On Monday, April 1, students witnessed a magical, mind-blowing performance by Franciscan University of Steubenville’s resident magician.
Mark Cook, a graduate counseling student, performed traditional magic tricks, including various card tricks and color by number. However, the main focus of the evening was mind reading.
Cecilia Pollice, a senior theology student, said she had seen Cook perform but had never seen him attempt mind reading tricks before.
Cook prefaced the show saying, “It’s a work in progress,” and later stated, “All of it was new. I’ve never done it in front of anybody.”
For one of his tricks, Cook selected Pollice as a volunteer and wagered $100 that she would select any card from the deck but one, the three of spades. Slowly, Pollice counted cards into Cook’s hands, selecting the fifth card.
Cook begged Pollice to continue selecting cards and added another $100, but Pollice stayed with her original card. Revealing the card to the audience, Pollice laughed as she saw the three of spades emerge. Cook could keep his $200.
The final trick of the night involved mind reading. Every audience member had written three facts about themselves on a note card and placed it in a container. Two audience members helped Cook; one held the container, and one selected and silently read a card.
Cook attempted to read the second volunteer’s mind by predicting and writing words on a large note pad. The last prediction he wrote was the country, Germany, but the volunteer announced she had thought of the U.S.
Disappointed, Cook prompted the participant one last time, saying that she should visualize a famous person. Cook guessed several characteristics but finally asked who the celebrity was. She answered Meg Ryan.
Believing Cook had failed, the audience awkwardly stared as Cook once more examined the pad of paper and vigorously crossed out letters from the word Germany. To the amazement of all, the name Meg Ryan appeared as Cook rearranged every letter from his earlier supposed-mistake.
Cook bowed, and the audience rose to its feet, applauding his astonishing success.
Emilija Lapas, a senior theology and catechetics student, was impressed by Cook’s performance, saying about the last trick, “I think he purposely messes up.”
Cook said he has liked magic since childhood. To him, “Magic was the way to have an outlet.”
The event was hosted by Franciscan University’s GNT Student Outreach.