In Their Hands
By Luke Jermay - Saturday, February 6, 2021
How often have you heard magicians expressing the concept that magic that happens inside the hands of a spectator is the strongest of all theatrical magic? I am sure, like me, you have lost count. I am sure you can find many examples of this in your own experiences from performances of magic tricks. I think it is wise for mentalists to extrapolate a lesson from this proven and tested concept. While it might be slightly more challenging to think in these terms when the shift from sponge balls to mind reading and telepathy takes place, the challenge is worthwhile. Here is a very simple tool that you can make use of to take advantage of this pearl of wisdom from the world of conjuring even if you present heavy psychic-styled material.
With their back turned the performer has a spectator hide a bank note beneath one of two napkins that are on the table. Turning back to face the participant the performer continues:
“Every thought we have in some way affects our bodies. Right now, I will find the bank note, not by reading your thoughts but instead by paying attention to how your thoughts affect your body. I want you to take your first finger and thumb on your left hand and touch them together forming a circle. Now do the same thing with the right finger and thumb but place it inside the other, so you have two linked ‘chains’.”
The spectator does as you ask and link their fingers and thumbs together. The performer continues:
“Your body knows the truth and will respond to that. Out loud say ‘the banknote is under the napkin on the right… and then pull your right hand, with the fingers touching away, see how much or little your left fingers resist them from breaking free…”
The spectator does as asked. The spectator finds that their fingers freely and easily break free from the chain they have created. The performer has the spectator repeat this but this time they say:
“The bank note is beneath the left napkin.”
This time the spectator finds that there is significantly more resistance when they attempt to break the chain they have created in their hands. The performer continues:
“Even when trying to hide the thought, the result of the thought is clear. When you make a statement that is real, that is true, your body responds with strength! The banknote is beneath the left napkin!”
Sure enough the performer is correct.
This simple concept needs to be tried in performance before you can really understand what an impact it can make on an audience. Reading this simply doesn’t do it justice. Its rather magical to experience. You can test it on yourself by making a statement you know to be true and testing the resistance of your fingers, against a statement you know to be false. Operating using the ideomotor response, not deception is needed. Simply present it as outlined and it will work. It makes for an excellent stand alone demonstration of how our thoughts can affect our bodies and can also be used as a pleasing lead in to some other demonstration, should you wish to augment with more traditional techniques of deception.
The technique can be used with any binary outcome, the example used above is a simple staging with this in mind. Its application is wider and further reaching than this isolated example. Maybe you can find a perfect place to incorporate this wonderfully direct and authentic demonstration into your existing work?
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