That's what the guides are showing me kind of that connection when you think of your grandma and I'm seeing some sort of collection. Like, she collected something that you also know about. Like, maybe—
[00:04:43] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, she collected dolls, and she made clothes for them, and she would make clothes for kid toys that I had, too.
[00:04:50] David C. Smalley: Absolutely. So, whenever you see dolls, do you often think of her, or you see a doll in a weird place?
[00:04:54] Jordan Harbinger: I do.
[00:04:54] David C. Smalley: Or a strange place?
[00:04:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:56] David C. Smalley: Yeah, the guides are telling me that when you see a doll that's just out of place or in a weird place, your grandmother's letting you know she's watching over you and you're going to be fine.
[00:05:04] Jordan Harbinger: What a comforting thought.
[00:05:05] David C. Smalley: And that she's okay. The guides are also telling me that—
[00:05:09] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, we're still going. Geez, man. You're—
[00:05:11] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:05:11] Jordan Harbinger: All right.
[00:05:12] David C. Smalley: No, I've got some good stuff here. I got some good stuff here. This is the guides talking, but you either recently lost or are in the process of losing a connection with something. Now, let me clarify when I say something because that sounds too vague and I know that—
[00:05:24] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:05:24] David C. Smalley: —people are going to laugh at that, but this is something that's not a person. It's not death, but it's definitely separation and it's not an inanimate object, like a picture, but I'm seeing a face. So, this is a face, but it's not quite human. I'm getting like a stuffed animal, or maybe a pet, but there's not a death. It's not like something has died. Maybe a recent separation from, like did you, I don't know. Is any of this making sense? Like a separation, like did you recently watch?
[00:05:51] Jordan Harbinger: I did give my cats to my in-laws because we have two kids now, and they're over there now instead of at our house.
[00:05:58] David C. Smalley: Wow. Okay.
[00:05:59] Jordan Harbinger: Could it be a cat face?
[00:06:00] David C. Smalley: It could be.
[00:06:01] Jordan Harbinger: That you're saying?
[00:06:01] David C. Smalley: Yeah, it could be.
[00:06:02] Jordan Harbinger: All right.
[00:06:02] David C. Smalley: That makes sense. I knew it was something that was like alive, like it felt like it was breathing.
[00:06:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:07] David C. Smalley: But it didn't seem human to me. So that makes—
[00:06:08] Jordan Harbinger: Because I'm separating from other organizations and things, but you said it was not an inanimate object.
[00:06:13] David C. Smalley: No, no, no. This was a single thing. I believe you said you gave the pet away. That makes perfect sense.
[00:06:18] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. Two cats, but they look the same.
[00:06:20] David C. Smalley: Okay. Okay. The guides are also showing me, and I don't understand what this means, sometimes the guides mess with me, sometimes they send me signals and they expect you to — like, they want like an inside joke with you, okay. When the guides communicate with me, they show me something, and then I sort of send a communication back to say I know what that means.
[00:06:41] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:41] David C. Smalley: And I did that this time and I was wrong, but they won't correct me, they're just laughing at me for being dumb, they sent me the word colonies, and when they sent me colonies, they said, "He's very connected to colonies." And I was like, "Oh, maybe he's from Philadelphia."
[00:06:52] Jordan Harbinger: Colonies, huh?
[00:06:53] David C. Smalley: Maybe he has a connection with colonies in some way. Maybe he's like from Delaware. I don't know where you're from. And I'm like, I don't know what that means. And I keep sort of sending these thoughts back and they're laughing at me. And then, they keep saying, "You're very sweet. You're very sweet." And then, they're like high-fiving and laughing. So something about sweet, something about colonies. And I can't wrap my head around it.
[00:07:11] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:07:11] David C. Smalley: And now, they're yelling at me. Okay, I feel like they're mocking me at this point, I don't understand it.
[00:07:17] Jordan Harbinger: Traveling to a colony pretty soon. A former colony, sorry, of France.
[00:07:22] David C. Smalley: No, they don't mean it like that.
[00:07:24] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, never mind.
[00:07:24] David C. Smalley: They're laughing now. They're yelling honey party. Does honey party mean anything to you?
[00:07:30] Jordan Harbinger: Honey party? No, but it kind of sounds fun, I want, uh, well.
[00:07:34] David C. Smalley: Honey party and colonies.
[00:07:36] Jordan Harbinger: Kinky honey par—? I mean, sorry. Colony honey party.
[00:07:40] David C. Smalley: Colony—
[00:07:40] Jordan Harbinger: What would a honey party be?
[00:07:43] David C. Smalley: Colonies and honey.
[00:07:44] Jordan Harbinger: Bees make honey.
[00:07:45] David C. Smalley: Bees are in colonies.
[00:07:46] Jordan Harbinger: They're in colonies.
[00:07:47] David C. Smalley: Do you have any connection to bees?
[00:07:48] Jordan Harbinger: We have bees in the backyard. My wife keeps bees. They're gone now. They left, but yeah, we have the hives.
[00:07:55] David C. Smalley: Okay.
[00:07:55] Jordan Harbinger: The empty beehive colony is in the backyard.
[00:07:58] David C. Smalley: Okay. Okay. Well, okay. I mean clearly there's a connection here. The spirit guides are talking to me.
[00:08:02] Jordan Harbinger: And you've never been to my house so that's—
[00:08:04] David C. Smalley: I have—
[00:08:05] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:08:05] David C. Smalley: I had no clue that you had bees or ever had bees I had no clue. I just I'm telling you what they're communicating to me and it made sense. So now I'm going to just get in a little bit to you because they're talking to me about you and who you are as a person. And I'll go through this pretty quickly so we can get on to this episode. They're telling me that despite being a public personality, you're actually kind of a private person that you're genuine on your show, you know, but your listeners and your viewers, they get an idea of who you are, but they don't know the real you.
[00:08:34] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:08:34] David C. Smalley: And it's not that you're playing a character, but you're just much more reserved and private when you're off-air.
[00:08:41] Jordan Harbinger: I am funnier on the show. No, actually, you know, maybe I'm funnier in real life, but I'm also around people I know well, typically.
[00:08:46] David C. Smalley: Yeah, but if you're at a party, people would expect the host of a show to go up and be outgoing and talking to strangers, and that's not really who you are. You will communicate, but you don't go and you tend to be more reserved at parties, is that right?
[00:08:59] Jordan Harbinger: Depends on the level of intoxication, if I'm being 100 percent honest, yeah.
[00:09:02] David C. Smalley: Fair, fair, fair, yeah. The spirit guides don't always account for bourbon.
[00:09:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, little schnapps.
[00:09:09] David C. Smalley: You often have very abstract, high-level thoughts that other people tend to have a hard time grasping is what they're telling me. You set very high standards for yourself, and you're a little bit of a perfectionist.
[00:09:19] Jordan Harbinger: I'd like to believe those things about myself, all right.
[00:09:22] David C. Smalley: And you have a dry sense of humor that makes connections quickly, you're very witty. It kind of makes you make jokes that go right over the heads of other people quite often.
[00:09:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:09:32] David C. Smalley: At least that's what you say when they don't laugh at your jokes.
[00:09:34] Jordan Harbinger: That's what I tell myself when they don't laugh at the jokes.
[00:09:36] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:09:36] Jordan Harbinger: These spirit guides, they know how to get to my ego.
[00:09:39] David C. Smalley: Sure. And they know what's going on in the innards, as we call it in the biz, innards.
[00:09:46] Jordan Harbinger: Innards, huh? That sounds very clinical.
[00:09:48] David C. Smalley: You even rehearse jokes sometimes or funny voices that you're going to spontaneously toss out at people, but—
[00:09:54] Jordan Harbinger: I just got to make sure it works in the shower.
[00:09:57] David C. Smalley: Well, they want me to tell you that comes from a healthy desire to impress people.
[00:10:01] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:10:01] David C. Smalley: And although you hate it when you catch yourself doing these silly voices to try out later, they just want you to know that it's nothing to be worried about.
[00:10:08] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:10:08] David C. Smalley: It's perfectly fine.
[00:10:09] Jordan Harbinger: Cool.
[00:10:09] David C. Smalley: And there's also this odd feeling that you should have been born maybe in a different century. Like you enjoy the technologies of today, but you feel connected with maybe another time. Maybe you can make more sense of that than I can.
[00:10:21] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I don't know. I'd like to live in the future. Does that count?
[00:10:24] David C. Smalley: Yeah, that's exactly.
[00:10:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:10:26] David C. Smalley: Maybe you're not quite as happy with this technology and you want something bigger.
[00:10:29] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely. I think about that a lot.
[00:10:31] David C. Smalley: There are some strong monetary shifts taking place for you right now, in this moment. Both the very recent past and the coming months, there's going to be a pretty, pretty big change in your monetary situation.
[00:10:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm. I hope so.
[00:10:45] David C. Smalley: I hope it's a good thing. I hope this show isn't cancelled, but that's the sense I'm getting. And the last thing I'm going to say here is the guides are telling me you have very strong ties to other countries, like a lot of people travel. A lot of people have a good time.
[00:10:59] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:11:00] David C. Smalley: But they're telling me you specifically have like very interesting and strong ties to other places. And they're showing me something else. I don't understand. This may be just mocking me again, but I don't know what this is. It doesn't even make sense to me. Do you have something you could write with or maybe—
[00:11:13] Jordan Harbinger: I can type.
[00:11:14] David C. Smalley: Yeah. Okay. Okay. So type this for me and I don't know if this is like three words or two words.
[00:11:19] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:11:20] David C. Smalley: Or what this means. I'm getting a K.
[00:11:24] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:11:25] David C. Smalley: And then, N-A-H, but hold on, the A is much larger than anything else, and I don't know why. It looks like it was hit by a train or something. It'sa very large A, so I have a K, and then, N-A-H, and then, A-N-O-B, and then, A-H. And I don't know what these, I don't know what that means. Is that two words, three words? Is that a code that you know?
[00:11:49] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:11:50] David C. Smalley: K-N-A-H-A-N-O-B-A-H. But the A is very large, and I think the N is, they're showing me the N backwards, and I don't know why.
[00:12:01] Jordan Harbinger: Backwards N could be some Russian stuff. Could be like the E in Russian.
[00:12:05] David C. Smalley: Okay.
[00:12:06] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know.
[00:12:06] David C. Smalley: I'm not sure. You don't know what that is?
[00:12:09] Jordan Harbinger: It doesn't really show me, not really. It's a lot of nothing right now.
[00:12:13] David C. Smalley: Okay. Well, maybe you just hold on to that. Google it, look into it later. Maybe you can tell me later what that means. That's what the spirit guides are showing me. I have no idea.
[00:12:22] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. Huh?
[00:12:24] David C. Smalley: It is.
[00:12:24] Jordan Harbinger: All right.
[00:12:25] David C. Smalley: Yeah, so you can look into that and find out. The spirit guides just want me to let you know as we wrap this up that, Jordan, it's okay to let people in a little bit more.
[00:12:33] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. All right.
[00:12:35] David C. Smalley: When you feel the darkness, just face it head-on. Don't try to run from it. And they love your very appealing personality and they say it's okay to just be yourself a little more.
[00:12:45] Jordan Harbinger: I appreciate that. I feel like my spirit guides are, are pretty kind. That's good. That's nice.
[00:12:50] David C. Smalley: They're very kind and they love you.
[00:12:53] Jordan Harbinger: All right.
[00:12:54] David C. Smalley: So, how are you feeling about all that? Do you feel good?
[00:12:57] Jordan Harbinger: You know, it's scary. Well, first of all, did you wing that?
