The Amazing Kreskin puts his money where his mental is

| Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

In what he promises will be a spirited performance at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, the Amazing Kreskin is putting his paycheck on the line to illustrate his prowess as a mentalist.

It's not as if he has anything to prove. It's just that he enjoys challenging his audiences to witness his uncanny mind power at work.

“In Greensburg, I will gather a committee of strangers,” he says. “I'll have two audience members escort me out of the building while the committee hides my check anywhere in the theater. When I come back in, I will admonish the committee to concentrate on what they've done.”

If he can't pick up their vibe — and pick up his check — he will forfeit his performance fee. He says he has failed only nine times in 6,000 tries.

He also hints at some paranormal “sightings” that may be awakened inside the historic 87-year-old theater, but there's not a ghost of a chance that he'll reveal any details until his Palace show on Saturday.

Kreskin — born George Joseph Kresge in Montclair, N.J., 78 years ago — achieved celebrity status in the 1970s as a frequent guest of Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show.” He also has dazzled TV viewers on talk shows hosted by Steve Allen, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford, Howard Stern, Larry King and David Letterman, and on his own television series, “The Amazing World of Kreskin.”

Currently on tour to promote his latest book, “Conversations with Kreskin,” (Team Kreskin Publishing, $24.95), he finds it easier to describe his mental abilities by explaining what he isn't.

“I'm not a psychic or a fortune teller,” he says. “I'm simply able to tune in to other people's thoughts and tell what they're thinking.”

The subjects that he regularly offers predictions about run the gamut, from sports and entertainment to politics and news events.

One of his most recent revelations involved the 2012 presidential election. More than a year ago, even before a Republican slate was chosen, he was asked to predict the winning political party and candidate's name on NBC's “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” show. His written answers were placed in a safe until after the election.

“I went back recently and they opened the envelopes,” Kreskin says. “I had picked the Democrats as the winner. For the Republicans, I had to tell Jimmy I got that one wrong. I didn't pick Romney. I had picked Paul Ryan.” At the time of his prediction, Ryan had not yet been considered as a contender for the vice presidental nomination.

As for his New Year's outlook, Kreskin's top predictions for 2013 include:

• Families will “rediscover” the family dinner table, bringing back the personal communication lost to new technology distractions such as iPads and iPhones.

• There will be an increase in the number of gossip columnists to satisfy our insatiable urge to know everything about celebrities.

• New lawyers will have a hard time finding work because, he says, “the U.S. already has one attorney for every 265 people.”

• The profession of bartender will take on greater respectability due to their ability to listen to people with troubles.

Although Kreskin's predictions are not based on scientific evidence, he prides himself on his track record of accuracy. “I'm not a fortune teller, but I have a sense of how people think,” he says.

Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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