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Topic: Psychics and Mentalists
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 8, 2008 09:27PM)
My understanding is that a Psychic is someone who believes he has special "psychic" abilities or powers that he or she might use in the real world or on stage, while a Mentalist is someone who uses specialize knowledge, illusion, suggestion, feats or memory, etc., for entertainment or theatrical purposes.

I'd be interested to know if others have thoughts on the distinctions between a psychic and a mentalist.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Mar 8, 2008 09:30PM)
Could a Psychic practice Mentalism?
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 8, 2008 09:33PM)
Yes, they could. Not quite sure why they would want to, but I'm sure some will say they do. That's up to them.

Perhaps posters could also say which they see themselves as being.

I'm a Mentalist.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Mar 8, 2008 09:37PM)
I've had Psychic experiences but there is the issue of control. If a person has visions or other paranormal events in their lives, can they be psychic without control?
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 8, 2008 09:39PM)
Dunno. Good question -- for another thread.

Do you have any thoughts on the distinctions between a Psychic and a Mentalist, Slim?

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Mar 8, 2008 10:20PM)
I guess my problem is the distinction of Being Psychic and being A Psychic. So what is a Psychic by definition?
Not trying to be difficult ... Just trying to get a clear definition on Psychic and Mentalist.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Mar 8, 2008 10:33PM)
To help complexify da issue:

Magician

Magician who performs mental magic

Mental Magician

Mentalist

Mystery Entertainer

Psychic Entertainer

Gospel Magician (and other Clerical Magi)

Paranormalist

Psychic

Medium / Spirit Channeller

Avatar

Shaman

....

There are certain grey areas... but a psychic versus a psychic entertainer versus a mentalist is somethng interesting...

Oh and being psychic - I think (correct me if I m wrong) - its not about traits and abilities but how someone proclaims themselves to society that Entity is talking about?
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 8, 2008 10:40PM)
Actually, I've given my own definition, but asked that others provide theirs.

In providing the distinctions between psychics and mentalists, I'm hoping that people will include their definition of each.

It might include, as Spektor points out, how each proclaims themselves to society.

- entity
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Mar 8, 2008 10:43PM)
I believe whether "being psychic" or being "a Psychic" implies a consistent, special awareness/sense (not among the ordinary seven senses) or ability/power which are usually classified as "paranormal," "supernatural," or some similar label, regardless of the degree of control exercised. I would not include those individuals who have had occasional "strange" or "unusual" experiences which might be classified as paranormal.

Entity's definition for "Mentalist" seems clear.

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: magicusb (Mar 8, 2008 10:59PM)
I believe we fall under

Mystery Entertainers
&
Paranormalists

Dick Brooks & Dorothy Dietrich
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Mar 8, 2008 11:03PM)
Hi Magicusb,

Who is the "we" to which you refer?




Sorry. Didn't notice both names at the end of your post.

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: magicusb (Mar 8, 2008 11:07PM)
Dorothy Dietrich.

In our current show, "Haunted! Mind Mysteries & THE Beyond!", though I am featured, there are two of us performing.

Dick Brooks & Dorothy Dietrich
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Mar 8, 2008 11:13PM)
Hi Magicusb,

In what way(s) do you see a Paranormalist different than a Mentalist or Psychic?

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: gabelson (Mar 9, 2008 12:40AM)
They can call you "mentalists", they can call you "paranormalists", they can call you "psychics... just hope they call you.
Message: Posted by: RileyG (Mar 9, 2008 12:46AM)
And their check clears...
Message: Posted by: gabelson (Mar 9, 2008 01:23AM)
Amen. Ask for at least half up front.
Message: Posted by: psychicturtle (Mar 9, 2008 04:37AM)
I see a psychic as someone who can perform genuine feats of telepathy and or clairvoyance. I'm a psychological illusionist, as I create illusions that are experienced more psychologically than anything else.

I have no idea (and have never known) what the word 'mentalist' means (aside from it's current common definition, which is 'lunatic'), so I would never apply it to myself. I always thought it to be a 'nothing' word, in that it does not say anything at all, aside from having something to do with the mind. Technically, psychic just means 'of the mind' as well. Over here (UK) to the public, 'mentalist' only means 'lunatic'. So I never use the term.
Message: Posted by: kriskraze (Mar 9, 2008 04:47AM)
[quote]Over here (UK) to the public, 'mentalist' only means 'lunatic'. So I never use the term.[/quote]
True dat.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 9, 2008 05:13AM)
A full-blown psychic to me, would not go and perform on stage - as they'd see it as a waste of time, and potentially too confusing mentally to get hit by so many thoughts - they'd be making a tidy sum predicting horse racing events and things like that...or if they weren't that good - make a living telling people's potential future(s)...they would not be able to talk to the dead.

They would require absolutely nothing in the way of "material". No props, no cards, potentially no tarot either, cos if they were a top-notch psychic, they wouldn't necessarily need a physical deck...

In my mind, not all psychics would be created equal...bit like footballers, no matter how hard they train and apply themselves - they'd have a natural "limit".

Mind-athletes?!

