You might want to hold on to your seat — and any nearby tables — if you go see The Amazing Kreskin this weekend.
In honor of Halloween, the legendary mentalist will hold a séance during his appearance at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Showroom at the Golden Nugget Atlantic City.
“Every year as it gets closer to Halloween, I try to celebrate the holiday by bringing in the atmosphere of the spirit world,” Kreskin says.
Kreskin, who has held televised seances on “The Tonight Show” (with both Johnny Carson and Jimmy Fallon), plans to invite about two dozen people from the Golden Nugget audience to participate. He will seat them four to a table at six tables with one rule:
“I like to have strangers next to each other,” he says. “If a husband and wife come up, I will ask them to sit at different tables.”
Unlike in a typical séance you see in a movie or TV show, he won’t ask them to hold hands, but to sit and wait for the spirits to contact them. Watch out — that’s when the furniture is likely to start moving.
“In a few minutes, the tables will start sliding along the floor, and I will ask (the audience) to try to stop them and they won’t be able to,” Kreskin predicts.
In the early part of the 20th century, the séance held great fascination for both regular folks and notables, including famous authors and politicians, according to Kreskin.
“The reason it was so incredibly common is because it was a remarkable way for people to gather together and do something together,” he explains. “In this case, they were holding hands, which was not a common thing. Sometimes, there would be a reaction, and the tables would move.”
While spiritualists could be found in every city, they’re not as popular today, when most people are likely to skip the middle man.
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“Nowadays, people just talk to ghosts — I’m not advocating that,” Kreskin says. “Before you do that, an important change would be to start talking to each other.”
A performer for the past six decades, Kreskin is best known for his ability to read people’s minds on the spot.
“I’m not a spiritualist — I’m a mentalist,” he says. “Reading people’s thoughts will be the main thrust of my program.”
Over the course of his long career, the Montclair native has parlayed his abilities into a TV series (now available on Hulu.com); 20 books, including last year’s “In Real Time;” regular appearances at nightclubs and theaters; and even his own board game from Milton Bradley. His life helped inspire the 2009 film, “The Great Buck Howard,” starring John Malkovich.
Whatever the medium, his signature ability is to connect with his audience.
“The key factor is there are no footlights between myself and the audience,” Kreskin says. “They’re not coming to hear a play or watch a magic show — they’re coming to be part of the program, because I’m going to be reading their thoughts.”
Kreskin is so confident in his abilities at the age of 82 that he has upped his offer from $50,000 to $1 million to anyone who can prove he works secretly with assistants who feed him information about an audience.
“I have not decreased my pace — I still run 20 minutes every night,” Kreskin says. “As I have lost some of my stronger senses, my vision is not what it once was, my work has improved and my abilities have improved.”
Predicting the 2016 election
The Amazing Kreskin has predicted the winner of the last four presidential elections, including Donald Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton last year.
However, he doesn’t announce his predictions in advance because he wants to stay non-partisan. For the 2012 election, he placed his prediction that President Barack Obama would win re-election in a locked safe on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” 18 months before the election.
“I’m really not a fortune teller — I tried looking at crystal balls, I get severe headaches,” he quips. “The key is my intuition. I’m traveling constantly and meeting audiences constantly.”