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Topic: Does Harlan's "My Word" actually fool laymen?
Message: Posted by: ZAM! (Jul 21, 2005 06:36PM)
Ok, so I've seen all the GREAT reviews and so forth for that trick on the Café, but when I saw him do it a few years ago at magic camp I figured it out easily. I hardly even had to think about it.

So, here are my thoughts: Have I been in magic too long and now I figure out too many tricks and therefore I can't tell what will fool laymen? Also, he only did the book test part of it, where he says each letter in the thought of word. So, is it possible that this was the older version and the newer one is harder to figure out? Furthermore, the chosen word was only 3 letters long. If they pick a longer word is it more impressive?

I am very interested in this trick but I just want to know if this will reliably fool laymen. Thanks.

Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Jul 22, 2005 04:10AM)
The answer is Yes... you've now been in magic long enough to know how effects work and can no longer see them in the eyes of spectators.
Try to remember the first effect that fooled you when you knew nothing of magic... it was probably very simple... can you now believe you were fooled by that?
I was fooled badly by the Insurance Policy when I was a kid magician... I still remember that feeling.

Message: Posted by: Anabelle (Jul 22, 2005 08:09AM)
I have this and I've done it for a few people, most don't have a clue and are impressed, but there have been a couple of people who right away asked the key question and wanted to look through the book to confirm. It might've been my fault in how I presented it those couple of times though. In my opinion this is the kind of effect that really requires a good presentation for it to be totally effective.

Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Jul 22, 2005 09:06AM)
Anabelle, here's a little touch I added that you can add too... in all the puzzles there are lots of other empty spaces so you can put words that you know from other booktests in them and pump for them... just make sure none of those words have the first letter of Harlan's sequence... so once you get a know with the first letter called out you'll know it's the other set and you can go from there.
Also, I put in a series of words that do not contain the first letter in the sequence, but all have a basic meaning or concept... in my set they were the words: graveyard, tombstone, cementary, corpse, dead, etc... now when the first letter doesn't hit I say, "Maybe it would be easier if you pictured what the word means to you." They do that and I draw a picture of a cementary plot and tombstone which visually fits all those words. Kind of like an Autome thing.
Hope that helps.
And for anyone that's really paranoid just make a color copy of the cover and paste it onto another crossword puzzle book then switch them so they can actually look in that book, but not see anything funny. Of course you should do one page that does have the words here and there.

Message: Posted by: RickDangerous (Jul 22, 2005 09:14AM)
Oh yes... I can remember how a DL just made me go crazy ;)
Message: Posted by: Joshua Quinn (Jul 22, 2005 11:13AM)
Greg, when you die, can I have your brain? ;)
Message: Posted by: Kevvy (Jul 22, 2005 03:27PM)
Excellent ideas Greg!!!

I also have this. I haven't used it in a while, but your handling is so good that I am compelled to work with it again.
Message: Posted by: Scott Kahn (Jul 22, 2005 05:23PM)
Great Idea Greg. Hope you don't mind if I try it out also.
--Scott Kahn
Message: Posted by: Juan D (Jul 22, 2005 05:23PM)
Here's an additional tip :
When I ask the spectator to open to any page I tell him to "look over the different words, and think of a rather difficult one, lets say, more than 5 letters long..."

In this way , you force the spectator to pick a word with more than 5 letters.
The puzzles can then be filled with 4 or less letters -long words than they will not pick.

They will forget about this condition and if they ask to check the magazine, they will find that every puzzle has different words that could have been selected.

It Works for me
Juan D
Message: Posted by: ZAM! (Jul 22, 2005 05:36PM)
Thanks everyone. So you seem to think that it does fool people. That is good to hear and I think I'll get it.

Also, Greg, that is a BRILLIANT idea and I can see how it could be really amazing for laymen. But just to make sure I understand, what do you mean by "pump for them"?

Also, what do you guys think of this idea: You hand the book to someone else after the word is chosen (so that the main spectator can "concentrate" on their word). Then, after you say a letter (and are successful), you ask the second person to see if all the words have that letter, and so on. And for the picture you can ask them if all the words would make the same picture. Do you guys think this is going too far?

Thanks so much!

Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Jul 22, 2005 06:58PM)
Zam, if you are using a second list as I suggested then when you get the first No you will be on the second list and not Harlan's so by "Pumping" it means you will have to work out another letter.
Pumping is another word for trying to guess the next letter.
In Harlan's sequence the first letter is "I" so you've put words on another list that don't contain an "I" so now you have to get a first letter from that list.

Quinn, take a number and stand in line. :rotf:


P.S. Anybody that likes that idea is welcomed to use it. Also, for those that own my Freestyle Booktest you can see that you can apply the same method to Harlan's book and add many more features.

Oh, and to complete the list I stated above dealing with the graveyard: Bury, death, deceased, dead and tomb
Message: Posted by: ZAM! (Jul 22, 2005 07:23PM)
Thanks for the explanation Greg.

Message: Posted by: trickiewillie (Jul 23, 2005 09:48PM)
I have a different problem with this effect. My concern is that the words are obviously printed and not handwritten. I was the chosen spectator when I saw Dan Harlan lecture, and I immediately recognized that the puzzle words were printed with a "handwriting" font and not actually filled in by hand. This, of course, instantly said there is something fake about the book.
Message: Posted by: ZAM! (Jul 23, 2005 11:05PM)
Trickiewillie, I suggest that you do a search for this trick on this Café and you will see that it has been suggested that you go over it in pen. Some details of that are also talked about on that string. :)

Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Jul 24, 2005 01:19PM)
Zam, is right. Just go over all of them with a pen of your own and do a bit of a sloppy job on some so it looks like you have really worked on them.
Also, for more realism... cross out some of the words or letters as if you made a mistake while working on them and in certain areas put either unfinished future words that are not on the list or letters here and there that show you've been working on it. Don't keep the book looking so sterile... remember it's something you've been working on so the pages should be bent here and there and you might have written in letters or words on the sides of the puzzle as you've been working on them and maybe and occassional note you put in there to remind yourself of something. It's suppose to be a real puzzle book that you've worked on... not a prop.

Message: Posted by: ZAM! (Jul 24, 2005 03:03PM)
Great subtleties, Greg! I can’t wait 'till mine comes.

Message: Posted by: trickiewillie (Jul 24, 2005 07:22PM)
Thanks ZAM and Greg.

I frequently do a search on items I'm thinking about buying, but I just didn't think about it for things I already own. But I should have thought about it considering how many great tips I find just browsing.

And Greg, I can't begin to tell you how many wonderful ideas I've gotten from you, going back at least to "Scorch" a couple of years ago.

Thanks again.
Message: Posted by: Kevvy (Sep 3, 2005 02:35PM)
Does anyone allow the spec to change their mind and go to a different puzzle once they have looked at a page?

I use the second effect alone because they have to open the book to a specific page. If I were to perform the first effect, I would have the spec name a page number and open to that page.

Also, does anyone perform the second effect immediately after the first?

The second stage is supposed to work with the same people, but I wouldn't take that risk. Since the book is in the spec's hands, they will most likely browse through it during the second effect and immediately discover how the first stage blew their minds.

By the way, you can memorize the 50 words for the second phase by making short sentences. They will sound ridiculous, but it works for me. (Read #46 thru #50 backwards) This way, you don't even have to look at the book.