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Topic: Fork twist
Message: Posted by: Jonathan (Sep 12, 2004 10:07PM)
I occasionally perform Banachek's PK silverware. On three occasions one of the spectators picked up a spoon and after a few seconds figured out how it was done from the finished product alone.

The very first time I performed it (for my dad) he just looked at it and told me how it was bent. He said it was just simple physics.

Does this happen to anyone else? It makes me a little nervous, to be honest.

Jonathan Grant

Also, PK touches occasionally doesn't work if you have someone that's not very smart involved. For some reason they tend to figure it out, but the really smart ones don't have a clue!

Jonathan Grant
Message: Posted by: owenscott (Sep 12, 2004 10:42PM)
The problem, it seems to me, is that these people already know you, and the you they know doesn't have any special power and figure it has to be a trick. So they look to see how it is done. Try it with strangers, in their hands, and see if they think its a "trick." Also we want to be careful to show it as a real amazing thing that happens because of and with them not a situation of look how smart I am I can fool you challenge type of meeting. Hope I could help.
Message: Posted by: entity (Sep 12, 2004 10:49PM)
I think that the answer to both of your questions is experience. Practise the routines according to Banachek's instructions, paying carful attention to his scripts and all of the subleties he mentions, as much as you possibly can before you start showing them to anyone (including your father).

Once you feel completely confident in the handling and routining, start show it to people. Learn from their reactions. If they are spotting something you don't want them to see, analyze what it is that you've done wrong. With Banachek's material, it's not likely something in his routines that are creating the problem.

Be tough on yourself and look at what you are doing from the audience's point of view.

Once you've figured out what it is that you are doing wrong, go back to practising the entire routine again by yourself, incorporating the things necessary to correct the problem. Then go back out and try it again.

With PK touches, it could be a matter of your scripting. With the PK Silverware effects, you don't actually say which method or effect you are doing, so it's difficult to comment on where you might be going wrong.

You don't say your age, and I know that this is a contentious issue, but I believe that it will be much more difficult for a very young performer to pull off believable mentalism effects of the type you mention. People just won't give the needed credibility to someone very young in an entertainment context.

Message: Posted by: Jonathan (Sep 12, 2004 11:19PM)
Well, I'll try not to take offense at any of your comments. However, I know about routining and am very comfortable with it. The problem is not the routining, but occasionally after they examine the fork and try to recreate it with their own forks they do. Obviously, the majority of the time I have no way of knowing if they go home after a show and try it with their own forks. But when I do it close-up and there are other forks around (like in a resteraunt) I see it.

Now, they still don't know how I did it "at my fingertips" because of the illusion of it bending. But, when they discover how easy it is to twist it ceases to be a scream-out-loud miracle and becomes a "that's pretty cool, I guess" effect.

On PK touches it's just an observation. People with simple minds tend to catch simple methods. Don't do it for kids or anyone that's not that swift in the head. This is also true for other tricks as well. On PK touches I have a couple of subtleties that cover it.

The most important subtlety is after I touch the second person I look at the first one's face and say "I see you smiling there, did you feel anything?". So in the rare case that someone figures it out they are "corrected" by the other audience members because she "reacted" right after I touched the second spectator. It works great!

Jonathan Grant

Jonathan Grant
Message: Posted by: entity (Sep 12, 2004 11:47PM)
No offense meant.

Perhaps I'm just being dense, but it seems to me that you are still not being clear as to what effect in the PK silverware repertoire you are performing and being caught out on. In any case, if someone wants to try to bend a fork or spoon with their hands, of course they can do it. The effect comes in convincing them that you exerted little or no physical force to accomplish what they could only do by considerable effort. If they are convinced, then their own ability to bend the silverware by force is not an issue.

Regarding PK Touches, I often do it for young people, and every so often for someone not intelectually overburdened. I never have a problem, and you might still think about your scripting as a means of solving any snags you might have encounter. Sometimes you have to spell things out for people very clearly, and at the same time control their answers so that they have no choice but to answer the way you want them to, without the opportunity to add anything further.

just my two cents worth.

