OJafc Of Qontents
General Considerations . 4
Predic-A-Date - Mark Strivings 6
Suite Prediction - Terry Nosek. 9
Who Knows? The Pendulum Knows! - Docc Hilford ... 12
Sort-Of-Numerology - Mark Strivings . . . . . 14
Routining - Mark Strivings 25
You Are Psychic - Richard Webster . 27
Rings Or Watches? - Ed Fowler 28
Close-Up Double Date - Terry Nosek 31
Psi-O-U - Anthony Lindan 33
Approaching The Table - Mark Strivings 34
The Compleat One-Person Tableside Psychic Act - John Riggs . 36
Warm Fuzzies Up Close - Mark Strivings 39
Psychic Psuds - Robert Waller. 41
You Have The Power! - Gene Urban 44
A Penny For Your Thoughts - Terry Nosek 46
Look Deep Into My Spoon - Docc Hilford . 47
ESP For Fun And Profit - Mark Strivings 49
Final Note 56
A word about the contributors-
I feel very honored that several of my good friends and colleagues have shared some of their pet secrets in this book. Some of them are names you will recognize, others are not. I'm pleased to tell you that all of them are among the most creative and talented people I know anywhere. I'm also pleased to tell that they are all good friends. I am flattered that they were so willing to share. My thanks go out to each of them for their time and talents. Each of them will be profiled briefly throughout the book. Next time you see any of them, be sure to thank them. You're the best there is guys!
Ed Fowler Docc Hilford Anthony Lindan Terry Nosek John Riggs Gene Urban Robert Waller Richard Webster
Welcome to "Mobile Mentalism". What you now hold is some of what I consider to be the most practical 'close-up' mentalism around. At least, I know it works for me and those who are represented here.
Over the years, I have done a wide variety of styles of performing, both in and out of magic and mentalism. I have always structured my close-up magic around a 'strolling' type of style. However, when I tried to apply the same techniques to mentalism, I immediately hit a brick wall. There simply wasn't very much out there that met my requirements. So the search was on. What you are reading reveals some of the results of that search.
There are many to thank. Most, for their inspiration and willingness to share. To list but a few, and I know I shall leave many out (but, being psychic, they will know); Bascom Jones, Theo Annemann, Tony Corinda (welcome back, Tony, you were greatly missed!), Larry Becker, Docc Hilford, Robert Waller, Brian and Jan Flora, Riley G. (the Evil One), Jon Kealoha, Richard Webster, Lee Earle, Dr. Juris, the 6 and 1/2, Ron Shank, Mary Tomich, Pat and Kathy Holcombe.
There is one person who really deserves this dedication the most. To the woman in my life. April, I love you with all my heart. You are the one who really keeps me going. This is for you.
But first, a word from our sponsor...
Please don't just take one look at the next paragraphs and decide to skip them and go straight for the goodies. The real work is here, the rest is just icing on the cake.
For those of you who have decided to stay with me, thank you for your support. I have a feeling like I know a few things about many of you. You probably have a magic background (that, by the way, is OK, contrary to what some mentalists would lead you to believe). You probably do some performing for $$ (if not a great deal of it). You probably have done some of what is known as 'strolling' or 'table-hopping1 in the magic world, or would like to. And, you probably don't actually perform a whole lot of mentalism and would like to do more. Now, I know this doesn't fit all of you exactly, but I suspect it's fairly close on several points. Using good, old-fashioned cold reading techniques, I just described ME when I first started looking into this style of mentalism. I can only assume that the profile fits many of you.
But, a lot has happened since that profile fit me. I now perform full time for a living. I perform a lot of mentalism in all kinds of venues (as well as other types of performing). Part of the mentalism that I perform falls into the rather broad category of 'strolling' or 'table-hopping'. For those of you who haven't tried this type of performing, it can be a real slap in the face. The real world of performing is a lot different from the fantasy world that so many of us drift around in. The fantasy world (in close-up conditions) consists of good angles, spectators who never grab your props out of your hands, a working surface that stays dry, good lighting, no distractions (like rock bands), a quiet atmosphere where all can hear your dulcet tones, and an audience that keeps rapt attention on your omnipotence.
