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Banachek on Joe Rogan Questions on ScyFy

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Sunday, September 1st, 2013, 6:56 pm ♦ Comments Off on Banachek on Joe Rogan Questions on ScyFy

Banachek featured on the Joe Rogan show I was featured on can be seen by clicking on: Joe Rogan questions everything

or if you want to watch the entire episode watch below, Banachek enters at 23.24 in

 

Video of Banachek Korea’s MBC show.. This Is Magic

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Thursday, January 3rd, 2013, 5:26 am ♦ Comments Off on Video of Banachek Korea’s MBC show.. This Is Magic

Show is edited to only show Banachek’s participation

Episode one

Banachek bends items over the TV in South Korea

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Tuesday, January 1st, 2013, 3:04 am ♦ Comments Off on Banachek bends items over the TV in South Korea

Click this picture to watch the video

Banachek appeared on THIS IS MAGIC on MBC in South Korea Dec 2012.  Despite telling people at home Banachek IS NOT PSYCHIC people at home were told that their silverware would bend as well.  Turns out they did.

click here to see pictures of some of the results.

There is also a video teaser (sorry about the advert that comes on first but that’s the price of admission) for the show at:

http://bit.ly/10Df1tA

and one at: http://bit.ly/10Df1tA

Alpha Project Show Review

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Monday, July 9th, 2012, 8:47 pm ♦ Comments Off on Alpha Project Show Review

Published online at : http://bit.ly/LbLDDB

Banachek’s The Alpha Project and the One-Person Theater Show

By Joe Culpepper |

July 4, 2012 Reviewed in this essay: Banachek’s The Alpha Project, The Fleck Dance Theatre, Luminato Festival, 8-10 June 2012

 

Do certain individuals have the ability to see the future, to read the thoughts of others, or to communicate with the spirit world? Whatever your answers to these questions might be, in his show The Alpha Project an extraordinary performer named Banachek invites spectators into a universe where such superhuman feats are possible. At least, this is true for the first half of his one-man performance, which recently finished its world premiere.

The initial fifty minutes of Banachek’s show are filled with demonstrations of his uncanny psychic powers. Impossible displays of thought transmission, telepathy, second sight, spirit channeling, and even spirit possession are not only performed live, but are also experienced by a wide selection of audience members who are asked to participate onstage. Banachek does not hesitate to directly involve the most critical skeptics in the room and his effects leave them baffled. One of the highlights for me on opening night was the response of another reporter. When Banachek, whose eyes had been duct-taped shut and covered with a steel mask, divined the personal item that this journalist held concealed between his hands (a silver ring), an expression of profound, even disturbed, bewilderment settled into his face.

Fortunately for him, and for any audience members disconcerted by hints that supernatural powers might be real, Banachek begins the second half of his show with a twist never made explicit in The Alpha Project’s programme – he announces that everything he is doing is an illusion. We learn that the title of his show references “Project Alpha” an elaborate hoax undertaken in 1979 in which an eighteen-year-old Banachek and his collaborators duped scientists at Washington University into verifying their psychic abilities. From this point forward, his effects illustrate how the scientists were fooled, how he turns unusual cultural rituals like past life regressions into magic routines, and how many of his stunts (like being buried alive) are expressions of the human desire to cheat death by superhuman means.

This last half of The Alpha Project is at once the most fascinating part of the performance and the part that left me wanting a more brutally honest piece of magic theatre. I say this, because I passionately love and respect the art of magic. I truly believe that a full-length evening show by a magician of Banachek’s caliber has the potential to deliver the kind of raw emotional power and epiphany-evoking human drama that other pieces of theatre do. So I was excited to hear him share some of the intimate details of his life, such as having to take care of himself from the age of nine onward, as meaningful segues between his effects. These kinds of personal revelations are the risks that magicians rarely take, though such disclosures are the essence of the one-person theatre narratives whose most poignant lines and scenes are forever emblazoned in my memory (from Spalding Grey’s Swimming to Cambodia and Lorenzo Pisoni’s Humor Abuse for example). And though I sense that Banachek’s life story contains this kind of emotional power and notice moments in the second half of The Alpha Project where he gestures towards a more profound memoir, the opening night’s performance consistently rushed past these gritty details to get to the next mystifying effect on the set list.

