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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Acknowledging it's all a trick (48 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Walkio
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I read in an interview between Fogel and Corinda in the 13 Steps where both seemed to suggest it's ok to let the audience believe the mentalist really does have some kind of psychic ability. Thankfully, Fogel makes it clear one shouldn't take advantage of the recently bereaved who wish to talk to their deceased loved ones etc. (I think all mediums are deplorable). But I personally think we should make it clear what we're doing is trickery. It's ok to deceive in the context of a trick if the audience expects and accepts trickery. Otherwise you're no better than Uri Gellar, a charlatan and fraud and laughing stock. What do you guys think?
Lucien Astor
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Context is important. If you are working with the public as an entertainer, why would you need to say anything? If your services have been retained and you are doing close-up, platform, or stage... anyone with common sense will know that you are a performer with whom they have chosen to suspend their disbelief. It is an insult to the intelligence of your average rational individual. And for those lacking in common sense, why do we have to pander to them? Disclaimers seem strange to me. It would be like George Lucas opening Star Wars by telling the audience that the Jedi aren't actually real. The one demographic who should offer disclaimers never will, because they are disingenuous charlatans.

All my opinion, and that being said, I have heard some clever and ambiguous disclaimers.
tomd
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I don't think you need to say anything. Or at least I don't want to when I perform any mentalism, disclaimers aren't needed personally.

There is a great clip from a Derren Brown show where he tells someone he has no psychic ability, and then proceeds to cold read. He gets some good hits. Afterwards, in an interview the person who he cold read genuinely believed he had some psychic ability. He put a disclaimer out there for her, and she ignored/refused to accept it.

Let the audience your performing for decide what abilities you have/haven't got.
Dr Spektor
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IMHO - if your goal is to make people believe you truly have mysterious psionic etc powers, then you may not be a mentalist.
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
Walkio
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I too don't think a disclaimer is necessary because most will know it's a trick. However, if a spec was into spiritualism and did believe telekinesis was possible for instance, and then asked me straight if I possessed the ability after using loops on some silverware, I would certainly say it was 'just a trick'. I would not say 'you'll just have to make up your own mind!'
Lucien Astor
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Quote:
On Jul 28, 2016, Walkio wrote:
I too don't think a disclaimer is necessary because most will know it's a trick. However, if a spec was into spiritualism and did believe telekinesis was possible for instance, and then asked me straight if I possessed the ability after using loops on some silverware, I would certainly say it was 'just a trick'.


I would tell them I did it with some unique skills that I have learned, skills anyone can acquire if they devote themselves to the proper areas of
Michael Zarek
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Every single thing I perform, I could do for real.

Duplicate thought of drawings? I can do that for real
Guess thought of cards? I can do that for real
Read people and reveal things I shouldn't know? I can do that for real


There is no lying, and if I sometimes use a "fake" method, I doesn't diminish the fact that if I wanted I could do it for real.

But despite that, even if I couldn't do all this for real, telling the audience that you're doing tricks diminishes their experience massively.

Also while we're on the topic, most lay people really just don't give a ****, we seem to think it's so important what we claim but for 99% of people it really doesn't matter (and even if you claim it's tricks there still will be that 1% that wants you to talk to their dead cat)
Reader discretion is advised.
Slim King
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I do everything with the POWER OF MY MIND....case closed....
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
truman
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Quote:
On Jul 28, 2016, Walkio wrote:
...no better than Uri Gellar, a charlatan and fraud and laughing stock...


Uri Geller did a lot of good for mentalism. He is a legend and doesn't fit the description you gave him. Try to have a successful career like his as a mentalist performing "tricks."
ringmaster
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Nobody would pay to see a fake psychic.
One of the last living 10-in-one performers. I wanted to be in show business the worst way, and that was it.
seamagu
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I like to maintain an air of mystery so I just don't mention it
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IAIN
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I think if its for stage, then by its own definition, there's enough there to indicate its for entertainment...the lighting, the music, the fact you've bought a ticket for a show, that kind of thing...they get caught up in the drama and the theatre of it, but in my opinion - they'll have a great experience and talk about it for days, if its really good - a great memory to keep...

you'll still get a percentage of believers no matter where or what you do (if you're any good)...

i think the first real question to ask is though - "am I really good enough to be convincing in the first place?"...and if so, then its the difference between ego and personal values...
I've asked to be banned
Walkio
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Quote:
On Jul 28, 2016, truman wrote:
Quote:
On Jul 28, 2016, Walkio wrote:
...no better than Uri Gellar, a charlatan and fraud and laughing stock...


