Sound Reading Applied to Action Not Writing

In addition to using sound reading to discover a written number or shape drawn on a board, there are other principles which are of use to the Mentalist.

When we have a trick which is accomplished by sound reading something that is done by the spectator, we call it action. For example, one of the tricks on the market today is based on the sound caused by paper being unfolded:

Archie Byford has invented a Living and Dead test which goes as follows:— Five pieces of paper are handed to the spectator, on four he writes the names of living people and on the fifth the name of a dead person. The spectator then screws up each piece into a small ball and mixes them before handing to another. That second person unfolds the paper balls one at a time and holds each slip to their forehead. At one point you stop them—and declare that they are holding the dead name slip in their hand at that moment. This 2nd spectator does not know which is the dead name so could not help you—and the other confirms it to be correct. At no time have you handled the paper slips after the effect was commenced. The method which I am able to tell you by courtesy of Archie Byford the inventor, and L. Davenport & Co.—who supply the special papers required, is very simple and is a good example of action sound reading. Four slips of paper are the same and one is different. The difference is that the two types of paper used make a clearly definable sound when unfolded and the two types make different sounds. In fact four unfold quietly and one, being of diiferent texture, makes considerable noise. It is the noise of this one, which has the dead name on it, that enables you to perform the trick.

Then we have another aspect of action sound reading. Three boxes are on a table, the performer turns his back whilst a spectator drops a coin into any box and then locks it. You know which box contains the coin. This time the method is sound reading of "clicks" either one, two or three, which are made by each box being especially constructed or "designed" for that purpose. As the box is locked it makes a clicking noise, the first box will click once as the key turns, the next twice and so on. A poor man's version of this effect may be constructed by having three boxes which are respectively lined in their bases with tin, wood and baize. You are able to tell from the noise of the coin falling on to the base into which box it has been locked. In fact it may be as well to mention that with sufficient practice, it is possible to tell the value of any English coin by the noise it makes when it is placed on a hard surface—such as a polished table.

Another application of sound reading is one that is quite well known and some writers have claimed that it has been used extensively. I refer to spinning a coin into the air—and telling by sound whether it will fall heads or tails. The coin, in this country a penny, is faked with a small nick at the edge on one side only. If the nick is made on the tail side, after the coin had slowed down and just before it stops spinning, it will give off a different tone when it is going to land tail side up. The variation in sound is caused by the coin beginning to spin or travel on the imperfect edge. It is better to spin the coin on a hard flat surface rather than throw it into the air which does not assure the correct spinning position required. You will have to accustom yourself to the "head" noise and the "tail" noise and be able to tell the difference—which is not so difficult. Even if you slip up once or twice —you will change the odds of a fifty-fifty gamble to 90 to 1 in your favour— not bad gambling odds!

Last but not least we have a considerable range of code systems for two person telepathy which are based on the transmission of sound. To mention two of the applicable ones, signals given by way of a chair that creaks, and the well known "finger-click" transmission, caused by pressing the first finger nail against the thumbnail. However, we shall not deal too deeply with these things as they are not regarded as true examples of sound reading.

To summarise Sound Reading as a principle of Mentalism we can say that like seeing for Pencil Reading and Lip Reading, it is a question of using your natural ability to advantage. The essential thing is to practice, experiment and always try to improve your ability.

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