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Kenton Knepper

believe suggestion - at many different levels - plays an important part in our work. As I
am known for suggestion and its application to magic and Mentalism, as well as the
multiple-reality concept, I thought a small treatise might be in order. Most of my efforts
have been intensive studies such as Wonder Words, Kentonism, and such. With this
small manuscript, I hope to give you a dip of the toe into the pond that is the ocean of
suggestion. Enjoy the refreshment before taking the plunge, so to speak. We will explore
everything from words and principles, to full effects and routines. I am sure most students will
find material here that they can and will truly use. Sometimes the small things make the
biggest impact. You will discover real miracles in this booklet. At least, our audiences believe
In dictionaries, the word "suggestion" is often defined as "a subtle command". In these two
words, "subtle command" is a wealth of wisdom. What many magical and mental performers
miss is this notion of subtlety. The great ones use it always, the novice never. Those who have
tried to make people do things by commanding them often find it backfires. To learn however to
command someone in such a subtle way that they are unaware is a magical skill. We should all
have such skill in magical performance.
Most of my works are strewn with suggestion, in no way am I going to attempt to squeeze all of
that into one little booklet. The short comments here on suggestion are simply meant to get
you thinking - to begin to open your eyes and look at the world and your performance
differently. Perhaps this little booklet will help you to see how you can comprehend and use
such principles in your act. Too many are frightened by some of my large works because they
think they cannot handle the depth of the material. Nothing could be less true. The subject
matter seems daunting, but it is simple in actual practice. I hope to address a few easy things
in this booklet, as well as complex matters, so that you can see how basic your foundation may
be. I hope after this, you will wonder what details and applications other works teach you, and
study accordingly. A few friends along the way will help us in this endeavor. I think you'll enjoy.
Let's get right to it.
Here is a simple, but practical, illustration:
When doing metal bending, I remove my finger rings before I begin to bend anything. I may
say something such as:
"Before I do this next thing, let me be safe and take these off" or "I have learned the hard way
to take these off first".
Even without saying anything, the implication is that something is going to happen. Also
suggested is that some sort of problem or damage might happen in some way. Otherwise, why
would I need to remove my fingerings? I am sure you realize how this is already starting to set
a proper tone. I don't make a big point or fuss as I do this. I remove my rings as a sort of an
afterthought or remembrance based on experience. It may be as little as if I am mumbling to
myself, or chastising myself to not forget.
The removal of rings is NOT the effect so I do NOT play it that way. I hope you do not either. I
direct attention to a spoon as I hold it in my hands. Eventually it bends. Now even the dimmest
person can imagine why I have removed my finger rings. Please note that I never tell them why!
It is suggested in an indirect way, which allows for the real power of it.
Now would it surprise you to learn that some spectators notice a ring has been bent while
resting untouched upon the table? Probably not; But it surely surprises the audience - WHEN
they notice. If they do not, I don't say a thing.
How is the ring bent? It was always bent. I wear at least one ring that is always bent. It goes
unnoticed among the other rings, and who would suspect a bent ring - when I had been
wearing it? Besides all of this, removing the rings is a semi-casual event, and I direct the focus
swiftly but unhurriedly to the spoon. The rings are not the suggested focus - the spoon is.
To be certain, those who are mentalists of a finer school such as those who read this, will

comprehend how such a minor thing is vital. The bending effects feedback upon each other and
leaves no clue or impressions other than what you do may be real.
To bend things wearing even one ring may suggest less than the effect you wish. To remove
the rings suggests mountains out of the proverbial molehill. Spectators may soon note that one
or more of their rings have bent too. Hmmm. Shall you take credit, or give them the credit?
Those of you, who know my work, know my answer.
Typical mentalism in performance magic is a furrowed brow, a squinting of the eyes and such. I
tend to shake at times with the suggestion of "energy". Anytime mentalists say, "Let's try
something... Focus on that (word, object, idea, or thought) but don't say anything... Hmmm... I
am getting..." this all says, "I am reading your mind" indirectly.
But I mean to get at something more than this.
When I do bending, I NEVER say "I am going to bend this by concentrating my mental powers
upon it" or anything of the sort. I talk about how I was unusual as a youth in school, and how
what the audience is about to see got a great deal of attention, and how "it starts off rather
slow, but be patient, and I think you will see", things along those lines. In other words, I am
honest. This carries its own suggestion. All of this suggests, but does not SAY directly, that I
am bending things with my mind. Please stop and consider this and learn from it.
My breathing changes, I admit I do squint and frown a bit, I cock my head, I am obviously
focused - people can tell I have been focused because when something is not bending, I am
RELAXED. This contrast suggests indirectly that I was previously focusing. Good performers
remember that contrast is not only important, but that the opposite is suggested when your
actions change.
For instance, I have been known to say at times "Okay, now let's just try a trick" or "I need to
relax, let's just do a trick for a moment instead". These sayings suggest that what I was doing
previously was not a trick. This may not be the most elegant way to suggest that, but it works.
Sometimes I get a few chuckles, but people cannot shake the implication entirely. If I have
done anything at all convincing, what was said makes perfect sense. Maybe what I did was real?
In metal bending effects, I also make statements such as "Go ahead - try to unbend it. you
can't unbend it easily... Not physically anyway"!
This suggests that when I bent the item, I was using mental, spiritual or energetic methods NOT "physical".
At times during bending I may rub my hands together, separate them slightly, and then bring
them halfway back together. I peer into the space between my hands. I think of looking at the
energy between my hands. I don't SAY that, but the actions imply this quite clearly. After
things bend, I may shake my hands, as if shaking off energy or getting feelings back in my
hands. It is similar to the action of shaking your hands if you have leaned against them and
they have had their blood flow cut off temporarily. I have been known to shake my hands and
then suddenly stop. Note that the actions suggest this, not the words. I might add at times, as
I look dismayed and mumble:

"Don't want to get that all over"

I brush off the table or some nearby object. Again, this is to suggest that I am using something
other than purely physical force.
All of this of course is my real secret to "bending".
Let's consider something more basic to many of you: playing cards. Some mentalists shun such
cards, and the reason is suggestion. Playing cards, they fear, have inherent within them the
suggestion of a magic trick. I believe this depends on your own setting up of other suggestions,
and labels, but still the point can be made.

As far as magicians go, any playing cards should be fine if you can work with them however,
correct? Well, not necessarily so. I use poker size playing cards. I was taught to use them for
technical reasons. If I am used to larger cards, then when I have to use smaller cards, they are
easier to use. The reverse is not so easy. Due to this notion, I became a typical card snob like
many of us. I would never use those poor, pathetic bridge size cards! Goodness no! I am a
professional! Then one day I was hanging out with some friends, and George Sands whips out a
deck - and it is a BRIDGE deck. I couldn't believe it! George "Sandsational" Sands, in the
Tarbell Course and more magazines than I can count - using a bridge deck! WHY?
Because George was working for people who played bridge nearly every night. Using a poker
deck would have seemed odd to them. Using a poker deck with a bridge group suggests
something is not normal. George was doing what was right. He was using suggestion properly.
I once liked the idea very much of using cards from the Magic Castle. They looked interesting
and different. But they did not look like the cards my clients played with at all. I thought I
ought to quit using these cards, and I did. Later, I began using Magic Castle decks again. The
reason for this is still the use of suggestion. When I work for celebrities and they see "Magic
Castle" on the deck, they ask, "Oh, have you ever gone to the Magic Castle"? When I respond
with "Oh yes, I am a member of The Castle", I go up on the scale of celebrity myself. Forget
what you and magicians may or may not think about The Castle. To others, The Castle is a
landmark and a legitimate club. Celebrities from Hollywood have been going there for eons. If
you are a member - it counts to people who pay. If you wish to be a pure mentalist however,
and pull out a deck of cards from The Castle, that may not be a good thing, I am fortunate - I
get to be both mentalist and magician. There is a time and place for both. It all depends on the
sort of suggestion I wish to put forth.
Even The Castle recognizes that cards may suggest trick cards when they say "Your friends may
not trust these in a poker game, but..." When I want to cause someone to believe I am using a
trick deck, when in fact I am not, these cards are the perfect choice too. It is the suggestion
inherent in them of which I choose to take advantage.
Docc Hilford once released trick decks that were made from cards one often finds in a normal
person's home: Cards with kittens on the back, scenery, those basic "bargain basement"
designs. No one ever suspects these cards are trick cards. The suggestion in the back design
says these are normal, everyday cards, and not at all special. This is a fine take on the
elimination of a trick deck by suggestion.
Maybe you think that magic clubs are worthless, and that the I.B.M., S.A.M., and such are not
selective. Even if this were the case, you are missing the point. The suggestion to lay people is
what matters. When they see things such as "Member of the International Brotherhood of
Magicians, Society of American Magicians, The Academy of Magical Arts" or whatever - oh boy!
They are impressed. Who cares if some other magician isn't impressed? They aren't paying the
bills. I am speaking from experience, for I too became a snob for some time. You are only
snubbing yourself. You are forgetting what such titles suggest to paying people. Use the
suggestion, and be a happy member proud to share. Look what these organizations do for
you in name alone! This simple notion, although you may not like it, is worth a great deal of
money. It is worth so much in practical bookings, that I should never have said anything to you
about it. Since I know all but the wise will argue and miss the effectiveness of this, I have set it
down for those who can see. To those who think I am grossly overstating my position you
haven't put this to the test like I have. Working people KNOW. I have said enough about such
matters. We'll look now at other suggestions.
But What Does This Have To Do With TRICKS?
Most of the time, if you turn a box upside down and something falls from inside the box, this
suggests that there is nothing more inside the box. That makes sense, doesn't it? It is logical.
But that doesn't mean it is true. Suggestion takes logical assumptions and expects the minds of
others to expand on this deductively. Usually this is exactly what happens. We need such leaps
in assumption just to be able to function in everyday life. It is natural to make these
assumptions, and the art of suggestion employs this and other factors.

