Introduction Before we get started, let me state how much I appreciate your patronage and support. And let me also clarify that the following work is obviously not associated with the occult. Rather, the title you read above is simply a clever misnomer alluding to material that will teach you all you need to know about the mental divertissement of the “which hand” game.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with this game - or at least the given title - it is a game in which Person A holds something (i.e., a coin) behind their back and secretly places it into a hand of their choosing. After doing so, Person A extends their closed fists in front of them and asks Person B to guess which hand holds the coin. A game of what seems to be a pure 50/50 chance. It is one of my favorite pieces for close-up or opening a stage show. The “which hand” game is one that is almost universally recognized and used by lay people everywhere. It is something familiar that can help you establish a rapport with your audience while also exhibiting the powers of your mental prowess, ultimately assisting you in segueing into another demonstration of mental magic. This book that you hold in your hands is my collective works on the “which hand” game. There have been innumerable methods and portrayals of this routine - ranging from expensive electronic devices all the way to propless impromptu methods with clever phrasing and everything in between. Herein, you will find a multitude of techniques and presentations to accomplish the aforementioned effect through what I consider to be some of the most effective means possible. Some of these methods are my own original creations; some are slight alterations of various classics.
I aspire to equip you with the knowledge of how to actually divine which hand a coin or bill - be it real or imaginary - lies in. I feel that we as performers often resort to using gadgets and gimmicks before trying to perfect what we claim to be able to do. I am not saying that I am opposed to the usage of gimmicks, but we should at least be willing to try something new - or something old for that matter.
Nevertheless, I have accumulated a number of foolproof outs that do not compromise the integrity of this effect in any way and will ultimately still leave your spectator baffled. These outs will provide you with the confidence you need during your routine so that you can focus on your performance and work up to the real deal and eventually dispose of the gimmicked methods. I encourage you to read this book in its entirety so that you are sure to consume the details of each routine - learning every subtlety and nuance that I have to offer. I give you my Book of Whichcraft - use it wisely…
Thaddius The Minister of Magic
Genuine Methods of the Game I have placed what I consider to be one of the most important sections of this material at the beginning, whereas, these tips and nuances will aid you in every other routine or trick that stems from the “Which Hand” plot. There is a legion of methods that we can use to genuinely figure out which hand a coin lies in. Here I have compiled a list of methods that have served me well and that it will benefit you to try. One of the most well-known methods is to simply focus on a person’s nose. Immediately after they bring their hands back out, watch their nose, whereas, it will often serve as a compass needle pointing you to your destination. During their decision making process, the participant will usually toggle their eyes back in forth, unintentionally concentrating on the hand that it is being passed to. More often than not, if they are glancing to their right, then the coin is there - if they’re glancing to the left, then the coin is there. After presenting their closed fists to you, the participant will spend the first few seconds in a state of mental struggle as they try to conceal their thoughts and actions. You will note a lot of shifts and side glances, almost as if to check and see if the guilty hand looks as natural as the other hand. This phenomenon is most common in the first round or two, so keep your eyes open. If you see this tell start to slip out - especially when combined with another tell - it is likely you are on the right track. Muscle reading can come in handy if you can incorporate it correctly. Ask your participant to extend their hands and focus all of their mental energy into the hand that holds the coin. As you say this, place both of your open palms on the back of their closed fists and give a
slight push downward. You will notice that one hand will be slightly more rigid than the other if they are doing what you say: this will be the target hand.
As with any of these tells, just one is not always enough to aid you in your decision making process. Just as you would look for multiple signs of deceit when doing a truth and lying game, you also want to find multiple tells before making your decision. There is safety in numbers, unless they are serving Kool-Aid. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid!
If you are looking for some quick and easy tricks to use in order to cheat your way to the right answer - like a true magician - then pay attention to the following for some tips and nuances: Use doublespeak: “It’s not in your left hand, is it?” This is an old cold reader’s technique for divining various bits of information. I find myself using it quite frequently. When said in a neutral enough tone, you can get away with murder. If they answer “yes” to this, then you take credit for having guessed it correctly. If they answer “no” then just respond with the following: “That’s what I thought. Open your right hand if you please... Perfect!” I might suggest using this in between other methods in order to first breed credibility and decrease suspicion toward the ambiguity of the wording. As we will discuss in depth at a later point, you could simply start by asking a spectator to place the coin into their dominant hand OR after they place it, you could inquire with: “Please don’t tell me which hand, but is the coin in your dominant hand?” or at least something to that effect. If you have already deduced which hand is dominant, then you will know all you need to know once they provide you with an answer. (For details, see the section of this book entitled, “How to Determine Which Hand is Dominant”.)
