Rhine Outdone

by Professor Spellbinder

Effect:

It never ceases to amaze me that in this day of cell phones and iPods, audiences are still awed by demonstrations of telepathy if presented properly with the right amount of showmanship.

During his demonstration, the Wizard keeps getting messages from a telepath in the audience. Finally, he hunts the man down. Approaching a shy young man, the Wizard informs him that they seem to be telepathicly in tune, and asks him if he would be willing to demonstrate to the audience what true telepathy is all about. The young man is reluctant, but agrees to see if he can tell what the Wizard is thinking.

The Wizard gets a pack of oversized Zener* cards, shuffles or mixes the deck and pulls a card from the top of the deck. The young man guesses, but is wrong. He tries twice more and is wrong both times. "Now you try it," says the Wizard. The young man pulls out three cards and the Wizard tells him each card correctly.

"This is most interesting," says the Wizard. "I can pick up your thoughts, but you seem unable to pick up mine. Do you mind if I move further away from you? Try it now."

The next three cards are also correctly "seen" by the Wizard. "Let somebody else mix up the cards and hand them to you one by one," suggests the Wizard.

"Meanwhile, I'll just put on this blindfold. Would you help me, my dear?" the Wizard says to a young lady from the audience. She makes sure the blindfold is tied on tightly and turns the Wizard around so he can't see the young man even if there was some way of peeking from the blindfold.

The young man does as he is told and no matter what card audience members hand him, the Wizard announces it immediately.

"He really is a very strong telepathic transmitter. Is anyone else in the audience able to pick up his thoughts?" asks the Wizard, removing the blindfold. Believe it or not, there are always a couple of people who sincerely think they can do it! The Wizard chooses one of them and hands the person one of each of the five Zener* card symbols. Then he hands the telepath five cards and tells the telepath to go down by the stage where no one can see what he is doing. The Wizard stands out in the audience next to the wannabe telepathic receiver volunteer. "OK," the Wizard calls out to the telepath on the stage, "Mix your cards up, choose one and we'll see if this person can see your thoughts as well as I can."

They alternate; first the telepath chooses a card, and then the "receiver" chooses a card. The telepath is near the stage and is asked to place his cards on a stand set up there for that purpose. The audience sees only the back of his cards for now as they are placed in the stand.

For the receiver in the audience, the Wizard improvises and allows him to stick his cards on his staff which has a groove for that purpose. When all five cards have been chosen, the telepath's set of cards is turned around and the Wizard walks forward with his staff held high so all can see that the two sets match symbol for symbol, five out of five correct.

"Let's hear it for the telepaths of the world!" says the Wizard, and invites his helpers to share in the applause.

I'm sure you'll want to know that, while 1 assistant is required for this stage presentation, the two people from the audience, both the telepath and receiver, are NOT stooges.

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