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Topic: Medium's Blue Book
Message: Posted by: Last Laugh (Jun 11, 2018 05:10PM)
These are referenced in historical material on fraudulent spiritualism, notably described in Abbott's [i] Behind the Scenes with Mediums[/i].

Is anyone aware of any of these books being extant?
Message: Posted by: RCP (Jun 11, 2018 07:42PM)
The "magician" exposure of spiritualists and mediums movement of the past is as lame as the "mental magicians" now trying to masquerade as mentalist today. What you really are looking for exists,,,,,,but not in magicians literature.
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Jun 11, 2018 08:06PM)
[quote]On Jun 11, 2018, RCP wrote:
The "magician" exposure of spiritualists and mediums movement of the past is as lame as the "mental magicians" now trying to masquerade as mentalist today. What you really are looking for exists,,,,,,but not in magicians literature. [/quote]

Well Said and I will add that the magician methods are wrong. The actually methods are much easier. Some are beautifully strange even when they are way out on the fringe. It is within these fringe methods one may find the stuff of legend. By the way these fringe methods work very well and are nearly undetectable even if one is in a certain know.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jun 11, 2018 08:33PM)
So very well said from both of you.
Message: Posted by: jstreiff (Jun 12, 2018 09:58AM)
There is a debate among scholars as to what the Blue Book really was. While some contemporaneous authors claimed to have seen them, it is more likely the term was a code name for services provided by mail to members of the fraudulent mediumship community. So the 'book' as such never did exist.
Message: Posted by: miistermagico (Jun 12, 2018 04:02PM)
The closest material I am aware of is:
Revelations of a spirit medium, 1922
by Farrington, Elijah; Pidgeon, Charles F; Price, Harry; Dingwall, Eric John; Medium, A., pseud?
https://archive.org/details/revelationsofspi00farriala
https://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Spirit-Medium-Harry-Price/dp/0766162087
Message: Posted by: RCP (Jun 12, 2018 04:37PM)
The most accurate description would be they were lists of information or data, on people or prominent families that might become a mediums clients, or shared by mediums that worked in camps. Much like doing an internet search now for background before a reading or performance. Private investigators were used by high end mediums in the 50's for the same data mining.

According to Nelson no such thing existed and was created by some "wild-eye writer, or publicity-seeking magician".

I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Message: Posted by: Last Laugh (Jun 12, 2018 04:59PM)
[quote]On Jun 12, 2018, jstreiff wrote:
There is a debate among scholars as to what the Blue Book really was. While some contemporaneous authors claimed to have seen them, it is more likely the term was a code name for services provided by mail to members of the fraudulent mediumship community. So the 'book' as such never did exist. [/quote]


I suppose that makes more sense than an actual standardized book, though I'm sure there were personalized notebooks used to keep the info, and I imagine something like this probably does still exist somewhere, though the odds of finding one are slim.


My interest is just historical curiosity (obviously).


EDIT: Just found this excellent article which fairly well debunks the common notion of the Blue Books and traces the entire idea to Carrington's 1907 book 'Revelations of a Spirit Medium'

http://ehbritten.blogspot.com/2013/07/books-blue-and-red-syndicating-private.html
Message: Posted by: RCP (Jun 12, 2018 07:14PM)
If you wish to pursue a serious education into this world.....If you have never attended a spiritualist church you should go. If you have never been to Lilly Dale or Cassadaga you should go. If you have never had a shut eye reading you should go. If you are a mental magician you should see what’s on sale at Penguin. And just an FYI.....this is not a world to enter with judgements or trying to impose your values. It exists to exploit not entertain.
Message: Posted by: miistermagico (Jun 12, 2018 07:47PM)
I recommend: Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker
The TV Evangelists are more than enough! They just ain't right!
Message: Posted by: Last Laugh (Jun 12, 2018 08:22PM)
I've had a number of shut eye readings. Never been to a Spiritualist service, but my mom has fwiw. I have however personally visited two mediums (one professional and one amateur). I went with genuine interest and I was not there as a skeptic.

My experience with present day mediums hasn't seemed to correlate much with the sensational accounts of historical mediums, though perhaps the trickery is sensationalized in the literature and maybe many of the old mediums were indeed 'working clean'. I do, however, imagine that trickery used to be much more common than it is now, thought I really don't know for sure.


