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Profile of colinj
I am interested in adding a 'reading system' and am wondering if anyone has used either 3 coins 4 your thoughts by Paul Voodini or An Occult Teaching by Robert Chapman? I have read and enjoyed some of Paul Voodini's books but am unfamiliar with Chapman and can't seem to find a review of that particular book.
Mr. Woolery
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I have not used either, but I am curious what you want to do with your reading system. Are we talking about 3-minute pseudo-readings or in-depth analyses of personal traits or something in the middle?

I have learned that sometimes it is more effective to use "shut-eye" books and methods than to do readings for magicians who want to add a little something. Very handy is a card reading system with regular playing cards. You have to memorize 17 meanings and be fairly good at getting along with people, but it isn't hard to do. Also, some people will see it as less threatening than tarot, if that matters to you. Richard Webster has a short essay available on Doug Dyment's page about how to it. Free article.

If you want to get more in-depth, try palmistry. Again, you can get the various iterations of "How a Magician can fake being a Palmist" or you can get a cheap book on the subject from a believer's point of view.

It all depends on what you want to do with it. If you want something unusual, that sets you apart from the palmists, tarot readers, and neon-sign-psychics, you probably would do well to invest in something like one of the two you are looking at. You can also do a lot with creating your own system if you want to be really different.

Just some thoughts.

Joshua J
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Profile of Joshua J
I have both. Rob's work is excellent if you are after creating something close to real magic or "magick". However is not a reading system. Paul's 3 coins 4 your thoughts is an excellent, cheap, little reading system giving you a system for delivering short fun readings. Its similar to Luke Jermay's ideas in leading readings. His Victorian Chimney Sweep again offers a nice structured reading system with playing cards. Both are suitable for beginners. To add more detail Paul's books reader of minds and pure Q&A will help.

In terms of other systems Richard Webster's material is excellent; both his magic material and his shut-eye publications for the general public. Julian Moore's books are great palmistry, graphology or numerology available through amazon and the cold reading company. I favour a lot of older material like Robert Nelson (lots available through trickshop). There are several draw a tree options on the market for something a bit different. Alchemy Moon's Kadar is wonderful for fun readings. If you want effects using readings few things beat psuedo-psychometry. Todd Landmann's the bequeathment is a nice routine delivering readings.

If you give a bit more detail about what it is you want to do readings for we can probably help more.
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Profile of colinj
I am working on an idea for a ghost story and am putting together a small box of items that belonged to the departed. Fortune telling/psychic reading fits with the character but for size reasons I do not want to use the space for tarrot cards. The idea of including 3 old coins (or stones) the would have been used works well and I would like to be able demonstrate how they would have been used. It wold be a part of the routine (and a part that I would like to be able to extend or remove dependant on time and audience).

I'll check out the Richard Webster essay, he has been recommended to me by someone else as well.

Joshua if A.O.T. is not for readings can you let me know a bit about what it actually is? I haven't been able to find any reviews and the writeup is very vague.
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Profile of Michael_MacDonald
AOT is more of an evening set routines that have a real magick flare to them. lots of great ideas and some really nice workings. but it would only fit if you are looking to be realistic.

palmistry and pendulum for small or no props. you can make a nice pendulum board on cloth that will work great,
zoltar is the little brother of the kader system and it is a reading system in a small wallet card. it even has a built in peek.

but for what you discribed the best fitting would be psychometry as you just need some small object to get the connection from. this could be any old artifact or it could be something from the sitters themselves.
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Profile of IAIN
Ted andrews wrote a good book on how to do pyschometry for real, plenty of angles to explore in that one...
I've asked to be banned
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Profile of Godzilla
On 2013-06-19 14:04, Mr. Woolery wrote:

You can also do a lot with creating your own system if you want to be really different.

Just some thoughts.


This is a 'GREAT' suggestion,Patrick! Smile
Many,are missing this !
You can make your own system(anything you want),and give your own meaning! a bone casting with your choice of bones!
(Or,cut a dowel rod in a few peices,add a little symbol to each, get the idea ! )
You know what the meaning is,of how they fall!
You,wrote it!
And,will allow you to give a reading,like none have seen!
Plus,you can create that great Backstory,for presentation of your reading!
"If you watch Godzilla backwards, it's about a big ass lizard who helps rebuild a half burnt-down city, then moonwalks back into the ocean"
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Profile of MentalistCreationLab
Your speaking of something like this?

Shown in the small box is about a 30 minute show that contains one prediction effect, crystal reading, and a bit of good luck.

All of which are combined through out the show. The crystals are used twice, first in a prediction effect then later given away in the reading portion as a souvenir.

Now what I am having trouble with is why use items form a fortune teller/psychic and not items formally owned by a spiritualist, a mortician or other? Context is everything.

