The Helen Keller Reveal

I've mentioned before that I'm always trying to come up with different ways to reveal a peeked word. The following idea is an absurd but compelling way to do so. 

You tell your friend you want to do an experiment in sensory deprivation. You ask her to tie a blindfold around your head. Then you put on headphones that are blaring music, a clothespin on your nose, and you finish off by putting on gloves.

"I want you to go in the other room!" you scream. "There's a business card on the counter! On the back of it I want you to write a word! Then fold it into quarters and put it in your pocket! Am I yelling?! "

When they return you do nothing. Eventually they will poke you. "Oh, you're back," you bellow. "You know how they say that when you lose a sense your other senses compensate for the loss by being enhanced? Well I can't see, hear, smell, or feel! I have taken away all my senses but one! Hand me your card! In a moment I am going to taste your word! Not the word itself, of course, but the pattern of the ink on the card! if this works I will be able to discern the letters with my tongue!"

Your friend hands you her card. You tear it into smaller pieces and toss them in your mouth. After a few moments of swishing the card around in your mouth like a fine wine you either swallow it or spit out the pieces. 

"It tastes like... hmm... it's not 'glass' but it's similar... glazer? No! It's glacier! ... Am I right? Tap me on my shoulder if I'm right."

And of course you're right. This is just a blindfold peek and a center tear and a lot of theater. 

The center tear is about 20% more difficult with gloves on, but not impossible. The thinner the gloves the better, obviously. The aptly named "Shocker" gloves I'm wearing in this picture work very well. They're about baseball batting-glove thickness.  

You don't need to do a fancy center tear. The fact that you've handicapped yourself with the blindfold and the gloves gives you much more leeway for fumbling. 

Here's how I do the center tear in this context. The person hands you the folded card and you peek and get the target corner so it faces the upper right. You tear the card in half and immediately pop the non-target half into your mouth. This is very disarming because it looks like you're getting rid of half of the card within moments of being handed it. And you are. Now tear in half the piece that remains. Cock your head back and sprinkle the non-target pieces into your mouth. This is excellent misdirection for your other hand popping open the remaining piece. Now, due to the blindfold, and all the attention on you chewing the card, you can take a good long look at the info before ripping up that final piece and putting it in your mouth.

You could, of course, change around the sensory deprivation. Instead of plugging your nose, you tape your mouth shut and claim to smell the word, for example. 

When you're done, ask for silence and then say, "To quote Helen Keller: The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." Then turn around and walk straight into a wall.