About the concept of Mentalism...

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.
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Paco Nagata
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About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Paco Nagata » June 11th, 2020, 3:07 pm

It's well known that the general concept of Mentalism in Magic is to guess or just to get to know what a spectator is thinking or have thought.

Well, I was wondering if a different concept of Mentalism would be beneficial or detrimental for the general concept of Mentalism in Magic.
The concept I'm talking about is that the magician doesn't guess the spectator's thinking, but actually makes the spectator to think what he/she wants by means of Magic. If the magician talk about it openly to the spectators, they would think about it as a magical power of influencing over their thinking, but...

What do you reckon about this concept?
Do you think it's a good idea to use this concept for Mentalism in a Magic Show?

Additionally, there's something interesting about this concept to reflect:

Let's consider the typical heckler or "evil spectator" (as I define them) asking the typical question:
"If you can read minds, tell me what I'm thinking right now?"
There are several (comical) ways to get by on this famous question, like: "You're thinking right now I can't read minds," or "you're thinking I won't be able to know what are you thinking right now," or (you put your hand inside your pocket and say) "you're thinking right now I'm going to take something from the pocket,"... etc...

However, with the concept above suggested, you can get by on this by a magical way, instead a comical way.
I mean that you can explain you don't actually know the thinking, but make people think what you want to.
If the heckler says: "Well then...make me think in the As of Spades." You can answer: "I've just done it!"
If the (witty) heckler says: "Ok, make me think in a certain card, and right after that tell me what card is it." You can answer: "You don't trust me; so, I don't trust you; you may change your thought if I'm right!"

Do you think it is advisable for a magic show to present a mentalism effect as just an influence over the thinking?
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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 11th, 2020, 6:05 pm

Paco,

You raise an intriguing issue. My own understanding of mentalism is that it his very broad and can include any type of extra-sensory perception (ESP?), such as mind reading, mental telepathy (sending or transmitting a thought to another), predicting the future, and yes, as you suggest, exerting influence over the mind or thoughts of another - what could also be called the power of suggestion. I am not, and never have been one for "rules" or dogmatic proclamations when it comes to performing. I believe that is up to the artist and if he or she wants to mix magic and mentalism in the same show or performance, so be it. I believe that is within their artistic sensibility and freedom. So, in my view anything goes, as long as one does not cross over into the negative, like insulting, embarrassing, or hurting the spectator's feelings, or corrupting the morals of a child.

All of this being said, I have gravitated more and more in recent years to what I will call collaborative magic. This means (to me) involving the spectator, bringing them center stage, letting them participate and shine. At one time, I considered it a bother and a rude interruption when people would chime in with questions or comments in the middle of a routine - even when the questions or comments were witty ones - and I would strive to get back to my set patter or script ASAP. Why? Because it was about me. Or so I thought. But no more. Now I welcome it and play off it, and improvise. It's fun! And the result far more often than not is enhanced entertainment and a more fun or enjoyable experience for everyone. They want to be a part of it, not just engage in hero worship at what the magician can do. It's all about them! When I changed my orientation to that way of thinking, people reacted better than ever before, and I got more work.

This spectator-oriented approach also helps dissolve the wall of defensiveness many spectators have to a magician. I ask myself with each trick or routine. Is this about showing off how clever or skillful I am? If the answer is predominantly "yes," then I change it up. Because how much payoff is there for the spectator to watch me prove how clever I am and how I can baffle them? In fact, there are a substantial number of people that don't like magic (or that don't think they do) because they don't like being fooled or outwitted. And I have seen magicians who use wise-guy humor at the expense of the spectators. We all have seen this - some, perhaps, are guilty of it. No wonder they have a negative image of magic and magicians. This is not easy to overcome, but we must do it if we want to win them over. And, of course, many people have pretty big egos (some very big) and they consider magic a challenge to their intelligence and a deficiency if they cannot figure it out. That is why, as your favorite magician says, it is desirable to "dress up the trick," whether it's with an engaging story or an intriguing real-time plot or play in which they can be active participants. Your own emphasis on using metaphorical stories in card magic is an excellent example of dressing up the trick, and a fabulous device to engage and captivate people. Of course, all of this is only my personal opinion and approach...

