hidden-door-festival-lst166931Delighted to announce that I will be appearing at the 2016 Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh!  This wonderful arts festival features dozens of musicians, artists, poets and filmmakers.

On 1st June, I will be presenting an interactive show exploring magic, perception and illusion. Come along and discover the secret science employed by master magicians to make solid objects vanish into thin air, defy the laws of gravity and predict the future.

As part of this special evening you will experience the world’s greatest illusions, have your fortune read by Madam Zara (‘she sees nothing and says all’), and have an opportunity to perform the impossible.

Book your tickets here.

And here is a little video we made to promote the event



  1. This illustration is an excellent example of how the way we look at the world changes our very vision of it.

    Some people for examples look out at the night sky and see only stars. Others can see the very cosmos itself – in all its depths and mysteries and heights and dimensions.

    These “others” we call scientists or the wise or mystics. Those who can see reality in the stars – and who thus practice astronomy and astrology and indeed cosmology not for their own sake or even just for the simple pure pursuit of Knowledge. Instead they pursue it for the benefit of all humanity. These such people are indeed our true inspiration and guides and teachers. Thus we must be ever grateful that they exist and move among us and help chivvy us out of our limited perspectives and ever yet onward to our true spiritual path that is the highest of possible goals set before us.

    1. @DAve – I would wish never to comment on those who present themselves as psychic whether or not they also use properly formulated scientific systems such as astrology.

      There is much that can be done if we wish to improve the transparency of the psychic community. It is indeed self-evidently true that for every genuine one who has actual and unimpeachable spiritual qualities there may be some “wannabes” who wish to present themselves as having abilities when in actual fact they have not undertaken the training (whether indeed they do have the basic talents at all).

      And thus all all of us should do is simply to follow the evidence. We do know that astrology simply and effectively works – it is a science that is indubitably separate from the practitioners themselves. And then there are skill-based qualities such as psychics. Just as the talent inherent in say a premier league footballer (skills that the average supporter on the terraces can recognise and support yet can never hope to emulate) so too there are such spiritual-quality mediated talents amongst us.

      And just as we would not deny the evidence of our eyes each week when we watch premier football just because such talents cannot be double-blind tested in a small basement laboratory so too we must be equally critical of psychic talents and allow them to flourish in the domains in which they blossom and not to knobble them with sceptical hurdles.

      Thus we can remain open minded. And those with open minds are those who are open to learning and culture and the great spiritual wealth to which the human race is both heir and guardian.

    1. That gag would work Eddie, had Mick not already stated he is from Perth, Austria.

    1. As usual with satirical comic strips that pander to techonerd subcultures the “joke” made is of a non-existent strawman that does not in any way relate to the reality of the topic in question. It is just a cheap laugh that does more to expose the ignorance of the cartoonist who has it would seem performed zero research into any thing other than the best way to get a cheap laugh.

      Astronomical sign is simply a short-hand for a complex and highly personal relationship with reality – I am sure as a simple starting baseline that we can all agree that we do indeed have a relationship with reality. For surely none of us live entirely in a fantasy world with our own heads. And indeed even if we did that head itself and thus the fantasies if contains are as much a part of reality as stars and evolution and homeopathy and astrology itself.

      To know our relation with reality is to know our very reality itself. And once more I am sure that none would deny the basic astrological insight (as confirmed only recently after only thousands of years) that we are all quite literally and without exception made of star stuff itself.

      Thus one route to knowing our own reality is to study the stars.

      And not just the stars even. Also our relationships to them and what they can say about us as we share this cosmos with them.

      This in a nutshell without any over-elaboration is the “explain-like-I-am-five” way of understanding astrology and how it interlaces with and extends (while giving true meaning to) both astronomy and cosmology and thus the deeper aspects of human psychology.

      So while some laugh others learn. And as they learn they learn more about themselves and the universe at large and indeed about the limited world perspectives of those who laugh rather than learn.Those of us who are prepared to take the time to learn may one day be able to assist the belated learning programmes of those who laugh. I hope in times to come that will mean all of us.

  2. A flat valley is lined on either side by vertical cliffs, 600 and 400 feet high. Cable cars on straight wires travel from the top of each to the bottom of the other . At what height above the valley floor do they cross?