If I pour a white powder out of a box or container of sugar, the suggestion is obvious. If the
box or can is marked with a huge, unnatural lettering that reads SUGAR, then people may well
question the contents. Barring such a crude statement, the suggestion is that sugar is being
poured. If I add eggs, the powder from a sugar canister, and milk, the other ingredients
reinforce the suggestion that the white substance is sugar. Perhaps though, the sugar was
actually slush powder. This absorbs all the milk in the cone. Yes, the egg could be hardened or
absorbed in this way too. But who said I used real eggs? That's right - the suggestion was that
I used eggs - when I actually tossed in two whole eggshells - with the insides blown out. The
other ingredients made a suggestion of each other.
Suggestion can aid in subtle ways too. Let's say you wish to do a selected card in card case
effect. Due to scrutiny, you choose not to palm out the card, but use a duplicate stuck in the
card case ahead of time. You will simply force the card on the spectator, and then have them
remove the duplicate from the box. I did this for years and not only got by with it, but gained
much applause. The reason this works when you do it my way is subtle suggestion.
Take the deck from the card case, but leave the duplicate card and a few extras inside,
unknown to the audience. Squeeze the box and turn it upside down, then peer inside the box.
Next, remove all but the duplicate from the box. Secretly leave the duplicate behind. Now turn
the box upside down and subtly squeeze the sides to keep the duplicate in. Shake the box
upside down, and then peer inside as if you see nothing and say "Good". Close the card box flap
and set the box aside. In this way you suggest the box is empty without saying directly the
box is empty. Spectators will leave the box alone at this point, you need not fear.
If you fear, or set something on top of the box now, people will take this new suggestion to
mean that something is going to happen inside the box. Too many times performers destroy
their effect by using suggestion in the wrong way. In this trick, we do not want them to think
that something is going to happen with the case at all. So casually toss the box aside and leave
it at that.
Show the deck, have it shuffled if you like, and force the matching card from the deck to a
spectator. Take the card back into the deck and secretly get the card to the top. Turn the deck
face up and get a pinky break between the top two cards and the rest of the deck. Hold these
top two square - an indifferent card and the chosen card hiding behind it - as you spread
through the deck between your hands.
"Let me see if I can find your card" you say, and allow the spectators to see the cards as you
spread through them. "I am looking for your card, and I will find it!" you proclaim.
The audience thinks, "Okay, not that great of a trick, but I'll watch to see if he gets the card
right". This is precisely what you wish them to think. By telling the audience you will be looking
for the card, the spectators think they should look for it too. They look to see the card for
themselves. Your suggestion indirectly gets the spectators involved. This is far different than
saying, "Now look for your card". Such a statement is too direct. It causes scrutiny and doubt.
Suggestion causes the spectators to think that looking is all their own idea. Yes, it is very much
like real mental influence indeed. When you get near the end (top of the deck), you say,
"I can't find it. This is embarrassing"
The truth is, the spectators couldn't see their card either, as it is hidden as a double card
behind the top card of the deck. You need not get fancy with the last two cards held as one.
Don't "snap" the card(s) to prove they are single or anything like that. Such actions may
suggest something is wrong with the top card. Instead, get to the last few cards and say,
"Oh. I think I know what happened... You won't believe this... Open up the card case"
As you say the words "card case", tap the box. This later allows the audience to imagine you
somehow palmed the card in there at the tap further keeping them away from the idea of a
duplicate. You don't have to do this, but you might, as it is another form of suggestion. The real
work follows, which destroys all thought of duplicates.
The spectators are now thinking "You have got to be kidding, his card is in there?" Notice that

you did not say this directly, you allowed them to think this on their own. You suggested it by
what you said, but you did not state this directly. Indirect is often better. All attention is now on
the case and the spectator opening it, which allows you to thumb off and palm off the top
duplicate card into your pocket. The deck is now clean.
"Was that your card?", you ask the spectator.
Please note I said "was" not "is". If you ask, "Is that your card?", some people say, "I don't
know if that is the same exact card - but it is like what my card was". I am speaking here from
experience of course. The word "is" is too direct, and makes too bold of a statement. However
when I ask, "Was that your card", they think quickly "Yes that WAS the same card I took" and
so they say "Yes, that is it". I know this is subtle but think about it, and you will see what great
difference these two words make.
This is the real secret, friends. Even the most skeptical person has to admit that a duplicate
was similar to the card they took previously. That does not mean that it is the same card. Mind
you, most spectators don't think all of this out consciously, they do so rather unconsciously,
and then respond appropriately.
The spectator looking at this card and then saying "Yes that's it" now fools himself. In his
response is usually included the word "is" in some form, which makes the duplicate his actual
card in his mind. The spectator is the one who chooses to say it is his card, not you. The
spectator himself brings this card into the present moment, and suggests that this is his very
card. He doesn't say that directly, but he suggests it indirectly by using the word "is". Once he
says something along these lines, the effect is sold - and he himself has sold everyone else on
the deception as well.
To finish, I say, "Place the card back into the deck and shuffle again ".
By saying, "Put the card back into the deck", I am suggesting that this is the same card he
took from the deck. To be able to put the card "back" it must have come from the deck "first".
This is a final reinforcement suggestion.
You will also be pleased to know that the spectator has just inserted a gaffed card into your
deck for you by his own hand. That's right - the card from the case is also a marked card, a
short card, a crimped card and whatever else you choose. Why palm a gaff in when you can get
the spectator to do it for you? No one will consider it gaffed, as the spectator himself removed
the card from the box. If a spectator handles something and plays with it himself, the
suggestion is that it is probably normal. You wouldn't hand out something that was tricky, now
would you? This also seems to be the end of the trick, so defenses are down.
You may continue to do a fine ambitious card routine or anything else, as it is an easy matter to
find his gaffed card! Need I add that you can end with an incredible card to pocket (because the
straight duplicate was ditched there earlier)? After doing a few more things with his card, turn
to have the spectator check your pocket. As he takes the card out of your pocket on that side,
your other hand dumps off the gaffed duplicate into the pocket on your other side. All is clean
and the spectator has accomplished most of the work. See what a little suggestion can set up?
Although these are elementary examples, I hope they will get you to start thinking along the
lines of suggestion. It can make such a difference. Some of the word examples are to be found
in more detail in my Wonder Words series. Let's discuss a few things concerning suggestion
and "magician's choice" or "equivoque" next.
To me, anytime "equivoque" is mentioned, several things pop to mind. One is how to label
objects, actions, and choices. A second aspect is the use of suggestion.
There is no space here to get into all the details, but the thinking student will contemplate these
notions and be well rewarded for the effort. That has certainly been my experience at least, and
those of my students and readers. I hope you THINK about these brief clues.
We'll begin with simple applications; say for a force of one of five objects. The client chooses an
object, which is not the one you intend to force. You need another shot at the force. Labeling