I do not consider myself a mental magician, but I also don't think that being a magician disqualifies one from being interested in the history of Spiritualism. I am a performer though, and because I do corporate gigs and private parties (and even the occasional strolling gig), by some standards, that makes me a mental magician. Whatever. People are welcome to look at my promo materials and make that call for themselves.

miistermagico, thanks for that correction - I think the error was my own. The linked article and blog is very thorough and is filled with historical primary sources.
Message: Posted by: gmeister (Jun 12, 2018 08:24PM)
Do we know which magicians, if any, taught deceptive techniques to mediums and whether this was done in person or through written instructions(anonymously authored)?
Message: Posted by: Last Laugh (Jun 12, 2018 08:27PM)
I think it's generally thought that if anything, magicians learned (or were purported to have learned) techniques from the mediums.
Message: Posted by: miistermagico (Jun 12, 2018 10:25PM)
Eusapia Palladino who deceived many of the scientific minds of her time was
was the wife of a conjuror (magician).
Uri Geller probably learned his fleecing by studying magicians' materials.
Then he taught Hanna Shtrang and her brother Shipi how to be his accomplices.
See: Psychic Paradoxes by John Booth, 1986, page 55
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Jun 12, 2018 10:29PM)
[quote]On Jun 12, 2018, gmeister wrote:
Do we know which magicians, if any, taught deceptive techniques to mediums and whether this was done in person or through written instructions(anonymously authored)? [/quote]

Yes we do.

You want the short list of those who used deception in this way? Sometimes they used staff members or stage personal to do the deed. Which is often the case. I know you love the research as do I but look at some of the old photos published in the IBM and SAM circa 1920 and you can match these helpers to some of those who also worked with mediums or at least be seen in photos with mediums prior to the exposure event. But I warn you some of the mediums turn up later on in these books as well as performers. Which I have always found interesting. I give you a couple of the goons squad names Houdini, Blackstone Sr., Dante, Bill Durbin and there are many more but these are the main ones. The whole thing was a ruse to get certain performers off the vaudeville stages.....just sayin. This was circa 1920s which without this anti medium swindle one publication would have collapsed. The core of the information you're looking for is prior to the dismissal of Robert Gysel. After he was gone is when you may see some of the later connections beginning to appear I spoke of earlier.

And I know Gary you just posted that question get my attention and say hello. I am doing well Gary nice to see your still around from time to time.
Message: Posted by: miistermagico (Jun 12, 2018 10:45PM)
As far as I know Leonora Piper and Mina Crandon were never stage performers...
Message: Posted by: gmeister (Jun 12, 2018 11:38PM)
[quote]On Jun 12, 2018, MentalistCreationLab wrote:

And I know Gary you just posted that question get my attention and say hello. I am doing well Gary nice to see your still around from time to time. [/quote]

As usual, Bill, you're absolutely right. The question had a dual purpose: as a legitimate inquiry to see what information others may have and then to draw you in so you could provide some needed perspective and correctives to a little understood but important subject.

On a more personal level, call you later this week.
Message: Posted by: Last Laugh (Jun 13, 2018 03:41AM)
[quote]On Jun 12, 2018, MentalistCreationLab wrote:
[quote]On Jun 12, 2018, gmeister wrote:
Do we know which magicians, if any, taught deceptive techniques to mediums and whether this was done in person or through written instructions(anonymously authored)? [/quote]

Yes we do.

You want the short list of those who used deception in this way? Sometimes they used staff members or stage personal to do the deed. Which is often the case. I know you love the research as do I but look at some of the old photos published in the IBM and SAM circa 1920 and you can match these helpers to some of those who also worked with mediums or at least be seen in photos with mediums prior to the exposure event. But I warn you some of the mediums turn up later on in these books as well as performers. Which I have always found interesting. I give you a couple of the goons squad names Houdini, Blackstone Sr., Dante, Bill Durbin and there are many more but these are the main ones. The whole thing was a ruse to get certain performers off the vaudeville stages.....just sayin. This was circa 1920s which without this anti medium swindle one publication would have collapsed. The core of the information you're looking for is prior to the dismissal of Robert Gysel. After he was gone is when you may see some of the later connections beginning to appear I spoke of earlier.

And I know Gary you just posted that question get my attention and say hello. I am doing well Gary nice to see your still around from time to time. [/quote]

This is fascinating but could you clarify this a little?
You're saying that there were some stage helpers types that worked for both magicians and mediums, are you saying that these guys may have passed methods or whatever from the magicians to the mediums? Or is it the reverse, that the magicians got the methods from the mediums.

And then, are you saying that some mediums ended up later as magicians?

With Houdini, Blackstone Sr., Dante, Bill Durbin, are you saying that they took methods from mediums or that they taught methods to the mediums? I'm aware of the former, but since Gmeister question was about magician's teaching methods to mediums, I just wanted to clarify.
Message: Posted by: RCP (Jun 13, 2018 06:53AM)
I am surprised Alexander’s name hasn’t been mentioned. Perhaps more than any other lived in the two worlds.?
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Jun 13, 2018 09:50AM)
Last Laugh

Let me say it this way. Not all of the mediums who were exposed were actually mediums. Some of them only became mediums after they were exposed. Got it. These mediums were a creation of the magician so that magician could gain exposure after busting them.

