ESP Routines

Routines based on extra-sensory perception can be lots of fun. They’re a great way to keep things lighthearted and amusing while demonstrating value. The key is to have fun with them, and never take them too seriously.

One of the simplest ESP tricks is to simply say. “Okay, think of a number from one to four.” You lead the target towards saying “three” by spacing out the key words: “Think of a number from one … two … “ snap your fingers here, “… four.” Very few people won’t say “three” here because their brains try to complete the sequence.

(This sort of leading is much more effective than just relying on the tendency of people to pick 3 and 7 when asked to guess a number.)

Another fun trick involves getting your target to write down something on a piece of paper, which you then “read” despite it being closed. One fun one with a small group is to have everyone right down a number on a blank, identical scrap of paper, then fold it in half. You then go around the circle, guessing everyone’s number.

The trick to this one is simple: you guess a number, read a paper, guess a number, read a paper … but you read every paper before you guess that number. Pulling this sort of trick off requires enough slight of hand to switch papers without being seen. Lots of examples of this sort of trick can be found in “Practical Mental Magic,” by Theodore Anneman.

Another fun one is to set up a girl by saying, “Okay, I can read your mind. Think of a number between one and ten. Now multiply it by nine. Now add the digits together, and subtract five.” (If she struggles with the math, tease her). “Okay, now pick a country that begins with that letter of the alphabet – for example, if your number is two, you might pick Boliva, because B is the second letter of the alphabet.” (If she struggles to come up with a country, tease her about her sense of geography). “Okay now. pick an animal which has a name which begins with the last letter of that country’s name. Lastly, think of a color that begins with the last letter of the animals name.”

Once she’s done all this, turn to her and say, “You’re thinking of an orange kangaroo from Denmark.” You can then tease her because Kangaroos aren’t orange, and they don’t come from Denmark.

(This one works because the math always comes out to four, and there just aren’t that many countries that have a name beginning with D. Maybe don’t try this on someone from the Dominican Republic, however).

One thing to remember is that if your ESP routine doesn’t work, you can still laugh it off. “Oh, see, that just goes to show there’s no such thing as ESP.”

A couple of caveats, however. It’s important to avoid “dancing monkey syndrome” – where you’re just performing tricks to entertain her set. Do one of these tricks, at most, per set. And never do one of these tricks a second time – they’ll figure it out very quickly.

And have fun with it!

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