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Jack Bear

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Reply with quote  #1 

Hello fellow Mentalists.

Here's something I've been working on that is just meant to be a little fun mind reading effect with a couple of coins, suitable for showing a friend in the kitchen or some such setting. It can also be performed over the phone!

Those of you familiar with 'Logic' based routines will know exactly what's going on here.

Here's a basic outline of what the effect is:

A spectator has two different coins (ie: one copper, and one silver) hidden in their clenched hands.
The performer has no idea of the whereabouts of any of the coins, which could be together in the same hand, or one in each hand, and any which way round.
The performer asks the spectator just two questions regarding the whereabouts of the coins, and these two questions are answerable with a simple 'yes' or 'no'.
The spectator has the freedom to either 'lie' or tell the 'truth' when answering both of the questions. So for example: they could lie 'twice' if they so wished.
Yet the performer can recap the situation, going over the questions that were asked and state whether or not the spectator was indeed 'lying' or telling the 'truth', and can then go on to successfully reveal the whereabouts of the coins.

I have a feeling that, even though I haven't seen this particular routine written about, or performed anywhere, something similar surely must be out there somewhere, either in a book, or some video, and as such, I believe that I have been influenced by the writings of others somewhere down the line. But hey! that's how it goes.

The following assumes that the performer and the spectator are seated at a table, or at a breakfast bar in a kitchen somewhere!

Prior to the performance, the spectator is informed that they will be playing the part of two spectators, and that their left hand will represent one spectator, and their right hand will represent the other, and that they will speak on behalf of both 'imaginary' spectators.

The procedure is as follows:

The spectator is handed two coins of different appearance, for example: A copper coin, and a silver coin.
They are then told to place the coins in their hands in any configuration they wish. They may place both coins in one hand, either the left or the right, or one coin in each hand, and any which way round, it's up to them. This is done secretly under the table so that the performer has no knowledge of the configuration.
The spectator's hands are now brought back into view and are clenched so that it is not possible to tell the whereabouts of any of the coins visually.
The spectator is informed that they will be asked two questions regarding the whereabouts of the coins.
The questions are answerable by a simple 'yes' or 'no'.
A stipulation is pointed out to them that during the asking of the first of the two questions, whichever hand the copper coin is in will become the 'lying hand', and the other hand, regardless of whether or not it contains the silver coin, will be ''the hand of truth'.
However, when answering the second question, they can choose to either lie or tell the truth, regardless of the whereabouts of the copper coin.
The spectator gets to decide which hand the performer can ask each question of.
As the hands are actually representing two different spectators then they must answer accordingly.
Because the spectator can decide which hand the performer can ask the first question of, it means they get to decide whether or not they wish to lie or speak the truth by directing the performer to the appropriate hand of their choice.
After the first question has been asked and answered, the spectator then decides which hand the second question can be asked of. The same hand can be nominated by the spectator if so wished, and at this stage, the spectator can 'Lie' regardless of the whereabouts of the 'copper' coin.
Once the second question has been answered the performer then makes a statement that determines whether or not he/she was lied to regarding the answers they were given to both the first and second questions, and immediately declares the whereabouts of both the coins.

What I especially like about this effect is the fact that at the offset, the performer can give the spectator a quick run through/demo of what the procedure will be, and during this demo, it is proven to the spectator beyond all doubt that it is impossible for the performer to have anything more than a 50/50 chance of successfully determining the 'truth' at the asking of each question, and yet can go on to be 100 percent successful for several repetitions of the performance.

For example: If at the outset the spectator has the copper coin in their left hand and the silver coin in their right hand, and they directed the first question to the left hand, and the question was: 'Is the silver coin in this hand?' (This is actually one of the two questions asked) the answer would be 'Yes' because they would lie to you due to the presence of the copper coin in that hand. Conversely, if they directed the same question to the right hand (where the silver coin is) the answer would also be 'yes', because the they will answer truthfully. So how can the performer possibly gain any information from that?

Also, if this same question is asked as the second question (which it actually is during the performance) then the performer can choose to 'lie' regardless of which hand the question was being asked of, which once again beggars the question: How can any information possibly be gained?

It would appear that the performer has only a 50/50 chance of successfully determining the 'truth' at the asking of each question, yet the performer's success rate is 100 percent every time.

Good scripting can make this little impromptu effect seem like real mind reading, and quite miraculous.