So to bring this full circle, I personally would not set the theme of an effect as being my ability to make someone think of something, thereby proving my power. I would prefer to say, I am going to test your psychic abilities by attempting to send you an image, and I have a feeling you have amazing powers of extra-sensory perception and you will be able to read and pick up the thought I attempt to send you. This expands and amplifies the plot beyond them watching me. Now this spectator is personally invested, and the others are fascinated because now one of them is involved. It is not a movie or a play that is just exclusively about one character. This exemplifies what Vernon emphasized as the paramount importance of an "emotional hook." It also exploits the fact that the two most fascinating things to people are first, themselves, and second, other people. (See Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.)

Here is an example of what I am talking about: The Invisible Deck. Rather than setting up the effect as showcasing my amazing powers of prediction or premonition, I like to present it, as noted above, as a test of their abilities. So I tell them I am act going to send the image of a playing card to them, and I act it out. And, ultimately, when I ask them what card has come to their mind, and they say it, i will comedically say with a smile, "Unbelievable, you did it; that's exactly the card I was thinking of!" And I will act like it's over. Of course they will laugh and not believe it, and that is when I call their attention to a deck that was sitting in plain view or that I had a spectator hold on to. Then I can prove to them how powerful they really are, with the tag line: "Don't ever doubt your powers." And then I can solicit applause for them, which the others are more than willing to give.

And as a big added bonus, if this is at an event, and the host or party planner hears the guests laughing and applauding, guess who gets the credit and quite likely more shows? It would be tacky to ask for the applause for myself, but not to ask it for a guest.

It translates into people loving the magic and entertainment, feeling good, and having a great time, and that's the name of the game.

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 11th, 2020, 6:28 pm

Paco Nagata wrote:... makes the spectator to think what he/she wants by means of Magic. If the magician talk about it openly to the spectators, they would think about it as a magical power of influencing over their thinking, but...

What do you reckon about this concept??
Fine! And congratulations for thinking about such things!

Free will as illusion. :) A thought that's shared by many at the moment? How about a thought that's shared by only two people?

Have a great time exploring that idea with audiences.

Prediction: you will soon read about some card magic by Hofzinser

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Bob Farmer » June 11th, 2020, 7:01 pm

This was the theme of the movie, Inception.

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Paco Nagata » June 12th, 2020, 12:44 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Here is an example of what I am talking about: The Invisible Deck. Rather than setting up the effect as showcasing my amazing powers of prediction or premonition, I like to present it, as noted above, as a test of their abilities. So I tell them I am act going to send the image of a playing card to them, and I act it out. And, ultimately, when I ask them what card has come to their mind, and they say it, i will comedically say with a smile, "Unbelievable, you did it; that's exactly the card I was thinking of!" And I will act like it's over. Of course they will laugh and not believe it, and that is when I call their attention to a deck that was sitting in plain view or that I had a spectator hold on to. Then I can prove to them how powerful they really are, with the tag line: "Don't ever doubt your powers." And then I can solicit applause for them, which the others are more than willing to give.

So, Alfred, do you think that this magical mentalism effect impresses spectators as much as others like mind reading?
Thank you very much for your long and entertaining comment!
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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Paco Nagata » June 12th, 2020, 12:47 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Prediction: you will soon read about some card magic by Hofzinser.

How the hell did you know that?! :shock:
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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 12th, 2020, 4:40 am

Paco Nagata wrote:
MagicbyAlfred wrote:Here is an example of what I am talking about: The Invisible Deck. Rather than setting up the effect as showcasing my amazing powers of prediction or premonition, I like to present it, as noted above, as a test of their abilities. So I tell them I am act going to send the image of a playing card to them, and I act it out. And, ultimately, when I ask them what card has come to their mind, and they say it, i will comedically say with a smile, "Unbelievable, you did it; that's exactly the card I was thinking of!" And I will act like it's over. Of course they will laugh and not believe it, and that is when I call their attention to a deck that was sitting in plain view or that I had a spectator hold on to. Then I can prove to them how powerful they really are, with the tag line: "Don't ever doubt your powers." And then I can solicit applause for them, which the others are more than willing to give.

