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muzicman
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Tonight I get to meet and spend time with a mentalist called Banachek. Apparently he is well known in the world as a mentalist. I am not really sure what a mentalist is and how they differ from magicians. I do some "magic" that may fall into this MENTALIST catagory but I'm not 100% sure what a mentalist is so I'm hesitant to make that leap. For instance, an old Indian once showed me how to take 2 toothpicks and balance one on the other (perpendicular) and one begins to jump. The Indian told me it was the spirits of his ancestors that make it move. It's a pretty kewl trick and I even saw Kreskin do this exact same trick years later. As a magician I claim to "Read your mind", but I Don't see what I am doing is anything more than being a magician with some snappy patter. Could someone enlighten me to WHAT IS A MENTALIST?
I want to at least appear like I am understanding of this term before I meet Banchek tonight. Thanks for your help!
A.G.
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Hi,muzicman

First off, I wil tell you that Banachek is an amazing guy on and off stage.
I think you should go with no expaectations or ideas of what you will see or feel at the lecture.
You have the benefit of seing Banachek as a lay audience would....
ENJOY that feeling!!!
I saw the lecture you will see on Feb. 14 valentines day
(My wife understood...after she read the note!! Sorry honey.)

Do me a favor...leave right before the explanations!?
A tear rolled down my cheek as Steve went into P.K. touches, explanation..
I feel that I am not the only professional that feels this way?

Kind Thoughts,
Andrew GERARD
muzicman
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I am not looking for secrets here. I just would like to know (in your words) what a MENTALIST is. I have seen the word and variations of it but I truly do not understand the difference between a mentalist and a magician.

Leave before the explanations? I would like to learn any material I feel may benefit my shows, or my reputation as a performer.
Scott Cram
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Muzicman, Mentalism is a branch of magic in which the focus is the potential of the human mind. It's quite a different discipline from magic, as well.

In magic, you know what you see can't really be happening. You know that that tiger didn't just appear out of thin air, and that the girl isn't really in half, but you enjoy the ability of the magician to make you suspend disbelief and make you accept the most absurd and impossible circumstances.

In mentalism, instead of trying to get the audience to suspend disbelief, the idea is generally to make them question how much of what you do is real, and get them curious about what the uncharted potential of the mind is. Besides the standards of ESP and divination, you'll also see mentalists do things like giant memory feats, lightning calculation feats, readings and more.
Thoughtreader
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Most mentalists do not do readings. The ones that do tend to use the term psychic entertainer, which really is different. Mentalists tend to do "mental" based effects simulating apparent paranormal powers BUT are in theory diametricly different than magicians in both their presentation and psychology. Where a magician may feel the need to prove and overprove that the deck of cards they are using is real, ungimmicked and unprepared, the mentalist does not worry as if they are doing their job correctly they do not even consider (nor does the audience) that the deck would be anything but above board.

A psychic entertainer generally works both as an actual psychic doing readings as well as on stage entertaining using mentalism and sometimes does readings from the stage as well. I do tend to beleive that the later is even more effective in distancing themselves from the unbelievability of magicians than even mentalists.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Canada's Leading Mentalist
http://www.mindguy.com
AB StageCraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
muzicman
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Based on the above definitions, I would feel I am more of a mentalist than a magician. I have convinced layman that I possess a strange power ever since I was struck by lightning on a family camping trip. Reading "planted" thoughts, I******e Th***d, M*gnets, my Indian toothpick trick, making things appear, disappear. Personally, I have had more success doing this form of "magic" than I ever could with a dove pan or a TT. Thanks for helping me understand.
Dark Thought 13
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A mentalist is an entertainer who uses the mind as a basis for the magic tricks he performs.
"I love the one with the plastic thumb!"
Someone who has seen a s*** magician
A.G.
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Quote:
On 2005-02-17 13:31, muzicman wrote:
Based on the above definitions, I would feel I am more of a mentalist than a magician. I have convinced layman that I possess a strange power ever since I was struck by lightning on a family camping trip. Reading "planted" thoughts, I******e Th***d, M*gnets, my Indian toothpick trick, making things appear, disappear. Personally, I have had more success doing this form of "magic" than I ever could with a dove pan or a TT. Thanks for helping me understand.

STRANGE POWERS??? LIGHTNING??? Uhhh, I think you may want to rethink all that.

Asking you to leave a lecture before the explinations was a joke...haha.
stanalger
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Quote:
On 2005-02-17 12:33, Scott Cram wrote:
In mentalism, instead of trying to get the audience to suspend disbelief, the idea is generally to make them question how much of what you do is real, and get them curious about what the uncharted potential of the mind is. Besides the standards of ESP and divination, you'll also see mentalists do things like giant memory feats, lightning calculation feats, readings and more.


