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All copyright owned in its entirety by Brandon Queen - Feb, 2013

No part of this publication may be stored, reproduced, copied or transmitted

without the prior written consent from both the author and publisher. TV
performance rights withheld. Conflicting live performance rights reserved.

He who would search for pearls, must dive below

FORWORD ......... 4



R.A.M. ............... 18

LACUNA ........... 34





By Colin McLeod


Quite simply the best word I could use to describe everything Brandon Queen
encapsulates: his look, his persona and most importantly in this case his

Having got to know Brandon over the last few years Ive realized that hes way
more than just a beard-rocking hipster, he also likes good food. Like,
SERIOUSLY likes good food. In fact, after reading this youll be convinced that
food is THE major influence on his choice of material. More than all of that
though, he has the ability to absorb all of the information around him, to improve
it and to produce an end result that is far superior to how it began.

Brandon is constantly striving to make his audiences experience of mentalism

one which is as it should be. That is, a purely mental experience (in the non-
deranged sense) and what you are about to read is proof of that.

Within these pages are some of Brandons most worked routines. These are
ideas that Ive watched him develop, grow and ultimately try out on me (usually
via Skype) with great success.

What youre about to read will constantly offer you new approaches and at the
very least, techniques that you WILL add to your currently performed routines.
Im very lucky to have been privy to this mans thinking long before anyone else
has. I have no doubt that the more Brandon shares with the community, the more
convinced you will all become that he is actually possessed by the demon of

Brandon has long been my secret weapon for bouncing material off, as I know
hes going to help me to refine it and make it exactly as it should be and play in
the real world stylish.

Colin McLeod March 2013.

[fath-uh m] 1. A unit of length equal to six feet. Used chiefly in nautical measurements.
2. To penetrate the truth of; comprehend; understand.

Hello and thank you for purchasing PHATHOM. This is the first collection of my
material to be released to the mentalism community. Each of the routines
presented in this book are my own personal creations and ones that I use in my
current professional performances. It is my pleasure to finally be releasing them
to the public. I am really excited to be contributing to my community after so
many years of learning and growing as a performer. Without all of the wonderful
friends, family and teachers in my life, this material would never have come to
fruition. It is their encouragement and support that keeps me pressing forward
and striving to be the best version of myself that I can be.

What you hold in front of you is a collection of six routines and concepts that
have been taken straight from my personal working repertoire of the last decade.
Each routine has gone through a series of evolutionary developments; the results
of countless trials, errors and discoveries made in real world performance
situations. I have done my best to include every nuance and to cover these
routines from just about every possible angle.

All of the routines in this book focus on either mind control, or revealing some
sort of personal thought, information or idea, that exists only in someones head.
I know that may seem obvious, as reading minds is primarily what we do as
mentalists; however, our job as mentalists is not just about reading minds or
showing off a super-human ability. To me, our job as mentalists is really about
connecting with other human beings on a deep level, within an artistic context.
When I read somebodys mind, my goal is to make that person feel even if its
just for one moment that I understand them in a way that nobody else can. Its
not about regurgitating information that they already know, its about making
them feel appreciated and understood.

Almost everything expressed in this book is prop-less and has an organic, natural
feel to it. Most of the routines are designed for the close up performance
environment; however, they could all easily be adapted for larger audiences
should that be a requirement of yours. There is truly something special about
connecting with other people on a personal level, especially strangers. It is my
wish that the material in this book may inspire you to find unique ways to connect
with others, so that you can leave your audiences and participants better off than
when you found them.

Like our minds, we view oceans depths as something so foreign and
incomprehensible that we embrace them as a metaphor for the unknown or the
unknowable. Most of us feel that no one could possibly fathom what actually
goes on in our minds. This often makes us feel comfortable, but sometimes it can
make us feel disconnected. We as mentalists are some of the select few who
possess the tools and abilities to make people feel as though we can penetrate
that mental barrier and provide the comfort of connectedness. I sincerely hope
you enjoy the material presented in this book and that you find ways to utilize the
ideas and concepts in your own work and performances.

If characters have been allocated genders in the descriptions of the following

routines (unless otherwise specified) the performer has been described as being
male and the participant as female. This has been done solely for the sake of
clarity and not with the intent of supporting gender stereotypes.


A tasteful disquisition of gustatory perceptions

This is the routine I call upon when I need to close deals over the phone. It is one
of the strongest and most practical pieces I have in my personal working
repertoire. I still perform this regularly and it is often the only thing I perform. I
was quite reluctant to share this, but I knew that had I decided to keep such an
incredible routine (which is based upon a pre-existing concept) all to myself, then
I would have felt quite guilty. I trust that the following routine will provide you with
some food for thought and give you a springboard of ideas that you can use to
take this routine and its concepts to the next level.

The performer addresses the audience at large.

Listening to music is one of the most complex things our minds can process.
Several parts of our brain have to work together to comprehend even the
simplest tune. In addition to the many mechanical aspects of processing music,
our brain also links associations with memories and feelings. Because music
elicits certain thoughts, it makes us more likely to use these thoughts when
asked to make a decision.

In 1997, three psychologists ran a field experiment that involved playing French
accordion music and German Bierkeller music in a grocery store. The results
were that shoppers purchased more French wine when the French music was
playing and more German wine when the German music was playing. The
results suggested that music creates unconscious responses in shoppers that
could have a huge influence on consumer choice.

The performer asks the participant to close her eyes and to imagine walking into
a grocery store where music is playing. He then guides her through an
imaginative journey during which she is asked to make several decisions in her
mind. Eventually, the participant is asked to picture herself preparing a dish using
the ingredients she has collected in this imaginary grocery store. Once she has
done that, the performer is able to describe the textures, smells and flavors of
what the participant has cooked in a great deal of detail. After revealing the exact
name of the participants imagined dish, the performer asks her to think of a
dessert. Again, the performer is able to describe the dessert which the
participant is merely thinking of in detail and with complete accuracy.

This routine went through several changes and transformations before becoming
what it is today. The description you just read is one of the many presentations I
enjoy using when I perform this trick. My preference is to perform this close up,
one-on-one, or over the phone. I once performed this for a blind gentleman and
afterwards, he told me that it was the first time he had ever experienced any kind
of magic first hand. His response was priceless and so was the astonishment of
all those in attendance. It was then that I realized I had armed myself with a very
powerful tool.

What makes this particular routine so powerful and unique is the ability to
perform it anytime, anywhere, with absolutely no props or setup necessary. A
thought is revealed in real time and there is no evidence left behind for
somebody to use if they were to try to reverse engineer the experience later.

At the heart of this method lies a concept that is relatively new and has been
explored by very few. It was created by an extremely talented and progressive
thinker in the field of mentalism Joshua Quinn.

When I first discovered Joshua Quinns Thought Chunnel routine, published in
his book Paralies, I immediately fell in love with it and began using it in my paid
performances. What initially attracted me to this method and routine was the
ability to have someone think of ANY word and to eventually be able to tell them
exactly what word they were thinking of, without the need for them to write
anything down. After playing with the ideas in Quinns book, I decided to create
my own chunneling system that allowed me to bypass the one major issue that
most readers were finding to be quite a hurdle not being able to use this routine
outside of the United States.

The initial inspiration behind creating my own chunneling system was not the
result of living outside of the United States. I had learned through experience that
most Americans struggle to remember the names of presidents and even have
trouble thinking of American states. Time and time again, the routine would come
to a sudden halt due to people lacking certain geographical and political
knowledge and the success rate of the routine proved to be too low for me. I also
wanted to use a more linear sequence of chunneling, one that didnt feel so
random and disconnected. I am going to explain two different ways of performing
my chunneling system: the first description is intended to be used one-on-one or
over the phone, the second is a stage routine in which you will seemingly read
the thoughts of every single person in the room.

Okay, lets get into the chunneling system and the workings of this routine, then
Ill discuss the details and the subtleties that accompany them. Those of you who
are familiar with Thought Chunnel will understand how this works right away. For
those of you who arent, Ill explain the basic principle in a moment.
The system is as follows. First, they think of any musical instrument (there are
only three possibilities that wont work and Ill get to those later), next you have
them think of a fruit and finally you have them think of any vegetable.
Unbelievably, by the time they get to think of a vegetable, their options will be
limited to one of only three: a turnip, an eggplant or a yam.

Allow me to explain exactly what is going on here. Each time I have my

participants think of an item in the grocery store, I ask them to think of one that
begins with the last letter of their previously thought of item. By directing them to
choose from a category that has a limited number of last-letter-results, I can
effectively narrow down their future options. The great thing about these items
(an instrument, a fruit, and a vegetable) is that they all fit perfectly within the
context of the presentation. All three items are part of the journey into the grocery
store and are consistent with the premise.

So, the items in this chunneling sequence are all related to one another, but they
also provide the additional benefit of being relevant to the greater effect. Each
item used within the routine will play an important role later on, which is usually
not the case in chunneling routines. Once the participant has selected a fruit and
vegetable, they are going to use these items to prepare a dish. The participant
never asks you to tell them their first word because the original instrument seems
integral to the process and not like something you made them change simply
because you couldnt. Every choice is important and is integrated into the final
reveal. Here is how it sounds:

I want you to imagine that youre about to walk into a grocery store. Just outside
of the store is a young man playing a musical instrument. Can you picture the
instrument in your mind? Great, now as you walk into the store you grab one of
those little handheld baskets by the entrance and walk over to the produce
section. Youre going to select a fruit, but you notice that they have a sale on one
particular fruit. Coincidentally, it happens to begin with the last letter of the
instrument the young man was playing outside. I want you to take that fruit once
youve found it and place it in your basket. Now, youre going to mosey on over to
the vegetables and select one that begins with the last letter of your fruit. Okay,
once youve selected the vegetable and placed it in your basket, youre going to
purchase your items and go home to cook me a meal.


Once youve had them think of a musical instrument, they will be left with only
TEN possible final letters from which they can select a fruit. Those letters are: N,
R, Y, L, S, D, A, O, T and E.

There are three possible exceptions to that outcome and they occur if the
participant chooses a harp, a drum or one of several Chinese instruments. Ive
never actually encountered anyone who has thought of one of these obscure and
ancient Chinese instruments off the top of their heads; however, I once
preformed this for someone who had trouble thinking of an instrument over the
internet and thanks to the wonders of Google, they managed to expand their
musical vocabulary and select a rather rare and ancient Chinese instrument.
Having said that, unless youre trying this effect under those same conditions, I
wouldnt worry about it. The likelihood of you encountering someone who will
select one of those Chinese instruments is extremely low. Well, unless of course
you live in China.

If someone is thinking of a drum, more often than not they wont pluralize it as
drums. This poses a potential problem, because now their last letter is M,
which forces mango, mandarin or melon as their thought of fruit. If they think of
harp then they are forced to think of peach, pear, pineapple, plum,
pomegranate, passion fruit, papaya this list goes on and on. Of course, this
situation is less than ideal as the reason this routine works so beautifully is that
the chunneling sequence should leave the participant with as limited a choice as
possible. There are several ways in which we can avoid this situation, my
preferred being to blatantly tell them NOT to think of those two instruments.

As you go to walk into the store, you notice that there is a gentleman playing a
musical instrument out front for money. Its quite an uncommon instrument, like a
harp or a drum, only different. Can you picture that instrument? Again, this can
be any instrument you can think of, the more unique the better.

Another way to stop them from thinking of a drum is to ask them to think of an
instrument that plays a tune; this eliminates most percussion instruments. It
would even be perfectly reasonable to revert to classic verbal forcing techniques,
such as, Think of any musical instrument you want, like a harp or a drum, but
dont think of those because I just mentioned them.


Okay, lets return to those ten possible letters. Once they have an instrument in
mind (unless theyre thinking of a harp, drum, or Chinese instrument) youll have
them think of a fruit that begins with one of these ten letters: N, R, Y, L, S, D, A,
O, T and E. Although it seems like a lot of possibilities, probability narrows it
down to only four letters: O, N, T and R. The most common letter is O and of
those four, T is the least common. Although it is possible to think of a fruit
beginning with the letter E (endive, elderberry, eggplant, entawak - just to name a
few) no one ever seems to think of these.

The most common fruits are orange, nectarine, raspberry and tangerine. The
only way theyll think of a raspberry is if they begin by thinking of a guitar.
Sometimes, when I have them imagine the instrument Ill tell them not to think of
a guitar, but to think of a less common instrument such as a harp or a drum
instead. That knocks all three out at once! If Im performing this for two or more
people simultaneously, then Ill leave guitar in there as a possibility.

Once they have a fruit, there are only THREE possible last letters that they could
be thinking of: Y, T and E. The letter E is by far the most common letter
chunneled, Y is the second most common and T is very rare.


You are going to be forcing one of four possible vegetables and those
possibilities are: turnip, tomato, yam and eggplant. As long as you have
chunneled them correctly and bypassed the harp, drum, and Chinese
instruments, they should be thinking of one of these four vegetables. There is
however a few exceptions and those will be covered in the Difficult Spectators

In practice, eggplant is almost always the vegetable that is thought of and yam is
the second most likely outcome. Of course this is completely dependent upon
how you manage the participants choices at the beginning of the chunneling
sequence. Again, turnip and tomato are almost never thought of. I am also quite
aware that tomatoes and eggplants are technically both examples of fruit and not
vegetables; however, because they are both culturally used as vegetables (i.e. in
more savory contexts) it is hardly an issue. Your participants will think of these
options, so it only makes sense to categorize them as vegetables for the sake of
this routine.