After a spectator has taken their coin behind their back and placed it into the hand of their choosing, I will ask them to keep it there and roll the coin around and squeeze it in order to get a good feel for it inside of their hand. In doing so, if their forearm is exposed, it is possible to see the tendons in their arm flex as a result of this motion. I believe DekEl included this physical tell that works perfectly for this type of routine in his book “Digit”. He also goes into great detail about how this principle can be used for many other routines. One method I like to include at the beginning of a routine is another form of ambiguous phrasing wherein you essentially force the hand a spectator places it in. You start by presenting them with a coin, taking note of the hand that they use to pick it up. Without any further instruction, simply ask them to take the coin behind their back and HOLD ONTO IT. I mirror what I would like for them to do by placing both of my hands behind my back, but where I give them the instruction to hold onto it, they just keep it in the same hand that they started with. I continue by telling the spectator that I want for them to get a good feel for the coin in their hand and then to bring it out with both hands in a closed fist. If done correctly, they will not have known to switch hands because you have not explained what you are doing yet. You can proceed as you see fit. Another idea is to severely limit the spectator’s choosing by seemingly increasing the quality of the game. Ask your spectator to refrain from keeping the coin in the same hand every time, or from constantly going back and forth, whereas, these patterns are too predictable. You want them to be unique in their approach. This eliminates 4 possible outcomes if you are playing a game comprised of 3 rounds. If they follow your instructions, they will not do either of the following: RRR, LLL, RLR, LRL. Instead, they
should stick to one of these 4 remaining patterns: RRL, RLL, LLR, LRR. If you know the first two answers, logic will reveal the position for the last round. As you begin to reach out with a pointed finger in order to touch the back of the hand that you believe holds the coin, gauge the participant’s reaction. If they seem to be reacting negatively or are beginning to exhibit nonverbal cues that you are incorrect, follow through in touching that hand and say, “This is the hand that is empty, the coin should be in your other hand.” It’s a way to turn what could have been a mistake into a hit. As an added bonus to the end of your routine, you can start off by asking if anyone has a pocketful of loose change. Perform a phantom coin grab in order to force a coin for which you have already memorized the date. If you are unfamiliar with what this is, simply have a designated coin in finger palm of the hand that you use to reach out and take a coin from the spectator’s hand, picking up and dropping other coins as a means of selling that you really are taking from their hand. Ultimately, the only coin left in your hand is the one you started with. Keep your head turned after selecting the coin in order to convince them that there is no way you could have somehow glimpsed the date at the beginning of the routine. This will give you a lovely exodus for your routine, wherein you reveal not only which hands they have chosen, but the date of their very own coin. Alternatively, you can use a bill or bank note to reveal a serial number at the end of your routine instead of the date of a coin. In order to do this, simply remember the serial of the bill you wish to use, and then proceed to roll it up into a ball before you approach your participating audience. During your performance, secretly conceal your prepared bill inside of one of your fists. Ask your audience for a bill that is of the same denomination and instruct them to roll it up into a ball. Then tell the participant that you are going to play the
“which hand” game, quickly demonstrating what you are referring to by taking both of your hands behind your back and miming switching hands. When you bring your closed fists back out in front of you, simply open the hand with the prepared bill whose serial number you have already memorized. You are now set to reveal the serial number in whatever fashion you choose. There is always the option to use electronic gimmickry in order to have a surefire hit. I have owned and used Hugo Shelley’s “Sixth Sense” for years and it is one that I find to be most reliable. You can combine a gimmick such as this with practically any presentation in this book and then some.
The most important ingredient, I believe, when revealing any type of information - especially in a routine such as this - is to put yourself into the mindset of your spectator. Much like you would when cold reading, you want to think as if you are the person you are performing for. What would you think? What would you do if you were asked the same questions? You’ll be surprised how this simple technique will increase your hit rate. You can perform an entire routine by mixing and matching these different methods, so please reread this section a few times over for your own benefit.
Twofold Effect A spectator is asked to place a coin behind their back and secretly load it into the hand of their choosing. The performer presents a wager and states that if things do not turn out as planned, then the spectator will win a presented bill. Not only does the performer accurately divine which hand holds the coin in every single round, but - if desired - they can reveal a prediction written on the inside of the presented bill that reveals exactly how off or how accurate the performer would be in each round.
Method I find it somewhat odd to describe the effects listed in this book, whereas, they are all essentially the same - save for a few variables in presentation. However, I felt it necessary to describe the exact occurrence in each routine in order to avoid confusion and help you to understand how the methods differ. That being said, this method involves one small “prop” if you will. One that you already carry with you in your wallet or change purse. You guessed it: a bill. With a few slight alterations to your bill, you will have the means to perform the effect exactly as described above. You will need the following:
A bill (whichever denomination you choose to use)
A Sharpie or Frixion Pen
I assume if you are reading this that you are familiar with what a sharpie pen is; if not… I am not sure what to say to you right now. A Frixion pen, however, is a pen that is equipped with a sort of
rubber eraser that when rapidly swept across the dried ink from the pen will seemingly erase what is written or drawn. Frixion pens are often used for a number of other magic effects, but for this routine I only suggest it for those of you who do not wish to permanently deface government property. It can be awkward to try to spend money that has predictions written all over it. With a Frixion pen you have the option to erase said predictions.
Now that you have your needed materials, you will want to fold your bill in such a way that it will resemble the letter “Z” when turned sideways - also known as an accordion fold (SEE FIGURES BELOW).
This will provide you with two writing surfaces that will be hidden by the outer flaps of either side of the bill. Or, if you would rather, you can just use different bills of the same denomination and switch them in as necessary. On the middle segment of the bill’s face, I write the following: “2 out of 3 - Not bad on your part. I must be getting rusty ;) T”
We will come back to the reason for the specific wording of this prediction in a moment. First let’s address the backside of the bill which will have the following written across its middle: “Out of consideration for you, I will purposefully lose each round. Thanks for playing, T”
Now then, if you have written these predictions on the middle section of both sides of the bill, when folded along its creases the writing on either side will remain completely undetected. This will allow you to present this bill to an audience as your wager without arousing suspicion. (SEE FIGURES BELOW)
When performing this routine, I inquire as to whether or not the individual is familiar with the “Which Hand” game. After that, I will state that I would like to try an experiment centered around that game and my ability to predict/influence their every move. I state that we shall try 3 rounds and that they will win the presented money if things should not go as I have planned.