Now depending on where your working this show will determine if using objects of a fortune teller is appropriate or not. Think about that and one day you understand what I am talking about. Sorry so vague but we are in open forum.

If your going to do a reading even a makeshift one you must understand that comes with a certain amount of responsibility.

I understand to a point why you would rather not use Tarot Cards.

If I may make a suggestion add real bone dice. Similar to those shown in the below photo.

The dice are sitting upon my spiritualist writing slate. The dice can be used for a simple dice reading system, these objects can also be used in conjunction with the above box.

Here is the thing when looking to add any reading system KEEP IT SIMPLE and make sure the objects can be used together with different effect during the show. Also, when it comes to the box used it may be of some value so choose your box with out care. Because its not how it looks as much as how its used. When it comes to box presentation which is another topic altogether. Although I will say it again Christian Cagigal is a master of turning a simple box into an element of mystery. For those of you who know what I am referring to I sure you will agree with me about the box thing.

While I am at it I will share a couple of other photos of props in my dark collection.

First is a handmade Morticians headrest from an embalming table that was built and used by the mortician himself for many years.

Next is a Prie Dieu (prayer bench) that was used at a funeral parlor for many years for the viewers to offer prayers for the dead.

The above object took me a long time to find and was not cheap. It is also one of the nicest I have ever seen. It has its original case and folds up.

Here is a photo of it folded.

And here is a photo of the old case that is covered in wax and other fluids used in embalming. I so glad it does not smell anymore.

Here is just some of my skeleton keys.

Thing such as the above are very useful since they can be made into a pendulum at a moments notice with a piece of string. Which is something else you may want to consider for your box of objects. If you can not find a skeleton any older vintage key will work just fine.

Shown above with meta store bought embroidered cloth.

Also there is a lot to be said for adding an old photograph as those shown in the photo below. These are known as Carte de Vista

Here is a Yoruba street fortune teller divination instrument from Africa.

This last item is a simple spirit bell.

Here an interesting point any object may be used while some look better than others and while some are real and some are fake its not about the object its about what you do with the object that counts and I am not talking just about using the object in an effect. What I talking about is the ability to hold an object in your hand or place it in the hand of a spectator and craft a story around that object that will produce a result without the object ever needing to to a thing other than that of using it to focus your audiences attention on while your telling the dark and twisted tale.

So the best thing I can offer is think about each and every object you are thinking of using and ask yourself does this object stand alone own its own merit. In simpler terms it has nothing to do with the imaginary character created. It does have everything to do with how they came to own it. I know that this may sound a little contradictory at first but think of the objects you own where they store bought, gifts or were they passed down through a family. Only store bought gifts will reflect our character as for those items passed or gifted will reflect that of the person giving them more so than the ownership of the imaginary character. Items that were passed down through the generation may have more meaning than any store bought item. The point I making is what is in the box must tell a story and items that would have been owned and have special power like communicating with the dead will have special meaning. If you do not choose wisely the audience will know its a con. I do not care if its just an old pencil in the box think about if it is the right pencil for the box. Its about context so the key to all of this is the story not the effect.

Earlier today I was thinking about this very thing why is one effect poor and another is great? It depends on how it is presented. Take any Dai Vernon effect watch him do it them watch the same effect by someone else do it on YouTube and you will notice that it has nothing to do with the effect itself. I seen this hundreds of times and every-time there is some form of contextual thought the effect just looks better skill level aside. So to get to the point the same thing goes for fortune telling or any psychic system.

I also agree with Godzilla sometimes you must break out the bones to get your point across.
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Profile of gothicmagic
That is a beautiful prayer bench (I have one I need to restore once I finish the move to NC)
thank you for sharing the inspiration of what they look like in pristine shape
Vlad ^0^
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Bill, great post. Pure gold.
Thank you.
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Profile of espkeith
I know I'm going to have to rob a few people after reading through Bill's post. Smile

I don't have much to add, so I will just say that I agree with the above, but especially Joshua J - Webster, Moore, & Kadar. I use that material extensively. I also like 3 coins 4 your thoughts, but haven't had the opporutnity to fit it in....I think need to just start putting the coins on the table.
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Profile of cirrus
Derren Brown suggests a great cold reading book, really an extensive guide to cold reading, in one of his books. It's called: the full facts book of cold reading (available here:
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Profile of colinj
Thanks everyone, so much helpful info there and some pretty inspiring photos.
Joshua J
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Profile of Joshua J
On 2013-06-20 12:27, cirrus wrote:
Derren Brown suggests a great cold reading book, really an extensive guide to cold reading, in one of his books. It's called: the full facts book of cold reading (available here:

Wouldn't necessarily recommend it for starting out, later on it is a useful tool. Not to knock it but a solid grounding in a system of divination will prove more useful.
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