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tofu
2008-Jul-18, 03:52 PM
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/keith_barry_does_brain_magic.html

In the linked video, the guy appears to drive a car while blindfolded. Then he breaks a bottle by shaking it. Finally, he does the spike under a cup trick.

Anyone have any idea how those are done?

Gillianren
2008-Jul-18, 04:48 PM
I know that the "driving a car while blindfolded" stunt (which I believe Yuri Geller has also done) involves being careful to ensure that only one thickness of the blindfold, which is of a very loose weave, covers the eyes, even though it looks like more are.

NEOWatcher
2008-Jul-18, 05:12 PM
[Thinking out loud...]
They do make it appear like the blindfold is effective by having the other person wear it. Again, how do we know he wore it correctly.
He says that the car wasn't rigged. How do we know?
And what about transmitter with directions?
I think there may be many explainations, so it might be hard to pinpoint.
He might also just be reckless with a high insurance premium.

The second gag with the sensory thing makes me think the girl is a plant. When she is told to extend her left arm, it seems like she is intentionally trying to avoid coming in contact with Kieth.
The other guy might be a plant too. Plants are pretty common.

The bottle could be chemical?

The cup and the blindfold thing, he seems to be very careful to align the blindfold on the "victim". He might also adjust based on what the victim says. Or, collapsable spikes in some way?

Gillianren
2008-Jul-18, 05:19 PM
They could put the blindfold on the other person so that it actually worked as a blindfold, but put it on the driver so that it didn't.

LotusExcelle
2008-Jul-18, 05:20 PM
now what if he was wearing Peril Sensitive Sunglasses?

mugaliens
2008-Jul-18, 05:29 PM
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/keith_barry_does_brain_magic.html

In the linked video, the guy appears to drive a car while blindfolded. Then he breaks a bottle by shaking it. Finally, he does the spike under a cup trick.

Anyone have any idea how those are done?

Swiveling hands: When he redirects the audience's attention to the one individual (real or not) who didn't have their right thumb over their left, he swiveled his left hand 360 to the left. You can spot this by the position of his elbow.

Driving while blindfolded. Did you spot the massive camera in the rear seat? Did you spot the Bluetooth video feed to the image screen located within his blindfold?

The voodoo experiment. Good actress.

Pressure arm elevation. Good actor.

Coke bottle/"Mike" - good actress.

Cups with spike, not sure, but it's no more (and quite a bit less) substantial than any number of card tricks.

SeanF
2008-Jul-18, 06:49 PM
How is the spike-under-the-cup trick done?

Sometimes, it's done poorly (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGt1mmY94NI). :eek:

Moose
2008-Jul-18, 06:54 PM
Driving while blindfolded. Did you spot the massive camera in the rear seat? Did you spot the Bluetooth video feed to the image screen located within his blindfold?

That's possible. High tech, but possible. I suspect she'd have noticed equipment in the blindfold, though, even if it was off.

Other possibilities:

1) When he put the shroud on, he dragged down the blindfold, then replaced it when he lifted the shroud. The shroud isn't an effective blindfold.

2) She lied about the blindfolds being effective.


The voodoo experiment. Good actress.

Nope. The magician is simply messing with her expectations. Watch again and notice how when he's waving his hands near where he wants her to feel pressure, he's making noise. She thinks he touched her because she expects him to have touched her.

It's possible he has something stuck to his fingers that carry static electricity, which he's using to move her arm peach fuzz slightly. She would have felt that for certain.

Remember, she didn't know when he was supposed to have done something, nor did she indicate when she thought he'd done so.

The male volunteer is only misdirection for the audience. He's not involved in this trick.


Pressure arm elevation. Good actor.

Nope. Simple confirmation bias. If that was supposed to be an example of synchronicity, it was a poor one. The magician missed outright on his first try, I later spotted him adjust his motion after he saw it didn't match the rate of motion on the male participant. They had a complete miss when she was pointing, plus several other times where the motions didn't match in terms of timing or speed.

And yet, we tend to remember where it seemed to match, and forget where it seemed to not match.

Watch it again with this in mind. You'll see what I mean.


Coke bottle/"Mike" - good actress.

The bottle probably shattered because of chemistry. There was something colorless on the glass shard, something different and colorless on the bottom of the bottle. When they came in contact (shaking), it produced a colorless gas, probably hydrogen. The part they banged was sturdy, the part that actually gave out was much, much weaker.

It's likely the bottle was a fake magician's coke bottle, designed to fail at the center of the bottom.

There is a very strong possibility that the Mike part was a hot read meant to look like a very rapid and skillful-looking cold read. Remember, he picked her without any hesitation whatsoever. He was far choosier with the male participant. I think he had some prior knowledge of who she was.


