JREF Homepage Swift Blog Events Calendar $1 Million Paranormal Challenge The Amaz!ng Meeting Useful Links Support Us
James Randi Educational Foundation JREF Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   JREF Forum » General Topics » Conjuror's Corner
Click Here To Donate

Notices


Welcome to the JREF Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.

Tags mentalism

Reply
Old 1st May 2012, 09:22 AM   #1
Norm!!
New Blood
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 8
Mentalists on JREF?

I'm one myself, with leanings towards hypnosis and the use of suggestion in general. Anyone else?
Norm!! is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2012, 01:53 PM   #2
Senex
Illuminator
 
Senex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: CT
Posts: 4,038
Originally Posted by Norm!! View Post
I'm one myself, with leanings towards hypnosis and the use of suggestion in general. Anyone else?
I would have said those exact words when I was young.

We would love to hear what you perform.
__________________
I am the one who knocks!

Walter White
Senex is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2012, 02:05 PM   #3
Lanzy
Muse
 
Lanzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 922
cite?
Lanzy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2012, 07:18 AM   #4
Garrette
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 12,431
Not a performing mentalist (unless you count the odd one-offs for family, friends, colleagues, and such), but it has been the focus of my collecting for the past many years. Quite the library I've accumulated...
__________________
My kids still love me.
Garrette is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2012, 01:41 PM   #5
Norm!!
New Blood
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 8
Hi, nice to meet you I haven't performed much for a while either, I got more into writing about how to do it. One of the things that interests me in particular is adapting material - and the alleged mechanism behind what you do, the 'Geist' - to the beliefs of the audience wherever possible. I know this isn't an option in some situations, but it's something that helps get better results.
Norm!! is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2012, 03:36 PM   #6
Garrette
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 12,431
Originally Posted by Norm!! View Post
Hi, nice to meet you I haven't performed much for a while either, I got more into writing about how to do it. One of the things that interests me in particular is adapting material - and the alleged mechanism behind what you do, the 'Geist' - to the beliefs of the audience wherever possible. I know this isn't an option in some situations, but it's something that helps get better results.
Have you been to the Cafe or other such sites? Some argue vehemently that it's the only option.

I'm not convinced they're right, but I'm not onvinced they're wrong, either.
__________________
My kids still love me.
Garrette is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2012, 01:35 AM   #7
Norm!!
New Blood
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
Have you been to the Cafe or other such sites? Some argue vehemently that it's the only option.

I'm not convinced they're right, but I'm not onvinced they're wrong, either.
Yes, I've been a member for a long time, but I have to admit to not being fond of the in-fighting there, so don't visit often now. My co-author and I were the first to write about having a mental list of potential geists that would allow you to change material for those you perform for on the fly - and initially the idea was met with some skepticism as it would mean keeping a performance in a state of fluidity rather than being something that was scripted in just one way. It isn't ideal if you're playing a short slot and don't have time to get to know what your audiences believe in, but it makes you err on the side of caution and stops you leaping to claim say, supernatural powers in front of an audience of stern-faced scientific types

Who we portray ourselves as and how we pretend to do what we do is just as important as the effects themselves.
Norm!! is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2012, 08:55 AM   #8
marplots
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 11,700
Originally Posted by Norm!! View Post
Who we portray ourselves as and how we pretend to do what we do is just as important as the effects themselves.
That's where I have trouble with mentalism effects. I just don't see the "magic" in them. For me, there doesn't seem to be that moment of astonishment. Even "psi" type effects with metal bending have a visual cue and clarity I just don't see with mentalism. I get the emotional hook part, but mentalism doesn't really seem like entertainment to me. Even when I see the big names doing it, it leaves me nonplussed.
marplots is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2012, 12:07 PM   #9
Norm!!
New Blood
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by marplots View Post
That's where I have trouble with mentalism effects. I just don't see the "magic" in them. For me, there doesn't seem to be that moment of astonishment. Even "psi" type effects with metal bending have a visual cue and clarity I just don't see with mentalism. I get the emotional hook part, but mentalism doesn't really seem like entertainment to me. Even when I see the big names doing it, it leaves me nonplussed.
Yes, me too. The trouble is that nobody has hit on something that makes me think "he/she (seems) to be doing something I don't understand that is remarkably clever and somewhat spooky..." so I'm evaluating a process rather than being entertained by it.

