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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The June 2003 entrée: Ted Lesley » » Disclaimer Or Not ? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Ted Lesley
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Berlin / Germany
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Should the mentalist tell his audience, that every thing he does is trick or should he claim "Psychic Powers"?
Ted Lesley

( The "Victor Borge" of Mentalism )
ALEXANDRE
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As a mentalist I don't tell my audience anything ... some spectators love the fantasy ... for those who question the issue, I say it's entertainment and it should be viewed as such. It's theater, and even though the stories I perform may indicate paranormal activity, after the performance, I never claim to have "psychic powers".

Smile
Jim Short
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Like so much in life, as well as in magic, the answer depends on context. (Let me amend that... *my* answer depends on context). If I am performing in a theatrical setting I consider that to be a disclaimer. Also, I do want people to believe I have mysterious powers ***for the duration of the performance***. I have thought about this long and hard, and the only group that wants the deception to continue past the "performance" is con artists.

I have heard the argument that movies don't have a disclaimer up front stating that the things seen on the screen are not real (although they do often have a disclaimer stating "no animals were harmed during the making of this film"). The difference between movies and mentalism performances is one of cultural expectation. People (well, most people...) understand that movies are not real. We have been exposed to enough movies and television to understand what is fiction and what is not. The same is not true of mentalism. Most people have not seen enough theatrical psychic presentations to understand that it is a theatrical construct. Unfortunately, some take advantage of this lack of knowledge and bill themselves as the real thing (names excluded to protect the guilty).

In any event, I would not provide a disclaimer before my show, but I have done so afterward. I also will disavow any special powers if directly questioned.

I have heard it said that people will not hire a fake psychic. I have two responses to that:
1. It is not true. I get booked frequently by people who know I am using magical principles to provide a theatrical experience.
2. If it is a matter of not getting booked or getting booked under false pretenses I would rather not get the booking.

Given all that, I do not have all the answers, and I know darn few of the questions. So, aside from a the extreme cases, it is all a matter of personal preference.

jim
Bill Hallahan
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Welcome to the Café, Mr. Lesley.

One of the first tricks I learned many years ago used a deck marked with your system. It is an honor to communicate with you.

I don’t think a performer using tricks and illusions has to announce, “I am a fake”, but nor do I think they should claim supernatural powers.

To do the latter is to alter the world-view of the spectators. If people are lead to a conclusion, it should be with real evidence, not tricks and illusions. If a performer alters some spectator’s core beliefs about their existence, then the performer is also affecting the core of their decision making processes. People’s conclusions should only be drawn from real evidence.

I think it is sufficient for the performing mentalist to state that he is putting on a “show”.
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
Dr. TORA
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Welcome to the Café ( I mean this section ) Ted. It seems that you have recovered from your discomfort. Nice...
I do think that the performer does not have to make any comment on what he is doing. Let the spectator believe what they like. Those who wish to take it as a psychic ability may think so or the vice versa, no harm is done.
Hope to talk to you soon. Best regards.

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Huw Collingbourne
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Perhaps an even more controversial question might be: "Is it acceptable for a mentalist actively to claim psychic powers....?"

(I've been chastised in the past for debating these and related issues so I know that some people have very strong views on the matter!)

best wishes
Huw
Jim Short
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Chastised for debating the issue? It's a debatable issue! I have strong views on the matter, but I don't think I have all the answers. Debate allows me to hear another side to the issue, and I may change my opinion even as I actively disagree with you.
BlackSalt
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A good lead-in question Mr. Lesley.

I encourage anyone who does not believe that this issue is important to read on;

My wife and I have never outright claimed to be authentic psychics. When approached with questions about our “talents” we would smile and say something along the lines of how everyone can develop a strong link to their intuition. Though we didn’t claim special powers we didn’t suggest trickery.

Some time ago, a young girl disappeared from her campground. An exhaustive search was conducted by the authorities to no avail. The family actively sought us out in the hope that we could somehow assist on a psychic level. They literally begged us to help find their child and money was no object.

What an eye opener! These people were desperate, emotionally drained and grasping at any sign of hope. We very gently but firmly set the record strait as to our in-ability to help. Their embarrassment was evident. The thought of adding this insult to their injury sickened us.

We are still asked about our “gift” following every performance. Today we smile and inform the petitioner that although we share a strong connection as husband and wife and a profound belief in the power of the intuition, we can not rely on it to be precise enough for every show. We then give the petitioner a wink and a nod. They always smile back and ask for a business card!

Best regards,
BlackSalt
Michael BlackSalt
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Socrates
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Here's what I tell people if they ask what I'm doing.

First off, I'm an entertainer and I use sleight of hand and psychology to influence you and how you percieve what you see, basically I'm a fake.

Even after this people will still claim that I'm psychic even though I've told them what I do.

Socrates

'We are born unarmed, our mind is our only weapon' - Ayn Rand
Bone
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Quote:
On 2003-06-09 09:58, Ted Lesley wrote:
Should the mentalist tell his audience, that every thing he does is trick or should he claim "Psychic Powers"?


Well, 2 cases that everyone knows, this is really a "trick" question ! for those who believe, it's real psychic power, but for modern people who's got a lot of education, physics levels... they know it's just trick, there's no way for them to believe what a magician does is psychic power. Anyways some these people respect what magicians do because they love art too.

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Tom Cutts
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Yes, physics seems to discount magic on the surface, but the deeper you go the more magical physics becomes. We think we can explain the effects of gravity but no one really knows what causes it. Similarly, physics shows us that objects are created more of empty space than of matter.

All those terrific presentation tag lines aside, physics is really the study and questioning of all things physical around us. If a performer directs his presentation toward that, he starts working with his audience's thought processes instead of against them... and that is half the battle.

I think Mr. Lesley's presentation that day in Tahoe is a perfect example of kindly putting something before an audience. Something for them to enjoy. If their first reaction to what you do is to enjoy it, then no blanket disclaimer is needed. Not making a disclaimer isn't the same as claiming to have extrodinary powers.

Choosing to tell people one on one "yea or nay" becomes a situational decision. Nothing you say, however, will dispell any belief that anyone has in supernatural powers. The best you can hope is that they leave knowing that you have none. It is the ol' "Yeah, but..." syndrome.

Ted's disarming and genuine kindness combined with his playful style put the audience at ease. We all enjoyed Ted and the show first because the presentation was emotionally engaging through its casualness. Something I am certain was honed by countless hours of performance experience.

Tom
Ted Lesley
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Dear Tom:

Your review of my work in Tahoe did fullfil my wishes and desires. So the $1000.00 I spent for your writings above were well invested....! 8-)) THANX!

ESPecially

TED Smile
Ted Lesley

( The "Victor Borge" of Mentalism )
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