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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » Ultimately Under by Kenton Knepper and The S.E.C.R.E.T. School (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Title: Ultimately Under by Kenton Knepper and The S.E.C.R.E.T. School
Medium: Book
Arena: Mentalism?
Available: Any shop, distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies

Dai Vernon said that confusion is not magic. I agree with that statement. After reading this book, 94 pages, I believe Kentonism, which I believe is the belief in what Kenton teaches, is confusion. Ultimately Under is about the placing of, or not placing of, a spectator assisting you, into a trance, or not in a trance, it doesn’t seem to matter. Now I’ve been around the block a few times and have become rather cynical to a lot of things and I am not a fan of blowing smoke up some ones skirt. I’ve experienced it in personal interactions with people and in business and it irks me greatly. The simple fact is people tend to take the straight line from point A to point B while a bothersome minority zig and zag around every letter in the alphabet and the real issue is those people usually are trying to cover up a certain lack of intellect. Same thing applies to those that try to use the most obscure words when describing something and they believe they are great communicators when in fact they have failed to communicate. Ultimately Under seems to be about the basic idea that when using a spectator for certain routines on stage or in a parlor situation if you can get them to follow instructions closely the audience will think you have put them into a trance state and that will add to the entertainment. This is true to a certain extent but the applications are few and far between.

First let’s look at the idea of a trance or fast hypnotizing of a spectator. Depending on who you speak to when you hypnotize someone you either have put them to sleep and control their actions with in limits or, as others believe and I believe, you have come to an agreement with the spectator that they will cooperate with you with in limits and can always use the hypnotism as an excuse for the fun stage stuff. The idea that you take someone on stage and tell them to relax and talk to them a bit and they enter the relaxed state and either are in a trance state or are pretending to be is an old one. It can be clearly communicated over a few pages and has been. In Ultimately Under you don’t get anything clearly communicated. While Kenton is known for reading too much into situations and believing he is exhibiting great psychological methodology into everything his followers who write the bulk of the book make Kenton seem almost logical. There is a serious attempt by those writing to use as much verbiage as possible to get across a point and often fail in doing anything but rambling on in circles. Perhaps to the Kentonites, I just made that up, it makes sense but not to me. To me this is bad writing and badly writing about things not fully understood by the writer is not a pleasure to read. I had to read this book a few pages at a time because my wife would get tired of hearing me mutter “this guy is out of his f’n mind”.

The scenarios presented are of old kids games that I wouldn’t consider doing on stage and being presented as these amazing examples of putting the person into a trance. An example is the old game where the person stands stiff and falls back and you place them gently on the ground. Oh boy, get the press releases out. Another idea presented as great psychology is presenting a card that asks the reader to name a sweet smelling flower but not a rose or carnation, the reader will then not be able to immediately name a flower. Of course they won’t be able, in most cases, be able to name a flower since you have eliminated the two most popular choices. The spiral on the card, which does nothing but I think they think it helps place the reader into a trance state, who knows, and the color of the print doesn’t really mean anything. It is like saying “tell me, how does someone get to school, but not on a bus, bike, car, or walking?”. It would take most a moment to think of a train or skateboard. That isn’t as deep as these guys think it is. Another example is to have someone come up on stage and say “What is your name? One two three four….” Then after a pause say “you may now state your name!”. People believe the pause is due to a trance? Come on. Confusion is not magic.

Another thing here is the hard core belief in Wonder Words or NLP. While it is true certain words can get people on your side more so than others it is because some words are better when seeking support while others come across as making demands. This is human nature but the Kentonites have a strong belief in certain words causing a psychological shift in mental state and all that fun stuff. Nonsense. Now I realize some out there truly believe in NLP but don’t build a mountain out of a mole hill. Use your common sense when communicating and you’ll do as well as any NLP believer, but don’t tell them that or you’ll have to listen to them struggle to tell you why NLP works. I like to call this all pseudo intellectualism and it ticks me off. In college they use to say the most irritating people on campus were psychology majors because they read a couple books and felt they knew the score when in reality they didn’t even know what the game was.

What all this adds up to is a very badly written book expounding a jumble of thoughts about putting or not putting some one into a trance. If you want to learn to put someone into a trance, you won’t learn it here. If you want to learn how not to put someone into a trance you won’t learn that either. What you will get out of it is if you talk to someone who will play along they will play along, to what end I’m not sure. I actually think it is an interesting subject and there should be a book on how to handle helpers on stage and how to get them to cooperate with you but it should be done in a clearly written form. To Kentons benefit of those writing the book, and it isn’t always clear who that is, he seems the most rational and able to communicate at all. I’m rather surprised this was released the way it was written. What does fascinate me is there will be people who pick this up, usually these are Kentonites, who will think it is brilliant. Bless them I hope they enjoy the book. If you are heavy into the psychology, or what is believed to be the psychology, of performing and thrive on the information being presented as badly as possible then run out and get this book, you’ll love it.
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