Jim Karol: Psychic Madman or Mad Psychic Skillz?

“Is that the same card we started with?”

“No way!”

This was only part of Jim Karol’s “Psychic Madman” show held Friday evening in Kendall Hall. Karol, the “Madman” entertainer, has appeared on such shows as “NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “The Ellen Show” and was seen in the movie “Jackass Number Two.”

The night started with “Benjamin the Juggler” from Moscow, who amused audience members with objects such as rubber chickens, spinning dishes and pins. A round of applause was heard when he finished, while the still-increasing audience waited for Karol.

“I’m excited. I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been to a magic show,” Jennifer Marcelin, sophomore criminal justice major, said.

Josette Marrero, sophomore chemistry major, shared her skepticism. “Will it be good? I’ll assume not as good as David Blaine.”

But the talents and abilities demonstrated by Karol proved the show to be outstanding after all.

Throughout the night, he accurately predicted what playing cards people held, stated what they were thinking and performed amazing stunts.

Karol even displayed his card-throwing trick used in “Jackass Number Two” by chucking random playing cards in the air. The card selected by a participant became stuck to the ceiling while the rest fell to the ground, wowing everyone. He claims it will not fall down for another 11 days.

In one part of the show, audience participant Mina Greiss, sophomore biology major, was asked to place his finger through a double-jawed fox trap and hand through an Alaskan wolf trap.

After the show, Greiss said, “He’s a madman. I thought I was going to die.” Greiss was expecting hypnosis or levitation before attending and left the show uninjured and awestruck.

The College Union Board (CUB) sponsored the event in hopes of getting a good turnout because of the free show and its uniqueness. Shawn Peterson, CUB event coordinator, was in charge of running the show.

“Originally, we had looked at both music and illusion-type acts,” Peterson said. “After formulating a list of available music acts within our budget, CUB decided those artists were too similar to the kind of music we brought to campus in the recent past. . Because of this, we decided to stray from our normal ‘Welcome Back Weekend Concert’ and move forward with the magic/illusion/mentalism idea.”

Karol was given the nickname “Psychic Madman” in 1990 after correctly foretelling the Pennsylvania Lottery worth over $12 billion. He does not claim to be a psychic, yet his extraordinary memory and mind skills have allowed him to write three books, including “Mind Games,” which banned him from nearly every casino in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

He ended the night with a presentation of the new trick he proposed for the third “Jackass” installment. A participant hid a railroad spike in one of three Styrofoam cups while Karol turned his back. Karol smashed his hand into two of the cups he perfectly guessed were empty.

Crystal Kan, freshman digital arts major, thought the show was “freaky.” “A friend brought me to the show and I was curious,” she said. “It was scary as hell, but cool.”

A flyer in Eickhoff Hall persuaded Brian Glaz, sophomore interactive multimedia major, to come. “I was glad to have come but I wish (I had) participated,” he said.

Karol expressed his own thoughts about the College. “The school was fantastic and the audience was great,” he said. “The audience makes the show and they were fantastic.” He added his prediction for the 2008 presidential election: Hillary Clinton as President and Barack Obama as Vice President.

“This is what I do, folks. I influence your choice.” He did. “Watch what I do. You’ll be amazed.” We were.

If you missed this event, you can always catch Karol in “Jackass Number Two,” “World Series of Poker” or in the upcoming third “Jackass” movie.