Date: September 27, 2012 07:43PM
One of my hobbies, since childhood, has been magic--card
manipulation etc. And the field of mentalism always held a
fascination for me. I think this is because people know that
effects with cards are "just tricks," but they think mind-
reading, clairvoyance, PK, etc. are real. I've never convinced
anyone that their chosen card magically rose to the top of
the deck, but I have convinced people that I've supernaturally
read their mind, or predicted a future event.
Therefore I was rather amused to read the following--
"I was at the house of his [Joseph Smith's] father in
Manchester, two miles south of Palmyra village, and was
picking my teeth with a pin while sitting on the bars. The pin
caught in my teeth and dropped from my fingers into shavings
and straw. I jumped from the bars and looked for it. Joseph
and Northrop Sweet also did the same. We could not find it. I
then took Joseph on surprise, and said to him--I said, 'Take
your stone.' I had never seen it, and did not know that he had
it with him. He had it in his pocket. He took it and placed it
in his hat--the old white hat--and placed his face in his hat.
I watched him closely to see that he did not look to one side;
he reached out his hand beyond me on the right, and moved a
little stick and there I saw the pin, which he picked up and
gave to me. I know he did not look out of the hat until after
he had picked up the pin."
--Martin Harris, interview in Tiffany's Monthly, June 1859, p. 164.
Uri Geller couldn't have done better at fooling people into
believing he had supernatural powers.
One of the things a good "psychic" does is take advantage of
random, but interesting connections. Dai Vernon, the great
close-up magician of the past century tells of the first time
he met another highly respected card magician. "What do you
do?" asked the other magician. Vernon handed him a the deck
of cards and told him to shuffle it. He shuffled it and
Vernon noticed that the bottom card was the six of diamonds.
"Name a card." said Vernon. The guy named the six of
diamonds. Without betraying any emotion Vernon departed from
his planned routine and asked him to turn over the deck. The
guy did and there on the face of the deck he had just shuffled
was the six of diamonds staring him in the face. Needless to
say he was dumbfounded. "That's what I do," replied Vernon,
matter-of-factly, "what do you do?"
Vernon tells of another time when he was in the Canadian
army. He was known among the men as someone who always
fiddled and manipulated cards in his spare time. On the way
to the showers one day he spotted a card laying on the floor.
he wondered how long it would take for a card to disintegrate
in the shower--how long to lose any of its "card-like"
properties. He was palming and backpalming the soggy card
when one of the other guys in the shower called out to him.
"Hey Vernon, let's see you produce a card now." To the guy's
utter amazement Vernon calmly reached down between his legs
and came up with the card.
Such things come to mind when I recall stuff like the story of
Martin Harris taking the "characters" to Professor Charles
Anthon who says, bring me the plates and I'll try to translate
them for you. Harris says, "the plates are sealed" and Anthon
responds "I can't read a sealed book." When Harris reports
this to Joseph Smith, Joseph turns to the 29th chapter of
Isaiah, verse 11-12: "And the vision of all is become unto you
as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to
one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he
saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered
to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee:
and he saith, I am not learned."
"Oh, my Gosh!" cries Harris, "I just fulfilled a Biblical
prophecy--I was mentioned in the Bible!"
A "psychic" doesn't need to have sophisticated methods of
gathering secret information. Just be on the lookout for ways
to impress your acquaintances and take advantage of every
coincidence that comes along.