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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Debunking psychological mentalists in the future (32 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Stevious
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Nowadays psychic powers are widely regarded as bu******, they have been replaced by psychological powers. Whichever is used as presentation they are both fine as long as they serve entertainment and making magic more magical.

However, I’ve seen recently some mentalists on TEDx events presenting their skills as genuine psychological body reading, influencing, predicting, which sort of sounds like claiming to have psychic powers many years ago. It is the same lie, irresponsible and arrogant, simply adjusted to modern beliefs.

My point is that if a mentalist claims to achieve what they do by pure psychology at SCIENTIFIC EVENTS, they step onto the same dark path Geller and Hydrick did many years ago.

I love psychological presentation, it is wonderful, but why at a conference where people don’t expect to be lied to?
In the future, someone might pi** off and start exposing mentalism, like Randi exposing psychics.

Simply put, I think D.Brown and S.Banachek approach is very healthy, using a mixture of magic and psychological techniques, which is true.

I would love to know what is your take on this matter, I'm just an amateur thinking about the future of this deceitful and beautiful art.
George Hunter
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I find Richard Osterlind's case, in Principles of Mentalism, pretty convincing. Why explicitly claim anything at all?

George
IAIN
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That's not the point he's making, George...
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seamagu
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It's an interesting point, I like your thinking
I wonder how the pro randi folk would feel if you were to debunk the psychological angle????
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IAIN
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I think if you employ mentalism techniques to give the impression that you can influence people and so on, when you can't, then its the same fraud, but with a different emotional context...but you're still doing it for money, and are there under false pretenses...

Not seen any TED talks that show that personally...if they are there as a mentalist, then its fair game...
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seamagu
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I was at a science exhibition for kids earlier in the year and there was a mentalist claiming he used his amazing knowledge of statistics to do a certain routine with a dice. He was very good but I would say a lot of people believed his premise!!!! Doesn't bother me but if people are debunking the psychic angle then why not debunk this premise too, it's equally as deceiving, right?
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Ben Blau
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I present myself as a skeptic, and yet I don't find that it diminishes the strength of my performances. I explicitly state that I'm not psychic and do not believe in psychic powers. However, I don't go on to verbally elaborate on what I AM doing. I want the material to still seem mysterious. I think if you have to literally explain to people, "I use highly honed psychological techniques to appear to read your mind," you're potentially diminishing the mystery for the audience. Even if it's a lie (which it usually is), and even if they believe you (which they sometimes -- even often will), giving them information or ersatz information on how you achieve your effects doesn't let the material speak for itself. And the point of a performance shouldn't be to provoke a shallow, "how did he do that?" reaction anyway. Good effects point beyond themselves, and even beyond the performer.
sychou
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It depends on the context of where you do it.
If presented in TED,then what the mentalist claim might be thought as real by audiences,in this case,the mentalist is just worth debunking.
I like Richard Osterlind's philosophy,I also let my audiences decide themselves,if they ask me if what I do is real,
I will honestly say I do use psychological techniques,but I also use magic to cheat,the presentation is just for theatrical effect,don't take my perform too seriously.
David Thiel
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The whole notion that we need to justify HOW we are doing what we do feels a little like magician think. To say that "I read body language and that is how I knew the word you were thinking of" is patently ridiculous when you think about it. But so is using the same justification of NLP or...whatever.

It's a show. It's just a show. I don't talk about being bitten by a radioactive spider or having angels whisper in my ears. I just do a show. When pressed, I tell them I'm not doing anything they couldn't do with the proper training...that what I do is a blending of technique, training and intuition. And that's absolutely true.

I think Osterlind says "Just do it." He's right. At least he is right for my philosophy of mentalism.

David
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IAIN
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I think the op is saying that if you are at a TED talk, being introduced as a master of psychology or similar, but then only use mentalism techniques, you are there under false pretenses...
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seamagu
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You were bitten by a radioactive spider...bloody hell
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Dr Spektor
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How about being bitten by a radioactive mentalist?
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E.E.
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Quote:
On Sep 7, 2016, Dr Spektor wrote:
How about being bitten by a radioactive mentalist?


hahahaha! now that's more like it.
I shall see you on the other side.
WDavis
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Once when I was a puppy, I dated a girl who claimed she could cook. I went to her house and tried the food. It was amazing. Being the gentleman I am, I picked up my dishes and took them to the kitchen. Going to the trash to dispose of waste I saw take out food boxes for the exact same food. In the end, I realized she couldn't cook as she claimed and what I learned is I couldn't trust her.

What I hope I am conveying with my true story above is the context in which the claim is made is everything. If the mentalist claims psychological powers in a premise outside of entertainment. In a place where authority is given based on the claim and the believers expect to learn some or all of the claim and the recipient of that authority lacks the basis--- it's fraud.
Magidoc
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I've recently watched a TED talk with a mentalist (might be the one Stevious saw) on Youtube. I'll link it later when I find it again. It was bad... Really bad. Without going into much detail, what he was trying to sell wasn't worth buying at all for the (I'm assuming) scientific audience. As a person with a scientific background, I couldn't watch it.

This kind of mentalism may have the same fate as psychic phenomena (yet some people still want to see their palm read) but I have to echo what everyone else has said about Richard Osterlind's philosophy. I find myself still trying to figure out how to present my style of mentalism but I seem to always fall back on just doing it.
Mindpro
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Seems like everyone is still just seeking justification to present magic as mentalism.
Alexxander
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Oh NO, not again!
Stevious
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My point in this topic was to criticize slightly mentalists who claim to use pure psychology at conferences or in interviews. I might be wrong, but if most of mentalists were to keep up those exaggerated claims, it can backfire in the future.

Personally, I really like D.Brown reading from signals, and influencing decisions, his skills were exaggerated at the beginning, but as long as it’s magic/entertainment it’s fine for me. (I love "being honest about being dishonest" or something similar).
At least it’s partially true, you can read uncouncious signals (e.g muscle reading), and you can influence others, e.g. Brown has quite reliable card forces, so it’s not pure magic tricks either way.

True, R. Osterlind style is classic, mysterious and unpretentious.
Slim King
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Quote:
On Sep 7, 2016, IAIN wrote:
I think the op is saying that if you are at a TED talk, being introduced as a master of psychology or similar, but then only use mentalism techniques, you are there under false pretenses...

Holy Smokes .. You got it right!!!!
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IAIN
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Ah well...
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