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.
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.
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.
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
you may say, but what is Nelson's MIND DIVINATION?
What Is MIND DIVINATION?
answer that, I can't do any better than to quote excerpts from Nelson's
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
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.
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.
manner, every question is answered, and in its proper sequence."
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
GET THE FACTS:
Absolutely NO apparatus of ANY description is used (may be worked in a
confederates or assistants need be employed -- a strictly one-man
• 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.”
pretty bullet-proof, doesn't it? And in the right hands, the stuff
legends are made of.
wait -- there's more...
only is “Mind Divination” one of the greatest stage acts of its kind,
but a wonderful, unsurpassed modus operandi for private clairvoyant
could not wish for (and receive) a better method of getting the
spectator’s information for private office work."
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.
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.
Nelson misrepresent anything in his masterful description?
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
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.
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
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
Your Copy Now
Nelson's MIND DIVINATION
Click HERE for
more Pro Shop Nelson Reissues
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