The performer shows a pack of ESP design cards. Removing them from the box, the performer notes that the cards were used many years ago in an attempt to verify the existence of Extra Sensory Perception. Showing the top five cards, one at a time, the performer displays a circle, a plus sign, three wavy lines , a square and a star. Noting that each design is repeated five times, the performer runs through the cards showing the faces of the 25 ESP design cards to the audience.
A spectator is now invited to participate in the demonstration. Displaying two manila envelopes, one slightly larger than the other, the performer places one of the design cards in the smaller of the two. The spectator is requested to verify that the envelope is totally opaque. The spectator confirms that the design card does not show through either side of the envelope. Returning the design card to the packet, the performer invites the spectator to remove a handful of design cards as he spreads the packet, design sides down. The spectator is now asked to remove any one of the cards he is holding and to insert it in the smaller of the two envelopes. The performer holds the envelope behind his back so that there is no possibility he can see which design card the spectator has selected. The performer turns and picking up the larger envelope, he inserts the smaller envelope inside. The spectator is once again asked to examine the nested, sealed envelopes to be sure they are totally opaque.
The performer asks the spectator to visualize his selected design. Using a marking pen, the performer writes something on the face of the envelope. As he places the pen aside, the performer asks the spectator to reveal for the first time, the design that he has been concentrating upon. The spectator replies, for example, "the square." The performer turns the envelope towards the audience and everyone sees the performer has drawn a square or simply wrote it out.
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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.