Uri Geller did a lot of good for mentalism. He is a legend and doesn't fit the description you gave him. Try to have a successful career like his as a mentalist performing "tricks."


He maintains he has magic powers, and that he can really bend spoons with the power of his mind when really using the ratcheting technique. He is a liar and a fraud, and that's why the likes of Randi, Penn and Teller and Derren Brown expose him.
Walkio
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Quote:
On Jul 28, 2016, ringmaster wrote:
Nobody would pay to see a fake psychic.


All psychics are fake. People pay.
Walkio
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Quote:
On Jul 28, 2016, Michael Zarek wrote:
Every single thing I perform, I could do for real.

Duplicate thought of drawings? I can do that for real
Guess thought of cards? I can do that for real
Read people and reveal things I shouldn't know? I can do that for real


There is no lying, and if I sometimes use a "fake" method, I doesn't diminish the fact that if I wanted I could do it for real.

But despite that, even if I couldn't do all this for real, telling the audience that you're doing tricks diminishes their experience massively.

Also while we're on the topic, most lay people really just don't give a ****, we seem to think it's so important what we claim but for 99% of people it really doesn't matter (and even if you claim it's tricks there still will be that 1% that wants you to talk to their dead cat)


No you can't! You don't duplicate anything merely 'thought of'. You use a force, or an imp pad, or a Swami gimmick or a centre tear... You pretend that you can reveal something a spec merely thought of - read their mind - but of course you can't. You have to see or be told what they've written.
Lucien Astor
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Quote:
On Jul 28, 2016, Walkio wrote:
No you can't! You don't duplicate anything merely 'thought of'. You use a force, or an imp pad, or a Swami gimmick or a centre tear... You pretend that you can reveal something a spec merely thought of - read their mind - but of course you can't. You have to see or be told what they've written.


I've met individuals and watched lectures from people who can do it for real. Prop-less. Reveal thoughts and drawings that have never been written down or told to anyone. It is sophisticated. It is not "psychic".
Axel
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Walkio, I have the feeling that you're coming from a very rigid point of view.
And while I think I can relate to the way you see this there might be a little bit more to this topic then just "if you're lying it's morally wrong".
For me there are many facets to this and it took me 10 years of studying mentalism to get through my personal dilemma with the moral aspects of mentalism.
There is some poetry in it and there is some beauty in deceiving and as long as you don't exploit your audiences and do it in the right context I think there can be some beauty in pretending it is real.
Walkio
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I think that's a very fair point and you're probably right. Morally, I have no qualms with lying to an audience (that's what magic is, after all), as long as they know and accept at some level they're being deceived!
Ed_Millis
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I have to agree with Axel - I think you're dealing with a very huge case of magician's guilt. Deceit is no different with sponge balls than with a spoon bend.

Performing, by it's very nature, is deceiving. We're setting up a context and story that is meant to draw in the audience and win them to our point of view, to forget they are watching a performance. This includes setting up the nature and abilities of the performer's character. If any of this were to be done in "real life", it would most likely not be done *that* way by *that* person, if for no other reason than performers rarely entertain as they are in real life and a performance requires certain blockings and "trappings" (verbal or otherwise) to keep the entertainment value up.

Quote:
as long as they know and accept at some level they're being deceived!

You have zero control over that.


And to tell someone you don't know "You can't do that!" is the sound of someone very arrogantly sure that he knows everything there possibly is to know. Most people can't explain to you how their phone or CFL bulb works, much less why it was important to verify the existence of the Higgs Boson and what the results were and meant. If you don't know everything, then you don't know if that person has found a way to accomplish what you believe is impossible. It's been done quite often.

Ed
Axel
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Quote:
On Jul 28, 2016, Walkio wrote:
I think that's a very fair point and you're probably right. Morally, I have no qualms with lying to an audience (that's what magic is, after all), as long as they know and accept at some level they're being deceived!



But after a certain point that is not in your hands.
You only have control over your own intentions.
If you're lucky that is ;-)
You can't fully control what your audience perceives.
That is true for any art-form where the audience takes part in creating the moment.
The same is true for any concert you might play as a musician.
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