The Pro Shop Edition


The One Man Master Act


Robert Nelson

A Classic Question Answering Act
The Golden Age of Mentalism

As you probably know, I have a near-obsessive fascination with the Golden Age of Mentalism (roughly the first half of the 20th century), and have focused a great deal of my attention on perhaps one of the leading names of that era: Robert Nelson. You may have even visited the tribute site I created years ago, The Secret Domain of Dr. RaMayne.

Over the years, I've had many inquiries about the Nelson publications listed in the tribute site's bibliography, and most of them asked if I offered them for sale. For a variety of reasons, the best I could do was refer people to eBay, where many of the original Nelson manuscripts can be found on a fairly regular basis. From time to time, I would think about offering some of Nelson's work on The Pro Shop website. But unlike other online dealers who were already doing this, I wanted to offer something different, something that would make them more than just another reprint of the original Nelson manuscript. I wanted to offer a product that would help the contemporary reader gain a better perspective on what many consider to be dated and dusty.

With the release of The Pro Shop Edition of Robert Nelson's MIND DIVINATION, I believe I have satisfied that personal goal. To begin with, I chose a Nelson title that isn't currently being offered by anyone else. Then, I incorporated additional material, including the original ad Nelson used, a brief biography, and my own commentary that would help the modern reader understand how techniques and approaches from the Golden Age might be used today.

As a result, what began as seven stapled mimeographed pages from my collection of original Nelson publications wound up as a 30-page manuscript that blends the classic with the modern. I understand that some may view this as heresy, but I'm happy with the result, and proud to offer it alongside the rest of the Pro Shop titles that many consider to be required reading for a well-rounded understanding of our art.

Fine, you may say, but what is Nelson's MIND DIVINATION?


To answer that, I can't do any better than to quote excerpts from Nelson's original ad:

"Here is an act that we sincerely concede as being the best all-around modus operandi ever offered to the profession. The effect is, briefly, as follows:

Performer passes out small cards on which spectators are requested to write their questions and sign their full name. This completed, cards are collected by performer, placed in small envelopes and sealed.

On returning to stage, the first envelope is placed to the performer’s forehead and answered. At the conclusion of the answer, the end is removed and card is withdrawn from envelope, and immediately returned to the original writer, and without exchange of any kind.

In this manner, every question is answered, and in its proper sequence."


Sure, I know -- that sounds pretty much like several dozen (or more) other question answering acts. However, Nelson was not only a seasoned performer, but a master marketer and ad copy writer, and he knew what needed to be said to convince people in the middle of the Great Depression to part with their scarce dollars. So, Nelson went on to say...


• Absolutely NO apparatus of ANY description is used (may be worked in a bathing suit).

• No confederates or assistants need be employed -- a strictly one-man feature.

• NO switch, or exchange of questions takes place at any time, and original billets NEVER LEAVE THE AUDIENCE’S SIGHT for an instant.

• No palming (as you have nothing to palm), no sleights or suspicious moves. Your hands NEVER approach your body.

• NO reading “one ahead or one behind” methods, as every question is answered in its proper sequence.

• NO dummy questions or plants. Envelopes are of the ordinary coin envelope variety and perfectly OPAQUE.

• Cards, envelopes and scissors are the ONLY properties employed during the entire presentation.

• At the conclusion, you have NOTHING to “get rid of.”

Sounds pretty bullet-proof, doesn't it? And in the right hands, the stuff legends are made of.

But, wait -- there's more...

"Not only is “Mind Divination” one of the greatest stage acts of its kind, but a wonderful, unsurpassed modus operandi for private clairvoyant work.

You could not wish for (and receive) a better method of getting the spectator’s information for private office work."

I've always prided myself in writing ad copy that is 100% accurate and honest. It's hard to build a solid customer base if you fudge anything when describing something people are going to pay good money for.

In that spirit, I will say this: I have a few issues with Nelson's approach in this presentation, all of which I cover in the commentary that is included in the Pro Shop Edition of MIND DIVINATION.

Did Nelson misrepresent anything in his masterful description?

No -- everything he says in the ad is true, and this routine can work just as effectively today as it did in 1928, when it was first released. Nonetheless I, like many professionals today, will most likely want to tweak what Nelson originally laid out in order to fit what is required in these modern times. In writing the commentary for the Pro Shop Edition of MIND DIVINATION, I tried to preserve the spirit of Nelson's writing while being as practical and realistic as possible.

A Nelson Collector's Lament

I make no secret of my love for what Nelson created in the golden days of yesteryear. I have spent hours poring over his catalogs, wishing I could buy just about everything offered in them, and I have collected every piece of Nelsoniana I could get my hands on. If you haven't purchased an original Nelson manuscript, you really owe it to yourself to have at least one in your collection. The look... the feel... the smell of the manuscripts -- it's truly an experience.

However, not long after I became obsessed with collecting as much Nelson material as possible, it became clear that it simply was not possible. The very nature of the media Nelson used to convey his knowledge -- paper -- means that much of what was fresh and new in 1933 has long since turned to dust. MIND DIVINATION is a good example of this: it took several years before I stumbled across the eBay auction that brought the original manuscript into my collection.

The 4 Top Reasons Why You Need Some Nelson In Your Life

Reason #1: Regardless of whether you actually perform Nelson's MIND DIVINATION, I believe you need this -- and many other Golden Age titles -- in your collection for the simple reason that it is imperative that you have a sound understanding of the history of our art. Knowing what is already out there is a great way to protect yourself from re-inventing the wheel, which will most likely lead to you being taken to task on your favorite forum.

If I had a dollar for every new book or effect that is marketed as something new and revolutionary but is, in reality, just a slight twist on a concept that was published many decades ago, I might be tempted to close up The Pro Shop and retire to someplace warmer. I hear New Zealand is nice.

Reason #2: In addition to the need for historical perspective, there is also the fact that material like MIND DIVINATION is a great catalyst for your own creativity. It is rare that I read something -- from any time period, actually -- that I don't think, "Hmmm. That's OK, but it could be improved by simply doing it this way", and sometimes this initiates a thought process that leads to developing something that is light years from the original idea.

Reason #3: I especially enjoy reading the complete scripts that Nelson provided with his presentations, and for two reasons. First, of course, is the historical insight the scripts give into how performers presented their miracles to the audiences of their day. Secondly, the scripts serve nicely as a starting point for your own presentations. Nelson was very adept when it came to guiding his audiences' attention and perceptions. More often than not, he explained the powerful psychology behind the script he used, and that same psychology will almost always work just as effectively today.

Reason #4: As I said above, at the time I'm writing this, no one else is offering this as a digital download. So, while there is nothing rare about a PDF file download, the Pro Shop Edition of MIND DIVINATION is unique, and I firmly believe that it belongs in every mentalist's library.

Order Your Copy Now


Only $10.00

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PLEASE NOTE: All Pro Shop orders are processed manually. Orders placed Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm (EST) will be processed within 48 hours. Orders placed after 5 pm Friday will be processed the following day of business (usually Monday).

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6) ALL SALES FINAL. Like 99.99% of the other dealers in this community, The Pro Shop sells products that are based on exclusive and/or confidential information -- once you've received and viewed this information, it's difficult to return you to the state prior to when you viewed it, and as such, next to impossible for you to return the product.

7) This offer is for a single copy of "MILLARD's MENTAL MUSINGS." Your purchase does NOT give you the right to duplicate or share in any way the content within this manuscript. Anyone found distributing unauthorized copies will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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