Hmmmmm....would someone who ONLY does memory and calculation feats be considered
a mentalist? If so, I guess I'm in the correct forum to post this "heads up!"
According to TV Guide, next Wed. (2/23/05) at 8pm (ET) the Science Channel
may air a program titled "Brainman" about Daniel Tammet, "a savant who calculates
huge sums in his head and learns Icelandic in a week."

I say "may air" because the program is featured on the Hits & Misses page
preceding the Wednesday listings, but does not appear in the listings themselves.
So.....check your local listings.

Stan Alger

I should have included this link with the previous post:

http://science.discovery.com/schedule/ep......mp;gid=0

Stan Alger
chicagoman
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Muzicman,
Mentalism is a class of performance like rope, coins or cigarette magic. Within it, there are many variations, styles and approaches.

The distinct characteristic is that you are using only your mind and the minds of the audience to communicate, to ascertain information, or to affect objects.

The other major distinction of a Mentalist or a Mentalist performance is that the performer only performs mentalism.

Like rope, coin or cigarette acts, if that's all one performs in a show, it is elevated in the minds of the audience to a specialty. When you mix mentalism with other forms of magic, you are no longer a mentalist, you're a magician because you are perfoming a mix of different classes of magic.

When you put mentalism effects in a magical act, because of the context, the effect is known (within mentalism and magical circles) as mental magic.

These are somewhat broad defintions but should suffice in describing what is a mentalist. But there are other, more subtle distinctions between what is mental magic within mentalism! This involves mentalism effects that look more like a magic trick because of its appearence, prop usage or presentation. To understand that distinction, you have to delve a bit deeper into the finer aspects and aesthetics of what makes up a mentalism performance.
balcazar
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Keep it simple, Banacheck is the man who fooled scientists
A little more than magic...
chicagoman
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"More than magic"? I wonder what that would be.
SpAgHeTtI
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Mentalism is about the person...magic is about trick and effect.........
muzicman
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I appreciate all the responses and after seeing Banechek perform, I fully understand what a mentalist is. His act left me wondering how I could have missed out all these years on such a great art as Mentalism. Banechek fooled scientists and he certainly fooled the magicians I was with, and he certainly fooled me. I enjoy this style, and personally I feel it's a lot stronger and entertaining than working with silks or a bunny. By the sounds of it, you would all agree as well.
SpAgHeTtI
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Detailed rewiev pls! Smile
Osiris
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Quote:
On 2005-02-18 20:00, chicagoman wrote:
Muzicman,
Mentalism is a class of performance like rope, coins or cigarette magic. Within it, there are many variations, styles and approaches.



OooH! Please don't go there!

Mentalism is a "kindred" art but, as has been expressed already, the psychology behind presenting true Mentalism is 180 degree away from how one approaches the art of DOING TRICKS.

I do agree with some of what you said in your much longer post... I just had a knee jerk reaction when I read the first line. I so loathe the magician's misconception that, just because "trick technology" is involved (be it slights or gaffs) that Mentalism is the same as Magic. For some reason they "all" want to forget, deny, ignore the fact that Mentalism (for the most part) came out of the old Spiritualist movement and related occult correspondences. Granted, there were similar bits done prior to the days of Kellar and Houdini's "Investigations" and the related spin-off popularity of Psychic/Spiritualistic "Demonstrations" set within Magic Shows (that's where Francis Willard got her start as a Trance Channel... doing the Spirit Cabinet in Daddy's Magic Show... but I regress...)

A great deal of what is percieved as Mentalism, is in truth "Mental Magic". This is for a couple of reasons, the biggest being popularity and over-exposure of a bit. Let's face it, if someone sees Mental Epic or Rhine Outdone in a Magic show, it's hard to sell them on the idea that you really do have some kind of estrange prowess that lets you read or influence someone's thoughts via the same demonstration and funny looking props. Granted, a good showman that's been around the block a few times may be able to pull it off, but the association is there and because of that, a once great piece of solid Mentalism has become demoted (same has happened to so many excellent pieces but, when you see 14 year old kids doing a $300.00 book test as part of their birthday show... well, you figure it out...)

The other reason certain bits are more properly equated to "Mental Magic" is because the nature of the routine tends to "telegraph" the fact that the performer is going to get his/her pay-off. Prime examples of this would be Don Wayne's DREAM VISION vs. (for example) the Sylvester the Jester variation which is simpler, cleaner, and far less "propish" in the mind of the public. All in all, it's the same effect however... CONFABULATION by any other name is still CONFABULATION...