So, Alfred, do you think that this magical mentalism effect impresses spectators as much as others like mind reading?
Thank you very much for your long and entertaining comment!


You are most welcome! This is something we could discuss for weeks - more likely months, years, or decades in order to do it justice in an attempt to get to the bottom of it. And I fear that I have already rambled on too much. But in my opinion, Paco, the short answer to your question is "Yes." However, when it comes to creating the illusion of doing that which is commonly thought to be impossible, the presentational aspects and methodological aspects are intimately interrelated. Each performer must experiment and field-test a routine or varying approaches to a routine in order to find what works best for him or her - to find the "Sweet spot" as it were. And the audience will be the true barometer of what is strongest and most impressive. Certainly, at its purest, mind reading would entail something like "OK, just think of anything. Are you thinking of something?" [They say yes]. "You are thinking of your beloved dog, Fluffy, who unfortunately passed away in 1999." Or presented as telepathy, after they acknowledge that they are thinking of something, you would say, "I just sent you an image of your dog, Fluffy, who unfortunately passed away in 1999." I don't know of anyone who can do that.

So we must work with trying to find methods or presentations that ideally they will not even be able to come up with a plausible solution for, such as, "Oh, he used sleight of hand," or "He must have turned that card over without me seeing it," or "She must have distracted me." Even as I thought more about the presentation of the Invisible Deck, I shared in my previous post, I was able to poke holes, find weaknesses. Although fortunately, this has never happened to me, the kind of spectator you have described in some of your posts as the "evil spectator" might say, "No, you tell me, the name of the card you sent to me and I will tell you if you are right." Even in the typical presentation of the invisible deck where you have the spectator pantomime taking a card from an invisible deck and place it back in the deck upside down, there is the weakness that you must ask the spectator the name of the card before you can do the revelation. I have had spectators express surprise when I asked them the name of the card, they sometimes asked, "You want me to tell you?" This undermines the strength of the routine. But in mentalism or mental magic effects, we must get our information somehow.

So, as I have thought about your question, it is not so much whether the mind reading or the telepathy or even the prediction effect will impress more, but it is all about how strong the method and presentation is, and how it will impact them psychologically. Let's say for example, I started the routine, by saying to a spectator. "Please clear your mind of all thoughts. Now just name any one of the 52 cards in a deck of cards." Now, even the evil spectator has no reason to withhold the information I need because they do not even know why I asked them to name any card. Again, I am posting a long comment here, but I will just say, that there is now a way to show the spectators that you transmitted the image of the card named to this individual by the power of suggestion or telepathy, and to prove that you did so, and at the same time to still make the spectator the star for being able to read your mind. And, it can be accomplished to the point where no one can possibly say you used sleight of hand, or manipulation or distracted them. I will explain how I would do this in another post on here soon.

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Paco Nagata » June 12th, 2020, 2:28 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:So, as I have thought about your question, it is not so much whether the mind reading or the telepathy or even the prediction effect will impress more, but it is all about how strong the method and presentation is, and how it will impact them psychologically. Let's say for example, I started the routine, by saying to a spectator. "Please clear your mind of all thoughts. Now just name any one of the 52 cards in a deck of cards." Now, even the evil spectator has no reason to withhold the information I need because they do not even know why I asked them to name any card. Again, I am posting a long comment here, but I will just say, that there is now a way to show the spectators that you transmitted the image of the card named to this individual by the power of suggestion or telepathy, and to prove that you did so, and at the same time to still make the spectator the star for being able to read your mind. And, it can be accomplished to the point where no one can possibly say you used sleight of hand, or manipulation or distracted them. I will explain how I would do this in another post on here soon.

Thank you very much for your thoughts about it, Alfred. To tell you the true, I've hardly performed Mentalism magic in my amateur card magic shows, precisely because there was always someone (from relatives, friends, neighbours...) that used to ask me right after the effect: "well then, tell me what I'm thinking right now."
So I always tried to avoid magic based on Mentalism.
You can be sure that your thoughts have helped me quite a lot! : - )
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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 12th, 2020, 3:01 pm

You are very welcome Paco! Your Book, The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician, has been very helpful to me , as well.

