The performer selects a member of the audience to join him on stage, and has him stand to his right. The performer removes a small black leather coin purse from his pocket, opens it, and removes a folded slip of paper. The spectator is invited to inspect the interior of the purse and confirm that it's otherwise empty. The folded slip is returned to the purse which is then placed between the outstretched palms of the spectator's hands for safekeeping.
The performer invites five members of the audience to stand and identifies them as "one" through "five." The on-stage volunteer freely eliminates four of the five spectators by number. When each person is eliminated, he sits down. Finally, the one person remaining standing is invited on stage, to stand to the performer's left. Retrieving the purse, the performer opens it and removes the slip of paper, allowing him to see that it is otherwise empty.
The spectator on the performer's right is asked to open the slip and read aloud what is written on it. As he does so, the performer turns and stares at the spectator on his left. For example, the slip reads: "I, Larry Becker, predict that a young woman with blonde hair will be randomly selected during my performance. She'll be wearing a dark blue dress with white polka dots and blue shoes. She will also be wearing a pearl necklace around her neck and a beautiful gold brooch."
The audience will gasp, because the description written on the slip perfectly matches the young woman standing next to the performer. You'll receive a tremendous hand for this startling mental effect. It's a killer.
The working by now should be apparent. Before your performance, wait until everyone is seated. Mentally select five people in the first row, preferably not seated adjacent to one another. On the smallest slip of paper, write a description of the first person, whom you remember as spectator number one, Do likewise with the next four persons, each description going on the next larger slip. When you're finished, assemble the slips into a stepped index and load them in the secret compartment of the purse. Place the smallest slip in the genuine interior compartment of the purse.
Follow the presentation as outlined. When you've finished showing the slip in the purse, and after the spectator has finished peering inside, allow the purse to close as you hold the slip up for all to see. Reopen the purse to the secret compartment side and insert the small slip back in it's regular location, in front of the remaining four slips. That's all there is to it.
When you spot which of the five spectators is left standing, remember his or her number in the row. Retrieve the purse and open the secret pocket. Remove the proper slip (you've mentally numbered them one through five beginning with the smallest slip) and you're home free. Everything else is as described.
This is one of the most devastating mental illusions you can perform and it makes a great opener. It not only involves seven members of the audience but also is a mind-blower, because of the impossibility of knowing in advance the description of a member of the audience so fairly selected.
I have another unbelievably effective use for the Becker Coin Purse, included in the chapter called "The Diffusion Principle." However, for the sake of completeness, I'm including the basic serial number divination effect here. Be sure to see how it compliments the teleportation effect described under the "Diffusion Principle."
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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.