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When time stood still

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Friday, June 24th, 2016, 8:06 pm ♦ Comments Off on When time stood still
The year was 1972. The place was Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The destination was the drive-in movie theater close to Marist Brothers where I would go to school for a year (Marist Brothers that is, not the drive-in theater) and play Rugby and water polo.   Two sports I was not that great at. Soccer was to be my thing, By the way the school is no longer there but I digress.
Marist brothers
My stepfather Tom Martin was driving (yes that  means my name was Steve Martin back before the name became famous with a comedian/actor who also does magic).  I was in the passenger seat. My younger brothers David and Barry were in the back seat.
Now Tom had a huge car, it was basically a tank and I am going to guess that most Americans have not heard of the make let alone the model, it was a gray Wolseley. Wolseley was a British Motor Vehicle company that was founded in 1901 by the Vickers armaments. The company was bought by William Morris and became part of that Empire.
Now I am not really sure which Wolseley we owned but I suspect that it was the Wolseley 6/110 also known as the Wolsely 300 in Denmark, as seen below:
What I do know is that my stepfather once wrecked it into a tree further down the same road as the one in this story at the section where main street intersects the road in this story. He ran head on into a stone wall, backed by dirt and a huge tree. The stone wall was destroyed even though it was backed by dirt and the Wolesley had nary a scratch. At that time there was a farmhouse in the background and the wall was made out of large boulders. Now it appears to be a parking lot. The big trees are still there as can be seen in the picture, plus a nice new yet lower lying brick wall.
The Wolesely was considered as the finest “area car” ever employed by the London Metropolitan Police Force. This car had a top speed of 97.6 miles per hour and 0 to 60 in 14.4 seconds. I mention this speed and the fact it was fitted with drum breaks at the rear and vacuum servo assistance as a side note due to the fact I remember the first week we arrived in Port Elizabeth, after a long train ride from Johannesburg, my stepfather was refitting the Lockheed fitted drum bakes, when he was done he drove it head on towards me at a wall and hit the breaks. To show me “they worked.”  Yes I was between the wall and the car and I was scared shitless. But I digress. Let’s get back to; “This vehicle was a tank.”
We made the right off Cape road and headed down what is now known as the William Motley Expressway. Now the Motley Expressway is quite steep as you come down the hill from Newton Park area. As you get further down, it evens out more somewhere between Lily street and Main street. And it is what happened there that I remember and will remember till the day I die.
I can still see it quite plainly. A black man was on the side of the road to the right ahead of us. He looked and started to step on to the road. My stepfather slowed down a bit, the man stepped back on the curb, we sped back up to our regular speed then he just for no reason jumped out in to the middle of the road. It was at that moment that time stood still, or slowed to a very small speed for me. The man hit the front of the car, I could see him slide up the front of the car and fly slow motion up into the air. Our car spun for what seemed like many minutes and we slid to a bumpy stop. I could see him land due to the fact the car had swung 180 degrees around. My youngest brother Barry was in the back seat screaming, “Daddy hit a native, Daddy hit a native.” Keep in mind the context of apartheid at the time. Native was a very nice description of a black man compared to the horrible labels white Afrikana’s gave the black man then. Apartheid was horrific. And at some future time I might write of my experiences of being an English boy in South Africa and not understanding why white Afrikana’s treated black people the way they did. But again, that is a story for another time. This story is about time, and to tell it I need to finish the story.
Time stood still, even opening the door took time. Looking down I thought I was covered in oil, but it was blood looking dark under the amber street light. Slowly I turned, the man was in the road, his leg was hanging off. I remember some neighbors coming over, wrapping his leg in newspapers till the ambulance came. Slowly things started to speed up to the passage of time as we know it. But time had surely almost stopped. Even now I can see his shoe flying over the car as if it hung in the air levitating in slow motion. Time had slowed to a halt during this and time had crept up to its regular speed after we stopped. Now this was not the first time this had happened to me, but it is the one I remember because indeed it was the one time that time as I knew it slowed down the most. And the one time a man may have died. The other times it slowed, but not so I could see every single thing and detail as if one minute was an hour.
To end this story I should say that the man was taken to the hospital. A few weeks later when the police came to the apartment in Kabega Park, we asked about him. It appeared that they had lost track of him. How does that happen? Well during apartheid it tragically happened all the time. Black lives simply did not matter to the white Africana.
This brings me to last week. Last week in Vegas I was driving down a back street called Shelbourne. I stopped at a stop sign. There was a wall to my right and the stop was way too far back from the end of the wall. I could only see a small part down the road. I proceeded to cross Placid Street, because I had been looking mostly to my right I looked to my left, when I looked back to my right there was a blue Pathfinder just yards from me heading at my car full speed.
