xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Q&A: Sykesville mentalist honored for ‘psychic’ skills

Mentalist Dan Eckhart, right, with help from audience members Christina Burgess, left, and Tina Rivenbark, both of Sykesville, reveals his predictions for Friday's Carroll County Times front page during his performance at Baldwin's Station.
Mentalist Dan Eckhart, right, with help from audience members Christina Burgess, left, and Tina Rivenbark, both of Sykesville, reveals his predictions for Friday's Carroll County Times front page during his performance at Baldwin's Station. (Steve Ruark / For Carroll County Times)

Mentalist Dan Eckhart, of Sykesville, whose mind-bending performances include predicting the front page of the Times a week in advance, was recognized for his 2019 work as a performer.

The Bash named him in their Best of 2019 recognition in Psychic Entertainment and Mentalism. The site, formerly known as GigMasters, helps event planners find the best talent to book.

Advertisement

The Times caught up with Eckhart to talk about his mystical reading habits and setting his sights on a world record.

Q: Can you talk about the Bash’s Best of 2019 Award?

Advertisement
Advertisement

A: Bash is one of the most popular event planning organizations, and it allows event planners to find new and exciting entertainment that they might not otherwise be aware of. To be recognized as a leading mind reader, mentalist, or psychic entertainer is a fantastic benefit to building awareness about my work. So many people do not know what to expect when they decide to hire a mind reader for their luxury event or corporate party, so holding this award from a major event planning company helps people know that I will deliver excellent entertainment at their event.

While magic/illusion has exploded in popularity over the past few years, psychic entertainment and mentalism has been viewed as either “scary” or a “risk” because people generally allow that psychic phenomena may actually exist. To be recognized as one of the best entertainers of 2019 is very gratifying to me because it means that despite the initial reservations of speaking with a mind reader, guests are quickly put at ease and find themselves fascinated. It seems they can’t get enough!

Q: Do you have any upcoming projects or performances that you are excited about for 2020?

A: 2020 is already full of wonderful new things! I am particularly excited about my new séance at Patapsco Distilling Company, where we restored and renovated what seemed to be an original séance parlor and put it back to use “contacting the Beyond” using the techniques of the Victorian spiritualist.

Advertisement

For those who would love to see mind reading, and mental phenomena (without the ghosts), I am appearing at Manor Hill Tavern monthly, as well as multiple times a month at the Lord Baltimore Hotel in the Poe Theater.

Q: As a mentalist, are there any skills you consider your specialty?

A: I see myself as a researcher-explorer first and foremost. I’m always asked how I learned to do what I do, and I suppose it’s a bit of an unconventional story. The resources I used to become a mind reader are often long out of print (if they were ever published at all), so my process involves finding leads on a possible text, mostly from references in other equally hard to find books, and then tracking that book down. This has taken me across the country, and around the world. My trip to Norway nearly ended in disaster when I got lost in a small village above Oslo! But it was actually that experience in particular that spurred on my evolution in this field.

Q: Can you talk about any of the influences that shaped your interest in the uncanny?

A: As a child I was given a set of books on strange phenomena of the 20th century by a visiting relative. They were coffee table books with pictures and articles about ESP, ancient Egypt, the paranormal, aliens, ghosts, you name it. These books just exploded my imagination, they were actually the source of nightmares for years, but I couldn’t look away. … And then, I read other books, and others, and before long I wanted to try and spark that same imaginative experience in others. Today, people see magic as a clever puzzle to be solved, so magic tricks never interested me … but we all experience weird synchronicity that we can’t explain. Dreams stick with us for days sometimes, even though they never actually happened. I wanted to share these experiences with others … so I set out to become a mentalist.

Q: Am I correct that you and your wife Kat often perform together as mentalists? Does working together add a new dimension to the work for the both of you?

A: Yes, my wife Kat often performs with me, especially at the seances and Poe Theater! She is a natural. I had to do all this research, and spend most of my day reading books. Its funny, I will be working on a complex problem referenced in an unpublished book by a fraudulent medium, and she’ll just say “Angelo is going to call you” (who I haven’t spoken to in a month and whom she has never met), and sure enough Angelo calls within the next 5 minutes.

That tension and humor adds a lot to the work we do, because I am so process oriented, and she will just get a hunch and follow it!

Q: Is there any chance you’ll reveal to us how you predicted the front page of the Carroll County Times in February of last year?

A: I don’t think that I can, and no one would believe me if I did! However, I will share exclusively in this article, that this spring I will be testing my skills even further!

I will be attempting to make a world record by playing a title-holding, collegiate chess team, simultaneously, while blindfolded. And yes, I am looking to win! The date of the tournament will be announced within the coming weeks.

For booking information, social media links and newsletter, visit theEckharts.com.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement