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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.[attribution needed] However, the history of mentalism goes back even further. Accounts of seers and oracles can be found in works by the ancient Greeks[attribution needed] 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.
Performance approaches 
Styles of presentation can vary greatly. A few performers, in the mold of Uri Geller, or James Van Praagh, claim to actually possess supernatural powers such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, or telekinesis.
Many contemporary performers, including Richard Osterlind, Banachek, Max Maven, and Derren Brown, attribute their results to mundane skills, such as the ability to read body language or to manipulate the subject subliminally through psychological suggestion.
Mentalist or magician 
Mentalists generally do not mix "standard" magic tricks with their mental feats. Doing so associates mentalism too closely with the theatrical trickery employed by stage magicians. Many mentalists claim not to be magicians at all, arguing that it is a different art form altogether.
Many magicians, however, mix mentally themed performance with magic illusions. For example, a mind-reading stunt might also involve the magical transposition of two different objects. Such hybrid feats of magic are often called mental magic by performers. Magicians who routinely mix magic with mental magic include David Copperfield, David Blaine, The Amazing Kreskin and Dynamo (Steven Frayne)
Notable mentalists 
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- Shawn Spencer (Fictional Character)
- Patrick Jane (Fictional Character)
- Theodore Annemann
- Keith Barry
- David Berglas
- Derren Brown
- Paul Brook
- Luke Jermay
- Kuda Bux
- Chan Canasta
- Bob Cassidy
- Nicholas Kin
- Davenport brothers
- Paul W. Draper
- Joseph Dunninger
- Mark Edward
- Glenn Falkenstein
- Uri Geller
- Haim Goldenberg
- Nimrod Harel
- Axel Hellstrom
- Matt the Knife
- Al Koran
- The Amazing Kreskin
- Gary Kurtz
- Max Maven
- Gerry McCambridge
- Richard Osterlind
- Marc Paul
- The Piddingtons
- Morgan Strebler
- Frances Willard
- The Zancigs
- Neil Tobin, Necromancer
- John Edward
Historical figures 
Mentalism techniques have, on occasion, been allegedly used outside the entertainment industry to influence the actions of prominent people for personal and/or political gain. Famous examples of accused practitioners include:
- Erik Jan Hanussen, alleged to have influenced Adolf Hitler
- Grigori Rasputin, alleged to have influenced Tsarina Alexandra
- Wolf Messing, alleged to have influenced Joseph Stalin
- Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, accused of influencing members of the French aristocracy in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace
"The Amazing Kreskin" has audience members hide his checks before the show; if Kreskin cannot find the check at the end of his performance, he does not get paid.
Mentalism in television 
- America's Got Talent: Eric Dittelman, a mind reader, performed on Season 7 of the NBC talent competition America's Got Talent. He was eliminated in the semifinals.
- The Mentalist: an American crime procedural television series in which the main character, Patrick Jane, works as an independent consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation solving serious crimes by using his amazing skills of observation and his frequent use of his abilities as a mentalist.
- Psych: an American criminal comedy-drama television series in which the main character, Shawn Spencer, works as a consultant to the Santa Barbara Police Department as a "psychic detective." Though he purports to be a psychic, in truth it is his exceptional observational skills and near-photographic memory that allows him to portray himself as such.
- Deception with Keith Barry: Discovery Channel.
- Tricks of the Mind: a British TV show starring Derren Brown.
- Pasamones Kontrole: Kobra TV Channel Nicholas Kin.
See also 
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- Randi, James (1995). "An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural". St. Martin's Press. Retrieved 2008-03-28.
- Gordon, Mel: "Hanussen: Hitler's Jewish Clairvoyant". Feral House, 2001
- George King, The Last Empress: The Life and Times of Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsarina of Russia. Replica Books, 2001. ISBN 978-0-7351-0104-3
- Hamilton-Parker, Craig (December 1, 1996). "Medium with a message". Scotland on Sunday. p. 5.
- Media related to Mentalists at Wikimedia Commons
- Mentalist in An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural
- PSYCRETS British Society of Mystery Entertainers
Mentalist associations 
Mentalist conventions 
- MINDvention is an annual convention of mentalists.
- Tabula Mentis A twice yearly event sponsored by PSYCRETS