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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » For all mentalists claiming they have "powers"... (20 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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doriancaudal
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A good read for you guys, it made my day Smile (I won't post the source, you may recognize the writing style).

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I started down this path when I realized that many of my favorite effects to perform were prediction effects. And even if you're using different objects, the effects can feel the same to the spectator, i.e. they make a lot of free or random choices or actions and in the end you've predicted the outcome of those choices and actions. Getting rid of the predictions in prediction effects will make them feel like something else entirely. They can be examples of incredible coincidences, fate, or luck. They can be echoes of something that has come before. They can indicate the guiding force of some higher power or some entity on another spiritual plane. There are dozens of ways to spin a typical prediction to remove yourself from the equation.

You might be thinking: But I want the credit. I don't want to remove myself and my "power" from the equation. I want them to think it was me who did something incredible. Really? Do you? I'm not talking to the professional performer, they have different concerns than an amateur (although I think there is merit in this style of presentation for professionals as well). If your goal is to entertain or amuse or enchant someone then you have to think how you want to approach a performance. If someone watches you do something for 5 minutes do you want them to leave having an experience that made you look incredible or having an experience that made their world seem more incredible? Which do you think will stick with them more?

You might think this is all a waste of time to think about because most people will know it's a trick regardless of your presentation. And yes, this is true. But that is not a strike against this style of presentation. In fact, it is its greatest strength. Here's why: No matter how you present an effect, you will have believers and non-believers in what you say. The vast majority are probably non-believers. And when you make a prediction or say you have some amazing power, then the non-believers will be taking credit away from you. "You didn't really predict this poker hand." "You didn't really read my mind." But if you don't claim responsibility, then the non-believers will be giving you credit. And the more you deny it, the more credit they will give you. "He says he had nothing to do with this... but he must have." And even if, in these two scenarios, the non-believers are arriving at the same destination, the direction they come from makes all the difference. [If I tell you, "You won a billion dollars in the powerball lottery," and then come back and say, "My mistake. You won $40," you're devastated. But if I say, "You lost the lottery drawing." And then come back and say, "My bad, you actually won $40." Then you're like, "Cool! Let's order a pizza."] So even if your goal is to get credit, I think you'll get more by not taking it.

Beyond that, I've found people are just more likely to play along with things when you don't claim to be the prime-mover behind the effect. And why wouldn't they? What's in it for them to deny this amazing experience that just happened? On the other hand, when you say, "I'm reading your mind," or, "I can use my mental powers to predict what cards you'll select," it makes complete sense that very few people are on board. And then magic message boards are filled with people saying, "Why do they see magic as a puzzle? Why don't they believe in my mental abilities? Why do they heckle me? Why do they try and expose the trick?" Hmm... yes... what a shock that people don't want to play along with your narcissistic fantasies about powers you don't possess.

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Hands-off ACAAN - freely chosen card and number : http://doriancaudal.wix.com/miracaan
Nestor D
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As the author states, it is not about "mentalists claiming they have "powers"" but "do you want them to leave having an experience that made you look incredible or having an experience that made their world seem more incredible?".

I like the psychic power approach. When performing, I have powers that I use (they are part of my character) but I am not here to demonstrate my powers, I am here to share some incredible things about the world, that's the point of the effect (at least, that's the view I try to implement Smile ).
If it is just about showing off, why would any public watch it?

That's one of the reasons that makes me avoid predictions presended as predictions.

(the author also points that it might not hold true in a professional performance)
funsway
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I have presented "mental based" effects for more than six decades -- many of which would be considered Mental Magic today by most on this forum,
but also those offered as scientific demonstrations of innate abilities, heightened acuity, enhanced "other than normal" abilities, etc.

I feel that ALL prediction effects come across as "tricks" regardless how presented, or at least run that risk.

If I was performing a Mentalist with a possible assumption of enhanced telepathic ability I would never offer a prediction effect.

Just an opinion that I am sure will not be popular. Yes, many performers feel that their prediction effects are very entertaining. But, are they "extraordinary?"

Part of my thinking comes from an experienced view that you are asking the observer to make certain assumptions.
One is that some people have extraordinary abilities that others do not. Folks to to a Mentalism show for validation of beliefs -- not revelation.
A prediction effect asks for agreement that the future is already determined and detectable. This assumption may be in conflict with the first.
A person may readily believe in telepathy under certain conditions but reject any notion of karma or pre-ordination. Why take the risk?

Please note that I ma not talking about a demonstration that a person might be inclined to make a predictable choice or be influenced in said choice,
or even that your telepathic ability extends to "knowing" what choice is made.

I refer to a claim of knowing, "in advance" a specific outcome indicating that the spectator had no choice. That is not "an extraordinary power." It is claiming the future is locked and beyond control.

Just an opinion. I like Nestor's "Share some incredible things." One of those is not to limit the future or condemn any person to a lack of personal responsibility.

For example, If I perform Helstromism I want every observer/participant to know that I was able to read the private or group secret in a special way -- NEVER that I was able to predict what might happen.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
Tempesta
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Dorian,

We have similar tastes in daily reading. ;]

||sean ||
//Sean Beard
Necromancer
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The power of your performance of mentalism (and magic) depends ENTIRELY on how much your participants care about who you are and what you're doing. Period.

