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David Thiel
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Western Canada...where all that oil is
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I picked this up at MindVention last year. I was thinking of it as a packet trick with a cute mentalism hook. I was envisioning it for close-up. I've done another version of it for quite some time...and this is why it sat on my shelf unopened for about three months. I knew what it was and I wasn't necessarily planning to use it for a while. When I bought it, I was thinking that somewhere down the road, it would come in handy for...something.

Here's the basic effect: two spectators are brought on-stage. The performer talks about how odd it is that two eye witnesses at a crime, for example, can come up with two completely different descriptions of the criminal. One might say he was short...the other one will swear he was tall. One says he was slender and the other might say he was fat.

"Do you really believe that people can look right at something and see two completely different things...and BOTH believe they are correct?"

Inevitably one of the two will scoff at the very notion that such a thing could ever happen.

"I'm going to influence you," the performer says. "You're about to see somethng that isn't there."

This will draw a laugh or will any fun byplay. Show the first volunteer a bundle of cards. Have him read the item to himself and initial that he's read it right on the card. Pass the same stack to the other volunteer and have them do the same. They initial the card as well on the other side.

Give each of them a pad and ask them to draw what they have just seen -- but not show it to the other person.

So far so good, huh?

The spectators show their drawings and one is....a TIRE...the other is a FIRE.

A little yucking it up...and the effect is done.

95% of you know how this works already, right? The rest of you are out to lunch. But here's the thing: I was booked to do an afternoon stage show for a group of salespeople yesterday. They wanted just 20 minutes -- hopefully showing how people can be influenced by someone.

Could there possibly be a more perfect effect for this group? Couching the presentation in these terms -- I had the complete attention of over 200 high achieving salespeople from all over North America. (If you work hospitality suites as often as I know salespeople are HARD. Let alone working on a stage.) My volunteers were the head of the organization and the Sales Manager for the organization.

There was a good five or six minutes of funny material and great byplay. It was a lot of fun. I mean this was HALF of my show.

I was expecting a little polite applause. But without a doubt...and NO exaggeration...when these two guys showed their drawings there was a long stunned silence (which I always take as a VERY good sign in a mentalism show) and then the kind of applause that brought the house down. The response was as strong for this as it was to my closer. It was completely out of proportion to my expectations of what would happen with effect.

A packet effect playing THAT well on stage? Was it Hoy that talked about the importance of material presented in "relational context" to an audience? I'm not sure...but it was a HUGE effect for this show. Who would have thought it, huh?

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.
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