Making mentalism meaningful

Aug 23, 2010
So I'm on this mentalism binge (if you will) at the moment and I'm always eager to find new and interesting material. However the more i look into mentalism effects the more i notice that there aren't a lot of deep meaningful mentalism effects out there. most of them are "think of a card" or "think of a number," but i'm more interested in mentalism with the revelation of a name of someone they care about or something like that. Can anyone recommend any mentalism material that packs an emotional punch? Thanks
PS. i have 13 steps to mentalism
Jan 16, 2008
If you have 13 Steps to Mentalism then go study it thoroughly, then come back if your answer is still unanswered. If your question is somehow unanswered, then contact D ICE R, Theatrehead, Chicken, or praetoritevong.
Mar 6, 2008
A Land Down Under
There are so many deep connecting mentalism effects. The first mentalist were spritualiwts and that then grew into mentalism as we know it today. It has only been in recent times that mentalism has moved away from being a deeply personal thing, which is great for night clubs but it looses what true mentalism is.

My advice would be two effects the Q&A and psychometry. These are some of the most powerful thngs you can do and have stood the test of time for good reason.

Think about it in this light essentially all yu are doing is reading minds right. So all you have to do to make it personal is just ask them to think of something more personal than to think of a card. However on a side not I get people to think of a card and use a psychometry type presentation by using their personality traits to determine what card they would think of.

For an effect look into three little questions by corinda. Or my personal presentation of the effect three little secrets.
If you have 13 Steps to Mentalism then go study it thoroughly, then come back if your answer is still unanswered. If your question is somehow unanswered, then contact D ICE R, Theatrehead, Chicken, or praetoritevong.

Suprised i´m not on the list but oh well i havent been very active too.

A little cheat i like to do is to take those ideas and extend them to other objects. Eg using a tought of number to do a thought of name or something of that nature.
Corinda is a good way to start and thats what you have to do. Mentalism isn´t about the effects themselves but the way you give the end result to the people. Mentalism is not as much whats happening infront of them but what is happening in their heads.

So take a thot of number, you can make it personal by making the number personal. If they have children you can use cold reading techniques or another form of technique to figure out if they have a son or a daughter and use that in the revelation. Let´s say you ask them if they have any younger brothers or systers in the family and let them concentrate on them. You don´t actually have to secretly obtain the anwser just ask them in the course of predicting eg.

"This would make it much easier so do you have any younger or older brothers sisters?
Why yes i do, a younger sister.

Okay do you know how old they are?

Yes, as a matter of fact i do.

Very good, i for one don´t know how old my older brother is, we havent talked about that so i always ask my mum before i go to his birthday that how old he is. Silly i know but could you please take her number and just concentrate on it. Don´t say it out loud just think. Your sister she is very dear to you, right. You often of times take her for granted but you are heavily reminded if you are in need and she is there to support you. Concentrate hard on her age now, almost scream it in your head, okay stop i know that make your head hurt. A flashback revealed her face to me when you screamed, the most adorable of things i might add. She is truly a looker. Now how old is she....*continue with the routine*"

Although a bit too long you get the idea of what i´ve done here. I´ve taken a number and assigned a value to it, and not 1 or 54 but a deeper value that only the person can give them. An effect might be simple on the core but it has to be hard and quite deep on the outside.

The more you get into mentalism the more you find those little details that make the effects personal and upclose deep.

Edit// Dang, D ICE R beat me to it. I didn´t read his comments but it´s almost the same as mine, i´ve just written a bit more.

Nov 20, 2007
Sydney, Australia
Meaning doesn't come from a trick buddy, meaning comes from you. You have a trick, and you give it meaning - that's the way it works.

To take what you've given as an example:

The first effect in 13 Steps is one of my closer effects for my routines. It's a number prediction. Where the meaning in asking them to think of a number? Well, I make them the mind reader, to put it crudely. So when they think of a number, they're not just thinking of a number; they're demonstrating that every single person possesses the ability to be extraordinary.

