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Mentalist Banachek Wows Crowd @ StonyBrook

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Saturday, June 18th, 2011, 5:25 pm ♦ Comments Off on Mentalist Banachek Wows Crowd @ StonyBrook

Bethany Onsgard

Banachek got students involved in the show by guessing what cards they were thinking of, their pets names and instruments they played.

Best known for his four-year stint writing magic for A&E’sMindfreak, Banachek, a world-renowned mentalist, arrived at the Student Activities Center auditorium  to pull students out of the crowd and up on stage for his experiments.

Before the show began, few in the audience knew what a mentalist show entailed, but students offered up guesses on what skills a mentalist may hold.

“A mentalist is someone who has a very strong mind and uses it to read minds,” said Karen Celis, senior.

Banachek doesn’t claim to be a “mind reader,” but instead says he uses his skills in verbal and nonverbal communication as a “thought reader.”

“I give the illusion of a sixth sense,” Banachek said, “but it’s all based on reading people and guiding their thoughts.”

Dressed in all black, with a bright blue tie, a dark jacket, light brown hair speckled with highlights and a goatee, Banachek rushed the stage, microphone clipped to his chest. Only seconds after his introduction was completed, he dove into the act, calling people on stage and yelling instructions in his fast-paced European accent.

In the course of an hour, Banachek correctly guessed what cards audience members were thinking by analyzing their body language, anticipated what phone number someone would choose from a phone book and knew exactly what the crowd would choose in a collective round of “What Fictional Character Would You Assassinate,” a game akin to Mad Libs.

He also attempted more mind-bending tricks, hypnotizing two students and helping another bend forks with her mind.

In between acts, Banachek filled the time with cheeky comment and  jokes, and used his talent to read the thoughts of audience members, finding everything from their pets’ names to instruments played and even secret fetishes.

The show ended with “The Banachek Death Test,” a game of knife roulette played with Banachek and five volunteers from the audience.

“Everyone must be very careful and listen to all the instructions,” Banachek warned, “because one mistake in this trick, and I’m dead.”

Five envelopes were sealed and folded, two containing real knives, and three with the blades retracted, making them unable to cause harm.

One by one, Banachek called the students over and asked them to stab the envelope into his chest. One by one, Banachek called the fake daggers correctly as nervous “ooohs” and “aaahs” echoed from the crowd. Banachek had beaten the roulette wheel once again, without surprise.

“It’s never failed,” Banachek said, crediting his talent for thought reading. “It’s all mind over matter.”

Filed UnderArts & Entertainment • Campus Scene • Television

Banachek introduces David Copperfield and questions David Berglas at IMX

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Friday, June 17th, 2011, 6:35 am ♦ Comments Off on Banachek introduces David Copperfield and questions David Berglas at IMX

How Did David Copperfield End Up At The IMX Convention?

Banachek, David Copperfield and Richard Kaufman

Magic icon David Copperfield decided to do something very rare recently: attend a magic convention. Although based in Las Vegas, seeing Copperfield roam the halls of a convention is not a common occurrence. Which made it all the more odd when attendees to the IMX convention saw just that.

But how did he get there? We asked IMX organizer Craig Mitchell:

How did David Copperfield’s visit come together?

Copperfield had heard of the tribute that was being planned for Berglas as part of IMX 2011 and having enormous respect for Berglas’ contribution to the art of magic – was wanting to get involved. Berglas had worked extensively with Copperfield in the past with his unique floating table illusion and its clear that these two giants of magic share such a passion for the art.

Did you know how rare of an event DC coming out to a convention was?

We had worked on the details over many months with Copperfield’s production team who were so incredibly supportive of what we were wanting to achieve. David Copperfield has an insanely busy schedule but his level committment to magic is phenomenal.

Magic is all about standing on the shoulders of giants – acknowledging and celebrating those special people who have forever changed the performance landscape. And here we had David Copperfield – one of magic’s most influential performers ever – sitting in awe of David Berglas. These are living legends. Banachek said it best at IMX, “It takes one legend to to introduce another …” and I don’t think we could go any bigger than David Copperfield introducing David Berglas. I think for once someone managed to surprise the International Man of Mystery

What does a visit like that do for the burgeoning reputation of IMX?

