2 Memory Card Tricks

memory card trick

Here are 2 amazing memory tricks you can perform on stage, at parties or for friends. All you need is a deck of cards. The technique can also be used to win card games.

The method is based on the Peg System. If you are not familiar please take some time to learn it then come back to this post.

Card Pegs

Each playing card has a peg which is a word which represents the card. For cards Ace to 10 the peg is a word which begins with the card suit and ends with a consonant sound which represents a number in the phonetic alphabet. eg. 2 of Clubs begins with the letter C for clubs and ends with the N sound which represents 2. You could use cone, coin, can, etc, we’ve used can. For Jacks, the suit is used eg. club, heart etc. For Kings and Queens the peg word is a word which begins with the suit letter and rhymes with the card itself eg. Queen of Diamonds – dream. See the table below for a complete list of pegs.

AC - catAH - hatAS - suitAD - date
2C - can2H - hen2S - sun2D - dune
3C - comb3H - hem3S - sum3D - dam
4C - core4H - hare4S - sore4D - door
5C - coal5H - hail5S - sail5D - doll
6C - cash6H - hash6S - sash6D - dash
7C - cock7H - hog7S - sock7D - dock
8C - cuff8H - hoot8S - safe8D - dive
9C - cap9H - hub9S - soap9D - deb
10C - case10H - hose10S - suds10D - dose
JC - clubJH - heartJS - spadeJD - diamond
QC - creamQH - queenQS - steamQD - dream
KC - kingKH - hingeKS - singKD - drink

Memorize Pegs

For each peg choose a clear and distinctive image in your mind. Make sure none of the images are the same as any image you have for numbers 1-52 as there are 52 cards in the deck as you need to peg them to the card images and don’t want any confusion. Now take some time to learn them.

Trick 1: Memorize a deck of cards in order

Get someone to read the cards out or show them to you. To memorize them in order peg the card image to the number image. Try and make the resulting image as unusual or strange as possible so it sticks in your mind. eg. if the first card is the 5 of Spades you should peg 5 of Spades (Sail) to the number 1 (Tie). For instance imagine a boat that instead of a sail has a giant tie!

If the second card is the 8 of Diamonds peg the image for 8 of Diamonds (dive) to the image for the number 2 (Noah). You could imagine Noah diving into a swimming pool.

To do this have the number peg word in your mind before the card is called. As soon as the card is called make the association in your mind. When you have memorized the deck you can recall them in order of have someone call a number and you can tell them the card in that position.

Trick 2: Identify missing cards

Another trick is to have someone remove a card or cards from the deck and you can identify the missing card/s. To do this when the card is read out picture the image in your mind then spoil it. For example if the 4 of Hearts is called picture a hare with no ears. If its the King of Diamonds imagine a spilled drink. Just picture the image for a second and that should be enough.

Once all the cards have been called out run through the whole deck in your mind and the images which are not spoilt are the missing numbers. Go through the suits in the same order each time and with practice you will be able to do it quickly.

Good luck learning these amazing tricks and if you win big in Vegas card counting don’t forget where you got the idea 😉

Credit: Harry Lorayne

Mentalist Memory Techniques: Peg System – Excercises

Pegs for Peg System

To begin using the peg system you will need to learn some memory pegs and start practicing it. It’s not rocket science but you have to take some time to learn it. Here are a few exercises to get you going.

Phonetic alphabet for numbers 0-9

0 – Z or S – first sound of the word zero
1 – D or T – letters have 1 downstroke
2 – N – 2 downstrokes
3 – M – 3 downstrokes
4 – R – final sound of word ‘four’
5 – L – Roman numeral for 50 is L
6 – g, ch, sh, soft g. g is 6 rotated 180°
7 – K, hard-ch, hard-c, hard-g. K looks like 2 7s
8 – F, V – f written out in joined up handwriting looks like an 8
9 – P, b – P turned around looks like a 9

Exercise 1

Write down the following words as numbers: climb, butler, chandelier, sounds, bracelet, hypnotize

Excercise 2

Write these numbers as their corresponding letters: 6124, 8903, 2394, 0567, 1109, 8374

Pegs for numbers 1-10

1. Tie
2. Noah
3. Ma
4. Rye
5. Law
6. Shoe
7. Cow
8. Ivy
9. Bees
10. Toes

Exercise 3

Peg the numbers to the following objects using the technique below.

