Quentin's Ghost Table
from The Irish Examiner newspaper
MENTALIST Quentin Reynolds's recent shows, Adventures in Astonishment, at Bewley's Cafe Theatre in Dublin really did have people gasping in amazement at the things he was able to reveal about members of his audience.
The author of Intuition, Your Secret Power, uses a mixture of psychology, body language and intuition to read people's minds. He tells them what they are thinking,' manoeuvres them towards choices they want to make, reveals their concerns and unveils names of long-lost friends.
Reynolds has an interest in the paranormal as well, something which he may introduce into his shows in the future. His Object of desire is nearly 400 years old and goes back at least as far as the English Civil War or TheWar of the Roses. As Quentin explains, it's a table, the wood of which comes from a haunted house.
"I haven't got all the details sent on to me yet about the table but I do know it is made from wood that was taken from a house that was believed to be haunted," says Quentin. "The origins of the hauntings go back to a massacre during the English Civil War. Someone managed to get wood from that house before it fell into complete rack and ruin.
"I got the table from a good friend of mine, an English man called Danny Lynch who lives in Bolton. Danny has a great network of people who collect all these wonderfully weird and strange items, like an executioners axe from the 15th century, replicas of the crown jewels and so on.
"He provides the Ripleys Believe It Or Not museums with a lot of their material. I was in his cellar one time when he told me about this wood he had. He also said he knew a craftsman who could make a table out of it if I wanted. I said that would be great but
with one proviso; that the legs are detachable.
"The craftsman wasn't too in love with that idea but he did it anyway and I got the table a few months back.
I'm thinking of using it in a third part of the show that would go into the paranormal. I've always had a great fascination with the unexplained. As a magician I'm acutely aware of trickery so I'm not talking about that kind of thing.
"It's very possible that some events can be explained scientifically and may well be down the line but there are things I've experienced which I couldn't explain. What I'm thinking of doing is using the table to tell the story of an event that happened with Harry Houdini which to this day still can't be explained.
"There were a lot of mediums in Houdini's time at the turn of the 20th century. A lot of wars. Lot of people dying. Seances were very popular. Houdini's mother died and he wanted to see if he could get in touch with her. He didn't and he exposed a lot of charlatans in the medium game while he was at it.
"He and his wife made a pact that whichever of them died first the other would try to get in touch with the one who had passed away on the anniversary of his or her death for ten years. Houdini died first. On the tenth anniversary of his death his wife was holding a seance on the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood.
"Lots of press and people interested in the paranormal were invited. Once again nothing happened. His wife blew out a candle that had been kept lighting all the time in front of a picture of Harry. As soon as she left the building there was a sudden, brief and very heavy shower that soaked everyone.
"Now, the weird thing about all that is that they don't get sudden, brief showers in L.A. It stays dry for ages and when it rains it does so for days. There was no mention in the press of this shower but people are now asking the question just what happened."
After seeing the great magician Albert LaBas in Drury's cabaret shows when he was six, Quentin went on to become a fully qualified magician when he was 16. He's a former president of the Magician Association of Ireland and a member of the elite Magic Circle for magicians.
A graduate of UCD with a degree in French and English it was really the human mind that increasingly interested him. He is no longer a practising magician. He prefers to call himself a mentalist. Intuition is his great raison d'etre.
"Intuition is knowing something but not knowing how we know it," says Quentin, finally. "It's like knowing someone is looking at us from behind, for example. I give lectures to companies on Using your intuition to make decisions. It's a huge, untapped power in us all."
Quentin Reynolds can be contacted at 0161 2364452 or from outside the UK on +44 161 236 4452