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When 'The Usual' Won't Do

What is the difference between a stage hypnotist, a magician and a mentalist?

Stage Hypnotists, Magicians, and Mentalists

The world of entertainment is vast and varied, with performers specializing in a range of disciplines. Among these are stage hypnotists, magicians, and mentalists. While they may seem similar at first glance, each of these performers brings a unique set of skills and techniques to their craft. Let’s have a look into the differences between them.

Magician, Hypnotist or Mentalist? Image created by DALL-E3

Stage Hypnotists

A stage hypnotist is a performer who uses hypnosis as a means of entertainment. They perform in front of large or smaller audiences, often on big stages1. The most famous kind of hypnosis for entertainment is stage hypnosis. And those who make it funny fron start to finish are called “Comedy Hypnotists”

Unlike magicians and mentalists, hypnotists use a clear science behind their performances. It is logical and no sleight of hand is used. Hypnotists encourage volunteers from the audience to participate in hilarious scenarios, in a safe and respectful environment. Hypnosis also has many therapeutic benefits, and one can even pursue formal education to become a hypnotist. However there is a distinction between comedy stage hypnosis and hypnosis used in therapy - they are very different skills.

[You’ll sometimes see hypnosis pelled as “hipnosis”. It turns out the some european languages spell it this way.]

Magicians

Magicians are artists who use sleight of hand1 and sometimes props or setups to entertain people by doing seemingly impossible things1. They create illusions that leave audiences in awe. Magicians range from street performers to show makers, and their performances can vary greatly in terms of presentation.

There are different types or genres of magicians like comedy, closeup, dramatic. It looks like they are performing impossible feats but underneath it al there are closely guarded secret tricks and techniques. This is not Harry Potter style magic.2

Mentalists

Mentalists are performers who create the illusion of possessing psychic powers. They use techniques from psychology, hypnotism, and magic to create an illusion that they can read or control minds.1

A mentalist uses a lot of psychology and uses it to make us believe that they can control and read our minds. They act in a dramatic manner that what’s happening is for real and they have some mystical powers.

While mentalists are deemed as part of magicians, they are more than just entertainers. They perform not just to impress you but to change your perception of magic and how you look at it.1

In Conclusion

While stage hypnotists, magicians, and mentalists all aim to entertain and amaze their audiences, they do so in very different ways. A stage hypnotist uses the power of suggestion, a magician uses physical props and tricks, and a mentalist uses psychology and observation. Each brings a unique flavor to the world of entertainment, providing audiences with a wide range of experiences to enjoy.

1 Vilen Magic
2 Action Entertainment

Author: Gerard V Comedy Hypnotist, MC and Corporate Entertainer
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