The Basics...

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

The Basics...

Postby Guest » March 22nd, 2004, 10:34 pm

Has anyone put out a complete course of basics in mentalism? I know that sleights are a good thing to know, and the bests of our biz are sleights masters. I came to this conclusion as I noticed that theres so many things you can do with a book test. The book test isn't the effect, its just a cog in a bigger machine. And cold reading! I better not get started.


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Re: The Basics...

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » March 23rd, 2004, 4:21 am

Corinda and Anneman.


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Re: The Basics...

Postby Rennie » March 23rd, 2004, 6:49 am

1- Encyclopedia of Mentalism - Nelson
2- 13 Steps to Mentalism - Corinda
3- Mind, Myth & Magic - Waters
4- The Life and Times of a Legend ( Annemann )
All the above are excellent books on mentalism.
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve is not !!

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Re: The Basics...

Postby CHRIS » March 23rd, 2004, 7:17 am

There is no ONE book that covers it all, but probably the overall best resource for mental magic is the Jinx magazine. It is available second hand, reprinted in bound volumes and on CD. A good part of Jinx's contents can be found in the Annemann books "Annemann's Card Magic" and "Annemann's Practical Mental Effects" (both are available as ebooks from me at for a few bucks). However, Jinx is not a structured teaching tool. It is more a resource pool in which you can dive any time you like and pull out some nuggets. The bible of mental magic is "Corinda's Thirteen Steps to Mentalism". "Gems of Mental Magic" by Cook and Buckley is a highly underrated book (also available from as ebook). Among many other wonderful routines you can find the explanation to David Copperfield's Graffity trick. Of course the trick is not called 'Graffity' but the method and structure of the effect are identical to the one Copperfield popularized. A more recent tome is T. A. Water's "Mind, Myth, and Magick". Modern and psychological based methods can be found in works by Derren Brown and Steve Banacheck. Other Authors you should be checking out are Max Maven, Bob Cassidy, Eugene Burger, ...

Chris Wasshuber preserving magic one book at a time.


Re: The Basics...

Postby Guest » March 23rd, 2004, 4:10 pm

Dear Scott,
Below is a portion from a chapter in my book "Can you keep a secret?" that I hope may help you.

Where else can one learn techniques to help them in the pursuit of Mentalism? I suggest the following route in reading and study:

Begin with 13 Steps to Mentalism Corrinda. This is truly the equivalent of The Tarbell Course for Mentalists. Study and learn each step thoroughly until each section is mastered, even if you feel that you may not need to learn it. A well-rounded understanding of each of the techniques will aid you further on in your study.

While learning from Corrinda, also begin reading, studying and learning from Red Hot Cold Reading Dewey. Proper Cold Reading Technique is a MUST for any Mentalist. Proper technique (which is not however merely a memorized personality profile as some would like you to believe) is useful in Question and Answer routines (one of the strongest things a Mentalist can do), it will give you the ability to apparently know many additional

personal things about your subjects and can also help you when asked on the spot to read my mind. Again, I urge you to study and learn through these techniques, step by step.

Once you have finished with Red Hot Cold Reading move on to King of the Cold Readers and then Psychobabble by Dewey as well. After that is completely digested it can also be a help to digest Completely Cold Kenton Knepper. (I do not suggest any deviation from that order however as it is imperative that one learns proper technique with no short cuts).

If you are still performing during your study of these books, then additional reading from Larry Becker and Max Maven would also be suggested. While much of this material is more mental magic in orientation, much contains subtleties that will be useful later on in your development but this will also aid you in your learning new and useful principles to apply to your act and help you ease into your performing persona as a mentalist as well.

After Corrinda is learned, the reading of Bob Cassidys The Art of Mentalism and then his newer The Art of Mentalism Two is a good place to begin to learn philosophy of mentalist performing. His series Principia Mentalia (Vol. 1-4) is also recommended. Mind, Myth and Magic T.a. Waters, while containing many unperformable effects also contains many useful ideas as well as MUST read essays on ethics, readers, and other such topics.

Below is a list of additional suggested readings or The four foot shelf for Mentalists.

Paramiracles Ted Lesley

The JINX (Hardbound Issues of Annemmans Magazine)

The Complete Magick (Republication of the magazine) Collectors Workshop

Psychological Subtleties Banachek (and all his other materials that are published)

Anything and everything by Eugene Burger (especially Magic and Meaning

Strong Magic Darwin Ortiz

Tony Binarelli My Way to Mentalism

Now when you have learnt from there, you can then move on to the works of Richard Busch (Peek Performances and Peek Encores which will teach you peeks, and "Number...Please?" which will teach you psychological subtelties you will carry with you into many other uses PLUS some great practical effects), The Purloined Thought by Al Mann (which will teach you all about other methods of info gathering via tears and such), The Mental Mental Mysteries of Wm. Larsen Sr., and "The Bold and Subtle Miracles of Dr. Faust" by David Hoy.

While you are studying and learning from the above books, do yourself one more favour and take some acting classes (or get involved in some community theatre). Study the classic books of acting PLUS "Impro" by Keith Johnstone (which will help you in improvisation work, something a mentalist can use as you do need to think on your feet)

I sincerely hope that this bit will help your pursuit/quest to study mentalism in the best manner you can. Do STUDY it and not skim through those books looking for tricks. Study the books lesson by lesson, step by step and do not move forward until you have absorbed the previous material. If you do that you will have more qualifications than many and will be on a very succesful path towards mentalism.

