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Topic: Idea For Mentalism at a Dinner Party -- Your Opinion, Please!
Message: Posted by: hoodrat (Sep 23, 2004 02:13AM)
I came up with a clever idea for a mentalism effect for my next dinner party.

I usually only have three people over at a time due to a small dining room table that seats only 4 comfortably. When my guests arrive, I give them no indications where to sit except NOT to sit in the seat I've designated for myself (which is usually the seat closest to the kitchen for obvious reasons). If they ask, I just tell them, "Sit wherever you like!" By the way, every seat is already set with a dinner plate, glass, cutlery, etc.. Once we are all seated and the dinner party is underway, I have them look underneath their plates to find a small pay envelope taped to the bottom. Let's say Janet opens her envelope. She will find inside a card that says "Janet Will Sit Here". The other two guests also find a card in their envelopes with their name on it saying the same thing!

Of course, depending on the seating arrangement, multiple outs are necessary, so there could be an additional three envelopes taped underneath each chair. Also, to cover another possible seating arrangement, there could be a sealed envelope sitting across the room with a sheet of paper inside with the correct seating arrangement predicted. To cover another possible seating arrangement, the host could produce a sealed envelope from his jacket pocket with the correct seating arrangement. To cover a fifth seating arrangement, envelopes could be taped to the backside of the tablecloth that hangs down on each side of the table where the guests sit. And, finally, to cover the sixth possible seating arrangement, smaller envelopes could be affixed to the bottom of each saucer or salad plate at each place-setting.

I think, with three guests, there are only six possible outcomes to the seating arrangements (I never was very good in Statistics in college!).

Anybody have any opinions on this idea?? Improvements (like maybe baking one of the possible seating arrangments into the dessert or something???)?
Message: Posted by: malini (Sep 23, 2004 03:31AM)
Chair Predictions turn me on.

Like the way you're thinking, and if you haven't already, check out Barrie Richardson's 'The Lazy Mentalist' from his book, or One Man Linking Ring Parade for a very clever Chair Prediction based on this principle of six possible seating outcomes...

Only issue you would face, would be your dinner guests discovering just one of the other possible outs during the course of the dinner, which is fairly likely.

Message: Posted by: Mesaboogie (Sep 23, 2004 03:45AM)
"The Lazy Mentalist" is pure genius.
Message: Posted by: oxygen (Sep 23, 2004 05:09AM)
Totally agree with "The lazy mentalist" being pure genius, but I think it wouldn't suit for a dinner party with just a few guests as the effect would loose a bit of his power. The power of this effect is that from the audience point of view, there are 2 completly free choices (the files and the business cards). In the case of a dinner with a few guests, their would only be one choice in the guest point of view and the method Hoodrat explains will work quite the same way (but with a risk for the outcomes from being discovered).

Hoodrat, what about using special enveloppes??
Message: Posted by: Osiris (Sep 23, 2004 09:41AM)
Dang! And all these years I've kept a midget around for nothing!

Granted, no one every noticed him attaching the cards to the underside of their chairs... but now I'll have to find him something else to do... that is, unless anyone out there would like to try this method... I can rent him out for cheap... :)
Message: Posted by: procyonrising (Sep 23, 2004 10:55AM)
I host dinner parties all the time, mostly to try things out in a very friendly environment. I've put things under people's plates and their chairs - and I've never found it the case that someone feels compelled to look under either (though it should be said that I serve).

I usually do something after dinner, dinner being reserved exclusively for jokes and laughter. However, if you did bake the prediction into your dessert - which is a good idea - they might suspect you did a quick baking job after they were seated. What would be great is if you made a lost finger ring appear in the dessert; but, then again, you have to ask yourself whether that's okay with your goals (I'm a hypnotist, so doing some magic every now and then is totally acceptable).

Regarding the chair prediction, however, you're only dealing with three guests, so it should be really easy. Assuming you only have two clean ways to do it (under plates and chairs), what you can do is bias one of the guests toward a certain seat, and let the location of the prediction be dictated by where the other two sit. For instance, you bias seat A, then, you can have the predictions under the plates be A,B,C; the ones under the chairs can be A,C,B. And, if it doesn't work out, just don't do it and enjoy dinner. You'll freak them out later.

It should be noted that the ones you put under the plates are the predictions for B and C that you think will most likely occur. For instance, husbands and wives usually sit next to each other, not facing each other; there are little things like this that make the whole thing pretty easy.
Message: Posted by: kaytracy (Sep 23, 2004 02:32PM)
There is always the prediction found inside one of the the loaves of bread or dinner rolls int he basket that has been sitting on the table since the start of the evening.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 23, 2004 04:00PM)
I like it.

Message: Posted by: Alan Wright (Sep 23, 2004 06:13PM)
I love it. The concept of the multiple predicitons is of course not new, but I havn't seen this idea before. Good thinking hoodrat.
Message: Posted by: procyonrising (Sep 24, 2004 01:44PM)
Wait. This is too complicated.

