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written by Mr.Paul Voodini
How to be a Successful Medium... … and other bedtime stories for mentalists. * Paul Voodini
“I didn't become a mind-reader so I could become Mr. Light Entertainment. I became a mind-reader so I could FREAK PEOPLE OUT,” - Paul Voodini, February, 2013.
A TRUE STORY
“When I first turned professional as a magician, I was working, believe it or not, in a pre-school nursery. The owner of the nursery was a slightly short tempered business man aged around 60 years. When I handed him my resignation, he asked what I was going to do when I left the nursery. Very proudly I told him I was going to be a professional magician. 'Wow!' he said, looking me up and down. 'I would never have thought it! Tell me, do you write all your own jokes?'”
I wanted to call this book 'How to be a Fraudulent Medium'. It is a title that I've had in mind for a long time and kept on meaning to use. But I always backed out at the last moment and went for a title that was less controversial. Likewise with this manuscript. I really, really meant to call it 'How to be a Fraudulent Medium', but at the last minute I chickened out again.
It's not that I want to be controversial for the sake of it. It was meant to be a fun, jokey title, but I was worried about upsetting people from both sides of the fence, both mediums and mentalists. So I watered down the title – sorry. But if you like, in your mind, you can think of this book as really being called 'How to be a Fraudulent Medium'. I know I do.
I also wanted to use that title because Derren Brown, in one of his TV shows, claimed that there were books 'out there' that taught people how to be fraudulent mediums. Well, you know, really there aren't. Oh sure, there are books on how to do gimmicked Q&A shows, living and dead tests, cold reading, and any number of magic flavoured routines. But none of
. of course not. Let me explain. just in case Derren Brown ever said the same thing again and this time he'd be correct! Is this manuscript really encouraging people to become fraudulent mediums? No.. So I thought it would be fun to put a manuscript out there that plainly was how to do fraudulent mediumship.these routines are what mediums really do.. They're sort of what magicians think mediums do when they have never really seen a medium working themselves.
bad doctors. but they can generally be spotted a mile off. I have no quarrel with mediums in general. I feel that I must first of all outline my own personal feelings about the whole subject of mediumship and also lay to rest a few misconceptions. bad coach drivers and bad policemen. It is the make-up of mankind in general that there is amongst us the occasional bad . Having worked within the esoteric community and met. of course. I know that the vast majority are good hearted people who genuinely believe in the gift they feel has been bestowed upon them. are usually ostracised fairly quickly by the rest of the spiritual community. There are bad plumbers. and this book is not intended to be anything along the lines of an exposé. and they soon discover that the road to success as a professional medium is long. and worked alongside.INTRODUCTION Before I start this book proper. and full of hurdles. many mediums. hard. there are one or two bad eggs out there who see mediumship as a fast track ticket to fame and fortune. And of course there are good and bad people in all walks of life. Yes.
will start to offer paid readings to the general public.egg. and riches would be a huge mistake. and the medium may have to recoup travel expenses by offering private . or they will attend classes held at a Spiritualist church. usually in their front room or perhaps in a corner of a new age shop. start on a very local scale. they may start to give platform demonstrations of their gift (usually referred to as 'demos') which is starting to approach a more conventional show setting. THE ROAD TO SUCCESS AS A MEDIUM Most people. if they feel comfortable with it. This is on a one-to-one basis. However to believe that being a fake medium is a sure-fire way to success. Tentatively they will start to give free 'readings' for friends and after a year or so. usually in an esoteric shop or village hall. and is far removed from any kind of show setting. However Spiritualist churches pay visiting mediums very little (if anything at all). when they start to believe that they have the ability to communicate with the spirit realm. They will initially attend development classes run either by a new age group. If they are drawn to the Spiritualist religion. fame.
hard. there may be actual genuine staff working behind the bar and on the door. It is usually a 'all-hands-on-deck' type affair with friends helping to promote the event and sell tickets. the medium may be encouraged to run another one. . If this night is successful. The road to the bright lights is indeed long. Normally this involves hiring a local hall and selling tickets themselves. and the medium's reputation may begin to spread beyond her local area.one-to-one readings in the church after their demo. and a reliable friend dealing with tickets and cash on the door. The medium may then start to garner a reputation locally and may decide to put on a public show. normally the church will insist that it is on a voluntary contribution basis where the client pays the medium only what they feel happy to pay or can afford. husbands/wives manning the tea & coffee stall on the night. the visiting medium may find themselves out of pocket. and then another. and demanding. However this will rarely be for a set fee. So. Eventually the venue may become slightly more salubrious. at the end of the day.
and magazine reporters. For an extremely lucky (or not. TV.This is the level that 99% of mediums stay at once (and if) they are lucky enough to reach it. However this is very much the exception rather than the rule. Because of this pressure and the desire to not screw things up. and glossy magazines. As soon as the director says “roll cameras”. they may be discovered by a talent scout or agency and may be invited to begin a new journey that involves theatres. accountants. So what they need is a medium who can deliver powerful messages on demand. The medium may decide to cheat. My experience and belief is that it is this 1% of mediums that find themselves being wooed by the bright lights that ultimately give mediumship the bad name that it has in some quarters. some mediums find themselves willing to compromise – compromise in the same way that an athlete may compromise when he decides to take performance enhancing drugs. They don't give a hoot about your 'gift' or your 'calling'. theatre managers. as the case may be) 1%. they need a medium who can deliver. What they do care about is money. But suddenly you find yourself surrounded by TV executives. Consider this: you have travelled the road to the bright lights via the route explained above. or as soon as the house-lights dim and the curtain goes up. .
