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Unraveling the Mysteries
of the Human Mind

The Mentalist Patrick Jane.

Since ancient times, the human mind has been an enigma and a field of exploration for other human beings. Mentalism, a fascinating discipline that combines psychology, illusion and perception, has developed over centuries in the quest to understand and manipulate people. Although it is associated with entertainment, mentalism is much more than simple magic tricks; It is the art of pretending paranormal and extraordinary abilities through observation, suggestion and understanding of the human mind. We will explore what mentalism is and how this intriguing form of entertainment works.

What is Mentalism?

Mentalism is a performing art that involves observation techniques and psychological insights to create the illusion that someone possesses extraordinary mental powers. Unlike traditional magic, where physical tricks and manipulations of objects are used, mentalism focuses on the mind of the spectator, performing acts that appear to reveal thoughts, predict the future, read minds, and perform feats with supposed supernatural abilities. Finally, it is a branch of magic, shows that today become increasingly popular among the public in many countries.

Lior Suchard

History of Mentalism

Houdini makes a public demonstration of the tricks used by mediums. The Library of Congress

Mentalism has a long history originating in ancient civilizations. In Egypt, for example, there are records of fortune tellers who claimed to have the ability to read minds and predict the future. However, mentalism as a modern-day branch of magic began to form in the 19th century when Harry Houdini entered the world of mentalism with his acts of spiritualism and divination with mediums in the 1920s. Joseph Dunninger, in the 1930s, captivated the public with further revelations of words, numbers and objects.

Uri Geller

After those iconic figures, in the decades since, mentalism has continued to evolve and gain popularity around the world. In the 1970s, Uri Geller impressed the world with his spoon bending act. Modern mentalists such as Derren Brown , Lior Suchard , Max Maven (1950 - 2022) , Banachek , among others, have taken this form of entertainment to new heights, mixing observation, psychological skills and hypnosis techniques with high-tech effects in acts of awesome mentalism. 

Derren Brown

Derren Brown, one of today's leading mentalists, claims that he does not possess any supernatural powers. In his shows he affirms that his methods are "magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship." Sometimes he even exposes the mediums' methods of communicating with the dead. 

Anca and Lucca 2022 FISM

The Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques (FISM), in Spanish, International Federation of Magical Societies, founded in 1948, is internationally recognized for hosting the most prominent magic and mentalism convention in the world, the "World Championship of Magic". Magic" (WCM), which is held every three years and includes competitions for mentalists, among other forms of magic. The most recent winners in 2022 were Anca and Lucca from Austria.

Mentalism Techniques

Mentalism involves a series of techniques that create the sensation of extraordinary mental abilities. Some of them include:

Cold Reading

Mentalists often observe a person and make assumptions about their thoughts, personality, or personal histories, creating the illusion that they can supernaturally read minds. Observing a hair on a man's clothing can reveal his partner's hair color, as an example.


Through suggestion and influence, mentalists can make people think or act in certain ways without them realizing they are being influenced. An example of this is asking a person to quickly respond with a tool, a fruit, and a color, and the vast majority's response will be "hammer, apple, and red."


The ability to notice subtle details in people's behavior, including facial microexpressions systematized in the 1990s by Paul Ekman, is fundamental to mentalism. This allows them to make surprising claims about their audience.

Hypno sis

Some mentalists practice hypnosis to induce people to perform unusual actions or experience phenomena that appear supernatural, such as the momentary loss of a vital capacity. One of the most recent examples is an act by Lior Suchard, where the person affected by his hypnosis cannot move or speak. Books on instant hypnosis as a performing art usually circulate only among mentalist circles.

Previous study

Sometimes mentalists may collect information on public social networks about viewers' interests, personal experiences, and other details of their lives.

Ethics and Differentiation of Mentalism

Lior Suchard on stage

It is important to note that mentalism is considered a form of entertainment and should not be confused with genuine psychic practices or divination. Although many mentalists claim to be able to read thoughts, predict the future, or influence decisions, this is due to a deep understanding of human psychology. Additionally, some mentalists, such as Derren Brown, emphasize that their performances are illusions meant to entertain and surprise, not to fool the audience.

Where to start to become a mentalist?

To start, I recommend reading books on face reading, an ancient Chinese art. One of the most popular authors in this field is Lillian Bridges, who for several years was a consultant to the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Sadly, she recently passed away, but she left us her books and webinars to master the art.

As for non-verbal language and other observation techniques, you can start with books by Paul Ekman on microexpressions, such as "How to Detect Lies", "Emotions Revealed", among others. In addition, there are several resources available to learn instant hypnosis, which is a technique that mentalists practice in their performances, without the need to induce the subject into a trance.

In my opinion, mentalism will continue to be an exciting and constantly evolving form of entertainment. Creativity and the use of technology will be key to shaping the future of mentalism and continuing to surprise audiences around the world.

Surprised woman

Welcome to the new MYSTERIUM theater,

the theater of magic in Mexico City!

To live the experience of magic and mentalism, we invite you to the Mysterium theater in Mexico City, which opened its doors on March 15, 2024.

  • Alex Darko

  • Ednovi

  • Fernando Mier

  • Neo

  • Javier Natera

  • Max Baiocchi

other magicians and mentalists

What is Rapid or Instant Hypnosis?

Is it possible to pay with a blank piece of paper instead of a bill or card?
Is it possible to make a person collapse with laughter with just one command?
Can you get a person to treat you like a superstar?
And finally, is it possible to become invisible?

What do you think is rapid or instant hypnosis?

There are several definitions that contextualize rapid or instant hypnosis: "being under control", "sleeping", "trance state". Although many studies have found few significant differences between someone in hypnosis and someone in a normal state, instant hypnosis can be defined as "a hypnotic state or trance." "It is suggestion that governs hypnosis," said Hippolyte Bernheim (1840-1919), considered the father of hypnosis in the 20th century. Ultimately, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis; It is a peculiar relationship between the hypnotist and the subject: the hypnotist and the subject "interpret" their roles as they believe they should be, through the suggestion of the hypnotist.

Some mentalists practice hypnosis to induce people to perform unusual actions or experience phenomena that appear supernatural, such as the momentary loss of a vital capacity. One of the most recent examples is an act by Lior Suchard, where the person affected by his hypnosis cannot move or speak, or Derren Brown, who, in his latest show called "Showman", manages to make several people in the audience forget, including the number 7.

"The true origin and essence of the hypnotic condition is the induction of a habit of mental abstraction or concentration, in which, as in a dream or spontaneous abstraction, the powers of the mind are absorbed with a single idea or line of thought. For the moment, that causes the individual unconsciously, or with conscious indifference, to abandon all other ideas, impressions or lines of thought.” (James Brade)

To experience the power of instant hypnosis, Mexican hypnotist Alex Darko invites you to the Mysterium theater in Mexico City, which opened on March 15, 2024.

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