About halfway through his performance, The Amazing Kreskin selected members of the audience to come on stage to help him demonstrate the power of hypnosis. I still remember his gaze as he pointed at me when I was selected as part of the group to sit on metal folding chairs in front of the crowd. I usually feel apprehensive about appearing on stage, I prefer the “safety” of a studio microphone. This time, I felt no stage fright at all.
With a soothing tone of voice and calming guided visualization, the six of us supposedly went into a trance. I do remember feeling relaxed but cognizant about what was happening. We were asked to act out some simple, humorous antics such as dancing and prancing about, flapping our arms like bird wings, and tap dancing. At least, this is what I recalled later.
The time was late 1980, our radio station had received an invitation and two complimentary tickets to attend Kreskin’s appearance at the Wayne (Nebraska) State College auditorium. Ken, the news director and I accepted the invite, so I drove the two of us the 30 miles to the campus. It was a real thrill for both of us to see the show, because both of us were big fans of him.
During the return trip, Ken mentioned that I and the other five participants did more antics than I remembered doing. It was at that time that I realized I’m more prone to suggestion than I’d previously believed. I must have actually gone into some sort of trance after all. Ever since that evening, I’ve wondered about that nature of Kreskin’s abilities.
George Kresge, Junior was born on January 12, 1935 in Montclair, New Jersey. His own website states that during his teens, Kreskin was described as “The World’s Youngest Hypnotist”. Kreskin does not claim to have psychic powers only that he is an accomplished “mentalist”. He states that he does not actually “read” minds. He says that he is really an accomplished student of people and their nuances that he picks up on very subtle facial expressions that we unconsciously make. Kreskin says that anybody can cultivate the skills of a mentalist if you have the will, dedication and time to devote to it.
Kreskin achieved popularity in Canada with the airing of his television show “The Amazing World of Kreskin”. When the program was syndicated in the US, he also became popular in this country. His charisma and people skills have made him an entertaining and compelling performer.
My ex-partner, who enjoys performing his own magic shows, often mentioned that he admires the Amazing Kreskin. In fact, he says that Kreskin was one of his childhood role models. He later studied video tapes of Kreskin’s performances in minute detail and was able to understand the mechanics of Kreskin’s act.
The Amazing Kreskin has often asserted that ESP, extrasensory perception, is fraudulent. The showman that he is, Kreskin claims that he doesn’t understand how some aspects of his act actually work. My ex says that this statement is used as a prop to enable the audience to more easily suspend judgement and inate skepticism. A mentalist must maintain a certain degree of mystery so the audience can play along with the performer. People want to believe in mystical phenomenon.
When Johnny Carson hosted the “Tonight Show” on NBC, Kreskin appeared with Johnny over 60 times. Carson’s interest in Kreskin was partially due to Carson’s own background as a stage illusionist. Kreskin says that Carson’s character, “Carnac”, was a satire of Kreskin’s act.
Many people know The Amazing Kreskin from his yearly appearances on CNN when he gives his New Year’s predictions for the upcoming year.