An Introduction to Mentalism

Telepathy, mind control, psychokinesis, hypnosis, divination, precognition, clairvoyance and mediumship. What do all of these phenomenon’s have in common?

They’re all forms of mentalism. It’s an art form that leads people to believe that its practitioners have a high level of mental or intuitive abilities.

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Masters of different forms of mentalism generally leave a great impression among their audience because what they witness often appears to defy the law of physics.

Nowadays, acts of mentalism are beamed around the world via the Internet and TV. It’s entertainment at its best but only some of what is shown can be explained.

There are still some extraordinary  feats that leave witnesses baffled and confused. If you think that mentalism is puzzling now, just imagine what people thought of it in the past.

History of Mentalism

The origins of mentalism can be traced back thousands of years into the time of the Old Testament of the Bible and the ancient Greeks.

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They were known as the works of seers and oracles, but at the time these people were thought to have genuine supernatural powers.

We cannot dispute that, but it’s also possible that they were using mentalism tricks and techniques (read about them here).

As far as mentalism for acts of magic is concerned, one of the earliest performances on record is accredited to Girolamo Scotto in 1572. He was a magician and a diplomat who was a pioneer of the sleight-of-hand technique.

The Difference Between Mentalism and Magic

There’s a distinct different between performers of mentalism and magicians. While stage and TV magicians employ the use of theatrical trickery to create illusions, mentalists such as Derren Brown, make full use of the power of the human mind and body language, meaning that their “tricks” are actually based on reality.

Many mentalists don’t associate themselves with magic, citing that it’s a completely different arm form. However, magicians have been known to implement mentalism techniques into their performances.

The Good and Evil of Mentalism

In more recent times, mentalism has been used for entertainment purposes. Notable performers such as Derren Brown, Richard Osterlind and Marc Savard have captivated the public’s imagination with their mind manipulation techniques.

They attribute their powers to skills such as being able to read subtle body language and implementing the psychological suggestion subliminally to the particular subject.

These abilities are all real and have been and still are used throughout the elite levels of society. It’s not a secret that government forces such as the FBI and CIA put these techniques into practice as part of their job.


However, there is a much more sinister side to mentalism. Alleged practitioners include figures such as Wolf Messing, who influenced war criminals Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

Even though he was Jewish, hypnotist and clairvoyant performer Erik Jan Hanussen supported the Nazi’s and was also said to have influenced Hitler directly with his works.

There are claims that the Reichstag fire incident he predicted, was the result of the convicted arsonist Marinus van der Lubbe, being under hypnosis to commit the act. It’s a theory that may have led to Hanussen’s mysterious assassination.

The different aspects of mentalism are very powerful tools for mind manipulation. Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad. Fortunately, most people who wish to learn acts of mentalism such as covert hypnosis, just want to impress others, improve their own life and are not hell bent on world domination.


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