To Perform

Start with this patter:

"I need a few strips of paper. This sheet will do. I can tear it into a few strips."

Tear the sheet of paper into seven or eight strips. The first and last strip will have one straight edge while both edges of the other strips are uneven. Here lies the secret, Figure 1.

Put the strips on top of each other, placing one with the straight edge third in the pile and the other one sixth. Or you may place both slips with straight edges on bottom of pile and pass them out at will.

"I am going to pass strips of paper among you for you to write upon."

Give upper slip to a spectator with a pencil. Say to him in a rather low voice:

"Just write the name of some living person on the slip."

Give next slip to another spectator.

"And you Just write the name of some living person."

To a third spectator give the third slip with a straight edge.

"Write the name of a dead person."

Pass out the fourth and fifth slips with the request that these spectators write the name of a living person. The sixth slip has a straight edge and sixth spectator is requested to write the name of a dead person. The seventh person is asked to write the name of a living person.

"Do not let me see what you have written. When you have written a name, concentrate on it for a moment, then fold the papers up rather small and drop them into the hat."

Have slips folded as shown in Figure 2. Edges must show. If spectators fold edges in, you can easily straighten them out a little.

Pass the borrowed hat and let spectators drop folded papers into it. If desired, a member of audience may be allowed to collect slips.

"And I shall ask you, sir, to mix them up well."

Give hat to some spectator so that he may shuffle slips well by jiggling hat a little. Take hat again and place it on table, opening upward.

"On these papers have been written the names of living people and the names of departed ones who have passed into the great unknown. The names are well hidden and mixed up so that no one knows which is which. I want each of you who have written the name of a dead person to concentrate on that name. Strange as it may seem, the dead have a peculiar influence."

Pick up a slip from inside of hat. See whether it has a straight edge or not. if it has, you know the slip contains the name of a dead person. If not, you know it is a living person.

Let us suppose the first slip has the name of a living person. Place it against your forehead and close your eyes for a moment as though you are concentrating, Figure 3.

"It is my intention to separate the dead from the living and to tell whether a name hidden inside the folded paper is that of a departed spirit or a living person. . . . This is the name of a LIVING person."

Open slip and read name. Toss slip aside in full view of audience. Then pick up another slip. Suppose this has a straight edge. Place it against your forehead as you did before.

"This bears the name of a departed spirit -- the name of a DEAD person."

Open slip and read name aloud.

"Is that correct? Who wrote the name of this dead person? You, madam? Thank you."

Continue this procedure, finally getting the second slip with the name of a dead person and reading it.

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