The Mind of David Berglas

Against the fantasy background of a fairy-tale castle, David Berglas will be inviting distinguished guests and viewers alike into his sumptuously furnished library, equipped with electronic wizardry, sliding panels, hidden compartments, video screens and laser disc players, for a unique demonstration of the power and potential of the human mind.

—Tyne Tees Press Release for The Mind of David Berglas television series 6 x 45 minutes and 1 x 60 minutes Christmas Special

Christmas Day 1985 saw the broadcast of a new television show, The Mind of David Berglas. The format for the show was based around a sophisticated set, ostensibly David's inner sanctum, an elegant interior featuring a minstrel gallery, a lounge area with comfortable sofas and a dining area. Bookshelves lined the walls. A large video screen was hidden behind a sliding panel and connected to a laser disc player, the latest in technological gadgetry at that time. Decorations on the set included personal items from David's real home, ornaments, posters and family photographs. It also featured what were known as Light Sculptures, large inverted glass bowls filled with a variety of rare gasses within which burned streaks of coloured lightning. If you touched the bowl the static electrical charge within followed your hand and created some startling patterns.

Light sculptures were a recent novelty created by a young American called Bill Parker. They were hugely expensive and David had the exclusive rights to represent them within the UK. He used them at trade shows and exhibitions to attract traffic to a stand. He discovered that a fluorescent tube, held in the hand, would light up if the other hand touched the light sculpture. The lit tube can be seen from quite a distance and people would come up to find out what it was. "What do you call it?" asked the curious visitors. "I call this an attention getter. Now that I've got your attention, may I introduce you to our product," replied David, referring to whatever he was promoting at the time. At one exhibition he brought the aisles to a halt with an amazing electrical experiment. Eighteen schoolgirls held hands and formed a human chain. When the first girl touched the light sculpture the electricity passed along the

David with one of the light sculptures.

line, finally lighting up a neon tube held by the last girl.

One routine he always intended to do was to have the entire theatre audience hold hands in a human chain, which snaked from the front to the back of the theatre and then down to the front again. David would be on stage holding a neon tube and extend it to someone in the front row. When a spectator standing in front of the stage, on the other side of the theatre, touched the light sculpture the tube would miraculously light up. When he took his hand off the sculpture the light would go out. This on-off game could be played for some time and other bits of business introduced to keep the routine "light-hearted." The method would depend on a hidden Tesla coil or similar apparatus rather than genuine static electrical conductivity. On the television show, The Mind of David Berglas, the light sculptures not only acted as illuminated ornamentation but also provided the inspiration for the last item on every show. More about that later.

The elaborate studio set proved that the director Royston Mayoh was making a great effort to deliver a show that David could be proud of. It later won a television industry design award. Within these surroundings celebrity guests would arrive, elegantly dressed as if for a dinner party, to be baffled by David. They included Graham Chapman, Peter Cook, Omar Sharif, Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt and many others who were known not only in Britain but also internationally. They would participate in tricks, stunts and experiments and take part in discussions about magic, the mind and the paranormal. The discussions would often lead to

With Ian Carmichael, showing an optical illusion.

David saying something to the effect: "Actually I performed something like that once, would you like to see it?" He picked up a remote control, pointed it at the bookcase and a panel slid open to reveal a large TV screen. A library of his performances were stored on laser disks and the guests were able to watch them on the screen.

This was merely a television conceit. The demonstrations had actually been recorded separately, in front of a large audience in the same studio but with the library set hidden behind Venetian blind screens. During those recordings David performed many of his famous routines: Newspaper Prediction, Matchmaker, Suggestibility, Magic Square, ESPacology, Pulse Demonstration, Chair Routine and Table Levitation. For me and many other magicians it was the first time we had seen this material and a welcome chance to be baffled.

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.

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