This is the most famous book on Mentalism. I've researched it. And Mentalism. What I've learned is that it is just a bunch of work. You have to pay attention and stuff. They should offer courses in it at school. It should, of course, be a required subject for any writing majors.
But there is some connection between Mentalism and Mesmerism. I believe I have the Mesmerism thing down to a certain extent--unconsciously. Now I am going out on a folly of my own here, but I think that that is the secret to what people often refer to as charisma. Some have it and some do not. It takes shape in your childhood. You do things that bring you attention, then you learn to turn that attention to your advantage. It might be the way you move or when you smile or just a simple cadence of the voice. Then, over time, as you grow, you cultivate it.
Now I'll really go out on a limb (given that it is Juneteenth) and suggest that Mesmerism is something that Black preachers practice. Those incantations at the pulpit have a purpose. Amen.
It is the Power of Suggestion they say.
I had a girlfriend who started using the term "gaslighting." I had never heard the term before. At work one day, I was attacked by a colleague who couldn't believe I didn't know what it was. She was heavily into therapy, and she thought me disingenuous. And so I looked it up. It must have become popular on Oprah through the power of someone like the faux-therapist she made famous (I forget his name). I mean, it must have been fairly new-ish because when I looked it up, it said something about leading someone from one street light (gas lamp) to another. Now when I Google it, why, it is everywhere. There are four forms, five types, etc. When I read about it now, though, I think, "Mentalism." Gaslighters surely are Mesmerists. Gain trust, confuse the senses, make suggestions. . . holy shit, you've become a fucking Svengali!
I read that certain people are more susceptible to being hypnotized than others. Since I'm hypothesizing all over the place here, I'll bet that hypnotists are people who are less susceptible to hypnotism.
I knew a hypnotist once. I said I would like to learn. She snarled at me that a hypnotist cannot make people do something they don't want to do. I told her that was not my goal at all, that I was outraged. I simply wanted to give people permission to do the things they secretly wanted to do. That would be enough.
All in all, Mentalism is a trick. There is nothing more to it than that. One of the greatest of all time, The Amazing Kreskin, always said so. One of his craziest tricks was to have the people paying him hide the check somewhere in the building where he was performing. If he couldn't find the check, he would not get paid. Out of his thousands and thousands of performances, he didn't find his check a total of twelve times. He performed at the big university in town once. They hid his check in a projection room film canister. He found it in just a minute. How? It's a trick. Nothing more, like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
A Mentalist has simply learned to read people, make assumptions, and draw conclusions. So I've learned in my deep dive into the field.
Look into my eyes. . . you are getting sleepy. . . . When I count to three. . . .
Not everyone can be gaslighted. Not everyone can be hypnotized. But if you grew up where I did, you would sure as shittin' learn how to read people. It was a matter of survival. I can read a room as well as anyone.
To wit: I had to make a decision yesterday. I had purchased a ticket long ago for a concert in a far away town. It was going to be groovy, too, I thought. It was really a coffee house show. There were only fifty seats being sold. Weird, but, you know. . . it was kind of special to me. Being the Mentalist that I am, however, I read the situation. It was Father's Day. There were many reasons to go but one good one not to. I chose the latter. It was probably the right decision, but. . . .
Rather, I stayed home and bought bbq ribs from what has become one of twenty best bbq places in the U.S. So they say. . . with documentation. A wrack of ribs, some macaroni and cheese, and some Mexican street corn. That is what they claim. I also picked up a six pack of Heinekens and took it all to my mother's. We ate the ribs and drank some beer, and then I fell asleep on her couch.
When I got home, I did what I usually do and made a Campari and soda and lit a cheroot. I am going to quit this, I promise. There are several reasons. Did you know that drinking can be bad for you? It is true. I just read another report. I am beginning to hate science.
As I sat on the deck, a text surprised me.
"No dinner pics tonight?"
Well. . . hello there. I wanted to reply, "Am I gaslighting you or are you truly intrigued? You know I'm a Mentalist, right?"
But I didn't. Not everyone has my sense of humor, obviously. Not everyone shares my eclectic interests. I'm finding out that fewer and fewer do in these times of anxiety and tribulation. I must step gingerly now, but as I say. . . I can really read the room. Even my own at times. So, after scotch, I told my new friend that I had better quit texting and go read.
"But I like talking to you," she wrote. Ahhh. . . there is a surefire form of Mesmerism right there. Maybe I AM more susceptible to suggestion than I like to believe. And now that I'm writing it, I believe that I have been hypnotized by various women. They have learned to be charismatic in their youths. Yes, yes. . . I am certain of this. There is certainly Mesmerism in the act of love, no?
"Oh, god. . . you are so Mesmerizing. I just can't help myself."
Yes, yes, yes. I was in love with a girl who admitted reading "How to Make Friends and Influence People" in her youth. I'm sure she also read "The Power of Persuasion." Thinking back. . . absolutely. People liked her because she was so complimentary. That she was beautiful, too. . . well, that is a wonderful tool.
I think I was gaslighted. Gaslit? Whichever. Whatever.
As I was reading, I got another obscure text from a True Beauty and Mesmerist of the highest magnitude. It was cryptic. I couldn't make sense of it. I sent back an absurd reply. The line went dead.
The gymroids call me a Shaman. I'll take it as a tribute to my Mentalism. I may buy the book and see. I mean, it is all Hudu, right? This act of falling in love?