This principle may be applied to several tricks. It is already used for two or three items on the market. Obtain five pieces of coloured card which are all of the same thickness. Each of the five pieces should be of a different colour. Make up a solution of starch in water and mix to a fairly thick paste. Then with a clean brush, paint across each card in a straight line about half-an-inch wide from any two opposing diagonals. That is, for example, from the top left corner íq line through the middle to the bottom right corner. Allow each card thus treated to dry whereupon the starch will become invisible. The effect of this treatment is that two corners of the card will become stiff—while the remaining two are normal or soft. The cards may now be trimmed to a convenient size—say playing card size. If you like the effect which can be done with these cards, you would be advised to purchase a good supply from your favourite dealer—those marketed by dealers are of a high standard compared with the usual home made jobs. If you take the top right-hand corner of any card and bend it back very slightly, you will feel a certain tension—either stiff or soft. Arrange all the cards with the stiff corners at top right and bottom left. Place the cards in a row on the table and invite any person to turn one over while you turn your back. Now it makes no difference which way they turn, that is from top to bottom or left to right, because either way will bring the soft corner of that card into the position just occupied by the stiff corner. The cards are now gathered up by the spectator (to prove that the effect is not achieved by noting special positions) and handed to you after they have been carefully mixed. Your job is to locate the card that was reversed. Take them all and deal them in a row once more, and as you do so hold each card by the top right corner and bend it back a bit as you place it down. You will find it very easy to tell which one is their card because of the tension on the odd card against the other four. Now take the spectator by the hand, and move his fingertips along the row several times passing his card—but eventually stopping at it and declaring that it is the one he selected.
After this, the first suspicion to enter the mind of any onlooker is that the cards are marked—which would be a solution. You therefore do it again—but this time seal each card in a paypacket. Even though the cards are in the envelope—the stiff and soft corner principle is easy to detect. Finally, if you like the principle, you should get in touch with the Supreme Magic Co. in Devon, England who have a very clever effect called "The Ultimate Living and Dead Test" which is based on this principle.
There are dozens of tricks based on this principle, we will give you a new one to demonstrate the technique. The effect is a version of 'Just Chance'— but it has features which, as a mentalist, you may find attractive. It is not likely to be copied by any who do not understand the handling properly— because one slip and you lose your money. No slips—and you are as safe as you will ever be.
Impromptu "Just Chance" by Corinda.
When you arrive somewhere and someone asks you to perform a trick— and you have nothing with you—of the fifty or so good tricks you could do —this is one. Borrow three envelopes. Request the help of two sporting people to take part in a gamble in which they cannot lose. From your wallet remove a £5 note (or £1, according to your wealth). Seat one spectator to your left and one to the right. Start by explaining to all that you intend to have the five pound note sealed in one of the three envelopes, in the other two will be a piece of newspaper the same size as the note—once the envelopes are sealed and mixed, no one will know which contains the money. To be sure that you have no choice in the matter—hand the £5 note and the three envelopes with two scraps of newspaper to one of the spectators—and tell them to seal the note in one and put paper in the others. All envelopes should be the same, all are sealed by the spectator, and while this is done, you turn your back! Now we will explain the method so that the last stages can be followed with a complete understanding of the effect.
Before you introduce the trick, a few seconds preparation has to take place. You take a small bead, or, break the tip off a pencil and use that; this you fix to one corner of the £5 note with selotape. It is held firmly there and cannot be seen since your thumb covers it when showing both sides of the note at the onset. Having produced the note and shown it to be genuine, fold it in half—as if demonstrating what should be done with the pieces of newspaper. Then fold in half again and be sure that the bead is folded inside. Hand the note and the papers to be placed in envelopes. You will note that regardless of the fact you cannot see where the note goes, you have a very secure check because when you handle the envelopes "as you will—the bead may be felt with ease. Thus touch reading locates the whereabouts of your money.
The next step in the routine is to state quite honestly that all the envelopes have been sealed and mixed by the spectator. The second spectator is now given all three and told to choose one, this he keeps and hands you back two. Before giving the first spectator the choice of one of these, feel on both envelopes for the bead, the chances are two to one that you have it in your hands and if so, you use the simplest possible force you know to make the first spectator take the dud envelope. If you do not have it—then you know who does and must get it. You approach this problem by first and foremost conducting the normal "Just Chance" procedure of advising a change of mind. If this comes off—and you should try and be very convincing, stay put with the one he gives you having checked by touch reading that you are right and have the fiver. However, rather than end the presentation abruptly— offer the chance for both spectators to change before you settle—that exchange cannot effect you. However, we have one thing more to contend with—what happens if he cannot be persuaded to swap for your dud? Then you have two more options, maybe you can get him to exchange with the other spectator then you work on him, or, you perform the bare hand envelope switch advised by Corinda in Step Four. To run through that manoeuvre briefly.
Approach the spectator in the following manner, "Now sir, I will give you the chance once more—and this must be your final decision—will you have this envelope in place of yours?" He replies "No thanks". You smile as though very pleased with his reply and answer, "Right, that's it! And to
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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.