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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #1 
A direct and to the point effect, you ask someone to think of a card and you reveal it.

How many mentalists use this trick?
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Gerald Deutsch

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Reply with quote  #2 
As comedy - not mentalism:

1  You ask a spectator to think of a card.

2  You concentrate and run through the cards with faces to you and pull out one card and put it on the table.

3  You ask for the name of the card. He tells you. You say, "That's right!" and put the card back in the deck without showing it.

4  When they smile you look confused and go through the deck and pull out that card. "See?" 
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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #3 
I remember seeing the British magician Paul Zennon live in Leeds, he did something similar... he also did a cut and restored mic cable which was quite funny, definitely not mentalism though, ha ha.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #4 
John Bannon's latest book, Mentalissimo, contains several versions of the effect. Two favorites of mine are Proxy Shock and Proximity. While the names are similar, the effects and methods are vastly different even though both involve a thought of card.
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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #5 
This has been a pet project for me for a while. Here are some good resources: O Force by Ross Taylor, Psyche by Peter Turner, Destination by Rus Andrews, and White Room by Ran Pink.  
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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #6 
I still like using the ID that I made out of a casino deck, I know that the effect is WAY to popular nowadays, but still , it gets a good reaction though.

Best,
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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #7 
I do a version, I discussed the plot in the first chapter of my book "Mentalism With Cards". 

There are a number of versions in the mentalism literature.
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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #8 
There are many of versions of this effect in print, the earliest ones go back to 1584.

Docc Hilford has some good work on the think a card, as does Derren Brown and Richard Osterlind. Roger Crosthwaite was once on the receiving end of a think a card which baffled him, this version was performed by Uri Geller... none of these version require cards to be in use.

As a mentalist you should be able to ask the person to just think of a card and know what it is - in my opinion if you require a deck of cards to do the effect then it is a magic trick.

Ben Harris has Silent Running, Lewis Jones also has a version which uses similar thinking - these two are a little procedural but you needn't have a deck of cards to perform them.

Banachek's first book 'Psychological Subtleties' has a chapter on cards that is interesting too.
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sjrwheeler

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
As a mentalist you should be able to ask the person to just think of a card and know what it is - in my opinion if you require a deck of cards to do the effect then it is a magic trick.  


Perhaps that depends on how you present it? I'm certain its possible to present mentalism with a physical deck of cards and still have it feel believable. And the reason I'm certain, is because (even though I've been into magic for nearly 20 years) I experienced a performance which felt like real mind reading to me. And this was using a deck of cards.

So if someone can present mentalism with cards in such a way as to make it feel real to me, then I feel confident you could do the same with normal people too. 

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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #10 
This is a great point you have made SRJ... presentation is key!
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates

As a mentalist you should be able to ask the person to just think of a card and know what it is - in my opinion if you require a deck of cards to do the effect then it is a magic trick.


Don't agree about the "Cards=Magic, but agree about the asking someone to just think of a card.....etcetera.
 And as I noted here no such thing exists.


http://www.themagiciansforum.com/post/think-a-card-8626249?highlight=think+card
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #12 
It can be argued that when someone is asked to merely think of a playing card there are only a dozen or so cards that always get thought of.
Selecting a card removes the bias of favorites and commonly thought of cards and allows for a true 1 out of 52 selection.

Not saying that the above has any shred of truth. I'm just saying it can be argued.
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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #13 
Thank you for the replies.

David Britland has written an article on his blog about another way of approaching the think a card.

http://cardopolis.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/harbin-effect.html

It certainly makes for interesting reading.
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald Deutsch
As comedy - not mentalism:

1  You ask a spectator to think of a card.

2  You concentrate and run through the cards with faces to you and pull out one card and put it on the table.

3  You ask for the name of the card. He tells you. You say, "That's right!" and put the card back in the deck without showing it.

4  When they smile you look confused and go through the deck and pull out that card. "See?" 


It is an excellent gag.  I like bits of business like this, particularly at the inception of a performance, be it close up or at a show. It tends to change the moment psychologically - alter the mindset of the spectator - from what often is, "Hmmmm, OK,this magician is going to trick me or make a fool of me now," to a relaxed and receptive posture.  This, as opposed to putting their analytical hat on, with defensive shields up.  Making them laugh can serve well to get them on your side, soften them up, like kneading the dough for bread or making a good pizza crust.

