Career

Spotlight: The Magic of Val Valentino

Career

While many magicians crave success and an easily recognized face, Val Valentino built his career performing behind a mask. The reason behind is disguise was simple; he has made his mark by revealing some of magic’s closely kept secrets.

His passion for his craft has led to success in the United States and in other countries as well.

But who is the magician behind the mask? What is it about his performance that enthralls some and infuriates others?

Who Is Val Valentino?

Originally from Los Angeles Val Valentino, like many magicians, developed a passion for the art of magic and illusion at an early age. His dedication to his art and craft made him widely successful, even when he was a young man just learning his trade.

What sets him apart from others? Not only does Val Valentino perform traditional and innovative tricks, but he also shows the audience how these tricks are done.

He exposes the secrets of well-known illusions, breaking the unspoken “magician’s code” about not revealing trade secrets. It has made him popular with audiences but often criticized by his fellow magicians.

Because of the taboo about revealing the secrets of his profession, he wore a mask to conceal his identity. He also went by the stage name The Masked Magician.

This brought him notoriety and popularity, but it also caused a stir in the magic community and resulted in several lawsuits.

Val Valentino: The Beginning of a Magical Legend

His birth name was Leonard Montano, and he was born on June 14, 1956. The imagination and intrigue of magic captivated him early. Like many magicians, his passion for the trade developed when he was young.

When he was five years old, his father gave him a magic set. Val Valentino worked to perfect a trick called the “Ball and Vase.” He showed an incredible aptitude for performing. He was presenting entertaining magic shows for birthday parties when he was 12 years old.

Val Valentino as the Masked Magician

Most magicians don’t want to reveal their secrets. They want to keep them carefully guarded so that their unique performances leave the audience in awe. But Val Valentino isn’t your typical magician.

Valentino and Fox

The Fox Network saw Valentino perform and approached him about working with them on a series. He had been performing extensively in Vegas showrooms at the time.

Val Valentino worked with the Fox Network to create a television series, Breaking the Magician’s Code: Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed. It exposed the secrets behind several of the most famous and classic tricks and illusions magicians frequently perform. 

The problem was that most fellow magicians guarded these trade secrets. Valentino revealing those secrets was a violation of the magicians’ code of honor.

In order to avoid the fallout associated with revealing the secrets, Val Valentino donned a mask and transformed himself into the Masked Magician.

When Val Valentino FOX news approached him to do a series. He agreed pledging that he would only reveal the secrets of old illusions. The wildly successful series reached more than 26 million viewers. For the show’s finale, Val Valentino removed his mask to reveal his true identity.

He has been featured on FOX and Netflix. The Masked Magician was also featured in the United Kingdom in the late 90s — through the ITV network. which exposed long-guarded trade secrets

Removing his mask did confirm his identity, but was it always a secret? Not everyone was surprised when he removed his disguise.

In fact, despite using a mask, many in the magic community had already guessed who he was. They did so by carefully analyzing certain performance traits. Many of them were not happy and felt betrayed.

Why?

With so much at stake, why did Val Valentino decide to reveal trade secrets? The answer is simple and goes back to his first love of magic, developed when he was five years old. He wanted to instill the joy and passion for magic in others.

His ultimate hope was that by revealing some of these best-kept secrets, he could encourage children and young students to consider trying magic. Maybe even become performers.

He believed that the key success in magic shows had more to do with the magician’s showmanship than wonderment about how a trick was performed. But there was still also another reason.

Val Valentino knew that the rise of the internet would forever transform the magic profession. He felt it was important that magicians have frank conversations about how this would affect the future of their careers.

Valentino hoped that the Masked Magician series would open the door — and serve as a catalyst — for these conversations.

A Revealing Career

During the tenure of his career, Val Valentino revealed how 120 different illusions are done. Many of these were the most popular illusions in traditional magic; They included the death saw, levitation, dismemberment, passing through a steel wall, and making an elephant disappear.

However, it’s important to realize that there are several different ways that a trick can be performed. Val Valentino simply showed one or two ways.

Different magicians may choose to perform the trick in a different manner. For example, simple tricks such as making a coin disappear can be accomplished in dozens of ways, depending upon which method the magician prefers.

In several different interviews, Valentino stressed that he did not feel guilty about revealing the secrets behind these tricks. In fact — with the rise of YouTube and other internet sources — it’s relatively easy for someone to conduct enough research to discover how a trick is done.

This is one reason he felt it was so important to “shake things up.” To create a catalyst for extensive conversations between magicians about where the future of their career and profession are headed.

Valentino also worked toward establishing a school for new magicians. It’s called the Masked Magician’s Academy of Mystical Arts, headquartered in Las Vegas.

The Popularity of the Masked Magician

After his specials on the Fox Network, Val Valentino starred in two more series titled Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed. His broadcasts and series have been seen in the US, U.K., Canada and Australia, and were picked up by Netflix.

Garnering International Recognition

Viewers in the United States weren’t the only ones who were enthralled with the Masked Magician. Valentino gained a lot of popularity in Brazil when his shows were broadcast on a news show called Fantastico.

For these performances, which occurred from 1999 to 2000, he adopted the stage name “Mr. M”. He was very popular in Brazil and continued to perform there in large, 15,000-seat arenas for many years. Of course, Brazilians weren’t his only fans. He also performed several TV specials in Japan.

Other Notable Performances

Val Valentino has been performing magic for most of his life. When he was a teenager, he performed for more than one million students throughout the Unified School Systems.

These students saw Valentino as part of an International Culture Awareness Program. Valentino wants to foster a love of magic in young people. He hopes that his unique, fresh take to the profession encourages young students to become magicians. To develop a love of the skill and showmanship required to be a successful illusionist.

