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Topic: Momentous Oddities by Rainer Mees and Thomas Heine
Message: Posted by: celebrity (Aug 19, 2017 04:08AM)
A few years back I had the great privilege to pick up one of the finest books I have ever read on the subject of mentalism "Sense and Meaning" by Rainer Mees and Thomas Heine. This was a very unique book in that it wasn't filled with effect after effect, but rather was a book which focused on a far more valuable (and often overlooked aspect of mentalism) subject namely how to inject meaning into the routines that you perform.

I was so impressed with this work that I invited Rainer and Thomas to lecture for me at my MINDS event which was held in July. To accompany this lecture Rainer and Thomas produced a new book which is titled Momentus Oddities and once again I find myself highly impressed with their thinking! I honestly think that almost each and every one of us already know enough "effects" to last a lifetime yet we so often don't get the most out of them.

One of the biggest questions we must ask ourselves is why our audiences should care about the effects that we perform. What is it that they should take away from them. Momentous Oddities tackles this issue head on and details some absolutely STUNNING presentations for several of mentalism's most classic effects. The illustrations used cover several of mentalism's most classic effects (the book test, which hand, coin bend and more). Sure there are some beautiful methods covered within the book however that is not the focus here!

Lovers of "Sense and Meaning" will already know the quality of this work and those that don't are in for a lovely surprise! As a bonus Rainer and Thomas detail their approach to readings which genuinely opened my eyes. This is no short chapter but instead brings a whole new level of thinking with it, never again will you simply "TELL" people things about themselves, instead you will truly learn how to "READ" them ;)

Here is an overview of the contents -

Part One - Classics with Added Value


Three books are handed to a participant. The performer looks away and the participant silently chooses one of the books. The participant is then requested to look closely at the cover of the book and to take in the details of the design. The performer, still looking away, then describes the cover image thereby accurately identifying which book was freely chosen.

The participant looks through the book and can read wherever they want for as long as they want. Finally, a page is selected and the participant starts reading slowly and quietly to themselves. While they are reading the performer starts to recite the words and sentences the participant is reading word-for-word – somewhat haltingly at first, but becoming more and more fluent, apparently looking through the participant’s eyes. The participant continues, now reading aloud, and a moment later the performer starts to simultaneously speak the same words!


The 'Which Hand' plot is very well known to both magicians and mentalists. This is usually presented as either a child's game or is given a pseudo-psychological framing. The issue with this is that it usually leaves your audience with several unanswered questions: Why am I being shown this? What is it's significance?

In other words, what is the sense, meaning and relevance of the fact that the object can be found? Which butterfly addresses this question in the most beautiful way imaginable. If you presently perform this routine then you will no doubt adopt this presentational approach immediately. If you already have a favoured method for the which hand effect then you will almost certainly want to use this presentation for it.


'Aporia Bends' is a coin bend routine with a difference. The routine begins with a light hearted question and answer session (with the coin predicting the spectator's answers) and then suddenly develops into something far more mysterious. The effect culminates with the discovery of coin which is twisted and warped beneath the spectator's own hand.


What if you could reveal not some irrelevant and pointless piece of information like a mind-read playing card or a random drawing, but a genuine personally meaningful thought? And what if not only one participant was involved but you instead presented a major effect by involving the whole audience? And what if the act of writing down the thought in question wasn’t an implied suggestion of mistrust, but rather something which makes perfect sense during the course of events?

We have created a stage routine which fulfils all of these requirements. Most of the presentation can be adapted to a parlour or close-up setting, too, if you prefer.


The Heirloom provides a deep and meaningful presentation which elevates the classic ring on string puzzle into a memorable presentational show piece which is ideal for those special occasions where you are performing one on one.

Part Two - Reading Tools

When it comes to providing something of value, significance and personal meaning nothing in mentalism can beat giving a genuine, honest and sincere reading.

So if you can be honest, sincere and believable in your readings and you can tell them something significant about themselves you will get their attention and leave a lasting impression unparalleled by any other mentalism effect. It is by leaving an impression, rather than by seeking to impress, that we produce a lasting memory. We seek to create a sustained positive experience rather than a short-term entertainment which is quickly forgotten.

