GLOVERSVILLE - "Ireland."
"Nov. 26, 2005."
Psychic performer Robert Channing, left, has a volunteer from the audience open an envelope containing one of his predictions during Saturday night’s show at Gloversville High School. (The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini)
"Two million dollars and 43 cents."
On the morning of Oct. 30, Robert Channing said, he sat down in his office and wrote these four pieces of information on a slip of paper. He then double-sealed the slip of paper in two envelopes.
They weren't opened again until Saturday night, during Channing's performance in front of an audience at Gloversville High School. Channing, who calls himself "the world's foremost mind-reader,"?impressed the crowd with his apparently extra-sensory skills in a fundraising event for the Littauer Family of Health Services.
He asked four audience members to describe a dream vacation, one-by-one, and their responses sounded familiar to him:?
Person you would bring on the trip: "Sam."
Date, past or present, you would want to take this trip: "Nov. 26, 2005."
The amount of money you would like to spend on the trip: "$2,000,000."
Then, Channing asked a fifth audience member to choose a number between one and 100.
Her response: "43."
Channing said he discovered he could read people's minds when he was a small child growing up in Newport, Herkimer County.
"I've developed it since I was 5," Channing said. "My mom was walking me to get a haircut, when I had hair, and a guy came out and talked to my mom. He said 'Hey, Donna. How are you? ... ' And as he walked away, I answered something in his mind that he was thinking. He turned around and asked, 'What did you say?' It was crazy. He ran away. From that point foward, I knew I had the ability."
After he left the stage Saturday, Channing said he had turned off his ability, saying it's very draining.
People who had purchased VIP?tickets for the show, at $50 a head, were invited to a meet-and-greet with Channing after the show at the Eccentric Club. Several gathered there discussed the performance with awe, saying he had correctly guessed a secret PIN number, a grandson's sports number and Social Security numbers.
One impressed audience member was Susan McNeil, Nathan Littauer Hospital's director of volunteer services.
Five years ago, just after her father had died, McNeil said, she returned home late one evening and turned her television on to see talk show host Larry King interviewing John Edward, a well-known performer and author who claims to communicate with the dead.
On the Larry King show, Edward responded to a caller on the air and began describing a deceased person, but the caller kept telling him he was wrong.
Meanwhile, at home, McNeil noticed that everything he was saying about that person sounded as if it could about her father, Chuck - including him repeatedly saying "Chu-" - but she wasn't sure if he really was describing her father.
On Saturday night, Channing asked audience members to write down the funniest moments in their life, a number that meant something to them, a question they wanted answered and a nickname they were called.
McNeil said she wrote down a question:?Was it her late father whom Edward was describing on television??
McNeil got her answer Saturday, when a blindfolded Channing told her, "Yes it was."
"All that [Edwards] was saying had something to do with what my father [did] with his restaurant," she said. "I was always curious about that. [Channing's] answer was 'Yes it was.' It was my dad trying to talk to me ... I was blown away. I absolutely enjoyed it. That was fantastic."
Channing has read the minds and futures of people as famous as journalist Barbara Walters and former President Bill Clinton.
At the end of his show at the high school, he told the audience his performance is 35 percent extra-sensory perception, 35 percent showmanship, and the rest is luck.
"I get lucky sometimes," he said. " ... I missed a guy in the audience - I was actually describing the other guy I had predicted. So my mind goes all over. It's not 100 percent."
John Borgolini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.