Again time slowed, not as much as that first time but enough for my brain to go into overdrive. I knew at that speed he was going to hit the front of my vehicle, and if he did I was going to probably die. So instead of hitting the breaks I hit the gas. He slammed into the side panel between the front passenger and rear passenger doors. The strongest part of my car. Had I not reacted the way I did I would probably not be typing this right now. The pictures do not do justice to the damage on my vehicle. That side was pushed in at least a foot. But here is the interesting thing (other than both of us walking away from the wreck that is), I remember each and every thought that came to me as if it was happening in very slow time, I remember each and every detail, seeing his horrified face as he knew the inevitable was about to happen, seeing his licence plate coming at me and thinking about all those things and seeing him come towards me at first fast then in slow motion, enough to react that fast and make changes that saved my life. In this case, once the collision took place everything immediately went back to regular speed.
Now I am not the only one who has had this experience, in fact in 1892 in the Yearbook of the Alpine Club geologist Albert Von St Gallen Heim wrote about this in reference to climbers. He stated that 95 percent of climbers who had an accidental fall reported experiences that included,
“A dominant mental quickness and sense of surety. Mental activity became enormous, rising to a 100 fold velocity or intensity. The relationships of events and their probable outcomes were over-viewed with objective clarity. No confusion entered at all. Time became greatly expanded. The individual acted with lightning-quickness in accord with accurate judgment of his situation. (Noyes and Kletti, 1972, pp. 46–47)
Now a hundred fold might seem to be a bit of exaggeration but in my South African experience it certainly did not seem to be out of the realm of possibility.
There seems to be the following phenomena in these moments of extreme immediate danger:
1. A slowing down and expanding of time
2. Acute focusing on a subject
3. An incredible reaction time from the data retrieved from that focusing
4. Increased vision and hearing
5. Dominant mental quickness.
So what causes this and is it a true phenomena? Some recent studies have tried to recreate this phenomena and only succeed to the point that the participants watching others fall at high rates of speed think their time falling was longer. As a result these studies pointed to the passage of time not slowing down but rather there is a perceived overestimation of time, in the one study done by Chess Stetson in 2007 he concluded; “we speculate that the involvement of the amygdala in emotional memory may lead to dilated duration judgments retrospectively, due to a richer, and perhaps secondary encoding of the memories. Upon later readout, such highly salient events may be erroneously interpreted to have spanned a greater period of time. (Stetson et al.
Still other studies ran numbers slightly faster than was tracked by the human eye. In theory the people should have been able to see the numbers if time slowed down. They did not. The experimenters again concluded that time did not stand still for them or slow for them.
I find issues with most of these studies. In each study, the people knew they were not in any real danger such as during a free fall, and therefor the flight or fight temporal distortion really would not have been stimulated. Maybe, just maybe the human mind is smart enough to know when it should jump ship or not. The scientists should not be so quick to put this phenomena down to “memory effects.”
So what would explain it? Well Valtteri Arstila wrote in his paper the following from (Berridge and Waterhouse, 2003
“To begin with, the mechanism that could account for our experiences during the sudden life-threatening situations needs to fulfill at minimum the following requirements: the mechanism needs to become active in such situations, it needs to activate fast, and it must have wide-ranging effects. The neuronal mechanism that fulfills these requirements is the locus coeruleus norepinephrine system, the main source of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. The first thing to note about it is that it is (in addition to other things) part of a fight-or-flight response that humans and other primates have been postulated to exhibit. This response is triggered by a perception of a fearful and threatening situation, not threatening situations per se, and hence it is likely to play a role in the situations under discussion. Second, the phasic response (brief and high levels of discharge) of locus coeruleus norepinephrine system to highly salient as well as task-relevant stimuli occurs with a short latency of 100–150 ms and actually precedes behavior (Aston-Jones et al., 1994, 1997). Thus such activation is in accord with the fact that many accidents, like car accidents, last only a few seconds during which the effects could occur. Finally, given that noradrenergic neurons originating from locus coeruleus project exceptionally widely in the brain, the entire cerebral cortex for instance receives input from it, and that norepinephrine is one of the main neurotransmitters, it is unsurprising that the effects of released norepinephrine can be dramatic and wide-ranging. ”
All I know is that it is indeed a real phenomenon, perceived or not. I also realized that the older I get the less time stands still. Now we do know the reason for this, or at least they say they do. It seems that as we get older we lay down less memory tracks since we have “been there and done that”so many times there is no reason for our brains and memory to lay down a new track. When one is laying down new tracks, time slows. Time often seems expanded when we focus upon certain tasks. Look at a clock and watch he second hand, it will appear that time has slowed if you concentrate on each and every second movement compared to just sitting back and letting a minute tick by.
A series of perceptions slows time down for us. Yes this is perceived time and that is what most of thetime we deal with in our lives especially as we get older. But those special moments, those moments where time stands still, wereact fast, we think fast and we are superhuman.. Well maybe it is just real magic and certainly the superpower I would want every day if I could have a superpower.. The power to make time stand still. watch this video to see why 🙂

