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Topic: Ian Rowland on Prime Time Halloween (U.S. TV show)
Message: Posted by: Jim Reynolds (Oct 31, 2002 03:25PM)
I am sure most of you on Ian's mailing list know that he will be featured in a short segment on ABC television tonight. For those not aware; Ian will do some cold reading tonight on Prime Time in the guise of a spirit medium (ala John Edward) to a group of about 20 people.

Ian reports that some of the reactions may have been a little too strong and may be edited.

Prime Time is on ABC, 10pm Eastern Time. Check you local listing!


ps. Ian also mentioned that his F.F.Cold Reading book is at the printers. Stay tuned...
Message: Posted by: Drewmcadam (Oct 31, 2002 04:12PM)
I would really appreciate it if somebody could give me a review of Ian's appearance on this show so that I'm primed when I talk to him on his return!

Message: Posted by: asmayly (Nov 1, 2002 12:02AM)
His, Ian's show, was absolutely brilliant.

I went through a complex attack of emotions watching it--from the layman's point to that of a mentalist, back and forth, back and forth like an insane ping pong ball in a barrel tumbling over a waterfall.

What a fun ride it was. I had "heard" that Ian was into "exposure" but I never realized what a talented cold-reader he was.

From the layman's point of view (who are the rest of the people out there in the world) they must have loved it! Ian beautifully portrayed the John Edwards schtick and had people weeping (and of couse what was amazing to me is that he used lines RIGHT OUT of his book--so I got to see what was happening and watch it happen.) It was just so intense!

Then he explained what he was doing, again from right out of the book. A layman now knows what we now.

But what made it sensational and provacative was Ian performing the act with such amazing style and expertise.

Interviewed spectators at the end of his segment "still connected" with what Ian was saying despite having been told BY HIM what he did.

Thus, as Ian explained to the viewing public, is the strength of cold-reading and the want of people to believe in the supernatural.

What a great show!

Message: Posted by: fordkross (Nov 1, 2002 12:17AM)
Interesting comments, first I thought Rowland's performance was certainly below par. Certainly not up to Edward, Van Praagh or even Sylvia Browne. I'd imagine the reason he was used by ABC TV was not because of his talent but because he was willing to expose
Second to set up the audience members and make them look like fools because they have a religious belief is an indication of bothABC's morality and IMO Rowland's
Certainly it didn't change any minds of audience members
It only served as a platform for exposure. And I'm noting the names of those who applaud the exposure and should I see you performing, I assume you'd want me to tell your audience hpw you accomplished your miracles
Message: Posted by: Burt Yaroch (Nov 1, 2002 12:22AM)
I, too, am shocked that people are lauding his performance if he was exposing secrets. Did he really do that? :confused:
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Nov 1, 2002 01:09AM)
He exposed the basics of cold reading, but, as always, it was interesting to note that it did not change people's beliefs in an afterlife or communication with it. People will always believe what they want no matter what information is put forth. No need to worry here.
Message: Posted by: Codex Reader (Nov 1, 2002 07:32AM)
That wasn't entertainment. Our job is to let people lose themselves in a world of Magic and Awe. This was a lecture on how all psychics are frauds. It also proved how stupid people can be for believing in something that can't be proven.

Now when we do our acts and include "cold reading" we can expect some in the audience to go to sleep.

Scale of 1-10

Entertainment value: 3
Memory Value of performer 1
Recommendation value: 2
Out of work mentalist willing to expose: 10
Message: Posted by: ESP Guy (Nov 1, 2002 08:10AM)
Why is it that everytime I see Ian Rowland on American television he is exposing the workings that are used by legitimate entertainers?! John Edward, Van Praagh, etc. are certainly NOT entertainers. They are, IMO, folks that purport to talk to the dead at lectures, etc. where 1-3000 people are relieved of $50 each (do the math). I was angered by Ian's last television appearance where he EXPOSED design dupes, envelope readings, seance work, etc. I was, however, all set to support Ian on this one if he would've just done the demo and said it was psychological techniques that anyone could use and leave it at that. But, NO, he's got to EXPOSE the detailed techniques that I as an ENTERTAINER use to ENTERTAIN my audiences. I see Ian as nothing more than a self-promoting exposer counting his 30 pieces of silver.

Dave :mad:
Message: Posted by: Mr Secret-ary (Nov 1, 2002 08:43AM)
It's hard to make any specific comment without seeing the show (unlikely over here in the UK, I guess). However what I do feel generally about Ian's viewpoint, as with that of Randi's, is that despite their formidable skills and experience they never seek an answer to one blindingly obvious question: WHY do people persist in holding beliefs beyond the strictly rational world which they would have us inhabit!?!

