Here are just a few of my thoughts and opinions on the use of mentalism and mental magic. Many magical friends have commented that they are concerned that I use playing cards in mentalism effects and a number of readers were disappointed that my last book contained mentalism material relying on the use of playing cards. I feel that it is important for me to explain that I have never ever had any problem with the use of playing cards in my performance of mentalism and it is clear to me that my audiences regard them as ordinary objects and are familiar with them.
I have often been asked by magicians what my attitude is to the mixing of magic and mentalism. All I can say is that this has not been a problem for me. When I perform close up magic at the table I explain that it is really something that I describe as 'Magic for the Hands' and then when I perform my mentalism routines I explain that that is 'Magic of the Mind'. I link my presentations now very closely with psychology and the use and study of body language. Instead of giving a psychic reading I now call it a body language reading.
When I started performing pure mentalism I used to use a disclaimer yet almost without fail, after each show I received a variety of comments such as, 'When did you discover you had these powers?' and 'I wouldn't like to be your wife as you would always know what I was thinking about'.
At the same time I realized that a great number of religious groups regard hypnosis, mind reading, telepathy, clairvoyance, spiritualism, fortune telling and ESP as works of the devil. By calling my show The Magic of the Mind, and invoking concepts such as body language, suggestion, memory and psychology, I have no more problems with religious groups and I do not need to use a disclaimer as all the above aspects of my show are accepted scientific facts.
I will give you an example of how mental magic helped me to get a series of shows in an upmarket restaurant. After explaining the idea of doing close up magic and magic of the mind at the tables I found that the owner had some resistance to making a positive decision and he said he did not want to spend any money on advertising in the local newspapers. I then explained that I would get free publicity for the restaurant in the newspapers. He was still not certain. Then his wife entered the room and I gave her and her husband a reading. That personal reading sold the deal. In other words when you can personalize the magic you perform it can help sell you and your act.
As far as free publicity is concerned, I am always well prepared with a good news angle and I have great respect for reporters and always try to give them something that helps them do their job better. I have had about 95% positive results. In the case of the restaurant that I have just mentioned I managed to line up six stories which all appeared in print and we also managed to get one of the main newspapers to publish a large photograph of me and the owner of the restaurant. Although I performed magic and mental magic for the reporters I was still able to get them to write about both types of magic and understand the difference between the two kinds of performance. In fact, one of the reporters wrote, 'Your magic begins where most magic ends'. He also said that I was a person with an unusual ability and talent regarding my mental magic.
A number of highly regarded mentalists have had the opportunity to see some of the effects contained in this book before they were released to the magical fraternity and the Unlimited Principle in particular attracted a great deal of interest. One distinguished mentalist told me that when he performs the effect that he can see that the audience have a certain look in their eyes which indicates that they believe they have seen the real thing. Another good friend and well respected performer told me that he thought that the Hot Chair effect could easily have been sold for $500 dollars. He said that it could be used as a feature act and that a performer could easily earn his living just from this one routine.
I sincerely believe that this new book (the fourth to detail my original effects) contains the very best material that I have produced to date. I use every single effect in this book on a regular basis and, having witnessed the audience response that each routine achieves, I can only hope that you will study, learn and achieve the same great audience response as well. ...
Illustrated by David Britland, edited by Martin Breese and Bob Gill.