And whatever you may feel about the whole 'talking-to-the-dead' thing. A GOOD MEDIUM A medium is the only kind of performer that I am aware of that walks out onto stage with no props at his disposal. isn't that . After all. this manuscript is not about cheating per se. a ventriloquist has his doll . if you could really weave your magic without employing trickery of some kind or other. if you were a real magician or a real mind-reader. So what. exactly.But. a mind-reader has clipboards and envelopes in which to place predictions.. as the vast majority of mediums out there working in village halls and new age shops and Spiritualist churches would never dream of cheating (in the classic magician-minded sense) and would be offended by the very notion. is this book all about then? Let me explain. despite its intentionally provocative title.. there is something to be admired in that and something almost poetical in its simplicity. A magician has odd-looking boxes in which to saw people in half. A medium walks out with nothing. a juggler has his balls (ahem).
No. that they have a calling. You will note that I used the phrase 'good medium' several times in the previous paragraph. . I mean they just aren't very good at what they do! However they persist because they believe it is their divine destiny to continue. but I am saying that a good medium can teach you a lot about stage presence and audience management.how you would work? Simply walk out in front of the audience and say “Hello. mediums come from the same stock as mind-readers (mentalists) and magicians. in the public eye.” I therefore believe that by studying how a good medium works. and that to not persist would be to waste the gift given to them by spirit. there are some very bad mediums out there! And I don't mean bad as in they are cheating or are faking anything. all performers can learn a great deal that will help and enhance their own performance. I am not advocating that all magicians and mind-readers suddenly become mediums. my name is XXXX and I can read your minds (or whatever). and also what the audience expect of you as a 'magical' or 'esoteric' performer – because like it or not. I did this quite intentionally because as I shall now explain.
I am. who I shall not name but who shall be referred to . they continue. and on one in particular. in a weird way. all the sniggers and jeers from the audience. Over the past 2 years I have been to see a particular medium work in England many times.The fact that there are a lot of bad mediums out there should reinforce to us the knowledge that the vast majority of mediums are doing what they do with a good heart. But the disguises don't work. “Oh. They have no intention to rip anybody off. This particular medium. you here again?” every time I walk in. Which. There must be easier ways to rip people off. How could they possibly take advantage of anyone when they are so bloody awful at what it is that they do?! They do it because they believe they have a gift to share. all the bad nights. to take advantage of anyone. and despite all the knockbacks. so I suggest we concentrate on good mediums. In fact I have seen him perform so many times that I started to wear disguises in an attempt to not be recognised by his staff. Sadly the only thing we can learn from a bad medium is how not to do it. The door staff still say. Perhaps they think I am a stalker.
on average. to audiences of between 100 – 200. but even if the required rooms are charged at £150. works 5 nights a week. and has a deal with most local newspapers throughout the UK. the newspaper promotes the event through adverts and perhaps the occasional article. 50 weeks a year.from this point onwards as The Medium. Because of the amount of travel involved. He mainly works in hotels. The deal is this: he hires the hotel room. this still leaves a net profit at £1600 per night. most local newspapers are owned by a few umbrella companies. split 50/50 with the newspaper. that leaves £1750. and they split the net profit 50/50. £16. I am positive that The Medium and his small entourage stay overnight in the hotel. Tickets are priced at. In the UK. It is entirely possible that accommodation is 'thrown-in' free of charge. Let us assume that the fee for hiring the room in the hotel is around £250 (this fee is based on research I have done at venues he uses. although I am positive he will be able to negotiate a cheaper fee for repeat bookings). Bear in mind that this guy works hard – . His average audience will be 120. So on an average night he will gross close to £2000. so all he really has to do (and has done) is secure the deal with the umbrella company.
and then wish everyone a safe journey home at the close. But beware of falling into the trap of judging too hastily. And besides. there is fuel and vehicle maintenance and the usual living expenses to deduct from this money. but even so this seems to me to be a very healthy recompense if you are willing to put in the hard work! TALKING TO THE DEAD I am of the opinion that talking to the dead (whether you believe you have a gift or not) is slightly. I fell foul myself of the 'don't judge too hastily' rule many years ago. Yes. My job was to welcome the audience. it's what the paying audience have chosen (free will and all that) to experience. Remember that the vast majority of times this is done with a good heart. . I was working as a host at a mediumship show.performing 5 nights a week – and this hard work results in an estimated pay packet (split between himself and his entourage) of approximately £4000 per week. well. introduce the medium (NOT The Medium himself that we are concentrating on in this manuscript). icky unless handled incredibly sensitively.
