This is the steal I use to perform the credit-card effect described above. It is the easiest steal, and because you must return the wallet, ease and accessibility are paramount. Best done with someone standing, you position yourself facing the spectator arid a little towards the side from which you wish to steal. You need to have a reason to open their jacket wide for them on that side. You open the jacket with the hand on your opposite side: in other words, opening the jacket will block your other arm from their view, allowing it to make the steal. Several entirely justifiable reasons suggest themselves,
• Asking the spectator to hold the jacket open so that you can gain access to, say, his jumper, to perform a cigarette vanish there. You open the jacket on both sides, one at a time for him to take. Opening the first side, you make the steal.
• Asking him to place an object in his inside pocket. You open the jacket so that he can gain the access he needs.
• Asking him to remove an item from the inside pocket.
• In a situation where you are not, as yet, performing, but wish to secure an item early, you do have the brazen option of complimenting him on his jacket, and asking if you can peek at the label. You then open the jacket before he does, This may suit your character, but it tend to telegraph that you might be up to something. Ironically, it works better when you are not performing, as the request to feet or inspect the jacket is something that may occur naturally in real life, but seems odd dHring performance.
In some of these situations, you can casually make a mistake. There may be no inside pocket on the side where you look, but he has one on the other side. Or you ask him to remove the item, but you offer him the wrong side. He corrects the mistake and looks on the other side... but for a moment you have the jacket correctly open on the side you desire.
Quickly and fluidly, the other hand, blocked from view by the open lacket, dips into the side pocket and makes the steal. Because the jacket is away from the body, it will not be felt. I take whatever is there, unless I am specifically going for the wallet which I have seen the spectator place there earlier.
It is an easy, standard and invisible steal. It does not need much in the way of misdirection, for this is normally incorporated into the reason for opening the jacket. Normally no more than two fingers are needed to make the steal, gripping the items in a scissor-like pinch Because my hand has swung up from my side to his pocket, I tend to continue the movement after the steal and place my hand behind his back. Then I can comfortably place the item in my pocket after the event.
If we do not wish to telegraph the steal to the group, it is simply a case of using the jacket and the side of your body to block their view as well. Because you have not skipped a beat with this steal, there is no reason to show it. You have not been seen to indulge in any odd tactile movements with the spectator, so there is no reason to justify unusual actions by showing them what you have achieved. For our purposes, this is important. In some circumstances, however, and ones that do not concern us here - such as where the mood must remain upbeat and light-hearted, displaying the item over their shoulder for the rest of the group to see can be very entertaining.
Very often I find myself in this situation when I am performing my presentation of the 'Invisible Deck.' It plays as a serious piece of hypnotic control and allows me that moment to open the spectator's jacket for him to secure the cards in his inside pocket. If I have removed a wallet, or just a credit-card wallet, I finish the effect and bid them a farewell. Around the corner, I open the wallet and embark upon the dodgy project of writing down all the numbers on the cards as I have described. Then I join the group again a little later, depending upon how long I think he will go without realising what is missing.
I perform a few more mind-reading effects, until I am ready to close. At some point, depending upon the circumstances of the venue, I either sit myseff next to the spectator and quietly return the wallet, or I might ask him to shift from one seat to another and replace it then as I guide him across. Again, this need not be a frightening moment, and in reasonably crowded venues, this is an easy task. Care should be taken when the spectator is seated and the jacket is hanging open at the side of the chair: the shift in weight as the wallet is returned may be noticed unless he is moving for some reason. it is useful to ask him if he would be kind enough to pass you some object from the other side of the table, or to engage in some similar brief activity that wifi necessitate his looking and leaning away for a moment.
When I come to perform the effect, I try to be seated opposite the spectator in question. I ask if he has a wallet, gesturing into my inside pocket as I speak. It is a subtle point, but it will guide him to look in that pocket first himself, before going into the side pocket where it is located. It reinforces the idea that you do not know anything about it or where it might be. As he removes it, I remove the list of numbers and place it on my lap. I take a napkin from the table and a pen from my pocket and place the former near my edge of the table.
A brief word here. There is something priceless about scribbling on napkins. It is the epitome of an unprepared, impromptu and spontaneous effect. If I am professionally performing, 1 only use a pad as a last resort. There is a big difference in my (finicky) mind between a memory of me bringing out my own notepad and writing down received thoughts, and scribbling them on a napkin or a piece of paper torn from a cigarette pack.
In this position, I can look directly at the information on my lap although I will appear to be looking at what I am writing on the napkin. When I ask the spectator to think of a digit towards the beginning or end of the number, ("rather than in the middle which is more confusing"), I see from his eye movement which end he is looking at, and then name the second in from that end. Occasionally it will not be the digit he is thinking of, but he will tell me that there is indeed one there. I can then usually guess it correctly the second time. Obviously if the opening digits are, say, 117145..., and I see that he is looking at the start of the number, I will name the 7 as the more likely choice than one of the Is. This is a nice way of beginning to read the number, and the same technique can be applied to the letters in a mentally chosen word.
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