Making Contact; The Real Secrets Of Contact Mindreading by Satori

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii September, 1998)

Satori is a professional mentalist, originally from East Germany, whose work, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has received attention and success in the West in recent years. The first version of this booklet was published in German in 1996, then translated into English and made available to the membership of the Psychic Entertainers Association. This version has been expanded by the addition of a valuable six-page introductory historical overview of the subject matter prepared by Max Maven.

Contact mindreading, known also as muscle reading and Hellstromism among other terms, is a remarkable technique in the right hands. It can create a convincing illusion of mindreading without any preparation or—most notably perhaps given the conventions of mentalism—the need for any information to be written down. It is largely responsible for much of Kreskin's press clippings (and appears to be the one technique at which he actually possesses some proficiency), and even managed at one time to convince Paul Kurtz, chairman of The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, of the rather nutty idea that he and Mr. Kreskin were on the same side. (But I digress.) In its simplest form, contact mindreading is surprisingly easy to do successfully. For example, a trick in the Card Magic of E.G. Brown, which describes laying out 52 face-up cards, blindfolding the performer, asking a spectator to think of any card, and finally locating that card by the performer bringing the spectator's finger down on the thought-of card, is more than likely to meet with success on the very first attempt. However, getting to the advanced stages requires a great deal of practice and experience, potentially enabling the performer to locate small objects hidden in large areas, or even to locate a particular person and carry out a previously determined set of actions with that person.

Considering that the technique has been in commercial use for well over a century—famously in the 19th century by Washington Irving Bishop, for example—there has not been a great deal written on the subject. This succinct but thorough volume is a significant addition to that body of work, and any one with an interest in this subject, be it slight or serious, should study it. Superbly organized, the student is taken through a step-by-step process that possesses the unmistakable ring of the author's long firsthand experience. I daresay some focussed effort with this little volume alone and a dedicated student might well amaze him or herself in a surprisingly short span of time.

5 - 1/2" X 8-1/2" perfect bound; 68 pages; sparsely illustrated; 1998; Publisher: H&R Magic Books