Lightning Thot

The mentalist's associate is blindfolded and seated, facing the audience, approximately eight to ten feet behind and slightly to the left of the performer. The Great One hands an opaque sheet of illustration board or Fomcor to three members of the audience, requesting that each print a bold numeral on the board, creating a 3-digit number.

Taking the clipboard in hand and at no time allowing the pad to face in any direction but directly away from his associate, the performer asks the audience to concentrate on the first digit, the second digit and finally, the third number. During this entire sequence nothing else is said. Within seconds the blindfolded associate correctly reveals the 3-digit number.

Most subscribers are familiar with a gimmick intended for magicians, Rocco'sD'Lite. It's a thumbtip in which a small light and battery are concealed. A slight inward pressure on a switch in the thumbtip illuminates a tiny red, gold or green light.

The blindfold used is one that allows straight-ahead vision, such as Osterlind's Stainless Steel Blindfold. A quick and inexpensive variation is a double rolled handkerchief. Place a handkerchief flat on the table and roll two diagonally opposite corners towards the center until the rolled sections meet. If the blindfold is tied over one's eyes so one roll is just above the other below eye level, only one layer of cloth obstructs the vision and a decent degree of sight is possible while the blindfold appears genuine.

The performer retrieves the board from the audience and holds it over his shoulder, thumb behind the board and fingers to the front. Even though the associate does not look directly at the performer, it's easy enough to use peripheral vision to detect the E.T.-like glow emanating from the tip of the performer's 'thumb.' If you're right handed, hold the board using the left hand, fingers in front and only the thumb wearing the D'Lite, behind the board. In lieu of having the spectators write the number, holding the board as described permits you to use your right hand to write on the board, recording, for example, a 3-digit number which members of the audience create using only their fingers to silently signal their digits for you to record on the board.

Coding each number as he asks the audience to concentrate on the first, second and third digits is a snap. Naturally, many different types of items can be coded in the same manner; symbols, colors, celebrity photos, etc. Just be aware of your angles and of any reflective surfaces behind you. No memory. No codes. Just a little sideways glance is all it takes. Naturally you ditch the thumbtip with a "Rudolph" complex before continuing.

*Originally published in SYZYGY - The Journal of Contemporary Mentalism.

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