” continued the medium. his mummy.After introducing the medium. isn't it? But wait. I took my seat by the side of the stage. a baby!” The woman now started to cry and her mother put her arm around her. and so I hurriedly left the room. to know that everything is all right. He's not in pain. and then he stopped mid-sentence. He looked down at a woman in the audience. “There's a child with you. As the host of the event I felt myself responsible for the well-being of the guests. a spirit child. The medium started by explaining how his 'gift' worked.” The woman looked at her mother and tears welled in her eyes. She stood up and ran out of the room. The medium persisted. pursuing the two women and silently cursing the medium for what I . They're with you now.” The woman was by now crying heavily. “This is your baby. “No. He wants you. this time in her mid-forties and was clearly the younger woman's mother. no. “Not a child. Pointing at the younger woman. the medium said. it's not even really a baby! This was a stillbirth! But the child is safe now. She was perhaps in her mid-twenties and sat beside her was another woman. followed by her mother.
I can only apologise. I DO NOT advocate suddenly doing a centre-tear and claiming the knowledge came from the volunteer's dead relatives. The woman and her mother were just outside the doors to the room where the show was.considered to be a dirty trick. It will help us to add emotional resonance and power to our work. By examining how a medium works we will be able to take that knowledge into our work as entertainers & mind-readers. Don't you see? It's the most wonderful thing I've ever heard. I will be reporting his actions to the event company first thing in the morning. I can get on with the rest of my life. “No. Take it from me.” HOW WILL THIS BOOK HELP ME AS A MENTALIST/MINDREADER? I believe that I have already covered this subject. The baby's okay now. I approached them and said. and said. “I am so. tears still rolling down her cheeks. but I want to make sure we're all on the same page.” The younger woman looked up at me. However what I do think is that . no. so sorry.
the performer) talking with understanding to another person (your volunteer). your volunteer and audience will buy into you readily and easily. body language. NLP. You understand your volunteer. you know what makes her tick. . A good medium is not screaming “Look at me! Look at me!” (although I've seen some bad mediums who do exactly that). “I understand you.” That simple phrase. A good medium is saying.understanding the power of a performance based purely on audience interaction (no props. and you approve of her. that simple emotion. in my eyes you're a winner. Do not say it in so many words. but have that emotion as the foundation upon which to build a routine. If your intention is to empower and improve rather than belittle and out-smart. They will see you as an understanding person. and not some idiot who just wants to hog the limelight and prove to the world how clever he is. no gimmicks) can help us to appreciate the simple beauty and resonance of one person (you. is incredibly powerful. With those phrases/feelings underpinning each routine. And it really doesn't matter whether your back-story is psychic. or simply “weird stuff happens to me”. you appreciate her.
and running events in the same circuit of cities and towns. This idea could not be further from the truth. The Medium's audience is made up of 50% new people (who have never seen him before) and 50% regulars (people who. for around 8 years now. with people attending after being recently bereaved. have seen him previously). It is a general misconception by people who have never been to a mediumship 'demo' that these events are very sombre affairs. but he tends to stick to the same towns and cities and has built up a loyal following who will attend his events almost every time he appears in their locale. The Medium has been working in this fashion. Most mediumship demos that I have been to (and I've been . but I have noticed a slight change over the past year or so and more men are starting to attend The Medium's events.AUDIENCE MAKE-UP As we shall see later. The hotels he works in may vary from time to time. This percentage will vary obviously. I would estimate now that 75% are female. The vast majority of the audience (some 90%) used to be female. like me. but it is an accurate generalisation.
meet friends. GOOD VENUES/BAD VENUES The choice of venue can often dictate just how successful an event will be. . and where those sitting towards the back do not feel like they are being ignored or are out of touch. there will be one or two for whom this is primarily about the hope of getting a message.to many) resemble a girls night out where the primary intention is to have fun. not too spacious. not a pilgrimage. have a glass or two of wine. Spiritualist churches tend to be far more sombre affairs. and enjoy a mysterious show where there is the possibility that a deceased relative will 'come through'. It is a social event. the high point being the tea and biscuits served after the service! Although mediumship demos and Spiritualist churches have much in common – mediumship – they are very different beasts. Yes. where The Medium can quickly and easily interact with the audience. but for the vast majority the whole point of the evening is more to do with spending time with friends. The type of venue that always seems to work best is nicely intimate.
hold their hand. kneel besides them. particularity if the expected audience numbers dictate the use of a larger hall. how inclusive and friendly he is. If he can work without the aid of a microphone. If unsure of exactly how many audience members can be expected. or place a reassuring hand on a shoulder. This is done by the way he speaks.In a nice. Although. using a microphone is preferable to an audience not being able to hear what The Medium is saying! A nice intimate room is always far preferable to a large modern hall with a high roof and plastic seating. intimate venue. airy. Of course it is not always possible to use an intimate setting. He can physically walk out amongst the audience. All of this shall be covered shortly. then all the better as this aids the feeling of intimacy and friendship. intimate setting it is easy for The Medium to establish rapport with the audience. The real trick then of The Medium is to attempt to make even the most modern. plastic-seated venue feel like it is a cosy. and by how quickly good rapport is established. of course. it is always better to err on the side of caution. The sight of many empty seats .
a success. Subconsciously the audience may feel that the event is somehow a failure due to the fact that it has not attracted the estimated number of attendees. . With removable seating. The Medium usually attracts audiences of between 100 and 200. If however the venue was set up with 100 seats and each seat is filled. the venue can feel very empty.can have a detrimental affect on the atmosphere. If the seating is set up for 200 and only 100 people turn up. it is essential that a walkway is set up in the middle of the seats to allow The Medium easy access to all sections of the audience. This ensures that The Medium is able to approach and stand close to all sections of the audience. In the case of removable seating. then the event is deemed. subconsciously. it is far preferable to have to put out extra seating due to queues of people waiting to enter the venue than have a hall half-full with empty seats. from front to back.
