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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Mentalism almost seems limiting (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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I am coming from a background as a magician, and specializing in kid-centric mayhem at that! In my small rural market, it's not unusual to find the jack-of-all-trades in many professions, and beginning to explore mentalism as an additional offering isn't raising any eyebrows. (And yes, I do mean mentalism and not the "mind magic" that I currently perform.)

In my magic shows, different odd and unpredictable things keep happening. (Not the least of which is me!) But mentalism seems to keep coming back to the same basic premises: I (or someone else) already knew that, I (or you if I empower you) can move or bend that, or both of us (or you) can think the same thing. It strikes me almost like how many different ways there are to lose and find a card - but it's basically the same.

Obviously, I have not been exposed to enough different applications and performances of this art! Where would y'all recommend I look to get a better handle on the variety that exists in mentalism?

PS - I am looking mostly at something like synchronicity: a flow that connects us all and I'm here to help you explore it. And I'm not really into readings - just not me.

Ed
IAIN
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sandsjr
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Ed:

Mentalism is a vast, rich field. You could spend a hundred years studying it and still find things to learn. Mentalism looks easy on the surface but the more you know about it, the more you realize how much you don't know. Dig in and see. To get started I recommend you:

1. Pick up a copy of Bob Cassidy's Mental Miracles DVD http://www.jheff.com/Mental_Miracles.html
2. Master the 5 routines
3. Perform them
4. Send me a Thank You message telling me how excited you are

This will give you a taste of the power of mentalism. It's $31.00 and if it were $3,100.00 it would be worth it! (check out Jheff's blurb at the bottom) I'm sure you'll pick up the classic books to peruse along the way. if you're like me, you may find yourself not liking magic any more! Sorry... you've been warned! Smile

Good luck!
mastermindreader
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Hi Ed,

Depending on your persona and subscript there are many types of mentalism. Here are some of the major types of effects:

Telepathy
Psychometry
Remote Viewing
Synchronicity
Clairvoyance
Sightless Vision
Memory (and similar effects, such as the Knights Tour, Memory Magic Square, Super Calculation, etc.)
Precognition
Psychokinesis
Influence
Mediumistic effects
Psychic Readings
Subliminal Perception
NLP themed presentations
Body Language

One of the major parts of my book, The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy, Volume 2: Fundamentals, focuses on selecting effects and presentations that are congruent and consistent with your persona as a mentalist.

Enjoy the journey.

Good thoughts,

Bob
Ed_Millis
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@IAIN: I'm familiar with that list. I'm currently working through 13 Steps and Anneman right now.

@sandsjr: I'll put that DVD on my Christmas list. Thank you!!

@Bob: Your book is also on my list - probably next in line. I just finished a first full watching of your Billet Killers video -- it needs a lot more watching in bite-sized pieces!

Ed
Mr. Woolery
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There are only so many magic effects, too. Penetrations, vanishes, productions, transformations, animations... But you can make a whole act using only a couple of those basic concepts. I imagine that a whole act could be made from just vanishes and productions.

As I see it, there are fewer effects in mentalism, but much more scope for a performer's imagination. The goal is to see how you can make things happen in the minds of the audience, rather than in the eyes of the audience.

So, if you are presenting yourself as an expert in body language and psychological influence, you can build a show where you cause people to do progressively more wild and unusual things. If you are a telepathist, you can demonstrate transference of thoughts from you to an audience member, increasing in complexity, then demonstrate how much better you are at receiving than sending and you show how apparently impossible some of the abilities become if you are able to establish rapport with him or her.

You want really limited? Stand-up comedy. One person, one microphone, all he does is talk. And collect a paycheck, sign a deal with Showtime, travel to exotic locations, sell DVDs and books of jokes... Or totally fail, depending upon how well he connects with his audience. And unlike mentalism, if you get caught using someone else's material (even if you did buy his DVD), things don't go well for your reputation.

-Patrick
Mr. Woolery
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Heh, I just rewatched that Bob Cassidy DVD today. The performance part, anyway. The real value of it is seeing how one performer has crafted a show that is solid, entertaining, mystifying, and fun. I can't imagine trying to do the show like Cassidy, since I could not pull off his humor. For that reason, I think I learn more than from someone who I am tempted to imitate. Copying is not imaginative, but trying to figure out how to present the same routines without copying a presentation becomes a creative exercise.

-Patrick
sandsjr
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Patrick, I love your idea of magic being for the eyes and mentalism for the mind. With magic the mind experience is for a brief moment. But in mentalism, the experience lingers on and on.

With regards to Mental Miracles there is value on many different levels. I think you miss the point when you talk about the "humor." Nobody's saying copy his presentation style. However, watch the video again and ask yourself where and why the humor is used. The reasons I love this video and recommend it to anyone interested in getting into mentalism is because of the treasure trove of information there. But you have to be willing to dig below the surface... there's a LOT there! For example, look at the dynamics used in the card memory effect. Break it down, write it out. Look at the structure of the effects and ask why things are done when they're done and so on. I think the best way to ingrain these ideas is to transcribe the effects and learn them word for word. In this way you'll understand the "why." Then you'll be equipped to put yourself into them.

