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TheHelpingHand
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I want to get into mentalism and master it, starting here and now. I'm absolutely committed and never separate myself from a goal. The problem starts when I look at all the mentalism on (at least the surface of) the market: Book tests, billets, pay envelopes, chalkboards, gimmicky props, etc.

So the controversial question...

Is there anything in the field of mentalism that deals with direct - as Derren Brown would say "invisible compromise" - hard-hitting mentalism?

I can predict the response, because I've posed this question before and received the same stuff. "You're so naive. You need to read the books about the book tests, billets, pay envelopes, chalkboards, gimmicky props, etc. first, before you have the 'right' to learn any direct mentalism." Very discouraging. So if that's your answer, I pose another question...

Why? Why can't I plunge through the indirect, weavy, compromised stunts to learn the material that goes right through all that, RIGHT TO THE PURITY OF TRUE MENTALISM. Does such material exist?

How close does mentalism get to the purity of the following, hypothetical effect: Spectator thinks of X, Mentalist names X. How close?

I'm asking you these questions not maliciously, not ignorantly, but because I want to know if I should pursue this journey. I don't want to go six months down the path of mentalism to discover that, practically speaking, it just doesn't get that pure.

So I'm asking you now, at the extreme risk of sounding ignorant, cocky, and downright foolish, How pure does mentalism get, and how can I find this material?
- Dan the Man
Roth
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There is no Holy Grail it's all work.

If you never learn to crawl you will never walk...

Spectator thinks of X mentalist names X. You are crawling now...

You are a seed that wants to wake up as a tree,grasshopper...
2015 ECSS Alumnus

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procyonrising
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Mentalism is an art and, as such, requires an artist's touch.

Some people choose to express themselves through billet work, others through book tests, and others still through various effects with various themes - all aiming to convey a sense of the miraculous.

And that explains the complexity of your question: we cannot truly define the artistic meaning of mentalism (though we can define mentalism as a field distinct from magic). It's different for everyone (or, at least, it should be, as with any art). Sure, there are groups of people who believe the same things in mentalism (e.g. "we should all be called psychic entertainers and have disclaimers."), yet, you have others who oppose such groups with equally compelling reasoning ("no, we're just as psychic as the real thing, so let's call ourselves psychics.") Furthermore, you have groups that don't seem to agree with anyone but themselves ("we're mushrooms!"). But we're all mentalists in the end.

So, the question here is, "what defines mentalism for you, specifically?" If it is as simple as "spectator thinks of X and mentalist names X," you can be talking about a card trick (e.g. the weird and wonderful Cardtoon); then, the question transmorgifies into whether you are a mentalist or card magician. Therefore, it's got to be more than that. It's got to have more meaning to you than just a simple, lifeless formula. In the same way some people end up liking coins over cards, some people end up liking book tests over billet work. That's why everyone emphasizes learning everything; you develop your own preferences from the experience of absorbing the mountain of material in mentalism. Mentalism, thus, is a very personal endeavor.

But let's talk about purity. Mentalism, it can be argued, is not about book tests or billets or blindfolds, rather, it's about ideas. And they're specific ideas. It's not, "I want to read minds"; rather, it's "I want have him think of a playing card, and turn around to show him that playing card is stuck to my back." These specific ideas are unique to many of us, though, unfortunately, not enough of us. That's why there are so many who ask, "what's the best mentalism to learn?" The real work is not about looking through books and DVD's, the real, pure work - unadulterated by "borrowing" ideas - comes from your own ideas about what mentalism should be. For the purest mentalism, start with an idea, then develop a method. It's that simple.

Think about it this way: once upon a time, there were no book tests. There were no boons or psych forces or billet switches. Someone had to come up with those things to realize an idea; an idea for which no method existed. That's my point. That's pure. That's art.

Best,
James.

P.S. Everyone's going to recommend Corinda, so I'll beat them to it. And, if you can afford it, Magick.
psychic
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How pure mentalism gets depends on you - how you and whatever you're doing is PERCEIVED.
MisterE21
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Psychic beat me to it...

(PS, this is a long opinion, but I think I did give some decent answers to your quesiton at the bottom!)

