Ii i i i r r

We have spoken about natural behaviour as an important feature of applied misdirection. Let us see how far you can go. A classic example of the next form of misdirection, that which 1 call 44 Repetitive misdirection " is a trick which I believe should be credited to David Berglas. When I have described exactly what happens, you may doubt that it can be done. All I ask is that you try it and see for yourself.

It is safe to assume that the more times an audience see the same thing the less attention they pay each time they see it done. This is a weakness that we can use to advantage. For example, David Berglas will do several card tricks in succession and most of them start by having someone take a card, look at it and return it to the deck. After a while a minor^iniracle pops up. Spectator takes a card and replaces it anywhere in the deck and immediately shuffles the pack to his heart's content. The performer does'not touch the pack again and yet he successfully names the selected card.

The method is repetitive misdirection. For the first few tricks the spectator is told to take a card and they are fanned face down to allow him to select one. For the last trick, they are fanned face up! The whole thing is quite absurd because you see which card they take but you must add a few touches to conceal the fact. The cards are fanned face up and you ask the spectator to select any one he likes. As soon as he takes the one he wants, you casually turn your head away and quickly turn the pack over saying 41 Look at it to be sure you remember that card and then replace it anywhere in the pack (hand it to him face down) but be quite sure that 1 cannot tell where you put it—I'll look away while you do it." The audience are so concerned with hiding from you the place where the card will go—that they never think that you looked as he chose a card. To progress upon the effect even more, you could work this in conjunction with a pocket index to achieve a very strong effect. Having seen the card of his choice, give him the pack and whilst he is busy mixing them you locate a duplicate in design and value from a pocket index. (Step Four for details of Pocket Index.) Have this card palmed so that when you now take back the pack, it can be loaded on top.

This done, you ask any other spectator to call out a number. 44 Our friend here has chosen any card and mixed it with the rest, our other friend has given us any number. Wouldn't it be a strange thing if this gentleman's card was to be found at the gentleman's number?" You count to the selected number and use any of the simple sleights to make the top card appear at the chosen number. (See Step Ten on card tricks.)

It is not necessary to perform the continuation with a pocket index. It is quite enough, or strong enough to name the card selected.

To summarise the general principles we have discussed we can extract the essentials of misdirection for mentalists.

Our aim is to use misdirection as a means to achieve tricks. This can be done by drawing attention to something or taking attention away from something. For example, in Step One we discussed the many uses of the Swami gimmick. We used a pencil to suggest that the prediction was written before it was. An added touch of misdirection would be to use a white pencil —a conspicuous pencil so that psychologically it registers with the audience. On the other hand, a few Steps ago we discussed a card trick where you located one card in seven by touch. Six were marked and the chosen one was not. Attention was drawn away from the actual means of achieving the trick by usin5 a simple rather obvious method.

The use of the word obvious in the last sentence brings to mind another anomaly of misdirection. That which is obvious is not always apparent. People do not think of the obvious explanation; generally speaking they try and credit you with far more skill than you have. Another weakness. The more simple, natural and outright your misdirection—the powerful it becomes. To sum it up; never try and be clever when you can be simple because nothing fools more than sheer simplicity.


We have gone to some lengths to describe all the minor features that go into making mentalism presentable. Now we discuss, very briefly, the importance of co-ordination, or doing things in tune.

Imagine your assets of performing ability as various instruments of an orchestra. You know about patter and timing, misdirection and movement and all the other things that matter and consider each to be an instrument. What sort of overture emerges from this collection if there is no governing body? A true orchestra is ruled by a conductor, a man that co-ordinates the strings with the brass. You are the same; you are your own conductor. You have to do things to tune. The real secret of performance is the moulding of all things into one harmonious picture. Any one item on its own is not enough. Knowing the right things to say without knowing the right things to do is as bad as a half-finished symphony. Like music, everything has a time and place and more than that, it has a time and place in parallel with other things. All things mould together making one magnificent show and if not, that which lags behind or races ahead is that which goes out of tune. Conduct your performance as a man with an orchestra to care for and the result will be entertaining—and that is all that matters unless you seek to be a mentalist because it pleases your vanity.


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