In the comments to my post about the last Uri Geller show, Aaron wrote a report from a mentalist show (thanks again!) that would be a pity to see being relatively unnoticed, so I reply in this separate post.
My translation of what Aaron wrote:
So…. how should I start….
basically I’d start by saying that I somehow pity all those who have been so blocked that they don’t allow anything anymore.
I could tell an extensive story now, but don’t feel like using so much time for that.
who believes, ok
who doesn’t, also ok
Basically, I agree. And I’d like to add: Some want to believe, others want to understand rationally. (And others still might just want to be entertained.)
For my burthday, my girlfriend gave me an evening entertainment (mental show, hypnosis). The performance took place in a small hall intended for 100 people. Luckily for me, we were an audience of exactly 6. Luckily for me because we automatically were integrated quite often.
We really experienced considerable things… but the absolutely most exciting moment for me was this.
The experiment went like that. The hypnotized woman sitting blindfolded (personally checked the blindfold) on a chair about 5 m ahead on stage recognized personal objects which we put out (at that moment). I put my business card from the chest pocket directly under my leg, since HE had started two chairs next to me! He said to her only few sentences: – what am I holding in the hand
– no, wrong …. (name)
– what do you see here …. (name)
maybe two, three more short sentences.
the sentence: – no, wrong was said only very rarely.
I can’t imagine that there’s a hypnotic programming behind that! there are too many variables with personal objects.
I don’t believe in a “hypnotic programming”, either…
But mentalist performances like that have been working for decades, if not centuries, simply such that the one walking around is giving the “psychic” or the “hypnotized” codewords that they agreed upon (phrasing and order of questions, answers, further enquiries), from which she knows what’s meant. Requires some practice, of course, to work rather flawlessly.
Nowadays, of course, technology can be added, e.g. a small pulse device that the one walking around can use to signal numbers/pulse sequences which stand for certain objects to the “psychic”.
And there aren’t that many possible kinds of objects that an audience typically carries around with, anyway.
and the other reason why I don’t think it’s that is because…
I have observed how he always touched the person whose object he was holding (on the upper arm). When he came to me, I took my business card from under my leg and put it in his hand. She was supposed to read the phone number (last four digits). She got the first two right immediately, but she couldn’t continue with the next two (which are the same as the other ones). In that moment, I realized that he hadn’t touched my by then… so I thought, let’s help them, and reached out my hand towards his (in which he was still holding the card).
I suppose that was what the artist intended, and you played right along with it.
in the same moment I touched him, I heard from the stage…. I see a watch…. oops…. that was the moment that really sent shivers down my spine.
Yes, it’s really surprising that someone is wearing a watch on his wrist. Had you had e.g. a key, a banknote, a package of tissues or condoms or whatever on your wrist, and had she said that, that would have been a surprise.
And only if neither of the two had had no chance to see this beforehand – e.g. in a former part of the show in which you had been integrated or where they had enough opportunity to see your wrist.
But that’s not all. She said right after that: ….. there’s something wrong with it (the watch). I thought… what, does she now even see that a little piece of glass has broken off?
But that wasn’t it…..
She’s seen something else!!
Nobody but me (not even my girlfriend) had known that my watch was 5 minutes fast!
And anyone else who had the opportunity to compare it to a correct watch could have known, too – e.g. earlier in the show, see above. And the chances that one among the audience has a fast or slow watch are probably high enough that mentalists might like to include that in their performances…
It might also be possible to do that with a camera and an assistant behind the scenes who whispers stuff to the “hypnotized one” via a little earpiece, but I rather doubt that for such a small show.
that is…. when the woman on stage had said it, everyone knew it!
well… you can’t see air either…. but still we’re breathing it, aren’t we?
Air can be examined scientifically – and be proven to exist. With “magic”, “clairvoyance” and stuff like that, it’s been attempted numerous times, but as yet, always been refuted. CSICOP, for instance, offers such information. Could anyone pass these scientific tests, James Randi would give him one million US dollars (and he wouldn’t have to perform in front of only 6 people).
So what you have seen can very easily be explained with common, known-to-exist magic tricks and artistic performances, without having to bother with ominous, mysterious, speculative paranormal abilities, the existence of which could never have been proven (and if you’re asking for my suspicion, they can’t ever be proven). When you, for instance, want to drive from Geneva to Montreux (both on Lake Geneva in southwest Switzerland), you don’t drive via Berlin, do you? So why use ominous, mysterious, speculative paranormal as a fictuous attempt to explain things if the ordinary tricks are so beautifully sufficient explanations?
(By the way, this methos is also known as “Occam’s razor”)
Please don’t get me wrong (and don’t take it personal): I don’t want to take away the “magic” of magic entertainment from anyone. I don’t mind being fascinated by magic shows.
In “wanting to believe” and uncritical thinking, however, there are limits (beyond magic shows) which I really don’t like seen crossed, such as people wasting lots of money on pretended, sometimes criminally fraudulent “fortune tellers”, “seers”, “gurus” and similar folks, be it on the street (German), on television horoscopes or elsewhere. Happens much too often.
These are, to quote Aaron’s introductory remarks, the people who have been so blocked that they don’t allow any sensible thoughts anymore and who I pity therefore – and I feel even more sorry for their family who have to suffer from that.