Many if not most magicians are skeptics.
They don’t believe in psychic phenomenon, ghosts, tarot cards, or real magic.
In fact, some can be antagonistic to anyone who does believe that the tarot can offer genuine insight, that our greatly loved departed can communicate with us from beyond the veil, or that telepathy is a proven scientific fact.
I believe in genuine psychic phenomenon and yet I practice legerdemain.
I am a student of mediumship and Spiritualism and yet I perform as a mentalist creating the illusion of genuine psychic events when no psychic event actually took place.
I have successfully relayed messages from the other side.
The vast majority of those I read the cards for come away with insights they lacked when they sat down.
I have also delighted audiences by making whisky bottles multiply on a table.
As antagonistic as magicians can be toward the genuinely psychic, the genuinely psychic can be at least as antagonistic to magicians in return. I understand why – it is because some magicians will accuse them of fraud where no fraud exists simply to gain publicity. Some magicians believe that if they can reproduce a psychic event by means of trickery then all psychic events are trickery. This of course is the equivalent of saying that if I can create a counterfeit dollar bill then all dollar bills are counterfeit. It makes no sense but that is the belief of many magicians since Houdini.
It is the fact that I am both magician and psychic that makes me an anomaly and often not welcome by either magicians or psychics.
For years I actively practiced magic, illusion, and mentalism, or I actively sought to develop my skills as a psychic but until now I never mixed the two. How could I when the two camps are so at odds?
The answer is not found in the ideology of either camp but in my personality alone.
I have been a magical performer since the age of eight.
Later I will tell you more about my history with performance magic.
I have also been a believer in and practitioner of mediumistic and psychic skill from an early age.
The reason I never mixed the two before was this: I feared what others would say.
I knew the magicians would disapprove if they ever learned I considered myself genuinely psychic. And, I knew the mediums would not approve if they found out I practiced legerdemain.
When I was in my teens, twenties, thirties, and even forties, I cared about the opinion of others very much especially my colleagues. But now that I am in my mid-fifties I have come to understand that, as Popeye so eloquently said, “I am what I am and that’s all I am.”
I still care about the opinion of others.
It hurts when a fellow magician scorns me for believing in let alone practicing the gifts of the psychic.
It hurts when a medium looks at me with suspicion.
But, at the end of the day, I have to be true to who I am, to all that I am, to what I believe is right or at least right for me.
Authenticity is not going to be found in the mechanics of my performance but in the strength of my character. Magic doesn’t happen when props are manipulated, it happens only in the mind of the spectator.
I read the cards and practice mediumship because I can and because I can it is the right thing for me. My goal as a medium is to prove that love and life are eternal, to demonstrate the continuity of life.
My goal as a psychic entertainer is to inspire the belief in the mind of my audience that they can achieve anything, that no dream is beyond their reach, and that nothing is impossible.
I hope that by confessing a belief in the genuinely psychic I am not discrediting my work as a performing artist and I hope that by practicing legerdemain I am not discrediting my work as a psychic but that choice is yours not mine. I will do what I think is right and you can form any opinion about my behavior that makes you comfortable.
Now that I have offered a brief explanation of my ideology, please let me try to explain how that ideology evolved.
I was raised in a world of wonder.
My father told me stories of the Great Blackstone.
I sat with the joy of wonder washing over me as my father told me that a glowing bright lightbulb floated out from the stage and over his head.
I had to do this.
I had to bring this amazing emotion I was experiencing to others.
I decided I would be a magician.
On Christmas morning, age eight, I opened a magic kit that was left for me by Santa Claus under our tree. I’ll bet you are wondering if I believe in Santa Claus too. Of course I do! Don’t you?
Unlike most would-be magicians I actually read all of the instructions and I practiced and rehearsed until I could perform the tricks in my sleep. Then and only then did I feel ready to perform. My opportunity came on “Show and Tell” day. Of course I had no intention of telling anything. Good magicians never reveal their secrets, everyone knows that.
I was so excited. Many years later that thrill would turn into fear most commonly understated as “stage fright” but back then I was excited. I could not wait to perform, I could not wait to produce a sense of wonder in the minds of my audience. But every time I performed a trick a fellow student who had received the same magic kit for Christmas that year hollered out the secret and ruined the “magic moment” for me and everyone else.
My first performance was ruined by my first heckler.
Not deterred, I determined to find tricks that would fool even the best minds and even experienced magicians. That quest continues to this day.
Meanwhile, as I was developing a passion for the performance art of magic, I was also holding séances for friends in the neighborhood. As an eight year old child I saw no ethical dilemma with mixing my very real desire to communicate with the dead with my very real fun in performance magic.
Once during a séance a locked window flew up with a crack so loud I thought the glass would shatter, there was an unearthly screech, a scream like nothing I or anyone else in the room had ever heard before or since. The Banshee are famous for their screech. I’m not saying it was a Banshee but I can’t imagine a sound more terrifying. My friends ran and we never had another neighborhood séance.
When I was eleven my father took me to see George Goebel perform his full stage show.
It was at that show that I saw a woman float several feet above George. Then he pulled on the sheet that covered her body and she vanished before my eyes only to reappear instantly behind me.
Once again I was enchanted.
Creating this kind of wonder for others was what I wanted to do with my life.
A few short years later Doug Henning made his television debut.
“The art of a Magician is to create wonder. If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives become filled with joy.” – Doug Henning
Those words have inspired me every day of my life.
As the years past, my show grew.
Eventually I was working with a partner, Jill Kennard.
We worked together for ten years on an illusion show more or less inspired by Doug Henning and David Copperfield.
When Jill left the show to start a family I tried to replace her but soon learned she was irreplaceable.
The illusion show was over.
I had to find another way of performing solo.
The answer was mentalism.
My inspiration as a mentalist was Richard Osterlind.
I loved his style and still do.
I found that my audiences were responding better to me as a mentalist then they had when I performed traditional magic. My best day as an illusionist paled in comparison to my average day as a mentalist. I had found my niche.
There was a credibility in mentalism that was undeserved but present none the less. It wasn’t uncommon for audience members to wait after my show to relate to me their own paranormal experiences.
After one particularly good show the booking agent asked me in front of the whole audience if what I had demonstrated was “real” or a trick. Without debating the nature of reality I instantly said they were tricks. The “magic” left the room. The sigh was audible. My audience was disappointed. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.
It was then that I decided to leave mentalism and pursue the genuine article.
I was successful but real psychic phenomenon is not entertaining.
Yes there are reality shows like the Long Island Medium that seem entertaining but the real work of a psychic or medium is just that – real work and if you watched a real séance or two, unless the manifestation was directed at you, I doubt it would sustain your interest.
In fact, it is quite boring from the point of view of an entertainer.
I could choose to live the rest of my life doing private consultation or I could return to performance art but I could never do both because of the ideological differences between magicians and psychics; or could I?
Whether or not I can do both is really up to you my audience and this venture back into performance art is my grand experiment to find out if the two disciplines can be blended or if they are forever doomed to be in opposition to each other.
It may interest you to know that as an undergraduate I studied psychology. I attended seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree. I served two youth pastorates then I served in adult spiritual education for fifteen years.
During his time of service in adult education, I earned a second Masters in Education.
Today, I am available as a speaker, performer, facilitator, and for private readings.
If you are interested give me a call or send me a message.
We’ll discuss your needs and come up with a program that will satisfy those needs.