I don't usually talk about hypnosis but I think when you're into mind reading and mentalism, hypnosis is something you eventually dabble in.
The first port of call when you first learn a few inductions is going straight to friends and family to try your new techniques on. To the budding hypnotist this is usually make or break as to whether you ever hypnotise someone ever again – depending on if it works.
The problem with hypnotising friends and family or people who have known you for a while is the fact that it generally won't work.
Hypnosis works mostly due to the fact that the person being induced BELIEVES in your hypnosis abilities. It's all about convincing someone to follow your directions and help put them into a trance like state. I'm not going to go into depth about what a trance actually is, but it's generally when someone takes directions off you and when brought back – they will claim to have been 'under'.
So, why shouldn't you hypnotise friends and family?
Because they won't believe you. They won't believe you have the 'power' to put them under, are unlikely to take you seriously and will usually fight you the whole way.
This is why so many novice hypnotists soon give up after failing miserably to put their friends under. At the end of the day, most people will have to try it on their friends and family first through lack of confidence and not wanting to look like a total fool to a complete stranger.
What I suggest is using a friend who is open minded and doing it away from everyone else in a quiet room to start with. Take it slowly too, don't panic and rush, just slowly lead them into a trance.
If you have a good book or DVD course to learn from then you should also know good 'tests' you can use on your friend before going ahead and really taking them under. That way, if your friends 'fail' the test, you can stop right there and tell them it won't work on them.
Remember to be confident in your abilities and believe they will go under. If You Believe, THEY will believe.
You'll be putting people under like Derren Brown in no time!
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If I could give an aspiring mind reader or mentalist one tip whether you have dreams of being famous or just want to know some killer tricks to amaze your friends - it would be to take your time.
You should take your time in more ways than one as well. The first way is to take your time while learning mind reading tricks. The urge to go straight out and perform to your friends as soon as you learn a method of a trick is sometimes hard to suppress but it's one you will not regret taking your time with. Mind reading and mentalism is all in the performance and the actual method is really not important.
Make sure you have a rough script for a trick, have the method down to a tee – which includes the misdirection that's needed to pull it off – and ensure everything is smooth and fits with your persona and claim of special ability.
Secondly, once you have taken your time learning the trick – take your time performing it. This isn't quick fire visual magic tricks which are a dime a dozen and are thrown at spectators til they're bored. This is suspense building, mind boggling, emotionally charged mind reading.
Take your time and lead the audience as you pace them slowly and get involved in the trick, until the final revelation.
So here are two ways to take your time:
- Take your time learning the tricks
- Take your time executing the tricks
So if you want to create a truly marvellous experience for your audience so they really believe you have some incredible abilities – take your time.
I don't often rant.. well I do, but this is something that really quite bothers me more than usual. The constant overuse of blatant actors on TV in mind reading and mentalism tricks.
You know the tricks, the ones that are stupidly impossible and have an obviously overreacting crowd and a pathetically enthusiastic volunteer. If you don't know what I'm talking about, stick on a Criss Angel television show and see.
These people are paid actors and are in on the trick, they have be in on the trick otherwise the trick won't work. These tricks are all for the camera and cannot work to spectators who are right up close to the mentalist. Now I'm sure a lot of you love Criss Angel but as far as QUALITY mind reading and mentalism goes, he's pretty darn poor.
I do believe there is a difference between and actor and a stooge in this case. To me, an actor is someone who has a big part in the overall effect of the trick and is usually pretending to be a volunteer. There are usually a crowd of actors too, all pretending to be amazed by some silly levitation. A stooge is someone who is involved in the trick but usually behind the scenes and doesn't broadcast their poor acting skills to the spectators but makes the effect look utterly impossible.
I understand some tricks need a stooge, but it's the overuse of actors that kill the real creative side of mind reading and mentalism. There is a danger of filming a whole show with actors as spectators and having no magic of real reactions and disbelief.
I love close up mentalism with real people. Nothing can beat the effect whereby the spectators are genuinely mystified by the mentalist. I don't personally love stooges either but I have and will always use them when I feel the need. I won't however use actors. Ever. I don't care if I've got a world famous television show. I'll never water down my effects with that nonsense. Derren Brown manages without it, so that's good enough for me.
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Is there such a thing as ethical mind reading?
This is a bit controversial and many people will disagree with me and want to write me angry letters threatening to put a spell on me or some other sort of voodoo I'm sure.
I'm talking about the ethics of being a mind reader and what you actually claim to be able to do. The basis of being a mentalist or mind reader is making people believe you have some sort of ability. Whether it be psychic or abnormal psychological abilities being able to seemingly influence people's decisions and tell what they're thinking by reading their body language.
So, why am I bringing ethics into this?
Well, is it ethical to claim you have special abilities? My personal opinion is yes and no. I think it depends what you claim and how you use it.
I think it's OK to a point. Like it's ok to say you can read people's minds or influence their choices but when you claim to be psychic and start telling people how to live their lives or speak to their dead grandmother and pass on messages. I think that crosses the line.
In my opinion it's irresponsible to use your knowledge of mind reading and mentalism to fool someone into thinking their dead relatives are talking to you or the that you can see the future and tell them what decisions to make.
What some 'psychics' may consider to be harmless fun and just a bit of trickery, someone could take literally and make a life changing decision based on a flimsy comment.
What I would say is use your mind reading and mentalism knowledge carefully because anyone who knows the really good mind reading tricks that I know, understands that you can literally make someone believe anything you want.
Yes, that's what I said – hiccups.
I know I usually let you in on some pretty serious mentalism and mind reading tricks and techniques but today I fancied giving you a bit more of a light-hearted trick although I've had some of my strongest reactions off people doing this trick.
This is a bit of weird one because I don't think anyone really knows how or why it works, which may be because people don't know how or why we get hiccups in the first place. This isn't fake and doesn't require a stooge either, you really do stop someone from hiccuping. Due to the nature of the trick i.e. needing someone to have hiccups in the first place, I've only been able to do it a handful of times. That being said, it has never, ever failed to work.
So.. how the heck do you do it?
Well it's simple, when someone is a bumbling mess from their hiccups and are wishing they were dead. Say confidently to them, “Do you want me to stop them for you?” If they say yes, which they usually will while pleading for you to end their life. You put your both hands on each of their shoulders and stare into their eyes and every time they hiccup you say “STOP!”. Ask them to really concentrate on each hiccup that they do.
Sounds stupid and simple doesn't it? Well it works. There's not much else to say about it.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you must do it confidently and believe you will stop them. They way the person with the hiccups will actually believe you can stop them and they will stop. If you're lucky enough to have a crowd of people while you do it, you can get some great reactions from people.