By Medium rare

Courtesy: Psientific American Sacramento, CA - July 1987

For about 59 cents and some business cards you can look like a real pro.

You've probably seen those business card cases. They are made of cheap plastic and are sold in better drug stores everywhere.

Here is the effect -- I will tell you how to do it at the end.

Begin with the usual mumbo-jumbo about people having problems.

Get a volunteer who has "had something weighing on her mind" for a while and tell her you want her to concentrate of this problem.

While you Jabber on like this, you take the card case and open it so that everyone can see that the inside pockets are opaque with about half a dozen cards in each pocket.

Reminding the spectator not to tell you what her problem is, you remove and hand her a business card.

You ask her to "focus" her mind carefully, visualizing the problem as clearly as possible, and then reduce the problem to one significant word.

When she has complied with this foolishness, have her write the word on the back of the business card.

You can even make it more confusing by telling her to write each letter slowly, tuning into each letter of the word.

When she is finished -- and you make certain your back is turned while she is writing the word -- she is to turn the card over so that her word cannot be seen.

You have her slide the card, word down, under the rest of the cards in one of the pockets.

As she does this, take out another card, close the card case and put your card on the case.

You then, with considerable effort, duplicate her word on the back of your business card. When you have done this, give a standard reading about the problem (faithful disciples of this column will have no problem with this -- if you do, send me $4399 for my upcoming seminar for recalcitrant skeptics).

When you are done with the reading, give her the business card. She will then see the word you psychically retrieved from her innermost thoughts.

The secret is wildly simple -- aren't they all? You cut a hole in the front/back of the case.

When you take it out of your pocket, you always keep that side away from prying eyes. It may take a little practice to do this smoothly, but you will be well-rewarded.

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Last update: 8 July 1998