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Illusionist Mike Super says he will reveal predicted newspaper headline Aug. 11 in Clayton

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Magician and illusionist Mike Super believes he can predict the headlines.

Not the headlines for tomorrow or the next day, but the front page headlines of newspapers months in the future.

Mr. Super, winner of NBC’s 2007 television show “Phenomenon,” said he has predicted a front page headline for the Thursday, Aug. 11, edition of the Watertown Daily Times. He has recorded that prediction on a CD and sealed it in a FedEx envelope. That envelope is now inside a Watertown Daily Times honor box, chained, locked and perched on the second floor parade balcony of the Clayton Opera House.

“We received the envelope from Mike, which is signed to prevent any switching, and on Saturday, July 16, placed it in the box and locked it,” said Lisa P. Reiss, executive director of the Thousand Islands Performing Arts Fund at the Clayton Opera House.

At 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11, Mr. Super will perform his live, theatrical magic show as part of the TIPAF at the opera house. On that day, the sealed envelope containing his prediction will be unlocked and revealed. If the headline is wrong, he will refund all ticket holders who purchased advance-sale tickets to his performance.

“Just for a goof one day, someone said ‘Tell me the lottery numbers,’” Mr. Super said. “I said, ‘How about I tell you what the headline of the newspaper is going to be tomorrow?’ So I told him and I didn’t think of it anymore until the next day when he called back and asked how I did it.”

Mr. Super predicts 15 headlines a year, a limit placed by NBC after he won the $250,000 “Phenomenon” prize, and says he has never gotten a headline wrong.

“I’m not a computer hacker and I’ve had editors change headlines themselves and veto things at the last minute thinking I paid someone in the office,” he said.

The process for the prediction starts no more than two months ahead of when the prediction will be revealed. Mr. Super sits down and does what he calls “psychic automatic writing,” a technique he learned as a child.

“I look to see what’s coming up and I look at what headlines have been in your newspaper,” he said. “All I do is sit down and start writing.”

Mr. Super said he wanted to up the ante and give back to those who came to see him perform if, indeed, he was wrong.

“People will go and see a magician escape from something, but there’s no real danger in that,” he said. “This is not a magic trick, there’s no sleight of hand. If I’m wrong, I will pay everyone back. There’s no risk to the theater at all.”

The magic in this stunt is that the headline must be exact. Mr. Super says that if he misses an “a” or “the” or uses a synonym he will let the audience decide whether he is right or wrong.

“Mike is one of my favorite entertainers,” Ms. Reiss said. “I met him about a decade ago at a conference in New York City and I’ve been a fan ever since. I don’t have any idea how he does his tricks, nor do I want to know.”

For his performance in Clayton, Mr. Super and the opera house are offering $50 VIP tickets. Those tickets guarantee a seat in the first two rows for the performance and a special meet-and-greet with an up-close performance from Mr. Super in the third floor ballroom before the show.

“What I do for VIPs is to completely amaze them before the whole thing starts,” Mr. Super said. “I read their minds and they will freak out, it’s a fun little pre-show group.”

Tickets for the show are available now. General admission is $25 for adults, with reserve seats in the center of the room both downstairs and upstairs for $30. Children’s tickets are $15, except for VIP seats. Only tickets purchased in advance will be refunded if the headline prediction is wrong.

“My show is a family-friendly show and it’s a family bonding experience,” Mr. Super said. “Parents enjoy it on one level and kids enjoy it on another. I won’t be wearing sequins or dancing, but they can literally come and watch their grandmother float in mid-air and I make someone disappear for three minutes.”

There’s even a chance to win a vehicle.

“Every show I let the audience decide on a vehicle, any vehicle in the world, no setups. I’ve done anything from Ferraris to Disney teacups” he said. “I call this my Oprah trick. They pick what type of vehicle, what color and I make that vehicle, to those specifications, appear under impossible conditions. And the audience gets a chance to win the vehicle, all for the ticket price.”

Tickets can be purchased at www.claytonoperahouse.com or by calling the opera house box office at 686-2200.

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