The Wizard's Staff

It's the 1980s.

Michael Jackson is the King of Pop.

The nation is enthralled with a show called Alf.

Girls everywhere are using Get In Shape Girl so their T-Shirt Clips aren't too tight.

Everyone is trading their Garbage Pail Kids for a Gremlin's themed Rubik's Cube that came free with the purchase of a Mc.D.L.T., so they can keep their brains sharp for their appearance on Double Dare.

And the world is buzzing about a "totally tubular" new disease called AIDS.

I'm a little kid at the time and one of the magic tricks I really think is cool is called Mr. Wizard. It's a telephone trick where your spectator chooses a card and then you call a third party and that person names the card. This seems wildly clever to me.

They way it worked is that you would have a person select a card openly (so you know what it is too). Then you'd call your friend who was playing the role of Mr. Wizard. It's the 80s so this is on a landline phone. Your friend answers the phone and you say, "Hello, can I speak to Mr. Wizard?" And your friend, knowing that the trick is on, starts counting off the values of playing cards, "Ace... two... three...." When he gets to the value of the chosen card you interrupt and say something like, "Yes, I'll hold," or whatever. Now your friend knows the value so he starts going through the suits, "Clubs... hearts...." and again you interrupt after he says the suit of the chosen card. So you say something like, "Hi, Mr. Wizard, my friend would like to talk to you." Now you hand the phone to your spectator and Mr. Wizard can tell them the card they're thinking of.

Here's another write-up of the effect that might be clearer if you're unfamiliar with it.

And here's a write-up by an imbecile who completely doesn't get it. He forces a card on the spectator and then still codes it to the Wizard. Dingbat.

I would run through this code with a friend of mine and think it was so great that now we could just call each other whenever we wanted and perform this trick for someone. Inevitably, this is how it would go:

Me: [into the phone] Yes, could I speak with Mr. Wizard please?
My Friend: Huh? You have the wrong numb- oh wait... now... what do I do? Clubs... no... ace... is it suits or values first?
Me: Oh, he's not home? Thanks anyway. [hang up]

As time passed I eventually found a small group of people I could pull this off with fairly regularly. Although, most often, I was in the role of Mr. Wizard, just because I'm competent and could quickly transition into it instead of fucking it up like most of my friends did.

As an adult I would screw around with my friends when they'd call. I'd ask the person they were performing it for to concentrate as hard as they could and send me the image of what they were thinking of and then I'd say that I was just getting an image of large cock and that's all I was receiving. I enjoyed this because I'm a child and the thought of a mindreader trying to read anyone's mind (man or woman, straight or gay) and just being bombarded with images of dicks is funny to me.

Eventually this joke version transitioned into a new way of performing the trick.

The Wizard's Staff

This version is done all on speakerphone, so your audience hears both sides of the conversation. In fact, they place the call and do all the talking. You yourself only have to say one half-sentence to code any one of 52 playing cards. And even though the code is done in the open it only takes 30 seconds to learn.

I think the trick is much better with a marked deck. When you have a card freely-chosen and you apparently don't know what it is -- the fact that card can be named by someone on the other end of the phone is genuinely amazing. Even when it's performed as stupidly as I'm about to suggest. 

Here's how it goes...

You put a folded piece of paper on the table and say you'll get to that later.

You show a deck of cards to your spectator, have them shuffle it as much as they want and slide out a card and take a peek at it while you turn away. If they want they can change their mind for a different card.

Once they've settled on a card you say, "I don't even want to know what it is. I want you to take that piece of paper, open it up, and dial the phone number that's on there and put your phone on speaker. It's my friend, Mr. Wizard's number." Or make up a less stupid sounding name. "I want you to call him, tell him you're here with me and your thinking of something. Don't give him any more clues. Then just concentrate on your card."

Your friend calls Mr. Wizard, explains what's going on. Mr. Wizard attempts to read their mind, is besieged with mental images of penises, and then you interrupt and he eventually names the card. 

Here's how the code works. Mr. Wizard will make, potentially, four statements about how he's getting nothing but wang from this person's mind. So those statements might be:

Statement 1:
"Yes, my child, please concentrate on your secret thought and send it to me now. It's... uhm... hmmm.... okay, I'm getting something very prominently. I'm not sure if this is what I'm supposed to be getting, but your mind is totally focused on it to the exclusion of all other thoughts. Are you thinking of penises? I'm just getting an endless parade of dangling dongs. Just on and on."

Statement 2:
"No. There must be something else. Let me concentrate. It's black. It's a ten. It's a ten inch black cock? That's all I'm getting. But I'm getting it so intensely. It's like it's there in the room with you."

Statement 3:
"I'm sorry. This is very difficult for me. Let me try again. Let's try to get on the same page. Think of an apple? Ok, good, I got that. Now think of a lemon. Ok, that's coming through. Now a banana. Perfect, I got that... oh no... come on now. Bananas don't have big pendulous testicles attached to them. This is unbelievable."

Statement 4:
"Okay, last time. Let's really try and connect here. Send me what you're thinking about. Okay... I think I see something. Yes.... yes... keep sending it. It's coming. Yes, it's coming... coming cables of pearly white jizz. It's a goddamn sticky mess. You truly have a one track mind."

Those are just examples. The idea is that Mr. Wizard will make up to four statements. And depending on when you interrupt him, that will signal the suit. It's in CHaSeD order. So if you interrupt his first statement, it's a club -- second statement, it's a heart and so on.

What you say when you interrupt will code the value.

The code is this:

"uhmmmmm" = 1
"okay" = 2
"enough" = 8

Very easy to remember. Uhm is 1 syllable. Okay is 2 syllables. And "Eight is Enough" is a shitty old tv show.

So if you wanted to code the 3 of hearts. You would interrupt Mr. Wizard's second penis-related ramble with an annoyed, "Uhmmm, okay."

Other examples. All of these are said in a dismissive and exasperated tone as if to say, "Stop, this is going too far."

Ace: "uhmmmm..." (then I would gesture to my spectator to say something.)
Two: Okay
Three: "Uhmmm okay"
Four: "Okay, okay."
Five: "Uhmm, okay, okay."
Six: "Okay, okay, okay."
Seven: "Uhmm, okay, okay, okay"
Eight: "Enough"
Nine: "Uhmm... enough."
Ten: "Okay. Enough."
Jack: "Uhmm, okay. Enough."
Queen: "Okay, okay. Enough."
King: "Uhmm, okay, okay. enough"

These things don't have to be memorized. You just make them up on the fly once you know what the card is. You can include other words in what you say, but your "Wizard" friend is only listening for the code words. So if you interrupt his third statement by saying, "Uhm, that's quite enough." He knows that it's a spade (third statement) and a nine (uhm + enough).

At this point, Mr. Wizard will say something like, "I'm sorry. That's my fault. Sometimes, when someone loves something more than anything else in the world, like you do cock, it prevents me from seeing what's in your mind because I'm so overwhelmed by what's in your heart. Let's try one last time. Yes... I think I see it now... you're thinking of the nine of spades. Yes, I think it's the nine of spade. Or.... that could be a really weird looking dick. I just don't know."

You can make the trick less filthy by having Mr. Wizard ramble on about something else. He could just start going on about different episodes of Saved by the Bell or his obsession with the WNBA. The only essential idea here is the code which can be done with any motivated interruption on your part. 

Or you can go the other way and make it seem like the person whose mind is being read has much sicker, more deviant, thoughts going on in there than just a gaggle of dicks.