9 — purse
6 — cigarette
4 — ashtray
7 — salt-shaker
3 — lamp
5 — typewriter
2 — TV set
8 — wrist watch
1 — fountain pen
10 — telephone

Here’s the technique:

  • 9 (bee) — purse. Make a ridiculous and/or illogical association of the peg word for 9, which is “bee,” and purse. You might see yourself opening a purse and a swarm of bees fly out of it, stinging you. Just “see” the picture for a moment, then go to the next one.
  • 6 (shoe) — cigarette. You can see yourself smoking a shoe instead of a cigarette, see millions of cigarettes falling out of a shoe, or you can see yourself wearing gigantic cigarettes instead of shoes.
  • 4 (rye) — ashtray. You might see yourself dropping ashes into a scooped out loaf of rye bread instead of an ashtray, or, you’re buttering an ashtray instead of a slice of rye bread. The first illogical picture that comes to mind is usually the best, because that is the one that will come to mind later on.
  • 7 (cow) – salt-shaker. Picture yourself milking a cow, but the cow has salt-shakers instead of udders. Or, see saltshakers coming out instead of milk.
  • 3 (ma) – lamp.  Picture your mother wearing a gigantic lamp for a hat. See the lamp going on and off.
  • 5 (law) – typewriter. You might “see” a policeman putting handcuffs on a typewriter, or you can see a typewriter walking the beat, swinging a club, like a cop.
  • 2 (Noah) – television set. Picture Noah sailing on a television set instead of an ark.
  • 8 (ivy) – wrist watch. You can see millions of wrist watches growing all over the side of your house, instead of ivy; or, you can see yourself wearing ivy on your wrist instead of a watch.
  • 1 (tie) – fountain pen. Picture yourself wearing a gigantic fountain pen instead of a tie, or see yourself writing with your tie, instead of a fountain pen.
  • 10 (toes) – telephone. See yourself dialing with your toes, or, you pick up the telephone, but it turns out that you’re holding your toes. (Probably talking to a heel.)

Now without looking write down the numbers with the associated objects: purse, cigarette, ashtray, salt-shaker, lamp, typewriter, TV set, wrist watch, fountain pen, telephone.

Exercise 4

Remember a list of errands: wash the car, going to the bank, send an important email, see the dentist, pick up the umbrella that you forgot at a friend’s house, buy some perfume, call the television repairman, stop at the hardware store, go to the bookstore and have your watch repaired.

car to (#1)
bank to Noah (#2)
email to ma (#3)
dentist to rye (#4)
umbrella to law (#5)
perfume to shoe (#6)
television to cow (#7)
hardware to ivy (#8)
book to bee (#9)
watch to toes (#10)

I hope you found these exercises useful. If you have any questions please dont hesitate to send a message via the contact form.

Credit:How to Develop A SUPER-POWER MEMORY by Harry Lorayne

It’s Like Having A Superpower


Here is a technique to explode the power of your memory. You will not believe how simple it is. Learn and apply it you won’t believe the results. Use this technique to memorise routines, anecdotes, jokes and to perform amazing feats of memory.

So what’s the technique? It involves using Key Words. A Key Word is a single word or phrase which sums up a thought. Look at the method for remembering a speech below and all will become clear.

The Key Word technique is used with the Link System and the Peg System. If you are not familiar with those techniques read up on them here > Link System : Peg System

Great, you’re now familiar with the Link and Peg System, let’s dive in!

