Entertainment Tips and Tricks

The Difference Between A Magician and Mentalist?

I often get asked what the difference between a close-up magician and mind readers or 'mentalists' are. So I've put together a quick list of things to hopefully clarify this. If you're planning on hiring a magician or hiring a mind reader for your party then have a quick look at this list to help you.

Close-Up Magicians

  • A traditional close-up magician will often perform tricks that involve sleight of hand.  
  • A magician will perform effects with cards or coins, every day objects, often trying to create illusions in your hand or theirs.
  • A magician performs illusions of a more physical nature for an audience. 

Mind Readers/Mentalists

  • A mentalist doesn't rely on sleight of hand. Sometimes utilising psychology or other means to achieve their effects.
  • A mentalist focuses on clairvoyance, divination, telepathy and other similar feats.
  • A mentalist really gets an audience involved and engages everyones with feats that occur in their head and generally is much more interactive. 
  NB. The term 'Mentalist' was popularised in the U.K. by Alan Partridge to mean 'an eccentric or mad person'. The term is actually used by magicians when referring to what the general public may define as mind readers. 

NB. The term 'Mentalist' was popularised in the U.K. by Alan Partridge to mean 'an eccentric or mad person'. The term is actually used by magicians when referring to what the general public may define as mind readers. 

Are there benefits of picking one over the other?

It's mainly down to your preference. If you prefer Derren Brown to Dynamo then a mentalist is probably for you. A mentalist is also more unique as there are only a few select performers in the UK that perform close-up mentalism (I’m one of them).

As it's less common, it's less likely that your audiences will have seen a mentalist or close-up mind reader before. It can be exciting to see a mentalist work. Most performances are also often more intimate as they deal with the unique thoughts of the audience. Mentalism is also very in right now with the popularity of Derren Brown. Most mentalists also stray from the 'cheesy' image that accompanies magicians, giving any event a touch of class. 

In the interests of objectivity a close-up magician can be best in louder situations however as it is generally more visual. 

I hope that is helpful to you and helps clarify some of the terms used by mind readers on their websites.

If you want to get any more clarification or have a specific question then I'd be happy to help out so get in touch