Analysis

As I mentioned earlier, this routine is an encore routine. It is meant to appear that you are finished with your show, but the audience just can't get enough of you and won't let you leave! Not only is that good in itself, but (and this is a piece of very secret stagecraft!) once you do an encore, a standing ovation is almost always mandatory! I suppose the subconscious reasoning is this: if the audience loves you so much they just have to have one more number, then you certainly deserve that standing ovation at the end!

Based on that, it is important that you do that encore. Again, stagecraft assures this. Look at the video at how, at the end of the Magazine Test, they are applauding. Notice that I am assuming a "Thank you very much—it's all over" type of posture. Then I appear to hear someone say, "One more!" and I repeat it! As soon as I do that, others take up the call! Before you know it, everyone is hollering "One more"and I graciously acquiesce! Do you see the clever subtlety?

The Linking Finger Rings is perfect here. It makes sense to do it as an encore since the only props, besides the pencil you carry anyway, are borrowed. If you took out a prop for an encore effect, everyone would think, "So he had that planned, anyways!" But if you do something that you appear you could do anywhere, on the spur of the moment, it makes all the sense in the world.

It is also totally different than anything they have seen up to now. Hopefully the Magazine Test comes across as the ultimate mentalism feat and I cannot even try to top it. The encore effect must be different and yet equally amazing! This one is.

I would hope that the age old question in mentalism—can you mix magic and mentalism?—is answered here. You can certainly see from the reactions of the crowd, they are not experiencing any kind of come down watching this routine! As long as the feeling of the routine matches your mentalism, there is absolutely nothing wrong with mixing the two. Besides, can't an entertainer do two things? What is wrong with a mentalist who can also do some magic? Kreskin used to do this all the time on his television show. Al Koran would make it a point to differentiate between the two. One moment he would say, "OK, this is a mental stunt." Then he would say, "Ok, here is some magic." Dunninger mixed the two as well as Annemann. I intend to show you the introduction of such an effect in a mentalism routine actually strengthens both the magic and mental-ism instead of diminishing each.

When I begin this final routine, I give no indication of what I intend to do with the borrowed rings. The audience probably believes it will be some type of mental effect as I am a mentalist and all they have seen, up to now, has been mentalism. This belief is maintained throughout the borrowing of the rings, the squeezing of the rings in the hand and right up to the point where they are slid off the pencil—linked! Suddenly, the audience sees what has happened and you can see the gasps on the DVDs. This surprise hits home much more than it would in a straight magic show as it is so completely unexpected. It can be likened to a serious speaker who suddenly introduces a magic effect in his lecture. Another charm of the Linking Finger Rings is that they remain in a magical state! Unlike most other magical effects that rely on a moment for the happening of the magic, the rings stay in a magical condition that can even be photographed. It is one of the most unique ideas in magic.

Now let me analyze this routine in the context of the entire show. The act is meant to gain momentum and slowly prove the powers of the mentalist as it progresses. At first it is just a simple game although there are overtones of ESP. As the act moves along, the mentalist next demonstrates his ability to know a name, then playing cards, then a time on a card and then the ability to be able to control a person spinning a face-down watch. Each effect appears to be just a little stronger than the preceding. The culmination of all this is ThoughtScan where the mentalist shows he is able to just look at anyone in the audience and know their innermost thoughts. Just when the audience thinks they have seen everything, the Magazine Test shows the mentalist even has complete control over the apparent free choices of the spectator and that he can predict the outcome of the test.

Somewhere along this journey, many people may become convinced that what they are seeing cannot be tricks, but rather some kind of ESP. Even hardened skeptics may start to believe a bit. When no kind of suitable explanation can be found, outside of the psychic phenomenon one, many will just throw up their hands in resignation and accept that.

Then, out of the blue, an occurrence happens that cannot even be explained by ESP! That is what the Linking Finger Rings accomplishes. Neither mind reading, clairvoyance, ESP nor any of the commonly recognized sixth sense stuff people have seen on TV or read about can describe how three wedding rings can become linked. It seems incredible.

Now I am not so naive as to not realize that, after the initial shock, many people will start looking for a trick. The routine is designed to deal with just that—in stages. First, the rings are shown linked. The first question on people's minds will be, "Are they really linked?"This is answered quickly enough when they are shown around. The next question will be, "But are the same rings he borrowed?"Many people will think that all three rings were switched. (That is how lay people think. They don't instantly rationalize that only one ring needs to be switched.) After the first person verifies their ring, the audience starts to try to reason things out. This is why I elected to make the switch at that point. By the time the audience realizes that only one ring needs to be switched to make a chain, the work is already done. Spectators 2 and 3 can now be shown their rings very openly.

Please notice a very special bit of psychology for the second person on the video. I place the rings in his hand and ask him, "Is your ring there?" He says, "Yes, it's there!" and I immediately pick up the rings by the center ring, holding them right in front of his eyes and say, "It's there?" and he repeats, "Yes, it's there!" To anyone looking on, it appears that I am holding his ring in the center and he is verifying that it is his ring. It is a small move, but it's all these minor points that make a major mystery.

The third person's ring can be dealt with very openly as there is nothing to do except place them in her hands. You can see I don't leave them in her hands for very long, just long enough to make the point.

After this I walk back to center stage and make the joke about everyone going home together. Again, laughter causes a drop in attention and I use that break to make the switch back to the original three rings. (Actually, on Mind Mysteries, I had an unexpected laugh when, in answer to my question about where they live, one person said to me, "You tell me!" It got the laugh ahead of time and I did the switch then!) The first is handed back quite openly, but then I go for the shot right between the eyes of anyone who is still trying to reason out a method.

In truth, there can only be one method. One ring must have been replaced by another with an opening. Yes, all three rings were shown to their owners, but there is no better proof than showing just the last two rings still linked together, immediately unlink them and give them back. (If you think about it, it also subtly implies the second person's ring was the center ring!)

That is exactly what I do. But before that, I use the cancellation principle to actually tell them the exact explanation! I say, "Whenever I do this people accuse me of switching rings, having trick rings and not using the rings that I borrowed!" Then I use finishing moves to prove I am not doing any of that! By canceling out the only possible (and true) explanation, where can they go?

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