Ultramodern Mentalism

By Corinda.

A few years ago a fellow mentalist wrote to me and said he would give me a terrific trick. It was an idea from the brain of Bob Harbin—who seemed to do nothing else but invent wonderful ideas! (Nowadays he works!). The letter read—a terrific trick! All you want is a pencil, a piece of paper and a Tape-recorder! The sudden impact of the last unexpected accessory knocked me for six and if I remember rightly I said something like "only one tape-recorder?" However, times have altered a bit and these days there are more people who own recorders and they are not so rare that any effect with them would be wasted.

By the last remark you may infer that this requires a tape-recorder. Personally, I think the effect is worth the trouble—but you decide before you either buy or make a tape recorder, (ahem!)

It's a Booktest Supreme presented as a knockout Prediction. Out of six books one is chosen. The lady who chooses the book tears out a page and hands it to a gentleman. The gentleman arrives at a word which he underlines. For good value he writes his name across the page and the lady writes her name on the cover of the book. All this has been done—whilst in the centre of the stage is seen a tape-recorder—it stands on a table alone.

Before you switch it on—there is one other thing to be done. You explain that in a moment you will switch on the tape recorder and they will all hear something which should be a surprise. Before that however, you would like another person to choose any one of a dozen cards you offer. On each one is the title of a wellknown piece of music. The Blue Danube IS chosen!

Now we come to the little bit that I think will surprise the audience AND YOU!

You open the lid to the tape-recorder and remove it. You switch it on and stand back. Loud and clear comes forth the music of the Blue Danube— the chosen card bears the name of this piece so you call to the man "is that what you chose?"—He replies yes—and hardly has he had time to say so— when the music fades out and a voice speaks from the recorder . . .

"Fancy asking him if that was right—did I ever make a mistake? Now let me handle this will you please—move aside—no, well away—I want to see the audience!" You stand to one side and shrug. "Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, you are listening to the only thought-reading tape-recorder this side of Mars. May 1 deal with the book first. Madam, I'm talking to you—you chose the book out of six didn't you? I'm sorry, I didn't hear you reply! You did—good. Well you nearly cheated you know. You were told to take the first one that you liked and you changed your mind twice! Never mind—you made a wise decision and you selected a book called "How to Pick Pockets" is that correct? (She answers yes). Very good—1 hope you learn something from the book—and now the gentleman —you sir received a page—think of the number will you? Look at me— hold the paper up in the air—the page that's it—I can't see with all this tape going round in circles! (Drawing attention to the moving spools). It's a bit of a distance—but I would say you are holding page Twenty-three from How to Pick Pockets—is that right? (Another "yes") and out of the very many words on that page—you have underlined one—let me see. that would be TRAVELLING—right—the word you have chosen is Travelling? Well, well, well—that's it, Ladies and Gentlemen—another successful performance and I think we should give a big hand to our two assistants—The Lady— by the way your name is Mrs. Watson—correct? (Yes), and you sir—thank-you Mr. Harrison—that is your name correct?"

That is how it goes—like it? Like most of the things I work out—there's a swindle in it somewhere! This time it's a piece of cake. Any six books— any one can be chosen, any page and any word underlined—it doesn't make any difference and whatever the names of the two spectators—that too is handled with ease.

You have been lead to think—as the audience will think—that the tape-recorder plays back the message. It does nothing of the kind. The only thing it really plays is a half-minute recording of The Blue Danube—then the spools still run. but there is nothing recorded thereafter, so all is quiet. Where Joes the voice come from? From the tape-recorder! You will find that you can plug in a microphone to your recorder and adjust the output so that the machine works like an amplifying unit. An assistant backstage does all the talking direct into the mike—projecting his voice through the machine. Some of the minor models of tape-recorder will need a Mixer unit to make it possible to speak through and yet still play the music from record—back at the start.

The working at the start has to be quick and straight to the point. Offer six books and whatever is chosen, write the title on a blackboard. Ask the lady to call out any page number and write that on the board whilst she tears it out and gives it to any gentleman. Ask him to name any word on that page and to underline it. Again write it on the board. The writing on the blackboard serves two purposes and they are: first, your backstage assistant can see what's written and check up the facts—dotting them on a piece of paper ready for his part later. Secondly, when it comes to the "revelation"—everybody can hear what the recorder says and everybody can see it is right; otherwise just two people are in on the act.

Having selected a Lady near the front row—you will be able to get near enough to her to say—what is your name please, speaking in a low voice so that as few people as possible hear. Immediately write it in bold letters on a slip of paper and show it to her—saying "write it like that across the book please". The man will be nearby since the lady passed the page to someone, so do the same with him and then you have two copies of their names. Screw these papers up and drop them in your pocket. When you go to switch the recorder on, you suddenly see that the off-stage plug is not connected. Picking up the cable "you hand it to "someone in the wings"— at the same time, pass the two paper slips bearing a copy the names to your assistant. By this method, the audience are given a very surprising climax when the tape-recorder names the two spectators!

Last, but not least, have about twelve small cards—printed on every one is the title "The Blue Danube". When you come to the card force, simply tell what they are "about a dozen cards each with a different title of some well known music, for example we have . . . ." and you read through about five cards looking at each one as you read but miscalling for various titles. Finally, fan them face downwards and have the third spectator choose The Blue Danube. Don't work out complicated force systems for this part of the routine—it is not needed.

That's the routine—full of surprises and with novel presentation which makes it something they haven't seen before. Bear in mind the strength of the trick. You get yes to the book—yes to the line, yes to the word, and yes to the music at the start AND the two names at the end.

In case you haven't noticed it—when I worked out this routine I allowed for anybody in the audience that might have a clue as to how it was done. You see, with music at the start and with the spools moving all the time— you have pretty powerful misdirection—or do you suppose people think you have the London Philharmonic Orchestra backstage playing The Blue Danube! That is another reason why you draw attention to the moving spools—remember the patter?

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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