I then proceed with confidence and I genuinely try to deduce which hand holds the coin each time - and I shall teach you some of the classic methods that have worked in my own experience shortly.
What’s neat about this, is that I have my out(s) in place in the event that I fail. Let me present you with the potential outcomes of all 3 rounds.
1. I am successful in deducing where the coin is in each and every round. 2. I make an incorrect guess during one round, but succeed in the other two. 3. I make two incorrect guesses but succeed in one. 4. I fail every single round. I can honestly say that number four has never happened to me, but it’s a good thing to be prepared for just in case. So how do the predictions that we have made account for all four possible outcomes? Thanks to my own variation of Corbuzier’s “Free Will” principle, the first prediction that we have written on the face of the bill will work in 2 of 4 situations. If you lose once, just open up the bill with the bill face toward you and your participant and read aloud - or just have them read aloud: “2 out of 3 - Not bad on your part, I must be getting rusty ;), T”. Due to the ambiguity of this statement, it will also work in the event that you lose twice. Simply have the same prediction read but with a different implication.
In the event that I were to lose each round, I would simply open the bill so that only the prediction on the backside of the bill is visible. I have it read aloud: “Out of consideration for you, I shall purposefully lose each round. Thanks for playing, T”.
When I manage to successfully deduce the outcome of each round, I refrain from drawing attention to any predictions on the bill. Being that the bill is folded, the audience remains unaware of any
alternative endings. I just take the bill and place it back into my pocket or my wallet - there is no need for them to see it.
Your prepared bill can be placed in your wallet, change purse, pants pocket, jacket pocket, shirt pocket or whatever suits you. This effect works best as a close up piece, but can certainly be used onstage in place of expensive gimmicks. That is not to say that I am against the use of said gimmicks, but I believe it’s best to have a multitude of methods to accomplish the same effect in the event that you are ever asked to repeat it in a different scenario.
Hands Off Method I am aware that many of you reading this would prefer to have a spectator handle the prediction. Let me say this: those of you that are familiar with the rules of poker know that if you are engaged in a game wherein there is a wager and the player opposing you folds, or fails to raise, they do not get to see or touch your hand whereas they have not paid for it. In the same way, the participant in this demonstration has no right to see or touch your bill in the event that you need to display the prediction. There’s no reason to feel guilty about refusing them the opportunity to examine your bill; it is important to learn how to handle your audience. That being said, I still offer you the following options if you prefer a hands off method: use 2 bills instead of 1 so that you can switch in the bill with the correct outcome written on it via a pocket switch, wallet switch, a 2-way envelope or whatever other method you are comfortable with.
Otherwise, I suggest that you do what I usually do and simply exclude one of the predictions on the bill (specifically the one on the back stating that you will lose each round). Personally, I find this out to be unnecessary being that the likelihood of this occurring is slim to none. Even a mediocre performer will usually get at least one guess correct in a round of three. If you feel
nervous about this approach, you can incorporate a surefire method of deduction or force a hand in at least one round - the methods for which can be found in the section entitled “Genuine Methods of the Game”. This will ensure the prediction on the inside of your bill will be applicable in the event that you fail to correctly deduce the chosen hand for every round. If you don’t want to write on real money, you can print off a fake bill by scanning the face of a $50 or $100 bill with a copier, and then writing the prediction on the blank backside of the bill. You can then fold the “bill” into fourths, thereby concealing the blank side with its prediction. If you never miss a round, then you obviously would not show the inside of your fake bill to your participant. If you only get 1 or 2 rounds correct, the prediction inside will work for you either way. The fake bill can add a sense of humor to your routine, showing that there was never really anything on the line. Or if you’re a real maverick, use real money.
Now, I personally love this method - it is one of my favorite variations, but let’s discuss some more specific approaches to this same routine, wherein you don’t just predict who wins/loses, but you predict the exact hand(s) used every time.
Twofold 2.0 Effect A spectator is asked to place a coin behind their back and secretly load it into the hand of their choosing. The performer presents a wager and states that if things do not turn out as planned, then the spectator will win a presented bill. Not only does the performer accurately divine which hand holds the coin in every single round, but - if desired - they can reveal a prediction written on the inside of the presented bill that reveals the exact hand chosen by the participant in each round.
Method I understand that the description of these effects sounds like the splitting of hairs, but the basic difference in the presentation is that the first version allows you to predict who wins and by how many. This second version specifically predicts which hand will be used in each round. There are a couple of ways to perform this version of Twofold, but let’s learn the basic principle that allows us to predict these outcomes. Imagine that we are going to play a game that is comprised of 3 rounds. Each round of the which hand game involves making a decision between two things - the left or the right hand. This means that the outcome of each game will result in one of the following eight ways (R=Right, L=Left): RRR, RRL, RLL, RLR, LLL, LLR, LRR, LRL. That being said, we could make an index of these eight different outcomes - which is a method we will discuss in a section known as “Hypothetically Speaking” - or we could take a different route.
We start by asking the participant to partake in the game, with the only caveat being that they refrain from using the same hand over and over again, whereas, that is too predictable. We tell them that we want them to be completely original in their thinking and in doing so, this will make it more difficult on us, the performer.
Technically, this is working to our advantage by removing two possible outcomes of the effect RRR and LLL - leaving us with six possible outcomes. Now, let’s say that we have two accordion bills prepared in such a way that one bill has “Right, Right, Left” on the face and “Right, Left, Left” on the back - both beginning with the right hand. The other has “Left, Left, Right” on its face, and “Left, Right, Right” on its back - both beginning with the left hand. The hand that our participant chooses to begin with will dictate which bill we will keep in play.