If someone says, "Tell me what I'm thinking right now," here are a few of the lines I have used with success:
1. "I KNEW you were going to ask me that question."
2. (Place hand to forehead, close eyes, and pretending to concentrate) "Woah! I think we'd better keep that our little secret."
3. "I have a better idea, why don't you read MY mind? It's light reading."
4. "I would say it, but this is a family show."

As far as routines where you can produce the effect of exerting influence over a spectator's mind/thoughts, here are a couple suggestions:

The Gemini Twins, which I believe you may already perform, lends itself nicely to this type of presentation. After spectator shuffles (always a great convincer) and you bring out the two cards to be used, you can say, "I would like to try an experiment in telepathy. You strike me as someone who has great intuition and powers of perception. I would like you to deal the cards one-by-one, and I will mentally send you a thought of when to stop dealing. See if you can pick up on it." After they stop and the first card is inserted, they, of course, start dealing again. You can urge them to concentrate because you will again send them a thought regarding where to stop. When you show the cards match up at the end, you can congratulate them in having tremendous powers of perception, or however you wish to script this, and you can have the audience give "them" applause. Since they shuffled and the deck was completely under their control, this can pass as a very convincing feat of mentalism, and the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes. I sometimes give them a prize, such as a lottery ticket. All in all, in my view, it's about giving the spectator a bigger "pay-off" then just the privilege of watching us fool the pants off of them or demonstrating how clever we are.

Another routine that would work well is to use the Brainwave Deck. Start off by having the deck in a sealed envelope for drama, and give to a spectator to hold. Then, as I mentioned in the last post, start by having another spectator (if there are more than one) name, out loud, any card in the deck. After they name the card, act amazed. Tell them that you had them name a card as an experiment in psychic phenomena, and that you firmly believed you could send a thought to them and they would have the astonishing ability to read the thought - to in fact, read your mind. Tell them the card they named was the very card you sent into their mind. Congratulate them on their extraordinary abilities. Then the envelope can be dramatically torn open and, as you very slowly spread, with your obviously empty hands, the card they named will be the only card face up in the spread. Let that sink in and then say, and just to prove this was done by our minds working together and not by sleight of hand or manipulation, "look, it is the only card with a different back." This of course eliminates the possibility that you cleverly turned over the card they named by sleight of hand or manipulation. I know that we are not clean with the Brainwave Deck or the Invisible Deck, but not once in many decades of doing those effects, has anyone ever asked me to examine the deck. It must be because the effects done with those decks are so structurally sound, that no one even considers that it might be a "trick deck." Anyway, just a couple ideas along the lines of the issue of your post, and I am sure with your creative mind you will come up with fantastic ideas and/or variations of your own.

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 12th, 2020, 6:13 pm

Have a look at iPhone shortcuts and two person mentalist codes. :) Hey Siri, did you see what card he picked/which one he chose/....?
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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 13th, 2020, 1:11 am

i should have given these credits in my previous post:

"Gemini Twins" - Karl Fulves, More Self Working Card Tricks 1984, p. 1.
According to Conjuring Credits, the placement system used in this trick originally appeared as “Stopped Twice” in Fulves' Impromptu Opener, 1979, p. 2, and may have been adopted from either of two sources: Theodore Annemann's “Locatrik” in The Jinx, No. 39, Dec. 1937, p. 262; or Herb Rungie's “Hidden Mystery” in The Jinx, No. 83, Mar. 1940, p. 535. In The Fine Print No. 10 (1999, p. 318) Fulves stated that the Herb Rungie effect is “almost certainly the inspiration for Gemini Twins.”
https://www.conjuringcredits.com/doku.p ... mini_twins

"Brainwave Deck" - Dai Vernon, 1938, The Jinx, 1-50 (Issue 49), p. 341
And speaking of Fulves, he is credited by Conjuring Archive with a comment entitled "Discussion of Vernon's Brainwave Deck," 1983.
https://www.conjuringarchive.com/list/s ... nwave+deck
https://www.conjuringarchive.com/list/s ... nwave+deck

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Paco Nagata » June 13th, 2020, 4:31 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:If someone says, "Tell me what I'm thinking right now," here are a few of the lines I have used with success:
1. "I KNEW you were going to ask me that question."
2. (Place hand to forehead, close eyes, and pretending to concentrate) "Woah! I think we'd better keep that our little secret."
3. "I have a better idea, why don't you read MY mind? It's light reading."
4. "I would say it, but this is a family show."