In addition to his performances as the Masked Magician, Val Valentino has had a career highlighted by many wonderful and prestigious performances. He was a regular in Las Vegas where he performed for a number of casino shows. These shows included Viva Las Vegas and Splash.

Another one of his most memorable appearances was on the Merv Griffin Show. He also demonstrated his versatility by appearing in the music video for “Magic Man” by Herb Alpert. He also appeared on one of the episodes of the popular TV show Diagnosis Murder.

Criticism of Performances

Whenever you are challenging the status quo, there is turbulance. Not everyone was thrilled with Val Valentino’s performances as the Masked Magician.

Several magicians feel like he betrayed a sacred trust. Others claimed they suffered financial losses as a direct result of these revelations. Others even had to change their acts when their secrets were revealed.

One example was magician Kevin Spencer, a touring magician who is based in Lynchburg, Virginia and who performs with his wife, Cindy. Spencer said the specials negatively affected their entire routine. To the point that they had to transform their traditional act and delete two of their magic tricks.

This represented much more than a mere inconvenience. Spencer emphasized that an extensive illusion can cost as much as $50,000. The loss of one trick may devastate a performance. They brought a lawsuit against Valentino, and they were not alone.

Andre Kole is a magician who perfected an illusion called the Table of Death. He licensed this trick to the top 10 magicians in the world. When Val Valentino revealed its secret, Kole alleges that he lost around $500,000 as a result of Val Valentino’s performances.

However, even Kole’s lawyer admits that illusions cannot be protected under the copyright act. That’s because they are not considered to be among the intellectual properties covered by the law.

There were other critics as well. Many magicians indicated that there was often more than one way to perform a trick. Valentino’s method wasn’t necessarily the one that all magicians would do.

Still, others claimed that Val Valentino’s reveals weren’t accurate. More, neither was the implication that these methods are used by all professional magicians performing that same trick. Magician Mark Wilson even went as far to state that some of Valentino’s reveals could be considered dangerous.

Cancer Diagnosis

In 2017, Valentino was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, and the doctors gave him one year to live. Valentino is still fighting the disease as of 2019. He has refused all conventional treatment.

Val Valentino: Not Your Typical Magician

Most magicians work their entire lives to create illusions so extensive and intriguing that the audience marvel at them — and how they are done. That’s one reason that Valentino was such a rebellious influence in his profession.

Many wanted the status quo to continue. But Valentino sensed change on the horizon. With the internet exponentially growing, he knew more and more users would have a different perspective on magic. Not only how they enjoyed it, but also in how it is done.

One of the main reasons behind his desire to reveal secrets was a desire to help the profession he loved — and dedicated his entire life to. He not only transformed the industry, but he changed the way magic was perceived and enjoyed by others.

Despite facing extensive criticism and even lawsuits from his fellow magicians, Valentino strove forward. He continued providing incredible, entertaining shows that demonstrated the ultimate secrets behind the illusions. His popularity gave him millions of fans around the world. He appears to have made good on his mission to spark a love of magic in a digital generation.

What’s next on the horizon? In 2012, the producers of Valentino’s TV special stated that a movie called Masked Magician is “in development.” The movie magician uses illusions to help fight crime and offer a whole new perspective on magic, but one still inspired by the great Val Valentino.

Spotlight: The Magic of James Randi

Career, Stage Magic

Seventy years ago in the great white north of Canada, a young boy was struck by a car. This lad, James Randi, was placed in a full-body cast, beginning a long and grueling recovery. The doctors attending to him did not have high hopes he would ever walk again.

He spent thirteen months in the restrictive captivity of his cast, all the while reading and absorbing every book he could find on his favorite subject: magic and illusion.

His fascination with magic theatrics, combined with his sheer tenacity, not only put him on his feet again but would someday lead him all around the world as a professional magician. That is, all around the world hanging upside down from cranes, wrapped in chains and wearing a straightjacket. And he was just getting started.

The Amazing Randi

James Randi: psychic investigator photo
James Randi (front) appearing with guests (from left to right) Coral Polge, Stephen O’Brien, Nella Jones and Maureen Flynn on the Open Media tv series for ITV “James Randi: Psychic Investigator” (1991), by Open Media LTD, via Wikimedia Commons

James Randi has been a fixture in the magical community for three-quarters of a century, wowing audiences with his impossible escapes and eerie illusions.

Fans of escape acts should be well aware of his more famous feats. Tricks like escaping from an impenetrable prison cell or shedding a straight jacket while dangling in the air. Many considered him the heir apparent to the century’s first, and arguably greatest, escape illusionist, Harry Houdini.

James Randi even emulated the late Houdini later in life, retiring from the stage and moving towards active rational skepticism and the debunking of hucksters and frauds.

James Randi was born in Toronto, Canada in 1928. He was always a curious child; he found a love affair with magic and illusions through books and guides available at the library.

This love became a full-blown obsession after seeing the iconic conjurer and illusionist — Harry Blackstone Sr. — float a woman above the stage. He was smitten with the craft and never looked back. He dropped out of school at 17 and made his way to the rails, traveling with a carnival as their resident conjurer-in-training.

The carnival became his college of magic, picking up the tips of the craft from great escape artists, mentalists, and even the occasional sideshow performer or two. The total sum of this education lead him to the stage where he would introduce the world to the new and exciting conjurer supreme, the Amazing Randi!

It was on the traveling stage he honed his persona and perfected the techniques that would make him one of the greatest living illusionists and escape artists of the era.

Running Away to the Circus

How does a young Canadian go from learning magic in a full-body cast to performing in front of thousands all around the world? It starts with his perseverance to rebuild his body and dedication to the new craft in his heart, magic.

So what’s a boy to do when he’s ready to leave his broken world behind and chase down his dreams? Why, join the circus, of course.

James Randi the Carnival Magician

James Randi spent his formative years with a traveling carnival, all the while perfecting the escape routines that would take him around the world some day.