Here's how I look at it, coming from card work (which I do more of for laypeople, at the moment). There are certain moves that I just don't feel are deceptive...but I use to fry laypeople frequently. Why don't I feel they're deceptive? Because I know the secret! I know what's REALLY happening. This is related to the dreaded "magician's guilt," though not exactly the same in my mind.

Mentalism can, in my opinion, be a lot like that. You may think, especially come in, like I did when I first started studying this field two years ago: this will never fly! If I could "really" read minds, I wouldn't HAVE to use this billet, this book, I wouldn't have to pump or fish, I could just spit it out!

However, that's all not necessarily true.

The center tear is, I guess, my perfect mentalism related example: I learned Richard Osterlind's and practiced it and practiced and thought..."This will NEVER fly..." I watched it fly for Richard time after time...but still never thought it would. Then I did it a few times...It flies! It still get's talked about by my family who are, to the best of their ability to know, fairly certain that I'm not psychic. They truly seem to beleive that I extracted the information from their minds, despite the fact that they wrote it down and I touched the paper they wrote.

A poor mentalist could make the cleanest, most "pure" piece of mentalism look like a cheap trick from a magic kiosk in the mall...an amazing mentalist can make people believe he is the second-coming by using a $3 mental epic gimmick that DID come from a magic kiosk in the mall...don't fret too much over the purity...be entertaining and believe in what you're doing: others will too.

I'm sorry if this didn't answer your question...I was once on a quest for the same thing you're looking for. Then I started watching successful mentalists and see that "purity" is purely in the minds of the spectators.

That being said, for purity, you may want to look into metal bending (Banachek being far-and-away the master, in my opinion...Osterlind also has good work on it), secret writing (Strivings and riggs have both dealt extensively with PW, Osterlind does some strong NW and I'm still looking for good sources for DW...if you don't know the acronyms, PM me)...All of those, I think, help reduce the supposed "prop-iness" of your work.
Your EFFECT is only as good as its AFFECT.
cougar261084
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2 words + 1 word


contact mind reading + practice

I think it's as close as you can get to

spectator thinks of x, mindreader names x

there are other clean methods but I believe this is the only one where only the spectator is think of it and does not have to tell anyone or write it down


I didn't mean to offend anyone with that post so here's the other part

off course suggestion is one of the strongest forms of mentalism too
mike stevenson
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If you want to get to the "Derren Brown mentalism" stage, as your post suggests, then maybe you should start with the same books Derren did; 13 Steps by Corinda and Practical Mental Effects/Magic.
Richard Osterlind
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If I may, I would like to add a couple of thoughts to this discussion. These are my opinions only and are just a bit of the kind of thinking that I put into my trilogy.

If I posted the question, What is Mentalism?, we would probably go on for months with different answers. If I went for a very general definition, we might agree that it is the apparent demonstration of ESP and mind powers. Now ESP is an unproven fact and may or may not exist. We can classify what we think are actual ESP abilities, but we really have no proof of them, and if they do exist, how they work. We have no idea of what "procedures" are necessary to demonstrate real ESP. So how can we define what procedures we need to follow in mentalism?

I have offered a number of suggestions. If we think of mentalism as a performing art, we have to be aware of the entertainment value of what we do. As I mentioned in "Essays", far too many mentalists seem to have as their only goal, trying to prove they have real ESP. There is no entertainment value in that alone. Yes, we want the audience to believe we are very special, but a room full of happy people who have been drinking for 2 hours, telling jokes and dancing, may not really care just how "real" you are! They want fun! Then out comes the mentalist and basically "brings down" the room. The action slows down, they have to concentrate too much and after a few minutes lose interest. Is there any wonder why so many booking agents and party planners think mentalism is boring?

I have been in this business for almost 40 years. I started out as a hypnotist and my "Journey Into Hypnotism" music has been a staple of many hypnotists shows for over 25 years. That is a "pure" form of entertainment. I bought my copy of "Hellstromism" when I was a young guy and have performed contact mind reading for most of my career. Check out the "Dictionary Test" in both my blindfold books.

BUT! If you don't have some variety in your shows, they will get boring! AND! you need some props! Look into the old magic books and realize that great entertainers knew you needed some visual aides to keep interest. Even the simplist Broadway show has some interesting backgrounds. "Alas poor York" needs a skull and who would think of doing those lines without it?

