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MatthewSims
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A recent thread has been circulating on the thoughts and presentation of metal bending. In order to not derail the thread anymore than it already has, I have chosen to create a new thread here, and include my personal thoughts and opinions on metal bending in mentalism, and invite you to share yours.

In the other thread that was created, it was brought to light that "metal bending must be powerful because Uri Gellar made the whole world believe it was possible". I have chosen to start my thoughts at this point...

Regarding Uri, I think the mere time of his career height and fame had much to do with the things that were going on in the world at that time.

Parapsychology was a big thing then, and the idea of "what was truly possible with our minds" was taking on a snow ball effect. The media fanned the flames and took hold of Uri, sailing him to heights I don't think he ever imagined possible. He truly did take the world by storm. Oh, and mind altering psychedelic drugs were also a big hit at this moment in history Smile

Fast foreword a couple decades. Society has changed, people have changed, and their thoughts have changed. The interesting question I find myself asking is...Why exactly?

I do in fact find it very hard to believe that an adult audience of today would take to the possibility that a man could truly bend metal with the power of his mind. Of course all of this is considering that what you are aiming for in your act is the infamous "believability factor" that has been echoed throughout mentalism. For some people, this element of believability is not so important. Their main focus is purely entertainment. In this sense, I think metal bending can and does play wonderful.

The problem for me is that I feel metal bending lies in a somewhat "grey area" between magic and mentalism. Of course this all ultimately comes down to what you believe mentalism is, or rather your approach to mentalism and the way you have chosen to demonstrate it.

I have absolutely no problem performing a classical piece of magic within a mentalism act. Magic has always been my first true passion, and has ultimately led me to where I am today within my mentalism. To even consider the possibility of walking away from it out of the philosophy that "I am now a mentalist, and everything I do must be believable" truly saddens me. The mentalist may well provoke the questioning of what is possible with the human mind, but the magician instills in the heart of his audience what it is like to again have a child's sense of limitless wonder and imagination. Each is a beautiful thing in its own respect.

So the problem herein again is that metal bending lies in this grey area between the two (my humble thoughts). Is it mentalism, magic, mental magic, voodoo hoodoo, witchery? I feel the audience is ultimately left questioning "what exactly just took place"? I am of course speaking from the perspective of me performing MY approach to mentalism, and how it might look if I were to include a metal bending demonstration in the middle of my act. For the record my character and mentalism is as follows...

I am simply a normal breathing human being (no special powers, although I do however feel that I have an abnormally hairy big toe). I lean towards psychology and the power of our natural intuition, of which I believe to be a domain specific ability that can be strengthened with practice (again, these are the thoughts and demeanor of my character). At times an effect may be explained with a pseudo explanation based around psychology and influence, at other times the spectator is left not having a clue. Things such as divining names of loved ones or childhood memories for example, are left very much in the shadows in terms of "How". All of this is peppered from time to time with a classical piece of magic with a metaphorical meaning.

This begs the question now of who your character is, which brings us to the original topic of this discussion...

Metal bending simply does not fit my character. If you perform metal bending, I urge you to take a step back and examine your character, and ultimately the message you are trying to send across to your audience. Are you claiming to possess special powers? If so, cool...how did you get them? If not, how are you bending the metal? In short (and as my grandpa used to stay) "Know where you stand...SON!".

In terms of character, Bob Cassidy speaks wonderfully on this, and his thoughts regarding it can be found in what I believe to simply be the best book of mentalism today (for the complete beginner or seasoned pro). I am of course speaking of The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy: Volume 2 Fundamentals.

So instead of metal bending, I choose to perform a classical piece of magic, and when I do, there is a clear differentiation between the magic and the mentalism. Such an example might be the Gypsy Thread or the Linking Finger Rings. It is a beautiful piece of classical magic, and there is the definitive distinction between the magic and the rest of the act (mentalism). Because I make this clear distinction and eliminate any grey areas, the audience can still be left believing that the mentalism is genuine, and not classify it in with the magic.

I think it's important to step back from time to time and reevaluate these important questions...

Who is our character?
Does the material we perform help establish this character, or is it counterintuitive?
Why are we performing?

I leave you with these humble thoughts, and invite all to share.

With a smile
Matthew


P.S. Bob, I have to know what the cat nip is for!!!
Mark_Chandaue
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I think that if your character is a psychological body language proponent rather than a traditional mentalist with enhanced mental abilities then it makes perfect sense not to perform metal bending. However I think if your character claims to have mental powers then metal bending performed well is still a very strong effect. The world hasn't changed as much as we think.

