The "Million-Dollar Mind Reader" is the type of effect that could get you elected as Absolute Ruler in a small to mid-size banana republic.
When Paul Lackey presented this effect during his recent tour of Central America, he was made an honorary member in the prestigious "Monarch of the Month Club." After a few weeks of dictatoring around, Paul was forced to return to the states for medical treatment. Rumor has it that Paul's hands become severely chafed as a result of having to clap them together every time the services of a harem girl were required.
Despite this painful disability Paul was still able to outline the basic principles of the "Million-Dollar Mind Reader" for this book: a near-perfect, hands-off approach to mind reading that could easily be mistaken for the real thing.
L-ffïLCT - While the performer's back is turned, he directs a spectator to write down the name of any person that means something special to her. The name can be written on the paper in any position and at any angle. The spectator is then directed to write down any other name she can think of, in any position and at any angle on the paper.
This is continued until a list of about ten different names has been compiled. Up to this point the only person who can see what's
bemg written is the spectator. The spectator can. in fact, be alone in another room during the entire process.
The performer retrieves the paper and concentrates on the names. He then stares into the spectator's eyes and concentrates. The performer calls out one name. It's the one name she cares about - the very first name she had written on the paper'
MtTJ^TD - The secret of identifying the proper na^e a'! depends upon the first stroke of fe pen
Deposit a bit of organic oil on the palm of your right hand by rubbing your forefinger on the bridge of your nose. As you hand a pen to your spectator, transfer a thin coat of oil onto the point of the pen (FIG. 1).
When the spectator writes the first name there will be an almost imperceptible blot or skip at the very start of the first stroke. The clue will appear as anything from a slight fuzzi-ness to a definite gap. The sharpness of the "tell" depends upon how hard the pen is pressed, the kind of ink used, the type of paper, etc. With a little practice, you'll be able to pinpoint the proper name every time.
The following is for those occasions when a spectator uses her own pen and you have no chance to "oil up." When a pen has not been used for a few minutes the ink on its tip will have dried. As a result the first stroke will be slightly different - just enough for you to detect which word was written first.
This is a real nice blend of Version -1 and Version -2. Start off by performing the effect with a borrowed pen, as in Version -2. After the names have been written, take the pen from the spectator and use it as a pointer, tapping each name with the back of the pen to receive "psychic vibrations." You are now in a perfect position to oil the pen point as in Version -1 (see FIG. 1). You can repeat the effect indefinitely, secretly re-oiling the pen every time you tap the names.
The "Million-Dollar Mind Reader" is one of those rare effects that can be repeated. The more times you do it. the more incredible it seems to your audience.
If you do this so often that you run out of natural body oils then it's probably time to move on to something else.
The "Sherlock Holmes" method is the master technique for performing the effect with any writing instrument - pen, pencil, crayon, etc. The theory behind this was pointed out to me by Gil E. Gilly who, like Paul Lackey, is a professional mentalist.
There is always a slight difference when a person first begins to write. When you place the point of a pen or pencil against a paper, you are not sure exactly how your writing instrument will perform. Experience has taught you that sometimes a pen will skip, sometimes no ink will come out, sometimes too much ink will come out, etc. Various other subconscious "worries" apply to all writing instruments. As a result, when you first start to write, you'll tend to hesitate and apply extra pressure as you write the first few letters of a word.
One other psychological tell results when the spectator writes the name of someone she cares about. There's a tendency to write this name much more carefully than the others. It's up to you to detect the difference. Happy hunting.
• A ballpoint pen works best.
• If you are low on natural body oils you can dab on a smidge of lip-balm or chap-stick.
Paul Harris The Art of Astonishment tuNINC;
Today Mr. Science demonstrates how to construct a tuning fork out of an ordinary deck of cards.
After a few moments of scientific shuffling, sliding and twisting of the cards, you have rearranged the deck into something that bears a close resemblance to Mickey Mouse's head. Someone peeks at a card. "This ingenious device is a cardboard tuning fork. By pressing the proper sequence of buttons on the control panel (a face-up card on the 'tuning fork'), a series of delicate vibrations will attune themselves to the good vibes of a single card. This card will then react by actually vibrating itself right out of the deck! A boon to close-up workers and lonely women everywhere!"
