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Jonathan
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What's with the America bashing? And on memorial day? Good gracious me!

Jonathan Grant
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Dont take everything deadly serious... Smile

Americans are often referred to lazy and a lil' dumb. Just look at The Simpsons, they're making fun of that image.

Anyhow, have a great day everybody, I'm off to school and a hilarious test on Buddhism awaits!

Cheers,
Daniel Young
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check it out for new products.
Jonathan
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I see that it is lighthearted bashing. But please understand that it is memorial day weekend!!! There is a buzz all over our country about a terrorist attack on the statue of liberty which represents everything we stand for as well as the brooklyn bridge. It is the time we honor all those who died horrible deaths for our freedom.

Trust me, NOW IS NOT THE TIME!!! I found Mr. Moody's remarks very offensive but that should be over now it is locked and some things deleted.

I'm not a completely serious person, but it's a timing thing. Ever since 9-11, we have come together as a country and any words against our country is a bad idea!

Jonathan Grant
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I think it's a good idea if we stick to the subject, It is not a good idea to label any race or nationality, I think the main thing is PEOPLE can be easily led or influenced regardless... In regards to the Teller theory about mentalism I totally agree with you Jonathan.. If someone told you I could REALLY fly then you'd be even more amazed when you saw it as it was a genuine thing and no trick. When Blaine did the Levitation it was not sold as a clever illusion it was sold as something that was unique with no explanation due to the edit at the end but this was in my experience in the U.K. the most talked about effect in the last 4 years when ever I spoke to the public about magic...
I respect everybodies belief systems but I think the main area here is that we are discussing these issues as entertainers so I quote "It isn't a big deal, the most important thing is that we do a good performance and they enjoy the experience."

M.S. Smile
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Chad Sanborn
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This topic has gotten to rediculous for words. If this is where mentalism is going, I am going to take up juggling. Maybe puppetry. When was the last time you heard any of those guys argue about 'ethics'.
"Should we tell the audience that these knife blades aren't as sharp as they think they are?"
When people ask me about "powers", I just say, "this is something that we can all learn to do." and leave it at that. This is not a lie, as they can learn it, and they are forced to make their own decisions based on beliefs they already have. I have not forced anyone to believe anything that they didn't already have an inclination to.


Chad
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[quote]On 2002-05-06 09:21, davekilpatrick wrote:
Quote:
On 2002-05-06 06:18, fordkross wrote:

I'm always amazed when some one who has chosen a life of deception is bothered by lying. If what you're doing is entertainment, all you owe your performance is a good performance.


. . . As Trinity said, any explanation short of exposure is a lie. So pick your favorite
and go with it.

I respectfully disagree. I consider myself an honest person. But when I don my magician/mentalist mode, I lie like heck. But that is expected because any adult knows that magic is based upon an entertaining illusion—a positive, socially constructive deception. No one thinks I have any special powers to really dematerialize coins (i.e., make a coin vanish) or any other traditional magic trick. But there is a belief in our culture in ESP and related "powers." If I "lie" about some psychological explanation, I don't create the impression I have "powers." I'm suggesting the trick is of a psychological nature, when it is not (for the purposes of misdirection). No one is left with the idea I am something I'm not.

Context is a big issue here, and I disagree with the idea that magician's should not feel uncomfortable about "lying." Let's take a poll of our wives, family members, co-workers, the IRS, etc. and I'll bet they'll more likely agree with me than with the view that magicians have a blank check on lying. The blank check, I believe, only should exist in the context of carrying out an effect.

My point: Context is everything. In the context of performing a magic effect, "lying" and "deception" are expected. Indeed, everyone acknowledges that such is the VERY NATURE of magical entertainment. However, using deception that involves "powers" you possess that transcend the entertainment context now takes us out of bounds. Much like an off duty police officer speeding to an appointment, he has no more right to speed off the job as anyone else.

I am totally aware that my opinion is not necessarily favorable to many mentalists. However, I do mentalism and entertain people who know I am using illusion, and they gasp, scream, and react in incredible ways. I don't need to carry on a 24/7 "lie" to get that entertainment value I'm seeking. Yes, I'm misdirecting them during the routine. But they KNOW there is deception—they have no clue at what level that deception resides.

