Where to start with Mentalism?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jojo!, Jun 24, 2020.

  1. Hey Guys!
    This question was probably asked and answered a whole lot of times but I didn't find a recent post about it.
    I've been into magic (mostly card magic) for nearly 3 years, now I'd like to get into something new and I decided to try learning mentalism (especially propless mentalism). I heard that it is way harder to learn than card magic but I want to try it anyway. The problem is that I don't know where to start, it seems way harder to find the basics for mentalism compared to card magic. I heard that 13 steps to mentalism is a good starting point but then I read that it isn't that great for beginners...
    Anyways, could you tell me where you started with mentalism or which book/download you'd recommend?
    Johannes :)
  2. Before I dive into things first let me ask -

    Why mentalism?

    Why propless mentalism specifically?
  3. I am not a mentalist and there are others way more qualified than me to answer your question.

    But I am a magician who recognises the power of mental magic (point to note, I didn't say mentalism) and hence I'll tell you that Ted Annemann's Practical Mental Magic has several effects which not only fit the persona of a mentalist, but due to their nature, they provide a fabulous transition from magic to mentalism. For example, it has an entire section dealing with cards, which should easily be up your alley as a magician but also lay foundation for a future-mentalist.

    As for going prop-less, look into cold reading, buy Tricks of Mind by Derren Brown. As a temporary shortcut, learn a few Barnum Statements. They work so well that it's scary.
  4. I always felt like Mentalism, especially propless, is the fairest and most deceptive form of magic. It amazed, and still amazes, me insanely when I see someone doing mentalism and I always thought of it as a "higher" form of magic. Now I'm at a point in card magic where I can do performances and feel confident in my moves and thus I thought I could try learning mentalism. (To it I just finished highschool so now I have a lot of time to spare! ;) ) Then I'm very interested in the human mind and psychology and through mentalism I'd learn some things about it while learning strong magic routines.

    I know that it is something very hard to learn but I'm up for the challenge!
  5. Thanks! I'll check those things out :D
  6. Bit a long post ahead -

    Mentalism is not magic.

    Rather than my usual essay on the subject I will summarize the main ways in which the two are different.

    Magic requires deception, Mentalism does not (though it can be used).

    Magic encourages the suspension of disbelief, Mentalism encourages belief. This one I will explain briefly - A magic show comes with an implicit agreement between the performer and the audience that the performer will lie to them a bit, and the audience will go along with it, because everyone will have more fun if they do. A mentalist, on the other hand, is apparently demonstrating an incredible mental ability and therefore has to have the audience believing in what he's doing - whether the claim is science based or supernatural. If the performance is obviously being faked, it will at best be perceived as a magic show.

    I am not saying one or the other is objectively better. Only that they are distinctly different.

    If you actually want to learn mentalism and not mental-themed magic, then the first thing I would recommend is Maximum Entertainment 2.0, Scripting Magic Vol 1 & 2, The Alchemical Tools, Switchcraft, Psychophysiological Thought Reading, and take your pick of books on readings. Ian Rowland has a good reputation for that.

    The 13 Steps to Mentalism is a great resource, but it's a reference. I don't think it's actually a good place to learn fundamentals.

    Bob Cassidy is another good source and if you can get his Artful Mentalism books those are gold. He has an eBook called "Fundamentals" which is a good source on creating believable mentalism and has a list of 39 resources included called the 39 Steps.

    Banachek has his Psychological Subtleties series, 1-3, and they are good and have a good bit that's 'impromptu' or 'propless'.

    If you can find a copy and are willing to spend the money, Aaron Alexander's Pygmalion Effects is the closest you will come to learning Jedi powers in real life.

    If you want to learn hypnosis start with Anthony Jacquin's Reality is Plastic to get the very basics. If it is still something you want to pursue, do a more in depth course. Don't bother with anything else in the magic industry, they literally all teach basically the same thing, or they're just outright wrong. Go with either Mike Mandel (if you want a wide basis of knowledge) or Michael C Anthony (if you want to become a stage hypnotist).

    Oh and figure out what you want your claim to be and study the heck out of it. You should be able to hold a casual conversation with an expert in the subject. Because trust me, you'll be asked about it. Just this past weekend I spent a couple hours in deep conversation with an African Voodoo practitioner when they heard I perform theatrical seances. Easily 1/3 of the books I read are occult, lore, psychology, or otherwise related to weird history.
  7. Yeah you're right, mentalism and magic can't work together, one sells the idea of "magic" happening while everyone knows that it is sleight of hand, while the other seems like real mental powers. I guess I'll just try to learn some things and then I'll see what fits my style better/what I'd like to pursue in future.
    Thanks a lot! I'll inform myself about the books and then I'll see what I can get.

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