Have you ever seen faces in places they don’t belong?
Maybe a wall outlet with a surprised expression? Or a smiling face in the holes of a cardboard box? Or the shadow of a person in chipped paint on a wall? Or, maybe most controversially…a face on the surface of Mars?
In 1976, Viking 1 was sent out into our solar system to snap photos of Mars and beam them back to NASA here on our little blue marble. While most of the images were of the barren Martian landscape, one photo showed something that caused a craze that has persisted for decades.
That is a face. A large face. Approximately two miles across. On Mars. When the photo hit the public, it caused a sensation. It's become a staple image for conspiracy theorists claiming extraterrestrial life and has been featured on magazine covers like the National Enquirer on a seemingly annual basis.
After all, it’s a face. Something like that had to be constructed, right? However, as NASA stated, it's just a trick of the shadows. If you don't believe it, here's a photo of the exact same location from 2001 taken with a better, higher-definition camera.
No face. Just a mesa on the surface of Mars.
But what does this have to do with seeing faces (that aren’t actually faces) in random places?
When I tell people I’m a mentalist, they correctly assume that I do what I do via a combination of methods: magic, psychology, and suggestion. Very real, tangible things that have very real, tangible explanations.
And that’s at least a little bit by design. I mostly perform for corporate audiences at private events, which are packed full of very savvy, intelligent people. Plus, the general population is a little more “on the ball” than previous generations, so pulling a fast one on today’s audiences is much more difficult than it was in the yesteryears before.
What a lot of people don’t know is that a lot of mentalism effects of today originate from fraudulent psychics and mediums in the past. Many of their methods were adopted by magicians looking to add some mind-reading miracles to their act under the guise of being in cahoots with “spirits” or the “Great Beyond.”
But where did that idea come from? How did the Spiritualism movement that inspired these fake mediums (which, in turn, inspired countless magicians and mentalists) adopt their methods?
Well, I’m here to tell you the story. And it's a little bit spooky.
Despite the lighting-fast development of AI, humans are still the best when it comes to creativity and innovation.
But daily tasks, deadlines, and office politics can often leave people feeling drained and uninspired. But what if I told you there was a simple solution to not only add some excitement and novelty to the workplace to fight off burnout but also help increase the creativity within you and your team?
If you’re asking, “Jeff, what kind of magic is this that you speak of?” Well, um…it’s…it’s magic. Magic will help you do that.
But how? Well, to help you understand, I’ve listed 5 reasons why magic can boost creativity and inspire innovation in you, your co-workers, your staff, your company, and your work environment.
1. The Power of Wonder:
Do you remember how big and amazing the world felt when you were a kid? It seemed like anything was possible. And because of that, kids are incredibly creative. So, why not channel that as an adult?
Awe and inspiration are key ingredients to unlocking creativity, and magic has a unique ability to create these emotions. Whether it’s through illusions, sleight of hand, or mind-bending tricks, magic transports us to a place where anything is possible, opening our minds to new and imaginative ideas. By incorporating magic into your team-building activities or meetings, you can break the monotony of the workday and create a sense of wonder and excitement, prime conditions for fostering creativity.
I had a discussion about magic props with my mother recently that completely caught me by surprise.
"I'm trying to find an old Ouija Board." (which, by the way, has a super-interesting history.)
"Are you out of your @#~!% mind?" was the response from my mom. (She probably didn’t ACTUALLY say that, but imagining a 72-year-old woman telling me I'm "out of my @#~!% mind" is hilarious, so we're gonna go with it. Sorry Mom.)
My family isn’t big into the supernatural. I would classify my family as barely religious, maybe mildly superstitious, but that's about it. Ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and the like were always more-or-less dismissed as nonsense used to scare kids or entertain adults. So, I was surprised when my mom started to take a guarded interest in me searching out a Ouija board.
Of course, I started to ask questions. My mom told me that when she was younger, she was at a sleepover with some girls from school, and one of them had brought a "talking board” with her.
Of course, the teenage girls attempted to see if they could make contact with...well, something. Mom said that they had some garbled half-words appear, but for the most part, it was a very uneventful teenage seance.
But after, when my mom started telling her family about the board (and how boring it was), things got weird. My mom’s aunt lectured them on how Ouija Boards are evil and they're vehicles for demons to take hold of you and use you for their bidding against the Holy Lord and Saviour. I realized that, as my mom told this story, this reaction from her aunt was more disturbing to her than the actual board itself.
She told me this story as a warning: not so much against the evils of the Ouija Board itself, but the responses from people when you associate yourself with one. But this reaction is understandable, right? Because a lot of people think Ouija boards can be used to receive messages from the Great Beyond.
But do Ouija boards actually send you messages?
Well, in a way, yes. But they don’t come from the spirit world.
