Man can ‘read minds’


Pick a card, any card, from men­tal­ist Robert Ha­ley’s deck and he will be able to tell you which one it is.

I was scep­ti­cal at first, but de­cided to give it a go. If he got it wrong I would have the sat­is­fac­tion of be­ing able to say I had out-men­talised the men­tal­ist.

Barely a minute af­ter the card was in my hand, Ha­ley had cor­rectly guessed it was the queen of hearts.

Ha­ley does not use sleight of hand, or hide a card up his sleeve. He guesses your card based on a se­ries of ques­tions and state­ments and your re­sponse.

‘‘Do you like red or black?’’, ‘‘There are num­ber cards and face cards’’, ‘‘King, queen, jack’’.

I did not even need to re­spond ver­bally. Ap­par­ently my face told the story.

While I still main­tain I did not change my ex­pres­sion, ob­vi­ously to a trained observer I blinked at the right moment.

Ha­ley has been work­ing full time as a men­tal­ist in New Zealand and overseas for four years. He said he be­came in­ter­ested in it af­ter do­ing magic tricks for a few years.

‘‘I started do­ing magic and loved the tricks where you lay three ob­jects in front of peo­ple,’’ he said.

‘‘Sta­tis­ti­cally they are go­ing to go for a cer­tain one. I started get­ting into that. I then read a book on fa­cial ex­pres­sions and body card tricks. One time I had lost the card so on the spur of the moment I told them to think about the card and make a pic­ture of it. ‘‘I then asked them lots of ques­tions. I got close and was really im­pressed with my­self.

‘‘Now I have done the card thing about 2000 times in the last few years.’’

His new show, Elixir, opens at Bats The­atre this week.

‘‘In my pre­vi­ous show, Mind Reader, I would in­vite peo­ple on stage and read their minds us­ing my tech­niques.

‘‘ Elixir is very dif­fer­ent in that I will get peo­ple to come up on stage and they will be the mind read­ers. They will also be able do some weird and won­der­ful things.’’

He said some au­di­ence mem­bers came along specif­i­cally to prove him wrong.

‘‘There’s a cer­tain psy­cho­log­i­cal type, pre­dom­i­nantly men, who come to prove that you’re not go­ing to read them,’’ he said.

‘‘They nor­mally say that you have done some­thing there. They are al­ways way off.

‘‘I had some­one ac­cuse me last year of putting mi­cro­scopic cam­eras through­out the venue and wear­ing an ear­piece, like I had un­lim­ited re­sources to set cam­eras up in all of the 150 shows a year I do.’’


Mind-read­ing: Men­tal­ist Robert Ha­ley with his box of se­cret elixirs.

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