Coin In Hand Mentalism

Like all good magic the secret is devilishly simple yet very difficult to figure out. I must warn you at this point though that this is not traditional magic where you have a gimmick or other method to help you succeed 100% of the time.

In this case you really are attempting to read their body language to psychologically arrive at the correct choice, and there is always a danger that you will get it wrong! I have seen Derren get this one wrong and it cost him £50 quid - though this is unusual!

That having been said, like all things in life, the more you practice the better you'll get, and it will be quite rare to get this wrong once you have established a feel for what you are doing - even though some people will deliberately try to fool you!

I highly recommend practicing this with someone you know well for a good hour or two, and you'll find that the ability just suddenly seems to kick in and you should then have no problem at all getting it right every time - even when they do try to fool you, you really can just tell!

The secret to predicting which hand the coin is in relies upon learning to recognise a very subtle piece of body language which has been known to magicians for a very long time. You have asked that when the subject brings their hands out from behind their back they concentrate really hard on the hand with the coin in. While they are doing this you are looking right at the very tip of their nose!

For some obscure and totally weird reason, the person, while concentrating on the coin and bringing their arms out, will subconsciously point their nose in the direction of the coin!

I know this sounds totally ludicrous and it is very hard to believe, but trust me, they do it!

You mustn't watch for their head pointing in the direction of the coin, their eyes, or anything else, and don't try to analyse it or think about what you've just seen - just concentrate on the tip of their nose and go with the first impression you get.

This is vitally important - you will not see the nose point at the hand with the coin in it for very long, it will be a fleeting, momentary impulse, and you will, with practice, learn to feel which way you should go. Once you have developed the knack you'll be able to do it without any problem. Confidence is probably the key requirement in this - having the courage to follow your instinct at the risk of getting it wrong and looking foolish.

Once that you have impressed your subject with your ability to read their mind, you can now really astound them by demonstrating how you have the ability to control their mind!

This is the part where you will force them to incorrectly guess which hand you have the coin in 4 times in a row. The description below is how I perform this part of the effect:

I take the coin from the subject and put my hands behind my back while I tell them what I intend to do (i.e., make them choose the wrong hand).

I also inform them that I'm going to be choosing the hand that I put the coin in based on how I believe that they think and act, and that they must try to work out which hand the coin is in, not just to guess!

Once we are all sure of what we are doing I bring out my hands but I stagger them slightly so that my left hand is pulled back towards me slightly - not totally blatantly, but just enough to make it obvious. I then ask them to pick the hand with the coin in it and 9 times out of 10 they will pick the left hand!

Me: "Why did you pick that hand"?

Them: "Well you seemed to be holding that one back so I felt like you were trying to hold something from me" or "well you seemed to be forcing your right hand towards me to make me pick it so I thought it must be in the other hand".

Me: "I knew that's what you'd think which is why, of course, I put the coin in this hand" (and I open my right hand to show them the coin).

I swiftly put both hands behind my back again before bringing them out in the same position with my left hand held slightly back towards me.

Me: "Now, having just caught you out with that one, and having explained to you how I did it, the question is have I changed hands to try and bluff you - because I know that you don't want to fall for that again and your going to pick the other hand this time, or, am I double bluffing you because you know that I know that you don't want fall for that again which is why you'll pick the same hand again? - choose!" (Yes this is designed to confuse them - it confuses me too - but really helps to add to the feeling that you are controlling their mind, because you really are having a very strange effect on it!).

Them: "erm, erm, the same hand again"

Me: "Yup, thought so." (And I open my other hand to show them the coin).

You do this another 2 times either with or without staggering you hands and then your ready for the 5th attempt where you help them to guess correctly.

But wait, I hear you say! What if they don't pick the left hand! What if they pick the hand with the coin in it!

Well, the simple truth is that they ALWAYS pick the hand with the coin in it, because when you take the coin from them and put it behind your back and explain what you're going to do, you secretly take another pound coin from your back pocket so that you now have one in each hand!

If you notice, I never show them the hand that they picked; I always draw their attention to the other hand and show them that it has a coin in it!

Although this may seem a little transparent, if you perform it casually and confidently they won't suspect it at all. They have after all just given you a pound coin and saw when you took it from them that your hands were empty, so why would they suspect that you now had a coin in each hand?

If you keep it moving fast the thought wont even enter their minds - you have after all just correctly predicted which hand they had a coin in 5 times in a row - you obviously don't need to cheat!

For the 5th guess were back to the psychological magic again, this time attempting a psychological force!

You tell them that this time you want to help them get it right instead of making them get it wrong.

You put your hands behind your back and deviously put one of the pound coins back in your pocket. Keeping your hands behind your back you explain that you want them to forget everything that you've just done with them because it has no bearing on what you are about to do, and you don't want it to effect the outcome.

You now have 2 choices of which force to use depending on which hand you're going to put the coin in. It's probably best to practice both because it might look a tad odd if you always use the same hand!

For your left hand you say: "Now I still don't want you to guess, I'm going to attempt to influence you to pick the right hand. When I bring my hands out one of them will just feel right - you won't know why, but it will - I want you to just go with your first impression and pick the hand that feels right - do it now!" - and with this you bring out your hands and he/she hopefully picks your left hand (which is of course to their right as they stand opposite you looking at you - which is why you emphasise the word right!)

For your right hand you say: "Now I still don't want you to guess, I'm going to attempt to influence you to pick the correct hand. When I bring my hands out one of them will just feel wrong - you won't know why but it will - I want you to ignore that one and just go with the one that's left. Ignore the one that feels wrong and pick the one that's left! - do it now!" - and with this you bring out your hands and he/she hopefully picks your right hand (which is of course to their left as they stand opposite you looking at you - which is why you emphasise the word left!)

Whichever hand they've picked, you can now rather slowly and dramatically turn over both hands simultaneously to show that you do indeed only have one coin in your hands, and that hopefully you have just controlled them into picking the hand with the coin in it!

It is important to practice the emphasis of the highlighted words. It needs to be enough to make the word stand out, but not so much that it is totally and utterly obvious - you don't need to shout it, just to emphasise it (and it may be that saying the words slightly softer may work better for you than saying them louder). It may well seem a little odd at first putting emphasis on a word in an unusual part of a sentence, but again you'll soon get the hang of it and you'll be able to get a fairly high success rate - its only odds of 2-1 anyway, and by this point it doesn't really matter if they pick the wrong hand. You have already impressed them by reading their minds and controlling their minds too - just blame it going wrong on them and say something like: "Some people - you know they just don't want to be helped!"

Again it's a matter of practising I'm afraid, but you'll be amazed at the results you can achieve by doing this - some performers have refined their abilities to force things using their voices alone to the degree that it's become almost their entire show!

I hope that all of that seems clear - I know it's an unusual subject, and it's really quite difficult to explain something in words alone when it's necessary to learn how to feel it. If there are any points that you feel need more clarification then please feel free to email me and I'll do my utmost to help!

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  • Pimpernel
    How can I read others mind where the coin is hidden?
    2 years ago
  • elsa
    How to do guess what hand it's in hold your hand to your head trick?
    2 years ago
    Which hand coin mentalism?
    3 years ago
  • savanna fairbairn
    How did the magician know which hand I had the coin in?
    3 years ago