A. One man's feast is another man's poison: There is no pat answer.
The best mental effects employ little in the way of apparatus but still leave room for some eye appeal. They are easy for the audience to comprehend and simple to execute. In other words, the audience shouldn't have to work too hard to follow what the performer is doing.
Good mentalism is direct, inexplicable, and entertaining.
For several years, I used the following effect as an opener to my psychic gambling act. The principle is will known, marketed in one form as "Hull's Pop-Eyed Popper" deck. It's currently available from Haines House of Cards or your local magic dealer in the recommended JUMBO size. What fooled so many magicians who saw it performed was the gutsy handling of the deck by the spectator and the use of an "out" when needed. The use of the jumbo cards also makes it especially effective as a stage effect.
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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.