South Africa

In 1949 a cousin of his father's came over from South Africa and painted a rosy picture of life in Cape Town. The combination of sunshine and plentiful supplies of fresh fruit and food contrasted sharply with England's grey skies and post-war rationing. David had managed to save £90 and used it to buy passage in a windowless cabin deep in the hold of a ship called the Athlone Castle. On March 17, 1949 he left for South Africa.

It took two weeks to make the journey and most of it was spent making the acquaintance of the other passengers. A few tricks made him a man to know. Entertainment was eagerly-sought as a way of fending off boredom and so it was with great disappointment that while crossing the Equator the film projector broke down. The enterprising cruise director put out a call for talented passengers in the hope of putting on some kind of cabaret to replace the film show and David was asked whether he had enough tricks Lip his sleeve to put on an entertainment. As he had only a few small props with him he offered to give a lecture on hypnosis instead. It was something he had studied during his course at the Tavistock Clinic. However, although he had given demonstrations of hypnosis to small groups he had never worked it before a large audience and was unsure as to how well it would be received. In fact it was a great success. The intended twenty-minute lecture/demonstration turned into a three-

David's first demonstration of hypnosis in Cape Town.

hour entertainment at the end of which lie hud queues of people asking about all sorts of personal worries such as phobias, particularly health and sex problems, and whether he could cure them. It seemed as if a ship full of perfectly normal passengers had suddenly become a ship full of physical and psychological invalids. Everyone wanted advice.

David was amazed at the response. The passengers were very serious about wanting his help as a hypnotist. lie consulted the ship's doctor who agreed that the passengers had nothing to lose by trying hypnotic therapy. The purser arranged for David to use a spare cabin as a clinic. It was a far more luxurious space than the one he had paid for. It wasn't long before he was in business, charging two or three guineas a session.

One particular cure was so spectacular that news of it was v\ ired ahead to Cape Town and when he arrived in South Africa on March 31, 1949, he was greeted by his first press conference. Not wanting to cash in on his success as a hypnotist he told them about his interest in magic. But the story, which appeared under the headline 'Magic is his Hobby', did not persuade David to take up magic as a profession. Instead he went to work for a relative as a car salesman. I nfortunatelv he did no better at that than he did with textiles. A succession of short-lived jobs followed, including car mechanic, beach lifeguard and musician. None of them proved satisfactory and lie bemoaned his fate to his friends. I laving given out advice, David was now the one seeking it. One of them pointed out that he had been foolish. He should have capitalised on the newspaper stories, given a demonstration of hypnosis in Cape Town and charged admission.

He thought it might be a good idea and so hired a small hall as his first public venue.

Buc publicising the event was more difficult than he imagined. One of the local papers, the Cape Argus, wouldn't accept advertising for a hy pnotic show because the editor thought it all a fake. David went down to the newspaper offices and offered to give a personal demonstration. The editor proved to be an excellent subject and whilst in a hypnotic state David made him sign over the ownership of the newspaper. I le was then asked to open his own safe and place the document inside. When the staff had finished laughing, David woke the editor up.

David thanked him for his courtesy and then asked him to leave the building. The editor wondered w hy he was being ordered out of his own offices. David told him that he was the new owner and that if he didn't believe him he should open the safe and take out the document of assignment. He did and was absolutely amazed. I le had no memory of the entire event. Publicity for David was guaranteed although when the story was printed it w as related as if it had happened to a colleague. The editor was too embarrassed to admit to it but he did allow David to place his adverts in the newspaper.

The hypnotic demonstration was very successful and led to many others. He was consulted by a number of Cape Town's medical profession and eventually went into business with an experienced psychotherapist as his partner. David specialised in treatments using hypnosis. He hadn't entirely forgotten magic and sometimes performed close up effects at parties such as vanishing a lit cigarette in a puff of smoke, the Devano rising cards and colour changing penknives.

The therapy business was tougher than he had anticipated. Mis daily schedule was hectic as he travelled back and forth between hospitals where he acted as consultant and his own practice. In addition to the long working hours he continued to give public demonstrations of hypnosis. It was a satisfying but exhausting and emotionally draining period and in 1950 David decided to re-evaluate his situation. It was time for a change. With a collection of scrapbooks full of cuttings, some new clothes and the desire to do something else, he returned to England.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment