The Amazing Kreskin has been a late-night TV mainstay since the days of Johnny Carson, and at 77, he continues to surprise audiences.
Saturday, The Amazing Kreskin -- and maybe a ghost or two -- will be live on stage at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg.
The well-known mentalist isn't hunting a specific Greensburg ghost or departed thespian. Rather, he's drawing on legends surrounding many old theaters that are thought to be haunted. And he's relying on his powers of suggestion to make audience members receptive to seeing an apparition.
The theater world is rife with superstitions and ghost sightings. "The feeling is that the powerful presence of past people who appeared there might still be there and it might wake the ghosts in the theater," he said.
"We may have a ghost sighting that can be very dramatic for people on stage." But, he adds, "Nobody needs to be frightened of volunteering."
Kreskin will also perform one of his best known tricks during Saturday's show. He'll ask that his check for the evening's performance be hidden in the theater. If he doesn't find it, he'll forfeit it: He has failed to find the check nine times in the past.
"There is no guessing game involved. If I don't find my fee, I will return my fee to the organization that booked me. That's a hell of way to make a living."
The Amazing Kreskin keeps busy offstage as well. He recently offered his services to the federal government during the fiscal cliff standoff: He said he could bring opposing factions together at the subconscious level to reach a compromise. He's also preparing a prediction on this year's Super Bowl winner.
He maintains that he is a mentalist, but not a psychic or clairvoyant.
"If someone in the audience was thinking of a certain date and if they knew where they were going to be, I could tell them. If they didn't know I couldn't tell them, because I have to be reading their thoughts in order to tap in to what they're thinking."
Kreskin often works with large groups of audience members as opposed to one-on-one interactions. "I'm used to working with mass audiences. I can usually create the proper mood so that the audience as a whole almost becomes one. It's a very fascinating phenomenon."
He uses the power of suggestion but doesn't put people into a trance. "People will become unable to move, unable to speak or remember their name, but they're wide awake. It's all dealing with the power of suggestion.
"The last frontier man will probably have is the human mind. I'm not sure if we'll ever fully understand it. To be honest with you, I don't think we ever will."theater
Adrian McCoy: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1865.