The real world can be something altogether different. Just take each of those previous statements and state the opposite. Multiply by about a factor of ten and you're getting close. Don't get me wrong. Not all performing venues are hell on earth. Truth be told, most are quite tolerable, even good. But, there are those few times in every performers life when he or she finds out what they are made of. Times where they find out about the wisdom of their repertoire choices and how it will affect the next few minutes of their life.
Anyone who has done more than twenty shows of any kind can relate to this dilemma. You have that one killer routine that you close your show with, but the angles are all wrong for the banquet room you have to perform in. Suddenly, you have to leave it out! The real problem is that you didn't plan for the real world of performing.
In the close-up world the problems are multiplied by other factors like reset time, portability, speed of effect, proximity to the audience and a thousand other things. But take heart. It's not as bad as it sounds.
All of these things are what this book is all about. The routines included here have been done under real world conditions and have come through like champions. These effects are what I consider to be virtually "bullet proof", and here's why.
Whenever you are considering adding a new effect to your arsenal you probably have certain considerations. Things like materials involved, sight lines, reset time, portability, visibility, cost, skill level, presentational angles, etc. The list could go on for quite some time. Whenever I am considering an effect to add to my repertoire, I always ask myself one basic question that shades my opinion on all of these other considerations. That one question is, "What are the WORST conditions I will possibly ever have to perform this effect in?"
It's a good question, because if you don't take that one factor into consideration, someday you will run into disaster. If, when I ask myself this one basic question, I can look into the future and see that the effect I am looking at will stand up to the challenge, then I can seriously consider adding that effect to my repertoire. If the method and materials involved can survive the worst possible conditions I may run into, I just may have a winner! THEN I consider reset time, visibility, portability, etc., etc., etc.
There are some other considerations when looking for strolling mentalism. We all know prediction effects where the prediction is the same every time. In a strolling arena this probably isn't a good idea. I am reminded of a story that my good friend Richard Webster tells about a psychic who would tell all of her sitters that they were so sensitive that "they could hear the grass grow." Initially, her sitters were delighted by their apparent sensitivity. But then they began to compare notes about what they had been told. You can imagine how disappointed they each were when they discovered that they had all been told the same thing. Needless to say, the psychics credibility went right down the drain. The moral for our purposes here is, make sure your prediction effects have different predictions every time. That way your audience can compare notes all they want.
Effects that rely on a force of some sort should be carefully considered. Keep in mind that the various outcomes of your effects should (in a perfect world) be different. Again I'm operating on the premise that people may talk about your performances and compare notes. If all of your individual shows' (i.e. close-up sets) turn out different, your audience will have nothing to backtrack on.
As you can imagine, not too many effects survive the test. As you and I both know, most of what is out there today consists of pipe dreams. Wading through it all really takes some time. What I appreciate here is you taking your time to wade through this material to see if it stands up to your test. I know it stands up to mine. Keep in mind that all of this prattling-on throughout this book is just my opinion. This is how I do this type of work. Ultimately you will have to work some of these things out for yourself. Hopefully this will get the ball rolling. Let's blaze on, shall we?
3ome general observations...
(Keep in mind that all of this prattling-on is just my own opinion. Please disagree if you are so inclined. This is just the way that I do this stuff!)
