"The Straight Dope" on Psychics

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Guest » 11/18/03 08:54 AM

On Cecil Adams's "Straight Dope" website, someone has posed the question:

How come TV psychics seem so convincing?

Its an interesting article, and has contributions by Ian Rowland, who is a member of this forum.

Here is the link:

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mcoldreading.html


Bill
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Postby Guest » 11/18/03 09:22 AM

Clever way of selling Ian's book.
Still, Ian hasn't done much in the way of PAID readings himself.
The only way you can be an expert on scamming the public is to have experience scamming the public.
Not a bad book though. It explains rather than teaches.
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Postby Pete Biro » 11/18/03 10:03 AM

Just like the "so-called" gambling expert card guys... none have really been THIEVES.
Stay tooned.
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Postby Guest » 11/18/03 12:13 PM

True. I have always thought that.
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Postby Jason England » 11/18/03 01:28 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Just like the "so-called" gambling expert card guys... none have really been THIEVES.
Pete,

I've never understood why that was important. I don't know of any homicide detectives that are murderers, but that isn't a knock against their expertise.

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Postby Guest » 11/18/03 01:35 PM

Interesting point..... I don't think many detectives sell themselves as experts on how to commit murder but as how to solve murder cases. I can see the argument that if one is an expert at cheating and have never been a cheat then they are an expert on methods of cheating instead.
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Postby Jason England » 11/18/03 06:15 PM

Originally posted by Steve V':
Interesting point..... I don't think many detectives sell themselves as experts on how to commit murder but as how to solve murder cases. I can see the argument that if one is an expert at cheating and have never been a cheat then they are an expert on methods of cheating instead.
Steve V
It's true that most homicide detectives don't bill themselves as experts on how to commit murder, but they are experts on murder nonetheless. Likewise one can be an expert on cheating, without ever having been a cheat. You wouldn't suggest that all the Civil war experts have been dead for a hundred years would you?

I would much rather have a person that has spent his life in and around gaming and cheating consult my casino than someone who has moved a few times and made off with a couple of hundred bucks.

Keep in mind that most cheats specialize. The guy who has past-posted at roulette once or twice many not know a darn thing about slot protection, or craps protection, or hole-card play, or dealing known hole-cards at poker, or marked cards, or any of a number of other things.

Which would you rather have consult to your casino, someone who's taken down one or two games and is technically a "thief", or Darwin Ortiz, who's never cheated at cards, dice or what have you, but has spent the last 20+ years studying cheating methods?

I'll take Darwin thanks.

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Postby Guest » 11/18/03 08:06 PM

I'd go with Darwin of course...because he is an expert on cheating methods and is entertaining to boot. I asked a homicide detective about the question and looked at me funny and said that most murderers are stupid and that's why they get caught.
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 11/24/03 07:08 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Just like the "so-called" gambling expert card guys... none have really been THIEVES.
However, if you want your network secured, the best way to do it is to hire a socalled 'white hat' hacker to test your vunerabilities (as it were).
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Postby Guest » 11/24/03 09:30 AM

There's currently a debate going on as to whether Vernon had the ability to move under fire. Or if the methods he learned were really what gamblers use. My late father was an advantage player, in his youth he roomed with Legs Diamond, prior to his marraige to my mom. What he showed me had little resemblance to what I've read in magic books
Now as tro Rowland and what I'll call "sincere" psychics. I worked for 5 years doing readings in malls in the mid to late 70's. None of the readers (except me) used anything like the techniques used in Rowland'a book. Most used traditional systems, palmistry, astrolgy, etc, that they studied for years and attemppted to adhere to the principles they'd studied. I'm not saying that the system could accurately predict the future, but the customers got what they were paying for. Nothing in Rowland's works explains the currently succesful tv psychics , and if you think it does, you're not being objective
Magicians circulate the same myths about psychics for yeasrs, but most have no real idea what psychics do
froom
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Postby Steve Bryant » 11/24/03 10:09 AM

My late father was an advantage player, in his youth he roomed with Legs Diamond, prior to his marraige to my mom. What he showed me had little resemblance to what I've read in magic books
It would be interesting to know what he DID show you. (Sleights? Marked cards? Blatant cons? Etc.)
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Postby Guest » 11/24/03 10:43 AM

Ford,
Your mother was married to "Legs" Diamond? If true, have you put any information/memories in print? What was your mother's reactions to the books, movies that portrayed him?
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Postby Guest » 11/24/03 11:09 AM

Hi Diego, he said his dad 'roomed' with Legs Diamond not that he was Legs Diamond.
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 11/24/03 11:44 AM

My dad was primarily a craps dealer, but he was not unfamiliar with the pasteboards. He had some interesting dice switches, most involved a lot of misdirection. His shift(pass) needed misdirection
I rember saying when I expressed some interest he said if you wanna be a player, you've gotta be able to give a beating and take a beating.My dad was born in 1893 a different time, in the 20's like most in his family, he strayed from the straight and narrow. My cousin Mal Cross , the NYC magician, father my Uncle Syd also had a murky career
Strangely after marrying my mom, my dad stopped gambling. My mom on the other hand loved to gamble, and always won. My dad's comment, you can't learn to be lucky
My point when my magic friends, showed him card stuff he laughed and laughed
from
Ford
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Postby Guest » 11/24/03 02:06 PM

Steve V,
Now that I have put my contacts in and re-reading Ford's post, you are right, thanks for correcting my mis-reading.
Ford's remarks about being able to give & take it, is a reminder that contrary to myth and legend, that was a hard, lonely life, and unlike the images sold in movies/TV, most ended up broke and/or broken.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 11/24/03 02:20 PM

Thanks, Ford. Speaking of your cousin, I recall enjoying him years ago at the Magic Castle. I always wondered how an application letter might read, if he defined himself by the tricks he did. He featured such things as Anti-Gravico and vanishing a cigarette with a thumb tip, stuff we bought as kids out of Popular Mechanics for a couple of dollars. It wouldn't sound like a big deal magician. But boy could he slay the audiences at the Castle with that material. One of my all time favorites. Hmm, another cover idea for Genii!
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Postby Guest » 11/24/03 02:46 PM

Re: my cousin Mal, curious we as first cousins wound up earning our living performing
His repertoire is a bit bigger than you describe, but he's certainly a prime examle of "It ain't what you do but the way that you do it"
from
Ford
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Postby Guest » 11/24/03 02:47 PM

Re: my cousin Mal, curious we as first cousins wound up earning our living performing
His repertoire is a bit bigger than you describe, but he's certainly a prime examle of "It ain't what you do but the way that you do it"
from
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