The performer requests the assistance of someone from the audience, who joins him on stage. He next asks for everyone in the first few rows of the audience who has any paper currency on them to bring out a bill and hold it high in the air. The assisting spectator freely points to anyone with a bill and is sent out to that person with an envelope. The bill is sealed in the envelope and left with its owner, all while the performer remains on stage. Nevertheless, he proceeds to divine the serial number on the sealed bill.
It is important to note that, with this method, the performer never touches the bill or approaches its owner until after the divination has been accomplished. This seems to me to fulfill the requirements of the perfect serial-number divination.
The secret compartment of the Teleport Envelope contains a bill carrying a serial number known to you, and the Teleport Envelope automatically switches the spectator's bill for yours! However, you must be prepared to handle bills in varying conditions—crisp, moderately worn, very worn—and of various denominations. Therefore, you should have a Teleport Envelope prepared for each possible bill and condition. You must then index these envelopes for quick access. They can be filed in a wallet (consider the features of a Himber-style wallet for this), or be indexed in your pockets or attaché case.
You will also have to know the serial numbers on each bill. These can be secretly recorded for your reference on a writing pad (see "Border Intelligence", pp. 115-116) or on the barrel of the felt-tip marker (à la Syl Reilly's "Brain Echo") with which you jot down your impressions.
Ask a member of the audience to assist you briefly with the next test and have her join you on stage. Next ask those spectators in the first few rows to dig into their pockets for a bill and hold it high in the air. Have your assistant on stage point to anyone holding up a bill. The other spectators are told to relax and put their money away.
While the owner of the chosen bill is holding it in the air, you note its value and condition. You then bring forth an envelope loaded with a similar bill. Give this and a pair of scissors to your on-stage helper and have her take them out to the owner of the designated bill.
Have your assistant take the bill, fold it in half widthwise, green-side outward, and slip it folded end first into the envelope (thus matching the orientation of your bill in the secret compartment). Then have the spectator seal the envelope and leave it with its owner, along with the scissors. Thank your helper and have her return to her seat in the audience. Throughout this procedure it is clear that you never come near the bill.
From stage you now proceed to divine the serial number on the bill, writing it large on your pad. The spectator in the audience is asked to snip the end off the envelope, remove his bill and verify your clairvoyant impressions, all of which he does. After the applause that results from this, you stride into the audience to shake the spectator's hand, retrieve your scissors and helpfully relieve him of the remains of the Teleport Envelope.
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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.