Sometimes the cloud doesn't co-operate. It is taking longer than you hoped. Your cloud breaks up in little pieces but parts remain. This is NOT failure. If it is taking too long, do the collapse bit. Say this is draining you of all your energy. Point out that you succeeded in breaking the cloud apart. The audience will have noticed the drastic change in the cloud and give you credit for it. Sometimes it is best to stop early, especially if you are doing this on the street or at a festival where people need to move on. If it takes too long, they will tire and move on. That is why you want to pick a cloud that will normally vanish in five minutes or less. If it takes longer, your spectators may get bored and move on. If they seem fascinated then continue till the entire cloud is gone, even if it takes ten minutes. However my rule of thumb is, if the cloud hasn't vanished completely within five minutes, then collapse from exhaustion. You will have broken up the cloud enough to convince them of your ability.
ONLY THE TARGET CLOUD VANISHES.. ..The Surrounding Clouds Remain
This is your goal and is fairly easy to obtain. Ideally when you perform this effect you want to point to a cloud, and cause it to vanish. You want to be able to point out that the surrounding clouds are still there! The secret is simple. Look for a cloud that is going to vanish but is surrounded by the thicker non-translucent clouds. After a bit of cloud watching you will easily spot a cloud that is ready to vanish, but is surrounded by clouds that will remain intact.
It is important NOT to tell your spectators that the surrounding clouds will remain intact. Sometimes they may not. You tell them after the fact. So pick out your target cloud and go into your routine for making it vanish. If the surrounding clouds are still intact, then POINT OUT TO THE SPECTATORS THAT THE CLOUD YOU CONCENTRATED ON WAS THE ONLY CLOUD TO VANISH. The others are still intact. This should happen most of the time. When it does it only serves to make your abilities appear to be the real thing.
WHAT IF THE WRONG CLOUD VANISHES OR OTHERS AROUND IT VANISH?
This is not a problem since you haven't told them the other clouds will remain intact beforehand. Point out that your energy is like a ray of light, the farther it goes, the more it expands. Say that your energy has spread out so much it is affecting the other clouds. You take credit for it.
Will they believe you? Yes, I can say this from experience. If you say you will make a cloud vanish and they see any clouds around it vanishing, then you are given credit for it, provided you claim you did it.
This clever presentation idea comes from Christopher Williams. He suggested pointing your finger like a gun and shooting a hole in the cloud. Normally when a cloud breaks up, it starts by forming a hole in the middle. You could make the comment, that it helps to focus your psychic energy by imagining you are shooting a SLOW MOVING bullet toward the cloud to help break it up. Point your finger like a gun and yell, BANG. Then focus your attention on the cloud. If a hole forms, point out that your psychic bullet has formed a hole. If the cloud breaks up, point out how the bullet shattered the cloud. It's an idea worth keeping in the back of your mind. If you are working for a theme park with an old west theme, you might find this patter line of use.
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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.