smmwimjlglgmlij^ this version we return to the principle of marked envelopes—but even the best-informed onlooker will swear that marks could not account for what they have seen. The result is a method that will convince any audience that you are truly gifted.
Each of five spectators seated in the audience freely takes a normal, self-sealing, padded mailer from the ten to fifteen offered by the performer. They are then asked to insert some personal object into their mailer and seal it. The mailers are mixed by yet another spectator and brought on stage. This spectator proceeds to blindfold the performer thoroughly, after which the volunteer opens the mailers and puts their contents on a tray. The performer does not touch the objects.
Nevertheless, as he passes his fingertips over each item, sensing the vibrations it emits, he describes the object and its owner!
The mailers are unmarked, so it doesn't matter which of them are selected. However, I have forgotten to mention one detail of the procedure, a detail that the audience fails to remember as well: You helpfully gather the mailers from the spectators in the audience and hand them to the sixth spectator for mixing. It is crucial that this be done with an air of innocent helpfulness; that is, in an entirely unsuspicious fashion—for it is this polite gesture on your part that provides the cover under which you mark the mailers, after the fact. On your thumb you have a thumb tip to which you have securely glued the tip from a darning needle. This piece of needle should be less than a quarter of an inch long.
In collecting the mailers you take them from left to right, thinking of them as one through five. Remember as many details as possible about each spectator as you take his or her sealed mailer, and use the thumb tip to mark the mailers with an invisible line at their bottom ends, which are quite thick due to the folded and glued end seam. Each mark is placed in a different location along the bottom, and must be heavy enough to allow you to identify it by touch. You need
mark only four of the five mailers. The absence of a mark identifies the fifth one for you.
The blindfold the spectator places on you is faked to permit you to see. Whatever type you use, it should be convincing. I use and recommend Richard Osterlind's Apex Solid Steel Blindfold4 in combination with the Band-Aid preparation explained in the instructions that accompany this prop.
As has been remarked by several professionals, Pseudo-psychometry presentations often suffer from one weakness: When you reach the last object, the identification of the final spectator is too obvious, creating an anticlimax when you wish to intensify the effect. Here is how I have conquered the problem in this context:
After you have been blindfolded, pick up the first of the mixed mailers and hand it to your helper. It is at this instant that you feel the mark and identify the spectator to whom the sealed object belongs. Have your helper open the mailer and place its contents on a tray. You should try to be some distance from him at this time, yet close enough to recognize the object and remember as many details about it as possible. You must manage this in an instant. (One reason I use the Osterlind blindfold is that it enables you to glimpse the object with a sidewise glance, without turning your head.) Immediately upon recognizing the object, turn your back to your helper. Next extend one hand behind you and hold it over the object, pretending to sense its vibrational pattern. Then proceed to describe the item and its owner. When you have gone as far as you can with your reading, have your helper return the object to its lender.
Hand your helper the next mailer and have him open it and place its contents on the tray. As this is done, secretly read the mark on the mailer and glimpse the object. Pretend to strain
'Distributed by Jeff Busby in the United States.
for some sense of the item, but after an apparent effort admit that the aura of the object is too strong and confused for you to get anything meaningful from it. Ask your helper to replace the item in its mailer, seal it shut and put it aside for the moment.
Continue with the remaining three items, having the spectator place each on the tray for you to read it, then returning it to its owner. One mailer remains: that with which you experienced difficulty. Ask your helper to take this last mailer (which is still closed) to its owner in the audience, then to take his seat again with your thanks. You, now alone on stage, ask the person to concentrate on his object without taking it from the mailer—and you proceed to describe the person and the object correctly. Removing your blindfold, request that the spectator take the object from the mailer and hold it high in the air, so that everyone can see that you have successfully solved this difficult final challenge!
So much has occurred between the time the second object was placed on the tray and the time you correctly identify it, the audience will most often forget that it was ever out of the mailer, or that the mailer was in your hands.
If you practice this experiment well and present it correctly, I promise you that it can be one of the strongest effects in your program.
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