The psychic artist. he is not spending time doing what he is best at – namely delivering messages – but is spending his time as a messenger boy for the artist. The lesson from this is simple. However the psychic artist is not particularly good and The Medium seems to spend half the evening trying to get drawings to fit with audience members. it gives an added dimension to the evening and the audience seem to be getting more bang for their buck. the psychic artist would attempt to draw a picture of the father). Initially this might sound like a good idea. allegedly. draws pictures of spirits that she is 'picking up on' (usually the spirit that The Medium is addressing at that moment in time – so if The Medium was passing on a message to a lady in the audience from her deceased father.KEEP IT SIMPLE Occasionally The Medium will work alongside a psychic artist. If they are better than yourself then they will outshine you. This then reflects badly on The Medium. If you do . and if they are not as good as you then this will reflect poorly on you. Do not share the stage with another performer.
have them work as a warm-up act. These are either mailed out to those who purchase in advance. or are handed to everyone who pays on the door. setting the scene for your arrival. But be aware that the world of entertainment abounds with stories of warm-up acts that were far superior to the 'headline' act! SHOWTIME! A facsimile of The Medium's ticket may be of interest. .wish to present your audience with another performer.
. Any guidance or advice is offered simply for consideration. and results cannot be guaranteed. are free to leave before we begin. Those who stay do so of their own free will. Anyone who is of a nervous disposition.EVENING OF CLAIRVOYANCE ADMIT ONE * Mobile phones to be switched off Filming and recording prohibited Remain seated during performance Tonight's demonstration is to be considered a form of scientific experiment. or consider themselves vulnerable.
the doors closed. and the clock pointing to 7. the show can begin. “Hello ladies and gentlemen. The Medium attracts a high percentage of repeat customers (people who have seen him before) and he always takes time to say hello and talk to familiar faces. Before the show has begun he is demonstrating to his audience what a nice guy he is.The Medium's show ('demo') usually lasts from 7. they were hard work!” . The Medium can be seen helping to place out extra chairs (if required) and chatting amiably with people as they take their seats. The doors open at 7pm. The Medium sits on a stool and gently and very amiably welcomes the audience. With the audience seated. and welcome to tonight's show.30pm. with a half hour interval. I've just got back from working down in XXXX (a town/city far away) and let me tell you. they're a grumpy bunch down there! God. allowing plenty of time for people without tickets to purchase theirs on the night. As the audience begin to arrive.30pm until 10pm. and anyone who is attending with a slightly combative frame of mind finds themselves being gently won over. Can I just say how nice it is to be back in XXXX (name of town/city).
At this point around 50% of the audience will raise their hands. Now they're going to be a good audience because they don't want The Medium to think that they're as bad as those grumps down in XXXX! It's the oldest trick in the book of course. “I do apologise to those of you who have been here before or who have seen me working before. People are people. bring someone through for me!' (At this point the audience will be . Firstly there's this kind. but it still works. and a good ego stroke will generally win them over. “Firstly. Tell them they're great and they'll love you for it! “Now before we start. So-called Medium! Prove yourself to me. (The Medium crosses his arms and looks stern). This is the 'Come on then Mr.This is usually met with laughter. Their egos have been gently stroked. but there are a few points I have to highlight before we start. there are 3 different kinds of people who make up my audience. and the audience members feel good about themselves. and The Medium has within a single sentence won them over. ladies and gentlemen can I just ask who has seen me before? Who has been to one of my events before?” continues The Medium.
just tell me. “The third kind. 'I'm not coming through to speak to that grumpy old sod!' (More laughter) “The second kind is this. you won't die of embarrassment. Just say 'No thanks'.laughing). if he brings someone through for me I will absolutely die!' Well let me tell you. Why should they? They'll probably think. I'm not here to show you up or make you look silly. that's fine. come through and give me a message!' (Laughter) . if someone comes through for you. well. and if a message comes through for you I will do my utmost to be considerate and caring. and if you're putting out negative energy then there's no way that anyone of yours in the spirit realm is going to come through. We need to work as a team. I really like the third kind. And if you really do not want me to pass on a message to you. and I'll move on. (The Medium looks bright and attentive). I'm here to help. I promise you. but I also need you to be open-minded. push yourself forward. This is 'Come on mother. It's good to be sceptical and it's good to be questioning. It's really not a problem. (The Medium bows his head down and attempts to hide behind an upturned hand) This is 'Oh my God. Well.
