Part One Introduction

TO PREDICT is to tell beforehand —to prophesy. In order to avoid any confusion we should understand right from the beginning what is, and what is not a Prediction. What the Oxford English Dictionary means by "Prediction" and what Mentalists mean by "Prediction"—are two things far apart. A mentalist may put the Ace of Spades in an envelope and give it to someone. He may then force that person to select the Ace of Spades— and when the envelope is opened and the matching card is found, it appears that a Prediction has been made, moreover, it is claimed that a Prediction has been made—BUT nothing of the kind has been done. It was a force presented as a prediction.

We are not concerned with dictionary definitions—we are concerned with what is meant by a Prediction in the magical sense of the word. To cover this, we might say that any effect wherein the performer makes it appear he knew what was going to happen—before it happened—is an effect called a prediction.

PREDICTIONS are one of the strongest forms of Mental Magic—because they work in the future—and not in the present or past. To understand this, let us take an example of the same trick presented three ways:—

(¿7) THE PAST. The spectator is told to think of any place he has visited during the last two years—and the performer names it correctly.

(b) THE PRESENT. The spectator is told to think of the town he lives in—or the city—and by some means or other this is named.

(c) THE FUTURE. The spectator is told to think of any place he would like to visit one day—and by some means or other that is named.

There can be no doubt that the best presentation is the last (c). It is plausible that you know where he has been and where he lives at the moment—but beyond any doubt, you cannot say where he will go in the future1.

It is somewhat easy to overlook that some forms of Mentalism are more powerful than others. With so many tricks to choose from, and such a wide variety of methods—the mentalist is liable to be confused himself—and cannot see the forest for the trees. The only way to evaluate an effect is to judge it by the impact it has on an audience. What might seem very clever to you—may well be an utter bore to the spectators.

The abstract nature of Predictions make them a subtlety of presentation; we can judge their value on the audience by comparison of technique using a pack of cards. You can shuffle a pack and following time-honoured technique say, "Take a card—look at it—and put it back". Because the technique is time-honoured and the audience have seen the approach so often—all that remains to be known in their mind—is by what method you will reveal the card this time. The trick has degenerated to a puzzle before it is half done. On the other hand, if you tell the spectator you know what card he will choose before he takes it. run through the cards face upwards and tell him to touch one and then show that his card is the only red-backed card in a blue-backed pack—then you are using a more powerful technique. Hence Predictions are of great value to the Mentalist.

The Art of Predicting is by no means a newcomer to Mentalism. The human race seems to have a lust to know what is going to happen before it happens. Millions of pounds and dollars have been made out of telling the future. Throughout the ages we have been "gifted" with prophets, seers, soothsayers, astrologists, crystal-ball readers, sand-readers, Tarot readers and clairvoyant mediums. We have records of Predictions in religion (The Bible) and in classic literature (Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'). However, the Mentalist likes to operate a different way from the horoscope-worker. He likes to see his prediction proved correct in a short space of time—which brings us to the subject of trickery!

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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