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"Saturday Night" -An Article profiled Mystery

By 2000, in addition to placing copious Internet postings for the online seduction community, Mystery says he was regularly drawing fees of $1,500 a night to perform magic at corporate events. He also appeared on CTV's late-night talk show Open Mike with Mike Bullard. But to really make it as a magi-cian, he knew he would have to become known in the U.S. So he moved to Los Angeles, where he spent more than a year trying to land himself a television special that would showcase his conjuring talents. When nothing materialized and his money ran out, he returned to Toronto, where he discovered he could no longer get the corporate gigs that had once funded his lifestyle. Broke at 29 and living with his brother, Mystery attempted to capitalize on his other skill. He posted an announcement at the seduction newsgroup, where he'd been a respected leader for about three years. "Master Pickup Artist `Mystery' is now offering an IN-FIELD... BASIC TRAINING Workshop in selected cities," began the announcement, which went on to describe an intense course that would take place mainly in clubs. Mystery asked for $650 a client.

It was a desperate attempt to make some money. It worked. A single four-day workshop in Toronto led to another in Montreal. Soon Mystery was mar-keting his educational sessions through the proliferating message groups and discussion boards frequented by the online seduction community. As months passed and word spread, Mystery found himself bouncing between New York and Los Angeles, where his two-day seminars attracted dozens at a time.

What motivated Mystery's obsession with picking up girls? Anita Spudich, a 29-year-old nail technician who dated Mystery for five months in the latter half of 2003, says she came to believe she was dating a "sex addict?' But his obsession with picking up seems to have been more than just sexual. Mystery gets a real charge from the performance aspect of approaching women, as do many of his peers. Spudich says, "Going out to a club and getting a phone number? It's like a line of coke for the guy?' One of the first things Ross Jeffries, the seduction guru, noticed when he met Mystery was the extent to which his younger counterpart craved the affection of others. "He's got a lot of bravado," says Jeffries. "But he's also very vulnerable. He has a deep need to be liked. It's almost childlike. It's very endearing?'

Compounding matters is Mystery's up-and-down personality. Spudich says she suspects Mystery could be bipolar. "I called him a tragic soul. His lows were so low," she says, mentioning he sometimes talked about suicide. "And during his periods of grandeur, he really did think he was the best guy in the world." Asked to respond, Mystery acknowledges he has his ups and downs but denies any disorder, explaining, "I'm a natural leader. And when you don't have a troop to lead, you can feel pretty crazy."

Spudich thought she might be able to help him, especially three months into their relationship, when Mystery told her he loved her. But he soon brought up a difficulty: he said his love for her was a problem, because his romantic ideal was polygamy. He hoped one day to be in a dual marriage, three people living together as a family: two bisexual women and him. "You know what I said?" asks Spudich, who identifies herself as a staunch heterosexual. "I said, `I wish you would have told me this earlier:"

Today, Mystery lives in Los Angeles in a house near the Sunset Strip. One Monday evening just before midnight, in early March, he and a student talked their way into a private birthday party at a trendy Hollywood Boule-vard club called Star Shoes. Dressed relatively conservatively, for him, in a shirt and black slacks, the pickup artist surveyed the room. He spied a slim, blond woman with a guileless, elfin smile, wearing a sequined, décolletage-revealing top. Her makeup glittered; her eyes sparkled. He approached her and she told him to beat it; she was doing makeup for the runway models. She had to work. For Mystery, it seemed the rare unsuccessful encounter.


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