My question is this: if 1) we do not require "psychic powers," (with no dislaimer) as an explanation or form of misdirection to carry out a mental effect and 2) we can get the same level of entertainment value out of mentalism when the audience knows this is a form of illusion, then can someone explain to me the motivation for making people believe you're psychic? If it's not necessary, what motivates people to project that? Sure, you can use the "psychic" angle in actual performance in the context of a discaimer (i.e., disclaim at the beginning and then act the role of psychic throughout). No problem there. But what is the psychological motivation to keep up the lie 24/7? Please help me with this.

By the way, I respect other opinions than mine. I'm only giving my perspective. I'm not suggesting those with the alternative opinion are ethically corrupt people! I'm only raising the issue because we magicians are allowed by society to deceive others without them questioning our character. Yet we must be careful not to misuse that trust in carrying the deception beyond the context we've been granted.
Also, Ford, this may be picky, but I wouldn't say that by being a magician/mentalist that I've chosen "a life of deception." I've chosen a profession which allows me to use socially desirable deception in the proper context, just as a police officer can drive at exorbidant speeds on the job to catch criminals, and we support this as citizens.




Ok, in my opinion , there is no such thing as a magician/mentalist. You're either a magician or you're a mentalst. And most mentalists claim abilities not powers.
If you choose to tell audiences, you're a fake and a fraud, that's your choice.
I give my audience's credit for intelligence. I assume they can distinguish between entertainment and reality. I knw, because I decieve them occasionally with illusion, I am not smarter than they are. Some of my audiences can fix their own car. Others do neurosurgery.
Yes, there are some who think what I do is real. It's not my job to decide what they should believe. Or tell them there's no tooth fairy either.
If I get involved in swindles, there are adequate laws to prosecute criminals.

Just my opinion, but in this case the correct one
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fordkross
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On 2002-05-07 03:35, Bambaladam wrote:
Hey guys.

Sorry to have confused matters. Smile

My point is, there is only a difference of degree between taking lots of money from ONE person and taking a little from lots of people.

I think, essentially, we have to live with that in our own way. I'm not judging anyone who does a lot of private readings, I just can't say I want to do it at this time (and that's not ONLY cos I'd suck at it). I think for me the line is drawn somewhere at miracle-working (i.e. healing people, promising wealth to those who pay the most, sect bollocks). I think responsible psychic work is at least as helpful as that of a "shut-eye" psychic.

And as far as performance goes... A friend of mine says anyone who's buying mr Gellers self-help books on the merit he's great at bending spoons... kind of deserves what they get.

The ability to psychokinemagnotelekinetically bend pieces of metal... does not in any way obvious to me automatically grant any kind of authority as regards the difficult decisions people need to make in their lives.

One way of dealing with all of this is to say you are a miraculous supernaturally endowed genius who really can't give advice because you spend most of your time practising your ability and don't get out of the house or shower much. Smile

/bamba


You say, that people who buy Geller'self help books, because of his PK abilities deserve what they get.
But here in US, politicians use celebrities for endorsements all the time. The people that vote for someone because a celebrity endorses them, also get the govenment they deserve
Trying to save people from themselves is as useful as hugging Jello
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fordkross
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On 2002-05-08 16:46, Jonathan wrote:
Well, first off...it's just spoon bending is kind of offensive to me. I understand what you are saying and it's no fault of you're own. The only reason that statement gets me is a very special person to me surrenedered everything to become a satanist. Eventually she got saved and is now a very active part of our church and a very strong believer and can enjoy many of my effects although she does get nervous. When given her testimony it was due to her seeing someone bend a spoon and it was her quest to be able to have that kind of power over nature that led her into satanism. She bought a ton of books on witchcraft etc. Now, there is more to it than that, yes...she was seeking control over her life due to unpleasant treatment from children and teenagers (her family is wonderful, which helps a bunch). That display of "power" over other things, even a simple spoon, led her into spiritual power. Now we really reached out to her and helped her for many years and she eventually got saved and now hates all things satanic.

I do bend silverware, but one of the reasons I do is because if I had been there and known what was going on (or if she KNEW I could bend spoons and forks she would have asked me) I could have shown her the effect and assured her that there is no spiritual power at work and that no one on earth can do this using anything but science, manipulation, misdirection, illusion, and sleight-of-hand. And if she wanted to have control over such things, knowledge is what she needs and also God is what she needs (which is a whole other ball of wax I don't want to get into here because of our different beliefs, but I will say that I do NOT believe God gives us any "powers" or control but wants us to let Him control us so please don't get the wrong idea there.)