[00:13:00] David C. Smalley: I'm sorry, what?
[00:13:01] Jordan Harbinger: Did you wing that? Or was that the, like—?
[00:13:03] David C. Smalley: It was the spirit guides.
[00:13:04] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, right. Okay. Yeah. Okay.
[00:13:05] David C. Smalley: No. Okay.
[00:13:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Sorry. I'm forgetting where we are.
[00:13:10] David C. Smalley: I know what you mean by wing.
[00:13:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:13:11] David C. Smalley: But break it down for me. Like, be specific. What are you getting at?
[00:13:15] Jordan Harbinger: My question was when you do a cold read like that, do you come armed with some stock stuff that makes sense to everyone? Or are you like, you know what, I'm just going to go with whatever Jordan's nods and shrugs are doing or both?
[00:13:30] David C. Smalley: So let's do this. So I'm going to explain how all this works.
[00:13:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:13:33] David C. Smalley: Before I get into it though like were there some moments where you were like, "Okay, I realize this is for a show. I know David's a skeptic but like a holy sh*t, that was pretty spot on." Like was there anything any moments like that?
[00:13:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, well, yeah, yes, and I will say if I wasn't looking for what I was doing at all I would say, wow, how did he know about my grandma's kitchen floor? But of course, I'm the one who brought that up, right? Like I reach for that. So yeah, I mean, if I'm just coming into this thinking you're actually psychic, there's a good chance I'm giving some credence to that.
[00:14:05] David C. Smalley: Okay, let's leave them for just a moment. I want people to be thinking about that as we're doing it because—
[00:14:11] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:14:11] David C. Smalley: I will reveal the secrets on this podcast. I want to first address the skeptics of my skepticism. The people who go, "Ah, you're just ruining someone's fun."
[00:14:21] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:21] David C. Smalley: "You're not being open-minded by addressing this stuff. You know, they're not hurting anyone. Just let them believe, you know, that crowd." I want to talk to them for a moment. It is literally illegal to defraud someone out of money.
[00:14:33] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:34] David C. Smalley: Okay. If I'm going to do a job for you and you pay me up front and the job isn't done, it's not just a civil suit, right? In some blatant cases, it's actual larceny. It's theft. Like, I took your money. I did not do the thing I said I could do, now just think for a second that your entire business model is based on doing something that you can't even prove is possible, let alone real. And your primary target for that clientele is the most vulnerable people in our population.
[00:15:02] Say for a moment that your grandmother had just passed, and you haven't even, you know, buried her yet, and you come to me for comfort. And I have that moment where I knew about the kitchen floors.
[00:15:14] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:14] David C. Smalley: And you're going to feel just so connected. And then, I start telling you, "Your grandma's warning you about a curse and we have to get rid of the curse. She's telling me she's on the other side and you have a curse and I'm going to need you to send me $3,000."
[00:15:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:27] David C. Smalley: "So that we can get rid of this curse. And by the way, just bring $3,000 in a bag with a couple of gold coins and some myrrh. And I'll roll it up in a pillowcase and hang it above my crystal ball for three weeks. And then, I'll give you your money back once it's all over."
[00:15:45] Jordan Harbinger: You're right.
[00:15:45] David C. Smalley: And it will cleanse the money from the bad curse. Like, they're doing things like that and then not giving the money back.
[00:15:51] Jordan Harbinger: Of course. There's somebody that my wife knows that had a psychic that took them for a lot of money. This is a wealthy family. The daughter was a little bit of a screwball. And the psychic came into the house to explore what might be causing the curse and it turns out that a lot of really expensive items in the house were what was causing the curse. Vases, artwork, and so she was going to keep those for this woman in a safe place that is, I don't know, a curse-proof shed somewhere. And of course, they just never saw those items again.
[00:16:21] David C. Smalley: Curse proof? Do they sell those at Lowe's, the curse-proof shed?
[00:16:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I don't know if it was really a curse-proof shed, but the idea was that she was going to hold these items with the spell around.
[00:16:30] David C. Smalley: That's so sad.
[00:16:31] Jordan Harbinger: It's really sad and also really aggravating to hear because you're like, how do you not see that this is a scam, you effing moron, right?
[00:16:38] David C. Smalley: Well, but part of it is that they're just so vulnerable.
[00:16:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:16:42] David C. Smalley: I mean you're talking about the elderly, the uneducated, recent victims of tragedy, people who've lost loved ones, parents who have missing or abducted children.
[00:16:52] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:16:55] David C. Smalley: That's the target of today's episode. There have been psychics who have been arrested for larceny because they take the money, and then they aren't able to prove that they did the work, and they're just running a scam, they're committing fraud.
[00:17:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, and this is why they have to say, "For entertainment only," because once the entertainment is complete, the job is technically done.
[00:17:15] David C. Smalley: Exactly. So the loophole is to take advantage of vulnerable people and — by the way, that same loophole is supposed to work to stop comedians from being canceled, but yeah, it doesn't. I can't say, "Sorry. This was for entertainment only." I can still absolutely lose my job over that.
[00:17:31] Jordan Harbinger: What about those who say, "Well, of course, there are fake psychics and there's those who take advantage of people but my psychic is real," or, "I'm a psychic, and it's real and I'm not a con artist." "I know that this is real, my psychic gets so many things right." You know, I hear that counter a lot, like, "Well, she would never have known about my grandma's orange kitchen floor, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, Jordan. Yeah, she's got so many things that she never could have known."
[00:17:56] David C. Smalley: Fair point. A couple of things on that. So, first, most of the time, what you think your psychic is actually getting right is you convincing yourself and then filling in the blanks.
[00:18:06] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:18:07] David C. Smalley: So, as an example, a psychic may ask, "Is there someone with an M or a J who has recently passed?" Which, which is what I said to you. You say, "Yes, my grandfather John." The psychic says, "I'm getting a significant color. He's showing me something bright, or red, or silver. But it's unclear," and you say — and by the way, If you're getting a reading like this and someone has recently passed, you want these things to be true.
[00:18:27] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:18:28] David C. Smalley: Your desire to want something to be true is very powerful in convincing yourself. It is.
[00:18:32] Jordan Harbinger: Plus remember how far I had to reach to find somebody with an M or a J? Yeah. My grandmother—
[00:18:36] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:18:36] Jordan Harbinger: —passed away 20 years ago, maiden name, was starting with an M. I mean, that's a little ridiculous.
[00:18:42] David C. Smalley: Yeah. And by the way, sometimes they'll just shift gears and go, "No, you have one. Maybe you called her something else but there's an M there."
[00:18:50] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:18:51] David C. Smalley: And just bulldoze through you. Or you're like, "Well, what did you call her?" And they're like, "Well, I had my grandmother's name was Yvonne, but we called her Meemaw." "Oh, there's the M."
[00:19:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:19:01] David C. Smalley: So think about the mawmaws, the meemaws, the mammies, like there's all sorts of that. And then, J, I mean, God, I can think of, so I have, my grandma's name is Joanne. My other grandmother's name, we called her Maumau, and my grandfather's name is June. And so, I mean, I've got M's and J's on three out of my four grandparents.
[00:19:24] Jordan Harbinger: You just pick a consonant that's everywhere in the English language, basically.
[00:19:27] David C. Smalley: Yeah, it's kind of that. It starts with that, but then I can say this or this or this. And so, the way it works is I say it's unclear, and then you say, I mean, because I'm asking for red or silver or something bright. And then, you say to the psychic, "Well, I mean, he drove a Silverado, but it was black." And the psychic goes, "Yeah, that's what he's showing me. That truck meant a lot to him." And you go, "Yeah, it did." And then 50 more things like that happened over the course of an hour. And then a few days later, you know, you're talking to your friend about your amazing experience and how you felt blown away and connected with your grandfather, John, and you say, "The psychic knew my grandfather John passed away and that he drove a black Silverado. It blew my mind.
[00:20:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right, because now I'm giving you credit for the stuff that my mind filled the blanks in on.
[00:20:12] David C. Smalley: Exactly.
[00:20:13] Jordan Harbinger: He knew my grandma's kitchen floor. No, I'm the one who brought that up.
[00:20:16] David C. Smalley: And you're not lying. You honestly feel that that's what happened, but that's not what happened. And the psychic went fishing with generic options you filled in the blanks because of the emotion involved and it felt personal and real to you, so it's more believable. Secondly, if there were people with actual remote viewing capabilities, no kid would be missing or held captive for more than 10 minutes. Right?
[00:20:39] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:39] David C. Smalley: There would be no Amber Alert. There would be no Silver Alert for missing elderly people. Psychics would just know where they are and be able to go to the cops and be like, "Hey, a kid just got taken in Vermont. You need to go find him. Here's his address."
[00:20:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, we'd had minority report, right? Where the people who are really good at this, they're compensated in a ridiculous way to prevent horrific crimes. And it's the highest calling and the biggest and most honorable position in society that you could have. As somebody who rescues children and prevents disasters from killing thousands of people. You wouldn't want to do anything else if you had these powers.
[00:21:11] David C. Smalley: And we all want that to be the case.
[00:21:13] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:21:14] David C. Smalley: So we're not fighting against psychics because we don't want it to be real. We're trying to protect vulnerable people from being taken advantage of, who think they are being helped when in fact they are being harmed. Third, yet a third proof for why psychics aren't real, even if you really, really feel like they are, is we never see psychic wins lottery again every week in the news. That should totally be happening.
[00:21:37] Jordan Harbinger: I was wondering about that. It's kind of the easiest sort of lowest hanging fruit. And on your show, did you not ask a psychic about winning the lottery on The David C. Smalley Show?
[00:21:47] David C. Smalley: Yeah, we did. So my co-host, Michael Regilio, said, he said, he asked her, "Why isn't every lottery won by psychics?" And she said, "Maybe we don't want to win the lottery."
[00:21:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, okay. Well, this makes no sense. That's not even a good bluff or a good lie, right? I would understand if they were like, "Look, we need to keep a low profile. You know, how many people would love to come after psychics?" There was a movie a long time ago with Samuel L. Jackson. I can't remember what it was, but these people could like teleport. And it might have even been a Looper or something like that. They could teleport and this cult of super religious people headed up by Samuel L. Jackson were trying to kill them because like, only God should have this power, right? If they had, if she had said something like that, "I don't want to put, to paint a target on my back. I don't want to be too wealthy. I don't want to tip the hand." That's fine, but these people are advertising on Facebook, they're advertising, they got a big sign on the side of their house or on their car. She's on your podcast talking about how she's psychic. So you're not trying to maintain a low profile, you're doing whatever you can to get publicity and prove your thing out. But you just don't want to win the lottery, but no reason given. "I don't want money, I want to earn my money by being psychic?" Come on, dude.
[00:23:00] David C. Smalley: And think about all the good she could do with that money. A 400-million-dollar Powerball, like you don't want to build homeless shelters? Like, come on.
[00:23:07] Jordan Harbinger: Win the lottery and solve major, major issues if you just don't want the money. I mean, why bother doing any of this psychic stuff for money when you could simply win a lottery or two, then use your service as pro bono. "Hi, I only find missing kids, the occasional missing pet," whatever it is. Finding missing kids is a hell of a lot more rewarding than telling Angela from the Macy's makeup counter about what her future Prince Charming is going to look like. So I just don't buy that. Anyway, you've had a few psychics on the podcast, I think.
[00:23:35] David C. Smalley: I have. So one claimed to be a psychic to the stars, one claimed to communicate with the spirits that followed my daughter around.