Or let's take think of a card. Maybe there's not just thinking of a card. Perhaps they're demonstrating mental abilities, perception, acuity, or some other mental faculty.

The point is, meaning doesn't come from a trick. Meaning comes from you. If you want effects with meaning, simply take an effect, and give it meaning. Meaning is not inherent in mentalism.
Sep 10, 2008
If you have 13 Steps to Mentalism then go study it thoroughly, then come back if your answer is still unanswered. If your question is somehow unanswered, then contact D ICE R, Theatrehead, Chicken, or praetoritevong.

Extremely surprised I'm on the list. Even though I consider myself a magican at this point, I'll give my thoughts anyway, since the others have.

I'll echo what prae said, that what makes the effect personal is you.

"Think of a card" effects can be made extremely personal. I generally open my card act with multiple divinations. They take a card, and I give them an extremely brief cold reading based on the card's tarot equivalent. That's powerful stuff.

For an effect though, take a look at "Diplopia" by Paul Vigil.
Dec 18, 2007
Northampton, MA - USA
Firstly, are you going to be a Magician or a Mentalist?

Contrary to popular conjecture, there is a HUGE difference in the two and thus, a big difference in how the public will perceive you. If they see you doing coins across or sponge balls one minute and then trying to apparently read their mind the next, they aren't going to buy into the idea that you are psychic or some kind of "expert" in some unique field involving memory, hypnosis, suggestion, body language, et al. YOU WILL BE SEEN AS A MAGICIAN SPEWING A LINE OF BULL.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a magician doing a few bits of mentalism here and there but if you want it to come across as "deep' and "meaningful" YOU have to commit to that side of the craft and become a mentalist... that is to say, you must be your best illusion. This is what the old timers & spiritualists did (and most of the more successful ones still do), and it is the "Big Secret" when it comes to successful mentalism whether it's a hobby or a career.

Secondly, there is one single "effect" in mentalism that will give you as much depth, feeling, and emotional connection as you could even imagine IF you have the guts to do it and do it right -- READINGS! This is the one thing people come to experience when someone calls themselves as "Mentalist"/Mind Reader or whatever it may be. The Q&A, even by Corinda's standards, is the most potent of all skills in the whole of Mentalism. Sadly, most that move into mentalism from the magician's world hold a bias both, against the practice but likewise, in what being a Reader is really about... and you will notice that I've not yet said "Cold Reading" and that's deliberate; Cold Reading is a term that has been grossly misused in recently years and given a myriad of sub-sets... that is the kind way of saying that it's been made far more difficult and confusing than it needs to be. So if you have the balls to actually learn how to READ PEOPLE and do so in practice, you will have found that elusive bit you're looking for. But you must turn off that magician's voice in your head to be successful... just ask guys like Mark Strivings, John Riggs or Richard Webster if you doubt me.

To become a solid Reader STAY AWAY FROM THE MAGIC BOOKS PERTAINING TO THE TOPIC... at least for the first 6-9 months (and that includes my books as well). You need to learn how to work with a couple of actual systems based on how every shut-eye student learns them. This is the only way you will be able to see how effective they/you can be without a head-full of theory and hogwash that's been written by people who've never done Readings for a living... and yes, that includes the much heralded Mr. Rowland.

Though I've done Tarot Readings since I was 16 if I had to do it all over again, I'd started with Numerology and Palmistry for two very simple and logical reasons; most everyone you meet has a name and birth-date as well as one or two hands; with nothing other you can do a very solid 20-60 minute Reading for that person using nothing but those two disciplines and using them in the legitimate manner -- how they've been taught to shut-eye students for generations. But there is one other important thing to consider here; Palmistry in particular, has some very valid scientific support to it. It is still part of medical training... kind of... the techniques that have been known to palmists for ever, are the same things doctors & nurses look for in the hands, tissue and nails when figuring out this or that condition in a patient {see: "Beyond Palmistry" by Beverly Jaegers (a 3 book series) -- and it's companion texts; Beverly is an RN as well as a Palmist so her insights are quite unique}

As to the Numerology thing... it's simply practical and can be used in a myriad of ways. The simplest place to learn this from is the only magic-based resource I'm going to encourage as a starting point; "Psychometry from A-Z" by Richard Webster. Richard has several very solid books and audio tapes on the topic of Readings for both, the magic/mentalism and shut-eye markets; here's a few I'd think all of you would have fun with...

