The laughter and chatter over drinks and bar food that usually fills the Observatory, was replaced spooky carnival music, gasps, mind reading and ghostly activity when the annual paranormal show came to Algonquin on Oct. 13.

“Science has no place here,” host Nikolai Diablo bellowed at the audience. “Every one of you can have a paranormal experience.”

And indeed they did.

Although the crowd was sparse with several empty seats, Diablo called those in attendance to stage to participate in the show. He played a game of Russian roulette with paper bags and a single nail, a live action version of the game Clue, several different forms of telepathy and a séance that closed out the show.

In past years the show included more carnival elements, but this time around Diablo focused more on the paranormal as he defied both gravity and reality while performing acts of retro cognition.

However, not everyone was impressed with the format. Cyril Ricketts, a second-year library technician student had attended the previous year and found that the show didn’t stack up to what he had seen in the past.

“Compared to last year, it wasn’t quite as much variety,” he said. “For a one man show, it was still pretty entertaining.”

Diablo himself is a veteran carnival performer that began performing at the age of 11 when he apprenticed under his grandfather who owned a circus sideshow from 1920 to 1968.

Over the years, he has performed several different shows, but the Carnival Diablo is one of his more well known acts. It has even been included in several TV shows on A&E, CTV, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, National Geographic and CBC.

The hour and a half long one-man paranormal show was one of several shows he has been performing at Algonquin for 25 years.

“I’ve been here a long time,” Diablo told the Times after the show.

He adds he has had many memorable experiences with audience members throughout his many years performing at the college.

“I’ve had things happen with certain people on stage where they’ve broken down and some people start crying during the performance,” he said. “I had one person that was mildly possessed during the séance and we actually had to bring her out of it through hypnosis because it was really messed up.”

Before concluding this year’s show, he ended the evening on a high note with one last spooky sentiment for the crowd.

“Sweet nightmare, goodnight!” he howled.