Well, I've added my two-cents to this issue...

Oops! As far as Banachek is concerned... PLEASE DON'T ATTEND HIS LECTURES OR BUY HIS BOOKS! They're too darn good and hold far too much solid material to be wasted on a bunch of guys that just want to do tricks... I and many others have begged Steve to stop putting out so much great material for people that wont respect it... some of us have bribed him to keep things more exclusive to the Psychic Entertainment community. In that he will not comply, I must make a fuss about it and tell you all that it's crap and you should avoid it at all cost!

(BTW... that's a joke Steve... kindof)
Alexander Marsh
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As a great man once said;

Mentalism is the adult form of magic.
and.....
in the [i]audiences[i] eyes Mentalists are in the grey area between Magicians and Fortune Tellers.

Ofcorse one could change the above, for example 'the grey area between Magicians and Psychologists' Or 'the grey area between Psychics and Hypnotists'

It all depends apon the performer.

Then out of those ideas non-sence lables such as 'Psychic Entertainer', 'Mental Magic' and 'Psychological Illusionist'
ptbeast
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It seems to me that bizarrists (what I primarily consider myself)
and mentalists try to distance themselves from magicians, because
both try very hard not to be percieved as doing "tricks." Whether
you consider mentalism and allied art or a branch of magic is a
mater of perspective. Even so, the billing says a lot. I know
what to expect when I go to a evening of mentalism (and frankly
I am more likely to go) than to a magic show.

By the way, I went to the Banchek lecture night before last.
It was incredible. Last night I found myself at Goodwill buying
all their cheap silverware.

Dave
chicagoman
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I don't understand why some mentalist (I believe the newer, younger ones but this could easily be a generalization) want to distance themselves from the term "magic". Read some of the latest writings by mentalist's: Osterlind's "Making Real Magic", (for the bizarrists) Berger's, "Mastering the Art of Magic, Derren Brown's "Absolute Magic"--these top performers in the field of "mentalism" have no trouble using the term "magic".

Take a look at the definition of the word "magic":

mag·ic ( P ) Pronunciation Key (mjk)
n.
The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural.

The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature.
The charms, spells, and rituals so used.
The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for entertainment.
A mysterious quality of enchantment: “For me the names of those men breathed the magic of the past” (Max Beerbohm).

Paying particular attention to the first part of the definition (and therefore the most common or relevant), magic is a term almost synonymous with mentalism or bizarre.

I purposely compared mentalism to coin magic to shock some of these mentalist who for some reason think mentalism is apart from magic and worse still, better than magic.

Mentalism is neither apart from magic (read definition above) nor is it better. It is simply a form of magic.

Another strange distinction some mentalist have is that mentalism is somehow harder to perform than other classes of magic? Yes and no is my answer. Some people have innate talents to perform one class of magic over another. But I will also state this emphatically (so watch out for the capital letters): ALL GOOD MAGIC IS DIFFICULT TO PERFORM WELL! This goes for coin, dove, rope, card or general magic, and definitely, for mentalism.

Osirus eluded to something else really important and unfortunately, really disturbing:
Mentalism effects are becoming "mental magic" because of over-exposure.

T.A. Waters wrote about this trend as well but described the problem with novice or arm-chair mentalists who think they are performers and not putting in the proper effort to execute good perfromances. He considered HIMSELF to be an arm-chair mentalist and does not perform in fear of exposing or giving a mediocre show.

If over-exposure continues, in the eyes of the audience, mentalism will certainly fall into the broad category of magic, and whenever they see a mentalist perform, you will begin to inevitably hear, "nah, it's just a trick."

Then the debate whether mentalism is a part of magic will be over.
Ruben Padilla
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Very interesting thread. I'm may just be sleepy, but after reading all these posts, it occured to me that rather than speak of presentational differences between mentalism and magic, or psychological mindsets and approaches, it might be easier to simply distinguish the two (magic and mentalism) by METHODOLOGY. In other words, if you are putting forth that your effects are begin accomplished with your mind, and the audience BUYS it, and by your procedure it makes sense logically, then it's MENTALISM. If, on the other hand, you don't make such an claim, or if an audience believes (perhaps with your help) that there is "something else" in play (be it gimmicks, tricky props, secret information, etc.)then you're doing MAGIC. With this mind (no pun intended), there needs to be an intellectual agreement with your audience, for it is their willing compliance that in the end truly defines you. (And we all know there are plenty of guys out there who call themselves mentalists, but their audiences think of them as magicians - and sometimes less than that.)

Am I thinking too much?
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