Some of my colleagues may chastise this review, complaining either that it holds magic to an impossibly high dramatic standard or that it asks magic to be a kind of theatre that it simply is not. But I hold fast. Every year for the past three years, Magicana and Luminato have brought world-class magicians to Toronto where their shows compete for public attention and critical acclaim with some of the most daring and prestigious theater being performed anywhere (e.g. Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach and Robert Lepage’s Spades in 2012). The festival and the city are a fine venue for the premiere of a theatrical magic performance that will someday go on to win a Governor General’s, a Drama Desk, or a Tony award. Magic is waiting for the completely fearless one-person show that will take it there. For now, Banachek’s The Alpha Project is a masterful step in the right direction.

Joe Culpepper / www.joeculpepper.com / is an academic scholar, a magic historian, and a performer.

Banachek predicts Toronto Newspaper Headlines

Posted in: Latest News, Uncategorized ♦ Monday, June 11th, 2012, 5:59 am ♦ Comments Off on Banachek predicts Toronto Newspaper Headlines
Mentalist Banachek poses for a photo with his revealed written prediction sheet. The renowned U.K. mentalist wrote down a few predictions of what he believed would appear as headlines on the front page of the Saturday Star on June 9 and sealed them in a glass box on display in the front window of Kiehl's, a cosmetics store at 407 Queen St. W.
Mentalist Banachek poses for a photo with his revealed written prediction sheet. The renowned U.K. mentalist wrote down a few predictions of what he believed would appear as headlines on the front page of the Saturday Star on June 9 and sealed them in a glass box on display in the front window of Kiehl’s, a cosmetics store at 407 Queen St. W. 

TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR

Wendy GillisStaff Reporter

 

The surprise retirement of I’ll Have Another was there. The out-of-the-blue bid for the 2024 Olympics was there. The story on gang violence? There. He even had the feature article on Australian Aboriginals.

In a feat of unbelievable (no, really) news forecasting, U.K. mentalist Banachek seems to have accurately predicted the front page of Saturday’s Star 10 days in advance.

The professional magician, who’s worked as a consultant for Penn & Teller, David Blaine and Criss Angel, says he scribbled a mock-up of the June 9 front page on May 30.

On June 1, at a public event held at Kiehl’s — a makeup store and, perhaps fittingly, Banachek’s partner-in-illusion — the prediction was folded, taped, and put in numerous envelopes. Customer Diedra Wandel even sealed and signed every envelope that day, eventually placing the package in a glass box in the store’s window, where it supposedly sat untouched for more than a week.

Wandel was on hand again Saturday when the predictions were unveiled in-store to a small crowd of surprisingly unskeptical viewers, exclaiming “wow” and “Oh, my Lord” when Banachek read out his headlines while a volunteer held up a copy of the Star.

“I’m confused,” said Wandel, who had reopened the package, checking to see that her original signatures were still on the envelopes and that another package had not been put in its place. “I just don’t get it.”

Kiehl’s employee Sabrina Pallotta “couldn’t believe it,” swearing that the box in the store window hadn’t been tampered with.

Give or take phrasing and a few words, Banachek guessed mostly right on the headlines. While the Star had “They don’t tell white people how to spend their money,” Banachek had “White people are not told how to spend their money.” His version of the Star’s main news story, “A gang at war with itself,” was written as “Internal Gang Wars (shootings create more killings).”

Curiously, he was also spot-on with the placement of every story on the page, even going so far as to draw the reins on I’ll Have Another’s head, prominent in the Star’s cover photo.