I Did Say Something About "Doing It", Didn't I?

Don't approach it as a "Trick", take it serious. Perhaps you've been having some fun with folks doing some magic; break that process by talking about how tricks are fun but don't explain things for you (as an example) and how you've started looking at how things, like Palmistry, have real world applications and because of this, there must be more to it than meets the eye... now move into doing some simple Readings relying only on the basics of Palmistry (this will evolve as you study).

After you've done a few dozen Readings your confidence will grow and of course, by continued study, so will your skill level. In time you will see how you can blend insights based on their numerology into a palm Reading. If you use the Webster book I've suggested, you will have more than enough in way of canned information that can be sewn into your patter.


Yes and NO... but that's part of the subject I'll not dive into just yet. I want to look at your question and the challenge to find "deeper" mentalism... the next "Trick" on the list is MUSCLE READING

Pick up Disc III of Banachek's PSI Series along with his book Psychophysiological Thought Reading and you'll have an excellent start. There are other bits of material on this topic but the only other magic based publication I can recommend is the Eric Van Hanussen book. Once you have "mastered" the material in these primer sources, then you can move into other aspects of the work. But while you are practicing this I'd suggest you also study Dowsing (that link goes to Richard Webster's books on the subject), in that it is one in the same except it introduces you to Pendulums and Divining Rods.

The two things I've given here are the two primary skill-sets that most all spiritualists and early year Mentalists relied upon. Not gimmicks or slight of hand, but two skill sets that are about as real as real can get. The third "natural" skill set they would cultivate is memory and though I have a horrid one that's in decay I can assure you that memory skills are vital in Mentalism and if you can adapt a mnemonic formula as part of a verbal code, you'll be a million miles ahead of the rest... but then I do mention this in my Easy Reading book (not currently available).

The first "tricks" you'll find in the old timer's arsenal were Billets and Nail Writers. When you add two such simple/subtle tools to the arsenal noted above, you can start your own religion. I'd hope that would be deep enough for anyone.
Jul 1, 2009
I have been reading 13 steps not that long but I agree with Prae. You have to make a effect deep....take a center tear. One thing I was thinking is to make the effect more deep. I'll ask them to think of a word but not any word. They have to think of a word that has meaning to them. So when you perform center tear try to make it deep. Say this word is very uncommon and it has a lot of meaning to you....built it up. Then reveal the word they were thinking of...

Hope this have to put a lot of work if you want mentalism have meaning.
Jul 13, 2009
Okay I am not a mentalist by any means, however I have read 13 steps front and back and I find it hard to believe you can't quite come up with concepts onto how to do more then just think of a number or shape and let me guess what it is. My obvious question is have you actually read the book instead of just read the book by skimming?
Sep 24, 2007
That's only half of it. The smaller half, in my opinion, is coming up with a meaningful effect. You're not going to get half the power of these effects if YOU don't connect deeply with the audience. Just imagine if a magician walked up to you, and he revealed the name of your dead grandpa, but HE was cold, hard to connect with, and distant. People are more free with their "deeper" (things like surprise and fear don't fit in here) emotions around people they are comfortable with.
Jan 16, 2008
Hahaha sorry Madman I guess your name just slipped my mind (?)
Anyways OP you should be glad to have all these amazing magicians and mentalists answering your post; don't take it for granted. Read what they say and actually apply them. Replying with a word of thanks also will be appreciated.
Dec 18, 2007
Northampton, MA - USA
He claimed to have 13 steps and could not find anything meaningful in the pages.

I suggested looking into step 11 (Q&A) again

I was just yanking the chain there.

BTW... 13 Steps is the name of everybody's favorite paper weight, didn't you know that. If it wasn't penned by Derren or Criss or Luke it don't count... or so it would seem.
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