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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Why Mentalism? (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

paul180
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As performers many of us are talented in our presentations enough to give the impression that we indeed have special powers. But why do we choose mentalism for our deliverance?

Is it because those powers associated with the art have a natural curiosity to lay ppl?
Is it because we can seem more REAL than with magic?
Is it because we it makes us look smarter than we really are?
Or is this form of entertainment just more exciting and challenging to us?

I ask because while pondering these questions I'm trying to answer the bigger question as to what I want to do with my mentalism?

Entertain? Absolutely.
Move my spectators as to have them pondering the powers of their minds? Sure to let them forget if only for a moment their life's pressures.
Perhaps even have them seek out knowledge to answer the age old questions of life and why we are here?

I'm also trying to overcome some religious beliefs that had me put down the craft for a while. Three years to be exact. If I can't jive magic/mentalism and how it's a lie with what positive influences I may help humanity with, I'm afraid I'll have to stay retired?

So is there a purpose other than entertainment for performing your mentalism? Do you have a goal within your performances to move your audiences? What message are you trying to send?

Whatever the answers, I don't think there can be a right or wrong so let the ideas fly.
Philemon Vanderbeck
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For some of us, it's art.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Rik Gazelle
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I'm just a hobby magician, and recently retired so I now have plenty of spare time (if not money!) on my hands. After a lifetime of playing around with cards, coins and props I've decided to take a look at mental magic.

Why mentalism?

Partly it's because it's an area I haven't studied before and I do like reading about magic so I figure that there is penty of new material for me to learn about.

Partly it's because I recently read a biography of The Piddingtons - a 2 person telepathy act from the 1940s/1950s. I found it a fascinating topic. Even though the book contained a lot of speculation about how they did their act it was more interesting to consider the effect on the people that witnessed them.

Obviously I want to entertain, both my audience and myself, but I also like the ambiguity of the subject matter. Is it real? Is it fake? I'm pretty much a hardened sceptic on real mind-reading, ESP etc but there is still a small part of me that wants to believe. Maybe, just maybe, there could be something in it. If I, as a sceptic, think like that then I'm hopeful that those I perform to will think along similar lines.

Am I seeking to send a message? No. But I would like the audience to go away asking questions. It doesn't really matter what those questions are, so long as they go away thinking and talking about what they've seen.
Amirá
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It is because my personal competences as performer lead me to create an act that allows my audience to experience something real, and Mentalism and Psychic Entertainment allows that.
With Bizarrism is possible as well, but I prefer the themes and aesthetics of our beloved Mentalism.

Mentalism has the ability to empower others, to let them open their eyes to new possibilities, to be entertained with something so ordinary and extraordinary at the same time as the "mind" and to enjoy an interesting moment with an equally interesting person.

I absolute love Mentalism as creative path for me, for my friends and colleagues and for my publics. It is a way of life.
Pablo
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Max Hazy
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We could each have several answers to it. Personally, I prefer mentalism because I identify more with it's aspects. There's an esoteric part in mentalism that attracts me a lot and cannot be found in magic. There's also more "realness" to it, particularly in the psychological approach. Another point that I particularly like, if you're not PERFECT with what you do in magic, if you "flash" something... it could be devastating. In mentalism, you should even be careful to not be too perfect. The focus on the presentation rather than the method also attracts me. I also prefer a mental workout/challenge rather than sleights. Furthermore, interaction is much better with mentalism.

That's not to say that one thing is better or easier than the other. Magic can be as easy (special props do the work for you) or as hard (advanced sleight of hand) as you can imagine. The same goes for mentalism, it can be as easy (very simple methods) or as hard (things that require a lot of mental work and memory) as you can imagine.

Cheers
To surpass monsters you must abandon your humanity.
paul180
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Rik, if a two person act is your thing let me suggest "Speak Easy" by Dan Harlan. It's pricey $99 and not really for the hobbyist but if you can find a good deal on eBay or somewhere imo it's the most usable way of performing the two person act. Found it for $22 here

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dan-Harlans-SPEA......bD9ZrkDs

I like things simply so I rarely go to the latest/greatest or most impressive to mentalist methods. I try to stay in my lane and keep it simple. Thanks for being honest and contributing to the thread Smile
David Thiel
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Mentalism in its purest form is elegant and beautiful.

It is an art where the performer can take an audience on a journey full of delicious 'what if?' possibilities and inject a flash of vivid wonder into an otherwise grey world. Mentalism has the capacity to make jaws drop in sudden surprise. It can make the audience laugh in delight. It can move the heart and invite each spectator to participate in a unique adventure of the mind.

Mentalism shares the dreams, thoughts and aspirations of complete strangers in an enticing way that tattoos memories of the things revealed in the minds of its spectators.

Handled by a performer with creativity and experience, I honestly believe mentalism is the highest -- again: the most beautiful and elegant -- of the mystery arts.

That's why.

David

PS Also: it is way cool.
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Elwood
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I'm with David and Philemon with this - it is an art form. I approach Mentalism the same way as I do my guitar playing - I only perform for people I want to entertain, and my performance is classy, streamlined and to the point.
Conner
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I enjoy mentalism because it provides a real path for self-improvement. Readings, mnemonics, suggestion, and CMR are all real abilities with transferable skills. A good reader is empathetic, compassionate, and puts themselves in others' shoes. Enhanced memory improves all aspects of life and, if nothing else, is incredibly empowering. Suggestion forces us to be mindful of our language and aware of the unconscious influences we all have on each other. CMR allows us to be more sensitive to the attention of others. All of these skills also allow us to be more even-minded and skeptical as consumers, voters, and citizens.