“I’ll Have Another — I wasn’t sure what that exactly was,” Banachek said. “But I got a picture of a horse, and then I realized what it was a few weeks ago, because this one came to me before that.”

Uh-huh.

Like any trickster, Banachek doesn’t dare break the magician’s code. “If I tell you too much, then you’ll be able to do it,” he said.

But he has performed the trick before, getting “pretty accurate” results, and will reveal — get ready — that he looks at the news and thinks about where things could go.

“Sometimes you can be a little more accurate than normal, which I was today.”

Alison Uncles, associate editor, weekends and features, said normally the Saturday Star front is planned out during the week (always with the possibility that news will break). But there were a few factors — the gang investigation, and the sudden retirement of I’ll Have Another — that meant the page was assembled later than usual.

“For him to have forecasted not only that the horse would announce its retirement, but also that it would be main art is almost inconceivable to me,” she said.

She adds, “I want to believe this is true; I think it would be so freakishly amazing.”

Banachek’s description of his brand of magic may be the best explanation of how he pulled it off.

“I create effects that look like they could be real.”

Banachek, whose real name is Steve Shaw, is in town for the world premiere of his show, The Alpha Project, which is part of Luminato. It showcases his mentalist skills, including psychokinesis, telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, hypnotism and séances.

 

Banachek takes Toronto by storm

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Monday, June 11th, 2012, 5:54 am ♦ Comments Off on Banachek takes Toronto by storm

Luminato 2012: Have Your Mind Blown by Banachek’s The Alpha Project

If you’re hoping to be driven crazy with curiosity this weekend, this British mentalist has got the show for you.

BY LAURA GODFREY • PHOTO BY CORBIN SMITH

Banachek (centre) performs one of his baffling mindtricks on a couple of unsuspecting audience volunteers.

The Alpha Project—Banachek
Fleck Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West)
June 8–9, 8 p.m.; June 10, 2 p.m.
$35–$45

For someone who makes his living performing feats of mentalism (telepathy, psychokinesis, hypnotism, seances, and dermaoptics, a.k.a. “the magic of sensing without sight”), British-born performer Banachek’s entire backstory is pretty unique. And given that the audience at last night’s opening night show was not short on skeptics—a handful of whom we spoke to during intermission, or casually eavesdropped on, and a number of whom were volunteers on the stage itself—it is the highest praise to say the entire audience left looking absolutely baffled, but also delighted.

The thing is (spoiler alert) Banachek makes no bones about the fact that though he’s been practicing this art for most of his life, none of it is real. If his story itself is to be believed, when he was a teenager the entertainer spent four years being studied by scientists at Washington University. Throughout this ongoing study, which was funded by a half-million-dollar grant, Banachek managed to convince the men he had genuine psychic abilities. “But everything we had done was a trick. We had fooled the scientists,” he explains during his show.

This knowledge didn’t hinder our enjoyment of the performance; not in the least. In the first half of the show, Banachek invites two volunteers onto the stage; each of them is asked to look at the back cover of a paperback book held up by Banachek, and to choose a random word from that book. And lo and behold, he is able to guess first the individual letters, then the entire words they were thinking of (“China” and “colour,” in case you’re comparing notes from a subsequent performance).

Now, a skeptic would assume that perhaps these volunteers were fakes, planted in the audience before the show. But one of Banachek’s assets is that throughout the two-hour performance, he gives a high number of audience members the chance to see him perform up close—and as luck would have it, one of those volunteers was us. After we approached the stage and dutifully tugged at and knocked on the metal blindfold he prepared to put on—over the layers of duct tape also covering his eyes—we entered the audience to select three objects at random from complete strangers. And then, with us holding each object over his head, he guessed exactly what each one was with alarming specificity (for example, not only that we were holding plastic sunglasses, but blue and yellow plastic sunglasses). Considering that we were standing close enough to check his ears for tiny microphones, this was impressive trickery indeed.