I don't blame mentalists for her decision, but I do believe, because of that, that it is important how we do what we do and that we are careful. We influence people and can be responsible for a decision they make.

Regarding the majority of people are fence-walkers...I would have to agree with this. Most will pick a side but the vast majority of the people I perform for insist (and are proud of) having an open mind. Surveys etc. are a joke anyway. I could get any statistics I wanted to by manipulating the question alone to get the result I want! EASILY! As I'm sure many of you could as well. But it seems the majority of the people after I perform believe somewhat more than they did before and I could convince the majority of people I perform for to lean a little further one way or the other than they did before. But if you ask an honest question about paranormal things, esp etc. most people will believe that it is POSSIBLE that there's some things out there but they don't know if there actually is! On discussions of aliens, ghosts, 6th senses etc. I hear that all the time.

But you are right, usually people will have some sort of a stand one way or the other but are VERY easily pursuaded due to their "open mind" about it. And some effects you'd think the more they see the less they'd believe, but people call theo 3 times a day for years!

Jonathan Grant


See a spoon bent, become a tool of Satan. Wow!Dangerous stuff! Do you really think, that it was the entertainer, that drove the person to the Satanic Church!Not the fact that perhaps they were either emptionally troubled beforehand. Or dissatisfied with their previous beliefs. A discussion of religion is out of place here. Buyt, so IMO, is your statement
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Jonathan
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NO the performer didn't drive her to Satanism, but the belief that bending spoons is a real power did. THe thing I'm saying is if someone had showed her the effect and told her it was an illusion and not a power she probably wouldn't have ventured down that path. People are fragile in a lot of circumstances and we can't underestimate the power we have influence people! Believe it or not we are held accountable for any decisions made based on what we had them believe.

Jonathan Grant
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It has always seemed to me that while most magicians love to show tricks and fool people, strangely enough they are very much afraid of the concept of real magic (i.e., the ability to share a truly magical experience with an audience).

Acting the role of a magician requires a performer to create a suspension of disbelief in the audience, and he does this by acting as a magician. The more credible he is, the more likely he will engage the audience in a magical experience. A true magician has no use for disclaimers -- he is either genuine or not -- it's up to the audience to decide.

Most of the better magicians and mentalists I know (and know of) spend a lot of time working on creating this credible persona of a magician/psychic/mindreader. And their work reflects that. Let the audience make up their own minds.

JZ
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fordkross
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[quote]On 2002-05-27 13:18, Jonathan wrote:
NO the performer didn't drive her to Satanism, but the belief that bending spoons is a real power did.
Please, I mean no offrense by this, but there is as much proof, that people can bend metal as there is there is a G-d. I can't believe she saw some one bend a fork, possibly by a trick, and she changed her religious belief
If that were true,it'd seem, if you bent two forks, you'd show the power of your religion is stronger
I imagine your friend was unhappy with her previous belief and The Church of Satan offered something more attractive


THe thing I'm saying is if someone had showed her the effect and told her it was an illusion and not a power she probably wouldn't have ventured down that path. People are fragile in a lot of circumstances and we can't underestimate the power we have influence people! Believe it or not we are held accountable for any decisions made based on what we had them believe.

Jonathan Grant

I don't believe most people are that fragile, yes, some will commit strange acts for strange reasons. But all studies seem to show, if one act doesn't trigger an episode, another will
Perhaps if you hadn't convinced your friend, that all you did was tricks, your powers could have saved her
but I doubt it
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Jonathan
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I think you missed what I was saying. And I don't want to get into a discussion on God. I believe because I have seen proof after proof in my own life. Faith is required, but once you make the decision He will show Himself to you. While my love for everyone (which comes only from God) is such that I am supremely interested in as many people saved as possible, I do not think this is the right place. It would not go over well and is just looking for trouble and end up counter-productive. I intend to stay away from any such debate. However I do think it wise to say what I think in response.

I suggest you contact Andre Kole and hear his story (andrekole.org is his site, there might be something of relevance on there). He was more skeptical than anyone and was hired by the U.S. government to go overseas and prove that Jesus' miracles were the result of trickery. He has done this type of thing time and time again in the past. However, after 2 years (I think!) of study he converted and became a devout Christian claiming that no-one could have done the things Jesus has done.

If you are interested in this debate, I would contact him and NOT me. I'm sure he's much more qualified than I.

