Something from Nothing:
A Guide to Modern Cold Reading
A Mentalist’s Guide to Reading People’s Minds & Futures for Fun & Profit
An Analysis of Body Language,
Intuition, Equivoque, Muscle Reading, Personal Charm, Cultural Anthropology, Demographics, Psychological Forces,
Self-working Mentalism, Causal
Observation & Common Sense
“Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.”
– Dr. Jonas Salk
by Angelo Stagnaro
Conspiracy: A Guide to Mentalist Team Effects & Codes
Something from Nothing: A Guide to Modern Cold Reading
The Other Side: A Guide to Theatrical Séances & Mediumistic Effects
Shibboleth: Mentalist Secrets
A Workshop for Magicians & Mentalists based on Angelo Stagnaro’s
“Something from Nothing: A Guide to Mind Reading”
Cold Reading ⎯ n : a general means used by professional mentalists, stage magicians and charlatans to ascertain ostensibly secret information from a spectator in order to simulate psychic abilities such as ESP, telepathy and precognition. They largely do so by relying on experiences common to humanity in general. Also known as the P. T. Barnum Effect
About the Workshop
The workshop’s main aim is to acquaint magicians and beginning mentalists with the fundamentals of what is called “cold reading;” the technique which simulates the ability to read the minds of others, to foretell the future and to read the past. With cold reading, one will be able to surprise people by entering their very thoughts and to reveal their most secret thoughts.
The advantage of understanding and mastering this ability is obvious to all in our profession. With the skills that one can learn from this workshop, magicians and mentalists can do realistic-seeming psychic experiments. At the very least, one can better present their stage characters more realistically while performing. At the very least, those attending this workshop will be able to learn techniques that would greatly expand and develop their acting abilities and allow them to expand into other stage-related activities including professional mentalism.
The structure of this lecture will be partially a workshop in which principles described in the lecture will be able other be practiced and experimented with. Time will be set aside for a question and answer period.
About Mind Reading
“Cold reading” is a series of techniques used by tarot card readers, psychics, palmists, astrologers and professional mentalists to get a subject to reveal secret information about him or herself. When done correctly, the spectator gets the impression that the above allied professions are preternaturally “gifted” and can actually peer into his or her minds and futures.
Cold mentalists have many tools at their disposal including suggestion, flattery, tailored feedback, ambiguity, personal charisma, demographics, common sense and a stock spiel, (a set of statements vague enough to fit anyone yet seemingly individual-specific.) Keen observation is similarly important for a successful cold reading. The spectator’s sex, age, dress, physical appearance and condition, body language, behavior, jewelry, grooming, condition of the hands, fingernails, hair and shoes are all fair game for the observant mentalist. The spectator’s grammar, vocabulary, nervous mannerisms and manner of sitting are all important indicators also.
About the Book
“Something from Nothing” represents the first and only mentalism/magic title simultaneously printed in two languages (German and in English.) It is published by Manipulix Publishers of Lalling, Germany and has an excellent foreword by Germany’s foremost mentalist, Ted Lesley.
“Something from Nothing” explores the topic of mind reading on a very practical level. The title was chosen to express the idea that someone should be able to, with nothing in hand, be able to simply read a someone’s mind. Many topics are explored including: performance philosophy, precognition, telepathy, body language, voice inflection, developing your own intuitive sense, deductive reasoning, cultural anthropology, muscle reading, equivoque, casual observations, contact mind reading, medical observations, charm, psychology forces and tarot card and horoscopy notes. “Something from Nothing” also comes with a large glossary of mentalist patter terms and an extensive mentalism bibliography and a collection of cold reading one-liners. The book contains 40 mentalism effects but is principally on magic and performance theory.