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Postby Guest » 02/06/05 06:13 PM

What is the art of astonishment equivalent for mental magic?

I am looking for a book (preferably not video/dvd) of real-world mental magic which is straightforward and mind-blowing.
For me Art of Astonishment is reader friendly, easy to follow and for real world performing (for the most part) while at the same time providing that mindblowing astonishment. Thanks in advance!

Postby Bill Duncan » 02/06/05 07:54 PM

Well a couple of weeks ago I wouldn't have had a guess but recently Hermetic Press released a bound copy of ALL the Phil Goldstein/Max Maven "color" Books of Mentalism.

I have a couple of the originals and even though I don't do "mentalism" I'll be buying the hardbound for the same reason I aquired the orginal pamphlets: I like the way the man thinks. His manipulation of perceptions is amazing.

It's called PRISM.

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Postby Guest » 02/08/05 10:32 AM

I would suggest that to mental magic, "Larry Becker's Stunners Plus" is the largest, finest tome of PRACTICAL, real world mental magic by one author available today. Large does not always mean full of great ideas, Larry's is.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
Supplying unique mentalism world-wide

Postby Guest » 02/11/05 12:27 PM

Gotta chime in with T.A. Waters' Mind, Myth and Magic.

Postby Guest » 02/14/05 10:05 AM

The only difference between Watters Tome and Becker's is that ALL of Larry's ideas have not only been tried and tested BUT are practical. Not all of T.a.'s were or are.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
Supplying unique mentalism world-wide

Postby Guest » 02/14/05 01:00 PM

Originally posted by Paul Alberstat:
The only difference between Watters Tome and Becker's is...

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
Supplying unique mentalism world-wide
Paul, what does "Tome" refer to/mean?

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 02/14/05 01:07 PM

Originally posted by Gavriel:
Paul, what does "Tome" refer to/mean?
From :

Main Entry: tome
Pronunciation: 'tOm
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin tomus, from Greek tomos section, roll of papyrus, tome, from temnein to cut; akin to Middle Irish tamnaid he lops, Polish ciac to cut, and perhaps to Latin tondEre to shear
1 : a volume forming part of a larger work
2 : BOOK; especially : a large or scholarly book
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Postby Guest » 02/15/05 07:56 AM

Mind, Myth & Magic
Annemann the Life and Times of a Legend
13 Steps to Mentalism
Practical Mental Effects
Encyclopedia of Mentalism

And the list goes on, there are many great books on mentalism and above are a few of my favorites.

Postby Fred Zimmerman » 02/15/05 02:20 PM

I'll jump in and post a reply here.

The Art of Astonishment is a collection of someone's work. OK, so I'll complete the SAT question in this way.

Many of the books already mentioned in this thread would fit nicely, but I'll throw in one of my all-time favorties; the often over-looked work of George Anderson. Magic Inc. still puts a book out called "The Collected Works of George Anderson," which is a comb-bound collection of several of his pamphlet books, "Let the Audience Do the Show," Dynamic Menalism," etc. I love reading through this collection again and again just to get refreshed and experience his POV again.

His ideas were always entertainment-based, and while some wouldn't play these days, they are great food for thought.

"Amen" to all the books mentioned here, but I'd like to throw a shout-out to George Anderson.

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Postby Steve Bryant » 02/15/05 02:33 PM

The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy is a nice addition to the above. It will take a little work, but there is some mighty impressive stuff in it. Check my current review at
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Postby Guest » 03/09/05 01:51 PM

Gotta respond to Paul A. It's true Waters was primarily a writer as opposed to a "working performer"(TM)--that curious term in today's magical lexicon which insinuates a magician is somehow elevated in status owing to the sole act of money changing hands. Easy now--I know a lot of the books mentioned here written by performers who work regularly are excellent and so are they. I just don't buy the absolute that one automatically follows the other. Most playwrights don't strut their own acting ability on the stage, nor do many songwriters. It's perfectly possible to design brilliant effects without having the desire (or dare I even say, the ability) to present them yourself. I'd say the crap ratio is pretty evenly distributed among performers who write and writers who don't perform.

Having said all that, I think Waters' work was by and large pretty darn brilliant. I can't think of a single effect in M,M&M that isn't perfectly practical. (okay, except that whole demon/monkey thing...) His thinking was even more so.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/09/05 03:36 PM

At Mr. Waters memorial service at the Magic Castle, Jim Steinmeyer played a video of a British television series pilot episode that featured Waters playing a rather creepy paranormal doctor (as I recall). In it, he performed a chilling Russian Roulette effect. His performance was brilliant.

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Postby Guest » 03/10/05 10:19 AM

What I wrote was most certainly not intended as a slam against T.a.'s memory. All I meant by the post was that not evry effect in the book is always practical for real world performance. T.a. had an amazing mind, was always fun to talk with, extremely knowledgable and many of us miss him greatly.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
Where mentalists shop for unique materials

Postby Guest » 03/10/05 12:31 PM

No, no--didn't see it as a slam to him or his memory at all. I've just always found the stuff in his monographs to seem pretty workable in real world situations. Those that I've tried have gone ok (and those that haven't gone ok I figure the fault is mine, not the material) and those that I haven't tried I can only speculate whether or not they might play. There doesn't seem to be too much "magic magazine" type filler (Genii being the exception, naturally) or convoluted procedural variation for its own sake. So much of the magic I read causes me to simply roll my eyes and move on; I rarely find myself doing it with Waters' stuff (except for that thing with the big clunky box of artifacts in 'New Thoughts For Old'.)

What you had to say, Paul, was very charitable compared to things I've heard about Waters in the past. Years ago another magician, himself a very successful pro, said to me "My God! You don't want to be a Tom Waters, do you?" when I told him that I enjoyed writing about magic more than I did performing it (although I was doing both at the time.) Interestingly enough several of his friends, also in the higher circles of magicdom and thus breathing the same rarefied air, also used the same expression concerning Mr. Waters (ever notice how the guys who would never dream of using stolen lines in their acts use the stock quotes and responses of their other 'famous' friends in their everyday speech instead of, you know, just talking?) But after reading the bulk of T.A.'s output in M,M&M I realize I should have answered: Yeah. I do. I think I'd like that a lot.

Postby Guest » 03/10/05 12:35 PM

Oh, and one more thing. Years and years ago, T.A. Waters worked for Nelson Enterprises right here in Columbus, OH. Talk about breathing the same rarefied air!

Postby Guest » 03/10/05 10:27 PM

13 Steps.

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