ladies and gentlemen.” This opening spiel serves many important purposes. The nature of mediumship. friendly. Each show is completely dependent on the audience to either make that show a success or a failure. the evening is more about The Medium and the audience working together. There is no sense here of The Medium having to impress the audience with his abilities. So please. and to work in unison with The Medium.“But in all seriousness. That means that in most cases members of the audience could truthfully reply 'yes I understand' or 'no I don't understand' to every statement thrown their way. is such that they tend to always be somewhat vague and open to interpretation. The audience is encouraged to be positive. I'm here to help and a show is only as good as an audience. and the nature of the messages that are passed on. The show is all about individual audience members asserting that they understand (it is essentially an ungimmicked Q&A session). and I'm sure you've spotted most of them already. so how does The Medium ensure that his audience members 'play along' and assert agreement? By . let's all work together and help the spirits of your loved ones come through.
and tells them to not be challenging or uncooperative. if you think I might be talking about you or about a loved one of yours. either in this world or the spirit world. It is easier and nicer to agree with what The Medium is saying than to be combative. if The Medium calls out a name or a date. There will be a whole queue of spirits trying to get through tonight to pass on their messages. right at the start. The Medium continues his preamble: “Now if I call out a name or a date and you think that the message might be for you. and disagree. don't wait quietly at the back assuming that I'll find you eventually. put your hand up and let me know. The Medium strokes their egos. will get pushed right to the back of the queue.being friendly. So please. it isn't The Medium's fault. a fly in the ointment. and if you don't acknowledge them right away. and by telling the audience. It is a member . amiable. I won't. and nobody in the room accepts it. the one who came through to try and talk to you. that they need work with The Medium. another spirit will barge in and get their turn and your spirit. okay?” This paragraph is very clever as it essentially informs the audience that if a message is not accepted. tells them how great they are. put your hand up quickly! Don't hang around.
And The Medium has double the chance of hitting because he said that names and dates could relate to a spirit or someone still alive. “I have a Dave here. It's time to talk to dead people! THE 'TRICK' The following explanation assumes that The Medium is not really receiving his information from the spirit realm. It's having the balls to stand up and do it. It also ensures that there will be a ready stream of volunteers ready to accept a message based on only the vaguest of details. The preamble and the introduction is over. This assumption may be erroneous and I am perfectly willing to accept that.of the audience who was too slow. too shy. or perhaps even too stupid to accept it. anybody know a Dave?” and of course several hands in the room will be raised. However as most mentalists and mind-readers will not be receiving any information from the . This isn't rocket science. There now follows a typical interaction between The Medium and an audience member.
The Medium may jokingly lambaste the audience for not raising their hands quickly enough and move on to the next 'spirit' that is trying to come through. So he will call out simply.spirit realm. try another date/name and see if anyone bites this time. probably 23rd or 24th? Does that mean anything to anyone?” In a room full of between 100 and 200. The 'spirits' that come through are usually deceased parents or grandparents. essentially. Would the name Dave mean anything to anyone?” or “I have the month of June. “I have the name Dave. He will. and The Medium will make a judgement call as to who he is going to work with. Very often more than one hand will be raised. I will continue on the assumption that a technique needs to be employed in order to engage the audience and get them to bite. the odds are acceptably high that someone will make a connection and raise their hand. The main tool of The Medium (and with most mediums) is names and dates. If no hands are raised. This can be judged by the age of the guest that The Medium is engaging with. Does the month of June mean anything. towards the end of the month. Someone in their 20's is more likely to be contacted by a .
to fill in the gaps and make the connections. wasn't she?” In any show the second most popular spirit to come through will be deceased husbands/wives. to confirm the nature of their relationship with the spirit. he can quickly save the situation by saying. Perhaps the most important part of the trick is to listen. The Medium needs to start quite vaguely. there will also be a smattering of deceased siblings and friends. Again. “Ah yes. but The Medium should not (if the guest is shy or not forthcoming) be afraid to ask . talk about the date or the name. As the make-up of the audience is mainly female.grandparent. Following parents/grandparent and husbands/wives. someone in their 40's/50's. I was getting a very strong sense of motherly love. that makes sense. this can be judged by the age of the guest. the deceased husband is obviously more common. Your grandmother was very much like a second mother in a lot of ways. grandmother. right?” when actually it is a grandparent. And if The Medium makes a bad judgement call and says “This is your mother. to allow the guest time and opportunity to speak. a parent.
“Yes. so of course it's the 16th!” That's a hit! The Medium continues. Perhaps the 15th or the 17th. The Mediums calls out. “I'm getting a date. For this reason a date is a good opening gambit. Jack. Who's Jack?” Guest: “That's my son!” . March. around the middle. “I'm also getting a name. I think that's me!” The Medium: “Okay darling. Does that date mean something to you?” Guest: “The 16th March is my birthday!” The Medium: “Ah. Does this mean anything to anyone?” The audience member replies. the 16th! I was getting between the 15th and the 17th.outright for clarification. around the 15th. I'm getting the middle of March.
