Mentalist Displays Mastery Over the Mind



To Robert Channing, every mind is like an open book.

The mentalist, a performer, lecturer and mind reader, astonished UB's student body Monday night at Slee Hall by demonstrating both his extrasensory perception and sense of humor.

Channing has been dumbfounding audiences for nearly 20 years, and has used his mind-reading talents on celebrities like Robin Williams, Whitney Houston and former-President William Clinton.

He and his entourage of "Power Performers" began their visit to UB with a daytime psychic fair and ended with the Slee Hall performance in the evening.

Channing exhibited his talents by defying logic and blurring the distinction between illusion and reality. He challenged disbelievers of extrasensory perception and amazed even the most skeptical.

"I'm not a big believer in that sort of thing. I was mostly just expecting to be entertained, but he did some amazing stuff," said Becky Grayson, a junior majoring in biochemistry. "I'm still not sure if I believe, but it was definitely convincing."

Channing walked onto a bare stage carrying only a few simple items - some adhesive tape, a pad and pen, and two silver coins - to supplement his improvisational humor and dialogue with the audience, who were included in each of his stunts.

One of the mind reader's tricks involved two audience members, two silver dollars and tape - which the volunteers used to blindfold him. The "experiment," he said, is one he has "been working on ... since [he] was five years old." Seven layers of tape held the two silver coins over Channing's eyes; one layer of tape was placed over his nose to "seal off his senses."

"Some people think I can see through my nostrils. By the way, ever get one of those boogers that you just can't push up and just can't push out, you can't get at it?" he asked.

The tape was pasted so strongly to the performer's face that the audience cringed at the mere thought of its removal.

"It's like putting a condom on me," Channing quipped.

While waiting for a Canadian $10 bill from the audience by way of one of his volunteers, Miki, a blindfolded Channing commented, "Lady in the back row with the glasses who is not participating, please participate."

While the whole audience looked back at the woman and her husband, Channing continued, "Lady I think your husband laughs at my jokes more than you!"

When the bill finally found its way to the stage, Channing not only knew that it was Canadian, but also its serial number.

"Here," he said to Miki, "let me rub this bill on your head." As he did this, he recited "BEA665-7345," the correct number.

Toward the end of the show, Marc Rosenblitt, SA student activities director, joined Channing onstage.

"He guessed what I was wearing to the T. Even my mismatched colored socks."

Two hundred fifty people attended the performance, more than double the audience at Channing's first UB appearance two years ago.