Psychics and other people who claim to have supernatural powers represent a controversial topic in society. On one hand, there are a lot of people who believe in their effectiveness and who consult them on different matters. On the other hand, there is a continued questioning of whether psychics are all scammers and whether the people who believe in them are more naive.
First of all, how many individuals believe in the paranormal? 9% of Americans believe in channeling, that a spirit can take possession of the body. 21% believe that people can communicate with the dead. 41% believe in ESP (Extrasensory perception) and astounding 55% believe in psychic healing. These are pretty sizable percentages and show the different reasons for why people might go to a psychic. People usually want to communicate with spirits of loved ones, know their future, receive counseling for their decision or receive a healing from a problem medicine can’t solve. In general, it can be seen that around half of Americans, at least, hold some belief in the supernatural and believe that a psychic might give them some guidance to solve their problem.
There are few studies about psychics’ effectiveness done by psychic supporters, are claimed to be often having design flaws. James Randi, a man notorious for his debunking efforts towards psychics and individuals who claim to have supernatural powers, has been offering one million dollars to anyone who can prove their occult abilities under scientific observation. However, nobody has claimed the prize, though some have tried to. There are even psychic-detectives who help the police solve cases. While there have been some accurate predictions, some argue, these were usually vague enough to fit under many different circumstances.
However, this raises the question if psychics offer uncertain results that can be often attributed to the placebo effect or to more coincidence, then why a great number of people turn to them.
First of all, the idea of a certain afterlife and the idea of someone being able to read the future are comforting. They assure the person that their existence continues and that there is something more in their daily life.
An important aspect is that psychics offer the person a sense of control. If one can hear what’s going to happen in the future, they can prepare for it. If one can talk to the dead, they can better deal with the aftermath of a loss, solve an unresolved matter. Studies show that people begin to believe more in the power of precognition when they are going through uncertain times. On the other hand, those who believe in precognition or future telling feel that they have more control over their lives. So psychics might offer the person a sense of control over the uncontrollable – the future, mortality and other similar matters.
In general, people are oriented towards the future and towards keeping control. We dislike doubt and have some trouble dealing with ambiguity. However, both these things are unavoidable in life. Psychics promise us something we crave – knowledge of things we can’t know about, such as the afterlife and what fate has in store for us. It can be said that psychics address a natural need for knowledge, information, prediction and control.
Some argue that psychics answer to natural human needs. Usually people find it hard to deal with ambiguity and the uncertainty of life’s many mysteries, so they settle for answers that are not fully accurate, but are comforting. Though, one may ask that if the psychic industry is really popular, then is there really nothing to it?
In conclusion, many, as much as half of the American population believe in some sort of paranormal phenomena. Though there is no scientific evidence yet to supports that psychics have the supernatural abilities that they claim to possess, still many turn to them for comfort, control and hope.