Mischief - Radical Hypnosis & Mind-Control
by Ian Harling and Martin Nyrup
Reviewed by Ian Keable
That this book is rather a hotchpotch is not a surprise when you discover that it’s an amalgamation of two of the authors’ earlier books, Sleight of Mind and Geist, together with an additional 100 pages thrown in for good measure. To my mind it almost reads like four separate books, the meat being very much in the middle.
The first few chapters are a summary of non-verbal cues and other NLP-type procedures (such as looking at somebody’s eye movement, creating anchors, relaxing your helpers) that mind readers love to claim they use: even though I’ve never seen one yet who does. Perhaps you can try them out whilst sitting around in a pub with a few mates – but it’s really not something you can apply in the ‘heat of battle’ where you need to guarantee success.
The authors then move onto hypnosis and here they seem on much stronger ground. Everything is here from the experiments to try (some that work automatically - such as pulse stopping; some purely based on suggestion), through to why they work and the crucial scripting and presentational points. They are very good at defining what hypnosis is and what it can, and perhaps more importantly can’t, achieve. Anybody who wants to make some tentative steps of mixing hypnosis with mind reading would learn a considerable amount from these chapters – I certainly did.
Equally impressive are the next few chapters talking about geist: their own word to describe “the mechanism that your audience thinks makes an effect work.” This is required reading for all those wanabee-Derrens. There are three pages by Mentalist Henrik Fexeus on the subject which is almost worth the price of the book alone.
The final chapters of the book concentrate on tricks. There are certainly some clever and original ideas here, although I’m unconvinced with many that the method they are using is the best way of bringing about the effect. For instance using a gimmicked envelope to switch a note for a ‘number reading’ experiment seems a little over the top. However using the same gimmicked envelope for a straight ‘nail-writing’ prediction would be dynamite. They are also quite keen on tricks with numbers (those who are turned on by the Fibonacci Series will have a ball) – but I suspect their enthusiasm might be rather greater than the impact it would have on the average audience member.
Where they most definitely score, as in the hypnosis section, is on their scripting, presentational ideas and incorporating the ‘geist. As a result, even if you might not want to use their suggested methods, you could certainly adapt their patter for other mind reading effects.
I must confess I was rather distracted whilst reading the book; firstly, trying to determine where the authors are from and more about them (I do feel it’s relevant – if the writers are professional performers I would probably give them more credence); and secondly, why the book is called Mischief (whatever the word conjures up in your mind, I’ve got no idea – but I suspect it won’t have much to do with the subject matter of this book: and the sub-title doesn’t illuminate much either). ‘Googling’ both their names came up with nothing. There are several UK references – and the book is extremely well written and flows easily: however the book was printed in Denmark and most Scandinavians have a mastery of our language and knowledge of our culture that is humbling, so I suspect they are Danish.
The book is paperback, A4 in size and has 430 pages in large print; production values are fairly basic but, as with most mentalist’s books, you are very much paying for the content.
The book costs £35. The authors state in their introduction that “we’ve also been able to lower the price for Mischief significantly compared to Sleight of Mind and Geist.” Well according to my research, Geist is currently retailing at £34 and Sleight of Hand at £40. Maybe they are employing a little of their own ‘sleight of mouth’ NLP techniques and are actually referring to the combined total of Geist and Sleight of Mind.
Available from in the UK from www.magicshop.co.uk
© Ian Keable, July 2010