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  1. #1
    Raymond Singson's Avatar :: Lead Forum Manager
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    Superhero Reading System

    I've attempted to incorporate personal readings into many of my recent performances. I'm admittedly really new to this genre of mentalism, but in my opinion-- a solid reading for a participant doesn't get any fairer or more personal when it comes to a demonstration of mind-reading. That's primarily why I'm personally so interested in it. Becoming proficient in this skill enables the performer to entertain at a moment's notice without any secret props, gimmicks, or devices. How many mentalists -- or even mental magicians -- do you know who can successfully do that? After studying/observing alleged psychics for a couple months both live and online, I've also read Ian Rowland's Full Facts of Cold Reading and Brad Henderson's The Dance in attempt to build my understanding of the craft. I learned that a good reading becomes a dialogue between the performer and the participant.

    Despite that, I also learned that it's often good to have a "system" to feed that dialogue. What I always hated about most systems is that they consisted of overly general Barnum statements and stock lines that could apply to virtually anyone; I always felt like that was too transparent of a system. I'm sure they're effective in the appropriate context, but most of the time, I just despised how lazily non-descript such systems were. The systems that produced more concrete detail or vivid imagery and information were often too difficult to commit to memory or impractical to recall during the heat of a performance.

    In attempt to bring more color and detail to the readings I performed, I started playing with an idea that produced much more success than I could have ever imagined. Best of all, it doesn't take long to memorize (chances are, most here already committed it to memory throughout their childhood), and despite that-- it lends itself to some insanely accurate "hits." This system is admittedly comprised of different stock lines that can actually change from person to person and reading to reading, making each reading inherently unique to the participant. I believe this is a significant strength over other reading systems currently published.

    To demonstrate, give me an opportunity to read you. Keep in mind, this is (unfortunately) a one-sided conversation, so I won't be able to elaborate on any specific details as I would if you were genuinely here, interacting one-on-one. If you're in your mid to late 20s, you may find that this will resonate with you more than those of other ages, but I hope everyone will find something worthwhile and personal in this reading...

    "I gather that you have a sense of humor that often gets you in trouble. Despite that, you see no point in changing at all, so you surround yourself with those who appreciate a healthy dose of sarcasm and wit. Overall, you have a good reputation for being funny and well-liked...

    It wasn't always like that though. When you were younger, you really didn't fit in in school. You were more creative than most, but most of the time, you were likely invisible to the majority of your class. You consciously avoided confrontation with the more popular kids. In fact, I'm sensing a crush of a girl you dreamed of pursuing... Marianne? Marissa? Mary? An M name of some sort. Does that mean anything to you? I'm not sure if you ever had your chance with this person, but I'm sensing some sort of returned admiration. She liked you too, but you were in different social circles at the time... are you friends with this person on Facebook now?

    You're smart. You received above average grades in school, but I imagine that you consider your greatest strengths are more experience-based. You feel like you've lived a lot more than those around you. In fact, recently-- you've been thinking a lot about what makes you different from everyone else. You consider yourself stronger emotionally and more righteous to a degree... you have a solid conscience and a good sense of intuition. You understand when something bad is going to happen before it does. In fact-- you got that trait from an uncle or other elderly figure... who likely passed away too soon. Does that make sense? But you feel like your good qualities are exaggerated... and despite that, you still feel stuck in life. You feel like you could do more to make yourself happier, but you have other obligations and responsibilities to others that you find important..."


    So hopefully, bits and pieces of this resonated with the readers here. If you felt particularly drawn to it, congratulations-- you're Spider-Man. All I've done was take the characteristics that make Spider-Man relateable and applied them to a general reading. Please acknowledge that this wouldn't be the full meat and potatoes of the reading, but simply the system that feeds the dialogue between the performer and participant in order to achieve greater, more accurate hits. It's essentially a script of ideas to further explore and elaborate.

    The interesting thing about this is that the same could be done with any superhero... or any protagonist at all. Art imitates life. Think about why certain television sitcoms remained on the air for 10+ seasons or why certain comic book heroes became iconic over the span of decades. It's because people enjoyed their stories and related to their characters. If that's the case, in theory-- there should be a piece of everyone in any literary or pop-culture protagonist to make for a successful reading. And since these characters are mainstays, their stories are easy to recall and reiterate with the conviction and consistency needed for a successful reading.

    Has this idea been explore before? Like I said, I'm relatively new to readings, and I would love to hear what others have to share.

    RS.

  2. #2
    Craig Browning's Avatar :: Elite Member
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    Interesting concept and no, I've not seen anything like it BUT. . .

    The Ian Rowland material is one more example of how magicians theorize things; add to that his encouragement to harass working Readers and you more or less come to realize that he's another cynic with an axe to grind. So why are you asking a carpenter how to wire your home? I'd think you'd want an experienced electrician. . .