- entity
Message: Posted by: amadrigal (Sep 13, 2004 12:32AM)
One thing is to move into another effect or misdirect them or lead em to another frame of mind I do not know PK touches or silverware but I do perform spoon bends and allow them to hold or handle the spoon afterwards but do not allow conversation on theory. I cansay something like:
Let me have that before the manager sees this! with a wink and a smile
Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (Sep 13, 2004 05:15AM)
I have found that you get extra smart people the odd time, Mr Osterlinds advise on misdirection in his Dvd's can be adapted so as to hopefully desuade any of the normal idea's of how it might have been bent also acting goes along way in helping, if they think you haven't had the time to twist it they will dismiss the usualy possibalities.

Message: Posted by: Osiris (Sep 13, 2004 10:31AM)
Hmmm... not to be tacky, but if you're getting caught or found out, you're simply doing it WRONG!

So start video taping yourself doing the routine from multiple angles and see for yourself what you're doing wrong. Secondly, check in with some magic buds that will call you on your screw ups vs. patting you on the back even when you are bad, and ask them to critique what your doing -- INCLUDING YOUR PATTER, BODY LANGUAGE, ETC.

I know far too many people that do this kind of work and leave audiences stimied. BUT that leads us to yet another issue or problem as it were, that's out of your control -- too many "MAGICIANS" doing Psychic based effects and doing them poorly.

If you're going to attempt to be Geller, then study Geller and see how he presents his miracles. Learn to think and act like a real psychic vs. some court jester doing tricks. The latter image, in the eye of the beholder, translates your demonstration being a thing of skill and slight of hand vs. the mental mystery it is supposed to be. The subtle psychological differences between presenting effective mentalism and effective magic make the difference.

By the way, you may just want to set that information to the side for a few years, let the fad pass and then come back out with it once the majority of the sheep aren't trying to mimic something they saw on Tv last week. This gives you time to mature into your character and thus, better define how you present the kind of material that's right for you, when it's right for you.

It's something to think about.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan (Sep 13, 2004 11:26AM)
It's the fork twist, like I said. And also, it's not the routine that people figure out. They are all stunned in disbelief. It's after the fact when they examine the twisted fork and try to do it themselves that the rare person does. Now, almost everyone tries to do it like they saw me do it (at my fingertips) which doesn't work. It's the rare cynic that tries to bend it their own way that can do it.

Like I said, it doesn't ruin the effect, just keeps it from being a miracle. And it's only been 2 people that have done it (non-family). As far as the PK touches, I know other mentalists that have discovered the same thing.

I haven't been caught because of the things mentioned, like limiting their speech, routining, etc. I'm curious what some of you say when asking the spec what he/she felt? I've been pleased with my scripting for a while, but in the last year I have been convinced that there's room for improvement. I'd love to hear yours to maybe spark some ideas.

Jonathan Grant
Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (Sep 13, 2004 11:35AM)
I think perhaps working out those muscles that allow making such a bend, I'm not big but I am far stronger then I look due to my day job. Simply put, the forks I choose to twist would not be twistable by the average person so even if they tried they would not be able to. I also have them mark them with an indelible marker so they don't think I have done any switching. The rest is misdirection.

Message: Posted by: Avocat (Sep 13, 2004 01:59PM)
The problem isn't "physics." It's topology. The fork is meant to look like it was twisted around its axis, and it does look exactly like it was. But anyone who examines it and, worse yet, plays with it enough may well come up with a topological solution that may not be correct but certainly isn't magical.

The problem isn't how you presented it so much as giving an audience motivated to "figure it out" the opportunity and time enough to do so.

Also, when you perform for friends and family, they will naturally assume they can "figure it out," and will accordingly make an extra effort to do so.

One of the reasons Morgan Strebler's routine looks so great to me is that it seems to pile on multiple bends and twists in one fluid routine. Seeing all that, the audience is more likely to "give up" (if they were even trying to "catch you") and accept that your skills are beyond deconstruction.

This is one of the reasons it's occasionally worthwhile to "blitz" a new audience with tricks. They may not remember all the effects, but they'll remember that you were an awesome performer.

I've had the twist-deconstruction happen to me, by the way. The culprit was a new audience member in an informal situation, and I had NOT "blitzed" her, and she had been a math major in college. Quarduple whammy.

So, no, it's not because there's something wrong with your performance that videotape will cure (didn't cure Geller, did it? He was CAUGHT cheating on video). It's because you were performing for an audience that EXPECTED to "figure it out."