Finally, please LOOK at movies and TV shows about psychics and doers of ESP. Look at how they portray them and how they act! Look at the PROCEDURES they use! Think about it, it is FICTION. The producers could do ANYTHING, but they still use PROCEDURES! Why do you think that is?

Just my thoughts.

Richard
Ken Dyne
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I think it is vital to look at the medium different performers use. You do say you want to do pure mentalism "like Derren Brown" we must not forget that Derren is on television and he uses the medium extremely well, as would anyone if they were in his fortunate position. When on stage, live, he uses very standard things such as prhaps a multiple out, a NW or something. I do not know these things for certain of course as I do not know him or his methods. However from seeing him live he does standard mentalist things, think of a shape, put money in one envelope, bank night etc. Live mentalism and TV mentalism is no different to live magic vs TV magic, they can not be compared as the medium is completely different. You can not accomplish the kind of things Brown does on his TV show, similarly some of the thingd Blaine does you can not do live either.

Hope this helps just a little,

Kennedy
MR GOLDEN BALLS 2.0: https://mentalunderground.com/product/mr-golden-balls-2-0/" target="_blank"> https://mentalunderground.com/product/passed-out-deck/

BAIRN: Named 'Best Mentalism Product Of 2014 by Marketplace of the Mind is my collection of more than 40 mentalism routines in a beautiful paperback book: http://www.mentalunderground.com/product/bairn
magicinsight
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The proceedures or methods used, as indicated by Kennedy, is often dictated by the venue that the routines ar being performed at. But regardless of teh methods used, as Mr. Ostlerind stated, an entertiner can not entertain if he/she simply stands in front of an audience, especially a semi-inebriated audience, and start reciting what people are mererly thinking about. It might be an amazing feat of true and "pure" mentalism but it will not be entertaining.

Props, music, stories all are incorporated not only to create an atmosphere of mystery but also to add important scenery to an otherwise bare and sterile stage. But while Hamlet needs a skull, the skull also needs Hamlet. One cannot exist without the other.

Best regards,

Michael
“Belief matters more than truth. Every moment, belief in imaginary things alters lives while truth sits unnoticed and waits.”
—Hakim, Loreweaver
123majik123
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Just on the subject of derrens pure mentalism, Granted his TV shows do deal with that, no "visible comprimse" .... (so to speak) But the basis of all of that is in the classics, and citing derren as your example, If you have ever seen him perform live His performs all the classics in his own unique way which involve all the things your cited above!!!!! thus read the classics!!

Also, isn't a NW or CT effect direct????????????
salsa_dancer
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Quote:
On 2004-10-18 22:37, TheHelpingHand wrote:

I can predict the response, because I've posed this question before and received the same stuff. "You're so naive. You need to read the books about the book tests, billets, pay envelopes, chalkboards, gimmicky props, etc. first, before you have the 'right' to learn any direct mentalism." Very discouraging.


Welcome to mentalism, you have made your first correct prediction! If you get the same response everytime you ask a question, does that not give you a clue Smile


Quote:
So if that's your answer, I pose another question...

Why? Why can't I plunge through the indirect, weavy, compromised stunts to learn the material that goes right through all that, RIGHT TO THE PURITY OF TRUE MENTALISM. Does such material exist?


The same reason a Doctor or a Lawyer can't just start operating without going through the process of learning.

Quote:
How close does mentalism get to the purity of the following, hypothetical effect: Spectator thinks of X, Mentalist names X. How close?

I'm asking you these questions not maliciously, not ignorantly, but because I want to know if I should pursue this journey. I don't want to go six months down the path of mentalism to discover that, practically speaking, it just doesn't get that pure.

So I'm asking you now, at the extreme risk of sounding ignorant, cocky, and downright foolish, How pure does mentalism get, and how can I find this material?


I would get the sponge balls back out Smile Seriously, it can be made to look as pure as you want it to, using the techniques that you learn on the way.
Perl
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There is pure mentalist around for quite a few years already....

however, these mentalist they have the natural kind of ability to look thru ppls mind.... so far I only noe two of them, and they come form the same fanily....


Magically,

Perl
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