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Don't Call Him Psychic 

Wednesday, Nov 8 2006
Type "David Blaine revealed" into Google and you find a cottage industry devoted to exposing the secrets of the brooding performer, who's now in the midst of such a backlash that he offends people simply by sitting in water. But do a similar search on Marc Salem, whose feats are indistinguishable from magic tricks, and you get zip. It's not a question of exposure — Salem has performed in front of millions, he's been on Broadway twice, and he's stumped a long line of TV hosts, including Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. Unlike Blaine, though, Salem isn't out to trick you with sleight of hand. He calls himself a mentalist, and announces on his Web site, deadpan, that he has been "a student of the human mind for over 30 years." In his show Mind Games, he guesses where audience members vacationed, picks out words randomly chosen from books, and identifies objects in people's pockets while blindfolded. In real life, he has helped lawyers pick juries and taught cops to spot liars. How does he do it? For starters, he's a master at recognizing nonverbal communication, a skill he's honed since childhood. "I would say virtually every thought we have has some physical manifestation," he told Wallace, which might sound reasonable if it came from Deepak Chopra and not a guy who can call out, perfectly, the serial number of the $20 bill in your pocket.
Oct. 31-Nov. 12, 8 p.m.

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Michael Leaverton


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