Mentalism Techniques: The Illusion Of Choice

A key component of mentalism is audience participation. You may ask an audience member to write something down, hide an object or think of a number.

Very often when you present an audience with a seemingly free choice you want them to make a particular decision. Here are a few methods of presenting the audience with a choice and getting the choice you want.

Card Forces

A card force is simply getting the audience member to choose a particular card. There are many card forces. Here are a few that are particularly relevant for mentalists:

David Blaine lets a certain card be exposed for a fraction of a second longer than the others, ‘forcing’ this card on you.

The ‘Classic Force’ is explained well in this vid.

The ‘Riffle Force’ is very useful too.

Mathematical Force

There are several mathmatical forces. There is The Magic Square for example. Here is another you can try:

  1. Pick a 3 digit number where the first and last digits have 2 numbers between them. (eg. 268)
  2. Reverse the number (862)
  3. Subtract the smaller number from the larger number (594)
  4. Reverse that number (495)
  5. Add that number to the total from 3. (495+594=1089)

The total you arrive at is always 1089!

Magicians Choice

Magician’s choice relies on the fact that you know something the audience member doesn’t. No matter what choice the audience member makes the choice gives you what you want.

As an example, I was at a mentalism show recently where the mentalist was smashing cups with his hand. One of the cups had a large metal spike under it. Of course the guy didn’t want to take any chances.

A dice was rolled for several choices ( it was sure to be loaded) then for the final 2 cups the mentalist asked an audience member to choose the cup. There were nos 2 and 3 left. The audience member picked 3 and the mentalist said ‘ OK, you have 3 which means only number 2 remains and hit 2’. If the audience member would have said 2 the mentalist would have said something different and still hit 2.

Giving the illusion of choice is important in your audience participation, take a look at and practise all these techniques. Once you understand them you can progress to more complicated forces.

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