Broke Wannabe With Bum Hands

Oct 10, 2020
1
2
Hello! Brand new to the magic scene-- long time fan, just now at 32 deciding I want to learn about as many of my interests as possible. I grew up fascinated by wizards and the true potential of the human mind. Everything dealing with magic transfixed me, whether it was "real" or "illusory" (I use quotes because, what is real?)

So, here's the catch(es): I have a genetic disorder called Marfan Syndrome. To spare you a little research time, it means my connective tissue is weak (eyes, cartilidge, even affecting my reflexes). I am BLOWN AWAY by escapists, coin and card tricksters, all of it, but realistically, I will never be even half as good as your average hobby magician in this regard. I am absolutely able and willing to put in the time and effort to understand and perform to the best of my ability.

Second catch is that, like many in these times, income is an issue. As an academic at heart, I really try to shy away from Wikipedia and YouTube, so... here I am!

I have a particular interest in understanding and approaching mentalism; I can give three reasons why (I don't promise they're good reasons, mind you):
1) From a very young age, I was always very good at lying, covering my lies, and reading other people. (One might also argue these are what make a sociopath. Fair enough.)
2) I cannot stress this enough: I LOVE TO LEARN. Life, magic, all the new experiences that are happening in this exact moment... I still maintain a childlike wonder for the world that I never want to lose. Understanding magic wouldn't dampen this for me; it would actively excite and inspire me.
3) I consider myself an intellectual, an optimist, and a perfectionist. As I said, I can and will put in the time and effort, I would just like someone to take pity on a newbie and help me with the ropes. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,597
3,891
New Jersey
Start with:

Fulves's Self Working Mental Magic ($9 Paperback)
Annemann's Practical Mental Magic ($13 Paperback)
Bob Cassidy's Fundamentals ($29 E-Book HERE)

Then go to:

Max Maven's Prism ($60 Hardcover)
Corinda's 13 Steps To Mentalism ($35 Hardcover)
Banachek's Psychological Subtleties Volumes 1 to 3 ($45 to $65 Hardcover)
 
Aug 4, 2020
66
135
47
Bayville, NJ
I to am getting back into magic at the ripe old age of 46. Mentalism is great and so is card magic. I know money is an issue. There are many sites where you can find Annemans Practical mental magic in PDF format. If you look hard enough you can find 13 Steps to Mentalism PDF also. I personally don’t like PDFs but they are free. But best of luck to you. And practice practice practice.
 
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obrienmagic

Elite Member
Nov 4, 2014
1,440
1,410
Orange County, Ca
www.obrienmagic.com
Start with:

Fulves's Self Working Mental Magic ($9 Paperback)
Annemann's Practical Mental Magic ($13 Paperback)
Bob Cassidy's Fundamentals ($29 E-Book HERE)

Then go to:

Max Maven's Prism ($60 Hardcover)
Corinda's 13 Steps To Mentalism ($35 Hardcover)
Banachek's Psychological Subtleties Volumes 1 to 3 ($45 to $65 Hardcover)

I 100% agree! I friend of mine suffers from severe tremors and is constantly shaking. He focuses heavily on self working magic or using gimmicks. You may also dive into some mentalism and mental magic ideas as well because these are more about the presentation than the stricTsk right of hand technique that some magic may require.

of course having said this, I recommend you still give SOH magic a try if anything else to have something fun to practice while you are alone or until you feel comfortable performing it for people!
 
Nov 3, 2018
537
415
Hello! Brand new to the magic scene-- long time fan, just now at 32 deciding I want to learn about as many of my interests as possible. I grew up fascinated by wizards and the true potential of the human mind. Everything dealing with magic transfixed me, whether it was "real" or "illusory" (I use quotes because, what is real?)

So, here's the catch(es): I have a genetic disorder called Marfan Syndrome. To spare you a little research time, it means my connective tissue is weak (eyes, cartilidge, even affecting my reflexes). I am BLOWN AWAY by escapists, coin and card tricksters, all of it, but realistically, I will never be even half as good as your average hobby magician in this regard. I am absolutely able and willing to put in the time and effort to understand and perform to the best of my ability.

