Banachek's HEADLINE PREDICTIONS
Published in Psychological Subtleties 3: Recently, I came across an old manuscript by U.F Grant, which presented the wonderful subtlety of placing pages from past dates into a new newspaper, in order to accomplish predictions of events in that newspaper. This managed to get my mind racing: a wonderful idea, which, if combined with a standard headline prediction, would enable you to accomplish a major miracle. This idea is suitable for corporate shows and other private functions. I would be careful about using it for a publicity event that involves a real newspaper reporter, as fact checking on the minor predictions could get you caught.
Past, Present, & Future Headlines
f this were an advertisement, it might read “The Perfect Headline Prediction”. A week or more prior to the show, the performer signs and mails a large sealed envelope, to be countersigned by the event chairman. The chairman brings it to the show, verifying the seal and the signatures. The envelope is opened by the chairman, who has kept it in his safe. Inside are more envelopes. The performer stands well away as each envelope is opened. Each contains a prediction more impressive than the last, describing several different articles in the paper, and culminating in an impressive barrage of predictions about the front page, with a final envelope predicting events yet to come. No switches, gimmicked envelopes, electronics, or stooges. Everything is self-contained. HOW You will need: 1. One medium-sized envelope 2. One large envelope 3. Five smaller envelopes, marked one through five in large black numbers 4. Newspapers from before the prediction date 5. The same newspaper from the date of the show Scan the papers prior to the date when you are going to mail the prediction to the client. Look for small, unmemorable stories that are not date-specific. Remove three such pages. When you are done with the initial preparation, keep these pages in a safe place, as you will need them on the day of the show.
Your first three predictions consist of these stories. Make note of the page number and location of each one. Write a basic summary or headline of each on an individual piece of paper. Keep in mind that a prediction does not necessarily have to be words. It can be as simple as a picture. For example, “On page 22 towards the bottom there will be a picture of a woman … I think her name is Mary or Marie … standing with two men, I think on the right-hand side.” Do not get incredibly accurate with these first three predictions: you want them to be impressive but not detract from the main headline prediction. Insert them in the smaller envelopes marked 1, 2, and 3, and place these envelopes in the medium-sized envelope. Next you will have to do some research. Jack Dean suggests looking up events in the World Almanac. Here you will find statistics of catastrophes, birthdates, and on, and on. Pull out three or four for the upcoming months. Write them on a single piece of paper, and place this in envelope number 5. These will be your final predictions, an effect attributed to George B. Anderson, called Hurling the Headlines, where you just make predictions about future events. If they hit, great, if not, no one remembers, but it is impressive. Feel free to throw in one funny prediction if you wish. The number 5 envelope is placed in the medium-sized envelope along with the other three smaller envelopes (1, 2, and 3). On the medium-sized envelope, write the date of the show in larger numbers, along with the words, “Do not open under any circumstances. Bring to the show.” Seal the envelope thoroughly, and place it in the large one.
Seal the large envelope and mail it, along with directions not to open same; if they do, however, you still have “Do not open …” written on the medium-sized envelope. This is in case a secretary or someone accidentally opens the larger envelope. It may never be needed, but it always helps to be sure. I write, “Do not open. Bring to show” on the outside of the larger envelope as well. THE DAY OF THE SHOW Purchase that day’s newspaper. Remove the pages whose numbers correspond to your other predictions, and insert the saved pages in their place. On another piece of paper, write a prediction that consists of about two items from the front page, and then highlight your predictions with a fairly accurate prediction of the headlines of that paper. You really want these predictions to stand out from the other (previously prepared) predictions. You could also predict one or two items from real pages of that day’s newspaper, instead of just front page items, things like, “On page two, there is a large picture of the President giving a humanitarian award to someone named Michael. On page 25, IBM stock rose three percent.” Again, these predictions should have more substance, details, and facts than the previous predictions. Just make sure that you do this after you have inserted the duplicate pages and that these predictions are not taken from those inserted pages. Insert this last page of predictions in the envelope marked number 4, and seal it. Bring both the modified newspaper and envelope number 4 to the show. AT THE SHOW Place the modified newspaper on your table. Place envelope number 4 beneath and to the middle left of the paper. The chairman verifies his signature, and any others that may have been put on the envelope. He verifies the dates that it was sent and received, and then opens it and removes the medium-sized envelope.
