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 WHO ARE WE FOOLING?

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Christopher J Gould
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PostSubject: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:43 pm

Who are we fooling?

As magicians, mentalists, mystery performers or psychics; we are fooling our audiences - or are we?

If I say; 'think of a card' then I reveal that I know what the card was, due to 'magic' - I am being deceitful.
If I say; 'think of a card' than I reveal that it was a trick - what I do is reduced to a puzzle. The audience become annoyed that they cannot solve the puzzle, and annoyed at my attempt to make them look stupid.

If I say - I can use this or that system to revel something about you (you inner self), your possible future, or you destiny. Then I get out a set of marked cards. I am being deceitful.
If I say, I will reveal something about your inner self - but I am going to use a card trick to do it - it would be a very short reading!

So:

Is it deceitful to 'lie' to our audience, or does the end justify the means?
Is there a difference between deceit in magical performance, and deceit in psychic work?
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Andy Stephenson
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:51 pm

I have been thinking a lot about this lately.

I think we need to give the audience more credit than alot of us do. Lets look at it this way; when people go to a show or performance of any kind they are investing an interest in it. They will want to enjoy it and they will most of the time be happy to "play along".
By simply playing the part of the spectator, they are creating a reality - even if it is only for 40 minutes.
This means they are doing there part..

I think Jim steinmeyer sums it up wonderfully in his book Hiding the Elephant when talking about John Maskelynes failed show "The coming Race".

10 days before Maskelyne's show opened, J M Barries peter pan opened in a rival music hall.

"Peter pan was exactly the collection of crude, obvious effects that maskelyne thought he could improve upon.
The levatation in "The coming race" was far more superior than Peter Pans, but maskelyne had made a mistake by confusing special effects with illusion, and deception with magic.
Audiences were willing to ignore the wire that held up Peter Pan , because of the inherent magic of the story. "

Thats were I feel a lot of magicians let themselves down. They focus on the special effects rather than illusion.

So, yes.. in my eyes a lie is justified in performance to create the illusion that is needed.

It's a powerful tool.

Andy

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The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.

Philip K Dick
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Christopher J Gould
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:08 pm

Real good to see you here Andy.
I agree, I have no problem in claiming that what I do is genuine - mainly, because as you point out, this is what the audience wants - not to feel deceived, but to have an experience that is beyond their normal day-to-day lives. Secretly, we all crave this. I remember the excitement of the first David Blaine special (pity he turned out to be such a tit!) - 'my god! this man is going to levitate!'. The tension built up, and eventually, yes! He did ACTUALLY levitate - my whole view of existence had to now change. Then of course, I found out how the whole thing was done - I was devastated; a little bit of magic, granted to me a an adult, was cruelly taken away.
You mean there's no Santa?
No Robin Hood?
No Jesus? (Jesus!)
The Sun isn't a big fiery lion that roars through the sky?
The Moon isn't really a Fairy?
You mean spacemen didn't land on earth and breed with ancient man?
You mean the Egyptians weren't from Mars?
You mean Obama is just the same as all the others?
How many pieces of poetry can be taken from our lives - Let's go and see a magician/mind reader/hypnotist/psychic?

'Ladies, Gentlemen (and suckers), everything you see tonight is just trickery - enjoy the show!'
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:02 pm

I have mentioned before that I am a psychic that SOMETIMES uses magic techniques in my work. I only do it to help my clients, not to show them how amazing I am. My work is surrounded by positive, healing light, and I don't allow any kind of darkness to influence my readings or communications.

I don't feel I am fooling anyone. Ever. I make an honest living and am proud of my accomplishments as a psychic in the way I have helped many people over the years.



Julia
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ALEXANDRE
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:12 pm

This discussion brings up a thought:

How many here use disclaimers in their performances?

I don't. I feel that in a most countries where people have access to the internet, teachers, libraries, etc, there's no need for me to give an audience who is attending a entertainment performance an disclaimers. I know there are some professionals who choose to use disclaimers because they feel they are insulting their audience's intelligence by not doing so. I feel I'm insulting my audience's intelligence by using one, so again, I don't.

What is your position regarding this issue?

