Craig Karges does not claim to have any supernatural powers, which somehow makes the things he does on stage even more difficult to comprehend.
The Student Programming Association will host the mentalist at 10 p.m. Saturday in Heritage Hall . Doors for the free, ticketless show will open at 9:30 p.m. and a Penn State student ID+ is required for entry.
If not a psychic, then what exactly is a mentalist?
“I’m kind of a combination between a magician and a mind reader,” Karges said. “Weird, unusual things happen on stage –– tables float, minds are read and it is all done with audience participation.”
Corey Jackson , SPA Late Night chair, said, “If you’re into magic or if you’re into being confused about what someone is doing and they are doing it, this is the perfect show for you.”
Jackson (senior-mechanical engineering) added that Karges’ “claim to fame” is that he inexplicably makes a table levitate.
Over the years, Karges has had his fair share of unusual encounters. There have been three marriage proposals during his shows, but only two of them were accepted, Karges said.
Once during a stunt where Karges was blindfolded and had to identify a random object that an audience member brought onstage, a man pulled a boa constrictor out from under his clothes, Karges said.
Not one to shy away from dicey situations, Karges closes every show by risking his check for the performance, he said. He presents three envelopes –– one containing his check –– to an audience member and allows him or her to shred two of the three envelopes.
“If the check is in one of the shredded envelopes, the school doesn’t pay me,” Karges said. “I’ve only lost the check a total of four times over 32 years, though, so I have pretty good odds.”
Karges learned the trade from his uncle who was also a performer.
“I inherited all of his book and effects and along with everything he had taught me, I put it into a show when I was 16,” Karges said.
Karges’ uncanny abilities always get positive responses from audiences, said Megan Mansell , SPA marketing chair.
“[Karges] is the best at what he does,” Mansell (senior-public relations) said. “Plus, it’s free –– who doesn’t like free entertainment?”
Although the show is ripe with entertainment value, Karges hopes that everyone who sees his performance will leave with an uplifted spirit, he said.
“Hopefully people see these impossible-looking things happening on stage, and then they start to question what is possible or impossible,” Karges said. “The core message is that anything is possible and that we limit ourselves only by our imaginations.”