One performer employed a clever idea for presenting the question answering act before a small group, but it is just as well suited for large audiences.
This method follows the general procedure as given in Faked Pile of Magazines. No fake stack of books was used, and the cards and envelopes were not returned to the writers until all had been answered. The writers' names were put on the sealed envelopes as in the one ahead method just described. The opportunity to get the last name on an envelope was created through a stunt whereby some member of the audience displays his power as a "mind reader."
After all the questions have been collected, the performer states that anybody can read minds if the conditions are right. He offers to conduct such a test, and asks someone to volunteer for the experiment. Performer picks up a blank card and envelope and openly writes something on the card, not telling what it is. He seals this card in an envelope and says, "I will put my name on it," but he actually writes the name of the last question collected.
This envelope is thrown in with the other questions in the basket or bowl, the collector and performer going back to the platform. The volunteer "mind reader" is requested to rise, and to put his mind in a receptive mood--"maybe it will help you if I hold the question (then to party holding basket) just hand me my envelope marked, so-and-so." This is really the envelope first collected, on which performer wrote his own name.
Performer holds this envelope and asks volunteer, "Speak right up, can you tell me what I wrote on this card?" The volunteer
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One Man Mindreading Secrets--Novel Idea for Ascertaining the First Question may feel a bit embarrassed, and may hesitate a second but he will naturally answer, "No." The performer speaks immediately and triumphantly, "There you are, what did I tell you?--the word "No" is exactly what I wrote on the card, and this party calls out that exact word!"
The performer is standing away from his table as he talks and tears open the envelope, removes the card and glances at it as though to confirm. This gives him the one ahead question with which to continue the act, but as he talks, he openly puts card and envelope in his pocket, quickly removing them, suggesting that the volunteer might like to keep it as a token of his powers-handing it to him. Of course, an exchange was made in the pocket for a card on which the performer had previously written the word "No."
The standard procedure is then followed with the balance.
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