You can strain your neck and edge as far off your seat as you want, but there’s no question that Banachek is a master of his craft—there’s a reason he counts Penn & Teller, David Blaine, and Criss Angel among the acts he’s consulted for. Even after he tells you it’s not real, every trick is followed by a single question, rippling through the crowd: “How did he do that?” It may not be magic, but that’s okay—it’s still mystery, suspense, and high entertainment.

 

New Years Card Trick For You

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Friday, December 30th, 2011, 8:02 pm ♦ Comments Off on New Years Card Trick For You

This my version of an old Eddie Joseph effect. I love his thinking.

I once posted it elsewhere, and sent a copy on to Teller,(the silent half that brilliant duo), he liked it enough to put his own presentation together for his book, How To Play In Traffic. I gave them a few other things for the book too but that is another story.

I thought you would enjoy it so re-posting it here in the spirit of the season! Have fun

…………………………………….

A HAPPY NEW YEAR 

Okay, I want you to get a deck of cards. It must be a full deck. Remove the jokers, in fact, throw them away, also throw away any advertising cards.  In other words you need all 52 playing cards, no more, no less..

Now remove all the odd cards this includes the Kings and Jacks.

Set the even cards off to the side in a face down pile for now. You should have 24 cards in this pile.

Pick up the odd cards and shuffle them as much as your hearts content, now look at the top card and the bottom card and add the values together, Aces would be one, Jacks eleven and Kings thirteen….

Now set the odd cards face down to the side and pick up the even pile. Note the card at that position from the top in the deck down while keeping the cards in the same order.

In other words, if the total number of the two odd cards were 18, you would remember the 18th card down in the even pile keeping the cards in the same random order when finished.

Now let us review the situation up to this point. The odd packet is on the table. And the even pack is in your hands face down. You have two things in mind…. One; a certain number and two; a playing card.

If I was in hearing distance I could tell you what that card is. On the other hand, I could wait until I hear from you then disclose the identity of the card. But this might take too long as it is Christmas and I have relatives to visit and I do not have time to answer all of you. I could, of course tell you right here what that card is, but then you would lose interest and not care to try this little experiment out.

Therefore I propose to do better… I shall try to find that card even though several miles separate us. I know you don’t believe such a thing is possible but I shall prove it to you in the next few minutes.

Oh, I forgot one instruction; you will need a full deck to continue so please place the ODD packet of cards on top of the even cards in your hand.

Have you placed the ODD cards on top of the EVEN pile?? Good!

Now deal out row of cards face up corresponding with the total number you have in mind (the total of the two odd cards you added earlier). I am asking you to do this because I wish to impress that number deeper in your mind as this number is your mystic number.

Have you got the row of cards in front of you?? As I wish you to identify your personality with mine and the cards laying in that row, please spell out

B A N A C H E K  R O C K S

Lay out one card from the top of the deck on each face card up on the table for each letter of that phrase, (omit the space) . If by chance you do not complete the spelling by the time you cover the last face up card in the row, do continue again with the first card and carry through until finished.

Done spelling that phrase? Good.

Okay a little cheesy but stay with me.

Look at the top card of the deck in your hand. Bet you thought that was going to be your card. No, Sir!  It’s not that simple, deal this card on the table.

I have a wish for you this Christmas season and for it to come true you need to spell out the wish, deal one card as before for each letter of my wish below.

A H A P P Y N E W Y E A R

Right, now cross your fingers and think of your card. Now turn over the top card of the deck. What do you see? Don’t bother calling to tell me, I know.

It is my wish for you.

Mentalist ready to read your thoughts at Daytona Festival of Magic

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Tuesday, November 8th, 2011, 5:09 pm ♦ Comments Off on Mentalist ready to read your thoughts at Daytona Festival of Magic
BY RICK DE YAMPERT, ENTERTAINMENT WRITER send an email to rick.deyampert@news-jrnl.com
November 1, 2011 12:05 AM
Mentalist Banachek will be performing Saturday night at the Daytona Festival of Magic at the Daytona Beach Resort and Conference Center.

