Mystic Descendant is the name of a shiny new periodical for the mentalism community, published by mentalist Ron Chavis. Ron, among other hats that he wears, is the genial web host of a deliberately not-so-well-known mentalism website. He has taken on the formidable job of producing a mentalism quarterly of 50+ pages, no small task, and his first issue is a low-key, but enjoyable read.
You can tell right away that Mystic Descendant is going to be different from other mentalism periodicals, because unlike The Jinx, Magick, or Syzygy, MD is not a newsletter or stapled mimeographed affair, but a perfect bound, glossy color-covered magazine (some of the publicity material likes to call it a book, but I think that’s stretching it), printed on decent quality paper.
Mystic Descendant casts its net wide, covering traditional mentalism, but it’s also not afraid to cover such topics as psychic readings and bizarre magic presentations as well. The one thing it is not interested in is mental magic, so if that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere. While there is discussion of methods, the focus so far is really on compelling presentations for casual and close-up performance. The periodical describes itself as aimed at “a beginner, a part or full-time performer, or a hobbyist,” and I think that’s a fair description. I think all of the above can find something to appreciate and enjoy here.
The contents are an eclectic mix of interviews, effects, presentations, stories, and random thoughts and that is part of the charm of the magazine. It’s the kind of thing you sit in the lounge chair with, and chuckle to yourself as you’re reading it. It’s imaginative in its diversity, and firm in its conviction about the importance of storytelling.
You can get an idea of the full contents by clicking here, but I’ll just mention that the highlight of the issue for me was the interview with Swedish mentalist Anthony Heads. He is primarily a stage performer, and it was fascinating to read about how he overcomes the reticence of his Swedish audiences to express emotion. Here’s hoping to the continued success of Mystic Descendant.