Introduction

To the Mentalist, Memory Systems are indispensable; they are part of his equipment and the means whereby he can be called upon to perform at any time—and give an impressive demonstration. They are the best type of equipment you can have as there is nothing to carry and no apparatus to prepare. The skill lies in the training of the mind, in conditioning the mind to operate to maximum advantage, and once trained, that skill remains with you for life, ever ready to be applied.

Before we concern ourselves with individual systems, we should understand at least to some extent, the whole art of Mnemonics. To get a general picture we may consider the mind and look upon it for the moment as a machine. The history of mankind has shown that there are great thinkers and there are imbeciles, it has not shown whether the difference between the two is brought about by two types each in possession of vastly different minds—or two types, having the same mind—but one applies his to thinking whilst the other does not. If the mind happened to be a machine, a vastly intricate machine, perhaps something like an Electronic Brain, it woiHd be rational to suppose that the output of the machine would be governed by how it was operated and, of course, its ultimate potential. We need not involve ourselves with the ultimate potential of the human mind as it is far beyond our requirements and we are in no position to estimate such a factor. We do however concern ourselves with how to use the mind—and the reason is that we shall use our machine more than does the average person.

This does not mean that we can add to the mind anything more than is there already. Practically everybody has the ability to apply memory systems and it amounts to a very simple thing; getting to know new methods of using your natural ability. Fortunately, not everybody knows about mnemonics and since they exist in the mind only it is difficult to tell when they are being used, which of course makes it a good thing for the mentalist. Your protection against discovery is to make every effort to keep the science a secret. It is tempting at times to tell your audience that you have not used trickery as they suppose—but used a memory system which you have developed in the mind. Let me put it this way. You will have seen the well known effect called the "Giant Memory" where some twenty or thirty objects called out by the audience have been memorised by the performer. This is a wonderful thing, it is very impressive, it appears incredible—but if every member of your audience knew that given a week's practice they could do the same— how good would be the effect? Don't try and fool yourself that the ability to do the "Giant Memory" is an outstanding achievement. It is not. Any person of average intelligence could do it with twenty words after a few hours study. The only thing that you have got that they have not—is the knowledge of how to do it—and if you keep that a secret the effect remains as it is—a masterpiece.

The word "mnemonics" is derived from a Greek word meaning "to recollect". If you have read "The Republic of Plato" you will know that the science of mnemonics was well known to the Greeks, and if you care to search further you will find that mnemonic principles have been used for as long as man has been civilised. There have been many claims by magicians and mentalists to the invention of mnemonics; some of the claimants have been world-famous performers—and none of them have a right to their claims. A large number of the systems developed by the magical fraternity have drawn their material in one way or another from the work done by Gregor von Feinaigle of Baden, who specialised in the science and lectured throughout Europe around 1807.

Some more sincere magicians have certainly developed and improved the old systems—and deserve credit for their improvements. As, for example, A1 Baker who published in "Magical Ways and Means" a mnemonic system which happens to be a modern application of the Feinaigle System published in 1812. An effect in A1 Baker's book called "The Polish Psychic" is a creditable"* example of the application of mnemonics for two-person telepathy. This effect shows how you may use the system for other purposes than straightforward memory feats—it is in fact used as a code system.

Another example is the Nikola Card System. Here we have a basic mnemonic principle being applied in an original fashion, and there are many more examples that could be given. It is the work of these sincere magicians that makes it possible for me to give you in "Step Three" a selection of mnemonic principles and mental systems that will serve you well as a performing mentalist.

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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