Surely it's because that's a part of Who We ARE as human beings. Yes, people will believe any old hogwash rather than nothing, but I persist in the view that this faculty is there for a reason (as in 'rational'): to prompt us to seek and find spiritual Truth. What Edwards and co do is IMHO loathsome precisely because in deceiving, it does not entertain, but just leads people further away from the light.

A related Obvious & Unasked Question is: surely so many people respond powerfully to the contents of readings because they are TRUE! There may be skulduggery involved, but a gifted reader gives people a lot of substance - which is what they come for. Again, why then go "Nyah Nyah Nyah, it was just a trick, dummy!"? The answer of course is that the supposedly 'neutral' Rationalist Skeptics are actually coming from an incredibly biased 'religious' viewpoint of their own, and don't want to address any incovenient inconsistencies which might challenge it - a service which they're only too glad to provide to people of different 'faiths'.
Message: Posted by: mysticz (Nov 1, 2002 09:06AM)
Any magician/mentalist/performer who supports this blatant exposure of what should be secret technique is both irresponsible and no friend to either the public or his/her fellow performers.

This really is a shame.

Joe Z.
Message: Posted by: christopher carter (Nov 1, 2002 09:20AM)
I haven't yet seen Ian's appearance, so I'll limit my comments to the exposure of cold reading in general. Very often I'll hear a radio personality, tv persona, or even skeptical audience member, dismiss a psychic performance by saying, "that's just cold reading." Obviously they picked up the term from various exposures of the process. What they don't seem to understand is that, by dismissing it thusly, they aren't really saying anything meaningful. One might as well say of this post, "that's just English." Cold reading is not a "thing," but the act of manipulating the way people construct their world-view. On one hand, it's quite simple, on the other hand it's quite mysterious and beautiful. Clearly exposure has trivialized it as a process.

--Christopher Carter
Message: Posted by: John Smetana (Nov 1, 2002 09:31AM)
On 2002-11-01 10:06, mysticz wrote:
Any magician/mentalist/performer who supports this blatant exposure of what should be secret technique is both irresponsible and no friend to either the public or his/her fellow performers.

This really is a shame.

Joe Z.
I am total agreement with both Joe Z and Ford Kross on this issue. Doing what he did Rowland reminds me of the magician who comes for the "Fooled you...you're an $*!" school of magic. What a waste. Also Greg mentioned that it won't make a difference. Perhaps not this one event, but then again it is the incremental effect of such exposures that, in the end, are devastating. It happened to magic and will happen to mentalism. Mentalism, like magic will become an art form for the entertainment of children.To quote a phrase" What a shame"

Best thoughts,
John Smetana :kewl:
Message: Posted by: Tony Razzano (Nov 1, 2002 09:39AM)
I agree with Ford, Burt, Joe Z and John S. 100%.

Ian, all you did was hurt honest entertainers who use cold reading. Shame on you. Why do you expose?

First, don't give me the drivel about saving innocent people from charlatans. If you really wanted to do that, why don't you file formal charges with the authorities? Perhaps its because you and the other Edwards bashers have no proof.

When you say he is not really contacting the dead, you are making an assumption that you don't know to be true. You may believe that it is, but you don't know. You have no proof. So you expose methods of honest entertainers.

And if you are NOT saying that he isn't real, why, then are you exposing? For thirty pieces of silver?

And your performance wasn't all that good either, by the way.

Again, why do you insist on taking the chance of hurting the honest performer by exposure?

To those who defend exposure, for whatever reason, how would you feel if I went on ABC and exposed the Sense of Touch effect? I wouldn't DO that of course, but you get the point.

I would suggest to most of you honest, hard working mentalists that you keep the good stuff off of the Magic Café. You never know what the exposers (more than one here) will do on national TV.

I suppose that last comment might get me banned from the Café. I hope not, but if so, I go with my head held high as an honest non exposing professional who does not stab his colleagues in the back. Ian, I hope you do NOT enjoy your 30 pieces of silver. I am sure you will have a defense ready. Most exposers defend themselves by arrogantly attacking their critics. I am sure that you will be no exception.

Please note...although I am on the Board of Directors of the PEA, my comments in this forum are mine alone and do not necessarily represent any official position of the PEA or any of its members.

Tony Razzano
Message: Posted by: E-Leoni (Nov 1, 2002 10:40AM)
Et tu, Ian ?

