Probably the best way to become famous in the world of mentalism and magic is to have more than one way to perform your trick. Just having a single trick and mastering it takes you far but after a certain point of time it does not suffice.
The reason why being a master of some trick won’t alone suffice is because when you become famous, someone will always want to bust you. They will want to tattle on your secret. “He isn’t levitating that piece of paper, he has strings doing it for him”. Hence, the next rule in mentalism is to have a backup strategy or method. The more methods you have of performing your trick the longer you survive.
Take James Hydrick’s example when he went on the show, That’s Incredible in 1981 just to show off. The host had actually caught his trick that he was blowing on the pencil. However, Hydrick then offered to do the same trick but this time with the host’s hand in front of his mouth so he could not blow anymore.
To do the trick this time though, Hydrick just positioned the pencil on the table’s edge and with the movement of his hand produced sufficient air current to move the pencil. Because the host was not even looking for this trick, it fooled him and the show even ended by declaring Hydrick a true performer who did the real thing.
This story not only has a lesson in it for performers but also for sceptics.
Sceptics tend to just look at one method of doing a trick. Hence, they often say that he is just doing this. What they don’t say is, he is doing this or that. For a true mentalist or magician, this is the perfect ruse to build more credibility by doing the trick to disprove a sceptic with another method. This not only cements your status as a performer but also fools those who were half-sceptic thus making a believer out of them.31