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ALEXANDRE
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I'm practically the only mentalist and psychic entertainer who shows up to meetings here at Ring 45 here in South Florida. Richard Mark is a member as well.

We recently discussed the use of playing cards in Mentalism vs playing cards in Magic.

Now I am of the opinion that playing cards in Mentalism is absolutely fine. In fact I have an entire "psychic entertainment" close up act using using almost entirely playing cards and I've done perfectly fine with it.

We seem to care more than our audiences do about this issue. Entertainment is entertainment. And the Mentalism entertainment here is pure.

Some of the stuff I do in my act has not been shared, some have (click the link in my signature to see some of it).

The truth is that playing cards, or even an individual card, carry great magical imagery and symbolism. Over centuries there are numerous songs, stories, and myths about them. They have been used for declarations of love, threats of war, carriers of confessions, curses, and blessings. Hidden deep inside a deck of playing cards are many inner secrets, and in fact a representation of forgotten mysteries coded by ancient mystics.

And for this reason they fit in brilliantly with Mentalism and Psychic Entertainment performances.

Smile
Pit Boss
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Absolutely! It's not the cards, it's what you do with them.
Philemon Vanderbeck
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I'm fairly vocal in my opposition to the use of playing cards in mentalism. Most "mentalism" done with playing cards can be easily adapted to any of a number of symbol or photo decks. Once you have done so, you'll have very few spectators thinking you're just doing card tricks.
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funsway
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Quote:
On Feb 20, 2022, ALEXANDRE wrote:

Now I am of the opinion that playing cards in Mentalism is absolutely fine.


I am pleased that you have found a niche that works for you, and your choice of framing and premise
may be the best for your chosen audiences and settings.

but ...
somehow your title irks me a bit. I might joking say that it seems that the only one with an 'issue' here is you,
but it goes deeper than that.

It seems that you are implying that those who have preferences for not using playing cards are somehow wrong and only in need of your
newly found experience/revelation to lead them to the light and forsake the error of their sinful or ignorant past.

I only have 65+ years of performing " challenges of the impossible" in many venues and settings; conjuring, mental based, weird science, etc.
I have "opinions" too that might not be of value to you, but do not indicate that you are wrong either.

There is nothing about your experience that will change my mind about how I will present either mentalism or conjuring effects,
and your tossing in irrelevant information about your magic club mix only lessens your credibility. So, you found one other person
who was known to agree with you to agree with you. Hummmmm.

Maybe in a few years you can post, "I performed 2,000 Mentalism demonstrations with playing cards, and another 2,000 without,
and ten years later folks have volunteered that they like the ones with playing cards better."

No, I do not have any 'issue' with using playing cards at all. I just do not mix card tricks with serious conjuring or mental-based effects any more than I mix conjuring with mentalism in the same presentation. I choose not to use playing cards because they alter the expectations
of other things I choose to offer. It is a matter of congruency rather than any value of playing cards themselves.

Despite the title lead, I will add your opinion to the pile of those who find playing cards to be a good source of entertainment for
any venue of the Mystic Arts. I am unlikely to ever perform in that kind of setting again, but who knows what the future will bring.
It might influence my pending eBooks on Mentalism and Presentation Theory. Thanks for that.

For now my focus is "creating a real experience of telempathy with audience participation."
Playing cards don't fit in at all. But neither do dice, prediction effects, wallets or crystal balls.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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innercirclewannabe
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I never understood it. It is a real paradox. On one hand, a lot of Mentalists feel the need to use disclaimers at the start of their performance, but on the other hand the same performer would be opposed to using cards for fear of them looking like they're performing tricks?!

Early on in my career I decided I wanted to do stage shows. I did, and I performed the same show all over Europe whilst incorporating at least two (sometimes three) card effects in my show. Post show, a lot of people who I spoke with were intrigued by the card effects. I am not writing this from a position of bragging, rather I am writing it to state that I never understood and I never will, the reluctance to use card effects in a Mentalism act.

The list of professional performers who have used cards in their act to great success is endless, however to name but a few, Canasta, Kreskin, Osterlind. Were/are all of them wrong?
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
Mindpro
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This only seems to be an issue for mentalists that come through magic. I have never seen or met a single mentalist that came to mentalism from the mental arts (with nothing at all to do with magic) that ever used or even would consider using playing cards.

If you have real mental abilities would you really use cards to demonstrate it?
ddyment
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Of course it's an issue. At least it should be, along with every other artistic decision one makes in a career. I have previously offered my own views on the subject, but of course it's ultimately a personal choice.

Just don't make an uninformed decision. Remember that all choices have consequences.
"Calculated Thoughts" is available at Vanishing Inc. and The Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Woodfield
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Quote:
On Feb 20, 2022, Mindpro wrote

If you have real mental abilities would you really use cards to demonstrate it?


If you had real mental abilities would you be doing shows?
funsway
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Quote:
On Feb 20, 2022, Woodfield wrote:
Quote:
On Feb 20, 2022, Mindpro wrote

If you have real mental abilities would you really use cards to demonstrate it?