Their overall remit would be to help people (and occasionally themselves). You would of course, as in all walks of life have some that would be just out for themselves, getting laid, making money and manipulating people to take care of them.

The caveat for the above is this: maybe, some people who feel as though they are psychic, are just naturally good at certain psychological techniques, yet do not realise that is what they are utilising. People who are highly empathic for example - are occasionally classed as "sensitives" - but it may be they are naturally highly skilled at face-reading (Ekman) yet are unaware of that principle.
_________________________________

mentalists or whatever comfy label you wish to attach to yourself - would be able to display a myriad of skill sets and esoteric knowledge...i use that word in the true sense...

just as an example:
exoteric - meaning outer more common knowledge, for example a basic kata learnt in martial arts, a basic block, kick, punch set...
esoteric - meaning inner lesser known principles, for example how to summon and control chi energy...

yeah - so a mentalist could be a scholar of the esoteric. Nothing occult in that; but has learnt closely guarded secrets/techniques from the worlds of psychology, linguistics/body language/hypnosis/whatever.

And has then decided to display and share what he has now learnt to do in a thought-provoking and entertaining way. They may even emulate the psychic world, by very different means. They would be able to combine various principles to achieve highly unusual outcomes.

Mentalists would have to be able to control their environment to achieve these things. They would do these things to provide an interesting and entertaining evening for their audience.

They would also form attachments to forums and enjoy arguing.
Message: Posted by: DR STEVE HOSKINS (Mar 9, 2008 06:11AM)
I describe myself to laymen as a psychic, and I do beleive I have some BASIC psychic ability.
- yes I suppose I am stretching a point a bit, but to describe myself as a magician / mentalist just takes all the mystery away, people either don't understand the term mentalist or see it as a person that uses trickery to perform psychic phenomonen,[which is true of course].

a psychic does not need to be an entertaining performer, a mentalist does.
- a psychic just needs to be able to demonstrate an unexplainable feat of some kind,so that suits my style better.

spectators prefer to beleive what they just saw as some kind of psychic feat not a clever magic trick.

I think magicians/mentalists get too hung up on this subject, lets move on !
Message: Posted by: mindpunisher (Mar 9, 2008 06:31AM)
A mentalist [b]is[/b] a psychic to the public if they use tarot cards or other reading systems do or feats that imply they have ESP. Even if they use a disclaimer.

This isn't about what a psychic is to you. Its about what a psychic is to your public.

Focus on them instead of yourselves.
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (Mar 9, 2008 12:03PM)
There is an irony that many laymen, not schooled in the subtleties of magic lingo, see the terms 'psychic' and 'mentalist' as pretty much meaning the same thing.

On a tangent, one magical writer observed that the most 'honest' mystery performer, as claims go, is probably the escape artist; he claims he will get out of something...and does.
:) :handcuffs:
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 12:44PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-09 05:37, psychicturtle wrote:
I see a psychic as someone who can perform genuine feats of telepathy and or clairvoyance. I'm a psychological illusionist, as I create illusions that are experienced more psychologically than anything else.

I have no idea (and have never known) what the word 'mentalist' means (aside from it's current common definition, which is 'lunatic'), so I would never apply it to myself. I always thought it to be a 'nothing' word, in that it does not say anything at all, aside from having something to do with the mind. Technically, psychic just means 'of the mind' as well. Over here (UK) to the public, 'mentalist' only means 'lunatic'. So I never use the term.
[/quote]

My question, for the purposes of this discussion, asks how those of us in the trade view the terms "mentalist" and "psychic". I understand that there are some outside of the trade that don't recognize the word "mentalist", as it pertains to the performance of mentalism.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Samuel Catoe (Mar 9, 2008 01:08PM)
This is an interesting question you pose.

I think that for me the distinction would not be regarding methodology but presentation toward the public. For instance, Banachek would be a mentalist while John Edwards would be classified as a psychic.

A mentalist does not need to give a disclaimer during their performance. They perform a show as opposed to giving readings. I really think there is a very fine line between the two and that many performers do blur those lines if not erase them all together. Mentalists rarely refer to themselves as such and often will call themselves thought readers, psychological illusionists, experimentalists, etc.

A psychic is giving readings. A performer CAN give reading like palm readings without being labeled a psychic, but when you start telling people their futures and giving readings on a regular basis you cross the line and are now a psychic to the public. Readings can be anything from tarot to numerology to talking with the dead. Psychics have referred to themselves as psychics, readers, and even facilitators.

That is how I would separate the two.
Message: Posted by: kinesis (Mar 9, 2008 01:21PM)
To be honest I don't think the UK public are (were ever) familiar with the word 'mentalist' relating to a performer (of the paranormal et al). That's one reason I've deliberated heavily on what to put on my business cards. I had a great chat with Todd Landman about this at Blackpool, LOL
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Mar 9, 2008 01:24PM)
I guess I'd see a Psychic as someone who represents themselves (either theatrically or otherwise) as having a quality that is part of them in the way that, say left or righthandedness is a quality that is a part of someone even when they're not using their hands.