I can appreciate the cleverness behind an effect, of course, but I can't buy into the back story, so the atmosphere of the trick - and to a greater degree the wonder - is lost on me. Mind you, having said that I still like effects that use psychological manipulation and suggestion rather than 'other methods', they appeal to me to watch and do. They're risky, so when they work there's some satisfaction in them.
Norm!! is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2012, 12:30 PM   #10
Senex
Illuminator
 
Senex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: CT
Posts: 4,038
Originally Posted by Norm!! View Post
Yes, me too. The trouble is that nobody has hit on something that makes me think "he/she (seems) to be doing something I don't understand that is remarkably clever and somewhat spooky..." so I'm evaluating a process rather than being entertained by it.

I can appreciate the cleverness behind an effect, of course, but I can't buy into the back story, so the atmosphere of the trick - and to a greater degree the wonder - is lost on me. Mind you, having said that I still like effects that use psychological manipulation and suggestion rather than 'other methods', they appeal to me to watch and do. They're risky, so when they work there's some satisfaction in them.
You say you want to be a mentalist but when I was in my early teens I wanted to be Kreskin. I don't see that desire in you.

Kreskin performs a "hypnosis" act that is brilliant. If your library is as extensive as you state you know what Kreskin does is as close to whatever you might call "real" hypnosis as is in America.

However the hypnosis part is problematic to recreate without his authority.
__________________
I am the one who knocks!

Walter White
Senex is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2012, 01:30 PM   #11
Garrette
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 12,431
I'm the one who said I have the large library.
__________________
My kids still love me.
Garrette is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2012, 02:27 PM   #12
Senex
Illuminator
 
Senex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: CT
Posts: 4,038
Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
I'm the one who said I have the large library.
We seem to all do. Who can translate that into performance?
__________________
I am the one who knocks!

Walter White

Last edited by Senex; 3rd May 2012 at 04:21 PM.
Senex is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2012, 01:40 AM   #13
NeilC
Graduate Poster
 
NeilC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,346
I also find a lot of mentalism performances pretty dull. I think this is mainly because I'm a skeptic so psychic and supernatural powers are not suitable explanations for me. I don't believe it it for one second and so the insistence that it is that grates on me. I also find much of it over-serious or plain idiotic.

Two performers I like watching are Derren Brown and Luker Jermay. Derren especially seems to have an almost perfect persona for the job and he successfully blurs magic, mentalism, psychology and hypnosis into an act that keeps people guessing. He also is very sharp witted and entertaining so even if I don't believe some body-language explanation I still find him watchable.

On a personal level I like performing mental magic but I am confused as to how to present it. I cannot present it as psychic powers because I find it clashes with my personality and people who know me wouldn't believe that I believe what I'm saying. So i find myself more drawn towards the psychological explanations. I'd rather present a scientific looking ESP card effect than a tarot effect. But as a skeptic I'm not 100% comfortable with making people believe in pseudo-science.
NeilC is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2012, 02:24 AM   #14
Norm!!
New Blood
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by Senex View Post
You say you want to be a mentalist but when I was in my early teens I wanted to be Kreskin. I don't see that desire in you.

Kreskin performs a "hypnosis" act that is brilliant. If your library is as extensive as you state you know what Kreskin does is as close to whatever you might call "real" hypnosis as is in America.

However the hypnosis part is problematic to recreate without his authority.
You're confusing me with another poster, I'm already a mentalist.
Norm!! is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2012, 03:15 AM   #15
Alan
Illuminator
 
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 3,716
I'm a big fan of mentalism, when not portrayed with pseudoscientific explanations. But I haven't really worked on any mentalist effects for a long time. But I should. I suppose any card force effect could be given a mentalist presentation and I could make my way back into mentalism through a little bit of that.
Alan is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2012, 03:27 AM   #16
Garrette
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 12,431
Originally Posted by Senex View Post
We seem to all do. Who can translate that into performance?
I liked your first response before editing (mocking and kicking ass). Seriously.