I begin by loading the bill whose predictions begin with the left hand in the right side of my wallet before the routine, and I pull out the bill whose predictions begin with the right hand and use it to present the wager (SEE FIGURES).
I hold and present the bill in my left hand and the wallet in my right with the mouth of the wallet facing my right side (this is because I am right handed; you must do what is most comfortable for you). Now it is a simple manner of deducing which hand the spectator holds the coin in before we decide whether or not we need to switch in our other bill. How do we do this? Simple. We deduce which hand is our participant’s dominant hand before our routine starts. I will go into detail about the variety of ways that one can do this in the next section of this book. For now, let’s assume that we know what we need to.
Now that we have deduced which hand is our participant’s dominant hand, we simply ask them a question: “Don’t tell me which hand, but answer me this: is the coin in your dominant hand?” Having the foreknowledge of which hand is our participant’s dominant hand means that if they are right handed and they answer in the affirmative, we know it will be in the participant’s right hand. Conversely, we know that if the participant is left handed and they say “yes” then the coin must be in their left hand. For this example, we will pretend that our participant is right handed and that they answer “yes” to our question. We now know that they have begun the experiment by placing the coin into their right hand. At this point, no further action is needed; I would simply close the wallet and place it back into my pocket and continue with the routine. If they said “no”, or the coin ended up in their left hand, then I would perform a variation of Richard Osterlind’s Cigarette Lighter Switch wherein I make contact with the bill to be switched in with my right index finger on the inside of my wallet. My left hand brings the other bill up underneath the wallet as if to pass it to my right (dominant) hand. As soon as that bill goes underneath my wallet, I simply keep it there and use my right index finger to pull the other bill out of the mouth of my wallet, seemingly completing the bill’s pass to my right hand (SEE FIGURES BELOW).
This is much easier to do than say. In short, you switch the bill in your wallet for the one already in play. Alternatively, you can use both bills inside of a 2-way envelope instead of switching, but by using your wallet you eliminate the need to make another gimmick. I shall leave it to your discretion.
Ultimately, you could determine a person’s dominant hand prior to your presentation and then for your first round just request that they begin the experiment by placing the coin into their dominant hand. This way, you know which bill to use ahead of time and the need for a switch is a moot point.
So, say our participant begins the game with the coin in their right hand. We place the wallet back into our pocket, whereas, the switch is unnecessary. The bill remains in plain sight henceforth. We know that the bill has two of the four possible outcomes that could result by beginning the match
in the right hand. We eliminate one outcome by directly telling the spectator not to keep the coin in the same hand for each round. That leaves us with one remaining outcome - the one in which the spectator alternates back and forth each time: Right, Left, Right (If it were the left hand, then it would be “Left, Right, Left”).
It is this outcome that we will use as a verbal template during our performance. By that, I mean that we will guess that the first time the spectator will use their right hand, the second time we will guess their left, and then of course for the last round we go back to the right. Granted, there is a possibility that we will be incorrect in one or two of these guesses. That is why we have the outs listed on the bill(s).
We know that they will not keep the coin in the same hand each time, and as long as we know the hand with which they start the routine then we will know the 3 possible outcomes to follow. 2 of these outcomes are listed on either side of each bill (depending on the hand that they begin the routine with), and the other outcome with the alternating pattern is the one that we commit ourselves to during performance when we are making our guesses. If we make any incorrect guesses, then we simply conclude the routine by saying: “Sometimes a person needs to hear and experience certain things in order to bring them to the choices that I wish for them to make. You apparently saw me make a few mistakes, but the end game was to have you say and do what I wanted. You see, the bet that I placed was that I would be able to predict your every move, and that is exactly what I have done.”
You can then proceed to reveal whichever side of the bill matches the outcome of your performance.
These methods that I have described to you are meant to be used as an out in the event that you are unable to accurately guess the whereabouts of the coin in each round. Incorporating these techniques is a great comfort because it allows you the freedom to act with confidence knowing full well that if you fail, you still succeed. I do not use the bill predictions unless I need to. Use these outs as a way to practice the real methods of winning the which hand game - which I will discuss with you after we talk about how to deduce an individual’s dominant hand.
How to Determine Which Hand is Dominant Now let’s discuss how we can go about the deduction of which hand is an individual’s dominant hand. There are countless ways of doing this:
Have the spectator write something in a routine prior and simply clock the hand with which they write. You could even ask to borrow a coin and then have them sign the coin that they have selected in order to ensure that it cannot be swapped for a gimmicked coin.
Have them flip the coin that they are going to use under the guise of making sure that it is a normal coin. The hand that they use to flip it with will likely be their dominant hand.
The standard method of wearing a belt is to feed it through the left side of one’s belt loops and around to the right. If your participant has obviously started on the right side and wrapped it around to the left, then it is likely that they are left handed. However, if it is to the left side, they could be right or left handed, so I would not rely on this method alone.
An individual typically wears his or her watch on the wrist of the hand that is opposite to their dominant hand.
When asking for volunteers by a showing of hands, most people will raise their dominant hand in order to be seen.
If using a fork or spoon without a knife, an individual will use their dominant hand. When using a knife and fork, an individual will use their dominant hand to guide the knife.
When handling their wallet, an individual will hold the wallet in their non-dominant hand and use their dominant hand to search for contents. Although I will say that if you are using a female participant then this may not be the case, whereas, they typically handle their wallets or change purses with both hands.
