There are a table and two chairs on stage with you. The performer has a small pack of white cards, like business cards, which have six symbols similar to E.S.P. symbols2 printed on one side.
He asks a gentleman to give him one of his business cards in exchange for one of the symbol cards. The performer places the business card in the center of the table, and asks the gentleman to choose one of the symbols in his mind. When he has done so, the performer seats him at the chair to the left of the table, and asks him to tear the symbol he is thinking of out of the card, without letting the audience see which symbol it is. He then places it on the blank side of his business card.
2 The card is lightly perforated horizontally across the middle and vertically between the symbols. In the original, only two illustrations have been drawn: this and a business card at the top of page 216. Thanks to Alex Redans for loaning us the material Punx sent to him. These are the balance of the illustrations in this section. CMSjr
The patter goes like this:
"There is a well-known phenomenon, which we used to play with when we were children. Do you remember how we would make each other stare at a white figure on a blacK surface, or vice-versa, for ten seconds? Then we would look at the ceiling, and we could see the same figure there. I have discovered that it is possible to transmit this image on the retina to the retina of another person! So, when looking at a white surface, they could see the other person's symbol, without knowing what it was.
"This is what was most surprising: When you have been staring at a black figure, you see it in WHITE on the ceiling and vice-versa. But when you pick up the image on another person's eye, it changes once more, and you see a white figure as white and a black figure as black. No one has been able to explain this mystery.
"Let's do an experiment. Look at the chosen symbol for ten seconds. (The performer can use a stop watch.) Now put your symbol and the symbol card in your pocket and close your eyes to save the image. Your business card will remain on the table. Permit me to blindfold you. Otherwise you might be tempted to open your eyes and the image would be lost." Now the performer calls a lady on stage and seats her across the table from the man. He explains:
"Here is this gentleman's business card. Please take this pencil. The business card is snow white on the back, as you can see."
The performer shows both sides of the card and places it in front of the lady. Then he takes the blindfold off the gentleman.
(To the lady:) "Please look into this gentleman's eyes for ten seconds. When I say 'now,' please close your eyes tightly and keep them closed. Can I be sure that you will do that? NOW\ Please, do not open them before I tell you to."
(To the gentleman:) "You sir, have done your duty, so you may take your seat again." He does so.
(To the lady) "Open your eyes, and look at the blank side of the business caril. You will see a soft, weak image of a symbol, but only for a few seconds. To preserve the image, please follow the lines with your pencil. Fill it in as strong and black as possible, so we can see it at a distance, too. - Excellent! Is this what you have seen, a circle?"
"Please, sir, show us your torn out piece. - Is it a circle?"
It/s a circle.
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