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KieranS
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Hello,

Firstly, I am not sure if this was the best part of the forum to make this post, I was finding it hard to choose, so apologies in advance for that if you feel this is in the wrong place.
Secondly, a general apology as I am new to the world or 'forum writing' so who knows if I am doing it right. Perhaps I should start with apologising less.

So I am interested to hear people's thought on cards being used in mentalism (or mentalism being used within cards I suppose. I seem to have confused myself already, that's not a good start.) ? I am fairly new to both areas (new to taking the time to learn some effects and stumble through performing something that could represent what was intended anyway) My main area of love is mentalism effects and this is very much the area I would like to dive in too, however, I also have a huge love for cards, despite the fact that dexterity is far from my reach!
Looking through the Café, Mentalism and Card workers are very much in separate areas and considered too separate things, was just interested if there is a small corner somewhere where the two of them sit hand in hand ?

P.s. on the note of apologising less, apologies to you if you have managed to read this far, I tend to ramble. Smile
tommy
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Many self-working card tricks can be presented as some sort of mental feat: Babble some nonsense about the power of concentrated thought and proceed with the experiment.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
funsway
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What you consider to be "Mentalist" is a factor. Any magic effect can be attributed to "mental powers."

One key question is what your audience expects to occur. If they want a "must be magic experience" I would avoid both mental based effect and cards.

Everyone knows a card trick or two and will always associate their use with trickery.

To the extent that a Mentalist want the audience to accept the possibility of actual mental powers at work, any hint of trickery is to be avoided. (opinion)

To the extent that your audience already believes in paranormal abilities and desire validation, why risk disappointing them with any hint of trickery?
I even avoid the use of Tarot cards rather than risk offending someone.

Enjoy doing cared ticks for those who want trickery or a skill demonstration. Nothing wrong with that.

For Mentalism, look for demonstrations of enhanced mental abilities/acuity/adroitness, and avoid props used my magicians -
at leas tin the same show.

Another way of looking at it is, if you wish to demonstrate actual telepathic abilities, why cheapen the demonstration with "pick a card" common fare?
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
funsway
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Having offered that opinion about the risks of mixing the two approaches, there are card tricks that lend themselves to claiming mental influence
over what the spectator will do rather than a prediction that ways smacks of trickery. OK to use playing cards, just not do tricks.

That is, if you wish to demonstrate enhanced mental abilities such as telepathy, you might start with "something familiar" like cards
with a plan to move on to something more profound. Avoid effects where to result is "too perfect" or accurate.

There is wonderful book available on Cartomancy that combines cards, dice and a book test with dozens of possibilities.

Check out "Inner Thoughts" forum. The key is that playing cards are incidental to the power of the book.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Aus
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There seems to be two camps when magicians/mentalists are confronted with the legitimacy of what they do, the first one is by confessing trickery and subterfuge well the other camp to which some magicians and almost all mentalists subscribe to is the belief that the job of the magician/mentalist is to have the audience leave the show with misconceptions of reality or an equivocal perception of events.

From the mentalist perspective they distance themselves from magicians and the term tricks, and to my observation, it seems to be in some sort of effort of preservation. There is a prevailing opinion that mentalism is the last frontier in magic where what the audience sees can perhaps be looked at as real in some way and by that reasoning they don't want the impact of what they do trivialized as just a trick. It's for this reason they make clear distinctions to classify Mental Magic which magicians perform as being different to Mentalism which mentalists perform.

As to playing cards specifically there has been philosophical debate among Mentalists circles as to if playing cards are suggestive of trickery as they are commonly used by magicians in card tricks thus begging the question of do they carry the stigma of trickery that mentalists are trying to avoid.

The philosophical discussion of this issue has pre-existed for decades to the point that widely considered classical Mentalist texts like Corinda's 13 Steps have had to address the issue in their books.

Corinda's contention in the introduction of step ten which deals with playing cards suggests that it doesn't matter what you use in mentalism as long as you use it correctly. He also makes the point that there are other affiliations with playing cards in the domain of divination, prophecy, occult practices and fortune telling that that are equally associated with playing cards and thus mentalism.

Even without Corinda's perspective on this I've found empirically on my own his veiws to be true. To exemplify this take look at Spideys drawing duplication using a double blank deck and a modified card control by Ed Marlo called the "The Convincing Control".





Spideys use of a double blank deck and reapplication of Ed Marlo's card control removes any sentimentality of card tricks or trickery. Even if he did use playing cards I don't believe that playing cards have the strong association to card trickery as others would have you believe.