the first choice as something different gives you another chance.

You may say "Yes, good - for a conscious choice. Now choose another object subconsciously.
Just quickly, pick up another object without too much thought. Now!"
The spectator is thrown off guard at this stage. They are told to do something they cannot do
with conscious thought. Yet, they still have to "choose" which is, oddly enough, a conscious
thought. As you are hurrying the spectator along, they must choose quickly and without much
thought. That just means their suspicions are on hold. Chances are high now that they will
choose the force object.
If they do hit this second time, you can point out how you were attempting to influence the
spectator "subliminally" unconsciously. People believe they make choices based on their
conscious decisions. While they are consciously distracted, many feel their subconscious mind
can be easily influenced. Prove you have done just this as you show the object you had written
down ahead of time. This doesn't look like a trick - it looks real. It appears that the conscious
choice was an intended distraction for you to implant the subliminal influence and choice.
If the spectator still chooses something other than the force object that is fine too.
"Good, you have now made two choices in the world of the mind as commonly considered. You
have made both conscious and subconscious choices. Some claim there is a third type of
consciousness. Let us put aside the common notions of the mind. Set those objects aside. Good.
We shall now attempt to access the third type of mind as some claim. This is the mind that is
said to be only One Mind - that holds us all within it and holds our every idea and thought. This
is the 'third aspect of the mind' that some claim accounts for telepathy. Let us see. Two objects
remain. Let's imagine there is a third type of mind and that you can now be guided by it to
make the right and most comfortable choice".
Of course, you are now free in a most interesting way. If they choose the force object, it proves
there is a "One Mind" that accounts for how you knew they would do this ahead of time.
If they leave the force object, you may explain that you believe that all three states of mind
lead to the creation of a fourth type. This is what you might call "fourth dimensional
"It is the place in mind where all time is now. You may not believe that, but I can prove it. I
went into my own fourth dimensional consciousness and saw what you would choose, and what
you would ultimately leave behind in the fourth dimension. Read what I wrote down days ago...
Welcome to the Twilight Zone ".
The principle to be aware of, behind all of this, is simply one of labeling combined with
suggestion. Instead of labeling an incorrect choice as what it is, you label it as a success. In this
example, each choice is labeled a success in an aspect or dimension of mind. This also makes
for much conversation and fascination, far more than a clever trick.
Another interesting set-up with which I have had much success is the notion of objects
generating or absorbing energy.
"Which object seems to be radiating more energy than others? Good! And which object seems
to be colder than the rest? Yes"!
Your written prediction may then display: "The object I was placing my energy upon, which you
yourself noticed" Or you could say "And this will also send a chill down your spine... I wrote that
very object down ahead of time".
I often combine such labels with suggestion. This can get a bit tricky, but I will attempt to at
least give you a basic feel for it here. Much of my work has these elements involved in it. Let's
say we would like to force the suit of Hearts from a deck of playing cards. We might begin

