Three manila envelopes, graduated in size to nest one inside the other, are handed out for examination, as are 5 E.S.P. design cards. The mentalist then demonstrates what the spectator is to do during the experiment. That is, he is to hold the five cards, design sides down, and begin transferring one card at a time from the top of the packet to the bottom.
At anytime he wishes, the spectator is to stop, turn the top card of the packet faceup and insert it between the other face-down cards.
The spectator is instructed to remember the one design that is now face-up. The five cards are then inserted into the smallest of the three manila envelopes. The envelope is immediately handed to the spectator to examine and confirm that the envelope is absolutely opaque.
His demonstration concluded, the mentalist removes the cards and, after turning the one face-up card, face-down, hands them back to the spectator to do as directed while the mentalist's back is turned.
When the spectator has completed turning his freely selected design face-up and inserted it between the remaining four face-down cards, he is instructed to place the packet in the smallest manila envelope which the mentalist is holding behind his back. The small envelope is now placed in the middle size envelope and the spectator places these inside the largest of the three envelopes.
The three nested envelopes are retained by the spectator who is asked to concentrate upon the mentally selected design. The mentalist then proceeds to immediately reveal the spectator's design, without any questions, and without fail. It is almost as if he has X-Ray Vision or E.S.P.
That's all there is to it. No moves. No gimmicks. No nothing. Just a truly diabolically subtle secret that involves a most unique principle.
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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.