I'm extremely curious about something (mentalism related)

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by CushtyFrames, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. Hi guys!

    I'm brand new here - I've been reading for ages, just waiting for a reason to post! I apologise in advance for the lengthy post.

    I've been learning card magic for about 9-10 months now. I've built up a fair amount of base knowledge and can do quite a few tricks convincingly and comfortably.

    HOWEVER! What I've been dying to begin studying, is the art of Mentalism. I have been looking around for ages for the best place to start and am aware of 13 Steps, Practical Mental Magic etc, but the main subject I want to delve into is how to gather information, such as what Derren Brown used to do on the old morning shows where he gets someone to think of anything at all and he just plucks the thought out of their head.

    Derren's website recommends learning the FACS and body language reading techniques. I have purchased and read a couple of Dr Ekman's books on facial expressions and, admittedly, only "What Every Body Is Saying" by Joe Navarro regarding body language. Nothing in the books I have read, however, actually sheds any light on gathering information (other than emotional response), and this is my main motivation for learning Mentalism.

    While I would be very grateful for any references anyone may have for the above, my main question is this (and may be laughable, but alas): Is the abovementioned type of revelation actually possible as an impromptu "reading", or is there pre-show work and other trickery involved that I'm unaware of?

    Sorry if I haven't made my very question very clear, I would be happy to clarify further if anyone is interested in helping me out :)

    Thanks very much!

  2. Jacko,

    I would be happy to discuss your topic via private email. If you would like to talk, you can find my contact info on my website... BillGladwellLIVE.com
  3. Hi Bill,

    Thanks so much! I've sent you an email :)
  4. There's a very important thing you need to know when it comes to Derren Brown - He lies.

    If he's giving you an explanation as to how he's doing what he does, it's probably a lie. I mean, he does it beautifully and is, in my opinion, one of the finest magic performers in the world. He's a huge inspiration to me.

    But he lies. Through his teeth. Constantly. He's amazing at it.

    I'll tell you right now - you're going to be disappointed when you learn how he does what he does. I absolutely am sure of that.

    That being said - start with Bob Cassidy's Fundamentals. That's the basis. Then study Practical Mental Effects, and Self Working Mental Miracles, and Switchcraft. Then study 13 Steps.

    Once you've studied all of that (should take you a few years) you will be ready to approach mentalism properly.
    Josh Mickelson and RealityOne like this.
  5. Hi Christopher,

    Thank you so much for that! I had my suspicions that something more "magical" was going on than meets the eye.

    I will literally purchase the books you refer to in the order you have listed them. Started reading Fundamentals this morning before work and I'm already intrigued :)

    I won't ask you to provide me with a reference (although if you did it would be greatly appreciated!), but going back to the "reading" I was talking about; Is this just one effect that can be achieved through a simple method(s), or is this actually something that is very difficult to do consistently?

    I ask because, while this isn't the only thing I want to learn, it was the main hook for me in the first place and it would be helpful for me to know that I'm aiming towards being able to do it.

    Thanks again for your help, and sorry if I'm being a pest :)

  6. Exactly. The method is much more disappointing than the effect. The FACS / muscle reading / NLP stuff is really just additional layers that can enhance the presentation.

    It it sort of like controlling a card to the top of the deck. There are a number of methods to accomplish this, the hardest of which is having the card actually disintegrate and then rematerialize on the top of the deck.

    Think of it this way, before I go on the air I ask you to pick a card and remember it. I tell you that during the show, I'm going to ask you to think of that card. On air, I spread the deck on a table and tell you "I want you to look at the cards and then think of a card. Try not to look at your card in the deck because I'm watching where you look. Don't look no matter what I do. I think it isn't in this half of the deck, so I'm going to take it away. I can tell I'm right because of your reaction and because you looked at the other half of the deck to see if your card was there...." Get the idea?

    That said, there is the art of Cold Reading - which is more telling someone something about themselves rather than something they are thinking about. There is a great free book by Craig Browning on Lybrary.com that provides resources for that.

    Finally, at the end of you list, add Banachek's Psychological Subtleties - it provides the subtleties and enhancements to make simple tricks seem like a whole lot more.

    The real answer to you question is that you will have to read a bunch of books to understand the fundamentals and nuances of mentalism to be able to pull off what you have seen. Just like card magic, it is methods and presentation. There is no science to it and it isn't a skill of actually reading people's minds. It is an illusion. That said, the FACS / NLP / muscle reading stuff can provide a way to enhance the presentation of the trick, but it is still a trick.
    Josh Mickelson and vincent777 like this.
  7. RealityOne,

    My sincerest thanks again for a much more informative reply than I could have hoped for. I will definitely check out the references you've provided.

    Regardless of the method (and how disappointing to me it inevitably will be), I'm still very interested to learn. At the moment I'm still at an absolute loss as to how the effect is achieved, but I look forward to finding out :)

    Thanks again everyone for your input, I really didn't expect as much help as I've had :)

  8. Get the Gift: the 14th step to mentalism by Paul brook. It will help you achieve the type of mentalism you want.
  9. The thing about mentalism is this: Mentalism isn't so much about doing tricks and routines, it's about employing systems.

    So, the thing you describe in the first post - I can think of ... half a dozen ways to give that exact experience, and I haven't even finished my coffee yet. That's ranging from absolute sure fire methods to basically targeted guessing.

    You can do some really interesting things with proper cold reading (which does not involve Barnum Statements, despite what many magicians try to say) and FACS and that kind of stuff. But the thing is, those methods just give you a little bit of information, the true skill comes in learning to take that information and turn it into an interesting experience for people to have or watch. That takes years of work.
    RealityOne likes this.
  10. I'd never thought of mentalism this way, but now I've heard it I can see the truth in it

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