Book of the Month: Annemann's Practical Mental Effects (with Comments by Max Maven)

This forum is an ongoing, and evolving, discussion. Genii Forum members discuss opinions and trade notes on current and past magic books.
Bob Postelnik
Posts: 73
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: Book of the Month: Annemann's Practical Mental

Postby Bob Postelnik » March 14th, 2008, 12:20 am

Thanks, the Solomon trick is very clever and I am sure it is a real stunner under the right circumstances.
Life is a journey, so do not arrive at your grave safe and in a well preserved body. Enjoy the Ride!

User avatar
TheFireEater
Posts: 5
Joined: February 6th, 2009, 4:20 am
Location: CA

Re: Book of the Month: Annemann's Practical Mental Effects (with Comments by Max Maven)

Postby TheFireEater » February 6th, 2009, 10:07 am

Dustin Stinett_dup1 wrote:Is there anyone out there using this amazing material?


In a word: "Yes!" Matter-of-fact I DID do a Halloween-ish version of "Safalaljia" this past year.

I have also adapted/adopted some of that chapter on Slates... and, you know, slates STILL can be found. More-so, you can Make YOur Own... buy the proper paint.

But, the quality won't be as good.

Then, too, it IS true that 'White Boards' have really made slates seem a bit odd... but if you just go into any toy store, you will find that CHALK has, if anything, enjoyed quite a 're-birth' of popularity... BUT this is in the format of 'sidewalk' usage.

So, MAYBE a BLack Board can still be used without arousing too much suspicion ? Thing is, I just came to THIS topic after reading the review of Magicomedy, so I am rather acutely aware of using a so-called "Normal" looking and/or 'common' object.

I do suspect that for anyone younger than, say, maybe 30, a Blackboard will seem very rare, if not out-and-out an oddity. Anyone half that age probably won't know what they are at all !

Oh, well... Max, you did a GREAT JOB, not just a review, clearly, of a book, but an entire TREATISE on the history of 'modern' mentalism ! Thanks for an obvious 'labor of Love' !

As Maz observes, even IF slates are passe', the material STILL has merits, even if the specific effect needs to be altered.

A GREAT BOOK, one that I often keep near 'The Throne' and will pick up randomly to read.

I would thus give it "Four-and-a-half Flushes" on a scale of Five Flushes. No "Four Flusher" this one !
Matthew the Munificent

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1920
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: Book of the Month: Annemann's Practical Mental Effects (with Comments by Max Maven)

Postby Joe Mckay » December 13th, 2020, 10:28 pm

Sorry for digging up an old thread!

There was a discussion about the classics of mentalism (Corinda and Practical Mental Magic) on Facebook. And I just wanted to share what I wrote here as well, since I think there is a lot of confusion around exactly how magicians should "tackle" these two classics of mentalism.

Bob Cassidy said the older magicians call this book Practical Mental Effects. But the younger magicians - who only know it through the Dover reprint - refer to it as Practical Mental Magic.

I am on team PMM, baby!

This was in response to a poster who felt the classics were boring and overrated.
I used to feel the same. But over time - you go back to these old classics and see them in a new light.

I think it is good you are thinking for yourself. The real issue with classics in magic, are those who call them classics and then never bother reading them.

We don't read magic books. They read us. As you grow in magic - you will spot new ideas in these old books that you never noticed before.

Eventually you just get to a point where you dig through these boring old classics because you have studied everything else.

I saved the classics for last. And over time you slowly absorb the quality they have to offer. It never really ends.

I know this sounds like a non-answer answer. But this is what happens.

I recommend working through the classics every 5-10 years. Eventually you will reach a point where you can start to appreciate the books in a whole new light.

I am not saying you will ever pick them up and be blown away. But, eventually you will see things you overlooked in the past. And that is a rewarding experience. You then get to fool people with material from books they keep telling everyone else to read.

It reminds me of a quote by Mark Twain. He said when he was 18 he thought his father was an idiot. But by the time he was 21 - he was amazed at how much his father had learned in the previous 3 years.

Anyway - I actually agree with your sentiments. People should engage with the books and give their honest opinion. Rather than never engaging with them and then lazily repeating other people's recommendations.

I just think you will find that one day - you may start to notice subtle ideas that didn't stand out before.

You will also occasionally find a great idea that is not quite the finished article. And sometimes you will recognise it as the forebearer to a stunning magic trick that Derren Brown used on a TV special.

There is no hard & fast rule. One of the strongest tricks in all of magic is in Corinda. But it is not quite the finished article. So - it is still an idea that is pinned to the pages at the moment, rather than something I actually use.

What would be helpful would be to have an annotated version of Corinda and Practical Mental Magic. So - that magicians can appreciate the material in a new light. But that would rob magicians of one of the joys of magic.

Every experienced magician has a different relationship to the classics. And that means each magician - in effect - has a one off edition of that book that is exclusive to them. Since no other magician interprets that book in quite the same way they do.

This is a good thing. It leads you to developing your own perspective on these books. And that leads to more diversity of thinking - than if simply somebody went through the book and digested it for you.

Don't be in a rush to study the classics. I think it is better to study them after you start to get burned out with the constant cycle of new material. Eventually you reach a point where you don't have anything new to buy (or the money to buy them) - and that is when you should dust off the classics and study them with a fresh pair of eyes.

Ian Rowland said the big secret of mentalism is that there are no big secrets. So - you have to always bear that in mind. The classics are not classics because they will blow you away with their secrets.

They are classics because of their historical importance. And because they provide a foundation to beginners. And because they only teach their deepest secrets, when the student is ready for them.


Return to “Book of The Month Club”