The Jerx App

[See information for the April 2019 update at the end of this page.]

Ok, it's time to find out what the Jerx App is and what it does. 

Here is a quick demonstration of what the Jerx App does in the context of a drawing app. 

That's right. It manipulates the photons that emanate from your phone so they reassemble themselves when viewed in a mirror. Amazing, right? Wait... hold on... let me check my notes. Ok, my bad, what it actually does is change the image your phone is displaying when it's turned around.

That's it?

Yeah, that's it. But you can actually use it for a lot of different things.

Here's how it works, then we'll go into some routines.

  • Open the app

  • Swipe right with two fingers if you're not on the main menu already.

  • Tap Settings

  • Make sure "Open to Tip of the Day" is on. This will bring up Li'l Jerxy when the app is opened. If anyone ever is handling your phone and clicks on The Jerx app, they'll just see a little cartoon magician giving magic tips of dubious value.

  • Scroll to the bottom and tap Set Drawing

That will take you to a screen where you can draw something. What you draw here will be what appears when the phone is turned away from you (or away from another party) during the effect. Click Save.

For certain effects you will want the screen to not change after a certain number of rotations. If that is the case you will turn on "Lock after rotate" and set the number of times you want the image to switch upon rotation. Keep that off for now. 

Click Save on the settings screen. Now click Drawing Switch on the main menu. You will see a blank drawing pad. Stand in front of a mirror. Draw something on the pad. Now turn your phone towards the mirror. You should see your previous drawing in the mirror. It's fun. Back and forth and back and forth. Wheee! Okay, sometimes there can be a minute glimpse of the previous screen if you turn the phone really fast. Just don't flip it fast in performance. Practice to get a feel for how you'll turn the phone. In some effects you or someone else will be video recording your phone with a separate phone. In that case you want to be extra sensitive about any potential lag, because you don't want video evidence of the picture changing. So in those cases I will include a little downward swoop when I turn the phone. Some of you won't find this necessary.

The purpose of this app is NOT "Look, the image changes when you rotate the phone!" That would be a nothing effect. The purpose of the app is to subtly create two different realities on either side of the phone. You'll see. Here are some examples.

A Cute Memory Loss

This is my favorite use of the app in an everyday kind of effect. This is the one I keep loaded and ready to go on the phone.

You claim you will hypnotize one of your friends. Have her step a few feet away. Everyone else watches as you go to a drawing app on your phone and draw a house, tree, sun, and a bird. You ask everyone to make note of all of the elements of the drawing. "You don't need to remember the details. Just the main items in the picture," and you point to the house, tree, sun, and bird. Your other spectator is still turned away at this point. 

You ask her to turn towards you and you show her the drawing. You tell her to remember the main elements in the drawing. You turn the phone back to you and the rest of the group. "I'm going to make her forget this," you say, and point to the sun which takes up the upper quarter of the picture. You hand the phone to someone to hold onto.

You then go into some hypnotism ritual with the spectator. I like to point out three spots in the air as I ask her to remember the elements of the picture. I might say something like, "As you imagine these elements, I want you to feel your body getting a little cooler," which, to the other spectators, might sound like some suggestion that I'm removing the sun from her memory.

I snap my fingers and ask her to name the items in the picture. She says, "A house, a tree, and a bird." 

"That's it," you ask?

"I think so," she says.

"There wasn't anything else?... Maybe a big sun in the corner."

She's adamant there wasn't. You ask your friends to show her the image. They do and there is clearly a sun in the picture.

Method: This effect is inspired by Paul Harris and Jay Sankey (like a lot of great things in life).

In the settings, set the drawing so that it's a house, tree and bird (no sun). Then click "Lock after rotate" and set it to 2, then click save. 

You're ready to rock and roll. Go into the app, swipe right with two fingers to get to the main menu, hit Drawing Switch, wait a second for the initial message on the screen to disappear then get into the effect. Draw a house, tree, bird and sun. The drawing doesn't need to match your previous one in anything other than the most general sense.