IMX is all about promoting and growing the art of magic and the response was overwhelming. To have the support of David Copperfield at an inaugural event was simply phenomenal. To be able to feature a legend such as David Berglas – incredible. Add to that the support from such icons as Criss Angel, Jeff McBride, Banachek and so many others from across the globe means that IMX can only but get bigger, bolder and even more incredible. We have so many exciting things in store for the next IMX – we can’t wait! Stay tuned …

Berglas, Banachek, Copperfield, Richard Kaufman

Story first posted on itricks  @  http://bit.ly/kWsdXP

Banachek on Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable ABC1 Australia

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Thursday, June 16th, 2011, 5:32 pm ♦ Comments Off on Banachek on Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable ABC1 Australia

Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable – The new adventures of intrepid sceptic and comic Lawrence Leung are revealed in a fascinating and fun series that investigates the unbelievable.

With his curious not so scientific research and real-life experiments, Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable pokes fun at our own misconceptions and tests the limits of our beliefs. It’s a six-part search for truth that you will have to see to believe.

In this first episode, Lawrence sets out to discover if psychic powers exist. Lawrence encounters Australia’s best psychic, an American who can drive a car blindfolded, and ultimately transforms himself into a psychic to try to win a million dollars. This is the second half of the show that includes the incredible Amazing Randi and Banachek reading minds, driving blindfolded and Project Alpha. Favorite part is the ending 🙂

Aired on Wednesday, June 15 2011 (ABC1).

You should watch part Part 1 (previous): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh7nhQ9h3Zw

Banachek Drives a car blindfolded on Australia ABC

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 4:51 pm ♦ Comments Off on Banachek Drives a car blindfolded on Australia ABC

In a fascinating and funny new six-part ABC series, intrepid sceptic Lawrence Leung rides in a car driven by a man wearing a blindfold, just to see if he can do it.

“He had coins over his eye sockets covered by black gaffer tape,” Leung says. “I tested it out – it was pitch black – and I applied that blindfold to him myself. For about 20 or 30 minutes, he drove that car blindfolded through Las Vegas. The film crew and I were s….ing ourselves – he drove pretty fast – but he did it pretty well.”

Welcome to Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable, where the curious, quirky comic investigates not only the irrational and the impossible, but puts them to the test.

Like Mythbusters meets The X-Files, Leung travels the globe over six episodes to seek the truth about UFOs, ghosts, psychic powers, magic tricks and the manipulation that helps make us believe.

“I wasn’t sure how he did it,” the diminutive Melburnian says of the blindfolded driver, magician and mentalist Banachek, admitting it’s one of the creepier experiences of the series. “But I don’t believe he was psychic. It was some sort of trick or method that he wasn’t willing to say………..
For full story head to…. http://yhoo.it/mb7tdq

Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable airs Wednesdays ay 9.30pm on ABC1.

Banachek appears on CBS Early News

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Saturday, May 14th, 2011, 3:38 am ♦ Comments Off on Banachek appears on CBS Early News

Banachek exposes the Power Bracelets

Banachek Receives Award In Las Vegas

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Friday, March 4th, 2011, 3:31 pm ♦ No Comments on Banachek Receives Award In Las Vegas

March 2011 Banachek was awarded the International Magic Societies Prestigious Merlin award for Mentalist Of the Year.

Merlin award

The Merlin Award to magic is what the Oscar is to the movies, what the Emmy is for television, and what the Tony is for theater.

Previous awards presented to Banachek include the APCA College Campus Entertainer award (two years in a row), The APCA Novelty Entertainer of the year, the Psychic Entertainers Dunninger Award, The Psychic Entertainers Ledderman award and the Society of American Magicians Melbourne Christopher award for contributions to the art of magic.