Psychics such as John Andrews still play to packed houses of people that believe that dead relatives will communicate cryptic messages through them. A significant proportion of the worlds population still believe that a man turned water into wine, fed 5000 people with a few fish and a couple of loaves, walked on water, made the blind see, raised the dead, rose from the dead himself and will one day rise from the dead again.

Compared to those feats the ability to agitate the molecules of a piece of metal to the point where it becomes soft and bends is not that big of a stretch.

Mark
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geraldbelton
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Quote:
On Apr 4, 2014, MatthewSims wrote:
I do in fact find it very hard to believe that an adult audience of today would take to the possibility that a man could truly bend metal with the power of his mind.


I'd have thought that, too.

Then I went to a fundraiser for the Rhine Research Center and watched a physics professor from Duke University lead 50 people through an exercise in spoon bending. I was fascinated to see many of those people bending their spoons with their hands while being absolutely convinced that they were bending them with their minds.

Suggestion is a powerful thing.

I'll admit that this was a self-selected group of people who believe in some sort of psi forces, and maybe not representative of the general public. But it seems that a surprising number of well-educated American adults are convinced that it is possible to bend metal with the power of the mind. After all, if they can do it with their mind and a little help from their hands, isn't it possible that someone with slightly stronger psi abilities and a great deal of practice could do it with JUST his mind?
mastermindreader
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The cat nip?
magic123
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Mr.Cassidy is so Correct , But also for the simple FACT that the effect is Such a part of the Culture abd IS so identified w/ Uri Geller

M123
innercirclewannabe
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"Psychics such as John Andrews still play to packed houses of people"

I think you'll find his name is John Edwards. Perhaps John Andrews is his long lost cousin who died a number of years ago, but, he still finds the time to join him on stage every so often!
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
pourang65
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I don't really get why we ask ourselves these kind of metaphysical questions, not that it's not necessary to ask questions, when our goal is really entertainment IMO regardless of what you do if you do it correctly with passion, love of the art and respect for your audience.
I don't think people believe more if you tell them or show them you can bend objects or tell them that you can read their MIND. Sometimes we forget how strong this statement is.
Cheers
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MichaelCGM
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I'm reminded of the reaction that Richard Osterlind gets with his coin bend (certainly metal). People can still be convinced of all sorts of things.
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Woodfield
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Quote:
On Apr 5, 2014, innercirclewannabe wrote:
"Psychics such as John Andrews still play to packed houses of people"

I think you'll find his name is John Edwards. Perhaps John Andrews is his long lost cousin who died a number of years ago, but, he still finds the time to join him on stage every so often!


It's John Edward
Rolyan
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Without being facetious, I can honestly say that the following has guided me over many years.....

If (metal bending) fits, then do it.
If (metal bending) doesn't fit, then don't do it.

Truly know yourself, and then be your best judge.
Mark_Chandaue
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Quote:
On Apr 5, 2014, innercirclewannabe wrote:
"Psychics such as John Andrews still play to packed houses of people"

I think you'll find his name is John Edwards. Perhaps John Andrews is his long lost cousin who died a number of years ago, but, he still finds the time to join him on stage every so often!

Haha yes I was actually writing that post at the same time as sending an email to a friend named Andrew and so transposed the name. But whilst I'm not aware of any John Andrews that play to packed houses the point itself about John Edward et al still stands.

Mark
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I like bending metal.
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Jerome Finley
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I love metal bending and demonstrate it regularly. While I appreciate that bending spoons, forks, keys, coins and nails with your character, his claims and associated abilities, I have to laugh when I see how many of us ARE doing it and, sorry to say, horribly so more often than not.

Give me someone with an open mind (VS some self-confessed skeptic) and I'll absolutely convince them of the possible realities, various applications and practical uses for subtle energy work, focused intentions, directed mind power and how the combination of such is perfectly capable of bending, melting, twisting, breaking, morphing and causing remarkable transformations to occur in otherwise strong, "unbendable", solid metal objects as a result.

The way mentalists today are bending spoons as an expression of their ability, as an object lesson and experiential metaphor is silly and ridiculous nearly 100% of the time I witness them performing metal bending and PK related effects. I've heard it said recently that few adults today can or would believe a person can REALLY bend metal with their minds and I completely disagree. I've made more believers, created more followers and convinced thousands of people from all walks of life this is real, truly happening and completely legitimate in their own minds and experience...and rightfully so because most of it and what I do when it comes to transforming metal IS real (!).

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Simon (Ted) Edwards
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On Apr 7, 2014, Jerome Finley wrote:
I've made more believers, created more followers...


