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KC Cameron
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Mentalism can be many different things to different people. Here are a few categories I have come up with - I'm sure you can do better. Of course, most acts will fall into more than one category, the categories aren't exclusive. Many can be presented as real, or real for show purposes.

Can you help narrow down the definitions, create new ones, toss some out?

Where does your act fall? Mine would be Comedy Mentalism.

Comedy AS Mentalism: Here is a picture of the celebrity you choose (a picture of a baby). Amazing Johnathan style, etc. "Pretend" mentalism

Comedy Mentalism: Strong "real" mentalism presented in a comedic way. Think Cody Fisher

Psychic: Presented as real (for show purposes, if not for real)

Mental-Mentalism: Presented as real "mental" abilities (for show purposes, if not for real)

Body Language Mentalism: Clues coming from body language, language, intonation, dress, etc, presented as real (for show purposes, if not for real)

Bizarre: Storytelling, presented as real (for show purposes, if not for real)

Shamanism: use of the paranormal, presented as real (for show purposes, if not for real)

Unexplained: Unexplained abilities
funsway
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Good thoughts, but I kinda object to the use of the word "Shamanism" in this way.

The Shaman tradition has very little to do with paranormal anything and even rarely uses magic in any form.

If anything "other than normal" it relates to the enhancement of innate, natural abilities and connection a person with their inner self.

Yes, the term has been abused by Hollywood to mean all sorts of things, but a Mentalist would not wish to insult a spiritual practice or calling.

Yes, I have Amerindian Shaman in my lineage -- and Mongolian too.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Mindpro
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I kinda object to Cody Fisher being "strong real mentalism." Cody is a magician, who performs mental magic.
mastermindreader
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I've always considered comedy mentalism to be a parody of mentalism, NOT mentalism presented with humor. I use my own act as an example. I get lots of laughs, but the mentalism itself is serious.

Comedy mentalism, to me, is mentalism presented as a joke, like the old "Swami River" or the great Kardor. It's to mentalism what Carl Ballantine was to magic.

And, finally, mental effects presented in a snappy patter comedic magic style, are mental magic, not mentalism.
KC Cameron
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Funsway,

That is funny, since I am a direct descendent of several shaman of the Thlinget tribe, (an aunt being the last one) and have studied under them. I remember dancing to magical stories at potlatches and for tourists. The paranormal is very real in my heritage. My parents tried very hard to keep me from the paranormal part of our culture because they were Christians, as are most Thlingets. At one time, I was to follow my roots, but it was too much for me.

Along with the paranormal, our shaman also practiced illusions (i.e. things they knew were not magic, but appeared so) as well as worked as doctors, pharmacists and religious leaders, but what they are best remembered for magic spells. Our tribe was very warlike, and the shaman was extremely important.

I remember as a child, my parents being very angry at some older Thlinget ladies casting spells during a church service by twisting their bracelets . . .

On my mother's side (who is white) were some of the first whites in St. Laurance Island, and they have all sorts of stories of the paranormal among the Yupik people.

I find white culture not only misunderstands native culture, but also misrepresents it by "bleaching" it. Native culture has also changed a lot in the last 100 years due to western thinking, Alaskan natives being the last and least affected - but still greatly affected.

Perhaps, just perhaps, you have been influenced by the New Age movement?

KC
KC Cameron
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First, I am not disagreeing or arguing, but discussing and learning. I find big differences in what people consider mentalism or a subset of mentalism. Many disagreements hinge on different definitions of what is mentalism. For ALL our benefit, it would be nice if we could come to a consensus of what the various labels mean. I am certainly not the person who should be deciding this, I am just opening it to discussion.

Mindpro,

I am not an expert on all things Cody Fisher, but the performances I have seen him do were mentalism, not magic tricks. Then again, much of this depends on the perspective of the spectator. Of course, we shouldn't put anyone in too tight a box, there is plenty of room to be in several.

Bob,
It is a matter of definition, and your definition of Comedy Mentalism is fine with me. What would you call someone who does mentalism, but presents it in a funny way, such as situational humor in Cody's Comedy Book Test or Comedy Confabulation. That is very different than Carnac the Magnificent, Carl Ballantine, the Amazing Johnathan or the great Car Door.

As for Mental Magic, why does it have to be comedic? I have viewed it as mentalism that was performed like a trick - with or without comedy.

KC
funsway
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No -- I just think we have a different view of what "paranormal" means. I do not see "magic spells" as paranormal at all. Divination techniques are not paranormal.

By definition, paranormal can't be "part of out culture," If everyone can do it is science. If you pretend at it then it is illusion. I have know several Shoshone Shaman -- none claimed any paranormal ability.