But to answer this question: Translate a large library into effective performance by ignoring most of it.
__________________
My kids still love me.
Garrette is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2012, 08:15 AM   #17
NeilC
Graduate Poster
 
NeilC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,346
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
I'm a big fan of mentalism, when not portrayed with pseudoscientific explanations.
So what sort of explanation do you like?
NeilC is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2012, 09:26 AM   #18
Senex
Illuminator
 
Senex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: CT
Posts: 4,038
Originally Posted by NeilC View Post

On a personal level I like performing mental magic but I am confused as to how to present it. I cannot present it as psychic powers because I find it clashes with my personality and people who know me wouldn't believe that I believe what I'm saying. So i find myself more drawn towards the psychological explanations. I'd rather present a scientific looking ESP card effect than a tarot effect. But as a skeptic I'm not 100% comfortable with making people believe in pseudo-science.
I'm with you 100%. Several years ago I decided to I wanted to perform woo without any of my friends being present. I offered my services at a Beltaine festival for free (free campsite but a crap stage). I was so good the next year I got a real stage AND a food voucher. hehehe...
__________________
I am the one who knocks!

Walter White
Senex is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2012, 10:29 AM   #19
Senex
Illuminator
 
Senex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: CT
Posts: 4,038
I've told this story before but who can't stand a good story a second time?

So when I e-mailed the woman running the Beltaine festival (a Wiccan priestess who did readings) offering my services she wrote back that they weren't looking for mentalists, however, they were in need of a magician who could entertain children while their parents were out taking expensive woo classes. It is no surprise they needed a children's entertainer because they had no budget for one. I said I would do a show for the children (and I am/was capable of doing a fine children's magic act) in return for a stage for my mentalist act. I had to work for a place to perform my woo act but I did.

The woman running the event watched my children's show (you can't blame her because she didn't know me) and I kicked butt. She was pleased. She also watched my mentalist act (which wasn't perfect because of inexperience, but it was well received). The woman running the event was impressed.

The reason I am telling this story is because the woman running the show had a live-in partner the first year who was a warlock. The guy dressed in black and had piercings and tattoos all over. He was the grand ass woo. She had a difficult break up with this guy after my second year performing.

No bulloney -- I was the only performer at that festival those two years who was an out atheist (and by "out" I mean I told the woman running the festival I wasn't a pagan but I have to admit I was pretending to be a pagan while running around a few maypoles.

My point being the woman running a pagan festival with many hundreds of attendees who are all bona fide woos has e-mailed many times and wants to be friends with me. Her previous partner was completely freakish looking. I'm completely unpierced and untattooed and unwooed.

hehehe...
__________________
I am the one who knocks!

Walter White
Senex is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2012, 06:03 PM   #20
Alan
Illuminator
 
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 3,716
Originally Posted by NeilC View Post
So what sort of explanation do you like?
A comic explanation that nobody would take seriously for a second. A sufficiently self-deprecating style allows claims of it involving great skill and elaborate gimmicks out the wazoo to work well for small effects.

But my invisible deck routine involves two decks, an invisible one and a visible one, and the explanation that they are twins..."not identical ones, obviously". I'm morally pretty fine with that.
Alan is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th May 2012, 02:14 AM   #21
NeilC
Graduate Poster
 
NeilC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,346
I wonder how you do a comic explanation whilst leaving any vested interest in the effect through? Doesn't it just become a comedy act with a bit of puzzle? Seems to me that the belief in the effect being somewhat supernatural or super-psychological makes up a large part of it being at all worthwhile. After all most mentalist methodology is very simple - it's commonly about obtaining information secretly or producing information secretly and very often using the exact method the person initially thinks of. Much of the ruling out of that method seems to rely on the possibility of there being a mysterious alternative available.
NeilC is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th May 2012, 04:57 AM   #22
Alan
Illuminator
 
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 3,716
Not any more than a mysterious/psychic presentation makes it a funeral with a little puzzle. It's about the balance. A joke or two in places, being serious at other times and so on.