Whereas I'd think of a Mentalist as someone who doesn't represent themselves as having a mysterious built in quality. Rather they tap into a certain (possibly mysterious) something when they need to.

Seems pretty much like a 'splitting-hairs' kind of a difference though and can't see what's achieved or gained by making such a distinction.

Neal
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 9, 2008 01:30PM)
Do you know what I think part of the problem with all this is?

That a lot of the classics, the textbooks/must-reads however you describe them - play heavily upon the psychic dressings...

I was reading Robert Nelson's encyclopedia of mentalism the other day, this quote:
"the belief that one might learn something of the tomorrows is not a superstition, but the result of hopeful thinking. Certainly with logic and reasoning, plus given factors - a future course can be charted with some degree of accuracy"

and

"in the world of entertainment, the presentation of psychic entertainment is always in demand. because of its challenge, it not only entertains, but draws people thru curiosity and their desire for further entertainment on their own personal problems."

So you can forgive a mentalist for holding true to this in some respects, as, if you're often quoted these books to learn from - well, you take what's written as gospel to a certain extent surely...

looking back, through the 60s and 70s, a lot of heavy spiritual self awareness happened -it was reflected in the books, the gurus that popped up, even in music and film...

I'm not sure what happened to mentalism in the 80s...apart from wide shoulderpads and mullets....

Then the 90s it became a little hybrid in nature, mixed in with magic and the arrival of Blaine...who in his first specials, hinted at ancient fakirs with reviving dead birds and flies, coins and card magic, mind reading...a heady mix...

and its only been recent times, say the past decade, or so, that the psychological mix of things has gained more and more popularity...it does seem genuinely fascinating to read someone's character, if it can be done well, and if it can be talked about knowledgeable...

So in summing up m'lud - its no wonder some of us get confused as to what works and fits our character, our displayable skill sets, I bet a few psychologically based people do book tests with no thought of the "how and why"; just as some psychic entertainers use suggestion, rather than influence..

It's easier to follow, than lead...
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 01:54PM)
Chan Canasta was doing his brand of "Psycho-Magic" several decades ago.

It's interesting to note the way that mentalists have perceived themselves in past eons. Equally interesting is how modern mentalists and psychics see themselves in current day terms.

Mentalism seems to be evolving and changing to adapt to more modern times.

Have psychics changed much over the years?

- entity
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 9, 2008 02:03PM)
Chan was unique at the time, and one of my all time favourites - but strangely shunned by both magicians and mentalists for the main at the time...

Have psychics changed much? I think they have via the TV - they make much more money...and are safe with their bulletproof caveat of "for entertainment only" at the end of each show. We shall talk of your dead aunt for entertainment!

Look at Mr. Berglas, hypnotism, cigarette act, predictions - yet you get told you can't mix magic and mentalism...
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 02:08PM)
Canasta is the one that led me to the context for my performance as a Mentalist.

Re: Berglas:
What the public will accept comes down to the performer, more than what he performs, I think. If they like you, you can get away with a lot. People found Berglas fascinating, a gentleman, and a great showman. They liked him.

When I asked if psychics had evolved, I was speaking more in terms of how they portray themselves than the technology used to convey their message.

- entity
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 9, 2008 02:15PM)
"Real" psychics? I don't think they have from what I've seen...maybe the way they show the audience how they communicate with the spirits, maybe that's changed - but overall...in my experience, not much...

Though going back to TV, I've noticed their delivery can sound very similar to one another...if you look at how Derek Akorah and Colin Fry communicate their messages....which to me suggests they're method isn't has honest as they would like you to believe....

The only personal story I can share here is from my mum's side of the family - I think it would of been my great aunt, would just rattle off stuff - no fishing as we'd label it - if it was wrong, she accepted it completely...but apparently she wasn't wrong often...
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 02:19PM)
Today your great aunt might have had her own televison show.

- entity
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 9, 2008 02:23PM)
Doubt it...she never took money for what she did apparently...

funny image though, to see a short dumpy old eastender drinking lots of tea and shortcake biscuits...i don't think she would of suffered fools gladly...and I hear theres a few of them in tv-land...
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 02:32PM)
Brings Doris Stoakes to mind.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Esjay Dee (Mar 9, 2008 02:38PM)
Stereotypes have changed. The assumption that any person who has psychic ability will therefore contact the dead is plain wrong. Although it is true that many people who wish to present themselves in this way do seem to get the limelight.

In the 16/17th century healers (or cunning folk) would give the sick a peice of paper with prayers written on it to wear around their neck. They were also often given a talisman, the healer would also 'lay on hands'.

During this period King Charles the first did the exact same thing with the help of the church in an organised and very popular ceremony. This practice continued up until the Tudor and Stuart period.

Guess who got accused of whitchcraft?!

The waqys of the cunning men and women of 16/17th C England were outside of the 'system' and therefore seen as dangerous.

I believe it is a mistake to assume that people can be difined by the label of psychic, and rather, this 'ability' should be seen as a trait or characteristic. I also feel that man(kind) adjusts to the flavour of the time and behaves and presents themselves accordingly.
.

steve
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 02:53PM)
Steve: I asked how people here on this mentalism forum delineated between mentalists and psychics. In order to delineate, some sort of definition helps.