As soon as he opens the medium-sized envelope, take it from him and allow him to briefly look inside, enough to see the other envelopes, but not enough to count them (they are all stacked anyway, so it’s hard to tell how many are there). Pour these out onto the newspaper, handing him the envelope to verify that it is empty. As he takes it, your left hand comes down on the envelopes on top of the newspaper, holding them in place as you slide the newspaper out, at the same time sliding these other envelopes on top of your number four envelope. Step far away as you state you do not want to touch them. The envelopes are opened in order, according to their numbers, finishing with number 5. For your kicker, read off the predictions in a dramatic way. It is perfect. The misdirection of having the spectator check the medium envelope helps to hide the addition of the extra envelope, but is not really needed. Just make sure you dump the envelopes in a pile, not too spread out. Another possibility is having one or more of the first three predictions refer to things that have already happened in your show (i.e. a forced playing card, a forced time, a word, etc.). Better yet, have at least one of them be a prediction for an effect in itself. For example, just prior to performing the headline prediction, perform an effect in which the number 1 envelope contains your correct prediction of the outcome. You could even mix one of these predictions with “Whole Lotto Nothing,” explained in Psychological Subtleties 3. There are many possibilities with this effect, but I will leave you with just one more. Use envelope number 1 to predict an event in the future. The audience might laugh but then again, might take it seriously. Envelope number 2 predicts an event in the show (if there is no appropriate event, then make this another prediction like number 3). Envelope number 3 predicts an event in an inserted page, number 4 is the headline prediction, and number 5 is your closer, which you read aloud: “I predict that this audience will be one of my best, giving me the respect and attention I need in order to give them the best show possible. I predict that I had a great time. Good night!”
GTA News: The Star
Sat. June 9, 2012
Luminato: Mentalist Banachek predicts Star front page 10 days in advance By Wendy Gillis Staff Reporter
Mentalist Banachek poses for a photo with his revealed written prediction sheet. The renowned U.K. mentalist wrote down a few predictions of what he believed would appear as headlines on the front page of the Saturday Star on June 9 and sealed them in a glass box on display in the front window of Kiehl's, a cosmetics store at 407 Queen St.
he surprise retirement of I’ll Have Another was there. The out-of-the-blue bid for the 2024 Olympics was there. The story on gang violence? There. He even had the feature article on Australian Aboriginals. In a feat of unbelievable (no, really) news forecasting, mentalist Banachek seems to have accurately predicted the front page of Saturday’s Star 10 days in advance. The professional magician, who’s worked as a consultant for Penn & Teller, David Blaine and Criss Angel, says he scribbled a mock-up of the June 9 front page on May 30. On June 1, at a public event held at Kiehl’s — a makeup store and, perhaps fittingly, Banachek’s partnerin-illusion — the prediction was folded, taped, and put in numerous envelopes. Customer Diedra Wandel even sealed and signed every envelope that day, eventually placing the package in a glass box in the store’s window, where it supposedly sat untouched for more than a week. Wandel was on hand again Saturday when the predictions were unveiled in-store to a small crowd of surprisingly unskeptical viewers, exclaiming “wow” and “Oh, my Lord” when Banachek read out his headlines while a volunteer held up a copy of the Star. “I’m confused,” said Wandel, who had reopened the package, checking to see that her original signatures were still on the envelopes and that another package had not been put in its place. “I just don’t get it.” Kiehl’s employee Sabrina Pal-
lotta “couldn’t believe it,” swearing that the box in the store window hadn’t been tampered with. Give or take phrasing and a few words, Banachek guessed mostly right on the headlines. While the Star had “They don’t tell white people how to spend their money,” Banachek had “White people are not told how to spend their money.” His version of the Star’s main news story, “A gang at war with itself,” was written as “Internal Gang Wars (shootings create more killings).” Curiously, he was also spoton with the placement of every story on the page, even going so far as to draw the reins on I’ll Have Another’s head, prominent in the Star’s cover photo. “I’ll Have Another — I wasn’t sure what that exactly was,” Banachek said. “But I got a picture of a horse, and then I realized what it was a few weeks ago, because this one came to me before that.” Uh-huh Like any trickster, Banachek doesn’t dare break the magician’s code. “If I tell you too much, then you’ll be able to do it,” he said. But he has performed the trick before, getting “pretty accurate” results, and will reveal — get ready — that he looks at the news and thinks about where things could go. “Sometimes you can be a little more accurate than normal, which I was today.” Alison Uncles, associate editor, weekends and features, said normally the Saturday Star front is planned out during the week (always with the possibility that news will break). But there were a few factors — the gang investigation, and the sudden retirement of I’ll Have Another — that
