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IAIN
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Ok then, my final comments on the latest psychic vs mentalist thing, and then I shall no longer bother responding to anything similar as best I can...

this is how I feel:

some people are naturally good at singing...they can just open their mouths and out comes something beautiful...they don't necessarily know why, I cannot find a reasonable reason...maybe others can...

others have naturally good balance, hearing, and all kinds of things that aren't easily explainable.

I am not psychic - I think maybe people might be very good naturally at reading others, again, maybe partly its something they've learnt subconciously as they've grown...

now, I have a strange gift...its not psychic but is a little odd...i had my IQ tested many years ago, I wont say what it rated at, but one element of the test returned a near perfect score of my visual/spacial awareness...

oddly, I can look at objects and tell you very accurately how tall/short/wide/fat/thin it is...usually within an inch for bigger objects, and within a few millimetres for others. I've always been able to do it, and I've certainly not been brought up with rulers placed next to every object in the house.

Whenever friends of mine are moving - they always ask me to come and play the game with them, they point at spaces where they want to put a bed or sofa - I tell them the width of that space...then they measure it...and I'm a good 95% right (yes, a particular friend of mine kept a tally to bait me).

I also have a very strong sense of time, I don't need alarms, again it boils down to something that I can just do. I've never conciously trained myself in any of this.

I repeat for the pot-stirrers, I am not psychic or anything of that nature.

Now, I love my mentalism, especially Annemann, Berglas, Brown, Canasta, Riggs, Burger, Carlyle and Koran. If I could only read or watch these people, they are who I would be happy with.

I like to explore - I enjoy the what ifs of life, how the mind may or may not work - I've studied very, very hard indeed...chopped and changed, fell in and out of love with certain things...

I enjoy creating effects, I'm not a huge performer, I don't always get the chance due to family stuff, and other work - however, I do gig (until recently) once a week, small intimate after dinner kinda work...

I stopped late last year to work on a few projects. that's a pretentious word isn't it?

when I perform....
I do not use disclaimers when I work - why? because for me personally, I explain my backstory - making it clear during that quick talk that what I do, differs from what one side of my family supposedly did, even if it looks or feels similar. I do not class that as a disclaimer, merely me explaining my own personal point of view, within my own framework/opening explanation of what people will be involved with that night.

I use playing cards, Rhine, occasionally tarot - please note, I give a demonstration of a reading, and we DISCUSS it afterwards, everyone...whether they accept what I say or not...i do not ask for any responses until after the reading, it is a demonstration afterall...i can also hand out the major arcana, and ask people to briefly discuss what the card's imagery means to them...i repeat, I am not a psychic, nor a "proper" reader in the traditional sense...i tell them what the cards have "stated" for want of a better description - and they are either right, or wrong...

completely happy with either - it is a demonstration....

I briefly chat about the testing of psychic phenomena...and we conduct a few experiments...Rhine, psychometry, pendulum work...that kinda thing

I also forgot to mention, for fun, at the very beginning, I occasionally ask people to draw two dots on a piece of paper, I look at them, and tell them how long the line will be between them if joined up with a ruler...we can all guess if that's what they fancy...as a fun little thing to demo and lets me get into a discussion of how the brain can work or do strange things..

and I would finish the first little segment by performing my booktest, usually as a demo of remote viewing...again, stating that this is a demonstration of what it would look like...

then I burn a goat...

no, not really - we play a few psychological games (again, this is tied into my original little chat about my family history - the rum smuggling side) - so we have some verbal suggestions, a horwitz style poker game, influence, misdirected thoughts, all that fun stuff...

I repeat - I am not a rum smuggler myself, but the idea of a smuggler to me conjures up someone who would be good at verbally manipulating situations and make people misremember or influencing them somehow to get their own wicked way...

I finish on a song...

no, I finish with something I call chain reaction - all about choices, masses of envelopes are shown, one is chosen, opened, it has an instruction to do something, cut a deck and look at the card, take another numbered envelope, rip up another, each action causes a chain reaction, that, if they had made a different choice at the very start, none of what just happened, would of happened...they end up with one final envelope, when opened, it predicts all the other envelopes that had been opened, the cards they saw etc etc...

then I go home and have a nice bath...

I am not a psychic, I am not a psychological illusionist - I am me...however you wish to judge that is fine by me...for the most part, I don't care - but please, please, please do not place your own narrow views and opinions onto my life...

you have your ways of seeing and doing things, and I have mine...i find it interesting though, for those bleedin' spikes under cups effects - how are people framing that? I could see asking the person who placed the spike under the cup a series of questions and eliminating a cup one at a time, but if they don't do that - instead, they blindfold themselves and dramatically smash all the empty ones...how are they doing that as far as the audience percieves it I wonder?

its those kinds of questions I find more interesting...

anyway - that's it from me...enoughs enough...good luck to you all...
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xersekis
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Nice thoughtful post....
andyfisher
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Very interesting post and well expressed Abraxus. I think your work sounds interesting and would really like the opportunity to see your performance at some point.

As it happens, I perform the 'smash and stab' routine using 'The Scorpion' by Outlaw effects and wanted to take a moment to explain my premise for the effect because it dovetails nicely with your comments above.