If you had real mental abilities would you be doing shows?



What better cover can one have? - a sort of Purloined Letter Smile
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
innercirclewannabe
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Quote:
On Feb 20, 2022, Mindpro wrote:
This only seems to be an issue for mentalists that come through magic. I have never seen or met a single mentalist that came to mentalism from the mental arts (with nothing at all to do with magic) that ever used or even would consider using playing cards.

If you have real mental abilities would you really use cards to demonstrate it?


I have no ‘magic’ background. I like to watch magic performed well but I could never do a magic show. I’m surprised at your reply. It demonstrates a narrow viewpoint and in some ways it demeans some of the names I’ve mentioned who have used playing cards throughout their stellar careers.

If you have real mental abilities, what’s with all the disclaimers?

It’s a show. You all of people should know that.
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
stevie c
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Quote:
On Feb 20, 2022, Mindpro wrote:
If you have real mental abilities would you really use cards to demonstrate it?


If we had real mental abilities wouldn't everything we do be completely propless?

Anyway Mindpro, if cards are good enough for someone as amazing and successful as Mr Osterlind (BCS etc), that's evidence enough for me.

Thanks

Steve
Stunninger
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Some famous mentalists performing effects with cards:

Bob Cassidy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuHU9NZE......bCassidy

The Amazing Kreskin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knvmAMyy......smCenter

Ross Johnson:

https://youtu.be/esLQHrm4NTg?t=28
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Mindpro
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Quote:
On Feb 20, 2022, stevie c wrote:

If we had real mental abilities wouldn't everything we do be completely propless?

Anyway Mindpro, if cards are good enough for someone as amazing and successful as Mr Osterlind (BCS etc), that's evidence enough for me.


Absolutely! You still would need to demonstrate and perform your abilities in a theatrical way to enhance the presentation of your ability, and propless often leads to lack of connection and stagecraft. People can be props. Props are not a detriment or bad thing to performance art.

The names you and others have mentioned all came to mentalism through magic, hence my point.

Read the link Doug provided. We too have done experiments and blind tests and every time the use of playing cards was seen as card tricks and magic. The statistics Doug shares are strongly in agreement to the industry's findings.

Most mentalists want to distance themselves from magic, deception, illusion, and magicians.

Yes, one of the best ways to demonstrate abilities is by performances and demonstrations that audiences can relate to and find believable.

Let's face it most people here have some sort of magic interest or background so your slant will likely be that of the magic community. This includes "mentalists" that perform mental magic.

No need to get your undies in a bunch but let's separate fact from opinion. Also, if you choose to use paying cards - great, no one ever said any different. I was just trying to explain likely why it is and the difference from those that came from the mental arts using and demonstrating actual abilities without trickery.
innercirclewannabe
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Quote:
On Feb 20, 2022, Mindpro wrote:
Quote:
On Feb 20, 2022, stevie c wrote:

If we had real mental abilities wouldn't everything we do be completely propless?

Anyway Mindpro, if cards are good enough for someone as amazing and successful as Mr Osterlind (BCS etc), that's evidence enough for me.


Absolutely! You still would need to demonstrate and perform your abilities in a theatrical way to enhance the presentation of your ability, and propless often leads to lack of connection and stagecraft. People can be props. Props are not a detriment or bad thing to performance art.

The names you and others have mentioned all came to mentalism through magic, hence my point.

Read the link Doug provided. We too have done experiments and blind tests and every time the use of playing cards was seen as card tricks and magic. The statistics Doug shares are strongly in agreement to the industry's findings.

Most mentalists want to distance themselves from magic, deception, illusion, and magicians.

Yes, one of the best ways to demonstrate abilities is by performances and demonstrations that audiences can relate to and find believable.

Let's face it most people here have some sort of magic interest or background so your slant will likely be that of the magic community. This includes "mentalists" that perform mental magic.

No need to get your undies in a bunch but let's separate fact from opinion. Also, if you choose to use paying cards - great, no one ever said any different. I was just trying to explain likely why it is and the difference from those that came from the mental arts using and demonstrating actual abilities without trickery.


While you're at it, you might send on the links of Cassidy, Canasta and Kreskin working as Magicans?
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
funsway
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MindPro - you say (once again) something "the difference from those that came from the mental arts using and demonstrating actual abilities without trickery." And I will ask, once again why you are unwilling to ever offer an effect, theme or name of an individual. Why the desire to polarize into categories of your imagination with no facts?

There are those, like myself, that were exposed to conjuring, mentalism, weird science and folks who could do extraordinary things simultaneously.
Thus, I did not "come from" any background and can easily shift from one presentation approach to another without fear of discorporation.
Naturally, I do not mix physical based impossibilities with mental based extraordinary demonstrations in the same presentation.

I defy you to provide the name of any individual from your secret pristine list that has never performed a conjuring trick or demonstrated weird science.