meant the page was assembled later than usual. “For him to have forecast not only that the horse would announce its retirement, but also that it would be main art is almost inconceivable to me,” she said. She adds, “I want to believe this is true; I think it would be so freakishly amazing.” Banachek’s description of his brand of magic may be the best explanation of how he pulled it off. “I create effects that look like they could be real.” Banachek, whose real name is Steve Shaw, is in town for the world premiere of his show, The Alpha Project, which is part of Luminato. It showcases his mentalist skills, including psychokinesis, telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, hypnotism and séances.
Mag-nificent Headline Prediction
he amount of publicity that can be garnered from a headline prediction is astronomical. First you get a story about the prediction being sealed. Then when the prediction is opened you again get more publicity. In other words it is one of the few publicity stunts where you get covered twice for the same stunt. In Toronto, I used this method. I received both newspaper coverage and video coverage all over the internet and in the media when we sealed the prediction. The story hit the newspapers front page when the prediction was opened, garnering even more international attention. The is no way I could have ever afforded the publicity that this stunt garnered for the weekend shows at the Luminato Festival. I have performed all types of headline predictions through the years from my first show where I sealed a prediction in a file box, from billet pens, billet knives, switches, test tubes, electronic versions, and...well the list goes on way to many to list. Each has been effective, each has garnered free publicity however this method I am about to divulge is the most diabolical, simple and direct. It allows for the prediction to be signed by an authority prior to it being sealed. The prediction they sign is indeed the prediction they read on opening day. The method is simple to execute and deceptive. WHAT THEY SEE Ten days or a week prior to the event, a press conference is held where the performer claims he is going to predict the front page of a prominent newspaper. He states he is not a psychic but sometimes by looking at current events he can get quite close to what may be happening in the news. (Later this will not quite jell with the accuracy but will add some talking points to the articles written.) The performer shows his prediction folded in half. He asks a local dignitary to sign this prediction. It is then folded in half again and handed to the dignitary to place inside a letter envelope and seal. The dignitaries initials are placed on this envelope. This envelope the performer places inside a Federal Express
envelope. This envelope is sealed and signed. This is placed in a still larger envelope and signed. These are placed in a glass enclosed box and placed in a prominent place where the performer can not get access. It can even be locked and the key kept by someone else. Ten days later on the day that the performer states he has made his prediction for the performer and the press show up. The performer has with him a copy of that days newspaper and a marker. These are places upon a wooden table. The prediction is brought forth and opened. The large Federal Express envelope is removed and the performer has the person or people who sign it verify their signatures. This is placed upon the table and the performer hands the newspaper to a person on his left. This paper is opened to the front page and a person on that side is asked to hold it up. The performer opens the large federal express envelope and removes the smaller federal express envelope. The signatures are also verified upon this envelope. The performer opens this envelope and his empty hand goes in the envelope and removes the smaller letter envelope. The initials are verified on this envelope as well. The envelope is handed to the dignitary and he or she opens it. They remove the paper inside, they open it and verify their signature. They then open the prediction all the way. And as each item is called off it is circled on the larger newspaper. The performer had drawn a mock up of that very days front page including the locations and contents of the pictures on the front page of the paper. OTHER USES This prediction can be used for all types of predictions so long as you have someone offstage who can make the prediction for you, you can even use this in a real time stage show. I have often thought of making a special table that would allow me to use this method. For the headline prediction the newspaper hides your prediction. A notepad on your table would do the same with some thought.
