Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ESP: Equines, Suckers and Psychics at the Midwest Horse Fair

My very snarky blog about the "animal communicator" Asia Voight has just been featured on Snarkyrider. It describes how self-proclaimed psychic Asia Voight charges people a ton of money, and in return, tells them very little. Here's what got left out due to technical difficulties: video footage of Asia actually performing psychic readings for members of the audience at the Midwest Horse Fair.

Here are some things I'd like you to pay attention to:

Each participant fills out a form with the details of her horse's life, including age, breed, name, etc. Shouldn't Asia be able to psychically get this info herself?

Asia's readings begin and end with generalizations, and rely heavily on the owners to fill in the gaps of what she isn't describing. Each one contains yet another "sell" for Asia's services or products.

Sasha: First Asia connects with the horse, mentioning that she will teach people to do this during her classes. She says the horse doesn't know what to do. She mimics movements like head-flipping, sighing, stomping, etc. She says there's a communication problem. Then she gets Sasha's owner to talk about Sasha's life. Asia ends by simply relaying the owner's messages, and expressing sympathy.

Athena: Asia sees that the situation is serious enough to warrant an owner and trainer coming to see her, and also learns that the horse in question is a Thoroughbred. Taking her cue from these facts, Asia says Athena "wants to run." Gee, a Throughbred with training problems-- not hard to guess that the horse is hot, fast, forward, nervous. Asia recommends "more exercise," a nice general panacea. Then, once again, the owners fill Asia in on the horse's background, after which Asia tells them that she'd "love to have a full conversation" with them and the horse in the future, referring to her services again. Asia uses the thoroughbred's past to elaborate on her "wants to run" vision. The horse has been emotionally scarred by being cooped up in a box stall for years, and the solution is more turnout, psychologically reassuring the mare that she won't be caged again.

Asia Voight tells people that they are not average, they are exceptional, and that they can become horse whisperers on par with with top trainers in minutes. She encourages people to believe that they can have an incredible bond with their animals, even to the point of hearing their horse say "I love you." She encourages the anthropomorphization of animals by telling people what they've always hoped to hear: that horses can be reasoned with just like people, that they share their owners' fears, hopes and dreams. No wonder people love Asia Voight-- they so badly want to believe that everything she says is true!

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