The Logical Disconnect Post Teleseminar Notes
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The Logical Disconnect – Post Teleseminar Notes
Thank You Jheff and I would like to thank all of you for attending the “Logical Disconnect Teleseminar.” I am very happy with the positive feedback that I’ve received from many of you and I hope to “see” you at future teleseminars or at my live workshops/lectures. Thanks also to Anthony Blake, our fantastic tech guy and guru of the Artful Mentalism Web site. And, of course, very special thanks to my long time friend and confidante, Michael Weber, for the fine job he did as host and moderator. He is the only guy I know who understands exactly what I'm talking about before I say anything. He's also great at smoothly handling the unforeseen tech mishaps that can occur during a live interview – like when I once again got cut off the line in the middle of a sentence. He perfectly picked up right where I left off, and by the time I got reconnected, I don't think many people realized I had disappeared in the first place.
Bob Cassidy Post Teleseminar Notes
Following are some of the observations and questions that were submitted prior to and during the teleseminar that I was unable to address fully due to time constraints - even though we went nearly two hours! Many of these submissions were made on internet forums during pre-event discussions in which I had asked members for their thoughts and any things they would like me to cover either in the eBook or at the live event. I have edited the questions and observations for relevance and clarity and have removed the names of the posters for privacy reasons. Special thanks to all who participated! Note that the submitted questions and/or observations are in italics followed by my responses in standard type.
Is a logical disconnect as simple as false shuffling a stacked deck?
In a very general sense, yes, but not exactly. The logical disconnect, as I define the term, refers specifically to breaking a link in the logical chain that would allow an intelligent spectator who, even without a knowledge of our methods, would be able to reverse engineer an effect. In other words, if an effect can be figured out simply by applying observation and logic (as in many mathematical and self working tricks) it needs a logical disconnect to turn it into a strong piece of mentalism. In the teleseminar I discussed the logically-minded audience member who, simply by observation and deduction, was able to figure out the method of a prediction effect I performed back in my cruise ship days. (The effect was Jack London's “Almost Real Prediction” and the disconnect I later developed is explained in the Logical Disconnect eBook.)
The Logical Disconnect – Post Teleseminar Notes Could you share your views about using a "false recap" of events in an effect, to try to make the audience misremember or gloss over the actual sequence of events? Could this be used successfully as a logical disconnect? If so, in your view, what are some features of a false recap that could make it successful or unsuccessful?
Actually, while a false recap can be an effective presentational strategy, it is not really a logical disconnect. Our hypothetical “logically minded spectator of above average intelligence who has no actual knowledge of our secret methods” is one who will observe carefully and remember what he has seen, despite what you may say in a recap. In fact, if he notices that the recap does not jive with what he actually saw, he will likely interpret that inconsistency as a deliberate obfuscation by the performer and, thus, as a confirmation that his logical solution is correct. As you may have guessed, I'm not a big fan of false recaps. If your misdirection, routining, timing and blocking are effective, and you have inserted logical disconnects where necessary, you can, if it is dramatically necessary, actually give an accurate recap of what has apparently happened. Rule – Never lie when it isn't necessary. But, generally speaking, a recap should only be done if it effectively serves to build up dramatic tension. If you need a recap to explain to an audience what has happened, the effect you are doing is probably too complicated to begin with. Confusion is not an effective logical disconnect.
Are there ways, in your opinion, to try to make the audience less critically minded in the first place, such that they are less likely to want to pick apart and analyze how an effect was done? For instance, making yourself seem like their friend rather than their
Bob Cassidy adversary, or shifting the focus of the effect away from the effect itself and onto yourself, or a larger story, or some greater meaning, or on the entertainment or humorous aspects, etc. In other words, is there some degree to which one can disconnect an audience from the desire to analyze the effect logically? Absolutely. If an audience likes you, and you don't give the impression that you are challenging their intelligence, they will generally not be overly analytical of your performance. But the stronger you work, the more challenging you become, and that is where logical disconnects can be critical to the success of a performance. That has always been like walking a tightrope to me. I work strong and claim to be a mind-reader. That's why I intentionally inject self-deprecatory humor and out of character asides into my performances. And it's also why, for me, logical disconnects are so critical.