How to Remember a Speech

  • Write out the speech in full.
  • Run through the speech a few times to get the gist of it.
  • Get a piece of paper and write down Key Words for each thought in the speech. A Key Word can be a single word or a short phrase. There should be a word or phrase in each sentence or paragraph which brings to mind the whole thought. That is the Key Word you need to write down.
  • Write down the full list of Key Words, one for each thought.
  • If you want to and its possible use the list of Key Words when giving the speech.
  • If you need to recall the speech from memory you need to memorise the Key Words using the link system. Using the link system you visually link together the Key Words, the first with the second, the second with the third etc.

At first you may need a number of words for each thought. Use as many as you need, once you gain confidence with the technique you will only need one keyword for each thought. Focus on the thoughts and the words will take care of themselves.

If you need to remember the speech word for word use the same technique. However you will need to go over the speech and Key Words more times.

Remember Scripts, Jokes, Stories and Anecdotes

The same system of linking Key Words can be used for remembering scripts. In this case
it is usually necessary to memorize them word for word. You will have to go over them more often, but the Key Word idea will make it much easier for you.

You can also apply the technique for jokes, stories and anecdotes. Just take one word from the story, a word from the punch line is usually best, that will bring the entire joke to mind. When you get your Key Words, you can either link them to each other to remember all the stories in sequence, or use the Peg System to remember them by number.

Amazing Feat Of Memory

You can also use the Key Word technique to perform feats of memory for an audience. A great trick to perform is memorising a magazine. To do this you will need to combine the Key Word technique with the Peg System.

  • Memorise what’s on each page go through the magasine before the show. To do this get a Key Word from each page then associate it to the peg for the page number.
  • Give out copies of a magazine to the audience and ask them to call out page numbers. You can tell them what’s on each page, for instance if its an article about a footballers wife you would say that, if its an advert for bingo you would say that.

True Memory

These techniques are systems for assisting true memory. As you use the systems you’ll find your true memory getting stronger. The best example of this is in memorising a magazine. To make the associations in the first place, you must really see and observe the picture on the page. Because of this, when any page number is called, the peg word for that number acts as an aid so you can almost reproduce the entire page in your mind’s eye. You will know on what part of the page the picture is located. Prove this to yourself – give it a try!

I hope you found this article useful. If you haven’t already don’t forget to subscribe to the free mentalism course. Best wishes.

Credit: Super Power Memory, Harry Lorrayne

What Are You Not Seeing?

girl observation

“What one has never properly realized, one cannot properly be said to remember either.” Eustace H. Miles

Most people go around in a daydream like state not really paying attention to what’s going on around them. You don’t have to be like that. Here are 4 exercises to improve your powers of observation today.

Exercise 1: Remember Items in a Room

  • If you are in a familiar room right now take a piece of paper, and without looking around, list everything in the room. Write down everything you can think of, describe the entire room in detail. List every piece of furniture, electricals, pictures, decorations.
  • Now, look around the room and check your list. Notice all the things you did not put down on your list, or never really observed, although you see them all the time.
  • Now take a closer look round. Step out of the room and test yourself once more. Your list should now be longer.
  • Try the same thing with other rooms in your home. If you keep practicing, your observation will become keener.

Exercise 2: Remember a Friend’s Face

  • Think of someone you know very well. Picture his or her face and see if you can describe the face on paper. List everything you can remember. Go into detail: list hair and eye colour, complexion, outstanding features, whether or not they wear glasses, what type of glasses, type of nose, ears, eyes, mouth, forehead, approximate height and weight etc.
  • The next time you see this person, check. Note the things you didn’t observe and those you observed incorrectly. Then try it again! You will rapidly improve.

Exercise 3: Remember a Stranger’s Face

  • A good way to practice this is on the bus or train. Choose someone and look at them for a moment, close your eyes and try to mentally describe every detail of this person’s face. Pretend that you are a witness at a criminal investigation, and your description is of utmost importance.
  • Look at the person again and check. You’ll find your observation improving each time you try it.

Exercise 4: The Shop Window

  • One last suggestion: Look at any shop window display and try to observe everything in it.
  • List all the items without looking at the display and go back to check. Note the items you left out and try it again.
  • When you think you’ve become proficient at it, try remembering the prices of the items as well.

