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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Mentalism and 'mental magic': PK effects as a 'bridge' (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

The Futurist
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I find it interesting that, firstly, there seems to be a clear distinction between 'magic' and 'mentalism' in many people's view, and, secondly, that many 'mentalists' have added cutlery-bending, key-bending, etc. to their repertoire. Of course, you won't find anything on fork bending in early-C20 mentalism books - this is basically down to Uri Geller popularising it in the 70s. On the other hand, you have someone like Morgan Strebler, who seems to be very much a 'magician', also bending silverware, coins, etc. Imagine, if you will, a kind of continuum with an impressive, yet plausible mentalist effect (say, 'enhanced memory') on one end and, say, vanishing an elephant on the other end.

I don't recall Derren Brown bending a fork on TV, though of course Banachek does so all the time. So it all depends on personal performing style I guess. But if you're starting to breach physical causality like this with the PK, what else can the 'mentalist' performer start to get away with? Or IOW, a guy or girl moving from mind reading to well-known PK effects to - well, what is next on the mentalism/magic spectrum? It seems to me it's not too radical a step, once you've wowed people with your mind over matter skills, to 'attempt' Smile a teleportation of some small object or something. We all know what crazy shenanigans went over at those Victorian seances, for example.

IMHO, the best mentalist effects are so striking because of their 'liminal' nature - they are on the threshold of the possible and impossible in many people's estimation, especially given the clever patter which comes with such effects. And then fork bending seems to have become established, for many of the general public, in this liminal zone because of the cultural phenomenon of Geller, etc.

I would like to ask you what, in your view, comes after 'PK fork bending' on this hypothetical 'mentalism/magic' continuum; thanks for reading up to this point and for your kind consideration. I guess a review of the corpus of self-professed 'psychics' might throw up a few ideas.
The Futurist
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Well, another example that springs to mind - not only bending a fork or a coin, but also animating it with a PK you-know-what.
Ed_Millis
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I've been interested in the line between "mental magic" and "mentalism". I'm assuming pure mentalism focuses more on the "mind-to-mind connection" and can use props only as a mirror of sorts to demonstrate this, while magic will "use the mind" as a direct manipulator of a prop, giving the effect on the prop much greater focus?

I have the Telekinetic Timber and Autobend Silverware. I present Twisted Sisters as a mental effect. And of course the Invisible Deck.

So I'd like to add my quesiton into the Futurist's and see if we can get a complete direction: After doing "just magic", how would you organize and routine mental/mental magic effects into a coherent logical flow, from making the transition into the mental side up to a great climax?

Ed
The Futurist
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It occurs to me, Ed, that perhaps some typically 'magical' effects could also be worked into mentalism through a bit of judicious respinning. For example, I wonder if, for the mentalist for whom more straightforwardly magical effects are not congruent with their personal style, some clever applications of 'dual reality' might be employed somehow, where the volunteer(s) see one amazing visual thing - ie) a 'magic trick' - and the rest of the spectators simply see the volunteer(s) experiencing, and describing, an amazing visual thing, yet see nothing of that same thing themselves. One might spin it as a pseudo-hypnotic effect, affecting perception through one's suggestive powers, or some such thing. That would be another approach to reconciling the physical with the mental.

I find PK very interesting though, as something kind of anomalous within the repertoire of the mentalist, yet people don't question it - they may not believe in it as psychokinesis per se, but they do not think it out of place, as they probably would if the mentalist pulled out some sponge balls! It is generally accepted that mind-reading and fork-bending go together on the mentalism menu.

The ID is indeed a great 'mind-blowing' effect of the sort that can portray the performer as having great powers of precognition, suggestion or other mental attributes, however they want to pitch it. So many possible presentations! I guess the ID principle, like the Svengali principle, might be profitably woven into a 'playing-card-free' mentalism act too, with some handwritten stationery cards or something, if one wanted to personalise it.
Logan Five
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I don't do this anymore, and I don't want to tip my exact presentation, but I would talk about the 1982 Aspect Experiments that took place in France. The experiment showed that two once connected quantum particles separted by vast distances remained somehow connected. If one particle changed, the other particle changed- instantly. I would then say that scientists don't know exactly how this faster-than-speed-of-light travel can happen, and that some suggest that this connection takes place via doorways into higher, or other dimensions.

I would then show the spectators some rubber bands, and have them examined to show they're normal. Then believe it or not..I would do Crazyman's Handcuffs. Yes, it's a great trick in itself if done right, because it looks like the bands " melt " into one another. But, it's the idea of the bands separating due to some mutidimensional model of reality that makes this work. It's the presentation that sells the effect, selling the sizzle - not the steak.

I've always got great reactions with this presentation. Is the kind of thing your asking about?

Rick~
Self concept is destiny..
The Futurist
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That is a great example, Rick. Indeed, this is the sort of thing to which I refer. Reframing the presentation so that the most 'unlikely' (on the face of it) effects can go together comfortably in a routine. For it is likely that the typical 'mental' performer has a few 'magical' tricks up his or her sleeve, if you'll excuse the pun! It seems a shame for them to never use them, on the grounds that 'that's not my style', when with a bit of work on the presentation and structuring of the set, many of these could be worked into a routine convincingly.

I like the metaphor of selling the sizzle and not the steak. Remarkable how a trick can be pitched so many different ways. What is a 'cool trick' to a child at a party can be a macrocosmic version of a quantum phenomenon to adults at a 'demonstration'. Truly a multidimensional model of reality in itself! And with the right pitch, maybe a clever mentalist could indeed pull out some sponge balls and seamlessly weave them into the show.
The Futurist
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Another versatile one with regards to magic or mental presentation is the Svengali deck. I like presenting the initial, demonstrative riffle of the Svengali as a kind of 'watch these cards and, although you may not realise it, your subconscious can actually photograph the order of the cards, as they travel past like frames in a movie. How surprised would you be to find out that you can somehow locate a particular card that I have already suggested to you? We'll find out just what that card is in a minute....' I get credit for apparently being a master of subliminal influence, they get credit for apparently tapping into a subconscious 'photo-memory'. Win-win Smile

I also just checked out Kenton Knepper's nice presentation here: http://www.mobiusmagic.com/product_info.php?products_id=17
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