I would like to hear your opinion about the use of the SUC (Sight Unseen Case). When I use the SUC for a design duplication or a secret reading of information, in the back of my head there is a soft voice that asks why I had to put a billet in this case. Kind of 'mentalists guilt' perhaps...?! Do you think the SUC needs a (routine with an inherent) logical disconnect? Or is the SUC just to consider as an 'invisible prop', although the voice in my head tells me otherwise? This is a problem that is inherent in all routines involving peek wallets, envelopes or other containers. As we discussed in the teleseminar, the easiest way to justify these
The Logical Disconnect – Post Teleseminar Notes things is by making them seem to create “test conditions” or simply as a means of making the test seem more difficult. My favorite way of using an SUC at a private party is to put it in my side jacket pocket and then leave my jacked draped over a chair on the other side of the room. During an effect, I will pocket write a prediction and then ask the participant if they could get my business card case from my jacket and bring it forward. When they hand the case to me I load the billet I just secretly wrote on, and remove it from the case. Do you see the disconnect there? I could have just as easily kept my jacket on or had the SUC case in my shirt pocket. But by making someone go across the room to retrieve the case for me, I've created the impression that the billet was no where near me during the set-up phase of the routine.
It occurred to me that with the popularity of the use of electronic devices, a discussion of how to use the logical disconnect with such things should definitely be included. I know you and I agree that they should largely be avoided, but there are two questions that need to be addressed: 1) If using an electronic device, how should one apply the logical disconnect? 2) If not using an electronic device, how should one apply the logical disconnect so as to thwart audience's thoughts that such a device might be used? We discussed this at length in the teleseminar, but it is worth reiterating my main points here. If you are using electronic devices you need to go out of your way to prove that you aren't using them. If you are not using electronic devices, you still need to go out of your way to prove you are not using them.
Bob Cassidy Ignore the foregoing at your own peril, for nowadays, hidden electronics, secret mirrors, microphones, high tech pads and writing implements, along with stooges, etc., are among the first things that even moderately skeptical modern audiences will suspect. I have always found it best to directly confront the issue in my presentation by positively “proving” that I don't use such devices. (And then, if necessary, I go ahead and use them anyway.)
I always thought that Stewart James' “Sefalaljia” [see Annemann's “Practical Mental Effects”] was a terrific effect and I'm strictly talking ONLY about the ball going into the glass. But the problem I had with it is that nobody could touch anything, hence the audience concludes that it's rigged! (Which it is.) Then I watched an old Kreskin DVD and saw how he handed the sponge ball to the spectator. She checked it out, gave it back to him & he put it in its place in the box. Of course, the box was turned so that you couldn't see inside - because the rigged ball was already in the box from the start. The 'examined' ball was squeezed into his hand as he brought the box around to display to the audience. I thought, "There's the Logical Disconnect." The ball was just examined. I love the foregoing example. It was contributed by my friend Mark Piazza and I felt I had to include it here since I didn't get to mention it in the teleseminar.
In one of Derren Brown's stage shows, I think it was the first one, he does a routine where one person is thinking of a number and a girl is told to start scribbling on a white board. When the white board is turned around you can make out a number from her scribbling, it is the number the spectator was thinking about.
The Logical Disconnect – Post Teleseminar Notes Now, I don't know how this routine worked but when I was watching it I thought that perhaps the marker doesn't work and because the girl was blindfolded she couldn't see that. Then, Derren picks up that same marker and starts writing on a pad on a easel. He didn't bring any attention to the marker, but by writing with that same marker he crushed my theory on how the effect worked. It was subtle but very effective. I am not sure if this is the type of thing you classify as a logical disconnect, but if my understanding of it is correct, I think it is. This is an excellent example of a subtle disconnect – the kind you don't point out but just kind of throw in their to keep the skeptics off track. It is very similar to the following observation contributed by one of our attendees: If you use a randomly generated audience member for a presentation and blindfold him for a reason - they will be blinded, and therefore act so naturally...if you then take the same blindfold and wear it yourself, you have indirectly proven it cannot be seen through... And there is a very good general rule to be found in both of these examples: Anything that you bring out for use in one routine only is much more likely to be suspected than articles you use throughout your performance in situations where it is subtly made clear that they are normal and ungimmicked.