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


Re: The Basics...

Postby Guest » March 23rd, 2004, 4:27 pm

Thank you Mr. Alberstat,

I have read and own 85% of the above books. I actually study them repeatedly, and as such I am finally learning that alot of what they teach could be taken a step forward and masked either in a double entendre (Sorry I am a college graduate who can't spell) or in psuedo hypnosis ala Derren Brown and others.

I guess what I was getting at, not a list of manuals but rather was a retorical statement. Does anyone else out there realize that having someone open to any page in a book and then telling them the word is adolescent and not real mentalism? I don't mean to sound snobby, but the book test is a means to an end. James (Can't remember his last name) from the cafe has created a simple method called the Mind Meld that would add to any book test, card trick, or any basic mental magic effect. Thus by making it into mentalism.

I guess I'll spill a little routine I'm working on here. It's a think-a-drink (as I have a new bar I'm trying to get into) with a cocktail dictionary of drinks. I don't want to give too much away, but lets just say the effect is all in the reveal.

The more and more I read about mentalism, the more and more I realize it's the basics of magic just dressed up and made to hit some one on a more emotional level. The same "BASIC" move apply. The riffle force, the peek, the menetekel principle, slip force, magicians choice, switching devices are all a part of mentalism. The mentalist just realizes these aren't effects, they are moves to achieve a deversified end.

Mentalism is the next logical course in magic. As magic is to be believed, i.e. Robert Houdin and the mystical properties of ether, then mentalism is more believable. Then could the ultimate goal be a psychic entertainer, possibly the next logical step after mentalism?

I'd love to hear what the rest of the workers think...


Re: The Basics...

Postby Guest » March 24th, 2004, 10:22 am

Just so you know, there is an effect that was recently released titled "Happy Hour" by Erez Moshe which is a "drink menu", and you have a paper bag on the table. The participant takes the menu and thinks of one of the drinks listed, they reach into the bag to find ONE glass in it, nothing else and the galss contains their thought of drink. The inventor can be reached at if you want to know more (tell him I sent you).

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


Re: The Basics...

Postby Guest » March 29th, 2004, 2:58 am


IMO Henry Hay's 'Amateur Magician's Handbook,' Ted Annemann's 'Practical Mental Magic,' Corinda's '13 Steps to Mentalism,' and T A Waters' 'Mind, Myth & Magic' together offer the Complete Course in Mentalism. I would also like to add the book 'Mind & Magic of David Berglas' to the list.

Also I cannot agree enough with my friends here who recommend the works of Max Maven, Larry Becker, Lee Earle, Bob Cassidy, Richard Osterlind, et al. These are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, anytime.

Further, Bob Cassidy offers his list of recommended books to form 'The Thirty-Nine Steps' of Mentalism. Go to the mentalists section of

I know the above has all been said before. Plus you mention you have read most of these too... but I just coudn't hold on to my two paisa worth... Had to throw my thoughts in... ;-)

As regards your thought on Psychic Entertainment being the next logical step: hmm... guess we need to discuss that one in detail...


Re: The Basics...

Postby Guest » March 31st, 2004, 3:44 am

Lets discuss...

You first.


Re: The Basics...

Postby Guest » April 13th, 2004, 4:30 am

Sure thing Scott.

Guess it all depends on the impact the performer can make on the perception of the audience.

When a magician is there in front of them, whatever he performs is relegated to being a trick, as that is what magic is seen to be. Again, that is what most magicians make themselves out to be too... sleight of hand exponents, attributing everything to misdirection.

So when a mentalist says what he does are not just tricks, it opens a new dimension in the minds of the audience, who want to explain the 'phenomena' they witness.

Everything they see can have two explanations - one, a trick, two, a psychic phenomenon. Thus, the mystery of magic per se is maintained in mentalism to a great extent, and that is what makes it charming.

Thus logically, as you say, psychic entertainment must be the next step towards achieving the ultimate in magical entertainment. Of course there is also 'pseudo-psychic presentations' within this continuum.

The reason I say that this is an issue that calls for elaborate discussions is because the moment something is presented as a real psychic phenomena, there is also a possibility of it losing the entertainment value.

I don't know if my thoughts on this are very clear, but the idea is that the moment you associate something as 'real magic' you tend to make other associations to this, and those are not necessarily connected with the concepts of entertainment per se.

Would like to hear your thoughts on this, before I take this forward...


Re: The Basics...

Postby Guest » April 14th, 2004, 1:10 am

I understand what you mean, but who passes their gifts off as real? Not me. I don't claim to be supernatural or have super powers.

My job is neither to enlighten or educate, emrely to entertain.


Re: The Basics...

Postby Guest » April 14th, 2004, 2:58 am

Glad we agree, Scott.

That's what I mean. The logical step seems a psychic entertainment... but if one begins to present oneself as a psychic...

To sum it up, the relationship between the audience's perception of entertainment and the magician - mentalist - psychic continuum seems to be inversely proportionate.

Then again, the impact of the same seems to be directly proportional.

Am in the middle of a research that is looking into, among other things, this very point... (audience perception of an effect). Also note, that the statements above are at best a hypothesis.

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