HOW You will need: 1. Two letter sized envelopes 2. One large Federal Express Envelope 3. One regular sized Federal Express Envelope 4. Two medium size Neodynamic Magnets these are about the size of an American cent. 5. Tape 6. Two small labels 7. Box to lock prediction in. 8. A copy of the final days newspaper when it comes out 9. A marker The idea of this prediction is simple. The prediction is loaded via a magnetic system that slides the small letter prediction envelope behind the Federal Express envelopes in a very diabolical way so it later comes out of the smaller Federal express envelope. Take your two letter sized envelopes. Place a label upon both that states the date the prediction was supposedly made. These go on the same exact place on both envelopes on the outside face. This will later disguise the fact you have taped a magnet on the inside of one. Inside one envelope tape a magnet so it is against the label. I use an identical label except it has no printing upon it. I also place a label inside the other envelope in the same location. In other words each envelope is identical except one has a magnet attached beneath the outside label. This envelope is your gimmicked envelope. You will put it aside in a safe place. As an extra subtly I will often put a smudge on the outside of both envelopes in the same exact place. Later when the envelopes are switched the dignitary may remember the smudge and it is an extra layer of deception that convinces them it is the same envelope. Take your pad of paper. If it has a cover all the better. Lift up the cover, lift up the first page.
On the second page scribble a basic outline of the front page of the newspaper. Do not worry about the contents just so something is scribbled upon it. Some of this scribble may show lightly through the paper when it is folded and that is why you need to do this so later it will match the switched paper. Often I will write something like, “I predicted that even though you were told not to open this envelope, you would do so. To save yourself embarrassment call me immediately at 713-5555555. This way if they are tempted to try to fool me for some reason, I have outwitted them. Now fold the second page in half. Fold in half again the same way. You will now have a page that is folded two times and fits up beneath the top page. Fold the top page in half. You will see it still cover the other folded sheet. Fold the cover down. You are set with the pad. Take your smaller Federal express envelope and about an inch or two from the top of the face you will want to take an exacto knife and cut a slit across the face leaving about an inch or more from the edges. Take a marker and draw a square upon the face with the top line against the cut slit. This will disguise the slit. Now you can write anything you want in the square such as the word Prediction and the date of the prediction or the date it is to be opened. You will never really be showing this but it is there for cover anyway. I usually make a large full sheet label with a bold black edge and affix it to the face of this envelope against the slit to hide it. Inside the center of this envelope you affix the other neodynamic magnet. You will want to make sure that the polarity is such that when the 6
face of the gimmicked letter envelope is face up on the table and the face of the federal express envelope is against it, the smaller envelope will be attracted to the federal express envelope. Once you are sure of this tape the magnet in place inside the envelope against the same side as the slip. Place the gimmicked federal express inside the larger envelope. Snug it down in the bottom against the bottom corner. Now feel where the magnet is and put a small dot on the outside of the larger envelope. I usually do this with a red marker but black will suffice. This allows you to know exactly where the magnet is in the envelopes. Now take a newspaper and fold it half and half again, Under the top sheet place the gimmicked letter envelope and make sure it is label side up. Feel where the magnet is and put a dot there. Now you can practice all you want till the day you seal the envelopes. All you need to do is have the newspaper on the table with the small gimmicked envelope under the top page or two. You will place the large federal express envelope on top of the newspaper so the two dots line up (the one on the paper and the one on the Federal express envelope) you will hear a satisfying click when they attract. Only you will hear this and know what it means. Once you hear that you pull the newspaper free (later you will be handing that to someone else to hold. The smaller envelope inside will follow the federal express envelope and pull free of the newspaper. You will be able to feel the envelope on the back and I always make sure it is lined up right with my fingers. You will reach inside and remove the smaller federal express envelope and the smaller prediction envelope will continue to be attracted to the