Most people handle their phones with their dominant hands. If they text or swipe by cradling their phone with one hand and using their pointer finger on the other, the pointer finger will usually belong to the dominant hand and the hand that is used to brace the phone will be the weaker.
Just using one of the above methods is not always a guarantee that you will discover the correct hand. I advise using one method in conjunction with another; if they are consistently exhibiting symptoms of a right handed individual, then you have your answer. Same goes vice versa.
Now, the question has crossed my mind, and I am sure it has for some of you reading this: what if the participant is ambidextrous (mixed-handed)? I have found that there are many who claim to be truly ambidextrous that are really not; it is very rare. Even so, most ambidextrous individuals will still have certain hands that they prefer to use for certain things. Most have a preferred writing hand, so you could overcome this obstacle by asking a spectator if the coin is in the hand with which they write - that is if you see them writing before the effect begins.
It is likely that this will not be a problem for you given the percentage of ambidextrous people that there are. The true ambidextrous individuals make up approximately 1% of the world’s population. 12% of the world is left handed, and interestingly enough, there are more left handed males than females. Females, on the whole, are more sympathetic participants that are likely to be more receptive and cooperative during a performance anyway. Your best bet is to find a female that you feel is right handed if you want a guaranteed hit. Just a tip.
Effect An envelope is introduced and then placed down for all to see. A participant is invited to partake in a hypothetical demonstration of the which hand game. They are asked to contemplate their move for each of 3 rounds, stating the hand that they would choose if they were to play the game. After declaring what would have happened, the performer draws attention back to the envelope and opens it to reveal a single piece of paper, on which is written the outcome(s) chosen by the spectator.
Method This is a cheeky demonstration that makes use of a simple index consisting of 4 of the 8 outcomes previously mentioned in the section entitled “Twofold 2.0”. You can use 2 coin envelopes if you wish to include all 8 outcomes, but it’s not really necessary. Of course, you will need to divide 4 of the written predictions into one envelope and the other 4 into the other envelope. The envelopes can be separated by the hand used in the first round of the predicted outcome. For example, one envelope contains outcomes that begin with the coin in the right hand (RRR, RRL, RLL, RLR). Conversely, the other envelope would contain outcomes that begin with the coin in the left hand (LLL, LLR, LRR, LRL). I suggest just using one envelope - the first one mentioned, wherein the predictions all begin with the right hand. The majority of the population is right-handed, so this will make for a simpler performance. If our chosen participant is left-handed, then we can still get by with some clever wording.
If you have deduced that your participant is right-handed, begin with the following:
“When it comes to psychological demonstrations, one of my favorite games to play is the which hand game. Have you heard of it? … I want to try an experiment with you, however, we are not going to use a coin. I have here a little envelope inside of which is something special. Our game will be a hypothetical game in which you will just imagine what hand you would use for each of three rounds. Sound good? For the first round, most people start by placing the coin into the hand with which they are most comfortable, which is typically their dominant hand. So, which hand would that be for you?”
Considering the fact that we have pre-knowledge of which hand is dominant for our participant, we know that they will answer their right hand due to the fact that we just forced them to. Just for clarity’s sake, we are not trying to perform a “reading” of any kind. We are just allowing our spectator to seemingly take control and call all of the shots. The only one that we control, is the first one, wherein we force them to begin the round with their right hand which ensures that any possibility to follow will be accounted for by our index. They can now decide for themselves what they would like to do from here on out.
If, however, our participant is left-handed - and we have foreknowledge of this - we will force them to begin in their right hand, but with different wording. Confer the following:
“…For the first round, most people start by placing the coin into the hand with which they are most comfortable, which is typically their dominant hand. However, I would like for you to be different in your approach, and instead of going with your dominant hand, go with the one that
you are less comfortable with. So if you are right-handed, start in your left hand, and vice versa. That being said, which hand would you begin the game in?”
We have taken the same script, but tweaked it at the end so that we know that this imaginary coin will still end up where we want it to be – aligning it with one of the four predictions we have prepared.
The type of index that I use is actually made into the backside of the envelope itself. I first saw this used in Marc Spelmann’s “Chapters” DVDs – where it originally came from, I do not know. In order to prepare the index, you will need:
A Razor Blade
A #1 Coin Envelope (An Extra #3 Coin Envelope is optional)
A Business Card
A Memo Pad
Begin by placing your business card – or something comparable in size – inside if the coin envelope. The card stock is meant to assist you in making 4 small slits on the backside of the envelope with your razor blade without cutting all the way through the envelope and destroying the “gimmick”. NOTE: the width of each slit should be just wide enough to house a folded billet, allowing a space for two billets in each row. (SEE FIGURES BELOW).
Once you have made these slits, take your memo pad and compose each of your 4 predictions beginning with the right hand, as previously mentioned. Take each prediction and fold it up so that it is small enough to slide into the slits of our envelope. You will need to keep track of which prediction is where. The method that you use for this I leave to your discretion. The one that I have is nonsensical and difficult to explain, but it works for me. I basically go from left to right and top to bottom in an ascending order of the “R’s” - RLL, RRL, RRR, RLR (The last one is the random one). As long as you know which prediction is where, you are set to go. Your
technically ready to use. I will say that I prefer the idea of using another coin envelope with slightly larger dimensions than the first to house our envelope with its index. This makes it possible for us to not only display the gimmick, but to even allow our spectator to temporarily hold onto it. To seal it, I just place a small piece of double-sided tape, or repositionable glue, over the glue strip on the flap of the envelope. This makes it possible
for me to seal and unseal the outer envelope as I please, which is great for walk around performances.