Those are great ideas, Alfred!
I'll put them into practice as soon as I can.
I have been using often the idea I wrote above in the first post. I'll put them here to make a kind of compilation ;)
5. "You're thinking right now I can't read minds."
6. "You're thinking I won't be able to know what are you thinking right now."
7. (You put your hand inside your pocket and say) "you're thinking right now I'm going to take something from the pocket."

MagicbyAlfred wrote:As far as routines where you can produce the effect of exerting influence over a spectator's mind/thoughts, here are a couple suggestions:

The Gemini Twins, which I believe you may already perform, lends itself nicely to this type of presentation. After spectator shuffles (always a great convincer) and you bring out the two cards to be used, you can say, "I would like to try an experiment in telepathy. You strike me as someone who has great intuition and powers of perception. I would like you to deal the cards one-by-one, and I will mentally send you a thought of when to stop dealing. See if you can pick up on it." After they stop and the first card is inserted, they, of course, start dealing again. You can urge them to concentrate because you will again send them a thought regarding where to stop. When you show the cards match up at the end, you can congratulate them in having tremendous powers of perception, or however you wish to script this, and you can have the audience give "them" applause. Since they shuffled and the deck was completely under their control, this can pass as a very convincing feat of mentalism, and the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes. I sometimes give them a prize, such as a lottery ticket. All in all, in my view, it's about giving the spectator a bigger "pay-off" then just the privilege of watching us fool the pants off of them or demonstrating how clever we are.

That's a great Mentalism idea for this popular trick, Alfred. It is similar to the great Annemann´s idea of "think stop."
Thank you!

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Another routine that would work well is to use the Brainwave Deck. Start off by having the deck in a sealed envelope for drama, and give to a spectator to hold. Then, as I mentioned in the last post, start by having another spectator (if there are more than one) name, out loud, any card in the deck. After they name the card, act amazed. Tell them that you had them name a card as an experiment in psychic phenomena, and that you firmly believed you could send a thought to them and they would have the astonishing ability to read the thought - to in fact, read your mind. Tell them the card they named was the very card you sent into their mind. Congratulate them on their extraordinary abilities. Then the envelope can be dramatically torn open and, as you very slowly spread, with your obviously empty hands, the card they named will be the only card face up in the spread. Let that sink in and then say, and just to prove this was done by our minds working together and not by sleight of hand or manipulation, "look, it is the only card with a different back." This of course eliminates the possibility that you cleverly turned over the card they named by sleight of hand or manipulation. I know that we are not clean with the Brainwave Deck or the Invisible Deck, but not once in many decades of doing those effects, has anyone ever asked me to examine the deck. It must be because the effects done with those decks are so structurally sound, that no one even considers that it might be a "trick deck." Anyway, just a couple ideas along the lines of the issue of your post, and I am sure with your creative mind you will come up with fantastic ideas and/or variations of your own.

Great! Thank you!
I've used similar ideas with the "Invisible Deck."
Curiously, as you say, nobody asked me never for the deck to examine, however they used to ask me the famous "evil" question:
"Tell me what I'm thinking right now"
Better to get that question than to be asked for examine the deck! ;)
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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Paco Nagata » June 13th, 2020, 5:09 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Have a look at iPhone shortcuts and two person mentalist codes. :) Hey Siri, did you see what card he picked/which one he chose/....?

Thank you for the reference!
It is also interesting to explore well the "instant stooge" idea.
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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 13th, 2020, 8:21 am

Paco Nagata wrote:
MagicbyAlfred wrote:If someone says, "Tell me what I'm thinking right now," here are a few of the lines I have used with success:
1. "I KNEW you were going to ask me that question."
2. (Place hand to forehead, close eyes, and pretending to concentrate) "Woah! I think we'd better keep that our little secret."
3. "I have a better idea, why don't you read MY mind? It's light reading."
4. "I would say it, but this is a family show."

