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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Mark edward information (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Harley Newman
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Popov's still in business. He buys airtime periodically, usually on off-hour cable. I saw him once on Comedy Central (where he belongs). There are lessons to be learned from that man, about how to do a show.

But you'll need to take a shower afterward.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Bill Fienning
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Mark Edward was one of the presenters on the national tv show, "Psychic Secrets Revealed". It is also likely that he was the source of much of the secret information exposed, since some of that knowledge is not widely known in the conventional magic circles.

He had been a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, but quit before the production of the TV show. Because the PEA will not tolerate any exposure to the general public, he was ostracized by the group.

I was a member of the PEA at that time (and continue to be a member).
Bill Fienning

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Harley Newman
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I've always found it curious, perhaps mildly amusing, that the PEA espouses ethical entertainment, yet many of their members claim to have "powers".
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Necromancer
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Quote:
On 2006-08-28 14:15, Harley Newman wrote:
I've always found it curious, perhaps mildly amusing, that the PEA espouses ethical entertainment, yet many of their members claim to have "powers".


Again, this is entirely off point.
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), and contributor to the ebook GOLD: When It HAS To Be Performance GOLD -- all at Penguin.
Harley Newman
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Hi Neal!

It's not off point at all. There are two topics in this thread. One, is Mark's work. The other, is ethics.

Mark was "ostracized" for what some people call "ethical violations". I only point out that PEA has members who publicly contradict the stated goal of the organization. Isn't saying "we'll have one ethic, but not the other" a form of hypocrisy?

As a moderately good researcher, anything of which Mark was accused, would be something about which I could find basic information in an hour or two, browsing in the library, a bookstore, or on the internet, without using the Café as a reference source. (Look up Kuda Bux sometime, and you'll find not only articles claiming he had psychic powers, but also very clear exposure of his blindfold technique.)

A couple of years ago, I spoke with Mark about the infamous TV show, and he told me what he did for it, and who some of the other people involved were (and there were others). He also told me about the producers doing some things in ways that they'd said they wouldn't. As a veteran of a couple of hundred TV performances worldwide, this has happened to me, more often than not, and I believe Mark.

BTW, I'd have no problem with John Edward, or any of his ilk, if they'd just bill themselves as doing an honest show, rather than promoting garbage-thought. Many of them are actually very good at what they do. And it's possible to entertain audiences, implying or outright telling them that you're messing with their perceptions, without exposing your technique. You don't even have to be blatent about telling them.

We're practitioners of a peculiar form of theatre. The basis for any show is "willing suspension of disbelief". This is good. It enables us to have an emotional impact on our audiences. This doesn't mean that we're obliged to have them leave our theatre with beliefs that we encourage, that we know not to be true.

Doing that, all we accomplish, is to insult the intellegence of our audience, and contribute to their ignorance.

Of course, we can admire the Peter Popovs and John Edwards of the world as total scallawags, denounce their fraud, and wish we had their incomes. But justifying it, doesn't make what they're doing ethical. Wait! Maybe I'm wrong. If it's done under the guise of religion or pseudo-religion, maybe outright fraud is acceptible, according to relevent performance standards.

I know I tried to organize a debunking of a prominent faith-healer, a number of years ago. I couldn't get any local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies to participate...freedom of religion, they said, so the outright fraud didn't matter. And who knows their misleadings, better than we do?

I should also note, Erich Weiss is revered in the magic business, and he made a nice living for a couple of years, exposing the same types of dishonest performers. He also ghost-wrote books for the general public, outlining the workings of his material. Is it ok with you, for him to have done that?

I'm just curious...

And I still consider Mark to be a good person, with superb abilities. He performed what should be considered a public service.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Necromancer
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Hi Harley,

I had thought this thread was about Mark Edwards, and that it only made side trips into ethical argument because you had a specific soapbox to mount. But if nobody minds continuing this line of questioning, let me try to address your points.

You suggest that the PEA's actions against Mark were inconsistent. There are three issues here.

1. In your mind, performing mentalism without a disclaimer is unethical. You are convinced that performing without telling your audience that everything you do is the result of trickery is damaging to your audience.

But your view is not the only view, nor is it the only "ethical" view. Numerous performers believe that audiences are intelligent enough to make their own decisions about reality, instead of requiring a performer to spoonfeed them the answers. Many also believe that mystery entertainment is more compelling when it motivates audiences to think for themselves.

2. You appear to believe that the methods of performers who do not use disclaimers are fair game for exposure. (You say we should "out them" in your 4/11 post.) That's a troubling position. Would you take performance material out of the hands of several who use disclaimers (in accordance with your views) so that you can take down one person who does not?

