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mastermindreader
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In another thread discussing the effect "Fob," the following observation was made:

Quote:
On 2013-01-29 19:50, LBP MAGIC wrote:

Is there somewhere on this place that explains what mentalism actually is? it seems most here do not really know the difference between mental magic and mentalism. it could just be that mentalism is magic current buzz word?


I'm sure I've posted the following excerpt from "The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy" before, but for those who may have missed it, here are my thoughts on the subject:

Quote:
Both mentalism and mental magic are forms of entertainment. Neither is more inherently entertaining than the other.

Pure mentalism looks exactly the same as what I would call “pure magic” (best typified by the performances of David Blaine,) that are very direct and seemingly impromptu. They tend to defy logical explanation and actually appear to real magic. In both cases, many members of the audience may believe they just saw “the real thing.”

Mental magic and most theatrical magic are also indistinguishable. Both are obviously illusions or special effects, which are visually or intellectually interesting, but nonetheless are generally perceived to be tricks by even marginally intelligent audiences.

HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE DOING MENTAL MAGIC OR MENTALISM:

Pay attention to what audiences generally ask after seeing you perform. Do they ask things like:

“How is that done?’
“Can you show me another trick?”
“My five year old has a birthday coming up, what do you charge?”

If your answer is “yes,” you are doing mental magic, which is best described as “effects with a mind reading theme, which are, nonetheless, perceived to be magic tricks.” They do not create the illusion of the “real thing.”

If, on the other hand, you have succeeded in creating the illusion of mentalism, you will receive responses like these:

“Did you learn that somewhere, or is it something you were born with?”
“How did you know that?” (as opposed to “How did you DO that?”)
“Get away from me, man. Don’t be messin’ with my head!”

Mentalism and mental magic, then, are different forms of entertainment. Both elicit different perceptions and reactions from an audience. The mentalist, therefore, has an ethical responsibility unknown to the conjuror or mental magician, for he is in a position to make people believe in, and rely upon, to their detriment, his alleged powers.


Hope that helps a bit.

Good thoughts,

Bob
Tony Iacoviello
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Thank you, Bob!
dsacks
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Hey Bob,

That is very well put; very eloquently stated -- thanks for posting again (to read it again is a great reminder for me Smile )

David
LBP MAGIC
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Thanks Bob
granterg
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Very interesting Mr. Cassidy.

It is interesting to think that David Blaine's very visual street effects could be considered mentalism!

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

respect, granterg
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On 2013-01-29 21:50, granterg wrote:
Very interesting Mr. Cassidy.

It is interesting to think that David Blaine's very visual street effects could be considered mentalism!

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

respect, granterg


Actually, that's not exactly what I said. I meant that pure magic and mentalism can elicit the same response- not that they are the same.
granterg
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Thank you very much Mr. Cassidy.

I guess what you are really trying to drive home, then, is that mentalism and what David Blaine does are similar in that both can be considered "real magic".

granterg
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Bob, I appreciate your thoughts on the distiction being, in part, how the audience perceives it. So often we attempt to label what we are doing without asking what the audience experiences while we are doing it.
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On 2013-01-29 23:53, Crowslide wrote:
Bob, I appreciate your thoughts on the distiction being, in part, how the audience perceives it. So often we attempt to label what we are doing without asking what the audience experiences while we are doing it.


Yes. Ultimately, it is our audiences who decide what we are doing.

I'm sure someone is going to chime in and say something like, "Okay, if someone comes up to you after a show and says 'Nice magic tricks,' does that mean that you are a magician?"

And the answer is "Yes." As far as that individual is concerned you are a magician. But I'm not concerned with what any one spectator thinks. What I'm speaking of is the overall impression received by a significant percentage of audiences. If they ALL think you're doing tricks I suggest that it doesn't matter what you call yourself, you're a trickster- a magician, regardless of how entertaining your performance is.

But if there is the sense of a split-decision and you constantly hear people arguing about whether you are a psychic, a master of psychology or a mere trickster - or if large numbers of people after every show ask you questions like the ones I gave in my earlier post, you have entered the realm of mentalism.

And that, I think, is at the core of the Annemann's assertion that mentalism is an "adult form of magic." It's not because it's more sophisticated or that it is specifically aimed at highly intelligent audiences. It's because it allows you, if you present it properly, to create the same sense of wonder and "What if?" for adults that a child experiences when he sees his first magic show.

Good thoughts,

Bob
granterg
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Excellent words of wisdom Mr. Cassidy.

Mentalism allows adults to feel like kids again.

granterg
granterg
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Magic is an amazing thing, but unfortunately it lets a person down in the adult stage of one's life.

