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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Mentalist Dustin Dean Demonstrates ‘Mental Magic’ at Colgate

The “’Gate After Dark” program hosted mentalist Dustin Dean for a psychic-style magic show in the O’Connor Campus Center (the Coop) Media Lounge on Friday, Feb. 2. The performance provided a unique opportunity for members of the Colgate University community to enjoy their Friday night by watching and participating in Dean’s demonstrations of what appeared to be mind-reading.

Dean has appeared on the show “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and has a popular TikTok account where he debunks claims of psychic powers. He describes his act as an exercise in “sleight of mind.” Rather than pretending to have supernatural powers, Dean — like many magicians and mentalists — freely admits that his magic stems from tricks and that he simply seeks to entertain through skillful deception.

“I aim for [entertainment]. I mix a lot of comedy into my show and I really just try to have people have a good time,” Dean said. “If they can also have their mind blown, that’s a bonus. I aim for a little bit of both.”

Throughout the show, Dean called on volunteers from the audience, asked them to perform a mental task, such as choosing a random word from a book or thinking of a number or personal memory, and proceeded to “read their mind.” In one activity that the audience seemed to particularly enjoy, he called on different people to add random numbers together, asked one volunteer to add one more random number to the sum on his phone and then produced a final total of 22,849 — the date and time of the trick as it occurred on Feb. 2 at 8:49 p.m.

Sophomore Corrigan Peters, who attended the show, found that calculator trick especially impressive.

“I don’t know how he did that! That was the moment where I was like, ‘this dude’s legit,’” Peters said.

Junior Alex Tauber agreed with Peters’ characterization of the trick. He also reflected more broadly on the atmosphere of the show, explaining how the moderate size of the audience made it much more enjoyable.

“I feel like [with] the size of this audience being relatively small, almost everyone got to participate in some shape or form, so we were all able to experience his tricks first-hand and be surprised when our minds were ‘read,’” Tauber said.

Dean himself noted that the coziness of the Coop Media Lounge provided an especially ideal setting for his act.

“This space was nice because it was very intimate. It was very close up, so I felt like I could connect with pretty much everyone,” Dean said. “I really enjoyed this.”

Students were not the only ones impressed by Dean’s act. Professor of Mathematics Aaron Robertson also found it to be both fun and well-executed.

“I think [Dean] did a fantastic job. I like to try to figure out how magicians do things; I had no idea [how] he did these,” Robertson said. “The ones where he guessed something personal about a random audience member just seemed pretty remarkable.”

Nearly every person present seemed to have a good time at the show. First-year Teagan Mabrysmith, for example, joked that seeing Dean’s show only once was insufficient.

“We should have him back every year. Every month. A weekly occurrence,” Mabrysmith said. “I want him to run a workshop.”

All in all, the show seemed to be an undeniable success. Many audience members suggested that Colgate provide events similar to this one in the future. Peters, for instance, noted that he preferred Dean’s act over previous “’Gate After Dark” events, such as bingo.

Mind-reading may not be real, but that does not make it any less entertaining. 

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