Freaks come out after dark, Mentalist astonishes audience at the MU

Talon Delaney

Brian Imbus stands blind before a hushed audience of students seated in silent anticipation. Wrapped carefully about his eyes and nose are impermeable layers of black fabric and duct tape.

He hovers an outstretched palm over a bowl poised on a music stand containing cards filled with random information the audience recorded. He plucks a card from the bowl and holds it above his head.

“This is where it gets really, really weird,” warns Imbus, a world-renowned mentalist.

He proceeded to call out names of students in the audience, and recited seemingly undeterminable trivia about their personal lives: The name of one student’s boyfriend, another’s first kiss, an embarrassing story involving a toilet plunger, a student’s desire to study abroad in Australia. There seemed to be no secrets anyone could keep from Imbus.

“I don’t claim to have psychic abilities,” Imbus assured the skeptics Friday night in the MU’s Great Hall. “I use my five senses to create the illusion of the sixth sense.”

And what a convincing illusion it was. Imbus wowed the audience by writing participants’ thoughts on paper before they could speak them; describing objects he couldn’t see in vibrant detail, and risking a 75 percent chance at death in a stunt where he encouraged a student to drive a drill bit through his skull.

Four commercial grade power drills were assembled neatly in a row. Three were fully charged, one was powerless, and James Best, a freshman history major, was tasked with mixing the drills randomly, and testing the final drill on Imbus’s head.

One of Isbum’s goals is to get the audience involved with the act as much as possible. He added the power drill stunt as a way to bring fear to the stage.

Kaelyn Swetala, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, undertook the responsibility of weeding out the lethal drills by, on Imbus’s commands, rifling numbers off the top of her head.

“I was terrified I’d call off the wrong number,” Swetala confessed after the show.

Silence gripped the crowd as Best leveled the long drill bit against Imbus’s temple. On the count of three he pulled the trigger, but the drill had no power.

“It was an adrenaline rush,” Best commented on his brush with manslaughter charges. Throughout the entire performance, Imbus ensured shock, wonder, and fear were constantly weaving through the audience’s emotions.

Imbus first encountered the performing arts when, at age 4, he was gifted a simple magic kit. As he grew older, Imbus experimented more and more with magic tricks, but he began to feel the life of a magician wasn’t for him.

“I wanted to be able to walk on stage with nothing. No trick, no boxes… just me and the audience,” Imbus said.

It took years for Imbus to turn his dream into a palpable performance, but now he is one of the most sought after performers in the country. Over the past 20 years his act has taken him around the world, from Las Vegas to Paris, and his show is ever changing, ensuring a unique experience every time.


This man swears he isn’t psychic, but he could’ve fooled us.

Mentalist confounds crowds at ISU after dark.