Going Mental is a hip new video series from Flippish.com that showcases Filipino mentalists doing their stuff. This pilot episode features Justin Pinon, aka the Mental Assassin, performing a mind trick on two doctors. How the heck did he do it? Here’s the trick, revealed.

*Be sure to watch the video first before reading the rest of the entry–it still pays to be entertained.*

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The Number 43

The number forty three was very crucial to the trick because the page has already been sent to the subject beforehand. It was not very evident at the start of the video, but I was thinking that there was some sort of subtle way of introducing the number so that this will immediately be top-of-mind. As seen from the video, the phrase for three seconds was used to suggest the number:” for three”, which is easily associated with four-three, and therefore the number forty-three.

The Page Flip

The next part of the trick involved the mentalist flipping the book to page 43, then asking the subject to look at and try to remember the first word in the page. This is actually a misdirection of sorts. Notice that he was covering the page numbers while doing so and was very intent in having the subject focus only on the word. This means the subject was only aware of the task that was given before him, creating an opportunity for more misdirection. In the first place, how do we even know that it was the correct page 43? My guess is that he was showing a different page altogether, one that was not ripped from its binding.

The Big Reveal

Knowing all these, it’s now easy to see how the trick was put together. The subjects really saw a pristine page before, and was shown a different, ripped version while hearing explanations about illusions and hypnosis. The mentalist capitalized on the ensuing confusion to continue on with the explanation, giving no quarter until the final reveal of the package. Of course, the ripped page was there.

You might also notice that the word that was very important in the earlier parts of the trick was never mentioned again. The only verification that was asked of the subject was to look and see and “make sure” if the ripped page fitted the book. Misdirection? You betcha.

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Mentalism Isn’t *That* Easy

Take note though, that although this explanation seemingly makes the trick easy, it is not. I believe perfecting the trick would involve a lot of practice on the mentalist’s part, especially on the suggestion. I did spot the trick yes, but it is a whole new ball game in terms of actually performing it.

It’s also a different issue if you’re the actual subject because things would probably go too fast for you to even notice what’s happening. I only understood the trick because I had the luxury of analyzing the video. If I was the participant then I’d probably be misdirected too.

Another question: did he really hypnotize those people? I’m not privy to the whole video but I’m guessing there was no hypnosis involved. It was just a matter of confusing the subjects to believe that the ripped page was the same one as what they saw earlier; a staple among magic tricks.

It *is* possible though to make someone see (or not see) something in their field of vision even without a hypnotic trance, but that will be the topic of a future post.

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Sidenotes:

  1. If you’re interested in mind tricks, hypnosis, and misdirection, then you might want to add the TV series The Mentalist to your DVD marathons. It’s also an entertaining way to train yourself to spot mentalist tricks in your spare time.
  2. Did you find other ways of performing the above trick? Want to share some mind trick secrets? Post it all in the comments section, I’d love to hear from you!
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