When I pondered this gag, I thought it could be transitioned into a moment of powerful unforgettable magic (or mentalism, if you prefer to call it that). They could be asked to hold a box of playing cards (i.e., Bicycle brand, matching the cards you use for the gag). Unbeknownst to them, it is a "Brainwave Deck."  Ask them, Would you mind holding this for just a moment.  Go into the gag, as Gerald described it. Put the cards away.  Then say something along the lines that before the show, before you even met them, you had the strongest premonition of a certain card.  You couldn't get it out of your mind. It would constantly pop up in your thoughts, even creep into your dreams.  Take the cards they are holding back from them. Show that the card they thought of moments before is the only card face up in a face down spread. Pause, and then reveal that it has a different color back from all the other cards.
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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #15 
Juan Tamariz often walks this path - many thanks to Gerald and Magic-Aly for mentioning this and drawing our attention to such a powerful, yet underused, ploy in magic/mentalism [wink]
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #16 
Definitely in the realm of magic rather than mentalism, but Paul Harris's "Invisible Rising Card" - recently mentioned by Stevie Ray in another thread - certainly has a "think of a card" feel to it.
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
Definitely in the realm of magic rather than mentalism.


"An effect by any other name would be as sweet."
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Stevie Ray Christian

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Reply with quote  #18 
Last weekend, and for the first time ever, I performed feats of mentalism professionally. I had set a goal to entertain and astonish with no cards, gimmicks, TTs, coins or gaffs... not even a pencil and paper. It was quite a liberating fifteen minutes. This is something I've been working on and beta testing for some time.

The reactions were much stronger than I expected! In fact, I had to calm certain spectators who appeared to be quite shaken.

I prefer Derren Brown's platform (at least the way I perceive it). Also, Gregory Wilson's approach to mental miracles is so brilliant. I applied both. By using the science of the mind and subtle, subliminal suggestions I can ascertain private thoughts and influence decisions (Derren)... These are the techniques cons and cheats use to gain confidence and steal personal information (Greg).

After performing, I realized these ruses, in the spectator's eyes, might be more unsettling than claiming to have actual psychic powers. After all, many folks believe they've experienced something metaphysical but EVERYONE has been ripped off more than once. I milked plenty of laughs along the way. Though, with no props in hand and tales of criminal master-mind intent, my sense was the enigmas were more powerful than Kreskin-esque mind-reading. Keep in mind, I'm new to this facet of mystery entertainment... kind of like a toddler with a handgun.

I did my best to take the stingers out with humor--and the assurance that the volunteers were now less susceptible to this type of chicanery.

After 15 minutes, the cards came out. On the heels of the first act, I nailed two thought of cards mixed with an open prediction kicker and segued into a multi-phased gambling routine (courtesy of Lennart Green). Based on my earlier "explanation," the blend of thought reading as a sophisticated scam and cheating at cards was a success. I can't wait to perform this act again!
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #19 
That sounds exciting Stevie Ray!  Kind of like a con artistry/mentalism hybrid. From your description, it sounds more like a toddler with an Ouzi.  It sounds like your approach is working even beyond your own expectations (of course, the spectators are the ultimate judges and jury of that, and their reactions, the verdict), then, well - nothing succeeds like success.
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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #20 
I have only performed mentalism. I've never done a card trick, coin trick, or anything else of that nature in my professional performances. It's not that I don't know how to card routines. Magic was my first love, but mentalism is my one and only. I can do hard slight of hand, but have more fun reading minds and predicting the future.

I say that so people can understand where I am coming from. I don't believe that magicians should casually throw in mentalism to their sets. Why? Because most magicians have zero clue on how to perform good mentalism. I stress the word "good" in my last statement. They want 100% methods. They want props and self working effects. To paraphrase David Hoy, be bold.

