Mentalist shocks Doner Auditorium

John Hult

John Hult

This year’s University Program Council kicked off its fall semester concert season in high style last week with a mentalism and hypnotism showcase by Christopher Carter.

Carter, who had to be booked six months before the show, split his show nearly in half, with the first 45 minutes focusing on mind-reading and mentalism. The second portion focused on hypnotism.

The air was filled with ‘oohs,’ ‘aahs’ and gasps of disbelief when Carter, wearing a blindfold and nine peices of duct tape on his face, picked people out of the audience and answered questions they had written on slips of paper at the beginning of the mentalist’s show.

Carter joked with the audience throughout the show, using numerous pot references and jokes about his “jedi mind tricks” to loosen up those who agreed to participate in the mentalism portion of the show.

Carter, who studied psychology and theater at the University of Michigan, said that he began learning his craft at a very young age, starting with guessing people’s poker hands and guessing what card they were holding.

“I started to develop that card trick when I was just a kid,” Carter said.

“The only difference is that now I can do it on four or five people.”

Although much of what Carter does seems like mind-reading, he is quick to point out that he is not a psychic.

“When I see psychics work, I see people who are really good at stepping into other people’s shoes and and understanding them from their point of view, he said. “and to me it seems all very explainable from psychological perspectives.”

Carter’s own influences are more magical than mystical, however. Magical as in magician.

Carter says that he spent much of his time after graduate school in the University of Michigan library researching the acts of old vaudvillians. Carter says that there was only information about the performers’ acts, not their techniques.

“I used to sit there and say ‘OK, this is what happened, now how do I do that?'”

After lighting a flourescent bulb that an audience member held, Carter moved on to the more familiar hypnotism portion of the show.

Carter still managed to impress, however.

“He was very good?it was the first time I’d ever seen everybody laying on the ground,” said junior journalism major Crystal Kewley. Kewley said that Carter was the fourth hypnotist she had seen.

Carter walked through the audience to pick 18 volunteers to come to the stage to be hypnotised, 11 of whom were actually hypnotised.

About twenty minutes into the hypnotism show, however, Carter noticed someone who had been participating from the back row.

Andy Jacobs said that although he has been to several hypnotists, he had never been on stage until last Tuesday.

“I came to the show and I was sitting by my friends. The show got done and I was sitting by some old guy in the front row and I had no idea how I got there,” Jacobs said.