[00:23:41] Jordan Harbinger: That's a little invasive, I feel like. "Hey, your child has these spirits that I'm talking to." Like, you pretending to talk to my fake spirits, fine. But if somebody brought my kid into it, I'd be like, "Hold on, dude, what are you doing?"
[00:23:53] David C. Smalley: Yeah, they did. He did. And you know what? I'll share that story a little bit. I'll tell you that.
[00:23:58] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:23:58] David C. Smalley: And then, I had a really personal read too that I could get into in a bit as well. And I'll just kind of break down what happened with each of those.
[00:24:06] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah. You know, I get it. Do you have a fourth proof? I think you were like on number four here.
[00:24:10] David C. Smalley: Yeah. So number four, why aren't psychics like predicting and warning us about COVID or the Russian invasion of Ukraine or monkey pox? And lastly, the James Randi Foundation had a one-million-dollar challenge for anyone who could demonstrate psychic or metaphysical powers under scientific conditions, and not a single person ever collected the prize. So, no, your psychic isn't real either, they just haven't been caught lying yet.
[00:24:38] Jordan Harbinger: James Randi, famous stage magician, but also nonsense buster, so he had a whole career built on challenging these ideas.
[00:24:47] David C. Smalley: Yeah, and people would call him a debunker—
[00:24:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:24:50] David C. Smalley: Or say that he debunked it, and he didn't like the word debunk. He called himself a psychic investigator.
[00:24:56] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:24:57] David C. Smalley: He didn't want people who believed in psychics to immediately be like, "Oh, he's just anti-psychic."
[00:25:02] Jordan Harbinger: I see.
[00:25:02] David C. Smalley: He's like, "Show me. I have a million dollars here to give you. Please show me that you have these abilities."
[00:25:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right, because if he says psychic investigator, it's like, "The door's still open to me changing my mind," which for him was almost certainly true. But debunker says, "I've already made up my mind. I'm just going to shame you." That's what we're doing.
[00:25:18] David C. Smalley: Exactly.
[00:25:18] Jordan Harbinger: We've already made up our mind and we are now explaining why you are a fake psychic or the psychic you think is real is fake. I'm a debunker.
[00:25:25] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:25:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, James Randi was a little bit more open-minded when it came to these things.
[00:25:29] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:25:29] Jordan Harbinger: And guess what, spoiler alert never gave away that prize.
[00:25:32] David C. Smalley: Nope, a lot of people tried they all failed. No one ever collected the prize. So, I don't know if you remember, Uri Geller?
[00:25:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, Uri Geller. Yeah, the spoon-bending guy on TV.
[00:25:42] David C. Smalley: Yeah, I'm going to put a little asterisk here, but he was confirmed by Stanford scientists and even the CIA to have psychic abilities.
[00:25:51] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:25:52] David C. Smalley: And there are documents to prove this, but I'll come back to that. There was something called Project Stargate. It was a government-funded operation trying to create psychic super soldiers. And there were documents released in 1995 showing that this is completely real.
[00:26:08] Jordan Harbinger: The program is real.
[00:26:09] David C. Smalley: The program, thank you for clarifying, is completely real.
[00:26:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:26:13] David C. Smalley: They tried to telepathically communicate and train in what they called psychic-based martial arts. They tried to run through walls, like they thought they could dematerialize.
[00:26:23] Jordan Harbinger: I want to see that experiment.
[00:26:26] David C. Smalley: Yeah, I want to see videos of guys just smashing into stuff.
[00:26:29] Jordan Harbinger: Run into it as fast as you can. We're filming.
[00:26:33] David C. Smalley: They even tried to psychically explode the hearts of goats.
[00:26:37] Jordan Harbinger: Is that The Men Who Stare at Goats movie, or am I just—?
[00:26:40] David C. Smalley: I believe so.
[00:26:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay.
[00:26:41] David C. Smalley: I believe so. Okay. And so, it was shut down in the mid-90s after, of course, there was no evidence shown that it worked. So many people believed that it was possible. Uri Geller was blowing people's minds by bending spoons and turning phone book pages without touching them.
[00:26:56] Jordan Harbinger: All right.
[00:26:56] David C. Smalley: So, our government brought him in to run tests and hopefully use him as some sort of invisible brain ninja. By the way, they brought him in because he had gained popularity. And it was shown even by this group, by our CIA that he did have the powers and there are documents confirming that he had these psychic powers. So he goes making the rounds on Johnny Carson and James Randi, by the way, you know, Johnny Carson was a magician as well.
[00:27:22] Jordan Harbinger: I did not know that, but that makes sense. He loved having these guys on.
[00:27:26] David C. Smalley: And remember the thing he used to do with the envelope where he would like say the punchline and then open the envelope and read the setup to the joke.
[00:27:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:32] David C. Smalley: It was brilliant. And so it was kind of paying homage to his magician days, but also kind of, you know, comedy. So Uri Geller was making the rounds of these TV shows and he goes on Carson and because he was coming on Carson, I don't know if Carson reached out or if James Randi reached out, but they spoke and James Randi told Johnny Carson and his people how to prepare all of Uri Geller's props and to not let Geller or any of his staff near them until they were live on TV. And so they he comes out and the full videos available. It's like a 20-minute clip on YouTube. Geller comes out and they roll this table out in front of him and sure enough, he failed to do any of his tricks and he kept pointing at the table saying, "This scares me. This is very, very scary." Because he could tell by looking at the props, they were not set up according to his standards.
[00:28:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:28:25] David C. Smalley: This moment of him just flat out admitting he's not feeling strong today and then, Carson's like, "Well, you can do whatever you want, you can do it," and he gives him multiple opportunities, "Because you can show us any of your abilities that you want." And Uri just looks at him and goes, "Can you ask me more questions?
[00:28:39] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh, he just wants to conduct an interview.
[00:28:41] David C. Smalley: He just wanted to talk.
[00:28:45] Jordan Harbinger: You know, we had a really interesting sponsor for this episode lined up. It was a psychic fair, but they had to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances. Here are the rest of the ads.
[00:28:53] This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. Whenever we travel, we enjoy staying at Airbnbs. I love that many properties come with amenities like a kitchen, laundry machines, free parking that's not freaking 60 bucks a night. Having a backyard is nice, especially when we bring the kids around. We've stayed at an Airbnb in Kauai that had like an outdoor shower. So we built one at our own house as well. And we find that Airbnb hosts often go the extra mile to make our stay special. They provide local tips, personalized recommendations, sometimes a welcome basket. I know you guys are sick of my banana bread story, so I'll spare you on this one. There are a lot of benefits to hosting as well. You might have set up a home office. Now, you're back in the real office. You could Airbnb it, make some extra money on the side. Maybe your kid's heading off to college in the fall. You're going to have that empty bedroom. You could Airbnb it, make a little cash while they're away. Whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills, or for something a little more fun, your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb.com/host.
[00:29:50] Thank you so much for listening to and supporting the show. I really appreciate that. I know we go kind of hard on some of these topics. I hope you can hear it's all done with love and we're trying to have people avoid some serious pain here. Supporting our sponsors is a great way to support the show. All the deals are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also search for any promo code using the AI chatbot/search box right there on the website. Thank you for supporting those who support us.
[00:30:13] Now, back to Skeptical Sunday.
[00:30:17] Uri Geller is really, I say this, I know, I realize I'm talking about an absolute, like, scumbag-y conman guy, but he is amazing at what he does. I just wish that he would be truthful about what it is, showmanship, it's stage magic as opposed to lying about it to take advantage of people who desperately want to believe in him and his skills. Because if he had said, "Johnny, I'm a magician. Of course, I got to mess with the props." Like these are tricks. They're for entertainment. They would have let him mess with it. But instead, he's telling oil companies that he can find mineral and oil deposits. He's telling people he can figure out where things are and he's got psychic powers. He duped the CIA, which, you know, not a ton of sympathy, but those are our tax dollars that he wasted as well, just for attention. I mean, it sucks to see people do that.
[00:31:04] David C. Smalley: I want to say, though, he would have never been invited to Carson if he was just another magician, right? There were hundreds of musicians of magicians performing all over the country. None of them were performing on Carson.
[00:31:14] Jordan Harbinger: At that level, though? Because he was really good at these tricks.
[00:31:17] David C. Smalley: I don't think it matters. I think that the reason he had so much heat and so much attention on him is because he's like, "I'm for real—"
[00:31:25] Jordan Harbinger: Right, this is real.
[00:31:26] David C. Smalley: —and there's a Stanford scientific document saying this guy's legit, and then a CIA document saying he is confirmed to have psychic abilities.
[00:31:33] Jordan Harbinger: Huh?
[00:31:33] David C. Smalley: So the fact that he was lying about having it is why he was even elevated to that level of celebrity status.
[00:31:39] Jordan Harbinger: I see. I see. Okay.
[00:31:41] David C. Smalley: And this video titled The Bizarre World of Fake Psychics, Faith Healers, and Mediums. There's a YouTuber named Super Eyepatch Wolf.
[00:31:50] Jordan Harbinger: Of course.
[00:31:52] David C. Smalley: Because it's always fun to credit someone with an amazing name like that. They showed the CIA documents from the original studies where Geller was confirmed to be psychic. And Super Eyepatch Wolf noticed the line, and I'm quoting from the CIA document, "Good results were obtained on the four days when there was no openly skeptical observer."
[00:32:12] Jordan Harbinger: What does that mean? Like, it works as long as you're not paying attention using critical eye at all.
[00:32:18] David C. Smalley: No, no, no. As long as everyone there already believed in it, and believed.
[00:32:22] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:32:22] David C. Smalley: As long as everyone there was biased, leaning towards psychic powers being real, he had good results for those four days. But any other time when there was a skeptical observer in the room going, "Wait, I don't — can you show me this? Can you prove this?" He was never able to do it when there was a skeptical observer. So that just goes to show, again, your desire to want something to be true, or your cognitive bias that something already is, goes a long way in you fooling yourself.
[00:32:47] Jordan Harbinger: Speaking of fooling yourself, you know, the whole time I thought The Men Who Stare at Goats was just a movie about Afghanistan because I figured, where is there a lot of goats and a lot of people with nothing to do but just stare at the goats, Afghanistan.
[00:32:59] David C. Smalley: You ever been to Alabama?
[00:33:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, do they have goats down there? I guess, maybe. Afghanistan seemed more goat-y than Alabama.
[00:33:06] David C. Smalley: Oh my god, I mean, absolutely. I mean, I grew up in Texas, and tons of them, tons of goats, all over the place.
[00:33:12] Jordan Harbinger: Wasn't sure where the goat population was most concentrated?
[00:33:15] David C. Smalley: It's Texas, Alabama, Afghanistan.
[00:33:18] Jordan Harbinger: So I love it when psychics get busted, especially on live TV. That is just chef's kiss delicious. It must've been so nice to watch Uri Geller squirm and then just not do anything.
[00:33:29] David C. Smalley: Yeah. In prep for this episode, I went back and watched all these. These are things that I would just watch in my own free time because I just love it. But I got to go back and sort of refresh and pull up like my favorites, like the top 10 greatest hits. Inside Edition tested a psychic by showing her photos of a young girl, and the psychic said she had been beaten, tortured, and killed. And the psychic had no idea that the photo was just a school picture of the grown woman who was interviewing her.
[00:33:58] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man. I'd love to see that clip.
[00:34:03] David C. Smalley: Yeah, I've got it. I've got it.
[00:34:04] Jordan Harbinger: The squirming must have been next level. I hope they shamed her psychic powers away for good, but something tells me that she just moved on to the next local station.