With a dozen books on my shelf about Shamanist I don't recall any of them using the term "paranormal."

not connected with any New Age thinking at all -- surprised you would think that. It is New Age thinking that is (perhaps) messing up the concepts.

but, not worth discourse, I guess.

my point was, why use a label that might cross a spiritual line for some people?

You don't do coin effects with Communion Hosts or do a book read with the Koran.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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mastermindreader
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Situational humor and presenting mentalism in a funny way aren't necessarily the same thing. I use situational comedy all the time but the mentalism itself is presented seriously.

You're right about mental magic. It isn't always presented humorously. And that, to me, is a problem. Without humor there's not much left.

I view Cody's act as mental magic. Don't get me wrong, it's a great act but I just wouldn't call it mentalism.

As an aside, I noticed that you spelled Kardor's name "Car Door." Did you know that's how Robin DeWitt came up with the name? He fell out of his VW as it rolled off the road and managed to get hit with the car door.

That's the story he told me, anyway.

I miss Robin. He was my friend for nearly thirty years.
Pakar Ilusi
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Two types of Mentalism.

Entertaining.

Not entertaining.

Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
KC Cameron
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Funsway, Paranormal is an English word, not native. I'm sure there is a difference in definition. Also, there are many tribes and many subtribes and to think they all have similar belief systems is very white. We (Thlingets) use to dig deep holes and put our enemies (Haida and Tsimshian)into them; then place a totem pole on top of them, killing them. This provided great powers, as well as a way of showing off great wealth by being able to sacrifice so many slaves (Yes, we had slaves too). The funny thing now is the US government has combined two warring and different tribes, the Thlinget and Haida into one "official" tribe . . . LMAO

The "lower 48" tribes have been infused with European (or Greek) type thought for many generations, so I assume their beliefs have changed as well. I know many published things of my own tribe are simply not true. An example with the Yupik people; they were quite warlike, but when their culture collided with European, it was obvious they were far out-gunned. What happened? They became quite peaceful and hide their warlike tendencies. Even now, many both Yupik and white will claim they were always peaceful . . . The PC police (on BOTH sides) have been quite active cleaning up our history to line up with the "Noble Savage" idea - an idea that was never a reality.

In my tribe, there are big changes in the Shaman of today and 100 years ago, and we are far less affected by European culture than The lower 48 tribes. Much has been re-invented due to forced Europeanization. When my parents were school age, native children were taken from their families and lived in government schools. They were forced into Christianity and beaten if they did not use English. My grandfather on my mom's side was one of those teachers. One of those schools still exists, although it has changed a lot! http://www.mehs.us/

So, to wrap up, much culture is lost, much is re-invented. The current shaman in my tribe are very different, have different problems, and live in a different culture than ones just 100 years ago, so I think it is safe to assume even more change to those that have had twice the emersion in European culture.

As for using the word "Shamanism" to describe what some are striving to pretend to do - I have no problem changing the word.

As for communion host, doesn't the priest turn them into flesh, the flesh of Christ? Quite a trick. I have seen all sorts of verbal tricks done with the Bible in Church . . . as well as healings, speaking in foreign languages and other tricks (although most participants would not view them as tricks), but with the Koran, it could be deadly ... Magic and Mentalism's parent was religion, so any of it can be seen as an offence to Religion. The Koran and Bible have some pretty gnarly things to say about those that can see the future and deal with spirits or Jinn . . .

Personally, I have a hard time with anyone being a Christian magician psychic or mentalist, since the Bible is so opposed to what we do, or what we pretend to do for entertainment. The Bible says no, but pretending to do it is fine?? --- I guess it is obvious I am not Christian . . . (How many people did I lose with THAT remark?)

