Yogic con artist

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Wednesday 5 October 2011 11.04pm
Thought I'd mention this: it's happened to me twice now - once in the West End, and yesterday on Blackfriars Bridge.

A man of apparently Indian heritage approaches and says something like "You are a very lucky man". He attracts your attention by making you feel he has identified some special spiritual qualities you have. He then starts to give a reading of your life, making predictions about your future and using various forms of misdirection and cold reading to inform some surprisingly apt comments about your personality. If you voice suspicion about his motives, he claims he's a holy man and has singled you out because he has been guided towards you.

Anyway, the rigmarole goes on for a while. Then he says he will pray for you when he returns to his yogic community. Then he asks for a small donation. How small? Um, 30 or 60 or 90, according to how much praying you want him to do. So not too small. The whole thing feels pretty insidious.

The first time I was drawn in, before pressing eject when money was mentioned. The second time I rebuffed the guy (a different guy, but with the same shtick immediately). I should say the first guy definitely tried to hypnotize me; he also had various props. His spiel was quite impressive and perceptive. But it's still fundamentally a scam.

You have been warned....
Thursday 6 October 2011 5.40am
Also seen him twice in the past few weeks - around Hays Galleria and Borough Market. Needless to say he won't be coming near me again!
Thursday 6 October 2011 7.56am
With all the hard work and cretivity put into these scams, couldn't these people not find a good job? Not that I'd emply a hypnotist...
Thursday 6 October 2011 8.35am
My policy is not to talk to anyone on the street who is advertising or selling something or doing market research unless they are handing out actual used bank notes.
Thursday 6 October 2011 8.56am
longlaner wrote:
Then he asks for a small donation. How small? Um, 30 or 60 or 90, according to how much praying you want him to do

I wonder if he varies the praying time or sincerity based on the cash bung?
Thursday 6 October 2011 9.49am
Person promises spiritual satisfaction, expects financial donation in return.

Sounds like a religion to me.
Thursday 6 October 2011 10.42am
In India recently I was chastised for leaving a feeble tip at a Temple and told the Gods would be happier with a larger one.

I'm screwed if spiritual enlightenment has tariff charges on the other side.
Thursday 6 October 2011 11.31am
longlaner wrote:
A man of apparently Indian heritage approaches and says something like "You are a very lucky man". He attracts your attention by [droning on]

I am impressed by your patience with madmen on the streets.
Saturday 8 October 2011 2.26pm
agree with The Mapmaker. I have long given up even breaking stride unless its someone clearly in a panic.

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