“Oh. she loved to .” Here's a nice little move that The Medium will employ. and she's saying what a blessing little Jack is! She wants you to know that she's always around you. “Oh. looking out for you. Not my grandfather.The Medium: “And is it your grandparents in spirit?” Guest: “My grandmother.” The Medium: “She's here now darling.” The Medium. she always wanted to look her best. she's a bit of a character your grandmother! She's dressed very smartly. The Medium may continue. He will pepper these short periods by saying something like. perfect! If the guest isn't sure. I'm telling you my darling. “Hmm? What's that? Speak up my darling? Thank you. continues. and she's telling me that she loved to dance! Does that make sense?” If the guest confirms that it makes sense. At certain points he will stop mid-sentence as though waiting for an inaudible voice to speak to him.
dance! She's dancing for me now and she's dancing to bring her love through to you and little Jack!” At this point The Medium has the guest and the audience hooked. This is a 'strong connection'. your grandmother is letting me know about the little girl as well. he has had a few good hits and has turned a few misses into hits by clever footwork. Now it's time to go for a few more solid hits.” . Let's examine a few different options: The Medium: “Do you have any other children. darling? A girl?” Guest: “Yes!” The Medium: “Is she older than Jack?” Guest: “Yes!” The Medium: “Yes. safe in the knowledge that he can always turn any miss into an acceptable hit.
or The Medium: “Do you have any other children.” The Medium: “Ooh! Well this is interesting! Because your grandmother is telling me about a little girl! It's not possible that you're pregnant is it?” Guest: “Yes! Yes I am!” or The Medium: “Do you have any other children. darling? A girl?” Guest: “No. no other children.” The Medium: “Ooh! Well this is interesting! Because your grandmother is telling me about a little girl! It's not possible that you're pregnant is it?” . darling? A girl?” Guest: “No. no other children.
she's younger. The Medium (laughing): “Take it from me.Guest: “No! I don't think so anyway!” Much good-natured laughter ensues among the audience. darling! I'm not often wrong! You just wait and see!” or The Medium: “Do you have any other children. darling? A girl?” Guest: “Yes!” The Medium: “Is she older than Jack?” Guest: “No. tell me something. Does the little girl sometimes act more grown up than Jack? Almost like she's got an old head .” The Medium: “Younger? Okay then.
It is purely down to how quickly and comfortably The Medium can get the audience on his side. yes she does!” The Medium: “Because your grandmother wants you to know that the little girl is very special. It is something that some people can do naturally and it is also something that some people will .on her shoulders? Even though she's only young. and it is easy to win over an audience and a guest and get them believing in you and your abilities. lots of talking about people being 'special'. but I'll just say this: that little girl is very special and your grandmother is watching over her. It's just that the trick isn't some great unfathomable secret. a near-miss can always be turned into a hit. Lots of flattery. With the audience on his side he can take them anywhere he wants to. sometimes she'll act or look so grown up?” Guest: “Yes. but it's not really. darling. I don't know if you believe in reincarnation at all.” By being light on his feet and being quick witted. I say 'easy'. lots of love watching over us.
“It's not you! I'm sorry darling. The Medium will clap his hands and say. following our imaginary exchange above. I'm going to leave you with your grandmother's love and move on! August 21st! Coming through very strongly! Who connects with August 21st?” And the game starts again. get a bite. The Medium may say. “August 21st! What's August 21st!” If the guest exclaims. and quickly cast again. However if the guest looks confused and is unable to make any connection with the date (or name – a name can be used just as easily). Cast the line out. The Medium will keep pushing his luck until he reaches a cul-de-sac. Something that is worth bearing in mind is that The Medium tours with the . with the hits only becoming more impressive. “That's Jack's birthday!” or “That's my wedding anniversary!” the 'connection' is allowed to continue. And this is. keep pulling until the line snaps. Once a good connection is established.never be able to do. the whole show. no matter how many books they read. For example. But we will look at this again in a short while. essentially.
The audience are the stars. nothing that can be perceived as cold reading has been uttered by The Medium. And the fact that every audience is different. He has no need to change the act. no use for fancy gimmicks or gizmos. but they will never be identical. made up of a infinite combination of different people.same show 5 nights a week. All he needs is an audience. 50 weeks of the year. and has been doing for close to a decade. No two shows will be the same because no two interactions will be the same. As we have seen thus far. they will be similar (and that's a good thing. However having seen The . all The Medium has to do is ride that beast for 2 hours with a 30 minute interval! THE UNSAVOURY BARNUM STATEMENTS Many in the mentalism community dismiss what mediums do as simple cold reading. he knows that each act will be different. Yes. He doesn't have to worry that his act is getting stale or that people have seen it before. The very fact that people know what they are going to get when they see him is a plus point! He doesn't need to invest in new equipment or worry that electronic gadgets will fail him when he needs them most. no need to put in new ideas. the formula is a winning formula). they bring the show with them.
. • He/she wants you to know that they don't mind that you weren't there when they passed. and I am not suggesting that you use them. I recount them here purely for research purposes (as they say).Medium perform many times there are some statements that he does seem to come back to again and again. I would never use them (mainly because I don't talk to the dead!). The statements that The Medium tends to use usually concentrate on the manner and nature of the spirit's death (their 'passing'). • He/she lost a lot of weight towards the end. It wasn't meant to be. They are not Barnum Statements (which I will not repeat here as they are readily available in many other publications or the internet). I find them a little bit 'icky' and I call them the Unsavoury Barnum Statements. but there were some laughs and he/she is very pleased that there was fun. You remember looking at them and thinking how small they looked. but they do seem to be sprinkled through his show in a way that perhaps one would sprinkle Barnum Statements around if one felt the need. They were there one moment and gone the next. • He/she says the funeral was funny. because of this. Therefore. • He/she says thank you for the flowers. • He/she passed very quickly at the end.