Friends, Magicians, Mentalist, lend me your ears;
I come to bury “Cold Reading” not to praise its exposure.
The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones:
So let it be with “Cold Reading” The noble Ian hath told you that “Cold Reading”
is ambitious, and self serving: If it were so, it was a grievous fault; And grievously hath
“Cold Reading” answer’d it. Here, under leave of Ian’s and the rest,--- For Ian is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men, (Masked magician)---Come I to speak in “Cold Readings” funeral.
It, hath brought many troubled at ease with closure , Whose pockets, & ego were boosted when
ABC made its offer ?
Did this in “Cold Reading” seem ambitious ? When that the poor have cried, “Cold Reading” hath wept:
Ambitious should be made of sterner stuff: Yet Ian says he was ambitious; And Ian is an honorable man.
You all did see that on the Prime Time show, & TLC, America has twice presented him a kingly crown,
of acceptance which he did twice accept: was this ambition or self-serving ? Yet Ian says he was egalitarian,
And, sure he is an honorable man with good intentions.
I speak not to disprove what Ian’s spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love
“Cold Reading” once,--not without cause: What cause withholds you, then, to mourn for it ? O judgement,
thou art fled to Evils Righteous, And men have lost their reason ! Bear with me; My heart is in the
coffin there with “Cold Reading”, And I must pause till it come back to me.

Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Nov 1, 2002 10:56AM)
I was greatly saddened by Ian Rowland's exposure of mentalism techniques on national USA TV last night. I ask myself what could he have hoped to accomplish?

1) Enlighten the public. Unlikely that any believer had his/her beliefs altered by the segment. Certainly none of the "subjects" seemed to be enlightened. The gestalt of the piece was, " I tricked you gullible folks." Very few are likely to be enlightened by that attitude.

2) Discredit Edward and Van Pragh. I personally admire neither of them. I believe they are duping the public for money. But this "exposure" will harm them no more than a flea bite on an elephant's bottom.

3) Promote mentalism/psychic entertainment. Don't think so.

4) Harm mentalism/psychic entertainment. Not much. Though why a creative performer who has contributed as much to the field as Ian has would expose techniques is beyond me.

5) Self promotion. The only possible explanation I can see. The chance for a major segment on a top American news show might have been too much to resist.

Certainly Ian does not have to justify himself to me or anyone else. But an entertainer would agree to participate in such a piece is incomprehensible to me.

Either you're a performer and guard our secrets and promote our field of entertainerment or you're an exposer. I don't believe you can have it both ways.

Bob Baker
Message: Posted by: Yaniv Deautsch (Nov 1, 2002 11:36AM)
Come on!!!
There is information about Cold Reading all over the net.
The goal is to be so good at cold reading so people will think that you must have been using some other ways to get you information.
In the same way that some contact reader have been presumed in the past of using electronic divices.
Be a master at what you do.
No one will be able to kill your magic.

Yaniv Deautsch
Message: Posted by: Gary (Nov 1, 2002 11:37AM)
Ian's skeptical interests and activities all well documented on his website, so in theory, none of this should come as a shock.

Clearly the programme has upset a number of people in the business and I'm sure many will await his response on this site with even greater interest.
Message: Posted by: sandman690 (Nov 1, 2002 11:44AM)
The only reason I can come to is money. Exposure of techniques is something that can not be endorsed by our community. I had heard good things of Ians book, however I will not support, financially or by my words, those that harm our art. :mad:
Message: Posted by: asmayly (Nov 1, 2002 12:52PM)
If I have history straight, isn't exposure of spiritualism a long TRADITION among magicians since before Houdini's time and didn't Houdini (founder of SAM, the keepers of the Magician's Oath) expose spitualists.

I think why this particular kind of exposure seems remarkable is to the same degree why spiritualism and sometimes mentalism is harmful in how they manipulate people's belief systems.

When a spitualist or a mentalist says it's "real" (I am now in contact with your dead grandmother) he is making fools of the audience (whether ABC got the audience who believe in it or he got them from a sign outside his house that says "Psychic Readings").

Magicians use to be the keepers of the rational--the people you could trust because they could REPRODUCE MAGIC--NOT THAT THEY HAD REAL POWERS.

Whenever a person claimed to have real magical powers, it had been up to magicians to keep the people straight ala Houdini, Randi, Banachek, etc.

I am personally against exposure like the Masked Magician because he exposes magic done by magicians who do it purely as entertainment--there he just sucks out the enjoyment for everyone.

But spiritualist set themselves up with claims that it's real what they do and when they make people weep because they say "you have this calendar in your house ... etc.".

I think it's Karmic for spitualist to get exposed. Magicians have done it for a hundred years.

To Yaniv's point, cold reading is still powerful. Ian or anyone cannot reveal every possible psychological way to cold read; we can still use it and do it (whether you do it as entertainment or for "real" if that's what you want to do). Ian exposed the fact that one can reproduce what a spirtualist can do.