While he loved performing the exotic escapes and eye-popping illusions carried over from the days of vaudeville, he found an interest in more subtle performance art. It was there he found a keen ear for mentalism and an eye for macabre illusions.

It didn’t take long for his stage persona to outgrow the canvas of the carnival tent, so he packed up and went solo as The Amazing James Randi.

Early in his career, when he was still making his bones on stage, he was a night club performer. This stage in his career saw a mix of on-stage escapology paired with mind-behind mentalism.

James Randi got so good at performing mentalism and “mind-reading” gags, some people accused him of faking the trickery portion of the show. Faking to explain away very real and awesome psychic powers. This fuzzy line between performance art and supernatural phenomena would color his perception of the art of illusion, and later send him on a path of advocacy for logic and reason.

Great Escapes Get Greater

While he was developing the smaller, more intimate portions of his act, he relied on big escapes to draw in the wide-eyed crowds. During his first few decades performing, James Randi perfected a whole list of go-to escapes.

He would invite eager men to the stage to tie him, bind him, tape him, and even chain him to his chair, daring them to do their worst to ensure this small bearded fellow could escape to nowhere. Be it in the chains on a chair, in the straightjacket in a safe, or dangling high above Niagara Falls, the Amazing James Randi always found his way out.

It was during this time he built up a loyal audience throughout Canada and the United States, even making regular television appearances on talk shows and entertainment news programs. He became a performer of renown that would soon catch the eyes of other world-famous entertainers from the stage.

A Bigger World

As James Randi toured the world, other performers took notice of his skills. He befriended many other artists and performers that shared his love for stagecraft.

This attention and growing fame would put him in the orbit of some fellow amazing people, but it would also introduce him to a breed of performer he didn’t much care for and would later dedicate himself to exposing.

Rock-and-Roll Is Magical

While James Randi was touring the stages of North America, he was also working on several large-idea illusions, with most of them yielding a grotesque or sometimes gory effect. This penchant for horror-illusions drew the attention of another famous stage jockey of the time, Alice Cooper.

Cooper was himself a lifelong fan of magicians and illusionists, but instead of making his way into that field of performance he became a musician. Cooper was known for his elaborate stage shows that took on lives of their own.

In the early seventies he was readying a new album, which meant a tour was not far off. He needed something big, bold, and bloody to add to the show, and he knew just the man to help make it happen.

Enter Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper reached out to James Randi in 1972 and hired him to design an on-stage illusion that would shock his audience. Randi went above and beyond with a head-slicing guillotine illusion that seemed to defy the very rules of mortality.

Cooper was so impressed that he invited Randi on tour as his illusion guru. James Randi spent ’73 to ’74 on the Billion Dollar Babies tour as the faceless figure known only as “The Executioner.”

It was during this tour that Randi crossed paths with some other celebrities, namely Uri Geller and his rag-tag group of fake physics. While he was still a lover of illusion and tricks, he became disenfranchised with the frauds that used these same gags to con and deceive people out of their money.

He grew frustrated with people that claimed to be doing the miraculous while he knew that there was nothing more there than trickery and lies.

Following in Houdini’s Footsteps

The most famous escape artist before James Randi was the well known vaudeville stalwart, Harry Houdini. This illusionist and magician of renown had a fruitful and storied career performing illusions and great escapes all over the world.

Though performing was his lifeblood, Houdini pulled focus from performance to advocacy after the death of his mother. That tragedy would lead him into the parlors of mediums that tried to convince him they had his mother on the line.

It was this turn of events that would take him from the theater to the streets, where he took it upon himself to try to bring down the people he believed to be using illusion for nefarious and greedy reasons.

Houdini spent the latter end of his life exposing frauds and scam artists all over America. James Randi, his contemporary, would also fall into this same pattern of a performer turned advocate for the naïve and deceived masses.

The Rise of Dishonest-Liars

The seventies and eighties saw a significant rise in people in popular culture claiming to be psychics or other types of extrasensory sensitives. While some of these folks seem to perform impossible feats of the mind and body, James Randi saw something else: trickery.

The most prominent of these fakers was a self-described physic and clairvoyant, Uri Geller: the Spoon Bender. This illusionist was most famous for bending objects like spoons or house keys, all with the power of his mind.

Of course, James Randi knew better than that. It wasn’t so much that he felt these things were impossible (though highly improbable) but that he knew of a much more pedestrian explanation for their mind-bendy powers.

He became a regular on talk shows and in media as a skeptic of these “alternate illusionists”, often serving as an adjudicator of reality for the less magic-minded hosts. He would go on to expose many of these performers on shows like The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

James Randi Is on the Case

Slowly, he made his way form performing the tricks to exposing the tricksters. All with the spirit of keeping fantasy and magical illusion separate and apart.

Randi saw the blurring of the lines as a dishonest lie the people were being fed, as opposed to the honest lie of the magician. His biography, “An Honest Liar” was titled after his belief that magicians are liars; but that they are forthright about it, while the straight-up frauds would never admit to the use of illusions.

He turned his complete attention to this debunking in 1976 when, alongside Martin Gardner and Ray Hyman, he founded the Committee for Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, or CSICOP. Their small band of skeptics, scientists, and illusionists all worked to bring down the dishonest liars and bring honor back to the field of stage magic and illusions.

The organization would move on to investigate thousands of people claiming magic powers and extrasensory abilities. These investigations later turned to advocacy and education, showing people how to think more critically about these sorts of paranormal claims.

Exposing Cheats, Liars, and Crooks

The growing movement of rational skepticism helped drive the message that there was a difference between what Randi did and what the frauds were doing. The later years of CSICOP would be defined by a string of exposures and debunking that once again catapulted James Randi onto the national stage.

