On Halloween night, the Union Ballroom played host to Joshua Seth, a "psychological illusionist," in an event sponsored by Mac's Place as part of Activities Commission.
As Seth informed the audience at the beginning of the show, a psychological illusionist does not rely on magic or sorcery but the subliminal messages that humans unknowingly send with their bodies. He emphasized that there were no hidden cameras, microphones or anything else that could possibly assist him.
Seth began the show by pulling out five envelopes, one of which contained a $100 bill. He then brought four members of the audience onto the stage and asked them to choose an envelope while Seth kept the remaining envelope for himself. He presented each envelope to the four participants in a slightly different way, which included enthusiastically waving one of the envelopes and making certain markings on the others.
After the participants chose their envelopes, Seth asked three of them to open their envelopes only to reveal that none of them contained the money. Seth then asked the remaining participant if he would like to switch his envelope with Seth's own, to which the participant said he would keep his envelope. Unfortunately for the participant, he opened his envelope to find it empty. By subliminally manipulating the participants, Seth was able to prevent them from choosing the right envelope.
For his next "trick," Seth placed bandages over his eyes and wrapped a steel blindfold over his head, completely preventing his sight. He then had a volunteer write a word on a whiteboard. Seth began to massage his temple as if extracting the word from his brain and then, after a few seconds of silence, accurately guessed the word. Although it was expected that he would guess correctly, there were still murmurs of "How did he know that?" scattered throughout the audience.
Each member of the audience was given a piece of paper and a pencil at the beginning of the show. For Seth's final trick of the show, he had audience members write down their names, numbers that held significance to them and favorite hobbies. He then collected the slips of paper and placed them in an envelope. He once again grabbed his temples, closed his eyes and focused his mind on the audience. Seth was not only able to recount the information that people wrote on their paper, but was able to give facts about people they hadn't included.
Only a few members of the audience were dressed in Halloween costumes, yet Seth's eerie ability to seemingly read thoughts put the audience into the spirit of the holiday. While nothing is – or ever will be – better than trick-or-treating, Seth's show was the next best Halloween activity for those of us with too much schoolwork to spend three hours collecting candy.