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Drawing the Boundaries between Mentalism and Visual Magic

Part of the Mind Magic & Mentalism For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

In general, two types of magic exist: visual magic and mentalism. Here’s an explanation of the difference between the two with a list of mental effects examples:

  • Visual magic: This traditional side of the art focuses on effects, such as productions, vanishes, transpositions and levitations. Think of guys in evening tails and top hats producing rabbits, changing scarves into doves or escaping from straightjackets on stage.

  • Mentalism: This sort of magic focuses more on mental effects such as the following:

    • Clairvoyance: Discerning things only with the power of the mind.

    • Cold reading: Knowing private information about people simply from talking to them.

    • Divination: Including predicting the future.

    • Hypnotism: Putting people into a sleep-like state so that their minds become susceptible to suggestion.

    • Psycho- and telekinesis: Moving items by willpower or thought alone.

    • Remote viewing: Duplicating an unseen image.

    • *Secret writing: Including anticipating events.

    • Spirit theatre: Communicating with ‘deceased spirits’.

    • Superhuman physical and mental feats: Lifting heavy objects or stopping volunteers from moving their bodies.

    • Telepathy: Reading people’s minds.

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