By the way, same is true for PK Touches. Do it for an audience that EXPECTS to figure it out, and they will (it's happened to me, too; family member did it). The bare bones effect is not that hard a trick to figure out, really. That's why it's critical to make it part of a dramatic presentation. Context hides the method. Ever see Japanese bunraku puppetry, where the puppeteer works in plain sight? Or read Tommy Wonder's essay suggesting a puppeteer-presentation of Zombie, with the control rod in plain sight? People will accept faults in method if they enjoy the illusion enough. Maybe that's why you're finding PK Touches fails for less intelligent people - they don't realize it's all for show.

Anyway, sorry to get off track on that. Bottom line, it's not a performance problem. It's a credibility problem - you're leaving the twisted fork with people who believe they can figure it out, and they're right.
Message: Posted by: entity (Sep 13, 2004 04:13PM)

My apologies. I was looking for a description of which effect you were having a problem with in the text of your message. I see that it was in the subject line all along.

Silly me.

Avocat might be correct, in that it is a matter of credibility for the audience to whom you are showing these effects. I'm not a great fan of the "blitz" though. To paraphrase Vernon: "Magic (and Mentalism) is not confusion!". While the blitz does keep the audience off balance, I think that the effect almost always suffers.

With the PK Touches, I think that what most performers miss here is a convincer of some sort, after the initial first effect. It can easily be done in the scripting. After all, this effect is almost entirely about scripting, and what the audience and the participants "think" is happening. The convincer would replicate the initial effect under even more impossible conditions, taking the wind from the sails of anyone who thought they had it figured out after the first "touches" were felt.

- entity
Message: Posted by: BradleyNott (Sep 13, 2004 05:05PM)
Maybe have another twisted fork concealled by the method Banachek
suggests, in plain sight on the table. If they question you...do the bend again.

Or...stop doing the twist entirely.
Message: Posted by: Banachek (Sep 13, 2004 07:33PM)
I have to tell you, all the years I have performed the twist, no-one has ever stated they could twist a fork physically like that, no-one. I wonder if it is the way the twists looks when you are done, is it complete. On top of that, I am not sure why anyone would think you could have done it that way, it is supposed to look like it is twisting psychically as you are doing it. So even if they THEY did figure away to put a twist in it, they should be saying, "But you did not do that as I saw it straight and saw it twist." So not trying to be rude in any way but it appears it is the performance that is not quite right?

It is kind of like bending a spoon, anyone can do it physically but if it looks like is bending. Even a bending a pin can be convincing.

As for PK touches, if routined right, even dense people and children should not be able to figure it out as it is a space time effect, Again it is the performance that makes the method foolproof or tranparent.

I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about this.
Message: Posted by: richpoyle (Sep 13, 2004 08:10PM)
They 'figured out how it was done'? Are you for real?

Did these people say this to you? Did they come up with an exact explanation and give it to you?

Anyone can bend a spoon/fork with their hands. That's obvious.

But when I see Geller or Banachek (for example) perform metal bending, I forget that!

They don't give their audience chance to think about it or try it out.

And in an instant, they make even the skeptical believe.
Message: Posted by: Daegs (Sep 13, 2004 09:57PM)
I want to chime in with others here that you need to look at your overall performance character and things you might be doing, whether patter, body language or sub-conscience actions to cause this.

Ask yourself why 2 people that are performing the exact same effect with the same sleights done perfectly can get so many different reactions?

A pro might be able to take a simple effect and get huge rounds of applause and mystified faces, while an amature may only have people come up to him after he is done and say "I can figure that out" or "I know how its done".

And this could be a simple card trick with the same invisible sleights.

Everything from how we hold ourselves, to the words we use, to how we communicate non-verbally to the spectator all has a profound effect on an audience.

So if you are getting any problems with this routine, take a close look not at only the trick itself, but also your whole performance including the effects that came before and after the "trouble" effect, and narrow down the problem, then eliminate it.

Good luck!
Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (Sep 14, 2004 06:18AM)
Just my two cents here, I recal when I first performed mentalism, like a magic trick I was doing the bare effect, most don't hold upbecause no psycolegy such as misdirection or acting is used,perhaps a bit of presentation is needed.

I don't know if that helps,
Message: Posted by: richpoyle (Sep 14, 2004 07:02AM)
Another thing with metal bending is that its so "out there" your persona and act must fit it.

If you're including metal bending as part of an act (rather than a whole metal bending act) everything else you do must lead to or reinforce the idea that psychokinetic metal bending is real.

