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THE ENVELOPE GAME

MATT MELLO

Copyright 2012 by Matt Mello All rights reserved.

Effect:
Through subliminal influence, spectators are always made to choose the losing envelope.

Introduction:
Hello everyone, and thank you for purchasing, The Envelope Game. This one really puts the men in mentalism. It takes total commitment to make it work, but as long as youre confident, I personally know this flys right over peoples headsdue mostly to the fact that it comes across so realistically as working through subliminal suggestions! The main idea is centered around something I discovered as a kid, when I drew a weird looking question mark on a piece of paper. By chance, I happened to look at it from the side, and saw that it could be used as a great psychological subtlety, but I wasnt sure how I wanted to use it. What you have here makes perfect use of this perception change, though Im sure youll find other ways to use it!

Presentation and Method:


I have here two envelopes, figure 1, which well use in a simple psychological game. Inside one is a five dollar bill, and inside the other is a piece of paper, which will mock you for losing out on such riches!

(Figure 1)

Each envelope is influential in its own way. The question mark is mysterious, and immediately draws your attention. But then the blank one is intriguing, as well. Maybe Im trying to pull your attention away from it by leaving it empty? Its impossible to know for sure, so instead well go with your instincts. But keep in mind Ill be trying to influence you the entire time. Lets begin. I want you to focus on the blank envelope. I want you to imagine for the moment that this is your final choice. Youve decided upon it, this is the one you want. I wait a few seconds for her to let this sink in, then say, And now shift that perspective to the mystery envelope. I wiggle and pivot the question mark slightly. Imagine that this is now the one youve picked. Imagine taking it from me and opening it. People will naturally assume youre implanting suggestions with these linesgo ahead and let them think that! Perfect. So now that youve imagined both as being your final choice, I want you to think about which one felt right to you, and then point to it.
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Let the spectator take as long as they need, until they pick the one they want. It really doesnt matter which one they choose, but the choice will affect what you say in a moment. After theyve answered, I say, Very well, but Id now like to give you the chance to change your decision, bearing in mind some new information. Lets just change the perspective a little. I rotate the envelopes, figure 2.

(Figure 2)

If they picked the ? envelope, say, So how does that make you feel about your choice, now that youre only able to see the word no on your envelope? Do you wish to change your mind? If they picked the blank envelope, say, So how does that make you feel about your choice, now that you see there were subliminal influences keeping you away from the mystery envelope? Do you want to change your mind? If they say, No, I dont want to change, as I hand them the envelope, I say You should have taken the offer! If they say, Yes, Id like to change my mind. as I hand them the envelope, I say You shouldnt have let me get in your head!
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Either way, they cant win! They now open the envelope and read the piece of paper inside. Neither envelope actually has a five dollar bill in it, but both have paper saying they should have picked the other envelope! Figure 3 shows what they say.

(Figure 3) Youll be putting each paper in the opposing envelope. Youll also want to have a waste basket handy to throw out their envelope. Not that theres anything else in it, but theres something else on it that you dont want them to see. This is just an extra convincer, and gives you justification so that you dont have to unseal the supposed money envelope. In the bottom right hand corner of both envelopessince either can be pickedI write a date, usually about seven or eight months in the past. At the time of writing this, I would put something like 1/7/2012, as its currently 8/9/2012. Figure 4 shows the position written in marker, but youll want to write it lightly in pencil.
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(Figure 4)

If Im left with the ? envelope at the end, I say, Now this is where things get really interesting. Youll notice that along with the question mark there is also a date written at the bottom of this envelope. Can you read that out? If Im left with the blank envelope at the end, I say, Now youll notice that at first glance, this seems completely blank, but theres actually a date written at the bottom of this envelope. Can you read it out? They read aloud whatever date youve written, then I say, So note that its been about seven months since I sealed $5 into this envelope, and in the two hundred or so games Ive played since then, every single person has reacted to the subliminal message the same way as you have. And although you didnt win, you really did perfectly. Thank you!

Additional Thoughts and Ideas:


--I say five dollar bill because its less tempting for a spectator to demand to see it. If they believe they have a chance at winning $50 or $100, theyll have a greater
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want and demand to see that the money is really in the other envelope. Whereas they dont really care about the $5, but are intrigued by the supposed subliminal influence you are demonstrating for them. --Its not the 50/50 thats impressive, but the implication that you do this psychological test all of the time, and it never fails! But it should be said that you shouldnt get too extreme with the date. Try to keep it within seven or eight months. If you say you sealed $5 in the envelope four years ago, it comes across as a bit too unbelievable, and people again will want you to open to prove its in there. --This isnt really something to be performed on its own, but used after youve built yourself up with the audience. The Envelope Game, if utilized correctly, will then push your reputation further as a master thought manipulator! --You could have an envelope in your pocket with a five in it, which you can switch in as they open their envelope. You just wouldnt show the front of the envelope, this way it can either be the blank or question mark envelope. I dont really care for this though. --This effect is really best suited for stand-up, but will work in close-up situations. You just have to constantly be making up pieces of paper and envelopes, which can be a pain. --If you own my last manuscript, The Zombie and the Joker, you could make up a double-blank card with the special question mark on both sides. The mystery card can be moved around when they view it as a question markperhaps thinking of something light but when its turned, and all they can see is no, it suddenly becomes unmovable! Just a thought! --Bill Cushman offered a very interesting idea about having the effect not be about money, but about an ancient secret of suggestion which youve written and sealed into one of the envelopes. If they are able to overcome your powers of influence, they can open the envelope and learn the secret. You go through the same selection process, and have them pick an envelope. Then, you let them in on one secret of suggestion, and show them the question mark/no subtlety. Allow them to change their mind if they wish, but when they open the envelope itll be the same ending, saying that they should have picked the other envelope. You can then show the date, and still have a strong reason for not opening the envelope until you find someone who can overcome your powers of suggestion!

--For those of you that use the no gag, this could also be used for a different take on that. Typically its used as a gag prediction, but another suggestion of Bills was to use my no/? subtlety as an impromptu suggestion routine. You draw the special question mark on a piece of paper and show it to your spectator. "Quick question, yes or no, do you believe I could use suggestion to give you the power to read minds? When they say, No you can turn the paper and show the word No, as if you influenced them to say it. And in fact, you could try and influence them further to say no by stressing it slightly when you say it.

Credits:
The ?/No subtlety is something I discovered on my own when I was about eleven or twelve, and have never seen anyone else who has noticed it before I point it out to them. The Tom Sellers effect "Just Chance, also known as Bank Night is the first envelope game in which an audience member had a chance to win some money. Ive also been informed about "Persuasive Banknight" in Mindstorms by Sean Taylor, who has popularized using symbols/words on envelopes to influence. As for the paper in both envelopes, each saying you should have picked the other, Andy Nyman has something similar on his Get Nyman DVDs called Chair Swindle, but not exactly the same. Derren Browns televised envelope games are brilliant, and always come across as being very psychological in nature, which is what I was trying to shoot for in this routine. If Ive missed anyone in this crediting, or if you have any questions, please send an inquiry to: mtricks16@aol.com and Ill be sure to make any necessary changes or answer any questions I can. Thank you! Matt Mello
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