Prior to showtime, a dignitary is invited backstage. The performer hands a folded slip of paper to the dignitary and requests that he sign his name across one side of the slip and then insert it in a small leather case. The performer places the leather case in a small wooden chest and has the dignitary lock same. For identification, the dignitary signs a label affixed to a brass plate on top of the chest. The small chest is then placed inside a slightly larger chest which the dignitary also locks. The time and date of the procedure is then printed on a label affixed to a brass plate on top of the large chest. The locked, nested chests are then placed out of the performer's reach. The performer hands the dignitary a four page section of classified advertising taken from the local newspaper. The dignitary is instructed to freely select any one of the hundreds of classified ads that appear in the four page section. The dignitary is requested to read and circle the selected ad with a bold, black marking pen. He's then asked to sign his name below the selected advertisement for positive identification. The dignitary takes the locked chests with him to hold for safekeeping until he is called on stage during the performer's show.
During the performance, the dignitary is invited to bring the locked chests on stage. He confirms to the audience that prior to the show he signed a folded slip of paper and sealed it in a leather case and then locked the leather case inside two wooden chests which have not left his possession at any time since. The dignitary further confirms that, while the sealed chests were in his possession, he freely selected one of several hundred classified advertisements which he circled and signed with an indelible marking pen for identification.
The large chest is unlocked and the small chest removed. A second spectator is asked to hold the four page section of classified advertisements. Now, the dignitary is asked to confirm that the time and date printed on the label affixed to the brass plate on top of the large chest is accurate and the signature on the small chest is the one he placed there. The small chest is unlocked by the dignitary who then removes the leather case.
After extracting the signed, folded slip of paper from the case, the dignitary identifies his signature. The dignitary is asked to read aloud what the performer wrote on the slip. The prediction describes the contents of a classified ad, i.e., "I sense that you will freely select an ad for the sale of an East Mesa home just minutes from the new Superstition Mall. The ad will be placed by a party named John at 664-5982."
The spectator with the classified section is asked to show the circled, signed advertisement to the dignitary. The dignitary confirms that it is the ad he freely selected, circled and signed. The second spectator reads aloud the contents of the classified ad. "East Mesa brand new home. All upgrades included. Just 5 minutes from new Superstition Mall. Easy financing. Call John at 664-5982."
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