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David Thiel
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Western Canada...where all that oil is
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Have you noticed? It's a significantly smaller community than magic...but there are wonderful people in it, who still understand community, loyalty and friendship. Does that sound a little saccharine? I hope not because I am being uncharacteristically sincere. Let me explain. In a time when we shake our heads at the way mentalism is treated by newbies and listen to endless predictions that THIS (whatever the latest Horseman happens to be) spells the END of Mentalism-as-we-know-it, I had to stop this morning and think about the core community of mentalists. And it made me smile.

First: coming here many years ago for the first time, having a newly discovered love affair with mentalism, with a yearning to defect from magic but not quite knowing how to do it -- I lurked for weeks, soaking up the information here in Penny and in Inner Thoughts. I'll be honest. Most of the time I had no idea what you guys were talking about. I still remember Googling the word "Bill*t" and finding out that this is where soldiers sleep. So I'd wait for some hapless tact-challenged newbie to ask the same stupid question I'd been wrestling with, watch him get shot down in flames and swoop down and devour whatever crumbs of information appeared in and around the smoldering corpse.

When I first posted, I did so with a creeping feeling of dread. The HA's (Hell's Angels) have a saying: "Come with Respect or Get Wrecked." So, figuring the core group of mentalists here were like...ummm...the bikers I know, I came with respect, admitted I didn't really know anything and this community taught me. I learned about book tests from the late great Dick Christian, who sent me long PMs about what I should be looking for. (I still have it in my PMs...and it's not going to be deleted). Once I got to know them, many of you were very generous with your time and knowledge.

After I made the decision to leave magic entirely and perform mentalism, I got even more support. Great real world advice from guys who were actually doing it.

When I fell in love with pendulums and the power they have to blow the minds of spectators and I started looking around for great resources, I got perfect recommendations from many of you. And when I decided I wanted to put all the greatest pendulum resources into one website, I got nothing by cooperation.

When I decided I wanted to get the very best pendulum routines from the biggest names in mentalism, they all helped: Cassidy, Osterlind, Neal Scryer, Prater, Amira, Volpe, Tahoe, Voodini, Nadata, Jaramillo and many more. They're all good guys.

When I went to NYC a few years ago, while Sheree frittered her time away in seminars, I shared, learned, laughed and got to know many of the guys out there and I LEARNED so MUCH -- again: information freely shared. The same thing happened when I went to LA. Bob Cassidy arranged a trip to the Magic Castle and we were hosted by Jheff.

Last month, after my daughter was murdered, I got PMs, emails and phone calls from friends I had spent time with as well as friends I've never met in person. You have any idea how much that meant to me? And when we set up a fund to take care of her five children a huge number of contributions came from the mentalism community all over the world. Dozens of them -- all looking out for some kids they'd never even met.

One of our friends was headed to Melbourne, Australia, looking for a job and someone who could help her find her way. Everyone she talked to told her jobs were always given to locals, that tourist types had no chance etc. You know who lined her up with a job? My mate, Paul Shirley.

I could go on and on about the number of times I've been glad to be associated with the core community of mentalists...but I expect you understand if you're a part of it too. You guys rock. I'm delighted to know you.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.

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I've always said it and truly mean it, I have enjoyed watching your journey into mentalism and The Magic Café family. I've always felt there is a proper way and a wrong way to embark on such an endeavor and the way you approached it was with excitement and enthusiasm, yet with respect for those in the community, those offering assistance to you and your questions, and those those that have come before you. This may sound basic, but is often, almost always not understood or done by most coming to mentalism.

Most expect things, talk more than they are willing to listen, must-have-it-now and do not take the time to understand us and mentalism from the inside out. From the depths and details of what truly makes up mentalism and the mentalism community. You also took the time to really study and understand the differences between magic and mentalism, even when you weren't comprehending what you were hearing or being told.

You learned that as hard as it might have been, you had to put away some of your most valued magic from your previous performance incarnations, to truly be and be seen as a mentalist. Again something many can't do, are unable to understand or are unwilling to do.

I use you as an example to all of my coaching students that are trying to make the transition from magic into mentalism. Some say we use tough love here or unfriendly approaches to separate mentalism from magic. It only seems this way to those who don't understand it or haven't taken the time to understand it on the many layers and levels on which it exists. Mentalism is not about the performance effects, but rather the sum of all of these layers and levels working in concert.

Then there is the business side of things, which you have not only embraced and approached just as enthusiastically, but have even paved your own way into some unique areas.

I and I know many others always enjoy your posts and writing. Equally your perceptions and ability to communicate all of this. I, for one, and proud to have you and others like you as part of this community. It is this that will make our art continue forward while preserving what has come before us.

