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RCP
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Interestingly Nelson never mentions mentalism or mentalists until the mid 1940's and his catalogs where "Mental Magic and the Allied Arts".

To more directly answer your question David I will fall back to the definition Nelson used.

"Mentalism is the art of science of unusual feats created by functions of the mind"

"The word 'mentalist' is not too well understood by the public, but embraces in the public mind such catagories as mindreaders, mental telepathists, fortune tellers, predictionists and spiritualist"

I know because of TV, books and movies the general public has a much different view or definition currently. The current mentalists largely have brought this on themselves in the way they market the entertainment aspect of what they do. Just look to any of the corporate performers advertising. Made even worse by many of them selling books, DVD's, conventions and an assortment of tricks to those wishing to become mentalists.

So it's now wonder such confusion exists between the historic and the modern. Between magicians, mental magicians and performing mentalists I personally see no difference other than the level of skill and presentation.
IAIN
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"Mentalism is the art of science of unusual feats created by functions of the mind"

Is the art of science?!

The science of unusual feats?

Nelson's definition makes very little, if any sense...
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RCP
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Quote:
On Jun 13, 2018, IAIN wrote:
"Mentalism is the art of science of unusual feats created by functions of the mind"

Is the art of science?!

The science of unusual feats?

Nelson's definition makes very little, if any sense...


Being British I realize you lack any understanding of American history....other than perhaps the American Revolution.

It's in vogue now to ignore histories unpleasantness and even rewrite history. But perhaps those that actually were there as an art form was created........ their voices might be at least be a useful consideration? There actually was something before Penguin and LULU.

Maybe Nelson's most profound statement about mental(ism)(ist) will add enlightenment?

"Mentalism is a commercial-mercenary. If you wish. It functions only for
profit.”
Last Laugh
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It might have made a tad more sense if it was 'the art and science'. The 'art of science of unusual feats...' is a grammatically poor construction, on either side of the Atlantic.
Stunninger
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Sounds like a typo...
RCP
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Quote:
On Jun 13, 2018, Last Laugh wrote:
It might have made a tad more sense if it was 'the art and science'. The 'art of science of unusual feats...' is a grammatically poor construction, on either side of the Atlantic.

The language of the day is a typical excuse for ignoring the wisdom of the words. It's a direct quote from the original.
It's a rare occurrence that I can't go to my library and pull the original 1st edition as a resource.
The 1st time the word mentalist was used in the american magical recorded community was in:
The Sphinx Vol. 5, No. 1
by A. M. Wilson, ed. (March 1906)
"Mr. Wm. Broderson, a prominent merchant of San Francisco, has considerable fame as an illusionist and mentalist in his city and occasionally exhibits his skills there."
Again a direct quote from the original.

While not mentioned in the article, during this time frame, a mentalist and a crystal gazer were synonymous. See C. A. Alexander, The Man That Knows.
RCP
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Quote:
On Jun 13, 2018, RCP wrote:
Interestingly Nelson never mentions mentalism or mentalists until the mid 1940's and his catalogs where "Mental Magic and the Allied Arts".

To more directly answer your question David I will fall back to the definition Nelson used.

"Mentalism is the art of science of unusual feats created by functions of the mind"

"The word 'mentalist' is not too well understood by the public, but embraces in the public mind such catagories as mindreaders, mental telepathists, fortune tellers, predictionists and spiritualist"

I know because of TV, books and movies the general public has a much different view or definition currently. The current mentalists largely have brought this on themselves in the way they market the entertainment aspect of what they do. Just look to any of the corporate performers advertising. Made even worse by many of them selling books, DVD's, conventions and an assortment of tricks to those wishing to become mentalists.

So it's now wonder such confusion exists between the historic and the modern. Between magicians, mental magicians and performing mentalists I personally see no difference other than the level of skill and presentation.

To be precise Nelson doesn't mention mentalist or mental-ism in his catalogs until the mid 40's but is already using the term in the 30's regarding crystal gazers. ie #217 Lecture for Crystal Gazer
IAIN
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It's nothing to do with being British, it's just that the sentence makes no sense...all it highlights perhaps, is that Nelson couldn't always string a sentence together.

Pointless trying to define something if you use wooly and vague statements. Be more Hemmingway-esque.

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Terrible Wizard
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From a very outside perspective (I'm neither a mentalist nor a pro of any kind) it seems to me that the real dividing lines are between 'entertainers', who use various techniques to 'perform', whether in a style focussed on traditional stage magic or in a style drawing upon psychic phenomena or whatever, and those who use the same techniques to be 'demonstrators' who 'deliver' psychic readings, gambling exposes, ritual magic (?) or pick-pocketing etc.

