Phil Goldstein |
The performer wnteTa prediction on the back of his business card. This is placed aside. A small twelve-page calendar is introduced. The sheets are torn from the calendar's backing board, and spread face down for a spectator to make a free selection from same. Another spectator is asked to call out a number from one to thirty-one. These two pieces of information are combined to produce a date — say, July 24. The prediction message on the back of the card is found to read: "I forecast the date of July 24. Signed, (performer's name).
The method combines a classic mentalism technique with a clever idea devised by the late Hen Fetsch, which allows you to force the name of the month. The procedure was used by Fetsch in conjunction with an impression device, for a demonstration of thought-reading ("Date Man Duplication", Phoenix 238,1951).
The calendar is prepared. The front sheet bears the layout for January, as would be expected. However, all eleven of the other sheets are duplicates for the month of July. Thus, when the stapled sheets are torn from the backing board, and spread for a selection, the spectator can only pick July! When you fan the sheets, if your approach is confident and casual, you can be certain that the spectator will draw from near the centre of the fan — thus, the force month of July will not be suspect (as July occurs near the middle of the range of months). If, however, you are unsure about this, simply give the sheets an open mixing prior to the selection — so that there will not be any surprise no matter where the July sheet happens to turn up. Of course, you must see to it that the one January sheet is not taken. Simply keep this below the others, and do not spread it out — thus, it cannot be taken.
There is no need to "prove" that the months are all different. The audience assumes that all twelve sheets are different. The only reason they might think otherwise would be if your own guilt tipped them off. . .
Having taken care of the choice of month, what about the choice of date? This is a legitimately free selection — which is added to the prediction message ex post facto with the use of a nailwriter. This can be in your pocket, in any of the various holders that have been described and/or marketed in the past. When you put away the eleven unchosen sheets, you put on the writer. Pick up the business card (which has the entire message written out, except for the date number). Say, "Before we check to see if I've been accurate with the month, let's take this a step further." Turn to a spectator, and have him/her call out a date. If the date is over 28, turn to the first spectator with the month sheet and inquire if there are enough days on the sheet to cover the named number. (Of course there will be, if you use a force month with 31 days). During the question you write in the number with the nailwriter. If the named date is under 29, your stall is in the form of asking the first spectator to place his/her finger onto the named date, so that it won't be forgotten.
Of course, the forced month could be combined with a number force to allow for a totally forced date, predicted with no nailwriting. However, there are few number forces as quick and clean as the month force, and to go into anything top complicated here would bog down the presentation and thus lessen the impact of what is, after all, a very fast routine.
The routine can be expanded one more step, if desired, by using an idea first put into print (I believe) by Eddie Clever. In your pocket, have a handful of coins of random values, but all with the same year of issue. These are tossed onto the table, and a spectator allowed to pick up any one of the coins. Again, the key here is bold confidence manifested through casual behaviour. If you convey the sense that you have nothing to hide, tne audience will assume that the dates on the coins are all different — that the coins are an arbitrary group that just happen to be on hand. With this extra force, then, the prediction message is expanded to include a year, as well as the month and day.
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