Why aren't there more Mentalism effects out there involving the weather? Everybody talks about weather (and does nothing about it)! Everybody obsesses about it and makes their plans around it. It's also what strangers automatically talk about as soon as they find themselves forced to engage in conversation. I'll bet research would show that it is by far the number one topic of conversation in elevators for example.
Stranger still, people constantly seek out forecasts and predictions of the weather from other people called meteorologists. They even listen to, and actually believe, "pretend meteorologists" who are usually referred to as "weather girls" in the media. These forecasts are almost always wrong yet the public continues to consult them. Honestly, can you ever recall weather forecasts being right for more than a day or two? Sometimes when I'm looking for bizarre entertainment I'll play back previously recorded "seven day forecasts", a week later. They're almost always completely out to lunch. It's highly amusing.
With this weighing heavily on mind one day a while back, it occurred to me that predicting the weather, in a fun way. would be an excellent context for a little bit of mental theatre. WEATHERMAN is the result.
Although I dabbled with all sorts of methods, Pve found what follows to be the most flexible and the most satisfy ing for everyone concerned.
Before I begin the effect - in fact, from the start of the show - a big business envelope with a question mark drawn upon it, is fastened to a prominent spot on the wall. 1 don't draw attention to it I don't have to. People notice it from the time they sit down.
Is it just me- or do we put too much confidence in the weatherman? Or weather girl! Think about it. Everybody plans their day, week or holiday based on some pseudo scientists PREDICTION of what the weather S going to be like. And guess what? They\re almost always wrong.
Do any of you remember what they predicted today would be like, even a couple of days ago? And look at it!
It seems to me that we should leave weather forecasting to people who do predictions best -psychics! Allow me to demonstrate...
I pick up a big, transparent "zip lock"- type baggie and ask would you all please locate one of those little cards I handed out earlier and jot down any weather condition you can think of Something like cloudy\ sunny, fog, hail whatever. In fact, let's have some fun. Please include absurd things like snow cones and frogs. Whatever. But please print one type of weather condition on your card and then fold it in half so no one can read it. While you re doing that I'll come around and collect as many as J can.
As I walk around, people drop their little folded slips into the baggie. I genuinely try to include as many as possible so that the bag seems almost full of possibilities. I clearly zip closed the clear bag and give it a very visual shake up.
Could I impose upon you my dear to now reach in and pick out just five of these possible weather conditions. The randomly selected spectator digs down deep and pulls out five folded cards and keeps them to herself for a moment. Let's call her Simone.
Now obviously Simone had lots of possibilities to choose from. And all of you had lots of possibilities to choose from in writing them. In fact* if you think about it, there are hundreds of possibilities and tens of thousands of combinations of those possibilities. In fact, there are way more weather combinations than your typical weather girt would ever have to contend with! But here we are. Simone would you now read to us in a really loud voice what conditions you've come up with.
She opens up her cards and reads out, for example, "cloudy, sunshine, fog, ice cream and humidity". Wow, that \s a bizarre mix!
Pointing at it 1 say, did any of you notice that big envelope with the question mark earlier this evening? Heads nod as I approach the envelope which has been in full view the entire evening. Let's see what this forecaster came up with below the show started. Would you be kind enough to go up there and take down the envelope and remove it 's contents, I say to anyone - let's call her Paula. And would you please join them to help out and keep them honest - or if they have problems reading, I say to somebody else.
Would you now please open the envelope, Paula, and in a loud voice read what it says. She reads out...
"I predict that that the weather the audience will come up with is oddly enough... Partly cloudy with sunny periods, chance of humid fog and scattered ice cream. I also predict a round of applause right about now! Signed James Biss"
When the applause subsides I say
And that's why people like you and me should be predicting the weather instead of alleged scientists and weathermen!
[For the secret please turn to page 31]
"If you really are psychic why don't you pick the Lotto numbers?" It's a fair question and one which, inevitably, ever)7 mentalist is asked on a frequent basis. Some psychic entertainers respond with clever comeback lines which are either vaguely witty or somewhat apologetic. Some respond with strange references to avoiding the "Dark Side" suggesting that their ESP talents have something to do with Jedi-like training. But of course it IS a reasonable expectation and by extension a lovely premise for a routine. Here's how I've been playing it for some time.