But, more importantly, you now seem to imply that a person "from a magic background" cannot "demonstrate actual abilities" without trickery.
On what do you based this extraordinary opinion? The fact that one might choose to entertain with conjuring type effects does not give any clue as to other "natural abilities" that person might have. And, what do you mean by "trickery?" Does that include guile, artifice and knowledge of psychological ploys? You say above, "You still would need to demonstrate and perform your abilities in a theatrical way to enhance the presentation of your ability." That sounds like trickery to me. Or, does your apparent limited experience with conjuring suggest that one must use only gimmicked props?

Even if your undefined "mental arts" include hypnotism, psychic and medium work (which are not mentalism to me), please show where no artifice or deception is involved in their theatrical presentation.

I have reviewed dozens of your posts over the years and feel you are mostly smoke and wobbly mirrors - all deception and no substance.
Prove me wrong - be authentic. Define some terms and give some examples. At least, quit stuffing other people into your limited boxes.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
funsway
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Back onto the OP theme. I have several Effects that use paint chips 'cards'. These have an applied backing to hide their identity.
I don't use them to avoid playing cards, just that color identification is sometimes better that image or number,
especially for the guy in the back row.

When performing one of these effects recently, a gentleman who was "mixing up the chips" looked at the plain brown backs and said,
"At least we know these are not marked."

Just verification as to why I choose not to use playing cards in a Mentalism effect.
Why risk confusion or suspicion or any hint of trickery?

I want them to go home and tell a story of a "real experience of telepathy" and never remember the props at all.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
Stunninger
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Quote:
On Feb 20, 2022, Stunninger wrote:
Some famous mentalists performing effects with cards:

Bob Cassidy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuHU9NZE......bCassidy

The Amazing Kreskin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knvmAMyy......smCenter

Ross Johnson:

https://youtu.be/esLQHrm4NTg?t=28


Adding to the list of famous mentalists performing effects with playing cards:

Max Maven:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K10oIKAi......icOnline

Richard Osterlind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF9odezz......JimSisti

Derren Brown:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJi1TBzu......renBrown

Looch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Gd0u7SB......uinMagic

Jan Forster:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja8Mn3tA......nForster


Fact: Many famous and commercially successful mentalists perform effects using playing cards.
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Graymatter_Fireworks
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Doug’s essay sums this up well to me.

Who entertains with cards on stage? (Or any venue for that matter.)

If asked, the vast majority of the public will say Magician. There are other possibilities of course, but unlikely to be overwhelming answer. Can a performer entertain successfully with cards? Of course. Will they think you are some type of magician? More than likely.

If you are trying to differentiate yourself from magicians, using cards needs some very select plots or methods to do this. I think Ted Lesley found a smart one with his insistence of never touching the cards when presenting Mentalism. However, even with this, there will be many people who see you just doing magic.

I feel playing the entertainment card (sorry, no pun intended) is often a weak out for a lack of a congruent plot or character. Typically I see or hear, “Well it’s entertainment” when something doesn’t fit the acts premise well. It’s like when a movie has a plot hole or an inconsistency. You can still have a great movie, but this detail can take away from the suspension of belief.

Alexandre, you mention many symbols and ideas (even if they are made up) are woven into the cards themselves, and you are right. But the average audience member has no idea about these. A whole act could be structured in explaining many of these ideas and devising effects based on them. Cassidy’s Chronologue is a great example. However, I feel there has to be an intentional separation and, sometimes explanation (Think Annemann’s Magic vs. Mentalism) involved from the performer when playing cards are introduced.

I also think we forget that we educate ourselves with materials that are close to or sometimes 100 plus years old. Cards are not as prevalent in household activities as they use to be. Younger audiences have less and less associations with them outside of gambling.

There is a wealth of knowledge and work lost to a performer if they choose to abstain from cards, however I agree with Philemon’s point that converting playing cards into different “decks” really helps add a logical disconnect to them.
"The social world in which we live, determines our experience of what is real." - John Gager
Fromentum
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Well the answer is quite obvious:

It depends!


Or in other words: The props need to mach to the effect.

If you would do an effect that shows that you are able to read minds absolutely it does not make a lot of sense to let the spectator think of a playing card. Why are you using playing cards? Why can't the spectator think of anything?

On the other hand there are gambeling demonstrations. Here it makes complete sense to use playing cards to show that you can read other players.


I personally think that a good gambeling demonstration has it's place in nearly every mentalists show because it's an engaging and interesting topic. But I don't think you should use playing cards in a "pure" mind reading effect.

But I also think that you could do card tricks with a deck that has something else printed on (pictures/Symbols/Destinatons/people) and no audience member will think of a card trick.
In the search for decks I created a topic in the Inner Thoughts section called "Decks that are not decks"

The most popular deck or cards that are not percived as cards are....

Yes the ESP Symbols ;-)
Chaz93
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This debate only exists on the Café. Out in the real world, it doesn't come up. I use playing cards in my act, have since I started and I have no background in magic I jumped straight in to mentalism. It's up to the performer to make the cards entertaining and intriguing, but it can be done. And again, this is a topic that only comes up on the Café. It's silly.
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