Fascinating piece here
Professional pickpocket Apollo Robbins has an uncanny ability to control minds. He can manipulate people to an extraordinary degree, drawing their attention away from his thieving hands as he purloins watches and wallets in plain sight. These days, Robbins gives his ill-gotten gains back – he has given up a life of crime to become an entertainer – but most of his victims still have no idea they’ve been robbed until it’s too late.
Watching Robbins at work is like watching somebody with supernatural powers. Yet, like his fellow conjurers Robbins deceives his targets using nothing more than a finely honed understanding of human psychology. “I think of myself as a folk psychologist,” he says. “It’s all about developing an instinct for how the human mind works.”
After years of ignoring magic, researchers are starting to realise that the methods magicians use to manipulate the human mind might hold important insights…
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