What the audience sees

At the beginning of his performance, the mentalist explains that while we all possess some degree of intuitive ability, few ever attain a high degree of proficiency. However, during your performance you will teach someone to do just that by strengthening their belief system.

The performer removes a leather case from his pocket and hands it to a spectator to invert, dumping five keys into a heavy crystal goblet. The empty key case is placed along side the goblet. Now, the performer displays a heavy steel padlock which has a transparent plastic tag threaded on the shackle. Inside the clear tag is a folded $100 bill. The performer notes that the lock is strong enough to withstand a direct hit by a .44 caliber magnum bullet. As Dirty Harry would say, from the most powerful handgun in the world. A spectator is chosen to assist in the demonstration. He is handed the lock to examine. Then, he is invited to test each of the keys in the goblet to see if any of them open the lock. One does. Only one. The spectator places the five keys back in the goblet and after mixing them by shaking the goblet, he locks the lock.

Now, the performer states that in a recent Readers Digest article, they said that quartz crystals not only have the power to heal, they can also be used to enhance one's intuitive abilities. The performer shows a quartz crystal attached to a small silver chain. The spectator is asked to hold the crystal in his left hand and to remove any one of the five keyswith his right. The performer openly drops the selected key in the leather key case and places it in full view on the table. The remaining four keys in the goblet are discarded in the performer's pocket. The key case is placed atop the crystal goblet and the lock with its $100 bill encased in a clear plastic holder is set on top of the key case. The performer explains that if the spectator's key is the one key out of five to open the lock.. .the $100 bill is his.

The performer thanks the spectator for participating in the experiment and states that the demonstration will be concluded at the end of the performance. As the spectator returns to his seat, the performer notes that he can keep the quartz crystal (which is attached to a key chain) as a souvenir no matter how the demonstration turns out. The audience is asked to give the volunteer a nice round of applause and the performance continues.

At the conclusion of the performance, the spectator is asked to return to the stage. At no time has the performer touched the leather key case or the lock balanced atop the goblet. The performer opens the key case and inverts it over the crystal goblet, allowing the lone key inside to drop into the glass. The goblet is then inverted over the spectator's outstretched hand and the key selected by the spectator drops into the spectator's palm.

The spectator inserts his freely selected key in the lock...and it OPENS! There is an audible gasp from the audience. The performer removes the $100 bill from the plastic tag and hands it to the spectator. As he does so, the performer states, "Sir, we'll never know for sure if the crystal had anything to do with enhancing your intuitive ability...however, I do believe that the money definitely enhanced your belief system, and the brand new $100 bill you're taking home is absolute proof of that. The audience applauds the spectator's good fortune as he leaves the stage and the performer takes another well deserved bow.

Can you think of a more dramatic and entertaining finish to an act built around your extraordinary intuitive abilities and your ability to teach it to others. Sure, you give away a $100 at every performance.. .but it's almost as effective whether you load the tag with a $50 bill or a $20 bill. The amount of your fee should dictate which denomination of bill that you use. I would use a 10% fee factor. Anything over $1000 should dictate the use of a $100 bill. From $500 to a $1000, use a fifty. And anything below $500 should dictate the use of a $20 bill. Believe me, it will be the best money you've ever invested. For generations, magicians and mentalists have been teasing their audiences with all sorts of prizes in various games of chance...only to award the spectator a round of applause or a lousy consolation prize, if any. You will long be remembered for actually enabling a volunteer from the audience to take home the bacon. Few of your competitors will do the same.

Oh yes, the spectator's selected key is neatly switched by the leather key case, which is just another name for my Coinetic Case, a 3-compartment black leather case fashioned for me by England's master leather worker, Roy Roth. You simply call it a key case.

The five keys are placed in the rear compartment of the case and the duplicate opening key is placed in the front compartment. The center compartment is not used for this routine. The beauty of this case is the fact that you can open it, show the spectator how to hold it and then allow him to invert the case over the goblet, allowing the five keys to drop into the glass. The remaining sixth key will be held back, trapped in the front compartment. Your audience will never suspect that the case is gimmicked or that it holds anything else after the spectator has emptied it. Just follow the routine as described. Normally, I don't include commercial products as a lecture item, but considering the value of the case (it is also used to perform Casino Royale II described elsewhere in these notes and the original Coinetic routine) and the fact that it's only a $35 investment, my conscience is quite clear. Oh yes, the reason the effect is split between the beginning and the end of the show is simple. It wouldn't make sense to place the spectator's selected key in the case, only to remove it a moment later to allow the spectator to try it in the lock. By postponing the climax until the end of the show, it's quite logical to place the key in the case for safekeeping until the end of your performance. Also, the suspense is heightened since the items are on display in full view until the climax.

For those of you who wish to perform this effect as a regular "Bank Night" routine, you simply drop the intuition theme and convert it to a wager. After showing that four of the keys will not open the lock and that one will, you wager that if the spectator selects any one of the four keys which will not open the lock, he'll win a hundred grand (or any other fabulous prize you can think of). So, the odds are 4 to 1 in his favor. Follow the routine as outlined. Naturally, when the spectator's selected key does open the lock it will be evident that he did not win the wager. However, being the philanthropic entertainer that you are, you announce that he will receive the hundred grand anyway. With that, you remove a "Hundred Grand" candy bar which you present to the spectator together with a rousing round of applause from the audience. However, I still believe your audience will be more impressed by your ability to improve someone's intuitive abilities enabling them to win a meaningul prize than by awarding a booby prize.

Using Intuition as a theme throughout a mental act can be very credible. There are many books written on the subject such as Practical Intuition by Laura Day. The introduction to this book was written by actress Demi Moore who firmly believes in Ms. Day's inutitive abilities and Deepak Chopra hypes it by stating that the book very succinctly and clearly outlines how we can unlock a natural ability that we are all endowed with. Sounds good to me.

April's Not-So-Magic Square

Several years ago, when I entertained at the regional meeting of the Soroptimist Club, a philanthropic women's organization, my program ran 40 minutes and was quite well received. The most surprising aspect of the evening was the extraordinary response to my opener, the Magic Square which I had resurrected from the obscurity of my list of seldom used effects. According to the lady who booked me, it was the main topic of conversation for several days following the performance. I'm still not 100% sure why the effect scored such an impact, but perhaps it had something to do with my presentation. Unlike many performers I do not ask the audience to construct a 2-digit number and then proceed to fill-in the 16 square grid used for the "Magic Square" effect. In my version I have a number mentally selected by a spectator which is not revealed until after the square is totally filled-in. That changes the feat from a mathematical oddity or puzzle to a mental effect.

When I told my wife how well the effect had gone over, April asked if she could use the effect during her speaking engagements. So I explained it to her. She asked if I could eliminate the need for the subtraction required to get the first of four key numbers. We laughed, and I suggested that perhaps she should try an effect without arithmetic. Later that day, I set about creating a Magic Square effect that would require absolutely no memory, no subtraction, no nothing, except presentation. This is the result. April's Not-So-Magic Square.

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