Sin 9: Answering Yes-or-No Questions.

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Sometimes you’ll be in the middle of a performance and will need a simple yes-or-no answer to a question that emerges from the narrative in the cards. Other times, you’ll be performing for a sitter who absolutely doesn’t care about anything except the simplest possible answer. For those times when you need a binary answer, the solution is to key your cards to either “yes” or “no:”
  • YES: Odd numbers, Jacks, Kings
  • NO: Even numbers, the Joker, Slaves, Queens
Using this method of keying the cards of the deck to a binary system of yes or no is fabulously useful. For example, if you need a fast answer for when John will return to Jane then all you need to do is shuffle the deck, cut if you desire, and ask your question: "Will John return within 6 months?" Draw an odd number, Jack, or King, and you get "yes." Draw an even number, Joker, Slave, or Queen, and you get “no.”

But when within the next six months? You can narrow your time-frame by asking, "Will John return within 3 months?" If you draw “yes,” then John is coming back within the next 0-3 months. If you draw a “no,” then John is coming back within the next 4-6 months. If you continue this process of working by halves and asking yes or no questions, then you can determine within the hour when John will return.

The utility of this method is unlimited. For example, you can use it to determine the age and physical appearance of a person just like you're playing Milton Bradley's "Guess Who:” Are you a boy? Do you have hair? Are you young? Are you wearing a hat? This process of narrowing eliminations will rapidly reveal physical appearance. Or, you can use this method to determine the exact location of lost objects in a house by eliminating rooms or even find people on a map according to latitude or longitude. If you're creative, almost anything can be defined through a process of asking yes and no questions. I like to use this method because sometimes there’s just no good arrangement to get the answer I want. This isn't the most dramatic way to divine an answer, but I use it frequently, and I think you will, too.

The last thing I’ll add about this method is that if you’re worried this sets you up for a testable prediction that could prove wrong, there’s no reason to be concerned. I’ve used this method more times than I can count, and judging by the repeat business I get from sitters who’ve received what I know to be many wrong predictions, the accuracy doesn’t matter. When I stated earlier in this book that sitters don’t care if predictions come to pass or not, I was dead serious. There are sitters who might leave a particular fortune-teller because of a failed prediction, but they never give up their desire for fortune-telling itself. 

And you know what’s even funnier than that? I have several repeat sitters who got angry at me for a failed prediction, left for another fortune-teller, and then came back to me months later after getting angry with the other fortune-teller! The #1 reason you can’t go wrong in fortune-telling is because your sitters won’t let you.