Well on the way now, in our Course of Step by Step Mentalism, we arrive at one of the major subjects in the series. To compile a book which allowed for all the methods for performing two-person mental acts, would take more space than five steps. Here, we can but hope to give a selection of good material and with a bit of luck, we shall manage to sift the best from the not so good. At least, we will have sufficient material to enable any two people to start cold and end up with a two person act; that is the basic requirement of this Step.

Technically speaking, we have to sort out the various effects into some resemblance of order. To simplify matters we can boldly differ two classes, the first we say is the type of two person telepathy that is a complete act, and the second, two person telepathy where partners do one or two effects together either on stage or as a party piece. The first is generally an application of a two person code of some type or other, the second can be any trick which takes two people to perform in -order that it may be done. Following the usual pattern of the Steps, we shall deal first with method and then with application.

Before we get down to dealing with various methods, let us consider how very important is this field of mentalism. Moreover, let us acknowledge that it is probably the most advanced and most difficult to learn.

If you cast your mind back over the brief history of Mentalism you will find that when you come to think of outstanding performers—a lot of them will be two person teams that got to the top. The use of a code wasn't new when the famous Zancigs were making a mountain out of a molehill—it's old, very old, but anyone who tells you it's out of date is talkirtg through their hat. A lot of people tell me that they think the days of the two person code act are finished—which is utter tripe. Last night in London I saw two people perform the same type of act as was performed by the Zancigs—and it went like a bomb. The reason was, they had done the job properly—and the audience didn't know they were using a code. That's where the fault lies, if any. Today, very few teams seem to take the trouble to work as hard at it—as did the others who made this form of mentalism so successful.

It is by no means an easy task and if you are half-hearted about working out a two person mental routine, then for the sake of Mentalism don't do it at all. Commonsense tells you there is twice as much work to be done— as there would be with a solo act. Two people have to be successful instead of one and the only consolation is that although it may be twice as hard— when you get there and do it right—it's twice as good! Another thing is that both partners must be good, very good. If one is an expert and the other not—it will spoil the act. Both are performers with equal status and importance; neither could do without the other, therefore both should receive the kudos.

Lastly, a word for those who are thinking about starting a two person code act. The essential requirement is a partner and it would be an easy mistake at the beginning to choose the wrong one. Don't be short sighted in your outlook, bear in mind that you must have someone who will be with you for a long time. It is going to take a long time to get the code into working order. Bear in mind also that you will have to be with your partner a lot in the early stages—as the more often you are together, the c r i i i i r {

more you can practice. Without any doubt, the best person if you are a married man—is your wife, as long as she has the ability and the desire. There's more in this than meets the eye! Bring the wife into the act and you avoid many of the common home troubles caused when you devote too much time to mentalism! Added to that, you can practise a lot, and most important of all, having worked for six months on a code—you are not in danger of having the partner walk off leaving you to start again with a new pupil. Practically all the successful two person code acts were man and wife—and most of those working today are as well. There must be something in it; marriage is a high price to pay for a code act—but it's the safest!!


There is nothing harder in mentalism than a two person code act worked on a verbal exchange. You have quite a lot to learn and memorise in the beginning you have to spend hours and hours at rehearsal and you have to be a performer to put it over. It has to be performed really well, being one of those routines that dies horribly if it's anything but good. We must therefore consider the things that make it good or bad:—

(a) Both partners must know the code inside out and be able to translate it at a high speed.

(b) The code must be up to date and comprehensive. By "up to date", it is meant that the code allows for modern day objects such as plastic materials—as an example. You should be able to send any word or any number.

(0 The code must be indetectable. If the audience know you are using a code it's no good.

(d) When performing—one thing makes more for success than anything else—that is SPEED. It's got to be fast—almost too fast for the audience to keep up with it all.

(e) Outside of using the code, both performers should have the ability to add to the presentation by injecting humorous asides and a gag now and then. A few laughs are important and keep things going happily along.

In a few paragraphs time, we are going to give you a complete two person code, one that has been tested and found excellent. The system devised by Walford Taylor is reprinted by permission from "Telepathy for Two". It allows you to gain all of the above requirements but like any other verbal code, it is but a framework upon which you build the routine.

Before we give the System, we will say a word or two about the way to present this type of act. One good method is better than six potentially good ideas. We therefore choose the method that is usually practised. Two people, usually a man and a woman (though not necessarily) perform the act. The man acts as compere/performer and the woman as Medium or Mindreader. Both enter together and the man gives a short but direct preliminary lecture. Without wasting much time, the Medium is blindfolded and sits or stands. Whilst the performer goes down into the audience and moves quickly amid the people, taking or touching various objects that they take from their pockets.

To be sure that there is a plentiful supply of objects to be named, the performer tells the members of the audience to "take objects from the pocket"

—such things as coins, ornaments, wallets—and if they have anything unusual, so much the better. If such an announcement is made before the performer leaves the stage, practically everyone will have something ready before he arrives. This has two advantages; it saves time and equally as important—it offers the performer the chance to look around and pick which objects he wants.

Quite obviously, there is little fun in it if every time you are offered a coin. You should seek as wide a variety of objects as you can. When you get a wallet or anything which holds printed matter, make the most of it. For example, should you receive a Railway Season Ticket—don't stop at coding "Season Ticket"—work on it so that on one small item you run up a quick-fire cross question exchange of words with the medium—have her call the colour, the serial number, when it expires, what it cost to buy and what stations it covers. All this information is printed on such a ticket.

Remember that no matter what you are given—you are reasonably safe. Even if you should be handed something quite rare, maybe you don't even recognise it—you can still ask "what colour is this?" and "what is this made of?". Now and then when you do get something very unusual it pays to transmit the full word if it is outside the code—and letter by letter name the object for the medium. The audience are naturally more impressed with the ability to determine the unusual rather than the commonplace— therefore don't be afraid to accept odd objects.

It is a bad policy for any performer to leave the view of his audience. When you go down into the audience, head for the main gangway and work to people who are within easy reach. Never get tangled in a row of seats— you don't have time to move along rows as it takes too long getting in and out. If there is a gallery avoid going too far to the back 6f the house or you become a voice and nothing more. Working to the first "three seats on either side of the gangway—going back ten to twelve rows from the front— means you can deal with some fifty to sixty people—which is more than enough as a rule.

Speed, as we have said, is the great thing with this type of work. It's got to be done at a breakneck rate to be really good. The slower you go— the more time you give them to think. Whilst the Medium is calling back one object the performer, not wasting time, is rapidly looking ahead and getting ready to code the next. The Medium should always commence talking the very moment the performer stops. Even if she cannot name the object immediately, she can come in with a standard patter line whilst in the mind she works out the code. Therefore a good stock or parrot-phrases like "I get the impression of ... , this is going to be . . . , as far as I can tell it is . . ." just simple words that fill in the precious seconds before the mind clicks to name the object. There is no silence.

You need some sort of a climax to end this sort of performance and since the performer must be on the stage for the finale—the introduction of one good closing mental effect is recommended. Make it in keeping with the type of act, a simple—straight to the point E.S.P. test—with a good punch finish. There are many such tricks printed in this series. Lastly, take great care to avoid the temptation of over-running on the code routine. Know when to stop—it's good up to a point and then it becomes so repetitive that it will head for boredom. Stop when they still want more—that's a good rule for any aspect of entertainment.


Walford Taylor

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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