Man Myth Magic


"On what background?"

"White," says the man, again disagreeing with the fantasist on the other side of the theatre.

"So you see, in your mind's eye, black lettering on a white background."


"And the word is?"


David takes the card to Mr Fantasy. He agrees that the word is 'Film.' But insists he sees white where the other man sees black and black where the other sees white! By this time the entire audience is laughing.

"Now it's no use laughing," says David, "It's just the way they see things. Let's see if you can do any better." Raj brings some more cards, larger this time so that everyone can read what's on them. Addressing the entire audience David says, "I'm going to show you three words. They are in colour. Ignore the colour. Just call out the words. They are simple words but call them out in unison. That means all together!"

David reveals the first card. It contains three boldly printed words arranged one above the other. The audience read them out, "Book, Play, Film." They were supposed to read them out together but they prove to be a pretty undisciplined bunch. David tells them to do it again, "This time all together."

"Book, Play, Film," shouts the audience in perfect synchronisation. "Excellent," says

David Britland

David, "In fact it was better than I expected." He puts the card away and takes up a second one. "I'll show you another card, this time ignore the words and call out the colours. Are you ready?"

He turns the card around and the audience begin to shout out the colours. But something is wrong. They are not all shouting out the same colours! Some are shouting "Red, Green, Blue." Others are calling, "Green, Blue, Red." And they're laughing at their own confusion. The words on the card are "Red, Green, Blue" and the audience finds it almost impossible to stop themselves reading out the words as opposed to calling out the colours they are printed in.

"No, no. You've got to listen carefully, otherwise the whole evening will be spoiled for you. I said ignore the words and read out the colours. Try again. Now!" This time they call them out correctly, "Green, Blue, Red!"

"Fine, now you've caught on, just do it one more time." He displays a third card and once again the audience erupts in confusion and laughter as varying colours are called out, the audience unable to agree. "Difficult isn't it? You knew what you had to do but your mind wouldn't allow it. We are so attuned to reading words instantly that it was hard to translate my instructions. I run a lot of seminars for companies and I start with experiments like this and they get progressively more complicated. For instance I have pictures of objects and animals. And when I show them an animal sometimes it has a different word underneath. Sometimes it's the wrong word. Even top executives get confused, looking at a picture of a Giraffe while calling out 'Elephant!'"




The audience laughs, comforted by the fact that even high powered executives are confused by David's psychological deceptions.

Revelations: The trilogy of effects used in this segment of the show are three of David's favourite psychological warm up routines. The lettering on the first card was specially designed so that one way up it read "Reality" but when turned upside down it read "Fantasy" (see illustration). In mathematical circles these arrangements are known as ambigrams, words that can be read meaningfully from different angles. In mechanical terms all David had to do was turn the card over as he walked from one side of the stage to the other. He also ensured that the audience saw that the other side of the card was blank. Presentation and humour did the rest.

The second card, depicting the word "Film," was a dealer item called Posi-Negative, invented by Lubor Fiedler. Cleverly constructed, it enabled David to secretly change the black/white configuration of the lettering before he showed the card to each man.

Book, Play, Film, the third item, was one of David's gems, a routine he has used on many occasions. The words on the cards and the colours they are printed in are at odds with each other (see illustrations). Despite David's instructions, audiences cannot help but find themselves trying to read the words as opposed to calling out their colours. The result is utter confusion and lots of laughter. The brief description here does it no justice at all. It's guaranteed to make an audience smile and is one of the very best psychological icebreakers David has ever performed.



(These illustrations appear in colour on page 9.)

David demonstrating Pulse Control, with two nurses and a doctor. The nurses indicate the rhythm with their fingers.

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.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment