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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Dvd, books or ebooks for a beginner (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of johnbrown19

How can I start in mentalism ? I like mental tricks with cards and without gimmicks
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Profile of gmeister
You will undoubtedly receive a response post from Dick Christian. Follow his advice.

You may receive a response from Bob Cassidy with a link to some seminal resources. Click on it and follow his advice.

You could receive a post from Isidore with a brilliant breakdown. Follow his advice.

And if you do, indeed, follow all that fantastic advice, you'll end up being the one giving us the advice.


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Profile of rocky424
Karl Fulves: "Self Working Mental Magic" book

If you end up seriously wanting to get into mentalism, try Corinda's "13 steps to mentalism" book. It encompasses most all aspects of mentalism, not just cards. Get Annemann's "Practical Mental Magic" to work through effects based on techniques learned from 13 steps.

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Profile of Blackwood
Theodore Annemann is one of the most influential figures in the development of mentalism as we know it now. He created a lot of effects for using cards in mentalism. His books are usually quite inexpensive as well (check them out in Lybrary.)
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Profile of jdmagic357
To echo the above post, here is a link to 202 methods of forcing that is in the public domain;

http://www.umclidet.com/pdf/Annemann/Theo Annemann - 202 Methods Of Forcing (1933).pdf

Very card orientated,


For some reason you will have to copy and past the link not just click on it.
Just cause they say it, doesn't make it true.
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Profile of Rebecca_Harris
Karl Fulves book is a great one, actually any of his books are worth getting. You mention mental magic with cards so the Royal Road to Card Magic might be a good place to start. Personally I'm not a great fan of Corinda or Anneman for a complete beginner, they're great books but I think its worth getting some basic magic experience first, if you want to get the most out of them.
Dick Christian
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Profile of Dick Christian
Here is the advice that gmeister warned you about and that I have consistently posted to anyone who is contemplating undertaking the transition from magic to mentalism (or adding mentalism to their repertoire) and that I wish someone had given to me when I was at the same point in my development. The great thing is that both my advice and the source material that I recommend are free. I know that regular readers are already saying to themselves "here he goes again," nevertheless it apparently bears repeating.

Although others will be quick to refer you to the books by Annemann and Corinda, I strongly suggest that before you invest in any other books, DVDs, CDs or effects, you would be better advised to read Bob Cassidy's "The Thirty-Nine Steps: A Mentalist's Library of Essential Works." I believe you can still download it for free from http://www.mastermindreader.com/The39Steps.html or http://www.Lybrary.com. You will also find it in Cassidy’s “Fundamentals of Professional Mentalism” which is a downloadable manuscript available at http://www.Lybary.com. While “Fundamentals” is not free, at only $29 it is one of best bargains in mentalism and IMO there is no better preparation for further study of the genre. IMO there is more valuable "real world" information packed into the 88 pages of "Fundamentals" than any other single source I've found in my 60+ year association with the magical arts.

For someone who is really a "beginner" in the truest sense of the word, I would recommend 2 books. Like Bob, "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" by Henry Hay is at the top of my list. The second, although not on Bob's list, is "The Handbook of Mental Magic" by Marvin Kaye.

Hay's book is step 1. It provides the broad based practical foundation in the psychology and techniques of magic that is essential for anyone before they even consider tackling mentalism.

Kaye's is step 2 and covers many of the essential basics of mental magic -- the precursor to mentalism -- from the layman's perspective, presupposes zero prior knowledge or experience, and introduces the beginner to the important fundamentals in a more contemporary context.

IMO those who will be quick to bypass those and direct you first to the works of Annemann, Larsen, Nelson, Newman, Corinda, etc. -- all of which BTW are more than worthy of study and, in fact, are among the sources recommended by Cassidy -- are putting the cart before the horse because most beginners lack the foundation needed to really "get into" those pioneers of mentalism whose writing and presentations will seem dated to anyone lacking the knowledge base to recognize and fully appreciate the timelessness of the principles underlying their work.

I am a firm believer in the idea that one should first learn to crawl, then to walk and that only after lots of experience running is one ready to tackle a marathon. I know that seems like a long, slow and arduous process. It is, but if you really want to learn, you should read the books. Mastering the basics will give you the foundation on which to build. Once you have laid a proper foundation, you will be ready to graduate to the works of the contemporary luminaries of mentalism like Maven, Waters, Cassidy, Becker, Banachek, Osterlind, Bernstein, Brook, Nyman, Looch, Quinn and others.

But before you even order "Fundamentals" you should understand and bear in mind that although mentalism is a subset of magic, IMO it is the most demanding type of performing and requires a totally different mindset and skill set than magic as it responds to the totally different mindset of the audience. So be forewarned that it is NOT an easy transition for most magicians to make.

Just my $0.02
Dick Christian
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Profile of jdmagic357
John, I hope you made it through the rough time you were having but again if you want to talk feel free to pm me. As you can see many of the people here do want to help those in search of real help. What seems to sometimes discourage helping are those who come here just looking for "secrets". Many feel that this is not an acceptable mode of conduct in a forum such as this.

It is however interesting how those same critics of exposure see nothing wrong with selling secrets. I guess the only thing that really makes the difference is money?

In any case since your interest is in mostly cards I will reiterate my suggestion of Annemann's 202 Forcing methods. Tons of good card stuff ungimmicked in it. It won't make you a mentalist but it will appeal to your interests.

Just cause they say it, doesn't make it true.
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