Number Three is ESP

David explains a little of the history of psychic research and Raj brings on a long slate. It's about 2 feet long and 16 inches wide with Roman numerals 1 to 5 marked along its centre. She holds it vertically with number 1 at the top.

David takes five large Zener cards, mixes them and then arranges them backs towards the audience along the left side of the slate, each card against a numeral. Then he shows a second set of five Zener cards and says he will try to influence the audience in a series of choices they will make.

He holds the first card up, back towards the audience and points to a spectator. "One, two, three, four ox five. Which number should I place the card against?" She chooses and David places the card in the nominated space on the right hand side of the slate.

He repeats the process with a second card and another member of the audience. She chooses a number and David places the card against that number on the slate. Each of the remaining five cards is dealt with in the same way. Five cards, five spectators, five choices.

"Well done but two of them are wrong," says David! "I've got to change two of these designs around." He points to someone in the audience. "Which two do you think I should change?"

The spectator picks two of the numbers on the slate and David openly exchanges the cards next to them. He looks at the audience, "Now you'd expect to match one or possibly two of these cards by chance but if you've matched three that would be pretty good. Four seems impossible but I think you'll agree we've done even better than that? Look." Raj turns the slate around so that the faces of the cards are now visible. Incredibly the spectators have correctly matched each of their cards with David's!

"Not only that," says David, "but you've arranged the cards in their correct numerical order. Let me show you." He points to the top card and then each card in turn as he says, "The circle at the top has just one line, the cross has two, there are three wavy lines, four lines in the square and, lastly, five points in the star." The audience applauds its own cleverness.

But the experiment is not over yet. Raj turns the slate upside down, bringing the star to the top. "I want you to use your imagination," says David, "Look at that square and think of it as a ship." Then he points to the wavy lines just below it, "a ship on the ocean waves. Can you imagine that?" They can but they don't know where David is leading them.

"This ship is sailing along and it's night and up in the sky is a star." Sure enough above the square is a star. "But what you didn't know is that lurking under the sea is a submarine." He points to the circle design that with a stretch of the imagination could resemble the cross-

section of a submarine. "And it has a periscope looking up at the ship." He points to the cross. The audience nods, the picture David has described makes sense.

"Have you got that picture in mind? Well I had that picture in my mind long before you created it tonight." He picks up a large envelope. Inside is a picture. It shows a ship, sailing on the waves under a starry sky while a submarine, complete with periscope, glides silently below. The picture was no improvisation but was it ESP?

Revelations: The slate David used is a dealer's item today, usually made in perspex. But David first made it up with Tony Corinda in 1961 when preparing material for his German television series. They had adapted a previously marketed effect that used regular playing cards and turned it into an item suitable for stage and television by building it on a larger scale and using jumbo Zener cards. Later Corinda marketed the effect, calling it the Khan Slate, through his dealership in London.

As the apparatus is a marketed item its working won't be described here but there are several presentational touches worth noting. Telling the audience that two of the designs are not matched and asking them to decide which two they are is a subtlety that David often included. It made no difference to the handling of the effect but did add to its veracity.

There was also a good chance that one of the spectators would actually correctly guess one or more of the cards that David held in his hand. For instance, if he held the wavy lines and a spectator said it should be put against number three, David would "accidentally" flash

David with the perspex Khan Slate.

The painting which forms the prediction, a scene incorporating the five elements.

the face of the card to the audience before placing it on the slate. The "accidental" showing had to be done casually or the subtlety was lost.

David's other notable addition to the routine was pointing out to the audience that they had arranged the cards in numerical order (according to the number of lines used to make up each design). And finally showing that this order, when turned upside down, corresponded with a picture he had in an envelope. No further trickery was required and yet two more rounds of applause were gained. The picture never had to be changed as the outcome of the trick was always the same but it added an extra dimension and gave the audience something more tangible than abstract symbols to remember the routine by.

Later, David dispensed with the picture in the envelope and instead used a specially commissioned oil painting of a ship at sea with a submarine below and a starry night sky above. It was an impressive looking picture set in an ornate gilt frame and attached to the back of an easel that swivelled. At the climax of the routine David placed the ESP slate on the easel and drew the audience's attention to the imagery suggested by the ESP symbols. Having established that they had that picture in mind he then turned the easel around, bringing the oil painting into view. It was a much more dramatic finish to the routine.

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