Despite all that I've said above, though, I'm still conflicted. There is an awful lot of mentalism/spirtualism that has been developed over the millenium, and there are "entertainers" like Derren Brown, etc., who provide a field of entertainment for those who wish to learn the craft. Exposing the METHODS attempts to dissolve that field or at least attempts to make a mockery of it.

When Ian exposes perhaps the more "harmful" perpetuators of spitualism/mentalism (I think he would say John Edwards), he exposes ALL mentalists whether they are performing "mental magic" or a "psychic demonstration" act.

In that regard, I believe Ian has stepped over a line. He could have proved spitualism to be fradulent by just REPRODUCING it rather than explaining the actual workings, ("I used psychological methods, etc., I was never in contact with the dead ...")

I still thought his "spitualist act" was good (I think his spectators did, too) and he is obviouly good at it.

How much harm he created by exposing "methods" to the field of which he is a student and a teacher, I couldn't or shouldn't say. I think it best I leave it up to the professionals who have been at it for decades to discuss and decide.

Message: Posted by: mysticz (Nov 1, 2002 01:18PM)
On 2002-11-01 13:52, asmayly wrote:

How much harm he created by exposing "methods" to the field of which he is a student and a teacher, I couldn't or shouldn't say. I think it best I leave it up to the professionals who have been at it for decades to discuss and decide.


Well, let's see. In the U.S., Rowland blatantly exposed "methods of the psychics" on The Learning Channel, basic techniques used by magicians and mentalists alike to entertain their audiences. These techniques included the use of secret switches, lapping, reflective shiners, escape methodology, etc. All these techniques he exposed are in use today by legitimate performers of mystery entertainment. And this TLC special runs quite often.

And last night, he exposed the fundamentals of cold reading, also a technique used much more often by entertainers in our craft than by criminals.

As a professional performer of both magic and mentalism over the past 20+ years, I find this "exposure-for-profit" behavior unconscionable and not fitting of anyone who fancies themselves a magician or mentalist.

It's a bloody shame.

Joe Z.
Message: Posted by: Aristides (Nov 1, 2002 01:19PM)
Unfortunately I missed the show and cannot comment on specifics. Debunking psychics and the supernatural is a time-honored duty for all magicians. Ian Rowland is being criticized on this forum for doing this show for money. How hypocritical! I am sure he could make several times what he presently does if he wanted to make a living fleecing the gullible.
Message: Posted by: Steve Brooks (Nov 1, 2002 01:21PM)
Interesting topic, though I think this will not resolve the issue and can only serve to create negative comments and emotions. ;)

That said, someone had sent me the following PM regarding this very thread:
[i]I think someone should look into this. If this is something that really happened (I didn't see it myself) I think Mr Roland should be permanently dismissed from the Café.

If it is wrong to expose secrets here, it is certainly wrong to expose them on national TV.[/i]"

One could also say "If it's wrong to expose secrets here it is certainly wrong to expose secrets in books that can be purchased by anyone at Barnes & Nobles or any magic shop"

And what about creators of tricks and apparatus who allow their wares to be sold to the public at Disneyland, or at the chain of MagicZones in malls?

We would have to ban a huge chunk of the pros who are members here, for many of them have books, videos, dvd's, and effects that can be purchased by anyone. Though I see where you are coming from, that particular analogy is in fact flawed.

As magicians, we are indeed like the wizard behind the curtain, hoping that stupid dog Toto will quit barking at us, lest we be exposed.

Trinity said;"[i]I would suggest to most of you honest, hard working mentalists that you keep the good stuff off of the Magic Café. You never know what the exposers (more than one here) will do on national TV[/i]."

That of course will be up to each individual to decide. Even posting methods in a so-called secret area or private site such as [i]The Nail Writer[/i] does not guarantee someone will not expose the stuff.

Once you place it on the net, or in a book, monograph, video or otherwise, you are taking a chance that exposure could happen.

I cannot and will not be the judge on this issue, it is way too complex a matter, with several variables involved that I am not qualified to answer.

In that light, I feel this subject is best addressed by those [i]in the know[/i] somewhere else other than [b]The Magic Café[/b], where our goal is to provide a family like atmosphere free from profanity and flaming, where indeed magicians are helping magicians. Thank you. ;)
Message: Posted by: mysticz (Nov 1, 2002 01:23PM)
On 2002-11-01 14:19, Aristides wrote:
Ian Rowland is being criticized on this forum for doing this show for money.

More specifically, exposing magic/mentalism secrets for money.

Joe Z.