Simon Cafferty is a picture of pure confidence as he showcases his talent of reading minds.
He loves to shock and amaze as he can predict what people are going to do based on their behavioural cues.
But just last year his outlook was very different and in his own words he ‘wanted to end it all.’
It was his passion for magic that helped him out of his depression, and with some encouragement from Active Lancashire and Newground’s More Positive Together, he was able to hone in on his talent and is in the process of setting up his own mind-sleuthing business: - http://www.mindsleuth.co.uk/
Read more about the two projects here: More Positive Together and Active Lancashire celebrate two years of its project to help people into employment
The 31-year-old from Mellor reveals: “My depression started in 2008 when I decided to do sports coaching at University of Central Lancashire.
“I was supposed to go on a trip during Fresher’s Week to meet people but I had an overwhelming dread that something bad was going to happen. I thought I could get on the coach or go home and so I decided to go home.
“I just broke down at home and whenever I got in the car to go to uni, I would break down, crying.
“No-one knew what was wrong and after a few months, my doctor said I had depression and it spiralled from there.
“I had a darkness in my mind and I felt a bad person.
“I got a job for four months but the depression came back. I put a lot of pressure on myself and it all spiralled.
“I guess I have always been anxious as a child whenever I started new things.”
Simon eventually went back to UCLan in 2015 to do a three-year course in sports journalism. Once he had graduated he began to explore a passion which had always been at the back of his mind: magic.
He says: “I have always been fascinated by magic and in particular mentalism. One of my biggest inspirations is Derren Brown, who I have followed since the early 2000s but it is only since further studying the psychology of the mind that I have appreciated how truly great a performer Derren is.
“I tried to set up as a magician but it was more something to say that do, as my depression took over and I was too scared to do it.
“Through that I learnt about mentalism and it fascinated me. I had a really bad month last year and I knew I had to do something.”
Determined to get out of his slump, Simon attended a training event at a job centre in Blackburn at the end of last year and learned about the More Positive Together (MPT) project.
His mentor, Aaron Abbot, employed by Newground, offered one-to-one support, as he worked with him to help him to try to overcome his depression and anxiety and to build confidence.
This has included Simon attending counselling sessions and working with a life coach and from there he started to develop his business idea of providing a service as a magician and a mentalist under the name Mohawk Magic, in dedication to his colourful hair. He has now adapted his skills to be a mind sleuth.
Simon, who attended Walton-le-Dale High School and Myerscough College, adds: “I see Aaron around once a week and he helps me link to clients and business support. He gives me confidence and has enabled me to show what I can do at the Active Lancashire and MPT events. It is about giving me experience and helping to improve my confidence.
“When I show people they are impressed and question how I do it.
“It is all about connecting with people and predicting what card they will choose. For example, a lot of time, women pick red cards and men pick black.
“I am not a master of deduction but I get a sense of what someone is like and how they answer questions.
“I can pick up different things from people. It is all about instinct and intuition.”
Following Newground’s support in entertaining guests at its events, Simon hopes to further develop his performance skills by hosting more evenings at bars across Lancashire.
“I am in talks to host an event at Jungle bar in Clitheroe and I would like to use that to raise money for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).
“I want to speak more about mental health and highlight the importance of talking to someone and getting help.
“I was at my lowest point and was taken to the darkest places but I have stepped out of that. I have gone from wanting to end it all and battling demons, to trying to follow my passion. It has been a crazy ride.
“One thing that really has helped me through my depression is my love of music. I love how you can listen to songs and they speak to you, and you know someone else has experienced just how you are feeling. I have a few lyrics as my tattoos as well.”