This is the part of the method that takes this whole chunneling system to the next
level and really convinces your participants that they could have thought of
anything, even if they suspect that you have been narrowing down their options.

Once you have successfully chunneled a vegetable (most ideally an eggplant),

youre going to implement a psychological force to have them think of a dish. The
brilliant thing about this segment is that almost everyone has a bit of a struggle
trying to think of a dish and most of the time they have to think about it for at least
a few seconds. The good thing about this is that it really gives them the feeling
(even if just for a few seconds) that their vegetable is SO far from the obvious
that they must have done something wrong, or perhaps that they just have too
abstract a mind to think of something. This is exactly where you want them to be.

Once you have taken them this far along on the journey, there is no backing out.
They may tell you that they cant think of anything, but I assure you that they will
if you guide them. In moments like this I make use of modern technology and let
them use Google on their cell phone.

I want you to take your vegetable and use it as the MAIN ingredient for a dish.
Nothing too abstract like Mac & Cheese with pieces of cut up hot dog and Ritz
crackers, just something practical that youre familiar with.

Now for something sweet. I want you to take your fruit and use it as the main
ingredient for a dessert. For example, if you had peaches you could make peach
cobbler or something like that.

If they seem to struggle to think of something, add:

and it doesnt have to use the actual fruit. It can just be flavored like the fruit if
that makes sense to you.

At this point, they should be thinking of eggplant Parmesan (or a variant of that)
or sweet potatoes/candied yams. We will continue with this assumption in mind.
Now remember the most probable fruits thought of are orange, raspberry,
nectarine, and tangerine. The desserts they will be thinking of are orange
sherbet, nectarine sorbet, tangerine Jell-O, raspberry sorbet or some sort of pie.

Once they are thinking of both a main dish and a dessert, its just a matter of
describing the dishes detail by detail, until you have revealed exactly what they
have thought of.


Now dont say yes or no because I dont want you to think Im fishing for
information; just listen. Right away Im sensing that this is a warm dish. I mean,
its not just a salad or something; you actually went out of your way to cook this. I
also taste what seems to be a sauce and its a bit sweet at first, but kind of has a
bit of spice to it too. The texture is really soft. I can taste tomatoes. You definitely
put tomatoes in this. I believe this is an Italian dish. Its like spaghetti, but its not
spaghetti. This is something you baked. Like a lasagna, but its not lasagna, its
Ahh You made eggplant Parmesan!


Now dont say yes or no because I dont want you to think Im fishing for
information; just listen. The first thing Im noticing is the consistency and texture
of this dish. Its very soft, almost creamy. I dont think its soup because I dont
feel like Im slurping it; its similar to baby food. Its sweet, very sweet. Im also
getting a sense of comfort, like that feeling you get on Thanksgiving. Wait... Is
this dish sweet potatoes??


Now this is quite a unique dessert. It would be quite easy to just assume that
youve thought of something simple like apple pie, but you seem more creative
than that. In fact, I think you decided to go with a cold dessert. Its not ice cream
though, that would be too easy. I taste some sort of citrus fruit flavor.
Ah! Youre thinking of orange sherbet!

Although statistics are in our favor, the outcome wont always be eggplant
Parmesan and orange sherbet. It follows then, that we need to utilize a method
for subtly fishing for what they are thinking of, whilst maintaining the illusion that
we arent fishing at all. Because we are working under the (hopefully accurate)
pretense that they are thinking of either eggplants or yams, the first thing we
need to do is to figure out which one.


Okay, I want you to just think of your main dish (pause) this is a main dish,
right? Or is it more of a side dish?

Their response to this simple question will tell you whether they are thinking of
eggplant or yams right away. Once you have figured out which one, you can
continue with the relevant script. If you have decided to guide them away from
thinking of a guitar, but they still say yes its a side dish or Im not quite sure
then there is a possibility that they are thinking of edamame.


As you start to reveal your impressions, just before you tell them not to give you
any hints as to whether youre right or wrong, youre going to subtly ask whether
its a cold or warm dish. You only need to do this if the person confirms that their
dish is a SIDE DISH, or is unsure. In either of these cases, say the following:

First off, Im sensing that this is a cold dish, but Im not quite sure. Is it a cold
dish? (YES) Ah, I thought so. (NO) I didnt think so, must have been sitting
out for a bit.

If they confirm that it IS a cold dish, then they are thinking of edamame. If they
say that it is NOT a cold dish, they are thinking of yams/ sweet potatoes.


Now, right away, I feel like this would make a better appetizer than a main. I
have a feeling we both might be hungry after this, although Im not quite sure
what it is. Can you think of something that would compliment this dish? Perhaps
a main course that would typically follow this appetizer?

At this point, they should obviously be thinking of sushi. Instead of just revealing
edamame, its best to go straight into describing the sushi. Describe the colors,
the temperature, the flavors, the associated culinary region etc. Only after sushi
has been confirmed should you reveal that they have thought of edamame. This
way, it appears as though you determined edamame by deduction and not the
other way around. This makes your sushi revelation much stronger.

If they have thought of edamame, try sticking to the theme when revealing their
dessert, by saying something like:

Now, although the best dessert right now would be green tea ice cream, I think
you picked something a little less traditional with this meal. Still, I think it might
compliment the entire ensemble.


When going through the chunneling process, it is important to observe the

participants (especially one on one) and pay particular attention to how quickly
(or slowly) they are able to think of their items in each sequence. If they seem to
struggle or take longer than usual, there is a high chance that they are going to
end up somewhere completely off track and far from where you want them.
Those people think in a more abstract way than others and often over-think
things. They are the people who are likely to think of edamame.

When revealing your impressions and describing the details of the dish, you must
watch to see how they react to what youre saying. Their facial responses will tell
you everything you need to know in order to correctly describe their dish. If you
have properly built rapport they will want you to succeed and as a result they will
want to interrupt you and tell you if you are wrong, before you stray too far into
nonsense land. Dont give them a chance to verbally tell you youre wrong, just
read their expressions read their minds for real!

As a perfect example, lets say that for some reason our participant has thought
of a tomato as her vegetable (this has only happened a handful of times for me
and always with the same outcome). In this situation, you may notice a positive
reaction as you begin to describe an Italian dish. They may look equally as
impressed when you say that it seems like pasta, but when you mention that it
isnt quiet pasta they may look a bit confused. Their confusion would suggest that
they are thinking of pasta, with a tomato-based sauce. If you pay attention to
these reactions, you can still bring the routine to a successful conclusion a large
percentage of the time.


I almost always refer to the person or people directly participating in a routine as

the participant/s but sometimes those people will prefer to become spectators
and difficult ones at that. Even though we have a very structurally sound system
for forcing eggplant Parmesan, there are still those people who will intentionally
try to make you fail or even quite innocently veer off the intended path. This often
has a lot to do with their not having any investment or interest in what youre
doing, or with their viewing the whole process as a challenge. There are also
those people who just dont know how to follow directions, which again results in
them not having any emotional investment. It is quite natural that you will
eventually encounter each of these people when you perform and Im sure that
many of you already have. I usually just refrain from working with these people
as it saves me a lot of time and frustration; however, once in a while you will
encounter a person of this disposition, who adamantly wants to participate.

When you DO encounter a difficult spectator (and it will happen eventually) there
are certain trends that they follow and I have come up with a few solutions to
overcome them.

As we discussed earlier, some people will choose edamame over eggplant.

People who do this usually fall into one of two very different categories. Either
they are abstract thinkers who naturally and unintentionally overlook the obvious,
or they are the type of person who will very intentionally try to be difficult in order
to provide a challenge. Though its less common, another unusual behavior
worth mentioning is that sometimes people will take the process way too
seriously. These people will be happy to tell you the difference between a fruit
and a vegetable and will sometimes choose eggplant as their fruit because
technically, it is a fruit. If they do that, its completely okay. When it comes time to
reveal the Italian Dish and you mention that there are tomatoes in it, you just
have to gauge their reaction. (see the Gauging Responses section for more

Another thing worth mentioning is that in extremely rare cases, you might find
that someone has thought of an avocado as their fruit. When you recognize that
you are working with one of these difficult spectators and feel compelled to work
with them anyway, just make sure that every instruction you give them is as clear
as day. If you suspect that youre working with a person who might think of an
avocado for instance, then mention that although avocados and tomatoes are
considered types of fruit, you require them to pick sweet fruits because they are
going to be using them to make a dessert. Saying something along those lines
usually puts them right back on track.


One of the many environments in which I perform this routine, is on stage. I have
everyone in the room stand up and I take them all on the imaginative journey at
the same time. As I go through each item, if there are people who cant think of
something or have trouble, I tell them to sit down. This not only allows the
process to move quicker and smoother than it would do otherwise, but it also
filters out any of those abstract thinkers I mentioned earlier. I also reveal a few of
their thoughts between each item and have them sit down as I do so. This added
bit of procedure not only allows me to transparently filter out problem items such
as the harp, drum, and guitar, but it has the added benefit of contributing to the
effect as well.

Okay, Im not sure who this is, but there is someone over here (point to right
side of audience) thinking of a drum and someone over here (point to left side of
audience) thinking of a harp. Could you all please sit down for me?

When moving on to the fruit, I do the same thing. This part also eliminates the
guitar people.

Ok there are a couple of you at the back thinking of a raspberry and someone
over here (pointing in middle of audience) thinking of a strawberry. Could you
also sit down for me please? Thank you.

Finally, when I get to the vegetables I eliminate the last of the problem
participants in the following manner:

Im not exactly sure what direction this is coming from, but there is someone
thinking of a Japanese soy bean... Edamame. Who is that?

At this point, I just ask this person to sit down. If no one raises their hand, I will
point to the back of the room and say, there you are, please take a seat and
then continue with the rest of the routine. At this point there should be a few
people left standing, though the number will vary depending on how large your
audience is. Usually Ill have somewhere between two and six people left
standing and will invite one of them to join me on stage (preferably a female). I
finish the routine by escorting her to a candle lit table set for two (piano music
playing in the background, of course) and continue the routine as usual, but with
us both sat at the table. Should everything go to plan, I will also reveal that the
words Eggplant Parmesan have been printed and sealed in an envelope (or
something to that effect), which has been kept underneath her plate the whole


R. A. M.
Memories light the corners of my mind

The performer asks a spectator if she carries photos with her, and explains:

People like to carry pictures with them wherever they go, as a sort of tangible
recollection of moments. Pictures can capture the essence of a single moment in
time and give us the ability to access details about that moment forever;
however, we dont really need pictures to remind us of our special moments.
Often all it takes is something simple -such as a certain smell - to trigger off a
specific memory and suddenly a picture pops into our head and the details are
allowed to reassemble. In a moment, we are going to access one of your
memories. Well start by activating your senses with various mental images,
generating random associations connected with a moment in time. Well do that
until all of the details of a specific memory have fallen back into place.

The performer then begins to guide the participant into a mental construction of
vague associations, allowing her to naturally retrieve various images, sounds and
smells without revealing any of them aloud. Once the participant has mentally
constructed enough associations, she begins to piece together the randomly
generated thoughts and images into a specific and detailed memory.

Once the participant has a specific memory in and only in her mind, the
performer begins to reveal his first impressions. He describes everything he
sees, hears, and smells, as if hes stepped directly into the memory. The
participant starts grinning in amazement as she wonders how the performer
could possibly know the details of her mentally thought of scene.

To take it a step further, the performer asks the participant to mentally create an
image that is related to her memory. He then begins to sketch something with a
sharpie on the back of his business card and places it face down on the
participants face up palm.

With that done, the performer immediately rests his middle fingers on the
participants temples, takes a deep breath in and begins to describe specific
elements of her memory in a great deal of detail. Astonished, the participant
begins to confirm many of the details revealed by the performer. Finally, the
performer asks the participant to describe out loud, the picture that she saw in
her mind. She turns over the business card to find that the picture matches

This is another routine that was loosely inspired by Joshua Quinns Thought
Chunnel. The genesis of this idea was the result of an effort to create a thought
chunnel process that would allow me to force a specific emotion on a participant.
I then wanted to have her think of a moment in time when she had felt that
emotion and be able to reveal the minor details of her memory, before finally
revealing the original emotion.

As I went through the process of creating a chunneling system for my original

idea, my goal was to give each category some sort of relevance to the one that
had come before. In the process of doing this, I found myself playing an actual
game of word/thought association with myself, which led to the conception of this
specific chunneling system. I ended up with something quite different to what I
had originally intended, but I feel it might actually have turned out better than my
original idea.

This effect has been designed so that it can be performed at any time, in any
place, without requiring objects that you wouldnt ordinarily carry with you or
couldnt easily borrow in any situation. Although this effect can be performed
completely prop-less, I have alternate versions that I will discuss toward the end.

There are two underlying methods that make this effect possible, thought
chunneling and a visual branching system much like a progressive anagram (or
as Alain Nu calls it, iconographic fishing). Whereas thought chunneling works by
directing participants to think of words from categories that offer an increasingly
limited number of word endings (i.e. final letters) and therefore a limited number
of options, iconographic fishing chunnels categories by using a psychological
forcing technique, which leaves room for only one option in each category.