"Let's try a little, gentle, experiment... nothing at all harsh or tricky. This is just about radiating
positive energy - energy you can FEEL. Gentle energy. Everything holds and releases energy,
but some things are more obvious and work better. You may not think for instance that playing
cards have their own energy, but they do. I have the deck separated into reds and blacks. Dear
lady, which suit do you feel an affinity for? By that, I mean which symbols seem to radiate
energy outwards - which may actually be radiating energy that can be felt. The black cards or
the red cards"?
Naturally, most people say "red cards", as black suits rarely seem to be thought of as
"radiating" energy or anything else. The label "energy" seems to suggest bright and active
notions. Red is a bright and active color, and black is generally not considered that way.
If you read the opening few paragraphs, you will also notice how we are almost implanting the
suit of Hearts into the minds of the audience. I try and say "heart" in every way I can without
using the exact word.
I make statements such as "gentle energy, kind, feel, positive energy", and so on. I also choose
a lady, as a woman is more symbolic of "Hearts" in most cultures.
What happens if the spectator says "Black cards"? Easy, I remark:
"Yes, consciously. But let's see what your subconscious choice would be... Let's turn the deck
faces down so you cannot be consciously influenced at all. Now, you must go with your
They will not only get the suit, they get the exact card I want. How? I do a simple card force!
You may not think that very elegant, but given the words as outlined, it is very subtle and
amazing indeed.
The point again is to consider how the labels you assign to what happens, and the suggestions
you make, play important roles in the forcing of choices. In fact, I often look at five objects or
more and think to myself "Which of these would I say seems to radiate energy - just by the
look or feel of them?" Then I know the odds are already far in my favor. If I feel influenced,
others likely will too.
You can play the odds like this as long as you have the "outs" and that is what equivoque is, so
feel free to experiment. If you have a blue deck and a red deck and you need to force the red
one, ask a spectator to pick up the deck that seems to be radiating the most energy. Ask them
to place their palms hovering over the two decks, and just quickly name the deck that
obviously has more alive and awake energy than the other - not the deck they like best. They
almost have to choose the red one, now don't they? The color red suggests energy; blue tends
to suggest calmer feelings.
Often, I like spectators to hover their hands over objects and then touch an object. They tend
to choose the higher objects in such cases. I also add in a verbal suggestion as follows. As the
spectator moves their hand along slowly, I say:
"Touch any object that just feels right to you"
I time my words so I say, "...that just feels right..." over the intended force object. If I pause a
half a beat before I say that just feels right" it helps emphasize this even more, without
making it too obvious. Try it a few times. I have taught people who could not do a classic force
how to do one by adding in these words alone. Just say the magic phrase at the force card, and
your odds increase outrageously.
Your rate of speech and the inflection of your voice also play significant roles. Strange that so
few people talk about this when they mention verbal influence and control. Speaking slightly
slower places emphasis, and thereby attention, to that which is being addressed. If I am
speaking at one rate, then slow a little, then pick my rate of speech back up again, the slower
speech will draw attention to the thing I was speaking about.

If I want spectators to ignore consciously certain things, I may speak of them a little faster, so
they go by more quickly. Surely you have noticed others do this in sales and advertising. Even
when you know other things were said, you still focus on what was said more slowly. If you are
ridiculously obvious, then it will not work. Any form of influence and suggestion should be
suggestion. A suggestion is a subtle command, not an obvious blow over the spectator's head.
Well, okay, not usually.
Perhaps you have heard that if you smile when speaking to someone over the phone, the
person on the other end senses that you are friendly in some way. That is a fine way to book a
show and influence clients. The same principle of subtle vocal inflection may be used to
influence the selection of objects. Never be too obvious of course. If you smile slightly as you
mention or touch the force object, it can make a difference. I have said at times:
"Touch the object you like BEST"
and smile as I say "best". I also slightly emphasize the word "best" with my voice. This is a
form of triggering, and essentially similar to what NLP calls "marking" something.
Try as you speak to make your voice sound just a little more pleasant as you or the spectator
touch or speak about the force object. Remember not to be obvious. I know some people who
sound as if they are having an orgasm when they mean to subtly influence others to feel better.
That may help them fool themselves, but mostly to listeners, it just sounds silly and obvious.
Try to be subtle and use suggestion.
All of these things help increase your odds at mentally hitting the force in the first place. If you
fail, you go on with your planned phase, and force the object. But why not do everything you
can to hit more? Speaking of doing everything and anything...
I also incorporate what I think of as restarts. It might be called the "do-overs" ploy. One way I
do this is to begin my opening remarks and touch all the objects except for the force object and
one other. Then I ask the spectator to choose one. Chances are very high that they will not
want to touch the same three objects I touched. Since I left them a "choice" - only two - of
objects that I did not touch, they usually pick the middle force object. If they touch one that I
touched I say,
"Yes - Obviously that would be it, as it is one of the objects I touched too. Don't let me
influence you THIS time pick another object".
Or perhaps I do not touch one at all. I still may use the ploy if they select anything but the
force object,

"Yes, that is the one I attempted to influence you to pick. Don't let me do that! Don't let me
influence you this time - pick any one you LIKE..."
My most blatant start over move is just that: A call to start over. In fact, I just used it again
last night in a performance. I was doing a force that was purely psychological. Part of it the
spectator got, part of it she missed. While I had my intended optional ending, I felt like trying
again. She had answered, and then was slightly distracted and began coughing a little after she
answered incorrectly. Of course, I couldn't let her know she answered incorrectly, from what I
meant to force. So, I replied,
"You said circle, but you may have said that under duress... there were distractions and this
may have influenced you in some way - which we do not want! Chose another symbol - I don't
want you to be distracted this time. Choose another symbol, one you like most of all".
She did and chose the force symbol. Please note I sneaked in the word "another" symbol a
couple of times. That is a subtle way to make people pick something new.
You can of course create your own distractions when needed. I might stub my toe, accidentally

