A committee of three is invited to meet with the performer prior to showtime to participate in a test conditions experiment. Each spectator is handed a small slip of paper and a pen or pencil. While the performer's back is turned, one spectator is asked to write down the name of any city in the world. The second spectator is asked to jot down any three digit number. The third spectator is asked to print any word in the English language. The spectators are then instructed to quarter-fold the three slips, write their names on the outside, and place all three slips in a small leather purse which is then snapped shut.
The performer then turns around and calls attention to a wooden chest on a tray which is subsequently unlocked to have a smaller chest removed from within. The small chest is placed to one side. The leather case containing the spectator's slips is placed inside the small chest which is locked by the committee. The three spectators then initial labels affixed to brass plates on top of both chests for identification purposes. The smaller chest is nested inside the larger chest which is also locked by the committee. The locked, nested chests are retained by the committee for safekeeping until they are called on stage during the mentalist's performance.
During the performance, the performer recaps what transpired prior to the show. The committee confirms that while the performer's back was turned, they recorded three thoughts on three slips of paper which were then placed in a leather case and locked inside two nested wooden chests. Further they certify that the locked chests have not left their possession at any time since. The performer requests that the committee is asked to unlock the large chest and to remove the smaller one. The performer has the committee confirm that the initials on the labels affixed to both chests are, in fact, theirs. The chests are placed on a nearby table for the time being.
The performer, with a drawing pad in hand, asks one of the committee to concentrate on his recorded thought. The performer jots something on the pad. Flipping to a second page, the performer asks the second member of the committee to concentrate on his thought. Again the performer jots something on the pad. Turning to a third page, the performer asks the third member of the committee to concentrate on what he wrote on his slip. After doodling something, the performer closes the pad and hands it to a fourth spectator.
The performer instructs the committee to unlock the small chest and to remove the leather case. The three slips are removed by the committee and each is returned to its proper owner. The first spectator is asked to open and read aloud the city that he freely selected, for example, "Paris." the spectator holding the pad is asked to open it to the first page and to show the audience what the performer wrote. There, boldly printed on the page is one word, "Paris." the second spectator opens and reads aloud the three digit number on his slip, for example, "813." the spectator with the pad turns to the second page and shows the audience that the number "813" is boldly printed on the page. Finally, the third spectator is asked to open his slip and to read aloud the one word out of thousands that he wrote, for example, "fake." the spectator with the pad is asked to show what is written on the third page and there, boldly printed, is the word, "fake."
Was this article helpful?
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.