The category that you will ultimately be forcing from in this routine would best be
described as festive holidays. All holiday festivities share some similarities in
respect to how they are celebrated (food, alcohol, lots of people etc). We are
going to exploit these festive similarities by revealing them early on in the routine
as we simultaneously work to determine exactly which holiday the participant is
thinking of. I am very much a fan of methods that are integrated and hidden
within the presentation and most of my original work utilizes this concept. The
method presented here relies upon the presentation and the presentation relies
upon the method.

In a way, we are going to be working backwards. We wont have enough

information to describe details of our participants memory until we learn which
holiday she is thinking of and we wont know which holiday she is thinking of until
we know what picture she has imagined. Once we have determine the picture

she is thinking of, we can describe specific details about her memory, adding a
liberal amount of cold reading to the mix as well.

The picture we are going to draw is a symbol that represents the specific holiday
that the participant is thinking of. This is where the iconographic fishing
techniques come into play. Once we learn which picture the participant is thinking
of, we will know which holiday she is thinking of as well.

There are 53 holidays listed on a U.S. calendar, so how do we narrow them

down? Well, there are only four major holidays and the instructions that we give
our participant are designed to lead her to think of one of those four. Sometimes
though, we will encounter difficult spectators who have trouble paying attention to
instructions and could potentially think of one of the four minor holidays. These
are also covered in our branching system.

If I were to ask you to think of any day of the week and to then take the last letter
of that day and think of a color using that letter, I would have forced you to think
of the color yellow. This is the basic idea behind this particular psychological
forcing technique. Unlike a typical psychological force, which attempts to force
something based off of statistics and probability, this situation gives the
participant no other option yet feels completely fair.

To start the chunneling process, we are going to ask the participant to think of a
memorable year. Once she has a year in mind, you will ask her to think of any
month out of that year. When she has a month in mind, you are going to ask her
to think of the season the month falls within and then to think of a holiday that
falls within the season. Finally, you will ask her to think of the icon that represents
their holiday. While there are major and minor holidays, there are also major and
minor icons for each holiday. Below is a chart that visually displays the

Primary Categories


SUMMER Independence American Flag Fire Works/
Day Eagle
SPRING Easter Bunny Easter Egg
AUTUMN/FALL Thanksgiving Turkey Pilgrim
WINTER Christmas Tree Santa Clause

Minor Categories


SPRING St. Patricks Day Shamrock
AUTUMN/FALL Halloween Jack O Lantern
WINTER New Year Ball / Fireworks

WINTER Valentines Day Heart

Although you must chunnel your participant through various categories in order
for this routine to work, it is important that by the end of the routine she feels as
though she has naturally pieced together a random memory. In order to achieve
this, you will allow her moments of freedom as she thinks about each category,
but then you must guide her away from those random thoughts by telling her not
to focus on her specific memory just yet and introducing her to the next category.
It should go something like this:

In order to access one of your memories, we are going to think of a specific time
in your life. We are going to start vague though and end specific. So first, just
think of a memorable year. Now right away you might see some of the highlights
from that year flashing through your mind. I dont want you to focus on any of
those just yet. For now, all I want you to do is to randomly focus on any month
within that year.

Perfect. Now as you think of this month Im sure that there are a lot of things you
associate with it that are floating around in your mind. For example, maybe
youre thinking of some kind of anniversary, or a friends birthday. Never mind
those, just skip them and think of the season it would have been during this
month. Now you can see how this is working, youre automatically imagining the
weather, maybe you can see the color of the leaves, maybe theyre green or
brown, maybe its scorching hot or there is a cool breeze. These minor details
seem to become more and more specific to you now.

Finally, I want you to think of a major holiday that most people would associate
with this season. Great. Now here comes the specific memory that I want you to
just close your eyes and step inside of. Allow all of your senses to work so that
you can hear, smell, see and feel what its like to be back at this event, on this
specific date, for this specific holiday.

Often people arent entirely sure of the exact dates the seasons change.
Thankfully, the season your participant associates with the month is irrelevant.
All youre really concerned with is which holiday she ends up choosing within the
season. Even if someone accidentally thinks of the wrong season for the month
(or if they come from a country where the seasons are different e.g.; in Australia,
Christmas is a summer holiday) it wont affect the outcome of the routine. Here is
the wording used to psychologically force the holiday that corresponds to their
thought of season:

Think of a MAJOR Holiday that MOST people would ASSOCIATE with this

Here you are using an unspecified referential index (which you may recognize
from Kenton Kneppers wonder words). The fact that you have asked them to
name what MOST people would think of and not what they personally would
think of forces them to answer the question objectively, based on a consensus. I
have performed this for several people who typically dont observe Christian
holidays. All of them were naturally able to think of Easter and Christmas.

I must briefly mention that whilst most countries share most major holidays, they
obviously dont share every holiday. Furthermore, for the holidays that are
shared, cultural differences might still dictate various traditions that will vary from
place to place. In addition to certain holidays varying from country to country,
certain religious cultures in the States and around the world also have specific
celebrations of their own, such as Passover, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Yom Kipper,
Kwanzaa, etc. We are basically going to focus only on holidays that contain
universally known images.

I can tell you from experience that the likelihood of performing this routine for
someone who has no idea what symbols or holidays most people would
associate with any given season is extremely low. Even if you were to come
across such a person (and I never have) I imagine that it wouldnt take much to
recognize them as having been sheltered from cultural references necessary for
this effect to work and to simply avoid performing this routine for them.

During these specific holidays (the four major holidays) nearly every bank,
shopping mall and grocery store is themed with recognizable decorations.
Whether somebody is a Jehovahs Witness, Jewish, or Muslim, they can still
recognize these public holiday traditions. Although most of these people will be
able to think of a symbol that represents these holidays, they may not be able to
think of a personal memory attached to them.

The routine as it is described here is designed to work best in the United States;
however, it can be changed and adapted to work in other countries and for
different religious celebrations. The basic goal is to force a holiday that MOST
people within your performing region will attribute to each season. If you live
outside of the United States or are going to be performing mostly for people who
celebrate alternative holidays, you should be able to work with the principle
presented here to create a specific, customized system that you can use for

Back to the explanation! This routine is structured in three presentational phases:

Phase One- First Impressions

Phase Two- Mind Reading
Phase Three- Reveal Drawing

*Im not counting any part of the process as a phase. Only the reveals*

The chunneling process is divided into two parts, or rather; it is paused as you
execute one of the presentational phases. Once you have forced the holiday, you
are going to stop the chunneling process and jump straight into the first phase.


This is where you are going to deliver your first impressions. In order for you to
do so, I have put together a list of impressions that you are going to
communicate to the participant. You will notice that some of these impressions
relate more specifically to certain holidays than to others, but in the second
phase you will be adding context to your impressions, strengthening those that
might not have made much sense at first. This first phase serves a much greater
purpose than it should appear, as it is actually half of the method. It is important
that you gauge and remember how your participant reacts to each impression as
the iconographic fishing in phase two will only narrow down the categories by
another 50%. It is the information you gain in the first phase that will absolutely
clarify which holiday your participant is thinking of. This is very much a
backwards way of working, which helps conceal the method.

You are going to remember which impressions they specifically react to and how
they react to them. This information will serve not only to direct you toward the
holiday they are thinking of, but it will also be useful in guiding you as you deliver
a healthy amount of cold reading in the second phase.


Surrounded by lots of people

Hear laughter
Hear music
Hear a banging and ringing noise
See a flickering light
See bright colors
See people drinking alcohol
Smell lots of food
Smell Cinnamon & spices
Taste sweets
Sulfur smell

Youll notice that banging and ringing and flickering light are both rather vague
descriptors. The banging and ringing noises could be attributed to a few of the
holidays. When revealing this information in the first phase, you will deliver it as if
youre not entirely sure of why you are hearing and seeing those sights and
sounds, or what they could mean. It should come across as if youre confused by
them. The first phase should sound something like this:

Now that youve pieced together a memory, I want you to immerse yourself in
the scene. Just allow all of your senses to be consumed by the environment. I
want you to imagine the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings youre
experiencing in this very moment. I want you to add as many additional details as
you can that would clarify this moment for you now. You can even add elements
that you would typically find on this special occasion that may or may not have
been present in your specific memory.

Youre doing wonderfully. Let me share with you my initial impressions. Some of
these may make more sense than others, but what Im getting right now is this...
Immediately I see you surrounded by lots of people. Most are familiar, but I even
see a few strangers amongst you. In fact, there is one particular person that
stands out to me now. Do you know who Im referring to? I also hear laughter. I
see a particular person with a small group surrounding them and Im not sure if
this is you or the person that stood out to me earlier, but they appear to be the
life of the party and to be making everyone happy. Does that make sense?

Im also hearing some music in the background and Im not sure what this is, but
I can hear a sort of banging, and ringing noise. (Watch for a reaction)
There is also this flickering light that stands out to me and Im also seeing lots of
bright colors. (Watch for a reaction)
I see a few people drinking alcohol and I smell lots of delicious food. I taste
something quite sweet. I believe there are lots of sweets here as well, like candy,
or deserts. Okay, you can relax for a moment and stop sending your thoughts.

After this first phase, you are going to change gears by continuing with the final
sequence of the chunneling system. To complete the chunneling system, you
need to psychologically force the symbol that matches their thought of holiday.
The wording is as follows:

This doesnt involve a living thing, does it? Like an animal or something? I
thought so. (or) I didnt think so. At this point you should know what
symbol/holiday they are thinking of. You then finish drawing the image and place
it face-down on their palm.

Here is the wording I use to psychologically force the image that corresponds
with their thought of holiday:

Think of THE UNIVERSAL SYMBOL that MOST people would IDENTIFY with
this holiday.

Again, you can see how the language forces your participant to respond
objectively based on a consensus. After she confirms that she has an image in
mind, you will pull out your notebook or business card and sharpie, and begin
your drawing. Do your best to involve your spectator in this process, encouraging
her to mentally add as many details as she can to the picture. Here is where the
iconographic fishing comes in. You are going to pretend to start the drawing, but
as you pretend to draw you will ask vague questions that seem to exist for no
purpose other than to help you clarify your impressions of the image. In reality,
you are subtly pumping for information. It would sound something like this:

(As you pretend to draw) This isnt a living thing is it?

[No] No, I didnt think so, or [Yes] Yes, I thought so.

Once you have discovered whether or not your participants icon or symbol is a
living thing, you can use this knowledge in conjunction with the reactions that you
noted in the first phase, to be able to determine which symbol she is thinking of.
Here is a visual map to clarify the iconographic fishing sequence:



Essentially, youre going to be determining your participants thought-of
memory/holiday by watching and observing how she reacts to your impressions.
For example, if she reacts more to bright colors, sweets or flickering lights, she
could be thinking of Halloween, Valentines Day, Easter or Christmas. If she
reacts more to lots of food, banging sounds and lots of alcohol, she could be
thinking of Thanksgiving, Independence Day or Saint Patricks Day.

In order to identify which holiday she is thinking of, you must pay close attention
to her reactions every time you make a statement. Its a bit like watching a film
with subtitles, if you arent paying close attention, you wont know whats going
on. The subconscious responses you pick up on will help you in determining
which holiday she is thinking of. If you paid close attention to her reactions whilst
giving your initial impressions, you should now be able to narrow down the
thought of holiday to one of just a few now.

Allow me to briefly clarify something here. If you follow the scripting word for
word, youre psychologically forcing your participant to think of one of the FOUR
MAJOR holidays. When you say, Think of THE major holiday that MOST people
would associate with this month, you are forcing them to do just that. If you say,
think of A major holiday then the chances of your participant thinking of
Halloween, Saint Patricks Day or even Valentines Day becomes much higher.
Also, experience has taught me that the two most thought of holidays are
Christmas and Independence Day. Ive had those two holidays thought of more
than any others; so when you narrow the options down to four, youre essentially
trying to narrow them down to one of those two.

After delivering your impressions and using your observational skills, you should
be fairly certain that your participant is thinking of a holiday from one of the
following pairs: Easter & Independence Day or Christmas &Thanksgiving. When
you execute the iconic graphic fishing phase, you will be drawing upon this
information and cross-referencing it with the nature of her image (animate or
inanimate) in order to make sense of everything. Once you find out whether her
image is of a living thing or not, you should know exactly which icon she is
thinking of.


Once you have placed the drawing face down upon her open palm, you will
continue to the second phase. Here, you will eliminate the ambiguities that
lingered in your initial impression by forming strong connections between those
statements (banging and ringing sounds, flickering lights etc) and the thought-of
holiday. You will also go into more detail by employing a liberal dose of cold
reading. The banging and ringing sounds and the flickering lights could mean the

Banging of exploding fireworks
Ringing of Piccolo Pete fire works
Banging/knocking at the door for trick-or-treaters on Halloween
Doorbells ringing on Halloween
Ringing of bells during Christmas (jingle bells)
Any holiday that could involve guests arriving at someones home
(ringing the doorbell)
Ringing of the telephone from people wishing happy holidays.

The flickering lights could be interpreted in much the same way. Here is a list
of a few things they could represent:

The lights on a house during Christmas.