even if they make no sense to you at all. All injuries or illnesses are washed away. they're looking a lot healthier now. there is an intense amount of pressure to simply say 'yes' and go along with it. there is a lot of social compliance going on at a mediumship show. I can tell you that when the medium is pointing at you and is throwing names/dates/facts at you. Having been selected by a medium several times at several shows myself. (This is referencing the body in the coffin and the relative stroking or brushing the hair of the deceased) • He/she has put the weight back on now. simply to get the spotlight off you. SOCIAL COMPLIANCE Perhaps in a similar way to a hypnosis show. It seems far easier to just agree to things that the medium is saying. If you also like the medium.• He/she wants to thank you for doing their hair. their appearance changes back to when they were at their prime. if you have warmed to him. • It is pointed out that when a person dies and they go to heaven/summerland/spirit realm. there is also the fact that .
'I think so'. 'a little'. And for some it will never happen. because I know how this works (I think). in my head I'm hearing the audience member trying to say 'no' but being unable to do so. that pressure does not come to bear. HOW TO MAKE THE AUDIENCE LIKE YOU This is a skill that some lucky souls seem to be able to demonstrate quite naturally. or something in their tone of voice that means for whatever reason an audience can't warm to them. and 'I think so'. 'maybe'. all of which sound awfully like 'yes'. Often it is down to the fact that the . if you think he is an idiot. However whenever I hear an audience member reply to a statement from a medium with phrases such as 'sort of'. There is something about their demeanour. therefore it is of supreme importance that the audience like the medium and have no desire to make him look a fool. But that doesn't matter because the rest of the audience are hearing 'sort of'. 'maybe'. You may decide to play along simply to make life easier for the medium. Obviously if you dislike the medium.you may not want to upset him or make him look silly. For others it comes with a little practice. something in their walk.
the audience will pick up on it and will know instinctively. that means an audience will always struggle to like some people. 1. This does not mean that you cannot dress smartly – of course you can. However. But be warned that this style of dress must be entirely congruent with your character. Sometimes it is just a certain something. A little bit of individuality in the mode of dress is expected. Dress in a manner that leads the audience to believe that you do not see yourself as being better than them. for most it is a skill that with a little experience and selfbelief can be acquired. Let us examine how to get an audience to like you.performer is nervous and tries to compensate for this nervousness by behaving in an overly confident manner. may lead an audience to believe you see yourself as being somehow 'above' them. and to like you quickly. too stuffy a shirt and tie. open-toed sandals. etc. But overt displays of wealth. or by being sharp tongued. A medium (and to some extent a mentalist) can get away with wearing a new age style outfit: kaftan. too much jewellery. a je ne sais pas. A smart suit and shirt is often enough. we are talking about . luckily. If you're just pretending.
be quick to poke fun at yourself and to play down your own abilities. open yourself up to the audience. You are normal yet blessed with a gift that you are eternally grateful for. and all you want to do is share this gift. 3. the fact that you feel uncomfortable will transmit itself to your audience. If you absolutely hate wearing a shirt and tie. and the one thing they will remember about you afterwards is the fact that you kept tugging away at the collar of your shirt all night long! Look at how the mediums on TV dress. 2. Walk out into the audience (so far as possible). Use open armed gestures. Be very cautious about poking fun at the audience or individuals in the audience unless it is done in a warm-hearted manner. If they want to talk. 4. be earnest.mediums and mind-readers here. Kneel down beside . let them. Be self-depreciating. Try not to look like a bank manager. The most important point of all is to wear what you feel most comfortable in (within reason). Be interested in audience members. smart enough but still able to relate to the man on the street. do not walk out onto stage wearing them! Your body language will be all wrong. not yours. This is their show.
put a reassuring hand on their shoulder. 'my love'. gets the peek. The performer then switches the billet. 'angel'. He therefore throws this name/date out to the wider audience. This he claims is because the link has been broken and the name/date belongs to someone else in the audience.people as you engage with them. someone bites. . The Medium ends the interaction when a further name or date doesn't hit. and wrap it around a standard mentalist routine. and the process begins again. dismiss the 'talking to the dead' bit. For the purpose of our demonstration we will use a simple billet switch routine. and at the end of the routine hands the original billet back to the volunteer as a memento. The billet switch routine comprises simply of a volunteer writing down the Christian name of their first boyfriend/girlfriend. HOW DOES ALL THIS HELP MY MENTALISM? The Medium starts each interaction by throwing out a name(s) and/or date(s). Let us take that framework. Address them with terms of endearment such as 'darling'. Don't be afraid to hug them or shake their hand.
The name is Mary. Mary is a very common name so we should not be surprised that there is more than one in the room. Rather than simply choosing a volunteer at random or throwing a giant beach ball out into the audience. do we have a Mary in the room tonight?” Three hands are raised. but it is a hit. Does April mean anything to any of our Marys?” . let us take a leaf from The Medium's show. “Ah.The first thing that is needed is a volunteer. “we have more than one Mary! No wonder I was picking up on it so strongly! (This is hit # 1. I'm feeling the name very strongly. the ball is rolling) The performer continues: “I'm also getting the month of April. “I'm picking up on a name.” begins the performer. Let's open the doors to chance. and let it walk in and help us out. the start of your demonstration. you correctly divined the fact that there was at least one Mary in the room. It isn't a big hit. “Ladies and gentlemen. That's very strong too.” says the performer.
