There’s usually some amount of smoke and mirrors in a magic show, but Nicolai Friedrich doesn’t go in for that. Even though he can appear to read minds and bend reality, he makes no pretense about the underlying science in his act.

“There is a science behind it because I do not have supernatural powers,” he told the Hindustan Times. “There is psychology involved and the power of suggestion. It also involves hypnotism and manipulating and influencing people by planting thoughts in their heads. It creates the illusion of mind reading.”

He’s even candid with his current audiences about what’s happening. On stage during a performance in Gurugram, India, he told his audience participant that, “Your subconscious mind causes mini-muscle effects.” Which is a fancy way of saying that everyone has a ‘tell,’ and a talented magician can latch onto those small cues.

All that science winds up being a mind-boggling experience for his viewers, but Friedrich noted that it also has some non-entertainment uses. “It is very hard to lie to me,” he said. “People usually don’t dare,” particularly his young children.

You can hear more from this German mentalist in the interview, or in the video from Hindustan Times where he answers additional questions about strange fan requests and why he would be very lazy if he was the devil.

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