“A Night of Magic,” 8 p.m. Saturday featuring mentalist Banachek, $30.

Banachek swears he isn’t a psychic.

Yes, the mentalist and former consultant for the TV series “Criss Angel Mindfreak” can seemingly bend spoons with his thoughts.

Yes, Banachek (who took his stage name from that old George Peppard TV series) can guess your pet’s name or, ahem, that secret fetish you keep buried deep in your gray matter.

Yes, patrons who witness the entertainer’s performance this weekend at the Daytona Festival of Magic may come away believing Banachek possesses supernatural powers.

However, the English-born mentalist says, he’s merely using his five ordinary senses — the same ones you and I have — to create “the illusion of a sixth sense.”

But don’t feel bad if you’re fooled. Among stage magician and mentalist circles, Banachek is famous for his role in Project Alpha, a serious parapsychology research study conducted at Washington University in St. Louis from 1979 to ’81. Working in league with stage magician and skeptic James Randi, a teenaged Banachek (real name Steve Shaw) and another teen were determined by researchers to possess genuine psychic powers — that is, until Randi revealed the hoax.

Banachek, who has long made his home in America and now lives in Houston, talked about the difference between reading minds and reading thoughts during an interview before a Las Vegas show.

So, you’re not a psychic and you say that you don’t read minds but, rather, that you are a mentalist who reads thoughts. Please explain.

If a husband and wife are sitting on a park bench, a pretty woman jogs by. Man turns to look. Wife slaps the husband in the face. We know something about the dynamics of these two people. We have not read their minds — we have read their thoughts.

That is what I do — read thoughts not minds. If someone comes up to me after a show and punched me in the face, I would know what they thought about the show, same if they come up to me with a smile. That is nonverbal communication. It’s a form of thought-reading.

If someone says Dolly Parton, what two things come to mind? Right: singer-songwriter. Seriously though, the words influence the thoughts and that is part of what I use in my show, mixed with magic. But I use a lot of this sort of psychology to accomplish and enhance my mentalism trade.

You are known for telling your audiences you are not a psychic, yet you say some people still believe you have psychic powers. How do you explain that yearning to believe?

Ahhh, people always want to believe that there is more to life than just living and dying and we all want to feel special. If we had this type of abilities, then most people believe that we would be more than special. I particularly already think that humans are very special indeed. I do not need to take advantage of people’s belief systems to entertain.

It is why I am very open about the fact I use verbal and nonverbal communication, body language, lots of magic and perceptual manipulation in my show — all packaged neatly to create a show that looks like and feels like real mind reading.

The other thing is I am doing impossible things. People are born to see patterns. They yearn for information. These are survival instincts. As a result, most people will latch onto whatever makes the illogical seem logical and what puts the world in some sort of order for them.

So, as a result it is easy to convince someone you are psychic if they have no other explanation that makes the impossible possible in their world. The idea of it being “psychic” is an explanation in their mind, something most people need.

So, some people believe you have psychic powers. Is it more difficult to amaze other people these days? Have CGI effects in the movies, techno-computer feats and even David Copperfield’s mega illusions on television made it more difficult for stage performers to conjure a sense of wonder?

I don’t think it is harder to amaze an audience. Great magical and mental performers do it all the time. In fact one of the most common compliments I receive is “Wow, I saw it on TV and did not believe it. Now that I see you doing it, it really is different and amazing. You just changed the way I think about this stuff. I just thought it was all TV editing.”

As you can see, people are even more amazed when they see these things live. However, having said this, information is so much more available nowadays on the Internet, so if you are going to be a mystery entertainer, you better be good and you better be amazing. Or you just really need to be entertaining. A good comic has not been hurt by all the comedy on TV. A good magician should not be either.

Have you ever been tempted to pass yourself off as a psychic, and just run with it?

