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Profile of Karli
As many predict that with technology catching up, scientists are discovering ways how to really unlock the thinking brain.

Stick to your old school methods guys, soon your electronics will be mainstream.
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It´ll make a good premise too
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This toy intrigued me so that I had to have one puts PK into prespective doesn't it? Watch here
A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a foolish man can learn from a wise answer.

Attributing negativity to a topic or post doesn't make the topic or post negative,
it shines a light on the negativity of the person or persons, making the attributions.

BEWARE these Debbie downers and anything they say. They simply lack the self esteem or good will, to be positive or productive. Your belief in self, is more
important and is all that matters, for your success to be glorious.
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What follows is a section that first appeared in 'The Black Project' that discusses a chance email I received one day. Mentalism and our love for it can take us on some rather unexpected journeys, this is one such example. I hope you enjoy it!

Man Vs. Machine

One of the more difficult tasks within Mentalism is finding a creative and unique angle from which to perform your material. One element that I have given particular focus on is trying to approach my performances with a slight twist to that of my peers and other performers whom I know.

Sometimes you can try too hard to be different and thus find yourself becoming either less entertaining or convincing when you present. One opportunity that presented itself to me in late 2013 was something that initially I was hesitant to engage with. Dr Aneurin Kennerley, a researcher at the University of Sheffield, who wrote the following letter, approached me:

Dear Sir,

My name is Dr Aneurin James Kennerley and I am a research Fellow (Physicist) at the University of Sheffield. My research concerns brain imaging, specifically using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to look at brain function.

Can the technique really be used to 'see' what people are thinking? In recent years there have been a plethora of news articles and documentaries concerning such applications of fMRI.

I am in the initial phases of organising a public engagement event to run at the Festival of Mind 2014 to discuss some of the science behind fMRI and dispel some of these popular press myths. If you are not aware, the Festival of Mind is an 11-day event (starting September 18th) to showcase the research strengths and cultural collaborations of the University of Sheffield and the City.

The festival takes place at key venues around the University and the City, is open to everyone - the general public, academic colleagues and the professional and cultural quarter.

I thought my outreach event might be something you, as a professional mind reader, would be very interested in and could come on board with as a creative collaborator. You could run a performance and I could discuss if technology can help us read people's minds. I actually run an MRI facility and can set up a remote link to the scanner in the University for people to access. I have run similar, smaller events for the University and visitors had great fun when I performed simple mind reading tricks and games with them (I am somewhat of an amateur illusionist myself). However I really feel a more professional edge is needed for the Festival of Mind.

I am in the process of applying for funding for the event and so if you are interested please get in touch and we can discuss these ideas and commission further.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards


I connected with Anuerin to discuss his ideas; it was only in the initial planning and conceptual stages so we agreed to meet at the university to discuss things further. We met on a Friday for a coffee at the Firth Court building at the university and discussed his idea and objectives for the project, he wanted to increase public awareness of fMRI by giving an example of what it could do and linking it to idea of ‘mind reading’.

Aneurin had a concept whereby a random member of the public would be placed into an MRI machine and underwent a scan where they would be shown a series of images. The images would be broken up into different categories these were:
•Female Faces
•Male Faces

As the images were being shown to the participant via a screen inside the MRI machine, the participant’s brain activity was to be scanned and the data analyzed. Aneurin informed me that the brain activity would be different depending on which category of image was being shown.

Once the 5 categories had been displayed to the participant, the operator would ask them which of the 5 categories they would like to see again. The participant would make a choice and tell the operator via an intercom inside the machine. Anuerin and his team would be outside the scanning room at this point so they wouldn’t be able to hear the participant’s choice of category. The participant would watch his chosen activity displayed once more and the machine would scan their brain activity one final time.

Aneurin and his team would be given the raw data from the scans and create a series of visual maps that would display the participants data. The data would essentially be 5 images, each one showing the brain activity when the participant was focused on the different categories.

The team would then look at the final piece of data (the category chosen by the participant to watch for a second time) and compare it to the 5 visual maps. The best fit would be the category that the participant had chosen and thus they claimed the MRI scanner could ‘read minds’. It was a tongue in cheek claim but Aneurin then told me that its technically possible and informed me that in the US was a company who went by the strapline ‘No Lie MRI’ where they would offer a lie detection service for court trials.

The team wanted to bring me on board to inject an element of entertainment into what would be a public science show. A concept was proposed that would essentially be ‘Man Vs. Machine’. The MRI Machine versus Myself in a battle as to who could accurately read the participants minds.