As I've stated in other posts, with this video you get the best a man has to give from an intelligent, focused individual who has spent dozens of years crafting his art in the real world. Bob is a thinker who loves what he does. His books are evidence of his willingness to constantly tweak his material. Add to this the fact that these effects are legendary classics. You get the benefit of all that, all those years for a measly $31.00! You couldn't get a single Tuba lesson for that kind of money!

I say to Ed, why wait till Christmas? Get it now and be performing these miracles at your Christmas parties!

Bobby
Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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@Patrick: Someone once suggested I try stand-up comedy to lean how to be funny. I declined; we have enough tomatoes!!

@Bobby: Waiting for Christmas because summers in the SW AZ desert are killer on the electric bill! And it often doesn't let up until October or even Thanksgiving. Did I see correctly - Mental Miracles contains the complete 4DT?? And costs less than the 4DT manuscript from Lybrary?

Ed
mastermindreader
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The 4dt manuscript, "A Journey Through the 4th Dimension," is a complete history of the effect and its various methods going back to Annemann. It includes all of the variations and handlings I developed over the years including the one I presently use.

The DVD, like my recent Penguin lecture, simply describes one of my ways of doing the effect.

Good thoughts,

Bob
Ed_Millis
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Thank you, Sir! I'll keep both on my wish list, then.

Ed
Ulrich
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One of the best books for beginners is in my opinion "Mentalism Reveals" by Mark Elsdon. I still don't understand Mark's decision to make it limited and very pricy, because I would add it on every beginner's list. If you can find it, buy it, it is great.

"Mindstorms" by Sean Taylor and "Stunners Plus" by Larry Becker are must-have material as well.

Blessings
Ulrich
AlJones
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One of the things I think Mentalism requires is a non-magicians mindset. I know that mind sound a little provocative, but stay with me ...

Magicians actually require audiences to suspend disbelief and so routines are built around countering objections to phenomena such as levitation, penetration, transformations, appearances, and vanishings.

Mentalists actually - for a brief moment at least - extend the audiences belief and either base the 'demonstrations' on psychological or psychic (in the original and current sense) abilities. So far from being limiting I think mentalism accesses the broadest space there is - the human mind.

What we do in that space - with the gift the audiences give us, with regards their time, attention and thoughts - can have meaning and relevance far beyond the moment they spend with you (I think effective magic does this too in the sense of creating moments of wonder. A magician can look for the ta-da at the emd of a routine, but mentalists often revel in the silence an effect can have ( read Kenton's work here ).

Useful works : almost anything by Bob Cassidy and Richard Osterlind - real world workers; backed up by Kenton Knepper for linguistic elegance....

One thought - unlike magicians whose 'skills' can include vanishes, productions, transformations, levitations and so on, I think a mentalist needs to have a consistency in that maybe they should not have 'all' of the powers of the mind. I don't do metal bending or much PK since they are not within the remit of the 'mental process' I claim to be using ... not in my character.

If you're interested I explore some of these ideas in http://www.lybrary.com/mostly-mental-p-274163.html - apologies for self-promotion.

Alan
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Jun 23, 2014, AlJones wrote:
One of the things I think Mentalism requires is a non-magicians mindset.
Alan


I have to say I agree and truly believe this is the number one singlemost things that both makes a huge difference and allows one to understand the real mentalism mentality. Those of us that have not come to mentalism through magic, rarely have any of the problems and struggles than magicians do when approaching and understanding mentalism. I also think not having the magicians mindset allows one to better understand mentalism as it plays through the eyes and acceptance of the audience.
cpbartak
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I don't think any layperson ever watched Uri Geller and thought, "that guy is so limited in what he can do."
Some people hear voices.. Some see invisible people.. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
Ulrich
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I think every layperson ever watched Derren Brown thought, "that guy is so limited in what he can do."
george1953
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Makes you feel sorry for him doesn't it !!!
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.
morgaine_le_fey
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Montreal, Canada
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Quote:
On Jun 23, 2014, Ulrich wrote:
I think every layperson ever watched Derren Brown thought, "that guy is so limited in what he can do."


Hi Ulrich,
I don't think I understand what you mean by this? Smile
If you want, could you please explain?

xxx Morgaine
Ulrich
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Hi to you as well beauty,

it was a respond on cpbartak's post about Uri Geller. I wanted to compare "psychic" vs "psychological mind reader" approaches, to hopefully show, that laymen seems to believe more in the second approach, when we talked about mentalist mindset.

Blessings
Ulrich
mastermindreader
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Disagree. I think its magicians who believe more in the second approach because they're too cautious to try the first or are unable to present it believably.

Besides, the point isn't to make anyone believe, it's simply to make them wonder as part of an entertaining experience.
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