There are two given possibilities for invention in magic: —Either one refines methods, adapts them to fit the times or uses new objects, materials or handlings. —Or one thinks of novel effects, which is, to be sure, much more difficult.
Both types of invention are found in this book, but I most value the subtleties that represent the essentials of mental magic. Ted offers us a large number of these. So, as you read the routines described in these pages, pay close attention to the details. They are often the things that add quality to a performance. Finally, About This Book
This brings me to our central topic. I greatly appreciate the fact that Ted has finally decided to publish this book; not only because the routines described here are of a special quality and are genuinely usable (within the limits of your personal style, of course) but, above all, because it is extremely useful when someone permits you to view the thought processes behind the tricks, so that you can adapt these methods of thinking.
This book is not intended for the beginner in magic, but then neither is mental magic. Just because the techniques are often boringly or ingeniously simple, the amateur or beginner in magic often feels compelled to perform one or more mental effects, because he can spare himself the practicing of difficult sleights—most of the time. It is frequently overlooked that other aspects in the performance of mental magic require so much more practice and experience: dramatics, verbal facility, body movement, interactional skills, linguistics, etc. For this reason an effect looks like a miracle in the hands of a skilled mentalist, while in the hands of a performer who is concerned only with ease of execution it achieves nothing better than puzzle status.
In this book, Ted touches on a few things with which every reader knowledgeable in the literature of magic should be familiar. If the reader has not experimented with the original version, it is advisable to examine it first, then study the variations and improvements that came after. Only then will a true appreciation of the variation described here, with all its refinements, be possible. I will not deprive you of the pleasure of making your own discoveries as you review each effect and its methods, but I will permit myself to make you aware of a few "trivialities", in the hope of sharpening your eye for professional thinking and handling.
The ridged card principle and the Kismet Envelope discussed in Chapter One offer enormous possibilities for further combinations and, therefore, other effects. It would amaze me if the creativity of most readers was not stimulated by this material, causing them to invent their own routines. The same thing holds true for the Teleport Envelope described in Chapter Six. I consider this method of making something appear or disappear in a spectator's hand to be invaluable.
Ted's "Seer of the Trivial" (pp. 60-68) makes it especially clear how a completely inexplicable miracle can be created by combining clever methodology with further subtleties. While it may seem a minor point, just the advice of putting a coin in an envelope so that it will fall easily out of a larger one is worth its weight in gold to a working performer. (Why don't we come upon these things ourselves?) These are the details that make the fine differences!
Likewise with Ted's headline prediction (pp. 263-272). Naturally, the performance of such predictions is limited to the appropriate circumstances. One must learn to perform such sensational effects sparingly, perhaps only once in a lifetime; and then, in the right place and at the right time. But at that place and time the impact can make a lifelong reputation.
The "New Pseudo-psychometric Exercises" in Chapter Five contain significantly more than can be gleaned from a superficial reading. Because I am convinced that the methods Ted describes are indetectable—with the proper presentation—it remains only for the reader to develop such a presentation that fits his or her personality.
The version of "Premonition" (pp. 149-162) is a fine example of how you can send the thinking of the spectators spinning down the wrong track by use of a subtlety (two decks in a champagne pail), thereby rendering their recognition of a correct solution almost impossible. In addition, the rubber band card index appears to me to be as simple a gimmick as is conceivable, as well as the best. It is the first card index I have found usable.
Ted Lesley has given us something in this book that in my opinion represents a genuine enrichment of magical literature. Here is the writing of a born-in-the-wool professional whose methods are simple and learnable, who knows which effects are successful before an audience and which are practical under various performing conditions. Do not forget that he has given you the freedom to work out your own form of presentation. Read between the lines to get a glimpse into the mind of a professional and you will profit much, much more from this book than from just the methods and effects he describes.
In this sense, I hope you enjoy studying the following pages, with the certainty that only the truly committed reader will recognize all that Ted Lesley is willing to share with us from his great treasury of experience.
Professor Dr. Toni Forster Certified Psychologist
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Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.