Effect 1

To prepare for your performance of this routine, place an adhesive backed label on side "A" of a blank audio cassette. Place the cassette inside the small chest. Place an adhesive backed label on each of the two brass plates affixed to the tops of the two chests. Find a cardboard carton large enough to hold the tray and the nested chests. Place the tray in the carton with the nested chests centered on top. Pack some filler material (tissue paper) around the chests to hold them in place and to protect them. Seal the carton with Scotch tape.

Follow the routine as previously outlined. After contacting the person who has agreed to witness the sealing of the prediction and bring the locked chests to your performance, make an appointment to visit him or her. Do not say that you are attempting a prediction. This is important and helps eliminate the problem of curiosity. State that you will be attempting a test conditions experiment during your performance and that you'd appreciate his cooperation.

Stress that he will be called upon to honestly and factually describe what has transpired days or weeks (as the case may be) prior to your scheduled performance. Emphasize that it is extremely important to keep the package in a safe location (because the chests are quite costly) and to be sure to bring the sealed carton to your performance on such and such a date. State that you will phone him on the day of the show to remind him or her to bring the carton to the performance.

On the day of your appointment, take the cardboard carton to the dignitary's residence or office. Be sure to also take an empty attaché case with you, one large enough to later hold the tray. At the appropriate time, open the carton and remove the tray with the nested chests upon it. Hand the dignitary the key (which opens both chests) and have him or her unlock the large chest while you hold the tray. Ask the dignitary to move the large chest to the right side of the tray (as he is looking at it). Open the lid, exposing the handle on the small chest inside. Ask the dignitary to remove the small chest and to place it on the tray to the left of the large chest. Have the dignitary unlock and open the small chest. Ask him to reach inside and to remove the audio cassette. This is a very strong point. Without saying a word, you have casually allowed the dignitary to see that the inside of the small chest is perfectly normal. Point out that there's a blank label affixed to the cassette. Hand the dignitary and marking pen and instruct him or her to have a seat and to sign the label.

While he or she is signing the label, turn so that your right side is facing the dignitary and grasp the tray and press upward on the secret compartment with the two left middle fingers. While the secret compartment is held open, slide the small chest toward the rear of the tray. The secret compartment will be locked in the open position. The tray can now be safely placed on the table.

Forgive the length of the above procedure. In actual practice, the entire sequence takes only a few seconds as you move away from the dignitary to a table, where you deposit the tray and chests. The dignitary will be busy signing the cassette, providing sufficient cover for your actions.

Make sure the lid of the chest is open. As soon as the dignitary has completed signing the cassette for identification purposes, retrieve it with your right hand. Hold the cassette between the right thumb on one end and the middle finger on the other. Return to the table and place the audio cassette into the small chest, actually inserting the long, closed edge of the cassette into the raised secret compartment with as little fiddling as possible (you must practice this to perfection). The head of the cassette should be facing out of the compartment. Make sure the cassette is fully seated in the compartment before you close the lid of the chest.

Toss the dignitary the key. Pick up the tray and maintain a pressure beneath the tray to hold the compartment in an upright position. Move the small chest toward the front edge of the tray as you smoothly and quietly lower the secret compartment back inside the tray. This action takes but a second and occurs when you pick up the tray and bring the chests to the dignitary. As you hold the tray, request that he or she lock the small chest. Holding the tray with one hand, remove a marking pen and hand it to the dignitary. Instruct the dignitary to sign his name across the label affixed to the brass plate on top of the small chest.

Place the small chest inside the larger one. Ask the dignitary to lock the large chest and to note the time and date the chest was locked and remanded to his custody, on the label affixed to the brass plate.

Once again, it has taken considerable explanation to cover a very simple action. But, go back and read this paragraph until you fully understand the action of picking up the tray and bringing the chests to the dignitary for him to lock.

Ask the dignitary to place the locked chests in a safe place somewhere in the house while you wait. As soon as he has left the room, place the tray in your attache case. Should he mention the tray at all upon his return, state that you use it only to preclude any unnecessary handling of the chests. With that, recap what you expect of him relative to his bringing the chests to the performance. Leave the cardboard carton with him and ask that he seal the chests back in the carton prior to bringing them to the show. With that, beat a hasty retreat.

On the day of the show, phone the dignitary and remind him or her as promised. At this time, be sure to make arrangements for the dignitary to bring along an audio cassette player or arrange with the sponsor of your performance to do so. This is extremely important as it will eliminate any possible thought that the miracle was accomplished through the use of electronics. The cassette player must be borrowed.

On the day of your performance, remove the cassette from the tray and record your prediction on the blank, signed cassette after checking the headline in that day's newspaper. Incidentally, if you're concerned about having to predict a catastrophe such as war in the Persian Gulf or a terrorist attack or a plane or train crash, use a major event on the front page of the sports section. When you've finished recording your prediction, load the cassette in the secret compartment with the head of the cassette pointing out of the compartment. Be sure to take a copy of the newspaper to the show so the audience can compare the headline with your prediction. To facilitate the audience knowing what to look for when the newspaper is shown, circle the appropriate headline with a bold marking pen.

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