He correctly 'picks up on' the name of her first boyfriend.” says Mary.” Mary steps forward.” .” says the performer. “Joe is my current boyfriend!” “Ah. Following this the performer says. “he's over there. can you tell me who Joe is?” “Oh my god!” exclaims Mary. Is Joe here tonight?” “Yes. and the performer conducts the billet routine outlined above. my birthday is in April!” “Fantastic!” says the performer. I think this is very definitely you! Will you step forward and join us? And many thanks to the other Marys who put their hands up – thank you. “And Mary. “I was getting a very strong sense of Mary and April. “Yes. “that makes perfect sense.One Mary calls out.
What does that mean?” Mary looks puzzled.” says the performer.” “Okay!” says the performer. The performer has a second volunteer for his next routine. “Late June? The 27th. Who does that make sense to? There's somebody in the audience who June 27th or thereabouts belongs to. who is it?” A hand in the audience is raised.The performer turn to the audience and says hello to Joe. “It's not you Mary. “So!” says the performer. Can't think of anything. “One last thing. . something like that. “No. It's someone else. Can we thank Mary please? Give her a big round of applause as she makes her way back to her seat!” The audience applaud and Mary returns to the audience. “June 24th or maybe the 27th? Something like that? Late June. I'm picking up on someone else in the audience. so I need to move on. not sure about that.
He is going to call out essentially random names and/or dates that he is 'picking up on' in order to select a volunteer. if for instance it had been somebody's birthday or an anniversary. But that is not how it will be perceived by the audience or the volunteer. Time to move on. Straight away he knew the name. He can be confident because he knows that the odds are in his favour that a common name or a vague date will mean something to someone in the audience. He knows this routine is strong and will elicit the required sense of wonder. the performer does not panic. The date doesn't belong to Mary. and Mary's time in the limelight is over. the birthday. It's all quite simple. then the performer would have gone along with that. Confident in this he can wrap this routine in something that is a little more open-ended. As far as they are concerned the performer was picking up all sorts of details about them right from the beginning. of course not! It belongs to someone else in the audience.Now. . Of course it belonged to Mary! But since Mary wasn't willing to take the date. So the performer is safe in the knowledge that he has a good strong mainstream mentalism routine (doesn't have to be a billet. could be whatever you favour) at the heart of the presentation. if Mary has accepted the late June date. of course.
“Who does the name Joe belong to? Why am I picking up the name Joe?” . That doesn't hit. No problem. that was the first hit. To that volunteer and to the audience though. He randomly picks another name. a book test for example) at its heart. the performer pushes his luck. back to your seat. no problem. then great! More hits! However if the name 'Joe' had meant nothing to Mary. To the performer it is simply a random name thrown out to select a random volunteer. In our example it hits. the first demonstration of the performer's uncanny abilities. Once the mainstream mentalism routine (in our example the billet peek) is finished. on with the show. It belongs to someone else. He then pushes his luck a touch further with the June date. thanks Mary. Original volunteer returns to her seat and the process starts again (perhaps with a different mentalism routine.then he went on to get the name of the first boyfriend and the name of the latest boyfriend! It is just one hit after another. Of course Joe doesn't belong to Mary. it's for someone else. If Mary had also accepted the late June date.
As far as the audience are concerned the fault is not with the performer but with Mary who didn't volunteer herself. And if no-one in the audience puts up there hand. Obviously Mary was too shy or not quick enough putting up her hand. it is drama. no mess to clean up. ENDING THE SHOW When the time comes to thank the audience for attending and to say 'good night'. it is performance. It's completely clean. And you have that amazing billet/book test/whatever routine just waiting to blow them all away. She missed her chance. if for example there were no Marys in the audience? Well you covered all this in your preamble. it's just the performer calling out names. and there's no pre-show involved. The Medium is as always the perfect host. Time to throw out another name. This is all build-up. The hits start right from the off. He is humble and thankful that people have taken the time to attend tonight's show. do not panic! Your next name or date will hit.So there is no random volunteer selection. If this happens. But it's all hits. It all means something. he hopes . it is ratcheting up the tension.
“Drive carefully because the next time I'm here I don't want it to be you coming through from the spirit realm saying 'Bloody hell! Wish I'd driven a bit more carefully!'” . He may even make a little joke along the lines of.that people have found some comfort. and he wishes them all a safe and comfortable onward journey. hope and understanding from the messages that have been passed on.
But be warned. you know. I strongly advise it. that can be entertaining too! Thanks for being there! Paul Voodini March 2013 . If you get the opportunity to see a medium at work. not all mediums are good at what they do! You might find yourself witnessing a show that has you cringing with embarrassment or stifling the sniggers! But. and have seen how techniques from that world can be incorporated into the world of mentalism to provide a more powerful and personal performance.AFTERWORD I hope you have enjoyed this little foray into the world of the medium. particularly in what might be considered an entertainment setting.
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