About the girl, however, she was in the middle of adolescence and was NOT a Christian. She was not sure of what she believed. It was her desire for the power she saw displayed in people who claim to have power that drew her to satanism.

Now, I find it important to state that it was not ONE mentalist who did this. It was the field, the impact of a profession that influenced her. I love our profession but I hope there is a change in the way we are presented. I know, the hope is probably fruitless, but I'm doing my part.

About how to come across to people? I try to look real. I explain afterwards what I did but I treat a show as a movie. The goal is to get the audience so involved that it is real to them. How can I keep from being distinguished apart from the psychics who claim to be real without first convincing them first? That's my thinking anyway. I show them that I CAN do whatever the supposed real psychics/mentalists etc. can, and then I show them that it is an illusion (without giving anything away of course).

I don't know about you, but at least half the people I perform for do believe after the effects, even if they didn't before. I've converted many a person to the concept of real power...but I always convert them back! Sure another may come along and do the damage if I don't, but I don't know that. My job is to get them equipped mentally for when that other comes along. And I equate it, at least in my own mind, with trying to justify murder because someone probably would have killed them later anyway (or shooting someone playing in the middle of the street instead of trying to guide them OUT of the middle of the street).

My goal is not to start a debate only to show my view. I would appreciate it if it was kept at that.

Don't worry I'm not going to try to force anything on anyone here, I respect everyone's view. I will say, however, that I hope you remember this someday when it applies. I never had true fulfillment or joy until Jesus entered my life. There was always something missing in my life, but when He saved me I had joy unspeakable and fulfillment it would be impossible to describe to anyone. No amount of metal-bending did that for me.

I apologize if I've offended anyone, that wasn't my intent. I respect what you believe, and for your sake, I hope you're right!

JOnathan Grant
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I've said more than once. I don't wish to get in to religious beliefs. But I have a strong faith and belief in G-d. It requires faith, because there is no proof. Just as there is no proof, the mind can bend metal.
Some choose to believe on one or the other, some in neither
I don't try to convince my audiences of anything, I have two purposes in performing. First getting paid, second entertaining my audience so I can get paid again

Re:Andre Cole, he formed an organization , WAM to stop exposing his secrets. Then co-authored a book,Mind Games, that exposed mentalism secrets. I don't know about his religious ethics, but I do know about his magical ethics.
This discussion is a waste of band width. So we'll end it here
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Joshua Quinn
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Quote:
About the girl, however, she was in the middle of adolescence and was NOT a Christian. She was not sure of what she believed. It was her desire for the power she saw displayed in people who claim to have power that drew her to satanism.

Now, I find it important to state that it was not ONE mentalist who did this. It was the field, the impact of a profession that influenced her.


Based on your comments, it seems much more likely that the influence came not from the field of mentalism but from what was already going on inside the girl's head, and that she would have gone the way she did regardless. If her life circumstances led her to desire a means of supernatural power, then surely she would have found her way to the Wicca section of the local Barnes & Noble whether or not she had seen a couple spoon benders. Granted, they may have happened to provide the immediate impetus, but if they hadn't, something else would have -- the ads in the back of the Weekly World News claiming to show you how to control others' minds by manipulating alpha waves, or the various wacko publications on the rare, government-suppressed secrets of levitation and invisibility, or the adolescent-populated web sites about defending yourself with "psi balls," or a Discovery Channel special on Voodoo, or maybe even just a few too many back-to-back episodes of "Charmed"... The world is thick with flim-flam and hoo-ha, and those who want to be convinced will find a way to do so.

I mention this only because you seem, to some extent, to be blaming yourself for what she went through -- "If only I could have bent a spoon and shown her it wasn't real..." The truth is that even if you had, it probably wouldn't have done any good, because you're dealing with a belief backed not by evidence, but by a psychological need; so in all likelihood she simply would have rationalized that either A) just because you use trickery doesn't mean that all spoon benders do, or B) you really did have PK abilities but were either in denial or lying to her about them. You can't rationally argue out that which was not rationally argued in.

I would also point out that many adolescents go through similar phases -- checking out Satanism or magick or what have you, to varying degrees -- and most of them do so without ever having seen a mentalist. The few actual Satanists I've known all fit the classic model of the bored, disaffected teenager desperate for something to distinguish them from the drudgery and sad, defeated mediocrity that they saw as their inescapable lot in life -- and the factors that made them that way had nothing to do with watching someone pretend to bend a spoon with his mind. Barring some radical and unforseen global change in human nature, this will continue to happen, and a spoon-bending discalimer in every pot won't stop it.

