Back in The Jinx and subsequently in "Annemann's Practical Mental Effects", Theo Annemann published an absolutely fabulous idea. It was a devious and incredibly simple design duplication. I first came across it back in the mid-80's. But there's just one problem. As published, I haveyet to find anyone who could actually make it work.
I suspect that has more to do with the way that materials have changed since the days of Annemann than anything else. The 'secret' was that you had to be able to write in pencil directly onto a slate and not have the writing be visible. This allowed for a secret crib sheet that only the performer could see but the audience couldn't, that was brilliantly hidden in plain sight.
Sadly, over the years I have tried numerous times to make this work with no luck. It doesn't seem to matter what kind of pencil/slate combination that I use, the writing is always visible. And then back around 1989 or so the idea hit me, "If I can't hide the writing, why not make a huge deal out of it?"
Annemann's original piece was called 'Extra Sensory Perception' and I have kept his title as an homage to him.
This is the ultimate in simplicity and directness. I'm not overstating this, I can teach a six year old how to do this trick and they will do it perfectly inside of two minutes. Seriously.
In its most basic form here's the effect.
The performer produces a stack of 32 picture cards. Each depicts a simple shape, design or object of some sort. All are very basic and easily drawn. These are mixed and one is freely selected. The performer then has their helper concentrate on the shape/design/object and takes a slate or dry erase board that on the back side has a picture of literally every design and shape contained within the pack of cards. He proceeds to focus and start to draw something. Slowly things take shape. After a few moments, for the very first time the spectator reveals what they are concentrating on. The performer turns the board around and reveals that he has drawn the exact same thing!
Here are a few salient points to consider:
This is not a trick that you have to do all of the time to have it 100%. In fact, if you haven't done the trick in 3 years, you can review for about 30 seconds and you are right back up to speed. It doesn't get any simpler than this.
You get 32 3" X 3" design cards, ready to use, as well as the 8 1/2" X 11" layout card which you can simply attach to the back of a dry erase board, slate or even a standard clipboard and complete instructions. Simply add whatever appropriate writing utensil you might need and you are good to go!