(Investigator 94, 2004 January)

Four fake psychics pretending to have paranormal powers performed fifteen standard psychic feats for a studio audience that did not know they were being tricked.

The idea was to trick the audience and afterwards explain how the "psychic" feat was done.

This was the theme of a TV program titled "Secrets of Psychics Revealed". In Adelaide it went to air on Channel 7, November 5, at 9.30pm.

TRICK 1. An audience member chose a card from the deck of cards spread, face down, on a table and after looking at it placed the chosen card in his pocket. The psychic performer then telephoned another "psychic". After contact was made the phone was handed to the audience member and the second psychic correctly told him which card was in his pocket.

EXPLANATION: The cards were marked and therefore the studio psychic knew which card was chosen. His introductory words over the phone to the second psychic were a code that conveyed the identity of the card.

TRICK 2. Three audience members wrote numbers between 1 and 1,000 on a notepad. A fourth audience member added the numbers and wrote down the total. Another audience member then opened a previously sealed envelope and took out a paper with a number written on it. The fourth audience member then stated what total she had written down and her answer corresponded to the number taken from the envelope.

EXPLANATION: The notepad had identical front and back covers. Before the performance the psychic wrote three numbers, that would add up to the total in the envelope, on the first page of the notepad. The three audience members wrote theirs on the first page of the other side of the notepad. Before handing the fourth person the notepad the psychic flipped it over so that the person added up the numbers the psychic had written.

TRICK 3. The psychic broke a glass from a distance by mental energy.

EXPLANATION: A metal rod with a pointed tip was joined to a spring under the table. The rod, operating somewhat like a mouse trap, struck the glass from between two of the planks that composed the table-top.

TRICK 4. A spoon, held between thumb and first finger, bent and then broke in half.

EXPLANATION: The spoon was previously sawed almost all the way through. Pressure of the thumb and finger then broke it. By slowly releasing the pressure, the two halves of the spoon moved down on either side of the thumb and thus appeared to bend. With further release of pressure the two halves dropped to the floor.

TRICK 5. An audience member drew three simple pictures on card-board without the psychic seeing. The psychic, by mind power, told the audience what was drawn.

EXPLANATION: Seated behind the audience-member was an accomplice of the psychic. The accomplice had a hidden microphone and the psychic had a listening device. The accomplice merely whispered the answers.

TRICK 6. The psychic conveyed information to three clients from the spirits.

EXPLANATION: The psychic merely did a "cold reading" using a standard script that anyone could relate to like, "I see some financial concerns." All three clients heard the same words yet saw them as specific and correct.

TRICK 7. With the psychic's back turned an audience member inserted the handle of a sharp dagger into one of three slots on a table. The dagger thus pointed upwards. The audience member then placed three cardboard cups over the three slots. The psychic turned around and, after reading the person's mind, slammed his hand down and squashed the two safe cups.

EXPLANATION: The table had a mechanism such that when the dagger was inserted into the slot a small peg slid out on the psychic's side of the table and therefore he knew which cup covered the dagger.

TRICK 8. The psychic claiming to have "remote viewing" described an audience member's home.

EXPLANATION: A week earlier an accomplice identified audience members from ticket sales and visited several, and even gained entry, under the guise of asking for directions.

TRICK 9. The psychic pushed a knitting needle, or thin pointed rod, through his forearm and drew blood. The wound then healed instantaneously.

EXPLANATION: Two strips of rubber cement were previously painted on the forearm. With the forearm turned away from the audience the psychic turned a flap of skin over the rod and stuck it onto the adjacent skin. This gave a tunnel through which the rod was pushed back and forth. The rod was partly hollow and released fake blood. After the psychic withdrew the rod he separated the stuck-together skin.

TRICK 10. An audience member selected a card, and handed it to a blindfolded psychic whose hands were behind his back. Using telepathy the psychic identified the card.

EXPLANATION: The blindfold cloth had two stiff pieces of cardboard inside it so that a gap along the nose gave a line of sight down to the floor. A small mirror slid out from the sole of his shoe and in this the psychic could see the reflection of the card.

TRICK 11. A match stood up in the psychic's hand.

EXPLANATION: The match had been drilled out lengthwise and a thin nail inserted. Attached to the underside of the tabletop was a powerful magnet.

TRICK 12. Spirits of the dead made a client's ring levitate along the length of a pencil. They then wrote on a black slate a message meaningful to the client.

EXPLANATION: A fine hair was attached one end to the pencil and the other end to a crystal ball. Moving the pencil made the ring slide up or down.

While this was happening a concealed accomplice eavesdropped on the talk between the client and psychic and wrote something meaningful on a slate. Only then did the psychic produce the slates – two of them stacked together – and opened them. The accomplice's writing was at this stage concealed by a black cover. The psychic closed the slates, flipped them over so that the black cover fell down onto the lower slate. Separating the slates – after pretending to contact the spirits – exposed the writing.

TRICK 13. Using mind-power the psychic made a black steel coil glow red-hot.

EXPLANATION: The steel coil was previously painted red on one side. The psychic merely turned it slowly and showed the audience the red side.

TRICK 14. A dollar bill lying flat on the palm of the psychic folded itself.

EXPLANATION: Accomplished with a thin fishing line attached to the dollar bill zigzag fashion and running from it up the psychic's sleeve and across his back to his other hand so that the other hand folded the bill.

TRICK 15. The psychic channelled personal information to audience members from dead relatives.

EXPLANATION: Accomplices approached and grilled audience members outside the studio prior to the performance. The information was written down and the psychic selected and used the best items.


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