We are very excited and proud to announce Bob Cassidy as the 2017 Annemann winner, in our annual award presentations at Stevens Magic Emporium. Joe Stevens started these awards in attempt to show recognition to those in the industry of both magic an mentalism, that continue to represent the art with dignity and respect. These luminaries continue to shape and mold the art to the benefit of both layman and fellow artist such as us.
Bob Cassidy is an enigma, a man of mystery who is himself a mystery. He’s a self-styled irreverent who claims to be more comfortable in motorcycle bars than hoity-toity venues. He’s one of those rare people who are often simply referred to by last name only – Cassidy. He is an entertainer, author, and lecturer and is one of the more influential creators of modern mentalism.
Cassidy is known and acclaimed throughout the world for his support of the mentalism community. In 1978 he was one of five who founded the renowned Psychic Entertainers Association (P.E.A), an exclusive small circle of psychic entertainers from around the world, and which consists of mentalists, bizarrists, hypnotists, readers, and allied artists, including full-time, part-time, and retired entertainers.
Cassidy is colorful and widely known and accomplished in psychic entertainment; he has strong opinions about the art and he generates strong opinions from those who have known him. He has been a long-time prolific contributor to the art, following in the footsteps of Ted Annemann and “The Jinx” on this art. He has performed internationally, has been widely published in the industry, is well known at the Magic Castle and MindVention.
Since publishing The Art of Mentalism in 1982 (Collectors Workshop, Washington, D.C.), the book and its updated sequels (including Art of Mentalism 2 and The Art of Mentalism 3) have become hornbooks to the mentalism world, required reading for anyone who wants to move beyond mental magic and remain entertaining while presenting mentalism with minimum props. The 1982 book, in hard cover, followed his paperback Pseudomentally Yours, published in 1977 (Invocation Supplement #2, Bob Lynn, Waldwick, New Jersey). Cassidy’ original book, generated updated versions 2 and 3, and it engendered subsequent Cassidy contributions to the craft, including The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy (H&R Magic Books, Humble, Texas, 2002); Bob Cassidy’s Mentalism, a DVD he produced in 2002; and The Black Box Cinema, a DVD produced by Meir Yedid, Fair Lawn, New Jersey, in 2007.
In addition to the seminal work of The Art of Mentalism, Cassidy has published 53 eBooks and one MP3 audio, available from Chris Wasshuber’s Lybrary.com. The subject matter of these eBooks has ranged from concentrating on using specific tools, such as billet handling and nail writers, to complete routines, often with a focus on a person of historic interest, such as Erik Jan Hanussen. Many times Cassidy has employed a writer’s gimmick by using a fictional character, Dr. Crow, enabling Bob to poke fun at himself and others, while still driving home a teaching point. This listing of current offerings fails to be all inclusive, and does not, for example, include such noteworthy pieces as The Principia Mentalia in 1993, later contained in The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy.
Bob was born June 23, 1949 in Kearny, New Jersey. By 12 years old he had appeared on television’s Original Amateur Hour as a magician. Later, when he was in the United States Navy as a communications specialist, he developed an act of photographic memory and intuition. Some have reported this marked the time of a real shift toward mentalism and away from general magic.
Bob graduated from Montclair State College in Montclair, New Jersey in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts and proceeded to Seton Hall University School of Law in Neward, New Jersey, where he obtained his Juris Doctorate in 1978. Although a lawyer by education, Bob had the “itch” for entertaining and did so on the cruise ships MS Rotterdam and MS Statendam (both part of the Holland America cruise ship group) between 1972 and 1976. According to Bob, he first began performing semi-professionally as a stage mind reader and hypnotist in 1972, and it was on those cruise ships where he was able to hone is entertainment skills. Nevertheless, after earning the law degree, he practiced from 1978 through 1988 as a partner of Shapiro and Cassidy, where he became experienced in criminal defense trials and personal injury litigation.
With this background and legal expertise, Cassidy was a natural among the founders to use for developing the P.E.A. as an entity to come up with the right “legal language” for birthing the organization. Also Cassidy was the first editor of what has become Vibrations. Under his leadership he entitled the newsletter Psychic Entertainers News and Information Service.
Referring to his 10-year tenure as a lawyer in The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy, Bob wrote, “…everything in my life was slowly becoming respectful and mainstream. Given my nature, this was a frightening course. What many would view as growth and developing maturity, I saw as stagnation and decay.” Making the decision in 1988 to become a full-time performer, Cassidy left New Jersey and moved to Washington State, which he says he chose “…because it was the farthest distant from the life I sought to leave behind.” It also allowed Bob to learn other skills, such as waiting tables, cooking, and bartending. “The latter quickly became my forte as it offered me a constant audience upon which to practice my art,” he later wrote.
Although Cassidy is known for being a maverick in many ways, he was strongly joined and dependent on his wife Peggy. Unfortunately, she passed in late November 2005 As an independent, he also learned tough lessons over the years of the fast growing internet about piracy of material, and the importance of close working relationships, with comradeship from Michael Weber, Jheff Poncher, Chris Wasshuber, and others.
In addition to serving as Vibrations’ editor for four years, Bob also served as P.E.A. president from 1982 to 83. He was elected to honorary life-membership in 1988 and was the first mentalist to be awarded its “Award for Creativity in Psychic Entertainment” in 1996.