The lights on a Christmas tree.
Flickering lights of fireworks or sparklers.
Flickering candle lights from the menorah (Hanukkah)
Flickering candle light inside of a jack O lantern.
Flickering light from a candle lit dinner during Thanksgiving or Valentines

You will then give them a more detailed cold read, during which you can sort of
back-peddle all of your misses and re affirm and clarify the hits of your previous
Your readings should sound something like this:

I want you to go back to your memory and recall some of the details you were
picturing earlier and maybe some of the details you have created within your
image. Okay its coming in much clearer now than before


I feel like the weather here is cold. I get a cold feeling so this must be either a
fall or winter holiday. The colors Im seeing now are green and a bit of gold I also
see a bit of red coming through actually, lots of red. I see everyone sort of
standing around mingling, but also I see people smiling and Im sensing the
feeling of surprise very strongly here, like the feeling a child would get on their
birthday. I can hear that ringing noise again and it sounds like a bell, like some
sort of bell jingling. Ah, now Im seeing it. Those flickering lights... They are on a
tree! And I see some on houses; so many bright colors. I believe you are thinking
of Christmas.


Right away Im sensing sort of warmish weather, but there is a cool breeze
coming through. The air has a fresh crisp smell to it. Im sensing that this day
involves going somewhere. Its like youre leaving your home to go somewhere,
but it seems like youre not too excited to go to wherever this is. Im not sure if its
a relatives house or some sort of public event or function, but I get the feeling
that youre being dragged to this event. There is a girl here. Im not sure if this is
you as a child or someone else but shes wearing a pastel pinkish dress and is
running around looking for something. She seems very excited about it, almost
as if shes playing hide and seek or something of that nature. I see lots of
candy... Chocolate! Oh wait, now Im seeing eggs! Colored eggs. Lots of bright
colors everywhere. You must be thinking of Easter.


There is something very comforting about this day. Im seeing a lot of natural
woodsy colors and I get the feeling that Im surrounded by people who care for
me. There are so many smells in the air; mostly warm, comforting smells lots of
food. Im seeing a few people huddled around a television, mostly gentleman. Is
that an uncle? They are drinking and shouting as if theyre excited about
something, as if they were watching an important sporting event. That flickering
light, Im seeing the flame of candles lit on a table. There is a little boy/girl
wandering around the room, and they have black olives on their fingers. Is this
you, or someone else? There is an elderly lady here and she seems a bit
frazzled. Is this your grandmother? Now Im seeing everyone gathering around a
table. The table is cluttered with SO much food. Is this Thanksgiving?

Independence Day

I sense a feeling of excitement. Im not sure if its because of whats being

celebrated or if its just the weather, but I definitely can sense that the
atmosphere is warm and sunny which tells me that youre outside in this memory.
I can smell lots of delicious food. It smells like someone is barbecuing
hamburgers or hot dogs. I also see people drinking beer, lots of beer. Im hearing
a bit of laughter and conversation. Theres that flickering light again. I keep
seeing it every time I hear that banging sound, as if there is an explosion going
off, like sparklers and fireworks. So many bright colors and lights keep jumping at
me. I believe you are thinking about the fourth of July.


At this point, you have revealed their thought-of memory in detail and they are
still standing there with a face down business card (containing the drawing you
made) resting upon their face up palm. Its now a simple matter to have them
explain what their image is out loud and once they have explained it, to have
them turn over the card revealing that you have drawn most of what they
mentioned, if not all of it.

As I mentioned before, if you follow the exact scripting of the psychological forces
and pick your participants wisely, they will think of one of the four major holidays.
There may be times that you encounter someone who doesnt follow directions or
decides to be difficult by deciding not to think of one of the major holidays. You
will be able to determine this when you give your first impressions, by paying
attention to how they react. In extreme cases, they may even bluntly say No.
Youre wrong. while youre giving your impressions. Gather as much information
as you need to, in order to determine which holiday they are thinking of.

You may even want them to think of one of the minor holidays. If thats the case,
all you have to do is to change your wording when delivering the psychological
force. If you decide to go that route, you will also have to create your own
scripts/readings for the second phase. When doing this, be creative and
remember to readdress as many of your initial impressions in the second phase
as possible, giving context to those things that may not have seemed
immediately relevant at first and shedding more light upon those that did.

It is also worth stating explicitly that a routine of this nature cannot work 100% of
the time. There is a chance that the participant will disagree with a lot of the
things you say as you start to get into more detail during the second phase. If this
happens, you will quickly realize that youre thinking of the wrong holiday. The
good news is, most of the time you will have collected enough information during
the other phases to now know which holiday she IS thinking of. In these
situations, it is not too late to change your drawing. Just take it from the
participants hands and draw a new one, if you dont make a big deal about it she
wont. Its that simple.

There are several different ways to perform this routine, which can offer you a
more a secure outcome than what has been described and therefore a higher
rate of success. Whilst these alternate presentations still rely heavily on
psychological forcing, their methods and presentations allow for easier and more
secure ways of retrieving the participants memory.

Drawing Duplication

This particular take on R.A.M. relies on the original method, but contains a
presentational variation that can also contribute to the method. The
presentational variation is that in this version of the effect, both you AND the
participant will draw a picture. You will need to carry extra props for this, but all of
the other requirements are exactly the same.

In regard to how this presentation benefits the method, the answer is simple. In
addition to the slew of other reliable methods youre currently using, you now
have the opportunity to use pencil and sound reading to determine the
participants image. You could rely on this method alone if you desired.

I often prefer to perform the routine in this manner because there is quite an
astonishing theatrical moment created when the pictures are turned over and
shown to match.

Prediction / Influence

This routine has quite a different method and presentation to the original. The
presentation becomes less about reading the participants mind and more about
influencing her thoughts, or even predicting the future. The method relies upon
multiple outs, which can either be managed via a pocket index of some kind, a
binder index, double envelopes etc. or which can simply be hidden on stage in
unique ways. The choice is yours entirely and you are limited only by your own

If you choose to take this route you will be correct 100% of the time, so long as
the participant thinks of a major holiday. The fact that the odds have been
improved for this approach, make it an ideal one to use in stage situations,
whereas the other methods play strongest in impromptu, close-up situations.

I-phone / Android

If you have an iPhone, Android, or any other smart phone for that matter, you
could use a simple doodling app to create your drawing. For a no-fail method,
you can download and use Greg Rostamis, iForce.

iForce allows you to store up to eight outs in your phone, which can either be
utilized within the context of a prediction effect, or within the structure of the
original routine. If you decide to use iForce to support the original routine, you
must pretend to draw the participants picture during the mindreading stage, and
then use the multiple out function of the app to show that your impression was
correct once you get to the reveal phase. This is a great way to perform this
routine safely, without having to carry any extra props.


The original routine can be performed prop-less, without the need to draw a
physical picture. In order to accomplish this you will have to describe the
impressions that you receive out loud as you supposedly pick up on the
participants picture in your mind. I dont feel that this version is as powerful as
the one that utilizes props, but for those of you purists who wish to perform
completely organic and prop-less mind reading, this might be an ideal approach.
This version does not differ as far as the method is concerned, only in relation to
the presentation; specifically, in the fact that you must imagine and describe
yourself drawing the picture rather than physically drawing it on a piece of paper.


This routine can be performed on stage or close-up. It uses Hallmark greeting

cards and multiple outs. The requirements for this routine are pretty simple, but
you will need to think about it them advance. In order to perform this routine you
will need to gather a selection of greeting cards, one that corresponds to each of
the major holidays.

Once you have collected the greeting cards, there are several ways that you
could choose to advance. One example would be to simply use the relevant card
to show that you knew which holiday the participant was thinking of or going to
think of. Another example might see you writing your entire reading (the 2
phase) inside of the card and then giving it to your participant as a gift at the end
of the routine. In this way, you would leave your participant with something that is
meaningful and which she can take home and place somewhere around the

Another approach would be to perform a confabulation-type routine using the
card. You could have the participant secretly write the name of a family member
on a billet and at some point get a peek. Then, you could sign the card as that
family member. If you were to fill the entire card in with a scripted reading but to
leave a few spots blank, you could covertly fill in those spots with details that they
tell you and then as in the previous example you could hand them the card to
keep at the conclusion of the routine.


Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders

Without memory, we would have no idea who we are, where were from, who we
know, or the difference between a safe and a dangerous situation. Our memories
are mostly based on genuine experiences, but our minds can create false
memories to embellish our version of reality - just as we can suppress memories
of events we find displeasing.

Throughout life, we encounter and interact with so many different types of

people that it can become difficult to remember all of them. Once in a while
though, well meet someone who leaves such an impression on us that we find
them very difficult to forget. Its that sort of person who we choose to engage in
more meaningful relationships with.

As we move through different relationships (whether they be platonic or

romantic) we often establish associations between the things around us at the
time and the people with whom we are involved. For instance, the smell of vanilla
might make you think of that one ex-girlfriend you had, or a particular song might
make you think of the day you met your best friend. Sometimes, the people we
hold dearest end up betraying us and we experience things in those relationships
that we would rather just forget. Our memories are often attached to those
people though and the things around us can serve as constant reminders of

Having set the tone, the performer asks everyone in the audience to think of a
person whom they would either like to forget, or whom they would like to feel
better about. He invites one person to join him on stage and requests that she
continue thinking of the person she has in mind. With the participant
concentrating on this individual, the performer is able to reveal several details
about them details that he couldnt possibly know. After describing a few things
about the thought-of individual, the performer picks up a pad and a marker and
writes something on it. He shows it to the audience, declaring that he believes it
to be the name that the participant on stage has been thinking of. He then shows
the name to the participant, who confirms that it is correct. The participant is then
placed into a hypnotic trance, where in her memory of the person she has been
thinking of is erased and replaced with a new memory.

The participant will genuinely appear to have no recollection of the person she
was originally thinking of and instead, only be able to think of the memory that
was implanted in her mind. When people ask her about the experience
afterwards, she will genuinely support the new reality, confirming that she no
longer has any memory of the person from her past.

This routine was inspired by one of my absolute favorite movies, Eternal
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In the film, the two main characters go through a
procedure that completely erases their memories of each other and leaves them
with absolutely no recollection of the pain and hurt that they experienced during
their dysfunctional, dead end relationship. I, like many others, often find myself
wishing that this were a real procedure.

This movie had a big impact on me and got me thinking about how I could
demonstrate this concept within a performance context. This routine is the result.
It has been designed for use in a stage environment, but it can be performed in a
close up setting as well (which I have actually done on several occasions).Having
said that, it is still my preference to perform this routine on a stage.

The routine is very simple and very strong.

This routine relies mostly on the dual reality principle. It makes use of both a
switch pad and the Dunninger ploy. The pad that I use is the same as the one
Banachek uses for his Q&A routine and which he teaches you to construct in his
PSI series DVDs. You could easy use another kind of switch pad, so long as the
audience is able to read what has been written on the pad from a distance.

After the participant has joined me on stage, I ask her to focus on the person she
is thinking of in her mind. The first thing I do is to reveal things about that person
that I couldnt possibly know. The things I reveal are: the persons gender, how
she knows the person, how long she has known the person for, what the person
looks like and the persons star sign. I only need to ask one simple question to do
this fairly accurately.

The inspiration for this cold reading technique came from a brief suggestion in Oz
Pearlmans DVD, Into the Abyss. In this DVD, he suggests asking one simple
question to learn a lot about the person being thought of by a participant. The
question is:

Do you know this persons birthday?

Thats it! The fact that youve asked this question is not viewed as unusual when
you follow it by asking if they know the persons star sign, but the way your
participant responds to this question will tell you a lot. After performing this style
of effect for many years, I have accumulated a sort of mental-database of
responses to this question and have attempted to share my findings with you


When they respond with a yes to this question, it usually means that the person
they are thinking of is a close friend, or an immediate family member (such as a
sibling or a parent). It is very rare for somebody to remember the birthday of a
family member outside of his or her immediate family.

The first piece of information I will offer is the persons gender. I will usually take
an educated guess for this, but I could also quite easily ask by employing the use
of a negative question e.g. This person isnt a female is it? Once I know the
gender, I can deduce a little bit more about the person theyre thinking of. If the
person is of the SAME gender as the participant, then generally I will assume
that they are thinking of a sibling or best friend (though it could still be one of their
parents or even an aunt or uncle).

The next thing I will try to discover is whether the person they are thinking of is
older or younger. Depending on how quickly they answered the original question,
or how long they took to remember the date, I will have a bit of an idea as to
whether they are older or younger than the participant.

To elaborate on that point, if they responded quickly it usually means that they
are around the same age as the person they are thinking of. If they had a long
delay on the other hand, it usually means that the person they are thinking of is
much older. I can get this information in one of two ways. The first option is to
boldly guess, based on the speed of their response to the initial question and the
second option is to say something like, I feel that there is an age gap here,
which one of you is older? Regardless of their response I will continue as though
I already knew the answer and was merely seeking confirmation.