Pop Off, Popoff

The most visible debunking of his career followed a visit to The Tonight Show, where he was a frequent guest. Johnny Carson was himself a skeptic and magician, so he was sympathetic to the mission that James Randi was on.

Carson would regularly have Randi on to talk about these subjects, even going as far as having him on the show in the same segment as someone claiming paranormal abilities.

Even Uri Geller stopped by the Tonight Show once to perform his tricks, but Randi got there before him, and, with minor preparation, he was able to get Geller to admit he was “feeling unwell” and could not perform his feats at that time.

As great as that takedown was, his most lasting debunking was that of world-famous televangelist and faith healer, Peter Popoff. A man that claimed to hear the divine in his ear, Popoff was known for calling out details about members of the congregation: things he should not know if not for the words of angels in his heart.

James Randi went on television and played the live audio he captured from one of these tent revivals, and to no one’s shock, the divine voice he was hearing was that of Popoff’s wife reading the prayer cards over a hidden ear monitor.

The tape would expose Popoff and introduce the world to the man that could break the psychics. He would go on to expose dozens of other frauds and tricksters over the years. He even hosted his own show overseas where he tested the paranormal in scientific and controlled conditions.

One Million Dollars

Even with this long and storied career up to this point, James Randi is most famous in contemporary circles for the James Randi Educational Foundation, or JREF, and the aptly named Million Dollar Challenge. It started as a ten-thousand-dollar cashiers check, offered to anyone that could prove — under proper scientific conditions and observations — that they have a paranormal or extrasensory ability.

This overt challenge was taken up by many, and all of them failed to meet the reasonable requirements set forth by Randi. They always had their excuses. However, relying on the steady hand of the scientific process and rational thinking, Randi could always claim the high ground against these failures.

The challenge got so much attention it would later turn into a million-dollar offer to anyone worthy of passing the laws of science and observation.

This challenge would open many doors in media and get a lot of attention to the foundation. The JREF turned that publicity and goodwill into massive educational efforts around the country, bringing science, skepticism, and even a love of magical illusions back into the public consciousness.

The JREF even had a decade’s worth of conferences in Las Vegas called The Amazing Meeting that tried to bring James Randi’s message to the general public.

The Honest Liar, James Randi

Now in his nineties, the diminutive Randi has slowed down just enough to enjoy smelling the roses. Though he no longer escapes from safes or rips off straightjackets, the spirit of magic and illusion still thrives in his writings, speeches, and educational materials.

The organizations he founded continue to move with his message of critical thinking. He continues to use magic and illusion as a way to expose the faults in our thinking, challenging people to look closely at what they are seeing and to question what they think they know.

Randi is now retired from performance magic, though he is still active in his critical thinking advocacy and still speaks to crowds regularly. He continues to tour the world and educate people on the beauty of magic and the power that comes with embracing critical thought.

There was a time when even professors at major universities would fall prey to his honest lies and illusions. Some of them went as far as accusing him of using actual magic and sorcery and lying about his abilities to cover up the truth.

Those accusations are the gold medal for any working magician, as they have truly blended the line between fantasy and reality, bringing the audience closer to our childlike innocence and wonder.

For James Randi, however, this is just more of an opportunity for him to remind the world that magicians are most certainly tricksters, charlatans, fraudsters, and liars — but they’re the most honest liars you will ever meet, and you will never meet a more honest liar than James Randi, and he’s proud of that.

Self Hypnosis: 15 Powerful Self Hypnosis Techniques You Can Try

Career, Performance

Self hypnosis is a great way to improve your life and make long-lasting changes. The best part about self hypnosis is that you can do it on your own, for cheap or for free. You do not need a hypnotist to stand over you any time you want the benefits of a hypnotherapy session. You can do it for yourself.

What Exactly is Self Hypnosis?

Self hypnosis is a technique of putting yourself in a trance state, so you can make positive suggestions to yourself. It might sound difficult to put yourself into a trance, but it is actually not as hard as it sounds. As human beings, we all go in and out of mild trances during the day. As you fall asleep at night, you are also going into a light trance state.

The human brain operates on brain waves, and the normal “waking” brain waves are called beta waves. The next level down are alpha waves, followed by theta waves and then delta waves. Beta waves are the fastest waves out of these four, with delta waves being the slowest. (In case you are wondering, brain waves are not ordered from fastest to slowest by the Greek alphabet letters but rather the order in which the brain waves were discovered.) To take yourself down into a trance state, you want to come out of beta into alpha and ideally down into theta. You don’t want to go all the way down to delta or you will fall asleep.

The Many Benefits of Self Hypnosis

Self hypnosis has many benefits to the body and mind. The most obvious benefits are the changes you might be able to make in your life due to the positive suggestions your subconscious mind is incorporating.

Other benefits include improved sleep, more balanced hormones, and reduced stress.

What is the Difference Between Self Hypnosis and Meditation?

In both self hypnosis and meditation, you are taking yourself into a mild trance state, and optimally your brain will be producing theta waves once you are there.

The main difference is that you would not use “positive suggestions” in meditation, although that may also be semantics to a certain extent. Certainly, for thousands of years, yogis and gurus have used mantras as a way to reprogram the mind towards more positive thoughts.

Also, both meditation and self hypnosis can incorporate guided visualization to increase the power of the trance.

When to Do Self Hypnosis

Sometimes, the hardest part of engaging in self hypnosis is getting started. It will work best if you set aside some time each day for your self hypnosis practice. Put it on your calendar.

You can also perform your self hypnosis in bed as you are about to fall asleep. You will likely fall asleep during your self hypnosis session, but that’s OK.

You at least won’t be tossing and turning as you try to fall asleep, agonizing over the little insults of the day, if you are doing self hypnosis before bedtime.