Credit: Harry Lorayne, How to Develop A SUPER-POWER MEMORY. To download the ebook go to the books page.

Well done if you got it, the girl in the image has an extra finger :)

How To Remember Anyone’s Name

remember names

A persons name is the single sweetest sound they can hear, yet many people struggle to remember names. Have you ever been in the situation when you couldn’t recall someone’s name, even after you had met them a number of times? I bet it was embarrassing….

As a performer, remembering names can give a more polished edge to your performance, and if you are speaking with people after the show they will be impressed if you can recall their names :)

Below are some easy things you can do to remember names followed by a KILLER system. Use this system and remember everyone and anyone’s name.

Do You Do This?

There are some simple things you can do to boost your ability to remember names by 50% with little effort:

  • Take an interest in the persons name when you hear it.
  • If you have not heard the name or are not 100% sure what the name is ask the person to repeat it.
  • If you are not sure of the pronunciation ask the person to spell it or try to spell it out yourself. If you make a habit of spelling out people’s names when you meet them you will soon know the common spellings of many names. If its an unusual name or one you have not heard before don’t be afraid to say so.
  • Use the persons name when you are speaking with them. Don’t overdo it but where it feels natural say the persons name, for instance when saying goodbye.

The System (To Remember Names)

Use this system to remember everyones name in a room and remember that persons name the next time you see them. The system is based on creating an image for someones name in your mind then associating it with a facial feature.

Step 1: Create An Image

First we’ll look at surnames. Surnames can be separated into two categories, names with meaning, and names with no meaning.

  • Surnames with meaning: Cook, Carpenter, Fox, Baker, King, etc….
  • Surames with no meaning: Mooney, Littman, Carson, Linkfeld, etc….

Some surnames have no meaning but will suggest a picture in your mind. eg. Lincoln would suggest a picture
of Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Jordan might suggest a picture of the River Jordan.

This gives us a total of 3 categories: names that have a meaning, those that have no meaning but suggest something and names that have no meaning and do not suggest a picture.

For names with no meaning and which don’t suggest a picture you must make it mean something. eg  If
you meet a Mr. Freedman,  picture a man being fried. Fried man—Freedman. If the name were Freeman, You might want to picture a man escaping from prison, he’s a free man.

The key thing to remember when thinking up an image is to make it silly. The more ridiculous, the easier it is to associate the image with the face. Also, giving the image movement makes it easier to remember.

After meeting a lot of new people, and using the systems, you will find that you’ll have certain pictures or thoughts
for names that you come across very often. eg. for Cohen or Cohn you might picture an ice cream cone, for Smith you might see a blacksmith’s hammer.

Step 2: Associate the Image with a Facial Feature

Whenever you meet someone new, look at his face and try to find one outstanding feature. eg. small eyes, thick lips, high forehead, a long nose. To remember their name, associate the image you have for their name with the outstanding feature. So for example for a Mr Fox with a large forehead picture a fox running round his forehead :)

First Names

The system works the same for first names. Substitute words for first names are easy to find. For instance Harry could be hairy, Jenny could be a Spinning Jenny, Pete could be a peat turf. If you use the substitute word idea for remembering first names, after a while you will have one ready for everyone you meet.

Review Names

Each time you look at a person, their name should pop into your mind which helps strengthen the memory. If the name doesn’t come to mind, ask for the name again, or ask someone else to give it to you. Then strengthen your original association.

Writing names down and reviewing them can help you remember. Use the systems when you meet people people then at the end of the day, think of each new person you’ve met and as the name comes to mind note it down. The next day go over this list of names. As you look at each one, a picture of the person’s face will come to mind. Just picture the person for a moment, and see your original association of the name to face. Do the same thing a few days later, a week later, and so on until the faces and names are permanently memorised.

Alternative Method

An alternative method for remembering first names is to picture a person you already know with that name . If you meet a Mr. Jim Holden, you could use the substitute word holding to associate to an outstanding feature; then put your friend, Jim, into the picture (in a ridiculous way) and you’ll remember that Mr. Holden’s first name is Jim.

