(Close Window)
Topic: Halloween Night and Ian Rowland
Message: Posted by: Gianni (Oct 31, 2002 09:53PM)
I don't know if this is appropriate in this forum but here goes: it's Halloween night and I'm at my computer in the Café when who pops up on TV - on Prime Time, a national US television program - but Ian Rowland! And there is a lesson on cold reading!

Gianni
Message: Posted by: kuffs (Oct 31, 2002 10:06PM)
Just take this chance to say to Ian, BRAVO !!

Humbly...

Kuffs
Message: Posted by: Samuel Catoe (Oct 31, 2002 10:57PM)
Ian gave an excellent presentation. What I find most interesting was that most of the people still seemed to believe it was real even after they were basically told this is not real it is all in your imagination. That having been said; If I see it, if I hear it, if I touch it, then it MUST be real. To me at the very least.

Samuel
Message: Posted by: Codex Reader (Oct 31, 2002 11:45PM)
I watch tonight, and didn't really think he helped magic or the emotional needs of people. He seemed to be earning a living debunking peoples beliefs. This time it is John Edwards, next time it could be Jesus. Why? Is JE stealing peoples life savings? Or providing entertainment and some closure, or emotional release? Since when did religion get an exclusive on these services?

I think the people in the group tonight still believe because they want to believe. Certainly we get to choose what beliefs we hold. There is no proof that God exists nor proof he doesn't, yet the majority of the world believes in God. If Randi and company go after God with the same requirement of proof, would that debunk religion? No, but they won't because we need to believe in Magic, the improvable possibilities. We need this coping cure called belief in a higher power.

Some people need to believe in John Edwards, the local palm reader, the psychologist, that education will insure success, that terrorist won't win. All beliefs without proof. These things represent Hope. Hope is one of our basic human needs.

I don't see that much good coming from debunking all psychics, rather only those who scam people out of money. Debunk only those churches that scam sick people etc but magicians should leave religion and regular psychics alone as a whole.

We need our beliefs, we can't face the cold realities of the world without them. People don't want their local psychic exposed, nor their local Church teachings questioned, nor their dream of success, their idea that family has meaning, that Love exists, that life has meaning.

It can certainly be shown how it can be faked. And there are people who marry for money and nothing else. Does that mean we should stop believing in the improvable? NO! Should mentalist go around claiming all psychics use cold readings? No. I would say that most don't. But a heck of a lot of magicians and mentalist do cold readings. Then claim this is what all psychics do.

John Edwards is using some cold reading techniques, but who is getting hurt? If anything, people are being made to feel better, comforted, in the same way religion comforts. People pay each a fair price for feeling better. Belief is our weakness yet a requirement for being human. They psychologists are next. Before long, we will have destroyed hope, faith, and magic.
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Nov 1, 2002 01:13AM)
I guess, Codex, it only matters if you want to take the blue pill or the red one. Myself, I prefer to know if I'm living in the Matrix instead of leading an imaginary existence. To each their own. Ian's segment will not change anyone that has a blind faith existence. Keep using your cold reading techniques because nothing has changed.
Greg
Message: Posted by: Bambaladam (Nov 1, 2002 04:01AM)
Or, before long, this is ANOTHER thread I've read before.

Sorry, but I can't see this debate getting anywhere.

And I do feel it is important. I just feel it takes up enough of our time here.

Essentially, we all have to make up our own minds. Once we have, we have to make sure we feel comfortable about the conclusions we arrived at. And try not to preach.

/bamba
Message: Posted by: Paul (Nov 1, 2002 04:11AM)
Ever get that feeling of Deja Vu?

Paul.
Message: Posted by: Codex Reader (Nov 1, 2002 07:39AM)
Houdini exposed frauds, Ian exposed common mentalist's secrets for the wrong audience. Very different purposes.

He is no different that the masked magician in my book.

