10 secret techniques in mentalism

1. The force
Mentalist use forcing technique to perform prediction effects. Mentalist force the spectator to make a particular choice but to a spectator it looks like a free choice.

2. The peek
Mentalist use this technique to perform mind reading effects. Mentalist secretly or using some mechanism take a quick look at what spectator has written, drawn etc.

3. Cold reading
With cold reading, without prior knowledge, a mentalist can quickly obtain a great deal of information by analyzing the person’s body language, age, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity, level of education, the manner of speech, place of origin, etc. Cold readings commonly employ high-probability guesses, quickly picking up on signals as to whether their guesses are in the right direction or not, then emphasizing and reinforcing chance connections and quickly moving on from missed guesses.

4. Memory and mental calculation
Mentalist uses fast mathematics methods to perform quick mental calculations and to remember a long list of objects. Mentalist tries to show the power of his mind using these effects.

5. Dual reality
Dual Reality is a ploy in which spectators assume that everybody witnessing the same performance effect, but in actuality, different people are finding different meanings of certain deceptive words in the conversation. Generally, in dual reality effects, either spectator gets more amazed than the rest of the audience or the audience gets more amazed than the spectator.

6. Misdirection
Use of standard magical methods like misdirection with the use of magic props or sleights to accomplish a mentalism effect, it is also called mental magic. Any magic effect can be presented as a mentalism effect with the right script.

7. Suggestion
A suggestion is a psychological process by which one person guides the thoughts, feelings, or behavior of another person. Mentalist who also performs hypnosis use these techniques for entertainment.

8. Equivocation
Equivocation (or the magician’s choice) is a verbal technique by which a magician gives an audience member an apparently free choice, but frames the next stage of the trick in such a way that each choice has the same end result. For example, the performer may deal two cards to the table and ask a spectator to select one: if the spectator chooses the card on the left, the performer will say something like “you keep this card, I’ll take the remaining card”. If the spectator chooses the card on the right, the performer will take that card. Thus, the choice of which card to use is really made by the magician.

9. Secret Accomplice
Some mentalists employ their assistant backstage to accomplish some mind-blowing mind reading and prediction effects. Some mentalist uses secret accomplice called stooge who sits with rest of the audience behaving like a stranger. During the performance, mentalist select the stooge as a spectator who looks like a randomly chosen volunteer.

10. Pre-show work
Few mentalist before the show will approach and talk to some of the members of the audience starting with the casual conversation, but in the process knowing some clues and information about their life. During the show, mentalist will select those people as volunteers and with the use of some clever presentation mentalist will use those clues to perform some super mentalism effects.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)


Art of Misdirection

What is misdirection?
Misdirection is a skill in which the attention of an audience is controlled to focus them one thing in order to distract its attention from another thing. For example, a magician first show the audience his both hands as empty then using some script/story/patter he will make the audience see his left hand in order to take something out from his right-hand sleeves in his right hand. Managing the audience’s attention is the aim of all professional magicians; misdirection is the central secret of all magic, most important principle of magic.

How to misdirect?
There are three basic ways to “misdirect” an audience. One is to encourage the audience to look away for a fleeting moment, so that the sleight or move may be accomplished undetected. The second approach is to make a large visible movement which looks significant but has no direct role to play in accomplishing the magic and behind large action make a small action which actually matters to accomplish the act. First two methods are used by almost all the magicians. The third approach has much to do with maneuvering the audience’s perception, where the minds of the audience members are distracted into thinking that an extraneous factor has much to do with the accomplishment of the feat, whereas in reality, it has no bearing on the effect at all. This approach is generally used by mentalists.

How to practice misdirection?
1) Magician Harlan Tarbell suggests trying this little experiment to prove to yourself that people follow your eyes. Pretend you are throwing a coin up into the air and look up to an imaginary point that the coin reached — but really retain the coin in your hand. The eyes of the spectators will look upward just as you did. You can do this many times and each time the audience will look upward.
2) Stand before your mirror and watch yourself. Take a coin in your left hand. You are going to get the effect of passing it to your right hand. For a few times really pass the coin from your left to your right hand. This is to give you Naturalness in faking the pass and also to give you an opportunity to observe how your eyes go from your left to your right hand. After you have done this a few times, go through the same moves but retain the coin by finger palming it in your left hand. Close your right hand as if you had the coin. Your eyes must follow the pretended passing of the coin just as they did when you actually passed it. Your audience will follow your eyes to your right hand and will not even notice your left hand. It is unbelievable until you try it yourself how easily large objects like bottles, glasses, balls and even rabbits and pigeons can be moved about almost under the very noses of the audience without their seeing or suspecting anything if you know the Art of Misdirection.