These benefits don't just remain with performers, they are valuable takeaways for audiences. Mentalism is a terrific vehicle for self-improvement messages. When my audiences--wary of their own failing memories--memorize the first ten elements of the periodic table, the alphabet backwards, pi to 40 places, and the last 20 best picture winners all without any effort or awareness--that makes them wonder what else they are capable of. What other limitations about themselves are just waiting to be toppled?
Last Laugh
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Mystery is a beautiful thing. Good magic and good mentalism can both create mystery, but in my opinion mentalism has a better chance of creating a deeper, more genuine mystery.

The feeling of wonder, curiosity, and amazement that one can feel when faced with something that shouldn't be possible.

The moment when - even if only briefly - you wonder if maybe there are things in life that you didn't think possible. A moment of genuine open-mindedness.

These feelings are all possible with magic also, but often people will shut down the mystery with a simple thought 'well, it's only a trick'. Or it becomes a puzzle.

With a good mentalist, people aren't sure what is a trick and what isn't. And that allows a deeper level of mystery...
LL=MM
IAIN
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For me, its best answered when you remove the effect itself - and then look at what is taking place, and why its taking place - as well as what is being shared/talked about...that's the most important part...that's where you can separate the vanity from the connection...
John C
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I vote for last laugh's answer.....

With a good mentalist, people aren't sure what is a trick and what isn't. And that allows a deeper level of mystery...
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Mr. Woolery
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I found that as I started looking more at mentalism rather than magic, I stopped thinking about how I was going to look in the eyes of my little audiences. Instead, I realized that people are fascinating and wonderful. Mentalism, for me, at least, is all about connecting with other people. I have found that I am happiest at the end of a small performance (I only perform socially at this time) when people feel better about themselves and see a greater personal potential in themselves.

Mentalism gives me an avenue for that in a way that magic does not. Sure I could have an audience member hold the wand and say the magic word, but in the end he knows I did the trick. With mentalism, often the resulting effect is that I created the circumstances for him to do something unusual, not that I did it and gave him credit. I really like that.

-Patrick
paul180
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Quote:
On Sep 12, 2017, Conner wrote:
I enjoy mentalism because it provides a real path for self-improvement.


I really like you take on things and believe it or not, your post is providing me with just the right kind of motivation I need to get back out there. Thank you Smile
Rik Gazelle
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Quote:
Rik, if a two person act is your thing let me suggest "Speak Easy" by Dan Harlan.

That sort of thing would be well outside of my comfort zone, both as a performer and a practitioner. The book was just a kick-starter to an area I think it worthwhile to study. That said, I appeciate the pointer and thank you for taking the time to it track down and post it.

I'm currently thinking of concentrating on ESP related effects as far as performace material goes, but I know I'm going to enjoy studying the wider field of mentalism and mental magic.
Rik Gazelle
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Quote:
With a good mentalist, people aren't sure what is a trick and what isn't. And that allows a deeper level of mystery

That's exactly the feeling I'm hoping for when I finally get around to performing for family and friends.
funsway
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I am more and more drawn to consider the expectation of the audience. With Mentalism, each observer already has a belief in "beyond normal ability" in some form.
Whatever they see from you can serve to validate this belief and possibly expand it. It does not matter if they think there is a trick involved. They are predisposed to see
a demonstration of "paranormal" and therefore do. Thus, I am careful to match demonstration with audience.

With Conjuring effects the audience is expecting a demonstration of something considered impossible. They understand a trick is involved but also know that the experience
is "here and now" rather than a seeing a play or reading a book. They expect magic to occur and therefor it does. Some may be taken to a previous sense of awe and wonder,
be instilled with h.ope in overcoming some difficulty in their personal life, but that is a bonus.

From this perspective of "expectation" it is easy to see why doing Mentalism for an audience expecting Conjuring may be a poor choice - and doing Conjuring for an audience expecting
a paranormal reenforcement, fatal. This does not mean that a performer cannot do both, just that the audience must be clear as to what the expectation is.

Each form of "the mystic arts" has advantages and pitfalls. I have been performing both types for more than 60 years.
Now I rarely perform - partially because I do not trust my ability to gauge the audience expectation.

When I do perform, my choice of type and effect is based primarily on what I do know of the observers. Often, I just tell a story instead - and focus on awe and wonder over mystery.

I have the benefit of meeting people 30-50 years after a performance and enjoying their shared recollections. Far and away, Conjuring has had a greater life impact then Mentalism, perhaps again because Mentalism only reenforces what they already expect. Helstromism is the exception. Feedback is that this demonstration shattered their expectations and exceeded their imagination. Amusingly, the best Conjuring memories are not what I actually did at all. So, I asks readers here, "What do you expect them to remember 30 years form now?"

Having said that, my wife has some music performance gigs planned for restaurants. She has a notion I can do some magic during her rest periods. I will probably do Mentalism or MentalMagic effects over Conjuring. Why? Because of the reenforcement attitude. I can be confident most will be entertained and I do not want to diminish the musical magic.
"there is real merit in the magician who tries to be creative – from such endeavors magic sustains its life energy." Harold Rice



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Conner
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Quote:
On Sep 13, 2017, paul180 wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 12, 2017, Conner wrote:
I enjoy mentalism because it provides a real path for self-improvement.


I really like you take on things and believe it or not, your post is providing me with just the right kind of motivation I need to get back out there. Thank you Smile



Thank you, Paul. That's kind of you to say.

I'd have a hard time performing if the only subtext for the audience was "look at all the clever things I can do that you can't." I need to have a reason to be on stage. Nowadays I try to take on the role of an educator or a speaker first and a mentalist second.
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