Do you feel the need for a disclaimer, or not?
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:54 am

I never use a disclaimer at all, Alex it's like you said I don;t want to insulte my audience at all. They can make up thier own minds, I have been asked after if what they saw was real and I always say yes as it was. I'm not lying as the show was real, it happened, they didn't ask specificatly if the mind reading was real Wink
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PostSubject: Ironic?   Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:24 am

I think that when you give a plausible explanation for your effect that people will actually start to believe especially if they get lost backtracking.
However that depends on which effects you choose.
Besides when you perform a SANCTUM for example or Psychological force then you are not using "magic trickery".
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:05 pm

I don't consider what I do a performance, but we do have a disclaimer on our website and on handouts. A lawyer friend of mine and my aunt wrote this for us and we added a couple of things. It is mostly for legal purposes, but it also says that we don't answer certain questions, and we will refund money if we can't make a connection.

All Psychic readings and services rendered thereof are for entertainment purposes only. We are not qualified to give Legal and/or Medical advice and we will not do so. If you need legal and/or Medical advice please seek the help of a professional licensed to provide such services. On a personal note, please do not call and ask us to provide information on when someone is going to die, this is between God and that person and no one can interfere with that timeline. We will never ever give information to someone who is planning to use that information to do something illegal. Our readings are as accurate as our ability will allow and no psychic is right 100% of the time. Therefore, when we first start to talk, if we feel we cannot make a connection, which does happen rarely but it does happen, we will give you the choice of either refunding your money or trying again at a later time.


Julia Like a Star @ heaven
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Freddie Valentine
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:17 am

I have been thinking along these lines for a while. Although people enjoy such things as a card trick and may have "no idea" to how it's done, but does it leave any more of an impression than an interesting diversion?

In some instances, yes it does, and people will talk about it for kingdom come as it's the only time they have experienced "magic" (other than mr Noncy at their fifth birthday party all those years ago) but what do they think it is? Clever hands? Skill?

That's why if something is given a reason, no matter how esotoric, it becomes a true mystery The reason why people love tarot so much is because (1) It's personal and (2) there is a mystique and supernatural ambience attached to them. A lot of people want to believe and if you are a good tarot reader, you will bolster that faith.

Regarding effects, discussing something such as ESP, and then going on to prove what you have discussed as being real, is one of the strongest methods of presentation. You hook them in and ask their views and prepare them to believe. I have tried this approach with some simple "magic" effects and experimented to see if attaching a believable story to something would make what is normally considered a diverting novelty something with more depth.

There was a news story last year about Japanese scientists inventing an invisbility cloak. Now must people would want to be able to go invisible, right? I discussed this and told them of the experimental material used and how it had not been perfected. Then explained that the reason why I knew so much is because a friend of mine is working on the project. And stole a piece of the material for me as he knows that I am interested in this "kind of thing".

That's my preamble to 'Reality Twister' and it improved the reaction no end.

One reason why I am attracted to bizarre magic, is that unusual and realistic looking props are easy to attach a story to and can be believable.

Storytelling (or discussions) that are rooted in well-known mysteries (that the spec could look up on Google afterwards_ hold a hell of a lot of emotional impact. And leave them with a good story to tell others. Who won't believe them!
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ALEXANDRE
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:57 pm

Only mystery allows us to be human. Only mystery.

- Federico Garcia Lorca
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Christopher J Gould
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:50 pm

So true Alexandre!

Like the invisibility cloak story Freddy. Isn't this the fun of it? - giving a realistic alternative reality, and watching it being accepted? Just to send this topic up a side road for a moment. I was performing (to 6th form students) an effect I am working on at the Moment (A knows it; Cuss Cards). The premise is alchemy. During the preamble I am chucking out information about old alchemists, pointing out that Nicholas Flamel was more than a character in Harry Potter! Everyone is engrossed (of course!) - but one student is on her laptop, looking up all the information I am chucking out. She keeps piping in - 'Oh my God! It's all true - Nicholas Flamel, was real. 'There is an old bookshop in Lichfield'. 'Lichfield was called 'Lyccidfelth', or 'field of the dead', etc. The fact that she could instantly verify the facts used, for her verified the reality of the whole routine. Because one was truth, therefore must the other. I was dealing in real curses. This added substantially to the suspense and supernatural tension that I was trying to evoke.....
The Children slept not that night...... What a Face
So, what am I trying to say here? Make sure your audience has access to Wikipedia!