It doesn't have to be done with coins, and could be done with a couple of playing cards, and a couple of envelopes, and as I mentioned earlier, can be performed over the phone.

If anyone out there hasn't come across this particular routine before, and would like to know the secret workings of it all, then please chime in, and we can discuss it!


Jack Bear.

 

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #2 
Jack,

Welcome to TMF, and thanks for sharing your write up. Reminiscent of an old lateral thinking puzzle about two robots, one who always lies and the other who always tell the truth.

Since you enjoy mentalism with cards, who are some of your favorite creators? Have you studied any of Ben Blau's work?

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Jack Bear

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Anthony,
Yes indeed it is reminiscent of the 'Two Robots' puzzle. The way I first heard it, it was about two guards, one of which was guarding the door to the electric chair, and the other was guarding the door to freedom, and you, as the condemned prisoner, were allowed to ask one guard one question only, and with that one question you were able to set yourself free! I think 'You Can't Lie To Me And Get Away With It'! takes things another step further, and a lot more information is garnered under seemingly impossible conditions.

Ben Blau is my number one Card Mentalist, and his scripting is superb! ... I'm a like minded soul. I especially enjoy performing his effects called HOATOC, and 'Sophisthree' Great stuff!

Jack.
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #4 
If you are a fan of Liar/Truthteller puzzles (as I am) I recommend the many books of Raymond Smullyan, philosopher, logician and magician.

My favourite routine along these lines is from Jack Yates.  It involves 6 audience volunteers, one of whom is secretly holding your wallet.  Three of the volunteers are liars and three are truthful but of course you don't know who.  As the detective, you ask each of the suspects two questions.  You then eliminate the suspects one by one until only the thief is left.  What I like about this routine - aside from the high stakes for you and the comedic interplay as you question the suspects - is that the questions you ask are REALLY simple - the volunteers never have to try to figure out hypothetical questions about how others might answer.  Because with these routines, if the volunteer screws up and gives the wong answer, you are sunk.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Robin,

Where is the Jack Yates routine? It sounds very cool.

Mike
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Jack Bear

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Reply with quote  #6 
Robin,
Thanks for the pointer to Raymond Smullyan, and I shall certainly be looking into his work. Sounds good. The questions asked in my above posted routine are also really simple, and the person being questioned doesn't have to think about how another person would react either. The only thing they have to think about is are they going to lie?, or are they going to speak the truth? That's it! It really couldn't get any simpler. I think that it's the scripting that's the most important part of effects such as these. 

The questions asked are short and simple, and direct, the longest of which has only 8 words, and the other has 7. Also, none of the questions are like... 'If I asked the other .... etc, etc, ... just direct questions.

Jack.
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #7 
I learned the routine I mentioned from Karl Fulves' "Self-Working Close-Up Card Magic".   It is routine 12 in the book, titled "Pack of Lies".   As is often the case with Fulves it is not transparent how much of any routine is his and how much comes from his sources.  Regarding this one, he says "It is based on ideas of Keith Downs and Jack Yates."  I spent some time trying to find the original.

I was not able to find any information regarding Keith Downs (see edit below), but Jack Yates published quite a lot.  I discovered that one of his books was titled "Clue and Other Mysteries" which seemed like a good possibility so I tracked down a second-hand copy.  The "Clue" routine is very similar in plot to the one in the Fulves book but the method is much more convoluted - it involved a change bag and a stacked packet of cards.  However the core technique for determining the villain is related. 

Of the two versions, Fulves' is much better ... but I think Yates should get credit for originating the plot and key elements of the method.

Fulves' title "Pack of Lies" draws on his use of playing cards to determine who lies and who tells the truth, and the use of the Ace of Diamonds as the treasure held by the thief.  I guess that qualified the routine for inclusion in a book of card magic.  I think it is much better to use coloured stones to determine the roles and to give the thief something of real (or apparent) value to hide.

Neither Fulves nor Yates has much to say about presentation - they seem to prefer jumping straight to naming the villain as soon as you have the information.  I think it is much better theatre to eliminate the suspects one by one.


_________________________

Edit:  There is a British magician named Keith Downs who specializes in children's magic parties.  He may or may not be the person Fulves is referring to.
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Jack Bear

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Reply with quote  #8 
Robin,

I love reading Karl Fulves' stuff. I think Diamond Jim Tyler performed this effect ("Pack of Lies") on Brian Brushwood's YT channel. It was cool as!

Jack.
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