Bill Gladwell, Mentalist in Gatlinburg | RTX Traveler Magazine

Bgladwell1In downtown Gatlinburg, it’s hard to miss the iconic space needle attraction, as if the real thing were plucked from Seattle and dropped into the Smokies. Visitors can take the elevator to the top for a view of downtown and the surrounding mountains or you can choose from hundreds of games of chance and skill in the bustling arcade on the ground floor. If you make your way through the lights and music to a back corner, you’ll find the Arcadia Theater, where one of Gatlinburg’s newest shows will dazzle and delight you, and might just blow your mind.

Upon entering the intimate theater which has been hosting Bill Gladwell’s Head Case show since August 2012, the dim lights and dramatic smoke set the tone for a little bit of mystery and excitement. Once everyone is settled, Gladwell makes his entrance with a brief introduction. The 75 minutes or so that follow will elicit laughs and awe equally.

Gladwell does not claim to be a psychic. In fact, he is a member of a group that works to debunk psychics and other paranormal claims, and reports that not a single one has proven to be authentic. Instead of a supernatural psychic ability, Gladwell uses his skills as a hypnotist combined with NLP™, suggestion, psychology, directed awareness and showmanship to influence people’s thoughts and actions. By reading unconscious signs of what a person is thinking, Gladwell is able manipulate their decision-making process.

Despite this disclaimer, it may appear to audience members that Gladwell can in fact read minds. There is a high level of audience participation throughout the show, which adds to the entertainment and the authenticity of his act. By asking a few simple questions to audience members, he is able to uncover eerily accurate information that not even a close friend, sibling or spouse may know.

For 23 years, Gladwell traveled with his comedy stage hypnosis show Hypnotized! and decided in 2011 that he no longer wanted to travel and was ready to try something different. While Las Vegas may be the obvious choice for residency of a show such as Gladwell’s, family ultimately made Gatlinburg the top pick.

“I vacationed in Gatlinburg almost every summer when I was growing up in Ohio. Gatlinburg is also more family oriented, and it is a great place for my kids to grow up,” Gladwell said.

Off stage, Gladwell has used many of his talents and knowledge of social dynamics – the study of how individuals communicate and predictably act within a group (two or more people) as well as the overall dynamic of the group – for a number of other endeavors aside from bending the minds of even the most skeptical of audience members. He has used these skills as a dating mentor, sales and marketing expert, hypnosis trainer, and personal and group coach. However, entertaining people gives Gladwell the most fulfillment and he has been able to focus 99% of his work on his stage performances since he’s been in Gatlinburg.

That focus is evident during Gladwell’s show (which is appropriate for all ages) as he seems to naturally put audience members at ease while somehow uncovering information that might have been pulled from even the most obscure childhood memories. If you’re still a skeptic, go see the show for yourself during your next Gatlinburg visit. You won’t be disappointed.

“The look on a person’s face when they have just witnessed a miracle, whether it be during a performance or some other interaction, is what makes me wake up early and go to bed late.  When I see that look, I know that I have created a moment in that person’s life that they will remember forever,” said Gladwell.

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