The performer invites a spectator to come up on stage to assist him with a strange experiment. The helper is handed a whiteboard with a large bulldog clip attached to the top. From under the clip a folded card is protruding.
The on-stage helper indicates two people from the audience, who are invited to stand up.
"Thank you sir," the performer says. "Would you please do me a favor and make your mind a total blank -- don't anyone say anything smart -- and let a three digit number appear in your mind. I'll give you two clues. This number is less than 200 and has no zeros in it. Take your time; allow the number to filter into your mind's eye. Do you have it?"
"Call it out please."
Turning to the onstage helper. "Please record that number at the top of the board." Pointing to the second audience participant. "Now do the same as he did; allow a number to appear in your mind. Since his number was less than 200, it's only fair to cover all the possibilities and let your three-digit number be greater than 200. Take your time; let the number appear in your mind in red letters. Please call it out when you're ready. "
The helper calls out, "375."
Once again turning to the on-stage helper, the performer instructs, "Please place a comma after the first number, and record his three digit number after it. Now, two people from the audience have constructed a six-digit number, and I think you'll have to agree that this was done in an extremely fair manner. If any one of the two gentlemen had changed any one of these digits the number would have been affected as much as several thousands. I'd like to call your attention to the clip at the top of the pad; it contains a folded index card. Nothing sneaky; I'm just going to open it and let you see that it contains four five-digit numbers. Sir, will you please write these on the board, in a column, because we're going to add them up. Do this so that everyone can see the numbers as you record them."
As the helper is writing the numbers down the performer addresses the audience. "Numbersplay an increasingly-important role in our lives; from computer passwords to ATM access numbers. We're practically obsessed with numbers, and I've used this fact to my advantage -- for entertainment purposes, of course. You see, although these two gentlemen appeared to have a completely free choices, certain rather complex psychological factors were introduced that profoundly affected their decisions. These same persuasive techniques can, and some say have, been used to influence even more important decisions . . . " The purpose here is to kill time while your helper writes down all the numbers. When he's finished, turn around and retrieve the marker from him. Begin totalling the columns.
"Let's see . . . six and three and one make ten, plus four is fourteen, carry the one . . ."
As you total the numbers it becomes apparent that, digit by digit, the total is matching the six-digit number created by the audience!
When the total is reached, and matches the audience generated number, announce, "Give yourselves a big hand. I didn't do this -- YOU did!"
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