While applying misdirection magician need to be careful about the glance of his own eyes. The audience follows magician’s eyes. If you are showing left hand to the audience hiding something in your right hand, then you must never look at your right hand, you must keep looking at your left hand only. Your audience will follow your eyes to your left hand and will not even glance at your right hand and you can comfortably achieve the desired result. Even a sleight glance at your right hand will lead someone in the audience to follow your glance and suspect that you have something concealed in your right hand.
Almost every trick has some element of Misdirection in it. So remember, in performing your trick —never look at the opposite end of your effect. By the opposite end, Tarbell means the thing you are really doing — that is, looking at your hand which is holding the coin, rather than looking upward for the effect. If you look at your hand, the audience will look at your hand—that is the opposite end. If you look upward, the audience will look upward — that is the effect.

Audience Management:
One thing you must keep in mind is that it is a psychological fact that a person does not hold his attention on any one thing for more than a few seconds. Your job is to keep renewing his attention by the things you say or by varying the thing this person is to attend to — until you get your work out of the way. You must work fast so that you don’t bore the spectator and find him watching you instead of the thing he should be watching. You must remember that his attention wanders and you must be quick so that you are through with your “opposite end” before his attention comes back to you. Nearly the whole art of Sleight of Hand depends on this Art of Misdirection. Your seemingly miraculous effects depend on speed and cleverness in directing the attention of the audience away from the opposite end of the effect – away from what you are really doing.

Benefits of Misdirection:
Once you learn the art of misdirection you can perform unlimited magic tricks with it. With misdirection, you can perform magic tricks at any time and anywhere with no special props. A magician should never repeat the trick for the same audience but sometimes it may be necessary to repeat a trick within a short period of time and some of the old audience may be in the new one. You can throw these spectators off the track by presenting the trick by a different method of working. You can add some little twist to the trick, and even those who see it for the second time will not discover how you do the trick. There are “close investigators” in some audiences. You will have no difficulty in mystifying them if you vary your effects, even just a trifle. A magician with expertise in the art of misdirection often fools another magician with this skill. He will introduce a new twist of some kind or a new method of working and he has his fellow magician puzzled.

A considerable information of this article comes from magician Harlan Tarbell’s work.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

Killer “In spectator’s hands” magic tricks

There are all kinds of magic tricks but a magic trick whose climax takes place in the hands of spectator adds considerable more value to the entertainment. This kind of magic makes the audience believe in real magic because it looks free of sleight of hands as they were the one controlling the trick. Magic in spectator’s hands is particularly effective in street magic. As a professional magician, you must know as many tricks taking place in spectator’s hands and must perform at least one in your performance.

1) Sponge balls to spectator’s hands
2) Aces transportation
3) Ashes on their hands
4) Bill to spectator’s wallet
5) Las Vegas Leaper
6) Cards Across
7) Spectator’s watch stop
8) Paper to hat
9) Starcle
10) Do As I Do effects

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

How to learn mentalism?

1) First, learn the art of magic
To perform mentalism you must have the knowledge of magic principles. First, you need to learn magic, then you will learn mental magic and in the end pure mentalism. Mentalism frequently applies tricks and techniques used in magic. You need not be an expert magician to become a professional mentalist. Knowledge of important magic principles prepares you for mentalism.

2) Learn the mentalism tricks
Buy books like Annemann’s Practical Mental Effects and Corinda’s 13 Steps to Mentalism and video lectures which teach mentalism. After you have the knowledge of magic it is easy to understand mentalism. Mentalism does not use complex sleights used in magic. Comparatively, mentalism tricks are easy to learn than magic tricks.

3) Present like a mentalist and not like a magician
The presentation is the most complex part of mentalism. Watch the performance of best mentalists in the world and see how they convince the audience about the power of their mind even if they really doing a sleight of hand. Do not present like a magician if you want to project yourself a pure mentalist.