I then inquire into how much older one is than the other, if the answer is a lot
then Ill say something along the lines of, Ah yes, I knew you/they were older
because I was seeing them/you looking up to you/them like a big brother. If they
say that theyre around the same age, then I will say, Ah that makes sense,
because Ive got this feeling that this person is very close to you, as if you are


When the participant responds with a no to this question, I can deduce that they
either havent been in touch with this person in a long time, that they arent very
close to this person or that there is a large age gap between the participant and
this person. If they appear to be giving it some thought but still cant recall the
persons birthday despite feeling like they should or do know it, then its generally
an indication of an age gap. This usually means they are thinking of a
grandparent or some other distant relative. If your participant says no without
hesitation, then she will usually be thinking of someone very new in her life,
someone she hasnt seen or heard from in a long time, or somebody with whom
she was just never that close, such as a work associate or acquaintance.
If the birthday is not known and the person being thought of is much older than
the participant, it usually means that its a grandparent or aunt/uncle being
thought of. When asking who is older, if they have no idea or seem to be
guessing, the person is most likely someone they havent seen or talked to in a
very long time. If they tell you they are pretty close in age, make sure you find out
which one is older. This will tell you a lot about the dynamic of their relationship.
Pair that with your knowledge of the gender and you have a lot of information to
work with.

If they are both of the same gender and the person they are thinking of is close to
them in age but older, they could be thinking of a friend whom they have lost
touch with or not seen in a while. Being older, this person most likely played a
dominant role in the relationship. If the person they are thinking of is younger but
close in age, then the opposite applies.

If the person they are thinking of is of the opposite gender, around the same age
and the male is older than the female, then there is a very good chance they
were involved in some sort of romantic relationship at one point. This is
particularly true if the participant is a male (as males tend to pay less attention to
birthdays anyway) but it could also be true of females, especially if the
relationship was very short lived. If the female is older, there is a greater chance
that it was a platonic relationship and it is possible that they knew/know each
other through work or as acquaintances.

On the next page, you will find a branching graph that you can mentally refer to
when using this technique. After asking the question, Do you know this persons
birthday? you can use the information provided in the graph to hopefully deliver
a more successful reading.

Please bear in mind that this is not an absolutely definite, fail-safe graph. It does
however have its genesis in the results of many, MANY trials and is quite
accurate as a result. There will be occasions when this doesnt work perfectly,
but Ive found that it has improved my readings immensely, regardless of any
exceptions that might pop up. I use this technique every single time I perform a
name reveal using a center tear or peek. It is also worth mentioning that when
you use this technique in combination with a centre tear or a peek, just knowing
what name is being thought of before you go through this process should help
you immensely when it comes to being able to describe things about the persons
age and appearance.

This is one of the most powerful and universal tools that I can call upon when
reading minds. The graph is shown on the following page.









If I discover that the participant is related to the person she is thinking of, I will
basically describe the features of the participant herself. If she is thinking of a
relative of the opposite sex, I will describe the male version of her (or the female
version, if working with a male participant). If I discover that the person being
thought of is NOT related, then I will usually describe someone with opposite
characteristics to the participant. For example, if the participant has dark hair I
will describe someone with lighter colored hair, if she has brown eyes, I will
describe someone with blue eyes.


When describing the color of someones hair, if I think it may be dark Ill say, Im
seeing that they have darker hair. If they tell me Im wrong I will add, Well I
mean, its not blonde, its darker than that. or Well I mean its darker than YOUR

Of course, the opposite applies when describing the persons hair as being
lighter. If they disagree, then Ill explain that I meant that their hair isnt black, but
a bit lighter than that.

If Im totally wrong regarding the hair color, then Ill ask, Has this person colored
their hair recently? Maybe Im picturing them in a specific memory from when
their hair was darker/lighter.


I make use of this line whenever Im revealing a name and it always garners a
very strong reaction. Ive had people cry, Ive had people turn flush in the face
and Ive had people feel completely invested in the moment, convinced that I was
connected to them, that for that one moment I really knew them.

It is a very powerful line and I advise you to use it with caution:

Im sensing some distance between you and this person. Im not sure if its a
physical distance, or an emotional distance, but Im definitely seeing some kind
of wall there. Does that make sense to you?

Usually they will explain the nature of the distance, whether the person lives far
away or if they have just lost touch with one another. If they dont freely offer you
that information, but tell you that you were correct, I will add, Yes, has it been a
while since youve seen them?

If they respond in the affirmative, then Ill ask if its a physical distance. If they
respond negatively, then Ill ask if its emotional distance.

On extremely rare occasions, the participant will not connect with this statement
or accept it as a hit. In these instances she is generally thinking of someone
whom she is very close with, on good terms with, hasnt fought with recently and
whom she has seen very recently.

Whenever I am wrong on a cold read, I will use what I call a Time Ruse. This
is a simple technique where in I attempt to show that the thing I was wrong about
was actually relevant at an earlier point in the participants life. It would sound
something like this, Oh, I must be picking up on something that happened a few
years back, did you two have a major disagreement about something then?
If your participant has rejected the distance ruse, then she must be thinking of
someone she is very close to and we have all had disagreements with the people
we are closest to at some point or another. You almost cant be wrong with this

This is another cold reading line that hits pretty hard. Its not as easy to connect
as the distance ploy, but when it does hit, it really sends people over the edge. It
makes the participant feel as if Im really deep inside his or her head and that I
might know their deepest, darkest secrets. This ruse sounds like this:

Im sensing that whenever this person comes up in conversation or in your

thoughts, youre reminded of something. Im not sure if its an actual situation or
just your feelings about something, but there is definitely something youve been
wanting this person to know, that you either havent had the opportunity to tell
them or just havent found a way to tell them. I can see a few things just popped
in your mind right now and youre wondering which one it is. I can tell you with
certainty, its the one right THERE yes THAT one, the one that keeps popping
up over and over in your mind. Dont worry; Im not going to say it out loud. Just
know that when you do decide to tell them, its going to lift a weight right off your

As I mentioned before, this gets very strong reactions when it hits, but it doesnt
resonate with as many people as the distance ploy. Having said that, this,
regret ploy definitely hits more often than not.


My pad consists of two writing surfaces. One of the surfaces is blank and the
other surface has the words THE PERSON YOURE THINKING OF clearly
written on it.

When I write a name down, I just write down a random name on the blank
surface. I show this to the audience, but not to the participant on stage. I always
select a female for this particular routine. I have a table on stage with a small,
thin vase placed upon it and a single flower resting inside. I address the lady on
stage and tell her that if I turn the pad over and it says the name of the person
she is thinking of, she should take the flower and go back to her seat. If I did not
write the name of the person she is thinking of, then she should slap me in the
face instead. Well, in truth, that is only what the audience hears. As youve likely
figured out, the lady on stage hears this:

In a moment Im going to show you what Ive written and if it says the person
youre thinking of then I would like you to please take the flower from the table
and go back to your seat. If I turn over the pad and the person youre thinking of
is not what Ive written on it, then I want you to slap me in the face. Do you

I then show her the pad, which says THE PERSON YOURE THINKING OF
and she will react (usually with laughter), take the flower and begin to return to
her seat.

This is a variation of a method printed in Banacheks Psychological Subtleties 1

in the description of a Tony Raven inspired effect entitled Subtle Numbers. In
the original routine the performer revealed a persons phone number. I am
essentially doing the same thing in this effect, but with a persons name. Its a
dual reality ploy wherein the audience sees and hears one thing, whilst the
participant sees and hears the literal sentence THE PERSON YOURE
THINKING OF. Sometimes I change it up and write, THEIR NAME or HIS
NAME, depending on the situation.


Right, now when we last left off, our very helpful participant had just taken the
flower from the table and began heading back to her seat. It is at this point that I
would ask the audience to give her a loud round of applause for having helped
me out so graciously. It is under the cover of this same applause that I take the
opportunity to shake her hand and to ask who she was really thinking of. This is
the Dunninger ploy and as I mentioned previously, it is covered by the cheers of
the audience and executed under the guise of thanking the participant for her
help. After she has told me the name that Im after, I immediately stop the
audience from clapping and say, Wait, we forgot one thing! I invite the
participant back on stage with me and this is the moment I will use to put her into
a pseudo-trance. Lets say the name that she thought of was Jeff and the name I
made up was Chris, once I had her in a trance, I would say the following.

Everything you once knew about Chris is completely fading. In fact, you cannot
remember Chris and you have no idea who Chris is. If I were to ask you who you
were thinking of, the only name that would pop into your mind would be Jeff. No
matter how hard you try to remember Chris, you cant. In fact, the more people
who ask you about Chris the further away from your mind he goes, because all
you can remember now is Jeff. One, two, eyes wide awake!

When she opens her eyes, she will look very confused. This is exactly what you
want. It will create the illusion that she just came out of a deep trance. I
immediately ask her:

Whos Chris? I have no idea is the typical response.

Well who were you thinking of this entire time? I ask.
I was thinking of Jeff! she will reply.

I then thank her and ask her to return to her seat as the audience provides a
soundtrack with their applause.


This routine works great as an opener. Its quick, powerful and establishes your
abilities very quickly. I bill myself as a hypnotist and mind reader, so for me this is
the perfect opener as it showcases both of those abilities right from the start. One
of the things that makes this routine such a great opener is that there is no drawn
out procedure and no need to have anything written down by the participant. You
can reveal details about the thought-of person and then reveal that persons
name without ever having the participant write anything down. You can use this
method to reveal any piece of information, even something as insignificant such
as what someone ate for breakfast that morning.

The strength of this effect lies not only in the fact that the thought reading
process is quite quick, but also in the fact that if the audience questions the
participant in an attempt to discover the method, they should become even more
convinced that her memory has been replaced.


Revenge of the food baby

The performer guides his participant on an imaginative journey. He asks her to

imagine that she is driving a car on a long road trip. She decides to stop for some
food at a fast food restaurant, but when she arrives she realizes that it has been
shut down and decides to go to a sit down restaurant instead. She is handed a
menu as she is seated and orders an item from it. Moments later, she is
imagining that her meal has been served and that she is eating the dish. The
performer is able to tell her exactly what she is eating and which restaurant she
is eating at.

Lets get this out in the open right from the start this routine is not the most
practical. There, I said it. It involves a lot of memory work and even then, it isnt
quite as well developed as the others. Additionally, this routine is limited in the
sense that as presented here it can only be performed within the United
States or to an American audience. As with the other routines that favor U.S.
audiences, if you apply your own thinking to the principles discussed here, you
could very well adapt this routine to work in any country.

Despite the aforementioned shortcomings, I am including this effect because I

feel that it uses some interesting ideas and principles that might inspire you to
come up with your own routines. This is also an ideal routine to use on the radio
or over the phone, as you could theoretically create a crib and eliminate the need
for any real memory work, resulting in a very strong and practical demonstration
of mind reading.

Once again, this routine uses a combination of things including: chunneling,
progressive anagrams and psychological forces. The imaginative story is what
makes this routine fun and engaging, but also acts to disguise the method

The first step is to ask someone to imagine that she is driving a car on a road trip
and that she decides to stop for some food. The reason for including these minor
details in the story is that in order for the chunneling process to work reliably, I
will need the participant to think of a fast food restaurant that has a drive-thru.
The reason for this criterion is that it eliminates a good portion of fast food

I want you to close your eyes, take a deep breath in through your nose and as
you exhale I want you to imagine that youre driving in your car on a long road
trip. Youve been driving for so long that its almost as if youve forgotten your
destination. You realize its been a while since you stopped for food, so you
decide to pull off the road and find a fast food restaurant. As you pull off the
freeway, you notice several fast food restaurants. I want you to choose one, but
pick one with a drive-thru.

There are literally hundreds of fast food restaurants for someone to choose from
and even though we have limited their options by forcing them to select one with
a drive-thru, there are probably still some that they could think of that I havent
included on my list. The ones that I have listed are the most common fast food
restaurants, plus some less common ones that exist in certain parts of America.




As you look the list over, you will notice many fast food restaurants that youre
familiar with, but you will also notice quite a few that youve probably never heard
of. If you really wanted to, you could narrow the list down even further, but by
doing so your success rate would naturally drop as well.

Once your participant is thinking of a fast food restaurant, youre going to have
her think of a sit-down restaurant. The restaurant she is going to think of will start
with the SECOND letter of her fast food restaurant. This is the only chunneling
sequence in this routine.

As you pull up to the fast food restaurant you notice that the building has burned
down! You look up at the restaurants sign and notice that the second letter is
dangling from its hinges. You decide that you would prefer to dine at a sit down
restaurant anyway and this dangling letter inspires you to go to a restaurant that
begins with that letter. So, just think of a casual sit down restaurant that begins
with that letter, nothing too fancy and something with variety, not like a pizza
place or burrito shop. Let me know when youve arrived.

The list of potential restaurants starting with the second letter of the previously
listed fast food restaurants is shown below:




Now at this point you might be thinking, How is this a sufficient chunnel when
there are now MORE possibilities than before? My response to this concern is
that my primary goal when creating this effect was to narrow down the possible
choices for casual sit down restaurants, not just to chunnel down to a random
category. It clearly would be easier to change the first category from fast food
restaurants to something else that would yield a much more manageable number
of possible outcomes; however, I feel that what makes this routine and the other
chunneling routines in this book so strong and unique, is that the categories are
all linked in a manner that makes sense and is consistent with the underlying

Not only does this hide the method just that little bit more, but it also allows the
participant to enjoy the process, without being enticed to work out the linkage
between the categories and ultimately discover the modus operandi. I feel that by
using categories that correlate with one another, spectators wont think AS
MUCH about the supposedly random chunneling process.

Your participant should be thinking of a restaurant now, but if she tells you that
she cant think of one, this means that she originally thought of IN-N-OUT
Burger. If thats the case, you can skip the third step and continue to the reveal.