To prove this point I sometimes perform the card trick "Ultra Divination" from Royal Road To Card Magic with a large theatrical element of burning incense with a physical representation of a god like idol drawn from somewhere like Greek or Norse mythology while explaining the distinct differences between a seer and a oracle.

Sometimes the difference in perception can be as simple as the presentation you cloak your card trick in.

Give it a try for yourself and see what results you get.


Magically


Aus
KieranS
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Wow, thank you for such detailed and interesting responses. It gives me a lot to think about, look in to and digest! I think that perhaps it is not so much the ‘effects’ that I need to get as caught up with and perhaps more focus on the ‘performance’, in that case, I suppose cards could be used to almost through people off the scent, just when they are think you are doing one thing, you end in a completely different direction?

Not that my confidence is anywhere close to being ready to ‘perform’ as such yet but I guess this will come in time ?:)
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Jun 18, 2020, Aus wrote:
From the mentalist perspective they distance themselves from magicians and the term tricks, and to my observation, it seems to be in some sort of effort of preservation. There is a prevailing opinion that mentalism is the last frontier in magic where what the audience sees can perhaps be looked at as real in some way and by that reasoning they don't want the impact of what they do trivialized as just a trick. It's for this reason they make clear distinctions to classify Mental Magic which magicians perform as being different to Mentalism which mentalists perform.

As to playing cards specifically, there has been philosophical debate among Mentalists circles as to if playing cards are suggestive of trickery as they are commonly used by magicians in card tricks thus begging the question of do they carry the stigma of trickery that mentalists are trying to avoid.


There have been some good initial insights here that should be quite valuable to you if you are serious and have an open mind on the topic.

As Funsway said above first, what is your definition or perception of mentalism and being a mentalist? If it is just a love of doing mental-based/themed magic this is what is considered mental magic and I guess cards would be fine.

Next would be considering the expectation factor. Performing is about those you are performing for, not just you the performer. What are they seeing or experiencing, and what are their expectations? If it is simply being fooled or seeing some magic (again mental magic) then cards could be fine. However, if you do not want to be perceived as tricks or trickery, deception, magic, illusion, etc. and want them to believe that they see is real or plausible, then you have to consider the perception and expectation of cards themselves.

What do most people think when they see a deck of cards? Playing a game of cards or a magic trick. This is the default immediate thinking when seeing cards. If a guy is seen carrying a deck of cards most immediately think magician. I have heard the argument that it could pertain to gambling, but that's often just a facade or performer's justification to use or be carrying cards.

In today's would cards are so closely related to magicians, as a mentalist I do not want cards (of any resemblance of them anywhere near my performance.) Many younger people aren't even that familiar with cards, suits, terms related to cards (that magicians just love to use - riffle, cut, complete the cut, spread, court cards, values, etc.) So why risk so much thought, effort, and hard work in the art of mentalism if it all is immediately seen as magicupon first sight.

A few years ago I had a guy who was interested in being represented by my agency. He said he was a restaurant worker specializing in mentalism. I said immediately we would not be interested in him. He asked why and I said because you are a magician and will only be seen as that as long as you use cards. He strongly disagreed. I said I'd be happy to prove it to him at his next restaurant gig. I asked for him to have a close friend, spouse, or someone he trusted to witness this with me. He brought his father, who was a very nice guy.

I told him (the performer) to go and do what he normally does (his version of mentalism with cards, as well as "mentalism" with business cards, and a dollar bill effect as well. I said we would stand behind a plant wall observing. From where we stood we could not hear him or his performance, only see it. This actually helped prove my point.

The father and I watched as he approached a table, then reached into his pockets, began to perform 3 "mentalism effects" the went to 3 other tables doing the same. As he was doing this I asked the father what he saw. He believed he was seeing his son do table mentalism. So I turned to another couple in the waiting area with us and I point to the performer and I said what do you see. They both said "oh its a magician performing for that table.) I repeated this with about 6 o 7 other people or couples, a server, and the valet attendant. They all saw a magician. Even though there was a huge sign in the waiting area that said "Mind Reader-Mentalist".

The father quickly saw this revelation - if it looks like a magician, if he uses magicians moves, manners and materials, regardless of what he says or claims, he is perceived as a magician.

As couples he performed for exited we stopped them and videotaped the question of how did you enjoy the performer, and all stated he did magic. It was an exercise in perception and expectation. Every single one of them when asked mentioned the word "card trick". "Oh, the card trick he did where he "guessed "my card or "the card trick where he guessed my zodiac sign", etc. They all reference "tricks" and magic."