BTW, "By definition, paranormal can't be "part of out culture," If everyone can do it is science." - "Paranormal" by who's perspective? And " If everyone can do it is science." is so wrong I don't know where to start.

~~~~

Bob, no I never knew why, but he was funny!

As for Cody, what makes his act Mental Magic as opposed to Mentalism for you?
mastermindreader
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Because the presentation is EXACTLY the same as comedy magic (the comedy and the effects are completely intertwined), and therefore doesn't have the inherent plausibility of straight mentalism. It strikes me as an example of how a talented and funny magician presents mind reading as tricks.

Again, I love his act and he's a great entertainer. What he does, though, isn't what I call mentalism.

I've written about the major differences in mentalism and mental magic extensively, so I imagine those who have read my books understand my view.
Mindpro
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I agree. We've even here written about the differences so many times it is readily available, I think even Cody himself would be the first to tell you what he does is mental magic and not mentalism, not to mention that he goes from a rope routine to confab or book test, which gives off a big clue.

With the surgence of so many magicians getting into mentalism, the reality is the vast majority are doing mental magic. It is not meant to be derogatory in any way, like Bob I love Cody, but look at the two effects mentioned quickly makes it evident. Also who he targets them to. Not nearly a post here, but many pages in the magic community. This is quite similar to John Archer and Mel Mellers, quite funny, but I'd never consider them mentalists, and nether would they likely.
mastermindreader
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Yes- including effects that are clearly magic tricks (like the rope effect) clearly lets the audience know they are watching magic, not mentalism.
KC Cameron
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Bob,

Quote:
Because the presentation is EXACTLY the same as comedy magic (the comedy and the effects are completely intertwined), and therefore doesn't have the inherent plausibility of straight mentalism.

To me, this is a load of BS. Not that the effects are intertwined with comedy, but that it is not plausible because of the intertwining. I do Cody's book test, and to the audience it is VERY plausible - perhaps even more. Does everyone wonder? No, but I am not playing (generally) to a crowd of true believers.

Every show I get people who "believe", I get people who think I have sold my soul (perhaps right?) Smile people who want to learn what I have learned, etc. I never claim it to be real. Many times I claim I am not real, and this seems to make people believe even more. I just do it and let the cards fall where they may. I get into "uncomfortable" situations often where people want a reading (which I don't do).

Bob, don't you claim not to be real? How can you call what you do "plausible" when you publicly deny it's plausibility?

Here is an example: The Daily Show. Is it news? Yes. Is it comedy? Yes. Does the comedy take away from serious news? Not in my opinion. If anything it makes it more digestable. The advertising, the presentation and the audience, whether comedic or "straight" creates the plausibility. Comedy itself does not take away plausibility. I can joke on all sorts of serious topics, that does not mean they are not serious, or I am not serious, or the audience does not believe it is serious. In fact, it is hard to joke about anything that is not serious.

A year or so ago, I attended a fortune tellers group for a few months. At one meeting, I did a comedic fork bend. Comedic in the same way Cody's Book Test - the presentation was that it was real. I did not poll them, but they all believed it to be real. A lot of them thought I was a deep old soul that had been blessed. Because they believed so much, I didn't have the heart to tell them it wasn't real and I stopped attending. I presented it straight - but funny - to an audience of true believers, and I honestly thought I could have started a new religion.

Anyway, this "read my books" does not help a simple definition. If it can't be defined simply so it is understood by nearly everyone I feel the label is pretty usless.

Mindpro

First, Cody does is more than one thing. We have been speaking on his book test. I am not claiming everything he does is mentalism. I am not an authority on Cody.

Quote:
With the surgence of so many magicians getting into mentalism, the reality is the vast majority are doing mental magic. It is not meant to be derogatory in any way, like Bob I love Cody, but look at the two effects mentioned quickly makes it evident. Also who he targets them to. Not nearly a post here, but many pages in the magic community.

Did you ever think the market is with "so many magicians getting into mentalism"? Also, mentalists are considered snobs by many magicians - wonder why?
Mentalism is where magic use to be.

At one-time people believed in the possibility of magic, where now that is much more rare. Magic changed to being viewed as tricks. Everyone has tried to read someone's mind or to move an object in their mind - with mentalism, the plausibility exists, however big or small, in most people. That bit of plausibility is what, to me, makes mentalism. Comedy does not cancel plausibility out, but the presentation can.

How many unengaging mentalists are out there? DO people believe they are real? Not likely, not because of their methods or claims, not because the audience could figure out their methods, but because they are unengaging. No theater, IMO that is the problem.

As for it been written before here in the Café- yes but with nowhere near a unanimous agreement. If we can't agree on a simple definition, no sense discussing it.
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No sense discussing anything with you if you just dismiss my opinion as "a load of BS."

And, NO, I've never claimed not to be real. I claim to read minds. You've obviously never seen me work.

Do you honestly think you are going to get me to change my mind about something I've been performing, writing about, and lecturing on for nearly forty years?

I doubt it.

But since you think my thoughts are just a load of BS, I'm out of this conversation. And you call mentalists arrogant??
funsway
