Begin by displaying the five cards. Explain that they contain a total of 500 different words. The words on each card are arranged according to their difficulty and are designated as such by the Vocabulary Level Number located at the top of each card. A reward of $500 is offered to anyone who finds that any word appears more than once. In short, there are positively no duplicate words throughout. A volunteer is asked to come forward and to examine the five word lists. The performer then requests the spectator to turn the five cards, word sides down, and to mix the cards so that no one, including himself, has any idea as to the location of any card. When the spectator is satisfied that the cards are well mixed, the performer requests that he discard, one at a time, any two cards. These are handed word side down to the performer, who then casually tosses them on a nearby table.
At this point, the performer must spot the last digit in the copyright year on each card and remember the total of those two digits. For example, if the spectator's discards bear the copyright years, ©1982 and ©1984, the performer remembers the number, "6" (2 + 4). At this point the performer actually knows which of the five definitions will apply to a word the spectator has yet to select. Simply check the crib sheet on the pen using the total of the last two digits on the two discarded cards and note the definition listed next to the number "6."
(4 or less) - a word having to do with great skill or ability
(5) - an ornament or piece of jewelry worn on the person
(6) - a medium of exchange or barter, specifically, money
(8 or more) — a group of people banded together for a common cause or purpose
In our example, the magic number is "6." Therefore, the definition you'll record on the pad is, "A medium of exchange or barter, specifically money!" You should always preface the definition, regardless of which one you require, with the words, "...and the definition is." In other words, you print the following phrase boldly on the pad: "...and the definition is - a medium of exchange or barter, specifically money!" If you have the crib sheet wrapped around the marking pen, you won't have to memorize a thing. As you are writing on the pad, simply glance at the pen and copy the appropriate definition.)
Now, with your back turned, ask the volunteer to turn the word cards over so he can see the "Vocabulary Level Number" at the top of each card. Explain that you want him to rearrange the three cards, randomly creating a three digit number known only to him, using the number at the top of each of the three cards. When he's done this, have the spectator retain the one card containing his randomly selected three digit number, discarding the remaining two cards.
When he's indicated that he has done so, have the spectator locate his chosen three digit number and memorize the word next to it. Then, as previously described, explain that to assist you in visualizing the word he is concentrating on, he's to imagine that he's looking up the definition of his chosen word in a dictionary. For example, let's say the spectator was left with cards 1, 3 and 5. He arranges these into the three digit number, "513." He looks up the word next to the number 513 and memorizes, "Dime."
As the spectator concentrates on the word he has freely selected and its definition, you proceed to record something on a sheet of cardboard (the definition as noted). Do not allow anyone to see what you've written. As previously described, invite a young lady up to hold the sheet of cardboard, placing it, writing side against her body so that no one can see what you've written. Use the gag about making the sheet of cardboard very happy (and give David Copperfield the credit for the line). Return the pen to your pocket. Now, ask the spectator to reveal for the first time, the one word out of 500 that he's concentrating upon.
As soon as the spectator has called out his word, the performer picks up the card on which he recorded a message. Holding the card so that only he and the second spectator can see what's written, the performer looks at the card and loudly exclaims, "The word is: Dime!" Turning to the second spectator standing next to him, the performer says, "Please finish reading aloud what I've written on this card!" The spectator reads the following, aloud, "...and the definition is—a medium of exchange or barter, specifically money!" Toss the card face down on the table and hold your hands in an upraised "applause" position. As the audience shows their appreciation of your amazing paranormal ability, thank your two on-stage volunteers and send them back to their seats. You have just accomplished a mental miracle.
Now, let's examine the sneaky subtleties that have enabled you to perform this unmitigated scam. To begin, double speak has been employed to convince the audience that you have discerned the word the spectator is thinking of, as well as the definition, even though the volunteer actually sees what you've written. By repeating the chosen word as you're looking at the card, the audience assumes that you're reading what's written there.
The young woman standing next to you merely thinks that you're repeating the word the volunteer just called out. Then, by having the young woman immediately finish reading aloud what you've written (note the word "finish") everyone hears an accurate definition of the freely selected word. The audience assumes that everything they just heard is printed on the card and the fact that a randomly selected spectator is looking at what you've written, and is reading it aloud (at least part of it!) is very convincing and totally disarming.
In my humble opinion, "Super Reflecta-thot" is a real gem. I sincerely hope that you'll try it just as I've described it. Sure, it takes nerve, but that's the very heart and soul of mentalism. Double speak is an extremely potent weapon in our arsenal. Naturally, you could perform the effect as originally conceived and discern the definition alone. However, you vastly increase the overall impact by apparently giving both the word and the definition.
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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.