Earlier this week, a convenience store owner in Marlborough, New Hampshire was robbed by two Indian Punjabi men. The strange circumstances in this story however was that no weapon was used or threatened on store owner Yogesh Patel’s life. The 29-year-old man who is also from India was told that the men were guruji, a type of Hindu priest that could read minds. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a scam which allowed the two men to persuade Patel to hand over $1,000 in cash from his store without any force.

Persuading Patel to hand over the money consisted with a mind game that convinced him that the two men really were mind readers. They first asked him to name his favorite flower, and then they opened a paper with the word “Rose” on it to show that they were correct. They did the same thing when he was told to think of a wild animal before moving on to personal information about his family members and a former girlfriend. They were able to tell him his wife’s name, his mother’s name, and his future goal.

During this time, Patel believes he had been hypnotised into handing over the money. A surveillance tape of the crime shows him taking out cash from the register and the safe and giving it to the men. Despite the lack of threats or use of a weapon, police still plan to charge the scammers once caught. It is believed that Patel was targeted because he is Indian like the men and would most likely know about the mind reading beliefs of Hindu priests. However, these men used a cold reading to sway Patel. Scammers are able to do this by analyzying basic facts about a person and then make high probablility guesses as to the answers they’ll give to their questions. The answers written on the paper were probably written after he had given his answer to them.

Whether or not Patel was hypnotised is yet to be determined. Hypnosis is known as a “trance-like altered state of consciousness.” While most psychologists believe the practice to be a myth, studies have been done on people considered to be in a “hypnotic state.” During this time, the brain is said to change its electrical state and  brain waves differ compared to those in waking consciousness. People have used hypnosis to change undesired behaviors, such as smoking and over eating. About 5% of people are considered to be unhypnotizable while 10% are considered to be extremely hypnotisable.

One of the scammers is said to be between 35 and 40 years old and the other between 50 and 60 years old. Both weigh around 200 pounds, were wearing turbans, and can speak both English and Hindi. The men may be driving a white Acura with New York plates.

 For related articles visit http://www.wmur.com/news/14212889/detail.html and http://skepdic.com/hypnosis.html.

Have you ever been hypnotised? Did it work? Leave a comment.

Be Sociable, Share!