I get a 90-95% hit rate on my psychological card forces. If it misses, I have outs. Some verbal, other physical. When a magician misses a force, they turn it into a gag. I think that is the wrong thing to do. Be bold!


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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #21 
For me, the key phrase in Nathan's post was, "I have more fun reading minds and predicting the future." Two points: (1) Minds are not actually being read or the future actually predicted, so like a magician, a mentalist is creating the illusion of something supernatural.  Thus the veneer between magic and mentalism is thinner than a lot of mentalists (and probably magicians) believe.  

(2) Didn't we all or most of us get into magic (or mentalism) precisely because it was "fun" or gratifying and enjoyable on some major level? If I wasn't having fun doing what I do, I wouldn't even be doing it.  The ideal to me is when both the performer and entertainer are having fun, and that creates an exchange and a circle which heightens the whole thing.  I just don't think boundaries should be drawn. Look what Stevie Ray is doing, blending gambling, magic, comedy, and mentalism. Probably would make many mentalists bristle with disapproval. But he's excited, having fun, and his audience is loving it, too. Isn't that what it's all about for everyone involved?  

When Chefs started getting into avant grade schools of cooking that broke with the traditional, like California cuisine, which combines a lot of elements previously unheard of, there was furor among the classic chefs; it was considered sacrilege, but now people love it and it's accepted - even embraced. By the same token, Nathan is having fun sticking with straight mentalism and I am sure his audiences are acting quite favorably. And there are many stage illusionists who are successful even though they may use props and gimmicks.

I just don't think there is any right or wrong - unless it isn't a thoroughly enjoyable experience for both performer and audience. The old saying, I believe, applies to entertainment - "The ends justify the means"
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan_himself
... When a magician misses a force, they turn it into a gag. ...


Bit of a generalization there.  I'm pretty sure that when most magicians who are beyond the neophyte level miss a force, they just do a different effect than the one they had planned.  The audience never knows that something went wrong.
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Stevie Ray Christian

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic-Aly
That sounds exciting Stevie Ray!  Kind of like a con artistry/mentalism hybrid. From your description, it sounds more like a toddler with an Ouzi.  It sounds like your approach is working even beyond your own expectations (of course, the spectators are the ultimate judges and jury of that, and their reactions, the verdict), then, well - nothing succeeds like success.


Thank you for the kind words. I've long been intrigued by mentialism. I never missed an episode of The Amazing World of Kreskin when I was a kid. I followed the paths of two outstanding magician/authors who morphed into mentalists, Derren Brown and Michael Weber. I've tried to read everything they've ever written.

My current reading list was selected by Bob Cassidy. His 39 Steps to Mentalism is a thoughtful answer to the question:

“What book or books are essential reading for someone just starting out in... mentalism?”

It is a heady list, considering The Jinx, at 1028 pages, is just one of the 39 recommended books. Have you seen this particular Cassidy essay?

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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes


Bit of a generalization there!  I'm pretty sure that when most magicians who are beyond the neophyte level miss a force, they just do a different effect than the one they had planned.  The audience never knows that something went wrong.


You're completely right! That was a generalization. I'm speaking about the magicians I've worked around. I'm sorry if I painted the community too broadly. But I've seen it done to death.

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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic-Aly
The old saying, I believe, applies to entertainment - "The ends justify the means"


I think we can agree on that! I use dual reality, confederates, and other methods some other mentalist would scoff at. But my goal is to entertain, so I do the best I can.

My original post was not to question the practicality of mixing the two. I've seen plenty of mentalist do a card trick and plenty of magicians do mind reading. My concern is more of an artistic perspective.

I've always heard, read, and been told that magic would weaken my mentalism. After seeing magicians do mind reading, I understood their point. Yes,the goal is to have fun and entertain. That being said, I just believe that to create strong mentalism, the sponge balls need to be put away. I know many will disagree, but that's okay. This is an art and is open to many different opinions!

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan_himself
Yes,the goal is to have fun and entertain. That being said, I just believe that to create strong mentalism, the sponge balls need to be put away. I know many will disagree, but that's okay. This is an art and is open to many different opinions!


