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For the 1970's TV detective series, see Banacek.

Banachek (30 November 1960, as Steven Shaw) is an American mentalist.[1] Banachek has written books on mentalism, such as Psychological Subtleties, and invented various magic and mentalism effects, including the Penn & Teller bullet catch and the original "buried alive."



Born in England and raised in South Africa and Australia, Banachek has been performing since his arrival in the United States in 1976.[2]

Banachek is often sought out by various top entertainers and magic TV shows around the world as a consultant. The entertainers include Penn & Teller, David Blaine, Lance Burton, James Randi and Criss Angel.[3][4] He has been responsible for putting more magic and mentalism on American television than any other magic consultant in the world.

Banachek is renowned for fooling scientists at Washington University into believing that his supposed psychic abilities were genuine during the Project Alpha hoax in the early 1980s.[5][6] He also took part in an investigation with Randi exploring Peter Popoff, which ultimately exposed Popoff's false claims.[7]

He has appeared on several television programs including CNN Live,[2] Mindfreak[4] and Unscrewed with Martin Sargent.[8]

In 2008 he toured as part of a stage show called Hoodwinked with Bob Arno, Todd Robbins and Richard Turner.[9][10]

On July 12, 2009 he conducted a preliminary test of Connie Sonne's dowsing ability for the James Randi Educational Foundation's Million Dollar Challenge that was witnessed by hundreds in person and hundreds more via live webcast.[11][12]


  • Psychic Entertainers Association Dave Lederman Memorial Award (Awarded for Creativity in Mentalism) 1997 [13]
  • APCA (Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities) Entertainer of the Year 1998, 1999.[14]
  • APCA College Campus Novelty Act of the Year 2000.
  • Psychic Entertainers Association Dan Blackwood Memorial Award (Awarded for Outstanding Contribution to the Art of Mentalism) 2006[13]
  • Psychic Entertainers Association Dunninger Memorial Award (Awarded for Distinguished Professionalism in the Performance of Mentalism) 2007[13]
  • His book Psychological Subtleties 2 won the first place in The Magic Woods Awards, for best book in 2007.

Books & Videos

  • Atmore, Joseph; Dunninger, Joseph; Banachek; Palmer, Bill (2001). Dunninger's Brain Busters. Humble, TX: H&R Magic Books. pp. 111. OCLC 65215584.  
  • Banachek; Burlingame, Hardin J.; Wells, Scott R.; Gillett, S. Christopher (2002). Psychophysiological Thought Reading, or, Muscle Reading and the Ideomotor Response Revealed. Houston, Texas: Magic Inspirations. pp. 73. ISBN 9780970643810. OCLC 60349209.  
  • Banachek; Dyment, Doug; Wells, Scott R. (2007). Psychological Subtleties 2. Houston, Texas: Magic Inspirations. pp. 206. ISBN 9780970643827. OCLC 310366497.  
  • Banachek (Featured Performer). (2004). Banachek's Psi Series. [Motion picture]. United States: L&L Publishing.  


  1. ^ Randi, James (1992). Conjuring. New York City, NY: St. Martin's Press. p. 229. ISBN 0-312-09771-9.  
  2. ^ a b Crement, Kelly (October 9, 2006), "Mentalist showcases his 'sixth sense'", The Daily Eastern News,, retrieved July 31, 2009  
  3. ^ Nickell, Joe (July 30, 2009). "Thought-Reader Banachek". Amherst, NY: Center for Inquiry. Retrieved July 30, 2009.  
  4. ^ a b Banachek at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Randi, James (Summer 1983), "Project Alpha Experiment: Part I, The First Two Years", Skeptical Inquirer (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) 7 (4): 24–33, ISSN 0194-6730  
  6. ^ Randi, James (Fall 1983), "Project Alpha Experiment:Part 2, Beyond the Laboratory", Skeptical Inquirer (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) 8 (1): 36–45, ISSN 0194-6730  
  7. ^ Randi, James (1989). The Faith Healers. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. p. 141. ISBN 0-87975-535-0.  
  8. ^ Bernhard, Brendan (August 14, 2003), "YOUR FUTURE, 24/7: The dystopian delights of TechTV", LA Weekly,, retrieved July 31, 2009  
  9. ^ Greenaway, K (July 10, 2008), "If it weren't onstage, it'd be illegal", The Montreal Gazette,, retrieved July 31, 2009  
  10. ^ Smith, Alison (November 25, 2008), "Woo in Review: HOODWINKED", SWIFT (James Randi Educational Foundation),, retrieved July 31, 2009  
  11. ^ Smith, Alison (July 17, 2009). "Connie Sonne Preliminary Challenge Test at TAM 7". SWIFT. James Randi Educational Foundation. Retrieved July 30, 2009.  
  12. ^ "Connie Sonne Paranormal Challenge Videos". James Randi Educational Foundation. July 22, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2009.  
  13. ^ a b c "Awards". Psychic Entertainers Association. Retrieved July 30, 2009.  
  14. ^ Brinck, Chad (October 8, 2001), "Steve Banachek- Mentalist of the Millennium-performed Friday", Clarkson Integrator (Clarkson University),, retrieved July 31, 2009  

External links



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