richard wiseman

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Mr. Wiseman was in town tonight promoting his new book, 59 Seconds. Wiseman is a British psychologist who says he was tired of all the useless self-help books in the world. He researched self-help techniques that actually have some scientific evidence to back them up and published the best of the lot in this book.

Did I mention that he’s an extremely funny guy, and that he’s well known in skeptic circles, and that I’ve heard him speak at The Amazing Meeting? And that his first career was as a magician? He wasn’t originally planning a public talk here, but some local fans who happen to own a store called The Love Zone invited him to speak at their shop.

Scot and I arrived early, expecting a large crowd and limited seating. In reality, the crowd didn’t arrive till shortly before the event, so we had 40 minutes or so to examine the store and its large stock of goods; the vibrators, the plugs, the chocolate willies, the DVDs, the bondage gear, and so on.

Wiseman was forced to improvise a large share of this talk due to a long series of A/V problems that were eventually solved. I think it made for a special evening. He has wonderful stories to tell. Examples–the story of the study he did demonstrating what type of picture or card in a lost wallet would most likely prompt someone to return it; the world’s funniest joke experiment; the fire-walking challenge that ended with some new age fire-walkers getting extremely hot feet; the psychic dog experiment, and more. Get more info and see the great videos at http://www.quirkology.com/.

He did some magic tricks, some hypnosis, and was obviously having a lot of fun. Why was he speaking in a sex toy shop? Because in England recently he gave some talks on the subject of love and affection. Someone writing about the lecture or doing publicity jazzed it up a bit and the headline read, “How to Have More Sex, with Richard Wiseman.” He then started calling his publicity tour talks for his new book, “How to Have More Sex with Richard Wiseman.”  Now he can’t escape the sex connection, even though it really has little to do with his book. I took this photo of him with a mannequin in the store:

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