That sounds a little weird, Jerome! Believers in, and followers of, what?
T.
TonyB2009
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I am very much with Mathew on this. An educated, sophisticated audience know that metal cannot be bent with the mind. While they will believe and gasp and give a great reaction, it is not true belief. When they go home and wake up the following morning they will be out of the 'spell' and will know they have seen a magic trick.

Here is a useful comparison. I use ventriloquism in my act occasionally. I have a talking dog that children and adults alike love. When my hand is up the dogs arse, everyone believes the dog is real. They talk to the dog independently of me, and once a resort manager asked me to leave the dog outside, because what we were discussing was sensitive. So the manager believed the dog was real. Everyone does.

But as soon as the performance is over and I am gone, that belief goes with me. It is not a true belief. It is a suspension of disbelief for the purpose of enjoying the performance.

Here is a serious question for Jerome (and I don't doubt you could convince someone of any reality you chose), Bob Cassidy, Richard Osterlind, Banachek, and others who bend cutlery to undoubted great reactions. How often do you get sincere requests from people to help find missing kids, locate lost wills, etc. I don't mean requests in the heat of the moment after a show. But requests that come a few days after, when the excitement has subsided.
MatthewSims
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I've been speaking with someone in private after them viewing my post regarding this. He has been gracious enough to offer to extend some of his material regarding metal bending, as he says I might find interest in the way he presents it (which I think is ultimately what its all about when working with such profound material and claims). He has asked me not to mention his name because this material is not out yet. I will certainly be posting my thoughts regarding my overall feelings of it.

I think Jerome has summed it up quite nicely when he says "the way mentalists today are bending spoons as an expression of their ability..."

I think metal bending (on the whole) has become very stagnant. We have so much material regarding methodology of the bends and the technological advances of gimmicks, but so little seems to be surfacing in regards to presentation. Isn't that what its supposed to be about?

Another problem that I find is that so much metal bending hits the mass market because it is very appealing visually, which is what the younger generation is after. Its the surprise vs anticipation element. The end result is that you have young magicians walking around bending coins, spoons, forks and whatever else out of mere thirst for reaction of surprise. Whenever I see such a demonstration, Im left genuinely sadden. I walk away asking myself... "Where was the anticipation build up, and at what point was the illusion sold to the auidences minds"? The truth is, it was never sold. The audience just reacted out of surprise, and this was enough for the novice. Take this comparison into account...

Two people buy a peek wallet, the novice and a well seasoned mentalist. It can be very challenging for the novice to appear to actually be reading minds because he hasn't yet studied the classics in which possess the wonderful psychological ploys that sell the illusion. The seasoned mentalist however, includeds things such as Banachek's "Brain Game" or Colin's "psychological jar". The end result is that both are accomplished by the same method to get the thought, however, only one appears to be genuine mind reading while the other seems to be a clever trick.

I think the problem with metal bending is that we have this mass market not employing these psychological principles that are so important in order to truly sell the illusion, and also that there's not much material out there to begin with on psychological ploys for metal bending (or at least no where near the amount that there is for mind reading demonstrations).

Thoughts?
Jerome Finley
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First, please allow me to go on record and say again very clearly that I don't claim to have all the answers here - I only know what works FOR ME and that your individual approach, results and mileage may vary (as it should!).

Secondly (to Simon), believers in a very subtle and yet very real "energy" that can, with training, be directed with one's own mind and set to various purposes and intentions to produce specific results and desired outcomes within ourselves and the world around us. In this case that purpose would be to positively affect the shape and structure of inanimate objects...and there's both a far deeper reason & greater purpose behind the example or demonstration in this case.

Third (to Tony), I don't receive requests to locate wills' or find missing children. That's not part of anything I do, neither is it implied, especially when it comes to bending metal. Just as I believe we have each been endowed with a perfect mind, body and "soul", I'm a psychic, spiritual and magical being and creation, blessed with obvious limitations and obvious strengths when it comes to the work I do and what I'm capable of sharing. I *DO* receive requests for all other sorts of things, much of it does come "after the fact" as you put it, and it still carries a tremendous amount weight, impact and sheer excitement with it.

Fourth, I do my best to keep in mind that, much like everyone else, I'm just one guy out here doing my best while shooting in the dark, that I can know nothing with 100% certainty and that if I'm to have beliefs at all, I want them to be open to interpretation, flexible in nature and not threatened when subjected to the very real possibility of being completely and totally "wrong."

