Many of the books and magazine articles written about the X-Ray Eye Act have covered additional safeguards when putting on a blindfold to "prove" that you cannot see, such as tape, coins, dough, additional bandages and the like. I have studied many of these methods and would like to offer some of my thoughts on the subject.
Whether you should use additional methods of sealing the eyes depends entirely on the particular routine you are doing.
You should first consider that there are two ways to use any type of blindfold. One is when the blindfold is incidental to the effect; the efTect would be impossible looking even without the blindfold. A good example is Telepato II. Here the main efTect is the drawing of an unknown design. Even if you weren't blindfolded the effect would still not be possible.
And sometimes, in this type of effect, the blindfold strengthens the routine and covers a weak point. A good example of this situation would be in a Card Calling efTect where the spectator grabs a bunch of cards from a supposedly shuffled deck and you call off all the cards he holds. It is a powerful efTect, and is usually achieved using a stacked deck and a False Shuffle. (I, of course, prefer my Breakthrough Card System.) You simply break the deck at the point where the spectator removes his batch of cards, secretly note the card above that point, and work down in your stack.
If you employ a blindfold, a number of fine points to strengthen the efTect can be added. The blindfold should be in place before the cards are selected. The audience will therefore feel that you have no way of knowing what area of the deck the cards came from. They will also feel that you cannot know how many cards were chosen and they will be convinced that the cards are not marked — after all, what good would that do if you are blindfolded? (And, of course, a marked and stacked deck does offer all sorts of possibilities that you should think about!) In addition, a blindfold makes the peek easier, since the spectators think that you cannot see and will therefore be off-guard.
Even though the blindfold plays a large part in the efTect noted above, the trick still looks impossible without the blindfold. It is not absolutely necessary. In this case, just the blindfold alone is sufficient; nothing more in the way of eye security is needed for the effect. A quick examination by an audience member and then on with the blindfold and the routine. There are many effects in mentalism and magic in which a blindfold can be used in this way to strengthen the effect and to tie up some loose ends.
The second scenario is where the blindfold is vital to the effect; the effect is nothing without the absence of sight. This is the case in effects such as the Blindfold Drive, the Acid Test (wherein the performer drinks the liquid in the one glass of five that does not contain acid or poison), some versions of Russian Roulette (Bob Cassidy's efTect), the Blindfold Card Stab (in which the performer stabs one or more selections from a shuffled deck spread on the table), the Blindfold Poker Deal (in which hands are dealt to several spectators, cards peeked at in each of the hands, and the shuffled deck once again dealt with the performer receiving all of the selected cards), and in the standard Seeing with the Fingertips act where the performer names or describes items held out to him while he is blindfolded.
There is an important distinction between the Seeing with the Fingertips act and the X-Ray Eyes act that you should understand. It does not seem to have been covered previously in print. In the Seeing with the Fingertips, the performer's sight is supposed to be cut off while he senses objects without sight, while in the X-Ray Eyes the performer is supposed to see through the blindfold due to paranormal vision.
If you're doing an X-Ray Eyes act, the blindfold can be used effectively to show that you somehow can see, even though it should be impossible that you could use your eyes. The late Kuda Bux is an ideal example: Volunteers would apply dough and yards of fabric to Kuda's face. He only seemed to be worried that they left enough space around his nostrils so that he could breathe. (He claimed, when questioned about this, that he saw through his nostrils!) With his head mummified in this way, the spectators were sure sight was impossible. Yet he immediately solved math problems on the blackboard, duplicated signatures, exhibited marksmanship and many other incredible feats — difficult even if you had sight. There was no hesitation and the immediate reaction was that somehow he could still see, even though they knew sight was impossible.
In all of these effects, the whole mystery becomes the blindfold itself and it is axiomatic that the more the mystery centers on the blindfold, the more you should pay attention to making the blindfolding process seemingly more restrictive.
In other words, the blindfold is everything. It is imperative the audience be convinced that either the performer cannot see (in the case of Seeing with the Fingertips), or cannot use his regular vision (in the case of the X-Ray Eyes). Therefore, additional methods of blindfolding are necessary.
What I will describe below is the method I currently use in my professional performances. I designed it for use with the Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold and I am very proud of it: it is simple, easy, and unlike most other ideas in this line is not messy.
Johnson and Johnson make an extremely large Band-Aid® that is about five inches long by two inches wide. You can find it in most drug stores. The unique thing about this Band-Aid is that there is no sticky surface at the edge of the center pads, as shown in Figure Four. If one each of these Band-Aids is placed diagonally across the eyes, as shown in Figure Five, you can still use the Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold in the way explained without hindrance to the sight.
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Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.