After a month funding was approved for the project and we began to meet up frequently to plan the show, Aneurin and his team of ‘Neurogirls’ would give a presentation to increase the public awareness of fMRI in terms of what it is and what it can do. The Neurogirls were essentially a group of PhD students who were working with Aneurin at the University, they would bring the ‘eye candy’ element to the show and provide light hearted entertainment via an interactive quiz prior to the main event.

Once the audience were warmed up, Aneurin would begin his introduction to the presentation and speak about the background of MRI and its applications in the modern world of science and research. He would relate the idea of MRI to a modern day form of ‘Mind Reading’ and then introduce myself who would give a 20-minute performance of Mentalism to give a little context.

After the performance, Aneurin would then show a video to the audience of the participant being scanned and data collated. The 5 minute clip would set the scene for the Man Vs. Machine challenge and the show would conclude with both myself trying to read the participants mind and the research team analysing the data from the scan to determine which category they thought he was thinking of. The participant would verbally reveal into the microphone the category and we both hoped we would be correct in our revelations.

The show was to be part of a biannual event held in my hometown of Sheffield called ‘Festival of the Mind’. This is a university organised weeklong event which sees creative collaborators working with departments within the university to create projects than would educate and inspire the public in regards to the capabilities of the human mind.

The show was to be held on 2 consecutive nights in the Spiegeltent in the city centre. Posters went up all over the city advertising the festival and there was a real sense of excitement surrounding the city. As part of the project I was invited to the university hospital to experience an MRI scan myself, this I thought was a fantastic idea, until Aneurin infirmed me that in the event of something problematic being found during the scan, he was legally obliged to inform my Doctor.

That took the initial buzz out of it but still it was a fascinating experience, although quite difficult to remain awake for the full scan. I was to undergo to exact procedure the participant would experience and was shown the 5 categories of images during a 60 min scan. It was quite claustrophobic being strapped into a giant doughnut shaped pod and subjected to intense mechanical and electronic noise as the £5 million scanner did its job.

One peculiar experience I recall was the noise was that intense and repetitive that I began to hear rhythms and music within the noise. It reminded me of hard techno music (Gabba) from the Netherlands, and was a very surreal experience. After the scan Aneurin and the technicians who operated the machinery gave me a debriefing. I even received some print outs of my brain which were nice souvenirs to take with me.

Over the next few months myself and Aneurin liaised back and forth with further ideas, the show was really starting to come together and we were excited to perform it at the festival. As the festival began in September there was a real buzz around the centre as people were very keen to watch what we had planned for them. Both shows were a sell out and became somewhat of a highlight for the festival, so much so that both the highlights reel and the full show made it online for download.

The show began with an interactive quiz from the Neurogirls who kept the audience busy as the venue filled up with brain based factoids and questions. Once ready Aneurin would introduce the show and its concept by giving everyone a laymen’s introduction to MRI and its applications. He informed everyone of the challenge to pit their multimillion-pound machine against myself in a battle of the brains before then introducing me onto stage for a 25 min Mentalism set.

This concluded and Aneurin took back to the stage to introduce the challenge, he brought out the participant who had been scanned and a short film was shown via a large screen of the scanning procedure. Once the participant had confirmed that they were indeed thinking of a specific category, both Aneurin & the Neurogirls took the scanned data and began to analyse it in real time.

After a short while I was brought back out onto stage to try and read the participants thoughts and determine which category he was thinking of. The show dramatically concluded with both myself and Aneurin, either side of the stage with our ‘predictions’ in hand. The participant finally reveals the category into the microphone and we both display out (hopefully) correct predictions for all to see. We were both successful on both nights; whether or not this was planned I am not at liberty to say (it was)

I thought after the initial 2 shows that my time with Man Vs. machine had come to an end but no. I was surprised to learn that Aneurin had pursued further funding for an extended run of shows at different science based events around the country. Funding was made available for a second show 6 months later at the Sheffield Festival of Science & Engineering (#SFOSE).

This time we performed an extended show at the Upper chapel in the city centre. A local radio presenter was the participant who was scanned in the MRI machine, which helped with the promotion and publicity. Again the show was a resounding success and at the time of writing this, we will be performing the show at two more festivals around the UK in 2017.

Mentalism can certainly take you interesting places and have you doing all sorts of things that you wouldn’t immediately associate with traditional performance. Always be on the look out for unique opportunities for you to show the world what you do.


For those interested in a highlight video of the show, it can be found here:
My Mentalism Products:
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