Yes, I would agree that, generally speaking, one who is billing him or herself as a Mentalist, and people are coming to see what has been advertised as a Mentalist, should probably not be doing sponge balls.

However, I don't believe the reverse is true - that a magician should preclude mental effects from either a show or walk-around.  In my stand up show, which primarily has a comedy and audience-participation slant to it, I perform a variety of items, e.g. including, but not limited to, comedy cut and restored rope routine, a couple (non-card) Prediction tricks, various card routines (including Card on Ceiling, and Yes, Magician's Insurance Policy), a matchmaking/compatibility Test using Jumbo cards, Magic Square Routine, and a Book Test. It all works very nicely together and is well-received.
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Reply with quote  #27 
Kreskin opens with the linking finger rings, and likes to perform card magic within his mentalism show. Stevie Ray Christian has spoken about his choice blend of body language and con-artistry skills. And as Magic-Aly has pointed out, perhaps it is how you advertise yourself and your act that is key to being successfully received.

Now I'm not a huge fan of those little red balls, however when someone says they shouldn't be done in the context of a mentalism show I begin to wonder. The question I ask is how would I use sponge balls in mentalism and how would I make them relevant.

But that is another topic altogether.

Originally i began this thread by posting my ideals on how I believe a mentalist would perform a think a card... but maybe I have a different perspective on what I consider a mentalist to be.

Think a card is fascinating to magicians and mentalists, but how it is presented changes the effect altogether and this is what I find most fascinating.

Once again thanks for all your thoughts on the subject.

Soc
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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #28 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic-Aly
However, I don't believe the reverse is true - that a magician should preclude mental effects from either a show or walk-around.


I'm sure many people have success with mixing the two. I just believe that mentalism (when performed correctly) is stronger than mental magic.

Going back to the original question of this post- "think of a card" can be really strong in magic. That being said, I highly suggest looking into Peter Turner's work on psychological card forces. It looks and feels like real mind reading. When it looks and feels real to the spectator, it might as well be real.

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #29 
Fascinating discussion. I just wanted to clarify that in agreeing that sponge balls might be incongruous in what has been advertised or billed as a mentalism show, I had the usual type of sponge ball routine in mind. But as Socrates has suggested, that is not to say that one could not use sponge balls successfully in mentalism and make them relevant. The only absolute is that there are no absolutes.  The only boundaries are the ones we draw and place on ourselves...
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #30 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan_himself
That being said, I highly suggest looking into Peter Turner's work on psychological card forces. It looks and feels like real mind reading. When it looks and feels real to the spectator, it might as well be real.


I think that applies to Magic, too. Doesn't it?

(My emphasis added to the quote)

Meanwhile I'll look out for the Turner stuff.
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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #31 
Here's an example of Peter Turner at work:



To begin with he does some think a card work that would be worth your while studying, straightforward and simple to understand for anyone with a basic understanding of psychology.
Quite funny when he finds it difficult to locate his pen [confused]
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #32 

A bit more oil on the water [smile] :

If a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician, what is a mentalist playing the part of?

Doesn’t really matter. Whatever it is he’s doing tricks and pretending.

Isn’t he…..?

Or is it really real? Possibly. But then, so is Magic.

The best thing about Robert-Houdin’s quote is that for years it’s given magicians something to toss into any old discussion and debate and disagree about; and it looks like continuing.

Just about to post this, when I saw the Peter Turner link. Thanks.

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Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blathermist
Or is it really real? Possibly. But then, so is Magic.


I think that's the issue. Some of the demonstrations I give are real. They can't be explained away because the explanation is already there.

When I give demonstrations of CMR, I'm really doing it. When I hypnotize or use hypnosis without trance, it is real.

So back to the question at hand. If a magician asks you to think of a card and then reveals it, it's a magic trick.

When a mentalist does the same thing after demonstrating real mind reading like CMR, the effect transcends "magic trick" and becomes "mind reading". The methods may be the same, but the audience will perceive them as different.

Once again, that is just my opinion.

