Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Apollo Robbins, master pickpocket featured in the New Yorker

I've often wondered why the things I'm most fascinated by are the things I should be most fearful of. I've always been drawn to charisma, psychology and manipulation. My most memorable encounter with it in real life was in Istanbul, Turkey when I was exposed to the "Clip Joint" scam. Now that I've been in South America a few months I've been alert to pickpockets. So far only the sauce scam has been attempted on me;

I'd seen Apollo Robbins on one of my favorite shows, 'Brain Games' with Jason Silva but had never heard his full story until I found this interesting New Yorker article in a Porto Alegre hostel.

VIDEO: Apollo Robbins, The Master Pickpocket: Tricks of the Trade
A PICKPOCKET’S TALE: The spectacular thefts of Apollo Robbins
by Adam Green for The New Yorker
Recently, psychiatrists, neuroscientists, and the military have studied his methods for what they reveal about the nature of human attention. Teller, a good friend of Robbins’s, believes that widespread recognition is only a matter of time. “The popularity of crime as a sort of romantic thing in America is profoundly significant, and Apollo is tapping into that,” he told me. “If you think about it, magic itself has many of the hallmarks of criminal activity: You lie, you cheat, you try not to get caught—but it’s on a stage, it has a proscenium around it. When Apollo walks onstage, there’s a sense that he might have one foot outside the proscenium. He takes a low crime and turns it into an art form.

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