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Side Effects

by Bob Cassidy
#2 Patter, Plots & Scripts author
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Side Effects by Bob Cassidy

One of the inherent difficulties in presenting effective mentalism is that it generally lacks the element of surprise. The performer states that he will read a thought and proceeds to do so. He says he will predict tomorrow’s headlines and he does. Many would-be mentalists infallibly demonstrate so many different alleged mental powers that the element of believability is lacking as well.

By applying the "Side Effects" principle, the element of surprise is returned to the art and variety is introduced into a performance without sacrificing believability. Bob's good friend Ross Johnson, one of the finest mentalists in the world today, created an effect Bob calls "Ross Johnson's Mind Freeze".

EFFECT: (As seen without the side effect)
A spectator is asked to think of someone who has passed away and to print that person’s name on a piece of paper. The paper is folded and destroyed, preferably in a somewhat ritualistic manner. The performer then describes the decedent, reveals the name, and delivers a message from beyond to any living persons who may be present at the demonstration. That is the basic premise of the effect and, as such, is a rather standard demonstration.

We will assume that the paper bearing the name of the dead person is being burned. The performer gazes into the flames and tells the subject to concentrate on reaching the other side. He begins to describe a person and give the initials of the name. He looks at the volunteer and says, for example, “Julie?”
The spectator responds in the negative, the name makes no sense to her. The performer says, “I’m not talking to you. I’m getting a message for Julie.” Pointing to a spectator toward the side or rear of the room, he says. “You are Julie? Yes? There is someone here with the initials B. L. Does this make sense to you? The name is Betty?” The performer is correct of course, and depending on the nature of his presentation successfully reveals relevant information about Betty – including, perhaps, a message from her to Julie.
He can end the demonstration here, or, if he chooses, he can now go back to the first spectator and reveal information and a possible communication from the first spectator’s dear departed.

1st edition 2003; 17 pages.
word count: 6074 which is equivalent to 24 standard pages of text

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