What’s the difference between a magician & a mentalist?
Well, to answer this correctly, let’s define a “Magician”.
The term “Magician” tends to be used to cover a few areas, namely what a magician does, and what an “illusionist” does.
Often this seemingly “umbrella term” can also include “Mentalist” & “Hypnotist”, however technically, this is not correct. It’s like referring to a builder as a plumber. They may both work on houses, & may use some of the same tools, but their skills & trades are vastly different.
Let’s start with the differences between a “Magician” & an “Illusionist”.
Illusionists are the performers known for using larger props, boxes or “illusions”.
Popular illusions include Disappearing from one point & appearing in another, Levitation’s, “Sawing a girl in half”, & several other mistreatment of an otherwise “lovely assistant”.
David Copperfield & Criss Angel are two of the better known illusionists.
Magicians however, tend to perform routines that can pack into a suitcase, or into their pockets.
They use props, or sleight of hand to perform cabaret, parlour, or roving/close up performances.
The catch however, is that there are several entertainers who perform both magic & illusions.
This is obviously where the confusion sets in, entertainers such as Dynamo & David Blaine.
So how about Mentalists & Hypnotists?
This seems fairly straight forward, everyone knows what a Hypnotist does, right? So what about a mentalist?
Mentalists are interesting now days in that there is virtually a sliding scale between Mental Magicians & Mentalists.
“Mental Magicians” are basically magicians who perform tricks designed to look like mentalists, whilst “Mentalists” have a specifically honed set of skills & an understanding of psychology.
Occasionally a mentalist may utilize a piece of mental magic to enhance a skill or performance, but that is because true mentalists have training comprised of a variety of skills.
These skills include:
- Memory Training – Advanced memory techniques
- Body Language Reading Skill – Advanced levels of body language reading
- Personality Profiling
- Magic Sleights – All good mentalists have a knowledge of magic & misdirection
- Hypnosis – True mentalists are also accomplished hypnotists. It is part of our skills tool box
- Influence – Verbal Linguistic influence skills
- … and of course, a personality & ability to PERFORM
Examples of mentalists are characters such as Derren Brown, Phillip Esscoffey, or myself.
Essentially, if you book a mentalist, you are receiving everything. From what appears to be mind reading, which is an incredible hit at ANY party & event, magic, hypnotic fun (if requested), and truly mind blowing shows that are anything but cheesy.
Mentalists are certainly the “in thing” at the moment. Old hat magicians with cheesy gags and the same old tricks are out, and intelligent, yet FUN performances by professional mentalists are in.
One of my recent appearances on LIVE breakfast TV – The Morning Show