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Rocketeer
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I'm sure there are many threads on this but I'd like to revisit it.

I'm always slightly dismayed when mentalists state that they have no special powers, that there are (non-supernatural) explanations for everything they do. So should we claim boldly that we are "real" like Uri Geller? No. To me, the main thing that separates mentalism from magic is that many people think it _could_ be real. When Copperfield goes through the Wall of China absolutely nobody believes he really did it. But when a mentalist reads someone's mind, a fair proportion of the audience at least wonders if it could be real. I think that wonder is the icing on the cake of the entertainment value that only mentalism can deliver (to at least _some_ of the audience).

I was a big fan of magic as a little kid, spending my Christmas money at Tannens etc. But when I saw Maurice Woodruff or Joseph Dunninger on TV I entertained the idea that they might actually be real psychics. (I also wondered if maybe some UFO reports really were about extraterrestrial spaceraft.)

So what I'm advocating is to neither claim real powers nor completely disavow them (as Derren Brown does so frequently).

IMO I like leaving things up in the air--not being duplicitous, just ambiguous. Maybe make a weak disclaimer or something.

Was it Dunninger who originally said, "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation is possible."?

What do you think?
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Philemon Vanderbeck
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I made my disclaimer into my opening joke. It's right there in my signature.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
George Hunter
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Claim or disclaim nothing. Let the spectators reach their own conclusion. They will anyway!

George
Mindpro
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I think the whole issue on disclaimers (and their need or purpose) has changed. It was initially discussed here because mentalists were using them to state if they did or didn't claim to have special or real abilities as to their performance being seen and accepted as real (the foundational issue you identified above, quite different, actually opposite from magic). Today, most that call themselves "mentalists" are magicians doing mental magic so either no disclaimer is necessary or it is not necessarily for the same purpose.

Those not claiming to be real really have little need for a disclaimer, other than to separate themselves from psi abilities.
Shrubsole
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I don't think there is one fits all answer and each must decide for themselves how they wish to portray themselves.

I'm sure many would not support fraudulent scamming of vulnerable people, but at the other end making a big song and dance by saying that you are a total fake and only doing what magician do, is, whilst not nasty, not very productive for a good show.

On a sideline to this, what do you replying to an audience member who obviously believes your every move and asks you serious questions about your 'special powers'? Do you answer with a non-committal response? Feed their delusion with falsehood or try to word it nicely that they shouldn't put to much emphasis on what you do as it's just meant to be a piece of entertain?
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Philemon Vanderbeck
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I'm an extrovert, so I "feed" off the energy of people. Therefore, the only place my powers seem to manifest, is when I'm on stage in front of a lot of people. ;-)
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IAIN
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I think people will believe what they feel best fits their world view, regardless of evidence or disclaimer...
Ben Blau
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I’m an open skeptic. It’s central to my narrative. I don’t have one specific disclaimer. I have SEVERAL. Many of them are woven into my scripts themselves. Some of them are prewritten responses to common questions or responses I get. A lot of them are the result of experiences I’ve had interacting with spectators and audience members after a performance, and just listening to them while paying close attention to what was most thought-provoking to them.
Max Hazy
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Yes, I also have an ambiguous position. It goes like this:

"People wonder if what I do is real. What I do is probably more real than you might think, but nothing I do is supernatural in my opinion. Some people think I have a gift. Personally I don't think I have. I may be wrong... maybe I have a gift, different from what you think. Maybe I have a gift that is exactly what you think. Either way, you're all free to think whatever you want. I just hope that you enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed yours. Thank you."

With that ambiguity, basically I try to not "break" people's wonder without putting myself in a charlatan position.
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Mindpro
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That's the problem with many's disclaimers is they are really nothing but a lot of non-committal doublespeak.
bofx
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Here is what I said about disclaimers in "Douceurs Mentales 2" :

"I consider that the use of any disclaimer harms the credibility of the mentalist, the quality of the show and only appeasing the conscience of the one who pronounces it. Moreover, each human being free to believe what he wants, it is not the words of a mentalist that will push him to change his beliefs. I also think that it is neither wise nor respectable to confront the beliefs of its audience."
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IAIN
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Inversely, you can claim certain things under particular conditions...
WitchDocChris
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If I'm doing my solo parlor show, "the ticket is the disclaimer" as they say. I don't put anything into the actual script.