magnet and pull free from behind the larger envelope and on to the smaller. You will then reach inside the smaller Federal express envelope and through the slit and pull the smaller prediction envelope through the slit and into the envelope and back out. It will look as if the smaller envelope is coming out the federal express envelope. The illusion is perfect and so long as you do this on the table there are no angles. Once you are done you are all set. DAY OF SEALING Bring all three envelopes. (The two federal express envelopes and the non gimmicked smaller one. Also a pen and marker for signing. Show the folded top page in the pad and state is your prediction. Have the dignitary sign it. Fold it in half again and as you do so turn it towards yourself and pull out the second page. Let the cover fold over upon it as you place it cover side down upon the table. You have effectively switched the signature page for the second page. Now fold this one more time the opposite way so it is now a square. Hand this to the dignitary and ask them to place it in the smaller envelope and seal it. Ask for his or her initials and place it over the flap. Remember exactly how you did this as you will need do it to the other gimmicked envelope later. I usually just put them in the corner. I never do this in advance as sometimes the dignitary that shows up is not the one they promised. Make sure YOU put the initials 7
on the envelope not them. They can sign everything else but this envelope. Now you take this envelope and place it in the smaller federal express envelope and tuck it down in the bottom corner out of the way. You do not want it accidentally falling out later. I sometimes even place a piece of fun tack in the envelope to insure it stays. It probably never would but I do not want to take chances. Now you can seal this envelope and have them sign the flap any way they want. Just do not let them handle it too much since there is a slit on the other side. This is placed in the final envelope, which they can also sign and do whatever they want with. I usually have also placed an identical large label as is on the other federal express envelope with the same information upon it. Make sure you tuck it into the bottom corner so the magnet lines up with the red dot. Also place the envelopes in each other the exact same way your practiced. The two larger envelopes are orientated the exact same way as each other. This is all finally sealed in a clear glass box and they keep the key. DAY OF PREDICTION I do a practice mock up of that days paper on an extra sheet till I have it just right. I then take the paper they signed and carefully (no room for mistakes) do that mock up on that sheet. I then fold it exactly the same and place it in the identical small envelope. I seal this. (Make sure you have put their initials no this envelope in the same place and as close to how you did it prior, I usually have done this the day of the sealing the moment I got home or even prior to that). Now place this in the copy of that days newspaper under the second or top sheet. Fold the paper as in your practice sessions and also put a mark where the magnet is on the paper. You are all set. Go to the location. Place the paper on table (this is why you want a wooden table or stool with no metal below it so the magnet does not stick to it) Once they verify the box
has not been opened remove the larger envelope, have them check the signatures. Now in one move place it upon the table or stool on top of the newspaper. You should hear the click. At this point have someone come up and stand to your left. Remove the newspaper from below the envelope and hand it to them. As they do this you can feel behind and make sure the envelope is straight. Note: Always make sure the opening of the envelopes are to your right when opening them). Now open the larger federal express envelope and remove the smaller. As stated before the small prediction envelope will ride behind the envelopes due the magnets. Now I usually place the smaller federal express upon the larger if there are people around me as I have them check their signatures upon it. I keep a hold of them. If no people around me I can be a lot freer as there is nothing to see unless you are under or behind the envelope. Now open this envelope and remove the smaller envelope through the slit. Watch your angles here so the dignitary does not see in the envelope as you do this. Hand them the smaller envelope and you are now home free. It sounds like a lot but it is really not. It is simple, direct and very deceptive. You can leave the larger federal Express envelope if you want. Make sure you take the smaller federal express envelope. I will often have a third small envelope so I can switch out the final prediction envelope and get the gimmicked one with the magnet. Leaving the ungimmicked one behind.