Becoming a mentalist and training to become one is little different from that of preparing and training to become a stage magician. A master of mentalism is an illusionist and a weaver of spells that enthrall an audience and lead them to believe in the reality of psychism and psychic powers. But to become a good mentalist you need mentalist training.
The act of mentalism is simply that: an act. It is a show, a stage performance, a form of entertainment. Like all stage performers, a mentalist for example has to regale his audience and keep their attention, keep them from getting bored and giving them a good time on their night out on the town.
Mentalists have to connect and establish a rapport with the audience. For example, they have to be friendly and interactive as equally as be “mysterious.” Depending on the act and reputation they wish to establish, they may inject humor in the show to keep the attention of the audience going. Never must they bore their audience to sleep. Without this rapport, the bag of illusions and tricks will never be of any use.
The mentalist training itself requires a certain level of sleight of hand skill. Pulling off feats of so-called magic needs ingenuity. Acts of stage magic are a combination of props, devices and ingenious psychological and physical deception. Mentalists on the other hand are not very much inclined to use props and devices; rather, they more often utilize deep knowledge of psychology and body language, of how an average person’s mind works. This is for the purpose of successfully transcending the audience’s perceptions and deceiving them in subtle and cunning ways. This may involve distracting the audience’s attention while something else within sight is being prepared without their conscious perception, which may also count as a form of hypnotism. The budding mentalist must also know the right things to say at just the right time and the right way, in order to distract and control attention.
Knowing how to hypnotize may also be require mentalist training. This is an essential part of the repertoire of the mentalist, for some supposedly psychic feats involve the use of hypnotism. He must therefore train in this ability. Even ordinary stage magicians employ hypnotism in their act.
Basically, in one’s training to become a master of mentalism, one has to know the skills in magic and illusion as well as stage presence and showmanship. He should develop good charisma and a magnetic personality. And because mentalism is very much linked with psychology, he must also develop his skills in leading the audience to false leads and throw them off track from what is actually being done under their proverbial noses. As stage magicians use mentalist techniques, so do mentalists also use magic tricks in their repertoire.
Good luck with your mentalist training.
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