Also, as I mentioned on 8/25, the whole area of Bizarre Magick (where this thread resides) has at its heart the dramatic conviction of performing "for real," and not letting the audience off the hook by telling them "it's just tricks." So again I ask you: would you consider all of Andruzzi's methodology fair game for exposure, then?

3. The exposure of mentalism methods, in your view, is also permissable if the blame can be shared with the television production company.

Forgive me, but that is hogwash. Mark's a big boy, took the money all by himself for giving up trade secrets, and can take responsibility for his actions. You can make all the excuses you want about why he did it, but the fact remains that it happened.

4. Exposure of out-and-out charlatans is a public service. To that I say: maybe. If you're talking about con games like the old Gypsy Switch that are used to bilk people of their life savings, fine. But if you're talking about the mentalism methods on the list Doug Byrd published, I would have to disagree. Most of those would have no place in a true psychic hustler's arsenal.

Incidentally, when believers are shown methods that duplicate the results of psychics in whom they believe, they historically continue to believe just as vehemently afterward. So if nobody is saved, how much of a public service is it -- especially when the only thing accomplished is that a number of effects are rendered unusable for the law-abiding mystery performance community?

On the subject of exposure you also made these assertions:

4. You suggest that exposure on television is okay because anybody can turn up secrets by going to the library or doing searches on the Internet. Do you really believe this? Consider the audience: there's a mountain of difference between members of the public accidentally bumping into mentalism methods during mindless channel clicking, and students seeking out research materials on their own. We all started out as magical researchers, didn't we?

5. Exposure of mediumship is okay because Houdini did it. I disagree. Houdini had all kinds of reasons for exposing spiritualism -- not the least of which was grabbing headlines for his touring show. Personally, I don't think he should have done it. If he wanted to shut down those who were capitalizing on the griefstricken, there were other ways that wouldn't have exposed methodology to the millions.

I would also like to touch on one more allegation from a previous post of yours:

6. Marshall Brodien profited from exposure. That's patently ridiculous. As a teacher, he started more people on the road to magic as a hobby than anybody since Tarbell. But he never showed a single secret to somebody who didn't expressly ask (and pay) to learn.

I understand that you're Mark's friend, and admire your rush to defend him. Based on what you and many others have said, he indeed seems to be a very pleasant person. But your logic strikes me as seriously flawed.

Best,
Neil
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), and contributor to the ebook GOLD: When It HAS To Be Performance GOLD -- all at Penguin.
Clifford the Red
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Quote:
On 2006-08-26 23:29, Bill Palmer wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-04-10 19:45, Clifford the Red wrote:
I don't know about that. He has worked with Penn & Teller on the show "********" to demonstrate the fraud of John Edwards.


I wouldn't call John Edwards a fraud. I would call him an unsuccessful vice-presidential candidate.

John Edward is a different matter.



I see little difference in leaving out the "s". Smile
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Clifford the Red
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I don't know what was exposed, I've not seen the show, nor read the transcripts and it appears that no one can produce them. I don't see any detail in the accusation of the PEA. Are there detailed points or just a vague accusation? If the latter, I consider that a more serious breach of ethics.

I just don't see the propriety of criticizing a person in-absentia with nothing of substance to back it up. I certainly don't see the benefit or right to beat a person for years over one mistake and damage a person's reputation and standing with innuendo and gossip.

I see the list from Doug, he is not sure according to his post. And heck, not defending this alledged exposure but I've seen Randi expose spoon-bending and cold-reading and a myriad of other things on TV. How is that different?

While I enjoy Randi's trashing of scum at one level, I don't like his insistence that people can't enjoy a little suspension of disbelief from magic for example and that they need to grow up. He is on the extreme that wants magic to be disclosed as trickery. I completely disagree for many reasons.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Robin DeWitt
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[/quote]

I see little difference in leaving out the "s". Smile
[/quote]

I can see your thinking, Cliffrodo.
I am the fakir, you....
<BR>Robin DeWitt
Harley Newman
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Hi Neil,

You misunderstand some of what I say and think.

If we market something in a public place, and get paid for it, it's exposure. It doesn't matter if it's a book, a training tape, or a trick. If it's publicly available, it's exposed. To do that as part of a live or filmed presentation is, in my eyes, no different. It's effectively the same thing, whether it's Marshall Brodien (a superb pitchman) on TV, The Idiot's Book of Magic in the bookstore, or Mark Edward or Randi exposing psychics and fraudulent religionists.

