Psychological magic is also described as mentalism and mind reading. Personally, I prefer the term psychological magic because it’s more closely related to the truth. There’s nothing ‘supernatural’ going on. All mentalism and mind reading is merely tricks of the mind.
Sleight of hand magic tricks the eye. Psychological magic fools the brain.
Psychological magic – Tricks of the mind
It took me a long time to become comfortable with psychological magic. I really don’t like the idea of people seeing ‘tricks’ and being left with the idea that supernatural forces are at work. I think that magicians have a responsibility to entertain people without getting into supernatural belief systems. This is a difficult road to walk because our job is to perform supernatural feats! I think it’s all fine as long as the emphasis is on fun and not starting a new religion.
Derren Brown is the person most strongly associated with psychological magic. He has rewritten the book on what a magician should be. Since him, everyone has felt the need to shoe horn a bit of psychological magic into their act.
I’ll be honest. Unless I’m specifically asked, I only perform a couple of psychological effects. They can make people uncomfortable! And that’s the opposite of what I want to accomplish at an event. Your guests should be having fun and enjoying being mystified.
Luckily, experience is a great teacher. There are different ways that people respond to a magician, and I’m used to all of them. I’m a very good judge of where the audience wants to go next. I can tell what they’ll like and what will leave them cold. You would be amazed how the same effect can produce such different reactions in people. I pay close attention to all of this when performing psychological magic. I don’t want to start a new cult!
Used well, psychological magic is an incredibly powerful string to the professional magician‘s bow.