Turn the phone towards your hypnotic subject and she will see the stored image. 

When you turn it back towards you and the group, the two rotations will have happened and the "original" drawing will remain on the screen, locked in place, no matter what happens after that. So the phone can be handled by someone else without worry of exposing anything.

You can have another spectator record all of this from their perspective. This creates a very weird feeling for the "hypnotized" spectator as there is now video proof that you showed them a picture with a sun. Although you may feel it's better not to have the video proof and to just have the word of the group in opposition to the memory of the spectator.

Pee Hill Pot

The name of this effect is in tribute to Christopher Philpott whose work inspired it. 

I have not performed this yet because Marc Kerstein just added this feature 5 minutes ago from the time I'm writing this. But I can't wait to try it. 

Effect: "Do you know you can retard someone's mental capacities by pressing on their head in a certain manner? It's absolutely true. I'll show you."

You ask for someone to help you and have her stand with you, across from the rest of the group. You bring up this website on your phone (I'm writing it because I don't want this page showing up in a web search for that URL):


You ask someone in the crowd to read the page silently to herself. While she's doing this you ask some other people around her to bring the page up on their phones. You verify with her that it's just a normal chunk of text. It's out of context but it makes sense and it's just regular, English words. She agrees. 

You then ask her to hand the phone to your volunteer. "Don't look at the screen just yet," you tell her. Just hold it against your chest for the moment. You go behind her and place your hands on her temples. You press lightly with your left hand and with some force with your right. 

"This takes a few seconds." After 10 seconds tell her to look at the screen and start reading the first sentence under the heading. She starts reading and sounds like an illiterate moron. People are following along on their phones and wondering what the hell has happened to their friend. Is she having a stroke?

After a few sentences of this you say, "Okay, okay, that's fine." You ask her to close her eyes and turn around and face you. You massage her temples gently. "That was amazing," you tell her. "You did really well. I know it sounded like nonsense to you. And I know it looked like nonsense, but that was just your brain trying to make sense of things. Trying to turn words you couldn't comprehend into words you could. Are you feeling okay now? Okay, you should be back to normal now. Try and read it again."

She looks at the phone again and reads it normally.

Method: Damn, I dig this. I wish it wasn't 4 in the morning so I could go try it. The choreography of this is such that you don't have to touch the phone during the effect, yet one person is able to read the page, another person stumbles through it, and then later that same person can read it clearly. 

Here's what's going on...

In the Web Site Switch section of the settings, put these URLs in the two fields. (The only difference in the second URL is the #2.)

(You can also just put google in the Initial URL field and then navigate openly to that first page during the performance.)

You will also want "Lock after rotate" set to 2 for the Web Site Switch.

Now let's think of the choreography. 

The audience is facing your subject. At the start you're standing with the audience bringing the page up on your phone. You ask others around you to bring it up on theirs (it will make it better/funnier when they can follow along with her stumbling through the page). 

The page says this:

Dr. Michael's philosophy was that every generation looks out for itself. To decimate an entire epoch is cultural suicide.

Dr. Michael's work is based in the subject of Cultural Anthropology. Since humans acquire culture through the learning processes of enculturation and socialization, people living in different places or different circumstances develop different cultures. Much of anthropological theory has originated in an appreciation of and interest in the tension between the local (particular cultures) and the global.

After the audience member has read it to herself, you ask her to hand the phone to your subject, but tell her not to read it just yet, just to hold it against her chest. This will pin the phone in one orientation, preventing it from doing multiple flips and locking on the screen you don't want at this point. (If you're concerned about that, you can set it not to lock after a certain number of rotations. But you wouldn't be "clean" at the end (i.e., if they were handling the phone freely they might see it switch again). It's up to you.)

Go behind your spectator and place your fingers on her temples. Apply pressure. After a few moments, tell her to start reading the site out loud at a moderate pace, starting with the sentence below the heading. She reads this:

Dre Mitch Ayell's fill ohs up high was that every Jen rat on looks out for itself. To deck I'm eight an entire aye pooch is cult oral sook I.D.