Outraged cries of "balderdash and bull-fud-gies" are heard from members of the audience...until something strange starts to happen:
While all of your fingers are in full view, a single card slowly emerges from one side of the tuning fork. This self-propelled card then mysteriously straightens itself, continues to rise, then finally stops. Your spectator bravely plucks out the card. It's the one she peeked at. She vibrates with joy. You're not sure if you should touch her or not.
PLE-f^MANCL -6TE.P - The Shuffle Cut off just less than two-thirds of the deck in preparation for Mario's Incomplete Faro. (Can't this guy finish anything?) For those of you who just walked in, an Incomplete Faro is not King Tut with something missing. An Incomplete Faro simply means that the two sections of a divided pack are interwoven to form an extended deck as in FIG. 1.
Note that the smaller portion goes into the larger portion, leaving four or five cards above and below the extended packet. If you don't know how or don't want to do a Faro Shuffle, then you can openly up-jog every other card in the deck (except for four or five cards on the top and bottom).
5TELP T\V0 - The Peek Hold the extended deck in a face-down, left-hand dealing position. Tilt the palm of your left hand toward yourself, positioning the face of the cards toward the audience (FIG. 2).
Riffle the upper-right index corner of the extended packet as you request a spectator to say "stop." Try to time the riffle so that you are stopped in the top third of the extended packet. It's no big deal if you miss. This position just makes the final display a bit more effective. As your spectator peeks at the stopped-at card, continue to pull the packet toward yourself just enough to form a break in the lower packet (FIG. 3).
Retain the break in the lower packet with your left little finger as your right forefinger releases the upper packet. Lightly riffle the end of the extended packet with your right forefinger, proving that everything is "okay."
Using your right hand, divide the extended packet into a "V" formation by twisting the top half to the left and the bottom half to the right. Try not to make the division at the section where the peeked card is, ideally, you want the peeked card to end up in the center of the left-hand "fork" (FIG. 4).
It's important that the angle of the two forks are positioned as in FIG. 4. If they are tilted too far off to one side, or too close together, the effectiveness of the rise will be diluted. A left little-finger break is still retained in the lower packet.
Use your right fingers to turn the top card of the lower packet face up as you explain that this card is the control panel (FIG. 5).
Undercover of extending the control panel's "handle," your right thumb and forefinger will secretly position the card above the break so that it butts against the inner end of the peeked-at card as follows: Insert your right forefinger into the break at the lower-right corner as you place your right thumb onto the lower-right corner of the face-up control panel card
The side of your right forefinger is pressed against the side of your left little finger to conceal the break. This position leaves the cards above the break pinched between your right thumb and forefinger.
Slide the card from above your forefinger and the face-up card from below the right thumb as one unit about a quarter of an inch toward yourself (FIG. 7).
As these two cards are pulled back, allow the break to close. Pull these two cards back another inch and a half as your left thumb spreads back a few of the cards from under the face-up card (FIG. 8).
¿TE-P H\/L - The Rise Under cover of adjusting the control panel, use your right forefinger to push the concealed card forward until you feel its front end come in contact with the inner end of the card in front of it (the peeked-at card) as in FIG. 10.
If you push the card and meet no resistance, that means you've either gone above or below the peeked card. If this happens, use your right forefinger to slide the card back, then try again. A slight change of pressure in your left-hand grip should do the trick.
Stroke the inner end of the face-up control panel card with your right thumb to "start the vibrations." Your right forefinger takes advantage of this action by slowly pushing the concealed card a short distance into the deck. This will cause a face-down card to start rising out of the left "fork," as in FIG. 10.
After this initial rise, release your right thumb and forefinger to re-grip the control panel in the same position (as though you're pressing and releasing a control button), and continue the open-stroking secret-pushing procedure. This re-gripping prevents your right forefinger from having to suspiciously extend itself. Continue to release and re-grip the control panel until the rising card has achieved its full height (FIG. 11).
Direct a spectator to remove the card (after cautioning her that the card might still be vibrating) and reveal it to be the peeked-at selection. Convert your tuning fork back into a deck for your next experiment.
