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Sir Leodini, my apologies. As I was going through your blog, I saw your post on people asking you about mentalism. I shouldn’t have asked you in the first place. I have researched the proper path toward learning mental magic at the Magic Cafe forums. Yes, a number of forum members recommend practicing magic first before going to mentalism.
I have also seen a lot of posts regarding the Amateur Magician’s Handbook and have ordered one already. Still, after finishing the book and practicing its contents, I have to ask: what mentalism books or resources would you recommend?
My apologies if you will be annoyed by my question.
I’m not annoyed by your question. In fact I welcome all questions from my readers. My self-imposed mission is to try to help them find answers to whatever it is that confounds them.
I’m an entertainer. I use magic and mentalism as entertainment. That is why I hate it when somebody misapplies magic or mentalism for purposes other than entertainment, say, to defraud people of their money or to take advantage of their gullibility or to prey on them when they are emotionally vulnerable.
I have no trouble when a magician or mentalist postures as the real deal in his marketing and publicity campaign. I subscribe to Robert Houdin‘s famous quote, “A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician.”
If someone plays the role of a mind reader, psychic, or oracle, then let him play that role to the best of his acting ability. He can publicize on his website, and in his marketing collaterals, that he can read mind, predict the future, and talk to the dead. That would be all right with me.
What he is doing is marketing or public relations. It is also a form of escapism and thus, entertainment. As long as he lives up to his billing, does all the stuff he claims he can do, demonstrates the abilities he says he has, and performs all of them ON STAGE, in front of a camera, or before a live audience, then I don’t have a problem with that.
However, when the spotlights are turned off, and the video cameras aren’t running anymore, and the audience is gone, he must snap out of the character he is playing. If he continues claiming and proclaiming that he is powerful, that he can tell somebody’s inner secrets long after the show has finished, then that unavoidably ruffles my feathers.
What he is doing is not entertainment anymore. He is using magic and mentalism—mediums of entertainment—to scam his clients and may be the public.
In that case, he ceases to be an entertainer and becomes a swindler. He is no longer an actor playing a role and performing illusions to make the crowd happy, but a flim-flam man misleading the public, or worse a charlatan victimizing a trusting client.
If after the show he goes to the client’s house to give her consultation, pretends to read her mind when in fact he is tearing centers, heals her ailment with body electricity when in fact he generates the electrical current from a battery-operated gadget hidden in his clothing, bends utensils with the power of his mind when in fact he just has a strong thumb, and talks to the dead when in fact he is spewing words from a prepared script, then he has a big problem.
And I have a big problem with his big problem…
He is not an entertainer anymore but a con artist who preys on the gullible, the naive, and the emotionally vulnerable.
All this is not you, I’m sure, so don’t be distressed. I have no issues against you or anybody who are merely seeking information.
I’m glad to know you bought my favorite book The Amateur Magician’s Handbook. It has a good chapter on mentalism, based mainly on Annemann’s writings.
The book is a good place to start. You may then decide to proceed to Corinda’s 13 Steps to Mentalism the DVD. It’s a six-volume DVD by Richard Osterlind that teaches the mentalism pieces originally found in the book, with some variations from Osterlind to update some of the materials.
Some of the best teachers of mentalism are Richard Osterlind, Bob Cassidy, Banachek and Max Maven. I have already hyperlinked their names (talk about spoon-feeding; I’m in the mood today), so all you need to do is click them and you will be brought to their sites.
Look around their sites and see what they offer. They have more than enough material to keep you busy for many years to come.