Second catch is that, like many in these times, income is an issue. As an academic at heart, I really try to shy away from Wikipedia and YouTube, so... here I am!

I have a particular interest in understanding and approaching mentalism; I can give three reasons why (I don't promise they're good reasons, mind you):
1) From a very young age, I was always very good at lying, covering my lies, and reading other people. (One might also argue these are what make a sociopath. Fair enough.)
2) I cannot stress this enough: I LOVE TO LEARN. Life, magic, all the new experiences that are happening in this exact moment... I still maintain a childlike wonder for the world that I never want to lose. Understanding magic wouldn't dampen this for me; it would actively excite and inspire me.
3) I consider myself an intellectual, an optimist, and a perfectionist. As I said, I can and will put in the time and effort, I would just like someone to take pity on a newbie and help me with the ropes. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
Hi, good to have you here!
To add to the books above, I'd highly recommend you get some books on magic theory. As you stressed your interest in understanding magic, this will provide some fascinating insights for you and help your magic overall. A good way to start would be Vanishing Inc.'s ebook "Magic In Mind", a collection of essays by some of the world's greatest magicians. If you sign up at their website, you can download the book for free.

Concerning lack of money, I'd like to recount a story I saw someone tell here at the Forum (if memory serves, it was @WitchDocIsIn; please correct me if I go wrong anywhere): Daniel Garcia is a highly prolific modern magician and magic inventor who is known in part for working with David Blaine on a number of projects. He grew up in a very poor family, so his access to magic was limited to getting one new volume of [insert magic book/magazine, the title of which has escaped me] for christmas each year. To grow in magic, Daniel was forced to rely on his own ingenuity and getting everything out of what little resources he had. As he didn't have the abundance of magical influence we have these days, he made the most of what he did have, and I believe that's something we can all learn from -- see also Darwin Ortiz's essay on "Next Book Syndrome" in Magic In Mind.

Finally, the magic community will be a great help to you. Be active on the Forum, ask questions, listen to the answers. There are some truly knowledgable and kind people on this forum who are always ready to help you out (RealityOne and WitchDocIsIn in particular are two people I sincerely wish I'd started listening to earlier).

Good luck on your journey!
 
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WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,770
2,879
That was me, yeah, and it was the Tarbell Course in Magic.

I hadn't responded to this thread yet because honestly, I've answered this sort of question so many times and have almost never had anyone actually follow the advice.

It is definitely important to understand the theory behind magic, theater, and performance in general. For example, understanding the theory will help you understand that Magic and Mentalism are distinctly separate (though related) theatrical arts which require distinctly different approaches to be successful.

Mentalism is often considered 'easier' because generally speaking there's little to no difficulty in the physical methods employed. However, it is far more difficult in regards to the need for theatrical skill. There's very little in the way of flashy visuals to hide behind. Most of mentalism is putting a different presentation on some combination of basically the same 4 or 5 skills.

So if you want to focus on mentalism I would actually recommend a slightly different approach than others.

Practical Mental Magic or Self Working Mental Miracles are good places to get something simple to perform while you learn the real skills, but they are ultimately magic not mentalism.

Fundamentals is a very good resource. As is The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy Vol 1 if you can find it (it's out of print). Bob Cassidy really understood what made mentalism work - the believability and conviction of the performer. Also his writing is very casual and enjoyable to read.

From there I would recommend focusing on theatrical skills:
Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe. Both volumes if possible but Vol 1 is enough if you can't afford them both.
Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber. There's a 2.0 so if you find the old version it may be cheaper, but it's still a very good purchase.
The Alchemical Tools by Paul Brook. Technically not purely mentalism, but his approach to performing is very good and smart.
Psychological Subtleties series by Banachek.

And lastly - figure out what your claim is going to be, and learn about it. You need to be able to hold your own in a conversation with an expert on the subject if you want to be suitably convincing. If you come across as fake, your audience will not be experiencing mentalism - it will be magic.

And before anyone comes at me - I'm not saying mentalism is better than magic. They are just different, and have different goals.
 
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