The power of cold reading

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There seems to be a growing appreciation of the need for entertainment in the presentation of mentalism. Gone are the vaudevillian days of watching the entertainer awe an audience with his "special powers", except perhaps for a relatively few master showmen such as Geller. Today's audiences are fed a diet of 'IV and movie, fast-action programming. To sit back and watch a slow moving plot that intrigues only the performer is definitely not "HOT."

A majority of the people in the world today believe in some form of ESP or Powers. Every poll conducted in the U.S. indicates that a sizable portion of the population feels that at times they have experienced a telepathic communication, or know someone who has. To present a program that relates to this belief is to involve the audience.

We feel that cold reading can be presented with real impact and entertainment. It can be an act unto itself, or it can radically alter the nature, power and entertainment value of effects. Consider that the most powerful word in any language is that person's name. It has the lowest auditory recognition threshold. It is a proven winner in sales as witnessed by anyone who has taken a Dale Carnegie course, and it is central in each person's interest. If we can involve each member of the audience in the presentation of our programs, we have created interest.

Consider the divination of a card. Which of the following is more powerful to you:

A. Now your card is clearly lost in the deck, isn't that so? You have cut and shuffled the cards, and there is no way for me to know the location of your card. Wouldn't it be interesting if I could find your card? It would be a miracle, wouldn't it? Now, (location achieved by counting, spelling. or whatever means is preferred by the performer).

B. Mary, do you believe in ESP? Jung talked about synchronicity, a kind of cause and effect that isn't coincidence. There is a kind of meaning to events. Now in this case, I believe that the card you selected wasn't just due to chance. I sense that you are concerned about a relationship (money, love, work, communication, etc.), and that you are in a sense, tying to understand or perhaps make a decision. That would indicate to me that you would be likely to choose a heart (name the suit), and that the particular card in that suit would be either a 2 or a 3. Since you seem to be a very sensitive and concerned person, and are more creative in your thinking than many people, I would suspect that it would be the 3 rather than the 2. Was your card the 3 of hearts? Your intuitive powers and ability to concentrate, your will power is, in fact, very strong when you really want to apply it. Your open-mindedness and your determination can work for you.

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