Believe it or not, hiring a magician or a mentalist to entertain people at a corporate event is incredibly common.
In fact, some of the best mentalists and magicians in the world are ones that are rarely (if ever) seen on a public stage. They make their living by strictly being hired to do private events, company parties, conferences, fundraisers, and more.
But a lot of people don’t realize that magic is not only a popular form of event entertainment but it’s also one of the best ways to make your next event the talk of the town.
Magic has been continually earning its place in the event industry due to its versatility, entertainment, engagement, and positive impact on guests. People often (incorrectly) think of magic as just somebody doing a few tricks. But magic is not just about identifying a card or pulling a rabbit out of a hat; it's about creating an engaging and unforgettable atmosphere that your guests will likely have never experienced before.
Still don’t believe me? Well then, here are five reasons why a magic or mentalism show is the best entertainment for your corporate event, fundraiser, or gala.
As a professional mentalist and magician, my entire career revolves around not only understanding human psychology but also how to manipulate it. And every year, I get to flex my psychology muscles and show off in front of crowds at company events, holiday parties, and more. And there are a few things I hear at these events often:
“Man, can you teach my sales guys how to get inside someone’s head?”
“You should come to work for us!”
“I wish I could do what you do…it would make my job so much easier!”
From influencing people’s decisions to swaying opinions, there’s no denying the power that a little bit of psychology can wield. And not only can understanding human psychology be helpful to a mentalist on stage, but it can also be incredibly beneficial when it comes to succeeding in the business world.
So today, this magician will be sharing seven sneaky psychological hacks that can help you take your business game to the next level. So, buckle up and get ready to learn some powerful mental tricks that can help you stand out!
We’ve all heard this at some point in our lives:
“The number one fear of the average person is public speaking. The second fear is death.”
However, public speaking is a fundamental aspect of a lot of different jobs, especially those in the corporate world. Whether it is presenting a new proposal or speaking at a conference, every professional must step up and deliver a powerful message with confidence and authority.
However, most people struggle with public speaking. Maybe they get nervous or fumble over their words and fail to make a real connection with their audience.
Well, what if I told you that the secret to becoming a more engaging public speaker is to think like a magician?
As a professional mentalist and magician, I have performed in front of thousands of people over the years and learned a thing or two about captivating an audience. And today, I’ll share some of my go-to tips for being a more engaging public speaker just for you!
“How do you do that?!”
I get this question a lot. It comes with the territory of being a professional mentalist and magician. After all, performing the impossible is my job, so naturally, people want to know how I do it. But the truth is that there’s a lot more to it than just tricks.
Have you ever watched a magician perform and found yourself completely baffled by their tricks? You're not alone. Magicians have been captivating audiences for centuries with their illusions and sleight of hand. But have you ever stopped to think about how they do it? Not just their methods, but how do they manage to manipulate our minds and deceive our senses?
The psychology of magic is just as interesting as the methods of magic tricks, so let’s dive into the psychology of illusion and explore how magicians use it to create their mind-boggling performances!
One of the most effective techniques used by magicians is misdirection. To put it simply, this involves drawing the audience's attention away from the real action while they perform their trick.
For example, a magician may use a brightly coloured scarf to distract the audience while they secretly make a coin disappear. By directing our attention elsewhere, the magician is able to execute their trick without us even realizing it.
But this isn’t as simple as “Hey! Look over here!” there’s a lot more to it. The human brain can only focus attention on one thing for so long. In fact, a lot of misdirection magicians create happens when you’re looking right at something you’re not supposed to see. It’s not about moving quickly or hiding things. Magicians control your attention. It’s about making sure you’re fully focused on something else while the real magic is happening right under your nose.
You can even experience it yourself by watching this video.
As a mentalist and magician who’s performed at thousands of events, I know how stressful it can be.
Organizing an event can be daunting, especially if you aim for a memorable experience for your guests. Whether you're planning a company party, an award ceremony, or a product launch, you want your event to stand out and leave a lasting impression.
But what if I told you that there’s a way you can guarantee your event will be one your guests will never forget?
Hire a magician.
Yes, I’m serious. And I’m going to share five reasons why a corporate magician can help you create an unforgettable event, no matter what you’re planning!
I recently rewatched Derren Brown’s The Push on Netflix.
Derren is a master at using suggestion to get people to comply with what he wants them to do. He is also a master at using suggestion put people (and the audience watching them) in situations where the moral is that we don’t have to be controlled by the suggestions we face every day.
And in The Push Derren Brown uses social engineering to see if an average, everyday person would commit murder by pushing someone off of a building.
But this is far from the first time someone has wondered how far people will go to comply with the social pressures around them. And in this article, I will tell you about four incredible examples of how social compliance can manipulate your decisions and what you can learn from them.