Cups with spike, not sure, but it's no more (and quite a bit less) substantial than any number of card tricks.

He appeared to be blindfolded, but he was standing over the cups. You can see down the gap created between your cheeks and nose. James Randi routinely defeats "remote viewers" who blindfold themselves that way simply by taping down the blindfold to obstruct that gap.

The magician almost certainly had a way to visually distinguish the plate with the spike in it from the plate without the spike when he did the final swapping. He moved that cup to his far right, and kept pushing the participant's hands clear of that one.

It ultimately came down to a single decision by the participant. I have no doubt that a controlled study would show the vast majority of participants pick "left" in that situation. Something the magician knew in advance and took full advantage of.

There are plenty of other "random choices" like that which aren't at all random.

One of Uri Gellar's handful of tricks is one where he gets an audience to pick and "think of" one of the 5 psychic testing cards, then vote on which one they picked. He pretends to psychically divine that they chose the card with the wavy lines, what he calls a 1 in 5 chance.

You'll notice if you see more than one of these performances that the "psychic" always guesses the audience picks the card with the wavy lines. That's because people, when given a free choice, nearly always do. 80% of the time or more.

With playing cards, when they're not forcing a card outright, the magician will know the audience will pick the Ace of Diamonds. That's mainly because the Ace of Spades is too obvious a natural first choice.

NEOWatcher
2008-Jul-18, 07:12 PM
Sometimes, it's done poorly (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGt1mmY94NI). :eek:
Oh my...

She didn't get chocolates and flowers? I would probably aim a little higher than that as some sort of compensation.
(although; we don't know if she got compensation from someone other than the magician...insurance?)

Van Rijn
2008-Jul-18, 08:09 PM
Nope. The magician is simply messing with her expectations. Watch again and notice how when he's waving his hands near where he wants her to feel pressure, he's making noise. She thinks he touched her because she expects him to have touched her.

It's possible he has something stuck to his fingers that carry static electricity, which he's using to move her arm peach fuzz slightly. She would have felt that for certain.

Remember, she didn't know when he was supposed to have done something, nor did she indicate when she thought he'd done so.


I can't watch the video where I'm at now, but let me guess: Woman has her eyes closed, magician waves his hands near her arm, and she feels something touch her?

If so, that's a PK touch trick. I know a way to do it, it's not hard and it isn't suggestion or static electricity, but I'm not explaining it (magicians tend to get very annoyed when their tricks are explained, and I'm not taking chances).

Moose
2008-Jul-18, 09:55 PM
I can't watch the video where I'm at now, but let me guess: Woman has her eyes closed, magician waves his hands near her arm, and she feels something touch her?

Exactly right. I haven't actually seen that one done before.


If so, that's a PK touch trick. I know a way to do it, it's not hard and it isn't suggestion or static electricity, but I'm not explaining it (magicians tend to get very annoyed when their tricks are explained, and I'm not taking chances).

I hear you. I generally follow Randi's policy. Where I've figured out how a trick is done (and I mean genuinely so, rather than merely suspect), I won't give it away if it's a relatively recent trick that legit magicians are making their living from.

I have no reservations about explaining stuff that fake psychics do. Uri Gellar's tired five trick show comes to mind. Stuff that's so old and weak, it has no business being the mainstay of any legit magician, let alone abused.

In this case, the magician explicitly presented these tricks as an example of how you can be tricked through psychological means. Where I'm sure, I've tried to limit myself to explaining specific elements that have been abused by the fraudulent kind of magician, such as the blindfolds, the cold reading, and our psychological flaws.

cjl
2008-Jul-19, 03:28 AM
Nope. Simple confirmation bias. If that was supposed to be an example of synchronicity, it was a poor one. The magician missed outright on his first try, I later spotted him adjust his motion after he saw it didn't match the rate of motion on the male participant. They had a complete miss when she was pointing, plus several other times where the motions didn't match in terms of timing or speed.

And yet, we tend to remember where it seemed to match, and forget where it seemed to not match.

Watch it again with this in mind. You'll see what I mean.

Partially, and if you watch again, when the girl is pointing, watch his foot. He makes a motion with his foot when the hand starts moving - you can't see what he does, but it seems a fairly reliable indicator.

tofu
2008-Jul-20, 07:12 PM
I generally follow Randi's policy. Where I've figured out how a trick is done (and I mean genuinely so, rather than merely suspect), I won't give it away if it's a relatively recent trick that legit magicians are making their living from.

That's fine with me, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed that this was a Ted Talk. The guy started out by suggesting that he was going to make some interesting statement about how the brain works, but it was just a common magic show. meh.