Tour Dates

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Sunday, February 27th, 2011, 12:50 pm ♦ No Comments on Tour Dates

The latest tour dates & calendar can be found here

How to raise a heartbeat in a baby

Posted in: Latest News ♦ Sunday, August 1st, 2010, 12:47 pm ♦ Comments Off on How to raise a heartbeat in a baby

I have a 2 year old granddaughter; Mikayla. She spends a lot of time with my wife Hedi and myself. I have come to the conclusion that she needs us for different reasons. When she is tired, she wants little if anything to do with me, in fact she appears to hate me. When it comes to playing she wants to spend time with me, even to the point she can’t get candy without getting something for “GanPa.”  Now this does not bother me in least. The fact that Mikayla would rather spend time with me when it comes to playtime despite the fact that my wife constantly gives her comfort does bother my wife . I simply put it all down to a biological nuance. Turns out that research says I am right.

As the Scientific American Mind June 2010 states:

“Together two parents may strike a nice balance in which mom acts as a ‘lifeguard’ and dad functions as the ‘cheerleader.’ ”

You see dads are biologically programed to challenge children. In a study done in Australia it turned out that dads spent approximately 40 percent of their child-watching time playing interactive games like reading or simple physical playing as apposed to approximately 20 percent of the same child-watching time for mothers. I know that most of my interaction with Mikayla is either outside on the swings or playing hide and seek, holding her up by her feet and basically treating her like a monkey, in a good way that is. I don’t do diapers. In fact she already uses the toilet because I simply told her to so I would not have to change her nappies. The women in the family all say, “all in good time.” To me “good time” is “quick time” when it comes to stinky diapers. When my kids were very little (prior to most TV’s having TV remotes), I taught my kids the joy of being a human remote. I turned it into a game, they loved it and I did not have to get off the couch. For a while my kids did a pretty good imitation of me, “change the channel, change the channel, back, okay change the channel.” Yeah, I would say I challenged my kids.

Kids as young as eight months old learn these pattern differences between a mother and father to the point that when a child is picked up by dad or a male, their heart rate increases yet when picked up by mom or a female they calm down. Fathers tend to be more physical in their play compared to mothers.

Researchers think that a lot of this stems around the fact that fathers traditionally are the breadwinners in a family and as a result spend less time on the caring aspect of child; like diaper changing, feeding, putting a child down for a nap, bathing, cuddling.  I must admit, I have found a way to get my granddaughters attention and love when she is tired. It took a while but I found the magic answer, Chocolate Swiss Miss Rolls. It is like crack for children.  She can’t throw the bottle down fast enough : – )  Hey, I’m “GanPa” and it is my job to spoil her.

As said earlier, dads tend to challenge their kids. In fact the same article states that even though fathers speak less to their children, it was “the father language use that predicted the child’s language development by the age of three. Mothers use more emotional words whereas fathers use more complex words to talk to their child.” The other thing is that women will tend to play the games that a child chooses, men on the other hand tend to select the activity for a child to play (like my TV remote game), thereby challenging the child by causing a child to experience play outside their comfort zone and as a result experiencing growth.

The other amazing fact about fathers and children is that during pregnancy fathers go through many of the pregnancy biological changes too. Their testosterone levels go down ( a good thing as it quietens their physical tendencies males have), they have elevated levels of prolactin (which has many effects including regulating lactation, orgasms but primarily during pregnancy increases the size of mammary glands and produces milk) and men can even experience postpartum depression.

One thing in this article that I found of particular interest is the fact that it has been known that mothers can locate their babies blindfolded just by touch alone. Now turns out fathers can do the exact same thing. Sounds like a pretty good introduction line for a new blindfold routine.

How to raise a heart rate in a baby

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 8:00 pm ♦ Comments Off on How to raise a heart rate in a baby

At the time I wrote this my grand daughter was 2 years old ; Mikayla. She spent a lot of time with my (now ex- wife) Heidi and myself. I have came to the conclusion that she needed us for different reasons. When she was tired, she wanted little if anything to do with me, in fact she appeared to hate me. When it came to playing she wanted to spend time with me, even to the point she couldn’t get candy without getting something for “GanPa.”  Now this did not bother me in least. The fact that Mikayla would rather spend time with me when it came to playtime despite the fact that my ex-wife constantly gave her comfort, did bother my ex-wife . I simply put it all down to a biological nuance. Turns out that research says I am right.

