For several millennia, mentalism has continued to remain in practice and in this post, we’ll be running you through some of the best mentalism tricks that you can use on friends and family.
Mentalism practitioners- psychics, magicians, clairvoyants and the like- developed their seemingly magical skills by taking note of people’s behavioral patterns and mirroring them.
Even then, not all of the mentalist abilities can be explained as just a trick- sometimes, there are no scientific reasons for events.
1. Bend spoons with your mind
Uri Geller was a well-known globally for his skill in the mentalist trick of spoon bending. Spoon bending is exactly that, bending a spoon, but by using your mind. This is physically impossible for non-mentalists.
Though it seemed real, his ability was ultimately just a masterful trick. If you’d like to try this out, get a small group of friends and give each of them a spoon. Instruct them to describe their spoon to you in careful detail.
While they’re absorbed in doing so, bend your own spoon. Since they’re too engrossed in their spoons, they surely won’t notice you bending yours!
2. Win every argument
Do you want to win an argument? The key to do so is to just stay calm. It lends you credibility because you end up looking rational compared to the person you're engaging with.
Not only that, it keeps your mind clear for thinking, letting you pay attention to what the person is saying. With just keen observation, you can take note of what is said and use it against them.
After you’ve explained all the facts, they’ll be more likely to admit they were wrong and thereby let you win.
3. Lie to people and have them believe it
Lying is like any skill that involves honing in that few can do it effortlessly. However, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with being a bad liar.
Utilize the power of embarrassment to make your lies appear genuine. An embarrassing anecdote can help you convince people of your lies.
When asked if you and your girlfriend are still dating, you can say something like: “We hung out last weekend and had a lot of fun…even though the excessive jalapeno peppers she put on our Sunday stew meant that I spent half of Monday on the toilet.”
This invokes a humorous mental image that will misdirect any doubt from your lie.
4. People too loud? Whisper.
We get it. Loud isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, so if you want your loud-mouthed friend to shut up at social gatherings, try leaning into their ear and whispering.
By initiating an interaction like this, they’ll be more apt to whisper as well. You can also try this on unruly kids that don’t ever seem to stop shouting.
5. Never have to ask for help again
Like the spoon bending trick, this involves misdirection. If you’ve got something to do that you really don’t feel like doing, find someone who seems like they may help but is reluctant to do so.
Pull them into a conversation. While they’re engaged in talking to you, begin to slowly hand over the task to them.
Since they’re too distracted by talking, they’ll give little to no resistance.
They’ll probably not even have time to think about what they’re saying yes to, let alone think of saying no.
You’ve likely seen a mentalist perform on tv, on stage, or maybe live on the streets. Amazed by the encounter, it may have pushed you to learn about mentalism tricks and that curiosity brought you here to this article. Though it’s impressive, mentalism isn’t hard. In fact, with just few simple mentalism tricks and a whole lot of practice, you’ll soon become as good a mentalist as any.
6. Keep it general
By using shotgun statements or Barnum statements, you’ll be able to look like a psychic. To do this, you only have to say general statements that can apply to many things.
People tend to look for patterns and connections on their own and by taking advantage of this, you can appear to them as if you actually had supernatural knowledge of their lives and pasts.
By using large blanket statements, chances are you’ll be able to guess something about them. People’s tendency is to then talk further about that and ta-da- the participant does all the work for you.
7. Get help
Great mentalists don’t do it all alone. Enlisting the help of a friend can make your mentalism tricks or act seem even more credible.
Usually planted among audience members, the confederate is someone who knows about the trick and plays along.
Once other audience members see your mind-reading ‘trick’ work on him/her, they’re more inclined to believe that it will work on them too.
8. Learn to cold read
You may not have heard of this before but chances are you’ve done it to some extent in your daily life.
Cold reading involves paying close attention to small details about people in order to seem as if you had psychic abilities that let you know about them.
Next time you meet someone, try paying attention to what they’re wearing, the things they talk about, how they talk, and even the smallest of their expressions.
Chances are you won’t have to make guesses as they themselves will tell you the answer. It’s simply up to you to learn how to perceive those answers.
9. Guide people’s thoughts
This mentalism trick is called the Red Hammer and what it essentially does is prime the human mind into giving a particular answer based on the way previous answers played out.
If you want someone to answer in a way that you want or is at least predictable to you, simply choose a series of questions that guide thoughts towards that end.
The questions used for the Red Hammer aren’t straightforward. They even seem like innocuous, if strange, questions. All you have to do is be creative about the way thoughts and language and related.
So why is it called the Red Hammer? It’s because the usual template for this kind of trick ends in a ‘red hammer’ being the answer given.
First, the mentalist asks a participant ‘What day is Christmas?’ which later on leads to ‘What government did the USSR have?’.
These questions are intersped by unrelated ones but since, as said before, the mind looks for connections, it remembers these on some level.
Both questions are connected to the color red. Though the question was about Christmas day, red is a ubiquitous color during the holiday season.
The USSR also uses a red flag. What else is on that red flag? A hammer. So when you finally ask your participants to think of a tool and color, it will almost always be a red hammer.
10. Play with someone’s subconscious
Called Three of Diamonds, this mentalism trick lets you influence a person’s subconscious thoughts and perception.
By subtle suggestion, you’ll be able to guide people into the actions you want without them noticing that you ordered it.
To perform this trick, you’ll need a deck of cards and a participant. Ask the participant to use their imagination to pick any card from the deck but tell them not to tell you until you ask.
While giving them these instructions, you must move your hands between the two of you and create a diamond shape in the air. Add more flourish to your act with gestures, each done in groups of three, before telling them what card they’re thinking of.
If done right, the participant will say that they’re thinking of the Three of Diamonds.
You can also use this basic principle for other cards or even completely different tricks. Simply keep applying the power of subconscious influence and each one will just be a more complicated Three of Diamonds.
11. Combine Mentalism tricks
This mentalism trick involves joining together the concepts explained under the Red Hammer and the Three of Diamonds.
For this one, you will be using both gestures and language to guide the participants thoughts.
Remember that the key to these kinds of tricks is that you always know what the answer is.
Get a participant and ask them to think of a shape. Not just any shape, you say, but a shape that is like a square but isn’t a square.
The human mind naturally switches tracks to think of a triangle as it is a common square-like shape that isn’t a square.
Most of the time, instead of thinking of a rectangle, they will think of removing a side and picking a triangle.
Why is this? It could be because we are often taught that what makes a square a square is that it has four sides. Though it shares this quality with rectangles, snap decisions make us think of a triangle instead.
Guiding people to think of triangles helps us with the next part of the trick- getting them to think of a circle.
Once you’ve convinced your participant to think of a triangle, there are few shapes that can fit a triangle symmetrically. This leads the human mind to choose a circle.
Now for the big reveal, tell them you know exactly what they’re thinking of, “You’re imagining a triangle inside a circle.”
Got all that? By using these mentalism tricks, you’ll be on your way to becoming a skilled mentalist. All skills require practice though so just because it seems magical doesn’t mean you’ll magically learn mentalism. Keep these mentalism tricks in mind and use any opportunity to creatively apply them.