For the first time in print Thomas and Rainer discuss the inner methodologies behind their world renown reading system. Topics covered include -

On Readings in General
Life Topic Areas
The Hero's Journey and more

Soft Bound - Page Count: 123

Best Wishes Michael
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Aug 19, 2017 09:11AM)
Sounds like a significant contribution. Where and how can we buy one?

Message: Posted by: ParaLabs - Thomas (Aug 19, 2017 09:23AM)
Thank you so much, Michael, for your appreciation! You know that this means a lot to us! :)

Thank you, George, too for your interest in our work. You'll find the book listed in our shop [url]http://www.paralabs.org/basket[/url]

Message: Posted by: Waters. (Aug 19, 2017 09:41AM)
"Sense and Meaning" was/is fantastic, as is everything from Thomas and Rainer. This is exciting news.
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Aug 19, 2017 04:16PM)
Momentous Oddities was an absolute pleasure to read - on two separate fronts.

First, Thomas and Rainer's ideas are always filled with well-considered and clever ideas.
One of their main goals is to provide relevant context to routines so that the audience actually gives a *&%#!
This book is no exception.

From their ideas on (including valid critiques of) book-tests to their extensive discussion of intuition (one of my favourite topics which has been misrepresented more than almost any other concept in mentalism), this book is filled with ideas and presentations that are both thought-provoking and practical.

Second, their physical publications have always been a thing of beauty.
Momentous Oddities continues this trend.
The illustrations, alone, are amongst the best I have ever seen in any published magic or mentalism works.

But before I add my highest recommendation to this post, I should, in full disclosure, explain that Thomas and Rainer are friends of mine.
In fact, they are my 18th and 19th best friends.
I just won't clarify who is higher on the list, so the other doesn't get upset. They are very competitive, that way.

Seriously, this was a wonderful read and I recommend it wholeheartedly!

Message: Posted by: takeachance (Aug 19, 2017 09:12PM)
Are the routines possible without buying any other commercial products, such as owning a particular book test (or can any commercial book test work) or are the routines something you can put together yourself with a minimum of other purchases.
Message: Posted by: ParaLabs - Thomas (Aug 20, 2017 01:20AM)

But this is a question anyway that needs more explanation to be answered correctly.

For the coin bend routine you need ... an coin - bent.

For the which hand routine you need a method to perform a which hand routine. Be it with one of the well known gimmicks (Svan 3d etc.) or bare handed for real.

The book test works with each and every book that you can buy in an book store. So so books are not gimmicked by any means anyway. That said, you need some additional equipment/tools to perform this routine technical-wise.

For the reading part you need nothing at all but your eyes, your mind, your life experience your empathy and your intuition.

But all this isn't the topic of the book anway. It is NOT about the methods for achieving particular effects (even if we explain the methods we use in great detail). It is about premises and presentational framing and the methods we provide are more for the sake of completeness!

So those who are merely interested in getting new methods and techniques won't get the most of this book - even though they might be surprised here and there.

You know, Michael and Eric kindly mentioned our 'Sense and Meaning' book that we provided in 2012. In this book we were pondering about the sense and meaning of mentalism performances as the title suggests.
Our point was that we felt that too many mentalism performances could be characterized as an inappropriate demonstration of arbitrariness or 'whateverism'. It seemed to us that there were too many meaningless effects and presentations which barely scratched the surface of the audience's minds.
So in this book we provided several premises and ideas on how to make routines more meaningful but we held back from revealing specific details as to [i]how[/i] this might be done method-wise.

Now, as well as this book was received, we heard some voices of friends and colleagues who expressed their wish to get more exemplarily practical applications for those meaningful premises. And this is the point of our actual 'Momentous Oddities' book.

We offer exemplarily practical applications and we decided to do this for common effects: a book test, a which hand routine, a coin bend, ...
But after all it is NOT about the methods we developed to achieve the effects. I happily admit that there may be better ones out there, I don't know. But it is not about the methods anyway - it is about examples to provide a meaningful premise to a common effect!

This is why we have decided to focus on two particular themes/parts for this book which we feel work well in this regard: added value for classic effects and tools for truly intuitive personal readings.

So to answer your question again in short: yes, partially you need to buy other commercial products to perform the routines the way we describe then technical-wise - but the methods are not what it's all about anyway.