Now you have a system to remember anyones name. It may take a little effort at first but these methods alone can convince people you have a photographic memory, give it a try!

Credit: H. Lorayne. If you find these ideas interesting take a look at the ebooks available on this website for only $7.

Mentalist Memory Techniques: Major System

Memorising Major System

The major system is one of the most powerful memory systems available. It is used to remember numbers and those who know this system can perform seemingly superhuman memory feats.

This is pt 3. of the mentalist memory techniques series. This post shows you the fundamentals of the major system and allow you to begin to harness some of its power.

The major system works by converting numbers into words, the words into images then linking the images together. The building blocks of the major system begin with converting numbers 0-9 into sounds as follows:

The System

0 – Z or S – first sound of the word zero
1 – D or T – letters have 1 downstroke
2 – N – 2 downstrokes
3 – M – 3 downstrokes
4 – R – final sound of word ‘four’
5 – L – Roman numeral for 50 is L
6 – g, ch, sh, soft g. g is 6 rotated 180°
7 – K, hard-ch, hard-c, hard-g. K looks like 2 7s
8 – F, V – f written out in joined up handwriting looks like an 8
9 – P, b – P turned around looks like a 9

Knowing these building blocks is essential. Take some time now to go through the list and memorise the sounds that correspond to each number, it will take you about 15 minutes. Once you have practised with them a little you will know them for life.

Create Images

Now you know which sounds correspond to which numbers you can begin to unlock the amazing major system. To remember the number you need to make a word which you can turn into an image containing the corresponding sound. For instance:

0 – Saw
1 – Tie
2 – Noah
3 – Ma
4 – Rye
5 – Law
6 – Shoe
7 – Cow
8 – Ivy
9 – Bee

You could use these items or choose your own. The best items are those which are distinctive. If they make an impression on more than 1 sense ie. items with distinctive taste/ smell/ sound that’s good as is association with an action.

Get More Advanced

Now you get the idea you can move on to combinations of 2 numbers. You can make images up on the fly if you like for instance 15 could be TAIL, TOWEL, TILL. 20 could be NOSE, NOOSE, NAZ.

If you want to learn advanced memory techniques the best thing to do is memorise an image for numbers 0-100. Here is an example list. Feel free to use it or make up your own.

0. Sow       20. Nose     40. Rose     60. Cheese   80. Fez      00. S.O.S.   
1. Hat       21. Net      41. Road     61. Sheet    81. Fat      01. Seed     
2. Hen       22. Nun      42. Rain     62. Chain    82. Fan      02. Sun      
3. Ham       23. Nemo     43. Room     63. Jam      83. Foam     03. Sam      
4. Row       24. Nero     44. Aurora   64. Cherry   84. Fire     04. Zero     
5. Hill      25. Nail     45. Rail     65. Jello    85. File     05. Seal     
6. Shoe      26. Notch    46. Rash     66. Judge    86. Fish     06. Sash     
7. Cow       27. Neck     47. Rock     67. Chalk    87. Fog      07. Sack     
8. Ivy       28. Knife    48. Roof     68. Chef     88. Fife     08. Sofa     
9. Bee       29. Knob     49. Rope     69. Ship     89. Fib      09. Sepia    
10. Toes     30. Mouse    50. Lace     70. Gas      90. Bus                   
11. Dad      31. Mat      51. Loot     71. Cat      91. Bat                   
12. Dune     32. Moon     52. Lion     72. Can      92. Pen                   
13. Dime     33. Mummy    53. Lime     73. Comb     93. Opium                 
14. Tire     34. Mower    54. Lure     74. Car      94. Bear                  
15. Doll     35. Mule     55. Lily     75. Coal     95. Bell                  
16. Tissue   36. Match    56. Leech    76. Cage     96. Bush                  
17. Duck     37. Mug      57. Log      77. Coke     97. Book                  
18. Dove     38. Movie    58. Lava     78. Cave     98. Beef                  
19. Tape     39. Map      59. Lip      79. Cape     99. Pipe

Source: http://litemind.com/major-system/

With a key like this you will be able to perform amazing feats of memory very quickly. You can of course have items which correspond to longer sequences of numbers. Try making up items for 3 number sequences eg. 142 = TRAIN, 752 = CLOWN, 305 = MISSILE

After learning what is taught in this post you have the tools to begin harnessing the power of the major system. You can use the peg system to link images. Further methods of practical applications will be discussed in this series very soon.

