It is a bold and somewhat presumptuous step to take, when anybody sets out to write even a small booklet on Patter and Presentation. A subject of this kind demands a lifetime of experience and a keen understanding and appreciation of magic as a whole. As writer of this book, I have neither of these qualifications and I would make it quite clear in the beginning that I try to do nothing more than express my personal views on Mentalism. When necessary, 1 have taken the advice of those more qualified than myself and I am grateful for the considerable assistance of my many friends.
Since this 44 Step " expresses that which I presume to be a reasonable approach to presenting mental magic, it is naturally confined to Mentalism which I like. It may not include mental magic which is favoured by others and it may even be incomplete when consideration is given to the whole field of Mentalism—a vast subject. However, it will be wide enough and comprehensive enough to give those who want to know—a knowledge of one way to perform Mentalism. The way which I have chosen is the one which favours simplicity, straightforwardness and impact. Naturally, I have done my readers the courtesy of trying out these principles, before writing about them, so I have the satisfaction of knowing they work and I am confident that anybody else can do the same if they want to.
Now to get down to work and discuss in detail the little things that make a weak trick appear as a miracle or, alternatively, the miracle seem a flop. In this short sentence alone, we have the very essence of mentalism; it is not the trick that matters one fifth as much as the way you do it. I would go so far as to say that in the hands of a good performer, any trick, po matter how bad as an effect, could be made into something. Indeed, itUs possible to perform several things which are not even tricks—and stilf bewilder an audience by dint of first class showmanship. Nothing is more satisfying than to fool an audience, when you haven't done anything!
If we can appreciate this, we must realise of what value good presentation is to mental magic. It is in fact quite indispensible since you cannot perform good magic without it—and that means regardless of how brilliant your tricks (as tricks) may be. It is a common failing to suppose that a first class trick or effect, needs less attention concerning presentation than a weaker one. One is almost misdirected into believing that a startling effect must be good when performed. But it is not so. There are two distinct things to be done before you achieve the ideal performance; first you get the best possible effect and then you get the best possible form of presentation. To get the effect and stop there is to stop half way to perfection.
In my profession I meet magicians and mentalists all day and this gives me a fair opportunity to see how most of them work. I mean no offence when I say that in my opinion, the average person is not in the least interested in proper presentation, and good patter is likewise badly neglected. There appears to be an insatiable urge to find new tricks (which is entertaining and interesting) and there is hardly any inclination to make these new tricks worth performing properly—(which is not so interesting although far more profitable). Really there is no need whatsoever for new tricks as there are more than enough already, and as an inventor and dealer I am as guilty as anyone for propagating new monstrosities! My honest advice for what it is worth, is to spend less time searching for new effects and more time working on those you already have. It is an achievement in one life to be able to do six tricks perfectly and if you get this far, then you are entitled to play games and fiddle with novel diversions. The odd thing about magicians is that when this sort of thing is said, everybody agrees and at the same time everybody thinks it applies to somebody else. It could be you!
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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.