If you are in the process of planning an event for your company, a fundraiser, or any other large-scale event, and you've found yourself here, it's a pretty good guess that you're considering hiring a corporate magician or mentalist to entertain your guests.
And, with that consideration comes one of the most common questions I get asked.
How much does a magician or a mentalist cost?
Now there's no doubt a high-quality mentalist or magician can elevate your event to a whole new level of excitement. But, no matter who you are or what you’re planning, budget is always a concern.
And the fact of the matter is, the cost of hiring a magician or a mentalist for your event can vary depending on several key factors. So, I wanted to fill you in on five of those factors that can influence the price of hiring a high-quality corporate mentalist or magician, allowing you to budget accordingly and ensure a successful event!
As a professional entertainer, I’ve worked more than my fair share of fundraising events; everything from small-town groups raising money for a local project, to huge galas for giant non-profits looking to boost their annual donations. And, with fundraising season coming up this fall in Alberta (and, really, western Canada), a lot of people will be planning these kinds of events for the first time.
And, whether you’re in a bigger center like Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Saskatoon, or Regina, or a smaller community outside of the metropolitan city limits, the basics and the main goal are the same.
Put on a stellar event to not only reach your fundraising goals, but also have a great time doing it!
So, what do you need to do to make your fundraiser a huge success and bring in the big bucks? Well, I'm about to spill the beans on how to make more money at your next fundraising event!
Ok, you’ve bit the bullet and decided to get a magician or a mentalist for your next shindig.
Maybe it’s because you read my blog outlining all the reasons why magic and mentalism is the best kind of entertainment for your event. Maybe it’s because someone in your office really wants to see some magic. Or, most likely, you want entertainment for your event that’s unique; Something different from the standard corporate entertainment choices.
Whatever the reason, you’ve settled on hiring a magician for your event. So, you open Google, type in “corporate event magician,” or “magicians near me,” or whatever else you’ve decided to search for…and BAM, there are literally HUNDREDS of options.
So, how do you make sure you're hiring the right magician for the job? Well, here are the top five tips to know you’re getting a top-notch pro for your corporate event.
It can seem like entertainment options for your event are endless.
And there are lots of options out there: bands, DJ’s jugglers, comedians and more.
And, while I acknowledge I may be a little biased, I can confidently say that when it comes to entertaining your guests at your next corporate event, gala, fundraiser, or whatever else you may be planning, there’s one option that blows the rest out of the water: A magician.
Why? Well, I'm spilling the beans on four reasons why you should consider hiring a magician or mentalist for your next corporate shindig!
There is one phrase I hear every year that makes me cringe.
“We hired entertainment last year, and it was a total bust.”
This is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Not only because someone didn’t get what they paid for, but now that one bad experience has probably turned them off from hiring someone to entertain their guests again.
But, I completely understand the frustration.
All that hard-earned cash basically gets thrown down the drain. Why risk the investment again?
What if I told you that all you had to do was a few simple things and you could put on a night of entertainment that would not only knock your guest’s socks off but make you look like an absolute hero? All you need to follow some simple tips, and you’ll have an event you’ll never forget!
Tip 1: Know What Works For Your Audience
One of the byproducts of being a mentalist and magician is that I love riddles and puzzles. (Although, some who know me well would argue that my love of puzzles and riddles is what drove me to being a magician in the first place.)
And recently on my TikTok account, I bestowed my favourite riddle on to the masses. The riddle is as follows:
Four men buried up to their necks, awaiting execution. Between Man A and Man B is an impenetrable wall; no windows, no doors, and no mirrors. The four men are arranged in a straight line, they can’t move, they can’t turn their heads, and they can only see what’s in front of them (so Man A can see the wall, Man B can see the wall, Man C can see Man B and the wall, and Man D can see Man C, Man B, and the wall). Each of these men are wearing a hat; either a black hat, or a white hat. However, each of the men don’t know and can’t see which hat they are wearing, and they don’t know what order the hats are in. But, all the men do know that there are four men, four hats and there are two hats of each colour.
Now, these men are destined for an execution. But, being a benevolent executioner, the Trigger-Man offers a chance for salvation: If one of the men can correctly guess the colour of their own hat, all four men go free. But, if your guess is wrong, the execution of the four men carries on as planned. If they try and speak to each other, they get executed. So, the men can’t speak to each other, and cannot be incorrect.
After a time, one man calls out, with absolute, one-hundred-per-cent certainty that he can (and does) correctly identify the colour of his own hat. True to his word, the executioner sets the men free.
So, the riddle is: Which man is it, and how does he know?
Ok, I’m going to give you a chance to noodle this one out on your own first. But don’t worry, I’m going to put the answer below.
Heads up. This might be a little gruesome for some.
Something that could’ve been much worse than it wound up being, but nonetheless caused me panic and anxiety.
I cut my thumb.