Mentalist Memory Techniques: Peg System

This is pt 2. of the current mnemonics series. The peg system allows you to remember things by linking them to ‘pegs’ in your mind. The ‘pegs’ are items you have already memorised which are themselves linked to numbers.

The beauty of the peg system is that once you have memorised the pegs once, that’s it. You can then use them whenever you like. In this article we will look at a simple peg system which you can learn in 10 minutes. I found this video which neatly explains a peg system which allows you to quickly memorise a 10 item list.

In the video the guy uses pegs which rhyme with the numbers so they are easy to remember. He also uses clear images to help the girl remember them. The following pegs are used:

  1. Bun
  2. Shoe
  3. Tree
  4. Door
  5. Hive
  6. Sticks
  7. Heavan
  8. Gate
  9. Line
  10. Hen

Why not use the same pegs? Use the visualisation methods described in the video to remember them.

To link the pegs to the items on a list you must create an image. The image should link the 2 items together and be unusual. Again the guy does a great job in doing this.

Once you have memorised the pegs practise by making a list of 10 items and linking them to the pegs. Then practise with friends and an attractive girl if you can find one! You should be able to recall the items in any order :)

Mentalist Memory Techniques: Link Method

mentalism techniques: link method

If you are serious about becoming a mentalist you need to get your memory in shape. This article shows you the link method which is essential to know for many mentalism tricks. This is pt 1 in a series of posts on mnemonics. Learn this technique then move on :)

Link Method

Using the link method you can take a list of items and remember them in order in next to no time. The more you practise, the better you get :) In this exercise we take 20 items and memorise them in order. Try doing that without using a memory technique – impossible. You could try with part of this list if you like or go for the whole 20 if you want the practise.

The link method is based on creating vivid images in the minds eye. The weirder the images are, the easier they are to remember. Here are some other tips on creating mental images that are easy to remember:

  1. Picture the items out of proportion
  2. Give the image action
  3. Exaggerate the amount of items
  4. Substitute the item

The objects are:

carpet, paper, bottle, bed, fish, chair, window, mobile phone, cigarette, nail, keyboard, shoe, microphone, pen, TV, plate, donut, car, coffee pot, and brick.

Firstly, get a picture of some carpet in your minds eye. Make it some carpet that is familiar to you for example the carpet in your hallway.

Now we are going to link the carpet to the next item, the paper, in an image. Try to make the image as strange as possible. For instance you could picture the carpet in your hall made from paper. See yourself walking on it, hear it loudly crinkle under foot. You could also picture yourself writing on a piece of carpet, feel the frustration as its virtually impossible to write on!

You may need to close your eyes at first to get a clear image in your mind. Once you have the picture clearly in your mind forget it and move on.

You have now put the previous image completely out of your mind. The next 2 items to link are paper and bottle. Again, make a ridiculous image linking them. For example you could picture yourself reading a huge bottle instead of a paper or writing on a huge bottle. You could picture a bottle pouring out paper or a bottle made of paper. As soon as an image comes to mind picture it vividly then move on.

Next link bottle and bed. Picture yourself lying in a huge bottle or taking a drink from a bed :) Get the image clearly then put it out of your mind and move on.

Bed and fish. See a giant fish sleeping in your bed :)

Fish and chair: You are out fishing but instead of fish there are chairs swimming round.

Chair and window: See yourself sitting on a pin of glass or violently throwing chairs through a glass window.

Window and mobile phone: Your mobile phone is a huge window, how are you going to fit that in your pocket?!

