The mentalist invites two gentlemen and a lady to go on an imaginary shopping trip to a supermarket. To begin, the performer places a paper bag upright on the table. The young lady is handed a shopping list containing twenty-five grocery items. Showing nine cards, numbered 1 through 9, the performer mixes them and has the packet cut several times by one of the spectators. The cards are now dealt into three piles, as if dealing three hands of poker. The young lady is then invited to select one of the three piles. The two gentlemen are instructed to do likewise. They are then instructed to mix their individual packets of three cards. Now, the two gentlemen are invited to alternately call out the values on the cards they hold, in any order they wish.
The performer records the values as called by the two spectators as three two digit numbers, one under the other on a large drawing pad. Drawing a line beneath the three 2-digit numbers, the mentalist asks one of the spectators to add the figures to determine how much the young lady has to spend on her imaginary trip to the store. As this is being done, the performer asks the young lady to total the digits on the three cards she's holding and to call out the total.
She announces that the total is "15." The performer asks the young lady to call out the grocery item next to the number "15" on her shopping list. It turns out to be Kellogg's Corn Flakes. The spectator who totaled the three 2-digit numbers is requested to call out the amount of money the young lady has to spend. He states that the total is 165. "One dollar and sixty-five cents," the performer repeats.
The young lady is now directed to remove the contents of the paper bag on the table. When she does so, everyone sees a large box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. Now, the performer asks the young lady to remove the sales receipt in the bottom of the bag and to read it aloud. On the receipt is the following: "Winn-Dixie Supermarkets— one box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes- Total, $1.65."
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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.