I've only just started this book but its already confusing me.
Richard Wiseman gives some examples of lucky people including a few people who've won large amounts in lotteries more than once, e.g. Donald Smith winning $250,000 three times in the Wisconsin State Lottery (May '93, June '94, July '95) or Evelyn Marie Adams winning $4 million then four months later another $1.5 million in the New Jersey Lottery.
He then attracts a load of people who consider themselves either lucky or unlucky to do an experiment with the UK National Lottery.
The idea is to see if they are lucky because they are "psychic".
The outcome is that of the 700 who take part only 36 win anything in the week of the experiment. These people are evenly distributed between the "lucky" and the "unlucky" groups. His conclusion is that being lucky has nothing to with being psychic.
My conclusion is different. In fact this experiment seems to show that feeling lucky is not at all the same as being lucky!
And as for psychic... my experience of precognition is that you can rarely choose to know on demand... and also for something like this which is not a matter or life or death... it would be very unusual to know it as far in advance as his experiment required (several days). Maybe he is being mislead by the media image of super psychics (who are mostly faking it) and not the real experience of everyday psychics (who are mostly hiding it or denying it - see Leah's Dream, Dream, Dream :-).
He is also ignoring another type of potential psychic power - telekinesis - people with this might well be very "lucky" when not in competition with each other but for something like this where they picked their own numbers they are likely to cancel each other out. I used to know someone who was more than usually lucky with dice... even when someone else was throwing...
Wiseman also seems to be assuming something I really wouldn't. He says:
Everyone would have been highly motivated to win.I don't think so. Again I think this would only apply to the media image of a psychic; the sort that makes their living from persuading other people to think they are psychic, playing to the gallery. Several times whilst getting random quotes I've had this one:
Here's something to think about:And each time I've thought only an idiot would want to advertise that they'd won it psychically! But then I'm not interested in fame; especially not the sort of fame that would have all the sceptics onto you straight away trying to prove you weren't psychic...
How come you never see a headline like:
Psychic Wins Lottery?
Jay Leno (1950 - )
And if you are wondering why I do consider myself to be somewhat psychic, especially with respect to precognition (but alas not, so far, lottery tickets), here are some examples:
I've known in advance about several people being about to die. For instance, one of our doctors, my mother, an aunt. Also about several accidents and other unpleasant things that unfortunately have also occurred.
On the more positive side I've dreamt I'd be given money and the next day was unexpectely given some by a stranger. And in turn I've happened to impulsively give a present to someone and then discover its their birthday. I've known I'd bump into someone I hadn't seen for ages and done just that. Etc.
I've not always got it right though... For instance, the night that I was sitting up in bed writing away.... I'm going to die... Jim's going to die... Someone is going to die... for hours.
This is not a normal occupation for me; I hadn't done it before and I've not done it since.
It was only much later the next day, the Sunday, that I found out that Princess Diana and Dodi had died and that I had been writing like this at the time of their car crash.
As I'd no special interest in Princess Diana I'm not at all surprised I didn't get this one right.. and in any case I'd kept on writing Die... not death or dying... and all the papers called her Di... hard to tell the difference between those two as sounds isn't it?
Sorry, to have gone all morbid... lets get back to luck.
I've been really interested in how luck works. One experiment I've been running has been with the Premium Bonds. Jim and I started off with the same number of these. He is a fairly steady winner... £50 at a time, sometimes £100, once £150... whilst I am not, however I did once win £600 one month and £350 another... we are the proverbial tortoise and hare... he is the steady one and I have sudden bursts, and like the tortoise he is winning - just!
What sort of luck do you have?
I forgot a relevant synchronicity.... yesterday Jim had said we might as well stop keeping our savings in the premium bonds as they'd be earning a lot more in the high-rate savings accounts now available... when I complained because it would spoil my experiment he said all we need is one.... later on whilst reading the Morse book of the moment Lewis says his wife has just won £50 with the premium bonds which is especially lucky as she just has the one. One Won!