15 Tips and Techniques You Can Try with Self Hypnosis

The basics of self hypnosis are simple in theory but sometimes difficult in practice. Here are some self hypnosis tips and techniques you can try:

1. Use a Self Hypnosis Audio

If you are having a hard time hypnotizing yourself, then use a self hypnosis audio to get you into the trance state for you. There are tons of different types of hypnosis audios you can listen to for free on YouTube or purchase for at reasonable prices.

self hypnosis tips

Most self hypnosis audios are marketed simply as “hypnosis” audios.” These are basically where a professional hypnotist records the audio and you can listen to it whenever you want. It is considered self hypnosis since you are by yourself and not working directly with the hypnotherapist.

You can find audios from professional hypnotists such as Dick Sutphen or Rick Collingwood on a variety of topics from growing old to getting over hay fever or allergies.

2. Make Your Own Self Hypnosis Audio

If you can’t find a hypnosis audio with the suggestions you want, you can make your own. You can often find hypnosis scripts online that you can modify for your own use. Record yourself (or have a friend record it for you) and use this for your self hypnosis audio.

self hypnosis tips

Make sure your suggestions are positive and in the present tense. You can use a directive style “You are getting better and better” or an affirmation style “I am getting better and better.”

Instant Self-Hypnosis: How to Hypnotize Yourself with Your Eyes Open

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3. Focus on Your Breath

self hypnosis tips

Take a tip from yoga: Focus on your breathing. Use long slow deep inhales and even slower exhales. Count your in breath and your out breath. This can help your mind calm down and put you into a trance state quickly and effectively.

4. Write Down Your Hypnotic Suggestions

self hypnosis tips

Get clear o what your hypnotic suggestions are going to be before you start your session. Keep them next to you. Don’t be worried about “cheating.” If you need to, during your self hypnosis session, take a peek at your hypnotic suggestions and then repeat them in your mind as you close your eyes again.

5. Memorize Your Hypnotic Suggestions

self hypnosis tips

Memorizing your hypnotic suggestions is the next step – and it will also embed those suggestions even more into your subconscious mind.

6. Watch Hypnosis Gurus on YouTube

self hypnosis tips

Watching a hypnosis guru on YouTube, especially one using conversational hypnosis, can help you learn how suggestions work. It can also put you in a light trance state to start your self hypnosis session.

7. Take Classes in Meditation

self hypnosis tips

By learning to meditate, you will learn how to get into a trance state fairly quickly. From there, it is an easy thing to add some positive suggestions to your “meditation.”

8. Practice Slow or Gentle Yoga

self hypnosis tips

The entire purpose of yoga asana was originally to settle the body down so it could sit for lengthy periods of meditation. By practicing yoga – the slow and gentle kind, not the hyped up Western workout yoga – you will be well prepared for self hypnosis and meditation.

9. Listen to Binaural Beats Audios While Doing Self Hypnosis

self hypnosis tips

Binaural beats audios are audios designed to take your brain waves down into a different state for the purposes of meditation and trance. You will want to use binaural beats that take the brain into the theta wave state. Many are on YouTube and are free. Use headphones for the best effect.

10. Put on Nature Sounds While Hypnotizing Yourself

self hypnosis tips

The natural sounds of birds, gentle rain, ocean waves, or crickets at night can help relax the mind and body and support you going into a trance state.

11. Try Self EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

self hypnosis tips

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a technique from psychology that involves moving the eyes to the right and left while processing an issue or trauma. You can perform self EMDR by using audio or video that moves from one side of the brain to the other. Or you can just move your eyes from side to side during self hypnosis – see what happens!

12. Incorporate EFT Before Your Self Hypnosis Session

self hypnosis tips

EFT stands for “Emotional Freedom Techniques” and it is an easy-to-learn form of acupressure that involves tapping on meridian (energy) points while focusing on an issue. Using EFT at the start of your self hypnosis session will make it that much easier to go into trance and improve its effectiveness.

13. Use Your Imagination to Visualize

self hypnosis tips

Visualization is a powerful way to reprogram the mind. Use visualization during your self hypnosis to imagine a better life for yourself. See yourself healthy, happy, and well. Or, just see yourself in relaxing environments: on a pleasant beach or relaxing at a sunny campsite.

14. Have a Mantra to Use

self hypnosis tips

Not sure what to do during your self hypnosis session? Use a mantra. You can select a traditional mantra to use, such as Om Mane Padme Hum, or come up with your own mantra in English (or your native language), such as “I am peaceful and relaxed.” Return to it any time your mind drifts during self hypnosis.

15. Practice, Practice, Practice

self hypnosis tips

The absolute best way to get better at self hypnosis is to do it daily. You can even do it a few times per day in short spurts. Keep it at consistently for best results. You may also find that initially, it may be harder to practice, but you get better as you go along. Perhaps you start off with a guided hypnosis audio but soon are able to go off on your own. Keep it up!

Self Hypnosis Is for Everyone

Self hypnosis is a highly safe and effective way to use the power of your subconscious mind to make positive changes in your life.

Igor Ledochowski: How Did He Become A Master Of Hypnosis?

Career
Igor Ledochowski: A Master of Hypnosis

Igor Ledochowski: A Master of Hypnosis

Igor Ledochowski

Igor Ledochowski is not a magician, but he is someone you may want to learn from and study if you want to become a master magician.
Why?
Igor Ledochowski is a master at the art of conversational hypnosis. And if you want to be a great magician, one of the best things you can learn is how to use hypnosis techniques to help with your presentation skills.

This is not about hypnotizing people into believing they saw a magic trick you did not do, but about cultivating an environment where you can lead your audience to the conclusions you want them to arrive at.

So, who is this Igor Ledochowski anyway?

Igor Ledochowski: A Former Lawyer Turned Hypnotist


Born in 1974 on April Fool’s Day (April 1), Igor Ledochowski was originally from Austria. He went to school at the University of Exeter and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree in European Law in 1995. He joined Linklaters, a global law firm, where he became a solicitor.

