How do psychics work? How do they manage to convince people that they are receiving messages from “the other side”, from loved ones who wish to communicate or console?
One traditional explanation involves conspiracies and hidden associates. Perhaps the client has their pocket picked before the seance and thus the medium gains prior information which she or he then uses as the basis of the purported communications.
I have found a book that explains a different strategy called cold reading, in which the “psychic” knows nothing in advance, has no accomplice, but simply uses a set of interconnected psychological strategies to draw information out of the client, and to take the session in the direction that they require.
The book is by a stage magician called Ian Rowland and is available from his web site. The site itself is interesting and covers a range of related topics.