If your participant has confirmed that she is thinking of a restaurant, you can
continue her imaginative journey by having her picture herself sitting in a booth
and being served by a waitress. This is when you will get her to choose a menu

At this point, we really have NO idea which restaurant she has imagining herself
sitting in and we have no idea what she could possibly have selected from this
large menu. This is where the psychological force comes into play. The force is
dependent upon the participant being familiar with this restaurant she has
chosen, so it is important to ask her if she has ever been there before. This will
give you an indication as to how well she will respond to the psychological force.

As the waitress approaches your table, she kindly sets down a complimentary
appetizer. She then proceeds to take your order. You tell her that you just want
the special. You want the dish that everyone gets, the dish that they are most
famous for. She says, no problem! Coming right up!

You can hopefully now see how the force is dependent upon the participants
knowledge of the restaurant. Most of the restaurants on the list shown previously
are famous for something. For example, Chilis is known for baby back ribs,
IHOP is known for their pancakes, Chevys is known for their fajitas If you dont
know what the main culinary attraction of the restaurant is, or they dont really
have one, then you can vaguely describe the type of food that they serve there
and take an educated guess as to what your participant has ordered. For
example, if you learn that she is at Macaroni Grill, you could assume that she is
eating pasta.

You can also get creative with your knowledge of the restaurant. For example, I
know that at Macaroni Grill they have an audio track playing in the bathroom that
teaches you to say various phrases in Italian. With this in mind, you could ask
your participant to imagine washing her hands in the bathroom and reveal that
you can hear this strange track. Again, this depends as much on her knowledge
of the restaurant as does on yours. Im not going to list all of the popular dishes
and iconic staples of each restaurant, I will leave that research up to you, should
you decide to use this routine.

Now that your participant is thinking of her meal, the third and final procedural
element can take place. You are about to discover exactly which restaurant your
participant is sitting in. If she has clearly understood all of your instructions and
hasnt deliberately decided to make extremely abstract choices along the way,
then you should be dead on about which restaurant she has selected.

You may also have noticed that in the script, I mentioned a complimentary
appetizer that the waitress had set down at the table. This is important. Once you
have discover the restaurant, if its one of those places that serves free
appetizers (such as a Mexican restaurant that serves chips and salsa, or an
Italian place that serves bread sticks) you can reveal this later and claim it as a
hit before moving on and revealing the main dish. Now, in order to determine
which restaurant your participant has imagined herself in, we are going to make
use of a progressive anagram. This is where the potential memory work is
involved, as this progressive anagram consists of thirty-two possible endings. A
progressive anagram of such a size may seem a bit extreme, but once I break it
down for you, youll see that it really isnt.

Here is how I transition to the progressive anagram phase within the script.

As you sit there waiting for your food, you notice one of those little
advertisements in a plastic sign-holder resting on the table. It has the name of
the restaurant and its logo printed on it. I want you to imagine picking up that sign
and to just focus on all of the letters that spell the name of the restaurant. In fact,
I want you to take those letters and kind of scramble them around in your mind.
Im going to see if I can hone in on your location.

This is where you begin to implement your progressive anagram. First we need
to divide this list of thirty-two restaurants into two separate categories. To do this,
you are going to ask your participant to just read the name of the restaurant in
her mind. You are then going to say, Im not quite sure, but it sounded like two
or three syllables. Did I get that right or are there more? Depending on her
answer, you will just respond with, Perfect, just as I thought. Youre coming in
loud and clear, or Perfect, I thought so, because I could sense a bit of a longer
word. The progressive anagram ensues on the following page:


| | | FUZIO
| | IHOP
| | UNOS




As soon as you have learned which restaurant she is sitting in, its a simple
matter to deliver all the information you have gathered throughout this process. I
usually start by revealing the appetizer (if it applies) and then continue by
describing the dish. If there isnt a particular well-known dish associated with the
restaurant, then I will reveal the general kind of food she is eating, and then
reveal other detailed information about the restaurant. For instance, if they are in
a Rainforest Caf, although the restaurant doesnt really have a signature dish,
it IS known for its animatronic animal figures that make noises every 15 min, so
you would be wise to make mention of them. Basically, if you find yourself in that
sort of situation, you can describe your participants surroundings and as many of
the aesthetic details as possible, before finally revealing the name of the

I really enjoy the organic nature of this type of effect. The fact that its prop-less
and requires the participant to use his or her imagination can result in a nice
pseudo-hypnosis presentation. Ive been messing around with various themes
and routines that use the same formula as this one (chunneling + psychological-
force+ progressive-anagram) and the possibilities are endless and only limited by
your imagination.

This routine may read as though it is impractical or requires too long a process,
but I can assure you that if you perform it in the right situations, it is not as
daunting as it sounds. I encourage you to try this routine for yourself, and to
experiment with your own linear themes and correlative categories that use the
formula: chunneling + psychological force + progressive-anagram = success.


Why, sometimes Ive believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

The stage is set with two chairs. One is placed on the left of the stage and the
other, on the right. Next to the chair on the left is an easel with a blank canvas,
some paint and a brush resting upon it.

The performer invites two audience members to the stage and each is asked to
take a seat. The performer explains that both participants are about to take part
in a telepathy experiment, during which each of them will play different roles. The
performer clearly and honestly announces that the two spectators are not
secretly working with one another, nor have they ever met each other. The
participants confirm that they do not know each other and that they have not set
anything up beforehand.

The Performer walks over to the participant farthest from the easel (house
right/participant B - we shall refer to this participant as a male from this point
onwards) and places a blindfold on him. He asks participant B to sit tight for just
a moment and to relax. The performer then walks back over to the participant
closest to the easel (house left/participant A - let us refer to this participant as a
female from this point on) and asks her to close her eyes. As she closes her
eyes, the performer proceeds to guide her into a light trance. As she falls into the
trance, the performer asks her (participant A) to imagine a blank white canvass
and to see it filling up with different shapes and colors until all of those shapes
and colors have taken the form of a recognizable picture. Once she has a
painting in mind, the performer instructs her to paint her picture on the canvass,
using the brush and paint provided.

Once participant A has completed her painting, the performer asks her to write
down the word that best describes her painting. She writes her word on a large
pad and places it down on the stage in such a way that neither the audience, nor
the performer can see what she has written. The performer then asks participant
A to concentrate on her painting and to begin mentally sending the image to
participant B, piece by piece.

The performer then approaches participant B and directs him to imagine a blank
canvass in his mind and to see shapes and colors forming on it as he (participant
B) tries to pick up on the pieces that participant A is sending him. As he receives
those pieces he is told that he will have to try to put them back together in order
to form a whole picture. Once he has confirmed that he has the image in his
head, the performer reminds the audience that participant B is not an

accomplice, that he cannot see anything and that he has not been secretly
informed of what participant A has painted. The performer also asks participant B
to confirm that he genuinely saw the painting form in his own mind, which he
does. The performer then asks participant B to think of a way to describe the
painting he has imagined in just one word.

The performer asks participant B what the word is. Lets say for example
participant B says the word sky. After he says, sky the entire audience will react
because the word that he just said correlates with the painting. The performer
then takes the blindfold off of participant B and asks him to turn around and look
at the panting. The performer asks if this painting is relatively similar to what he
had imagined and participant B concedes that it is. After that, the performer asks
participant A to show everyone the word she wrote down to describe her
painting. It says sky.

This effect can be performed in a number of different ways. The original concept
for this idea took the form of a two-person telepathy demonstration that used a
thought of word and nothing else (no paintings, blindfolds or any other extra
stuff). It plays just as strong that way and depending on your character and
performance style, it could even play stronger.

When I finished reading Twists and Trances by Kenton Knepper, I was suddenly
hit by a torrent of ideas and presentations, which included the method for this
effect. I believe that to date, the ideas contained within that book have been
extremely underrated by the mentalism community.

The inspiration for framing the routine as a drawling duplication came from a
Luke Jermay effect called Blindfold Sequence. In this routine, one participant
writes down a thought-of number on a piece of paper (which is then hidden in his
pocket) and another participant who is blindfolded is able to name the thought of
number. My main goal was to make sure that every audience member who was
involved in the effect was equally as surprised by the outcome. I didnt want
anyone to walk away feeling as though they had just been playing along, that
they were just an instant stooge. The reason I decided to use a painting/drawling
for this effect was simply to make it more visual for the audience.

The method that Im about to describe takes advantage of a couple of ideas that
are known amongst mentalists, but takes them to an extra level of deception. Put
simply, the method consists of a dash of pre-show work mixed with a liberal
sprinkling of multiple realities. Basically, get a piece of information from one
person during pre-show, and then I force that piece of information on a second
pre-showed spectator. That idea alone is nice, but when I went through the
process of developing this routine I felt that there was something very important
missing. Whilst both of the pre-showed participants might express genuine
surprise at how one was able to read the thought of the other, I felt that the
audience at large might still be suspicious toward the person who was
responsible for reading the thoughts. The participants, though surprised, mightnt
be surprised enough. At least one of them would know that his or her impression
of what the other had thought of had been selected from a limited number of
options and this would show in his or her reaction. As a result, I was worried that
the crowd would be left feeling underwhelmed and suspicious of the process.

To explain this in simpler terms, if I asked you to pick a card and then told you
what it was, you wouldnt be nearly as surprised or excited as you would be if I
asked you to think of any name at all and then managed to tell you what name
you had picked.

In order to combat this piece of human nature, I reversed the roles of the
participants in this routine. The first person I pre-show (the person who thinks of
a picture or word) therefore plays the role of the mind reader (participant B),
whilst the second person I pre-show (the person I force participant Bs thought
on) will play the role of the sender (participant A). In this way, both of the
participants will be genuinely surprised by the revelations on stage. On top of
that, the presence of double meanings in my script will add further layers of
deception for everyone involved. This serves to further convince the audience
that nothing has been set up with or between the two participants beforehand.


The first thing I have to do is approach a person before the show (future
participant B) and tell him something along the lines of:

Im going to have someone create a painting on stage. Now neither you nor I
know what this person is going to paint, but I want to see how good your intuition
is. I have a good sense that you have a natural ability to pick up on certain
thoughts. Id like you to relax and close your eyes. Use your imagination and
visualize a blank canvass. Now fill that canvass with shapes and colors, until it
forms into a full painting. This painting can be anything, but make sure its
something you can easily draw, nothing too abstract. Do you have it yet? Great!

This is a painting that you genuinely believe you saw in your own mind now
correct? Good. Now Id like you to sum up this painting in one word, the word that
most closely describes what you see. If you can, write down exactly what it is that
you saw, in one word. Youre going to be imagining your painting later on stage,
so be sure to remember both how you imagined it and the word that youve
chosen to describe it.

My preference for secretly discovering words during pre-show is definitely via a

center tear or any type of impression device that doesnt allow the spectator to
keep the written word on them. I have had experiences in the past where the
person on stage was so excited that the test had succeeded, that they decided to
pull out the paper and show it to everyone in an attempt to prove that it had
worked. This obviously ruins the fact that you used pre-show work and is not a
good thing.

Once I have finished pre-showing participant B, I will write his word (which I will
have peaked during the pre-show procedure) on a blank card. I carry a stack of
index cards with me that have random words written on them whenever I am
going to perform this effect. You will have to prepare this stack of cards the first
time you try this, but the stack can of course be reused and also becomes self-
sustaining as you end up adding a new word to the stack each time you perform
it. I take this stack of cards, including the one I have just prepared with participant
Bs word on it and go off in search of a participant who does not know participant
B. This person will become participant A. Once I have found somebody suitable, I
will tell her something along these lines:

I have several words written down here and you can see that each word is
different. Please give them a mix. Now Id like you to put your finger on the back
of any card you wish. Now please take the card, look at the word and keep the
word you selected, but only in your mind. I need you to remember this word later
on. Its important that you dont tell anyone your word, especially not me. Now
what Id like you to do is to close your eyes, take a deep breath in through your
nose and just use your imagination to visualize that word coming to life. Imagine
a blank canvass and imagine it filling in with shapes and colors. I want you to
paint a picture in your mind that best fits/describes the word you selected. Does
that make sense? Good. Now later, onstage, Im going to ask you to paint that
picture. Im going to ask you to think of a picture and when I do, I want you to just
allow that very same word you just selected to pop into your mind and with it, the
picture that you just created in your head. Make sure that you remember what
the painting looks like and what your word is.

It is important that when you pre-show someone, you are very specific in regard
to what you want him or her to do. One of the biggest mistakes people make
when experimenting with pre-show work is that they dont give their instructions
clearly enough. Ive learned this the hard way. There were occasions in the past
when I tried to pre-show someone to think of a card or a word and when I had
that person on stage Id receive one of two responses. They would either ask,

Do you want me to think of any card/word, or the card/word you had me pick
earlier? or they would just think of a card/word other than the one I had already
forced on them.

I eventually learned that in order to avoid looking like a fool on stage, I had to be
extremely clear when delivering my instructions beforehand. That is why I tell
them, When I have you on stage and ask you to think of a word, what I mean is:
just think of the same word youre thinking of right now and Im going to try to
read your thoughts on stage. Okay? Does that all make sense?

Youll notice that as well as stating my expectations very clearly, I also make sure
to ask them if they have understood everything clearly. I cannot overemphasize
the importance of clarity here.

