As I'm sure some of you must have noticed, there is no reason to put the card into a book. If you
Tangled Web wanted it hidden, there are a dozen better, more logical places to hide it, within three feet of any performance space.
To help justify (nothing will ever make this truly seem normal) the hiding of the card in the book, I have the "secret thought" chosen from the book. I have the spectator open it to any page, read random words and phrases to himself, and get a secret thought.
I then deliver this line of "pabulum"—"Since your thought came from the book, I'll let you return it. Slip it in there anywhere."
I know, it only seems to make sense. But in my opinion, its better than just delivering the non sequitur of "Put the card in the book," without a reason.
Do not make the mistake of overlooking the preliminary attempts to discover the writing without doing the peek. The opportunities for getting the information without peeking are really the whole point of using this method. If you can pencil read it, or get it off the cover, you are in a position to present a true impossibility that occurs under the strictest of conditions. Qi>
his piece was put together in collaboration with my friend Michael Weber. Weber once remarked to me that "If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day If you teach a man to fish, he thinks he's a mentalist" The interesting aspect of this effect, from a methodological standpoint, is that the "fishing" part contains no real fishing. The presentation is very funny, seems impromptu, and has a great two-punch climax. It is a fine example of professional close-up mentalism.
I wrap a handful of borrowed change in a handkerchief, gather the corners, making a little impromptu bag, and shake up the coins. Someone is asked to reach inside and remove one coin without showing it to anyone. I turn away and begin: "Lets talk about what is mind reading and what is not mind reading. If I tell you something that everyone already knows, it's not mind reading. For example, take a look at what's in your hand, but don't let anyone else see it. I get the feeling this is a round or circular shaped object, and it's flat. Like a disk, is that correct? [Yes.] And it's metallic? [Yes.] Does this disk have some kind of value? [It does.] Great. I also get the impression that there is an image engraved on either side. On one side is a profile of a man s head; is that true? [Yes.] Not only that, but this image is much smaller than the man's actual head. This is a person of great importance, who held some kind of public office? [Yes.] There are four numbers printed down by the mans neck? [Yes.] Incredible!"
This is all played for laughs, completely tongue in cheek. "That, of course, is not mind reading because, if you hold a coin, we all know that those things are true. Lets take it a step further. Again, don't let anyone else see it, but
Tangled Web turn the coin over, so that you are looking at the back. Concentrate on the image engraved on the back of that coin. There are three things there, correct? [Yes.] I see two different tree branches on either side of a torch. That must mean you're holding a dime. [Yes.] So, if you turn it over, you are looking at the profile of Roosevelt, correct? [Of course.] Now take a look at the numbers down by his neck. That's the date this particular coin was minted, and I want you to concentrate on it. This used to be easier, because every date began with a one and a nine, but that's not always true now. It is true in this case however. The numbers are one, nine, eight, and four. 1984. Is that the date you were thinking of? Thank you."
This is a very simple routine that makes use of the old Devil's Hank. Instead of buying a marketed version, I highly recommend that you make your own, or have one made for you. By doing this, it won't look like some crazy magic-prop, and you'll feel a lot better about using it. Get two plain, white, men's handkerchiefs and sew them together along three edges. The fourth edge is only sewn along half its length, so that
an opening is left between the handkerchiefs (figure 1).
Go find four or five quarters and four or five dimes, all with the same date. I like to pick a date from ten or fifteen years ago. (Older coins are less common, so guessing an older date is more impressive and eliminates the thought that maybe you have studied statistics of "coin frequency" and got lucky.) These coins are loaded inside the Devils Hank before you begin. You will be forcing from this group.
I ask to borrow as much pocket change as the group can come up with. While the search begins, I pull the loaded Devils Hank from my pocket with the corners gathered together. This forces the loaded coins to gather in the center. I quietly lay the loaded center of the handkerchief onto my left palm
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