For all ages and skill levels. If it's magic, WE'VE GOT IT!

The Performer's Notebook

by Dennis Regling


"Real Magic: the Mentalist"

I love real magic. When something happens, that shouldn't, with no logical explanation.

Most of us, when we see a magician on stage or television, know it is a show using trickery. When the magician puts the lady in the box and makes her disappear, we know she didn't really cease to exist. We may not know how it is done, but we know there is a trick to it. We suspend our disbelieve and enjoy the show.

Very few effects really leave us without explanation. Our explanation may be wrong, but our logic center explains away most apparent miracles.

I get to experience real magic everytime I do one of my chemistry shows in a school. I pour a clear liquid into several cups, and each time it turns into a different color. Little kids go ooh and ahh. Most of us adults and big kids (yes, I am both), know there must be something in the glasses to cause the change. It is a nice effect and magical, but it is not "real magic."

When I pour all the different colored liquids back into the pot and they turn clear again - that is real magic. I know it is done with acids, bases and indicators. I understand the chemistry that makes it work. But, after doing the experiment over 800 times, I still do not really know where the colors go. Everytime I perform it, it is magic to me.


Few "magic tricks" have that effect on me. The exception is mentalism. Mind tricks. To see a mentalist read someone's mind, to predict a headline or direct someone's thoughts is "real magic." Like the disappearing color, normal experience provides no explanation for the well presented mental trick.When working with older audiences, teens and adults, mentalism has an impact that regular box magic tricks do not. Well presented manipulations, productions and changes are always appreciated by an audience. To really blow them away though, mess with their minds, not their eyes.

Some teens act like they are too cool to enjoy a magic show, but when you successfully predict what card they were thinking off, they sit up and listen. I love to use magic to illustrate lectures, but with teen audiences I use ental effects. The audiences always appreciate them.

Even when doing a traditional magic show, try to mix in a mind effect somewhere in the middle. Music, dancing, big boxes all make for a great show, but the one trick you do where you step into your audience's minds may be the one they talk about tomorrow. The library will have books with some fun mental "games" and trickery. With the proper presentation, even simple math tricks suddenly look like an unexplainable phenomenom.

Your local magic shop will also have some books and videos on mentalism by names like Guy Bavli and Max Maven. For greatest impact though, stick to the tricks with the fewest props and special moves. The less it looks like you are using anything more than your brain power, the better the response.

For example, if you have a spectator pick a card, return it to the deck and then you make a few moves and expose his card, it looks like a card trick. Max Maven does an effect where he tosses a deck into the audience. Three or four spectators look at the cards and memorize one. Without touching the deck again, Max reveals all four thought of cards. That is amazing. (Editor's note: I saw David Hoy do this same effect many years ago, and I can attest to the fact that audience is completely fooled and deeply affected by it.)

So put a little "real magic" in your show, and listen for the applause.


Becoming a Magician: Get Rich Quick
Real Magic: The Mentalist
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Dennis Regling is a professional magician, author and lecturer. He performs educational programs at over 250 elementary and junior high schools every year. Additionally, he performs gospel magic programs at church camps, Vacation Bible Schools and other church events. Dennis has authored over 12 books for magicians. Dennis currently resides in Freeport, Ohio and performs throughout the east and midwest.


Disclaimer:The opinions expressed in this or any of our columns represent the opinions of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Magic Web Channel or it's Esteemed Panel of Magic Advisors. (The lawyers made us say that.)
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