The Mentalist shows to his audience a complete Tarots deck and, while he shuffles it, he explains he wants to try something different. For this experiment he needs the assistance of three or four people who will participate in this demonstration of psychometric vibrations.
The Mentalist makes clear that each one of the participants will have to pass on the deck some of their vital energy, as it would be done before a typical Tarots reading.
In order to do so it will be sufficient that each of the four participants will give a complete cut to the deck. That action will allow the transfer of some subtle energy from their hands onto the deck and, in addition, it will further randomize the mixed condition of the deck. Next, each one of the participants will take 5 or 6 cards for themselves.
When all of the above operations have been completed, the Mentalist turns his back to participants and instruct each one of them to mix once again the cards they have in their own hands, then, to look carefully at their respective groups of cards and to choose one card and one card only.
They must choose one card that they like over the others and this must be done in one of two ways: They must follow their intuition or, better yet, if they know something about the meanings of the Tarots, then they must choose the one card in their group which they feel is the most indicative for the period of their life they are presently going through.
When all the participants have made up their minds on one card, the other cards are discarded. Those cards can be put in their pocket or they can be set aside. The important thing here is that they must be put aside with their faces down because, the Mentalist does not want to be influenced by the energy coming from the other cards, even if discarded.
Once more, the four participants are told to look at the card they have in their hands and to remember it. Then, one of the participants or a fifth person is told to collect all the four cards and to mix them together again, one final time.
When the last operation has been completed, the Mentalist turns facing the participants again and then asks for the four cards to be given to him.
He explains that what he's going to do now, is to try to receive the distinctive vibrations each card will send to him and, by means of those vibrations, he will try to divine some informations about the person who has touched that specific card.
After some due concentration, the Mentalist begins to give very accurate bits of personal information about each one of the participants, one after another and, after each reading, he is able to give back each card to the person who originally chose it.
In this experiment I use two different stacks; two old and famous ones by the way, the Eight Kings stack and the Si-Stebbins stack.
But only one minor part of the whole deck is stacked (20 cards) thus leaving the rest of it (58 cards) in a random order and ready to be genuinely shuffled by you.
In the illustrations at the end of this explanation you will see that I start with the Eight of Pentacles and rotating the suits in Pentacles - Wands - Cups cyclical order. Thus the 2nd card will be the King of Wands, the 3rd card will be the Three of Cups, the 4th card will be the Ten of Pentacles, and so on.
I use the Si-Stebbins stack to deal with the Major Arcana.
In the illustrations at the end of this explanation you will notice that I start with the Fool (0) and then I advance from card to card by adding 3. Thus the 2nd card is the Empress, the 3rd card will be the Lovers, the 4th card will be the Hermit, and so on.
You will also notice that, in my stacked sequence, one suit (Swords) is missing. I avoided on purpose to put that suit in my stack because Swords are almost always thought of as being negative cards by people in general, at least in my culture.
Of course, when you understand how the whole structure works, you can add the Swords suit if that appeals to you.
Enough for the suits issue and now we'll see how I use that stacked sequence in my routine.
First of all, at the beginning of the experiment my 20 Tarots stack is on top of the deck face down and the top card of the stack is corner crimped.
As I speak and ask for the help of some participants, I overhand shuffle the deck. The only thing I must control is that the whole stacked block stays together. When I've completed the shuffle, and I'm still talking, I casually give a complete cut to the deck bringing again on top my 20 cards stack (easy to do because of the crimp!)
Please, note that the cutting of the deck, in the above phase of the routine, is optional.
When the four participants have been selected, I place them in a line, facing the audience and I immediately number them (in my mind!) as 1, 2, 3, 4, starting from my left.
As I continue with my patter and presentation, especially with the rationalization about having the deck cut as in a standard Tarots reading and because of the "aura energy trace" that Tarots can absorb when touched by someone, I give the deck to each one of the participants, one after the other, asking each one of them to give the deck a single complete cut.
When all of the participants have cut the deck, I just give the deck a final cut thus bringing once again my stacked block on top of it (if, by any chance, the last participant, without knowing it, had cut the deck at the crimp thus bringing my stacked block on top. then, of course, I do nothing!)
Next I deal exactly five cards to each one of the participants (starting with participant #1) but with my verbal patter I make them (and the whole audience) believe that: A) Each one of them is actually receiving a random number of cards. B) The number of cards they receive is of no consequence for what we are going to try. If you noticed, I used that patter before in my presentation, when asking for participants to help me. And I always do it that way to further impress in the minds of people that all of what's happening is beyond doubt authentic. I can say something like - "I need three or four people to come here to help me" - and, by the way, if only three people would jump up saying - "ME! Please, ME!" - I have no problems with that too. I can do the whole routine with three people only or I can ask for one more person to join us.
When all of the participants have a "random" group of cards in their hands, I turn my back to them so that becomes non-verbally clear I will not even try to get a peek at their groups of cards and, added bonus, I can face the audience again!
With my back turned I ask each one of them to shuffle again the groups they have in their hands (this simply reinforces the fact that the deck has been shuffled before, and that's only true to a certain extent!) and then to select only one of the Tarots they are holding, putting aside all the others.
