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Socrates

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"Magic happens not in the hands of the performer, but in the minds of the spectators" - Brother John Hamman

There are many ways of manipulating cards, so many sleights we can learn, some are simple and some more difficult.  A lot of magicians spend a great deal of their time learning mechanical methods of handling cards and coins, ropes and handkerchiefs, cups and balls but I'm beginning to wonder how many of us concentrate on learning how to direct the mind of the spectators.

"The real secrets of magic are those whereby the magician is able to influence the mind of the spectator, even in the face of that spectator's definite knowledge that the magician is absolutely unable to do what that spectator ultimately must admit he does do" - Magic by Misdirection by Dariel Fitzkee page 13

Juan Tamariz, and Dani Daortiz are superb when it comes to influencing the minds of those watching.  Dani Daortiz is particularly interesting to study, he does some of the most blatant moves I've never seen [smile] influencing the minds, and memories of those involved with the most practical applications of psychology and language.

"Attention is like water.  It flows, it's liquid.  You create channels to divert it" - Apollo Robbins

How many of you are studying the attention, and learning divert it in order to influence the mind?

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Senor Fabuloso

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Reply with quote  #2 
Me me me I do I do I do lol That made me feel young for a moment.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #3 
Gustav Kuhn's recent book is a veritable cornucopia on the subject. Highly recommended. The book has also been serialized, in a highly edited form, in recent issues of Genii Magazine. 

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Socrates

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Some books you may find useful if you wish to learn more about influencing and leading the mind:

Leading With Your Head by Gary Kurtz
Magic by Misdirection by Dariel Fitzkee
Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini
Magic & Showmanship by Henning Nelms

Michael Vincent has a DVD which includes a booklet called 'The Tapestry of Deception' which you can find here:

https://www.michaelvincentmagic.com/product/tapestry-deception-book-dvd/

Whilst quite expensive, you will also find 'The Berglas Effects' by Richard Kaufman to be a very useful resource in learning how to manipulate memories, divert attention and so much more.
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #5 
In my experience you "influence" the minds of your viewers by FOOLING them and ENTERTAINING them. Simple - and to me, obvious.
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Senor Fabuloso

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Reply with quote  #6 
What seems obvious to some, may dwell in complete obscurity to others.

Like common sense, I've learned that it's not so common after all [wink]

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Mbreggar

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I second Harry's comment, though I think I'd flip the order to entertaining first then fooling. Or entertaining AND fooling and the same time.
"Misdirection" is another concept that, while extremely important to our craft, is misunderstood in the sense we over-complicate it. I always liked Josh Jay's comment on the misnomer of misdirection. JJ says if we called it "just plain direction," that better describes the activity. Think about that for a second.

Michael Vincent has said from the moment you walk on stage or start your set, the attention is on you. If you look at something, the audience shifts its gaze to see what you are looking at. But if you don't capture your audience's trust and camaraderie very quickly, you loose that attention getting capability. Think about that too.

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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #8 
Unfortunately the words entertaining and fooling are not very instructive when it comes to learning how to influence and lead the human mind. 

What is entertaining?

And how do you influence the mind by fooling?
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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
Unfortunately the words entertaining and fooling are not very instructive when it comes to learning how to influence and lead the human mind.


Yeah, what Socrates is getting at here goes beyond the traditional definition of misdirection. It leads to neuroscience and psychology. The science of human memory is fascinating, and we are discovering that much of what we once ascribed to freewill is actually naturally occurring processes in the human mind. Learning to harness techniques that exploit these processes could conceivably boost magic from mere entertainment to mind-blowing experience.    

And I disagree with Joshua Jay's conflation of misdirection with direction, at least attributed by Michael. I wouldn't mind seeing attribution, if it's available.

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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #10 
      Overthinking and killing a fly with a sledge hammer both come to mind!!  
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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
      Overthinking and killing a fly with a sledge hammer both come to mind!!  


Perhaps. But overthinking isn't always an unworthy pursuit, and the fly still dies, right? Not everyone will care to use these new discoveries. That's fine. Others, like yourself, Harry, have decades of practical experience that render the use of newer techniques impractical for your purposes. That's cool. Frankly, I think it possible that your extensive knowledge and experience may have provided you with insights only now being formally studied. And that's really cool!

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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #12 
    Okay.
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Bill Guinee

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Socrates, based on your recommendation, I have now read the Cialdini book "Persuasion." I must say that I found it fascinating. Could you please give a couple of examples of how you apply his insights to magic?  Thanks.
     By the way - I liked it so much that I have now checked "Pre-suasion" (by the same author) out of the library.
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Senor Fabuloso

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Bill

Socrates is on a walkabout in Asia and won't be back, for about a year. So you won't get an answer, till then.

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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #15 
Thanks for letting me know, Senor. Otherwise, I might have just thought Socrates was dissing me. Drat!
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Senor Fabuloso

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Reply with quote  #16 
No man

I can't see him dissing anybody. He truly loves the art and the people in it. All I have ever experienced from him, is a desire to help and move magic to a level of respect, among the performing arts.

Oh and your welcome 😉

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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #17 
Simple moves...  Complex moves... 
Were they entertained?
Was their mind fried or blown?
Great stuff!

I haven't read Gustav's book yet, but it is waiting for me on my bookshelf.  I will get to it soon.

I like to study how people react to different things.  When a coin appears from between freely chosen cards from a face down spread which I've shown front and back of the chosen cards, and their response is, "and he's got no sleeves!".  I did something right, they were entertained.  I eliminated physical possibilities, leaving the magic completely in their minds.

I also like to study stuff like equivoque.  I do this to see how often I can make it feel natural and consistent.  Like if their chosen card is one of 4 remaining cards, and I split them into 2 piles of 2.  If they point to the pile with their card (say on their right), I keep those and remove the others.  Then I split the remaining 2 cards and move them to ensure their selected card is now on their left.  90% of the time, they chose the opposite side that they did the first time, so it feels more natural and consistent when I keep that card and discard the other, they can't retrace later and find inconsistencies.  Vice-versa if they point to the pile of 2 cards that didn't have their card.  I like the psychology of it.  Sure it might be over thinking it, but I am only doing it for my pleasure, since in the end, I'm going to reveal their card no matter where they point.  Hence equivoque...

Just this past weekend when I was at Abbott's, I had lots of fun messing with people's names.  I sat down at several tables and asked names as I was performing.  Then throughout, I purposely kept messing up their names, then a short bit later I would say their correct name.  When I did this with a group of 5 or 6 people or more, it's lots of fun, many laughs (huge challenge for me to remember 2 or 3 names for each person since I was drunk), but I left them with memories of a good time.  They told me later as well as a couple other friends that were watching told me the next day that the people at those tables had lots of fun.  I did this with several groups of people that night, and its always fun.  This also helped me get away with a whole lot of sleights because their attention was not on what I was doing with my hands.  They were busy laughing and having fun.

Tom






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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #18 
Tom, glad to hear of your positive experience.  I don't want to sound prudish, but I would watch performing under the influence.  It oftentimes doesn't end well.

As far as getting away with sleights, it is certainly true that people, when relaxed and having fun, are easier to fool.  They want to play along because of the reverie.  That is the opposite of the dynamic where people take everything you do as a "challenge" and burn your every move.  Those performances, when they happen, can drain you.  Usually it is the performers approach that is the culprit.  But sometimes it is just a bad audience.

The thing with the names can be a funny gag.  Abbott's was always a place I wondered about.  As a kid I had their huge catalog and used to dream of buying one of everything.  Those were the days.  


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