Thank you so much, Eric, for your kind words! And thank you for your appreciation, too, Sean! :)
Message: Posted by: takeachance (Aug 20, 2017 04:34AM)
Thanks Thomas, appreciated
Message: Posted by: lucavolpe (Aug 20, 2017 06:01AM)
This is a fantastic book! I don't even need to know from where to start! The which hand is soooo meanigful !! I love it! All the routines are created to deeply connect with your audience and you know how important is for me! And the reading tools? Well...VERY clever indeed!!!
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Aug 20, 2017 09:32AM)
Very much looking forward to reading Momentous Oddities. The whole book sounds great, and I am particularly interested in Part 2 on Thomas' and Rainer's approach to readings.
Message: Posted by: ParaLabs - Thomas (Aug 20, 2017 10:20AM)
Thanks a lot for the nice comments! :)

As I received a few requests about the second half of the book - the reading part:

Obviously we can not cover our complete knowledge, experience and cognitions on this topic on 40 or so pages. We provide 2-3 day reading workshops for years and I think it is self-explaining that we can't substitute all the contents of those practical days on a few pages.

So we decided to provide some general insights that help you to get a better understanding of what readings actually are (and what they are not), on using your intuition and your very own life experience ... and after all we provide three particular 'reading tools' that you can aply either as stand alone tools, combined to each other or even to internalized reading strategies that you might already have.

After all we strongly believe that the vast majority of those who want to give readings have already read enough and gained more theoretical knowledge on the topic than they could ever need. We believe that they don't need yet another "system" or lists of keywords and lines to memorize.

Instead we will show you how to access the wisdom you already know by using your intuition. Your existing knowledge of readings combined with your life experience is very likely to be quite sufficient. So, what we provide are actually tools to get access to your already existing knowledge and abilities ... and a structure that helps you to verbalize this knowledge during the course of an actual reading.

If you are interested, you can download [url=http://www.paralabs.org/lectures/Momentous_Oddities_Appetizer.pdf]an extract as a kind of appetizer by clicking here![/url] :)

Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Aug 20, 2017 09:41PM)
Absolutely one of the most thoughtful books about mentalism and the science of getting an audience emotionally and mentally engaged in many years. Lavishly illustrated and presented from a place that will actually make you settle back in your chair to think about a line you've just read. The first time I read through these pages I smiled because the ideas expressed were remarkable. The second time I smiled because of the thinking that was wedged into the routines.

Readings are a particular interest of mine. There's out of the box thinking about this in the book as well.

This is a fascinating and challenging work.

Message: Posted by: aviso (Aug 21, 2017 07:01AM)
In 2012 at a PSYCRETS ‘Tabula Mentis’ Paralabs presented a specially prepared ‘Sense and Meaning’ lecture, and further included the incredible supporting book and and cards. This was a really well received lecture as whilst many had addressed this area of performance, few had delved in with the level of psychological scrutiny with which Thomas and Rainer presented. Evidently, anyone who knows of these guys work will recognise that this has become a staple vein and honed theme which runs throughout their performances and workshops. So, it was fantastic to hear that they had prepared their developed ‘Momentous Oddities’ lecture and supporting book which built on their previously presented work, which alongside the book was presented at 4Minds Conference 2017.

Taking the key theme of Sense and Meaning - Momentous Oddities takes the aligned perspective of attaining an emotional connection and shows how to apply this concept into classics of presentation as well as implementing the insight into applications of readings.
This book is a catalyst for creativity, and one that is really worthy of study. It is easily readable, but also so succinctly written that you will discover more ideas on further reading. No hesitation in recommending this.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Aug 21, 2017 09:06AM)
I ordered Momentous Oddities, and am looking forward to reading it.

For those of you who order the book but do not live in Germany, I can make one prediction: You will be astonished that Germany now has a 19% value added tax!

Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Aug 21, 2017 09:50AM)
Astonished indeed!
Message: Posted by: celebrity (Aug 21, 2017 03:35PM)
For UK customers I still have a small number of copies on the MindFX site too.

Best Wishes Michael
Message: Posted by: MrThomas (Aug 28, 2017 05:15AM)
A friend of mine, who is a full-time professional performer, asked me if I like to attend Rainers and Thomas' 2-day-workshop on Readings.
As I already took the opportunity to do so a few years ago, I can say, this book here is the first release from ParaLabs, explainng their most fundamental views and concepts on readings in mentalism and in general.

This makes "Momentous Oddities" the only in-print lternative to their spare workshops on that topic. If you realy want to give genuine readings for strangers in the bar or participants in your peformance, this second part of the book gives you the tools to apply what you already learned and the strukture to read people on the spot.

You have no chance to learn from Rainer and Thomas in person? Then "Momentous Oddities" is your way to go.

I personaly liked the "hero's journey" chapter, as it was another great application of a concept, I did not knew about.
From part one of the book, Aporia Bends is my absolut favourite! Typical ParaLabs-thinking here and great on many levels. :-)
Message: Posted by: Mister E. (Aug 31, 2017 03:25PM)
If you only know ParaLabs as a forge for high-quality mentalism tools but never have heard about Thomas’ and Rainer’s qualities as top-consultants in the world of mentalism, then you will be surprised by „Momentous Oddities“. Here, you can get an idea, why top-mentalists from all over the world turn to Thomas and Rainer when it comes to creating meaningful mentalism.

Part I of „MO“ is all about creating presentations for effects most of us know and probably have performed in one way or another – booktests, acquiring and revealing information, coin bends. Therefore, this section is not about the modus operandi (although every effect is being explained in meticulous detail), but about how to create a story, a presentation, a framing for why you are doing these effects.
Thomas and Rainer exemplify this with their own presentations. Some of those I feel are easy to adapt („Aporia Bends“), some not („My sister’s eyes“), some are somewhat in between („Which butterfly“). But this is not the point. I feel the value of this section is the blueprint they are providing, so you can pursue a similar direction which your presentations, to present mentalism that matters.

My personal favorites from this section are on the one hand „The Heirloom“ which has inspired me to come up which a different and yet similar approach. On the other hand, it’s „My sister’s eyes“: I have a personal connection with this piece and if you come to my workshop about music at this year’s „Mind Summit“, you’ll see why. Completely apart from my collaboration with Thomas on this effect, „My sister’s eyes“ not only provides a deeply meaningful presentation for this type of effect, it also offers a new and unique methodological solution to the venerable booktest plot. I don’t want to turn this into a dealer’s ad, but imagine this: any book (can be given away); any position in the book; you don’t just reveal single words, but you read aloud, what the spectator reads; no st***e, no co***d, no mem-work...

Part II gives you a glimpse in Thomas’ and Rainer’s approach to readings. They don’t offer you a system per se (and as far as I know them both, they both don’t care very much for „reading-systems“ anyway), but you can learn about three of the puzzle pieces that – among others – make up their holistic approach for giving readings. It starts with some basics on what they feel, readings are and what not. Then, they move on their approach to life-topics and the question, why we do what we do. If you – like me – always felt that Forer-Statements were just too flat to be taken seriously, but the tasks of extracting books on life-patterns (like Sheehy’s „Passages“) felt a bit daunting, the good news is: Thomas and Rainer have done the job and offer a practical solution.
In addition they show you how an all-time favourite of the movie and screenwriting world, Campell’s Monomyth (The „Hero’s Journey“), can be applied to giving readings.

As always with the ParaLabs books, „Momentous Oddities“ is clearly written and beautifully illustrated – and is fun to read. But not only that: It will leave an impression on you as a reader and will make you a better mentalist.
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Sep 1, 2017 03:44PM)
I bought Momentous Oddities mainly for the section on readings. It is wonderful, to say the least. I fully agree with Thomas and Rainer that most would-be readers do not need more systems for how to give readings, but a more effective way to access what systems and life experience they already have. The authors introduce a beautiful framework for doing just that, and do so quite elegantly.

Now I MUST attend their readings workshop!

Rainer and Thomas, when will you bring your workshop to the US?
Message: Posted by: ParaLabs - Thomas (Sep 2, 2017 11:11AM)
Thank you for your appreciation, Sir! :)

Obviously we would love to present our workshop in the States. If there are enough colleagues interested we would be always ready for mischief. ;)
So it all depends on 'when', 'where' and most of all on the amount of interest.