OKAY, LET'S START WITH THAT TITLE -- WHAT'S A MENTALIST?
A mentalist is a theatrical mind-reader; a performer who, using a variety of techniques, is able to produce results that would only seem possible by psychic or paranormal means.
AND THOSE TECHNIQUES WOULD BE...?
They range from a knowledge of subtle psychological principles and the quirks of human behavior, to quick thinking and a good memory. I'm also interested in things like suggestion, non-verbal communication, and the so-called trance state. And I don't hesitate to borrow ideas from stage magicians, either.
SO ARE YOU PSYCHIC OR WHAT?
No. Not everyone believes me when I say that, but there's not much I can do about it. People who believe in the paranormal will believe no matter what I tell them, and those who don't believe won't believe no matter what I show them. But a long time ago I realized that everybody's mind is pretty much made up before they came to the show, so it was a fool's errand to try and convince people of the validity of one viewpoint or another. So sit back, concentrate on your mother's maiden name, and enjoy the show...
YOU TELL PEOPLE HOW IT'S ALL DONE AFTER, RIGHT?
And what fun would that be, either for me or the audience? I do have a pretty sound knowledge of the kinds of tricks psychics have used and continue to use to convince their clients (read: marks) of their powers, and may occasionally expose one of these to illustrate a point, or when giving a lecture-demonstration. But in general, no.
WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN ALL OF THIS?
I think that the idea of reading another person's thoughts, of contacting spirits of the discarnate at séances, and all the rest of it are fascinating, hair-raising questions. Who doesn't love a good ghost story? And what would it be like if you could read somebody's thoughts? What would that experience be like? Well, let's find out...!
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A GENUINE PSYCHIC EXPERIENCE?
My wife and I finish each other's sentences, and often know what the other is about to say. I have had the very eerie experience of walking into a room in an allegedly haunted house and feeling the hairs on the back of my neck tingle, as though someone were standing right behind me. During one show, I had no idea what a participant was thinking, so I guessed. My guess was very, very close to what she had in mind. In each case, I have very certain ideas as to why each of these things happened, but you may make of these experiences what you will.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE PEOPLE ON TELEVISION WHO TALK TO THE DEAD?
I can only watch a few minutes of this kind of thing before I lose interest. Or start to feel sick. The statements that come through from the spirit-world are always so silly and trivial, aren't they? And the spirits of the departed always play absurd guessing-games with those they are presumably trying to reach out to. I want to see good, solid information delivered from the Beyond, not some vague statements like, ''Someone here has a connection to a 'J' name'' , or ''They keep showing me blue - what does this mean to anyone?'' Until I see something that doesn't look like a macabre and desperate game of 20 Questions, I can't take this kind of thing seriously at all. In fact, playing this kind of game on those in grief just seems vile and amoral.
SO ... WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR ME?
I can enliven your event, I can entertain your guests, I can impress your clients, I can show your employees the (seemingly) impossible, I can fill that pesky spot in your programming schedule, I can provide you with a smart alternative to yet another singer, comedian, or ho-hum speaker, I can present a lecture-demonstration like you've never seen, and I can help you look like a very clever event planner indeed.