I love lying!
(unless that was a lie, of course!)
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rdoetjes
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:57 pm

A premise is a suggestion in my book.
In order for a suggestion to be accepted you need the following ingredients:

1) The suggestion needs to bring something to the one getting it (in this case knowledge and entertainment)
2) A suggestion needs to fit in the person's model of the world in other words it needs to be plausible (Alchemy is acceptable for a lot of people especially if you don't know where we are going because there's no denying we tried a lot of alchemy in the passed (didn't work but sure). Paranormal is not a winner for skeptics for instance. Psychology with a plausible explanation will work wonders look at Derren).
3) You need convincers for your suggestion. In this case the cold hard facts that can be looked up are there.
4) Test if it sticks, when not add more convincers and tell the suggestion again.


Christopher J Gould wrote:
So true Alexandre!

Like the invisibility cloak story Freddy. Isn't this the fun of it? - giving a realistic alternative reality, and watching it being accepted? Just to send this topic up a side road for a moment. I was performing (to 6th form students) an effect I am working on at the Moment (A knows it; Cuss Cards). The premise is alchemy. During the preamble I am chucking out information about old alchemists, pointing out that Nicholas Flamel was more than a character in Harry Potter! Everyone is engrossed (of course!) - but one student is on her laptop, looking up all the information I am chucking out. She keeps piping in - 'Oh my God! It's all true - Nicholas Flamel, was real. 'There is an old bookshop in Lichfield'. 'Lichfield was called 'Lyccidfelth', or 'field of the dead', etc. The fact that she could instantly verify the facts used, for her verified the reality of the whole routine. I was dealing in real curses. This added substantially to the suspense and supernatural tension that I was trying to evoke.....
So, what am I trying to say here? Make sure your audience has access to Wikipedia!

I love lying!
(unless that was a lie, of course!)
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Christopher J Gould
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:06 pm

This is very good definition of the principle to work with.
The only change I would make is to make one aspect of this principle explicit, rather than implicit - namely, that if one fact is proven and accepted, a second deception, masquerading as a fact can be snuck through the door at the same time.

It seems that for some reason I am tirelessly plugging Raymond's book; Squids, but it is full of little snippets that can be used and ideas for fleshing out the premise of what you do.
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:09 pm

Completely true Christoper the "and set" works wonders

Statement 1 is true and Statement 2 is true and Statement 3 is fake but it accepted *when not outlandish*

Christopher J Gould wrote:
This is very good definition of the principle to work with.
The only change I would make is to make one aspect of this principle explicit, rather than implicit - namely, that if one fact is proven and accepted, a second deception, masquerading as a fact can be snuck through the door at the same time.

It seems that for some reason I am tirelessly plugging Raymond's book; Squids, but it is full of little snippets that can be used and ideas for fleshing out the premise of what you do.
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Christopher J Gould
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:15 pm

Yes, this defines it further of course - the magic set of three - not just NLP, but rooted in the collective unconscious....
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Dr Jae
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:43 pm

Christopher J Gould wrote:
Yes, this defines it further of course - the magic set of three - not just NLP, but rooted in the collective unconscious....


Forget NLP; it was the psychologists and philosophers who brought that rule into consciousness and the con merchants before them. Life is so circular at times. What a Face
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The Curator
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:21 am

I don't fool, I entertain.
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Freddie Valentine
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PostSubject: Re: WHO ARE WE FOOLING?   Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:33 am

Entertainment is of course the key factor in any "performance", but it's evoking a long lost sense of wonder (and the possibility that anything could be possible) and giving someone an experience that will have a lasting effect on them that is something I consider of equal importance.

Juggling is entertaining (to some people!) but it doesn't leave you with much other than "Isn't he a clever fellow?" whereas magic (and it's variants), like all good art has the potential to move people emotionally, whether it's a sense of elation, a feeling that there is more in the world than their appears or downright spookiness.

It's this atribute to the magic arts that I feel is often neglected in place of "smart arse" demonstrations of card handling or tedious gambling routines.

The emotional hook is something that is important. "Look at what I can do with a deck of cards" has no emotional hook, but a left-field concept (which goes on to be proven) or a story that immerses you, does.
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