The point of the story is what expectation do you as the performer want to set? Regardless of your words, setups, explanations, or "patter" what are they seeing in their mind and perception?

Also if you had real mental abilities would you be using cards to demonstrate it?

There are so many reasons NOT to use cards in mentalism. In mental magic or magician's mentalism, go for it because nobody sees you as having any mental abilities, just magic abilities and tricks.

So this is really more of a series of foundational determinations which will direct you in the way you want to go, be seen, expectations, and whether card fit into this direction and positioning.

It is far more than just a "debate". Only magician's see it as that. Mentalists understand there is this greater picture as it pertains to the art, science, and positioning of mentalism and your utilized (or desired, perceived) mental abilities.
KieranS
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Quote:
On Jun 19, 2020, Mindpro wrote:
Quote:
On Jun 18, 2020, Aus wrote:
From the mentalist perspective they distance themselves from magicians and the term tricks, and to my observation, it seems to be in some sort of effort of preservation. There is a prevailing opinion that mentalism is the last frontier in magic where what the audience sees can perhaps be looked at as real in some way and by that reasoning they don't want the impact of what they do trivialized as just a trick. It's for this reason they make clear distinctions to classify Mental Magic which magicians perform as being different to Mentalism which mentalists perform.

As to playing cards specifically, there has been philosophical debate among Mentalists circles as to if playing cards are suggestive of trickery as they are commonly used by magicians in card tricks thus begging the question of do they carry the stigma of trickery that mentalists are trying to avoid.


There have been some good initial insights here that should be quite valuable to you if you are serious and have an open mind on the topic.

As Funsway said above first, what is your definition or perception of mentalism and being a mentalist? If it is just a love of doing mental-based/themed magic this is what is considered mental magic and I guess cards would be fine.

Next would be considering the expectation factor. Performing is about those you are performing for, not just you the performer. What are they seeing or experiencing, and what are their expectations? If it is simply being fooled or seeing some magic (again mental magic) then cards could be fine. However, if you do not want to be perceived as tricks or trickery, deception, magic, illusion, etc. and want them to believe that they see is real or plausible, then you have to consider the perception and expectation of cards themselves.

What do most people think when they see a deck of cards? Playing a game of cards or a magic trick. This is the default immediate thinking when seeing cards. If a guy is seen carrying a deck of cards most immediately think magician. I have heard the argument that it could pertain to gambling, but that's often just a facade or performer's justification to use or be carrying cards.

In today's would cards are so closely related to magicians, as a mentalist I do not want cards (of any resemblance of them anywhere near my performance.) Many younger people aren't even that familiar with cards, suits, terms related to cards (that magicians just love to use - riffle, cut, complete the cut, spread, court cards, values, etc.) So why risk so much thought, effort, and hard work in the art of mentalism if it all is immediately seen as magicupon first sight.

A few years ago I had a guy who was interested in being represented by my agency. He said he was a restaurant worker specializing in mentalism. I said immediately we would not be interested in him. He asked why and I said because you are a magician and will only be seen as that as long as you use cards. He strongly disagreed. I said I'd be happy to prove it to him at his next restaurant gig. I asked for him to have a close friend, spouse, or someone he trusted to witness this with me. He brought his father, who was a very nice guy.

I told him (the performer) to go and do what he normally does (his version of mentalism with cards, as well as "mentalism" with business cards, and a dollar bill effect as well. I said we would stand behind a plant wall observing. From where we stood we could not hear him or his performance, only see it. This actually helped prove my point.

The father and I watched as he approached a table, then reached into his pockets, began to perform 3 "mentalism effects" the went to 3 other tables doing the same. As he was doing this I asked the father what he saw. He believed he was seeing his son do table mentalism. So I turned to another couple in the waiting area with us and I point to the performer and I said what do you see. They both said "oh its a magician performing for that table.) I repeated this with about 6 o 7 other people or couples, a server, and the valet attendant. They all saw a magician. Even though there was a huge sign in the waiting area that said "Mind Reader-Mentalist".

The father quickly saw this revelation - if it looks like a magician, if he uses magicians moves, manners and materials, regardless of what he says or claims, he is perceived as a magician.

As couples he performed for exited we stopped them and videotaped the question of how did you enjoy the performer, and all stated he did magic. It was an exercise in perception and expectation. Every single one of them when asked mentioned the word "card trick". "Oh, the card trick he did where he "guessed "my card or "the card trick where he guessed my zodiac sign", etc. They all reference "tricks" and magic."

