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Free Mind Reading Magic Tricks

Tim Arends has been a practicing magician and magic enthusiast for over 40 years.


Great Mentalism Tricks for Two People

Two-person mind reading tricks have a long and distinguished history. Julius and Agnes Zanzig were some of the most successful mentalists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin was called the "Father of Modern Magic" and was the man who inspired Houdini to become a magician. Robert-Houdin performed a two-person mind-reading act with his son Emile that was the highlight of his act.

Many magicians work with assistants. These can either be known to the audience (such as the pretty girl who gets sawn in half) or unknown (the member of the audience who is actually helping the magician). Since the magician's reputation relies partially on his assistants, he must have the utmost confidence in their ability and reliability.

While two-person mind-reading acts generally use sophisticated codes that require a great memory and hours of practice, there are mind reading magic tricks that can be done by beginners and are quite easy to perform.

All you need is the proper know-how and a trusted assistant who is willing to practice with you in advance of the next party or magic show you're planning to give. This can be a great way to bring friends, family members, husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend closer together.

Just be sure you can trust your assistant, because if their heart isn't in it or they aren't willing to practice thoroughly with you, your act will flop! You are completely dependent on the trustworthiness of your assistant.

Two Types Of Two-Person Mentalism Acts

Essentially, there are two types of two-man mind-reading acts: 1) Those in which the audience has no idea that there is someone who is signaling you - that use a secret confederate - and 2) Those in which your assistant is known to the audience and who is said to share a special "affinity" or mind reading ability with you.

On this page, Watch Divination and The X-Ray Cup fall into the first category, while The Wizard, Telephone Telepathy, and The Temple Of Knowledge fall into the second.

Generally speaking, the two types of mind reading magic tricks should not be combined with one another, for if the audience knows that you have an assistant, they will be able to surmise the fact that he or she is signaling you (however, for parties and informal gatherings, these rules are usually relaxed).

Choosing a Confederate

Another important point is that you should use care in choosing a confederate. After all, you, as the magician, are the center of attention, and you get all the glory. A confederate, in the truest sense of the word, is not even known by the audience to exist.

However, your confederate is only human and can get jealous. In order to grab a little attention for themselves, they may start telling members of the audience how your tricks are done after the performance. This kind of jealousy can attack even the closest friendships. To reduce the possibility, you should use a little psychology.

One way is to choose a confederate who is likely to be flattered that you are choosing them; for example, someone who is younger or who otherwise looks up to you.

Alternatively, you could use a confederate who gets plenty of attention elsewhere and won't mind letting you have the spotlight every once in a while.

Also, be sure to spend adequate time rehearsing these tricks with your assistant, for, while they are easy to do, they will still require practice to perform smoothly. This will also give you a chance to gauge how serious your partner is in making sure that the trick(s) are a success. If your partner isn't as committed as you, you may wish to limit your performance to only one trick or to choose a different partner altogether.

Finally, be sure to give your confederate plenty of praise after the performance. Talk about what "we did." "We really blew them away last night!"

Always treat your confederates with the respect and importance that is accorded to them. After all, they are an indispensable part of the trick.

Now with all that said, let's get on with the tricks!

Watch Divination

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You leave the room and have a watch set to any time by the audience. They lay the watch face down on the table. Yet when you return to the room, without turning over the watch you are able to announce the selected time within the hour!

What you need:

An ordinary watch (preferably analog as these are generally easier to work with), a secret confederate

How you do it:

Your confederate is the one who lays the watch down. When they do so, they make sure that the watch band (or stem--you must decide on this in advance) is pointing to the selected hour on an imaginary clock printed on the table. In other words, if the audience chose one o'clock, the watch would be laid on the table as shown.

Make sure that you and your assistant plan out beforehand as to which edge of the table should be towards you when you rehearse this trick, as the watch will appear to be pointing to a different number depending on which side you approach it from.

Also important is which end of the watch band is used as the secret "pointer." As seen in the above illustration, the band of the watch used tends to "flop" over in one direction or the other. You must agree in advance that this is the part that will point to the secret number. Also, be sure to wear the watch to the show you practiced with!