And I know, it really changes nothing except for 1 or 2 people in my next show, they will be the ones snoozing.
Message: Posted by: mysticz (Nov 1, 2002 09:00AM)
Shame, shame. Nothing was gained through Rowland's exposure of cold reading technique last night on national TV, but a little was lost by revealing yet another bit of the mentalist's secret process. Magicians should be the guardians of these secrets, not the purveyors of their own eventual demise.

Fortunately, the rather simplistic explanation for the rather lame cold reading Rowland demonstrated will not seriously affect me personally as a psychic reader and mentalist. But the idea of exposing any secret technique in this fashion is wrong and potentially detrimental to serious magicians and mentalists everywhere.

Joe Z.
Message: Posted by: Swami Bill (Nov 1, 2002 10:05AM)
QUOTE: "I guess, Codex, it only matters if you want to take the blue pill or the red one. Myself, I prefer to know if I'm living in the Matrix instead of leading an imaginary existence."

The problem, Greg Arce, is that both options are illusion. Most of us haven't swallowed a pill, regardless of color, gain the knowledge and understanding that comes with a mentalists approach to entertainment. We have researched, rehearsed, studied and plied our trade in the "real" world. That, by anyones guess, is hard work. Revealing our secrets under the misguided approach of "exposing frauds" does a disservice to the community at large.
Message: Posted by: brainman (Nov 1, 2002 12:16PM)
Exposure generally will produce more individuals who are motivated to try out the told secrets - so Exposure is contra-productive concerning the eventual will of destroying "wrong forms" of beliefs...

Even if people are told that the "psychic" was using this or that method...they will not (be able to) believe:
the magic word is "cognitive dissonance" (check out books on superstition or psychology on that) - people will even start to believe stronger!

I did not see the "show", but I would like to hear Ian´s comment to our community of Mentalists and working Performers what exactly he did give away and why.
Or if this rumour, anger,..is all only blind hysteria magna?

P
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Nov 1, 2002 12:36PM)
I didn't see the show in question, however I would hazard a guess that Ian's 'exposure' didn't hurt any cold-readers, and most likely, had an opposite effect than which was intended (as Ray Hyman suggests).

I've had clients familiar with cold-reading techniques convinced that I don't use them in my readings... and they're mostly right!

A true professional only uses cold-reading techniques sparingly, instead allowing the oracle itself to provide the answers.
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Nov 1, 2002 03:53PM)
[quote]
On 2002-11-01 11:05, Swami Bill wrote:

QUOTE:
The problem, Greg Arce, is that both options are illusion. Most of us haven't swallowed a pill, regardless of color, gain the knowledge and understanding that comes with a mentalists approach to entertainment. We have researched, rehearsed, studied and plied our trade in the "real" world. That, by anyones guess, is hard work. Revealing our secrets under the misguided approach of "exposing frauds" does a disservice to the community at large.
[/quote]