       As the Scientific American Mind
                                             June 2010 states:

“Together two parents may strike a nice balance in which mom acts as a ‘lifeguard’ and dad functions as the ‘cheerleader.’ “
You see dads are biologically programed to challenge children. In a study done in Australia it turned out that dads spent approximately 40 percent of their child-watching time playing interactive games like reading or simple physical playing as apposed to approximately 20 percent of the same child-watching time for mothers. I know that most of my interaction with Mikayla is either outside on the swings or playing hide and seek, holding her up by her feet and basically treating her like a monkey, in a good way that is. I don’t do diapers. In fact at the age of 2 shealready uses the toilet because I simply told her to so I would not have to change her nappies. The women in the family all say, “all in good time.” To me “good time” is “quick time” when it comes to stinky diapers. When my kids were very little (prior to most TV’s having TV remotes), I taught my kids the joy of being a human remote. I turned it into a game, they loved it and I did not have to get off the couch. For a while my kids did a pretty good imitation of me, “change the channel, change the channel, back, okay change the channel.” Yeah, I would say I challenged my kids.
Kids as young as eight months old learn these pattern differences between a mother and father to the point that when a child is picked up by dad or a male, their heart rate increases yet when picked up by mom or a female they calm down. Fathers tend to be more physical in their play compared to mothers.
Researchers think that a lot of this stems around the fact that fathers traditionally are the breadwinners in a family and as a result spend less time on the caring aspect of child; like diaper changing, feeding, putting a child down for a nap, bathing, cuddling.  I must admit, I have found a way to get my granddaughters attention and love when she is tired. It took a while but I found the magic answer, Chocolate Swiss Miss Rolls. It is like crack for children.  She can’t throw the bottle down fast enough 🙂  Hey, I’m “GanPa” and it is my job to spoil her.

As said earlier, dads tend to challenge their kids. In fact the same article states that even though fathers speak less to their children, it was “the father language use that predicted the child’s language development by the age of three. Mothers use more emotional words whereas fathers use more complex words to talk to their child.” The other thing is that women will tend to play the games that a child chooses, men on the other hand tend to select the activity for a child to play (like my TV remote game), thereby challenging the child by causing a child to experience play outside their comfort zone and as a result experiencing growth.

The other amazing fact about fathers and children is that during pregnancy fathers go through many of the pregnancy biological changes too. Their testosterone levels go down ( a good thing as it quietens their physical tendencies males have), they have elevated levels of prolactin (which has many effects including regulating lactation, orgasms but primarily during pregnancy increases the size of mammary glands and produces milk) and men can even experience postpartum depression.

One thing in this article that I found of particular interest is the fact that it has been known that mothers can locate their babies blindfolded just by touch alone. Now turns out fathers can do the exact same thing. Sounds like a pretty good introduction line for a new blindfold routine.

Bats, echolocation and amazing people

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Friday, May 21st, 2010, 7:56 pm ♦ Comments Off on Bats, echolocation and amazing people

During my last years of high school and after I graduated from high school, I worked three jobs, one was at Washington Hospital, Washington, PA. My first job there was as a dish-washer, I had to clean food off plates that sick people had been eating off. Not a nice job. I remember one time my boss made me extemely mad. I was livid. I do not remember what for but I do remember I made some sort of rude gesture at him behind his back. When he asked me what I was doing I told him that I was “putting a curse on him so he would not be able to speak.” Keep in mind these were the days when people really thought I was psychic. Project Alpha (see web site www.banachek.com for info on Project Alpha) was already planned to take place at some time and Randi had asked me to pretend to be psychic. Well lo and behold, whether it was was due to his belief in my “powers”,coincidence or the very unlikely fact I was psychic, he lost his voice for two weeks. This scared the beejesus out of everyone that worked with me, and to be honest, even scared me a little bit. I realized the power of words.

