When I was a little boy, my grandfather used to buy the blue ribbon pumpkin from the State Fair for my Halloween birthday each year and he would bring it to school for my class to carve. These pumpkins were usually 200-300 lbs. This last month at the Alaska State Fair they beat their personal record and just weighed a 2,051 lb. pumpkin! Literally a ton of pumpkin! WOW!
Welcome to October’s “Mysteries of the Mind” Newsletter
It is the perfect time of year for scary stories and séance magic at your private Halloween parties and retreats. I already have shows this season in Palm Springs, Montreal, Santa Barbara, St. George, Park City, and Las Vegas. But there is still time to bring me to your event! Please reach out to me about your needs for Halloween and Christmas,I love hearing from friends. Your friend, Paul 801-541-2976 WEBSITE: Mental Mysteries
MYSTIC MONDAYS: A THEATRICAL SÉANCE
While the rest of Fear Factory Haunted attraction is closed on Mondays in October, the haunt is opening up a never-before-seen room to offer their bravest patrons for a brand-new experience!
Witness an all-new level of fear with world-renowned mentalist and magician Paul Draper! He’s an expert in the paranormal; he’s studied the dreadful history of the Portland Cement Factory workers; and with only 20 people in the close-quarters séance theatre, he’ll create a séance that will leave you with goosebumps and questioning reality.
Mystic Monday Theatrical Séances brings 20 adventurous attendees together to communicate with some of our ghosts in Draper’s mystical, magical séance experience! Each event is 45 minutes and seats only 20 people, so you’re guaranteed an immersive and spine-tingling experience.
Everyone will join hands, and the candles will be extinguished. In pitch darkness, Paul Draper will summon the spirits. Amid the gasps and screams of participants, objects will levitate from the table. Glasses will shatter, spikes will bend, and something will reach through the darkness. Will it be a friendly spirit… or something far more terrifying?
Paul Draper is the séance expert on the History Channel special “Houdini: Unlocking the Mystery.” He created and narrated a séance filmed for the special features that accompanied the 25th-Anniversary theatrical release of Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist in theaters worldwide, and he has been the designated medium for the annual official Houdini Seance.
Houdini and his wife lived in a 6,008-square-foot house located at 278 W. 113th Street in Harlem, New York from 1904-1926. My dear London recently purchased a piece of original wood from the house with 2 rusty nails sticking out for me at an auction to support magicians in need held by the Dai Vernon Foundation at The Magic Castle. Thanks to Houdini expert John Cox for his help verifying the authenticity of this piece.If walls could talk, what could this lath of wood have to say? We will find out at my next Houdini Séance!
October Magic Moments
This is Sadie, the 3-year-old and 6 lb. poodle. Sadie lost the use of her back legs two weeks ago and I pulled together the money to spend almost $5,000 in surgery, tests, medicine etc. for the fur baby. The good news is that she should regain 90% of her mobility and has a life expectancy of another 15 years. After her successful spinal surgery, Sadie is learning to walk again. She walks a bit like a drunken pirate from a Disney cartoon right now, but I am very enthusiastic about the progress.
I recently had a conversation with Milt Larsen who was one of the founders of the Magic Castle in Hollywood. He told me that his favorite magician was Walt Disney! I love this Walt Disney quote and as a magician can really relate to it. I replaced the I in “impossible” with the wizard Mickey pin to make it look like the little Wizard is dreaming of his future independent, Peter Pan-style shadow wizard-self in the background.
These are exactly the kinds of reactions I was looking for when performing for members of the Bel-Air Country Club! These men are leaders in their industries and have seen everything, they are hard to impress. In a flash of magic, the nuts and bolts of industry turned into a golf ball from their club!
I rode on a float at the Alaska State Fair and this lovely woman walked on the street along the side of the float with a sign to let people know who I was! It is so wonderful traveling the country and sharing experiences.
I think I just met my real dad… Who remembers him as the professor in Sliders or as Agent Malone in the Untouchables? Of course we all remember him from Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings!
I hope you’re having a fun and productive summer. I have been having an amazing time traveling and performing all over the country, and I’m excited to share the journey with you. In July, I will be performing at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, where I have been regularly appearing for almost 15 years. I have had the great honor to perform there for celebrities, dignitaries, fellow magicians, and friends!
This month, I will also be appearing at the Magic Circle in London, England. This will be my third time at the Circle. What a great and humbling honor it is to appear at these incredible and historic venues dedicated to the art of performance magic!
You will catch me all day in the museum and the library on my hours off stage.
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”
Recently, my personal research into the human mind has been focused on the relationship we have with intelligence, creativity, and neuroplasticity. Is it possible to become more intelligent? Is it possible to become more creative? Some of the answers have surprised me, and I think they will surprise you, too!
Intelligence vs. Creativity:
“The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.”