Dre Mitch Ayell's war key is bay said in the sub Jack of cult oral ant ropple gee. Sinky hummin's I.Q. ire cult re thruff the leer ning procks of Anne Cult or asian and SoCal asian, pee opple live Eng in different plaques or different sir come stanks devil lop different cult oral. Much of ant roplle G Ickle the or rye has or gin at Ted in an app wreck I eight ten of and inter rest in the ten scion bet we en the lock Al part I cull air and the glob Al.

To the other people following along it will sound like an imbecile or a little kid reading words they don't know. As I said, I haven't done it yet, but I think it will be glorious. 

Stop her after a few sentences. Praise her on her ability to try and make sense out of what must have seemed like gibberish to her. Tell her to close her eyes and then start rubbing her temples. Tell her to turn towards you. Now instead of turning the phone we're turning the person holding the phone. The page now locks on the readable version. Everything is copacetic. Rub her temples a little more. Have her open her eyes. She can read again.

If anyone asks you to try it on them just pull them to the side and say, "Honestly, I shouldn't even have done that. Like 1/3rd of the time it causes a cerebral hemorrhage. I don't know what I was thinking."


I love this idea. I've only had a chance to do it twice, but it's very fun. Normally I don't give a shit about how enjoyable something is for the performer, but this is one of those sneakily fun effects that's enjoyable for the spectator too. You essentially use one spectator to stooge another without either realizing they're a stooge. 

Version 1

Spectator A and B are facing each other, a few feet apart. At some point earlier you have forced something on Spectator A, so she is thinking of something, let's say an elephant. 

You give her the phone open to the drawing app and ask her to do some random scribbling of lines and shapes while keeping her thought in the back of her mind. During this process you have spectator B close her eyes. 

When A is done you ask her to hold the phone out to B. "In a moment," you say to B, "I'm going to ask you to open your eyes and look at the random doodling of spectator A. I will give you just a second or two, and in that second I would like you to arrange those lines into an image that makes sense in your mind as something recognizable, okay?" Spectator B understands, she opens her eyes, looks at the phone for a moment. You then ask her to close her eyes.

You stand next to A and have her turn the phone so you can both look at it. "Were you drawing anything in particular?" you ask? She says no. "Do you see any kind of image in your doodle?"

"Not really," she says.

You now ask spectator B if she picked out an image in the doodle. She will say the drawing looked a little like an elephant to her.

Method: Your pre-set drawing is one of an elephant. Something like this:

"Lock after rotate" is set to lock after 2 rotations.

Spectator B is only given a second to focus on the image. That's long enough to recognize it looks like an elephant but not take in too many other details. 

At the end of the effect you will all examine A's drawing which might look like this:

You will all wonder how B was able to get an elephant from it. Remember, Spectator B is under pressure and only given a very brief look at the picture. All you need to do is plant some seeds about B's abilities to "see something with clarity which really isn't there." So if, at the end, she's like, "I could have sworn it looked more like an elephant," you can compliment her on how uncanny her unconscious perception is. Keep in mind, the phone is in A's hands the whole time so the idea that somehow the image was manipulated is less likely to arise.

Version 2

This is similar to Version 1, but in this instance Spectator A doesn't have anything in mind. Instead, let's say you force a card on her but don't show it to her. Then she draws random lines and squiggles, shows them to Spectator B and B sees a four of diamonds in the mess. Spectator A's card is revealed and it's shown that she was somehow able to psychically pick up on the value of the card and transmit that via her random writing which was interpreted by Spectator B.

The method should be obvious by now.

Version 3

No need to force anything.

A and B face each other. You are back to back with A. You ask A to do some random scribbles on the phone, then hold it out for B to have a quick look. You ask B to see some sort of image in the jumbled mess. You then read B's mind.

Think of how clean this is. Spectator B is thinking of something apparently random based on a drawing by A that you never saw. She doesn't write down anything or say anything and you are able to tell her what she's thinking of.

