Blake Adams, also known as the Mentalist, convinces audiences across the nation that none of their thoughts are private. Adams is performing at the Hippodrome from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday and promises an interactive and exciting display of tricks.
“What’s great about my shows is everyone is going to get their mind read,” Adams said, “and everyone gets to experience that aspect of the show.”
Adams said he combines psychology with the power of suggestion to correctly guess everything from a person’s birthday to details of their happiest memory. In 2009, during a performance at Common Grounds, Adams correctly predicted the headlines of a future edition of the Lariat.
Although Adams can’t reveal the specifics of his tricks, he said they involve misdirection, suggestion and paying attention to subtle physical and vocal cues.
Most people consider mentalism and magic the same thing, but Adams explained the difference. Most people know that magic tricks involve mirrors or sleight of hand, but they have no idea how a person could know their thoughts.
“[Mentalism] is a little bit more of a guarded secret,” Adams said. “Magicians will go see mentalists all the time and have their minds blown.”
Adams has performed three shows at the Hippodrome in the past, and two of them have sold out. Mark Gillham, the general manager of the theater, recommends that those interested in going to the show buy tickets online in advance.
Gillham said he didn’t even know what mentalism was before Adams contacted him asking for a chance to show what he could do. As part of his audition, he correctly guessed the password to Gillham’s wife’s phone.
“For the fourth number, he rubbed really hard on his forearm for like 30 seconds,” Gillham said. “When he got through, there was an indentation of a three on his arm.”
Adams said he began performing mentalist tricks as an entertainer at Poppa Rollo’s to help pay for his education at Baylor. Once, his whole class received a five-point curve on a final because Adams correctly predicted the first question on the test.
Although he didn’t find his niche as a mentalist until college, Adams became interested in magic at a young age. After watching an after-school special on magic, he began reading books on the subject and taking every opportunity to practice.
“When I was in high school, I went to a Christian school — very conservative,” Adams said. “I was actually sent to the principal’s office for witchcraft.”
Adams’ high school principal might be surprised to learn that he went on to graduate from Truett Seminary and become a Baptist pastor.
Josh Carney, the lead pastor at UBC Global, knew Adams through the religious community in Waco before he knew him as the Mentalist. He said he sees no conflict between Adams’ faith and his mentalist tricks, although he does think the juxtaposition is interesting.
“He’s doing a show in which he’s inviting us to buy into a kind of metaphysic that we all know isn’t real,” Carney said, “and yet he also has this training in a metaphysic that we do think is real, as Christians.”
After seeing his performance at a volunteer function for UBC, Carney left a testimony on Adams’ website. He described the show as, “an invitation to wonder that is good for the soul.”
Although he’s performed at the Hippodrome and other venues in Waco many times before, Adams said his shows are never identical. Every audience brings different memories and thoughts to his shows, so he never knows what he’ll be revealing to the audience.