Magic Tricks – Mentalism
Mentalism is a very popular type of magic that appears to defy the laws of physics by using extra mind power! Recently made popular by Derren Brown, it has had a new lease of life in the UK.
A mentalism routine can be achieved in many ways, including stooges, dressing standard magic tricks as mentalist effects, using psychological techniques (including rapport building, cold-reading and a variety of other methods to control people’s thoughts), and, depending on your beliefs, via the sixth-sense!
When planning on doing a mentalism routine, there are several factors to include (including whether or not you have sixth-sense!)
- Using stooges, if planned and rehearsed well, is the easiest method – however, if not planned properly, it can easily turn into a nightmare when the stooges are uncovered.
- The next easiest method is to use standard magic tricks with a mentalist presentation. It is very important to pick the tricks correctly and build up the atmosphere. Many card magicians will perform some typically card tricks, then with the same deck of cards, they’ll try and change the whole atmosphere into a mentalist show that uses cards as ‘the medium’. This technique tends not to work as by that time the audience realise that the magician is skilled at sleight-of-hand, and any forthcoming tricks could easily be normal card tricks.
When using cards as your medium, it is very important to set the atmosphere first, explaining that cards are just a way of demonstrating your powers, and that what you are going to do does not rely on sleight-of-hand magic tricks. Then it is up to you to present a collection of tricks in a convincing way to leave the audience stunned.
- Psychological techniques are not as complicated and hard to learn as you may initially believe. What I would seriously recommend to people starting to use such techniques, is to use them with your standard ‘magic sleight-of-hand’ tricks in a way that if they fail, you can seemlessly continue the trick using sleight-of-hand, not a psychological effect. That way you can practise with real people (essential in this case as you need to manipulate different people), so when your success rate is high, you can put the magic trick back on the shelf. For further inspiration, take a look at Derren Brown’s work – he used a perfect combination of magic tricks and psychological techniques.
- Finally, if you have sixth-sense, use it! There’s absolutely nothing I can add to this as I do not have it, and have probably never met anyone who does have it (depending on your views of Uri Gellar).
Once you have decided on your route, practise, practise and practise. The atmosphere you create is the most important factor in drawing your audience into believing you have special powers. Once you have mastered that, you’ll be able to develop your routine into a mind-blowing performance.