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The Vocal Vent

Ventriloquism, Mentalism, Magic and More!

The Vocal Vent

Ventriloquism, Mentalism, Magic and More!

What is Mentalism?


What is mentalism? If you’ve ever seen a mentalist on television, or in a live show, or just heard someone talking about them, then you might be curious. The following paragraphs should help you get a quick primer on what they’re all about.
In essence, mentalism is nothing more than a performance art. It’s one which focuses on using imagination and the mind. When done right, mentalism (just like ventriloquism) might make the performer look like he or she has either tremendous mental prowess or even extraordinary powers.

Are You Wondering What Mentalism Is?

face of a woman who is a mentalist

This might sound like performing acts of magic, but practitioners of mentalism typically avoid using theatrical props or conventional magic tricks in their act. Rather, mentalism is something the emphasizes predicting the future or mind reading. That’s why most mentalists don’t regard themselves as magicians or like being called one.

Mentalism Uses Psychology of the Mind

The human brain is an astounding organ, one that has the capability of processing the immense amount of data that a person’s senses pick up from the world they feel, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Having said all that, the brain is also really easy to trick.

This actually shows up in medical research all the time. Are you familiar with the placebo effect? Or have you heard of it? When scientists or doctors are testing a new treatment for something, they give the actual treatment to one group of patients, but they give placebos to another group, which is the control group. They do that to see how many people might get better from the condition in question without any actual treatment. They think they’re getting it, but instead it’s just a saline injection or sugar pill that does nothing. Still, when they’re getting told they’re going to feel better, they do, and their condition actually improves. When placebos were used against Chantix, a drug for quitting smoking, 18 percent of those on the sugar pill quit smoking, simply because they believed.

Even though mentalists don’t like being called magicians, what they do could also be called suggestive magic, where modern mentalism definitely has its roots. The Bible and much of ancient Greek literature spoke of oracles and seers among others performing supernatural feats.

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More recently, an Italian gentleman by the name of Girolamo Scotto is the one credited as having pioneered sleight-of-hand magic around 1572. Mentalists often use this kind of misdirection to ramp up their apparent acts of mental prowess.

Darren Brown is a famous mentalist, and perhaps the most famous one currently, given his television shows and specials. Uri Geller is another famous practitioner, known for spoon bending demonstrations.

Bob Cassidy was a very famous American mentalist who helped found the Psychic Entertainers Association. Unlike a lot of others, he was rather vocal about his belief that anyone could learn how to do this. He even wrote more than three dozen books about it.

If you were curious about what is mentalism previously, then you now hopefully have some idea what it’s all about. It’s not always a clearly defined category, as it can overlap with magicians, spirituality, and psychology, depending on who is using the terminology and how. At least having read this article you have some idea about it.

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