And laughter at the right time is great temporal misdirection. And seems to make people less critical (in terms of noticing things), I've heard Teller say. People believing it isn't the only way to make people less critical.

If a method is as easily discovered as that, I don't perform it. I have a confidence problem and so I have high standards about about how hidden the method can be. It still leaves lots of effects to choose from and someone doesn't need to perform all that many effects.
Alan is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th May 2012, 07:01 AM   #23
Brown
Penultimate Amazing
 
Brown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
Posts: 13,032
Originally Posted by NeilC View Post
I also find a lot of mentalism performances pretty dull. I think this is mainly because I'm a skeptic so psychic and supernatural powers are not suitable explanations for me. I don't believe it it for one second and so the insistence that it is that grates on me. I also find much of it over-serious or plain idiotic.
I find that, for mentalism, the presentation is especially important. An audience can give a "mentalist" a pass on things that they would never let a "magician" get away with, and a "mentalist" can get screwed up--intentionally or not--in ways that would never bother a skilled "magician."

There are two things about mentalist performances that are difficult for me. The first is "milking" an effect. There is a prominent performer who does a trick (whom I will not name and whose effect I will not describe), in which the secret is a prop that costs less than a penny to make, and that if lost or damaged can be constructed from scratch in about a minute. This effect could be performed in three minutes and could be very effective in that time, but this particular prominent performer draws out the effect for ten to fifteen minutes. The effect isn't so stunning that it is worth the extra time, not really; and if you know the secret is in this cheap prop, you feel a sort of pain that the mystery is being dragged out as long as it is.

The second is that mentalist performances on television are almost always edited to remove signs of trickery or to convey impressions that are incorrect. This editing is not necessarily done with the intent to aid the performer, although this is often the result. It's just that certain lead-in and prepatory stuff is deemed to be "not a part of the effect" and "nothing happens there, anyway"; so it therefore gets edited out. In fact, that is where a lot of the dirty work is done. The eventual television presentation therefore seems to be more mysterious.
__________________
Klaatu: I'm impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it.
Mr. Harley: I'm afraid my people haven't. I am very sorry. I wish it were otherwise.
-- The Day The Earth Stood Still, screenplay by Edmund H. North

"Don't you get me wrong. I only want to know." -- Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, lyrics by Tim Rice
Brown is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th May 2012, 08:28 PM   #24
firecoins
Illuminator
 
firecoins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Nyack, NY
Posts: 3,208
I perform mentalist in my stand up comedy act.
__________________
NY Paramedic, skeptic, 9/11/01 Reality-ist.

I am both right wing nut and left wing lunatic. Deal with it.
firecoins is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th May 2012, 08:13 AM   #25
Max_mang
Thinker
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 147
I was self employed for a while as a magician and a mentalist. I haven't performed in a few years, but do the occasional effect for friends and such.

Two of my favorites are Derren Brown and Max Maven.
Max_mang is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th May 2012, 08:17 AM   #26
NeilC
Graduate Poster
 
NeilC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,346
I'd say Maven is a mental magician these days. He doesn't seem to be be remotely serious about pretending his "powers" are real. Plus his effects seem to me to reveal a magical thinking rather than a pure mentalist one. Brown on the other hand is very much a mentalist.
NeilC is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th May 2012, 10:47 PM   #27
firecoins
Illuminator
 
firecoins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Nyack, NY
Posts: 3,208
I went to see "psychic" John Edward. He has a great mentalist show. Or the dead people have a great mentalist show.
__________________
NY Paramedic, skeptic, 9/11/01 Reality-ist.

I am both right wing nut and left wing lunatic. Deal with it.
firecoins is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

JREF Forum » General Topics » Conjuror's Corner

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:44 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
2001-2013, James Randi Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.