Prior to showtime, a dignitary is invited backstage. The performer hands a folded slip of paper to the dignitary and requests that he sign his name across the folded paper. He's then requested to insert the slip in a leather case. The performer places the leather case in a small wooden chest which the dignitary then locks. Their performer hands the dignitary a marking pen and requests that he sign a label affixed to a brass plate on top of the chest. The small chest is then nested in a larger one and the dignitary is asked to lock same. The dignitary also signs his name to a label on the lid of the large chest.
The performer now hands the dignitary a four page section of classified ads taken from the local newspaper. The dignitary is asked to freely select any one of the hundreds of classified advertisements. He is then requested to circle the selected ad with a bold marking pen and to sign his name below it, for identification. The dignitary takes the locked chests with him to hold for safekeeping until called on stage later in the evening. Be sure to remind the dignitary that the locked chest are in his posession before the classified advertisement was selected.
At the appropriate time during your performance, the dignitary is invited to bring the locked chests on stage. He confirms to the audience that prior to the show, he signed a folded slip of paper and sealed it in a leather case. He then locked the leather case inside two wooden chests which have not left his possession at any time since. The dignitary confirms that, while the locked chests were in his possession, he freely selected one of several hundred classified advertisements, one of which he circled and signed to identify it.
The larger chest is unlocked and the small chest removed. (Note: It's at this point that the same procedure of showing the audience the labels on top of the chests and having the spectator identify his initials or signature on the labels, is used to expel the leather case from the tray into the small chest.) The handing of the newspaper to a second spectator is also identical to the first effect. The small chest is unlocked by the dignitary who removes the leather case.
After extracting the folded, signed slip of paper, the dignitary identifies his signature. He then reads aloud what the performer previously wrote on the slip of paper. The prediction describes the contents of a classified advertisement, i.e., "I sense that you will freely select an ad for the sale of an East Mesa home just minutes from the new Superstition Mall. The ad will be placed by a party named John at 644-5982."
The spectator with the classified section is asked to show the circled, signed advertisement to the dignitary who confirms that it is indeed the ad he freely selected and signed. The second spectator is asked to read the date on the newspaper and the contents of the classified ad. The spectator reads a date that's two weeks prior to the performance. Then, he reads the advertisement, "East Mesa brand new home. All upgrades included. Just 5 minutes from new Superstition Mall. Easy financing. Call John at 664-5982."
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