Future Imperfect

Take the envelope from the dignitary, and place it under the newspaper for a moment as you hand him the roll of tape and the transparent envelope.

Allow the folds to relax, and raise the newspaper to eye-level as you place the paper and the (now switched!) envelope into the transparent brief. Instruct your helper to seal it up securely. "I don't want to touch it!"

"I have been recently involved in a series of experiments concerning the prophetic nature of dreaming. Some of the observed results appear to transcend the normal restrictions of cause and effect.

"Two weeks ago, I entered a state of heightened awareness, and, in a state closely resembling the REM state of normal sleep, I attempted to project my awareness into the future — to this very date— tonight, ladies and gentlemen!

"I pictured myself walking down Main Street. I saw the people, the buildings, I smelled the aromas, all as though I was strolling down the street instead of reclining on my living room couch. I tried to pin down exactly where and when I was— and then, I stopped— in front of me was a Newspaper stand!

"Ladies and gentlemen, I could not figure out how I could bring this artifact back with me, so I decided to do the next best thing— I tried to read the headline for that day.

"However, this was not as easy as it sounds. You must remember I was in a dream state, which is a function of the right brain. And reading is a left-brain function. I could not, try as I might, read the darned thing!

"However, I could look at the pictures, and by doing so, I could make out some of the information. The results of that experiment, my attempted glimpse into the future, are in a sealed envelope that I entrusted to the company's president, J. Throckmorton Moneysworth. Are you here sir?"

As the president approaches the stage, an assistant rolls out a large calendar..

"Sir, this is today's date." It's circled in red. "Now, when did you actually receive that letter from me? The 10th? So you have had that letter in your possession for how long? Ten days? Did anyone tamper with it in any way? What is the postmark on the letter? The fifth? So it actually left my possession fifteen days ago! Would you please open the seals and remove the contents?"

When the dignitary opens the envelope, the performer removes the newspaper and unfolds it to show the headline. It's apparent that the similarities between the two items defy any possibility of coincidence!

Allow the president to keep the prediction as a souvenir, along with the front page of the newspaper. Deep six the rest of the paper with the damning duplicate envelope. I suggest you drop it into the nearest Black Hole.


I continue by performing the Hoy/Thornton Hurling the Headlines, from the Bold and Subtle Miracles of Dr. Faust. Jack Dean has written a monograph on the Verbal Prediction, entitled Soothsayer.

The use of the large calendar is a suggestion by Gene Neilson, from his Effective Mental Presentation tape.

The newspaper switch is partially mine, but many others have tread similar ground before. Some suggest the use of rubber cement to seal the envelope in, but I have never found it necessary.

This presentation helps you avoid the logical trap of "If you're so smart, why aint'cha rich?" An imperfect prediction of the future, such as the one in my presentation, keep you miles away from this particular kettle of hot water.

The left brain/right brain anomaly is an accepted fact (at least, it is at the time of this writing). A person can't read well, if at all, in a dream. The words keep changing and the result lacks coherence. This was the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I'd dropped the headline prediction from my show as being too good to be true.

I do hope you like it — I spent about a year of deep (if sporadic) thought to come up with the bits and pieces that eventually became the Future Imperfect Headline Prediction!


With eyes sealed shut with duct tape from forehead to upper lip, and vision further occluded with a steel blindfold, the Psychic Entertainer demonstrates uncanny extra-sensory skills as he describes objects borrowed from the audience— and even reads the serial numbers from dollar bills with his fingertips!


I know you've heard it all before, but this is a really convincing blindfold method to use with any metal blindfold. Suitable blindfolds commercially available are: Sam Dalal's X-Ray Vision, Micky Hades Stainless Steel Blindfold, and Osterlind's Apex Blindfold. I prefer to design my own and have them produced at the local metal fabrication shop.

You must use a steel blindfold that allows you to obtain what I always think of as the 'Falkenstein peek' which is a sort of angled straight-ahead peek as opposed to the usual down-the-nose peek.

This taping procedure allows you to completely cover your face, from forehead to chin if you like, and still get a good peek.

I use five pieces of black duct tape or any other kind of cloth tape. I prefer tape that's about 2" wide. These pieces are stuck to a numbered board for visibility, and the board handed to a spectator. You call for the pieces one at a time and stick them in place.

Please refer to the illustrations on the next page to clarify what I'm talking about.

• Piece #1 is about 3 1/2" long, and the non-sticky side is lightly coated with Vaseline (key word here: lightly!).

• Pieces # 2 and #3 are about 6" long, and about 1/8" of the edge of the sticky surface is lightly wiped with vaseline.

• Pieces #4 and #5 are about 7" long and unprepared.


