Main Objectives When Cold Reading

(1) Develop a high degree of observation. Look for personal details.

(2) Learn to use your voice so that you can ask a question in such a way that you seem to be stating a fact.

(3) Learn to put two and two together. A black tie suggests death.

(4) Be a good listener—as well as a good talker. Give them chance to tell you.

(5) Never forget a fact, Remember names, places, dates especially.

(6) Always be prepared with a twist of conversation to change the topic when you are wrong. Never leave yourself without a 4get-out\

(7) Give them time to forget what they have said, before you tell them the same.

Now to enlarge upon these essential qualities, let us give a list of a few things that suit our first objective. Observation. From this we can tell no end, and yet we do not accept anything we see until it has been checked. We are careful for example when we see a wedding ring on the correct finger—and we check that our subject is married. It is a strong guide—not a fact. It i* a start for conversation and that is a priceless gift to the cold reader.

There are hundreds of things to look for and things which help you along. Let me give you a few examples to show you what I mean:—

(a) Fingernails bitten; suggestive of nervous trouble, especially in adults.

(b) Makers tab on inside of overcoat that you hang on the door as they come in. Think what this alone may well convey. The information is unlimited—have a look!

(c) Jewellery—real or artificial. Real jewellery suggests financial standing.

(d) Quality of clothing—particularly condition of heels on shoes, speak for themselves.

(e) Condition of hands; Clean, dirty, groomed, workers' hands.

(/) Articles carried by the subject; a carrier bag marked 'Hamley's of Regent Street, London'.

(g) The subject's voice; vocabulary, cultured attitude or otherwise.

(h) Badges worn in the coat; membership to some organisation.

(/) Engraved property; a cigarette case, ring, watch, lighter, initialled handbag.

0) Age; (very few people of ninety are concerned with marriage!)

(£) Condition of health; thin, fat, limping, anything which implies medical disability.

(/) Their manner of approach to you...i.e. "confidential" or "curious?"

You see by this small list that before you is a living index of information— all you have to do is be observant, look, work it out yourself, check and use it.

Next we have said learn to use your voice to advantage. Many, many times you will want to know something about the subject—and if you know how, you can literally ask her—simply by the way you do it. You want to know perhaps if the subject is married. You do not say "Are you married"—you are supposed to be able to tell that! You cook up something like this. "There's a certain illness 'in the family' that has been causing you some concern—have you been worried, do you understand what I mean?" Our victim has only to mention "Husband, son, daughter" and we have solved that one. Because you are a cold reader, you don't have to show it. Be subtle and as a magician uses misdirection with apparatus, you use misdirection with words. You don't have to advertise out loud that you are a glorified fortune teller—your Tigjiature tune is well aloft from those who say that they are, thus destroying the Relief in what they can do! You may get my meaning from the words of La Traviata:—

(The Chorus): "We are gypsies—come from afar.

We can read everyone's future in his hand,

We can consult the stars, no fate is hid from us,

And we can predict what fate holds in store for others!

If you want to be a gypsy, say so and expect a gypsy's payment—"Cross my hand with silver". Thus it is unwise to say that you are anything but "A consultant" and that you can do anything—don't blow your own trumpet at the beginning of a session. Let results speak for themselves.

What do we mean by No. 3 "Put two and two together?" It means, to use the vernacular, "Use your Loaf". Think. When you see a lady with a wooden leg, you do not suppose that she is troubled with problems concerning mountaineering. Gold teeth don't grow in rice fields. Where there's a bruise, there's a blow. Those who relax are those who don't worry. All of * this adds up to one thing. By what you are told and by what you can see, with half an ounce of worldliness, you can put two and two together and get a pretty good idea of what it's all about. I repeat; Use your Loaf!

Number four and five of our Main Objectives for Cold Reading, tell us to be a good listener and remember what facts you are told.

It stands to reason that if you do all the talking the subject is not given the chance to tell you anything. It should all seem natural. A conversation between two people, sometimes you talk and sometimes you listen. It may well seem superfluous to make such a point as this, but the downfall of many a learner is the uncontrolled desire to make it a one man lecture. Keep it in mind, it's important, you learn more as you listen more.

Furthermore, it's a fat lot of good being a good listener, picking up names and dates from the conversation and then forgetting them. The information you gain will be the information you use—so get it right. Make a particular point of remembering what you think is a strong point for later use. Some professionals go so far as to "doodle" whilst talking—and the "doodle" hides a host of brief notes gleaned from the talking.

Our Sixth Objective is to be prepared at all times to handle the conversation, to twist it along the road we choose and to side track unwanted topics. The most important point that has to be made here, is that you must have the ability to "cover up". That is to say, you are pumping for information, you say something which quite obviously is miles from the truth and seeing your mistake, you cover up very quickly with glib patter. Learn to "pass it m off", get to know the value of the simple phrase "Well if it hasn't happened yet—it will do so very shortly . . ." for such a phrase turns your blunder into a prediction and leaves you still master of the situation. To be quick and to be ready for this misdirection of attention (which it is)—the only answer is learn before you start; train yourself in such a way that you can sidetrack any doubtful point. Amass a stock of parrot phrases which you stand by for occasions of this kind. Don't wait until you blunder and then think what to do. Never admit defeat and bear in mind that you can avoid a lot of trouble in the first place by wording the statement right before it is denied. The more ambiguous your statement is, the more loopholes are left for you to escape in case of error.

Cold Reading goes on like this all the time. You are as a detective of the mind and it becomes a continuous stream of pumping, finding, checking, stating and rejecting. Needless to say you are not going to be wrong all the time and when you do get a right—don't waste it. Enlarge upon your discovery, exaggerate now to make it seem quite clear that you said it was so— and not that you tried to find out! With very little experience you will be able to tell whether you are right or wrong. There are many ways that a subject may reveal his thoughts. Watch for reactions. Look out for any sign that says "No" and any that say "Yes". Watch the hands, watch the eyes and it will not be so hard. Half of the time they tell you Yes or No anyway, so you then have nothing to worry about.

Finally, a skilled performer knows what is meant by "time" in Cold Reading. He gets to know how long it takes for the subject to tell you something and then forget it. He also knows the crucial moment when it is best to use what information he has got. Time is hard to explain, it is something almost intangible and it will vary in so many ways with so many different people; and yet is it so important. We can see the gravity ofttime in Cold Reading when we visualise what might happen if we gave no consideration to it. Our subject tells us they have just bought a house. Two minutes later we tell them they are concerned with buying property ... almost immediately they turn back and say "Well you know that—I told you just now I had bought a house". You see, the time factor is all wrong. You must give them time to forget what they have told you—or cleverly force the pace so that so much is said, it is too much to be remembered in detail. Information is useless to you unless you can use it as though it was NEWS to them! Even if it is only news that you know about—it's news.

This is a small book compared with the giant volumes that could be written about the Art of Questions and Answers in Mentalism. However, I have tried to include all the major points and although very brief, you have here the essence and very foundation of the Art.

No writer or teacher can ever give you as much as actual experience from practice. I would assert that half the qualification you require for success— is worldliness and that comes from meeting people and going places. A Reader cannot be a Dreamer, he is a man who knows the facts of life and he has to be prepared to drop any Victorian niceties, and admit (at least to himself) that sometimes, some people do nasty things. Life can be very vulgar in reality and the Reader will meet with every vulgarity that has been conceived. You will have to be prepared for all types an^ every situation and

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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