When it comes time to perform, all you need to do is ensure that the participant uses the designated first hand. Pay attention to each of their decisions and remember the order for each round. In order to obtain the appropriate prediction, you need to open the outer protective envelope of the gimmick; remove the envelope with its index and hold the side with the billets peeking out so that only you can see them. Use your thumbnail or fingernail to carefully push the billet of your choosing into the envelope, thereby loosening it from its place in the index. Now when you open the mouth of the envelope and turn it over, you can dump what seems to be all of the envelope’s contents into the hand of your participant (SEE FIGURES BELOW).
For an easy reset, just retrieve your prediction billet from your participant and fold it back along its creases. You can then slide it back into its proper slit from the outside of the envelope index, and then place the gimmicked envelope inside of the bigger one in order to seal it off and be ready for your next performance.
It is true that you do not have to use this type of performance with this gimmick. You can just use two prepared envelopes and switch them in as need be for your performance, as previously mentioned. This is a fun variation of the which hand game, during which you are essentially proving the fact that there is no need to play the game because you would have won regardless. Have fun with this.
Hearsay Effect A spectator is invited to partake in the “which hand” game; however, the performer suggests a slight variation in presentation. The performer requests that the participant adopt the persona of a perpetual liar or truth teller. They are then asked to maintain this persona throughout each round of the game, leaving the performer to not only determine whether the spectator is lying or not, but also where the coin is.
Method Those of you that are familiar with Mark Elsdon’s “Tequila Hustler” will appreciate this variation of mine. Though the routines sound similar in presentation, they are different in method. The method is based on simple logic: each round you ask the participant to answer “yes” or “no” to your inquiries about the location of the coin. We know that they will either be lying or telling the truth.
The spectator is asked to remember where the coin is in each round, while the performer remembers their answer to each inquiry. For the last round, we tell our spectator that we are going to attempt to mirror exactly what they do by placing a coin into one of our hands. We ask them one final time where the coin is, and then - during that same round - we place the coin behind our back into one of our hands. After bringing our hands back around in closed fists, we shall ask our spectator to open their hands to show us where the coin is. We can then open our hands to show that we have done just as we said we would and mirrored their selection. How is that? Because we are using a method that would work for us either way. Where we told our spectator that we would “mirror” their image, we could get by with it being in our right or our left hand.
Say their coin was in their left hand and we had placed it in our right hand. Before asking for their revelation, we turn to look at our participant face to face. This way, when we both open our hands, the coins will be right across from one another, thereby mirroring exactly what they have done. However, if the coin were in their right hand instead, with ours in the same, then we would simply turn toward our audience at large drawing attention to the fact that both coins for both persons were in the right hand. It’s all in how you choose to look at it. You could, of course, use two coins and simply have them in finger palm position inside of both of your hands. Then just open up whichever hand matches your spectators. At this point, if you have been doing what you’re supposed to do (remembering all of their answers to your questions) then you should know not only whether or not they were lying, but also where the coin was in each round. Just to be clear, if - during the last round - you ask your spectator if the coin is in their left hand and you discover that it was actually in their right hand after your mirrored revelation, then you know that they were lying. If they lied about that round, then it is evident that every answer that they gave you for each round prior would be contrary to the truth. You have the option of either revealing the result of each round verbally, or by writing it on a memo pad, which I kind of prefer. It adds something else for people to see.
If you do not wish to use the mirrored revelation, you could simply deduce the hand that they use for their first choice - the methods for which we have already discussed - and then use what you know to deduce whether or not they are lying or telling the truth. I might also suggest that you look into the effect “Ratiocination” by my friend Ben Cardall for a similar principle with which he demonstrates many possible effects.
Witchy Which Effect The spectator is given a coin and is asked to take the coin behind their back and place it into either hand. Once they have made their decision, the spectator is asked to bring both hands out in front of them in a closed fist. The performer then informs the spectator that they are going to be asked a challenge question, and based upon the hand that the coin resides in, the spectator will either tell the truth or a lie. The performer is always able to divine which hand the coin is in.
Method Those of you familiar with my work in “Omniscient” will recognize the method(s) in this one. I will briefly discuss the propless method, and then I would like to go into a bit more detail regarding a few gimmicked alternatives.
For the propless version, you begin by establishing a baseline with the spectator: ask them what their name is, where they are from, what they do, etc. Pay attention to their body language and eye movement when they answer you truthfully – this will come into play later. You will then hand the spectator a coin – it can be real or imaginary. Once they have placed it into one of their hands behind their back, they will hold their hands out in front of them, as with any other “Which Hand” routine. Here is where you inform your spectator that you are going to play a truth and lying game; you are going to ask them a series of challenge questions – much like what you would be asked when answering a security question online. Tell them that their answer to the question will be determined by the hand that holds the coin. If the coin is in their left hand, they will tell a lie; if the coin is in their right hand, they will tell the truth. Help them to remember this by saying “The Liar is Left and the Righteous is Right”. Clarity is key in this presentation; make sure you
communicate effectively with your spectator what it is that you want for them to do. You will now ask the spectator their first question; it should be worded somewhat like the following: “I would like for you to think of the name of your first pet. Can you remember it? Good. Now, in a moment, I am going to ask you to tell me that pet’s name, bear in mind, if the coin is in your left hand, you are going to lie to me and tell me a false name. If it’s in your right, you will tell me the truth. Understand? Okay. What is the name of your first pet?” Based upon the spectator’s eye movement, you should be able to determine which hand the coin is in. Let’s dissect the first challenge question so that you have a better understanding of what to be looking for. Here is the first part of your statement: “I would like for you to think of the name of your first pet. Can you remember it?” Pay attention to the direction that their eyes roll toward. For example, we will say that they moved up and to the left; this is them recalling a real memory from the recesses of their mind. This pattern of eye movement should be similar to what it was when you initially asked them their name and such. Remember that this will be different for each person. Not everyone will glance in the same direction! The second part of the question is: “What is the name of your first pet?” The spectator will take a moment to think of their appropriate answer. If they look in the same direction as before, and keep the same composure, then they are most likely telling the truth – meaning that the coin is in their right hand. If, however, they change their composure and – when thinking of their answer – look off into a different direction, then they are most likely about to tell you a lie. Lies are often accompanied by one of two things: a very calm composure – almost as if they are attempting to compensate for the anxiety building up inside of them – or an attempt to stifle
laughter. If you know that they are lying, then you can obviously inform them that the coin is in their left hand. The same process can be repeated several times in a row. I like to end by having the spectator simply think of their answer to the final question. They will exhibit the same sort of behavior as they would if they were speaking aloud.
