Reflecta Thot

The most recent use of the principle of restricted selection that I know of appeared in Larry Becker's book, World of Super Mentalism, under the name "Reflecta - Thot." At first, I glossed over it, probably because of the weak conclusion, but later I realized how ingenious and undetectable the method of the trick was. I give Larry Becker my heartfelt thanks for his permission to publish his idea in this book.

Here is the routine for "Reflecta - Thot."

A spectator is asked to come on stage. There is an envelope containing five cards. On the front of each card, there are 100 randomly selected words, each of which is numbered. All 500 words are different. The cards are numbered one through five, and each card has its number printed on its back with a large black numeral. The words on card number one are numbered 100 - 199, the words on card number two are numbered 200 - 299, etc.

The performer goes into the audience and has someone blindfold him with a trick blindfold. Next, he turns his back to the volunteer and instructs him to look at the five cards and to discard any two of them.

The spectator now has three cards in his hand -for example, cards 1, 3, and 4. Now he is to make a three digit number by arranging these cards in any order he chooses. In this case, the numbers 431, 341, 143, etc. would be possible. By using this method of choice, only 60 words come into play. They are the words next to the following numbers:

123, 124, 125, 132, 134, 135, 142, 143, 145, 152, 153, 154, 213, 214, 215, 231, 234, 235, 241, 243, 245, 251, 253, 254, 312, 314, 315, 321, 324, 325, 341, 342, 345, 351, 352, 354, 412, 413, 415, 421, 423, 425, 431, 432, 435, 451, 452, 453, 512, 513, 514, 521, 523, 524, 531, 532, 534, 541, 542, 543.

Once the spectator has secretly constructed a number mentally, he is supposed to look at the word on the card that contains that number. When the spectator has placed all of the other cards back into the envelope and is holding only the card containing his word, the performer turns in his direction briefly. During this quick turn, which may be covered by gesturing towards the table, the performer glimpses the large black numeral on the back of the card which contains the chosen word.

Now the volunteer looks up the word corresponding to his number and writes it on a slate or a piece of poster board to show it to the audience. Then the slate and the word cards are all placed back into the envelope, so the performer cannot possibly know which word the volunteer is working with. (He actually does not know the word!)

Because of the restricted selection, there are only twelve words on the chosen card which come under consideration. Although the performer does not know which of the words has been chosen, he does know which card it is. The refinement of this trick is that each of the twelve words has something in common, a mental similarity, if you will.

Larry Becker makes this into a prediction chosen card contained the 12 "selectable" words juggler, violinist, dancer, pianist, sculptor, etc., he would calmly state, "You have chosen a word that has something to do with skill!"

In comparison with the ingenious principle and the necessary preparations, the effect is much too weak. For this reason, I began to work on the effect. Here is my next to last version, which I developed from an idea of Boretti's:

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