E.FFLCT - Unsuccessfully trying to write, you notice that you've forgotten to remove the cap from the tip of your pen. Taking the only available course of action, you remove the cap and try again. This time you discover that the pen has accidentally become reversed, once again foiling your writing attempts. By now a crowd has gathered to sneer at your feebleminded efforts.
In a desperate attempt to save face, you explain that your pen suffers from a manufacturing defect. "Its ball-point tip was placed on the wrong end." Bravely, you acknowledge the jeers and taunts that are being heaped upon you. Then, very deliberately, you break off the misplaced pen point and triumphantly attach it to the other end! As your erstwhile hecklers kneel in repentance, you begin to write your saintly message...
Inspiration for "Breaking Point" came to me at about four in the morning as I attempted to complete this book while writing with an upside-down pen. It took me a good ten seconds to figure out that it was me, not the pen. that was defective.
After weeks of flicking my Bic, I'd progressed no further in my thinking than secretly reversing the pen when no one's looking and pretending to break off the point. This was not the type of high level creativity that would get me an interview on the local Bowling for Rubber Novelties show.
The real star of this story is my senior adviser a^d social director "Looy Simonoff" - who unsei^shly took in this mere slip of an idea and converted <\ into a genuine close-up happening Locv created a practical method for accomplishing the effect, along with the nec-essar, na~cii>ng to insure its smooth performance
Pi- One ordinary ball-point pen complete .vr cap l FIG. 1)
-i>TLP ¿?NlEL - Leave the cap on the pen and try to write. You will not succeed (FIG. 2).
With your left hand, seize the pen by its cap and draw it downward through your right fingers until about one inch is still above those fingers (FIG. 3).
Swivel the capped end upward, positioning the pen as if to write with its wrong end (FIG. 4).
Tighten your right-hand grip and with your left hand remove the cap and set it aside. (Make sure that at this stage the printing on the pen faces to your left.) Again you try to write. Again you fail.
6TLP TW/0 - Now, with your left hand, take the pen a little below the point, between thumb and forefinger, removing it from your right hand. Your left second finger should be curled so that the back of its nail rests on the pen. You are now holding the pen, its point to
Gesture at the point with your right hand as you comment on the pen's manufacturing defect.
6TE-P TJ-II2.E.E- - Bring your palm-down right hand down to grasp the pen, with your right fingers pointing to the left. Before the hand actually touches the pen it should momentarily hide the entire space between your left forefinger and thumb (FIG. 6). At this moment straighten your left second finger, causing the pen to pivot end-for-end (FIG. 7).
The point is now positioned inside your left hand (FIG. 8). (Just before extending your left second finger, twist your left wrist, if necessary, so that throughout the secret end-for-end turn the pen will remain approximately on one plane with the spectator's eyes.)
6TE.P F<?UR. - Thumb underneath and fingers on top, your right hand grasps the pen loosely and adjusts it to the same parallel position it had been in before the secret turn, then slides along it to the right (FIG. 9).
As the right hand slides to the right, the left hand turns up so that its back is to the spectators. (This maneuver insures that the point remains hidden when the right fingers no longer cover the space between the left thumb and forefinger.) Because the printing is out of sight, these actions look exactly as if you are pulling the pen out to the right with your right hand.
6TE-P F"I\/EL - When your right thumb reaches the end of the pen, let that end click out from under the thumbnail as you twist your right hand, apparently breaking off the point (FIG. 10).
Carry the imaginary point held between your right thumb and forefinger into the palm of your left hand. Pretend to screw the point into the "other" end as you turn your left hand palm up, bringing the recently attached point into view. End by taking the pen in your right hand and starting to write.
- The routine works best with a pen whose body is made entirely of black plastic. Looy prefers the Paper-Mate Write Bros, "fine pt." pen. With a permanent marker he blacks out the "F", thus labeling the pen "inept" - apparently warning of its defective construction. After the effect, Looy draws attention to the warning and murmurs, "I should have known."
• Also effective for breaking off a cigarette filter and moving it to the other end.
• This could also be added to Gregory Wilson s feature-iength pen presentation of "Re-Cap" (see Index)
Was this article helpful?