Those are great ideas, Alfred!
I'll put them into practice as soon as I can.
I have been using often the idea I wrote above in the first post. I'll put them here to make a kind of compilation ;)
5. "You're thinking right now I can't read minds."
6. "You're thinking I won't be able to know what are you thinking right now."
7. (You put your hand inside your pocket and say) "you're thinking right now I'm going to take something from the pocket."


Curiously, as you say, nobody asked me never for the deck to examine, however they used to ask me the famous "evil" question:
"Tell me what I'm thinking right now"
Better to get that question than to be asked for examine the deck! ;)


You have some excellent lines there, as well. Thank you for sharing those. Looks like between us we have a nice compilation.

I am gratified to hear you have had the same experience with the Invisible Deck as I have. The fact that they never ask about the deck or to examine it still amazes me when I think about it. I guess they are too busy being blown away. :o What better misdirection than that?!? Of course, in this era of rampant exposure, and immediate accessibility to Google and YouTube, etc., it is obviously best to avoid ever using the words, "Invisible Deck."

I would add to this thought-provoking discussion the advantage of presenting mental effects where instead of (1) presenting an effect in which we are reading their mind, the plot is (2) an experiment in which we are telepathically sending them a thought or on whether they can read our mind. The advantage of (2) over (1) is that they are far less likely to say, "Tell me what I'm thinking right now." But if they do, we are ready for it. And there is the added advantage (as I've emphasized and re-emphasized) of putting them in the spotlight and making them the star.

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Tom Moore » June 13th, 2020, 3:31 pm

What you are describing is “the Derren Brown style” - from the beginning his shows have been based on the premise that he’s making you do stuff rather than just passively reading minds. Every mentalist out of Europe in the past 20 years has followed this style that he popularised.
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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Paco Nagata » June 13th, 2020, 5:42 pm

I've never heard about Derren Brown, but that's perfectly normal taking into account that I've never been very keen on mentalism magic.
I'm glad to get to know about him and his style, so thanks a lot to both of you, Alfred and Tom!
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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 13th, 2020, 5:46 pm

Tom Moore wrote:What you are describing is “the Derren Brown style” - from the beginning his shows have been based on the premise that he’s making you do stuff rather than just passively reading minds. Every mentalist out of Europe in the past 20 years has followed this style that he popularised.


And from what I understand from Derren Brown's interview published in the New Yorker (September 30, 2019), the "Derren Brown style" is based on the style of a hypnotist named Martin Taylor whom Derren saw a perform on campus at his (Derren's) first year as a student at the University of Bristol. In one routine, Taylor got a student to forget the number seven; when the student counted his fingers, he couldn’t understand why he had eleven. In regards to what he saw Taylor do, Brown told the New Yorker interviewer (Adam Greene), “You’re laughing out of amazement and disbelief and kind of empathizing with the confusion. Almost right away I decided, I’m going to do that.”
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019 ... r-skeptics

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby DanZ » June 13th, 2020, 7:21 pm

No doubt Derren Brown deserves kudos for inspiring many with his stle. But surely the idea of the mentalist getting his subjects to do things predates him, and even Martin Taylor. Of course one thing is the hypnotist who gets his subject to do things (of all kinds), another is the mentalist who without saying a word influences his subjects perceptions and actions. Consider the extraordinary act described by Orville Meyer's in Telepathy in Action which he attribute to one "Professor" George Lyman. Perhaps Diego or Prof. Maven or someone else knowlegeable in the history of mentalism could weigh in on all that (and who the hell is Prof. Lyman).

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Edward Pungot » June 13th, 2020, 9:38 pm

Prof. Maven @ EG8 Conference
https://vimeo.com/122464584

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 14th, 2020, 4:28 pm

This has been a thought-provoking thread for me. (No pun intended). As I think about the various posts and the issue of what my relationship to the spectator will be in mental effects, the distinction between exerting influence and/or control over a spectator's mind, perceptions, emotions, or behavior, on one hand (ala Derren Brown), versus telepathically sending a thought or impression to the spectator and/or having spectator read my mind, on the other, becomes more stark. I am definitely interested in the latter, but not the former. I feel that one is empowering, while the other is disempowering, and I don't wish to disempower the spectator(s). Just my own personal taste and presentational preference, based on my performing philosophy and goals.

