In 2014, an English waiter had a dream that his manager won a boatload of money. At his urging, the man bought a ticket and the pair eventually won €1.7 million.
This year, a New Jersey man hit his state lottery’s jackpot twice in six months (totaling over $1 million), which a psychic had predicted beforehand.
In Thailand, countless people flock to a deadly-accident prone stretch of road in hopes spirits will give them a glimpse of winning lottery numbers.
Taking advantage of psychic abilities to win at gambling or the stock market only seems like a natural use of the skill. But other than generic hints that you might win a lot of money, how could a psychic (especially those with remote viewing capability) be able to use their abilities to break the house, and how often does it occur?
What Remote Viewing Is
Perhaps the most useful psychic ability in regards to gambling is remote viewing (or RV). Sometimes also called ESP (extrasensory perception), RV is essentially seeing and being able to describe unseen objects using only the mind.
While proof of remote viewing has been much debated, in theory it would allow a gambler to see what face down cards the dealer has in blackjack or baccarat, what their opponents are holding in poker, and similar.
The term does not extend to being able to tell the future, meaning remote viewing wouldn’t be much use to a psychic playing roulette, craps, or slots.
Is Remote Viewing Real?
Various governments and labs around the world have invested significant amounts of money and time into examining if remote viewing is a provable phenomenon.
One of the longest and most famous government-run research programs on RV was the United States’ Stargate Project (which the book and movie The Men Who Stare At Goats is loosely based on).
In 1978, the Army began to investigate remote viewing and how it could be used for intelligence purposes. Based on the data released after the program was ended in 1995, errors were abundant throughout the experiments, as was evidence that the information could have been easily manipulated.
While most critics panned everything about the project, one researcher on a review panel noted that some of the study’s subjects scores were statistically significant in favor of ESP. and “far beyond what is expected by chance”.
The program was shut down later that year (presumably not because researchers went to take what they learned to the blackjack table).
In 2001, the UK government also conducted their own research, reaching a similar conclusion. There were so few incidences of correct viewing among the 18 participants that enough data wasn’t produced to analyze, and the project was shut down.
Successful Applications in Gambling?
But even despite what the research seems to suggest, many continue to claim they are capable of remote viewing and that they use the skill for profit.
Two of these proclaimers were in fact researchers involved with Stargate. After leaving the project, Russell Targ and Harry Puthoff formed a psychic services company called Delphi Associates.
In a series of remote viewing tests that involved Targ or Puthoff sensing where in the city the other was for the day, then placing a corresponding bet on the futures market (sensing they were at the San Francisco Wharf meant a bet on the market going down, at Transamerica Skyscraper a bet on it going up).
The pair claimed they made nine out of 10 clients serious money doing this and also that they later raised $25,000 to start a private school by using the method.
Other proclamations of using RV in gambling describe using a technique that crosses over into Law of Attraction territory.
That is, visualize the amount of money you want to win, how it would make you feel, what you would do with it, then go gamble.
Like RV itself, visualization and positive affirmation techniques like this are largely anecdotal, subject to confirmation bias, and also a difficult thing to replicate in a controlled environment. That said, there are plenty of remote viewing books, audio tapes, and online services claiming that you too can use RV to win big.
We asked Tom T. Moore, an expert in self-help and psychic phenomena and author of The Gentle Way, about the scientific evidence behind psychic skills. He said, “I’ve been told in my meditative state that scientists will one day in the future discover that the Pineal Gland in the back of our heads acts as an antenna for all sorts of messages–these can be thoughts from a loved one or great friend–or it can be what is termed “psychic” messages from the spirit world.”
Unfortunately, skeptics require more evidence than a vision from a meditation…
The Not So Million Dollar Questions
The trump card question for critics of remote viewing always seems to be: ‘if psychic powers are a real thing, why haven’t the Edgar Cayce-s, Miss Cleos (RIP), and other famous psychics used their powers to win enough money that they no longer need to offer their services.
Many claim using powers for personal gain is strictly taboo for psychics (which makes one wonder what charging $6.99 per minute on a psychic reading phone line counts as).
A quick Google search reveals a slew of other reasons, from a loss of powers due to the bad karma, to RVers saying they can only visualize what might happen (isn’t that everyone?), to even that it could endanger your life, as in the case of the Thai man that was murdered in 2014 after winning lottery numbers reportedly came to him during meditation.
Except for maybe that last reason, to the non-paranormal among us, this question remains as big a mystery as remote viewing itself.