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Jan Hellesøe

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Hellesøe in 2014
This might be
Skepticism
Icon skepticism.svg
But we're not sure
Who's asking?
But we will cut the umbilical cord to the supernatural, because it doesn't exist.
—Jan Hellesøe[1]

Jan Hellesøe (1982–)[2][3] is a Danish mentalist and magician primarily known as the star of the Danish TV shows Fuckr med dn hjrne (translatable as "Fuckng with yr brain") and Manipulator.

Like many mentalists, Hellesøe actively advocates for skepticism, and encourages viewers to avoid being taken for a ride, as well as dismissing horoscopes and other such superstitions.[2] Using a combination of what appears to be phenomenal memory, psychological insight, hot reading, cold reading, hypnosis, priming, sleight-of-hand, leaving cues in the peripheral vision of his "victims," social engineering, and other techniques, Hellesøe can achieve seemingly impossible manipulations of people.

While he does not reveal his more elaborate illusions, similar to a Danish Penn and Teller, Hellesøe sometimes shows a simpler illusion, then demonstrates how he constructed it, in an effort to encourage viewers' critical thinking.

Hellesøe is notable for inviting to his show brain researchers, psychologists, and generally people who identify as skeptical, and for involving them in his illusions. His show frequently mentions recent peer-reviewed research papers, while at the same time showing how it is possible to create what look like paranormal phenomena with the right preparation, resources, and talents.

Hellesøe travels to New York for one show, and views an exorcism by Bob Larson, who charges him $750 for the privilege. He later stages an exorcism using only hypnosis and a few props, casting doubt on the authenticity of any exorcism. Hellesøe also succeeds in replicating a staging of the circumstances of a 1951 "hypnotic murder"[4] depicted in the 2018 film Murderous Trance (originally titled The Guardian Angel).[5] Hellesøe also participated in a documentary produced in 2018 about the “hypnotic murder” as part of a series by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation about murders in Denmark.[6]

In one show, Hellesøe even stares at a goat for a prolonged period, trying to get it to fall down.[7] No goats were harmed in the making of that episode. What's not to like?

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