Christopher Bolter is more Sherlock Holmes than Miss Cleo. He’s also heard “‘Number 23’ meets ‘Rain Man.”
The magician and mentalist—“not psychic,” he is quick to clarify—performs sleight of hand and card tricks. But he is most impressive when applying the latter half of his skills, as he will be at Doyle’s Café on Aug. 4.
“A mentalist is a more subtle magician. They focus more on the person instead of a trick,” Bolter explained to the Gazette during an interview.
A mentalist, he said, might manipulate someone’s behavior to create a desired response instead of hypnotizing a subject and planting a suggestion.
That’s how he explained how he got almost 900 people to stand up during a show in Iowa, at any rate.
Bolter paid a visit to the Gazette offices last week, where he showed off a few card tricks. His visible tattoos are devoted to his passion and history—one of a magic lamp and one of the Marshfield Fair, where he learned his trade.
Bolter had a calling. He knew he wanted to be a magician from the age of 5. He started performing magic at age 10. He’s been a professional, working magician, owner of his own company, Agent 86 Magic, for 13 of his 26 years.
It might then be little wonder that Steve Martin has shaken his hand and complimented Bolter on his act.
Growing up on the South Shore, Bolter was a constant presence at the Marshfield Fair, where he picked up all kinds of talents.
“I’d spend my entire summer there, learning things from everyone: sideshow performers, derby drivers. I knew how to drive by 12,” Bolter said.
These days, the part-time Boston resident performs and lectures on magic for as many as 10 months out of 12. He’s traveled as far as Australia and London in the past year.
Previously, he had a radio segment on WFNX, which are still available on that station’s website, he said.
“I predicted the lotto over the radio,” he said, adding that it was a harder gig than most, not being in the same room as the people with whom he was interacting.
He insists that what he does, anyone can do, with training and practice.
“These are abilities everyone has and don’t realize,” he said.
While he usually performs at private functions, Bolter will be sharing his talent and craft with JP for some old-fashioned dinner theater at Doyle’s Café on Washington Street.
“It’s a show designed to make people think,” he said. “It is a mind-reading show, not a traditional magic show. There are no rabbits coming out of hats.”
Tickets are $25 to $35 and are available at brownpapertickets.com.
This reporter, meanwhile, is still trying to figure out how he switched the ten of diamonds for the nine of hearts.