I always invite my audience and spectators to provide their own utensils, keys, coins, nails, etc. to be bent at my demonstrations. Also, not just relying on my audience, I play it safe and bring some of my own that can be examined before, during and after. I often use metal bending and cloud melting together.
A great subtlety I used here was having a large plastic bucket carried around the theatre (or passed around the group in workshops or large cloud busting demonstrations) by an assistant to collect the utensils. By dumping all the pieces into the bucket, some will become misshapen by weight and position; others will already be bent to some degree and were not noticed by their owner. Also, and I did this on a few occasions, I had plants in the audience holding MY spoons and forks (normal, but in a type and variety I prefer).
Notice I did not say "stooge", but PLANT. These people would come in for the show, and the ticket master, usher or my assistant would simply hand out a few spoons and perhaps a fork or two for people to take back to their seats and "check to verify they were free of trickery". They were instructed to just put the items in the bucket when the assistant came by.
Of course, an occasional spectator would bend a spoon beforehand, and this only served to help me later! Month after month, many people would bring their own forks and spoons, and I could take my pick after they were all brought back and dumped on the table. Often, the piles were so large, that I could reach directly into them as if digging for a certain piece, and covered by many other pieces, could happily bend away with complete cover.
Also, the assistant who carried the bucket often worked the metal before me. He would grab people's utensils, and while moving around, bend them, or tossing them in the bucket, he would bend them. He would then allow some people to place their spoons in the bucket themselves, to make a fair display of the collection process.
You could have an outright stooge or two in the audience who will add gimmicked tools to the collection. These could be prepared forks and spoons to break, pre-twisted items, bent coins and keys, or otherwise gimmicked item and/or things that would be otherwise very difficult to do impromptu.
One of my most powerful and memorable performances ever was during a theatre show for 1,500 people in the Perry Egyptian Theatre in Ogden, Utah. I had stooges in the audience that added a few bent coins, keys and working watches to the collection bucket.
I just bluffed with the watches. I could get some of the audience watches to work again, the method is well known. Some didn't, but I had two other WORKING watches that were added to the pile by my stooges, and I only claimed they were not ticking as I placed them into the hands of my audience and willed them to start.
After I bent some spoons and forks, I bent the key of an audience member, and then a pre-bent coin, and then some pre bent keys, just by holding them or placing them in people's hands.
Also, when the assistant brings the bucket back to the stage or platform, before I openly dumped the contents out, I would LOOK into the bucket and say, "Let's see, people have given spoons, some forks, oh, there's a butter knife, some coins, a pair of scissors, etc.
I would just name things I saw in the bucket, and show a few, placing my hand in the bucket, I could bend many things in just a few seconds by commenting, grabbing something, showing it briefly, and tossing it back in. I would then just blatantly say, "Let's just dump ALL these out." And then place the bucket off-stage. (Or upside down as a stand of sorts.) You can also use the bucket to ISOLATE one or a few items, i.e. a ticking watch, a spoon you bent under cover, etc. Now, the entire audience can direct their intentions at the piece(s) beneath the bucket, and having a volunteer remove it, can view the results together.
If I had a stooge add a prepared fork or spoon (for breaking) to the mix, I would position them as last to be approached by my assistant, so their utensil would be on top and would not get broken. I would then make the same comments, remove a few pieces and table them (prepared to break fork/spoon, and other non-gimmicked items) and then seemingly just decide to pour them all out onto the table.
Was this article helpful?
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.