The performer asks someone from the audience to volunteer for a curious experiment. This person is requested to take a seat on stage. Next, several spectators in the audience note down three-digit numbers on a pad. The sheet with their numbers is removed from the pad and handed to the spectator on stage.
She now freely selects one telephone directory from a stack representing various cities. The performer moves well away from her and requests that she choose one of the numbers on the sheet of paper and read it out for everyone to hear. She is next asked to turn to that page in her selected directory and read the first entry to herself, after which she announces only the name of the selected person or business. Following considerable concentration, the performer correctly announces the profession, street address and phone number of the selected party!
Next, the volunteer selects a second number from the pad, which is not announced. She opens the directory to the freely selected page and selects another entry. The performer asks the spectator only to concentrate on the phone number. The performer concentrates as well, then notes something on the pad. The spectator is now asked to announce the phone number. The pad is turned around and it is seen that the performer has written down precisely the same phone number. He goes even further by announcing the name, address and profession of the selected party correctly!
This series of events have a tremendous impact on audiences, but they are topped by yet another feat: The spectator is asked to open the directory somewhere near the middle and to select any entry on that page. With a further bit of concentration, the performer announces the name and phone number of this third free selection!
The final phase of the routine can also be presented as an experiment in influence or prediction, in which a sealed envelope is proven to contain a large computer print-out of the selected name and phone number!
Once again, I have combined some well-known principles, to synthesize several simple effects into a presentation that far surpasses the sum of its parts. Experienced mentalists will have strong suspicions from the effect description that I use a number-switching pad to force the pages. A variety of such pads are available through magic dealers. I personally use the Working Professional's Switch Pad, which is described in Chapter Three (pp. 111-114).
Another important prop is a specially prepared telephone directory: One hundred and twenty pages are removed from the center of the directory and replaced with a ranging-force bank that consists of four pages duplicated thirty times. These force pages must each contain no more than four display ads. You will therefore need thirty copies of your city's yellow-page directory. You could purchase these from the local phone company. Or you can do what I did:
Each year, when the new directories are issued, various sites are established where people can drop off their old directories for recycling. I am unaware of any law forbidding you from helping yourself to a few of these discarded books, which you can later return after you have carefully extracted the required four pages from each. Assemble these sets in a neat stack and take them, along with an intact current directory to a local bookbinder and have him remove the original center pages, glue in your force bank and trim the edges. The result is a directory that looks completely normal and can be used for many years. (It isn't necessary to replace the directory each year. You can simply replace the old cover with a new one.)
When your bookbinder has finished your directory, mark the first and last pages of the repeating section on the top, bottom and side edges. If you draw straight, neat, black lines, they will pass as part of the advertising layout.
In the first quarter of the prepared directory (in a large city this would mean between pages 100 and 300), look for a page with many small listings and only a few ads. There should be two to four ads, distributed around the page. Note the page number, as it will be used as a force number on the number-switching pad.
Do the same with the second quarter of the book, but make sure that this force page is at least a hundred pages short of the repeating section. One hundred pages after the duplicate pages (in the third quarter of the book), find your third force page; and one more in the back quarter. Important: Each of these four force pages must start with a small entry, not a display ad.
Having found your four force pages, copy down the small listing at the upper left corner of each of these pages, and the display ads as well, making a cue sheet for yourself. Also note the positions of the ads; e.g., ul (upper left) or lr (lower right). I recommend using a typewriter or computer printer to create the list, then reduce the typed text on a photocopier. Paste this cue list around a thick felt-tip marker. This is Market■ One.
Make another cue list of all the display ads on the four duplicate pages of the repeating section, as well as their positions. Paste this around another marker. This is Marker Two.
Next prepare the number-switching pad to force the four pages listed on Marker One. Each number, of course, should be written in a different hand.
Finally, we come to the stage setting. Have a chair and a small table on the stage. A stack of three or four various city directories and the yellow pages are on the table, along with a knife or letter opener. Also have a microphone available. Set your attache case on a second chair or table. It should contain all other props, including a sketch pad and Marker One. Place Marker Two in your right-side jacket pocket.
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Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.