Seriously, though. How?!?
We know people can't really read minds, but there are people who sure seem like they can. If you've ever witnessed an experienced mentalist do their thing, you understand. Sleight-of-hand tricks are one thing; even if they're impressive, you kind of know the "magic" is simply well-practiced trickery. But with mentalism, you simply can't figure out how they do it. It genuinely seems like they're reading people's minds.
I have an amateur magician friend who does mentalism tricks and it's super trippy. One time, I watched him pull a piece of paper out of his wallet with a word my other friend was thinking of. He refuses to tell me how he does it, but he insists it's something pretty much anyone can learn to do.
Famous mentalist Oz Pearlman recently joined the Seattle Seahawks at a team meeting about mental training. Pearlman made a name for himself as a contestant on "America's Got Talent" and has since been in high demand. He wowed the whole team with his skills, and the reactions of the players and coaches were hilarious.
In a clip from the meeting, shared by ESPN, we can see Pearlman guess wide receiver DK Metcalf's phone passcode, somehow transfer the name of a person wide receiver Penny Hart was thinking about onto the palm of his hand, and more.
The joy and befuddlement of the whole team are so relatable. How could anyone not be blown away by these feats?
Check it out:
\u201cDK's reaction when Oz Pearlman guessed his passcode \ud83d\ude02 \n\n@OzTheMentalist had the @Seahawks on one with his mindreading.\u201d— ESPN (@ESPN) 1667144204
Penny Hart was just done. Can't really blame him.
I have no idea how Pearlman did any of these tricks, but I know that my friend is right—anyone can learn to do (at least some) mentalism tricks. After watching this video, I did a little Googling to see if I could learn a simple mentalism trick to try out on my teenager. It was surprisingly easy to do successfully. (Disturbingly easy, in fact. I was able to plant a specific playing card—number and suit—in my son's head with just a few simple and subtle hand gestures. Totally freaked him out.)
While traditional magic tricks rely on illusion and distraction, mentalism focuses primarily on the psychology of the audience. A mentalist knows how to read subtle body language and facial cues and also knows how to create their own physical and verbal cues that make people think about specific things.
Advanced mentalists like Pearlman, though are mind-blowing. How did he know that Penny Hart was thinking of his uncle Steve? Clearly, he didn't plant that. And how did he get the word "Steve" onto his hand? Truly amazing.
Unfortunately, mentalism can easily be abused by con men and grifters, but when it's done for pure entertainment purposes it's so fun to watch. And in this case, the Seahawks also got a lesson on how powerful our minds and reading other people's cues truly can be. Wise choice to drive home a point, Coach Carroll.
Somebody go check on Penny Hart, though. Poor guy's going through some things.