[00:34:12] David C. Smalley: Of course. Yeah, just don't talk to that station anymore.
[00:34:16] Jordan Harbinger: Whoops, maybe I should pick another less completely like, obviously disprovable thing. Because if they said, "No, this is my cousin." They might be like, "Well, maybe she's not telling you about the time she got abducted and almost murdered."
[00:34:27] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:34:27] Jordan Harbinger: It's like, "No, this is literally me. I'm here talking to you right now. Yikes. Cringe.
[00:34:32] David C. Smalley: A similar thing happened when another local news station interviewed a psychic at Denny's showing her pictures of a young boy. She said he had been killed, and so the searching for him was pointless. And this is where we get into the more dangerous side of this.
[00:34:45] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:34:46] David C. Smalley: It's not just that you're wrong. It's not just entertainment. You know, like these people work with police sometimes. And so telling this woman, this news reporter, "Don't even bother looking for him. He's dead." The young boy was now a little over 20 years old and sitting in a booth directly behind the psychic. And they confronted her together with the young man, and she just goes, "Well, that's interesting. I'm so glad you're okay."
[00:35:10] Jordan Harbinger: So this is beyond cringe. First of all, this person is a complete scumbag for doing this. Imagine if the kid really was missing or also, there's so many, where do I even begin? There's obvious things wrong with this. I guess for me, I could never put myself in a position like that. I would, first of all, have way too much anxiety about getting caught being a fake, failing in public, lying to people about my skills, trying to play off something like that. These folks must just not feel any remorse or compassion for the people that they are counting. Imagine that photo was somebody's actual missing child.
[00:35:42] David C. Smalley: Mm-hmm.
[00:35:43] Jordan Harbinger: Now they think this missing child has been beaten, tortured, murdered, when perhaps she was just taken by a relative, is mostly unharmed, or perhaps passed away in some other far less violent and disgusting way. Like, look, drowning in a river or something like that and getting swept away is not great. But I'd feel so much more peace knowing that that happened to somebody I love versus being beaten, tortured, and murdered. And now, the family's left with this scar this trauma. Also, freacking Patti, the fake psychic, can get 10 minutes of time on the local TV channel. It's just disgusting.
[00:36:14] David C. Smalley: And even if there is a mistake there, there's going to be a handful of people that didn't know about her—
[00:36:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:19] David C. Smalley: —who do believe it, that will reject the skepticism and she gets new client.
[00:36:23] Jordan Harbinger: Right, yeah. Ugh, gross.
[00:36:24] David C. Smalley: So she's ruining people's lives while simultaneously growing her brand and business Sylvia Browne was on the Montel Williams Show, like, all the time.
[00:36:33] Jordan Harbinger: I have heard of her.
[00:36:34] David C. Smalley: And in a very famous clip, there was a woman standing up saying, "I lost my boyfriend," and she's like in tears, she goes, "I lost my boyfriend." Sylvia interrupts her. And just goes, "The reason you can't find him is, he's in water."
[00:36:47] Jordan Harbinger: He's in water. Okay.
[00:36:49] David C. Smalley: He's in water. Yeah. She immediately says, "He's in water." The woman goes, "Well, it was September 11th, and he was a fireman."
[00:36:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So definitively not in the water. Yeah.
[00:36:59] David C. Smalley: Right. It's so awkward. And Sylvia argues with her and goes, "No, I see him in water." She tells the woman she's wrong about her boyfriend who she lost and then she turns to Montel, Sylvia Browne turns to Montel and goes, "You know if he was trying to put a fire out or something, you know?"
[00:37:16] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So she's just trying to make any tenuous connection to water like, you know, he wasn't necessarily just throwing a bucket of water on the fire that may or may not have been in the place where he was, probably trying to rescue but just despicable nonsense.
[00:37:29] David C. Smalley: Right. So when I was doing your cold read and I said red or silver, something shiny.
[00:37:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:33] David C. Smalley: And you said, "There's this floor."
[00:37:36] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:37] David C. Smalley: I just never mentioned the word silver again and went just for the shiny.
[00:37:41] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:37:42] David C. Smalley: And I connected you emotionally to that. I was like, "You think of that floor when you think of your grandmother," and you're like, "Yes." A few moments later, you're like, "Yeah, you knew about my grandmother's floor," but then you had to stop yourself and go, "Nope, I told you."
[00:37:54] Jordan Harbinger: Right. I told you about that.
[00:37:54] David C. Smalley: Turns out it was orange. It wasn't even red.
[00:37:56] Jordan Harbinger: It wasn't even red. It's an orange. Maybe, there was some red, but I don't know. Now, I'm second-guessing myself.
[00:38:01] David C. Smalley: And what tile floor isn't occasionally shiny? I mean, just things like that. And so you can use this emotional manipulation. Doing it to you is fun because we both know this is for educational purposes.
[00:38:13] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:38:13] David C. Smalley: But you know Sylvia doing this to people who were actually hurting is just absolutely disgusting. It's one of the cringiest moments ever. She also famously told a woman that her daughter had been shot. And the mother responded, "No, she just collapsed in her room." And of course, Sylvia argues with her saying, "Oh, it was probably a stray bullet that no one saw." And she's like, "No, there was no blood." And the woman pushes back. "They checked her. There was no shot. Nothing happened." And then Sylvia just moves on to someone else.
[00:38:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:38:40] David C. Smalley: And the camera briefly shows the woman like just disoriented. And just like, "What just happened here?" As she hands the microphone back over going, "That was dumb."
[00:38:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:38:49] David C. Smalley: And she just moved on to something else.
[00:38:50] Jordan Harbinger: Because she couldn't recover from that—
[00:38:53] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:38:53] Jordan Harbinger: —easily. So they had to just cut the thread and she's like, "I hope they edit that out of the final production."
[00:38:58] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:38:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I've done cold reads on people who tell me they believe in psychics as well. One example really sticks out in my head, which is, this is a listener of the show, this is a long time ago. He goes, "You know, I just never believed in it. But now totally, I went to this fair at college and they had a psychic and she got so many things right." And this is a guy who I'd never met, right? So we were talking at the time on like DMs or on Facebook, whatever it was. And I said, "I can cold read you. Tell me if I'm accurate." And his name was like Rajesh Shetty, right? So he's Indian. And I can see a photo of him. And I said, "All right. I know you're a graphic designer because you told me that earlier, but your parents, they wish that you were more in a sort of STEM type of career, maybe like doctor, lawyer, engineer," which, by the way, every Indian parent, right, from the old country.
[00:39:48] David C. Smalley: Every immigrant child will be like my parents hate what I do, they want me to be a doctor.
[00:39:54] Jordan Harbinger: Especially if they're an Indian kid and they're a graphic designer like that just doesn't go with what immigrant parents had in mind most of the time.
[00:40:00] David C. Smalley: Exactly.
[00:40:01] Jordan Harbinger: And so I'm going down that route and I'm like but your siblings or maybe cousins, they are going more along that traditional path and there's a lot of pride so you feel a little bit of a disconnect between, you know, I know my parents love me, but man, they really want to pull me in this other direction and look at my, is it a cousin or a sibling? They're doing — and he's like, "I can't believe, you know my sister, she's starting to be a doctor. My cousin is an engineer in the whole family. They always talk about them. Nobody ever talks about me." And he's almost like, "Dude, how are you doing this?" And I'm thinking, "Well, it ain't because I'm psychic, man. It's because I'm reading cultural stuff based on the little amounts you've told me, and this is really, really, really easy." He was half convinced that I was actually also psychic.
[00:40:41] David C. Smalley: Yeah, he starts telling you you're psychic instead of you being wrong about psychics.
[00:40:44] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:40:44] David C. Smalley: You're literally psychic.
[00:40:45] Jordan Harbinger: Like, "Oh my god, how are you doing—? But he's like, "How are you doing this?" It's really not that hard. If you have basic cultural knowledge, which you can almost get from looking at any, especially if the person's from a country where you have obvious things like their parents are German. Maybe were your grandparents kind of strict with your parents, but nicer to you? Yes. As every person whose parents grew up and with immigrant parents. I mean, come on, like this stuff's not hard, but you think that these generalities only apply to yourself.
[00:41:11] David C. Smalley: Mm-hmm.
[00:41:12] Jordan Harbinger: And I think that's part of it. But yeah, very cringe that she has to move on when she gets something wrong. So that's that type of cutting the thread when it doesn't work out. That's really common in cold reading, right? The person. Claiming to be psychics, going to throw something out there, see what people agree with, jump down those rabbit holes, and if they miss, they throw something else out there, argue with the person to try and double down, move on to somebody else who's going to play along more. Because, you know, if you'd said something shiny and red, I could have been like, nope. And then, you're like, if I'm in an audience with 50 people, you just go, "This guy just not having it. Next!"
[00:41:43] David C. Smalley: Well, and the M or J thing, you know, a lot of people will do that to a crowd. They'll be like, I'm getting an M or a J in this area. Oh my god, are you kidding me?
[00:41:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:41:51] David C. Smalley: A group of 20 people and you just like motion toward nine of them?
[00:41:56] Jordan Harbinger: Right. My aunt died, her name was Marjorie. Oh, it must be you, who's, yeah.
[00:42:01] David C. Smalley: And you also realize that person's willing to sort of set you up with information.
[00:42:06] Jordan Harbinger: They want to play.
[00:42:06] David C. Smalley: They're willing to reply. Yeah, they're willing to play along.
[00:42:09] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense why the psychic will then address the entire room and say, "I'm seeing someone named Tom," until somebody in the corner is like, "He was my husband who died six years ago," because then, it's a fishing expedition. And like you said, you find the person who's game for this. Of course, you pick that person instead of the person who's like, "There's none here that applies to me."
[00:42:28] David C. Smalley: Right. Yeah. Sylvia also gave tips on missing children saying they were still alive like years later—
[00:42:35] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[00:42:36] David C. Smalley: —when they eventually found out they had been dead from a few days after their kidnapping.
[00:42:40] Jordan Harbinger: Disgusting.
[00:42:40] David C. Smalley: And she told parents of a young boy that he was abducted by a man with dark skin and dreadlocks.
[00:42:47] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[00:42:47] David C. Smalley: And that their son was dead and their son was later found alive and his kidnapper was white.
[00:42:52] Jordan Harbinger: That is absolutely shameless, playing into people's stereotypes, reinforcing a negative stereotype. I think we all know what she meant when she said dark skin and dreadlocks, come on.
[00:43:04] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:43:04] Jordan Harbinger: These people must be sociopaths doing something like this. It's absolutely unconscionable. Really, really something.
[00:43:10] David C. Smalley: No. She's the same psychic who told Amanda Berry's mother that Amanda was dead.
[00:43:14] Jordan Harbinger: Is this a kidnap victim, I assume?
[00:43:16] David C. Smalley: Yeah, and since she was found six years later being held captive in a house.
[00:43:20] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:43:20] David C. Smalley: It was a very famous one because Amanda called 911 and said, "I'm Amanda Berry. I was, I've been held captive.
[00:43:26] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I remember this. She was like in a tent or a basement or something weird like that.
[00:43:31] David C. Smalley: She was in someone's basement and this is so disturbing. She was literally next door and could hear the family like having parties or having like get-togethers or whatever.
[00:43:44] Jordan Harbinger: Her own family?
[00:43:46] David C. Smalley: Yeah, like she was next door to someone she knew friends or family.
[00:43:49] Jordan Harbinger: Oh no.
[00:43:50] David C. Smalley: And she could hear them like doing things, but she would scream out and nobody could hear her.
