The Hanussen Proof Redux

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.

Postby Bill Cushman » 01/07/04 09:23 PM

I recently checked out The Store at Bob Cassidys website, www.mastermindreader.com/cd. While most of his newer releases have sold out, I was surprised to see some older ebooks are still available. I have a few of these and thought Id offer up some reviews because there is some grade A material within their cyberpages. The Hanussen Proof will be the first, with more to follow in the next few days.

The Hanussen Proof is presented in two parts. Part I is Bobs version of Erik Jan Hanussens arrest in 1928 and the subsequent trial two years later at which he was vindicated by demonstrating his clairvoyant powers in court. There is a great deal of information in Part I, allowing the reader to pick and choose and create a presentation that meets their needs and fits their own style.

The story of Hanussen really is quite a tale and if told well should engage most audiences. It also is the set up for the effect described in Part II. One of Hanussens signature effects was to have a memorable date and a place provided by an audience member. Hanussen would then give explicit details about what had occurred on the given date. It was this effect that led to his arrest, when a suspicious police officer convinced an audience member to provide false information to an assisstant that Hanussen nevertheless was able to clairvoyantly deduce and report back to the audience.

It was this same effect that led to Hanussen being found not guilty in court. Determining that his only chance of being freed was demonstrating this ability successfully under test conditions, Hanussen did just that. His wife and assistant and associates were removed from the court, leaving Hanussen on his own. As in his cabaret performance, he was provided with dates and places whose corresponding events were known only to the judge and select individuals. The events were accurately detailed and Hanussen was acquitted of all charges. The resulting publicity led to his being a successful and highly sought after psychic. Not long after, the Gestapo apparently murdered Hanussen, but that is another story.

Part II is Bobs method for recreating the basic effect as described above. Five audience members are brought on stage to provide dates and places and a sixth to act as The Judge. The theme is essentially the recreation of the trial that led to Hanussens acquittal.

Kenton Knepper once said, meaning is the best misdirection, and The Hanussen Proof is an excellent example of this principle. At its essence, the effect is a form of Q & A (the form Millard Longman likes to refer to as information regurgitation) and could be made to play strongly sans the tale of Hanussen. But within the framework of Hanussens arrest and acquittal, it becomes almost a mini play, deeply engaging the audience and allowing very simple, yet bold methods to achieve startling results.

Consider also the impact of the staging wherein six audience members are up front or on stage with the mentalist. A frequent complaint about mentalism is that there isnt a lot to look at, preventing it from playing large. Mark Salem, on his interview for the Conversations With Mentalists series, states that he does use large props, saying something to the effect that his props are between 5 and 6 feet tall and weigh between 120 and 200 pounds. This is an apt response to the above complaint. The Hanussen Proof applies this principle times six.

An entire show of all story pieces is likely to become boring. However, the addition of one or two effects accompanied by interesting stories can add texture to a performance and help move the audience through a variety of emotional experiences. In the right hands, The Hanussen Proof should prove an excellent vehicle to achieve this purpose. As with all of Bobs writings, at the very least his ideas will get you thinking and inspire your own applications of his concepts.

Bill
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Postby Andrew » 01/08/04 09:48 PM

I'm sorry but I'm tired of all this reverence for Bob Cassidy. Paypal has a record of my complaints about stuff purchased from his web site -- downloads that didn't work, shoddy materials sent in the mail, and a c-d that can't be accessed. What does it feel like to be ripped off? He had to close down a forum on his web site because of the complaints from me and others.
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Postby Bill Cushman » 01/10/04 01:38 PM

You know Andy, I considered prefacing this post with a comment to the effect of "lets stay with the topic and not digress to other issues" but I figured that most people would do so without my having to make such a statement.

Don't get me wrong, Andy, I have my own history of complications with Bob (see my "ptuii campaign" here and at other sites) and I'm sure there are more than a few folks suprised to see me posting a review of his materials. But his materials speak for themselves and I'm don't have even the remotest idea what you saw as "reverence for Bob Cassidy" in what I wrote. I wrote an honest review of his ebook, nothing more, nothing less.

However, I do have a great deal of respect for Bob and I won't deny this. Even when I was engaged in the above mentioned campaign, I would still when warranted, which was almost always the case, speak well of his ideas and writing.

We have managed to work out all the issues that led to my "ptuii campaign", the purpose of which was to get Bob's attention. Which it did. And I am now more than pleased to say that Bob and I have a good working relationship and that he has proven to be a kind, considerate and compassionate person.