4) Learn about mind, psychology, body language
Read books about psychology, working of the human mind, conscious and sub-conscious mind, gather knowledge of body language reading,  learn about NLP. Use this knowledge and apply it in your day to day conversation with other people.

5) Learn maths tricks, memory techniques, mind tricks
Mentalist must always sound smart and the quickest way to show it is to perform mental calculations correctly and swiftly. Learn fast math tricks, learn memory techniques like peg system to remember the long list of things. Learn about a human calendar, making a magic square in few seconds.

6) Learn about cold reading
As per Wikipedia cold reading is a set of techniques used by mentalists to imply that he knows much more about the person than he actually does.Without prior knowledge, a practiced cold-reader can quickly obtain a great deal of information by analyzing the person’s body language, age, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity, level of education, the manner of speech, place of origin, etc. Try to learn as much cold reading as possible.

7) Train your mind
Develop the sharpness of your mind by solving riddles and puzzles. Learn to solve Rubik’s cube. Work on your deductive reasoning and critical thinking skills. Learn about probability and its practical application in everyday life. All of these are things that can help you increase your mind power.

8) Learn Hypnotism
If you wish to go an extra mile then learn the art of hypnotism. A mentalist with hypnosis skills is like cream on the strawberries. Hypnotism is such an impactful skill that it instantly establishes you as a professional hypnotist/mentalist. If you know hypnotism you can showcase your mentalism skills anytime anywhere with no use of props.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

How to learn magic?

1) Attend any basic course in magic
This is the fastest way to start well in magic. If magic classes available in your city, do attend one, it is worth the money. The class won’t make you a professional magician but it will create an unending interest in magic. Practice the tricks you learn in the class alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.

2) Collect the source material
Do some research and shortlist the best books, best magazines and best video lectures in magic. Try to befriend any magician ready to guide you on the subject of magic. While collecting the material follow the order from steps 3 to 8.

3) Learn self-working card tricks
Self-working card tricks are the tricks requiring almost no sleight of hand. You need to remember few steps and follow them as it is to create some amazing magic. Learning card tricks does not demand you to invest money to buy expensive props. If you are really going to stay in magic, interest in card tricks will sustain it. Practice these self-working card tricks alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.

4) Learn complex card tricks
You cannot impress the people enough with self-working card tricks. It is good to start with self-working card tricks but to really make an impact you must know at least ten killer card tricks. The killer card tricks in magic require some advanced techniques and sleight of hand. Practice the tricks alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.

5) Learn magic with simple props
There are lots of magic props which are designed to perform magic with no special skills. These props are like machines built to perform only one function. With right presentation, these props can create an undetectable magic effect. Practice these tricks alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.

6) Learn magic with utility props
Utility prop is an object using which a magician can perform multiple tricks. You need several skills to include utility props in your magic. Some of the utility magic props are: Must have utility magic props
Practice the tricks with utility magic props alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.

7) Learn classic magic tricks
Classic magic tricks like three ball routine, rope routine, linking rings, a bill in a lemon and much more are the foundation tricks of magic. Once a time these tricks are what brought magic into an entertainment industry. These tricks use some props and some essential sleights of hand needed to understand the philosophy of magic. You may not perform these tricks but you need to understand the working of these tricks to understand the magic in detail. Practice these tricks alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.

8) Learn magic with everyday objects
Once you are good at basics till steps 7. Now you should be ready to perform magic tricks with anything and anywhere. Use a spoon, coins, finger ring, paper, cloth, pen, pencil, rubber bands and create a mesmerizing magic. Doing magic trick with any object any time is the job of a pro magician. There are some simple tricks with everyday objects but it will not build your reputation as a good magician. Learn advanced tricks with everyday objects. Practice these tricks alone, then perform it for family and friends and lastly perform it for strangers.

9) Learn about illusions:
Even if you are not going to be a stage performer, you still need to learn the secrets of stage illusions. This will not only make you the expert in magic but it will also help in improving your own performance and one day you never know even you will get interested in doing stage illusions.

