Joe Diamond navigates Richardson Corn Maze blindfolded

by Jami Kunzer

Northwest Herald  - October 14th, 2010

Most who attempt to find their way through the corn maze at Richardson Farm eventually give up.

Step inside, and you might even see a few crumpled maps thrown down in frustration. It is the world’s largest corn maze after all with row after row of endless corn stalks.

On average, it takes three to four hours to find at least 20 of the 24 checkpoints scattered throughout the Spring Grove maze.

Joe Diamond recently did it blindfolded in less than three hours, with his hand on the arm of someone holding a map.

Someone who, for the most part, didn’t know where she was going. Even with a map (frankly, at various points, I wasn’t sure I’d ever make it out to write this article). Luck? Magic? Mind-reading?

Suppose that depends on what you believe.

“I really try to blur the lines between what people say can and can’t be done,” said Diamond, who regularly performs magic and mind-reading throughout the McHenry County area.

“I think so many people sell themselves short,” he said. “Really what I wanted this to be, without sounding too much like a crazy artist, I wanted this to be symbolic but also a reminder that our minds can accomplish anything we set out to do.”

Diamond decided to take on the maze to challenge himself as well. He said he has been reading minds since the age of 4.

Along with private parties, he most recently has performed the act “Paranormal” an interactive show featuring both magic and mentalism.

“I was looking for something to really raise the ante,” Diamond said. “Much like the show ‘Paranormal,’ I wanted to do something that was different and preferably something that no one else had done before.”

As far as the Richardsons know, walking through the maze blindfolded had never been done before.

Carol Richardson first met Diamond when he performed magic acts for visitors to the farm.

“I was totally impressed by his magic,” she said, “and couldn’t wait for him to come back out.”

Like anyone who completes the maze, Diamond earned a certificate from the Richardsons. Aside from a couple stumbles and a couple moments when we could have been in Richmond for all I knew, he found his way to checkpoints fairly smoothly.

How’d he do it?

“There was no way I could see” he said. “You checked. Everyone checked.

“When you made contact with me, I tried to have you see the maze, see and think where we needed to go.” he said, “and from then on I really tried to get a sense of the maze through you and through your eyes. It’s much like trying to recall a memory or dream, that kind of thing.”

The only memory I kept recalling was that of my mother telling me as a child to stay out of the cornfield because I’d get lost.

But somehow, Diamond seemed to know where he was going.


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