Method: Just make sure your force drawing is reminiscent of something and that's what B will think of. You can have A turn off the phone and set it aside after she shows the drawing to B. It's not ever touched again. 

If—in any of these versions— you're concerned that what A draws will be too far away from what B sees, I wouldn't let it bother you that much. As I mentioned, they're getting a brief glimpse of lines at a time when they're being pressured to get an image quickly. I would probably say something like, "Really imagine those lines morphing and changing and solidifying into a concrete image of the item you have in your head. It's no longer an abstract picture, now it's a perfect image of that object." I think with that kind of language it will be harder for them to backtrack to the state the picture was in when they originally saw it. Additionally, let's say the object you want to implant in Spec B's mind is a car. And you have a pic of a "car" that's just a long rectangle with two circle on the bottom and a square on top. When you tell Spec A to draw, you can lead them in that direction, "Just draw some shapes: circles, squares, rectangles, or whatever, and some random line, just doodle it up, however you want." Then you have a better chance of their bing some overlap between the drawings. 

But, again, it's not really an issue. In version 3, I wouldn't even bring the pic back up. I'd just deal with the image in her mind. And in version 1 and 2 the idea is that the spectator is supposed to be picking up some image amongst the noise. So if they suggest the image was clearer when they first saw it, you turn that into part of the effect. "Really! That's amazing. I love how tuned in you can be."

Chocolate/Vanilla Twist

This isn't my style, but I bet someone could take this and incorporate it into a bigger effect or find a more clever use for it. If you ever need a perfect 50/50 prediction, you can do that with the app in a one on one situation.

Let's say you want to predict a choice between chocolate and vanilla. "Vanilla" is your pre-loaded pic, and you write "Chocolate" in performance as your prediction. You ask her to name one flavor. If she names "Chocolate" you pull her around to your side of the phone to see what you've written. If she names "Vanilla" you hold the phone out to her to show her what you've written.  

Digital Linger

This is based on this post about dual reality for one person which was the main inspiration for the app. I wanted something that felt more natural than writing a word on a card case. 

In this version of the effect  you would have the force word with a rectangle around it as the saved image. In performance you would draw a rectangle in the drawing app and tell the person you wanted them to turn away while you wrote a word inside that rectangle. You would be recording these actions with the spectator's phone. You would then "pretend" to write a word in the box, show it to the spectator, and then turn the phone back around towards yourself. You ask the spectator to tell you what word you showed her and she would say whatever it was. Then you could go on to explain that you didn't show her that word, but you implanted it in her mind (and you show her all the examples of how you did that). When she watches the recording on her phone she'll see you apparently showing her a screen with nothing on it but an empty rectangle.

It could be argued the effect is stronger using a non-electronic object, like the card case as in that original post. You may be right. This is just a more convenient and natural way to do it.

Other Web Site Switch Ideas

1. If you have a professional website, put a page up that is a duplicate of your homepage but that is completely backwards. Then, you can say to someone that you spent a fortune on your website. "I think I got ripped off. He charged me for a bunch of features I don't need. I don't need all the analytic tracking stuff. And I don't need the anti-reflective technology." Your friend will be like, "Huh?" And then you show them your website, turn it towards a mirror and show that the reflection is not reversed in the mirror. 

Here is the code you can add to the page on your site which will reverse that page:

body {
-moz-transform: scaleX(-1);
-o-transform: scaleX(-1);
-webkit-transform: scaleX(-1);
transform: scaleX(-1);
filter: FlipH;
-ms-filter: "FlipH”;

2. You tell your married friends you want to try a little test of how well they know each other. You shift around your places in the restaurant booth so they are sitting across from each other and you're sitting next to the wife. You give the woman the phone and tell her to type in her most visited site. "But not like google or something. Not just a practical site. One you visit the most because it's something you love and care for deeply" She puts in that site. You look at the phone and say, "Uhh... interesting." You try and get the husband to guess what her favorite site is. He guesses whatever. Then you say, "Show him your favorite site." She turns the phone towards him and it's some fecal-shit-loving-fetish site or something even more disgusting. You've set it to lock the screen after one rotation. When she claims that's not the site she brought up, you act like she's crazy. "That's 100% the site you typed in. I'm guessing you type it so much you're almost on auto-pilot now, you sick fuck."