The point of the story is what expectation do you as the performer want to set? Regardless of your words, setups, explanations, or "patter" what are they seeing in their mind and perception?

Also if you had real mental abilities would you be using cards to demonstrate it?

There are so many reasons NOT to use cards in mentalism. In mental magic or magician's mentalism, go for it because nobody sees you as having any mental abilities, just magic abilities and tricks.

So this is really more of a series of foundational determinations which will direct you in the way you want to go, be seen, expectations, and whether card fit into this direction and positioning.

It is far more than just a "debate". Only magician's see it as that. Mentalists understand there is this greater picture as it pertains to the art, science, and positioning of mentalism and your utilized (or desired, perceived) mental abilities.


Wow, a lot to take in but thank you for that! Reading the words, some of it was jumping out at me as painstakingly obvious, and something I should know but just didn’t think of, for example, ‘if you did have genuine mind reading abilities, why would you need cards’. Of course you wouldn’t, unless of course, you where simply performing a trick.
I think I am starting to realise that I love many areas of both mentalist and magic, and although there will be things you can carry over from the two, being fairly new as I am, it may be more beneficial to think about, what is it that I actually want to present, or at least, what is it that I want people to think I am presenting. Ultimately that is what I love most. I want people to think they are watching something completely different to what they are actually seeing. I know that may sound silly as essentially, that is what all effects are. My favourite genre of movie is the one where there is the big twist at the end. In that moment, everything you think you have been following has a whole new meaning. That’s what I would love people to feel. I want them to have a narrative. Rather than just being an ‘effect’ or ‘trick’ or a ‘demonstration of genuine mental power’ I want the people watching to be able to take something away from it.
Writing this, I think I also realise my ambition maybe running away with me slightly!
Luke Wolf
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I see this debate popping out over and over again. MindPro (and others) have made really interesting points. Personally I don't use playing cards anymore, not because I'm associated with a magician (although that could be the case), but because it wasn't personal enough for the spectators, which is the central point around which I'm articulating my performance.
tommy
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The wayward characters in Wonderland may be “nothing but a pack of cards” but with a little imagination, they can be made to appear personal.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Luke Wolf
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On Jul 11, 2020, tommy wrote:
The wayward characters in Wonderland may be “nothing but a pack of cards” but with a little imagination, they can be made to appear personal.


Agreed. But is that really where we want to put efforts and creativity (not saying it shouldn’t, I’m just stressing the necessity of thinking about it)? I don’t think, personally, that a playing card will ever be « personnal » enough to suit me, and I’m probably wrong. I just decided to put my effort somewhere else.
tommy
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I think the problem with self-working card tricks is that it is not easy to string a few together for a routine because self-working card tricks normally depend on some sort of preparation.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
landmark
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The first question is Who is your audience? As Mindpro mentioned, their expectations are of paramount importance. If they are expecting super-strong, a la John Edward, a deck of cards is going to sink you. On the other hand...

I think if the audience is there primarily for enjoyment, but is willing to entertain the notion that the performer might actually have mental powers, there's something to be said for the approach whereby the performer starts off with clearly magic-based effects and then pivots to mentalism, using those previous effects as a kind of disclaimer. Something like,

"I'm glad that you enjoyed the magic I've done tonight, because I'd like to get a little more serious now, and show you something completely different from clever sleight of hand--not that there's anything wrong with that. My magician friends don't like when I do this, when I do the real thing, but I think we need to utilize all the powers we have..."

In that case, the cards are at hand anyway, but now you're doing "the real thing."

Just a possible approach that may fit for some.
tommy
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Some fancy dress outfits give one real supernatural abilities; see Puff the Magic Dragon.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
KieranS
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Landmark, I never thought to incorporate them in that way, interesting thought that I will bare in mind.

Tommy, fancy dress and roll play, I fear your describing my Saturday nights. Maybe you do have the real thing.

On a more seri note though, I think the nail has been hit on the head with the two questions that are, who is the audience and what do I want them to believe is happening ?
tommy
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Well, a magician is not supposed to claim that he has real supernatural powers, but if he comes dressed up as a dragon then he can claim he has real supernatural powers because nobody is going to take it seriously, you see? Then the dragon goes on to prove his proposition and so he is in effect a real dragon, to their amazement and for their amusement.

What is happening is the magician is crossing the opposites of fiction and fact to create a synthesis, one which is both fiction and fact at the same time. The X factor.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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