But the real reason all of this started was so that the magicians could get the mentalist off the vaudeville stages. This was because at the time “them mentalist” were the Kings of the vaudevillian stage and got the higher bookings and money when they did full shows.

During the time of vaudeville everyone (meaning vanity acts singers, trained animals, small bands magicians and mentalist skit troops, etc...) started out doing a variety shows. Yes, even those performers who were well known on the earlier theater circuit. If they were one of these types of acts they would now be just like all of the rest. Even if they had a good name. Here they may get better billing and would generally make it to the stage. That was before the rise of modern mentalism (which is not the crap being sold currently as mentalism) these new performers would get more vaudeville bookings. This was do to one main reason set up time and how long they could work without props. The magicians would need to set up the big illusions and were generally a pain in the neck of the the vaudevillian promoters, Which has to do with how vaudeville worked. The acts would show up before the show and were only paid if they broke a leg meaning stepped from the threshold of back stage to the main stage. Hence the term break a leg never meant good luck - “knock em dead” meaning leave them speechless with awe as it does now it back then meant good luck and get paid. This is because the stage owner or promoter for the show picked and choose the acts as the show was going on not before. Except for selected acts that required extra set up time or a headliner who may be hired prior. All others were picked as the show was in full swing. In most cases these acts would be setting up behind the curtain while another act was in front of the curtain doing there thing. Now lets look at this in terms of magic and mentalism.

The magicians began to fall out of favor with the promoters and theater venue because of the time it took them to set up. In vaudeville this was no good. Therefor many of these well known performers were not getting the bookings they once did. At one point they could go from town to town and find a variety act and a matinee solo gig or fulling evenings booking. Until the mind readers started to emerge on the scene. Think about it the house does not need to have extra stage hands on payroll for this type of show oftentimes the theater owner would pull the curtain. This meant more money in their pockets at the end of the night. Plus the magic acts were falling out of favor shortly before this time. Vaudeville gave them the money they needed if they could “break a leg”. Most of the magicians of the time were also hard to work with on several levels. This cause many of them to lose future bookings. Like Dante who would later pass the reigns to Blackstone. Both of these guys when it came to business where a bit shady Blackstone was known to have an opening act who also did magic and if Sr say a illusion he liked it would be packed on well lets say the wrong truck at the end of the night. One thing these guys were good at was having the show packed back on the truck as they were still on stage once off stage they were gone. The new act would be sitting in the audience watching the the show. Later when he went back stage to do the accolades he would notice something interesting. If not his whole act missing. Some of what I am speaking of in relation to the theater houses is this kind of drama which they did not have patience or time to deal with.

Mow the mentalist was always ready to go and carried everything he or she needed with them and would only borrow a stool or a chair from the prop department in the case of a two person act. Often it was nothing more than a stool usually one that one of the stage hands would sit upon backstage. This allowed the mentalist to work as a MC, behind or in front of the curtain and since they were ready to go at a moments notice the house would say you on after this act then give the location and how long they needed to be on stage. Other acts at this time cloud not always do this and hold the crowd. However the mentalist could and did. This is also where the war between magic and mentalism started. Remember what Nelson said about mentalsim and money.

Also I should point out most of the vaudevillian stages were an adult style entertainment while the magicians would draw more parents who would bring there children which even at a discounted ticket price would add revenue to the show which was split with the house. The houses did not care as long as the seats were filled. Seats equaled money and even a cheaper seat would be better than a unfilled seat.

Now when Alexander rose he would fill the house with adult tickets something the magicians could not do and hence one of the highest paid performers of his time. The magicians hated him. Mainly the group I mentioned above. Not only him they hated Baldwin, The Fays and many others who did this sort of thing as it was selling and selling well. As a theater house owner who would you book the act they will make less money or the act that would fill the house with premium ticket prices?

Now let's look at what was going on around on the street at one point every town had a fortune teller. In some of the larger towns they would have one on every block that had shops. Plus private readers who worked out of private homes. Many of whom at one point were mentalist not all but more than one would think.

Also guys like H. Carrington were filling the houses with this style of entertainment usually in lecture form. This later lecture style or talk has always been popular in the United States and during the early 1800s John Cleves Symmes Jr. (November 5, 1780 – May 28, 1829) would be one of the most popular of this type of speaker he also was one of the first if not the first. His topic was promoting a trip to the hollow Earth. Get ya some of that. He even had the support of a presided and several members of congress and the senate as well as a few know army captains etc... He was so popular he was always invited to the best parties, In Hamilton Ohio there is a Hollow Earth monument. His father was also well known for the Symmes Purchase. Which would acquire lands for the US.