    In other words, learn how to do Readings from people that actually do them for real who happen to be a part of our industry; the first key stop being Richard Webster and his plethora of materials dealing with this subject, the most important of which is PSYCHOMETRY FROM A-Z . . . I'll add the fact that Luke Jermay's TAROT ALPHABET is a great companion to go with this text.

    Other resources every aspiring Reader should be familiar with are the Ron Martin and Herb Dewey books; the various offerings from Bev Moore's Cold Reading Company (some most excellent quick learning tools) and if you can afford them, the Neal Scryer books sold through Steven's Magic.

    The Other Thing To Bare in Mind. . . there is a distinct difference when it comes to doing personal Readings vs. what we offer from the stage or as a performer. A Showman benefits from the Barnum styled approach because he/she can deliver a couple of fairly accurate one liners as they move from person to person in the room. Unless you're doing a John Edward styled program this is sufficient; even if you're doing a Psychometry type demonstration.

    Personal Readings (one-on-one sessions) are a completely different bird and sadly, the writers within the magic world are sorely amiss at pointing out the differences between the two. Like most skeptics they blend the two into being one in the same thing when the style, delivery and approach are totally different, which is where material like the Neal Scryer, Ron Martin and Richard Webster Books (as well as Henderson's THE DANCE) all come into play.


    I like the concept you're playing with and would encourage you to massage it around and SLOWLY develop it -- refining it over the next few years as you learn more about this technique.
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  3. #3
    ChristopherThisse's Avatar :: Moderator
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    I like this. While there aren't really any superheroes I know well enough to use as a basis - there are definitely characters that I do know well enough that would serve the purpose. Personally, though, I use a different system which is somewhat similar, based on names.

    I personally think that a good reading is composed of three elements. Deduction, intuition, and stock lines. First, you look at someone and make focused deductions about them from what you perceive. From this, you use stock lines which are tweaked to suit the sitter. Personally I use a very modular approach to this so I can sort of probe how the lines are working, then move from there. Lastly - listen to your intuition while doing the reading. Sometimes you won't know why, but you'll just know something about someone. I theorize this is actually just the same deductive reasoning going on, but on an unconscious level.

    So I do like how you're providing the content. Having that basis means you'll always have something to say - and as long as you have more to say, you have more chances to deliver a powerful reading.
    http://www.ellusionist.com/boffo-pdf-by-christopher-thisse.html

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  4. #4
    Raymond Singson's Avatar :: Lead Forum Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristopherThisse View Post
    I like this. While there aren't really any superheroes I know well enough to use as a basis - there are definitely characters that I do know well enough that would serve the purpose.

    And that's the beauty about this particular system. I believe that many characters-- particularly the ones that resonate with the public the most-- all have characteristics, relationships, and conflicts that people can actively relate to. Characters in television, literature, cinema, and the stage all appeal to the general public at some level for different reasons, opening us up for a variety of different potential "hits".

    You had mentioned stock lines as well. While I agree with that sentiment, I feel like this system practically eradicates them from a reading. ...Or perhaps more accurately, it enables the reader to produce more unique, specific stock lines (if that makes any sense) to feed the reading. As readers, we're basically exploiting what makes a good character relatable and applying it to our participants.

    Craig, you and I keep missing one another on Skype. I'd love to session sometime and pick your brain about readings. It's something I'm finding myself more intrigued by and would love to pursue it the proper way. I'll get in touch with you shortly.

    RS.

  5. #5
    ChristopherThisse's Avatar :: Moderator
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    When I say stock lines I mean the lines that one ends up using frequently - Not necessarily the stock lines that have been in the books and such. As an example, if my reading system indicates something about love, I tend to say something like, "I get the impression you're someone who likes to have love around themselves. I mean, everyone wants love in their life, obviously, but you really make a point of surrounding yourself with love and affection, people who make a point of showing those emotions for you ... " That sort of thing. I won't say this word-for-word, I'll read the sitter as I'm talking and tweak the delivery to suit them.

    Taking a note from Luke Jermay - Doing a good reading means being able to deliver content. More specifically, it's being able to deliver content in an engaging manner, but you have to have the content before it can be delivered. So for me, the systems I use are like the Contents of a book, the stock lines are the Outline of the reading, and then each person helps me flesh it out into a coherent Story.

    I wouldn't call myself an expert reader by any means, but I've left a lot of people saying that I've disturbed them with how "right" I was. Although I personally take more pride in the number of times two friends sit down for readings, and after the first reading the second is too freaked out by the accuracy to sit for a reading herself (It's always girls).
    http://www.ellusionist.com/boffo-pdf-by-christopher-thisse.html

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  6. #6
    Steerpike's Avatar :: Moderator
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    Interesting concept. I'll definitely have to experiment with this a bit.

    Due to a side project I'm working on, my mind has been really focused on character writing and development lately. I'll play around with this a little and come back to you with any questions I dream up.
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