[00:43:54] Jordan Harbinger: That's so horrible.
[00:43:56] David C. Smalley: This woman goes on to Montel. This is televised. You can find this on YouTube. She just flat out says, "I'm sorry, she's gone. She's dead." And Amanda Berry, years and years later, did an interview where she said that she was watching TV, so she used to watch Montel and she would see Sylvia Browne all the time on there, and she would constantly think, "I wish my mom could go there so Sylvia could help her. Help her find me, tell her where I am—"
[00:44:23] Jordan Harbinger: Oh no.
[00:44:23] David C. Smalley: "—so that the cops can come get me." And she was watching that episode live on television from captivity when Sylvia Browne says this to her mom that Amanda's dead. She says—
[00:44:34] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[00:44:35] David C. Smalley: —that watching her mom break down and cry only added to the torture.
[00:44:40] Jordan Harbinger: Of course, it did. And look, I'm going to make a really uncouth joke which is if you want to chain somebody in the basement, that's disgusting but making them watch Montel Williams, you, monster.
[00:44:53] Sorry, I don't mean to make light of that, but I had to lighten that situation up a little bit.
[00:44:57] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:44:57] Jordan Harbinger: God, think of all the police investigations. Sorry. Montel is going to write me and be like, "You're a prick, Jordan." Correct.
[00:45:04] David C. Smalley: No. Look, somebody said, I think it was John Oliver who covered this, he goes, "If I bring an alligator in here, and it eats half of my audience, sure, the alligator did the thing, but I've got some culpability in that."
[00:45:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's true.
[00:45:19] David C. Smalley: So Montel is partially responsible for bringing this person on that is doing this damage, both emotionally and psychologically to the crowd members.
[00:45:28] Jordan Harbinger: I absolutely agree with that. God, think of all the police investigations. First of all, who gets these people involved in those? I mean, they have wasted money on paying psychics to help them through remote viewing with all of this. Ugh, with all this being public information, why do people still believe in psychics? What is so convincing? Is it just that people want to believe in it so bad? It's the only thing left that might give them hope. What's going on here?
[00:45:53] David C. Smalley: I think, simply put, people just don't know how it works.
[00:45:56] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:45:56] David C. Smalley: They don't understand cold reading tactics. Going to a psychic reading is literally walking into a magic show without knowing you're in the magic show. And you're paying to be tricked and the really good ones make you trick yourself. It's emotional and psychological manipulation.
[00:46:14] Jordan Harbinger: You know, it's funny, I go to magic shows here and there and really good magicians will tell you everything you're about to see is a trick. They'll tell you that in the beginning or maybe they'll tell you at the end. Penn and Teller do this. A lot of the good ones in San Francisco will do this. Even some amateur magicians that'll have a show, they'll say like, "Just so you know, I'm not actually psychic, this is all trickery," at the end of the show. And I think, at first, I used to be like, come on, of course we know that. But I think now there's a benefit to this because you just have to let people know because, otherwise, somebody else is going to pretend they have those same powers and use it to dupe them out of money. And these guys are saying, "Hey, if anybody ever shows you this, it's a trick. This is also a trick. I hope you had fun tonight."
[00:46:55] David C. Smalley: Exactly. That way, if you ever see someone try to do that at a fair or you get very vulnerable and you start and they start using some of the similar talking points, you're like, wait, I've seen this on TV. I know there's a way to do this. And I bet you, Jordan, there are still people listening right now or watching this right now, that are still going, "Yeah, yeah, you're saying that you're debunking this, or you're saying you don't believe this—"
[00:47:16] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:47:16] David C. Smalley: "—but you just did it."
[00:47:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, well, why don't we explain how you did my read. I mean, you touched on it a little bit earlier, but explain how you did the things you just did in the read. We talked about the M and the J and the kitchen floor a little bit, but let's get into some other specifics.
[00:47:31] David C. Smalley: Okay, yeah, so I started with the preface of, "I'm going to communicate with your spirit guides." And of course, you know, they know I'm a skeptic and a comedian, but I also kind of said it in jest and psychics will do that too. They'll be like, "And these are just the spirit guides, so don't get mad at me, and it kind of breaks the ice. So it's kind of, like, if you look at me and go, "That's not true," there's a couple of things that could be happening. You could not know it's true, and I could blame you. The spirit guides could be, not communicating clearly. There could be too much fog because of your skepticism, or I could possibly misinterpret something, or I just don't know enough about that world to understand what they're telling me. So I make myself vulnerable and go, they like to mock me, they like to tell me things I don't understand. That invites you to be the fixer.
[00:48:21] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:48:21] David C. Smalley: That invites you to fill in the blanks.
[00:48:23] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting.
[00:48:23] David C. Smalley: So that's the first piece of the manipulation. And you want to help me. Just in general, humans don't want to see other humans struggle. So all I have to do is pause for a moment I don't say, I don't look at you and I go, "It's something silver or it's something red What is it?" I go, "Something silver or red or maybe shiny," and I pause for a brief moment and you go, "Oh, I can help here."
[00:48:47] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:48:48] David C. Smalley: Because something just came into your mind that reminded you of your grandmother. So the M or J thing is very, very common. You can look on YouTube, you can watch John Edward, who I'll get into in a moment. You can watch any psychic of the stars, there'll be like an M or a J, or I'm getting a G or a J, or someone with an E name, and inevitably someone will be like, oh yeah, and then they just sort of, it's fishing. It's cold reading tactics and it's fishing.
[00:49:15] There's also something called the Barnum effect, which I'm going to mention. It's common misdirection. It's sayings. It's letting someone fill in the gaps. Like I said, you leave feeling like the psychic actually told you the things that you told the psychic.
[00:49:28] Jordan Harbinger: Barnum is in PT Barnum, the circus founder?
[00:49:31] David C. Smalley: Yeah, yeah. So Barnum is credited. We don't know if he actually said this. He's the one that's credited with saying, "A sucker is born every minute."
[00:49:38] Jordan Harbinger: Uh-huh, okay.
[00:49:39] David C. Smalley: And the Barnum effect is, a lot of the things that I talked about, first of all, there's cold reading and then hot reading. The cold reading was me fishing, right? M or J, silver, red, and then taking what you said and putting it back on you, reminding you of how I remember that, or how I was told that by your spirit guides. The cold reading is just very generic. The hot reading is literally doing research on someone. And you may not remember this, Jordan, but in 2018, you posted one Instagram post about your beehives.
[00:50:13] Jordan Harbinger: I definitely did not remember that. Of course.
[00:50:16] David C. Smalley: Yeah, I didn't think you would. And you only had one, you're wearing this like bee mask thing, and I knew since it was only one post, and I actually didn't know about it, and I've been your friend for a long time. I was like, that's probably something very vague for him. He probably doesn't remember. So I made it very vague. I didn't say you collect bees or you keep bees.
[00:50:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right, you said colonies and I was like, oh, I don't know.
[00:50:36] David C. Smalley: Right. So I came at it from a weird way. I made it seem like they were messing with me. Jordan, can you help me out? Colonies, they're saying it's sweet. They're laughing. Honey party. And then, you go, bees. I made you find the answer.
[00:50:48] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Then it's my idea. Yeah, interesting.
[00:50:51] David C. Smalley: Yeah, absolutely. I knew about that. I also knew when I said you recently lost or in the process of separating from an object or something with a face. And then, you told me, of course, it was the—
[00:51:02] Jordan Harbinger: Cats, the pet.
[00:51:04] David C. Smalley: I don't know if you remember, you reached out to a few of your friends.
[00:51:07] Jordan Harbinger: I did. That's right.
[00:51:08] David C. Smalley: About a month ago.
[00:51:09] Jordan Harbinger: I forgot about that.
[00:51:10] David C. Smalley: And told us that you needed to find a home for your cat.
[00:51:13] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Temporarily. Yeah. That's right. That's right. That's right.
[00:51:16] David C. Smalley: And you didn't make a big public post about it.
[00:51:18] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:51:19] David C. Smalley: But you have had your cat in the pictures and you don't anymore.
[00:51:23] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting.
[00:51:24] David C. Smalley: So, a little bit of that was research. I spent probably four hours or so on sort of developing the bullet points for what I wanted to say to you. That word that I gave you, by the way—
[00:51:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, what was that? That was the one where I was like, I can't figure this one out.
[00:51:37] David C. Smalley: Well, the cool thing about that is I didn't expect you to, immediately. But, a lot of times what psychics do as well is they give you something that doesn't make sense now, forces you to think about them, over and over. Because not only does it allow me to schedule another session with you to follow up on it but it allows me to prove my abilities to you when I'm not even there. So you go home and do research on this very strange word that doesn't make any sense to anybody else. And at some point, it's going to hit home for you. That word is actually the Serbian word for kidnapped.
[00:52:11] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, but with the A, is it just scrambled? Is that what it is, or—?
[00:52:14] David C. Smalley: No, that's the word, but the N is backwards and the A isn't a real A, it's like a weird symbol, in Serbian text.
[00:52:22] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, it's Cyrillic font. So when I said it could be a Russian thing with the N backwards, it actually is Cyrillic font.
[00:52:27] David C. Smalley: You were so close.
[00:52:27] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, super close.
[00:52:28] David C. Smalley: Yes.
[00:52:29] Jordan Harbinger: That's so funny because I wrote it down and spaced it out funny. So it didn't look like any words at all in any language that I knew.
[00:52:35] David C. Smalley: So what I would do in the followup is I would be like are you sure about this? And you've talked publicly about being kidnapped.
[00:52:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:52:41] David C. Smalley: You've talked publicly about dealing with things and people know that you've learned Mandarin and that you're very well traveled but the Serbian thing isn't usually on the forefront of what you talk about. It's there, it's in the mix, but it's hardly ever its own thing from what I've seen.
[00:52:56] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting.
[00:52:57] David C. Smalley: I went intentionally with a hot read and I went something that I know that eventually you would figure out. I was hoping you would.
[00:53:03] Jordan Harbinger: You know what made it this so hard is the Cyrillic, because the word for kidnap and Serbian is like [kidnapovati] but it's written in Cyrillic font.
[00:53:11] David C. Smalley: Mmm.
[00:53:12] Jordan Harbinger: So it is like K, backwards N, if you're reading the Cyrillic, K, backwards N, the weird thing that looks like an A but is really a D, letter H which sounds like N, A, the pi symbol, O, B, A, T, backwards N, right? So it just doesn't—
[00:53:28] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:53:29] Jordan Harbinger: When you type it in non-Cyrillic from Cyrillic, that makes it really, really hard.
[00:53:33] David C. Smalley: What a psychic could do is take something like this, because I have the actual Cyrillic. I could copy and paste it. I could burn it into something, like literally print it out and burn it and then smudge the ink and be like, "I woke up and this was on my bed. Does this help you?"
[00:53:48] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:53:48] David C. Smalley: And you're like, "Oh my God, it means kidnapped in Serb." You know what I mean? Like, I don't understand this, Jordan. Please help me.
[00:53:54] Jordan Harbinger: You know what that reminds me of? It's like a captcha. You ever go to a website and it's like, what is this text? It's like K, I, lowercase B.
[00:54:02] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:54:02] Jordan Harbinger: That's what it is. And ironically, your brain, our brains can make a pattern out of something the computer cannot read and that's what those captures are, right? It's like, okay, got to figure out what this is. So our brain is making something out of what a computer would say is nothing. You're using a very similar principle to get me to find meaning in something that you actually are just tricking me into thinking of, but you'd already picked the answer.