  3. Primary school stuff

    Let L be the distance between cliffs and y be the height where the cables intersect, x is the horizontal distance from the lower cliff to below the intersection point.

    y/x = 600/L
    y/(L-x) = 400/L
    (L-x)/y * (y/x) = 600/400 = 3/2
    (L-x)/x = 3/2
    L/x -1 = 3/2
    L/x = 5/2
    x/L = 2/5
    y = (x/L)*600 = 240 m

    to reciprocate

    There is a school with 1,000 students and 1,000 lockers. On the first day of term the headteacher asks the first student to go along and open every single locker, he asks the second to go to every second locker and close it, the third to go to every third locker and close it if it is open or open it if it is closed, the fourth to go to the fourth locker and so on. The process is completed with the thousandth student. How many lockers are open at the end?

    1. A locker will be open at the end if has been operated on by an odd number of students. Locker number L is only operated on by student N if N is a factor of L. So, the only open lockers are those with an odd number of distinct factors. If L is not a square number then factors occur in distinct pairs: N and L / N. (If these were equal then N^2 = L contradicting L being a square) – meaning L has an even number of factors. So the only way that a locker can have an odd number of factors and so be open is if it is a square number.

  4. One from me:

    Is there another word for synonym?
    If you are told to expect the unexpected, does that not make the unexpected expected?
    Why doesn’t glue stick to the bottle?
    What happens of you get scared half to death twice?
    What is the speed of darkness?
    Why is the word “Abbreviation” so long?
    If you strangle a Smurf, what colour does his face turn?
    Will I ever stop asking rhetorical questions?

  5. May I humbly voice that which the silent majority here are without doubt crying out to say: please desist with the word games and the numbers puzzles and all the convoluted verbal shenanigans that form the wasted potential of this blog.

    For surely we can all gain much by clearing the air waves (so to speak) to allow Mr. Wiseman to pen and publish his words of wisdom. Some of us then can engage in his words and help expand them in a dialogue that will be of immense benefit to the others whose best contribution is to listen with attention to the wise words of wisdom being bespoken here.

    It is hard indeed to keep the momentum of such an ethic going when always we return to playground issues such as who has the most apples in a square field that has a mouse that runs in a peculiar way.

    I am sure if the needy were to search only a little way into the great wide world that is the internet they would quickly find many and various foras that cater for their mathy anxieties. Please do so as surely you would be happier by far by being there instead of hanging about here creating at best embarrassment for your self and any relatives who may be monitoring your internet usage.

    The rest of us including the silent majority would from the bottom of our hearts thank you for such and action as it would be a kindness not just for yourself and your long-suffering relatives yet also for us and indeed the rest of the world as the cosmic affects of your action ripple outward in karmic waves that change everything at a cosmic atomic level.

    This blog then could return to it’s better days of being a place for deep psychological and spiritual discourse seldom found in such depth on the internet of all places.

    1. Pot, kettle, black

      Why do think that you can use this fora for “deep psychological and spiritual” discourses?. Richard’s works is grounded in rational science and academia, not pretentious and unproven mumbo-jumbo promoted by your good self.

  6. I rather suspect @DAve you have allowed your subjective filters to override any rational and objective assessment of the reality we have set before us.

    This is a common flaw in much of humanity – indeed some would say it is the default setting for the vast majority of people.

    Thus this is why it would surely be of much benefit for you to put aside the prejudices you have expressed and take a detailed and rational look at the reality that we exist in – indeed have emerged from and partake in.

    That will simply and directly show you that a truly scientific approach is indeed a truly holistic one – for we cannot simply slice off a small part of the universe to study any more than we could slice off one of our arms to use it to extend the reach of the other arm instead.

    Though I am but a humble student of the cosmos I have a small advantage in that I have lived within it with my eyes open my whole life. This I feel has helped nudge me to deeper and more wondrous realisations that those who simply wish to read from the text book written by like-minded yet still close-minded so-called scientists or even academics.

    Thus I have ofttimes offered help in such ways here – and indeed I remain happy to do so as ofttimes as needed for surely some amongst us (you included DAve if you be truly honest and open with your self) can and do and will and have benefited from what little cosmic advice I have been able to pass on from the depths of the cosmos via my depths to your depths.

    1. Somehow you haven’t managed to convince me, Barry. It may have something to do with the patronizing, sneering tone of your comments. I think if it’s all the same to you I’ll ignore your drivel and keep posting the puzzles, safe in the knowledge that they please one or two people and more importantly, annoy you.