The only time I give any kind of disclaimer is when I'm doing my busking show. I say that I'm not there to prove anything, or change anyone's beliefs, I'm just there to give them a unique experience and a fun story to tell their friends on Monday. I find that encourages people to relax and just go with it, and enjoy the show. And give me money at the end.
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John C
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Quote:
On Jan 7, 2018, Philemon Vanderbeck wrote:
I'm an extrovert, so I "feed" off the energy of people. Therefore, the only place my powers seem to manifest, is when I'm on stage in front of a lot of people. ;-)


As well as creating bits and situations with the spec or specs onstage. Let them create the action.

As far as the question "do we have powers?" well, in a kinda sorta way we do. Most of us spend lots of time researching, reading, learning about the 5 senses, ESP, tells, lying, body language and such things. So we could think that all this combined "creates" a new power (unknown in others because they have no experience in these areas) same way that a blocked artery creates new paths for the blood to flow. Same way very deep sea fish are blind, same way flounder only have one eye.

And as ongoing learning continues we have "powers under construction!!"

Where the heck am I going with this? Stop John C, while you're ahead.

Carry on....
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Oscar999
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There's a line in Eugene Burger's Secrets of Restaurant Magic, that states (paraphrasing, book is not in front of me),"There's a difference between performing magic for family and friends and doing it because it 7PM on a Wednesday."

I realize that argument has to do with the decision to perform for money, but I would draw a parallel in this way... "There's a difference between performing mentalism on a stage in a theatre - and doing a reading in a tea room or psychic fair."

It's context. Do you even need to give a disclaimer on stage? I don't think so... but I DO really like Philemon's.

Oscar
Max Hazy
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Quote:
On Jan 8, 2018, Mindpro wrote:
That's the problem with many's disclaimers is they are really nothing but a lot of non-committal doublespeak.


I don't really see it as a "problem", it's actually the opposite imo, it avoids problems. If I commit with playing for real 100%, I'll be going to the charlatan side (along with it's consequences). If I commit 100% for not real, I'll break their wonder (along with it's consequences). By not committing 100% with either side, I don't have any side issue so, I don't face any problem from either side. I only use disclaimers when I feel is needed. Sometimes further things must be said (like not taking part on medical, law and health issues) and sometimes I don't even need to say anything. Depends on the situation. Being ambiguous is what seems to work best for me, but might not be the case for others.
"Your method is in my opinion the very best way to do Q&A"
Millard Longman

"Max has pushed some less known and seldom used principles a huge step forward"
Jan Forster


Arcane Grimoires Vol 1- http://www.maxhazy.com/arcane-grimoires/apocryphal-reach/

Arcane Grimoires Vol 2- http://www.maxhazy.com/Codex-Mentis/
Last Laugh
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I think that the goal should be to invoke intrigue and mystery. As such, I don't offer any type of disclaimer during the show. Like Chris says, the ticket is the disclaimer. I'm an entertainer having been hired to entertain. That is a pretty serious indication for the thinking person that this might not be real.

On the other hand, if someone comes to me afterwards with seemingly genuine belief, I prefer to hedge a little and try and invoke the idea of 'theater' in one way or another. My goal is not to create false beliefs, but rather to entertain and to hopefully encourage people to question reality a little in a positive way.
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Raum
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I don't disclaime or claim anything, because people will believe what they want to believe.
I remember interview with Derren Brown, where he told,a story about a guy who came to him with a huge notepad where was a various theories about how Brown do his effects. One theory include GIANT MAGNETS UNDER THE STAGE.
Robb
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SHOOT ME NOW.
ThomasIndigo
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Lol what? ^
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