A borrowed dollar bill is folded and placed in an envelope and laid out in a row with three other envelopes. The mentalist turns his back and the spectator freely moves the envelopes about. Under these conditions, with his back turned, the mentalist eliminates all of the other envelopes leaving the one envelope with the borrowed bill. WITH HIS BACK STILL TURNED, he is then able to reveal the serial number on the bill!
BACKGROUND: The title should tell you that the original effect came from a Harry Lorayne book. In the original you simply memorized the number on the bill as it was handed to you. This is all good and well for the master of memory, but for us mere mortals, it is at times difficult. So I added a switch, and a variation on the location. The effect always garners talk, and can be a real reputation maker for the table hopper.
HOW: You will need a stack of pay (coin envelopes) a rubber band and a dollar bill. Cut the flap off one of the envelopes, or tuck it inside itself, place it upon the stack of envelopes, their flaps should be out. Put a rubber band around the stack. The flap of the second envelope should look like the flap of the first. Turn the stack over and write the serial number of the bill in small writing upon the face towards the bottom of the envelope. Turn the stack back over, fold the bill into quarters with the serial number inside. Place it into the second envelope. Your all set.
ROUTINE: Ask to borrow a $1 bill and have lender fold it so green side is out. Have him fold it in half again the other way. Watch his eyes, if he looks at the side with the number upon it, all you have to do is borrow two more bills from other people and have them folded the same way, mix them up and have one selected.. Place the bill in the top envelope, point face of envelope towards you as you grab the flap of the second envelope and pull it out of the stack. It should look as if you simply removed the envelope you put the bill in, but in reality you have switched their bill for your’s. Have them seal and sign their name on that envelope as you remove three more empty envelopes from your stack.. Hand these to the spectator, have him mix them up and lay them out on the table in front of him. You are on the other side of the table facing him. (Remember as you face the spectator that his right is your left and vice verse!)
Ask if he would like to change the position of the envelopes. When he is satisfied, note the position of the signed envelope. In your mind call the envelopes 1 – 4 from your left to your right! Note if the envelope is in an even or odd position. This is important because after the next move if the envelope is in an odd position it can not be in the 1st position and if it is in an even position it can not be in the 4th position.
Explain that you are going to turn your back and each time you say switch, he is to switch his envelope with an envelope adjacent to it. If the envelope is on the end he can only switch it with the only envelope next to it. Be sure he understands the instructions because your back will be turned. Turn your back and have him switch five times. Keep track by pressing your fingers against your leg each time you say switch. This will stop you from forgetting how many times you have said switch. You must now revert back to the original position of the envelope. If it was in an odd position you know the envelope is not in the first position. This is the position to the spectators far right, also your right now since your back is turned. Tell him to remove the envelope on his far right as you feel it is not the envelope with the bill in it. If the envelope was originally in an even position have him remove the envelope on his far left. (even and left both have an e)
Ask him to now switch the envelope one more time. This will now bring the envelope to the center. Ask him to think of any number from one to five and switch it that many times. When he is done have him switch it that many times again. It will still be in the middle. Have him remove the other two envelopes. You have been successful in keeping track of his bill.
Keeping your back turned have him remove the bill and look at the serial number. You can tell him what it is because it is written on the back of the stack you are holding.
By the way, if you are not surrounded, you will have plenty of time to remove the spectators bill from your stack of envelopes, note the number on the envelope above the other number on the bottom envelope, re-fold it and place it in the second envelope for your next performance while you are giving instructions and he is switching the envelopes around.
1998 & 1999 APCA
Campus Performer of the Year