Mind reader
Mind reader
What's on your mind? Wayne Hoffman, a mind reader, says he already knows.
Owner(s): Wayne Hoffman

Wayne Hoffman was eight years old the Christmas he got his first magic set. From that day on he never missed a David Copperfield TV special and became an after-school fixture at a dusty old magic shop in his hometown of Reading, Pa.

Other magicians who frequented the place let Hoffman learn the tricks of their trade and soon his first publicist -- his mom -- was getting him gigs all over town.

At age 15, he established Hoffman Entertainment with $200 for props and worked trade shows with complicated tricks, such as emptying a soda can, refilling it and even re-chilling it -- magically -- to lure an audience to his client's booth.

His business took off after he began his work as a mind reader. "Magic is just a visual illusion," Hoffman said. "Mentalism is using psychology to entertain and psychological manipulation is easy for me."

He said he has devoted a decade to studying the way people dress, move and speak. He claims to know what is going through people's minds at any moment.

"The average person is convinced to take certain actions 400 times a day and doesn't even know it," said Hoffman. He uses such psychological triggers in his show, "Mind Candy." He once asked an audience member to draw a symbol hidden from his view. She drew a yin/yang symbol, because he had used certain words in his request, he explained. The fact that he had the same symbol tattooed on his arm also helped.

"That trick was performed live and broadcast to five million people," said Hoffman, who has also appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres" show and NBC's "Phenomenon,"He added: "There was no guarantee she would draw that symbol," he said. "It was quite a relief and a big success." He anticipates $250,000 by the end of this year.

By Kitt Walsh, contributing writer @CNNMoney - Last updated December 09 2011: 11:12 AM ET
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