Fifth, with the above in mind, one of my strongest driving beliefs is in this subtle life-force energy which can be directed through various techniques, is intimately affected by our consciousness and level of awareness, serves to connect all things/people/places and can be assertively applied to produce various helpful and beneficial, positive and practical results and effects both in our own lives and the lives of others.

As a mentalist I have absolutely no problems, personal issues or ethical reservations when it comes to sharing my own experience, thoughts, feelings, resulting beliefs and diverse opinions on the matter. As a magician I realize how these things can be faked or produced by other means and even do it myself at times for strictly entertainment purposes; as a practicing energy worker and traditional healer I understand too how the very same feats can be 100% REAL. In the spirit of people such as Jack Houck and his famous PK Parties, our various students, peers and contemporaries such as Gary Sinclair, VV Hsu, M. Plesko, Uri, founders of The Monroe Institute, "HemiSync" technology, the SyncCreation live seminars, home study courses and experiential training materials, etc. This is by no means a complete list, but offered as another short example only.

When I bend metal these days (and I continue to almost daily), it's along these very same lines and utilizing a shared guiding philosophy, necessary approaches and alternative M.O...in other words, I can and DO "do it for real." While not a replacement for live training and a shared group or deeply personal experience, I highly recommend those with a sincere interest look into something like the following:

https://www.monroeinstitute.org/product/......estation

I've been to several of these live events now, I continue to grow and evolve, and I can say from personal experience that something like this, FOR ME, is far stronger than any mentalism show or mystery performer that I've ever seen. They also produce more smiles and laughter, moments of pure magic and astonishment, generate far more in terms of income, provide helpful tools, contain more in-built "audience participation" than even the best hypnosis stage shows, are worlds more interesting and far more preferable. Again, this is my personal experience and own opinion only.

Just because you're a "mentalist" doesn't mean you HAVE TO be "fake" or even continue to use the methods of magic, illusion, deception, sleight of hand or the normally associated psychological chicanery to attain and obtain the very same results, experiences and final effects you're looking for. We don't have to "sell an illusion" because there isn't an illusion to sell. Magic and mentalism as we currently know and understand it are both in very real danger of dying or, at the very least, becoming totally transformed because we've arrived at a point in which we can do most of this stuff for real, if that's what we choose.

For example, just like my REAL approach to bending metal objects there isn't a single piece of information that any you of you reading this now could possibly think of that I cannot get to and divine with startling accuracy and breathtaking results (be it names, numbers/dates, locations, memories, words, drawings, playing cards, personal questions, etc) through REAL methods, legitimate techniques and non-deceptive applications of the mind/body connection and resulting ideomotor response, CMR, pendulum dowsing, a talking board and upturned wine glass, applied kinesiology and muscle testing, etc. It might not be as clean or direct as having you write that same piece of information down on a business card and obtaining it via a PWallet, CT, imp pad and so on, but it doesn't need to.

I can do everything you can do, for real, and that's how I prefer to keep it.

Again, not "right or wrong", only what works for me and the new path I'm blazing.

I really do hope this helps. Smile

JF.
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TonyB2009
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On Apr 8, 2014, Jerome Finley wrote:
Third (to Tony), I don't receive requests to locate wills' or find missing children. That's not part of anything I do, neither is it implied, especially when it comes to bending metal. Just as I believe we have each been endowed with a perfect mind, body and "soul", I'm a psychic, spiritual and magical being and creation, blessed with obvious limitations and obvious strengths when it comes to the work I do and what I'm capable of sharing. I *DO* receive requests for all other sorts of things, much of it does come "after the fact" as you put it, and it still carries a tremendous amount weight, impact and sheer excitement with it.

. . .

I can do everything you can do, for real, and that's how I prefer to keep it.

Thanks for an honest reply, Jerome. And I hope my post did not come across as trying to trivialize your approach or anyone else's. Just for clarity, I know you do Q&A as real, an approach I respect greatly. And while I would not go in for energy healing or other energy work myself, I am not dismissing it out of hand. But are you implying that you can do metal bending for real too? Tony
mastermindreader
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Metal bending is real. I see bent metal all the time.
Jerome Finley
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Tony,

No offense taken!

I'm not so much "implying" that I can bend metal for real as much as I am stating and claiming it directly. Smile

I have various theories regarding why this works (I mean...we're all pumped up, breathing deeply, accessing altered states and applying physical force to the objects in very subtle ways...however...I've got a drawer filled with keys, coins and spoons altered through these same methods which still should have been impossible to bend and which I have no good explanations for outside of what I've shared here re: energy, changing states and my own foolishness!) so yes, I bend metal "for real", that is, without your typically called upon methods and using those which did not originate with mentalists.

J.
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