First, if you had swallowed one of the pills you wouldn't know it now, but that's just a premise in a movie. What I meant in a roundabout way is that you cannot change a person's opinion if it deals in the realm of faith. Case in point: many years ago there was a town where a lady had moved to and that lady was considered the missing member of the slain Russian Royalty. The town grew up believing she was the actual family member that escaped the slaughter. Then science stepped. They had been able to trace the bloodline of that family and that of another family who had also lost a child around the same time. When questioned everyone in the town knew that the result would positively prove them right. They said, "I've seen her. I've talked with her. You can't fake that aura she has that says she is of royalty." Well, the test came in... she was not from the Russian family, but from the other non-royal family. Did the town people now say, "I guess we were wrong." No. They insisted the test was wrong. Blind faith always trumps facts.
When I first started doing my bits in mentalism I was studying psychology. I made it a point of doing my own survey. I would begin my demonstrations by recounting an event that happened in my life that I believed caused me to change the pattern of my brain. I would then perform standard mentalism effects. At the end everyone believed I was a true psychic and they had witnessed strange evens. Well, I would end the demonstration by saying, "I'm a magician and everything you saw was a trick." I even went as far as holding up a Tannen's catalog and pointing out several of the effects I had performed and quoted the prices. Do you think they now thought, "wow. I was fooled. I guess he's not a psychic." Quite the contrary. Most people now believed I was a psychic who was trying to make them believe it was all done with tricks. They had seen the effects with their own eyes so they must be real. I could not make them change their minds. Once again, blind faith always trumps facts.
So what am I saying here? Don't worry if someone exposes cold reading, or nailwriting, or whatever... as long as you portray yourself in the way that most believe then you have nothing to worry about. Blind faith will trump exposure.
Greg
Message: Posted by: Paradox (Nov 1, 2002 04:08PM)
Rowland could have simply stated that he was not getting his information from the dead, but through other, psychological means. Simply saying there are other ways to obtain this information would have been, to my way of thinking, enough.
Philemon is right. Good readers use the premise they're using for real. If they use the palm, they study Palmistry. If ther use the Tarot, they study and learn the Tarot. Cold reading techniques are often confused with the so-called "psychological" reading that ostensibly fits everyone. A real pro reads the cards as they fall, or the lines on the hand, or whatever.
Even David Blaine's new book has a bit of cold reading exposure in it. Just let the stuff sit for a while & most people will forget about it. If someone sees you doing a reading, they may say "Oh, he's using cold reading" without knowing anything about it., but none of this will interfere with readers or their clients.
That doesn't excuse Rowland's blatant exposure, though. His Fuff Facts book may be the alpha & omega of cold reading technique, but I for one can certainly do without it.
Message: Posted by: mysticz (Nov 1, 2002 04:16PM)
[quote]
On 2002-11-01 16:53, Greg Arce wrote:

So what am I saying here? Don't worry if someone exposes cold reading, or nailwriting, or whatever... as long as you portray yourself in the way that most believe then you have nothing to worry about. Blind faith will trump exposure.
Greg
[/quote]

The point is that if the "someone" who is exposing the "cold reading, nailwriting or whatever" is a magician, you have a lot to worry about. Blind faith may trump exposure (not always, BTW), but eliminating exposure should be a major concern for any thinking, responsible conjuror.

The first step is by not tolerating exposure by another magician in the first place. If that magician is selling books or effects, then we should not be patronizing him. In my own personal case, I will never patronize any magician or mentalist I find willingly exposing trade secrets of the craft. And that includes one that exposes on national "Primetime" news shows.

Exposure of our secrets is a serious breach of conjuring ethics. Remember that above all else.

Joe Z.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Nov 1, 2002 04:50PM)
It's been said before but...

So we should own no books by or about Houdini? He exposed "spiritualists" (today we call them "psychics") all the time! Made a career of it in fact! Some magic secrets were revealed when he made those exposures. If someone is making fraudulent claims of having REAL POWERS when in fact they are just doing magic tricks, should it not be our responsibility to expose them?

What about if the situation were reversed? What if it were like the Salem witch trials, and people were getting killed for having real powers? Would it be okay to expose the secrets then, in order to save their lives? (Anyone ever heard of Reginald Scot's "Discoverie of Witchcraft"--it wasn't written for magicians!)

Where do we draw the line? Is Ian like the masked magician?

I say no, because the masked magician was exposing tricks by people who were doing tricks for people who knew they were just tricks. Ian was exposing tricks by people who claimed they were NOT tricks to people who thought they were NOT tricks. That's a pretty clear distinction.

At any rate, this topic has been done, many times over, both specifically in two forums on ian's TV appearance, and generally in many of the topics already in this section.

Further, Steve Brooks has decided this matter (whether Ian has violated ethical standards) needs to be judged somehwre else, but not on the Café. Therefore, I am locking this topic. Both sides have giving their opinions--many times. It is time to move on.