All Seeing Eye of the Beholder

What follows is one of the strongest word/drawing revelations I've ever done. Although it doesn't involve a big time commitment, I would consider it an immersive effect due to the levels of deception and intensity of the effect.

Dan Harlan and I have been collaborating. You're probably pretty excited by that idea, and you have every right to be, given that we're two of magic's best thinkers. 

I should be clear that Dan doesn't know we're collaborating. (So what? Does the lady whose bushes I stand in and masturbate while I watch her change through the window know she's my girlfriend? No. But does that mean she's not?)

What follows is my version of Dan's effect All Seeing Eye which was recently released as its own download, but was also explained in Dan's second Penguin lecture. It was probably also released back on one of his old VHS tapes. The ones you used to watch and mistakenly think, "Well... his hair can't possibly get worse than this."

Dan's All Seeing Eye is essentially a billet reading technique whose choreography gives you a nice long peek at a full billet's worth of information. What it looks like in performance is that your spectator writes down something (a word, picture, or anything else) on a blank business card, folds it, and holds it in her hand. You draw a picture of an eye on another business card (your "third eye"), fold it, and drop it in her closed hands with the other billet. Then, via the "All Seeing Eye," you are able to tell her what she wrote down on the billet. 

I think it's a really solid routine. I don't know that I would use it by itself in lieu of another peek because the "third eye" thing doesn't really mesh with any routine I use at the moment. But I do think it's good and I wanted to build a routine around it because there are some features of the method that can be taken advantage of to produce an even stronger effect when combined with something else... which you shall see below. 


You ask your friend to draw a picture on a the back of a business card while you are turned away. Something not too simple and with some unique detail to it. When they are done you have them fold it in half three times. This little packet is placed in their non-dominant hand to hold tightly.

On the back of another business card you draw an eye. You then remove a red marker from your pocket and ask your friend to scribble in the iris of the eye with the red marker. When she finishes you have something that looks like this.

"Have you ever seen anything like this before? If you've ever been on an Indian reservation you might have. It's called the All Seeing Eye. When I was in high school one of my friends lived on the reservation and from time to time we would go there to screw around and we would see this image everywhere: above the doorframe going into the mini-mart on the reservation, on the street signs, just everywhere. And I asked my friend Running Bear about it... I'm just kidding, his name was Kyle. I asked Kyle about it and he said it was the All Seeing Eye. And he said that, historically, the chief of the tribe would be able to look out from wherever he was and see through this image of an eye. Not only see which was visible, but what was hidden too."

"And me, being 16 and a prick, took great delight in mocking this notion. And I was saying how this is the type of stuff that holds native americans back, relying on symbolism and that sort of thing. And he stopped me and said it wasn't symbolic. It was something real. And I didn't believe at first, but then he demonstrated it and now I believe."

"I'd like to try something with you, if that's alright. You see, it's not just an Indian custom. This is something that is still used today all over the world. Let me show you."

"I'm going to use the All Seeing Eye to see the drawing in your hand."

You fold up the All Seeing Eye into a packet and ask your friend to open her hand so you can add it in, but before you do, you open it again and stare into the eye drawing with your left eye. "This helps align then energy," you say. After 10-15 seconds you refold the eye card and toss it in your spectator's cupped hands with the card that has her drawing on it. You ask her to shake them up for a moment then clench both cards between her hands.

You close your eyes and place one of your hands on top of hers.

You breathe deeply in and out three times. Then you stop mid-breath.

"I'm in," you say.

You open your eyes and your left eye is now a deep red.

Your eyes jitter around, seemingly looking at something far off in the distance. You then begin to describe the drawing.

"It's... okay it's a tree. There are three, like... roots at the bottom. There are four lines on the trunk. The first three are mostly straight, but the fourth is bent at, maybe, a 30 degree angle. There's like a cloud shape thing denoting the leaves of the tree and it consists of one, two, three, four, five, six... seven curves."

It's clear that this is not just something you "peeked." You are somehow looking at this image in this moment and describing it in complete detail.

You sharply exhale and look down. "Can you hand me the eye card?" you ask. 

She opens her hand and dumps out the cards, unfolds one (or both) to find the eye card and is shocked to find that it is now drained of all the red color she drew in (or she could find that the eye isn't red anymore but it's the color of your natural eye).

You take the eye card, fold it, and press it to your eye for a few seconds, then toss the card onto the table. You open your eye and it's normal again. When the spectator opens the card, the drawn eye is red again.

"So that just happened," you say.


As mentioned, this is Dan Harlan's All Seeing Eye, and half of Berk Eratay's Biokinesis. And I think it is perhaps even greater than the sum of its parts. 

A couple nice things about Dan's effect is that you get an extended peek (essentially as long as you want) of the whole card. I really wanted to take advantage of that so when you recall the information later on it feels like you're seeing it in real time. In addition, the method behind Dan's peek allows the eye card to seemingly change in the spectator's hand.

The only thing not mentioned is the uncolored eye card changing back to the red-eye card. And that's just any billet switch you know. The trick seems over at this point. Attention is still on your eye and how you could know the information. You're in a good position to switch at that moment.

There it is.