(Incidentally, that wasn't meant in any way as a slam against your decision to use a disclaimer, which I happen to applaud.)

Quinn
Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. Unfortunately every problem also contains the seeds of an infinite number of non-solutions, so that first part really isn't super helpful.
Jonathan
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Well, about Andre, I have his book Mind Games and is going the James Randi route to keep mentalism from being used to convince people of powers. Exposing his personal intellectual property is different. He doesn't claim to be real but uses his material to present the gospel as well as entertain. I think what he does is honorable even if he is exposing certain important parts in my field.

But since Andre Kole is not a mentalist I would advise this be taken to the illusion board where there is already a topic on Andre.

And I agree with what you say Quinn. What I mean to say is that I can't morally justify furthering that belief. I can see how powerful a mentalist can be in the belief of people. In college I had shown a couple of people a simple close-up routine using a billet switch. I had presented it so real that people I never met were calling for psychic readings and the school set up an intervention because they believed I had demonic powers. I saw first-hand how the info spread.

I mean, how can the belief be as strong as it is right now without anyone who can demonstrate it? Granted there will be those, but not as much.

To me it's like a bunch of people shooting guns into a field where a bunch of people are. Sure, there are many others shooting and if you didn't shoot it wouldn't stop the killing. And those that you kill probably would have gotten shot anyway. But I still couldn't justify continuing to shoot. In contrast, I would feel the obligation to try and get the people OUT of the field. How anyone could live with themselves after refusing to help them out and continue shooting is beyond me.

THe possibility or even probability of a person doing an action even without any action from me is no justification for me to do something to which her reaction is to do that action.

I applaud what Kole is doing by debunking those who claim to have real power, just like Randi. And if the field didn't claim to be real there would be no reason to debunk it! And no one has intellectual property of the swami gimmick, billet switch, etc. That's the difference.

To sum it up, I guess...I love my field, mentalism, and want to save it not by badmouthing those who are debunking psychics or paranormal workers but by trying to keep the field from claiming the power being debunked.

As far as proof goes, there is no proof until there is faith. It's proven to me day after day and I would be a fool not to believe. BUT, that never happened until I got to the point of true faith and had God work completely in my life. There are those who try to explain it by saying that if you believe in something you will take every little thing as proof, similar to Banachek's experience with people involved with the tests telling stories of all the wierd things that happened to them. But it's not little things it's big things and lot's of them. The closer I got in my relationship with Him the more miracles I saw going on around me all the time.

About faith, ironically it was my lack of ability to have faith that everything I see and everything I study is an accident that led me to the faith of a God. There's no one more skeptical than I am, there's no one more logical-oriented than I, I don't believe anything people tell me without proof. It's saying something to say that I believe it.

I apologize if I went further than I said I would. It wasn't my intent. I just felt it neccessary to explain myself further since it came across wrong. From what FordKross, who I highly respect mentalism-wise, said in his post it seemed to me there was a misunderstanding.

But I agree, this is not the time or place. I apologize if I've gone on longer than I should have.

Jonathan Grant
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Well, about Andre, I have his book Mind Games and is going the James Randi route to keep mentalism from being used to convince people of powers. Exposing his personal intellectual property is different. He doesn't claim to be real but uses his material to present the gospel as well as entertain. I think what he does is honorable even if he is exposing certain important parts in my field.

But since Andre Kole is not a mentalist I would advise this be taken to the illusion board where there is already a topic on Andre.

And I agree with what you say Quinn. What I mean to say is that I can't morally justify furthering that belief. I can see how powerful a mentalist can be in the belief of people. In college I had shown a couple of people a simple close-up routine using a billet switch. I had presented it so real that people I never met were calling for psychic readings and the school set up an intervention because they believed I had demonic powers. I saw first-hand how the info spread.

I mean, how can the belief be as strong as it is right now without anyone who can demonstrate it? Granted there will be those, but not as much.

To me it's like a bunch of people shooting guns into a field where a bunch of people are. Sure, there are many others shooting and if you didn't shoot it wouldn't stop the killing. And those that you kill probably would have gotten shot anyway. But I still couldn't justify continuing to shoot. In contrast, I would feel the obligation to try and get the people OUT of the field. How anyone could live with themselves after refusing to help them out and continue shooting is beyond me.