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan_himself
I think that's the issue. Some of the demonstrations I give are real. They can't be explained away because the explanation is already there. When I give demonstrations of CMR, I'm really doing it. When I hypnotize or use hypnosis without trance, it is real. So back to the question at hand. If a magician asks you to think of a card and then reveals it, it's a magic trick. When a mentalist does the same thing after demonstrating real mind reading like CMR, the effect transcends "magic trick" and becomes "mind reading". The methods may be the same, but the audience will perceive them as different. Once again, that is just my opinion.


Intriguing point.  But is the mind-reading really real?  And, perhaps the more important question is, Is it perceived in the minds of the spectators as being real?  As the saying goes, perception is reality. But if the audience truly believes they have just seen a bona fide demonstration of mind reading, that was not merely a trick, then I believe you make a valid point about the follow-up think a card effect transcending a "magic trick" and becoming "mind-reading."  Well, at least in their minds it so becomes - and that's what counts...
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Reply with quote  #35 

I've seen so many well-known magicians in live performance... Jerry Andrus, Guy Hollingworth, René Levand, John Carney, Daryl, Jared Kopf, Tommy Wonder, Johnny Thompson, Martin Nash, Penn & Teller, John Archer… 

 

Most of these greats mixed a mental miracle or two into their act with profound success. Jared Kopf pulled off one of the strongest pieces of magical theater I’ve ever witnessed. In the dark and somber domain he created, playing cards were used to determine thoughts and make predictions. I was on the edge of my seat. Whether or not it was Jared’s goal to diffuse a tiresome debate, the matter was settled for me that night.

 

I’ve seen and read everything Derren Brown has committed to posterity. I’ve been Michael Weber’s volunteer on more than one wonderful occasion. I have collected and studied every rare publication and video he has produced. Weber refers to himself and many of his peers as "mystery entertainers." These gentlemen have pushed both magic and mentalism to new heights. Both are expert at sleight of hand and misdirection. Both began as close-up artists. Both are masters of the English language. One common thing these brilliant entertainers eschew are boundaries. Instead, they break new ground while holding a profound respect for the genius thinkers who proceeded them. If there are any mentalists working today who are more entertaining, creative or bold, I would love to hear about them.

 

Now to my point.

 

The great performances I’ve had the pleasure to experience are grossly outweighed in number by the plodding, dry, hackneyed acts I’ve sat through. Many of these poor shows were the work of vaunted artists. A great number of these shows were pure mentalism. Incidentally, these leading clairvoyants used plenty of magician’s gimmicks to pull off their feats. While the tricks succeeded as planned, the absence of entertainment was glaringly apparent. Though playing cards were missing from these shows, E.S.P. cards were not. Time and again the think-a-card plot was reduced to a packet trick with “special symbols” “developed by researchers” at the “Center for Metaphysical Research.” Oh, the lengths these cats would go to honor a silly show-biz rule!

 

As for rules, and for those performers who, without disclaimer, insist they possess real psychic power, especially the ability to communicate with my dead uncle… I’m thinking of a card right now… and I’ll let you all try to visualize what it says… 

 

I’m getting an “F”… is there an F?

 

 

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #36 
So many thought-provoking responses!  As I contemplate them, somehow a very fundamental question arose in my mind (and if anyone can tell me what that question is before reading on, I will become a true believer).

Seriously, the question is: "Why do I perform magic for people?"  Since I am not trying to add any fuel to the fiery magic versus mentalism debate, the question, if it fits you as a performer, could similarly be, "Why do I perform mentalism?" Who has asked themselves that question and what was the answer?  By tracing back to that fundamental question and each individual's answer, then, in my opinion, our choices of what we choose to perform and especially how we perform and present it to people, should be congruent with the answer. When the goal is clarified, then the means to achievement of it concurrently begin to emerge as clear.

Or, perhaps upon answering the question honestly, we will be led to alter what we choose to perform and/or how we perform it.
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Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie Ray Christian

Many of these poor shows were the work of vaunted artists



I'm in agreement that magic and mentalism can be fused together. I also agree that some of the worse shows are mentalist shows. That being said, I will always believe that mentalism(when done properly) is stronger.