So let's say metal bending forms the finale of your act. Every effect you do before it must convince your audience you really do have amazing powers.

Otherwise they'll just see it as an effect and try to figure out how it was done.
Message: Posted by: Greg Owen (Sep 14, 2004 09:39AM)
"They are all stunned in disbelief. It's after the fact when they examine the twisted fork and try to do it themselves that the rare person does."

I guess this just shouldn't be a question the audience is asking themselves. Like Banacheck mentioned, they SEE the bend happening...the emphasis is not on "this is impossible do to even if you were very, very strong" etc. For me, the physical difficulty of the bend is an 'extra'. Some one picks it up and casually gives it a twist...and nothing happens.

- Greg Owen
Message: Posted by: Jonathan (Sep 14, 2004 02:13PM)
Right. The effect still works because it happened in my fingertips. But, so much of the initial reaction is over seeing a fork twisted. I think I may be placing too much emphasis on how impossible the twist is. Even though this leads to greater reactions and amazement, it could also be leading them to try and twist it themselves.

I've never had anyone say, "I know how that's done". Rather I see one of them pick up a fork and start playing with it and accomplish the twist. Later when I leave I see him showing it to the others and how it was done. This doesn't explain how they saw it twisting in my fingertips, but if they ever tried to recreate it they could figure that out really easily.

Again, this only happened twice in all the times I've done it and it was less than ideal situations where they had heard about it and asked me to do it.

Something I'd like to point out is that no one ever heckles me or stops the show. They always play along even if they think they catch something. It didn't used to be this way when I first started but over time I developed a character and presentation that people really like. They WANT to be amazed and and love what is happening so much that they want me to succeed and they want others to feel that amazement that they've felt through the other effects that I've done.

I think it is very important that I don't come across as being "better" than they are, I don't want it to be competitive or confrontational. I have found that if you come across that way people will want you to fail or will try to figure you out instead of wanting you to succeed and be something "magical". This also allows me to take credit for things I didn't do! :)

Now, the PK touches I'm still perfecting. I have no doubt that I can prevent any problems by routining it. But, you just can't really work on it without DOING it for people. It's been one of my most successful effects, anyway, though. I love it!

Without giving anything away, I often have the person say they didn't feel anything when I ask because they don't consider the touches to be what I'm asking about. I wish I could give you exactly what I do because I'm sure it's because of that. Anyway, I would still like to hear some thoughts even though they might not be applicable.


Jonathan Grant
Message: Posted by: Banachek (Sep 14, 2004 02:55PM)
Ahh, this makes more sense now, as the way I came across the the bend was quite by accident myself. The national Enquirer asked me to bend up a bunch of silverware physically for a a photo shoot (wanted to save time rather than have me to it "Psychically".

However, still a little confused as the spoon is already twisted, it is very, very difficult to put a second twist into the spoon or fork as it tends to try to go where the other twist is. Sounds like you are giving them a second fork or spoon to try with? If so, don't, just hand them the original one you twisted, they will not be able to untwist it, and it will be very difficult to put a second twist in. I also suggest you straighten and flatten out the twist after it is put in. This makes it much more difficult to work with or discover.

As for touches, the wording is important and the pacing since it is important the know what you are talking about, this is way too open a forum for me to discuss it, already said too much about the twist
Message: Posted by: Jonathan (Sep 15, 2004 12:38AM)
Good point. The two times it happened was at a resteraunt and they had their own forks. On stage it won't be a problem at all.

Jonathan Grant
Message: Posted by: p.at (Sep 20, 2004 01:47PM)
A friend of mine performed the twist with a spoon - and it didn´t impress me at all. I thought he twisted the spoon at home and...
it blew me away when I saw richard osterlind putting the twist in the spoon - on the bonus section of the third (?) dvd.

for pk touches: if you use yigal mesikas little friends, I think there is nothing to observe
Message: Posted by: Jonathan (Sep 20, 2004 11:23PM)
I'll try to ask this in a way that doesn't give anything away: When doing PK touches, do you ever have the first spectator react when they are actually touched? I usually tell them straight up not to react but I fear that sounds suspicious. PLEASE don't say anything that gives hints to the working of the effect. If you must, please PM me!