That is completely independent of whether or not your character has powers—claimed or unexplained.

If would-be mental performers spent more time thinking about their audience's emotional investment and less time wrestling with magician's guilt over disclaimers, our art would be in a much better place.
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), and contributor to the ebook GOLD: When It HAS To Be Performance GOLD -- all at Penguin.
George Hunter
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Some effects that are usually presented as precognition can be presented as mind-to-mind influence, which audiences usually find more believable, and it can be more enjoyable to perform them that way.

I agree with Richard Osterlind and others, however, in believing that we should make NO explicit claims. People will leave the experience believing what they want to believe.

For those who do explicitly claim powers of memorization, telepathy, clairvoyance and so on, predicting the future may be the least plausible to an educated audience.

George
Slim King
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There is a Collective Unconscious. We can all tap into it. It explains certain Paranormal activities.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_unconscious
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Sam Hagen
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2016, Tempesta wrote:
Dorian,

We have similar tastes in daily reading. ;]

||sean ||

Same here. Smile

SH
May you live in interesting times.
Wardy
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I've turned my predictions into outright manipulation. My whole character is presented as a fun con man/master manipulator. So when I present the 'prediction' it is as an outcome that they can't avoid but they still must try to. Makes for a lot more fun for the specs and I don't have to claim special powers, just knowledge of how the brain works and how I can manipulate it. It also turns into an awareness lesson so people are more aware of real con men. It's taken me a few years to refine this character but it's actually pretty much my own personality. And people don't feel stupid because I've already told them they're going to be manipulated. Sometimes telling the truth is easier than lying!
MysticJohn
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I do have powers Smile
C.J.
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2016, Sam Hagen wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 26, 2016, Tempesta wrote:
Dorian,

We have similar tastes in daily reading. ;]

||sean ||

Same here. Smile

SH


Whoever that author is, he sounds very wise and knowledgeable. They should make him a moderator here at the Café. It's this sort of great thinking that I'm sure Mr Brooks had in mind when he started this forum! Smile
Connor Jacobs - The Thought Sculptor
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur
Be fondly remembered.
Sam Hagen
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Quote:
On Jan 28, 2016, C.J. wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 26, 2016, Sam Hagen wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 26, 2016, Tempesta wrote:
Dorian,

We have similar tastes in daily reading. ;]

||sean ||

Same here. Smile

SH


Whoever that author is, he sounds very wise and knowledgeable. They should make him a moderator here at the Café. It's this sort of great thinking that I'm sure Mr Brooks had in mind when he started this forum! Smile


I think it's kinda impossible as both of them has some kind of 'history'. Smile
May you live in interesting times.
John C
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What about those of us that really do have powers. No claim.
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Oscar999
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I've done the "cut and restored rope" and have had people ask me if it was "real" or not. Your power is in the mind of the beholder - whether you claim any or not.

The first time somebody asked me if that was real or a trick I was so shocked I showed him how it worked right there on the spot. That was a long time ago (more than 25 years) I wouldn't handle it that way today, but doesn't really matter what you do ... if you show enough people your magic, someone will ascribe to you real powers.

Oscar
Gordon the discombobulator
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Someone started a petition....made me laugh.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/117294
716 signatures so far.

Petition: Make all those who sell psychic services, prove that their abilities are real.

Those claiming psychic abilities or the ability to speak with the dead, must prove under proper controlled conditions that they actually possess this ability before they are allowed to charge money for providing such services.

Many professions require those practicing them to obtain qualifications or pass exams before they are allowed to trade as a professional.

Those who are unable to prove their abilities are real, may not charge a fee, or request donations for any psychic readings or mediumship services.
Oscar999
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Regarding Gordon's post

Bored government compliance officer for all things psychic: "How DO all these psychics know about the scar on my left knee?"

Oscar
C.J.
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Quote:
On Jan 28, 2016, Sam Hagen wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 28, 2016, C.J. wrote:
Whoever that author is, he sounds very wise and knowledgeable. They should make him a moderator here at the Café. It's this sort of great thinking that I'm sure Mr Brooks had in mind when he started this forum! Smile


I think it's kinda impossible as both of them has some kind of 'history'. Smile


Smile
Connor Jacobs - The Thought Sculptor
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur
Be fondly remembered.
StevenScott
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I just tell people I'm using the same intuitive abilities we all have. Then I do something really cool and by default they assume they could do the same thing if they would just spend the time to get "in touch" with that part of themselves. To me that is the allure of mentalism. When we watch a movie where someone exhibits special skills or abilities we enjoy the movie, in part, because we fantasize about what it would be like to have those same powers. Let them day dream for a while. I use no disclaimers because I do believe we all have untapped mental powers we don't put to use. Who knows, we may inspire them to pick up a book on memory work, or a positive thinking book that may change the course of there life for the better.
StevenScott
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Maybe even change THEIR life. I wish someone would have inspired me to pick up a book on spelling.
funsway
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Yes, Scott (welcome) -- self-appraisal is also a good attribute of the performer of mystic arts.

"allure" is a good word in this context. Thanks.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
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