Imagine knowing something that would normally be impossible to know. For example you might want to reveal someone’s surname, even though you never met them before. You might want to know what their best friend’s hamster is called. Whatever it is, this Prediction effect will allow you to do so. In this case we will reveal the PIN number of a person’s bank account.
You ask to borrow a pen and pencil from the subject. You confirm with them that they have a PIN number for their bank and that there is no way you could possibly know it. You write down a 4 digit number and return them the pencil. You ask them your pin number and it matches what you have written on the paper.
To perform this effect you need what is known as a ‘Swami Gimmick’. This is a small device, which looks a little like a thin flesh coloured rubber band with a pencil nib in it. You can buy them from any magic store. They are designed for secretly writing information. If you don’t want to buy a swami gimmick, you can just break a piece of lead off the end of a pencil and wedge it under one of your finger nails. Personally I don’t use a swami gimmick, I find that lead from a pencil works brilliantly.
Before you try to perform the trick; take a piece of lead, find a way to attach it to your finger, I put mine just under my nail sticking out. If you bite your nails a tiny bit of sticky tape will work to hold it in place. Practice writing with the gimmick, try to make it look as much like your handwriting as possible.
You: Have you got a pen and pencil I can borrow there?
You: Great! Now let me just get things straight... You’ve got a bank account with one of those plastic cards - is that right? You have a PIN number for the card? Is that right? You’ve kept it secret, so there is no way that I could know it... is that right?
Subject: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
You: OK, what I want you to do is hold out your hand, place it flat on the table; I just need to be holding onto your wrist for this to work.
(This is the misdirection needed for the trick. Whilst you are holding their hand, explain to them how its possible to get clues about what a person is thinking just by holding on to a part of their body. Talk about eye accessing cues using the information I gave you in the previous effect, they aren’t needed for this trick - but the more ways you can distract attention away from the real method the better!)
You: Your PIN number is 4 digits long. I want you to visualise the 1st digit. Visualise it brightly in your mind, draw the shape of the number with you mind, let it burn and image there. Keep visualising.... (allow a few seconds of silence to pass) Stop.
(You need to repeat this visualisation process for each of the 4 numbers. At this point you should pretend to write a 4 digit number down. Just move the pencil across the paper very lightly, so it makes a noise as if you are writing but doesn’t leave more than a very faint mark. Make sure the subject can’t see that you’ve not actually written anything.)
You: Right, I’ve made my prediction, take the pencil back.
(Don’t make a big deal of passing the pencil back to them. However, the mere fact that you don’t have the pencil any longer will remove any suspicion that you have another way to write with the swami gimmick!)
You: What is your PIN number?
You: So it would be pretty amazing if I got that right?
(By asking the above question, you are delaying things by just a couple of seconds - this gives you the time to write the number they have just told you on the paper with the swami gimmick (or the pencil lead stuck in your nail.) With practice you will be able to write with just one hand, so you can be waving the piece of paper around as you are writing!)
You: Take a look at this!
This is truly incredible effect. It is a very simple concept, but magicians frequently sell tricks based on this effect alone for many pounds. You can of course do it with anything! I’ve gone up to girls at clubs and bet them a kiss I can guess their second name - and it’s worked. Try it on people you’ve just met and win a drink out of it! People really are truly amazed - because they never consider the mere existence of the pencil lead!