Minds I Wish Had Never Been Read
Why would you want to hire a mentalist for a party?
Maybe you think you want to hear some of your friends secrets exposed.
But the last thing you want is your own secrets exposed in front of all your guests. When people are afraid that a mentalist might read their mind, suddenly all sorts of embarrassing thoughts arise. One of the reasons a mentalist may use numbers, dice, cards, drawings, and symbols, is to avoid the embarrassment of
Most people don’t know what a mentalist is or does. That may be a good thing for society, if not for mentalists. My definition of a mentialist is somebody that performs acts that are very improbable. A magician is somebody that performs acts that are altogether impossible.
Mentalism consists of knowing. Magic in doing.
A great magic trick can take people away from their problems, but a great mentalism effect is categorically different. It’s like a slow-burn oil that you can still smell several days later.
A magician has greater control over his show. He knows what the 3rd trick is going to be, he knows what it’s going to look like, and even about what the spectator may say in reaction. A mentalist has to sift through thoughts, memories, decisions, fantasies, hopes, and fears, of each new audience with different thoughts and memories every time. And every time it’s going to be different, there’s going to be a funny one, an offensive one, a disturbing one. A mentalist has more work to do in his mind, because he not only has to discern the thoughts but also select the thoughts that are appropriate for his own show so that the thoughts don’t reflect badly on him because the audience will judge him based on their own thoughts.
I’m going to share some interesting stories I’ve gathered as a mentalist. Some thoughts and memories are funny, some are clever, and sometimes there are thoughts you wish you’d never discovered. Some of the following stories are true. One is fabricated. For now I’ll leave it to you to try to sort out the false one. In the following stories, I have changed the names of the people. As you read these accounts, maybe you’ll laugh, maybe you’ll recoil in disgust, and maybe—just maybe—you’ll recognize parts of them in yourself.
When I was a Sophomore at IU, I could smell Snuggles on a a certain Sophomore who had done her laundry that Friday. I could also tell this was not Wendy’s typical day to do laundry. Furthermore she was feeling anxious about it, and wanted to keep it secret from her roommate. The truth always leaks out. Wendy had wet the bed and was so embarrassed (mostly she didn’t want her roommate to know). She had even considered throwing her pants in a plastic bag and tossing them so that her roommate wouldn’t notice that she did laundry on an atypical day. Her roommate still is not aware of this, but the mentalist knows.
Polly was trying to focus on a 4 digit number, but a thought kept intruding into her mind. She kept thinking of this nutty bar that she had hidden so that she could eat it when nobody was watching. This was not an isolated event--with her it was very serious. She hid snacks in secret places and ate them when no one was watching.
As Fortune would have it, she ended up being one of my participants. I had noticed earlier that she was late to the show. The reason she was late was that she could not go number two whenever her fiance was near her. When they were getting ready, she went into the bathroom, closed the door. Their terrier scratched on the door, so that interrupted her. She let in the dog and gave it another try. Then her fiance came to bang on the door and ask if she was okay in there. This delayed her even more.
A certain woman wanted to know whether she was in any danger of being discovered having her affair with Don Juan (who was not her husband), and her mind was filled with several other questions. She didn’t want to break off the affair because she was enjoying it too much, but neither did she want to pay the price for discovery. She just wanted to know whether the affair would be discovered. I told her that two of her close femle friends were already aware of it, and possibly a third. And sooner or later, somebody is bound to drop a hint to your husband, thinking that he doesn’t deserve such treatment.
Yet another.. as Barnabas was talking, Mona in the back of her mind was thinking of a word really hard and trying to get him to say it telepathically. This had nothing to do with my show. This was just a habit of hers.
Sebastien was a man who, when with his friends, would sometimes say, “Do you smell popcorn?” just to trick his friends into smelling his passed gas. On this occasion I abused my powers and I made Sebastien wet the bed for two months straight. Sue me (that would be an interesting case).
Salvador, aged 42, wondered why he was disliked by others. He felt hat nobody liked him and that he was the most unpopular person around. I told Salvador that he was self-centered and worried too much about himself. Blunt, I know. I told him that if he just made a conscious effort to like other people and meet them at least half way, he’d find that their attitude, which was actually one of indifference—not dislike—would quickly change. Follow my suggestion and he’d see that I’m right. Popularity is a two-way street.
One woman, Sandy, would get very bored when she was mowing the lawn, doing the laundry, or going to the bathroom. She even used to pretend she was on a talk show when she was on the toilet because she would get so bored, so she’d have fake interviews as the celebrity.
A woman when giving an “oral presentation” threw up all over her audience. I won’t go into much detail here for the sake of the sanctity of this blog, but needless to say her audience was fortunately very forgiving (Hey, don't shoot the messenger).
Another girl, 26, wondered why a certain person was an enemy. I saw an aura of menace around the girl. She felt that she was in danger from a person who is an enemy. In fact, the menace existed only in her mind, and the person she regarded as an enemy was simply indifferent. Her suspicions were without foundation. On top of that, she was very gullible about anything a certain third party told her, and that third party was clearly a troublemaker. I told her to ask “her enemy” for some help in a minor matter and I predicted that the assistance will be immediately forthcoming. In other words, the enmity that bothered her so much existed solely in her own mind. She did, however, have one real enemy but I told her not to worry about her. She can’t possibly hurt her.
