Kryptonite – can you handle it?
The use of cards in mentalism is akin to kryptonite – a terrible life-sucking curse to some yet a source of mysterious power to others
Here I present to you my three published mentalism card effects under one cover for the first time:
Empirical Empathy – a bizarre coincidence from yesteryear
The Impossible Chair Test – an inconceivable prediction
Chaos Theory – an inexplicable card at any number
These are not ‘card tricks’ – they are routines
However, if you are looking for card tricks then you shouldn’t be reading this anyway – this is a collection of mentalism routines and not a set of tricks or stunts
You need to put the work in its about performance each piece is an act in itself
Whatever you may think about playing cards and their role in mentalism, i hope that the ideas behind these routines take you in interesting new directions
So think green, think mean and punch them where it hurts!
The Three Original Effects
The performer talks about a secret wartime society set up in London in the 1940ʼs to investigate psychic phenomena. Alleged to have carried out thousands of experiments during this time, the performer claims to have got his hands on the original instructions for one such experiment issued by the ʻInstitute Of Psychical Phenomenaʼ that uses nothing more than a pack of playing cards and a few volunteers.
The performer produces the document in question and invites someone to read out the twenty step-by-step instructions for the experiment. The performer promises to follow the instructions as closely as possible for the entire procedure.
At the commencement of the experiment a pack of cards is shown to be mixed throughly yet is mixed again through a series of shuffles leaving the audience in no doubt that the cards are randomised and the performer has seen none of the card faces.
Two spectators choose a card each under strict test conditions, including further shuffles by themselves before and after their choice, yet later on in the experiment each is able to pick out their counterpartʼs card with their eyes closed by touch / feel / ʻempathyʼ alone.
Some points to consider:
* The performer never once sees the faces of the cards
* Each spectator has a totally free choice of card
* Each assistant truly has no idea how they managed to pick each otherʼs cards with their eyes closed
* The cards can be handed over to the audience at the end
* All this, yet the ʻinstructionsʼ are followed to the letter!
This is a fun performance piece with a lot of scope for humour and ad-libbing depending on the individual mentalist or magician. It can be done straight faced and ʻscientificallyʼ or can be done light-heartedly with lots of room for gags and by-play.
ʻEmpirical Empathyʼ Includes the ʻdocumentʼ that you need that prints out on to one sheet of paper and has been created to look like it was typed on an old typewriter from the war years – youʼll have to provide seventy years of wear and tear yourself!
Includes two methods – one with your own deck and one with a ʻborrowedʼ deck. Although both versions do require some setup, the ʻborrowedʼ version comes with a variety of bold and covert methods to make the setup quick and painless (and even sneaky!)
ʻEmpirical Empathyʼ gives an old method a brand new twist, and an older method no twist at all!
THE IMPOSSIBLE CHAIR TEST
The performer is on stage and behind him are three chairs set out in a row ready to be occupied.
The performer throws a pack of cards into the audience to choose a random volunteer to help with the next effect. Whoever catches it is asked to remove the deck from the case and to check that it’s a regular pack of cards before being invited up on to the stage.
The volunteer is asked to choose three other assistants at random from the audience who are now also invited up onto the stage.
Once the three new assistants are up on stage they are asked to choose one of the three chairs at random to sit on. This is a completely free choice.
The original volunteer is asked to remain front of stage to help oversee the process, is asked if he’s happy with where these assistants are sitting, and may direct them to change positions if he likes.
The performer fans the deck face down and each sitting assistant is invited to pick a card randomly from the spread with a perfectly free choice of any one of the 52 cards. They are then asked to hold their chosen cards to their chests without looking at them.
The sitting assistants are then asked if they would like to swap chairs with each other and are allowed to do so.
They are also asked if they would like to actually swap cards with each other, and may do that too if they so wish.
At this point no one, including the volunteers, has any idea which card they originally chose or which card they’ve ended up with.
Each sitting assistant is then asked to look at and remember the card they’ve chosen (or ended up with) and to then stand behind their chair, keeping their card fixed firmly in mind. The cards themselves are then handed back to the original volunteer for safekeeping. (He may decide to peek at them or even show them to the audience. It doesn’t matter.)
The performer re-caps what has happened. Three random audience members have chosen to sit in three chairs at random, have each picked a card randomly from a deck of 52 cards and have each been given the option to not only change places with each other, but to also swap cards with each other – options that they collectively may or may not have acted upon.
To conclude, the performer now asks each assistant to name their cards out loud in turn. As they do so, the performer turns each chair in front of each assistant and the card that each has named is duplicated using giant playing cards on the back of each of the assistant’s chairs. A miracle!
The four assistants return to the audience to great applause.
A cased pack of cards is given to a spectator to hold.
Someone from the audience calls out a number from 1 to 52 (lets say they call out 18).
The spectator is asked to call out two imagined cards – let’s say they name the Four Of Spades and the Eight Of Hearts.
The entire audience is invited to choose one of these cards. Let’s say that collectively they pick the Eight Of Hearts.
The spectator takes the deck of cards from its box, counts down to the 18th card, and there is the Eight Of Hearts. A miracle! The pack is examinable and may be left with the spectator as a gift.