Figure

small that a spectator who is staring at the blindfold from just inches away will not see any opening.

When I get the opening I don't think of actually raising the blindfold up, but rather I simply squint slightly until I see a ray of light. Then... just a bit more, and I have clear vision. You can control with which eye you see. (Actually you can see with both eyes at once if you wish, but I don't recommend it — it requires raising the blindfold up too high.) With a bit of experimentation you will quickly decide which eye you prefer. You will also find that when you put the blindfold on, you can favor one eye or the other by pressing the blindfold more tightly against one side of the nose or the other. This motion is completely invisible to the spectators. Your vision will not, of course, be straight ahead, but rather angled off a bit to the right or left. This actually helps the illusion: It appears that you are not even looking at the object you are describing!

Remember The key to deceptiveness is the smallness of the opening through which you see. Don't ruin it by raising the whole blindfold up so far that the method is obvious!

Experienced performers will know this without my saying it. What makes good mentalism so strong — and dangerous — is the simplicity of method. With proper showmanship, practice, and (as Dai Vemon would say) "head sense", you can perform miracles. But ... make a clumsy mistake, and not only does the effect become laughable, but your whole prestige as a performer vanishes ... I repeat vanishes.

When a magician makes a mistake, he has a chance of coming back. When a mentalist messes up, he might as well leave the stage.

I am not referring here to missing on the effect but rather exposing the method. In the past, I have had times when I was sure that someone in the audience was on to the method I was using. When this happened I immediately imposed more test conditions making the outcome impossible. Then I deliberately failed. It's not good to fail, but I would rather do that than expose. The very few times this has happened, the audience has actually been on my side — it helped build my prestige later in the show when the next "impossible" routine worked.

The whole point is this: Protect the secret!

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