Being Aware of Your Surroundings (Excerpt from The Black Project - 2015)
Over the years, I’ve read Magic & Mentalism books from authors who have, for whatever reason, chosen to alert us to their circumstances at the time of writing. For example:
‘As I sit here 34,000 feet in the air on route to Las Vegas…’
I often wonder why they chose to share this with us; perhaps it is a desire to communicate with the reader that they are successful? A busy professional? Or maybe that they are a little insecure?
Whatever their reasoning, I mention this because I’m currently sat poolside of a fantastically posh little place in Jamaica sipping a cocktail and reflecting upon a wonderful gig I was fortunate to be booked for two days ago at Callow Hall in Ashbourne, Derbyshire - Boom!
Towards the end of the engagement, I was talking to a young married couple in a side room. They had asked me if I could show them something. I had my copy of Ted Karmilovich’s wonderful Mother of all Book Tests (Pocket Edition and a version which I contend was clearly inspired by the success of the original pocket AREA Book Test. P.S Check out its miniature brother the Nano in the store)
I used the flashback aspect of the test on the husband and then handed the book to his wife, who was to choose a long word from any page. Because of the way the test is designed, I knew at this point that the husband's word was 'White'.
I asked them both to focus on the first letter of their words and turned to the wife and asked if her first letter was a ‘W’, she said it wasn’t and I asked her to call out the first letter, which was a ‘H’.
I now knew both words the couple were thinking of: ‘White’ and ‘Handkerchief’. It was at that exact moment I noticed the whole room had plush white handkerchiefs on each table, and I knew that I could turn an already fantastically strong effect into something that really would be special.
What follows is a rough transcript of the effect from this moment onwards. It is not an exact script as I made the majority of it up on the fly, but it will certainly give you an approximation of how the effect panned out.
“Focus on each of your words and say them in your heads over and over again. If you can visualise your word as a physical object then this will be better, if not don’t worry.”
Turning to the gentleman
“Yours is a short word yes? One syllable…keep saying it over and over…”
Turning to the lady
“Am I correct in thinking you are visualising your word as an object?”
I looked back over to the gentleman and lightly frowned, I turned my head to his wife and continued to frown as I stepped back and looked around me.
“How long have you two been married?”
“In that time, I’m sure there have been many instances where you just instinctively knew what the other was thinking.”
“Some put it down to a psychic connection, but I think it's about rapport and understanding.”
Smiling at the gentleman, I continued:
“How many times have you found your sentences being finished for you?”
The guy laughed.
I turned to his wife and continued:
“Or how many times have you been talking to him and you just knew that although he looked like he was listening, he just wasn’t?”
His wife also began giggling and said that it was a regular occurrence.
“The thing is, sometimes when you spend a long period of time with the same person, you do become connected in a way. A bond that others don’t really understand, and sometimes together you can create something that even though you may not know how, just feels right and can be very special.”
“Take a look around you…”
“What one thing is repeated over and over again on every table?”
There was a pause at this point until the wife realised that handkerchiefs surrounded her. At that point she started to literally scream in disbelief. The husband didn’t make the connection at first and it took his wife to tell him what her word was. At that point he became excited too and told her he was thinking of the word ‘White’.
They both made the connection of ‘White Handkerchief’.
Then they went absolutely crazy.
Truth be told, I hadn’t planned on writing this memoir up, but as I was sat here sipping my cocktail…in Jamaica… my phone alert went off, telling me I had an email. I opened it and it was the wife of the couple in this story.
She had looked me up from my business card and enquired about booking me for a party next year. Both of them had been that impressed by the effect that they wanted to put on a dinner and have me perform my parlour show for their friends and family.
Being aware of your environment and surroundings at all times can open up doorways of opportunity for you to express your material in such a way that it can resonate even deeper in your audience's minds.