Craig Karges, renowned illusionist, visited Montevallo to perform for a UPC event on November 11. Photo courtesy of Craig Karges.

Shocked looks spread throughout the crowd gathered in Palmer Auditorium. Whispers and exclamations of disbelief and wonder floated through the air. Craig Karges was doing the impossible.

Karges, a professional illusionist, performed several seemingly impossible feats during his appearance Nov. 11. The event, hosted by the University Program Council (UPC), began with Karges listing off the 25 most used words. In the illusion that followed, he had spectators rip a newspaper into tiny squares and had one student come on stage and randomly select a word from one of the final squares. “Science” was chosen. The performer seemed confused, as that was not one of the words on his list. However, as he was explaining that sometimes tricks do not work out, he suddenly turned the word list around to reveal science had been written on it the whole time.

This opening act set the stage for the rest of show, involving various other inconceivable accomplishments. In one, Karges sent the crowd reeling by correctly guessing, while blindfolded, the owner of an student ID card and the serial number of a dollar bill. In another, he read the minds of several in attendance with shocking accuracy. Finally, he topped off the night risking his own paycheck from UPC in an act relying largely on the choices of others. All the while, Karges stayed humorous and charming by joking with his various volunteers about their names or their attempts at using extreme specificity to trip him up. Even when he would initially say they were being too trivial or choosing beyond his limitations, Karges would reveal that he knew their original answer.

“I try to not make it too scary or too funny,” Karges said of his performance. “I’ve been doing this for thirty years, paid my way through college performing as my uncle taught me, and it can really shock people.”

That was certainly the case for Bryana Gregory, a sophomore mass communications major and UPC member, who participated as one of the volunteer assistants. “It sort of freaked me out, but I really enjoyed it,” Gregory said. “UPC invited him because we thought it would be a neat, quirky opportunity for something new.”

It was something new for Jessie Strickland, who had never been to a show like this before. “It was an amazing performance. This man has such fascinating capabilities,” said Strickland.