Maybe a friend accompanied him on a visit to South Bainbridge and then unwittingly passed on information to Smith. One could position oneself outside a window and hear Josiah telling his son about various changes made to the farm.If Smith used a form of “hot reading” with Stowell, he would not be the first, nor would he be the last, psychic to do so.
on account of having heard that he possessed certain keys, by which he could discern things invisible to the natural eye.” The young scryer was invited to Simpson’s house to provide the old gentleman with a demonstration of his gift.The fifty-five-year-old father had just spent the previous summer with other men in northeastern Pennsylvania digging for a lost Spanish mine which a seeress named Odle had located.Neither the mine nor its treasure was discovered, but the stubborn Presbyterian from New Hampshire refused to abandon the hunt—his faith in scrying remaining strong.If Smith provided descriptions that were rather unspecific and then let Stowell provide the details, this would have been consistent with the tradition of palm readers and others.
However, the effect can be accomplished by exploiting information that is obtained from a third party or by eavesdropping.This is called a “hot reading” and it may lie behind much of what people assumed was Smith’s clairvoyance both in his formative years and occasionally thereafter. Bennett, who in the early 1840s occupied a place of importance in the Latter-day Saint church, the prophet used such a technique in Nauvoo.