I Know What You Need

This is the effect the app was created for. It's in The Jerx, Volume One. 

In this version we're going to be swapping one set of search results for another. In the settings menu you write in the word you want the search results to be when the phone is turned the opposite direction, which is the spectator's free choice food. 

When performing the effect you will hit Search Result Switch in the main menu. Put the name of the force food in the web search, hit the search button then go to the image results. You will be doing this one-handed as your other hand will record this with the spectator's phone.

Follow the directions of the effect in the book, and I think all should be pretty clear.


1. You need to set yourself in a specific direction before you start the effect. So don't begin until you know where everyone is going to be positioned for the trick.

2. When doing a trick with the phone in the spectator's hands I want to eliminate the possibility of any flash of the "other" image when the phone is turned away or towards the person. It's pretty easy to do this. You can just have Spec B close her eyes or turn the other way and then have Spec A hold the phone out before B turns around or opens her eye. When A turns it back to herself you can ask her a question to distract her in the process of turning it, or just have her drop the phone to her side where the picture will flip back and lock in place. Or you can just take the phone from her and set it down on the table. It depends on what effect you're doing.

3. Before any effect with the drawing app say, "Do you have a pen?" They probably won't. If they do say, "Do you have post-it notes or anything like that?" Before they even say no, just be like, "Oh, don't bother, it doesn't matter. I just need something we can write on. I'll use my phone." The idea being that you would have done this with pen and paper had it been more convenient. 

Animorphs w/Michael Murray

This is my variation on an idea Michael Murray sent to me. In Michael's routine you openly predict what a person will draw and then you wipe their mind of the memory of the effect. In my variation I've added a second beat so it feels like you accurately predict a spectator's free choice twice in a row, and I think it also helps sell the misremembering in a clearer way as well. I can't think of another effect like this where you make an open prediction two times of a completely free choice by the spectator and it's correct both times. And the spectator is genuinely making completely free choices all along the way. No forces at all. You could ask them to think of literally any object in the world and accurately predict it twice. For the sake of this explanation, we're going to limit the objects thought of to animals.

You have the phone set so that it will show a simple drawing of a dolphin when it is turned away, and have it set to lock after one rotation.

You have someone randomly selected and have them join you facing the rest of the audience. This is a routine that would be best for a larger group of people, I think. I could see this working well in a parlor situation.

Say, "In a moment I'm going to try and control Tom's mind through the power of touch alone. I'm going to have him draw something that will feel like a free choice. Tom, if at any step of the way you feel you're not making genuinely free choices I want you to call me out."

You ask Tom to close his eyes and plug his ears or something while you whisper to everyone else the thought you're going to try and implant in his mind. You could write it down or draw it, but I wouldn't for reasons I'll explain later. So you whisper/mouth to the audience the word, "Dolphin." Do a little swimming gesture and wiggle with your body so it's clear.

You open the drawing app and hand the phone to Tom. "Tom, in a moment I'm going to ask you to draw something from a particular category. You can go with what you feel is your first instinct or let your mind wander a bit and settle on something. But once you've decided on something I want you to draw it as best you can on the phone."

You ask if that's clear and he says yes. You walk behind Tom and place your hand on the back of his head or on his shoulder. You close your eyes and say, "Tom, I want you to think of any animal in the world and then I want you to draw that animal on the phone and tell me when you're done."

As he draws whatever he draws you are going to peek at it. This doesn't have to be a sneaky move. You're standing a little behind him and to the side, just open your eyes slightly. Even if someone notices, it doesn't matter. You've already committed to the entire audience what he's going to draw. So what if you peek. For the sake of this example, let's assume he draws a cat.