Only when I see the amount of money some of these fakes make, but I am quickly reminded I could not sleep at night if I took advantage of people like some of these scam artists do.

This is why James Randi put up his million-dollar prize for anyone with psychic abilities (offered to “anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event,” according to the website randi.org).

I am the director of the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. It also keeps me from such temptations as I am reminded every day what kind of horrible damage those type of scam artists do.

What routines will you be performing as part of your Daytona Festival of Magic show?

I probably will perform what I like to call the largest ESP experiment in the world, where the audience writes out thoughts, holds on to them and I try to guess their names, thoughts and even information they did not write down.

Usually I open with something quick like having the audience just think of playing cards in their mind, then without any real cards in existence I reveal three or four cards audience members are thinking of.

I like to close with something dramatic. Being the first mentalist in the world to perform a Russian roulette with knives, I may pull that one out on that night. I will make my final decision once I see the venue, the amount of people and realize what will work best in that environment.

 

Penn State Article

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Tuesday, October 11th, 2011, 8:35 pm ♦ Comments Off on Penn State Article

From http://bit.ly/nPG33F

Mentalist Banachek surprises crowd at HUB

By Ryan Staudt
Collegian Staff Writer

Ali Moyer (senior-advertising) hold a cup above Mentalist Banachek's head while he attempts to guess what it is during his show in Heritage Hall on Friday evening.

The student stood on stage above the lounging mentalist-magician Banachek, holding a knife concealed within an envelope, just inches from the performer.

HUB-Robeson Center’s Heritage Hall was still, and any air that should have been moving throughout the room was being tightly held in the lungs of the large student audience inside the room watching Banachek’s performance.

As soon as Banachek gave the word, the student plunged the knife down into his stomach.

This performance marked the end of Banachek’s set, as he chose his self titled “Banachek’s Death Test” to be his final act of the show Friday.

“It was amazing. I thought he was going to die during the knife trick,” Herbert Rapley (junior-bioengineering) said.

Banachek, who was voted Best Campus Performer two years in a row, presented various tricks throughout the night — from correctly guessing three random objects taken from the crowd while blindfolded to seemingly reading the minds of students in the audience.

In fact, almost every feat performed by Banachek involved the audience’s participation.

Many students found themselves involved in different parts of the show throughout the evening.

The student involvement added some surprise elements to Banachek’s performance.

Ashley Calle was especially surprised about her involvement with the show.

“It was definitely mind blowing,” Calle (sophomore-interdisciplinary digital studio) said.

Calle said when she appeared to be bending spoons with her mind during her participation in the show, she felt as if she were “psychic.”

But Banachek said he is against performers who try to con audience members into believing in the paranormal.

Unlike many magicians and entertainers in his field, Banachek made a point in telling the crowd that there is nothing magicical or supernatural about what he performs.

“I take my five normal senses and I create the illusion of the sixth sense,” Banachek said.

He said he creates the illusion of a sixth sense by using different small cues throughout the performance.

He brought up some of the psychological verbal and nonverbal cues that he uses to influence people into making certain decisions, such as changing the volume of his voice to emphasize certain words and using various hand signals.

During part of his performance, while asking a student in the audience to pick a number between one and five, he flashed the number three on his fingers while gesturing, and said three louder when listing the student’s choices of numbers to choose from to try to get the student to pick the number three.

Sure enough, the student picked the number three.

“So many people go to the psychic explanation because they can’t explain [what they’re seeing on stage], but I like to assure people that it’s okay to not know,” Banachek said. “It’s just entertainment.”

Banachek on nightline this Wednesday

Posted in: Latest News, Uncategorized ♦ Monday, August 15th, 2011, 6:42 pm ♦ Comments Off on Banachek on nightline this Wednesday

Beyond Belief:  Banachek on Nightline

One of the tests for nightline

For promo tape for this piece head to: http://abcnews.go.com/nightline/beyondbelief