However, law was not in Ledochowski’s future. The young law associate was very interested in human potential and personal development, including topics such as accelerated learning.

He eventually learned Ericksonian Hypnosis, and quit his job as a lawyer to pursue hypnotism as a career. Igor Ledochowski is a Certified Master Hypnotist and Trainer. He is also an Accredited and Certified NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer, as well as a Certified Success Life Coach and Trainer. (NLP stands for neuro-linguistic programming.)

His teachers and mentors have included renowned NLP expert John La Valle; Richard Bandler, co-creator of neuro-linguistic programming; John Grinder, who created NLP with Bandler, Stephen Gilligan, the developer of Generative Change, and Stephen Brooks, a leader in the field of hypnosis and specifically Ericksonian Hypnosis.

Since quitting the field of law, Ledochowski becomes recognized as one of the top hypnotherapists in the United Kingdom. He teaches master classes in hypnosis at a variety of schools and venues, including the London College of Clinical Hypnosis and the Hypnotherapy Association. As head trainer for NLP & Hypnosis for Easy Stop, he has helped people overcome self-defeating habits such as overeating and smoking.

He also provides consulting for major corporations such as Proctor & Gamble and J. Sainsburys.
He is also an author and released his first book “The Deep Trance Training Manual, Volume 1” in 2003 to much acclaim. Other books he has written include “The Secret Art of Great Conversation,” “The Power of Conversational Hypnosis,” and “Money in Your Mind.”

What is Ericksonian Hypnosis?

The field of Ericksonian Hypnosis informs everything that Igor Ledochowski does as a master hypnotist.

Dr. Milton Erickson

Dr. Milton Erickson was one of the founding fathers of modern psychiatry, and he is known as the “father of hypnotherapy.” His specific brand of hypnosis is all about indirect suggestion instead of direct suggestion.

The idea is that indirect suggestion is a much better way to influence a client’s beliefs and behavior because it is less likely to meet with conscious resistance. In using indirect suggestion, you are speaking to the subconscious or unconscious mind, bypassing the conscious thinking processes.

What is the difference between direct and indirect hypnosis? It is largely a matter of style, but style is everything when it comes to hypnosis.

In direct hypnosis, the hypnotherapist would perhaps say something short and to the point, like a military command: “you are getting sleepy.”

In indirect hypnosis, the Ericksonian hypnotherapist would say something a lot more indirect and less commanding, such as: “you may wonder whether you feel like it is time to relax and sleep now.”

Direct hypnosis has many applications, including self-hypnosis, which is what it is perhaps best for. Many modern hypnotherapists use direct hypnosis safely and effectively, so it is certainly not a discredited form of hypnosis by any means.

However, indirect hypnosis is often more effective, especially with people who might be otherwise resistant to direct hypnosis.

And, indirect hypnosis is a critical part of conversational hypnosis, which Ledochowski has been a key leader and developer of.

What is Conversational Hypnosis?

Igor Ledochowski took the principles of Ericksonian hypnosis and helped develop and refine a related field, “conversational hypnosis.”

What is conversational hypnosis? The art of conversational hypnosis is exactly like the name suggests. It is hypnosis that happens in a conversation, instead of in a hierarchical therapist vs. client scenario.

doing a conversational hypnosis

In conversational hypnosis, you use indirect suggestions, as well as questions and other verbal techniques, to put your “subject” into a light trance. As you can see, using direct hypnosis would not be appropriate in a conversation.

Conversational Hypnosis vs. Covert Hypnosis

The term “covert hypnosis” is often used interchangeably with conversational hypnosis. However, the two are not entirely the same. Covert or secret hypnosis is hypnosis that is done on the sly, without the knowledge of the hypnosis subject. However, conversational hypnosis is often done with the foreknowledge of the hypnosis subject.

You can see many examples of conversational hypnosis that are not covert in many YouTube videos. The video “Hypnotherapy Demonstration Using Mind Bending Language with Igor Ledochowski” shows a demonstration he did in front of a live audience.

His subject, a blonde woman, knew who he was and was an eager participant in the conversational hypnosis. If you did not know that he was actively hypnotizing the woman, you might just think he was engaging in everyday conversation.

He uses a variety of hypnosis tools and techniques in this video, many of which were recognized by YouTube commenters. Some of these hypnosis techniques include confusion patterns, recognition signals, hypnotic triggers, and post-hypnotic suggestions.

Conversational hypnosis is in many ways an art form, and Igor Ledochowski is a master at it.
Another term used for conversational and covert hypnosis is “sleight of mouth.” This is an oblique reference to how the skill is in many ways similar to the skills magicians use to mesmerize audiences in magic shows.

Conversational hypnosis has a lot of applications in life, provided it is used ethically. Could you use conversational hypnosis to get someone to give you a million dollars? Perhaps, but would that be ethical?

For serious magicians, the purpose of learning conversational hypnosis is clear: It helps to guide and lead an audience member, especially during mentalist magic acts.

Igor Ledochowski’s Tips and Tricks on Conversational Hypnosis

Ledochowski is an acknowledged expert in the field of conversational hypnosis and has shared many ideas and tips on conversational and covert hypnosis.

Why Softening Language is a Useful Tool for Hypnotherapists

Indirect hypnosis is especially helpful in conversational settings because the language is less forceful and direct. This makes it more palatable to the hypnosis subject.

“The point is to take the harshness out of your conversations,” Ledochowski has explained. “It’s to soften the blow so people don’t feel that they’re being dictated to or told what to do because most people tend not to like that.”

Furthermore, softer language helps reduce the risk when hypnotizing people. If, for example, you give someone a direct suggestion and they do not follow it, then you will lose confidence and they will lose confidence in you.