Now that you have your two pre-showed participants, it is time to perform. I
suggest making this either your first or second effect. It is possible that if you wait
too long to perform this effect, one or both of your participants could forget what
you have asked them to do. Im not going to explain how I locate my two pre-
showed participants during the show, as this has been discussed extensively by
Luke Jermay in both Coral Fang and 3510. I find the methods discussed by
Jermay in those texts to be very effective and if youre not familiar with Lukes
work on locating pre-showed participants, I recommend that you check out those


Once your two participants are on stage, you must convince the audience that
nothing has been set up between any of you. In order to do that, I say something
that resembles this:

First, its important to let everyone know that you both dont know each other.
You guys havent pre arranged anything with each other and are now meeting for
the first time. Correct?

They will of course agree to everything, because everything you have said is
absolutely true. The audience should also assume that if the two people on stage
dont know each other and havent met before, then you wouldnt have met them
before either. Also, as a side note, I always purposely neglect to ask the
participants names during the pre-show process. In that way, when I do ask for
their names on stage, its a genuine moment of introduction. To make this ruse
even more deceptive, rather than asking for the participants names as soon as
they join me on stage as one usually would, I begin the routine and pretend to
have forgotten to ask. Later, I will make it seem as though my rudeness has just
dawned on me and will excuse myself, requesting their names in the process,
Oh, excuse me. I forgot to get your names before.

Once I have guided them to their seats on stage (participant A on the left by the

easel and participant B on the right to be blindfolded) I begin my script. I blindfold
participant B first and then return to participant A to have her think of a picture. I
use a specific wording that is intended to evoke a recollection of my previous
instructions to think of the word and picture that she selected from the cards
before the show.

The other intent behind this script is to make it seem to the audience at large as
though I am delivering this instruction for the first time and that in this moment
she could be thinking of anything at all. This should be easily accomplished,
assuming that my pre-show instructions were clear. I also use ambiguous words
such as selected which could either mean thought of, or physically selected. So
Ill say to participant A, Now that you have painted this picture, I want you to
think of the one word that best describes this painting. You have a word youve
selected locked in your mind, correct? To the audience this looks like I just read
her mind, as if I knew in that very moment that she had just finished sifting
through words and decided to settle on one.

Participant As perspective is that Im just confirming that she is doing what we

discussed earlier. She has to agree with what Ive said, because its true that she
selected a word and its true that she has it locked in her mind. Also, when I tell
her to think of the one word that best describes this painting, participant A
thinks Im saying, think of that one word you selected earlier that describes this
painting. The audience on the other hand, interprets this sentence as, think of
the best word to describe what you have just imagined painting.

One mistake that is easy to make when scripting instructions for our on stage
participants, is to change the scripting so that the on stage script no longer
resembles the pre-show script. As an example, if in pre-show you say to a
spectator, select a card and remember it. Im going to try to tell you what your
card is later, on stage. Keep this a secret, then on stage you say to them, Think
of any card in a pack, this is likely to confuse your participant. All you need to do
in order to avoid this sort of confusion is to repeat whatever you told them off
stage, onstage. If you make sure to use the same imagery in both scripts, those
images will trigger your participants memory and he or she will be able to
understand your instructions clearly. Of course, you dont want to use the same
script word for word, because then youd be giving away the method.

Once participant A has finished with her painting, I walk over to participant B.
Participant B is still blindfolded and I am going to take full advantage of this. As I
approach participant B I say, Now then, just like before I want you to imagine a
blank canvas. As you say these words, you touch his shoulder and point at
participant A. This creates a moment of dual realities. Participant B hears what I
have just said as, Now, just like before the show, youre going to think of that
same word/picture, Whilst the audience and spectator A hear, Now just like we
did with spectator A, I want you to

Once participant B has his image in mind, youre going to ask him to describe his
picture in a single word. He will of course use the word that he selected during
pre-show, which will match the appearance of the painting made by participant A.
The result is a rather elegant participant as mind reader effect.


Although I do not currently use pre-show work in my performances, when I need

a routine that hits really hard and I have a good opportunity to use pre-show, this
is the routine I will choose to perform. The way that I perform this routine these
days includes an additional phase that integrates a PK touch sequence. I should
also mention that the first person I ever shared this routine with was Rob
Domenech. Years ago we met at a workshop in Las Vegas and seeing as we
had so much in common, we quickly became friends. Coincidentally, we ended
up discovering that we had come up with the same method for two entirely
different routines. If youre into this type of material, I would suggest that you pick
up some of his work!


When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master

After performing a few demonstrations of psychokinesis and mind control, the

performer causes a participants throat to constrict, rendering him or her
incapable of swallowing.

This effect has several different applications and performance presentations.
While the effect is very simple and basic, it takes a skilled and confident
performer to properly execute it and to make it play big. This effect and the
routines that accompany it are best suited for a close up, impromptu situation,
but could be adapted for stage.

I have kept this routine under my belt for a very long time, during which I have
only shared it with a select number of friends and peers. This is actually
something I had wanted to keep to myself, but a few years ago, my friend Jay
Noblezada coincidentally released a very similar effect and shared it with the
hypnosis community. Although our methods and routines are quite different,
there are definite similarities between them that have compelled me to release
my routine and method to the mentalism community, and if this kind of material
interests you, I highly suggest looking into Jays ideas on this.

The origin of this idea was a childhood prank / body magic trick that my friends
and I used to use on each other in the playground, along with the invisible thread
through hand trick and rising arms trick. It wasnt until about 7 years ago, when
an old friend of mine reminded me of the gag at a bar, that I (immediately) started
thinking of ways to apply it to mentalism. By adding what I have learned through
my experience and education in hypnosis and performance art, Ive taken a very
simple body magic effect and turned it into a killer routine.

There are several different methods that we can use to make this particular effect
work. Each of the methods can work either individually or separately. The
methods can be grouped into two categories: primary and secondary methods.
The primary methods rely fully on physiological phenomena, whilst the secondary
methods rely on suggestion. By teaming the suggestion methods with the
physiological ones and vice versa, the likelihood of either one of them working is
tipped in our favor.

There is a motor pattern that naturally occurs during deglutition (the act of
swallowing) and it consists of three parts. Those three parts can be labeled (in
order) in the following manner: an oral preparatory phase, a pharyngeal phase
and an esophageal phase. We are only interested in the oral preparatory phase,
as the two latter phases are both involuntary and extend far beyond the scope of
this effect.

There are over 25 different muscles that are engaged in the throat within the first
(oral preparatory) phase of swallowing. In order to cause a significant delay to a
participants voluntary motor responses, we are going to temporarily disable his
or her relevant throat muscles by implementing a series of techniques that will
interrupt the participants central pattern generator (CPG). This will be achieved
through the simple action of lightly rubbing his or her throat. This physical method
alone will delay the participants swallow by a few seconds. When coupled with
suggestion, this delay can be prolonged and you will be able to repeat the effect
without touching anyone.



When performing this effect (and let us assume from here on in that you are
performing it with a male participant) you are going to be lightly touching his
throat. It is very important to understand exactly where to touch and where not to
touch, as well as how much pressure to apply. You are not going to just overtly
touch his throat; instead you will cover the move by telling him to focus all of his
attention on that area and then touch his throat as you naturally gesture toward it.

In a moment youre going to feel a strange sensation in your throat. It may feel a
bit uncomfortable at first, but I assure you that it is not dangerous. Go ahead and
take a deep breath in through your nose and let it all out through your mouth. I
want you to focus all your attention on your throat, because in a moment youre
going to notice a slight tingling sensation, right about here.This is where you
touch their throat and then continue by delivering the following suggestion, Now
try to swallow.

The manner in which you touch the participants throat and exactly where you
touch it are quite important, so allow me to elaborate. There are two locations
that I have found to be particularly successful for this, but the effectiveness of
each location will depend on the type of person you are working with. Regardless
of the location you choose to use on an individual, you are going to do it with a
very gentle and light touch with the back of your index finger. Imagine making a
hook with your right index finger and then relaxing it. Its a similar action to what
you would use if you were petting a small bird. The back of the finger is going to
rub down, and then up just once. Youre going to be rubbing your participants
cricoids cartilage area. That is the area just below the laryngeal prominence
(Adams apple) and the jugular notch.
Its important that you do not rub your finger over their Adams apple, because
you could potentially hurt them if you were to rub too hard.

Rubbing on this area will achieve two things. First, because youre dealing with a
sensitive area, once you touch it a persons natural reaction will be to defensively
tense up. If the person you do this to appears to be completely open and
comfortable with you touching his throat and he does not flinch or hesitate, you
should take it as a sign that this may not work on him because he is too relaxed.
Having mentioned that, it is important to have built up a certain level of trust,
before touching the participant to begin with. The second thing this touch
achieves is to generate the sensation of having just swallowed, within the
spectator, thus rendering it more difficult for him to swallow again immediately

The other location you can touch is around the mylohyoid and geniohyoid
muscles, which are located directly beneath the chin. You will be rubbing these
just once. Start at the edge of the participants chin and move your finger back,
underneath his chin. Stop before you reach his Adams apple. This move is more
of a horizontal motion, whereas the first motion described was a vertical one.
When you touch this spot, you can apply a little bit more pressure than you can
for the previous touch. This method actually serves to lift the tongue in the
mouth, simulating the first phase of a swallow. Again, by triggering the sensation
of swallowing for the participant, it becomes more difficult for him to swallow
again immediately after.


We can experience rhythmic swallowing movements (basically a train of closely

spaced swallows) when we drink water. As this is a daily occurrence, it would be
easy to assume that we could mimic this action at any time, however unless you
are applying repetitive stimulation to your superior laryngeal nerve with a nerve
probe, its damn near impossible to swallow twice in a row. Luckily, we can
exploit this natural paradox within this effect. You can use this method alone
when repeating the routine, or use it in conjunction with the touch method.

In a moment youre not going to be able to swallow. The harder you try the more
difficult it will seem to be. You can swallow easily now, right?

This is where you get them to swallow, seemingly in order to prove that its an
easy thing to do. In actual fact you are setting them up to fail when they try it the
next time around.


Try swallowing whilst looking straight up. Its extremely difficult, bordering on
impossible. This physiological ruse works very much like the stuck eyes trick that
is commonly used in hypnosis and we are going to use it to our advantage.

In order for this to work you must instruct your participant to look up slightly. He
should be made to look up enough that you can touch his throat, but also enough
that the tilt of his head makes it a bit more difficult for him to swallow.

Go ahead and stand right there, with your feet together and hands by your side.
Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale out through your mouth.
Excellent, now go ahead and look right here (have him focus on your finger,
which is positioned in such a way he has to look up) and focus on this spot


This method is very strange. It seems to work better than the touch method;
however it can be very uncomfortable for the participant as well. Again, this is
one of those things that one might learn in the playground at school, but I didnt
discover it until about five years ago when a friend shared it with me after I
perform the touch version on him.

I do not recommend using this method on anyone you dont know well. You could
potentially hurt or bruise someone with this method if youre not careful. I dont
know exactly why or how this particular method works, all I know is that it does.
Essentially what is involved is to firmly run your knuckle down your participants
spine, starting from the top and stopping somewhere around the middle. That is
the way it was demonstrated to me, however it is important to mention that this
does work without the need to push too hard. This will work if you apply even a
sleight bit of pressure.

You need to be able to perform this move in such a way that the audience is
never made aware that it happened. In order to achieve this, you must position
the participant with his body facing toward the audience and then stand beside
him. One of your hands will then be held in front of the participant while the other
hand is held behind him. Neither hand should be touching the participant at this
point. With the hand that is held in front of the participant, you are going to
gesture upward and then downward with your palm up. It is during the second

half (the downwards part) of this motion, that the hand held behind the participant
will contact his spine and perform the dirty work.

Go ahead and take a deep breath in, (both hands move up in unison) now
exhale through your mouth. The hidden hand takes advantage of this moment
and drags its knuckle along the participants back (not too hard) whilst the visible
hand moves down at the same pace and gestures for the participant to exhale.


As I mentioned earlier, it is extremely difficult for someone to swallow twice in a

row without drinking water. The drier your mouth is, the more difficult it is to
swallow. It logically follows then, that we can make it more difficult for someone
to swallow by convincing them that their mouth is dry. If someone has an open
and suggestible personality, various physiological responses can occur as a
result of the suggestions that have been delivered to them. For instance, a
hypnotized subject who believes she is in a sauna will actually begin to sweat. A
person, who believes that his mouth is dry, will actually begin to develop a dry
mouth. By simply suggesting to your participants that a dry mouth is a common
side effect of the process, many of the more suggestible ones will actually
convince themselves that their mouths are becoming drier.

You explain to your participant that soon, he wont be able to swallow. You
attempt to swallow as a part of your explanation, acting as if its a struggle to do
so. The simple fact that he has watched you struggle to swallow sends
subconscious suggestions to your participant about what he is about to feel and
experience and increases the chance that he will actually experience those


It is very important to go into this routine displaying full conviction. Your

participants expectations will drop the second you doubt yourself or reveal a
sense of uncertainty. Of course, the opposite is also true. If you walk into the
situation with the mentality that this WILL work no matter what, your participants
will sense your confidence and their expectancy will increase, making them more
likely to experience an extreme case of temporary dysphagia. This method alone,
has brought me plenty of success with this effect, generally for people who have
just experienced a moment of dysphagia induced by another method, or for those
who have just witnessed somebody else experience dysphagia first.