Neuroscience and psychology researchers finally have access to technology that allows them to pinpoint the brain regions involved with creativity. Creativity is all about our ability to come up with new, innovative ideas and solutions. Recent data has shown that creativity involves a complex interplay between two different types of thinking. The first is spontaneous thinking, the ability to both brainstorm ideas, and the second is controlled thinking, the ability to deliberately evaluate those ideas to determine whether or not they will actually work. Intelligence, on the other hand, involves the ability to reason and plan, quickly comprehend complex ideas, and learn from experience. There are many tools that can help us to become more creative and think in more abstract ways to succeed at creating and doing amazing things. But can we become more intelligent? “Compelling evidence shows that genetics plays a more important role than environment, as intelligence develops from childhood. Intelligence test scores correspond strongly to specific features of the brain,” states Richard J. Haier, Ph.D, author of The Neuroscience of Intelligence. We may not actually be able to raise our intelligence. Much of our ability to succeed at intelligence tests in school seems to be based on how efficiently specific regions of our brains are at connecting to each other, though the scientific community still isn’t entirely sure. But there is good news! This is only one side of the debate on whether intelligence is fluid or crystallized (i.e., changing versus unchangeable). Additionally, intellegence does not necessarily correlate with a person’s compassion, creativity, kindness, work ethic, or success in life. So don’t get too caught up in worrying about your core intelligence level. My grandfather, Calvin W. Taylor, Ph.D, was head of the psychology department at the University of Utah. One of his primary areas of focus was multiple intelligences, the idea that each of us possesses different levels of intelligence in different arenas. He called this concept the Multiple Creative Talent Teaching Approach: Click here to find out more. We are all good at something, and many of us are good at multiple things. The best way to discover these talents is through creative exploration. I would love to help you learn more about how to unlock your creative potential!
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
Keynote presentations, workshops, or shows:
When groups bring me in for keynote presentations, workshops, or shows, I always ask how they would like me to focus my time in the presentation. It can be 100% creative entertainment, 100% academic research, or something in between customized just for the needs of the event.
A show that is 100% entertainment could be my theatrical Mysteries of the Mind show. A workshop that is 80% entertainment could be a class teaching everyone how to juggle with 20% of our time focused on job instruction skills. A presentation that is 60% entertainment and 40% teaching is a great time for a day of training on public speaking or teamwork. A class that is 40% entertainment and 60% educational content could be geared toward leadership and management. A lecture that is 80% research and and 20% entertainment could be filled with transferable, actionable data on patient or employee safety. A keynote that is 100% research could be a keynote on neuroplasticity, neonatology, or the historical war studies of Bedouin pastoralists.
I am always excited to work together with clients to create something unique for you and your event!
Get a quick glimpse of what I do in my show here: SHOW Or see my brand-new website for 2019 at: WEBSITE I hope we can work together again soon!
“If you were to ask me what I want to do… I don’t want to be a celebrity; I want to make a difference.”
– Lady Gaga
This month, I will be back at FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention in Salt Lake City interviewing and celebrating celebrities onstage in the 5,000-seat Grand Ballroom. Celebrities are a fascinating phenomenon: the individuals in our society who have gained notoriety through a combination of talent, perseverance, and luck. What I find most interesting as a cognitive anthropologist is how our brains respond to celebrities. Some physical anthropologists postulate that the human brain is capable of making deep, lasting connections with only a small percentage of the 7 to 8 billion people on the planet. Increasingly, some of those 200 to 300 connections are occupied by famous faces. We see their films; follow them on social media; mirror their emotions; and travel with them through adventures and overcoming obstacles. We devote the limited number of spaces in our minds for deep, personal friendships to these individuals who we have never even met. The wonderful thing about events like FanX is that they give fans like you and me the opportunity to meet the people we already feel that we know. I love helping to celebrate these connections! There is a YouTube account, Ammaross Danan, that records many of the celebrity spotlight panels in the Grand Ballroom and posts them online. The account is not affiliated with the convention, but I am delighted that so many of these moments have been captured and shared with the world. Below are just a few of the celebrity spotlight panels that I have hosted recently: you can watch them in full at the links below!
Salt Lake City, Utah:Utah Childrens Theater For the first time ever, I am performing a brand-new series of shows in a children’s theater! That’s right: I have spent my entire career performing for adults, but for 3 performances in a 100+ seat theater this Easter weekend, I will be performing magic to delight, amuse, and amaze children of all ages! Event Info HERE:
Bath, Maine: Next week I am performing my Mysteries of the Mind show and a special-event evening séance at a beautiful performing arts venue in Maine. As a child, it was always my dream to tour the world performing in amazing spaces. I am very excited to perform in this restored 1800s church! If you know anyone in the area, please let them know about the show. Event Info HERE:
Leeds, England: I am once again teaming up with Karl Smith and UK Hypnosis Academy to present a 2-day intensive course on mentalism and performance skills in England. This will be my third class in the series, and the last two have sold out. There are still spaces available, but hurry: £299.00 to attend if you are one of the next 10 students to book; the prices will go up to £399 soon! Event Info HERE:
In other fun news: Bentley Motors of China
If you have been following me on social media, you saw that I had four stage performances for the executives of Bentley Motors of China! This was my first time performing mentalism on stage with a translator. The car next to me was a brand-new $300,000 electric Bentley that was the real star of the show.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu
Many would argue that the greatest magician of the 1930s was Howard Thurston. Though there are many amazing stories of his performances, my favorite is that he had a habit before every show of standing behind the curtain facing toward the audience and whispering, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” He believed that the audience could feel his love for them, and from my experiences as a performer, I’m sure they could!
