I always enjoy when magic is used in any capacity other than the "look at me!" style. I am least interested in magic as a way to win friends and gain attention or approval. That's what your personality is for, my dear boy!
So I particularly enjoyed this story from a reader, Chris, last name withheld, as you'll soon understand why. Chris is a friend of the site and a homicide detective in the Northwest U.S.
A few weeks ago he sent me this email in regards to how he has used magic in his line of work. Apparently when he dusts for fingerprints he calls it "woofle dust" and this gets people to think he's an idiot which makes them lower their guard and become more susceptible to his interrogation techniques.
No. I made that up. Here is the email he sent. Even if you have no interest in the use of magic outside of a traditional performance, this write-up has a peek justification that I really love.
I am a police detective, and I carry my business cards in a leather Jaks business card wallet, which does not look out of place because I wear a suit.
For the last several years I have been doing a drawing duplication (obviously after the peek), but I do it in the following context.
At a key point in the interview I will steer the conversation to Sherlock Holmes, and talk about how he was the greatest detective ever, etc. I ask the person to make a simple drawing of an object they either owned or still own that is very important to them.
Then I talk about how Sherlock Holmes was famous for being able to ask someone four questions and be able to figure out what they had drawn.
When they are done with the drawing it goes back in the wallet “so there is no way in hell I can see it,” and I then ask them these four questions:
1. Did you own this item when you were a kid, or when you were older?
2. Is it bigger than this wallet?
3. Does the item have monetary value?
4. Do you still own it?
Okay, let's pause here for a second. It's in that moment where he asks "Is it bigger than... this wallet?" that he picks the wallet up off the table and gets the peek. I think this is perfect peek justification. Peak peek justification, if you will. I have a theory on peeks that is partially born out of the type of testing I wrote about on Friday, and then reinforced based on my experience. I've talked about it a little bit before (and gave an example in The 10% Peek), but I will write it up more explicitly in Wednesday's post. Now, back to the email...
Those are just the basic questions, I obviously elaborate on both the questions and the answers they give me.
I then make a quick drawing of what I peeked on a second business card and set it face down on the table. I act like I am not sure, and then ask them to tell me what they drew. Here is where it gets interesting. With just a little encouragement you are going to get a long story about the object, why it is important to them, how they came by it, etc. Crying is not unordinary.
When I do this for regular people, I just let the conversation flow onto other things, never pushing the “look what I did! I got it right! look at the drawing I made!" I just wait until they remember the whole point of this and ask what I drew, then I push it towards them and let them take a look.
So, it is a lot of fun with just regular folks, and really gets a person to open up. But more importantly, it does the same thing with a suspect. Not only do they open up and you make a connection with them, which greatly aids in getting a confession, but they generally stop lying to you after that, because in their minds you must be able to tell if they are lying.
This may seem slightly manipulative, and it is, of course. But you're allowed to be manipulative when interrogating someone. At least in the U.S. You can just straight-up lie to them. You can tell them you found their fingerprints at the scene if you haven't. You can tell them their friend confessed to everything in the other room even if they haven't. You can tell them they failed a polygraph test regardless of the results.
So I'd be doing this type of shit all the time if I was in Chris' situation. In fact, I'd really push it and start doing the most ridiculous stuff to see what might spur a confession.
"You know, these little sponge balls were developed by the CIA. They're drawn to guilty parties. Oh wow, mine disappeared from my hand, and now you have two. Oh... that does not look good for you. Wait... just hold on to those. Maybe it was a false positive. Oh no! Now they've turned into a penis. The judge isn't going to look kindly on that... it's the ultimate sign of guilt. I guess this interrogation is over. Take him away, boys. I mean, unless you want to confess and maybe get some leniency."