Being in the know and ahead of well…ordinary people requires certain tools utilized the mentalist or spiritualist. I was recently asked about the various props that would allow a prediction effect in an elegant setting. I thought it would make an interesting article to share with you. I am assuming most of you will know the various methods of the pieces I will talk about. While I will get into some basic concepts I will not go into detail on any of the items mentioned. You can always call me directly to discuss something not covered at length here.
Most chest predictions either require pre-show work or an assistant offstage. Keyloader type of predictions usually in effect have the box/chest being given/mailed to a person long before the date of the show. When the key is inserted, the box unlocked and opened for the first time, a newspaper headline of the show date is shown to lie within. While key-injected chests have always intrigued me, the scrolled prediction is a very small piece of paper rolled very tightly which never quite made sense to me. A very large pirate type of chest with over-sized skeleton key would make better sense, but still not perfect.
Malloy’s version and various others as you know are great, but rely on an offstage helper.
Nest of boxes type of props can be used to reveal a prediction, but if a no force method is used, the method of secretly writing on a paper then folding it comes into play. It can be done with a nail writer, but it’s not an easy ploy to work alone.
The concept of having a forced object written on a paper then revealed doesn’t appeal to me unless the force is brilliant and really seems impossible. Some interesting thoughts here!
John Kennedy used to have the Mystery Box gaffed for a prediction. He called the Prediction Mystery Box. While he no longer sells this piece, a standard Mystery Box can be gaffed to do the same thing. Using a thumb writer could most definitely work in this instance as the misdirection, focus and byplay of a spectator removing the lid of the box and seeing a folded paper inside can be time enough to thumb write the prediction and secretly fold the slip of paper emulating the folded slip within the box. You’re 100% clean in the end. Of course your staging and misdirection has to extreme in detail for this to work flawlessly.
Utilizing the Free Will concept also has larger ‘chest’ or presentation possibilities. Once the method is learned (which is remarkably brilliant and simple), any 3 objects can be used like a watch, wallet and ring. The only prediction is the the one locked in a chest that was given to the spectator prior to the show. It can also be transparent chest as there are no switches.
The more practical props easily used for one-man effects divert to spirit slates, mental epics, etc. The newest piece on the market is the Ghost Writer’s Box. When I created this, my thought was to have something simple and perfect in working that the magician never had to touch. Something that would very easily take the place of Spirit Slates and be formal and elegance at the same time. It can be used as a switching device to reveal a headline prediction with just a little thought and effort.
It comes down to several variables when making an intellegent decission on purchasing one of these items. Venue, theme and practicality will play the largest role in determining what prop works best for you. Which simply leave personal preference as a final deciding factor.