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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.”