You certainly have a right to your opinions and to complain and not purchase a thing from Bob. But my intent in posting on The Hanussen Effect, was to simply share an excellent routine. I have every intention of posting some more reviews of still available ebooks in the next couple of weeks and I request that you leave this and subsequent threads to that purpose. If you want to complain any more, feel free, but please start your own thread.
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Postby Andrew » 01/11/04 12:44 PM

Loki, you have a point about the thread. My point is that when a mentalist becomes a businessman, packaging and SELLING his ideas to consumers who respect him, he shouldn't violate basic business ethics.
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Postby Guest » 01/12/04 02:00 PM

Sorry, Loki, but I agree with Andy. I do not agree that a separate thread is warranted. How likely a consumer is to actually receive a product at all, once payment is rendered, is most definitely relevant to its review.

Simply ask yourself, would you, as a purchaser, want to read a glowing review of a product, only to learn too late that the product is only sent to about half of the people who pay for it?

Whether one will actually receive a purchased product should definitely be a part of this thread. Otherwise, you are either (a) reviewing products that people cannot buy, which is unkind at best or (b) assisting in fraud.

And yes, I realize that a well-written review can be valuable in and of itself, especially in the area of mentalism. But reviewing products that are supposedly available, when they're actually not, approaches misrepresentation.

As a side note, I should disclose that I, too, appear to be a victim, having rendered $35 via PayPal for Bob's "Working It" eBook, and having received nothing in return. Make of that what you will.

And finally, consistent with the foregoing, I should also add that I found Loki's initial post incredibly illuminating, especially with regard to the use of stories. It reminded me of Steve Cohen's comments on "Conversations with Mind Readers," although Loki's post was more detailed. So yes, I can see how a review by itself can be valuable. But a risk assessment is also valuable. Loki's post encouraged me to purchase from Bob's site only later to learn, from Andy's post, that I'll likely have to file a class-action lawsuit in order to receive my product.

Magically yours,

Jim
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Postby Kim » 01/13/04 09:09 AM

Avocat,
Bob may be slow, but he does always deliver eventually. Granted, I personally think the the project/item/ebook should be completed BEFORE its offered for sale.
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Postby Bill Cushman » 01/13/04 02:47 PM

Andy & Avocat,

Issues with Bob's delivery of products are old news. I feel I should be able to simply review an ebook without having to cover the business end every time. Especially when it has been covered ad nauseum.

For example, every review of Becker's "Stunners Plus" needn't cover the fact that many purchasers of the original "Stunners" thought that they were getting ripped off when "Stunners Plus" was released. This is an issue for a separate thread as well or we get too far off topic.

All I wanted to do was let folks know about an excellent routine that to my surprise is still available and promote constructive discussion. Instead, we veered immediately off of the topic I chose to start and for my troubles I get accused of being unkind and/or assisting in fraud. As a matter of fact, the latter accusation is in itself unkind and borderline libelous.

But I should have expected it knowing what a hot topic anything to do with Bob is. As I made clear, I can empathize with people's frustrations having been there myself. I just hoped that we could stay with the topic that I had initiated. Silly me.

I really don't want to continue addressing these issues as it is not my intent or desire. The last comments I will make on this digression are that I wouldn't have begun reviewing Bob's material if I hadn't seen, and had reported by many others, a major improvement in his business practices.

He is no longer doing instant downloads due to hackers who were ripping off his ebooks. Also, he tends to advertise his ebooks while he is still finishing them and often delays their release by a week or so to include additional material. I for one am willing to wait the extra time to obtain the brainstorms that occur to Bob when he is doing his final edit. I guess I am aware this happens so do not consider the extra time a burden and factor it into the amount of time I expect to wait. Kim, I understand your point (and I appreciate your support) but as I said above, I value what Bob comes up with as he puts the final touches on his ebooks and don't mind waiting. I just wish he would make this clear as it would avoid a lot of misunderstandings and allow people to make a more informed decision.

Avocat, you wrote: "But reviewing products that are supposedly available, when they're actually not, approaches misrepresentation." Be assured that I am only reviewing materials that ARE available. The problem isn't in availability but in when you will receive them. I know that is still frustrating but that is a very different situation and doesn't warrant the further accusation of "misrepresentation," in terms of the review. I really think that you crossed some lines.

