The performer displays five cards. Each contains a total of one hundred different words, a total of 500 words in all. A reward of $500 is offered to anyone who can find any duplicate words. A volunteer is handed the cards to examine. He's then requested to mix them, word side down. Now, the volunteer is asked to discard any two of the cards. The performer turns his back so he cannot possibly see what transpires. The volunteer is asked to note that each card is designated as a vocabulary list and is numbered from ONE through FIVE. Using the single digit number at the top of each card, the spectator is asked to rearrange the cards, producing a randomly selected three digit number. This number is known only to the volunteer. The performer requests that the spectator locate the card containing his freely selected number, and to memorize the word next to it. All the cards are now set aside.
The performer states that receiving the mental transmission of a single word is extremely difficult. To make the transference of thought a little easier, the volunteer is asked to pretend that he's looking up his freely selected word in a dictionary. He's to then concentrate on the word and its definition. As the spectator concentrates, the performer picks up a sheet of cardboard and jots something down. A young woman is invited to assist. The performer asks the young woman to hold the card against her body so that no one can see what he has written. As the young woman does so, the performer quips, "You've just made a sheet of cardboard very happy."
For the first time, the volunteer is told to call out the one word he's concentrating upon. For example, he calls out, "Dime!" Immediately, the performer retrieves the piece of cardboard. Glancing at what he wrote on the card, the performers states, "The word is 'Dime!' " Handing the sheet of cardboard to the young woman, he requests that she finish reading aloud what he wrote. The young woman reads what is written on the board, "...and the definition is a medium of exchange or barter, specifically money!" Believe it or not, the performer has correctly identified both the word and its definition.
Those of you who are familiar with the original can appreciate the significant improvements. You do not see which card the spectator's word is on and you never know which 3-digit number the spectator has selected. Most important of all, there are no confederates used and you identify the word as well as its definition without asking a single question.
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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.