tip the table, or let my hand hit the table on "accident" noisily. One could do any number of
things, and then say,
"I am sorry. That may have distracted you and influenced you in some way. Let's start over and
pick another"
Don't laugh out loud while you say, "I don't want to influence or distract you", as you influence,
and distract them.
Other comments along these lines are
"I distracted you forget that one let's start again"
I don't want to influence you THIS time"
which suggest very indirectly that you influenced them the first time.
The basic theory is one of breaking a rhythm or pattern, so that you can change the pace to
where you wish to go. It is a form of stopping people in their tracks. When you throw people off
guard, they are more likely to follow where you suggest. Here is another method I use, with
some nice presentational angles built in:
I do this for an invisible coin equivoque. But you could do it with anything "invisible". I needed
to make a close-up coin equivoque large enough to be interesting on a stage. My other desire
was to have a reason for giving an audience member my stationary as a souvenir. You might
think of this as a business card give-away only larger.
I write the predicted coin (force coin) on the stationary and then roll this paper into a tube. I
place a rubber band or ribbon around the tube to keep it rolled. Without explanation, I keep
hold of this tube during the effect.
The spectator takes an invisible coin out of his pocket. I ask what it is. If it is not the force coin,
I frown and tap the tube on my hand. This makes a sound and interrupts the flow of things. I
hold the tube to my eye, look through it to the audience, throw it to my hand, and look back at
the spectator.
"Perhaps you need one of these.... Look at your hand again. What ELSE do you have?"
This gets a laugh, and creates an entertaining "do-over", which looks to be only an intended
piece of by-play. If the spectator names the correct coin now, we go with that coin. If not, then
the only two left in the pocket are to be used for "the experiment of the x-ray glasses" - which
is simply the rolled up tube. Another spectator looks through the tube and calls out a coin he
sees in the pocket of the other spectator. This is now the obvious hit, or leaves the force one
completely invisible, as needed.
In the end, the spectator unrolls the tube and reads out loud the written prediction. The tube
not only creates a funny distraction, but the by-play reminds the audience subtly that the
prediction was in front of them the entire time. That may seem a minor benefit, but trust me, it
is a major factor to the audience when performed in this more indirect fashion. This version
allows the spectators to come up with the notion themselves that the prediction was in front of
them the entire time. Such small points make for the miraculous. I hope you make them your
In my book "Weerd Enough", I use suggestion to force a charm. I am ready for equivoque of
course. Without going into this entire effect, just consider the use of suggestion in forcing in
such a manner.
Let's say we wish to force a locket. Few have considered such things in quite this way. Predict


that which has a couple of parts or elements to it.

A locket has naturally both a locket AND a key to open it - correct? If I have as my prediction a
second locket, either the duplicate LOCKET or the KEY that fits it will work as the force objects!
This allows for one single prediction, yet two objects that are "force" objects. Think about that.
It will serve you very well indeed.
I hedge my bets a great deal with the charms too. The spectator has the option of choosing one
of the following: a skull, a fang, a heart locket, a key, and a rusty nail. The words I use allude
to their choice as being indicative of their future and such, so spectators tend to leave the skull,
fang and nail alone! I hope you consider the importance of the suggestion inherent in the
objects themselves. This makes for amazing force possibilities.
Try not to be too obvious of course. If everyone can consciously see why an object was chosen,
then it amazes no one. But play with what I have suggested, and combine this with the multiple
out/single object concept, and you can do miracles. The use of these charms and the dual
object can make for touching, wonder-filled stories and souvenirs. I have hinted about this
more than enough I should hope by now.

Subconscious Book Test

A spectator selects a book. The performer says he will riffle the pages by quickly past the
spectator's eyes. This, claims the performer, will cue the spectator's subconscious mind to pay
attention and read what is flying by. To be certain a page sinks deeply into the spectator's mind,
he is to call out "There!" at any moment, as the pages riffle past his eyes. The spectator calls
out, and the performer pauses at this place, so the spectator can note the page subconsciously
and the page number consciously as well.
More pages fly past the spectator's eyes, and then the book is set aside, as the book is not
needed. The performer cautions the spectator not to say a thing until the very end - to give him
no clue whatsoever. With that said, the performer begins speaking about all the things on the
page - impressions received by the subconscious mind of the spectator. He names characters,
acts out a brief scene, gets to a climatic point and then cannot finish, as he is at the bottom of
the page. The spectator could not view the opposite page at all. What a disappointment to not
know the dramatic ending. But the performer claims, he does see the page number clearly.
"Page 53 is what I see - as plain in your mind as black and white! Page 53 - was that the page
number YOU were focused upon - did I get that right? Page 53? Yes! Good! Thank you very
much... And now we can see how this ends". The performer quickly turns to the page and reads
out loud the next sentence or two of the facing page, to finish the story.
There are many pieces to this puzzle, all of them inferring or using suggestion. The actual
mechanics are the simplest of things. The book is unprepared, and should be numbered at the
top comer of the pages. You, as the performer, turn your head away as the pages begin to be
riffled. The front of the book faces the spectator. The spine of the book is to your right, as your
left fingers riffle the pages from front to back towards you. The spectator calls out wherever he
likes. When he does, you open the book a bit so that the spectator may see this page.
"Let it sink deeply into the subconscious - quick! You MUST be sure to remember the page
number! Remember it!" you admonish.
As this is said, for the first time, you turn your head just enough to glance at the page number
of the opposite page. This is done as though you are turning to be sure the spectator is
understanding and doing what you say. This needs to be done casually and very briefly. Just a
second is all that is needed to get the glimpse. But do not hurry this either, as that would
suggest reason for suspicion. This is a common procedure in mentalism, and I need not say
more here. If you are reading this, you should have a clue about the basics in mentalism
anyway - or you will educate yourself soon.
You want to suggest that the spectator is to look at the page, but this comment is immediately
followed with the urgency of his remembering the page NUMBER. This comment is repeated.
Later, the audience will recall that you did say to the spectator to look at the PAGE and the