Is (here anyone in the audience who has NOT bought or played a lottery ticket; I begin Thai 's really not too surprising. Most of us have played our lucky numbers or taken a shot at dumb random luck in the hopes of winning millions\ Perhaps it really IS just another form of taxation. But I know that most of us here have also engaged in that delightful diversion of speculating on what WE would do if we won the lottery. It s amazing how many of us feel that we 'd give a lot of it away!
Would you believe that when 1 was a kid they were ILLEGAL in this country? It's true. My father use to secretly buy something called the Irish Sweepstakes tickets which had winnings of 500,000 pounds sterling, if I recall correctly. In any case, the way they use to choose the winning numbers hasn 7 changed. They have machines which drop ping pong balls with numbers on them. Have you seen these before on television? Typically there's 49 ping pong balls, so there's 49 different possible numbers that can be chosen. Six different balls are selected. That's why they re called 649 " (where 1 come from). This means that there is something like 15 billion different combinations of numbers. Sort of like this...
I hold up a transparent bag which is completely full of ping pong balls, clearly labelled with numbers. I pull a handful out or encourage a spectator to do this.
/ use this bag of balls to practise my prediction talents. I COULD tell you that they re magic balls or something, hut honestly they're just cheap ping pong balls from the dollar store. Each has a different number printed on them in magic marker.
I'm not actually able to collect real winnings of course, just as employees of the lottery corporation are forbidden to do so. Otherwise it wouldn't be fair to regular folks, now would it?! But all of you can try this at home and win as much money as your care to. You just need the balls and you're all set!
I encourage twro co-operative spectators to join me on stage. Ladies and gentlemen, please give Roxanne and Sylvia a big round of applause for helping us out. Roxanne I need for you to record the numbers we select on this big card over here, Sylvia you re going to be our lottery> official. We 7/ give the bag a good shake and IV/ like you to close your eyes and with one hand, reach in and pull out a total of just six balls. Go ahead\ Remember your odds of getting a o particularly significant combination are 6 in 15 billion or something. But there s no pressure on you...
Syliva pulls out six numbered balls in total, individually or by the handful and I help her to arrange them in numerical order. Roxanne records the numbers in plain view of the audience in numerical order. Once completed the six numbers selected are something like 3-7-12-20-22 -39.
Well done! So you ve chosen 3-7- 12-20-22-39, just like they really do officially.
That wasn 't really that hard now was it? Did it feel a little strange inside as you made your selections? That 's understandable, Sylvia. You could have chosen a 4 or a 23 or a 48y see? But you chose 3 ~ 7 - 12 -20 - 22 - 39. These numbers aren t particularly significant looking. But you re very good at this! Let's see how good...
I show her how completely free she was to choose any of the other balls remaining in the bag. In fact I pull out several other balls to demonstrate what she could have chosen. Then I grab the newspaper on my table which contains the most recent multi-million dollar winning numbers - the bigger the better. Occasionally I also use the "Winning Number" printouts from the lottery retailers that are free to pick up at the store display and cut off the disclaimer at the bottom - "THIS IS NOT A WINNING TICKET".
Roxanne would you please read out loud for everyone the ACTUAL winning numbers for the umpteen million dollar prize in yesterday fs Lotto 649?
She reads out the very same numbers, which anyone can verify 3-7- 12-20-22-39!
Wow Sylivia! Too bad you didn }t you didn 7 do this with me yesterday! You d be up several million dollars! Like everyone potentially here, you certainly have the touch and 1 d suggest you keep at it. Obviously, you could be the country fs next multi-millionaire! Please give Sylvia and Roxanne a very big round of congratulations.
...And ladies, I can 7 give you a million dollars but just for helping me out, here 7s a couple of real lottery tickets for next week's draw. There s one for each of you. ONE of them I felt very good about when 1 purchased them earlier today! You re going to have a really good week!
[For the secret please turn to page 33]
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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.