Mind-Expanding with Intrigue Theatre – An Illusionist and a Ghost-Talker

Sean-Paul picks up a 29lb concrete cinder block, and places it on top of nine others mounted on a small platform with wheels. An assistant straps an iron cabinet to both sides of the wall of cinder blocks, while Sean-Paul speaks directly to the audience.

“I’ve always been fascinated with ghost stories,” he says, “My favourite part of any ghost story is the idea that spirits are nothing more than energy that can pass right through solid objects, like doors, or walls.”

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Mind-Expanding with Intrigue Theatre - An Illusionist and a Medium

Sean-Paul opens the cabinet on one side of the cinder block wall. He looks down in concentration as his left hand feels the wall from inside the cabinet. A sharp murmur travels through the crowd as the shadow of his arm moves through the wall, followed slowly and evenly by the rest of his arm, and then his entire body.

Sean-Paul’s assistant spins the platform twice to demonstrate that there’s nowhere for him to go, except through the wall. As the platform stops spinning, Sean-Paul opens the second cabinet from inside, moves all the way through the wall, and steps out.

He waits for the applause to end, looking grateful, but humble. He tells the audience that he recently met a Shaolin monk, who told him, “To someone who does not see a wall as an obstacle, it is not.” For Sean-Paul, the wall is a metaphor for any kind of barrier in life, and he performs this particular feat not to show off, but to deliver the message that it’s possible to get past any obstacle that’s holding you back.

Mind-Expanding with Intrigue Theatre - An Illusionist and a Ghost-Talker
Mind-Expanding with Intrigue Theatre - An Illusionist and a Ghost-Talker

This kind of positive, empowering message is entwined in every aspect of the show that Sean-Paul has created with his wife and co-performer, ghost talker Juliana Faye. The shows they perform at the Intrigue Theatre are inspired by the haunted landscape of Eureka Springs, the small Arkansas town they have made their home. Their shows are designed to recreate the golden age of magic in the late 1800s and early 1900s; the era of Houdini, sensational illusions, daring escapes, and incredible feats of hypnotism, mentalism, and spiritualism.

“A magician will engineer ways for things to be when all logic tells us they shouldn’t. It’s a powerful mindset off stage too! This is where magic can be yours. Is yours. If you can imagine it, and believe it, it can be yours.”

Some of the most powerful moments of the night require no props and no illusions. Instead, the focus is on medium Juliana Fay, who stands blindfolded on stage. Sean-Paul walks around the audience, receiving objects from audience members. He will be passed a coin, and, standing metres away and blindfolded, Juliana will say, confidently, not just the type of coin but the exact date. At other times Juliana will describe in detail what the person is thinking about; visions of family members, friends, and work problems.

Juliana writes on her website, “It might surprise you to know that you too are a magician!” She continues, “You don’t need tuxedo tails, sequins, rabbits or doves, or even a magic wand…. A magician is an artist without limitation – a child still able to dream of the impossible, and present it for the fascination of others.

“A magician will engineer ways for things to be when all logic tells us they shouldn’t. It’s a powerful mindset off stage too! This is where magic can be yours. Is yours. If you can imagine it, and believe it, it can be yours.”

So, take some advice from Juliana Fay and Sean-Paul. Before you say something is impossible – whether that thing is a man walking through a wall, or you pursuing your dream to be a writer, a photographer, or a musician – leave a little space for the thought: maybe, just maybe, this is possible.