Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Word of the Day -- Mentalist

Mentalism is a performing art in which its practitioners, known as mentalists, appear to demonstrate highly developed mental or intuitive abilities. Performances may appear to include telepathy, clairvoyance, divination, precognition, psychokinesis, mediumship, mind control, memory feats and rapid mathematics. Hypnosis may also be used as a stage tool. Mentalists are sometimes referred to as psychic entertainers.

Much of what the modern mentalist performs in his or her act can be traced back directly to tests of supernatural power that were carried out by mediums, spiritualists and psychics in the 19th Century. However, the history of mentalism goes back even further. Accounts of seers and oracles can be found in works by the ancient Greeks and in the Old Testament of the Bible. Among magicians, the mentalism performance generally cited as one of the earliest on record was by diplomat and pioneering sleight-of-hand magician Girolamo Scotto in 1572.

The performance of mentalism may utilize similar principles, sleights and skills as street magic or stage magic.

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