Another way to do it:

Rather than mind reading, you can pretend that you have x-ray eyes and are able to see through the watch or the table which time it is set to.

The X-Ray Cup


This trick is somewhat similar In working to the preceding one. You tell the audience that you can see through an opaque teacup. You have a member of the audience place a penny, a nickel, a dime or a quarter under an mouth-down teacup while you are out of the room. When you return, you correctly divine the value of the coin placed under the teacup.

What you need:

A teacup, an audience and a confederate.

How you do it:

The orientation of the handle of the teacup tells you the denomination of the coin. Your confederate, who covers the coin with the teacup, simply points the handle of the teacup in a direction that tells you the denomination.

If the handle is pointing away from you, it's a penny, if it is pointing to your right, it's a nickel. If it is pointing towards you, it is a dime, and if it is pointing to your left, it is a quarter. As with the previous trick, you must agree with your confederate beforehand as to which edge of the table is considered to be "towards" or "away from" you.

The Wizard


Spread out a deck of 52 cards on the table and allow someone in the audience to pick one. Tell them that you have a friend who can read minds at a distance over the telephone. You dial the phone and ask for the Wizard. You then hand the phone to a member of the audience and the Wizard announces the name of the selected card!

What you need:

A deck of cards and an accomplice at a different location who knows the trick and expects you to call him or her.

How you do it:

You cue the Wizard after you dial their number. Let's say the five of diamonds is selected. When your accomplice answers the phone, you ask for the Wizard. That is his cue, and he starts slowly counting, "Ace, two, three, four, five..." When he reaches five, break in and say "Hello, is this the Wizard?"

Now he knows that the card is a five. Next, he starts to count, "Clubs, hearts, spades, diamonds..." At diamonds, you say "Just a minute please." Now he knows it is a diamond. Hand the receiver to the audience member, and the Wizard, in a mysterious voice, will announce the name of the card.

You can take turns playing the role of the Wizard when your friend wants to impress and amaze someone himself. Needless to say, your friend should be expecting the call so that he will be sure to answer the phone at the right time.

Telephone Telepathy


You show six items on your table: a business card, a watch, a coin, a ballpoint pen, a ring, and a wallet. You have the audience select any item. You hand the audience a card with the name and the phone number of a mind reader written on it. The audience member dials the number and the person on the other end immediately announces the object that was selected.

What you need:

A set of six plain cards about the size of business cards, a black marker or felt tip pen, the items mentioned, an accomplice.


You make a separate card for each item with the same phone number on each (that of your accomplice) and the name of a phony professor. Each professor's name corresponds to one of the items. You make a list for your accomplice to post near the telephone as follows:

Business card: Professor Schuman

Watch: Professor Goldsmith

Coin: Professor Lansing

Ballpoint Pen: Professor Bridgman

Ring: Professor Williston

Wallet: Professor Farrington

How you do it:

After the audience selects one of the items, you hand them the card with the name of the phony professor corresponding to that item. When they call the number and ask for the professor by name, your accomplice consults their list to see which object corresponds to that name. They then announce in a mysterious voice the selected object.

Obviously, this trick can only be performed once per audience. As with other telephone tricks, your friend should be told in advance when you plan to do the trick, so they are sure to answer the telephone at the right time.

The Temple of Knowledge


You tell the audience that you and your assistant have mastered mental telepathy and that you will demonstrate it to the group. You leave the room and the group decides on a number. When you return to the room, you stand behind your assistant, who is seated in a chair, and place your fingers on his or her temples. You tell the audience that you need complete silence as you try to read your assistant's thoughts. Miraculously, without your assistance saying anything, you announce the selected number.

What you need:

A friend who knows the secret and who has practiced the trick with you, a chair and an audience

How you do it:

After you stand behind your assistant and tell the audience and place your fingers on his or her temples, your assistant slowly clenches his or her teeth the same number of times as the number that was chosen. This causes the muscles in the temples to contract, creating a signal that you can feel with your fingers. Dramatically announce the number that was chosen.

Note: it is best to do this trick only once or twice. If the audience asks to see more than that, tell them that you are exhausted from the strain of concentration.

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