There are a few potential difficulties that could cause this effect to fail, though it is
at least quite easy to try again should that happen. Thankfully, we have layers of
methods that we can combine to make this effect work. It is also worth
mentioning that certain body types will react differently from others when treated
with the same physical methods. Here are some of the difficulties you could
encounter, as well as various methods by which you can overcome them.


People with huge Adams apples tend to have long necks and you can literally
feel and see all the little muscles in their throats. This is a characteristic usually
found in tall people or really skinny people and one that makes it more difficult to
implement the touch method on someone. The first reason is that their Adams
apples can sometimes get in the way of the rub and the second is that you are
forced to use less pressure on the rub because their throats are more sensitive.
The best approach to use on one of these people is to rub the M&G muscles
beneath his or her chin.


These people can sometimes be difficult to perform this on because they tend to
have thicker skin and more meat on their necks that they dont really feel
anything in that area. Rubbing on the cricoid cartilage of these people is more
likely to work than on people with slender necks, but sometimes neither touch
method will work. It is in this situation that I will usually perform the backbone
method, because these people tend to be larger and you can usually press a bit
harder on their backs with less chance of injuring them. I find this to be the most
sufficient method to use on people with these body types.


These are typically the alpha male types who want to heckle you. They do this
thing where, when you have them try to swallow they will move their neck like a
bird, dipping their head down forward and then up again in a fluid motion, as if
they were demonstrating an exaggerated swallow. They will generally follow this
by saying something along the lines of, see, I can swallow.

I am most likely to receive this reaction when using the hypnosis presentation
(described in the Presentations section) because when I do perform this routine
in a hypnosis context, I intentionally set it up as a challenge. When I encounter
these types of reactions, I usually just move on to something else.

Over the years, I have come up with several different presentations for this
routine. Not so surprisingly, the first one I came up with was the Force Choke
the choke that Darth Vader uses in Star Wars. My favorite presentation to
perform is probably Amnesia. I often like to skip all of the patter, build-up and
suggestion, and go straight for the kill. I suggest that you try all of these
presentations and figure out which one works best for you and your persona.
This effect is extremely powerful and very fun. It would be a shame if you didnt
try it at least once.


This routine is inspired entirely by Star Wars and was the very first routine I came
up with that used this technique. The premise is very simple I am showing off a
skill. There isnt much depth to this presentation, but it is extremely entertaining
all the same. This presentation works best for Star Wars fans, or at least for
people who are somewhat familiar with Darth Vader.

Have you ever seen the movie Star Wars? Do you remember how Darth Vader
would choke people without touching them? Well Im going to try that same thing
on you. Dont worry, Ill just do it very lightly. In fact, I wont actually choke you; Ill
just make it so you cant swallow. Go and stand right there with your feet together
and take a deep breath in through your nose. Great. You can swallow easily now,
right? Good. Youre going to feel a strange sensation right about here.(Perform
touch move) Ready?

This is the moment that I take a few steps back and make a choking gesture with
my hand like Darth Vader. I just use my thumb and index finger and act as if I
they are trying to squish something. I watch for my participants reactions and
stop making the gesture just before he looks like hes about to gain control of the
swallow. At that moment I create the illusion that Ive released him from my grip,
by relaxing my finger and thumb.


Often times when Im performing hypnosis, Ill encounter someone who claims
that they cannot be hypnotized. This is the perfect opportunity to perform this
routine. When someone sets me up for a challenge, I dont ever feel like I need to
prove myself or show off. Preferably, I will choose to perform for those who are
willing to participate and are already enjoying what Im doing. Having said that,
this is one routine that I will always use if someone challenges me and I feel like
shutting them up.

There is a common belief that when somebody is hypnotized, the hypnotist can
control that persons mind and make them do whatever they want them to do.
The reason so many people believe this to be true is that it IS true. Hypnosis can
and will allow people to control one another. If you dont believe me, let me show
you. Do you feel like you have complete control over your own motor functions?
Try to swallow. You notice its easy and normal. Now watch this.(Perform the
touch method and then snap your fingers) Try to swallow. The more you try to
swallow the more difficult it becomes (snap fingers again) There. Now you can
swallow again.

Usually after performing this, the participant is ready and primed for real
hypnosis. At that point Ill typically make his hand stick to a table or wall and
continue with other hypnosis demonstrations from there.


This is my favorite routine by far. When I perform this, I dont present it as an

effect or any type of formal presentation; I also dont give any forewarning that
Im going to do it. I almost always use this when Im in a conversation with
someone and the topic of hypnosis or mentalism comes up.

As Im talking to him, Ill just stop mid-sentence and say, Do you remember that
one time you completely forgot how to swallow? As I say that, Ill touch his
throat. Immediately after Ill follow up with, just like that time you completely
forgot your name whilst simultaneously using my finger to tap the center of his
forehead and making a pop noise with my tongue.

There are many layers that act together to make this particular routine possible.
This doesnt work with everyone, but it is well suited for use with people who are
extremely interested in you and the magic, hypnosis, or mind reading that you
have performed for them already. The people Im talking about are those who are
likely to bombard you with thousands of questions and who are absolutely
enthralled by everything you do. When people start getting inquisitive with me,
thats when I feel most compelled to perform this routine.

As I converse with them and answer their questions, I will usually go into some
elaborate, bullshit filled explanation as to how I manage to achieve my feats. As I
do this, I am planting suggestions in their mind about mind control and hypnosis
and Ill casually shift the conversation to the topic of memory. I build up their
expectations and their belief in hypnotic phenomena. Once I feel that they are
primed, I use a pattern interrupt. Not giving them enough time to think or react
throws them off completely and for a brief moment, also allows me to bypass
their critical mind. After I perform the touch move and suggest that they have
forgotten their name, the fact that they actually cant swallow loops the
suggestion of name amnesia, giving it more credence. Its a very linear process
and again, takes a lot of confidence to pull off.


My good friend, Paul Shirley, shared this idea with me. Since the moment I
originally showed him how to perform Psycho Dysphagia, Paul has been
performing this routine for just about anybody he can get his grip on and I am
very grateful that he has given me permission to share his take on the effect
here. Pauls rendition makes use of Bill Cushmans Jumping Pulse and if you are
already familiar with Cushmans routine, you will immediately understand how it
is applied here. I cant explain how Cushmans Jumping Pulse works here;
however, I can explain how I use it with psycho dysphagia.

Once the participant has experienced his pulse jumping around from finger to
finger, I ask him to imagine and feel his pulse slowly moving up his arm and then
across his chest. I then suggest to him a feeling of tightness in his chest and tell
him to notice that the tightness is moving up toward his throat. It is as I ask him to
imagine the tightness moving up toward his throat that I use the touch technique,
disguised as a gesture. I then lay the suggestions on thick and cause him to feel
a lump in his throat. At this point, he cannot swallow and just before I sense that
he is about to regain control of his swallow, I will synchronize an abrupt snap of
the fingers with a jolt to his shoulder (delivered by my hand) serving to release
him from the choke.

When I am performing hypnosis, I like to use Psycho Dysphagia as a waking

suggestion or set piece. I will start with magnetic fingers and frame it as their
bodys physical response to a focused thought. I then ask a participant to focus
his attention and awareness toward his throat.

In a moment youre going to feel your throat begin to tense up and its going to
get tighter and tighter. Youll find that for a few brief moments you wont be able
to swallow. Instead of fighting it, just allow it to happen. When you feel that
pressure begin to release, you can allow every muscle and nerve in your body to
relax and be completely open and ready for any suggestions. Dont speak or say
anything, just nod your head once youve lost the sensation of swallowing. Go
ahead and close your eyes. When I click my fingers, youre going to feel your
mouth start to get really dry. Youll notice that this begins with your tongue
starting to feel uncomfortable, almost as if youve forgotten how to use it. As you
swallow right now youll hear a crackling sound in your ear, thats how you know
this is working.

At this point, I perform either the touch maneuver or the spine technique and wait
for him to nod. Once he has nodded, I continue:

Now, as you feel that sensation in your throat youll begin to notice a wave of
warm energy surging from your throat, down to your feet and allowing you to
become more and more relaxed.

From this point I will take him deeper into a hypnotic state and continue to loop
all of his physiological responses to hypnotic phenomena, building each
suggestion upon the last.


This idea was actually given to me by my good friend Paul Vigil. I shared my
dysphagia technique with him at Luke Jermays first workshop in Las Vegas.
Paul suggested that the routine be prefaced with the participant taking a drink of
water, in order to prove that he can properly swallow.

Then, he suggested that the participant be directed to take another sip of water,
but instead of being instructed to swallow, he should be instructed to hold the
liquid in his mouth. It is at this point that Paul suggested performing the touch
maneuver and watching the participant struggle to swallow the liquid. Ive
performed this for people and sometimes they end up spitting the liquid out. I
dont do this often, but its definitely entertaining and something worth trying.


When I attended Mind-Vention 2012, I was in the dealers room and noticed that
pretty much every single vendor was selling some sort of electronic item that
used a little remote to control something. I thought it would be funny to convince
people that I had just purchased a new gimmick that had been designed to choke
people. My stunt-prop was a not-so-futuristic key fob, with a little LED light built

Throughout the convention I would explain my new gimmick to people, perform

the touch move and point the key fob at their throat. After doing this a few times, I
realized that people were really freaking out!! I also told them that the product
was still going through a beta testing period and that I was unsure of any long-
term damage. After the first performance, all I had to do was point the light at the
throat of a subject who had already experienced the choking effect and it would
work. There is so much suggestion built into this method that it practically works

After using the key fob, I started considering other possible gimmicks and tools
that I could use to supposedly induce this choke. It would be fun to create a
contraption that looked like it came from a sci-fi movie and to use it to choke
people. Power balance bracelets and interesting rings worn by participants also
came to mind, as it would be interesting to convince participants that their
bracelets or rings were able to give them (or take away) full conscious control
over their bodies.

Without you, todays emotions would be the scurf of yesterdays.

Joshua Quinn, PARALIES (2008)

Alain Nu, Astrologic. (2007)

Banachek, Psychological Subtleties (1998) & PK Touches. (1995)

Oz Pearlman, Into the Abyss (2007)

Luke Jermay, Building Blocks (2003) & The Coral Fang. (2004)

Kenton Knepper, Twists & Trances (2006) & Wonder Words. (2003)

Colin McLeod Thank you alone could not express how grateful I am to have
you as a friend, mentor, and brother (from another mother). Over the years, you
have had a huge impact on both my professional and personal life. Your
encouragement, guidance and friendship have all helped to shape and shift my
perceptions toward positive directions and have had a large impact on my
personal development as a performer and creator. Thank you for believing in me
and for continuously encouraging me to reach for higher excellence.

Ran Pink You have quickly become one of my best friends and I often wonder
why we never met sooner. You probably dont hear this enough, but you are
seriously one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of
knowing. You are an incredibly creative and innovative thinker in both mentalism
and music, an accomplished producer and songwriter, a wonderful family man
and a truly great friend. None one of those qualities should be overlooked. You
inspire me in countless ways. I look up to you and hope to be at least half as
awesome as you are now as I climb in age. Thank you for everything!

Paul Shirley Thank you for being such an uplifting, supportive and
encouraging friend. You seem to have an abundant amount of positive energy
that radiates around you and its so infectious. You play a very important role in
my life and I feel spoiled to have friends like you in my life. Without your constant
support and positive affirmations, this book would never have come in to fruition.
So thank you for pushing me forward and a big thank you for creating the cover
art for this book.

Jerome Finley You are by far one of the most interesting, unique and
wonderful people in my life, and I am proud to call you a friend. You have truly
morphed and shaped my thinking when it comes to mentalism and performance.
Although the material in this book may or may not particularly reflect your
thinking, believe me when I say that youre a huge influence on my work and
performance. So thank you for gifting me with your knowledge, guidance and

Bradley Benson If you think about the sequence of events that lead to our
meeting, there is no doubt that some sort of divine intervention was involved. If I
had to decide on the single most significant event during my stay in Australia, it
would be meeting you. Youre truly one of the greatest friends I have. I am so
fortunate to know you and consider you a brother. Thank you for editing this book
for me and thank you for being such an incredible person.

Don Theo III I need more people like you in my life DT3. You make me laugh
more than most and you have such a unique thought process that I envy. I
always look forward to our late night jam sessions and chats. Thank you for
inspiring me and for giving me sleepless nights.

Luke Jermay You probably dont know this, but if it werent for you I most likely
wouldnt know any of these people and probably wouldnt even be performing
mentalism. You have indirectly been a huge influence on me and Ive always
considered you to be one of my mentalism heroes. Thank you for your friendship
and generosity.

Ahmed Kalil I feel like the luckiest guy on earth to be able to call you my best
friend and brother. Youve been riding along with me since before this endeavor
even started and youve seen me at my worst and my best along the way. Youve
helped me to develop and refine just about every trick in my working repertoire,
including everything in this book. Youve always been there for me, trying to push
me beyond the limits of my own self-perceived capacity. These few words cant
begin to express the gratitude and appreciation I have for everything you have
done for me over the years and I cant even begin to fathom where Id be now, if
you werent a part of my life. Shokran!

Im sure that there are many others who I may have forgotten to mention and I do
apologize sincerely. I want to thank all of those who have contributed ideas to
this book and those who have contributed to my development as a performer,
creator and person. Thank you all!!

Yours truly,
Brandon Queen - 2013