By: Alyssa Murphree, March 15, 2017
Over spring break, I had the time to go through my camera roll on my phone to delete and reminisce. A daunting task. As somebody with nearly 1400 photos and videos in hand, I often stumble across treasures I didn’t even remember having. Somewhere in between the photos from my trip to see Spring Awakening on Broadway and selfies with dairy cows, I tap on some dimly lit photos of me on a stage. Odd, I think, but then the memories flood back in.
In January of 2016, the Student Programming Board hosted illusionist Mike Super for a performance at DelVal. Super, a highly renowned performer within the magic and illusion world was the winner of the NBC show ‘Phenomenon’ and a finalist on season nine of ‘America’s Got Talent’, best known for performing illusions with his imaginary spirit friend “Desmond”. The latter is how I first became familiar with Super, so of course I was excited to see him perform live on our ‘lil old campus. However, I never thought that I would become part of the show.
About midway through the show, Super comes walking through the audience looking for somebody with an iPhone to participate in his next trick. He makes his way down the aisle closest to me, scanning the sea of students scrambling to discreetly tuck their phones away. We make eye contact. “Shit”, I think, and next thing I know I’m following Super up the stairs leading up to the stage. Good thing I didn’t come dressed like a total bum.
A bit prior to myself becoming involved in the show, Super gave a random audience member a box to hold, no explanation provided. This box would later prove to be a crucial component of the trick I was involved in. The first thing he had me do once I was onstage was to sit down on a chair and unlock my phone for him. Simple enough, I thought. He then goes on some drawn out story about time travel and how he was going to make my phone go into the future and come back. Yeah….ok man. Next, he had me place my phone inside a small velvet sack and stand up to the left of the chair. This is where things got interesting and slightly terrifying. Attached to the sack containing my phone was a long string. Super instructed me to hold the end of the string and stick my arm out in front of me. He stands behind me, holds onto my hand, and guides me as we swing my phone midair until THUD. The centrifugal force sends my phone smashing into the wood chair next to us. At this point, Super gets real. He stops and looks me dead in the eyes, apologizing profusely for any potential damage he may have caused to my phone, and offering to replace it should it be too far gone. As if having fallen victim to partaking in his shenanigans in the first place wasn’t enough. The amount of sweat I am producing intensifies under the bright stage lights.
Super picks up the bag and hands it to me, instructing me to open it and look inside. My phone is gone. Goddammit. My humble little iPhone 4s was either obliterated on impact or by more realistic standards when it comes to magic shows, was made to disappear. Super then draws attention to the guy in the audience he had handed the box to prior to my appearance and has him walk up to the stage to hand over the box. You know where this is going. From inside the box, my phone rings. Super hands me the box to open, and there inside lies my (intact, thank god) phone. I answer it (from a blocked number) and put it on speakerphone, where we all listen to this cliché recording of somebody “from the future”. After hanging up, Super then tells me to look at the date on the lock screen. It’s my birthday.
The audience gasps, then applauds as I retake possession of my phone and fumble my way off the stage and back to my seat. I am a local celebrity, as everyone cranes their necks to get a look at the lock screen of my phone. Now, I should probably mention that as I sat down immediately after getting on stage, an assistant of Super’s asked me what my birthday was. No mind reading was involved here, but I was still left with many questions. Was almost breaking my phone a tactic to distract us from other elements of the illusion? What did the guy with the box know that I didn’t? Does Apple know about this potential hacker? HOW DID MY PHONE TELEPORT? When you watch these types of tricks and illusions take place either on stage or screen, it’s normal to be skeptical and you may even think that if you were the one involved, surely you could figure it out. That’s what I thought too, and yet I still to this day have absolutely no idea how my phone made it from one end of the Moumgis to another. Kudos to Mike Super and the Student Programming Board for a memorable experience, even more than a year later.