All of them do it for some kind of profit.

If we choose to say, "oh, they're going to believe it anyway", we put the blame for misrepresentation on the victims of it. I used to do therapy for a living. I've met child molesters who did that. I'm not implying that mentalists are child molesters, just saying that the ethic is the same. Blaming the victim is a poor excuse for bad behavior.

We practice theatre, and certainly hope that a performance gives our audiences (and us) some sense of the truth of our human condition, but when the actor is off the stage, he is no longer Macbeth. If that actor killed somebody, because his wife told him to, we wouldn't say "oh, he's just being Macbeth." Theatre, for all its truths, is pretense.

So who's targeted by this "exposure"? The Masked Magician targeted magicians. Nuff said. they can, and did, target him back.

Mark Edward targeted psychics, not magicians. Psychics share many of the same performance techniques as magicians, but some of the priniciples are different. In our society, few magicians fill a quasi-religious role. We may admire some of the scoundrels who do, but that doesn't make what they do, ethical.

Let's look at a social standard which we, in the US, say we live by. Democracy. I realize you live in Chicago, where it's not always practiced (I lived there during some of the elder Daley's rule). The basis for democracy is making choices, and to make responsible choices, we need to have good information.

If we don't get honest information, we don't make good choices. Period.

So for us to take our theatrical pretense out of the theatre, to convince our audience that we have powers, we steal their ability to make a good choice.

If they make a bad one, will we profit from it? Sure, in either money or in ego. But that doesn't make it right.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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mota
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Exposure is not a problem. People just don't pay enough attention to have it matter.

Let me give you a few million examples. The Svengali deck has been sold for over fifty years, Marshall Brodien sold millions.

I work a market and despite the literal millions of decks out in the world no one knows anything about it. It's always new to anyone that sees it. Doug Higley originally pointed this out to me.

To drive the point home further I also do a two card monte kicker. I explain the entire trick in front of everyone (massive exposure to hundreds of people every day.) Still, when they buy it they come back and ask, "...can you show me how to do the two card thing again?" This is minutes away from telling them you just turn your hand over.

I'll bet no one ever runs into someone who saw the exposure on TV and remembers it...there is no real world problem with exposure.

People don't pay attention and they don't remember. Exposure is an understandable phobia magician's have but not a problem in the real world.
mystic1
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So, Harley, just what kind of disclaimer do you think is approrpriate for a bizarre magician to make?
Harley Newman
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I don't believe that we need go around trumpeting we're fake. But claiming powers is another matter. If you're doing good theatre, your peformance should stand by itself, without phony claims. And as a piece of theatre, it is, by definition, artifice.

If someone tells me I'm psychic (which happens sometimes, even though the main body of my performance is stunts), I say "Thank you, I'm glad you're enjoying yourself. It means I'm doing my job right. I don't really read minds. It's specialized knowledge, and uses the skills that any good therapist might use,"... words to that effect.

A study came out a few months ago, that showed that we, literally, visually, see what we believe. Those of us here, know the truth of that, figuratively, as well. I often discuss my obsession about the difference between what we're trained to perceive, and the way something really is.

It allows for individual differences in belief, without reaming somebody a set of new bodily orifices, and points out that beliefs should always be subject to change, based on new information.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Stefan
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Thank You Neil - you would think that some folks haven't heard of role playing, staying within character, Mystery Entertainers [yes Houdini was considered one] and Dunninger and Kreskin. Tongue in cheek talk is common. Many kinds of acts and presentations out there in mentalism or Bizarre. Unless your standing out there just for laughs, I would assume you don't start off saying your a fake and just doing tricks - Copperfield does not either "He is saying Believe Beleive in magic while he's telling the story of himself as a little boy wishing he could fly - and then he flys. Is he a public danger or evil scammer - of course not, this is tongue in cheek patter that goes back centuries. It is called entertainment - and stories and tingles and shivers are part of entertainment value. If you have a problem with serious mentalism, I would think you would consider Bizarre Satanic. Some mentalists call it verbal manipulation, some 6th sense, and many other things - it is their act. There are those especially in the bible belt people that would be horrified by a Bizarre act [or at least many of them] such public minded police of what's good and evil is very misguided. If you have been following the Linking Ring ethics column, some of this has been discussed over the last several months. Many Science Fiction or Horror movies are more intense, horrible and/or bloody than any magic or mentalism act I have ever seen. I figure if peole are grown up enough for such movies, they are grown up enough for a magic show. If not,they can watch Romper room magic or some tame thing that won't upset them.

Pax, Steve
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