Into The Intuitive Mind Of Craig Karges
Hallucinatory suggestions. A table floating through the air guided only by the merest touch. Blindfolded eyes that still can see. All of this and more will be witnessed when you go and see Craig Karges: Experience the Extraordinary. One of the things that I find incredibly compelling about Craig Karges is the subdued simplicity in which he creates his magic and the straightforward manner in which he makes his predictions. There are no massive props, pyrotechnics or bombastic music to distract the audience. There is only Karges peering into the shadows of the human psyche, seeing what most of us cannot.
During a recent phone interview from his West Virginian home, I asked Karges how he would describe his act. I was expecting to be riddled with a litany of mysterious allusions that would never really answer any of my questions. I was incredibly surprised by Karges’ succinct and honest responses.
“Well, part of what I do is magic or illusion; it’s a trick. There are things that you’re not seeing and what you see is not exactly what you’re getting.” Karges went on to say, “Then there is psychology; knowing people well. I bring people up on stage and I give them a free reign of choices, but yet I know that certain things factor into people’s behaviors. I recognize those patterns of behavior and I act on them. So a lot of it is just basic psychology. Then there is a portion that is true intuition. It’s similar to what some people may consider being psychic, but I just prefer the word ‘intuition.’”
From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlocke Holmes to the recent television series, The Mentalist, people have been absolutely intrigued with those who seem to possess almost supernatural powers of observation. Very recently, there have been studies (as well as Karges’ own book, Ignite Your Intuition) suggesting that all of us possess this intuitive ability and utilize it to a small degree in our day to day interactions with others. Karges, however, has been able to tap into the underlying resonance that allows him to read people at will and in a more refined manner.
“There are quite a lot of things that you may think are very ‘unique,’ and everyone is unique, but there are also patterns that pretty much everyone falls into.” Karges went on to describe in detail that, “There are even patterns based on ages, males, females and all sorts of things. That is part of my job and to recognize those and when I pick people out of the audience, I read and interpret body language during the show. There’s a lot of conscious psychology going on, but there’s also the intuition part. I don’t really know how to define it because it could just be my own subconscious processing of what’s going on or it could be something that’s more akin to psychic (abilities) with no real explanation.”
Karges was awakened to his intuitive potential after meeting his great uncle, whom everyone called simply called ‘Doc,’ while in his early teens. ‘Doc’ was what Karges described as “the black sheep of the family” and earned his living as a counselor of sorts for a local clientèle.
“He was kind of a poor man’s psychologist and he helped a lot of people. He was very altruistic.” Karges said, describing his great uncle. “He wasn’t out for himself and he did impact a number of people, so much so that when he passed away, people would show up at the door not knowing he had died and my aunt and I would greet them and when you told them that Doc had passed away, the looks on their faces was frightening. I was fourteen at the time and to see that reaction and to start to realize how much faith people put into him was amazing.”
Beyond bringing the young Karges’ intuitive abilities to the fore, Doc’s teachings became the bulk of what was to become Karges’ performances, which would pay his way through college as well as take him onto thousands of stages and television shows across the nation. Karges described to me what his performances usually consist of.
“Well, the show is done in two acts. The first act is like the mind reading section of the show. It’s different every night, so I can’t really tell you what will happen at theVictoria. I just invite the entire audience to start concentrating on things and I’ll start to tell people their names or facts about themselves or things that they’re concentrating on.” Karges went on to detail other acts to be performed. “There’s other segments where I’ll be blindfolded with tape all over my face and people will come up on stage and I’ll tell them what they’re holding in their hand or call off a serial number on a piece of paper currency or from a driver’s license.”
“We do all that stuff in the beginning and then we come back for the weird part of the show and that’s more of the physical side of what I do.” Karges went on. “I always tell the people right before I finish the last piece before the intermission that we’ll back with the weird part of the show and people laugh because the first half is weird enough as it is. When we come back, the first routine is a group suggestion thing with the entire theater, then we do a very specific hallucination on stage with two people. After that’s over, I say, ‘See? I told you this would be weird.’ Yeah, it is weird.”