Above and Beyond Cold Reading
A workshop by Paul Bell
Sunday 10th October 2010
Reviewed by Jon Holt
I attended this workshop because I had previously purchased the book ‘Reader of Minds’ that was written by Paul, which I had enjoyed thoroughly. I must say that I approached this event with quite a lot of trepidation for two reasons. The first was that Paul Bell also goes by the rather embarrassing name of ‘Voodini’ and secondly, the cost of the workshop was only £18, that seemed suspiciously low. I am delighted to say that my misgivings were completely misplaced!
We met at midday on a sunny Sunday day in the basement of Treadwells bookshop in London. Paul turned out to be a witty and engaging individual who clearly knows his field very well indeed. He started off by telling us about how he started off doing Tarot readings as a youngster, where he was convinced that he had the ‘gift’ before abandoning it when he started a family, only to re-discover it years later. Fortunately, when he re-discovered Tarot reading, he had also got into mentalism and magic and saw his ‘talent’ for what it was - cold reading. Before we go any further, it is important to point out that Paul does not dismiss psychic ability, mediumship or clairvoyance altogether, but states that he is yet to be convinced by anything that he has seen, and he has seen a lot!
Paul introduced the subject of cold reading and gave us a number of definitions of terms, such as ‘hot reading’, ‘warm reading’, ‘cold reading’ and so on. He gave us examples of how it is done, what key phrases are used, the techniques that mediums use to gain information, crow-barring hits from misses, the use of stooges (interestingly, the definition of ‘stooge’ used in cold reading is different from our usual definition in magic and mentalism) and many other aspects of the subject.
Paul gave us sample readings using the people attendees and even had one of us provide a stunningly-accurate reading on someone just by looking at them.
Paul then went on to describe how to make money out of cold reading, talking about psychic fairs, individual readings and tarot parties. I must admit that this part had little relevance to me, but it was fascinating none-the-less.
Also, much to my relief, he was also quick to explain his rather cheesy sobriquet and he had his reasons so I think that we can forgive him.
Overall, I highly recommend this workshop. At just £18 and including a copy of his book ‘Reader of Minds’ there really is no reason not to attend. I travelled across from South Wales and even factoring the travel costs, this was still value for money. I shall be certainly looking out for more of Paul’s publications and workshops in the future. I found the initial link for this course on MagicWeek, which led me to his website: www.readerofminds.co.uk, so keep watching MagicWeek for future dates.
© Jon Holt, member of Psycrets, October 2010