In one of the next sections of this book, you will learn an assortment of techniques that are useful for deciphering which hand a spectator is using to conceal a coin. Combining said knowledge with your ability to decipher truth and lies should almost guarantee you correct results each time you perform this. If you are uncomfortable with this method, then you can use an impression device to accomplish the same sort of effect. Simply write the numbers 1 through 3 down the side of a page, and tell the spectator that you are going to give them three questions to record their answer to on a piece of paper. Inform them that your reason for doing this is to get them familiar with both the questions and answers you are about to ask, and to allow them to prepare their answers according to your demonstration.
After they have recorded their correct answers, you will ask them to tear off their page and wad it up into a small ball. As you ditch your impression device, you will take note of their answers to each question. This will provide you with the data necessary to determine whether or not the spectator is lying. The only differences are that A.) The paper ball will double as the coin – thereby justifying its presence, and the presence of the memo pad/impression device, and B.) this will allow you to not only know which hand the ball will be in based upon the answers you now know, but you can also tell the spectator what the correct answer is if they are lying to you. This will add an extra kicker to the end of your routine.
Constructing Your Own Impression Device There are many impression devices on the market, you can find them from almost any magic dealer. However, if you are looking for an inexpensive alternative, here is a way in which you can construct your own impression device. You will need:
Unfortunately, not every type of carbon paper will work well on memo pad paper. I have tried a couple of different types of carbon paper and have found Porelon Black Carbon Paper (#11407) to be the most effective. I have attached a link above that will take you directly to it. If you happen to know of a better kind, please share with the rest of the class.
As for the memo pad, I suggest a small vertical pad that you can find at any Walmart or office supply store, typically in packs of more than one (SEE FIGURE). I initially had been using pads with spirals that were on the side due to the fact that when you open the vertical ones there is a chance that the spectator will glimpse your impression or carbon paper. However, if you use a rubber band to secure the paper in place of the pad, it will hold the page in place and keep the page with the carbon paper on it from coming up when the page is removed by your spectator.
The construction of the pad is easy: cut out a rectangle of carbon paper that is slightly smaller than the pages in your memo pad, and open your memo pad to the dead center. Take 2 pieces of tape and apply them to the top and bottom of the side of the carbon paper that leaves the impression. The pieces of tape should hang over the edges of the carbon paper so that you can stick it to the back of one of the pages of your memo pad (Try to cover as little surface area of the carbon paper as possible with the tape; the tape is thick and can affect the quality of the impression if it gets in the way). I use a pair of scissors to shorten the page that has the carbon paper attached to it so that it allows me to easily access it after the impression has been made by your spectator.
During performance, I place 1 or 2 sheets of paper over the gimmicked page so that the impression is sure to be made regardless of how hard or soft the spectator’s penmanship. I suggest using a golf pencil or a ballpoint pen. I personally think that golf pencils are more efficient due to their portability since they slide into the spiral of the memo pad and are ready to go whenever you are.
I purposefully dog ear the bottom corner of the page I intend for my spectator to write on before approaching them for the routine. This makes it easier for me to open the memo pad to the exact page that I want, and for the spectator to remove the page without fumbling for the edge. After opening the memo pad to the desired page, I use a rubber band, or an elastic band that you can easily affix to the memo pad itself, to hold the pages in place for the spectator to write upon. Now the page will stay where it needs to be in order to get a proper impression AND you won’t have to worry about them sneaking a glimpse at anything suspicious. For cleanup, just remove the page behind the carbon paper and you’re set to go for another performance. I hope that my instructions for the construction of this pad are easy enough to follow; please message me if you have any questions.
Acidus Novus Alternative For those of you that are minimalists and prefer to use as little gimmickry as possible when performing, you could use a variation of the Acidus Novus peek. In order to take full advantage of this move, start with your billet or business card pre-folded in the proper manner for the Acidus Novus peek - which I shall assume you already know. You will proceed by writing an abbreviated version of some of the questions you wish to ask on the left side of the billet, leaving blanks spaces on the right side of the billet for your spectator to fill in (SEE FIGURES).
Pay special attention to how the questions and spaces are positioned. After your spectator is finished writing, you will take back the billet and hold it open facing them, so that only they can see it. With your head turned away, tell them to make sure that they remember their answers and focus on them, and then begin to fold the side of the billet on your left - which is where all of the
answers are written - closed. As it is coming to a close, you will have a brief opportunity to glimpse one or both of the answers in the top corner/middle (SEE FIGURES).
