We have just released the new Paranormality mind-bending magic iphone app.  It was created by the talented Sarah Angliss and my good self, and is free – just search for the word ‘Paranormality’.  Here is a video of it in action….

Can you guess how it works?  The method is sneaky because when people find out how it is done they can’t believe that it would fool anyone, forgetting that they themselves didn’t spot it first time around. If you do download it, it would be great if you could also review it in the app store.

31 comments

  1. when she said number two, the line above the spoons changed to two. it would be cooler if you could do it with out speaking out loud the number or if it could be done in another language.

    1. If I’m correct, then the lines don’t change as a result of the person stating a number, although they are vital to the trick.

  2. There could be several ways to do this, possibly:

    visually (using the build-in webcam),
    audibly (using the mic),
    or maybe just by tapping the screen the right number of times….

    But what about Android apps ? Why does nearly every app creator think that Apple has the ONLY App platform ??

    1. Yes ! And im using “apps” (applications, programs…) since 2004 on my Nokia Communicaters 9210 and 9300….

    2. @Michael I am not saying that Apple do not have a sizeable fraction of the audience, but it is none the less a much smaller fraction than Android.

  3. I got the app, and tried it as instructed.

    I must say the cue may be too prominent. Further, one would have to convince a technically inclined person that the microphone does not play a role.

    Perhaps the trick is more convincing if the performer can get the subject to push the button timely on cue. Too bad the performer needs to know no matter what 🙂

    1. I hate to say it, but I agree. I installed the app without realizing what it was meant to do but noticed the scratches changing right away while looking at the spoons. Once I had noticed the scratches, i was able to figure out what the app did. For this to be a good trick the scratches need to be much less obvious.

  4. Yeah, as the other poster mentioned, whenever tech like this is involved, people always assume that the trick is far more elaborate than it is. Just tried it on my wife, and the first thing she said after was “so it uses voice recognition”. Despite the fact that I spoke so sloppily and there was so much BG noise that it would require VR tech way beyond any consumer device.

  5. Reminds me of Barry and Stuart’s YouTube trick a few years ago. If this one works the same way, then the people claiming it uses voice recognition are wrong.
    That assumption is easy to get rid of, by the way — just ask the subject to hold up one, two or three fingers instead of saying the number out loud.

    1. Looking at it again, it’s similar but doesn’t work the same way. Nice trick, though.

  6. I spotted the method on second viewing, I don’t have an smartphone so I’ll have to use real spoon,any tips?

    1. channel 4 have blocked this in the UK, they want us to watch the whole episode and twenty ads for hair gel.
      I seem to remember Uri claiming to have been attacked by a drawer full of spoons, and although he is a consummate bender of the truth, I believed every word.

  7. People are making the classic mistake of assuming the spectator will see the scratches straight away. Performers of magic nine times out of ten will know what to look out for, the public won’t. As with all tricks it’as about perfect presentation. And if your spectator thinks it’s the mic, ask them to write the number down…

    1. I agree up to a point.

      But Brian stated above he saw the scratches right away. And we do notice sudden color changes and movement quite easily. The presentation area is rather small, with little angle for distraction.

  8. I wouldn’t have gotten it if the first person hadn’t mentioned the scratches, but with that hint it took me about 3 minutes to get it. Though the other commenters seem right, too – people will automatically think it’s voice controlled.

  9. @Michael Sternberg The author of the article you cite finishes with “Just to be clear … my experience with Android has been overwhelmingly positive, and I have every intention of continuing to support the platform”. There are certainly some issues with Android Market, just as there are with the Apple closed eco-system. You say that coding for iOS is “comfortable and portable”. Comfortable? Objective C may be comfortable in the same way a pair of pants made from broken glass and scorpions would be comfortable. Android enjoys a greater smartphone market share than iOS so it would be folly for serious developers to ignore it.

  10. What I do not understand is the presence of the scratches. There is a VERY, VERY easy way to do this trick (without any change at all in the screen) and without using sound or any of the other methods hinted here.

  11. I think that it is an interesting result in itself if some people immediately try to work out how it is done. As a researcher of deception, I would be interested in what proportion of people tried to work out how it was done as against the proportion that did not. A further variable to investigate would be how many people believed that they were psychic – before and after trying the app.

  12. Then you really don�t want to miss the boat. The reason most people do miss the boat is because, they believe the myth that it is just WAY too challenging to start and requires too much money and too much programming knowledge. Well, I am here to finally put that notion to rest!

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