page number too. This is not what really happens, as the spectator is told this, but he is not
given the time to follow through. Instead, you force his attention to be focused upon the page
Once the peek happens and the spectator has the page number in his mind, allow the rest of
the pages to riffle by, as you secretly remember the spectator's page. The spectator's page is of
course one page after the one you saw, making his number one more than the number you
peeked. So knowing the page number is easy.
But how do you know or remember all of the details on the page? You don't, and the truth is
neither does the spectator. He stopped you and you told him to look at the page and remember
the page number, to be sure to recall the page number, as you will need this confirmation later.
You tell the spectator:
"Not to say a single thing - not one little hint right or wrong, until I ask at the very end,
This suggests that the spectator must SHUT UP and KEEP QUIET - period. The spectator now
must be given a mental reason why what you are doing has to be correct The answer begins
with pure suggestion.
All the rest that you say and do are suggestions that these other things were on the page. If
you know the book and a few main characters, then that is wonderful. But you don't have to
know. You say directly that the spectator has observed the entire page - probably not
consciously true, but subconsciously.
"Since telepathy is a process of the subconscious mind, I will access this to determine your
Please note the subtle focus here on "the page" suggesting "page number" although this is not
what is actually said.
The spectator usually thinks silently, "I was supposed to remember everything on that page?
Oh, do I feel stupid! I don't know! I hope this performer doesn't make me look foolish or ask
me too many questions"! This is happening inside the spectator as you smile, look at him, and
"Oh! Your subconscious knows it ALL"
If the spectator has been silently concerned, this will already appear to be telepathy - and he
will be shocked that you responded to his silent thought. If he was not thinking anything of the
sort, it appears that you are merely explaining the process about to occur.
Now launch into a rapid succession of names, events, a few details, mention a slight
imperfection on the page - just don't be specific, and so on. The suggestion is that all of what
you are saying must be on the page the spectator peeked. It must be, or you are a crazy
person having a public fit.
You need to have a planned on story a dramatic line or two is all near the end. You may
make it a humorous few lines instead if you so choose. You will need that so you can rant and
then stop suddenly mid-sentence. This is when you say that you would love to finish but that is
the end of page number (and name whatever page you glimpsed that he stopped upon). All of
the previous outbursts and dramatic storytelling has been performed primarily towards the
audience at large. At this point, you turn to the spectator and say
"Page 53, yes or no, was that indeed the page you had in mind - page 53? "
When the spectator confirms this is the correct page, grab the book back from where you
tossed it down and say
"Good! Thank you... Oh, thank you for applauding his fine mind, yes. But I meant that now we


can read the ending of that cut-off sentence! I hate not to finish a thought, you know"
Open to the spectator's page, and pretend to read the next line of the facing page. In truth, all
you do is finish your rehearsed line or two. Close the book, and thank the spectator for his
amazing mind - both conscious and subconscious! As you make a point to thank the spectator
and his "fine mind - both parts!" he is not likely to sweat the details. You did indeed get the
page number correct, which is all you asked him to confirm. He could honestly do that, and did.
He is also likely to be pleased to be off the hook. He didn't realize until it was too late that he
was supposed to remember the whole page when he looked at it! But even a flash memory
expert would admit you were correct in page number, and that your conclusion was correct.
The rest appears to be the journey you take to arrive at a proper solution.
NOTES: The physical work here is an insanely silly book peek. All the rest is the work of
implication and suggestion. Little is said directly. The magic happens in the indirect actions and
words. For those who can act or pretend even a little, and for those willing to focus on
presentation, you are bound to find real value in this unusual "book test". If you have other
ways to peek a page that you like better, do that. This effect is not one to be performed near a
few people only, as someone may want to grab the book later and check. But in a comedy club,
stand-up or on stage, it is a blessed miracle. Even if the spectator should happen to catch on to
the whole thing, the rest of the audience believes in what was suggested. That is the worst that
could happen - though it hasn't to me.
Be flamboyant, act out the "page" dramatically, and the spectator doesn't have a chance to say
anything until the end. Besides, it is all quite entertaining, and who wants to dare put a stop to
After the peek, the book should be tossed aside on to a table near you, away from the
spectator. This is to keep him from opening the book, but also so that the book seems to be
unimportant to you. Tossing the book aside casually is good suggestion.
If the spectator should ever look as if he wants to say anything or move towards the book, just
state firmly,
"Focus! Say nothing! Concentrate! Stay silent and focused or this will not work!"
That will do the trick. This looks to the audience to be just what you are saying - to the
spectator it means "shut up". But it is a nice way to say it. Have a good time playing with this
most entertaining book test. I suggest you will like it a great deal, if you can stop from laughing
while you perform it!