When he tells you he's done, step in front of him facing the rest of the audience then turn and face Tom. "Show me what you've drawn, Tom." He'll hold the phone out and your body will block the view of the phone from the rest of the audience. 

Say, "Okay, everyone, if he got it right give him a round of applause." You step aside and there he is holding up a drawing of a dolphin. Everyone applauds. This is all Michael's idea, to get the audience to confirm your spectator is correct via their reaction. That's why this works well for a larger audience. It makes sense to ask for confirmation via a reaction like that. With just a few people it would make more sense for someone to say, "Yup. He said you'd draw a dolphin." 

That's also why I suggest not writing down or drawing your prediction. It would make too much sense to show it to the spectator at that point. 

From here you can do what Michael originally suggested and end the routine with a pseudo-hypnosis memory wipe to justify why the spectator no longer recognizes the drawing on the phone. Or you can continue on with my variation of Michael's routine.

You turn back to Tom. Tell him to look into your eyes. Tell him he should lower the phone and put it in his pocket for now. (The "look in my eyes" bit is so he doesn't notice the picture has changed prematurely.) Stare at him for another moment then nod, "Yes. We're connected," you say. Or something else vague like that. 

To the audience: "It's understandable if you don't believe it was genuine mind control. Maybe it was some kind of a trick. Or maybe it was a lucky guess. So to prove it was real we're going to do it a second time. This time without drawing anything at all. And I will prove to you it's legit by not only controlling his thoughts but altering his perception of what has occurred thus far in a way that no 'trick' could replicate. And I will do it without the benefit of physical contact." 

You ask Tom to once again close his eyes and cover his ears. Now you whisper/mouth the word "Cat" to the audience (or whatever animal he originally wrote). Lick the back of your hand and groom your face with it like a cat. Have Tom uncover his ears but have him keep his eyes closed. 

 "So I want you to picture an entirely new animal in your mind now. Ok... now let that animal transform into another animal." Act like you're really concentrating and following his thoughts along and trying to guide him in the right direction. "Okay, let it transform into another animal. [pause] And again... There! Stop there. I want you to let the thought of this animal grow in your mind. Imagine staring at this animal. Imagine staring at yourself looking out from the animal's eyes. Now picture a zoo that consists only of this animal. Imagine this is the only animal in the world. Can you think that for me? That's the only animal that exists. That's the only animal you could have possibly ever thought of. Just concentrate on that for a moment."

Pause. Make some gesture to indicate... something. For example, hold your raised, open hand out so it's aimed above Tom's head, then lower it and clench it into a tight fist as if to suggest thoughts are coalescing and solidifying in his mind.

"Okay, when I snap my fingers you can open your eyes." Obviously you could add more "hypnotism" style stuff in there as well. That's not my area of expertise. Then you say:

"Do me a favor. Forget all of that stuff we just did in that visualization. The animals transforming and all of that. Let it drift from your mind. Instead I want to go back to the animal you drew on the phone. What animal was that?" He will say, "A cat."

You turn to the audience and give them your cockiest, "I'm such a smartypants" look.

"Yes. A cat. Of course. What else would it be? It's almost like it's the only animal in the world."

Now, I don't know where it's better to go from here. You can end it right at this moment. (In which case I wouldn't have him put the phone in his pocket mid-routine. I'd just have him set it face down on a table.) Or you can tease it out a bit further. 

"You're positive you drew a cat, yes?" He'll agree. "100%?" He concurs.

"So if someone said you drew something else. Like... oh... I don't know... a dolphin. They'd be lying or mistaken, yes?" He agrees again.

"But what if an entire group of people said you drew a dolphin. A group of honest people who were telling the truth. Then that would mean there's something faulty with your memory, correct? In almost a scary way, yes?" He reluctantly concurs.

"Huh.... okay, great. Can I get my phone back? And...uhm... maybe don't look at the screen. For your sake."

He gives the phone back and does or does not look at the screen.

