It’s not all a scam, sir

A recent New York Times article under the Crime Scene section about psychic frauds was posted. [Read the article here]. In the article a “psychic”, Celia Mitchell confesses that the whole psychic business is fake, saying “It’s a scam, sir”. A statement  made to the parole board, mind you, so you can assume she is saying whatever she think she needs for her freedom.

Mitchell and a group of other “psychics” are serving time in jail for grand larceny. These women ripped off thousands of dollars of their customers. This is sadly a typical story that is heard too often in the news. Someone visits a psychic and due to some bad karma, or negative force this person will not find happiness. This is unless however they do XY and Z and shell out cash to fix this problem.

In this article, another convicted women says she started reading tarot cards, saying they were useless when asked, agreeing that it is just telling a story, making stuff up and lying. While such news articles help make the general population more aware of the fraudsters out on the streets (and internet), reports like this make it difficult for honest working psychic and tarot readers.

Honest working readers have faced discrimination when conducting legitimate business. As you can read here and here from fellow reader Jenna Matlin, she was denied participation in a community festival. There are other risks, such as being denied merchant services (credit card processing) along with other services. Why is it so? Because, only the bad things are reported and that is what influences the general population’s attitude towards our business.

It is very important that people are made aware of frauds, education is important. It is the same with any profession, selecting a doctor, car mechanic, electrician and so forth. We want to know who to look for and who to avoid.

This topic also brings up the subject of magic and spellcasting. These women would use tarot as a way to rope people in and give them bad news. Then, to fix it they would offer various magical spells to fix the problem. There are legitimate spellcasters (conjurors) who do offer magical services, offering magical help after a reading does not automatically spell out fraud.

While I cannot speak for psychics, I can speak on Tarot (Yes, there is a difference, read here). Tarot is not just “making stuff up and lying”. Tarot is a tool for change and empowerment along with authentic fortune telling. An ethical reader would never swindle thousands of dollars from a person. Nor make outrageous promises to them. Ethical readers have their clients best interest at heart, they read tarot because they want to make a difference in someone else’s life.

When I started reading tarot for others I did it pro bono, on a free reading site. I read for people around the world, helping others and receiving no compensation, just the gratitude of my clients. My fees are low so that anyone can have the ability to receive a reading. The readers I know of and myself are not rich folk, we do not read tarot for the goal of becoming wealthy. The readers I know and myself attend Tarot conferences, where we learn tarot, network and have fun. We invest a lot of our time and money into learning how to read tarot, these women in the article, did not. They do not reflect me or my community.

Do not get it twisted, when that woman said, “It’s all a scam, sir, ” she was not speaking for me, nor the readers I know. She is speaking for herself and her fellow convicts who operated as fake psychics. Know the difference, be educated and quick your readers carefully. If something feels fishy, follow your gut.




The recipient of Tarosophist of the Year 2011, Angelo Nasios is a rising voice in the tarot community. Angelo is known for his popular YouTube channel in which he produces educational tarot videos. Tarot: Unlocking the Arcana, Angelo’s first book will be released by Schiffer Publishing.

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