This is an age old method for peeking a word or more inside of a book; here we are using it to obtain partial bits of information on our billet. Complete the first fold of the billet, and then begin the second fold into fourths. Once the second fold is completed, you may now peek the information written in the bottom corner of the bill, as is tradition. The folded billet can now be handed to our spectator to be used in place of the coin, thereby justifying its presence.
You now have 2 to 3 of the answers you need. If you were unable to glimpse the second answer, there are a few options you can use to continue. You can scramble the order in which you ask the questions so that the second question, written in the middle, is asked first. From there, you can use one of the genuine methods for reading or forcing the hand that is discussed in the other sections of this book.
You can also ask a simple question, such as “Are you a dog or a cat person?”, in the second position. You can easily tell what type of animal lover a person is by the way that they present themselves. A dog person will typically come across as a more outgoing, outspoken, friendly, talkative, warm and inviting individual, whereas, cat people are more laid back, unique, and quiet individuals that tend to be the creative introverts that take a while to warm up to you.
Sometimes, you will find a person that you cannot differentiate from a cat or dog lover; their attributes will ride the line of both. These same people will typically love both cats and dogs - like myself. We gravitate toward that which is familiar to us. If you have trouble deducing which type of person they are, then simply use double speak: “You’re not a cat person, are you?” … “I didn’t think so, open your right hand.” OR “I thought so, open your left hand.”
We can be as creative as we would like to in revealing what we know about the other answers. I would suggest having them answer in their head for the last round, and then revealing exactly what it is that they are thinking of. This is a lovely option for this routine that packs small and plays big. Enjoy!
Stage Opener As an added bonus, I would like to discuss some ideas for presenting the which hand routine on stage. It is possible to use some of these methods to perform for multiple spectators at a time. However, here is a prelude that has been used by multiple performers, including myself, that works with an entire audience. This is the scripting that I use: “Good evening. I would like to start things off with a simple game that will involve everyone here, so please stand up if you are able. I am going to ask for each of you to reach into your pockets and take out a coin, or something comparable in size. Please take it behind your back and hold it between your fingers. “Are you all familiar with the “which hand” game? Where you try to guess which hand holds a coin? I am going to try this with all of you as a collective audience, but please wait before you place the coin into one of your hands, whereas, I am going to attempt to influence your decision. I will ask that you refrain from placing the coin in your pocket. Instead, you will have two choices: just go with the hand that feels RIGHT to you, and the remaining hand will be LEFT empty. Go ahead and make your decisions now and then bring your closed fists out in front of you!”
Wait for your audience to do so. “Now then, this will help me learn about the type of audience that I am dealing with. I told you that I was going to try to influence your decision making process, so naturally, many of you will seek to listen for any attempt to do so and instead do the opposite. Being that I put so much emphasis on the RIGHT hand, a lot of you probably placed it into your LEFT hand. If this was
you, then please be seated - you are eliminated! Those of you that are still standing, you may proceed by making your next choice now…”
Again, wait for everyone to be seated and for your audience to re-present their hands before you. “One of the most common moves to make at this juncture is to go with the opposite hand as the one before. However, many of you will have thought of this and instead stayed with the same hand as last time as a means to catch me off guard. If you stuck with the same hand as last time, then please be seated - you are also eliminated!” At this point, most of your audience will be seated with a few outliers remaining. You’ll notice that the elimination process is meant to weed out all of the skeptical individuals, leaving you with those that are more susceptible to standard suggestion. This will bode well for you, because those that remain standing are the ones you can choose from for an individual demonstration of this effect. You can then use any of the previously mentioned routines to continue. This scripting basically works itself out almost always in your favor. You don’t have to - nor should you want to - have the entire audience be eliminated. The goal is to have only a handful of people to choose from in the end. After these two rounds of dialogue, you should have a large portion of your audience seated with only a few that remain standing. Have fun with this; it is an opportunity to engage an entire audience in an entertaining psychological game that will help you ease them into something more personal. What that is is up to you.
Closing Thoughts Some points that I would like to highlight are to think like the spectators for which you are performing; this will help you to gain better insight to their perspective and increase the quality of the overall presentation.
Do not underestimate the simplicity of these methods. They may not sound like they would work in the real world, but I can say with confidence and experience that they do. While gimmicked alternatives are nice, they are not entirely necessary. In each round, you are dealing with a 50/50 chance, which are pretty good odds to start with. You will find that - with practice - this is actually pretty easy to perform.
Besides, what’s the worst that could happen? You fail? Good. We learn from our failures. And I know that I am not the only one that thinks that failure can often breed credibility and authenticate different aspects of your performances. As I have said before, you can’t always sink a hole-in-one or a half-court shot on the first try, so why should you expect to always be perfect during each and every routine? Ultimately our failures are the bricks that pave the way to our successes.
This concludes the methods and routining that this book has to offer, although, that does not mean that this is all they have to offer you. Our only limitations are the ones that we set for ourselves, being that the simplest of methods can provide us with some of the best of effects. Be original and be creative. Thanks again for all of your love and support. Keep your eyes out for some of my upcoming projects. God bless!
Credits ACIDUS NOVUS By Millard Longman CHAPTERS By Marc Spelmann DIGIT By DekEl FREEFORM MENTALISM By Peter Turner FREE WILL By Corbuzier/Elmwood OMNISCIENT By Thaddius PREVARICATOR by Patrick Redford RATIOCINATION By Ben Cardall SELF-WORKING MENTAL MAGIC By Karl Fulves SIXTH SENSE 2.5 by Hugo Shelley TEQUILA HUSTLER by Mark Elsdon