Yes, mankind adjusts to the flavour of the time and presents themselves accordingly. I wondered if and how psychics had evolved in defining themselves for the public, in modern times.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Esjay Dee (Mar 9, 2008 03:04PM)
I suppose I would say that a mentalist provides the illusion of psychic ability, and the psychic shows the reality of psychic ability. Although as you suggest, there are several sub catagories of psychic ability, and it's also true that some mentalists use the bogus rationalle of psychology.

Maybe the difference between psychic and mentalist performances is that one is sung and the other mimed?

steve.
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 03:18PM)
Which is the singer, and which the mime?

- entity
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 9, 2008 03:24PM)
Would you not use a psychological theme for all of your performances? what other themes do you use?

I suppose on the singer/mime thing, it just boils down to individual beliefs..
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 03:30PM)
There are times when the use of psychology is not a bogus explanation for an effect.

- entity
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 9, 2008 03:33PM)
I just meant, I see "theme" being different to explanation...probably just down to semantics that one...

I mean a demonstration of muscle reading would be a true thing to show, if you didn't dress it with a different/fake explanation...
Message: Posted by: Esjay Dee (Mar 9, 2008 03:38PM)
Entity, Yes, you're quite right, there is no agreement on the existence of psi.

However a psychic will know they are genuine and present themself as such.

I do follow your arguement though and can see that it would be very difficult to demonstrate its existance.

On the other hand I don't think 'proving it' is that important to everyone who has psychic traits as only a few will have any interest in public perfomances.

As to psychological themes, when executed well (as I'm sure yours are), these will not be seen as bogus at all. My comment wasn't meant as a sleight, sorry if it came over that way.

steve.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 9, 2008 05:59PM)
Mentalists apologize for their actions to cover their own guilt. Psychics do it for legal purposes. ;)
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 06:56PM)
Mentalists sometimes use disclaimers out of respect for their audiences.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 9, 2008 07:00PM)
Possibly, but more often it appears they use them for the reason I have stated above; and for the reason you have stated elsewhere, a theatrical purpose, not a disclaiming one.
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 07:02PM)
Appears to you, maybe.

Your comment about my statement re: disclaimers is a distortion, and is untrue.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 9, 2008 07:14PM)
You may believe it is a distortion and untrue, but I believe it is what you wrote.
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Mar 9, 2008 07:14PM)
Hi Tom,

I didn't realize Mentalists felt guilty. About what?

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 9, 2008 07:17PM)
Hi Steve,

About their actions contributing to a belief they do not hold.

Tom
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Mar 9, 2008 07:27PM)
Hi Tom,

With a disclaimer, there is a recognition on the part of the performer and audience that what occurs is a theatrical presentation and cannot reasonably be taken as supporting a particular belief system or as a contribution to any belief system. There will be some, of course, who will ignore the disclaimer, but there is nothing to do about that.

I don't see where there is any source for guilt in that.

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 07:30PM)
Are you a psychic, Tom, or a mentalist?

- entity
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 9, 2008 08:04PM)
[quote]
There will be some, of course, who will ignore the disclaimer, but there is nothing to do about that.
[/quote] Why is there nothing to do about that? I see it as a simple question of where you draw the line. If people ignore a disclaimer I would say it is ineffective. If some people ignore a stop sign, what is the consequence?
A. people are stopped and advised as to their possible ignorance
B. the situation is analized to see if the sign visibility is at stake
c. someone suggest "stop" is politically incorrect

I have agreed with Entity that our interpretations of a disclaimer are different. So many mentalists call their theatrical introduction a disclaimer, when in fact it disclaims very little, leaves much open to interpretation, and often tells outright lies. I have no problem with entertainers doing any of this. I do have an issue with calling such a theatrical ploy "a disclaimer".

Personally, if I felt the need to make a disclaimer, I would want it to be clear, concise, and effective for everyone at my performance. While people go home with their convictions they came with, a truly disclaimed performance of trickery and illusion should leave no doubt for anyone that what took place was trickery and illusion. See Penn and Teller. I don't care how he does it, that Miser's Dream is brilliant.

I'd also do analysis to make sure the disclaimer was effective.

Entity,

Why is always gender? psyCHIC this and MENtalist that... :lol:

OK, on a more serious side, my finding above about your posts is my understanding of them. Since no exacting data is provided, no exacting outcome can be made from your words. You do admit, I believe, that there is failure of it and you are OK with that.

Disclaimer: My above post is my interpretation of Entity's postings. (I bet that is as effective as a theatrical disclaimer.)

I am not a mentalist. I once was but now I'm cured.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Mar 9, 2008 08:09PM)
In my offering in my earlier post in this thread I made a definitive distinction between a psychic and a mentalist without, as far as I can see, claiming anything apparently unacceptable to anyone lying along the psychic-mentalist spectrum?