10) Focus on limited tricks:
Don’t try to learn all the tricks. Don’t learn all tricks first and then perform all the tricks at once. Instead, learn one set of tricks, get good at it then perform it and then go for learning next set of tricks. You should have the working knowledge of maximum tricks but you need not perform all the tricks. Get expertise in limited tricks and build your reputation performing those magic tricks.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

10 Mistakes new professional magicians make

Most of the magicians in their first year as a professional magician feel very satisfied with their skill and their earnings. But when they hear about some other magician charging a high amount for almost same kind of show which they offer, the seed of dissatisfaction springs in their mind.

They even get disturbed by a particular effect other magicians perform which they cannot do. If their lead doesn’t close and the show goes to some other magician they get more restless and they assume several things which lead to following mistakes.

1) They think other magicians are their competitor: But if more magicians perform more people will get aware about the art of magic and it will increase the demand in the market which would give you more shows. Because you can not be present at several places at the same time.
2) They try to charge too much too early in their career: Some magician charging Rs.50,000 (USD 800) for one hour show could well be a rumor. Even if they get it, they must have spent several years and efforts to build the reputation. You must focus on building your network by charging a reasonable amount and automatically you would be good enough to charge like a celebrity.
3) They use fancy ready made props and very fewer skills:  If you keep searching for magic props which require no special skill and is easy to operate you are going to rank among amateur magicians. The most entertaining effects in magic can be done with skill like misdirection and sleight of hands. You will never build a great reputation as a magician if most of your professional tricks are based on self-working fancy props. This point is not directly applicable to illusionists who perform big stage shows.
4) They use stooges, pre-show work and assistant’s help: Magicians and Mentalists who lack good magic skills try to compensate it by using secret accomplice who looks like a randomly chosen volunteer and pre-arranged conditions to perform effects which make them look like real magician or mentalist. One or two tricks doing it occasionally using above things is fine, but if you do it regularly in your every show, people will figure out your mediocrity.
5) They copy tricks of other magicians: In magic, there are limited principles but unlimited tricks. Ask ten great magicians to perform the same trick, for example, a bill in a lemon. You will see all of them have added something of their own. To build your individual reputation as a magician people must see something unique and original in your show.
6) They consider audience as ordinary and themselves extraordinary:  Doing a magic is very rare art unlike other art like painting, stand up comedy, music etc. This feeds the ego of some magicians who think they are special because they can do something impossible. With that false sense, they worry too much about their persona and not enough about their performance and the audience. Magicians must remember that audience can live without magic, but a magician cannot live with magic.
7) They try to learn every good trick: If a magicians see other magician performing a good trick which they couldn’t catch each hurts them. They will waste considerable time trying to learn its secret. Whereas they should have spent that time improving their tricks which they have been doing. There will always be a magician who will fool you with his new trick. Once you spend enough time in professional magic, you will catch many tricks just with a second glance for which you had to spend a lot of time in your starting years. Don’t try to learn all tricks, get expert at those tricks which are entertaining and suits your audience.
8) They focus on techniques and not on performance:  Some magicians get delusional with their technique and assume that audience would catch them. They try to improve their sleight which is already well enough to perform as a professional effect. In a process, they forget to check the entertainment value their undetectable trick creates because their ordinary presentation and the mediocore script does not create the required impact. Such perfect magicians get applause but no standing ovation.
9) They take credit of other magicians: I have met few magicians who perform Aces Transposition trick where they hold the folded aces one in their mouth and other in spectator’s mouth. Then they do a kiss like a move where cards touch each other and seemingly cards change places. All of them said they have created that move. Obviously most or all of them lying about it. They probably picked that presentational move from some legendary magician who may not be alive today. As starter magician, you must give credits to the original inventor. If you will respect other magicians, one day you will be respected.
10) They don’t spend much time on marketing and personal branding: Magic is an art, if you want to keep it as an art then don’t think of earning money from it. But the moment you have decided to earn your living through magic you must think like an entrepreneur or businessman. You must invest money and time in marketing your art and establishing yourself as a brand. Getting enough shows from only your previous shows and not external marketing will take a long time. Treat your magic show like a product and do everything it takes to sell a good product just like other businesses.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

Why magician must not reveal the secrets?

A true magician never reveals the secret and that makes a true magician a famous magician. A magician must treat safeguarding his secrets like safeguarding his money. For a professional magician, his magic tricks are the source of money. Let us consider an example of vanishing a silk using T* prop. Imagine that you have revealed the secret of this trick to some people. Let us consider following effects.

