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May 27, 2010 - Phyllis Sigal

Craig Karges' act truly is extraordinary.

I was shaking my head in disbelief more than once throughout the 90-minute show last night at the Capitol Theatre.

How does he do it?

How does he link three men's rings together ... rings he's never seen before, so of course they can't be trick rings ... and then unlink them and return them to their rightful owners?

How does he know what those people are thinking when they come up on stage?

How does he tell us the serial number from a bill when he's seriously blindfolded?

How does he know the description of an imaginary car — a car that is imagined hours AFTER he writes down the make, color, price and license plate number on a slip of paper and seals it in envelope?

How can he know under WHICH Styrofoam cup that sharp knife blade is lurking? Smashing the empty cups with his bare hand was terrifying for the woman on stage as well as the rest of us in the audience.

How does he come up with these things?

Extraordinary. So very extraordinary.

He says that he "combines the art of magic with the science of psychology and the power of intuition." He says that he doesn't possess supernatural powers, nor does he claim to perform as a psychic or a magician. Sure, there may be some explanation for some of the physical antics, but the mind reading? I just can't figure out a reasonable explanation.

And maybe there isn't one. But I'd sure like to know! I'm always asking those questions of him. His answers are vague at best. Of course, understandably so. 

Craig's popularity started on college campuses.

And the first time I saw him perform was when we were both students at Marshall University. I remember he rode a motorized bike while blindfolded through an obstacle course on the college green. Pretty amazing. I don't think I actually knew him when we were there.

It was a few years later as a reporter at The Time Leader when I met him, interviewing him for a story. I was so impressed ... especially when he bent the spoon right before my eyes. I was inches away from him, sitting beside him on his living room couch at his Wheeling home, and I could not even begin to figure out how he had done it.

I've read Craig's book, "The Wizard's Legacy — A Tale of Real Magic,"  which was about his uncle, the uncle who was his mentor in all things magical and intuitive. He describes the book as "part recollection, part speculation and part imagination." What's real and what's not? Another question unanswered.

Craig performs more than 100 shows a year around the country and outside the country, as well. He has made more than 40 national television appearance, appearing on CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, CNBC, E! Entertainment Television, Lifetime Television, Wisdom Television and SOAPnet! The extraordinist has starred in two, one-hour television specials.

Performance, the international touring talent weekly, named Craig's touring show, “Experience the Extraordinary,” one of the top five variety/family shows in North America. American Entertainment Magazine named him one of the top five variety entertainers on the corporate circuit.

At the end of his show, after the audience was truly amazed at his performance last night, Craig encouraged us audience members to use our imagination as we live our lives. He pointed out that the Capitol Theatre is once again housing shows like his because of the imagination of many in Wheeling. He inspired us to be creative. ... to use more than the 10-20 percent of our brains that humans usually use.

Craig generously donated his time to do the show, and sponsor Spillman, Thomas and Battle covered all expenses connected with the show, so that 100 percent of the $20 ticket went directly to Oglebay Institute and the Museums of Oglebay Institute.

And it was great to see more than 1,000 seats filled at the Capitol.

Also, the Wheeling Arts and Culture Commission premiered the use of buskers in downtown Wheeling. The buskers — a three-piece music group and a girl with a Hoola-Hoop — livened up the atmosphere as people filed into the theater.

All in all, it was quite a great evening out in Wheeling — (even if I did miss all but the last (disappointing) 15 minutes of the "American Idol" season finale! But that's a blog for another day. ...)



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