I will be working from the assumption that the impression you wish to give as a walk-around mentalist, is someone who can genuinely demonstrate ESP. There are many in our number who don't want to give that strong an impression. It all boils down to a matter of personal performing style. That's fine, but you may have to tone down some of the presentations you will find here. Not that most of them are particularly heavy, but they are meant to suggest real ESP to the audience. It shouldn't really present a problem. Indeed, some of the items you will find here are quite light in style. Just so you understand that I am not really going to delve too deeply into 'mental magic'. In my own work I strive to give an impression of 'genuineness' (if there is such a word!) You will, no doubt, see the differing performing styles and philosophies represented by the various contributors in this work. Hopefully you will find material here that fits your performing style. Always remember... adapt, adapt, adapt!!
A few things are immediately apparent when it comes to selecting material for a walk-around mentalist. You can always read a palm, do tic-tac-toe numerology on the back of your business card (see Richard Websters works for more details on these), read the bumps on their heads, etc. The list goes on and on for this type of performing. These are skills that every mentalist should have, and walk-around is a golden opportunity to use them. You can also do routines with a pendulum that are killer and don't require a surface, etc. They come off as genuine because they are!
But, what we are primarily going to focus on here are demonstrations of ESP that use either borrowed objects, or common items that you would normally carry. The only items that might not be considered normal would be envelopes. However, I have never had anyone question the use of them in the contexts of these routines. Again, you will see some differences between my own philosophy and some of my contributors. For the most part, though, everything else that is used is perfectly natural in appearance and usage. Hopefully, none of the material comes off as a 'trick'.
Keep in mind also that I am not trying to convert anyone here. If they already believe that this is possible, I want them to be able to attribute what they see and experience to whatever powers they may think I have. If they don't believe this is possible, I still don't want to leave any clue as to how things were done. They can walk away thinking that they didn't know how it was done, but it was pretty cool regardless. The point being, I want my material to be able to be perceived as being genuine. I make no disclaimers. I leave them to draw their own conclusions. I have found this to work best for me. Perhaps it will give you a starting point as well.
Ultimately you will have to decide for yourself what your approach is going to be. The above is what I use and recommend. Keep it light, have fun. Your audience will, too.
By the way, some of these spot illustrations scattered throughout this book have absolutely nothing to do with whatever may be the topic at hand. They just struck my fancy. For whatever that is worth! This one happens to be one of the more novel approaches to my zodiac sign that I have seen. Anyone know what the caption means (apart from the obvious?)
This effect originally appeared in Magick #474, p. 2370. It was inspired by an identical effect by Lary Keuhn that appeared in an earlier Magick. I liked Lary's effect, the 'framing of the prediction of the date of a coin. It allowed for an ideal beginning and end of a mini-set of close-up mentalism. The method, while perfectly good, wasn't really viable for walk around conditions. I set about to rework the method for those conditions. What follows is the result. It resets instantly, the prediction is different in each performance, it takes virtually no pocket space, and best of all, it leaves a business card with your spectator.
The method that Bascom Jones printed in Magick is not exactly what I use. I gave him three different handlings. I will give you exactly what he wrote up and then come back and fill in with what I really use. What Bascom wrote up works like a charm and went like this.
In an earlier issue of MAGICK, there was an effect in which the performer is able to correctly predict the date on a borrowed coin.
Mark Strivings _ felt the effect was a useful one _ for walk-around performers, but believed its application was limited since it required preparation and set-up.
"Whether you're working a private party, a trade show, or a restaurant, " he points out, "there's little or no opportunity_for resetting tricks. "
He now uses this variation, in his walk-around performances. It resets the trick automatically.
"Everyone has heard of Nostradamus, "you begin. "But, despite his accurate predictions concerning_future events, many argue whether it's possible to see beyond time's veil. "
You borrow a quarter_from the individual to whom you're talking, drop it immediately into a small, manila, pay envelope, which you tuck into the person's shirt or coat pocket.
"We'll get back to that in a moment, "you explain, as you talk about one or two of Nostradamus's predictions, or do another quick mental effect.
Then, pointing to the pocketed envelope, you have the spectator remove and open it.
It contains a prediction which reads: "An attractive young woman, when asked, will loan me a quarter. The date on the coin will be 1976. "
The spectator keeps the coin and the prediction, which proves to be true.