That is precisely when mentalism can step in and take magic's place.

granterg

PS: The question then becomes: If magic, in a sense, ultimately fails us, why do magicians still hang on?
lostpoet
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He have hard time to understand it. instead of understood he get small piece and show it as whole cake.
then present whole cake with question of why candle not burn on he cake. candle not burn on he cake cause no cake begin with. candle be on one piece, and rest of cake over here, No?

he use cake illusion to misdirect.

the mentalism not make it feel like kid.
mindmaster say it make wonder like kid wonder. No?
20/20 for it mean you think what you just see be real. good performer of mentalist do that.


it magic no let down adult stage. it good for all.
mentalism not take place. place still be same. an the good place it be with pack of matches to.
MindreaderDavid
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Quote:
On 2013-01-29 20:54, mastermindreader wrote:
In another thread discussing the effect "Fob," the following observation was made:

Quote:
On 2013-01-29 19:50, LBP MAGIC wrote:

Is there somewhere on this place that explains what mentalism actually is? it seems most here do not really know the difference between mental magic and mentalism. it could just be that mentalism is magic current buzz word?


I'm sure I've posted the following excerpt from "The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy" before, but for those who may have missed it, here are my thoughts on the subject:

Quote:
Both mentalism and mental magic are forms of entertainment. Neither is more inherently entertaining than the other.

Pure mentalism looks exactly the same as what I would call “pure magic” (best typified by the performances of David Blaine,) that are very direct and seemingly impromptu. They tend to defy logical explanation and actually appear to real magic. In both cases, many members of the audience may believe they just saw “the real thing.”

Mental magic and most theatrical magic are also indistinguishable. Both are obviously illusions or special effects, which are visually or intellectually interesting, but nonetheless are generally perceived to be tricks by even marginally intelligent audiences.

HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE DOING MENTAL MAGIC OR MENTALISM:

Pay attention to what audiences generally ask after seeing you perform. Do they ask things like:

“How is that done?’
“Can you show me another trick?”
“My five year old has a birthday coming up, what do you charge?”

If your answer is “yes,” you are doing mental magic, which is best described as “effects with a mind reading theme, which are, nonetheless, perceived to be magic tricks.” They do not create the illusion of the “real thing.”

If, on the other hand, you have succeeded in creating the illusion of mentalism, you will receive responses like these:

“Did you learn that somewhere, or is it something you were born with?”
“How did you know that?” (as opposed to “How did you DO that?”)
“Get away from me, man. Don’t be messin’ with my head!”

Mentalism and mental magic, then, are different forms of entertainment. Both elicit different perceptions and reactions from an audience. The mentalist, therefore, has an ethical responsibility unknown to the conjuror or mental magician, for he is in a position to make people believe in, and rely upon, to their detriment, his alleged powers.


Hope that helps a bit.

Good thoughts,

Bob


This is quite possibly the best thing I have ever read on the subject. And I agree whole heartedly
Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.
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funsway
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As noted in many previous posts, most of the “effects of astonishment” I performed over the last five decades have been in situation is which the “other” in a dyadic setting did not know I was a magician/mentalist/wizard/shaman etc., nor were they expecting anything of astonishment to occur – thus breaking the traditional “anticipation/surprise” formulation.

When they realized/acknowledged that something “impossible” had just occurred some would use the label “magic,” some would suggest “messing with their mind,” others “paranormal ability -- but more than 90% would offer, “I guess I have to rethink what is impossible” – the response I desired in a consultancy situation.

The point is that in order for “magic” to be the response “magic” must be expected, and if “mentalism” is to be the response then “in the mind” must be anticipated. In either case, “astonishment” comes from either expecting one thing and getting another, or of having some “imagined possibility” made manifest. Whether or not the observers thinks a trick is involved is a matter of presentation balanced against personal perceptions of the impossible. What is the saying, “I believed it therefor I saw it.”

To some extent if you, as the performer, perceive you are doing “mental magic” that will be communicated to the audience. If you perceive that you are demonstrating a paranormal or innate ability then that will be communicated to the audience. Methinks most of the silliness over “is mentalism magic” comes from personal embarrassment on the part of the performer over what previous performers have done. If you think a label defines who you are then you should be embarrassed.

Furthermore, whether or not you desire to create or leave an impression that what you did is “real” is an ethical issue having little to do with what is performed. You must be clear on what you are doing and how you wish to be perceived before you begin. Thus, I heartily disagree with the concept that audience reaction defines what you do. Who is in charge here? Who are you inside? In any art the performer communicates something of self – what did you communicate? Why do you desire to “entertain people” anyway?

