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Alan Wheeler
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Eugene Burger has said there are many rooms in the house of magic, meaning that there are many [implication = acceptable] approaches to the mystery arts. The context, if I remember correctly, was professionals, amateur performers, collectors, and so on. His concept has been applied to different genres such as Bizarre Magic, Mentalism, Mental Magic, and so on. These rooms of relativism could also be categorized by tone and style: dramatic, comedic, realistic, and so on.

Ortiz, Haydn, Teller, and others have focused on the premise and experience of magic and have studied the cognitive dissonance and emotional "no way" (Ortiz), the "unwilling suspension of disbelief" (Teller), and the impact of "Dilemma" when audiences face proof of the impossible. This magic theory does not--strictly speaking--apply to classic Mentalism, but may be helpful in seeing how different practitioners approach performing premise and audience experience in different rooms in the House of Mystery.

Claim to Reality This is the claim at which we usually start and stop in discussions of magic vs. mentalism vs. real readers. According to Ortiz, Teller, and Haydn, magic requires the assumption of impossibility, which is the basis of the impact of magic effects. Most mentalists require the premise of believability. All I want to say here is "use the search function." Smile

Claim to Fantasy This claim begins with the theatrical element of any performance--at bare minimum the stage, the curtains, or the designation "show." Bizarre magic seems to have more fantastical elements than classic mentalism, for example. (I just saw a quote on a newly launched website to the effect that hell may not really exist but we are going to have a taste of it in the show.) A Harry Potter movie is pure fantasy. The Blaire Witch Project and the original radio broadcast of [War of the Worlds[/I] circumvented this claim to fantasy.

Claim to Verisimilitude This is the claim to realism in art, an element that is easy to spot in painting or novels but more complicated in the mystery arts. Classic art claims to imitate life, and impressionism claims to imitate perception. Escher in his impossible, ambiguous drawings makes a claim to verisimilitude but not to reality. Mystery performers may add verisimilitude as convincers to hide a method or make a logical disconnect. They may also add verisimilitude to create a believable tone and style to the show.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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Second Sight
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This is a really nice post, and I think in light of other discussions, this is worthy of further discussion.

Eugene Burger also makes a distinction between belief or disbelief and make belief. Performance studies theorist Richard Schechner writes a lot about make belief performances -- which are performances that, while known to be false at some level, aim to be consumed by spectators as real.

To me, these questions seem to boil down to ritual and play. I think that mentalists act out rituals (as do professional wrestlers) that are very important for humans as a whole. But the dilemma seems to come from the fact that if you pull back the curtains on these rituals, then they become a very different sort of ritual. On this note, Burger also states, "Once the audience knows that the snakes are rubber, then what's the point?"
Second Sight
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In a way, maybe it engages a mutual sort of play. I will play at being a psychic, if you will play at believing me, and vice versa. This is different than suspension of disbelief, in that this sort of play is so deep (Jeremy Bentham) that you and the audience may begin to lose sense of where the game begins and ends.

This line of thinking is not entirely dissimilar from Alan's stated Claim to Verisimilitude. Very interesting post, Alan. Thank you.
Alan Wheeler
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The movie The Game--which depicts a life-changing, role-playing game--plays with these various levels of the claim. Somehow the participants' minds are messed with royally but ethically.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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IAIN
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People have said "no one wants to see a fake mind-reader"...but I personally think that the majority these days too...

to indulge in the idea of someone being able to fortell the future, read minds and so on...

but they have little time, or are at least, very skeptical about people who claim that they can do it for real...

because the "for real" crowd believe in stuff that doesn't fit in within their experience of life...

so sometimes, the fantasy is more fun the reality...
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Alan Wheeler
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Dungeons and Dragons, fortune cookies, Derren Brown, The O.A. (Netflix show), ghost stories, haunted houses, and so on can be fun with an element of realism or believability ...maybe dangerous for those unstable or of abnormal psychology...
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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Alan Wheeler
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A good analogy might be the differences between casual sex (all play), serious dating (ritual and play), and marriage vows (real ritual).

In case someone does not follow the reasoning:

Clowning-style magic = casual sex
Mentalism as live entertainment = serious dating
Religion, ceremonial magic, or real divination = marriage vows
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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Al Straker
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PMSL.....Ohhhhhhhh Alan....... you old psychic clown priest you!! Smile

Mind you I have seen some priests who would belong more to the clowning community and vice versa.
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DocBenWiz
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Quote:
On Dec 26, 2016, Alan Wheeler wrote:
A good analogy might be the differences between casual sex (all play), serious dating (ritual and play), and marriage vows (real ritual).

In case someone does not follow the reasoning:

Clowning-style magic = casual sex
Mentalism as live entertainment = serious dating
Religion, ceremonial magic, or real divination = marriage vows


So does that make "gothic/satanic bizarrist" majick....honeymoon consummation...?!


Smile Smile Smile
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Alan Wheeler
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I'm usually really good at analogies and symbolism.

I don't know what happened here... Smile Smile Smile
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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Dr Spektor
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Quote:
On Dec 26, 2016, DocBenWiz wrote:
Quote:
On Dec 26, 2016, Alan Wheeler wrote:
A good analogy might be the differences between casual sex (all play), serious dating (ritual and play), and marriage vows (real ritual).

In case someone does not follow the reasoning:

Clowning-style magic = casual sex
Mentalism as live entertainment = serious dating
Religion, ceremonial magic, or real divination = marriage vows


So does that make "gothic/satanic bizarrist" majick....honeymoon consummation...?!


Smile Smile Smile


Nah, just open / alternative relationships maybe
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
Alan Wheeler
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Dr. Spektor seems to get the analogy.

Where any certain mode of mystery art (whether hypnosis, escapes, sideshow, or Bizarre) fits into the spectrum depends on the level of the claim to be fantastical, virtual, or real. Maybe I should have chosen a less distracting analogy!
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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Yuan Moons
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Do you have another analogy that fits Alan?
Alan Wheeler
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Dozens! (Thank you for asking.) I stay awake nights thinking up analogies, metaphors, and symbols!

Another way to look at the spectrum between play life and real life comes from the field of medicine:

Recreational drugs (play).................Placebo (play and real)...................Prescriptions (real)

But maybe this one is too distracting as well...
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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Alan Wheeler
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Also...

The claim to the fantastical would be as "fake-lore," akin to a fake folk singer, perhaps in a parody or imitation.

The claim to verisimilitude would be as "folklorism," akin to a record-company enhanced folk singer.

The claim to reality would be as "folklore" proper, akin to a regional singer of authentic, traditional ballads.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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