The following is taken from Teller’s introduction in new book “Psychological Subtelties”, available from Joe Stevens or Scott Wells. It is a simple effect but one that gives us an interesting way to think about how to present mentalism.
Imagine a mentalist who began:
“There are no psychic forces – no vibes, no auras, no influences from the stars, no voices from beyond the grave. I am an illusionist, but instead of conjuring with doves and tigers, I do tricks with information. If I do a good job, you’ll have something to think about on the long drive home.
“Let me give you a sample. You, sir, name any flower. A rose? Fine.
“Now, think back. Did you ever meet me in a florist shop? [“No.”] Have I ever visited your garden? [“I’ve never met you before.”] What made you choose a rose? [“My grandmother used to grow them on the arbor where we dined when we visited her every summer.”] What made you choose this seat in the auditorium tonight? [“I wanted the extra leg room in the aisle.”] Finally, have you noticed any strange activity under your chair? [“Huh?”]
“Well, then, reach down under your seat. There’s an envelope taped in place, isn’t there? Open it up. What does the card inside say? [” ‘The occupant of this seat has just chosen a rose.’ “]
“Now I could tell you that I foresaw that a rose-lover would choose that seat. But I’d be lying. I can’t read minds. I can’t predict the future.
“And yet, you found an envelope under your chair and it told you you’d just chosen a rose. How did it get there? I’ll tell you this much: I put it there an hour ago.
“See? Already you have something to think about on that long drive home.”
That’s a trick you could do tomorrow night, right out of this manuscript. Properly delivered, the audience will get a chill and be delighted. You’d get credit for being a brilliant and mysterious person.
Method: most people when asked to think of a flower will think of a rose. in fact, Larry Becker suggest saying “a long stem flower. If the person does not select a rose, you state, “Ah, a —–, that means you are a person that listens well, one who is cooparative and who is logical. Exactly the kind of person I need to help me here up on stage.” And use them for your next effect, or you could use any of the other various outs in the book.
Available from Joe Stevens right here.