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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The July 2005 entrée: Richard Osterlind » » A biographical sketch of Richard Osterlind » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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OUT OF THE SHADOWS: A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF RICHARD OSTERLIND
by JIM SISTI.

--------------------------oOo----------------------------

Richard Osterlind has always been a bit of an enigma when it comes to his involvement with the world of magic and magicians. He will release a number of books and effects and then disappear from the scene, sometimes for years at a time, before he’s heard from again. When he resurfaces, however, he always has another batch of strong, straightforward material that never fails to create a sensation among performers who recognize commercial, audience-tested material when they see it.

As prodigious as his output has been over the years, however, Osterlind has never made his living from selling books, videos or effects or from prowling the lecture circuit. He’s too busy performing at some of the most prestigious venues in the world for movers and shakers throughout the corporate world. He’s performed three times in Monte Carlo and his travels have also taken him to such disparate places as Bejing, Mexico, the UK, Bermuda, Finland and the Casa de Campo resort in the Dominican Republic.

What’s more, he always performs material of his own devising, diabolical secrets that generate spontaneous standing ovations and re-bookings time after time. The only thing more amazing than Osterlind’s creations is the fact that he freely shares all of them with the mentalism and magic communities.

Richard Osterlind was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1948. Bridgeport was once the home of another famous showman, P.T. Barnum, so it seems fitting in some way that Osterlind would obtain his first magic trick, a coin slide, at the age of 6 at a performance of the Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey Circus under an open tent in Seaside Park. Other magic sets followed, of course, and by the age of 10, Osterlind was performing magic shows for his friends in the family basement.

By this time, the family had moved to Ansonia, a smaller town north of Bridgeport, and Osterlind’s interest in magic began to wane during his high school and college years. Music had become his new calling and his skills as a drummer led in exciting new directions.
It was during a trip into New York City to play at the Bitter End, one of the Village’s hot jazz and rock clubs, that Osterlind decided, on a whim, to stop by Tannen’s, the legendary magic shop then situated right in mid-town. This brief visit re-ignited his passion for magic and, in short order, he bought a set of The Tarbell Course in Magic and worked at joining the local International Brotherhood of Magicians ring.

As a matter of fact, for his initiation show, he learned Dai Vernon’s Cups and Balls routine, practicing endlessly to make sure it was perfect so he would be allowed entrance into the club. He later mused that at the time, he didn’t realize that learning “any old trick” would have gotten him in. However, Osterlind’s skills were not lost on the members who thought he was incredibly gifted, not realizing that the Vernon routine was the only trick he knew at the time!

He soon became intensely interested in mentalism and began doing mental effects for interested persons during band breaks. In fact, it was the bass player in Osterlind’s band that got him his first mentalism gig at a local Chamber of Commerce function and as necessity is often the mother of invention, he created his first original effect for that show, an impression device that turned out to be clever, practical and fiercely original. Later marketed as “IMPAD,” this would be only the first in a number of inventions, many of which would go on to be part of the arsenal of mentalists everywhere.

By this time, Osterlind was performing shows often, some magic others purely mentalism but it wasn’t long before his love for the latter won out. Even during a lengthy, seven-year sojourn as the house magician at a luxury hotel in Stamford, along Connecticut’s “gold coast,” he was mixing in more and more mentalism. He had also started to study stage hypnotism and began doing hypnotism shows.

In the ensuing twenty years, Osterlind became a full-time performer, moving from the college to the corporate market, doing less shows for more money and traveling to places most only dream of. During this time, he’s created an amazing body of work. Besides “IMPAD,” his marketed effects include “CHANGE OF MIND,” “TWO-FACED,” “RADAR DECK,” “APEX STAINLESS STEEL BLINDFOLD,” “INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH LINK,” “JOURNEY INTO HYPNOTISM,” “SEAFIRE SEQUENCE,” “EPITOME BOARD, “ULTRA BOARD,” “THOUGHT SCAN,” and the “S.O.S. BAG,” perhaps the last word on Annemann’s Pseudo-Psychometry plot and his own unique take on the classic “MENTAL EPIC.” Some of his newer effects are “TRANSPARENT FORCES” and “ODDS,” a routine that takes the design duplication effect into new dimensions.

His published works include Three Miracle Routines, Two Perfected Routines, Dynamic Mysteries, The Very Modern Mindreader and The Osterlind Breakthrough Card System – 20th Anniversary Edition, an updating of his classic stacking system, complete with new hints, ideas and effects. His “trilogy,” Making Magic Real, Making Real Magic and Essays has gathered widespread critical acclaim. More recently he released The Memorized Breakthrough, The Perfected Center Tear and other assorted routines and The Business of Magic, which contains some of the best advice for the professional performer on how to make money in this business.

He’s contributed to many publications including Bascom Jones’ Magick, Apocalypse, The Linking Ring, The Magic Menu, and many of Al Mann’s mentalism manuscripts. Richard is currently working on a NEW book called The Principles of Magic.

Osterlind’s work is also represented on video in Challenge Magic, a video released some eleven years ago and the more recent Richard Osterlind’s Mind Mysteries and Easy To Master Mental Miracles published by L&L Publishing. His new video release will be available later this year.

Richard moved to Kentucky in 2000 where he lives with his wife, Lisa and his 2 stepdaughters, Megan and Brittany. They recently purchased their new raised colonial house (yes, it DOES have 2 white pillars!) where Richard has his “Magic Workshop.” It is here and at his computer that he creates his new material.
Though his presence has ebbed and flowed from the magic marketplace over the years, sometimes due to circumstances beyond his control, this time Osterlind says he’s back to stay. All of his material is safely back in his hands and he’s making it available to the magic and mentalism communities through dealers and also through his own website, Osterlind Mysteries
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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