Monday, July 30, 2007

Why don't you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

Who's asking: James and Sara, Virginia Beach, VA

My brother James and his girlfriend Sara sent me a list of silly questions for the last week of the blog -- I almost chose to answer "What color do bald men put on their drivers' licenses?", but wasn't brave enough to ask any of my bald friends. (I believe that "none" is an option, but I also used to date a man whose hair was almost completely white, but still listed "brown" on his license because he could find a few dark brown strands if he looked hard enough. My own license lists my hair color as "blond," which is, to put it kindly, whimsical.)

Anyway, the obvious answer to this question is that all psychics are frauds, and that's why they don't win the lottery. Obvious, but too simple for me. The thing is, while most professional psychics are frauds, I'm perfectly willing to accept the possibility of extrasensory perception, telepathy, precognition and clairvoyance.

I think humans have all kinds of powers we no longer use, as our everyday lives no longer require them. These powers are perfectly natural, for the most part -- observations, intuitions, and deductions that happen below our consciousness. My mother was uncanny in her perceptions, but whether that was psychic power or just a combination of hyperintelligence and hawklike attention, I couldn't say. Does it matter? People don't pay enough attention to each other, as a rule; anyone who makes a concerted effort to pay attention to what people are saying and not saying could probably make a living as a psychic.

But that's telepathy, and telepathy is no help with lottery numbers. The lottery would require precognition, and even the most ardent defenders of psychics will admit that precognition is a low-percentage activity. Even people who claim powers of precognition don't pretend to be able to control it, and one of its prerequisites seems to be that it can't be used for one's own gain. A psychic might have a premonition that someone will win the lottery, but still wouldn't be able to see the numbers on the winning ticket.

I will go out on a limb and fearlessly predict that I will not win the lottery this week. The fact that I don't plan to buy a lottery ticket this week probably has something to do with this.


Anna said...

Do you remember when I worked at CSBS and had that dream of the pipeline fire, only to turn on the tv to try to rid myself of those images and saw live video of a pipeline fire in NJ AND it was my friend Adrienne's apartment? When I finally got a hold of her later that day her response was "Cool. What are tomorrow's lottery numbers?" Unfortunately I wasn't experiencing PREcognition. What good is that?!!?

Anonymous said...

In yesterday's Parade magazine Marilyn Vos Savant published her annual list of silly questions including, "When I dream, why don’t I need my glasses to see?"


AnswerGirl said...

Anna, that's a classic example of clairvoyance -- I do remember when that happened. It seems to me that clairvoyance is the worst of all worlds, because it's information without the ability to do anything about it.

And Larry, don't mention that woman (aka That Smug Bitch, (c)2005 Tod Goldberg) in this space. For more on the subject, visit

Anonymous said...

Thanks Clair. Enlightenment is a good thing.