As I mention in my Preface, I use this routine regularly and »always carry a deck of ESP cards with me for it. While I present Viewed ESP Prediction close-up, I see no reason you couldn't perform it on stage with jumbo ESP cards and a stand.
This routine was initially inspired by a Bob Mason idea in which the mentalist predicted five cards a spectator would choose from the tops of two decks of ESP cards. In the mid-1970s, Sam Dalai published a similar trick with one deck in his MAGIC WITH AN ESP DECK, called Forced Freedom.
My contribution is twofold: Streamlining the method with a single deck, making it far more natural and convincing, and presenting it so the audience sees your prediction gradually coming true as the test proceeds! Don't underestimate the importance of this latter aspect of the routine — it is the reason it plays so strong.
When I performed this at the Psychic Entertainers Association's convention a decade ago, Larry Becker was in the audience. Afterward, Larry told me he felt a strong sense of excitement as he watched the prediction gradually fulfilled right in front of his eyes!
After shuffling an ESP deck, then asking someone to help you, you draw a prediction on a large pad of paper, and hand it to a person at one side of the onlookers. The prediction is not hidden in any way: All the spectators on that side are allowed to view the pattern of five ESP symbols you've drawn.
Inviting your helper to take the ESP deck, you ask him to deal cards from the top, stopping when he wishes. Then, he discards the remainder of the deck, and divides the dealt pile into two piles. You ask him to touch the top card of either pile — he has a free choice — then turn it up, placing it where you point on the table top. He does this again, once more with an absolutely free choice, as you indicate where he's to place the selected card.
As he continues, the spectators looking at the prediction see a pattern developing, exactly matching what you've drawn. This goes on until there's just one more card for the spectator to select. Again, you emphasize the free choice of top cards, allowing the spectator to change his mind between the packets as much as he likes.
He turns up his card ... it fulfills your prediction exactly! The side holding the prediction is staggered watching it happen. When your prediction is shown to the helper and the remainder of the group, they'll be astounded!
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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.