Mobile phone and cigarette: You are smoking your mobile phone or you’re holding a massive cigarette to your ear and speaking into it as if it were a phone.

Cigarette and nail: You are hammering a lit cigarette into the wall

Nail and keyboard: You are hammering a big nail through a keyboard or all your keys have been replaced by big nails!

Keyboard and shoe: See yourself wearing keyboards instead of shoes or typing on shoes.

Shoe and microphone: Your the singer in a rock band, the microphone has been replaced by a shoe.

Microphone and pen: Your writing with a microphone or talking into a giant pen.

Pen and TV: See a million pens streaming out of your TV!

TV and plate: See yourself eating off a flatscreen TV instead of a plate.

Plate and donut: See yourself biting into a donut but as you bite it it cracks and you realise its a plate!

Donut and car: There’s a big donut driving down the street in a car.

Car and coffee pot: You are driving a giant coffee pot down the street :)

Coffee pot and brick: See yourself pouring a mug of coffee from a brick.

That’s it! Its quite a long list but if you have pictured the images vividly you should be able to remember them no problem. Give it a try. For some people, thinking of crazy images is a bit harder than for others but using the tips should help.

Get practising the link method with other lists. See if you can remember a list of items your friends give you. This is an important method. We will move on to other cool memory techniques and practical applications for mentalists in the next in the series.

Mentalism Effect: Memory Test

Mentalism Memory Test

Mnemonics or memory systems are a key component of mentalism. Here we take a look at a simple memory test which will amaze your audience!

The effect is to have members of the audience call out 15-20 things and for you to recall them in any order. While some people are familiar with memory systems the effect is still impressive and is used by many mentalists. Give it a try with friends, it is relatively easy to learn and you may be pleasantly surprised :)

There are several memory systems you can use to accomplish this mentalism effect. In this article we look at 1 tried and tested method which should serve you well.

Step 1

  • Memorise a key for numbers 1-20
  • The key for each number is an object which you associate in your mind with a number
  • The object should have some relevance to the number. One way of doing this is through rhyming

Example Memory Key

1 – Sun, 2 – Shoe, 3 – Sea, 4 – Saw, 5 – Hive, 6 – Sticks, 7 – Heaven, 8 – Gate, 9 – Mine, 10 – Pen, 11 – Devon, 12 – Shelf, 13 – Skirting, 14 – Flooring, 15 – Lifting, 16 – Pixie, 17 – Tin of Beans, 18 – Painting, 19 – Lightning, 20 – Horn of Plenty (Ice Cream)

Step 2

Each object on the list should be made into a vivid image in the mind’s eye. The object should also be performing an action, which should be consistent each time you visualise the object.

For instance: (1.) The sun could have a face which is smiling brightly or could be emitting heat rays, (2.) Something could be being placed into the shoe, (3.) The sea could be lapping at the shore.


1. Get a member of the audience to write a list of numbers 1-20 on a sheet of paper or blackboard. This person is to record objects as they are called out. The sheet is faced towards the audience so they can see it but you can’t.

2. Ask someone in the audience to call out an object for No. 1.

3. As soon as you hear what the object is, immediately associate it with the relevant object from the key. The object should interact with the object from the key and the image should be unusual. For example if a mobile phone is suggested the image could be the sun laughing at an old 1980s style mobile phone.

4. As soon as you have created a vivid image immediately forget it and move on to the next number and do the same again until you have done all 20.

5. Once all 20 items have been called out invite members of the audience to call out numbers between 1 and 20 at random and recall them using your key.


  • Invite the audience to give detailed objects, this can add humour
  • The quicker you can memorise and recall the objects the more impressive the effect is
  • Though we have chosen 20 objects for the sake of a performance the number can be much higher, you just need to extend the key


Derren Brown, Tricks of the Mind Extracts. Audiobook Review

This audiobook is taken from the fantastic book Tricks of the Mind and teaches the basics of hypnosis, a couple of magic tricks and some powerful memory techniques.