Hit Mrs

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Sunday, March 27th, 2016, 7:03 pm ♦ Comments Off on Hit Mrs

A book you will not want to miss

“A f*king brilliant and riveting look into the journey of deception and how we psychologically accept deceit. A story that will keep you on edge of your seat yet educate you in the process. I want more and so will you.”

– Banachek, the world’s leading mindreader Not just because Banachek is one of the main characters in the book but what you will learn about fake Psychics like James Van Praagh, John Edwards and their ilk.

BUY IT NOW on Itunes This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. or Amazon or hardcover on Create a Space.

https://www.createspace.com/6080413 for hardcover

http://goo.gl/TkbENn for Kindle

Hits & Mrs.

Karen Stollznow



We all need a little magic in our lives but can we tell the difference between magic and lies?
Gil Godsend is the world’s greatest psychic medium.
Claudia Cox thinks he’s the world’s biggest fraud. 

Once a professional skeptic, Claudia spent many years trying to expose Gil, but no one believed that the charismatic and handsome psychic could be a con artist. They would rather believe that Claudia has sour grapes because she and Gil were once lovers. Unable to reveal him to be a fraud, she moves on with her life and founds Suspicious Minds, a detective agency that catches cheating spouses. Years later, a few of Gil’s disgruntled female clients come out of the woodwork with shocking stories to tell. They beg for Claudia’s help. She convinces these grieving widows that Gil is using magic tricks to give the appearance that he’s a psychic medium and that he can’t really talk to the dead. They want revenge. With the help of famous

mentalist Banachek, Claudia masterminds plans to catch Gil in the act of cheating but each sting fails dismally. Gil comes out smelling

like roses while Claudia looks like a fool.

Will Claudia ever expose Gil as a charlatan? Maybe he really is psychic. Or is something more sinister going on behind the scenes?


What does the word mentalist mean?

