Partial Explanation

The effect you've just read has two possible endings. The second ending is equally as strong and contains an element of humor that professional performers will immediately appreciate. The procedure is identical up to the point where the spectator on the mentalist's right is requested to open the first envelope. "Wouldn't it be amazing if the date on the coin matches the date I wrote on the envelope," the performer states. The spectator is told to open the envelope and see if the date on the coin matches the date written on the outside of the envelope. The spectator does so and replies that the dates do not match.

The performer does a slow "Jack Benny" turn of the head toward the spectator on his right. The audience laughs. With a look of disdain, the mentalist retrieves the coin and envelope and silently checks the dates before ditching them in his pocket. Turning to the spectator on his left, the performer requests that he hand the other spectator the envelope marked, 1972.

"Wouldn't it be amazing if the date on the coin matches the date I wrote on the envelope," the performer asks. The spectator smiles and agrees. "Tear it open and give us the good news. Do the dates match?" The spectator checks and responds that the dates do not match. Again the audience laughs as the performer does his

Jack Benny slow burn. The mentalist takes back the second coin and envelope and with a look of disgust, plunges them into his jacket pocket as before.

With a touch of tarnished dignity the mentalist asks that the final envelope be handed to the spectator on his right. "Sir," the mentalist triumphantly exclaims, "wouldn't it be a pleasant change of pace if the date on the coin in the envelope matches the date written on the outside? What is the date on the envelope you're holding?"

The spectator replies, "1971." The mentalist requests, "Then please open the envelope and tell us the date on the coin inside." "1971," replies the spectator.

The performer turns to the audience and raises his hands in the air as if to acknowledge a standing ovation. The audience laughs. Unperturbed, the mentalist says, "It would have been amazing if the dates on the three coins would have matched the dates on the envelopes? By the same token, wouldn't it be equally as amazing if somehow I knew in advance that out of the three coins randomly sealed in three envelopes, only the coin and envelope dated 1971 would match?" The spectator agrees. The mentalist turns to the spectator on his left and states, "Sir, you've been holding the coin purse since we began this experiment. Please squeeze open the top of the purse and read aloud what's written on the folded slip of paper inside." The spectator does so and reads aloud the following message: "The only coin and envelope that will match are both dated 1971." This time, the applause is for real.

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