I noticed it passed by without comment. That might be because it doesn't simply merit comment. Then again it might also be because it's an equitable 'solution' for all parties and so doesn't help promote a head of steam by giving fuel to anyone's point, position or stance.

I actually find that aspect of this thread more interesting and informative than the individual posts contained within it.

Neal.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 9, 2008 08:21PM)
You said yourself you don't see the point in making your distinctions. Lots of mentalists claim to have powers inborn. Some psychics claim to tap into something outside them.
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 08:23PM)
So Cutts, you are a psychic. Or, to be more precise, a fake psychic.

Some fake psychics seem to resent disclaimers because of their own guilt about tap-dancing around the ethical line. They see people with integrity as a threatening reminder of their own dishonesty.

This thread is about the difference between psychics and mentalists. I guess that's one difference.



- entity
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 9, 2008 08:37PM)
[quote]
I guess that's one difference.
[/quote]
Hey Baxter, do you mean one difference between a psychic and a mentalist is that one is ethical and one is not?

I do agree on your view of fake psychics and the toll of keeping up the lie. The same holds true for many who call themselves mentalists, hate psychics, and still tell lies about claimed abilities and/or techniques.

Everyone on The Café is entitled to state their view, if they can do so with civility.

Tom
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 08:47PM)
Neal: I didn't respond to your earlier post because I didn't find it specific enough to warrant a response. Where does the "special something" that mentalists tap into reside? If it's internal as opposed to external, isn't it exactly what you say a psychic does? At the end of your post, you suggest it doesn't really matter, and that distinctions aren't useful.

I didn't see a reason to respond to that. It's your opinion, and you're entitled to it.

- entity
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Mar 9, 2008 08:48PM)
Hi Tom,

[quote]
On 2008-03-09 21:04, Tom Cutts wrote:
[quote]
There will be some, of course, who will ignore the disclaimer, but there is nothing to do about that.
[/quote] Why is there nothing to do about that? I see it as a simple question of where you draw the line. If people ignore a disclaimer I would say it is ineffective. If some people ignore a stop sign, what is the consequence?
A. people are stopped and advised as to their possible ignorance
B. the situation is analized to see if the sign visibility is at stake
c. someone suggest "stop" is politically incorrect
[/quote]

There is nothing to do about a spectator ignoring a disclaimer because the performer is not the audience's keeper. To assume a disclaimer is "ineffective" because it is ignored by a spectator is only one possibility. There are, of course, many other reasons spectators may ignore a disclaimer.

The point I made, which you did not address, is that a disclaimer is a recognition on the part of the performer and audience that what occurs is a theatrical presentation and cannot reasonably be taken as supporting a particular belief system or as a contribution to any belief system.

Your thoughts?

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 9, 2008 09:05PM)
Hi Steve,

My thoughts are: "If it fails to impress on even one audience member that what they saw was only trickery and illusion, then it fails as that which disclaims."

I thought I made that clear... but I guess I failed. :lol: I'm guilty. Must... follow... rule... of... threes... "Tell them what you are going to do, do it, then tell them that you did it."

In a world where people win lawsuits because "the coffee is too hot", would your disclaimer cover you in a court of law? I bet most mentalists, no; but most public psychics, yes. Fine print saying this is all just entertainment and meant only for your amusement.

That would be one of "the distinctions between a psychic and a mentalist".

Sadly even if you won, defending yourself could bankrupt you.

Tom
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Mar 9, 2008 09:18PM)
To me, it really still comes down to what the performer (I hope that is the right word for this topic) reason for his or her approach to the audience - which should be about mutual wonder without exploitation. Some will use disclaimers -verbal...some nonverbal... some none... and that is OK.

However, as posted elsewhere, this gets back to each individual's concepts and ethical mindset on their responsibilty to others and the impact such powerful art can have on people.

Although a disclaimer may not always help in a court of law - having none might not be helpful there either!

Oh, my thoughts on a psychic versus a mentalist...

A psychic has "real" powers.

A mentalist is an entertainer that creates mental illusions for the entertainment of the crowd.

A Paranormalist is an entertainer that creates supernatural illusions for the entertainment of the crowd.

A psychic entertainer is someone who entertains using psychic motifs - and if they use something like an oracular system - follow the system in a way that is consistent with the system and not to exploit people but help them and get paid at the same time

A Mystery Entertainer is similar but with extra mystery :P

Of course, this is only my thoughts...

I call myself a Mizarrist as I combine bizarre magic and mentalism all the time as an educator/performer.

Complex lines and shades o' grey around here.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 9, 2008 09:22PM)
Is it true what they say, Doc? Do Mizzarists enjoy company? ;)
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Mar 9, 2008 09:25PM)
Thank goodness I'm a comedian.
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Mar 9, 2008 09:29PM)
Hi Tom,

[quote]
On 2008-03-09 22:05, Tom Cutts wrote:
Hi Steve,

My thoughts are: "If it fails to impress on even one audience member that what they saw was only trickery and illusion, then it fails as that which disclaims."
[/quote]

No disclaimer can meet that criterion. I assume, then, categorizing all disclaimers as "ineffective" by your statement, you think disclaimers are, at best, a waste of time. Is that correct?

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 9, 2008 09:40PM)
Spektor: Your comment about avoiding exploitation seems a reasonable one. Thanks for your insights.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Mar 9, 2008 09:43PM)
In my view, "Psychic" like "Artist", is a label. A "psychic" can be a person with one or more of a wide variety of talents, skills, or abilities that are more developed or utilized by them more than in most people.

I abhor the use of the word "powers" that gets bandied around in these forums. That word is overstatement, and is usually used in a condescending manner. We don’t use that word when talking about musicians, artists, or writers. Nor when we hear that someone is an artist do we challenge them to paint the Mona Lisa, and when they decline or say that they sculpt and don’t paint, we don’t announce them frauds.

This group of threads that were started by entity, 5 just in the past week, if I’m not mistaken, one after the other, to me are polarizing and appear to be the soapbox of someone who seems to have an issue with people different than he. It is sad! (Again, my opinion.)

Slim King asked a question on the first page of this thread, can one be a psychic and a mentalist? Yes, why not. Can one be a mentalist and a musician? Can one be a cook and watch television? We are free to have as many interests as we wish. One interest does not exclude you from others, but one’s mindset may.

Tony Iacoviello
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 9, 2008 09:51PM)
Hi Steve,

No I think Penn and Teller have achieved this. They bill themselves as magicians but do some mental routines. People are entertained and no one believes they do anything but tricks. I'm basing that on feedback from those I know and those I over hear at their show. People have a great time, know it is all tricks and relax about that.

Then again, their staging is more intersting than their trickiness. I'm not sure that can be said of most mentalists. They rely awful heavy on the trick to get them by, to entertain. And I'm not sure the bombasticness of P&T would be a good fit for an all Mentalism show. Mentalism probably lacks the texture or diversity to keep up.

Disclaimer: the above is more thinking out loud than concrete thought. It is time for dinner and the last of the sunset. I love the time change when it is 60F at 8pm.

Tom
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Mar 9, 2008 10:32PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-09 22:22, Tom Cutts wrote:
Is it true what they say, Doc? Do Mizzarists enjoy company? ;)
[/quote]

Yep - but it depends on the company!
Message: Posted by: magicusb (Mar 10, 2008 04:39AM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-08 22:27, entity wrote:
My understanding is that a Psychic is someone who believes he has special "psychic" abilities or powers that he or she might use in the real world or on stage, while a Mentalist is someone who uses specialize knowledge, illusion, suggestion, feats or memory, etc., for entertainment or theatrical purposes.
I'd be interested to know if others have thoughts on the distinctions between a psychic and a mentalist.
- entity
[/quote]
We might now know what a psychic is, and what a mentalist is,
but what is a Psychic Entertainer?
Dick Brooks
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Mar 10, 2008 06:43AM)
Somehow IMHO, a Psychic Entertainer falls is closer to a mentalist but will use various occult systems etc. that THEY BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES WITHOUT MENTALIST TRICKERY to incorporate into the entertainment - e.g. a card reading (oh, cold reading and warm reading are kosher if done in a healthy way IMHO - therapists do it all the time - I've seen many readers use cards for example as a metaphor and cue/triggering images to help a person make connections- and as I mentioned before, I just hope many are trained to help people explore and not exploit or tell people how to run their lives... no one has that power IMHO except the person themselves (maybe!))....oh also, psychic motifs may be used for mentalism effects but they are done in a way that it is clear it is for entertainment purposes of the engaged audience...

IMHO x999

The above is just my opinion!
Message: Posted by: leapinglizards (Mar 10, 2008 07:12AM)
(My definitions only- with no desire to argue the point nor to convince you that I am right or you are wrong…)

"Psychic" is to "Artistic" as "A Psychic" is to "An Artist" Or put another equivalent way- "psychic" is to "athletic" as "A Psychic Reader" is to "An Athlete." If we are talking definitions.

That is to say, the word Psychic is used to describe certain abilities which some believe everyone has, others use synonymously with "intuition" and which everyone possesses (I believe) to one degree or another. "A PSYCHIC" or a "Psychic Reader" is one who uses their intuitive ability professionally. Professionally in this case could mean as a spiritual counselor, doing readings at fairs, helping friends out who have questions about life.

A Mentalist (again, these are MY working definitions only- there is no attempt to convince you that I am right.) is one who appears to read minds in a performing environment or demonstrate other "paranormal" appearing things for the purpose of entertainment. In my mind, the line drawn between mentalist and "Psychic entertainer," "Paranormalist" or other reframes is just that, one of frame of reference in the performers mind- and intent.

A Psychic Entertainer is one who appears primarily in entertainment environments doing what is presented as stereotypical psychic work. Here I think the distinction between Psychic Entertainer and Mentalist is A- How they are perceived, and B- How they present themselves. (Do they use a disclaimer or not? Do they make or imply claims or conversely allow the audience to draw their own conclusions as opposed to out right saying "This is illusion.") A psychic entertainer may or may not do readings (Ie Palm or Tarot) in an entertainment setting. Whereas a "Psychic" would be more likely to do private readings in the format of spiritual/ intuitive counseling. I tend to think of a psychic entertainer as using less literal disclaimers. Others who call themselves psychic entertainers may or may not agree.