If an indirect suggestion is provided, and it is passed over, that confidence issue won’t come up, according to Ledochowski.

Using Hypnotic Power Words and Phrases Increases Effectiveness

Power words in hypnosis are common words that help link together ideas and make them stronger in the subconscious mind of the subject. Ledochowski has explained that these words work because they tap into other feelings.

For example, the word "because" links ideas with a feeling of “motivation.” It is about giving people a strong reason to do something.

Understanding these simple principles can be extremely helpful in working with a subject and making progress with them.

How Magicians Can Benefit from Igor Ledochowski’s Teachings

Igor Ledochowski’s techniques in conversational hypnosis and “sleight of mouth” can be extremely helpful for magicians who want more control over an audience. If you do a search on his name on YouTube, you will find many videos of him in action, all free.

Take some time to study these videos to see what he is doing with his subjects. Notice his body language, where he positions himself in relation to the hypnosis subject, and what he says and how he says it.

Notice that he seems relaxed during these sessions. He does not strive to perform but acts naturally.

This can be a great way to present a magic trick and is something that many master magicians such as Eugene Burger have mastered.

Igor Ledochowski: The Expert in Conversational Hypnosis
If you are looking to learn even more, you can probably find many workshops, trainings, books, and learning products with Igor Ledochowski. Consider them a part of your magician training.

Eugene Burger: His Life And Following His Magical Footsteps

Career
spotlight: the magic of eugene burger

One of the most highly renowned magicians of the 20th and 21st centuries, Eugene Burger shuffled off this mortal coil in August of 2017. While his spirit has moved on from this life, Burger’s influence on the world of magic continues.

Terminal cancer is what silenced magician Eugene Burger in this plane of existence at the age of 78. But, he took his forthcoming death with grace and humor.

“Now I am on the way to the ultimate capital-M Mystery of life,” the award-winning magician said of his terminal illness.

He once said: “I didn't choose magic... magic chose me.”

About Magician Eugene Burger

eugene burger

Eugene Burger was born on June 1, 1939, and died August 8, 2017. The friendly, engaging magician had a Santa Claus quality about him, with his long beard, bald head, and round wire-rimming glasses. (His website domain is actually “magicbeard.com.”)

With his commanding yet gentle voice and warm personality, he was a popular, sought after magician in stage shows as well as for television appearances around the globe.
While Burgen was based in Chicago, Illinois, he traveled extensively. Countries where Burgen appeared on TV to perform his special brand of magic included the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Belgium, Finland, and Japan.

Awards and Accolades for the Magician

His magic skills garnered him awards by the most prestigious magician societies, including Magic Castle in Hollywood, the International Magicians Society, and FISM (International Federation of Magical Societies).

The press also loved Eugene Burger. Magic Magazine dubbed Eugene Berger as one of the 100 most influential magicians of the 20th century. Chicago Magazine called the jolly magician “Chicago’s Best Magician” in their Best of Chicago Issue in 2003 when he was 64 years old.

“Burger’s magic is simply jaw-dropping,” wrote the L.A. Weekly.

Philosopher, Teacher, and Sought-After Speaker

Eugene Burger was more than just a magician. He actually went to Yale University and graduated from Yale’s prestigious Divinity School with a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He also had a degree in philosophy and taught college classes on the subject as well as comparative religion.

Burger also taught magic to other up-and-coming magicians. One of the places he taught frequently was the McBride Magic & Mystery School, located in Paradise, Nevada. Burger was named “Magic’s Mystical Guru” at the Nevada school. He is still listed on the McBride Magic & Mystery School website, and you can purchase some of his recorded teachings and books there.

Prolific Writer and Book Author

Over the span of his long career, Burger wrote many books about the craft of magic, a total of 15 bestsellers in the niche genre. The bearded magician also wrote a number of articles on the subject of magic. His books on the art of magic (as well as philosophy) included:
Magic & Meaning: Published in 1995, a book that looked at the intersection of magic, philosophy, and storytelling.

The Performance of Close-up Magic
  • Hardcover Book
  • Burger, Eugene (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Performance of Close-Up Magic: Published in 1987, this 134-page book provides insights on how to captivate an audience with close-up magic tricks.

The Experience of Magic: Published in 1989, this volume explores great themes in the history of magic and how to cultivate an enchanting, magical “experience” for the audience.
Spirit Theater: Published in 1986, this is a fascinating book about the history of seances and how they were performed in the 19th century.

The Performance of Close-Up Magic
The Experience of Magic
  • Hardcover Book
  • Eugene Burger (Author)
  • German (Publication Language)

Mystery School (with Jeff McBride): Published in 2003, this 450-page color book shares some of the magic of Eugene Burger and Jeff McBride’s Mystery School.

While many of Burger’s books are officially out of print, many used editions can be found at online stores, and specialty magic stores still sell Burger’s books.

book
Mystery School by Eugene Burger and Jeff McBride
  • Hardcover Book
  • Burger, Eugene and McBride, Jeff (edited by Todd Karr) (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Eugene Burger’s Magical Specialties

Eugene Burger was a highly accomplished magician. Some call him a “magician’s magician,” although others say that this diminishes his truly astonishing ability to captivate a general audience (beyond just magicians). Burger had three main specialties in magic:

1. Close-Up Magic

There is something special about close-up magic. The intimacy of the setting is one thing.

The magician is seated at a table no more than 10 feet away from the audience. Many times, you are closer to the magician than you would a casino dealer at a blackjack table.

Burger was exceptionally talented at this type of magic, which required extensive sleight-of-hand skills as well as presentation and people abilities. He joins other luminaries in the close-up magic circle, including David Blaine, Derren Brown, Michael Anmar, Shoot Ogawa, Jay Alexander, Teller (of Penn and Teller), and Jewel Aich.

