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Postmentalism by Alvo Stockman - Trick

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Postmentalism is impossible to film a standard demo for. The impact hits when your friend is sitting at home! So what I did was I told a handful of working pros (Tom Krzystof, Oz Pearlman, Paul Draper and Morgan Strebler) about the effect, what happens and then I gave them 24 hours to think of a method. Then I gave them a call the next day to chat. The following reactions are from those calls...

Before a major event (football game, election, etc), you offer to make a prediction to one of your friends. However in the interest of security, you don't want to hold on to the prediction yourself, nor do you want your friend to. You offer to mail the prediction in the form of a letter to your spectator's house, using the US Postal Service. In this way, it would be a felony to tamper with it!

You write the prediction, put it in an envelope, address it, put a stamp on it, and hand it to your friend. You then invite him to put the letter in any mailbox in town.

The following day (or whenever the letter happens to arrive), alone at home, your friend's brain will slowly disassemble itself and finally shut down, trying to figure out how you knew.

YES. It's as clean and straight-forward as it sounds. There's absolutely nothing misleading in this description. Get ready to be talked about, this is a reputation maker.

[excerpt from the manuscript]

Introduction

In envelopes, pockets, folded billets, and boxes, written predictions have become a standard theme in magic. Its easy to see why. The ability to predict the future is something central to being human. In fact, some consider it the most important measure of intelligence. The ability to be prepared for future events is a critical survival skill. Even in our day to day lives, weathermen, stock analysts, marketers, politicians, lawyers, and hundreds of other occupations are focused around the outcome of future events. Predicting the future is a theme everyone can relate to and see the value of.

The focus of any prediction effect inevitably comes down to its integrity.

When a television escape artist puts on chains, traditionally he will have a privately hired member of the local police force examine them to make sure the handcuffs he is using are legitimate. In this way, a 3rd party has vouched to the audience for the effect's integrity.

There are a couple of drawbacks to this when performing casually for friends. First, most of us are not under 24 hour police surveillance. This makes contracting a member of local law enforcement impractical. And second, even when a privately or even "randomly" selected police officer is chosen from an audience during a stage show, their legitimacy is still in question. Are they really a police officer or an actor who is part of the show? Each time a question like this is asked, it chips away precious credibility from the performance.

In a written prediction effect (particularly between a mentalist and a single individual), there is a dilemma of who to entrust with the prediction until the time of revelation.

If the mentalist holds onto it, the details could be discretely changed (as they often are), compromising the integrity of the prediction. If the spectator holds onto it, they could read it and possibly change the outcome, also compromising the original prediction.

Ideally we would have an escrow style trusted 3rd-party agent who could hang on to the prediction for us until after the predicted event. There would also be severe penalties for either side to tamper with the prediction.

The solution I propose in Postmentalism is to use the US Postal Service to mail a prediction to your friend's home.

Benefits

Buildup

Anticipation is a huge part of pleasure. It's what makes Christmas mornings, 16th birthdays and Fridays so much juicier. In Postmentalism, your spectator will be looking forward to receiving this mysterious prediction from you for at least a day or two, listening for the mailman and anticipating what it could be.

Private Reaction

I touched on this concept in my effect "Mix Tape". Regardless of whether you're performing on stage or walk-around, it's impossible to get a truly honest reaction from someone as long as you're watching them. By sending the prediction to their home, your spectator is somewhere they feel safe, comfortable, relaxed and most importantly, alone, to react completely genuinely to your performance. It's obviously a different kind of performance where you don't get to see a "freak-out" moment, but one that hits hard and will be remembered forever regardless.

Souvenir

In many tricks, the spectator is left with some scrap of signed card that the magician gives to them (usually to avoid having to walk it over to the waste basket) with the belief that they will cherish it and remember them fondly forever. The problem is that usually it's a meaningless shred of a performance. In Postmentalism, the spectator receives an envelope, addressed and mailed to them, delivered to their door the old fashioned way (which is only getting more memorable as email takes over), that they personally put in the mail. This envelope contains a full recount of what happened during the performance and any time they look back at it they will be able to relive the moment.

Postal Integrity

As far as middlemen go, it doesn't get much better than the USPS. It's actually a felony to tamper with the mail. Assuming both you and your spectator are performing outside the walls of a prison, this should be more than enough to convince them that no one has changed the prediction.

FAQ
Q: Will Postmentalism work with foreign postal services?

A: Yes! In fact, not only will it work in different countries, it even works when you're mailing from one country to another!

"I love it. How did you come up with this?? I have to ask!" -- Tom Krzystof

"That's sick. I'm going to use it for the next UFC fight." -- Morgan Strebler

"That's *!@#'n good. Really good. I'm going to use this." -- Oz Pearlman

"It's fantastic.. it's phenomenal.. I think it's great." -- Paul Draper

"I just came back from the future, and everyone there was doing this trick. Seriously." -- Alvo Stockman

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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 29 May, 2008.

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