Disk 1: Hypnosis

Derren says he thinks hypnosis is very safe but gives 7 rules to bear in mind just to be extra cautious:

  1. Don’t try to hypnotise someone who is clearly disturbed or has epilepsy
  2. Don’t attempt any therapeutic change unless you are suitably qualified
  3. Treat hypnosis as a gentle tool
  4. Everything you do contributes to the hypnosis. Don’t get flustered
  5. At end make sure person is completely out of belief that they are hypnotised
  6. Take it slowly and only try in a controlled environment
  7. Treat it first as a relaxation tool and move slowly into administering suggestions

What you learn:

  • In its simplest form hypnosis is pacing someone’s experience then leading them to behaviours you want.
  • Use presupposition. This means you presuppose something to be true eg. as your eyes get heavier/ you can wonder how deeply you are going into trance
  • Use double binds where the only options are 2 you have suggested.
  • Tone of voice – gentle and relaxed
  • Use imagery to involve all the senses
  • Don’t contradict yourself and don’t be specific


  1. Prepare subject and induce light stages of trance, this may include eye closure
  2. Deepen the trance through a metaphor such as going down the stairs
  3. Carry out your hypnotic work
  4. Fully awaken the subject

Disk 2: Magic

Coin Trick – A Coin Slide

The trick involves sliding a coin off a table, pretending to pick it up and pulling it into your lap.

The trick is enhanced by using another coin for misdirection and placing the coins on the table in advance.

Card trick – A Sucker Trick

  1. Get someone to shuffle cards (need someone with basic overhand shuffle)
  2. Look at cardface then immediately turn away and spread the deck in your hands, showing everyone faces of deck
  3. Turn face down and place squared up on table
  4. Bottom card is key card
  5. Get person to cut deck in 2 and place top half to your right
  6. Turn away and remove card he cut to (top card of bottom half) and look at it
  7. Pick up bottom half
  8. Tell him to replace card
  9. Get person to shuffle cards again
  10. Say you will put cards face up on table and he is not to react if you see his card
  11. Turn over 1 at a time, card after key card is his card. Carry on after chosen card appears but make sure index of chosen card remains visible to you
  12. Stop then ask to bet that next card turned over will be the card
  13. Then reach for the card in pie and turn over

Magic tips:

  • Most of the magic is created after the trick
  • A state of amazement leaves spectators more open to suggestion
  • To make them look less foolish people will trick themselves eg. Think they definitely saw card in magicians hand
  • Magic is helped by people watching closely and using the off beat when both you and they relax
  • Conjurer creates false trail of events
  • Best to be simple and direct

Disk 3: Memory

No such thing as photographic memory. A few people have an idetic memory and can hold the image of a scene in their minds but it typically can’t be held for long and is prone to distortions. Individuals with great memories use rich mnemonic strategies.

Memory is a set of processes. We can remember 7 or so units after which point we instinctively want to break it down into smaller chunks.

Linking System:

  1. Use vivid images and attach strong emotions
  2. Elements should interact
  3. Picture should be unusual

Uses of linking system – shopping lists, tasks, speeches and for actors

Drawback – if stuck on 1 word system breaks down

Loci System:

  1. Use a route you know with locations on the way.
  2. Take a list of things and relate an item to each location.
  3. Place a strong visual representation at each location.
  • Memory palaces – Expand number of loci eg. In your house
  • Its better to have action take place inside something
  • You need to go through things in fixed order eg. Clockwise
  • You can use for permanent memory.
  • Expand loci – have a door from your house lead to another familiar building. Use places from real life eg. museums you have visited

Remembering Names

  1. When you meet with someone immediately think of someone you already know with the same name
  2. Imagine person in front of you has been made up to look at bit like the person you know


  1. Connect name with another image eg. Mike becomes a microphone stand, bill becomes an invoice
  2. Find something memorable about the person’s appearance. Better to be a physical feature
  3. Link the 2 together
  • Its best to make image as efficient as possible
  • Can put other info into scene
  • Importance of reviewing


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