You have ended the fun: You made silk disappear several times before for the people and they were amazed to see it every time you did. You have repeated it few times but they were still amazed. But now they know your secret and if you perform it one more time, don’t expect an applause because you have killed the sense of wonder.

Not your right to reveal the secret: You are not the inventor of vanishing a silk a trick using T*. The original inventor must have designed the T* to keep it a secret. People had praised the inventor to perform vanishing a silk magic routine. But now you have revealed the secret, you have tarnished his reputation as well.

People will further spread the secret: You get emotional and reveal the secret to your close friend or a relative. They even promise you to keep it a secret. But when your friend sees the vanishing silk magic somewhere else by some other magician, they quickly respond to people sitting beside them that they know how to do it, watch magician’s T****. People want to sound smart all the time. They think catching a magic trick is the smart move. Someone rightly said, “three men can keep the secret if two of them die”.

They will ditch you when you perform: Let’s assume you have revealed the secret to your younger brother. Now your cousins visit your home. You show them vanishing a silk magic trick. Your younger brother will shout that he knows the secret and your other cousins will believe that you are no magician it is just a trick, spoiling your performance. Afterwards, your cousins will convince your younger brother to tell them the secret.

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

How to make people remember magician’s name?

After your show, a man comes and congratulate you for an amazing show. Then he mentions he had seen a magic show before who was good and unique like you, but he can not recall the name of that magician. You say thank you and give smile to the man but in your heart, you feel why he did not remember the name of the magician.

Truth is most of the people after enjoying your show remember your tricks but not your name. With the presence of social media, correct mention of our name leads to search of your name on the internet and it may fetch you the next show. Following are some of the ideas you can use to maximise the number of people who would retain your name.

1) Put a backdrop with your name and photo graph
2) Ask your clients to spread the news of your magic show
3) Ask the anchor/emcee to mention your name during your introduction few times
4) When you come to the stage introduce yourself by saying your name couple of times impactfully
5) During your show tell a story about your life where you say something like people would ask you, Hey Amit can you show me a magic trick?
6) Repeat your name, your website, your Facebook page address while you close the show.
7) Give away as many business cards as possible
8) If you can reveal your name through a magic trick it makes a great impression on people
9) If your first name is very common, ask for a volunteer with the same name as yours for one of the trick.

-Amit Kalantri (Magician and Mentalist)



11 Benefits Why You Should Hire A Magician?

Apart from entertainment, magic show is probably the only art which also adds an amazement and sense of wonder. Your guests won’t remember the skill of a singer, musician, dancers. They won’t remember the jokes of stand up comedian or catching skills of a juggler. But a good magic trick, they will remember it for years to come. With a magic trick, they will also remember that they have seen a magic show at your party. Making your party a truly memorable event of their life, and that is your ultimate goal. Following are some of the reasons you must have a magician at your next party.

1) Suitable for guests of all ages from children to adults
2) Appropriate for varying size of the crowd from few people to large gatherings
3) Magic show is cheaper compared to other entertainment because it requires limited logistics
4) It has more entertainment factors comprising storytelling, humor, magic skills all in one show
5) A good magic show is always an interactive entertainment
6) Greater Flexibility with respect to the size of the venue. Magician can perform on the stage or he can go to your guests and perform up close magic at their table
7) Magic tricks can be customized at short notice to suit your event
8) Having a magic show makes your event unique and different
9) Magic show makes your party a memorable experience
10) Magic is making an impossible thing possible, which makes it unique entertainment experience for your guests
11) Apart from entertainment it silently adds an inspiration to people’s lives and that is an invaluable thing

– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)

What clients look for before hiring a magician?

Getting a magic show is not a complete success for a magician, getting more shows from the previous show is the real success. There is no better marketing and sales technique than your own performance. But apart from your professional and immaculate magic skills, there are several things clients look in a magician. These things will affect the number of inquiries and bookings you will get in the future.

1) Quality of magic tricks and routines – Perform some original and unique routines
2) Professionalism of a magician with prior communication
3) Work experience as a full-time magician
4) Style and aura of the magician
5) Interaction of the magician with the crowd
6) Costume of the magician
7) Cost of your magic show
8) Punctuality of a magician
9) Time management of magic tricks
10) Adding extra value to the event in terms of humor, extra time, special magic effect
11) Right closure of the deal with your client
– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)