THe possibility or even probability of a person doing an action even without any action from me is no justification for me to do something to which her reaction is to do that action.

I applaud what Kole is doing by debunking those who claim to have real power, just like Randi. And if the field didn't claim to be real there would be no reason to debunk it! And no one has intellectual property of the swami gimmick, billet switch, etc. That's the difference.

To sum it up, I guess...I love my field, mentalism, and want to save it not by badmouthing those who are debunking psychics or paranormal workers but by trying to keep the field from claiming the power being debunked.

As far as proof goes, there is no proof until there is faith. It's proven to me day after day and I would be a fool not to believe. BUT, that never happened until I got to the point of true faith and had God work completely in my life. There are those who try to explain it by saying that if you believe in something you will take every little thing as proof, similar to Banachek's experience with people involved with the tests telling stories of all the wierd things that happened to them. But it's not little things it's big things and lot's of them. The closer I got in my relationship with Him the more miracles I saw going on around me all the time.

About faith, ironically it was my lack of ability to have faith that everything I see and everything I study is an accident that led me to the faith of a God. There's no one more skeptical than I am, there's no one more logical-oriented than I, I don't believe anything people tell me without proof. It's saying something to say that I believe it.

I apologize if I went further than I said I would. It wasn't my intent. I just felt it neccessary to explain myself further since it came across wrong. From what FordKross, who I highly respect mentalism-wise, said in his post it seemed to me there was a misunderstanding.

But I agree, this is not the time or place. I apologize if I've gone on longer than I should have.

Jonathan Grant
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I bend spoons using only MY mind POWER. I am the real thing. I can bend spoons, forks, keys, coins, frying pans, trailor homes, I even bend teenagers minds if they are wearing a steel plate on their heads. I can bend a bike, a car, and even plastic . I AM THE REAL THING.

I've also created more water from an empty vessel. I've changed water into wine at the restaurant I work at. I've healed a spectators headache just by touching his forehead.
I intend on showing every one that... I am A GOD.

I perform vood, and exorcism, I've taken demons out of poor souls who didn't know any better. I perform REAL psychic surgery. I've taken out Alien transplants from abductees. I can walk on water, and I will make a video soon to prove that I can walk on water.


E-Leoni.
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Well, those miracles aren't quite the same. But I will say that not all of Jesus's miracles can't be replicated. In fact Andre Kole did all the things you mentioned including walking on water! If you want to get into the difference and how Jesus' miracles aren't just magic tricks that's where you need to talk to him. He's the expert, not I!

Jonathan Grant

P.S. can you get a spectator to walk on the water? Just a presentational plus there since Jesus did that. I don't want to say it's impossible to do this using trickery because I'm not the expert. But if you are looking to replicate Jesus' walking on water do it in the middle of the sea out of a boat and have a spectator walk on it as well and slowly sink only to fall in the water and be brought up. That is quite a bit more impressive.
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Quote:
Based on your comments, it seems much more likely that the influence came not from the field of mentalism but from what was already going on inside the girl's head, and that she would have gone the way she did regardless. If her life circumstances led her to desire a means of supernatural power, then surely she would have found her way to the Wicca section of the local Barnes & Noble whether or not she had seen a couple spoon benders.


Wait a second...now suddenly Wicca's a cult? Wicca is a legit religion, but many uninformed folks believe very wrong things about it and assume it's a cult/attribute things to it that aren't a part of it. Movies, tv, etc. only help to reinforce these incorrect images. While I'm a devout agnostic myself ;o) I have many friends who are Wiccan, and it is most definitely not a cult. We can talk cults, we can talk Wicca, but realize that they are two entirely separate things. Then again, is this really the place to be discussing cults and the merits of various religions, anyway?
Note: I have PMs turned off; if you want to reach me, please e-mail [email]Andy.MagicCafe@DucksEcho.com[/email]!
A l a i n B e ll o n
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I am of the view that religious miracles are part natural phenomena, part illusion, part leyend and part willingness to believe because it means something to the believers.

Regarding the cult issue that Andy mentions, it is a semantic issue. One can even call cristianism a cult, the most succesful one to date in terms of numbers of followers.

While this is not the place to discuss religion per se, there will always be strong implications from performing magic. Implications of religious nature.

I do not have a reason to believe in a deity but I respect the belief of others. And what is more relevant, I try to understand why and how we humans believe, since that has a direct bearing on how people will appreciate my performances.

-Alain Bellon
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