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Cheat Sheet

Mind Magic & Mentalism For Dummies (UK Edition)

Do you want to become a dazzling perfomer or fancy finding out more about the world of mind magic and mentalism? This Cheat Sheet gives you fundamental need-to-know information up front to get you started.

Essentials for Success in Mind Magic and Mentalism

If you want to perform for an audience and be successful over a long period of time in mind magic and mentalism as an entertainer, you really need to take the following points on board:

  • Know your place: Know that you’re just an entertainer, and nothing more.

  • Be sincere: People don’t care what you know or what you can do, unless they know you care about them.

  • Act natural: Be you. Don’t act like you’re acting.

  • Relax: Settle down and enjoy performances. Learn to eliminate nerves or your show will be unbelievable.

  • Use the right props: Use things that complement your show and are congruent with who you are.

  • Be honest: Don’t go around saying you’re a ‘real’ psychic. Don’t be afraid to be honest about your dishonesty.

  • Be entertaining, not boring: Study acting, study theatre, learn comedy. Always make the show about your audience and entertain them. Anything less and you won’t have a career.

  • Do it for others: Perform for others as you’d like to be performed for. Make it about them, not about you. Don’t let your mentalism be an ego trip.

  • Get honest feedback: Ask people you trust to watch your performances and give honest feedback. And listen to them, even if it stings.

  • Challenge yourself: Never settle for where you were yesterday. Use every day to improve.

  • Set your eyes on the stars: Watch people who are where you want to be and model yourself after them. Learn from other people’s success and mistakes, and you will do well.

  • Compete against yourself only: Never worry about other people or what they say about you. Compete against yourself. Challenge yourself. Push yourself. And put everyone else in your rearview window.

Essential CHARACTERistics of a Mentalist in Mind Magic and Mentalism

When performing mentalism effects and tricks, it is critical that you start to develop a character much like major companies build brands. Your character must be:

  • Unique

  • Identifiable

  • Interesting

  • Charismatic

  • Believable

  • Consistent

Drawing the Boundaries between Mentalism and Visual Magic

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.

Studying Associated Arts with Mind Magic and Mentalism

Improve and develop as a mentalist by studying allied prediction ‘arts’. Scores of different divination methods exist, and, although they’re not tricks as such, these topics are worthy of your time. They can help you develop convincing patter, provide contexts for your routines and better connect with your audience.

  • Astrology: Since the beginning of time, humans have gazed on the heavens in search of the answers to life’s biggest questions. People who practise astrology believe in a discernable relationship between visible astronomical phenomena and events on earth. In modern western cultures, millions of people make decisions every day based on what the ‘stars tell them’. When you read your horoscope in a newspaper, you’re engaging in astrology.

  • Biblical divination: The Bible is a rich source of examples of divination and prophesy, which are sometimes culturally accepted and practised and sometimes forbidden.

  • Bibliomancy: This field is the study of ancient sacred books, especially words and verses used for the purposes of divination. A book is allowed to fall open and a passage chosen without looking. Small groups of Christians, Muslims, Jews and others practise this form of divination.

  • Cartomancy: This form of divination includes the use of decks of cards, such as tarot and standard playing cards, to predict the future.

  • The Cube: The Cube is believed to have been developed by Sufi Muslims in Greece or Turkey. Basically, you use five symbols, such as a cube, a ladder, flowers, a horse and a storm, to ask simple questions. You then interpret those symbols and their meanings.

  • Numerology: Modern numerology is an eclectic mix of ancient cultures, which supports the belief that a connection exists between numbers and things, such as longevity. Perceived to be a ‘universal language’ that people can tap into to read their future, each number also has a value attached to it relating to life, love, health, wealth, and even the forces of good and evil.

  • Oneiromancy: People have long been fascinated by their dreams, and so unsurprisingly an entire field is dedicated to dream interpretation to predict future events.

  • Palmistry: Many people sincerely believe that their future is already mapped out for them and that fate can be read in the palm of their hands.

  • Phrenology: Some people believe that the size and shape of the skull, and even the bumps on it, can be read to determine a person’s fate.

  • Rune casting: Often made of little wooden blocks or stones carved with the letters or shapes of an ancient Germanic alphabet, runes are cast (tossed out) and their fall interpreted.

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