It's not easy to capture the attention of an auditorium of high school students. Mentalist Rory Raven – brought to EGHS by the EG Cultural Organization of the Arts (COA) – did that recently, rendering the audience speechless as he literally bent spoons with his mind (check out the video attached).
That was before he had Emily Gencarella place coins on pieces of duct tape that he placed over his eyes (ouch, yes), then placed more duct tape, then a mask over his eyes, then yet more duct tape over the mask (over the duct tape over the coins over his eyes … you get the idea).
After it seemed clear to everyone in the auditorium that Raven COULD NOT SEE, he asked Emily to hold up items collected at random from the audience. Raven then went on to identify them … the ski lift ticket, including the month and year printed in the upper left hand corner, and the tubular white cotton object – an athletic sock.
If we were not yet convinced, Raven then picked (again at random) slips of paper that had been submitted by members of the audience and collected in a basket. Rubbing the paper on his head (does he have eyes on the top of his head?), Raven would call out what was written on the paper – a date, a pet, a pastime. The owner of the paper would identify him/herself and Raven would then take it one detail further – the name of the pet, what the date signified.
There’s no other way to say this – it was freaky.
For his finale, Raven had a student – “the best artist in the school,” he asked for – draw a picture while watching the blind-folded segment of the show. The student, Patrick Wong, worked diligently from his seat in the audience until he was called up, his picture completed.
Raven tore off the duct tape – all of it, painfully – then took a notebook of his own and drew a picture quickly. He held it up. While cruder than Wong’s it was remarkably similar: a bearded man with eyes wrapped and wrapped in tape.
According to COA director Lisa Sussman, the group had been wanting to bring Raven – who says he is "neither a psychic nor a magician – to East Greenwich for a while.
In addition to Raven’s school-wide assembly, he gave a talk on critical thinking to some science students. The idea was to communicate in dramatic fashion the idea that you shouldn’t believe everything you see or read, Sussman said.
If the gasps from the audience and looks from those who assisted Raven were any indication, that idea was communicated.