EFFECT: “I’ve often wondered if the future is something
that only can be sensed, or if, perhaps the future can somehow be
influenced by the Will. A few months ago, I stumbled upon an experiment
that has shaped my opinion on that very concept.”
You continue by explaining that coins were selected as the
“equipment” in the experiment, since they are easily
available, consistent from one to the next, and have a 50% – 50%
chance of being either “HEADS” or “TAILS.” You
proceed to describe the four ways a selection can be
made…”I realized that a coin can be either flipped, spun,
shaken, or deliberately turned over .”
PART 1: A wide shallow bowl (which may be opaque or clear) and a dinner
plate with a bunch of pocket change on it are introduced. The coins are
dumped out onto the table as you say, “When the idea first struck
me that it might actually be possible to affect the future, I decided
that a spinning coin would likely be one of the easiest things to
affect by the mind alone. At first I had some successes, but very minor
and, at best, statistical in nature. Then one day, I discovered the
following procedure, which I’m finding increasingly interesting
the more I try it.”
As you slide two Nickels mid table, you continue, “I’d
place two coins in front of me, just like this… one coin
‘HEADS’ up, the other coin ‘TAILS’ up.”
“Then I’d let my mind settle on one of them. (For example,
“HEADS”.) While keeping that image in my mind as best I
could, I’d take the other coin and give it a good spin inside of
a bowl… just like this.”
(The Nickel is held vertically with the first finger of one hand then flicked with the finger of the other hand.)
“If I felt the image fading at all, I’d look at the actual
coin on the table to help reinforce the visualization. I’ve found
that employing a firm and focused visualization to be a powerful aid in
helping to achieve the consistent results I’ve been able to
achieve in this experiment.”
When the coin comes to rest, it is seen to be “HEADS” up as
well. You remove the coin from the bowl and place it back as it
originally was, next to the “chosen” nickel.
You explain that, “After much experimentation, I’ve found
that Nickels seem to work best for this, as they seem to be the most
balanced of all the various coins.”
The procedure is repeated, only this time with the other coin.
You then repeat the same procedure for a third time (with either coin),
only this time, you place the plate on top of the bowl while the coin
is spinning, so as to “eliminate any physical influence that you might be unwittingly exerting.”
(Not only does this make sense as a way of “isolating” the
coin, but the drama garnered by hearing the coin spinning and then
slowly falling over is a highlight of this routine.)
When you hear the coin come to rest, the plate is removed, and again the coins match.
“So far, a coincidence at best, but still quite interesting...”
Now you ask an audience member to give it a go. Both Nickels are slid
back mid table. She is asked to let her mind settle on either the
“HEADS” up, or the “TAILS” up Nickel, and then
tell you her choice.
You ask her to concentrate on her choice, as you pick up the non-chosen Nickel, and give it a good spin in the bowl, as before.
When the plate is removed, the coins are seen to match again.
After this is repeated once more, you state some people might think
that, “somehow I’m affecting the outcome in how I spin the
coin, since I’m are aware of her selection”, so you turn
your head, ask her to think of one of them, and then cover it with her
She is then to drop the other coin on your outstretched palm, while
your head is turned, so you can’t know if it was the
“HEADS” up or the “TAILS” up coin.
She is to concentrate on her “selection” without letting
anyone else see what it is, as you spin the coin she handed you in the
bowl. Only after you spin the coin is she to say if her selection was
“HEADS” or “TAILS.”
Once more, when the plate is removed, the coins are seen to match.
Now she is to try it all on her own, without any help from you. This
time she is to be the only one who is to know what her choice is. She
is to remain silent until the Nickel that you spin in the bowl comes to
You turn your head, ask her to think of one of them, and then cover it
with her hand. As before, she is to then drop the other coin on your
outstretched palm, while your head is turned, so you can’t know
if it was the “HEADS” up or “TAILS” up coin.
When the plate is removed, the coins are seen to match yet again.
Now that it’s becoming clear that something extraordinary is
happening you state, “perhaps someone here might be thinking that
psychology may be affecting her choice of either ‘HEADS’ or ’TAILS’.”
