The Childhood Memory

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Revelation Effect Mentalism and Mind Reading

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As its name implies, this element consists of a character statement based on common experiences of childhood. The trick is to devise statements that are only slightly less than obvious, or at least seem to be so in the context of a reading. One of my personal favourites is 'the abandoned interest', and it goes like this:

"In your younger years I get the impression of a particular interest or subject you were very keen on, where you showed lots of promise. I get a feeling that this was something on the creative or artistic side, where perhaps your parents felt you might even have gone on to great things, as they say, but it was not to be."

This kind of comment will win agreement from most clients. The simple fact is that most children pursue their strongest aptitudes with great enthusiasm. However, they generally fail to develop their personal passions into fame and fortune, and so these interests become neglected or abandoned.

The interest generally falls into one of two categories: either creative/artistic (writing, painting, music, dancing) or sports/ athletics. When I use this element, I make a guess as to which of the two I think is more likely, and if it does not seem to hit I try offering the alternative.

Words and significance

In case the Childhood Memory seems too simple to be effective, let me mention another aspect of cold reading psychology. In the course of a successful reading, the psychic may provide most of the words, but it is the client that provides most of the meaning and all of the significance. Clients tend to graft their own specific experiences on to the more generalised words and themes provided by the psychic. We will return to this point later when we look at Presentational Points.

This is an important psychological factor in cold reading. It applies to the majority of elements listed in this section, but it is especially relevant to the Childhood Memory. The psychic's simple reference to "a talent or ability" can evoke a highly detailed and vivid set of memories in the client's mind, full of very specific recollections and feelings - striving to master the piano, producing a first oil painting, winning an athletics prize... or whatever it may happen to be. Subsequently, the psychic gets the credit not for the simple Childhood Memory statement in its raw form, but for having 'perceived' all these specific and heartfelt memories of years gone by.

The anxious parents

Another Childhood Memory which I have used with great success is 'the anxious parents', which goes like this:

"Again, looking at your younger, formative years, while all children have a few minor illnesses I can sense something more significant here - it may have been an illness, it could have been an injury or an accident, but it was actually quite serious. I seem to sense your parents and other people around you were more worried at the time than they really had need to be, given that things turned out okay."

This is only one step removed from the obvious (all children go through some illness and disease) to something slightly less obvious (most children experience at least one serious illness or accidental injury). Appearing to 'see' the scene, and to respond to the emotions at the time, lends the statement a nice psychic flavour. A very similar variant is the 'accident involving water'. Most people can find something in their childhood which ties in with a statement along these lines.

The lucky job

Another Childhood Memory statement which I have used actually refers to early career steps rather than childhood. I call it the 'lucky job' statement, and it sounds like this:

"Moving on in time, I'm looking now to around when you got your first proper job or made your first real career move, and... mmm, this is difficult to explain. I get a sense that there was something lucky or fortunate about it, maybe a strong coincidence or a fluke in your favour. Anyway... something not quite orthodox about how you came to get this job or this position. I think perhaps this makes sense to you."

This is just another example of the same Childhood Memory formula: a very common growing-up experience described in a slightly less than obvious way. Employers generally look for experience, and young people cannot gain experience until someone gives them a job. Nine times out of ten, this vicious circle only gets broken because of some piece of good luck or a surprising opportunity. There is nothing especially remarkable about this, but it falls into the category of 'slightly less than obvious', especially in the context of a psychic reading.

I have relied on Childhood Memories a lot in my media demonstrations, and find them tremendously effective.

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