On the night of Feb. 25, the mentalist duo known as The Evasons came to UK to perform at the Gatton Student Center. The duo, composed of husband and wife Jeff and Tessa Evason, had the audience gasping in awe throughout much of the show through various tricks and demonstrations of the supernatural powers of the mind.
The Evasons have been performing since 1983, and they have traveled around the world for these performances, boasting of shows in 38 different countries.
“We love the human connection and creating a sense of wonder,” Jeff Evason said.
He said that each time they perform, the sense of awe the audiences show is what he enjoys the most.
After the show, Tessa discussed how she came to know her current mental capabilities, recalling that as a child, she was rather quiet, and she became very observant as a result. Having grown up in the Caribbean around the islands of St. Lucia and Grenada, she was encouraged to be her own person, an individual, and this ultimately led to her embracing who she was. This embracing, however, did not occur for many years, until she consciously realized what she was actually doing. It started out with her ability to recognize callers.
“The phone would ring and I would know who was calling,” she said, adding it was not until she married Jeff that she realized just what she was doing.
All throughout the show, Jeff was the main one scouting through the crowd of students, searching for volunteers to offer a personal object, their name or even something common like paper money, for his wife to make out from her mental abilities. For the first half of the show, Tessa remained blindfolded in an attempt to further demonstrate that her accuracy was not being aided by any sort of device, all the while maintaining a significantly high accuracy of identifying the objects, people and names presented to her.
At one point, the direction of the show turned more to the audience and more students were asked to come to the front, where they were directly involved in different parts of the performance. Such parts included the use of a pendulum to determine which key fit correctly in a lock, lifting a student up using four volunteers lifting with just their two index fingers, and a sort of mental photography Jeff referred to as “thoughtography.” This method resulted in a photograph including everything expected in a normal photograph, plus the face of an elderly woman.
One student present, Koehler Widner, described the program as “crazy,” especially referring to Tessa’s ability to read his aura in a bit where she returned someone’s necklace to them using her pendulum. As she deduced from a group of people to whom the necklace belonged, she described each person based on their aura before she had them sit down to further narrow her search. Widner said he went because the program seemed fun and intriguing based on what he heard about the event. Widner is a freshman on a pre-major track to study materials engineering.
The event was organized by the Student Activities Board under the direction of the Campus Life co-director, Nickie Cashdollar, and the upcoming director, Jeremy Middleton. Middleton is currently a freshman studying integrated strategic communication, and he joined SAB at the beginning of his first fall semester. He discussed the process of contacting the Evasons, mostly attributing the work of contacting and contracting to Cashdollar.
“We base it on research [and] what we think students would enjoy,” Middleton said, referring to various surveys like the semesterly all-student survey that SAB uses to gauge interest and obtain ideas for creating future programs.