Marla Meadows had a private list of famous people she was certain she would marry or at least be best friends with within ten years. One of those people was the Vanilla Ice of Magic himself, Criss Angel.
At a cocktail party, I noticed a cauldron-shaped mug in the home. When I picked it up, I suddenly realized that the woman, when stressed, drinks tea out of it and pretends it’s a Calming Draught potion from the Harry Potter books.
A strange case for me: one person, as I was trying to guess the name of her absent husband, had what seemed to be a faintly expression of struggle on her face, a sort of grimace. What might this mean? Was the thought she was thinking of a recent quarrel with him? Was she saddened that he couldn’t attend the event that evening? I incorrectly guessed the name of her doctor instead of the name of her husband. Among the several solutions she had tried, there was one that she followed and practiced diligently every day. It was to take up Kegel exercises. Bladder issues had been having a huge impact on her life. The doctor was her gynecologist.
This one still makes me chuckle. The girl attended this event with her plus two. Little did he know that the real reason she was with him (it was a casual thing) was that he had a playful little shit tzu puppy that she loved to play with. She wanted him for his puppy. What she didn’t know is that he pees in the shower and eats dog food (not at the same time). I could smell the dog food in his breath. He didn’t eat dog food because he liked it. He did it when his dog would refuse to eat, in order to encourage his dog to eat.
Jolly was housing a puppy and had not informed his landlord. He was worried he might be booted out of his digs if the maintenance man spilled the magic beans. Of course he came to me for advice. Did he know that I, too, was housing a puppy unbeknownst to my landlord?
I remember when I got pretty good at guessing what someone was thinking I lacked control where control is most needed. I asked someone to think of the first boy she ever had a crush on. She did so, and when I guessed his name, she started crying. This person meant a lot to her and she still had carried his memory with her. Sometimes even when you know the answer, the thought, it’s better not to voice it.
That was when I decided to direct attention towards clearly positive and constructive thoughts. This is even more important when entertaining on stage.
In one show, as I was performing for the person who booked me, I received the impression that I was not his first choice among the entertainment options. You know who you are, Chester.
A person is having inappropriate thoughts about me; in this event I decided to just feign ignorance and take the loss rather than embarrass him or her. I told him or her I couldn’t get inside his or her mind, and advised him or her to go for a walk, listen to music, or read a book for at least 15 minutes to try to distract himself or herself from his or her obsessive thoughts.
Zoltan was planning to leave his baby mama. Of course he sought my counsel because he know I did a great trick with a wooden match. It is much easier to get into romantic alliances than it is to get out of them. Zoltan needed to use the same good judgment he had used in his business life, and that’s all I told him. His was a serious personal problem that bothered him and it isn’t an easy one to solve. He wanted freedom from responsibilities. We all want that at some level.
Wilma, a red haired woman age 26, wanted to know whether she should become intimate with a young man that she liked who wanted her to become intimate. She was bothered by having to make a decision as to how far she should go with this man she found attractive and, I might add, persuasive. The impression I got was that he wasn't not the type to enter a lasting relationship—which was her primary goal.
On the other side of the covers, the decision was totally up to her even despite her main goal. He was more interested in a quick, thrilling conquest and once he had achieved that, he would lose interest. No reason to feel discouraged I told to her—her ideal man should be coming along soon. So long as she didn't fail to recognize this possibility, then she could proceed or withdraw as she saw fit.
Sometimes a person’s thoughts about another reflect on themselves more than on reality. A person can feel guilty without really being guilty of anything. A person can feel insecure or lack confidence, even when that person is fully competent. When Genevieve, age 22, met me, she had the question in her mind, What can I do to make myself more attractive to men? My answer to her unspoken question was that she was much too critical of herself and couldn’t see how people that she liked could find her attractive. In reality, those who can mean the most to her and be the most important in her life do find her very attractive. I got the feeling that she tries too hard. If she’d just be herself and quit worrying, the one man she wanted most to like her would be strongly attracted to her and it would be an honest rather than artificial, forced attraction.
Velma, a 38 year old woman, wondered silently, Is my ailment serious and what should I do about it? I could tell this woman had been inclined to dismiss occasional symptoms of illness. I told her that, though I’m not a doctor, a doctor would probably be alarmed by her symptoms and that she should take immediate steps to investigate them. The longer she waits, the more serious the consequences can be. I had an intuition that one reason she had not investigated is that she was afraid of what she might find. Well, learning the truth right now is always far better than learning it when it’s too late to do anything. Just because she had always been fairly healthy didn’t mean that she leads a charmed life.
Rollo, a man over 55 thought, Will there be another romance in my life? He was lonely despite being a very gregarious person by nature. There was a certain attractive widow who admired him and would come running with the slightest hint of encouragement. I told him that he couldn’t just wait and wish for another romance and expect it to fall into his lap. If he pursued another romance, he’d find it. I cautioned him, however, to forget that young chick who was at least twenty years younger than he was. Odds are that she was primarily interested in money, not romance.
Crossing my fingers now and hoping no one would have the time to read this deep, I'm writing this for myself as a sort of to-do item. In the future I intend to implant one of the above memories in an audience member (temporarily). You know this is possible, Jon--you've done it before.
Really I shouldn’t even mention that, because if you happen to witness that show, and if you happen to have read through these blogs (unlikely), then I’ve just tipped the method. But I haven’t told you which memory, and I hope you’ll be so entertained at my event that by that time you’ll forget all about this blog.