How long should a performance be3

As long as it captivates the audience, that is, as long as it holds their attention.4

It has become the rule among magicians to start the show with a flash visual effect. "Otherwise, it is not a magic show," they assert. Thus we have pointed ourselves in a particular direction and we believe that we must continue to perform in the same manner as our forefathers - that is, tricks and more tricks.

This is a natural prejudice that we, the performers, have. The audience does not share it! It makes no difference whether you call yourself a mentalist or a psychic entertainer. 5 Those are simply different forms of entertainment. Good speakers and story tellers give lectures and readings that last more than an hour, and the audience listens completely entranced. Why shouldn't a magician also be able to do this?

To do that, first, the spoken part of the presentation must be able to stand by itself, without any magical effects. The tricks themselves simply serve to enrich the presentation.

Since the 19th century, all forms of art and entertainment have gone through many completely new developments. For example, you seldom hear any of the old ballads that were popular during the 19th century. Theatrical styles, including those of the opera

3 The German word here is Vortrag, meaning talk, presentation, lecture, reading, solo or story. Many translators would use the term patter, but that has a connotation of the nonsensical rapid-fire prattle of a 3-card montc man or a bad magician. The speeches that go with these routines are of a much higher class than mere patter. Each word has been carefully chosen to produce maximum impact on the audience. So, I have translated Vortrag as performance, presentation, or routine, using whichever meaning fits best in each circumstance. It may help you to understand that the word has the meaning of a spoken performance. BP

4 This statement presumes that the performer is working without any time constraints. Naturally, if you are performing on a bill with other performers, you must use a presentation that takes only the allotted amount of time. BP

5 Literally psycho-magfcian, see page 1. BP

and musical comedy have changed drastically. However, magicians are still doing basically the same kinds of things that their forefathers did. The revolution has not taken place. We have stagnated.6 One possibility that I would like to demonstrate is dramatization with a story line by using new thematic situations.

Parapsychology, which is in at this time, is extremely well-suited as subject matter for a story line. Paranormal effects are, as a group, magic tricks, because most of the things magicians do fall into the category of psi-effects: clairvoyance, mind reading, second sight, predictions, psychometry, productions (materializations), vanishes (dematerializations), telekinesis, and alteration of time.

Parapsychology also offers us effects that produce dramatic tension. We must only bring them over into our version of reality, and make them true.

In doing this, we must never dispute another person's view of the world, whether he is a materialist, who believes in nothing that he cannot touch, or a spiritualist, who considers the invisible world to be real and thoughts to be actual indestructible entities. This is possible if you present each of the effects with a smile, so the audience is never quite sure whether you believe in magic, or not.

The scripts for my routines in the series Fourth Dimensional Mysteries are expansive. They are assembled from a wealth of material drawn from the field of the paranormal. This does not mean in any case that you should use all the material at one time in actual practice. You must add or subtract material to fit the amount of time at your disposal, your

6 Since this pamphlet appeared In 1978, there have been a few performers who have changed magical styles drastically — David Copperfield, Jeff McBride, Vito Lupo, Penn and Teller and others have modernized the art. BP

audience, and your skill as a story teller. You sin ply need to know the material that is in each of my presentations, so you will be well-versed on the subject matter. This will enable you to answer the questions that will eventually arise.

The more the performer knows, the more confidence he will have in himself! He must understand what he is talking about, otherwise he will not be convincing. For example, when I mention the birth and death years of Dr. Zöllner, the man who performed the experiments with Slade and the knots, you do not need slavishly to learn these dates (1834-1882). I don't know them from memory myself. It is enough to know that he lived about 150 years ago.7

In general, you can leave out some of the material. The measuring tape effect will stand on its own. You must take your audience and the performing conditions into account.

I am giving you a great mass of material here, so you can pick out what you like best.

Chest, trick measuring tape, 3 meter piece of ribbon, watch, changing box, Astor Pad, pencil, bent coin, scissors, rope with knots

7 In the original version of Der Währtraum, there was a section called "The Zöllner Knots." This section has been omitted from the new version. I will touch on it briefly at the end of the chapter. BP

Understanding Mind Control

Understanding Mind Control

This book is not about some crazed conspiracy thinkers manifesto. Its real information for real people who care about the sanctity of their own thoughts--the foundation of individual freedom.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment