WHEN Colin Cloud was eight he met the man that changed his life.

As a youngster his eye was often drawn to a Sherlock Holmes book in his school library and when he finally picked it up he found not only his hero but his calling.

"There was a man with a silly hat on the cover wearing a pipe," said Colin.

"I thought he looked ridiculous but when I was eight I picked up the book for the first time.

"By chance I opened it to the pages where Sherlock was deducing things about people and I thought it was the most incredible thing.

"I basically took it and didn’t let go of it for years."

Back then Colin did not know that Sherlock only existed in the pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels.

Colin added: "I thought he was real until I was about 10 and when I found out he didn’t exist I was devastated."

But the fictional character has a lot to answer for nonetheless.

Colin said: "By then the bug had bitten and I was obsessed with this idea of understanding people and knowing things about people essentially.

"That led to me to be fascinated by science. I got into hypnotism a little bit as well because Paul McKenna was on TV then and I thought it was really cool.

"Then I studied forensic investigation at university. All of those things were kind of spurred on by the man in the silly hat."

Colin did not have what you would call a typical university experience either.

He showed so much promise as a sleuth that he was accepted at Glasgow Caledonian University when he was 15 and started studying when he was 16.

"I hypnotised doormen to not check for ID and hypnotised barmen to give me free drinks," Colin joked.

"But seriously it was fine. It helped me mature quickly and I bonded quickly with the older students over that mutual love for the subject."

Colin even became a stand-up comedian as a teenager and reckons it helped sharpen up his Sherlock skills.

The 28-year-old said: "Under pressure good comedians are able to watch the audience, observe them and tweak their presentation to fit them and also pick up on things that are happening and use it.

"The more I got into it the more I started getting booked for other events.

"And by the end of university I had the choice of whether I wanted to be in a lab or flying around the world doing shows."

Colin's mix of mind magic and science became the runaway success of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014 with 23 sold out performances.

He is now bringing his forensic mind reading skills to the Pyramid on Friday, October 23.

And watch out because he is said to be able to tell what you’ve had for lunch, where you’ve been that day, what you do for a living, the car you drive and even your PIN code, just from looking at you.

Colin, who is working on his own TV series, added: "Magic is all about deceiving people and then keeping the secret from them and comedy is all about honesty and sharing truths with people.

"So I suppose what I do is somewhere in the middle of that. With me I have skills that I can use for entertainment but like the comedian I can be honest about what I’m doing

"That’s where I’m hoping it’s different to a magic show as I’m giving a little bit of an insight of what I’m doing as well.

"It’s driven by comedy because if you’re going to watch somebody who can know everything about you it’s quite terrifying so the comedy really helps to put it across more easily."

Colin's shows always come back to the 'man in the silly hat' too.

He said: "Everything I do is inspired by Sherlock Holmes and I’ll try and make as much of the science as possible.

"But Sherlock’s fiction for a reason. To try and replicate exactly what he did is impossible.

"It’s a storybook and Sherlock isn’t really out there solving crime as much as that would be amazing.

"So the idea is I’m tapping into other skill sets like suggestion and mentalism and other esoteric things to give that experience of being with the real Sherlock Holmes."

So how does Colin go about finding volunteers who are susceptible to mind reading?

"That is quite an intuitive thing," added Colin, who will be part of a West End magic show called The Illusionists from November to January.

"It’s like when a teacher can go in a classroom and can tell if something has happened because of facial expressions and the feel of the room.

"I suppose I use that same skill to know who is and who isn’t right for certain parts of the show.

"It is picking up on the reptilian part of our brains."

- Colin Cloud will be at the Pyramid on October 23. Tickets are from £10. Visit pyramidparrhall.com or call 442345.