Mentalism, often described as a sixth or seventh sense, is the art of demonstrating highly developed intuitive or mental abilities.

Self styled psychological magician, Alex McAleer has been wowing audiences with his soul-searching readings and showmanship both on TV and in the theatre for the past ten years.

He explains where it all began: “I was kind of a show off kid and liked being the class clown. When I was very young I was into magicians, like Paul Daniels. Later in life my mother passed away and I got interested in whether you can talk to ghosts.”

He came to the conclusion that you can’t, but his research had sparked a passion and he went to study spiritualism and mentalism and “learnt the tricks to get into people’s heads.”

The first time he ever tried to read somebody’s mind was when he was home alone with his stepsister. He explains that through reading her unconscious muscle movements and breathing he was able to figure out where something was in the house, he says: “She was freaked out and I was pleased. It grew from there.”

Mind-reading, you would imagine, is quite an incredible party trick. However Alex says: “When I was learning I would tell people about it first. I tried some simple tricks on my partner when I met her and they failed miserably. These days I save it for the shows, I don’t need to show off all the time.”

I wondered, with modern technology and an abundance of our personal information online, whether people today found it hard to believe him. He says: “People sometimes assumed you’ve googled them so I do stuff you wouldn’t find online. The town where you live or football team you support can all be found.

“I pick random members of the audience, bring people up, reach into their head and tell them words they’re thinking or names of their first kiss.”

As well as mind-reading from Alex there will be close-up magic, large-scale illusions and a death-defying and a heart stopping finale that made me wonder whether the show was a little too scary for children but he assures me: “People as young as six or seven come. It’s children and their parents and their grandparents and that’s nice.”

Champions of Magic will take place at the Wycombe Swan on Monday, where Alex will be joined by magician Fay Presto, grand illusionists Young & Strange and International Stage Magician of the Year Edward Hilsum.

Wycombe Swan Theatre, St Mary Street, High Wycombe, Monday, April 4, 7.30pm. Details: 01494 512 000