Edward Fowler A.K.A. Ray Carlyle
Dr Q's Mysterious Want Ad Test
by C. Alexander
Yes, it is dated material, but as with most of the writings of the past, they are worth the reading and there is something to be learned. I have taken on this task so that the old should not be lost!
Ray Carlyle 2010
This effect uses a Medium and a receiver or more to the point, a sender and a receiver. Also, you as acting as the director. In this case, however, the sender is a spectator. Really three spectators as it's done three (3) times. The effect is that the Mentalist, that's you, shows a complete newspaper of the day and has a spectator take the Want-Ad section and chose a double page that has ads on one side and news or pictures on the other. The reason given is that you want to be sure which side you are reading.
Now with a pair of scissors, the Mentalist starts cutting up ads, about 100 or so of them and letting them drop on a plate. He asks for the help of several spectators to take these ads and fold them in half. When all is done he picks up a pile of "coin" envelopes and asks that an ad is placed in each, one to an envelope, and sealed. There are, when finished, about 13 sealed envelopes each really containing an ad.
Now a single envelope is selected and opened by a spectator and the Medium, on stage or up in front, while blindfolded, tells what is on the ad, not word for word but the important things such as names, what it's about and a phone number is given. Enough information so that there can be no doubt that the medium is correct. The selecting of the envelopes is honest and straightforward! The envelopes are dumped into a large unprepared bowl. In this open manner, the three spectators have a free choice!
No there are no codes! This is not a code act! It is a series of clever switches for ads the contents of which the Medium knows. In the end, with some 10 envelopes left, you can toss them out or leave them for the "Wise Guys" to grab and open. There is nothing to find as you have switched back the original envelopes with the real ads.
This effect was written by C. Alexander, known as Dr. Q, in the mid-1920s While today it would not lend it’s self to a stage or possibly even banquet style shows, it could be done at private parties.