Since these comments will probably be unpopular I will go a step further at 3:30AM when I should be asleep. The most important part of any performance is the self-appraisal afterwards in which you ask two questions:

“What did I learn that will help me be a better performer tomorrow?”

“What did I learn that will help me be a better person tomorrow?”

Then you go out and interact with the world “off stage” – having an influence and impact on others just by being “who you are!” You “do not try, just do” (Jimmy Ringo not Yoda). Then, with better understanding of what people are all about, how they perceive “other than normal” results, and what fantasies they nurture you design a performance to “entertain.”

Of course, all things just indicates why I will never be a good “performing magician” (conjury or mentalism) – but why I was able to successfully perform an astonishing effect for a spectator more than 40,000 times in twenty years.

So, quit looking for “who you are” in a label or book or DVD or packet trick –
Or accept that “getting the next booking” is more important and play the game – happy that there is a game to play …
"there is real merit in the magician who tries to be creative – from such endeavors magic sustains its life energy." Harold Rice



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Michael Daniels
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Hard to follow that! But I actually agree with both funsway and Bob. The difference is essentially a matter of presentation and the presentation will itself determine audience perceptions.

Mike
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On 2013-01-30 04:02, funsway wrote:
Thus, I heartily disagree with the concept that audience reaction defines what you do. Who is in charge here? Who are you inside? In any art the performer communicates something of self – what did you communicate? Why do you desire to “entertain people” anyway?


I don't understand what you are disagreeing with. I said that audience PERCEPTION defines what you do. It is my job to steer the audience to the place I want them to go. If I succeed, the audience REACTION will tell me that I've done so. Or if I haven't.


Good thoughts,

Bob
smokingkills
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I think the main difference is this:

Mental Magic

Image


Mentalism

Image


Most of us end up a cross between them both:

Image
Moderncelt
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Another difference I feel goes with the Mentalism/Mental Magic dichotomy is the level of suspense or expectation of success? Not sure that's the right word, let me explain. With Mental magic, there is always going to be success, in fact an EXPECTATION of success. You always find the paycheck, you always know the word from the dictionary, you always predict the number with unerring accuracy, you always bend the spoon into curls tighter than a pigs tail. With mentalism there is the possibility of failure. An audience will watch a key for over a minute, just waiting...willing it to bend...just a little bit. They are willing to accept as a success when you say "I feel like what you chose was something...familiar, something you have in your own home...like a piece of furniture...You do have this don't you? Yes, in fact you're picturing it right now aren't you?...it's not a tv, it's more comfortable...is it chair..maybe a recliner? What? A SOFA! oh so close."

Mentalism is the case where less can be more.
MindreaderDavid
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I am thoroughly enjoying this discussion. It's a lot of added thoughts rather than a big argument and I think that's wonderful.

Please keep going.
Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.
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doriancaudal
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Quote:
Both mentalism and mental magic are forms of entertainment. Neither is more inherently entertaining than the other.

Pure mentalism looks exactly the same as what I would call “pure magic” (best typified by the performances of David Blaine,) that are very direct and seemingly impromptu. They tend to defy logical explanation and actually appear to real magic. In both cases, many members of the audience may believe they just saw “the real thing.”

Mental magic and most theatrical magic are also indistinguishable. Both are obviously illusions or special effects, which are visually or intellectually interesting, but nonetheless are generally perceived to be tricks by even marginally intelligent audiences.

HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE DOING MENTAL MAGIC OR MENTALISM:

Pay attention to what audiences generally ask after seeing you perform. Do they ask things like:

“How is that done?’
“Can you show me another trick?”
“My five year old has a birthday coming up, what do you charge?”

If your answer is “yes,” you are doing mental magic, which is best described as “effects with a mind reading theme, which are, nonetheless, perceived to be magic tricks.” They do not create the illusion of the “real thing.”

If, on the other hand, you have succeeded in creating the illusion of mentalism, you will receive responses like these:

“Did you learn that somewhere, or is it something you were born with?”
“How did you know that?” (as opposed to “How did you DO that?”)
“Get away from me, man. Don’t be messin’ with my head!”

Mentalism and mental magic, then, are different forms of entertainment. Both elicit different perceptions and reactions from an audience. The mentalist, therefore, has an ethical responsibility unknown to the conjuror or mental magician, for he is in a position to make people believe in, and rely upon, to their detriment, his alleged powers.



I think this is not so simple. It's not a black OR white thing, there are many several nuances to add to it...
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