None of these things should be confused with a "Fraudulent (insert term here)" that is someone who uses Psychic Claims, Claims of being a Contractor, Insurance Scams, Fake FBI credentials or any other guise, to defraud people. Ie- in my head, a “Fraudulent Psychic” is very different from a "Psychic." In my definitions (and again ONLY mind no need for you to agree with them) there is and can be a difference- just as their could be fraudulent magicians, fraudulent plumbers, fraudulent charismatic leaders etc... I realize for some people A = B.

That was my two cents.
Message: Posted by: entity (Mar 10, 2008 10:21AM)
LL: Thanks for your respectful and thoughtful input. I find your definitions reasonable and compelling.


[quote]
On 2008-03-09 22:43, Tony Iacoviello wrote:

I abhor the use of the word "powers" that gets bandied around in these forums. That word is overstatement, and is usually used in a condescending manner. We don’t use that word when talking about musicians, artists, or writers.
Tony Iacoviello
[/quote]
Musicians, artists and writers don't claim to have genuine "powers". Some psychics do. Geller does, and he's Psychic numero uno to many. Perhaps your issue is with what "psychics" claim, and not with those who quote them.

- entity
Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Mar 10, 2008 11:37AM)
Some creative input.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xquT2g01Jx4&feature=related
Sums things up for "musicians, artists, writers, psychics and mentalists. (Even magicians).
Message: Posted by: bdekolta (Mar 10, 2008 12:30PM)
Thanks John that was a fun clip.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (Mar 10, 2008 01:09PM)
I agree with Dr. Spektor's well-written post.


Tom Cutts wrote:
[quote]
Mentalists apologize for their actions to cover their own guilt. Psychics do it for legal purposes. ;)
[/quote]

entity wrote:
[quote]
Mentalists sometimes use disclaimers out of respect for their audiences.

- entity
[/quote]

Tom Cutts wrote:
[quote]
Possibly, but more often it appears they use them for the reason I have stated above; and for the reason you have stated elsewhere, a theatrical purpose, not a disclaiming one.
[/quote]
Tom, although you used a winking graphic in your first post, your second response indicates that you really believe guilt is why some mentalists use a disclaimer.

What do you see that makes you believe that? It seems highly likely that entity is correct.

To be sure, people who do wrong often will feel guilty afterwards, but that is rarely the primary motivating factor that stops people from doing what they believe to be wrong. Most of us follow our value systems, not because of guilt, or any other penalty for that matter.


More significantly, whether you're right or not is totally irrelevant as to whether it's right to use a disclaimer, or not. By analogy, someone might feel guilty if they were to rob a bank, and you could state that the only reason they don't rob banks is because of the guilt they would feel, but that wouldn't change the fact that robbing a bank is wrong.

Attributing attributes to people is not a weak supporting argument, it's generally not an argument at all. (You did not do either of these, but the same can be said of labeling people, and name-calling).

Tom Cutts wrote:
[quote]
Why is there nothing to do about that? I see it as a simple question of where you draw the line. If people ignore a disclaimer I would say it is ineffective. If some people ignore a stop sign, what is the consequence?
[/quote]
If some people ignore a disclaimer, then it is ineffective [i]for them[/i]. If others pay attention, and trust the performer, then the disclaimer clearly will have an effect. If the goal is sending a message, then clearly reaching some people is better than none.

I agree, any message a performer wishes to convey should be clear, and usually concise, and ideally it should reach everyone. While I reject the notion that people's beliefs are always invariant, I do acknowledge that some such people exist. They are a minority with respect to most of these types of beliefs, and just because they exist is no reason to avoid a disclaimer for those of us who's belief systems are more malleable.
Message: Posted by: Virungan (Mar 10, 2008 01:19PM)
There is now a thread called MENTALISTS a thread called PSYCHICS and a thread called PSYCHICS AND MENTALISTS and several others with much the same content, and in all of them the same issues, questions, claimers and disclaimers, bunkers and debunkers are revolving with the predictable inevitability of a pair of socks in a tumble dryer..

Let's blow this popsicle stand...
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (Mar 10, 2008 01:45PM)
You're right Virungan. I was responding to Tom's post, but it has been beaten to death.


The Merriam Webster dictionary, which contains the definitions that laypeople would use, has the following entry for the word [i]mentalist[/i].
[quote]
mind reader
[/quote]
That's the only definition. The term mentalist has certainly come to mean more than that today among performers.

