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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Jerks and Angels (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

dreidy
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Sydney, Australia
156 Posts

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I teach High School, so I have classes full of teenagers attempting to catch me out, so I keep it really simple, and practice, practice, practice before showing them anything.

I showed a class a fairly convincing 'mind reading' effect based around a pack of cards - of course I got the "What am I thinking now!" challenge from one student - so I used my "You need to have something to concentrate on for it to work." reply; intending to do a billet effect once he'd written something down.

He took a piece of paper from his book, wrote a sentence on in, then screwed it up and tossed it into the bin. I was about to ask him to do it again on a piece of paper I provided, when the boy sitting next to him held up another sheet with the sentence written on it, hiding it from the first boy and the rest of the class. Needless to say, the 'miracle' then proceeded.

So, for every jerk we find at a performance, there are always others who want to see us succeed. Now if I can just find an audience full of them...

David.
B&B Magic
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What a great story! I'd take that kid aside and (besides giving him some extra credit points) set up a two-person psychic code. That would drive people nuts!
I was floored when I saw how Andy Nyman performed a particular effect on Get Nyman (I believe the effect was titled Dead Zone).
Has this fellow expressed any interest in learning magic? He sounds like an apt pupil.
bloodkin
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Great story! Did that kid get an A?
Desix
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Arlington, Texas
59 Posts

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I am a college psych professor always looking for things like that to demonstrate. What do you do in your classes that gets the biggest response?
dreidy
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Sydney, Australia
156 Posts

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Desix,

Pretty much anything that looks impossible. Also, because I have the classes regularly, I can build up an effect so that just when they think they've got it worked out, I'll vary it enough to keep them guessing. For example, the first time I pull out a pack of cards someone will always want to play poker or blackjack, I suggest poker but tell them that they should never play with a mentalist as bluffing doesn't work. I then do a simple find their card in amongst a group of five by 'watching' their face.

The next time (usually a few days later) I'll get them to face the other way - maybe it's their voice. Next performance is more direct, "Pick a card, think of it" - I do some 'fishing' and pick it. Then it's straight to the card the next time. Eventually it gets to - they take the pack, shuffle it, cut it, look at their card, replace the cut, hand the cards back, I do a face down spread and then hand them their card. The method used throughout is identical and is a combination of two fairly well known procedures.

All up this may take anything up to 3 weeks a step at a time, with them coming up with ideas along the way. As a Physics teacher it's a great way of talking about hypotheses and testing, but mostly it's just some good fun which makes an hour long lesson seem a bit shorter.

I've had less success with straight 'mind reading' type effects, because if I can read one though,why can't I read another thought. Book tests, espcially if you use their text book (I generally use Hoy) but they're begining to think I've just memorised the entire 500 page book.

Oh, and sponge balls. I know it's not mentalism, but even the big kids (17-18) like the sponge balls, probably because they know how it's done, but they still can't see me do it.

Try to keep it light, the magic is still for entertainment, if I can hang a 'learning' idea off it, that's good, but I really don't use the magic to teach.

David.
Desix
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Arlington, Texas
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David,
Thanks for the ideas!
I usually try to work it in when I discuss experimental methods and perception. I always have some students try to tell me about the mysteries of the mind (ESP and the like). I figure if I can show them some Mentalism effects, they will start to realize that maybe what they have thought about the topics in the past may not be totally accurate. If they see that I, their average professor, can do it, maybe they will find it not so mysterious. I struggle with this a little. I don't want to reveal the workings of the effect to them, as people spent years coming up with them and I don't want it to be a 'magic revealed' segment. I just tell them I am "guiding their perceptions" and that what they think I just did is not really what happened. They are usually so confused by that point that they are ok with that answer. Of course, in trying to master some of these effects, I have become so completely addicted to mentalism, that I have bought lots of DVD's and books and have started performing for other people.
Thanks again.
Tom Jorgenson
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Inner circle
LOOSE ANGLES, CALIFORNIA
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Here is a line I used for folks that you might like. It is a concept that younger people might find interesting:

"If it can be done, there is a way to do it!

If we know how it is done, it's Science.

If we don't know, it's Magic."

This seems to deflate their blind acceptance of the TV Psychics.
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
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