• Piece #1 goes along the length of your nose, "...To protect my nose from the sharp edge of the metal mask."

• Piece # 2 goes diagonally over the left eye, with the treated edge

overlapping the nose piece. Be sure to keep your eyes tightly screwed shut during the taping process. A burly spectator presses the tape firmly in place.

• Piece #3 goes diagonally over the right eye, again with the treated edge overlapping the nose piece.

• Piece #4 goes across the forehead, just over the eyes.

• Piece #5 goes under the nose, and wraps up beneath the cheeks.

Your burly spectator presses all the tape firmly in place, and then you don the steel blindfold. This process is fully illustrated on the accompanying illustration page.

Now, if you open your eyes you'll find that the tape becomes unstuck along the nose piece, giving you a sizable crack to peer through! The Vaseline prevents the tape from sticking very well to the nose piece. Do not open your eyes until the blindfold is in place, by the way, or you'll give it all away! Once the blindfold is in place the black tape hides any possible visibility of the crack from curious spectators. Remember that you don't really need much of an opening to see everything you need to see, anyway.


I do have a few thoughts on the presentation of the blindfold act. Always bear in mind Uncle John's First Rule of Mentalism:

Mentalism is like Shakespeare: It plays a lot better than it reads.

The effect of identifying colors with the fingertips, while undeniably impossible, can be deadly dull. I've developed a presentation that helps stimulate what imagination television has allowed to remain in your audience's minds!

Imagine your 'Brand X' Mentalist identifying the colors of hidden objects: "Er, hum...it seems to be...it seems to be bright! It is yellow!..."


I use a trick sold by Jack Dean called DOP that allows you to identify the colors of objects wrapped in metal foil. You can use Jack's trick or simply use colored ribbons or cloths. The following ideas are applicable to any routine where you are identifying colors or other attributes, ostensibly with the sense of Dermo-Optical Perception. The idea is to describe the emotion, sensations, and images that each object is 'inspiring' in me. Here are my scripts for the basic colors:


"Do you feel that? The heat? This is a very hot color, ladies and gentlemen. This feel like young lovers sitting in front of a warm fireplace, drinking red wine. It is a hot, passionate feeling — it must be red!"


"This feels like...Do you know how the mountains look in the fall? When the trees are turning, and, lit by the fading light of sunset, the mountains look like they are on fire! This is a restful, bright color, the color of Autumn — orange!"


" I seem to find myself in a garden...I think I'm picking up something from one of the ladies...This is not a garden in any sort of real sense, but a heavenly place, with flowers yellow flowers of love and hope. This one must be yellow!"


"I seem to hear the happy voices of children playing in the grass...I smell the freshly-cut grass! On the porch, it seems, the older people are sitting in chairs, drinking tea lightly seasoned with fresh mint...This is a cooling, relaxing color. It s green!"


"This is a nostalgic mood...It feels like old sneakers in the attic, basking in the cool light of the evening. I seem to feel a cool breeze, and see the stars alight in the dark blue sky! This can only be blue!"

And so on. I try to lead the audience into a guided visualization of what it would be like to 'see' with senses other than normal vision.

It reads a little schmaltzy, but it works well for me. I always end the blindfold demonstration by reading the serial numbers on a borrowed bill with my fingertips.

The Duct Tape Test

You can work this in as a presentational gambit, or actually use it to cover the dead time as audience members are tearing off your pieces of tape.

Audience Advisory:

Use discretion in choosing your audience before you do this!

Essentially, you hand one roll of tape to a woman and one to a guy. You ask each of them to tear off one six-inch piece of tape for your personal use. As your helpers comply, you address the audience, "Ladies and Gentlemen, you're about to witness the Duct Tape Test, a psychological mystery that seems to illustrate a fundamental difference in how men and women see the world. It's a funny thing. Whenever I ask a man to tear me off a six inch piece of tape, I usually get something back about this long-" Here you hold your hands about eighteen inches apart- "But a woman will hand me a piece this long-" And here you hold your thumb and first finger about two inches apart!

"This is one of Nature's true unsolved mysteries, ladies and gentlemen; no-one can explain it... "


For some nifty pointers on the presentation of the Blindfold Act, read the discussion by William Larsen Sr. in The Collected Mysteries, published by Genii Press.

For some solid gold lecture material on how the body reacts to color, see the

Luscher Color Test, written by Dr. Max Luscher. This should be the Bible for anyone doing the Sightless Vision Act.

Anent the somewhat risqué implications of the Duct Tape Test, I must admit that occasionally, I like to toe the line separating good and bad taste. I try to never actually cross the line, however! A little innocent double-entendre, now and again, helps keep things interesting, assuming you choose your audience wisely.