If you're doing walk-around mentalism, you keep the unprepared envelope, concentrate, write another prediction, and you're set to perform again.
A substitute coin is employed, and it is the date on the substitute that is written in the prediction.
In each instance, the substitute coin is the one borrowed f from the previous spectator.
With the prediction already in the envelope and the substitute coin palmed in your left hand, you approach a spectator and ask to borrow a quarter.
You take the borrowed coin in your right hand, pretend to put it in your left, but keep it in your right, showing the substitute at your left_ fingertips.
"YOUR coin," you tell the spectator, "and MY envelope."
You reach into your pocket and remove the envelope, leaving the borrowed coin.
Drop the substitute coin immediately into the envelope, and tuck the envelope into the spectator's pocket. The date and the prediction will match.
What I really liked about the presentation (which, again, came from Lary's write-up mentioned earlier) was the fact that the envelope with the coin and prediction were in the spectator's possession the entire time. You had an automatic ending to a close-up set of mentalism that was 'hands-off. It plays like a charm.
Depending on which pocket you keep the envelope in between sets, the above handling can be done verbatim and it resets automatically. The substitute coin needs to be in the same pocket as the envelope without having to redistribute the properties. I would think that the ideal pocket would be a front pants pocket. However, keeping an envelope in a front pants pocket strikes me as being a bit odd. (It could just be me...) Personally, I keep the envelope in my shirt pocket. This creates a properties problem, a bit of a logistics hassle. Digging a coin from out of a shirt pocket isn't the most graceful thing to watch a performer do up close. The coin should end up in the pants pocket.
So here's what I really do in a walk-around situation. The substitute coin is in my left front pants pocket. I have the envelope with the prediction, written on the back of my business card contained in it, in my shirt pocket. As I approach a group, I fingerpalm the coin in my left hand, leaving it at my side. I borrow a quarter and take it on my right fingertips. I then perform a shuttle pass to the left hand. Basically you turn your right hand over and hold the coin against your fingers with the thumb. Simultaneously your left hand turns palm up directly underneath the right hand, revealing the fingerpalmed coin. The illusion should be that you merely placed the coin in your left hand. In reality the coin is switched for your substitute coin.
You now reach up to the shirt pocket (which in my case is on my left side), and remove the envelope, keeping the fingerpalmed coin concealed underneath the envelope. Blow open the envelope, drop the visible coin into it and fold over the flap. The hidden coin is still underneath the envelope. Now comes the cheeky part. You will perform the move from the old purse swindle of years past. It goes like this.
Under the motivation of a gesture towards the spectators shirt or jacket pocket with your right hand, you toss the envelope and its' hidden coin from the right hand to the left, keeping the coin underneath. The choreography goes like this. The hidden coin is as directly under the coin in the envelope as possible in the right hand. You need that hand to gesture towards the spectators shirt pocket, asking permission to place the envelope there. Toss both the envelope and the hidden coin directly into the left palm. Aim for both coins to land in the middle of the palm to avoid losing the envelope (that would be bad). This frees up your right hand for the gesture towards the spectators pocket. The coin stays hidden behind the envelope and both of your hands are seen to be empty!
Retake the envelope with your right hand and place it in the spectators pocket, leaving the palmed coin behind. It is now perfectly natural to put your left hand in the front pants pocket to get the next item or just in a relaxed posture, dumping the coin in the process! It is now where it needs to be for the next performance with no in-between fiddling.
You can now go on with your performance as outlined above. When the effect has ended, reclaim your envelope letting them keep the business card with the prediction on it. Put the envelope back into your shirt pocket. All that needs to be done is to momentarily remove the coin from the left pants pocket to glimpse the date, and write a new prediction for the next performance using that date. You are completely reset for your next performance!