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Friday, August 7th, 2015, 8:04 pm ♦ Comments Off on What does the word mentalist mean?
As with anything there are those who want to play semantics with words and some will misinterpret the word mentalist to mean what they want it to mean
The word “mentalist”  has been used to describe “psychics” and in the U.K., has become a tongue and cheek insult for someone who is behaving strangely or is crazy mostly thanks to the T.V. series “Alan Partridge” and “The Office.”  But what does it mean to us as psychic entertainers and magicians?

The word mentalist originally was used in the context for one “whose tastes are from mental rather than material pleasures”, in a book published in 1790 by C.M. Graham.  In 1874 it became known to be associated in context of a mental action due to  H. Maudsley. Then in 1978 again it was popularized in the context of the medical profession for someone who behaves strangely in a book called “On Our Own” by Judi Chamberlin.

But in the context we tend to think of today, the context of the famous NBC TV show and of what we do as an entertainers, it simply means someone who takes his known senses to create the illusion of reading minds or being a psychic.  The line, “I take my five known senses to create the illusion of a sixth” first introduced by Ned Rutledge. who gave me permission to use and promote in my books.

The first documented printed use of this word in newspapers I can find was in the Trenton Evening Times in 1909. The earliest I have found for the term being used in reference to entertainers who “read minds,” was in the 1870’s.

Dunninger, who is thought of by many as being the modern father of mentalists who use tricks on stage, claimed he coined the word from the book  Kybalion (Hermetic Philosophy), published in  1908 where it states that;  “The Principle of Mentalism embodies the truth that “All is Mind.””

So thinking about it, we may never know who actually coined the term in reference to demonstrations of Stage Mind Reading as I perform it.
Update to this article:
Found online in my research:  Here is a 1902 book, The Law of Mentalism referenced below  https://archive.org/…age/n5/mode/2up
Also found:
Discourse on Method by Descartes in 1637 establishes rules of effective thinking both in situations of certainty or uncertainty. Mentalism, however, while using rigorous methods, goes beyond focusing on knowledge of all aspects of the human mind.
Henry Sidgwick uses the word mentalism to oppose materialism. In 1874 he established the rules of thought based on clarity, coherence, consensus, which transpose to the systematic mind that tends to operate against material objects.
Irish Bishop George Berkeley in 1710 advocates immaterialism, George Berkeley introduced an idea called mentalism.  This theory stated that the mental function of knowledge was directly associated with the perception and the experiences of the individual.  This theory directly stemmed from Descartes theory of the body influencing the mind.  This theory of mentalism still directly affects the ideas of mental processes in modern psychology.  According to this doctrine, an adequate explanation of human behavior is not possible without reference to mental phenomena. The mentalists are of the opinion that the subject matter of psychology should be the mind, using introspection as the research tool.
His basic idea is that we create our own realities.
In 1902, A. Victor Segno publishes The Law of Mentalism which obtains a global success. It addresses the power on and of the mental faculties in all its forms including hypnotism, telepathy, etc.

A really nice podcast interview by D.J. Grothe with Banachek. Not new but worth revisiting.

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Sunday, May 25th, 2014, 1:30 am ♦ Comments Off on A really nice podcast interview by D.J. Grothe with Banachek. Not new but worth revisiting.

Banachek – Mentalism and Skepticism

November 13, 2009


Banachek is an American mentalist and skeptic. He has written numerous books and invented various magic and mentalism effects, and is often sought out by top entertainers such as David Blaine, Lance Burton, James Randi and Criss Angel. He has been the recipient of a number of awards and recognitions, including the Dave Lederman Memorial Award (Awarded for Creativity in Mentalism) and the Dunninger Memorial Award (Awarded for Distinguished Professionalism in the Performance of Mentalism), both awarded by the Psychic Entertainers Association, as well as the College Campus Novelty Act of the Year,  and the Entertainer of the Year on two occasions, all awarded by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities. He is renowned for fooling scientists at Washington University into believing that his supposed psychic abilities were genuine during the Project Alpha hoax in the early 1980s. In 2009, he conducted a preliminary test of psychic claimant Connie Sonne’s dowsing ability for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge that was witnessed by hundreds in person at The Amazing Meeting 7 in Las Vegas, NV.