[00:54:27] David C. Smalley: I looked at your Wikipedia page. I looked at your IMDb. I scrolled through your Instagram. I went through your Facebook. And I didn't do anything massive or major things that you would talk about a lot.
[00:54:38] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:54:38] David C. Smalley: And when I said you're actually kind of a private person, that's true because almost everything you post is just about work.
[00:54:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:54:46] David C. Smalley: It's about an interview or you know, "Here's me and this guy having dinner," but you just had an interview because of a podcast. Like you're never just like, "Oh, you know, my wife is pissing me off today with blah, blah, blah."
[00:54:56] Jordan Harbinger: I know better than that.
[00:54:57] David C. Smalley: Or picking the kids up from school. Like you don't do a lot of that stuff and so—
[00:55:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:55:02] David C. Smalley: I use the fact that there was missing information to be a positive on my side to say, "Even though you're a public personality, you're kind of a private person and you're not."
[00:55:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:55:10] David C. Smalley: And you were like, yeah, you are. So there are a few things that I hit because of a hot read, which is research on you. Everything else I said, this is going to be surprising to you, but literally everything else from you being genuine, you kind of show one face in public, something else in private, you're very creative, you find yourself having well-formed ideas that other people have a hard time to grasp, you set high standards, you're a perfectionist. You have a dry sense of humor. You rehearse jokes.
[00:55:37] Jordan Harbinger: I feel like that's a lot of that applies to everyone. No, one's going to go, no, I'm not creative, no.
[00:55:42] David C. Smalley: Well, the healthy desire to impress—
[00:55:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:55:46] David C. Smalley: The links to traveling, by the way—
[00:55:48] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:55:48] David C. Smalley: And even letting people in a little bit more and loving your appealing personality, every bit of that is a Barnum statement.
[00:55:56] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, really? So these are like century-plus-old tricky statements.
[00:56:01] David C. Smalley: It's literally on Derren Brown's website.
[00:56:04] Jordan Harbinger: That's so funny.
[00:56:04] David C. Smalley: For this thing that he did that I'll get into a little bit later, but it's essentially horoscopes. It's this idea of copy and paste and people are going, "Wow, that's so meaningful to me."
[00:56:15] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:56:16] David C. Smalley: But it's everything else I said that I didn't hot read for you. So I did the cold reading fishing with the M or J and the silver and I got a hit there. Everything else was either a hot read from research or a Barnum statement.
[00:56:28] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. All right. So these are some of the basic tricks that all so-called psychics use. Incredible.
[00:56:34] David C. Smalley: Yeah. John Oliver covered psychics on Last Week Tonight back in 2019. He showed a clip from John Edward, who, of course, claims to talk to dead people.
[00:56:42] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:56:42] David C. Smalley: And John was doing this cold read, John Edward, to be clear, was doing a cold read to a roomful of people in Long Island. And this certain area of Long Island where one in five citizens is of Irish descent. And Edward starts the cold read by looking around the room and going, "Is there anyone who knows someone who has passed named Brian Flanagan, or O'Flynn, or O'Sullivan, or O'Reilly, or something like that?" That's a word-for-word quote from John Edward.
[00:57:10] Jordan Harbinger: Every common Irish last name, basically. And it's like, if you don't hit that, you're in the wrong state.
[00:57:18] David C. Smalley: Yeah, like, nope, we're all Smith. I don't know who you're talking about. And then, when giving that reading, by the way, if you watch the entire reading, he makes a huge mistake, but he doubles down on it. And, so, Brian O'Something, apparently has family there. Someone stands up and goes, "Oh, yeah, okay, kind of Brian something similar." And these two women stand up and they're talking to John Edward about Brian, and Edward is supposedly communicating directly with Brian, by the way.
[00:57:43] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, this is a guy who had passed away, or something.
[00:57:45] David C. Smalley: Yeah, Brian O'Something. And he says to the women, that one of the people involved didn't like the mother figure.
[00:57:53] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:57:54] David C. Smalley: And one woman started shaking her head, no. She's like, "No, no, no, no, no." And he keeps pushing. He's like, "No, no, no." He tries to make it more broad by saying something like, "Well, maybe you didn't like your mother-in-law or something like that," which he starts kind of backing off being more generic. "You know, not everybody loves their mother-in-law. And then, he pauses again and she shakes her head, "No." And she goes, "Then you got the wrong Brian." And you can, if you watch the video, you'll see that John Edward—
[00:58:17] Jordan Harbinger: Gets a little rattled? Gets a little rattled, for sure.
[00:58:20] David C. Smalley: Well, he's mad. He's like, "How dare you?"
[00:58:22] Jordan Harbinger: Ah.
[00:58:22] David C. Smalley: "I'm talking to dead people. You're just a lady in Long Island." He gets a little frustrated and he goes, "I can't tell you what you want to hear. I can only tell you what the spirits tell me or what they show me. And if he's calling your mother a b*tch, I'm going to pass it on."
[00:58:35] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. That's terrible.
[00:58:37] David C. Smalley: And he gets kind of hateful with it.
[00:58:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:58:39] David C. Smalley: Absolutely.
[00:58:42] Jordan Harbinger: You know what's not an obvious scam designed to bilk you out of your hard earned cash? The fine products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
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[01:00:31] Now for the rest of Skeptical Sunday.
[01:00:35] So this is an interesting point, right? Because this is what a lot of scams have in common whether it's a psychic or a multilevel marketing scheme. If the psychic fails, it's your fault. This is whenever a belief system comes into play if it fails, it's your fault. You're closed off. You're not open minded. You're too skeptical. Your belief Is required for it to work. The CIA document or whatever said it best, right? We saw this when we were looking for it, and when we didn't, we didn't.
[01:01:00] David C. Smalley: No.
[01:01:00] Jordan Harbinger: You're fighting the universe or whatever this guy says, or you're just wrong in some way.
[01:01:05] David C. Smalley: Damn. Did you train to be a psychic? Because you nailed it.
[01:01:08] Jordan Harbinger: I should. I should.
[01:01:10] David C. Smalley: Former psychic Mark Edward even reveals how all the tricks are done. There's a cold reading which I address with a whole M or J nonsense and then the hot reading, which is, you know, researching the client beforehand, just like I did with you.
[01:01:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, we did have Mark on the show a few years back where we went over some of this stuff in depth. I don't think we did much of a demo or anything. If people are really interested in this topic, there's more. That's episode 413 with Mark. He was basically a phone psychic. And then he was like, "Wait, this is all BS, but I'm really good at it. And I know I'm not psychic." So he started to just, well, debunk and break down all of the tricks. Really interesting.
[01:01:47] David C. Smalley: A medium to the stars, Tyler Henry, went on the Today Show and gave a reading for Matt Lauer. And Henry gave this touching reading about Matt's dad sending him messages about fishing, a loan, and a boat. And he tells Matt that's the perfect time to reconnect with his lost father. You know, kind of like when I said to you, I said, whenever you see dolls lying around in a weird place.
[01:02:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right. This is your grandma.
[01:02:08] David C. Smalley: Yeah. You started smiling going, "Well, I don't know what's going on here," but you're like, "I know you're up to something."
[01:02:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:02:13] David C. Smalley: And I'm like, "You know, if you're at a toy store and you see a doll out of place, your grandma is just letting you know she's okay. And you're going to be fine." It's a great comforting thought. And that's what this guy did to Matt Lauer, and of course, Matt was deeply emotional about it, but as John Oliver points out on that episode, Matt Lauer has done countless interviews, where he talks about fishing with his dad—
[01:02:34] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:02:34] David C. Smalley: —and how he misses it, and how his dad taught him to fish, and how he fishes alone now, and thinks about his dad since his dad's gone.
[01:02:40] Jordan Harbinger: That's sad.
[01:02:41] David C. Smalley: And he's also written about it in multiple articles, and it's been quoted in other articles that are easily accessible. So, there was likely a hot reading situation, and John Oliver says, he goes, "Maybe, maybe you communicated with the dead, or maybe you googled Matt Lauer dad and hit the jackpot, right?" And there are several times where you can watch a psychic reading and then see an interview with the person afterwards and they'll be like, "Oh my god, you know, that psychic told me this thing and it's like, no, no, they didn't, you know? It was a hot read.
[01:03:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right, it's something you said yourself. I will tell you, I did a rough Google estimate probably two years ago. There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours of me being on other people's shows, just ignoring my own show, which has, you know, every show I've been a host on 1500-plus episodes. I think more now, actually. So if you're looking at 1500-plus hours of content, plus the say, let's say 2000 to be just conservative, how many hours of audio of me talking there are out there? That's how much information you can get from me. I remember basically none of that, of course.
[01:03:43] David C. Smalley: Right.
[01:03:43] Jordan Harbinger: So if you're going through and researching me, you could put together a 50-page dossier, and I would be incredibly, incredibly impressed about all the things you magically found out that I just said myself several months to several years ago. Incredible. So hot reading, you've done the research on your subject, you don't disclose this to them, of course, and then it looks like you're psychic when really you're just capable of doing a basic Google search. So you've interviewed a few psychics on your podcast. How does that go? Because I know that you challenge them.
[01:04:09] David C. Smalley: I do. The first one was a psychic to the stars and I had a producer at the time. I, of course, was pushing back and going, "Ah, that's a cold read. Ah, that's BS."
[01:04:22] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:04:22] David C. Smalley: Ah, that affects everybody. And I was so hard on him. And he kept going, "You're fighting this. You're very rugged."
[01:04:29] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:04:29] David C. Smalley: "You're getting a lot of harsh energy. Your aura is turning black." And he kept like insulting me like I was the problem. He kept blaming me and I was like, okay, whatever.
[01:04:38] Jordan Harbinger: Well, you are the problem. You don't believe in his nonsense and he's trying to make a buck. Yeah.
[01:04:42] David C. Smalley: Right. And then, he was very much about like the physical, like he almost wanted to be in a horror movie. He snaps his head like oddly to the right and like stares at my producer and cocks his head.
[01:04:54] Jordan Harbinger: Creepy.
[01:04:55] David C. Smalley: It's so bizarre. He just goes, "Is Sheila okay?" And my producer was skeptical but almost sh*t himself. Because he's like, "How do you know Sheila?" He goes, "Is Sheila okay?" And he's like, "I mean, I haven't talked to her in a while. I mean, I think so." It completely snapped my producer's head out of all the skepticism, and he was so shook by what happened. It was a specific name, and the way he snapped, and the body language, and I'm going, "Hey man, you know this is BS, like, come on." And we couldn't figure out how he did it. We leave and I Google, David Smalley producer and the third or fourth link down was, my producer, his name was Darius. We click on Darius and on his profile, it said some, the most recent post was throwback to six years ago when I did this song in the studio with Sheila. And it was literally one click and you could see the post that was it was a throwback because they were like in the studio doing a song together or something. And I'm like, clearly that's what he did.
[01:05:57] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. That's almost, that's just lazy hot reading too. That's just late. Like, oh, you didn't even go down to the second page of Google. Come on, dude.
[01:06:03] David C. Smalley: Yeah. I mean, I went. What four years back on your Instagram to find the beekeeping thing.
[01:06:08] Jordan Harbinger: I post once a year. So you basically didn't have to scroll very far.
[01:06:11] David C. Smalley: It has four pictures. No. There was another local psychic who we challenged about the lottery. I told you about her already.
[01:06:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[01:06:20] David C. Smalley: There was a guy over the phone who talked about my daughter's spirits now. To be fair, she was a part of the show already. So he didn't just on his own mention her. She was a part of the show.
[01:06:30] Jordan Harbinger: That's good.
