I don’t really perform a lot of mentalism – there’s only so much writing things down and raising eyebrows that I can do before the thought settles that I really should be trying a bit harder.
One of the regular tricks I do use though, is Phill Smith’s Humint – it’s just cool.
A mate of mine said ‘I like it, but how do you justify the writing it down?’ which is a question for all mentalism really. I don’t really try to justify it, but I’ll tell you one thing to avoid… don’t make it an extra step.
‘Think of any object, at random. You got it? Write it down for me…’
That’s two different instructions and actions for your spectator, and perhaps calls attention to the writing part too much. Why write it down if I’ve thought of it?
‘Write down any object, totally at random for me…’
That becomes self-justifying, and certainly arouses less suspicion (and me more) – if you are handed a pen and paper and asked to write something down, why wouldn’t you? You would be unlikely to think ‘but I could just think and remember it’.