In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Banachek recounts his origins as a mentalist in South Africa, including how James Randi’s books influenced the development of his worldview. He talks about his involvement helping develop Penn and Teller’s bullet catch, the current finale to their Las Vegas show. He describes his role in Project Alpha, and explores to what extent he thinks the researchers involved were aware of his and his colleague’s deceptions. He details the role that magicians and mentalists may play in informing the public about psychic and other paranormal claims, and describes the virtues of being an open-minded skeptic as opposed to a “debunker.” He talks about his role n the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge, and recounts his preliminary testing of Connie Sonne’s dowsing ability in front of a live audience at The Amazing Meeting 7, in Las Vegas in 2009.

To listen click Here


Posted in: Latest News ♦ Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, 6:47 pm ♦ Comments Off on

Banachek will be touring in Spain this fall. September through October.

Locations include:

Sept: 13, Lisboa 14, Badajoz 15, SEI Madrid 16, La Varita, Madrid 17, As de Magia, Madrid 18, CIMAPS, Madrid 19, Jerez de la Frontera 22, CIVAC, Valencia 23, Espai Secca, (parlor/close up show), Barcelona 23, AMIC, Lecture right after the show, Barcelona 24, Mags Magic, Barcelona 25, SEI, Barcelona 26, House of Illusions, Salou afternoon 26, Reus, night 27, Pamplona 28, Santander 29, Oviedo 30, Bilbao

OCT  1, Valladolid 2, Zaragoza 3, Teatro Encantado, Madrid (close-up show) 4, Cordoba 5, Semicirculo Elche 6, La Varita, Valencia 7, Gandia 8, Almussafes 9, Mallorca

Some changes may follow.
View Larger Map

MAGICjam – The World’s Greatest Magicians at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, 8:51 pm ♦ Comments Off on MAGICjam – The World’s Greatest Magicians at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas

Banachek on stage at the Luxor Believe Theater

Criss hosts the world greatest magic!ans and performs 45 minutes of his most spectacular mind blowing illusions from Believe! Also, don’t miss the world premiere some of his newest illusions exclusively at MAGICjam. Witness what has been hailed as ‘The Magic Event Of A Lifetime!’ (The Huffington Post) from the #1 magician in the world.

The Cast of of Magic Jam

Coming off intensive shoulder surgery in January, Angel will invite the World’s Greatest Magic!ans and specialty acts to be a part of his newest production, MAGICjam, a compilation magic variety production that will take place during his rehabilitation period. MAGICjam, created and hosted by Angel, will present an anthology of the greatest acts and will spotlight select cast members from Angel’s current hit SPIKE TV show, also titled “Criss Angel BeLIEve,” including female magician Krystyn Lambert, comedian-illusionist Nathan Burton and Banachek, the world’s premier mentalist. The lineup will also include grand master manipulators Jason Byrne and Tony Clark, the hilarious Russ Merlin, and the world’s best close-up artist Armando Vera. Angel will play host to his friends in addition to closing the show with some of his revolutionary illusions. Guests’ minds will be blown as they witness the impossible in the most exciting variety showcase, featuring the best-of-the-best for this once-in-a-lifetime limited engagement. Criss Angel MAGICjam will perform in the CRISS ANGEL Believe theater at Luxor Las Vegas throughout the months of February and March 2014; CRISS ANGEL Believe will return to the Luxor in April 2014.

Buy Tickets: Click Here


Banachek weekly on New Spike TV series

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Saturday, November 2nd, 2013, 3:52 pm ♦ Comments Off on Banachek weekly on New Spike TV series

Banachek can now be seen weekly on Criss Angel’s new show BeLIEve on Spike TV

If you do not have Spike TV and can not watch on Tuesday Nights, you can always catch full episodes at  Spike TV  click Here

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:


and one at: http://bit.ly/10Df1tA