Mind Power

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby David Britland » 05/06/07 02:50 PM

Years ago I wondered if there was a way of using an electronic dictionary to update the working of Bob Hummer's Think-A-Word trick.

This is a trick in which the spectator thinks of a playing card and a word and the performer divines both.

Then in 2004 I saw Jim Baumgardner's excellent programming work on the web and emailed him outlining the Hummer trick and how it might be accomplished as an interactive web trick.

He had a rough working model on the web in 2004 but has now put another version on his website which you might want to check out.

Follow the instructions on his webpage but then click on the link at the lower left of the page to go to the full page version.

Mind Power

There are a few tweaks that could be made to simplify the trick for the user but the method works well enough.

David
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Postby Bob Farmer » 05/06/07 03:08 PM

This would be easier to see clearly if the letters were white and arranged outside the circle of cards rather than on them.

The handle looks a bit archaic -- how about a small brain or eyeball.
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Postby David Britland » 05/06/07 04:41 PM

Hi Bob

I agree that there a better ways to design the interface. My original dream was to have the software in a PDA or other device that could secretly be consulted by the performer. Jim's present online version proves that the basic idea works and anyone with any programming talents - not me - can incorporate it in other devices.

Hummer had his own hidden mechanical device for divining the word. It's described in Fulves' book on Hummer. Martin Gardner said that Hummer also had a dictionary he could consult with all the possible words listed.

I did construct a lexicon deck that would do the same job as Hummer's mechanical device. The idea is that the performer removed the letters from the deck that spelled the chosen word. Under cover of doing this he was able to consult a flat and easier to hide version of Hummer's device. It worked okay.

David
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Postby Bob Farmer » 05/07/07 03:26 AM

I designed a trick for David Ben -- it's in his book -- where a progressive anagram was programmed into MS Word.

A magic amulet on a string then touched each key of the computer -- apparently this was random, but in fact it was printing out the letters of the anagram.

As soon as a "No" response occurred, the F3 button was hit -- this made Word exapnd the letters into the selected word.
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