    2. @Edie – I do not set out to convince you Edie. For it is well said that no one can be reasoned out of a belief that they were not reasoned into. And thus it may well be that you imbibed prejudices from your family or your teachers or your previous ineffective spiritual guides – or perhaps reckless peers at a young age or simply from over reliance on the wrong literature.

      Whatever the root cause – and we may never know for sure – you have emerged with convictions that perhaps cause you solace in your daily life. And thus you cling to them like a sinking sailor clings to the wreckage of their foundering vessel.

      At best perhaps all I humbly hope to do is plant one of two tiny seeds of true reality. These perchance in time will grow within you into vast blooms of realisation and insight.

      For thus I have faith that within you are indeed great vast spaces in which the truth of reality can take root and given nourishment can and will grow into tangible experience and depth of insight.

      You would not be the first ever person for whom such a happening has occurred. And you then with your renewed vision and vigour would pass on your knowledge to yet others thus ensuring the great chain of being continues unbroken and you indeed are not the last either.

      This is an achieveable future that requires of you nothing but more than the glimmer of receptivity to ideas that extend beyond that which you arr beholden to as yet. As I am sure that you have in the past been open to new ideas it seems most unlikely that you will not be in the future. And thus this vision of the future remains assured for all of us.

      This indeed is the true magic to which Mr Wiseman alludes in his other thread where he praises an expert magician for his lifes’ work. We could all learn from Mr Wiseman and do more of the same ourselves.

  7. Hear, hear

    So ………..

    There’s a certain kind of egg about which you wonder: What is the highest floor of a 36-story building from which you can drop an egg without it breaking? All eggs of this kind are identical, so you can conduct experiments.

    Unfortunately, you only have 2 eggs. Fortunately, if an egg survives a drop without breaking, it is as good as new–that is, you can then conduct another dropping experiment with it.

    What is the smallest number of drops that is sure to determine the answer to your wonderings?

    1. An interesting problem, and I’m sure that although as stated there seems to be little practical value in identifying the solution there may well be real-life cases where the principles are relevant (i just can’t think of any at the moment).
      I had an answer but by reference to a wonderful exploration at http://datagenetics.com/blog/july22012/index.html I realised I had been too simplistic.

      Back on the original psychological bent of this blog, it is perhaps interesting to understand why people often get the wrong answer when asked “which is more correct: ‘the yolk of an egg is white’ or ‘the yolk of an egg are white’?” (Note: this is not a question I am putting to the readers today,)
      Presumably it involves verbal misdirection, which is analogous to the visual misdirection that Prof Wiseman often delights us with.

  8. @DAve thank you for your support. Though I am left here wondering why after your hearty “hear hear” you then have gone and posted another puzzle – that would seem the very opposite of what your interjection was intended to mean.

    Yet as I am always charitable allow me to put the best possible interpretation upon this. Could it be that for you this is not indeed a puzzle? Perhaps it is a real world problem you have been set by a potentially mischeivious employer as a test. Or maybe you do indeed wish to safely learn the parameters for the free fall dropping of eggs that meet some very unusual real world specifications.

    And thus though I am loathe to encourage the puzzle-seeking behaviour that has reduced the utility of this blog I would wish to support you @DAve as it seems your interjection was intended in good heart.

    Therefore I will venture to answer the physics question you may have inadvertently set:

    Drop one egg from the top floor. Drop the other egg from the ground floor. Take the average of the results. One egg is guaranteed to still be whole if even such a result is possible.

    I trust that will satisfactorily close the “egg question” to your satisfaction.

    1. @DAve it seems most likely that although you unconsciously tricked yourself into believing that you were replying to @Edie the reality of the situation truly reveals the actuality of your intention.

      Our minds can be ofttimes like that. We think we are in charge and that our conscious voiced thoughts are issuing uncountermandable orders to our unconscious layers of being. Yet all the while the great aviary of our mind (to use Plato’s metaphor) flutters and swoops and flies as it will – with the truth of the reality being writ large to every observer except ourselves unless we are (as some of us are indeed) truly perceptive and self-insightful as to our true minds.

      Still I ask you not to be downhearted at learning that you and your mind do not always share a harmonious set of hemispheres. You have indeed by your action learned something perhaps indeed of great import about the workings of your own very mind. And thus you have gained much from this experience.

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