[01:06:31] David C. Smalley: And he starts laughing. He goes, "David, her spirit guides are standing behind her right now and they are just laughing at your skeptical face." So he's on Skype, but we're not using video. I'm like, "Oh, so they're looking at me right now." He's like, "Oh, yeah, they're laughing." He goes, "There's a woman on her left, a woman right behind her, and a man to her right. And they're laughing at you because you're so skeptical and you don't believe in them and they think you're just so funny because of all your skepticism." To me, he's being very condescending.
[01:07:00] Jordan Harbinger: Sure, but it's interesting how he makes it the spirits doing that and not him doing it. So you have the social pressure but you can't be mad at him because it's not him, it's the invisible spirits.
[01:07:09] David C. Smalley: Yeah. So I flipped it on him by making his spirits look stupid because it's just the spirits, right? Wink, wink.
[01:07:15] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[01:07:15] David C. Smalley: So when they want to play that game with me, I'm, I'm no longer going to be this respectful, nice guy. They say, "Oh, I understand you." No, you're taking advantage of people and you're taking their money and you're full of sh*t. So here's what I did. I go, "Oh, the spirits are looking at me right now?" And he goes, "Yeah." And I said, "And they're standing behind Talissa." He said, "They're always with Talissa." And I was like, "All right, cool." I said, "You know, there's been this animal that keeps coming to Talissa." He's like, "Yes, yes." And I said, "Every time she's outside, this animal just comes near her and it's such a beautiful thing and maybe they can tell us what animal that is." And I said, "And by the way, I'm going to make it really easy on your spirits. I'm writing down a word now. It's a word of the animal. And here it is. I wrote it. It's on the notepad. I'm pushing it directly in front of Talissa. It's a three-letter word. Hopefully, your spirits can read. Just have them tell you what the word is I wrote down."
[01:08:09] Jordan Harbinger: Uh-huh.
[01:08:10] David C. Smalley: Immediately starts backtracking. "Well, no, no, no, no, hold on, that's not the way it works. Now, they know you're testing them." Like, "Well, they were laughing at me for being skeptical. Just tell me what the three-letter word is on the notepad, and I'll believe you."
[01:08:20] Jordan Harbinger: She just has really, really petty spirits that want to spite you by not playing along.
[01:08:24] David C. Smalley: Well, yeah. "Now, they're just going to close their eyes and fold their arms." He backpedaled so hard, I feel like we almost lost the connection. He could not make it make sense. He was so angry that when he couldn't do it, we ended up hanging up, he called my publicist and b*tched for like 45 minutes. "How dare you connect me with him? That guy was just there to make me look stupid," and was so angry about it.
[01:08:50] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[01:08:51] David C. Smalley: When all I did was Reverse Uno his BS insult about the spirits laughing at me for being so skeptical. By the way, the word was owl.
[01:08:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, but also, when does, since when does an owl come to you during the day? That's a scary, dangerous rabbit owl, if it's out during the day, flying near humans.
[01:09:06] David C. Smalley: I never said it was during the day.
[01:09:08] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I thought you said every day, this animal, maybe I just misunderstood.
[01:09:10] David C. Smalley: Yeah, every day, I mean, she would leave, and there were a lot of owls around the apartments we were living in, and she would constantly see them flying, so we told him that.
[01:09:17] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, so it wasn't even a lie. That's funny. You know, it makes sense though that a narcissistic type of person would be this kind of scammer because how narcissistic do you have to be to then think, "I am entitled to trick people and also I'm going to do it by claiming I have supernatural powers." I mean, this whole thing is completely—
[01:09:35] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[01:09:35] Jordan Harbinger: —narcissistic and ridiculous in a way. And even if you're self-deluded, right, you believe you have this, it's still narcissistic to think that, "Out of all the billions of people, there's only a handful of us and I'm one of the chosen people who can," I don't know, "read spirits and read people's minds or whatever it is or see the future." There's just something inherently "I'm the main character about that belief.
[01:09:58] David C. Smalley: Mm-hmm.
[01:09:58] Jordan Harbinger: I would never think—
[01:09:59] David C. Smalley: Absolutely.
[01:10:00] Jordan Harbinger: "Oh, I have a special power." I mean, when I was nine, that would have been awesome, but I grew out of that really fast.
[01:10:05] David C. Smalley: Well, there's one more medium I had on.
[01:10:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:10:08] David C. Smalley: She came on claiming she could talk to the dead, and it was shortly after I had gone through a tragic situation where my dad died and then two years later, my son died.
[01:10:18] Jordan Harbinger: I remember that.
[01:10:18] David C. Smalley: And she came on shortly after and was like saying she was speaking to my dad and my son. And that's really hard. Like when you're actually a grieving father, no matter how skeptical you are, it's hard. And that episode is still out there, and you can hear me go, wow, and I would keep going, "You're either the real thing, or you did lots of research on me," right? I kept like—
[01:10:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:10:40] David C. Smalley: —leaving the window open, and then of course, I did like a Patreon-only thing—
[01:10:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:10:43] David C. Smalley: So there was that piece too, but I offered myself up for this. And she knew some very specific things that was, you know, it probably took her a long time to do the research. And then she took some guesses. She talked about my dad collecting things and I said coins. And I thought she told me my dad collected coins, but I went back and listened. I told her coins.
[01:11:01] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[01:11:01] David C. Smalley: You know, so little things like that, and then she's like, "Oh, well, he leaves pennies for you so that he wants you to know he's okay," and you know, things like that.
[01:11:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Because who doesn't find a penny on the ground from time to time, right?
[01:11:14] David C. Smalley: Exactly. Yeah. And also, you may see them all the time and not think about it, but once they put that in your head, you're looking for them. And then, you see them go, "Oh, my son," or, "Oh, my father."
[01:11:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Confirmation bias.
[01:11:24] David C. Smalley: Absolutely.
[01:11:24] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. One time a fake psychic, they're all fake psychics, but a fake psychic told me when the lights flicker, when you go under them, that's your grandmother or grandfather signaling you. And of course, that's classic confirmation bias, is when lights go off when you are near them. And you know, streetlights especially, they overheat. You don't notice the 20,000 times a year where you go under one and it doesn't do anything. You notice the one that goes off when you're under it and you're like, "Holy crap, did I cause that?" And then, for them to say—
[01:11:52] David C. Smalley: Mm-hmm.
[01:11:53] Jordan Harbinger: "That's your grandfather speaking to you." It's like, now you're going to notice it and you're going to think it's supernatural. It's absolutely insane.
[01:11:59] David C. Smalley: Yep.
[01:12:00] Jordan Harbinger: But these things feel so real to people because they're so personal. So we want to believe we have cognitive bias, confirmation bias, whatever it is, involved but, ugh, it's gross to have brought in. I just, imagine bringing up someone's dead son and you're like, "They're totally going to buy this one." Gross, man.
[01:12:15] David C. Smalley: Yeah. Yeah. And again, a lot of it is the Barnum effect. The actual definition of the Barnum effect is the tendency to accept certain information is true such as character assessments or horoscopes even when the information is so vague. It's basically worthless.
[01:12:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:12:32] David C. Smalley: And of course, there's been countless experiments done from professors in psychology. They'll pass out a bunch of horoscopes to people and have them read them, and everyone will think it's so perfect to them, and they'll like rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, and everybody will be like, this is a seven, this is an eight, this is a nine, out of 10. It'll all be the exact same horoscope for everybody.
[01:12:51] Derren Brown did one, that episode, which I actually provided the link in the show notes, where he did horoscope readings for different people all over the world, and these are different groups. Some don't even speak English. He has it translated for some of these clients. They all are interviewed, and they're given a chance to score how accurate it is. Only one guy out of all these groups said it was 40 percent accurate, and that was the lowest number. Everyone else had it anywhere from 75 percent to 99 percent. Some people were crying, they were touched, and then he reveals to them that they all had the exact same reading.
[01:13:25] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow. Just word for word the exact same thing. Unbelievable. So that just shows you how well this fits huge numbers of people when they want it to. How did tarot cards fit into all this?
[01:13:37] David C. Smalley: So, the tarot cards are far more generic. They're supposed to tell you the future and the present, but they don't really confirm or deny things for you.
[01:13:46] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:13:48] David C. Smalley: They can address the past, but it's mostly like, "You have some stuff going on, here's what you should look for in the future." That's primarily what the tarot cards are. So, it's harder to call them on their bullsh*t.
[01:13:59] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:14:00] David C. Smalley: They'll lay cards out and they'll be like, "You're having trouble with a person who has maybe red hair, or blonde hair, or maybe blue eyes, or green eyes, or even gray-colored eyes."
[01:14:08] Jordan Harbinger: They have eyes. Basically, they are a person with eyes.
[01:14:12] David C. Smalley: They have blood in their bodies. It's kind of a cold read, and then the customer digs up their own information. In tarot, they call it fishing.
[01:14:21] Jordan Harbinger: I wonder why.
[01:14:22] David C. Smalley: And in an episode of a UK TV show called the Bullsh*t Investigator.
[01:14:26] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I love that. Right on the nose.
[01:14:28] David C. Smalley: I wish they had that here in America. Maybe, that's what we are. Is that what this show is? Are we the bullsh*t investigators of America?
[01:14:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, but man, I don't want to get blacklisted from iTunes in Dubai, so we can't name the show that.
[01:14:41] David C. Smalley: So, the host gets a tarot read from a woman who says, and this is her actual quote, she says, "The guy I'm talking about either has really, really light hair or really, really dark hair.
[01:14:51] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[01:14:52] David C. Smalley: And she's just watching the body language to see if he reacts to anything, and of course, he's just sitting there stone faced. And if you sit there stone faced, they'll be like, "You're not open minded, you're fighting the spirits." And of course, blame you for their failure. And if you lean into something, or you nod, or you raise your eyebrows, or give them info, then they're just off to the races.
[01:15:09] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, so the cards, just like a crystal ball, or some tea leaves, or whatever other prop, is just a vehicle, it sounds, for the same cold read. that you'd get without a prop, or a similar cold read that you would get without a prop. Also, it seems like it would become, it would serve as a magical item or a token of some kind, which adds to the mystique, right? These are ancient tarot cards. This deck was given to me—
[01:15:32] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[01:15:33] Jordan Harbinger: —by my great grandfather, who was a witch, whatever. And also maybe, I'm thinking it also serves to distract the mark from noticing what's going on, right? So I'm looking at the cards because I'm the mark. And the psychic is looking at my body and my non-verbal cues, so I'm less prone to notice them observing me like a hawk because I'm staring down at these cards.
[01:15:51] David C. Smalley: Right, and the cards are beautiful, by the way. They're very well designed. I don't know if you've ever taken a look at a deck closely but they are.
[01:15:58] Jordan Harbinger: I remember seeing them on TV because the psychic commercials, and they would lay down, they'd be like, "The three of cups, the joker—'"
[01:16:04] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[01:16:04] Jordan Harbinger: And then, the woman who's dressed now clownishly, like an 1850s gypsy who you can never put this on TV now, right? This is like the psychic.
[01:16:12] David C. Smalley: Right.
[01:16:13] Jordan Harbinger: In fact, I think we say Roma now, but is dressed and she's got the tarot cards in her crystal ball in front of it, yes, so yes, I've seen those.
[01:16:20] David C. Smalley: Yeah, so they're very exotic. They're very sexy. They're very well done, especially if you add to it, you know the pass down from my grandmother who was a witch or whatever but also they're participating because you make them like shuffle and then they have to cut the cards while they are thinking about What they want to address.