Now a few of you might be sitting there thinking, “That’s it? All this build-up for a cut on his thumb? What kind of wimp is this guy?”
But the truth is, it was a relatively deep cut that required a trip to the ER. And while I had the option of stitches, I opted for a quick glue-job to hold it together. Why? Because in less than twenty-four hours, I had a show to do and I didn’t want stitches, bandages, or any other medical paraphernalia getting in my way. So, a quick dab of surgical glue and a doctor’s warning of “this will probably leave a scar” later, I was all sealed up and sent on my merry way.
How’d it happen? Well, I was digging through the garage looking for all the tools needed to swap over my winter tires to the summer treads in preparation for my upcoming summer Fringe schedule. I came across a broken mason jar which promptly fell on my thumb, slicing me good. Luckily it was a pretty clean (albeit deep) cut, so it was already starting to heal together on the way to the hospital. But there was a sense of urgency and fear the whole trip there.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year.
It’s Booking Season. You know, the season where I sit down, answer emails, make phone calls, and schedule meetings to book shows for the following year. Now these shows can range from thirty people in a basement, to five hundred people in a conference center or theatre.
But a least a few times a year, I come across someone planning an event that has a boatload of other questions that usually pertain to the rest of the event. Sometimes, it’s about catering. Or, it’s about audio and lighting. Other times, it’s about how to make whatever the event is special or unique in some way. And, being an expert event-goer, I’ve been to my fair share of events from every edge of the spectrum. And this year, I’ve had a few back-to-back requests about how to really add some pizazz to upcoming events that clients are hosting. So, to help all the would-be planners out there, I’ve decided to put together a little list on how to add some simple things to make your event pop.
There’s been a big event in my household.
We bought the next instalment of the Star Wars franchise. It was a momentous occasion.
Ever since Lucasfilm (or Disney, or whoever you want to call it) decided to continue the iconic space opera, Hannah and I have been keeping tabs on all the updates, leaks, and releases of the upcoming films. So, since the release of The Last Jedi coincided with Hannah’s birthday, it became the perfect birthday gift.
But, to make sure we had all the story up to date when we watched The Last Jedi, we went back and watched the The Force Awakens first. And while watching The Force Awakens, a very unusual conversation popped up around one particular scene.
In the movie, there’s a moment where C-3PO (a gold, very proper, humanoid robot, if you’re unfamiliar with the films) pops out of a spaceship, greets everyone and says, “you probably don’t recognize me because of the red arm.” Camera pans to a full body shot of the droid, showing his usual golden arm replaced with a bright red one. Cue running gag for the remainder of the film.
Seeing this, Hannah says, “Huh, I guess that makes sense...you know, when a car gets damaged, sometimes the coloUr of the part doesn’t match. It’s probably the same for droids.”
To which I responded, “Yeah, kind of like when 3PO had a silver leg in the first Star Wars trilogy.”
Instead of getting an “Oh right,” or “Yeah, I remember,” all I got back from Hannah was a confused stare.
“What are you talking about? He’s always been gold. What silver leg?”
The Force Awakens gets paused. Multiple Google image searches ensue.
Eventually Hannah concedes that the silver leg did indeed happen, but she’s sure that she remembers it differently.
Alas, Hannah is another victim of…(cue dramatic music)
The Mandela Effect.
Recently, my fiance and I were sitting with in my living room with a magically-inclined friend of mine. We had spent the afternoon discussing a few projects we all had on the go, and like these discussions usually do, we all went off on our unique tangents into stories, Youtube videos, and archival photos in our various social media profiles. You know what that’s like, right? Of course you do.
Now despite this wizard-friend knowing me for at least two or three years, she was unaware of my previous lives that have led me to the current magic-and-mentalism-based career I’ve chosen. Just to catch you up, before I was a professional mentalist, I was a baseball player, a bartender, an undergraduate scientist, an actor, and improviser, and of all things, a poster-child for the University of Lethbridge (which, in fact, was the direct result of my combined expertise in the “scientist” and “baseball player” fields...Maybe I’ll tell that story at a later date, but for now, back to the original story).
But, as we carried on our discussions about all things magic-related, I realized how the process of making magic and the process of scientific discovery are basically the same. (Well, at least to me.) The tools I used to carry out research as an undergrad at the U of L were more or less the same steps I had been using to create the magic that had been put into my shows for the past six(ish) years. So, in an effort to help us all be better magicians (or scientists...or both?) I’m going to outline how the famous (cue bold, dramatic voice-over) SCIENTIFIC METHOD shapes everything I do to get my magic on stage.
Disclaimer: What follows is grossly oversimplified, both from a “making magic” standpoint, as well as “this is how science works” standpoint (after all, my goal is to entertain you with internet ramblings). If you want more about the scientific method, there’s a great video here.