Jonathan Grant
Message: Posted by: Banachek (Sep 21, 2004 12:19AM)
NO,tell them to close their eyes and to concentrate upon any and all sensations they felt and to remember them. This way they will not react because they do not know if this is the effect or not depending upon your presentation. Only after they reveal they felt it when you ask in the right order, then it becomes an effect. Hope that helps and is not too cryptic.
Message: Posted by: Richard Osterlind (Sep 21, 2004 08:17AM)
I have to jump in here with my own 2 cents worth. Banachek taught me the twist many years ago and, like him, I have never had ANYONE explain it or duplicate it. Let me ask you a question, Jonathan. Are you putting in the twist so that the spoon or fork looks like the top was just swiveled around. That is, the bend should just be in a quarter inch or so on the handle so that it almost looks like it was made that way. If the bend is more like a "loop" then it just looks like someone took it and gave it a good twist. But if the bend looks like a "swivel" then it looks like something out of a special effects movie that no one could possibly duplicate.

Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Sep 21, 2004 09:04AM)
I am lucky to be a proud owner of a Banachek bent fork ;) and I would just like to add thatI have just looked at the twist he put into it, and even though I know how it was done it looks impossible.

Like Richard said above, you can put the twist in and it looks obvious, especially with heavier cutlery. I have wasted a good few pounds on forks and spoons I can tell you!
Message: Posted by: Jonathan (Sep 21, 2004 03:42PM)
Thanks. "to remember them", that's the key phrase right there! That's what I needed. I have the manuscript, obviously, and have my own presentation of it. I never realized the importance in those 3 words. I'll definitely make sure I use it from now on. That changes the whole perspective of the spectator.

It's all in the subtleties!

Osterlind: I try to make it look like an actual twist, but sometimes I get a flimsy fork and accidentally make the "loop" that doesn't look very good. Come to think of it, I do believe one of the cases I mentioned was one where that did happen. That very well may have had something to do with it.

Also, Mr. Osterlind, I just read your description of the spoon melt (matrix-like) on another topic. I've never quite gotten that to work. I'm excited to try it out again in front of a mirror now. It's your tip of the "pivot" that cued me in to what I was doing wrong.

Jonathan Grant
Message: Posted by: Richard Osterlind (Sep 21, 2004 07:51PM)

I'm glad to see it is now working for you. One thing I would like to pass on, and I'm sure Banachek would agree with this, is if you are working on an effect that you KNOW someone is doing all the time with great results, and it doesn't work for you, then there must be something wrong/different in your approach. Usually by studying what the problem is and overcoming it, you will not only gain a new effect, but a lot of others based on the same principle. If you give up and say "The method is no good" you will never advance.

Congratulations on being diligent!

Message: Posted by: Jonathan (Sep 22, 2004 12:33AM)
Thanks. Yes I agree. It would be foolish of me to ever think that someone is making a living off of something that "doesn't work". I tried some with a fork today but it didn't work. I need to watch the DVD again, it's been too long. If I still just don't get it (sometimes the most obvious thing can be the most illusive) I'll ask more specific questions.

Jonathan Grant
Message: Posted by: solidglint (Sep 22, 2004 04:27PM)
I am so impressed by the support Banachek and Richard Osterlind have given to Jonathan. I feel confident to spend my hard earned cash on products these two gentlemen release, they must love the art of magic.
Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (Sep 22, 2004 05:12PM)
I've been helped many times by many people on the Café, as a result it's made me want to be as helpful.

Message: Posted by: Jonathan (Sep 22, 2004 07:52PM)
They are more helpful than you know! ;)

Jonathan Grant

I tried the "remember" line this afternoon and the girl still reacted and opened her eyes as soon as she felt it. It's set up so well that they get scared or amazed and react as soon as they feel it (I would to if I was in their shoes). Suggestions?

Of course, it all worked out great because while she was in the middle of telling everyone that she didn't feel anything (at the right time) she reacted and grabbed her arm and said something pinched her. I was as amazed as anyone, of course, but took credit for it. Even more amazingly, the audience swore that I pinched the other spectator in that same spot even though that spec said she didn't feel me pinch her (of course she didn't, because I didn't do it!). I got credit for keeping her from feeling it and making the other girl feel it instead.

Just another example of what happens when the audience WANTS you to succeed and be amazing!

Jonathan Grant

BTW, mods please respect Banachek's request if he thinks too much has been said and would like any of my posts deleted or edited. I give full permission to do so.

Jonathan Grant