As you can see, it's all in the choreography of the handling of the coin(s) and the envelope. It's dead easy and very effective. You may want to experiment with your own personal set-up and find what works best for you (which pockets, etc.) In any event, try this effect out, it kills!
Terry Nosek has carved a rather unique niche in the world of psychic entertainment. As Dr. Sigmund Fraud, Terry has delighted audiences for years with his off-beat comedy and mind-boggling mysteries. He is the author of one of the most commercial books on mentalism ever written, "The Collected Works Of Sigmund Fraud". Terry does a lot of work for conventions in his home of Las Vegas. As you will see, he has a light-hearted approach to mentalism that makes it very appealing to real people. You'll like it. Thank you Terry! Here, in Terry's own words, is...
Effect - Have one of the ladies at the table you are working open her purse for a moment. You promise not to remove anything while dropping an envelope inside, then have her close the purse. Explain that you've just put your hotel room key in her purse. Turn to her and say, "Perhaps you can join me there later for a quiet drink... with a friend of mine... Tom Selleck."
Turn to the man she's with. "Sir, you're probably very interested in just where that room is. Let's give you a psychic chance to find out." You display ten colorful 1 3/8" x 2" logos of various hotels. (These are made from hotel match books, the wider style. I use the better known casino/hotels here in Vegas, such as Caesars Palace, Mirage, Tropicana, etc.) These cards are turned face down and mixed on the table. An elimination process takes place with the man, so that one randomly (?) chosen hotel card remains face down. An object on the table (like an ash tray) is placed on top of the card so no one can touch it.
Next, nine unlined index cards with the numbers one through nine are shown and using either the man or other people at the table, a 3-digit number is selected, which turns out to be 165. State, "That number sounds familiar. I believe it's my room number." Have someone turn over the selected hotel card. "And what do you know, that's where I'm staying - at the Tropicana."
Have the lady take the envelope out of her purse and open it. Inside is a key to room 165 at the Tropicana. "By the way, I was lying about Tom Selleck so I guess I'll take my key back."
Materials - If you can get one, use one of those plastic card hotel keys.
Usually the hotel name is printed on the card but the room number isn't. You will have to add "ROOM 165" with a permanent marker. Put the card in a coin envelope. Otherwise, use a regular key chain with a key and a tag with the force hotel and room number attached.
Next, obtain match books from ten different hotels and cut off the front flap. Use the larger match books, 28 matches, not the standard 20 match size.
Also cut off the small bottom part of the flap that says, "Close cover before striking." Your final cards should measure about 1 3/8" x 2". See diagram at left. The backs are covered with a contact paper so they all look the same. The one you are going to force is marked on the back. Marking depends on the design of the contact paper used.
Finally, take nine unlined 3" x 5" cards and boldly write each number from one to nine on each of the cards. Be sure to underline the six and nine so they do not accidentally get misread.
Working - The hotel force is the PATEO (Point At Two, Eliminate One) force. After the hotel cards are mixed face down on the table, locate the marked card. Because we are using an even number of cards, have the man point to any two face down cards first, and you are to eliminate one. If one of the cards he points to is the force card, eliminate the other one. Next it's you turn and you point at two, neither being the force card and he eliminates one. This continues back and forth until only two cards remain and it's your turn to eliminate, thus leaving him with the force card.
The number force is my Matrix/Magic Square Principle, first published in the Psychic Entertainers Association Mentalists Technical Bulletins #102-1A dated 4/12/79 and #102-1C dated 9/29/80, the latter erroneously credited to Bob Siepielski. Also, it should be noted that the Matrix Force has shown up in a few publications, but the Magic Square angle is usually not part of it. These authors describe having the cards stacked so that each set of three adds to 15. Three cards each are handed to three spectators, which sets the trick for the force. But they miss the power the power of the Magic Square. Here's my stack: 6,7,2,1,5,9,8,3,4, or any rotation of these numbers. If you look at the arrangement below, you will see that each row AND column adds to 15.
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