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PALM LATITUDES

L.A. SPEAK : Fake Psychics

July 31, 1994|Jerry Dunn

boilerplate n .: general information, accurate for almost anyone, used to buy time while the "psychic" sizes up the client. An example: "I can see that things haven't been progressing as rapidly as you desire."

bomb n .: prediction almost certain to come true, prompting the gullible to remember it with awe. "I left a bomb in her lap: 'You will travel across a large body of water.' "

lay out land mines: to suggest a variety of situations to see which ones make a client react.

missile n .: a guess about a client that proves to be a dead-on hit. "When I said, 'Your husband is a cross-dresser,' it was a missile. "

psychic cruiser n .: a repeat client who enjoys a buzz from an encounter with the unknown.

shut-eye n .: a true believer in psychic marvels; also a reader who believes what he does is real. "I worked the Psychic Fair last weekend, and it was crawling with shut-eyes. "

spook worker n. : a fake medium.

Travis Bickle n .: frustrated, angry male client who must be handled carefully; from Robert De Niro's role in "Taxi Driver." "I told that Travis Bickle that life had dealt him a bad hand, but that everything will get better if he works at it."

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