"Every time you pick up a prop, you lower your price." -- Chet Miller--
"Experience has taught me that conventional conjuring and mental magic do not harmonize and, since it appeared that I was, primarily, a mentalist, I sold my magical equipment. . . From then on I continued as a professional hypnotist and mind reader, in which field I won permanent success."
-- C.A. George Newmann, The Pioneer Mentalist -"Ah, who the hell wants to carry all that @#$% around anyway? I'd get drunk and lose it in a poker game."
-- The Amazing Whillicker--
Before Fat Free Mentalism After Fat Free Mentalism
A mentalism show of thirty years ago might have sported such props as a large chalkboard, several tables with props, weird Mental-Epic style devices, velvet change bags, clipboards about an inch thick, a holder with test-tubes of acid, strange black-box looking "notepads" for Q and A, and a mentalist who may have ranged from tedious to overbearing. Lectures on ESP tests performed at Duke University, Dermo-Optical Perception, and other quasi-technical jargon might have been tossed out to an audience.
Unfortunately, this style of mentalism isn't quite dead. Most magicians, and a large number of non-magician "laymen" (how I hate that term!) still perceive mentalism as boring and tedious -- and cluttered with props.
The modern mentalist, personified by such acts as Marc Salem, whose Mind Games show has enjoyed a terrific off-Broadway run; Craig Karges, one of the hottest college acts on the market, Jeff & Tessa Evason, whose two-person telepathy is astounding even to those "in the know;" Banachek, Karmilovich, Tim Conover, Bob Cassidy -- the list is long -- combine energy, mobility, a sort of kinesthetic fascination, a loose, charismatic style of performing and props that are almost non-existent.
In short, Fat-Free Mentalism.
No props. No obfuscating patter designed to overwhelm the audience. More emphasis on interacting with the audience as participants to achieve a common goal. Fun and dramatic entertainment!
The purpose of this book is to provide you with examples of strong mentalism that requires little or no props. There is a saying -- attributed to Chet Miller I believe -- that every time a mentalist pulls out a prop his price goes down.
Need proof? Look at performers such as James Van Praag and Jonathan Edward. For those of you who only know of Max Maven as a mentalist, these two young men are "channelers" who deliver messages from deceased loved ones.
Regardless of what you may think of their ethical or moral position, each have best-selling books and pack halls full of people who are eager to participate in their programs. They appear regularly on all the talk shows. And in spite of the attempts of the skeptics to discredit them, they remain among the top billed acts in the country.
And all they really do is talk to people . . . no props at all!
The purpose of this book is not to spawn a generation of séance workers, but to nudge the reader into placing aside for a while his nice leather wallets and neat gimmicks and concentrate on effect and presentation. For a while. Those gimmicks have their place, but let's explore what can be done without their aid.
It's a liberating experience!
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.