The point I am illustrating is this fringe style of entertainment has always packed the house. By the end of the 18th century and up through vaudeville in the 20s this was the stuff people wanted to see. At an earlier point magic was a big thing but that took several hundred years to gain serious consideration as when it began it magicians were considered in the same way as pick pockets, fools, beggars and other low brow style of entertainment was. This is all well recorded so I do not need to get into that aspect here to make my point. But I will say the anti spiritualist movement is not what you think either.... so do not get confused by mixing one thing with another. When Houdini started the so called psychic buster movement at SAM. It was more to get rid of the mentalist and get the people to quit paying to see this type of stuff more than anything else that you were told. When Harry offered his assistance to Bill Durbin the IBM was about to go under. It was only because Houdini lent his name to that organization which he did by starting an anti fraud league there. This would give notoriety and much needed attention to to this fledgling organization for magicians. For years the only mentalism that would be published in the Ring would be on the subject of exposure. Not once in the early days did they publish anything about mentalism that was shown in a positive light except for ads and seasons greetings which were paid for. Also after this stunt occurred Harry now had a private army of wanna be performers who would drink the kool aid and and therefor increase this whole psychic busting scam. The newspaper would be full of yellow journalism because scams, swindles and tales scoundrels sold papers. The fact is most of this sort of thing was staged in advance. Plus at this time you could expose a medium and they more often than not would get more sitters after the exposure. How does that work? Very well actually. The mentalist and psychics at one point up till “Black Friday” would cut deals left and right with magicians who were adversarial but only if they were known to be printed in the papers often. The mind types got extra money after the bookings which were often many times what they had before the exposure the magician got exposure. In a way they needed each other because mentalism only functions for profit according to Nelson in 1945.

Now some of the magician would teach some of these so called psychics how to do some of this stuff as part of the deal they would expose them as frauds. Which would gain exposure for one and money for the other. It was a good deal. Some of the bigger names had the stage hands or assistants do this training to keep a level of separation on the scam so it could not be traced back to the groups of magic entertainers who were running these exposure swindle on the public. If your name is in the papers the a few days or a week before in the papers the chances of a sell out show were higher. This is why a lot of these performers added how to spot fraud sections to their shows. Because when you think about it its just the reverse of the Symmes Hollow Earth lectures. Yet it's still fringe enough to sell tickets. Got it! A large amount of what was published is fake and was used for two the two “P” promotion and propaganda. Now you may notice I mentioned Black Friday above this is when it all changed on this day in October 1929 the stock market crashed and the great depression began and no one had money for entertainment type of activities. This is when most of the psychic parlors closed down not because of exposure but because no one had any money. Therefor no business. It had nothing to do with exposure because the exposure biz was booming.

Now what I teach in most of my work is what could be classified the other 15% of the methods were not taught in the magic books.I know I covered this stuff in various forms in my published works or audio programs with additional information. Some of my series audio programs such as Inside the seance mind and Inner secrets of the psychic fairs have more info on this subject plus a lot more. I spent years learning and creating methods for working in this type of market that when used in fringe markets are believable and often seen ass real unlike at of what was previous published. Plus I did the endless hours of research on this swindle aloe and its far larger than you would or could even imagine.
Message: Posted by: gmeister (Jun 13, 2018 10:22AM)
Thank you, Bill! I knew you couldn't resist!
Message: Posted by: Last Laugh (Jun 13, 2018 02:27PM)
That's very interesting, thanks Bill.
Message: Posted by: Maxyedid (Jun 13, 2018 02:32PM)
FASCINATING Bill!!!!!! The most interesting thing I ever red about the history of mentalism. MORE please!!
Message: Posted by: gmeister (Jun 13, 2018 03:11PM)
[quote]On Jun 13, 2018, Maxyedid wrote:
FASCINATING Bill!!!!!! The most interesting thing I ever red about the history of mentalism. MORE please!! [/quote]

Don't get him started! :)
Message: Posted by: Matt Pulsar (Jun 13, 2018 09:09PM)
Thanks MCL!
Message: Posted by: Marko Ragnos (Jun 14, 2018 07:43AM)
Thank you, MentalistCreationLab. I also remember that Robert Nelson write some of his thought in Sphinx with title "Defence of mentalism"
You can find it on ask alexander, I believe.
Message: Posted by: Maxyedid (Jun 14, 2018 07:41PM)
I believe you mean “The Tops”?
Message: Posted by: Scott (Jun 19, 2018 10:28AM)
Bill,

Absolutely brilliant and absorbing stuff.

Thanks for sharing.

Scott
Message: Posted by: Milo&Tock (Jun 20, 2018 06:29PM)
Bill, thanks for the great precis! Appreciate you sharing your wisdom.