You will involve five spectators with various tasks. Two persons are first called up. We shall refer to them as 'A' and 'B'. A pack of cards is dropped between them. 'A' is asked to cut the pack and 'B' is told to take half for himself by actual count. 'A' retains the other half.
From this point the mentalist turns his back on the spectators and does NOT face them again until AFTER everything is over.
The two persons are told to deal together from their respective portions of the pack. A THIRD person is asked to act as umpire and to stop the dealing at any point. As an added precaution he is told not to employ any audible means but some form of silent gesture such as a wink to communicate his desire. We shall presume that the umpire stops the dealing.
A FOURTH person is now asked to decide whether the two cards in dealer's hands - the uppermost ones of those lastly dealt - or the top of the undealt portions are to be used. Here again the FOURTH person is warned in the matter of conveying his command in some tacit fashion.
According to his decision, the cards indicated are laid aside. Performer now tells the dealers to resume dealing the rest of the cards so that when the time comes for him to face them again there should exist no clue to give away the point at which the dealing was stopped.
A FIFTH person is now asked to walk up to the table, pick up the TWO cards laid aside and add the pips together.
Attention is now drawn to THREE newspapers lying on another table. The last spectator is told to pick up any and open it to the page indicated by the total number of pips on the two cards. "If", adds the Mentalist, "the total number of pips on those two cards should be 21, then open to page 21".
When the gentleman says that he is ready he is told to add the digits of the page, if double, or use it by itself if single and count down to the column corresponding with it. When the gentleman finds the right column he is asked to read mentally to himself the HEADLINE on the top of that column. If the particular column has no headline then he is directed to read the first line of the column. The paper is to be re-folded and replaced on its exact spot on the table.
You now face your spectators. Without asking a single question and in utter ignorance of what transpired behind your back you repeat word for word the chosen headline with remarkable correctness.
1st edition 1952; PDF 6 pages
word count: 2789 which is equivalent to 11 standard pages of text