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Issue Date: February 2010


Brain Power

We greeted mentalist Brent Webb’s claims of being able to get inside our heads with a healthy dose of skepticism. Then, he blew our minds.

Christina Ipavec
Believe it or not, the hardest part of Brent Webb’s job isn’t reading peoples’ thoughts; it’s keeping up with his fan mail.

“I get a lot of e-mails and calls about [finding] things people lost, like jewelry,” he explains.

While calling Webb a psychic is a stretch, he certainly has intuitive talents that would make even the most hardened cynic raise an eyebrow. He can guess your thoughts with accuracy: images, numbers, names, written messages. He’ll predict the late television star you’re thinking of or the movie title you’ve just written down. Webb can even correctly identify the word you just read from the novel he hands you.

But the 34-year-old Kent resident, who bills himself as The Mentalist, also has a touch of magician in him. Sitting across from you at a Starbucks, he can make a playing card float up from its ordinary case. Like any showman, exactly how he does all of this is secret, but it seems real, even when you know it can’t be.

Webb insists what he does is a gift he’s had since childhood, when his dad hid coins around the house for him to find. He says the game ended when he once tracked down a $100 bill his father had nailed to the barn out back to test his
abilities.

Today, Webb is on the road almost 250 days a year, has opened for Don Rickles and Dionne Warwick, and has performed at corporate events, college campuses and private parties for clients such as Las Vegas hotel developer Steve Wynn.

“Whenever I’m off, I’m home because when you travel for work, you really don’t want to travel anywhere else,” he says.

It’s the only job he’s ever had after getting his first break performing at Geauga Lake during the summer of 1991. “I don’t know what else I would do,” he says.

Looking for clues as to how he does what he does, you don’t come up with much except maybe there’s something to his watch and the bracelets he wears on both wrists. When you press him, he concedes that he does work from clues that his subjects give off, whether they know it or not. “You definitely have to have something to start with. … There has to be something to nurture,” he says. “You have to be a great people reader.”

You know that for sure when he’s studying you: the knowing look in his eyes, the certainty in his voice.

Before I leave, he asks me to name an icon from childhood then take that name and project it onto a make-believe movie screen. He scribbles away quickly on his small dry-erase board, quickly throwing off characteristics: “male, dead, neighborhood, king … ”

“Mr. Rogers,” he exclaims victoriously.

Damn, this guy is good.

For more information, visit brentwebb.com.
Comments:
Monday, February 01, 2010 5:20:42 PM by Stowgirl
I have seen Brent perform many times and he is really entertaining. He has a great rapport with the audience and you are so enthralled, you can't believe the hours pass as you watch the show. Ravenna should be really proud of this guy!

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