Read My Mind Magic Boy!

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.
Bob Farmer
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Read My Mind Magic Boy!

Postby Bob Farmer » March 27th, 2020, 2:45 pm

A recent discussion elsewhere examined what to do when challenged to read someone's mind. Since this is a somewhat common occurrence, I thought bringing it up here might be useful (the other common question--"Can you make my wife disappear?"--should be answered with: "Only if you find us in a motel room together and you're armed.").

Here is a solution to the first query from one of my Flim-Flam columns (all the columns and a lot of new material will eventually appear in The Bammo Flim-Flam CONglomeration).

SCAM TO THE FUTURE

I’m not given to rash statements but either he goes or I go with him
W.C. Fields

THE HOOK
I’ve written a prediction on this twenty dollar bill.

Only a real psychic can predict the future. Anyone else who makes such a claim, is a fraud.

Now, I’m either a fraud or a real psychic who can see the future.

If you’re right about me that twenty dollars is yours.

I’ve also written a second prediction on this fifty dollar bill, but we’ll come back to it in a minute.

THE BET
If you think the first prediction is right, then you think I’m a real psychic.

If you think the first prediction is wrong, then you think I’m a fraud.

So how do want to bet: fraud or psychic.

If you’re right, you win the twenty bucks, if you’re wrong you pay me twenty bucks.

THE OUTCOME
You lose, I win.

THE SECRET
I write the following on a twenty dollar bill and fold it in half: You will bet I am a fraud.


Though this appears to be a 50/50 win or lose proposition, you—the Mark—will lose no matter which way you call it.

If you say I’m a fraud, you’re saying the prediction will be wrong. But the prediction is right (I predicted you would pick fraud) and you’re wrong, so you owe me twenty bucks.

If you say I’m a psychic, you’re saying the prediction will be right. But the prediction is wrong (I predicted you’d say I was a fraud) and therefore you’re wrong (so you pay me twenty bucks).


THE SECOND BET
Here I remind you about the second prediction I made on the fifty dollar bill.

If that prediction proves to be correct, you will pay me another twenty dollars. If it proves to be wrong, I will pay you fifty dollars.

If you take the second bet, you will lose again. The prediction reads: You will lose the first bet.


EVEN SNEAKIER
I have performed my version by writing on two pieces of paper, “You will call me a fraud and your prediction will be wrong,” and “You will call me a psychic and your prediction will be right.” The spectator hands me either one to bet.

REFERENCES
This is a version of “Brainpopper” by Martin Gardner which appeared at page 577 of IBIDEM #23 (p. 516 of the Hermetic Press reprint). Martin’s version was much more abstract and cerebral (his prediction ran, “You will place the card I gave you, with the word ‘no’ written on it, in your pocket,” – yeah, my head hurts too). Martin didn’t use a second prediction.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Read My Mind Magic Boy!

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 27th, 2020, 8:46 pm

"what to do when challenged to read someone's mind"

Place your hand your temple, close your eyes, pause for a few seconds with a look of intense concentration on your face, and say:

"You are thinking that.......................

.............................I won't be able to do it."

Max Maven
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Re: Read My Mind Magic Boy!

Postby Max Maven » March 28th, 2020, 3:15 am

Very nice, Bob. I've been performing a version of this for decades. Back in the late 1980s I wrote a computer program that could perform the bet for a spectator sitting at the keyboard.

Martin Gardner's "Brainpopper" ran in the March 1961 Ibidem. It soon appeared in his "Mathematical Recreations" column in the May 1961 issue of Scientific American, where it was credited to the fictional Bertrand Apollinax. That pseudonym was a combined reference to Bertrand Russell and a character in a T. S. Eliot poem.

The title "Brainpopper" was in tribute to Karl Popper, who discussed related concepts in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science in 1950.

The trick was republished in the collection New Mathematical Diversions in 1966. In the 1995 edition, Martin added additional information, and mentioned that in John G. Kemeny's A Philosopher Looks at Science, 1959, there is a "prediction paradox essentially the same ... except that it involves a computer and electric fan instead of a person and a card." This is true.

Things came full circle when, May 1962, Martin had a write-up of a variation on the trick published in the same British journal where Popper's initial discussions appeared.

Bob Farmer
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Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Short card above selection.

Re: Read My Mind Magic Boy!

Postby Bob Farmer » March 28th, 2020, 9:39 am

Max: That's great background, I'll add it to my write-up.

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Matthew Field
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Re: Read My Mind Magic Boy!

Postby Matthew Field » March 28th, 2020, 9:56 am

I love you, Max. Thank you. (I'm quite fond of Mr. Farmer, as well.)

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Read My Mind Magic Boy!

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 28th, 2020, 4:02 pm

Another possible idea when asked to read a mind on demand:

1. You will need to have an Invisible Deck on your person (I always do when performing).
2. You ask the spectator to think of any one of the 52 cards in a deck of playing cards.
3. Once you verify that he's thinking of a card, take out the Invisible Deck (boxed) in plain view and say, "Excuse me for just a moment, I am going to do something with this deck, but meanwhile concentrate on your card." Turn around with your back to spectator(s) and pretend you are doing something for a few moments (you actually do nothing, just leave the cards in the box.)
4. Turn back around again, holding the box and, and ask the spectator to concentrate on his card.
5. Pretend you are intently concentrating, and after a while, shake your head and say, "You know, unfortunately this is not an exact science, I just could not get a clear impression. Sometimes it just happens that way. And this was one of those times. But just out of curiosity, what was the card you were thinking of?"
6. When the spectator names the card, look really surprised and ask, "Are you sure?" When they say yes, you say, "You know as I mentioned, sometimes I just can't seem to get a clear impression, but apparently this was not one of those times after all. When I turned around earlier while you were thinking of your card, based on the impression I was receiving from your mind, I turned one card over in the deck so it would be facing a different way from all the other cards."
7. Very slowly and deliberately unbox the deck and spread to the face down card...


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