I've never done this routine. It's not my style of routine. But I do feel like in the right circumstance it would be pretty powerful. And you don't need a single thing on you except your phone. The spectator is truly random, no pre-show, and he gets to genuinely think of anything he wants all along the way. To the audience it seems like you successfully knew what he would draw from an unlimited choice the first time. Then you followed along with his thoughts and predicted a second free choice. And then you proved it was mind-control by rewiring his memory of events. Nice.

Thanks, Michael!

Light Lunch

You can try this for yourself. Go into the drawing swap part of the app. Make sure you've put something in the settings for the drawing to swap into. Now open the drawing pad and draw from Person One's perspective. Turn the phone and the drawing flips to Person Two's perspective. As person two you're going to initial the drawing to verify you saw it. Now turn it back to Person One's perspective. The original drawing is there but with Person Two's signature! Ahahahahahaha!

Anything written/drawn after the first rotation will remain on the image through future rotations.

Essentially this is now a digital Out to Lunch set-up. 

Think how this would play with A Cute Memory Loss above. You draw the scene then show it to your spectator. She sees the picture without the sun. You ask her to initial it. And when you turn it back you now have her initial or signature on a drawing she never actually saw. It's Out-To-Lunch with no half-card, stack of business cards or rubber band. 

Think how perfectly convincing this effect is now. Let's say you have someone else record the effect on their camera. Here's what the video records: You open up the drawing pad. You draw a house, tree, sun, and bird. You show that drawing to the camera then to a second spectator and ask her to take in all the elements and to sign the picture once she's remembered everything. You turn the phone back around and there is your original picture with her signature. You can now cause her to forget the sun ever existed in the picture and you have the video, her signature, and the corroboration of every other spectator that supports that reality. It's damn close to a perfect trick.

This feature can, of course, be used in other effects as well. Anything that's done in an OTL fashion.

I also think there's probably another trick or two to be found in this feature beyond just its use as an OTL style verification, but I haven't quite cracked the code on what that might be yet. If you have any thoughts, let me know.

Little Professor

This idea comes from Steven Keyl.

Right above here I wrote, "I also think there's probably another trick or two to be found in this feature beyond just its use as an OTL style verification, but I haven't quite cracked the code on what that might be yet." Steven points out that the Jerx App makes an almost perfect Add-A-Number "pad."

A volunteer who is good at math is brought up on stage. Three people in the crowd write down a three-digit number on your phone screen. The phone is turned to your volunteer (and the numbers switch for three numbers you wrote in). He then does the math and puts the total at the bottom. 

You can now show the phone to your volunteer and show it to the audience. The members of the audience who wrote down numbers will see their numbers with the total just announced at the bottom and your on-stage volunteer will see exactly what he expects to see. Obviously you don't want to show the screen to the audience too long as you don't want anyone to notice the numbers don't add up to the total that was just announced, but you can certainly show it long enough that those who wrote down numbers can see their numbers again, and everyone can get the sense it's above board.

In fact... maybe this is over-proving... but let's say you had the numbers written down by people on the right side of your audience. You have the drawing set to lock after three rotations. Your onstage volunteer does the math. "1847," you say. You turn to the audience and flash the screen to those who provided numbers. "And these numbers were all free choices made just this moment?" They agree. You turn back to the volunteer on stage and show him the figures, "And you're confident in your math?" Now you turn back to the audience and bring the phone to someone on the left side (away from the number givers). "I completely trust you but I'm going to ask this gentleman to check the math as we proceed, just so we can all be 100% sure." The guy in the audience who is checking the numbers is now seeing the locked in screen and is just doing the same math the person on stage did. Again, that might be over-proving, I don't know. I do know that a traditional add-a-no pad always felt to me like under-proving. 

If you "borrow" the phone from someone you planted it with in the front row, all the better. 

Wisdom of Crowds (aka Brain Dump)

The idea behind this word revelation is found in this post and this post.

The way it works it super simple. You, obviously, have to know what the spectator is thinking of (via a peek, center tear, impression pad, or whatever).

You go into the app on your phone, telling your spectator you're going to access some secret section of the dark web from which you can conduct this massive database search. You want to play up the idea that this type of mass database would never be accessible to the general public.