Basically, there's magical performers and the 'real deal' - whether they are real gambler/mechanics, real psychics, real experts in psychology and NLP, real mediums, real whatevers.

I think this is why every lay person I've spoken to broadly lumps Dynamo and Derren Brown together as 'magicians' (even if they think some of what they both do is based on psychology rather than gimmicks), yet talks about tarot card readers and stage mediums differently - either as 'charlatans' or as 'real' depending. I think whatever borders might exist between different artistic styles of performance magic are now very thin and indistinct, as far as most lay folk are concerned. In a nutshell: is it a show or not?
RCP
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It was the language of the time Iain. That is what I meant by you being British. It is part of why people say his works are outdated. Nothing really new of course. Magicians, mentalist an assortment of charlatans arguing for hundreds of years over the same things. People either love or hate Bob Nelson.
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Am I right in inferring that the premise of this thread was whether mentalists should expose methods to magicians and risk more magicians doing mentalism? If yes, what should we do to all those mentalists that use 'magic' methods? How did they get those techniques? Pointless all. This is just another thread on mentalism vs magic as two different things dressed up with a different premise. Terrible Wizard understands the real answer. All debate is useless. No one cares how pure your method is. They will attach whatever label they decide when they watch your performance. If you use a disclaimer, you're someone doing tricks. Period. Mentalist/magician is irrelevant.
Matt Pulsar
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Quote:
On May 29, 2018, David Thiel wrote:
Here's what I want to know: Does this exposure make the line between mentalism and magic blur even more? Is there still a line? Is there any point in trying to keep mentalism for mentalists -- and even more importantly -- at this point is it even POSSIBLE? SHOULD mentalists even be defending their performance 'turf’.
David


Going back to the initial question. In terms of “this exposure” I take it to mean mentalists offering secret information usually kept safe in books of Mentalism and in circles that only those on the inside of this art know of, being offered for thirty bucks in a lecture that is easily accessible in a very “trick” and “magic” centred forum. I do not think it blurs any lines. But I do think it is confusing for those who focus primarily on magic. It would behoove Penguin to set up a separate page focused on Mentalism and call it “penguin mental” or something like that and offer these things under that branch. You would then have penguin magic live and penguin mental live. There are many amazing lectures on Mentalism in the penguin live vault, and I’m always impressed how some of the best material can get a negative review simply because context is working against the performer. But then again, that does kind of preserve the good stuff. It is in a way cleverly concealed under misconception.

I’m torn on your question otherwise. Those of us who perform as mentalists and keep to that character in our lives generally have roots in magic. I’ve noticed that Magicians in the transition from one focus to the other often have a hard time understanding what the difference between Mentalism and mental magic is. I remember being uncertain about this also at one point early on. It’s generally not till we fully perform as a mentalist that we will understand the difference.

But that said one could perform the purist Mentalism act and the reaction of many audience members will be. “I saw this amazing magician”. They don’t have the study and understanding of the difference and they don’t mean it in any negative way. Well performed Mentalism is extremely magical. It’s way more magical than anything that is seen as a deception or trick or carried by jokes. It’s real. The performer has powers. And to me, this is where mixing the two art forms has the most trouble. It’s not so much what as how. If the performer’s character is a trickster, any mental piece he tries to add will feel like a trick or deception.

I do however know fantastic magicians who know them selves well, and know that their performance character is that of a sleight of hand magician who study Mentalism. I have a friend who is a trickster character close up guy who reads all the Scryer books and studies how to give readings and yet he knows it is not his character and wouldn’t really be his style to add it to his act. He studies it because it is interesting and has an interesting history. Understanding it does make his work better. And some of the material he has read he has adapted into his act as magic or mental magic while being true to his style.

The important thing is that the good stuff get in the hands of professional artists who “get it”. And I agree that the accessibility of a lot of the market is worrying. But I am at a loss of what any of us can do about it.
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The Hermit
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At the end of the day, why would Penguin want to separate lectures? They want the maximum number of viewers - magicians, mentalists, the curious, etc. They want to make money and don't really care who pays to watch. If I were them, I would want anyone with 30 bucks watching. That's their business model.
Matt Pulsar
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There’s money made by the easy buck and there’s longevity as a brand that builds a community. The mentalist community would rather stay separate from but involved with the Magic community. Many mentalists work hard to disassociate their brand from the magic brand. They are both the consumers and creators on that platform.
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Mindpro
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Yes, but when you remove the mental magicians and magicians from the mentalism community what remains is a very small but distinct community. It likely wouldn't be of interest as a business model, however, this small community, due to their beliefs and positioning, tends to be willing to pay premium prices to disassociate themselves and such content from magicians/mental magicians.
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In an unrelated comment.

There are those who do a mix of mentalist an also do an escape, narve too. Somehow the two mix beautifully.
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