Close-up magic

One of Burger’s talents was to charm and disarm his audience through his unassuming, friendly persona. As you might notice from his “Three Coin Mystery” trick, Burger has a very natural presentation style that is unaffected and “real.”

Berger leads his participants along a very surprising magic ride. Up until the very end of the magic trick, his casual voice belays his talents. From his slight stuttering to the bits of “doubt” he pads in, Burger is reminiscent of some old guy you might run into at your favorite fishing hole. He weaves his tale effortlessly like he’s just shooting the breeze with you. He doesn’t give away his confidence or ability until right up to the very end of the trick with the reveal.

2. Mentalism

Mentalism is a form of magic where the magician appears to be utilizing psychic abilities such as mind reading, telepathy, and psychokinesis. 

Stage hypnosis (as distinguished from therapeutic hypnosis or hypnotherapy) is also frequently used by mentalists.

As we’ve already covered, Eugene Burger was a master at managing and manipulating his audience. While his “Thought Sender” trick is not pure mentalism, but combined “mental magic,” you can see how he deftly guides his audience, and specifically his target, to the conclusion of the trick.

Mentalism

Other well-known magicians who perform mental magic include David Copperfield, David Blaine, The Amazing Kreskin, Richard Osterlind, Derren Brown, and Joseph Dunninger.

3. Bizarre Magic

Bizarre magic, also spelled with a “k” at the end of magic (bizarre magick), is a branch of magic that started to gain prominence in the 1960s

It involves the extensive use of storytelling, often with stories that are creepy or a bit disturbing. Incorporating plays on words is also an important part of bizarre magic.

The idea behind bizarre magic is to develop a narrative or weave a tale, not unlike a ghost story at a campfire, that draws the viewer in.

Bizarre Magic

When we say that Eugene Burger invented the book on bizarre magic, we mean it literally. His book “Strange Ceremonies: Bizarre Magick for the Modern Conjuror” came out in 1991. The book is not a text you could find in a typical bookstore, but it can be found used online (and as a collectible) for prices ranging from $40 to $70 or more.

A reviewer on Amazon describes it as such:

“One of the classics of bizarre magick. Burger writes from a philosophical viewpoint and delves deeply into the meaning of bizarre magick and its contributions to the larger body of magic performance. There are some effects discussed, and a bit of history. But the real focus is on the philosophical/theoretical underpinnings of this branch of magic.

While it is difficult to find YouTube videos of Eugene Burger performing bizarre magic, some small snippets are available.

One of his bizarre magic tricks involves a simple spool of thread and a candle. Burger used different stories that used the thread to illustrate his points.

One version of the thread trick uses the thread as a metaphor for real life. The second YouTube video, simple titled “Eugene Burger,” which unfortunately cuts out before the full reveal, uses Hindu mythology.

In this second version, Berger talks about Brahma (God) creating the universe in a very deep and mysterious voice. As he breaks the thread over the candle, he ominously reports on the inevitable destruction of God’s creation by the God Shiva.

Other notable bizarre magic aficionados include Christian Chelman, Robert Neale, Tony Andruzzi (also known as Maskelyn ye Mage), and Burger’s friend and colleague Jeff McBride.

Supporting the Community of Magicians

Perhaps one of Eugene Burger’s best contributions to the world of magic was his support of new and up-and-coming magicians. He was more than a magician, he was also a passionate teacher of the craft. He was known to be supportive and generous with magicians who consulted with him for advice.

Perhaps Burger’s dedication to supporting other magicians stems from the positive memories he had of visiting Chicago’s now long gone magic shops as a teenager in the 1950s.

It was at these magic shops that he was able to learn from experienced magicians, who mentored him and encourage him to try magic tricks that played upon his natural talents and proclivities.
He wrote about his experiences in an article titled “The Sad Death of the Magic Shop,” which appeared in Magic Magazine in May of 2015.

In the article, he laments the loss of these unique and special magic shops that were available in downtown Chicago, Illinois, in an area known as the “Loop.” He said just in the Loop five of these mystical magic shops existed.

At the time he wrote his article, no more were left in the downtown area of Chicago.

As he explained in his piece, those magic shops were more than just about selling cheap tricks to young, hungry magicians. They were community centers, where magicians could mingle, learn, and create friendships, some of which could end up being lifelong.

The replacement of these shops with Internet magic stores has been a greater loss to the magician community, as Burger explained. Sure, you might save a few bucks on an item, but it may not be what you expected once it arrives in a package on your doorstep. You aren’t able to make those same relationships through online purchasing than you can at a local magic store.

The irony, of course, is that now, the main way a young magician can receive any sort of tutelage through the now deceased Burger is through his books, courses, and products sold through the Internet.

Following in Eugene Burger’s Magical Footsteps

For the budding magician who admires Eugene Burger and his amazing legacy, what are some of the steps to take?

1. Learn Close-Up Magic

Not everyone is meant to be a David Copperfield with massive, flashy magic that must appeal to large audiences and involve massive objects like the Statue of Liberty. And, there is something to be said for the intimacy and enchantment of close-up magic. It can make an audience member feel extremely special and awed.

2. Get Good at the Art of Storytelling

One of the things that truly set Eugene Burger apart as a magician was his ability to tell a story in such a way as to captivate the audience. Good storytelling is extremely helpful in the presentation aspect of being a magician. When it comes to doing quality bizarre magic, good storytelling is essential.

Good storytelling is more than just remembering the “facts” or storyline of a particular narrative. It is about the pacing, choice of words, and how you use your voice, as well as punctuating your stories with the right body language. And that body language can be a great asset when it comes to sleight of hand and deflection.

Eugene Burger Will Not Be Forgotten
The world of magic will miss Eugene Burger, but he will not be forgotten. A fascinating and dedicated professional magician, this bearded wizard was an amazing performer, writer, and teacher.