8 Myths and 8 Facts about learning mentalism

Mentalists are one of the most sought after entertainers in corporate industry. Many people are in love with the art of mentalism and they admire all the professional mentalists they get a chance to watch. But mentalism is one of that rare hobby where people not only just want to watch, but also want to learn how it is done. Following are some of the key points you should know before you pursue the mentalism.

Myth 1: Mentalism is a scientific or academic subject

Fact: Mentalism is not a scientific or academic subject, mentalism is a performing art just like dancing, music, singing etc

Myth 2: Mentalists need to have expert knowledge of body language reading, face reading etc.

Fact: Having the prior knowledge of body language reading is just added advantage in mentalism. Even if you don’t know anything about body language reading, you can still learn mentalism accurately and comfortably.

Myth 3: Learning mentalism requires many years of practice

Fact: No it doesn’t take long practice hours and doesn’t take several years to learn mentalism. Of course the practice is required to learn anything well. But you don’t need to burn yourself to practice mentalism. In fact, some of the mentalism acts can be accurately performed after a practice of few minutes.

Myth 4: Mentalists also need to do meditation to activate special spiritual energy

Fact: No, Mentalism has nothing to with meditation. Even if you never practiced meditation for a single minute in your life you can still be a great mentalist.

Myth 5: Mentalism is real mind reading

Fact: Not exactly, mentalists creates the perception among the audience that they can really read the minds, but in reality mentalists use deceptive processes, psychological hacks, clever wordings and tricks to do their mind readings. There is no real mind reading in mentalism

Myth 6: Mentalism is nothing but magic tricks

Fact: Magic tricks require several sleights of hand and some long and serious practice to be good at it. However, mentalism doesn’t require sleight of hand. Mentalism is mostly based on psychological tricks. Magic and Mentalism both are related, but from the audience’s point of view they are not same.

Myth 7: Mentalism is difficult to learn and perform accurately

Fact: Not at all, mentalism is very easy to learn. Once you learn the secrets of mentalism, your mentalism act won’t fail unless you do a silly mistake. All mentalism acts are ultimately are clever tricks which people can’t catch, anyone who knows its secrets and how to apply them can perform mentalism accurately with any kind of audience.

Myth 8: Mentalists don’t teach or share mentalism secrets with others

Fact: Well mentalists who just wish to be a performer may not be willing to teach mentalism to others, but other professional mentalists who wish to see the art of mentalism grow and become one of the mainstream entertainment choice would teach passionate people the art of mentalism and mindreading, so that more people can perform it and thus more people will be entertained and amazed at the mentalism and mindreading shows.

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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)

How to learn mentalism?

mentalism faqs

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)