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Edward Pungot » June 14th, 2020, 10:08 pm

Derren Brown Fast Company Interview
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CxFsQN1swpM

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby Paco Nagata » June 15th, 2020, 2:24 am

Edward, thanks for the references!

MagicbyAlfred wrote:This has been a thought-provoking thread for me. (No pun intended). As I think about the various posts and the issue of what my relationship to the spectator will be in mental effects, the distinction between exerting influence and/or control over a spectator's mind, perceptions, emotions, or behavior, on one hand (ala Derren Brown), versus telepathically sending a thought or impression to the spectator and/or having spectator read my mind, on the other, becomes more stark. I am definitely interested in the latter, but not the former. I feel that one is empowering, while the other is disempowering, and I don't wish to disempower the spectator(s). Just my own personal taste and presentational preference, based on my performing philosophy and goals.

Alfred, maybe it is something like wondering "what kind of magical effect takes place exactly."
In Mentalism magic you "can":
- Read a minds.
- Send a telepathic message.
- Influence a decision or thought.
- Make a spectator to read your mind.
(Etc)
From that, I think it depends on what do you prefer to do do as a magic effect.

I think that the problem would be to create confusion, so that spectatator can't understand what kind of magic it's supposed to be happening exactly. "Ambiguous" effects would give the impresion that the magician is fooling around instead of showing a specific or particular magic effect.
When it comes to gess a selected card you can show very different magic effects:
- You can guess the card because the spectator has seen the card and is thinking in it (mind reading).
- You can guess the card even without being known by the spectator, by a "natural" power that sends to your mind the identity of that card.
- Yo can guess the card only if the spectator look at it, as if his/her eyes were a kind of camera that proyect an image on our mind (that's one of my favourite! I have showed this presentation many times and got great reactions).
- You can guess the card because you influence in his/her mind to take that specific card.

It is very interesting being able to create different magic effects by using the same method.
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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 15th, 2020, 3:14 am

Paco,

I agree 100%.

Clarity of effect and the avoidance of confusion or ambiguity are of paramount importance. This is where the patter/scripting, the ability to communicate effectively, and the setting of the conditions, all work hand in hand to frame the effect.

In addition to the fact that learning and performing tricks and routines is just plain fun, what fascinates me endlessly about our art is that, we can be writers of our little plays or screenplays, actors, public speakers, producers, directors, set designers, costume/wardrobe artists, choreographers, prop managers, researchers, psychologists, and more - all rolled into one.

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Re: About the concept of Mentalism...

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 16th, 2020, 9:48 am

Edward Pungot wrote:Derren Brown Fast Company Interview
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CxFsQN1swpM


This was a fascinating interview, thanks for posting it. It is often hard to avoid labels or the habit of using them, but it seems clear from the interview that Derren uses both magic and mentalism in his shows. This blend has what has been described as "mental magic," as opposed to pure "mentalism." But then again, although I've not seen a Derren Brown show, what he does may defy labels altogether.

One of the things he shared in the interview that really resonated with me (between the one and two and 1/2 minute mark), was this:

"One of the difficult things about any sort of magic -- and I've got one foot very firmly planted in that -- it's just this quick route to impressing people. And I think that for that reason, magicians tend to be interesting for a while and then become sort of figures of fun or dislike, because it's sort of posturing after a while. I think there's a thing with magic, because it's basically about impressing people, but at its core -- and I've definitely got one foot in magic, it's definitely part of what I do -- there's this subtext that's always just, look at me, aren't I clever? That interested me at the start, when that was important to me, but now, I think that if there's anything that makes the show that I do different, is that it really isn't about me. It's a show very much about the audience."

This is something I have been thinking about, literally for years, and that I have been seeking to address in constructing my performances. I always somehow seem to come back to a core concept I read years ago -- I believe it was in Dariel Fitzkee's book, Showmanship for Magicians, and maybe in Dale Carnegie's, How to Win Friends and Influence People -- the two things people care about most and by which they are most fascinated are first, themselves, and second, other people. I suspect Derren Brown is acutely aware of that priinciple. I try to keep it foremost in mind in my approach to magic -- and to life at large.


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