There are only 4 people involved, and that includes the host. Since it's so intimate, you can use smaller slips for predictions.

What if you placed started with three envelopes in front of three settings. You open each envelope, one by one, and pull out a small slip inside. On each slip is written the person's name.

This is some simple billet work - with or without a TT (whatever you're comfortable with). MUCH more direct this way.

You can also place four envelopes in four settings and do a Maven-like bank night, with everyone picking an envelope around the table - including yourself - and ending with an envelope that is obviously yours.
(This way, they can all sign their envelopes).

Lastly, you can have a single envelope on a clip in the middle of the table. When everyone chooses the seat they want (or, even after the dinner, because it's in full view the whole time), you open the envelope and have someone read the letter inside. The letter states everyone's names, (maybe) what they're wearing, and which seat they're going to choose. How? PW. If you want to do it at the end of the dinner, you can actually do the dirty work in the bathroom and steal it when you rip the envelope open. A minor miracle.
Message: Posted by: DangerMouse (Sep 26, 2004 08:05AM)
You don't really need a billet switch as you can have three, three way envelopes, see annemann for the simplest idea.

Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 26, 2004 09:01AM)
Also, the 3-way envelope would be safer than the multiple envelope outs.
To wit: If George has just opened the envelope under his plate, enthusiastic Charlie might immediately look under his plate, finding the envelope that says, "Ralph will sit here."
It's not a giveaway, but it will lessen the effect to only get one hit out of three.

Message: Posted by: entity (Sep 26, 2004 10:33AM)
Let's assume your guests names are Ann, Dave and Jim.

At the start of the meal you have each sit in the chair of their choice. You show three envelopes, one for each guest, and set them face down, on a sideboard or nearby shelf and inform your guests that after dinner they can each open the envelope marked for them.

After dinner, without you touching the envelopes, they each take the one with their name on it and open it.

In Ann's envelope there is a card saying: "You will sit in the chair across from me."

In Dave's envelope is a card that says: "You will sit In the chair to my Left".

In Jim's envelope is a card that reads: "You will sit in the chair to my right".

When you first pick up the envelopes, at the start of the dinner, you note who sits where. As you display them, backs toward your guests, you nail write the appropriate name on the appropriate envelope.

Your guests won't know what is coming, so unless you are a total dud at nailwriting, this won't be a problem. Set the envelopes aside, relax and go on with dinner. Hopefully, one of the guests will bring up the matter of the envelopes at dinner's end, and you tell them to get them and to pass the envelopes to the appropriate person, as marked on each envelope.

They open them, they sit in awe of you talents. with this choreography, my bet is that they will remember that THEY picked up the envelopes and opened them, and forget that you handled them at all after they had chosen their seats.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Marc Spelmann (Sep 27, 2004 03:39AM)

I wish you'd not posted that, now if I come round for dinner the effect is ruined for me... ;-)

A very nice idea, as someone has mentioned not new but the setting is.. as far as I am aware.

You may also want to include some other 100% sure fire predictions along with which seat a person has chosen, ie:

Claire will sit in this chair and will be thinking of the word 'Outside'

John will sit here and have the '6 of Hearts' in his pocket.

Sarah will sit here and the time she is thinking of will be '10:37'

A lovely informal idea though Hoodrat, I can see many a long discussion happening at your dinner parties..

Message: Posted by: bluefred (Sep 28, 2004 02:37AM)
Wow that sounds great!!:-]
Message: Posted by: Socrates (Oct 17, 2004 01:26PM)
An interesting problem:

Announce that you've made a seating prediction, it's in the envelope and get everybody to sign it across the seal/flap.

Give it to someone to look after until everyone is seated.

Finally let one of the seated open it and retrive the prediction themselves.

Can it be done?

Look forward to hearing from you.


'No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking' - Voltaire :die:
Message: Posted by: psychic (Oct 18, 2004 04:31AM)
Nothing mathematical please
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Oct 18, 2004 05:09AM)
Sponge banannas?
Message: Posted by: Marc Spelmann (Oct 18, 2004 06:27AM)
It can be done but that would depend on how many people you had. There are numerous methods but not an easy thing to do...
Message: Posted by: MentaThought (Oct 18, 2004 03:31PM)
For mentalism at a dinner party I would try to put a mentalism spin on Arlen Studio's effect in which cockroaches scamper out of a Chinese food take-out box.
This would also work well at a "potluck" event at work.
Message: Posted by: johne (Oct 18, 2004 04:22PM)
I think it would be a fairly simple matter to "load" the plates after the fact with the predictions. As long as they were not expecting anything, I can see just palming slips, and loading them under plates or glasses. Just a thought.

Message: Posted by: landmark (Oct 18, 2004 06:06PM)
Show SUC with (blank) prediction beforehand.

Load proper prediction, spectator can pull the prediction out of the wallet.

Jack Shalom