Bending spoons and glass without touching them and knowing exactly what playing card an audience member is thinking of. These are all aspects of Christopher Carter’s show – and that’s just the beginning.
“I freak people out with demonstrations of mind power,” Carter said. “It’s all very memorable.”
Carter is performing at Cal Poly tonight at 8 p.m. in the Chumash Auditorium. The show is free and the tricks he pulls will shock everyone there.
He acknowledges that some of what he does is illusion, but most of his tricks are psychological.
“I’m an entertainer whose job is frying your mind,” he said.
One such trick is guessing what playing card an audience member is holding. He makes them think of the playing card and look into his eyes. He says, “red, black, red, black” repeatedly and watches the person’s eyes. “The shift in the eye tells me and there is also something in body language,” he said.
Another trick is to have an audience member think of random things and then read his/her mind. He figures out embarrassing about about people all the time, he said.
“I get birth dates, phone numbers, social security numbers – I even got a bra size once, but that was because the guy next to her was thinking it,” Carter said.
According to his Web site, www.mindcramp.com, Carter has appeared in numerous shows and has won awards from different publications such as Campus Activities Magazine. The magazine dubbed him “Best Male Performer.” He has been doing this job full time for 15 years.
“I’ve been doing stuff like this since I was a kid,” Carter said. “When I was a kid I would spend the summers with my uncle. He let me watch him play poker and he stunk at cards. I figured out that you can read people because they wear their hearts on their sleeves.”
He said that as soon as he started acting on what he learned, people’s reactions were often very extreme.
“Sometimes when I’m bored in an airport I’ll amuse myself and do some of my stuff,” he said. But he added that it’s hard to get people in the right mindset when they aren’t at his show.
“I manipulate people,” he said. “Not in a bad way, I just manipulate their thoughts.”
Carter’s favorite part of his job is people’s reactions. Some people laugh and are amazed, while others swear and scream to the point where they have to leave the room and come back, he said.
“I had a girl break into tears once,” he said. “I kind of felt bad about that.”
Though Carter’s busiest tour schedule occurs while universities are in session, he can be found performing at corporate events and motivational speeches.
According to the site, “Chris challenges your people to confront reality and use their imagination as a tool to avoid and overcome obstacles.”
An avid traveler, Carter does nearly 230 shows a year, he said. This is, however, his first time visiting Cal Poly.
“People mostly compare me to a hypnotist,” he said. “I use some of the same skills they use, but in a subliminal way. I get people to think what I want them to think.”
Everyone has his or her own favorite trick, he said. However, the mind-reading part of the show is a common favorite and what he is most well-known for.
“I don’t want to guess general details that I could research anywhere,” he said. “I want them to think very detailed thoughts that most people don’t know about them.”
But Carter emphasized that he wants people to know that he is not claiming to be magical.
“Anything I can use is fair game,” Carter said. “I’m not magical and I don’t have powers, I just use the mind.”