To totally disprove this idea, you ask the person to remove the coin
from the bowl and flip it into the air, apparently removing any
possible influence over the choice of either “HEADS” or
(This is the “classic” thumb flip into the air, catching
the coin with the same hand that flipped it, which then places the coin
on the back of the other hand without looking, as in a sporting event.)
She is asked to reveal if the coin is “HEADS” or
“TAILS”. (For example, it’s “HEADS” up.)
You smile and say, “that’s what I hoped would
happen”, as you give the Nickel in front of you a spin in the
You quickly grab another Nickel from the pile of change, which you flip
into the air and catch with the same hand that flipped it. But instead
of placing it on to the back of your other hand, you slam your hand
palm down on the table, keeping the flipped Nickel concealed underneath
it, as the spinning coin comes to rest.
When the Nickel in the bowl falls over, it is seen to also be “HEADS” up.
You dramatically lift your hand from over the third Nickel, and it too is seen to have landed “HEADS” up!
PART 2: “Since we’ve just utilized the ‘spin’
and the ‘flip’, let’s try the ‘deliberate
selection’ technique, and we’ll see if we can somehow
influence the outcomes again.”
You slide a Penny, Nickel, Dime, and Quarter over to your participant.
You ask her to carefully follow the instructions you are about to give
her. She is instructed to turn one, and only one, coin over each time
you tell her to do so. She may change which coin she turns over each
time, or she may turn over the same coin repeatedly in any combination
she wishes. In other words, she has a completely free choice over which
coin she turns over and in what order the coins are chosen. You will
have her do this a number of times, so that the coins will end up in an
apparently random pattern of “HEADS” and
You then turn away, so that you can’t see what coins she is
turning over. You are seen to be “keeping track” of how
you’re trying to influence her choices using your own set of four
“invisible” coins, which you mime turning over one at a
time on the palm of your hand each time you instruct her to turn one of
her real coins over.
Obviously no one could know which coins, or even how many there are
that are either “HEADS” up or “TAILS” up. She
is then to randomly cover any one of the coins with her hand,
concealing it from view.
You turn back around and, after “comparing the state of your
invisible coins” to the ones of hers that are still visible, you
state that if all went as you willed it to, the coin under her hand is
(for example) “TAILS” up… and it is! (You repeat
this sequence several times. Each time you vary the amount of coins she
is to turn over, yet you still correctly identify whether her concealed
coin is “HEADS” up or “TAILS” up.)
PART 3: “O.K., by now I hope I’m ‘warmed up’
enough for the most difficult process to affect of
She is asked to gather up her four coins, as you demonstrate using a
few of the remaining coins, how she is to hold and then shake the coins
between her cupped hands. At your request, she is to let the coins drop
on to the table, causing some to land “HEADS” up and some
to land “TAILS” up, in what would seem to be a totally random manner.
Once the procedure is understood, an envelope is shown and placed down in full view.
“In this envelope are a couple of seemingly random outcomes that I’m going to attempt to influence.”
You then ask her, “Which would you rather start with
‘HEADS’ or ‘TAILS’?” (For example, she
You say, “O.K., we’ll work with ‘TAILS’ first and use ‘HEADS’ next time.”
She is to pick up and shake her four coins then, when you say
“now”, drop them to the table, as previously instructed.
Since she selected “TAILS”, you instruct her to keep any
coins that land “TAILS” up, and push any coins that landed
“HEADS” up off to the side. She is then to pick up only the
coins that fell “TAILS” up and do the “shake and
drop” as before, again eliminating any coins that landed
“HEADS” up. This “shake and drop” procedure is
repeated until only one coin remains “TAILS” up.
Let’s say that her remaining coin was a Quarter. You request all
present to remember the last “TAILS” up coin was a Quarter.
You seem satisfied with the outcome, so as you say, “let’s
make it a bit harder this time”, you push a bunch more coins over
to her, with which she is to repeat the previous procedure. But this
time she is to keep any coins that land “HEADS” up, and
eliminate any coins that land “TAILS” up. As before, this
is repeated until only one coin remains.
The last remaining “HEADS” up coin is seen to be a Nickel.
You open the envelope and hand her the contents to read out loud. It
reads, “The last ‘TAILS’ up coin will be a Quarter
and the last ‘HEADS’ up coin will be a Nickel.”