I am a teacher of English Literature by profession and mentalism is a passion and a paying hobby at this stage. However, I also have a somewhat eclectic background, having studied and taught martial arts for a number of years and having worked as a close protection officer and security specialist.

As you have a knack for measuring intuitively, I have acquired a sensitivity to potentially dangerous situations. I don't belive this is so much innate as developed over time from observing and having to respond to high risk scenarios. Anyone worth their salt in security trusts their gut (Malcolm Gladwell's book 'Blink' and Gavin De Becker's 'The Gift of Fear' both explore this issue in depth and are worth a read if you are interested)and I have learned not to question mine!

When I perform the smash and stab it is framed around this idea of intuiting danger - I talk of our instincts having grown flabby in our urban postmodern lives and how animals still seem to embody what most of us have forgotten. I talk about Sheldrake's research into morphogenic fields and the sense we have of being watched. I talk of my time training along side ex special forces groups and their need for risk and danger in order to feel alive and I refer to a game that they used to play which helped them to keep their edge and hone their instincts. This is when I introduce the scorpion and the premise of the game.

The first time I have the participant place the spiked ball under one of three cups and I talk of our access to subtle cues in body language and facial expressions, breathing patterns and eye flickers which can in combination be used to forecast a person's actions - I explain that the rapport I have hopefully built with that person will mean that they do not want me to impale my hand and so, even though they have been instructed not to reveal the location of the object, they will unconsciously guide me towards safety and away from danger.

I perform the smash and stab in this case quickly - I strike down simultaneously on the two safe cups after briefly studying the participant's demeanour.

I go on to repeat the exercise but this time with 4 cups placed on a rotating plate - the location of the spiked ball is lost to all including the participant - thus there are no cues upon which I can base my decisions - all that remains is instinct - the gut - this time the smash phase is elongated - each cup is crushed in turn after pauses and indecision - the final choice is changed on the downward movement as if, at the last second my hard wiring for self reservation overtakes my conscious deliberations and the result is (all being well!) successful.

I have explained this in some detail because I wanted to show how my persona and background naturally lend themselves to this presentation. I use ambiguity of language to offer an explanation which shies away from claims of psychic ability while retaining the mystery necessary to remain entertaining - I talk of picking up on subtle feelings that almost want to push my hand away from the cup concealing the ball while the empty cups seem to have an emptier feeling about them - it's a routine that I very much enjoy and the audience reaction to it is strong.

I believe that because I am talking from experience and integrity about our instincts and sensitivity to danger, the effect has a gravitas and sense of authenticity that elevates it from being a mere trick or puzzle to something more personal and meaningful. I hope these thoughts translate and that you can glean some sense of what the effect is like and, more importantly, how the audience might perceive what is taking place.
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DJP
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Quote:
On 2008-03-10 20:35, andyfisher wrote:
....

I believe that because I am talking from experience and integrity about our instincts and sensitivity to danger, the effect has a gravitas and sense of authenticity that elevates it from being a meer trick or puzzle to something more personal and meaningful. I hope these thoughts translate and that you can glean some sense of what the effect is like and, more importantly, how the audience might perceive what is taking place.



Andy, I think this paragraph on experience and integrity sums up 'how' mentalism ought be performed and should read and re-read. The whole back story also provides a justification and a memory hook for the audience... 'we saw a great show last night where this guy who's worked with special forces... etc'.

Dave
David
Vincent.Lynch
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I really enjoyed that abraxus. It came across very honest.
Athos
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Yes, really good post.
I also have a very good sense of time, I don't even look at my watch and I can tell what time it is. I alway wake up at 6:30 am every morning, sort of like a natural alarm clock.

~max
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coupcoupdaddy
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Thank you, abraxus and andy, for your thoughtful stories.
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IAIN
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Andy - now that is an excellent premise, and I totally agree with you, your experiences in your own personal life should totally be expressed if it can make the performance more natural and above all else, very interesting...

thanks everyone else too - I tried not to write in anger, and just wanted to express in some way how someone's own life experience can and maybe even should in some way, be shared with your audience, makes you seem more honest and occasionally emotively vunerable by sharing something personal...if you're going to read their mind or influence them, I think it's the very least you should do...

quid pro quo I believe hannibal lector said..
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Alexander Marsh
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Yet again abraxus, excellent post!

Some of your thoughts here kind of tie in with something I have been thinking about... and I know this is a little off your topic.. but...

What about having an odd ability? This could be based on something you genuinely can do but due to our deceptive techniques can be 'exaggerated'. An example might be your (abraxus) uncanny ability to 'just know' the length, depth and hight of an object.

For me it would be the whole rain-man thing. For some reason, since I was a kid I am often surprisingly good a guessing the number of objects...

I will stop here as I feel I'm wondering off topic
Vincent.Lynch
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Quote:
On 2008-03-11 15:33, abraxus wrote:

quid pro quo I believe hannibal lector said..


Vince Suddenly gets his hannibal lector dvd's out!
IAIN
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I'm guessing (honestly) it'll be around the 53rd minute vince!

I think it's after the "miggs" erm...incident...not seen the film for years mind you...
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