Across the pond, the great British magician David Devant used the motto “All Done By Kindness.” Both Thurston and Devant have been great inspirations to me in my own work. Where some performers like to go out and “kill” their audiences, “slay” them, “destroy” them, and so on, I have preferred to always perform with love and to engage my audiences with kindness. Like Thurston, I believe they can feel it!
Last month, I was very lucky to present 37 shows and lectures for a variety of amazing audiences in six different US states. I’ve had more shows this month than in some entire years of my career! In contrast, I currently only have 2 bookings for February: one lecture series at Lakeland University in Wisconsin and a week at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Luckily, I have some brand new promotional material, and I’m thrilled to get to share it with you.
I’m very excited to announce this new release! It has been two years since my last major demo video update.
This demo reel represents everything I have done in my entire career in under 2 minutes! Wow! Please let me know what you think – I’m always grateful for your feedback!
If you want to watch it now, the demo is online at: DEMO REEL You can find it on my brand-new website for 2019 at: MentalMysteries
GEEK ROAD TRIP: ABRACADABRA! CHECK OUT THESE 5 MAGIC CLUBS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Some of my favorite places to experience magic are the great magic-themed venues around the country. Below is a fun article written by Vanessa Armstrong for Syfy in which she lists some of the best magic hot spots around. I’ve already been fortunate enough enough to have performed in 3 of these 5 venues in this year alone!
“Places to see top-tier magic are popping up all over the United States, giving magic nerds and laypeople alike the chance to be amazed by jaw-dropping feats of sleight of hand, prestidigitation, and misdirection no matter where they live. These establishments are popular not only because they offer people the opportunity to see great magic outside of Vegas but also because they provide an unforgettable, encompassing experience, a night out on the town their visitors won’t soon forget.”
Perhaps my most memorable show last month was presented at Holladay City Hall in my hometown of Holladay, Utah.
My first magic show was performed in this same building, which then housed Holladay Elementary School, when I was in first grade. For ten consecutive years, I performed at Holladay Elementary every year to build my confidence, develop my act, and bring joy to the people I grew up with.
This year, I returned to perform on that stage, and sold out ten hours after being released nearly a month prior to the event. It was strange and wonderful to return to that stage. My mind was flooded with so many memories of childhood. I was honored to have my family, the families of many of my childhood friends, and my childhood rabbi and his wife in attendance.
To really bring things full circle, I also hosted the opening of the new, multimillion-dollar social and behavioral science building at my undergraduate alma mater last month. Just a few days later, I performed for over 1,000 theater students from around the state in the university’s largest theater. It has been such an amazing journey!
Thank you for helping me to share love, music, magic, and art!
“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.”
“There is no remedy for love but to love more.”
– Henry David Thoreau
February 13th – 17th
Linq Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Encore Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Purim Show for Utah Hillel
Salt Lake City, Utah
March 20th – 21st
Hermosa Beach, California
Gardner Village, Utah
Chocolate Church Theater
FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention
Salt Lake City, Utah
April 18th – 20th
Hilltop School Auction
Salt Lake City, Utah
Las Vegas Magic Auction
St. Croix Theater Festival
St. Croix, Wisconson
May 31st -June 1st
Mountain View High School
Santa Clara, California
This is truly the most wonderful time of the year.
This is the time of year that many of us set aside to pause and recognize the miracles that take place within our own lives.
Whatever our backgrounds, we use this time each year to remember what is most important to us as a people and as a culture, recounting the stories that are woven into the fabric of our identities. To those who observe the plethora of holidays this season, may your celebrations be filled with reflection and wonder! To those who don’t, I wish you a productive and peaceful month filled with magic of your own making. As the great orator G.K. Chesterton said, “The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.” Mental Mysteries
Watch videos of some of my holiday magic in the links below.
Santa Clause was and is one of our greatest performing magicians, his feature effects include rapid transportation, sudden appearances and disappearances, trained reindeer, and endless productions.
Additionally, I like to put forth the argument that Santa is primarily a mentalist at heart! He “sees” you when you’re sleeping, knows when you’re awake, knows if you are bad or good, and he certainly knows what we all want for Christmas (for goodness sake)!
Enjoy some of my magical appearances by clicking the links below: