They Will Forget They Wrote It Down

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Although this golden rule applies to mentalism, you can adapt the argument to other areas of magic.

It is often advised in mentalism that, after a person has written something down, to not refer to the writing anymore. Supposedly, they will forget they wrote it and you will appear to be just working with their thoughts. Carried to the extreme, spectators are often approached before the mentalism performance and asked to record their thoughts on paper clamped to clipboards and then to retain the paper. These boards, of course, allow the mentalist to secretly find out the information and use it during the show. We often wonder how many of these mentalists get up on stage and start reading minds only to have someone stand up and say, "Yes, that's the name I wrote down earlier!" The idea that people will forget they wrote something down is just absurd. Not only will they remember it, but they will later talk about it extensively, especially if they feel they were used during the show to lead the audience to believe that nothing was written.

The best way to handle the writing aspect of mentalism is not to try to hide it. From the audience's viewpoint, there is nothing wrong with writing it down as you apparently don't see it. There are many logical reasons that can be given for such writing such as for verification, helping concentration, etc. You can even pick up the paper as a supposed demonstration of clairvoyance. All of these are better than the hope they don't talk tactic.

This same philosophy can be applied to an area of general magic that gives many magicians problems and hours of worry. This is one golden rule we won't dispute. It is this - if you can't hide it, do it right out in the open. It is far better to do something right in front of the audience than to furtively fumble with it. If you need something from your pocket such as a thumb tip, simply put both hands into your pockets, talk for a few seconds, then come out wearing it. If you need to vanish a silk in a pull hanging behind your back, rather than struggling to get it, simply place your hand on your hip as you hold up the silk with your other hand. Stare at it for a moment and then come forward with the pull. If you have a coin palmed that must be ditched, don't try to make a turn and secretly drop it into your pocket. Your elbow with stick out and it will be obvious you are doing something. Instead, reach into your pocket to take out something and drop the coin in then.

One very famous mentalist uses a tried and proven technique for his act where audience members write down information on slips of paper and then seal them into envelopes. The mentalist steals some of these slips as the envelopes are being passed out. Rather than try any clever moves, he just sticks the papers into his pocket as he walks along. He does it with such a matter of fact attitude that he is never questioned. He has been using this procedure for his entire career.

This subject brings us back around to Tv magic and the use of camera tricks. Often, such editing is used to cover a secret move in an effort to make an effect appear more impossible. The end result usually looks rigged even if the secret is not exposed. It would be far better to go for a lesser effect that didn't require such editing. Not only would the production look more mysterious, but it would be more honest.

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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.

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