It occurs to me that if an audience has hired a Psychic Entertainer in the first place they're already likely to be a little more open-minded that the average audience! 'Nuff said.


"We are all, each of us, much more psychic than we may suspect. We find ourselves intuitively attracted to those activities and interests that suit us best. We seldom question those impulses that feel' right."

The performer shows three pictures —one of the company logo, one of a sports car, and one of Marilyn Monroe. "I have three pictures that symbolize three very important aspects in our lives, Work, Romance, and, of course, Materialism."

Approaching one of the audience members: "Sir, you look like someone who appreciates the finer things in life. You seem to value money and realize that cash can be important as a means to accomplish your goals. You can represent our materialistic instincts." The materialist is handed the picture of the sports car.

A second spectator receives the picture of the company logo. "Andyou, sir, strike me as a real company man. Someone who identifies strongly with the success of the company. Very responsible and generous with your time. You may be our Company representative.

"And you, sir, of course are perfect as our archetypal Lady's Man!" A third spectator gets the picture of the babe.

"Now, I' like each of you to pick up an envelope and seal your symbol away from prying eyes. Sir, would you please randomize the packets so that no one, even you, can know which packet contains what symbol. Thank you."

"Now, Alan (just for example), one of these packets contains your sports car. Which one do you intuitively feel is yours?" When he indicates his choice, Alan's name is written on the envelope and the performer tucks it under his arm.

"Now, Bob", the performer continues; "You are our smooth-talking Lothario — where's your girlfriend?" Bob's marked selection joins Alan's.

"Well, Chuck, some are born with envelopes, some select envelopes, and others have envelopes thrust upon them. By default, this envelope is yours." Chuck's name is written on the final envelope and it is placed with the other two.

Would you be surprised to learn that, when the three envelopes are distributed to their owners, all three have found their original symbol?


A long time ago, Robert Nelson published a great routine by Bob Tripp entitled Phenomenal ESP Perception. In Nelson's routine, five spectators correctly identify five ESP symbols sealed in envelopes. You may want to read Nelson's original routine for more details.

It seemed to me that five out of five correct was laying it on a little thick, so I decided to use three symbols. I also wanted a routine I could use for corporate seminars, that would incorporate the company logo and allow me to butter up the boss. I adapted Tripp's routine for my own needs.

In Bob's original routine, he suggested you mark the three envelopes as in Annemann's Pseudo-Psychometry. I though it might be better to mark the symbols, so the participants could pick up the envelopes from the table and I wouldn't need to handle anything. You'll notice that in this routine, you don't touch the pictures or the envelopes throughout the first part. You do handle them, once the participants seal and mix the envelopes, but you can't possibly know what symbol is in which envelope, could you? Could you? Read on...

The symbols are on heavy cardboard, about 12" x 12" in dimension. Apply the pictures to the cards with rubber cement.

The pictures of the sports car and of Marilyn are shimmed (usually with razor blades) so that you can scan them with a magnet and identify them. The shims for the sports car are in the four corners, while Marilyn has the shims in the center of the four edges. This way, you get two distinct identifiers no matter which way the pictures are oriented. The company logo remains ungimmicked, so you can give it to the president of the company as a souvenir. The shims are glued in place between the pictures and cardboard.

The scanning magnet is concealed in the butt end of a large marking pen. Use the strongest magnet you can find, and for god's sake, keep it away from computer disks and videotapes.

This idea of shimming cards in envelopes has been exploited in excellent routines by Jack Dean and Dr. Jaks.

Now, how do you arrange matters so that each person chooses the correct envelope?

Well, there's a good chance that they'll pick the correct envelope anyway! But for the remaining 60% of the time, we go back to Nelson's creation for inspiration.

We assumed the three spectators were Alan, Bob, and Chuck. When Alan picks an envelope, you have had ample opportunity to scan it with the magnet and determine if he was right or not. If he was correct, write his names in bold letters on the packet and flash it to the audience. If he picked one of the other envelopes, however, you actually write the name of whomever the envelope really belongs to!

This was the ingenious and ballsy part of Tripp's routine that set my mind on fire when I read it.

So now Bob gets his choice, and you write down the appropriate name on the envelope. You can put the labeled envelopes under your arm, or face-down on a table. Try to arrange matters so that no one can see what you're writing. A good touch is to 'forget' one of the names, and ask them to repeat it for you, as you write down the name of one of the other persons.

Chuck gets the default envelope, which supposedly contains the company logo. All that remains is to distribute the three packages to the correct person, allow them to open the envelopes, and reveal that through Phenomenal ESP Perception, they each found his or her original symbol.

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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  • simret
    How do psychics do duct tape blindfolds?
    5 years ago

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