Again, here I may use something like - "Just scan with your eyes. and with your eyes only. your group of five or six cards and silently, only inside yourself, decide on one card. and one card only!. And now focus your thoughts on just that one card!"
If you re-read my presentation you'll notice that I tell participants to scan for cards in their groups and decide / focus / concentrate on one card only in one of two ways: A) According to their whim. B) According to their knowledge of Tarots, if any, thus basing their decision for the one Tarot card, which seems to them, among the ones they have in their hands, to best represent the period they are going through in their life at the present time.
I like to frame things in this way because, in my experience, many times, people who knew meanings of cards have really made the effort to choose (even if they were unknowingly confined by my ranging force!) the only one card in their groups that was symbolically communicating something to them. And each time this happens, the whole thing becomes even more real for the participants and more interesting for the whole audience when, in a minute or so, I'll go into the reading phase of the routine.
Finally, I ask to some other person to collect all the four Tarot cards and to shuffle them together. Then I turn facing my participants again and ask for the shuffled cards to be given to me. With the cards in my hands, because of the way they were stacked originally, I immediately know which card belongs to which participant.
As an example, if the Tarots I have in my hands are the Hermit, the King of Wands, the Four of Pentacles and the Queen of Cups, I immediately know that 1st participant in line has chosen the King of Wands, 2nd participant has chosen the Hermit, 3rd participant has chosen the Queen of Cups and 4th participant has chosen the Four of Pentacles.
Now it comes the almost real part of the experiment.
By passing my hand on the cards as to feel some energy coming out from them, I stop over one and begin to say something like - "I feel this card is sending me a sort of message about the person who chose it. it is as if that person has usually a strong will and a great tenacity in life in general but there is an issue now that she finds a little complicate to unravel by herself alone. I really feel that person should trust more the help of a close friend of hers and I can only advice her to seek that help instead of hiding her needs . Speaking about needs, I get a strong sense of the need of a break, the need for letting some past issue go and be forgotten. It may have had hurt you in the past but you knew it right then it was a risky issue when you decided to embark on that. and plus, those teachings are now with you forever and I sense you will wisely use them as guide-rules when going into your future that, apart for some disappointments, I see bright and colorful. That's what this Tarot is sending to me and the person I'm talking about should be you!... Am I right?"
The person acknowledges that I'm right and I then immediately give the card I was reading back to her (She can keep it as a souvenir!)
I now do other three short readings (one for each of the participants left) and I always give them back their unique cards at the end. When the last participant has been sent back to her seat and the experiment is over, I may or may be not, depending on my performance situation, tell to my audience that at the end of my demonstrations I will do some one-on-one private readings for the people who may be interested in knowing something more about themselves and their future.
The vantage points covertly working in your favor here are:
1) By actually knowing who chose that particular card you're "receiving impression from", you can quickly size that person in your mind as for her possible character and demeanor in her life, especially if you know something about personology / physiognomics and do you believe in it, at least to a certain extent, as I do.
2) The card itself, even if chosen from a FORCED range of fives, can be accurately interpreted according to its official meaning.
3) Your knowledge of some classics of Mentalism like Dynamite Mentalism, Twentieth Century Mindreading Act, etc.
4) Your intuition and your experience as a cold-reader that will prove priceless here for filling the voids, so to speak, and much, much more than that.
Please, remember!... What took place until up to now it was, in the view of the audience, nothing more than some people selecting groups of cards from a shuffled and cut deck, then those people deciding which of the cards they randomly chose was the one they wanted to keep according to their personal intuition, whim or arcane knowledge.
The real experiment for them only start when you begin to correctly receive impressions from the cards and, at the end of each short reading, you give the card you've read back to the person whom originally chose it. If you think, even if for a moment, of treating this experiment has the classic WHO HAS WHAT too often (wrongly!) performed as Psychometry, then I urge you to skip this routine and come back to it only when you will be ready to sell it for all its worth.
You could just memorize a set of twenty Tarots or so and that would be quite perfect but I strongly suggest you to have them stacked according to some formula in case your memory would play tricks(!) on you during an actual performance.
Also, you need anyway to know by heart the meaning of each Tarot card if you want to be authentic in your reading and because you need to remember which Major Arcanum correspond to which number!
Third, you can actually stack in a similar way a whole Tarot Deck. That's another thing I like about the fusion of two formulas like, in our example, Si-Stebbins and Eight Kings. Other set-ups did not work for both Major and Minor Arcana!
I personally don't bother with the possible anti-climax generated by the last card I'm reading (which obviously has to be the one previously chosen by the only participant I've not read yet!) because here the reading concept, the whole concept I should say, of having some particular and PERSONAL message for that person about her character and possibly about her future, it's something that will keep that person (and the audience) very interested, no matter what.
Because the Tarots deck is ungimmicked, at the end of the experiment you can give it away as a gift to one of your participants. It will be a gift they'll remember for very long time.
I normally use Rider-Waite decks because of their wide popularity among general public. You can use whatever deck you like as long as is not too obscure for the participants to understand which card is which.
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