Richard Mark always seems to have good stuff -- his books are full of practical and effective material, and he has many well-deserved fans. This routine was described in a Linking Ring magazine about 20 years back, and won LR's "best mental effect" award that year. Now released by Vernet, with high quality props, it is a great addition to any working mental magi's repertoire.
It combines three different (and subtle) principles into a single multi-phase routine. It looks like this: the mentalist shows 15 cards with symbols on one side, and evocative words on the other side. The cards are mixed and a spectator cuts a packet off the top and looks at the bottom card of their cut-off packet, remembering either the symbol or word. These cards are handed to another spectator to shuffle and the remainder of the packet is given to a third spectator, who also shuffles. Now (with the mentalist's back turned) the second and third spectators count their cards and remember the number. The packet is reassembled into one, and shuffled again. The mentalists takes the packet and shows the cards to the second and third spectators one at a time, and they each remember the word or symbol that falls on their secret number. (All this sounds complicate in print, but is actually fairly simple and so all three spectators have a secret thought within a minute or two.) The big finish comes when the mentalist names all three thoughts without a single question or hint.
The effect is startling, very clean, and relatively easy to do. There is a bit of simple memorization that you will need to learn, but it is well-structured to make the memory-work come easily. You also could do the effect for just two spectators with no memory work at all!
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