The majority of the entertaining I do comes under the term mentalism. This is defined as “a performing art in which its practitioners, known as mentalists, appear to demonstrate highly developed mental or intuitive abilities”. For those who watch the American TV series, The Mentalist , they will see the main character, Patrick Jane use various mentalism techniques. Although the skills are heavily exaggerated in the series, it does give a good indication of the type of feats that a mentalist will perform. These include demonstrations of skills such as telepathy, divination, precognition, influence, predictions and rapid calculations.
Whilst the vast majority of mentalists will not claim to have any psychic ability, the skills demonstrated do appear to be somewhat psychic in nature, however there are other ways to reveal a thought from someone’s mind. A number of techniques such as rapport, suggestion, psychology and basic misdirection combined with traditional magic can have an almost identical effect as being “psychic”.
The main reason why mentalism appealed to me more than traditional magic was the emotional connection that you can create with an audience. The whole experience of either predicting how someone will behave or revealing what they are thinking is usually a very unique experience for a spectator and in my opinion transcends a typical magic or card trick. I think the majority of people are fascinated by the idea of mind reading and mind control. While performing, I am often asked if anyone could do what i do. The answer to this would be yes. I see it like any other skill, such as learning a musical instrument. It takes patience, practice, dedication and study.
Probably the most famous mentalist currently performing in the UK is Derren Brown. The rapid rise to fame of Derren is both a help and a hindrance to fellow mentalists. Helpful as he brought mentalism to the nation’s conciousness which means more people are curious about the art and therefore just as likely to book a mentalist rather than a traditional magician. The flipside to that is that Derren has raised the bar so high in terms of creativity and brilliance of performance that it is difficult for anyone else to compete. (although my rates are much cheaper than Derren’s!).
I actually brand myself as a psychological magician rather than a mentalist. The main reason for this is that a lot of people are still not aware of what a mentalist is, or what it entails. I did used to simply have “mentalist“ on my business cards, but I have since opted for the psychological magician tag as I feel this is more of a self-explanatory description. When I am booked for a function such as a wedding, house party, corporate event etc, I generally perform effects such as memory demonstrations, predictions, influencing, drawing duplications and mind reading. If you’re interested in hiring a mentalist for any event, feel free to contact me. If i’m not available, I will definitely be able to recommend a very good substitute, as long as I’ve still got Derren’s number!