A celebrate department store recruited me this Saturday to distract their employees.
I offered them in this context a series of magic tricks and mentalism.
Mentalism : The Perfect number
The mentalist hands out 4 papers to 4 different spectators. “Please take one of these billets, and hand the rest to the person on your right…” “First, I will write a prediction on this page…”
“I want to make something related to numbers, have you ever seen weird coincidences occurring in your life? Some think that 7 is a lucky number, while others never want to go to a 13th floor because they think that it gives bad luck, I even read once about the enigma of number 23.”
“But I don’t want to influence your choices… I want each one of you to select a number that does mean something to you… for example I would choose 22 because on the 22nd day of December is My Birthday, or I could choose 50 because that’s the number of girlfriends I’ve had in my life… I’m just kidding, just think of a significant number from 1 to 100 and write it down in your papers please”.
“Great, now you… collect all the papers and give them to the lady over there… are you an engineer? Do you know how to sum numbers? I’m just kidding, please take the slips and write down in each line each of the numbers that they have just written I won’t look” (He turns around).
“When you finish writing the 4 numbers, please add them and write the result on a new line”. “Perfect… I have a prediction inside this envelope…”
The Gift in the lockbox
A table is set up on stage and five spectators will be asked to join the Mentalist. He will set the Labco pad on the table and proceed to tell the five spectators an anecdote (I don’t intend to provide any dialogue here as the story he tells is irrelevant and is used only to plant the idea in the minds of the collective audience that some sort of verbal persuasion is being used, but I will say that an amusing story works well).
After hearing the story, the spectators are asked to write down a word on the pad, starting at one end of the group and moving to the other. Each is asked to write one word, tear out the page, and pass the pad along.
While they are doing this, the Mentalist selects another audience member and asks her to join him on the stage. She is ushered to the table, upon which the Mentalist empties a bag of coins (I use a blend of pennies, nickels, and dimes). The group of five is asked to step back while she selects a coin. She is encouraged to look at numerous coins, and mentally select one. She is asked to look at the date on the coin and memorize it. She is asked if she would like to change her mind and choose another. When she has settled on a coin, she is passed the Labco pad and asked to both write down the date on the coin she chose and to write down a memory associ- ated with that date. For instance, a coin with the date of 1990 could be associated with her first kiss, etc. She writes this down.
The Mentalist then calls attention to a lockbox that has been on display the whole time. It is locked up and as he opens it, he tells the audience that he has something special for this young lady. But before he shows her what is inside, he asks the other five spectators on stage to join the lady at the table and examine the coins. They are all asked to choose a coin themselves and, once they have done so, to call out the date that they chose. They are then asked to choose again, and call out the dates. The five are then dismissed back to the audience and their seats. The Mentalist comments that the Five demonstrated that each date on each coin was unique, that there are no duplicate coins, and that the date on the coin chosen by the young lady on stage is known only to her.
From the lockbox, he produces a gift, wrapped with wrapping paper, with a bow on top, and with a card attached. He hands it to the girl, and inquires after her name. Inspection of the card shows that it is addressed to her. The Mentalist asks the girl to hold the present and think of the memory associated with the date on her chosen coin. He then correctly reveals the memory.
The spectator is then asked to open her present. She is left holding a box. Contained within it is another box. When this box is opened, she finds a small bag secured at the top with a rubber band. She then opens the bag and dumps out a coin. The coin is shown to be a perfect match to the one that she mentally chose. She is then asked to hold up the paper on which she wrote down her choices and a photograph is taken of her and the Mentalist with her holding up the paper. This is emailed to her after the show as a souvenir and serves as a fantastic subterfuge as to why she wrote on the pad.
While the spectator heads back to her seat, the Mentalist calls attention to an envelope that has been hanging above the stage since the beginning of the show, with a spotlight shining on it the whole time. The Mentalist points out that it has remained in full view the entire time, and that it could not possibly have been tampered with. He asks for a show of hands from those who have wondered as to its purpose, and then says that the time has come to satisfy everybody’s curiosity.
He then asks each of the Five to stand up. The Mentalist fetches a chair and stands on it to reach up and fetch the envelope, which he then hands to an audience member. He asks the audience member to randomly select two other participants to serve as witnesses to what is about to happen (this builds a bigger group with more varied responses which helps to add to the drama and prevents the idea of stoogery).
The Mentalist then asks a volunteer to come and stand by a whiteboard. He then asks the group with the envelope to carefully tear it open and slide the card it contains upwards just to the point where it reveals some writing. They are asked to read the writing aloud.
They read the following:
“In preparation for this event, I have jotted down five words which I believe I can manipulate five spectators into choosing later today.”
The Mentalist then asks the first of the five to open up his paper and show it to the audience while also calling it aloud.
The chosen word is written on the whiteboard in large print by the volunteer from the audience.
The Mentalist asks the spectators with the envelope to slide the card further upward just enough to reveal the first word. It is shown to be a match.
The process is repeated successfully for all the remaining words save the second, where the word is shown to be a synonym or antonym of the spectator’s word (I find that this lends cred- ibility to the effect and prevents any suspicion that the method is not due to mental manipula- tion of the Five). Because this miss happens early on and is very close to the word chosen, it is accepted as a hit of sorts, and by the time the fifth and final revelation is shown to be correct, the slight error is all but forgotten, but the sense of authenticity is not.
The Mentalist directs applause to each one of the five, the committee, and his helper on stage, and then takes a bow himself.
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