Max Maven once said that magicians take the impossible and turn it into the trivial. I am in total agreement with Max Maven on this. Mentalism can still be mistaken as real. Why make it into a puzzle to figure out?

I believe when you are doing magic and transition to mentalism, two things will happen. Either they will think of what you are now doing is just a trick or they will believe that this is something completely different and possibly real.

In my mind, I want to entertain. I also want to be the performer that people remember. I want my whole show to be "possibly real". Why? Because that's where the real magic is. The audience feeling that feeling of "was that real? How did he know that?" To me, that's REAL magic. That's what makes mentalism beautiful.

Magic is beautiful. Teller's shadow demonstration is a testament to that fact. That said, I believe that mentalism can be just as strong, if not stronger if presented correctly.


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Reply with quote  #38 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie Ray Christian

 

 

As for rules, and for those performers who, without disclaimer, insist they possess real psychic power, especially the ability to communicate with my dead uncle… I’m thinking of a card right now… and I’ll let you all try to visualize what it says… 

 

 



How about when Criss Angel posed a similar question with $1 million on the line on live TV!

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #39 
We perform because we are compelled to perform. For some the circumstances that contributed to the compulsion may be lost in the misty memories of bygone youth, for others the memories may be clear. Or at least as clear as memories may be. Regardless, we perform because we must. Choosing magic or mentalism or both matters not. Nor does how we frame ourselves and our compulsions. At heart we are performers. Some may be deluded into believing that they possess actual psychic powers, while others merely play the part. (And yes, I said deluded since there's not a single shred of evidence to suggest that such powers, at least as popularly described, exist.)

Follow your muse! Play your part! Entertain! Have fun and strive to ensure your audience does as well.  
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Reply with quote  #40 
Attempting to test the Preview Option. It doesn't seem to be working at the moment.
The text/post goes direct into the forum.

Quick edit to add the following:

Regarding the Robin Dawes post below this one:

Yep that’s exactly the situation that I’m familiar with and have been since joining the forum. Although it isn’t always the "Preview" option. Although it’s the same thing, sometimes the wording is "More Reply Options".

Many times having prepared the draft, and then read how it will look, I notice a typo. Happens to everybody. Only when the typo has been fixed is it time to click the "Add Reply" button.

However, yesterday, when I clicked the "More Reply Options" the draft post was actually committed to the forum. So I deleted it, tried again. Same result. Hence my test message.

Today all seems normal. Gremlins? Have the techies snuck in and worked their own magic?

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #41 
When I use the Preview option, it shows me exactly what the message will look like ... including the "Posted 2 seconds ago" line that makes it look like the message has been posted.  But it hasn't!  If I open up another window into the forum and look at the same topic, my message isn't really there.  It doesn't actually get added to the forum until I click on the "Add reply" at the bottom of the panel where I type the message.
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Stevie Ray Christian

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Reply with quote  #42 
Nathan,

As someone who is new--not to the study of--but to the performance of mentalism, I must say the reactions from my debut (and during my beta testing) were terribly strong. In some cases I felt compelled to calm my spectators nerves. It was quite a rush! I can't determine at this stage if the reactions were stronger than those I get with sleight of hand... but they were certainly different!

You wrote this:
 
"Max Maven once said that magicians take the impossible and turn it into the trivial. I am in total agreement with Max Maven on this. Mentalism can still be mistaken as real. Why make it into a puzzle to figure out?"

Max Maven has created and performed some wonderful, magical card effects (see Harry Lorayne's Best of Friends 3, for examples). As far as I can tell, Mr. Maven actually said this:

"One of the greatest accomplishments of magicians in the last century is the ability to take something inherently profound and render it trivial." ~Max Maven

Take it from a bona fide smart-ass, Max's tongue is often planted firmly in his cheek!

In his ill-named 2005 book, The Protocols of The Elders of Magic, Mr. Maven does nothing more than assemble 100 year's worth of quotations chronologically describing the pending demise, or certain death, of magic. 

I'm sure there are many examples of the profound rendered trivial in the vast history of magic performance. As much as I admire his work, I can think of a few Maven/Goldstein effects which fit that transformation. Indeed, in Max's now infamous book, there are several pull quotes from profound essays that are reduced to trivia in the service of irony. 

