Thursday 6 October 2011 12.04am
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....