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Tags cold reading , mediums , psychics

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Old 9th October 2019, 07:06 AM   #561
xterra
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Originally Posted by bluesjnr View Post
You are doing AmyW a massive disservice with this question. A question that indicates that you have not taken as much as a minute or so to chart her journey through this thread.

Would you please explain why you think I am doing her a disservice, and why you think I have not followed her journey?


This is not meant to be argumentative, or nasty. I just don't understand your perspective here.
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Old 9th October 2019, 07:23 AM   #562
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
Would you please explain why you think I am doing her a disservice, and why you think I have not followed her journey?


This is not meant to be argumentative, or nasty. I just don't understand your perspective here.
Certainly, you are asking a question that has already been asked and answered on at least a couple of occasions.

AmyW has made it abundantly clear that she has moved from being concerned about mediums abilities to being full on sceptical. She has been questioned previously about her "apparent" beliefs and has clarified her position, at least once, in this thread.

She has documented why it might look like she has some belief in the abilities of mediums and has made it clear that she is looking for strong, sceptical arguments to help her understand how they work.

Not to mention the fact that she has taken a lot of advice on board and has looked to further her understanding by purchasing recommended books.

Taking the foregoing into consideration, I hope you understand my sentiments and where I'm coming from.
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Old 9th October 2019, 09:17 AM   #563
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
I came to realize. The real trick is the skill involved in making that gimmick undetectable.
Yes. When I said that Hamilton is flim-flam, I meant that there is a tremendous amount of planning, skill, and rehearsal involved in making a show like that happen with minimal distraction to the logistics. We routinely employ the same techniques as stage magicians, only in the case of stage theater the goal is a seamless presentation. We want the "how' to be undetectable because that's not where we want to direct the audience's attention. It's all flim-flam, and we hope it doesn't suddenly take center stage. The traditional ninja costume -- all black with just a crack to see through -- is actually the stagehands' costume from Japanese theatre. Black-clad stagehands stood behind the brightly-dressed actors playing the actual ninjas and helped them appear to have superhuman ability.

By the way, I just realized that one of the actors in the show from which my avatar is taken is now in Hamilton on Broadway. I should pick on a different show.

We have another thread running that talks about spiritualist churches. Putting mentalism in an entertainment context applies the flim-flam in one way. Putting it in a religious context applies it in a different way. When it's used in these ways, I can see why skeptics would balk at it.

Originally Posted by Armitage72 View Post
"Oh!! That glass is actually a partially reflective surface. Cool."
Still one of the best low-tech ways to do the ghost of Banquo. Also, have you been to any of the Disney parks and visited whatever variant of the Haunted Mansion is there? This effect goes back to Victorian times. We know mentalists in the past have used basic stagecraft back when seances were more popular forms of pretending to contact the dead.

Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
Agreed. There was a study I read years back (can't find now and busy) that said that in some circumstances smarter people were easier to fool as they thought they were too smart to be fooled.
I would believe this wholeheartedly. And mentalists and magicians have consistently fooled scientists in what were ostensibly intended as properly controlled tests of purported ability. Scientists have some understanding of what protocols are needed to prevent intentional tampering with the results. But I suspect very few scientists are able to foresee the various ways in which highly skilled, highly practiced artists have created their effects.

I routinely fooled my father, who came to see all my theatrical productions. He had a PhD and was trained in both architectural and psychology. I'd ask him, "So how do you think we did that effect?" His explanations were invariably overthought. The truth was always dirt simple. I gather from his answers that he believed the simple methods wouldn't have been effective because he didn't notice the telltales.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
My comment was mainly at the Penns of the world coming up with this as a post hoc rationalisation for their professional secrecy.
Ah, I hadn't apprehended that from your post. I think you're right. "I could tell you, but you wouldn't be impressed" would seem to fall in line with the style of magic Penn & Teller do.
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Old 9th October 2019, 09:48 AM   #564
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Still one of the best low-tech ways to do the ghost of Banquo. Also, have you been to any of the Disney parks and visited whatever variant of the Haunted Mansion is there? This effect goes back to Victorian times. We know mentalists in the past have used basic stagecraft back when seances were more popular forms of pretending to contact the dead.

This particular trick involved a frame, about 8x4, filled with a sheet of glass with a hole in the center large enough to climb through. An 8x4 mirror was placed behind the glass, with the reflection visible through the glass, and the hole was covered with paper. Copperfield walked behind the frame and then emerged "through the mirror". The angle of the stage lighting shifted just before, and I realized that if the glass were partially reflective, the change in lighting would turn it into a mirror, allowing the actual mirror to be removed without disturbing the reflection.

There's a thread here somewhere in which I asked about speculating on how a trick is done vs. revealing how a trick is done, and if would obey the forum rules, using this trick as an example.
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Old 9th October 2019, 10:51 AM   #565
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I have not tried to undo all the magic tricks.I have ever seen, but I did watch the masked magician reveal them in his series.

It was always the delivery that kept me watching. Chris Angel comes to mind as one with better than average delivery on older illusions. Him walking off the roof of his warehouse and staying up in the air had to be cables even if I didn't see them. The tip was he used camera angles to show what wasn't there on other illusions this one was for tv and only had two camera angles, you never seen one entire side of his area. The area with the crane.
But, he made it look so easy to walk on air. But I knew he wasn't.