My second job at Washington Hospital was housekeeping. Usually you just stripped floors and put new wax on them or washed down the walls. The smoking rooms were the worse. Buckets of smelly, yellow water when you were done, just awful and certainly kept me away from cigarettes. Once I had to clean up the sidewalk where a person’s brain laid splattered due to jumping out a window. Other times I worked the operating room where after a late Saturday night I slept in the on-call doctors bed until they needed me to mop up all the blood and guts on the floor. At that time they also incinerated the amputated arms and legs. It was my job to take them to the incinerator and that always bothered me. It was part of people they would never get back. I will never forget the smell of the cauterized flesh and mixture of glues. It was awful.

One day the housekeeping mothers (as we liked to call them) sent me up to an area that was not used anymore. Up in the attic of this old hospital. Scary as all hell, lots of cobwebs, old wooden wheelchairs and old medical paraphelia. Reminded me of something you would see out of a horror film. This did not bother me much, but the reason they sent me did. To get rid of some of the only mammals naturally capable of “true and sustained flight”: bats. I hated bats. I had believed all the old tripe about them such as; they get stuck in your hair, they suck your blood, they are blind and that they all carried rabies. It took me a while but I did manage to catch the few that were nesting up there, but I have to admit I was screaming like a banshee and laughing due to my fear the whole time as the bats weaved and darted all around me. I used a very crude technique of swatting them with a broom, a bucket and throwing a large cloth over them. Took a while but my task was fulfilled and I vowed never again.

Turns out bats are pretty darn cool animals. Also turns out that bats are pretty clean creatures who groom themselves like cats do and fewer than one percent of all bats ever get rabies. They do bite but usually in self defense. It also turns out they have excellent vision and some like the Pallid Bat have big ears and excellent hearing. It also turns out that not all bats use echolocation for hearing. Microbats do, but all but one type of the megabats do not.

Echolocation is the ability to use biological sonar to navigate or locate. In other words some bats give out a sound and listen to the echo’s of those sounds to locate and identify objects. The sound rebounds and the difference in the time it is received and intensity recieved by each ear allows the recipient to measure the horizontal angle. This allows them to perceive the direction of the objects, the density and the distance.

At the time, this inspired me to to use echolocation as one of the explanations to the press of how I was able to drive a car blindfolded like in this footage of me from Evening Magazine.

Echolocation is a pretty amazing feat and thought in the past to only have existed in some animals like the aforementioned bats, shrews, dolphins and crustaceans. Recently though it has become more apparent that humans can develop this sense as well.

Below is a video of an amazing kid, Ben Underwood who uses echolocation to play video games and basketball.

It seems that even more blind people are being taught to use echolocation to navigate their environment and yes, it is a skill that can be learned. It is a fairly new field having only been brought to attention of scientists since the 1950’s. Most blind people who practice the technique though like to think that it is not a learned sense but inherent and intuitive. They liken the process to “feeling pressure” from items as they pass them.

When you think about it, it is quite logical that blind people would inherit this sense. Both vision and hearing are very closely related in how they work. They both use reflected waves of energy. Seeing uses light waves, hearing uses sound-waves. They both work off interpreting that reflected energy wave. The reflected waves via echoes can give detailed information about location and the dimensions and density of items. This latter being very important as you can learn over time what that density means and associated it with what you already know. A hedge would be less dense than a wall and so forth.

Looking back at the history there are many documented cases of this amazing phenomena. The first goes as far back as the late seventeen hundreds into the early eighteen hundreds when a man by the name of James Holman used the sound of his cane to travel the world.

In this day and age, a man by the name of Daniel Kish, who has been blind since he was 13 months old and uses a device to emit clicks and get around, teaches other teenagers to use the technique to the point where they even ride mountain bikes though the wilderness.

To me this is just more proof that there are so many truly amazing things in the world that one does not have to look towards pseudoscience to find them. I love the amazing world we live in and this is a perfect example of why.