By the way, I just received a notice on "Working It!" as follows:

"Thank you for ordering "Working It!"

There has been a bit of a delay in delivering this due my recent illness as well as lengthy power outages here in the Seattle area due to the recent snowstorms. All is back on track now (I hope) and I am well once again. "Working It" will arrive shortly.

Bob"

Avocat, I hope that we both get our copies post haste as I expect the material will be worth the wait. The wait/quality ratio is something that I assume is a known factor, especially among someone of the caliber to own Conversations.

I have posted the Hanussen review at several other sites and only at Genii have complaints about Bob's business practices come up. At TRI (formerly The Nailwriter), the most intensive mentalism site and home of more working mentatlism pros (a majority of the Conversations interviewees are on TRI) anywhere other than the PEA, only compliments on Hanussen, and suggestions for alternate presentations, made up the replies. Make of that what you will.

By the way, Avocat, thank you for the compliment on the review. It did not go unnoticed. Of course, I like to get those, but I was also hoping that in posting a thorough review of Hanussen, I could promote some discussion of the routine and encourage folks to ask questions so as to determine if the product is worth their while.

I will let you know when I get my copy of "Working It!" (To my knowledge, no one has) and if you don't get yours near the same time, I will be glad to assist if there is a problem. I feel safe in assuring you that Bob plans on getting this ebook out to all who have ordered it.

So do I stop my reviews, which I think most people will find helpful (as based on my feedback from Avocat and mentalists at other sites) to avoid endless digressions re: Bob's skills as a businessman? Or do I continue to provide comprehensive reviews of material that I have found very valuable and, as mentioned above, was surprised to find out copies were still available? I certainly do not intend to do so if I am accused of being unkind or of assisting in misrepresentation and fraud. Maybe I'll just stop posting them at Genii. Enough said.
Bill Cushman
 
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Postby Kim » 01/13/04 03:55 PM

Loki,
I agree with you about Bob's material in his ebooks, but the brainstorms should come during the final edit, whether its pre-sold or sold after the fact :) .
I have in the past, and will continue to purchase everything Bob releases to us.
By the way,not only is The Hanussen Proof got some good material in it,it also let me to do some research on the man. I found it quite interesting.
PS: I also am awaiting Working it :D
Kim
 
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Postby Bill Cushman » 01/13/04 09:30 PM

Kim,

Let me know when you figure out a way to control when a brainstorm comes; I'll help you market the method and we'll get rich. :p

Have you performed Hanussen? Or, more like I've done, taken aspects to apply to your own work?

Also, where did your research Erik Hanussen take you and what else did you find out?

Thanks for helping me get this back on topic. ;)
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Postby Guest » 01/13/04 10:16 PM

It doesn't justify it, but both mentalist dealer/authors, Robert Nelson and Burling Hull, were accused, (sometimes correctly) of advertising books/manuscripts, before they were completed, or sometimes even started.

Those interested in the life of Hanussen may find Mel Gordon's book, an interesting read. I know there is at least one german-language biography on Hanussen as well.
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Postby Andrew » 01/14/04 09:20 PM

Loki,
I don't understand how you can separate Cassidy's work from his business practices. Integrity is seamless. You said earlier you'd worked out all your troubles with him and now have a good relationship. What about all of us who haven't been so fortunate? How can you look the other way? The only way we'll discourage unreliable and indifferent dealers like Cassidy is if we stick together.
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Postby Guest » 01/25/04 01:55 PM

Based on Loki's review and his follow up comments regarding availability, I went ahead and ordered the "Hanussen Proof." It was, after all, available. While "Working It" appears to have been a work in progress (for which a number of us have nonetheless already paid), "Hanussen" was not and should have been immediately available. Should have been, but that was eight days ago and still no word from Bob regarding either book.

If you want to accept money immediately, you should be ready to render value for such money immediately. To do otherwise is to engage in false advertising. To protest accusations based on hurt feelings does nothing to remedy the wrong. Frankly I don't know what will, so I can offer no solutions.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/26/04 01:33 AM

Hi Loki,

Enjoyed your review...

And to add to Andy and Kim, and others... I too am awaiting "Working it"

;-)

Nakul Shenoy
India
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Postby Guest » 01/26/04 04:46 AM

Hi Loki, Andy, Kim, Avocat, et al.

Just to amend my earlier post...

I received "Working It" from Bob Cassidy...

Have to get back to it now...

Till later then,

Nakul
Guest
 


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