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The purpose of selecting a word in a sentence is to communicate some concept based on a common understanding of the symbols.

If you have to provide a history lesson or personal philosophy ten the choice of word is likely to be misinterpreted.

I thought you use of "paranormal" and "real mentalism" were just slips of of hurried task to get an idea down on print.

Now, it looks as if this thread is about KC and the concept of "if KC says it then it must be so." What kind of Mentalism is that?

BTW: Mongolian Shamanism predates European development by a couple of thousand years. Your ancestors did not speak English originally and so a word was borrowed in translation.

While your ancestors may have developed a unique cultural involvement of superstition based activities it appears that this has little to do with original Shaman concepts or the word "paranormal" mistranslated in the process.

Do not bother to respond. I started out supporting your efforts here. Now I just don't care about your opinions of self.

There is an ancient Shaman saying, "You may be right, you may be wrong -- why I should care is what matters."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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KC Cameron
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As for our discussion in the wee hours today. Quotes in the Café seem to often signal a fight. I am just trying to understand, and I don't want to misquote or misunderstand. I am not angry at all. I am just trying to find reasoning.

Bob,

As for thinking your thoughts are BS, of course I don't - that would be stupid. I do think that one statement is unfounded. I'm sorry I hurt your feelings, that was not the intent. How can I know what you really think when you sometimes express the opposite just for kicks? Really? Really?

Yes, I think using comedy, as in Cody Fisher's book test, does NOT make it implausible - I know this from experience. Positive experience trumps negative experience every day of the week. Do I think your 40 years is worthless? No, priceless. But everyone is wrong about things. Your 40 years is a huge credit, and so adds much weight to you opinions - but I don't believe it makes you always right. Yes, I am arrogant enough to believe there is room at the table for a relative newcomer.

Am I going to change your mind after 40 years of experience? I doubt it, and not my intent. Maybe nail down a definition . . . which doesn't look like that's happening. Can you change my mind? I was hoping so. I was hoping you had some insight that I was missing.

As for me calling mentalists arrogant? I said no such thing. I don't believe most are especially arrogant, some are, sure, I'll say that. A certain amount of arrogance is needed to be a good performer. I said mentalists are considered snobs by many magicians. Do you deny that too? I thought that was pretty well established.

Funsway,

As opposed to Bob or Mindpro, you and I have some very different preconceptions of reality, and I doubt we can ever come close to agreement.

Quote:
If you have to provide a history lesson or personal philosophy ten the choice of word is likely to be misinterpreted.
Do I understand this right? You believe history is not important to a definition? I said
Quote:
As for using the word "Shamanism" to describe what some are striving to pretend to do - I have no problem changing the word.
I have not seen you suggest an alternate word. . . I was just disagreeing with your sweeping statements about Native American belief.

As for "paranormal" and "real mentalism", yes they are just words with different definitions between us. "Real mentalism" especially, since I was trying to nail down what appears to be a very slippery subject.

I know you are really wrapped up in this, and you may be right in some selective cases, but not speaking for all - no way. Especially not in a historical standpoint. Unfortunately, Native American belief has been homogenized to a large extent in the last couple centuries.

Quote:
BTW: Mongolian Shamanism predates European development by a couple of thousand years. Your ancestors did not speak English originally and so a word was borrowed in translation.
Ok, I'm not disagreeing with you, but I fail to see the point?

Quote:
While your ancestors may have developed a unique cultural involvement of superstition based activities it appears that this has little to do with original Shaman concepts or the word "paranormal" mistranslated in the process.
To me, it appears like you are saying the Thlingets were an anomaly when it comes to religion, and that most Native Americans had similar beliefs. Is that correct? I have not done the research necessary to know, but to me that sounds far fetched. I can only speak with any authority about my people. We were an anomaly in several ways.

As for the word "paranormal", I use the definition at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/paranormal?s=t
For the word "shamanism", I use the definition at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/shamanism?s=t
To me, it appears, you are using other definitions.

Quote:
There is an ancient Shaman saying, "You may be right, you may be wrong -- why I should care is what matters."
Why should you care what is right or wrong . . . . or why should you care one way or the other?[/quote] The fact that you responded means you care, why, well that is up to you. I get a feeling you are misusing the quote . . . but it is just a feeling since I am unfamiliar with it. Very Zen sounding to me.

Right and wrong, black and white dicotomy is a Greek consept, not Asian. So perhaps right and wrong are not the question. If that is what you are expressing, I personally agree.
mastermindreader
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KC- Thanks for elaborating a little more fully. I think that when the comedy is the PRIMARY focus of the presentation, then it just isn't mentalism any more.

That's pretty much it in a nutshell. Large parts of my books, though, have been devoted to the subject. I also discussed it (and other issues) at length here:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewf......=304&370
E.E.
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You're forgetting Psychological mentalism... Not the same as Body Language, as many assume.
I shall see you on the other side.
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I agree to the extent that "psychological mentalism" would include body language, but not the other way around.
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