The definition of the word [i]psychic[/i] as a noun is:
[quote]
[b]1 a:[/b] a person apparently sensitive to nonphysical forces [b]b:[/b] medium [b]2 :[/b] psychic phenomena
[/quote]

And the definition of the word [i]psychic[/i] as an adjective is:
[quote]
[b]1 :[/b] of or relating to the psyche [b]:[/b] psychogenic [b]2 :[/b] lying outside the sphere of physical science or knowledge [b]:[/b] immaterial, moral, or spiritual in origin or force [b]3 :[/b] sensitive to nonphysical or supernatural forces and influences [b]:[/b] marked by extraordinary or mysterious sensitivity, perception, or understanding

psychically - adverb
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 10, 2008 03:19PM)
[quote]
revolving with the predictable inevitability of a pair of socks in a tumble dryer..
[/quote]
Yes, but which sock will go missing?
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Mar 10, 2008 04:08PM)
Mentalist: Pick ze col-air

Participant: Bwoo!

Mentalist picks up a pant trouser - a blue sock! "Oui, Moi Magnifique!"

Participant: Wait a second... lift the other trowsa weg!

Mentalist picks up other trouser leg - a red sock! "Toot alors! Wait! Before vous said blue... you tinked of red ... oui monsouir????

Particpant: Well.... yeah.... but whats with the socks????

Mentalist: Eh? These are how they come - I have another pair just like these at 'ome!

Machine gun fire roars out and destroys entire stage for the sheer madness of it...

Cri$$ appears "BAH! I did that before! And I wore two Elephant Guns on my legs... 2 FRIGGIN ELEPHANT GUNS PAINTED BLUE AND RED... the ULTIMATE SOCK MENTAL EFFECT... two weeks before this post...."

Girl: wait a second... isn't that a sock on your head!

Cri$$: You betcha! You wanna know the difference between a mentalist, psychic and etc are versus the MINDFREAK?????

Girl: Sure!

Cri$$: I can do breast augementation WITH MY FRIGGIN MIND....
Message: Posted by: Virungan (Mar 10, 2008 04:19PM)
Then Criss pulls up his pants leg to reveal an elaborately stitched legging depicting a medieval deer hunt...

Girl: What's up with the sock Criss, you big old hunk of magic man..?

Criss: That aint no sock... It's a TAPESTRY I tell ya...
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Mar 10, 2008 05:05PM)
Oh yeah! We iz on a roll!!!! Props, Damien!
Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Mar 10, 2008 10:05PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-10 13:30, bdekolta wrote:
Thanks John that was a fun clip.
[/quote]

I'm pleased that you enjoyed it.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Mar 11, 2008 09:49AM)
Hi Bill,

There are some parts of your post I agree with, and others I don't understand the origin of.
[quote]
Mentalists sometimes use disclaimers out of respect for their audiences.
[/quote]
Yes, I agree. "SOMETIMES"

[quote]
Possibly, but more often it appears they use them for the reason I have stated above; and for the reason you have stated elsewhere, a theatrical purpose, not a disclaiming one.
[/quote]
What I see is actions (here and elsewhere) and words which lead me to believe some or many are at odds with guilt that they wish to not contribute to the belief in something they disbelieve, yet they accept that their actions do contribute to that belief. Torn between their intention and their action.

Interestingly they do not change their actions, but instead use a "disclaimer" to justify their actions. I find it quite telling when one goes on tirades about not wanting to contributing to something, and then admits their actions do and dismiss that fact. Wouldn't someone truly devoted to that belief work even harder to achieve it.
[quote]
More significantly, whether you're right or not is totally irrelevant as to whether it's right to use a disclaimer, or not. By analogy, someone might feel guilty if they were to rob a bank, and you could state that the only reason they don't rob banks is because of the guilt they would feel, but that wouldn't change the fact that robbing a bank is wrong.
[/quote]
Are you insinuating I said it was wrong to use a disclaimer?
[quote]
Attributing attributes to people is not a weak supporting argument, it's generally not an argument at all. (You did not do either of these, but the same can be said of labeling people, and name-calling).[/quote] Are you insinuating I did either of those? If so I'd like to know where so I can rectify that belief or action.

[quote]
If some people ignore a disclaimer, then it is ineffective [i]for them[/i]. If others pay attention, and trust the performer, then the disclaimer clearly will have an effect. If the goal is sending a message, then clearly reaching some people is better than none.
[/quote]
And stopping some people from robbing banks might be better than stopping none, yet still we strive to stop ALL people from robbing banks. We don't just say, "Well, what are you going to do and let certain people go on robbing banks?"
[quote]
I agree, any message a performer wishes to convey should be clear, and usually concise, and ideally it should reach everyone.
[/quote] Ideally, if that message fails to reach everyone, what do you do?
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (Mar 11, 2008 10:42AM)
For me belief, or disbelief, or even the existence, or nonexistence of phenomenon, has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at all. It's about evidence.

And, for this type of decision, I use my intellect to choose, not my feelings. I believe this is most likely the case for other performers who use a disclaimer too. I admit, I could be wrong about that, although I don't think I am. If their show is scripted, it demonstrates forethought.

And, for the record, most of the time my disclaimer is not when I perform, it's a larger overall context of how we present the group I perform with, although, when I perform certain routines, I do make a joke that implies I will by lying to the audience at some point.

And, I agree, it's best for your message to reach everyone all of the time. It's probably not possible to do that though. I've read of people overseas who really believed that David Copperfield did real magic. I expect most of these people were probably later set straight by family, or friends.