As I said to you elsewhere. . .
What are the best hard hitting mental ism effects out there. I am not looking to become a mentalist but it has always been an area of interest and I'm looking to expand my repertoire. I've read quite a bit on the subject (thirteen steps, kenton kneppers stuff, luke jermay, banachek) and found a few effects I like but not many.
But I would like some recommendations from more seasoned mentalists or magicians with the same problem.
Ok. . . you asked for it. . .
First of all, stop calling yourself a “Charming Cheat” that title belonged to the late Martin Nash, one of the most amazing card-men that ever lived; unless you are phenomenal and able to live up to his standard of couth, you really are being a major insult to a legend.
The #1 All Time Single Best Routine in Mentalism is being able to be a solid Reader/Q&A. You will see this echoed in most of the major books on Mentalism. There are people that still do an hour or two long Q&A session with little to nothing else tied to their shows. . . shows that the public pays very big money to participate in.
The general public that enjoys Mentalism tolerate all the tricks but come with the hope of getting a Reading of some kind, it can be Psychometry, Aura, Billet and any number of other things including Phrenology, Numerology & Graphology but this is what they expect from any and all brainiac types (a.k.a. Mentalists/Psychic Entertainers).
#2 on the List. . . is probably Hypnosis type routines but we’re not talking about all the “shock hypnosis” that’s become so redundant these days (contrary to the delusions held by magic lovers, THE PUBLIC DOES NOT APPRECIATE THE “AMBUSH” APPROACH TO ANYTHING). Hypnosis works best when you focus on that one theme, build the audience’s desire to both, see it and be a part of it; THEN YOU HIT THEM RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES WITH IT! This is a proven formula that works and yes (if you must) it can be done on the sidewalks, in malls, etc. but give yourself an advantage and stage your bit in a way that allows no less than 10-15 minutes (preferably 20-30 minutes if you want to hear them going nuts talking about you as they leave).
#3 – Blindfold -- Whether you are a single or double act the blindfold can be exceptionally potent IF YOU ARE WILLING TO REHEARSE IT WITH AN ACTING COACH (as in “as seasoned theatrical director” that can help you not over-act when it comes to loss of sight, nor under-state such) This is the biggest draw-back when it comes to all blindfold routines, NOT the blindfold! Lazy performers that refuse to put the time into developing the material as well as those that focus too much on using an “impossible” blindfold (something that can be inspected and inspected again, etc).
NEWS FLASH the complicated blindfolds look like a magic trick. If you want to come off with a real feeling and impressive blindfold act KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID! I use a sleeping mask – after 30 some years of trying all the medical tape, bread dough, coins, etc. I’ve found that this is all that’s needed. There are several books available on “sightless vision” available through Hades Publishing including a complete routine by Stephan Minch entitled “Sightless in Gaza” that you might enjoy (it’s full of card tricks, a magician’s favorite flavor).
The blindfold works great when you are doing Muscle Reading, don’t overlook this! My primary act carried an INTUITION theme that allows me to combine Muscle Reading and some very basic blindfold work so as to create a solid 30-45 minute program. A light framework to this act “Intuitional Sight” can be found in my Psychic Technologies series
When it comes to Muscle Reading I’d suggest you start with Banachek’s book “Psychophysiological Thought Reading” and Disc 3 of his PSI Series DVD set (the whole series is quite good). You should likewise invest in the Erik Van Hanussen book “Thought Reading & Telepathy” in that it outlines a complete course in ideomotor techniques that give the student a complete show upon completion… and keep in mind, this is one of the key acts that lead to Hanussen’s rise in popularity, ultimately making him quite popular with the chief officers of the NAZI Party in the 1930s, including Hitler himself! He and Wolf Messing are two real world entertainers – MENTALISTS that worked from the old school discipline of the craft, every student of Mentalism should study simply due to the level of fame achieved by both using little more than Muscle Reading.
One Last Thing Regarding Muscle Reading. . . you will also want to learn Dowsing & Pendulum work for which Richard Webster has several books worthy of note.
#4 – A Code Act – while a challenging act to pull together Code styled (two person) acts are on the rise when it comes to commercial demand. Any couple that can cultivate a solid CLEAN code can more or less name their price these days. Understand however, this sort of work can require an easy year + of constant practice though there are a few methods that will allow you to go out next week and do a similar routine; I’ve used this latter method off and on over the years with strong success. Jack Kent Tillar has penned several books covering this very thing, a codeless two person program.
I enjoy simple hard hitting mental ism. Simple in presentation, I don't have a problem putting in the time for a difficult method if necessary.
And so we find the rub…. I want to learn TRICKS rather than do the work.
Pardon my harshness here but I love Mentalism and have since the late 1970s (even though it was not a full-time venture until the early 90s, I was a stage Illusionist (big props) originally) I have a deep loathing of the New School philosophy that it’s “All Tricks” and approaching Mentalism as one would a Magic show. If you want the optimum advantage as a performer you will stop right now and think through with all seriousness, what the real ingredient is when it comes to solid, hard hitting Mentalism. . . and I can assure you, there’s not a single trick or method that’s required.
Showmanship! Until YOU learn to be that proverbial “actor playing a part” there’s nothing out there that’s going to leave audiences totally blown away.
For example the couple of effects I do preform are stigmata PK time for andruzzi. Stuff that requires little to no props.
Andruzzi was NOT a Mentalist, he was a Bizarrist. . . there’s a huge difference! But, Bizarre Magic borrows the psychology of doing Mentalism, seeking to create a sense of realism and luring the audience deeper into a plot. STIGMATA is a Bizarre-based effect that has very questionable Mentalism ties. I know that many content that it is like the old Blister Effect and there again, we find a bit that is better viewed as a matter of Bizarre Magick. While such things can be used in certain “genre” of mentalism my suggestion would be to think things through and place them in an appropriate setting vs. random performance – Séance shows or the telling of ghost stories and ghost hunts are all appropriate in case you can’t envision such.
Method means little unless it has the appearance of being a Magic Trick. When little boxes, playing cards, etc come into the mix you not only remove believability from the situation, you hand your audience reasons to not see you as a Mentalist/Psychic. This is an art form that thrives on not being viewed as trickery, cunning, and chicanery – we invoke belief from our audience and that is how we get their support and accolades. But this too is a bit of a “rub”. . .
When done properly Mentalism doesn’t always bring about applause and shouts of bravo, but rather, silence maybe gasps, smacked lips, quiet murmuring and even a touch of panic by some. The reason centers on the fact that you have totally defied logic & reason in ways that likewise discount the idea that you are a Magician doing tricks.
Put some effort into it and you can do anything from Corinda, Annemann, Hull, Minch, etc. and have your audiences looking at you with Awe and Wonder.
I’ve given you a short list of what HISTORICALLY, reigns at the top of the heap with audiences over the past century and more. Just remember, we’re talking about programs that featured solid showmen, not a weekend warrior playing around with toys from his toy box.