Watch Orson Welles Explain Cold Reading, the Trick Used by 'Psychics'

Orson Welles was not only an amateur magician, he was a man who appreciated fakery of all kinds. One of his final films was F Is for Fake, about art forgery. During his late career, he appeared on or narrated multiple television specials about magic or alleged supernatural phenomena.

So it's no surprised he'd have an interest in psychics. Or, I should say, "psychics." Psychics claim to read minds or speak to the dead, but what they are really doing is reading their client. It's a technique called "cold reading." The only question is whether any given psychic believes his or her own BS or not.

In 1970, long before cold reading became, as it is today, a well-understood technique for "fortune telling" trickery, Orson Welles appeared on The David Frost Show and explained how he, Welles, came to understand cold reading. Not only understand it, but practice it.