[01:16:39] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:16:39] David C. Smalley: Like I want relationship advice, I want career advice or whatever, they're now Participating in their own deception.
[01:16:48] Jordan Harbinger: Gotcha. Okay, interesting.
[01:16:49] David C. Smalley: Yeah. So one of the guys doing a reading on that same show is doing a reading for a 42-year-old man, and he says, "I'm seeing that you've had an issue with a woman in your past."
[01:16:59] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Talk about specifics. Now, that's taken a chance. No women in my past actually. Well, yeah, of course. Anybody with that amount of life experience, even if they are gay as a Christmas tree in Paris, they're going to have had an issue with a woman at some point in the last 42 years. Right?
[01:17:14] David C. Smalley: Exactly. Yeah.
[01:17:16] Jordan Harbinger: So I'm assuming the cards have actual meanings. At least, they look like they have meanings.
[01:17:19] David C. Smalley: Yeah, so the Insider did a cover piece on tarot cards and they basically say, and I'm quoting from this article, "Tarot cards don't tell you the future, they show you the present with greater clarity and distance. So you have a better understanding of your choices and their possible outcomes." That's a quote from Mark Horn, who's the author of Tarot and the Gates of Light: A Kabbalistic Path to Liberation.
[01:17:44] Jordan Harbinger: That's a mouthful.
[01:17:45] David C. Smalley: Yeah, who's been reading tarot for more than 50 years, and he studied many of the world's leading tarot teachers. If you're newly interested in tarot cards, and this is from the article, "It says it can feel overwhelming to decide on a deck, but don't feel like you have to go with the trendiest one. In a tarot deck, there are 78 cards based on the four elements and divided into cups, pentacles, swords, and wands. And this leaves a lot of room for a creative interpretation." To me, sounds like a lot of D & D.
[01:18:13] Jordan Harbinger: Right, Magic the Gathering. Sounds like B & S to me.
[01:18:17] David C. Smalley: Now, I don't think you want me to sit here and go through all the meanings of each card.
[01:18:21] Jordan Harbinger: No. We're good on that.
[01:18:21] David C. Smalley: But just know that the exact opposite of whatever it means could also be the card, meaning if the card is upside down or reversed.
[01:18:30] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, right. "So this means, you're going to be sick soon. Oh, wait. No, just kidding. It's upside down. You're going to be healthy soon."
[01:18:35] David C. Smalley: "Oh, this was upside down. I placed it wrong." You go, "That's not true." "No, no, no. I placed it wrong. The opposite is true." And by the way, if you've been paying attention, what happens when none of it makes sense?
[01:18:45] Jordan Harbinger: Then, it's my fault, obviously.
[01:18:47] David C. Smalley: That'll be $200, Jordan.
[01:18:49] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Speaking of that, I'm curious how much psychics and tarot readers and mediums are making these days. I'm afraid to call these places. There's actually one a block away from me and it says tarot and psychic.
[01:19:01] David C. Smalley: Hmm.
[01:19:01] Jordan Harbinger: And I've been so tempted to walk in and be like, how much does it cost? Something tells me they don't just have a set price and they'll just start high and negotiate. Something just tells me.
[01:19:10] David C. Smalley: Assuming they're reporting all their income because we know they're the most honest bunch of humans.
[01:19:15] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:19:16] David C. Smalley: Psychics make between 43,000 or 66,000 a year, depending on which state they're in.
[01:19:22] Jordan Harbinger: So $200,000 a year. Wow.
[01:19:24] David C. Smalley: Yeah, probably. I think my favorite debunking of a psychic ever is a guy who walks around Hollywood and he's like just holds his phone for like Instagram or TikTok. He walks around Hollywood and he hides behind the corner of like one of those psychic shops where they're just like sitting in the window, like waiting, and like the windows open or like the gates are up. And he just jumps around the corner and scares the sh*t out of him. Like he screams. And he's just like, ah, and they scream and then they start yelling at him to leave. And he's like, "Oh, I figured you would have seen that coming."
[01:19:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Hilarious, but also well deserved.
[01:19:57] David C. Smalley: Right.
[01:19:58] Jordan Harbinger: So realistically, how many of these people do you think, which sort of touched on this earlier, how many, what percentage know that it's fake and they do it anyway, versus those who honestly believe it's real? I mean, look, cognitive bias is a hell of a drug. There's for sure plenty of people, even some listening right now, who are thinking, "I am not a con, I have special powers, this is real, and they honestly believe that it is.
[01:20:20] David C. Smalley: Yeah, and we're probably going to hear from them, for sure. And I think we should invite them on. I don't know if you're okay with having guests on this version of the show, but I say if someone says they can demonstrate the powers. I say we give them a chance. That's my vote.
[01:20:32] Jordan Harbinger: I'm not saying no. I'm not saying no. If we find one that's good and not just a time wasting attention or type of person, man or woman, then attention or then they can maybe we'll do something where we do a segment with them and we shred what they're doing.
[01:20:47] David C. Smalley: And it's a great question because I know they're listening and they're probably going to write in very upset with us. But yeah, I've definitely met people in both camps, people who know, and people who honestly believe that they have these powers. And that's always the tough part of this, right? You don't want to go after someone or insult that person as being a charlatan if they actually believe that they're doing something It's all about the intent, right? And I'd say pretty much all of the high profile TV psychics They know it's fake.
[01:21:11] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:21:11] David C. Smalley: Because they have to run a business. You know how it is being a public personality with shows and a staff and crew and writers.
[01:21:18] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:21:18] David C. Smalley: I mean, it's it's a lot you have to run a business. You have to get a publicist You get told what to say and what not to say. You get caught and have to backtrack. They do research beforehand to blow people's minds. They're putting on a show. It's like Criss Angel or David Copperfield or Penn & Teller. They get caught applying the sort of same techniques or saying the same things over and over and doing that cold reading nonsense with the M or J and multiple different videos. They use the same sort of standard wide net casting, the John Edward types or Sylvia Browne types or the Miss Cleo types.
[01:21:49] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[01:21:49] David C. Smalley: We all know they're taking advantage of people. And they know that they're taking advantage of people, but your aunt, with all the blue jewelry and beads hanging in the doorway as she burns incense wearing a transparent shawl, she believes her amethyst and tarot cards are going to change her life.
[01:22:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And look, your aunt probably isn't charging you 500 bucks for your reading, or maybe she is, but like you mentioned earlier, the people who are preying on the most vulnerable people, they definitely know what they're doing is wrong.
[01:22:15] David C. Smalley: Yeah, it's so bad, Jordan. The AARP has had to send out a warning to their members explaining that a New Jersey man was in his 50s was having problems at work and in February he turned to a psychic for help. And then during their first meeting, the psychic read tarot cards and then peppered him with personal questions that led him to a second costlier session at which she uttered this ominous warning, "You have a curse. It might be devastating for your family. It has to be removed immediately." Next thing you know, she's asking him to bring $9,000 in a pillowcase and nine white roses and nine red roses and some magnets. And she told him she would perform some rituals and then give him the $9,000 back.
[01:22:59] Jordan Harbinger: And a gallon of skim milk, actually make it two percent.
[01:23:02] David C. Smalley: And could you pick up my dry clean?
[01:23:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, and there's some dry cleaning. It's been a while and I've got a couple of things in my UPS box.
[01:23:12] David C. Smalley: And they write in the article, "Yearning for the bad karma to disappear, the man did, as he was instructed, scraping together enough money from friends and family in a rainy day fund."
[01:23:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[01:23:23] David C. Smalley: "And an account earmarked for his son's college education."
[01:23:28] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[01:23:29] David C. Smalley: He got the money together, and then he says that his repeated attempts to get the money back from the psychic have not yielded a dime. And police refused to pursue the matter because the man willingly handed the money over.
[01:23:39] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:23:39] David C. Smalley: And about five months after he gave her the $9,000, he lost his job in IT as part of a pandemic-related layoff, and he's now very strapped for money. So the AARP now has a toll-free Fraud Watch Network Helpline. So if you suspect someone in your family has been taken advantage of or is a victim of fraud, I'm going to give you the number now, so pause, write it down, whatever the phone number is 877-908-3360, 877-908-3360.
[01:24:11] Jordan Harbinger: You know it's bad when a company that offers services to seniors has to dedicate a helpline just for fraud.
[01:24:17] David C. Smalley: Yeah, it's pretty bad. That same article also says that a 54-year-old woman in Canada lost 24,000 to a psychic who promised to connect her with a loved one who had passed away. A 73-year-old man in Washington state lost huge money to a psychic in hopes of winning back an ex-girlfriend. The spiritualist not only took his money, but had him charge expensive jewelry that he gave the psychic to present to the man's lost love. The woman, of course, never got the gifts—
[01:24:47] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:24:47] David C. Smalley: —nor did she ever reconcile with him, and now practically broke, he's completely saddled with the credit card bills for all the jewelry. There was a 72-year-old woman in Seattle who gave $20,000 to a psychic for information about a new relationship, and when she complained to the police, they refused to follow up on her case.
[01:25:03] So overall, look, I'll just leave you with this. If you're looking to have a little fun and you want to do a reading for entertainment, just know that that's what it is. But if you're looking for actual answers to life's greatest problems, please see a secular licensed therapist.
[01:25:19] Jordan Harbinger: Or some approximation thereof.
[01:25:22] Thank you very much, David.
[01:25:23] David C. Smalley: Thanks for having me.
[01:25:26] Jordan Harbinger: You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show, about a guy who went from Nigerian royalty to the rugged streets of the Bronx. Remi Adeleke's life was thrown into chaos after a corrupt government stripped his family of their legacy. Dive deep into his captivating journey from being surrounded by drugs and drive-bys to his inspiring pursuit to become a US Navy SEAL, even though he didn't know how to swim. But that's not all, Remi's fight is far from over as he confronts the dark underworld of human trafficking and illegal organ harvesting.
[01:25:53] Remi Adeleke: There's a saying in Nigeria, "Every day is for the thief." Corruption was my dad's demise. They knew that my father would not stop fighting them. They killed my dad. I went from riches and wealth to the Bronx, man, and it was really, really rough.
[01:26:11] Once you make the decision to join the Navy, in my opinion, you're giving up any fear of death. One day, I got approached by another human trafficking non-profit that actually employed former SEALs and former agency guys to go to other countries to rescue kids trapped in sex trafficking, but specifically kids who are being purchased by Americans. When I got down there, my eyes were just, like, opened fully, and I just remember being appalled. The parents would sell their daughters to traffickers in the North. I just remember being disgusted. It's such a global issue. But human trafficking is a blanket term under human trafficking, you have sex trafficking, you have organ harvesting, you have forced marriage, you have forced labor.
[01:26:54] You know, I made the film in order to be able to expose more people to this atrocity of organ harvesting. But the perception of these traffickers is that they're these scraggly, evil-looking, uneducated, you know, on-the-corner type people and the reality is the majority of people involved on the organ harvesting side of things are highly educated, learned people. The truth needs to get out there.
[01:27:22] Jordan Harbinger: To uncover what drives the man who refuses to be defeated, check out episode 868 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:27:30] Thank you once again to all of you who suggested this topic. Really fun to create and record. I hope you all enjoyed it. You can email me your suggestions, firstname.lastname@example.org. Give us your thoughts. A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram or connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find David Smalley at @DavidCSmalley on all his social media platforms, at davidcsmalley.com, or better yet on his podcast The David C Smalley Show. Links to all that in the show notes as well.
[01:27:59] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer, so do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love, and if you found the episode useful, please share it with somebody else who needs to hear it. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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