I saw a performer performing a card effect and then spreading the backs of cards out for spectators to see while commenting on how they are not marked. For me, I find this strange because if you are really doing what you say you are doing, then of course the cards are not marked. I think simply passing the cards to someone to hold or giving them away to a spectator is a far more subtle and effective way of eliminating the spectator's theories on how our routines work. I am not sure if this example is relevant or not.
Bob Cassidy It's very relevant because it illustrates something that I discussed during the event. The example you gave would be contrary to the general rule of magic that says you shouldn't mention a method in order to prove you are not using it. For example, you don't show a deck of cards and say, “Here is a perfectly normal deck of cards.” But my position is that such rules do not apply in mentalism. I mention electronics to prove I am not using them, just as Kreskin often refers to those “special writing boards with carbon paper inside them” to prove that he wouldn't think of using one of those. While I probably would go quite so far ask to ask a spectator to examine a deck of cards for marks, I wouldn't hesitate to point out that it was a regular deck and then later make a big deal about letting a spectator keep it as a souvenir (if necessary, switching it for an ungimmicked deck beforehand.)
I do a "which hand" type of routine where a spectator hides a coin in one hand and a small battery in the other. My method of detecting where the coin is hidden is purely mechanical. For the climax I have the spectator hold just the coin. I write a prediction of the hand they will hide the coin in on the back of a business card, and drop it into an unsealed envelope. They bring out their hand and my prediction proves to be correct. The method is changed right at the end but with the same basic result. To me this is one interpretation of a logical disconnect. I agree. Mixing methods, while not changing outward appearances, is a very effective way of breaking logical links. For some reason most people who suspect a trick always seem to assume that there is only a single method. As Dr. Hooker once proved with his legendary Rising Cards, multiple methods can easily create inexplicable results.
The Logical Disconnect – Post Teleseminar Notes Can an intentional failure by a mentalist act as a logical disconnect? Yes, this can be a very effective strategy as you illustrated in the example you provided with your question: I'm fond of an effect called "Twist!" by Henry Fields which appeared in MAGICK #246 (Dec. 7, 1979). The performer asks a spectator to think of any 3 digit number, saying he will attempt to divine it and write it down on a small card. After saying the obligatory, "There. I am committed," the performer tosses his pencil to the floor and asks the spectator to name her first digit. The performer looks down at his card and reports that he did not get the first digit right. Moving on to the second digit, the performer acknowledges success. He admits failure again, however, for the third digit. When he turns his card around, he shows that he does indeed have the spec's number written down...only the digits are reversed (ex. "917" instead of "719")! I think this effect can be difficult for a mentalist to reconstruct, let alone an intelligent layperson. The thinking might go like this, "He must have somehow written the number after the spectator announced it. But wait...if he had done that, then he would have gotten it correct. So he must have written it down beforehand. That means he somehow must have been able to figure out what digits the spec was thinking of before she said them out loud...but how could he have done that...?"
Following are some interesting contributions by attendees that I feel stand on their own, and should provide you with some good food for thought:
One example of the "logical disconnect" idea is a "Triple Prediction" in which you use the One Ahead (or One Behind) method, but you apparently do not see or know the spectators' choices even after they are made.
Bob Cassidy I do three “card tricks” in a row. The first two use gaffed decks, and the third uses a memorized stack. The effects look like a steady progression (one long chain building to a climax). I’m switching in the decks, which the audience believes to be one single pack of cards. The final stack is truly random (nothing to “see”), and I leave it in a spectators hands afterward (they usually spend the rest of the night thumbing through that deck). Without saying anything at all, I have “proven” that I’m using a regular deck of cards. _______________________________________________________________________ "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains...however improbable...must be the truth." --Sherlock Holmes (via Arthur Conan Doyle) To be honest, I didn't know that the process of "leading-the-spectator-to-the-inevitableconclusion-that-it-MUST-be-real-because-there-can-be-no-other-explanation," even had a name. It does, it's called the Logical Disconnect. Use it well and use it wisely. As Dr. Bob says: Stay disconnected!