The performer explains that one of the things he enjoys most about his work is getting to meet people from all walks of life. While most are basically different from one another, there is one thing they all seem to have in common. They're very predictable. So to test this theory of predictability, the performer proposes to engage a member of the audience (a young woman) in a small game of chance. In fact, the performer continues, he'll wager that not only will a member of the audience fail to select the one purse out of four that contains a brand new $100 bill, he'll even give the spectator three chances to do so. Not only that, the performer continues, he'll actually predict the order in which the spectator selects the purses, or he'll also forfeit the $100 bill. It's quite apparent that the spectator has everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Displaying four black leather purses, numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4, the performer invites a spectator to select any one of the four purses. When the spectator announces her choice, for example, purse number 2, the performer opens the purse marked "2" and withdraws a folded slip of paper. Dropping the slip back into the purse, the performer allows the spectator to remove it. Showing that the purse is otherwise empty, the performer asks the spectator to open and read what is written on the slip of paper. It states, " I predict that you will select purse number two!" Naturally, everyone groans as the performer exclaims, "Ta da!" extending his arms upward as if he expected a standing ovation. The audience laughs assuming that each of the four purses contains a appropriately worded prediction. The performer glares at the audience as he says, "How quickly they turn!"
Discarding purse number "2" in his pocket and stating that there are still three purses left, the performer invites the spectator to make her second selection, for example, purse number "4." Once again the performer opens the purse, but it also contains only a folded slip of paper. The spectator is invited to remove the slip and examine the purse to make sure it's otherwise empty. The spectator opens and reads aloud what's written on the slip of paper. It states, " I predict that purse number four will be your second choice!"
Everyone now realizes that the performer is correctly predicting the exact order in which the spectator is selecting the purses. The performer offers the spectator a choice between the remaining two purses. For example, the spectator selects purse number "1." The performer opens the purse and requests that the spectator remove the contents, another folded slip of paper. The spectator confirms that there's nothing else in the purse. The spectator opens and reads aloud what's written on the slip of paper. "Your third choice will be purse number one!"
The performer states that obviously, the fourth and final purse is the one that holds the $100 bill. Opening the purse, the performer removes and shows the $100 bill. Explaining that the purse also contains a folded slip of paper, the performer has the spectator remove the slip. Showing that there is nothing else in the purse, the performer asks the spectator to open the slip and read aloud what's written on it. The message reads, "You've missed on all three guesses; not the best of scores! But since you've been a marvelous sport, a lovely gift is yours." The performer removes a single, long stemmed rose and presents it to the young woman who participated in the demonstration.
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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.