To code the word into the app, you just type it into the search bar. Whatever you type won't appear there, instead it will give you some odd url, dark.dbwz or something like that. This is so they can look at the screen as you're typing. But don't go making a big deal about showing it to them. It's just there if they look.

So if their word is apple, you just type a p p l e and then a period to signify the end of the input string. Then I usually type in a few more random letters after the period for the hell of it. So you may end up with something like dark.dbweaeecet. If they ask what that url is you can say that on this area of the dark web URLs are part site-code and part personal-access code. Just make shit up. No one knows what's going on.

You have to pay careful attention to your keyboard as you enter the word to make sure you've pressed the right letter because you can't visually reference it after you've entered it. If you press a wrong letter you can delete it and re-enter it and you'll be fine. 

When you're done and you've entered the fake URL, give the phone to your friend to enter her information in the form. The rest works itself. The form asks for their location of birth. Ask if they spent their formative years in the same city they were born in. If not, tell them to enter where they actually grew up and not where they were born. Pretending like this is somehow important lends credence to what is supposedly going on.

One thing to be clear about in your presentation is that it's not searching through their personal data. It's searching through data of people similar to them and then making an aggregate profile based on trillions of bits of information, or whatever.

I really enjoy this little trick. It's fun for people who know you do magic. But it's really a mind-F for someone you just met on a train somewhere or something like that.

Wish List

Wish List is a completely different effect. It started with an idea I had to put the climax of an effect as the first thing that happens. I wrote up that idea here originally. 

The full use of the feature on the app is explained here.

April 2019 Update

In addition to some cosmetic changes, the following additions were made to the app.

Wisdom of Crowds - In the settings you can choose the other words to show up in the output. This allows you to perform this in any language. It also means you could choose words associated with your spectator, if you wanted to go that route. Or you could choose some words that might lead you into another effect.

Image Switch - You can now do the switching functionality with two pictures from your camera roll. What can you do with this? I’m sure there are a bunch of things you could do, especially when you consider that you could swap one screenshot for another, so you can almost make it seem like any app or anything on your phone changed in some way. For example—this isn’t a particularly good idea—but you could have a screen shot with a low battery and then a fully charged battery so with a wave of your phone it would look like your battery charged. (Have it set to lock after one rotation.) You’ll come up with a better idea than that.

Or here’s something that might work well in a more structured show. You invite someone to join you on stage. You show the audience a picture of a pile of candy that you were thinking of purchasing. You ask one spectator to think of any item they see there and to name it out loud. They say the Take 5 candy bar. “That’s exactly the one I bought and ate.” You point to a box on the table, open it, and a single candy bar wrapper falls out. It’s a Take 5 wrapper.

This works with The Gift by Angelo Carbone, but you could do something similar with many multiple out style of effect. You show the audience a picture of “some candy” you were considering buying. It’s a huge pile with 50 different items. When you turn the phone to the spectator, they see four candy bars of which they have a free choice. So they’re still getting a fairly clean one in four effect, but for the rest of the audience it seems much more impossible.

If the photos are significantly different, you’re going to want to take steps to make sure they don’t get a brief glimpse of the prior image after the turn. There are many ways to do this and the best way will depend on your performing situation. For example, if you turn your body rather than turning the phone, then often your body will be in the way of the image itself during the transition. For some routines I have them hold the phone against their chest, turn around, and take peek at something. Obviously they won’t see the change that way. In most situations, where I’m showing something to myself and people on my side, and then turning the phone to an individual opposite us, what I’ll do is angle the phone down below their site line during the turn, then tip it up so they can see the screen clearly. It’s probably overkill. Unless they’re burning the exact location of where the phone screen will be after the turn, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever see anything anyway, but it’s an issue to keep in mind.

Check back here for more effects and tips in the future.

The Jerx App is built and maintained by Marc Kerstein. Visit his site and buy his apps. They're good. And supporting each other is what we do around here.