I hope you and the family are doing well.
George Hunter
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Thanks for your reflection, and for your expression of gratitude to the mentalism community. We have, indeed, grieved with you and Sheree in recent weeks.

Let me make an announcement: David, read my lips, you have quietly become a top tier CONTRIBUTOR to the community's conversations.

So, thanks again.

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David -

You always inspire with passion aand remind all of us why we are performers.

I send you warmest regards and cannot fathom your loss which must be beyond words.

Looking forward to seeing you at MV.
Creator of The SvenPad Supreme(R) line of premium, made in the USA utility props. https://svenpads.com/
Scott Soloff
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The most important thing in life is to be useful! Your contributions here are beyond measure.

Your sharing is deeply appreciated.

Warm regards,

'Curiouser and curiouser."
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Mallorca (Spain)
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What an excellent post. David your posts are always read with enthusiasm by me and I suspect many here on the Café. We all wish you and your family well and look forward to many more meaningful and interesting posts.
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.
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Durham, NC
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Wait... you mean you HAVEN'T been doing mentalism forever?

In my mind, your writing is one of the things that keeps me coming back to this forum. I think of you as part of the pantheon that includes Cassidy and Osterlind.

When I heard of your daughter's murder, I was not one of those who sent you an email or PM, but only because I couldn't find any words that I thought would comfort, and didn't feel I knew you well enough to intrude on your grief.

I only learned today of your pendulum works, and will be placing an order for your book forthwith. And I anxiously await your new book, too.
Jeff Wassom
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Reading and thoroughly enjoying 'Principles of Mentalism' right now from your suggestion David.

Your posts are equal parts entertaining, accessible, educational and inspiring.
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David, I want to offer my deepest condolences on the loss of your daughter! I didn't know that happened. There's nothing anyone can say to ease the suffering. I hope you know in your heart that your daughter is always with you.

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On Jun 23, 2014, David Thiel wrote:
So I'd wait for some hapless tact-challenged newbie to ask the same stupid question I'd been wrestling with, watch him get shot down in flames and swoop down and devour whatever crumbs of information appeared in and around the smoldering corpse.

This made me laugh out loud, because I remember doing this myself in 2009. Alas, when I did try to make a contribution, I was still shot down in flames, but we got there in the end. (Now I've been here long enough that those who find me annoying and upstartish just politely ignore me! Smile)

You're right, though David - once those outer gates of the community are overcome, this group of people is quite amazing in how much they are willing to give of themselves. The past couple of months I've had a bit of contact with Atlas Brookings and I've marvelled at how much time he's been willing to spend with other mentalists of every level despite working hard on writing a book, regular performances, and the huge job of raising a family. In the light of Atlas, Bob, Peter, and the many others like them, I feel incredibly humbled, and feel bad that I'm so much more of a taker than a giver. It's time for me to start redressing that balance.
Connor Jacobs - The Thought Sculptor
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur
Be fondly remembered.
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I was touched and honoured you came to my lecture at the Magic Circle David.

Karma is strong in the community.

Thanks for the great post.


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I often wonder if the other sub-genres under the Magic umbrella feel the same way. I mean, do the illusionists get together and say, "Wow, we are such a tight bunch." Do the escape artists feel there is a family-type brotherhood amongst their practitioners?

Somehow, I think not.

We mindreaders.... we are a different kettle of fish. I'm glad to a part of the mentalism community. We really ARE a great group of people.
Blessings on thee, little man,
barefoot boy with cheeks of tan...
Outward sunshine; inward joy,
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David Thiel
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Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
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You're right, Paul.

I spent a lot of time as a magician -- but was only part of that community for the first couple of years. I expect it's maybe because there are so many more magicians than mentalists -- and that their specialties are much broader than ours. But for 18+ years, though, I really had nothing to do with other magicians -- other than running into them at events we were all working.

I appreciate all the kind words here most sincerely. When I wrote the initial post -- my idea really was to bring up what a great community this really is. I can honestly say some of my very best friends are mentalists. I never could have said that when I was doing magic.

When I'm traveling, I know I can find some of those friends here -- or at the other three boards I frequent. Sometimes I am able to actually spend time with guys in the cities I travel to. I've found the road increasingly hard to deal with...and knowing I have guys I WANT to spend time with in person and on line is a great thing. And we always have something to talk about. Smile

Todd -- the honor was mine. It was a wonderful lecture.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.

Ray Bertrand
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British Columbia
1419 Posts

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David, I was shocked to hear about your devastating loss. You contribute so much to this community. Having atrocities of this magnitude thrust upon you is unimaginable. You have been there for me when I sought advice as you are for others on the forum. I diligently read your comments on the Café. You share a lot of wisdom. I hope to meet you in person some day. My thoughts, prayers and condolences to out to you and Sheree.

EnterTRAINment at its best. Keeping the Magic Alive in Northern BC
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