Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pro tip for all you mentalists!

As the German readers of this blog will know there was some kind of bad experience about German mentalist Jan Becker.

Basically he decided to do a headline prediction of one of Germany's biggest newspaper. When asked how he predicts this, he answered that he basically just thinks about what kind of headline he would like to read.

And then the tragedy in Boston happened. The resulting headline was "The Terror in Boston"

So this went bad for Jan Becker, as his statement how the prediction came to pass and the actual headline kind of tell an awkward story. Also, even if he had not made that statement, still the question would come up, why he was in silence and not telling everybody about the upcoming "Terror".

The actual prediction read as follows: "The Terror in (word with B)"

So this is a pro tip for you mentalist out there. If the headline is something really bad, then FAIL for once. Don't use it for PR!


Anonymous said...

Or be off by one day...

Roland Henning said...

Well the point is that any publicity around any desaster is exploitation. That is bad.

Mike said...

You should have a word with Kreskin. That fucker claimed to have predicted 9/11.

Tasteless in the extreme.

Anonymous said...

The same think happened to Stewart James who more or less invented this plot in 1938 when he happened to perform his Headline Prediction and predict the start of ww2.

he went on to say it was a big mistake and vowed never to do a Headline Prediction again.

anon said...

Surely Stewart James did that in 1939 unless it was a very long gig?

Anonymous said...

you are right he reveled the prediction in 1939. but a year earlier on Sept 1 1938 is when he gave the prediction to the police to hold in there safe for one year.

I found a good write up about this stunt and how Stuart James actually got really lucky when it came to the reveal (although he later regretted pulling it off)

Anonymous said...

Why not just predict something OTHER than the major headline. Explain you can only see human interactions. Go to the Society/Gossip page. Predict a headline. Rarely (?) any large horrors other than the bridesmaids gowns on those pages.

OR....predict today's comic page.

Anonymous said...

I personally find all current mentalists trite.
If you had these supernatural powers of the mind you would do more important things with them than naming a thought of word in a Harry Potter book.
And if you could predict a future event why would you want to predict a headline when you can predict the lottery for $400,000,000 ?
Mentalism is just plain silly.

石榮狼 said...

This isn't specific to mentalism. Very few conjuring tricks would actually make sense would you happen to really possess the power they seem to demonstrate. If you can produce silver dollars from thin air, why do you even charge your audience? Why do you even perform, for that matter? If you can cause aces lost in a shuffled deck to magically reassemble, why not cause the reels of a slot machine to stop on the same symbol instead? If you can determine which cards multiple spectators picked, why not use that talent at the Black Jack table?

Some magicians even make meta-jokes about it (Kyle Eschen, while performing his Chinese Prayer-Sticks routine, usually says "if I was a real magician, I would be doing this all day").

You can just ignore the fact, or you can find some way to justify it. Personally, I choose not to do any trick I can't justify. When performing, I'll almost always explain what is the "real world" application of the power I'm demonstrating through the harmless little experiment my audience is about to witness. A little creativity is all it takes.
Reasons why a seer would refrain from predicting the lottery aren't that hard to imagine, really.

Tom said...

I learned my lesson on this topic many years ago. I was hired for a tradeshow-event in Southern Germany and my show was sheduled for the last day of this event.
The large envelope "containing" the prediction was displayed in full view and an announcement was made by the company that hired me for that event several days before the show.
Everything seemed fine until the night before the show should take place. It was the night when two planes collided in midair close to the city of Überlingen and 71 people were killed (49 of them were children).
Never before I felt that bad when driving to a magic-show. And the fact, that the show took place very close to Überlingen made it even worse. I found a workaround for that day, it wasn't a good one, but it was a way to deal with that tragedy.
Since that day I never used the term "headline-prediction" in an announcement anymore.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I would have used a (positive) title that wasn't the headline, but something on the second or third page. Something positive but quite important. That way you don't lose face as much as just ballsing it up completely.