When I'm working on a mystery effect, I strive to build situational motivation into the script. I want the routine to be relatable and, if possible, meaningful to the audience. It is important not to become ham-handed*, as Max's words are likely then to ring true. When done right, it is possible to take something trivial and render it profound in the spectator's memory. 

As for structuring routines with meaning--in the service of entertainment--I believe it is important to consider another quote from a respected pioneer in the people-pleasing business:

*"If you want to send a message, call Western Union." ~Samuel Goldwyn

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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #43 
Mr. Christian,

I think we just have two different views on the topic of combining magic and mentalism. And that's fine. What we do is art, and there is plenty of room for opinions.

I'm a huge fan of Max Maven. I have always wanted to interview him and just have the chance to lean a tiny fraction of what he knows.

I believe it was Eugene Burger who said that (and I paraphrase) " that the House of Magic has many rooms" and Max Maven responded that "not all have the same level of taste."

We just have different taste in how mentalism should be done. There is nothing wrong with that.

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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #44 

 Nathan Himself said:

"I think that's the issue. Some of the demonstrations I give are real. They can't be explained away because the explanation is already there."

 I don’t know what you mean by "real," but that’s me, daft as a brush. Which no doubt contributes to my utter bafflement over the term "CMR".

Regarding "Can’t be explained away…."

Doesn’t that apply to any and all well-presented Magic and or Mentalism? People often say: "It’s up his sleeve!!" or "It’s a trick" or….fill in as appropriate.

But that’s not an explanation. They have no idea. 

 

I have never asked myself why I perform Magic, nor anything similar. People have asked me why I’m interested in Magic or when I became interested. The usual stuff. For quite a long time I tried to come up with a suitable/respectable even intellectual answer, but couldn’t. Nowadays I answer honestly: I don’t know why or how. I just am. And that response applies to the performing.

Why do I enjoy reading? Why do I listen and play and write Music? Same answer. I wouldn’t classify any of these as a compulsion, though. 

 

My enduring mantra is "Magic Is In The Mind, Everything Is Just Tricks. And this applies to Jared Kopf. Magic Aly’s comment is on the mark. We don’t know what anybody else thought, but if they thought it was wonderful, it was.  

 

Light dawns, I think. Is it Contact Mind Reading?

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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #45 
In one of my favorite magic books 'Net of Magic' Lee Siegel says the following:

I’m writing a book on magic, I explain, and I’m asked, “Real magic? By real magic people mean miracles, thaumaturgical acts, and supernatural powers. “No, I answer: “Conjuring tricks, not real magic”. Real magic, in other words, refer to the magic that is not real, while the magic that is real, that can actually be done, is not real magic. (p. 425)
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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #46 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blathermist
Is it Contact Mind Reading?


Yes sir! When I say CMR, I am referring to Contact Mind Reading (muscle reading)

It's a skill that I have spent years trying to learn. It's not always 100%, but it is as close to real mind reading. At least in my opinion.

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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #47 
Here is Peter Turner using similar principles again:



This is a great approach to using psychology with cards and people - if you are familiar with the works of people such as Banachek, Burger, Brown, Vernon and those of a similar ilk then you will be aware of the principles at work here.
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Craig Logan

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Reply with quote  #48 
I had the "tools" to perform this style of effect for some time, but I lacked the confidence to pull it off. I should NOT have been afraid of failure but I was. What helped me was using a pair of training wheels. I carry Kolossal Killer in my wallet all the time, so I knew I could attempt a "Real" think a card effect without worry. 

I just need to remember to take the training wheels off!


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alexandercrawford

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Reply with quote  #49 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
Roger Crosthwaite was once on the receiving end of a think a card which baffled him, this version was performed by Uri Geller

Roger has also published some great work of his own on "think a card". See Roger's Thesaurus amongst others.
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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #50 
Another favorite think of a card routine would be Allan Ackerman's Impromptu Ultra Mental from his video tape Las Vegas Card Expert Vol 1.

There are a couple of "moves" in the routine, but, it's super clean to do.

Best,
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