Jep Hostetler, a past president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, held up a copy of The Elkhart Truth on Tuesday. He paged through the paper, showing the campers that all of the sections were intact: full pages of sports, news, lifestyle.
Then Hostetler deconstructed the news. He pulled pages apart. He created strips. He tore strips in half. He shaped the pieces into a ball. Within seconds, The Truth was unreadable. With a quick movement of his hands, the stripped-down version of the news became whole pages, ready to be read.
The writer of this blog post has no idea how he did it — or how he managed the other tricks he shared in a half-hour visit with Write on Sports.
Hostetler, a longtime professor in the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University and a nationally known inspirational speaker, offered to make this stopover at Goshen College, his alma mater. Hostetler, who is known as Dr. Jep, brought along a briefcase of cards, stuffed animals, balloons, newspapers and other tools of the trade.
For the magic, he performed tricks both sitting and standing — within a few feet, and sometimes a few inches, of the campers, an invitation to decipher his method.
For the first trick, he placed two foam bunnies in the hand of Gracie Edmonds.
“He told me to close my fist really hard,” Gracie said. “I felt something expanding in my hand. I really wanted to open my fist, but I had to wait.”
When Dr. Jep gave the word, Gracie undid the fist. “Five bunnies jumped out of nowhere,” she said. “I started with two bunnies. All of a sudden I had seven. It was insane.”
Dr. Jep did not help the students magically finish their feature stories or their video reports, but sometimes when journalists step away from their desks for a little while, the storytelling is all the better for it.