Penn and Teller did a show where the show was so entertaining the magic part was just detail. It was captivating. New twists on old illusions mostly but it didn't matter. It was a good show.
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Old 9th October 2019, 11:03 AM   #566
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There's video of Penn doing the classic "Cup and Ball" slight of hand using clear cups, which obviously shows the hand as to how the trick works, and it's still amazingly entertaining to watch.
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Old 9th October 2019, 12:19 PM   #567
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Originally Posted by Armitage72 View Post
The angle of the stage lighting shifted just before, and I realized that if the glass were partially reflective, the change in lighting would turn it into a mirror, allowing the actual mirror to be removed without disturbing the reflection.
This works with materials other than glass or fully reflective mirrors. One of the most common effects achievable within a modest budget is with a scrim, a curtain made of a fabric that is thinly enough woven to be variously opaque or transparent, depending on lighting. In fact, the play from which my avatar comes, 1776, traditionally ends with a similar effect to the one you mention. The actors take up a tableau (stationary group pose) behind a scrim where the lighting favors transparency. Then that light dims and the scrim is increasing lit from the front, making it seem opaque. A portion of the text of the U.S. Declaration of Independence is written on the scrim, and becomes visible as the lighting shifts. Then the actors can go take off their silly white wigs.

That's very unremarkable. The mechanics of the effect aren't really being hidden in any way. If we equate that to cold-reading, it would be the equivalent of asking, "You have a friend, co-worker, or relative whose name starts with M and who is keeping a secret from you."

Spoiler for Disney haunted mansions...

You've probably figured out that this is how the Narrator reveal works in the stretching room. The ceiling is an ordinary scrim with faux details painted on it and lit from below until the lightning and thunderclap. Then all the lighting comes from above the scrim. Simply incorporating these elements into an ordinary set design so as to make them less obvious to the audience has a disproportionately profound effect on how successful it is.

Partially reflective glass is how the ballroom ghosts are done. The lighting levels are carefully set to achieve the right balance between transparency and reflection. What the guest has a hard time believing was done is the construction of equally vast rooms above and below him to house the ghost automatons against flat black backgrounds.

You don't have to amplify these techniques much from their basic elements in order to achieve a disproportional improvement in convincing ability. I wouldn't be surprised if the same principle applied to the standard reading techniques.
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Old 9th October 2019, 12:39 PM   #568
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In a very relevant addition; the TV guide has a new episode of Maury Povich listed as 'Psychics help families find their missing children'.

I wish I had a robust enough vocabulary to describe the disgust I'm filled with that this garbage is still getting air time.
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Old 9th October 2019, 04:47 PM   #569
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
I have not tried to undo all the magic tricks.I have ever seen, but I did watch the masked magician reveal them in his series.
There was supposed to have been a big fuss in the magical community when he did this, but as far as I can tell he didn't reveal anything that wasn't already in the public domain if you knew where to look. And as far as I know he didn't steal any method or apparatus from another magician.

Could be wrong. It was a while ago and I'm not involved with the community at all.
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Old 10th October 2019, 02:17 AM   #570
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
There's video of Penn doing the classic "Cup and Ball" slight of hand using clear cups, which obviously shows the hand as to how the trick works, and it's still amazingly entertaining to watch.
I know how the trick works and 'can do' it although I've never put in the time and practice to get it natural enough to perform in public, but I sit in awe at Paul Daniels' performance of the trick, the speed and fluidity while keeping up his banter with a member of the audience is stunning, the clip is on YouTube and well worth a watch. I'd say that in that particular case I appreciate it more for knowing how it's done than I would if I didn't.
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Old 10th October 2019, 02:22 AM   #571
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
This works with materials other than glass or fully reflective mirrors. One of the most common effects achievable within a modest budget is with a scrim, a curtain made of a fabric that is thinly enough woven to be variously opaque or transparent, depending on lighting.[Snip]
It's used to incredible effect in the play "The Woman in Black" too, making entire rooms in the house 'appear' in an empty, deserted theatre.
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Old 14th October 2019, 11:03 AM   #572
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Originally Posted by Nay_Sayer View Post
In a very relevant addition; the TV guide has a new episode of Maury Povich listed as 'Psychics help families find their missing children'.

I wish I had a robust enough vocabulary to describe the disgust I'm filled with that this garbage is still getting air time.
And Dr (spit) Oz had a recent show about psychics channeling messages from the deceased. He must have overdosed on Ginkgo Biloba juice.
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Old 14th October 2019, 11:07 AM   #573
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
I know how the trick works and 'can do' it although I've never put in the time and practice to get it natural enough to perform in public, but I sit in awe at Paul Daniels' performance of the trick, the speed and fluidity while keeping up his banter with a member of the audience is stunning, the clip is on YouTube and well worth a watch. I'd say that in that particular case I appreciate it more for knowing how it's done than I would if I didn't.
Daniels was a master of doing tricks where, even though I knew (or could guess) how they were done, his expertise and showmanship repeatedly amazed me.
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Old 14th October 2019, 12:22 PM   #574
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Daniels was a master of doing tricks where, even though I knew (or could guess) how they were done, his expertise and showmanship repeatedly amazed me.
Ha. You would want to see him in private. Stunning. Alas, he is no more.
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Old 15th October 2019, 01:55 AM   #575
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Ha. You would want to see him in private. Stunning. Alas, he is no more.
One of my great regrets is that I once found myself at a queuing at a bank and realised he was at the next window but never took the opportunity to speak to him, I don't recall why now. I know his very family friendly, variety show style fell out of fashion but he was truly one of the great performers of the art.
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