Spoon-bending ‘mentalist’ announces invitation to perform at Obama inauguration

David Martosko | Executive Editor

When President Barack Obama attends his second inauguration in January, he’ll also be taking in the mystical powers of a spoon-bending, card-manipulating “mentalist” named Alain Nu. The performer announced Monday evening on Facebook that he “was just invited to perform … [at] President Obama’s Inauguration January 21st!”

“I am helping to produce a much larger event at one of the several Inaugural locations, actually, and I will keep you all updated on some of the exciting news that transpires from all this,” Nu added to his announcement a few hours later.

Nu, the author of “Picture Your ESP!: Reveal Your Hidden Powers With ‘The Nu ESP Test,'” markets himself as “The Man Who Knows.™”

“I like to consider myself an international man of mystery,” he says in one online promotional video. “I believe that it’s important to believe in all things, no matter how outrageous. I think that by doing so, you open yourself up to the mysteries of the universe.”

Nu had a short-lived show on the TLC network in 2005. According to promotional materials for the DVD set, audiences were “astonished at Alain’s ability to read thoughts, exhibit super memory, bend metal, move objects without touching them, and sense his surroundings while blindfolded!” He was credited with exhibiting “[c]lairvoyance, thought control, synchronicity, [and] mind-over-matter” qualities.

Like David Blaine, Uri Geller and other mentalists, Nu has attracted his share of naysayers and skeptics. Some point to  a July 16, 2010 episode in which he wrote about experimenting with psychokinetic powers — known as “pk” in magicians’ circles — on the morning of a mild earthquake in Maryland.

“… was literally trying to use pk at exactly 5am this morning to move a pendulum in a lab in TX (I’m involved in a scientific challenge– more later), when a 3.6 magnitude earthquake hit Montgomery County, MD,” Nu wrote on his Facebook page. The post was later deleted, but not before it made an appearance on a blog devoted to critically examining paranormal claims.

“At first I couldn’t believe it was happening,” Nu wrote, “but then I rationalized it was just a low flying plane, but it shoo…ked my entire house and it’s now all over the news. Could that have been me?”

Nu later wrote on his blog that “meditating on a [sic] swinging a pendulum in TX only to experience an earthquake in Maryland was quite a shocker of a coincidence at 5am if you ask me!”

He wrote that he had been “hearing music in my head that moves me emotionally” while trying to move a pendulum that was thousands of miles away. When the earthquake hit, he added, “I was tranced-out and my conscious mind was confused into believing that it was my subconscious synchronizing with a low flying plane from above. Then, the whole house shook, which literally shook me out of my trance.”

Like the Facebook post, the blog post was later deleted. But it’s still available on the website of an organization called the North Texas Skeptics.

Reached late Monday night, Nu told The Daily Caller that he will be performing at an inaugural ball sponsored by the American Legion.

“I know that I get to sit down and have dinner with them,” he said in an email, referring to President and Mrs. Obama.

Nu added that he would be bringing “an entourage of 25 other magicians and ‘mystery entertainers’ to provide some  Inaugural enchantment for the many Congressional Medal of Honor recipients who will also be saluted by the President at this event. I am pretty sure that it is being held at the Washington Renaissance Hotel.”

Watch Alain Nu:

Fans of the president who can’t make it on January 21, 2013 won’t necessarily miss out on the fun. The Magic Warehouse, an online merchant of illusions and sleight-of-hand equipment, sells “Animalogic by Alain Nu,” a trick in which “[a] spectator is asked to think of an animal of virtually any kind. After concentrating on both its name and image, the though[t]-of animal can be immediately revealed.”

The nine-dollar trick is described as “EASY TO DO!” with “NO SET-UP!”

Another magic merchant, the Shop of Secrets, once sold Nu’s “Any Card” trick for $35. “A randomly thought-of card is found at a random number from the top, or face, of an examinable deck, under the watchful eye of a very skeptical audience,” the product’s blurb reads.

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