Eyes of the Svengali

This has fooled magicians as well as regular people for good reason. You don't seem to do
anything. You stare into someone's eyes, and apparently make them do your bidding. In effect,
you have an idea and you jot it down on a piece of paper.
Taking out a deck of cards, you spread through them quickly, run through them between your
hands so all can see, and then frown as you look at what was written before. So far, you
haven't said a single thing. Finally, as you shuffle the cards, overhand style (everyone can see
the faces as you shuffle), you say,
"Look into my eyes. Seriously now. Just for a moment. You may laugh at my influence, but you
will not be able to resist or deny it"
Apparently, you are taking this Svengali approach a little too seriously. Either that or you mean
you are serious.
"Shuffle the cards some more please, but so that no one, not I nor you, can see the faces.
Good - are you finished then? You are certain? Did I influence you at all? Are you 100%
completely sure of that! Then cut the cards wherever you like and complete the cut. Did you


feel my influence now? Look into my eyes again. Everything was fair - I did it all by my own
free will. Go ahead, you say it now. Everything I did was by my own free will... "
The spectator responds in kind.
"Nervous laughter, how very appropriate. People love to keep their illusions, after all. You cut to
the Four of Diamonds I see, yes?"
you say, as you shuffle the rest of the cards again, and put them aside.
"I am glad you think that your will is a personal thing. It makes for great drama. Read what I
attempted to make you choose"
The spectator turns over the paper on which you previously had written. There are three
diamond shapes clearly defined, and one more diamond drawn hastily. "Four Diamonds. Good
for YOU.
The method is one you would hardly believe.
I know, for I recall many years ago Derek Dingle flooring magicians with his incredible
technical skill. Derek was at the height of his young prominence, and even the most well
trained eye missed much of what he was doing. Years later, I heard that Derek had
intentionally tossed in a stripped deck from time to time - but only when he was working for
magicians. Derek's reputation was such that the suggestion was everything he did was skill.
Never would we have guessed the use of a stripper deck. That's how he nailed us. Mind you, he
impressed us greatly without this sort of deck. That confirmed the suggestion that allowed him
to go later unchecked using a gaffed deck.
Do not be disappointed by such an introduction, because I am not using a stripped deck here.
In fact, you will recall that the cards are in the spectator's hands, they shuffle the cards any
way they choose, they cut the cards, everyone sees the cards are different and so on.
Are you still unsure what to think? Could it really be the title says it all and you missed it?
Maybe you saw it right away, and then changed your mind. If you did not read this effect and
think, "Oh, it's just a Svengali deck" then some form of suggestion must have worked even in
print. That's right - the trick uses nothing but a run of the mill Svengali deck. Naturally the back
design must match common back designs or suggestion works against us then, doesn't it?
Using a Svengali deck that matches what we would normally use however is all it takes.
If you wish, you may also mark the backs of the force cards. That way you may see them easily
from the back. Marking the back of a set of force cards so they can be spotted face down is of
course an idea far older than can be told. I am not going to even claim marking the force cards
on a Svengali deck is new - certainly it is not. What is rather novel is how suggestion can be
used to bring a Svengali deck into play without anyone noticing. The reason I call this the "eye"
of Svengali is due to patter. It is also so named by the single mark made in the center of
Bicycle back cards. I just darken this in, as have many people before, this time on the force
In fairness, I was shown recently that others have put out similar decks of late. The difference
here is that the deck is completely a Svengali and the handling is much less of a worry in a
spectator's hands. This is nothing against the newer versions out there - one even incorporates
my old pendulum card force.
This version however is "built" to do Kentonism and the routine you see here. If you have
"Kentonism", then you know the spectator and deck concept to which I allude. If not, don't
sweat it. Do what is put forth in this booklet instead. At least for now. It's quite strong.
I believe that most regular people know all about Svengali decks, so the fact that this fools
magicians is really about how it will fool spectators too. That is not always true. Sometimes
what fools a magician does little for a paying audience. In this case, I began doing it mainly for


"real" people and then later for magicians and mentalists. It works well for everyone; I am
pleased to say.
Now that you know the obvious part, let's consider the real work - the suggestions that are
These workings may shock you, but here are the bold things I do, using subtleties and
suggestion as diversion. I bring out the Svengali deck and fan them, in a circular or one-handed
fan - your choice. "But they'll see the duplicates" you say? Not at all. First, they will not see
them because fanning is a motion that is made. You can't see the faces of a deck of cards
clearly when they are in motion. To add even more motion, I display the fan of cards from side
to side, or forward and then back. It looks as if I am trying to show all the cards to people, but
in fact, they can't make much out as I am moving just a tad too quickly. This shouldn't look as
if you are nervous however. That would be the wrong suggestion to send. I have moved the fan
far more slowly and never had anyone catch a thing. Motion is one part of the deception only
Secondly, spectators know that you would never show them the faces of a bunch of cards if the
faces were all the same. It is a grand suggestion to display the faces to the audience without
fear. They must assume you mean to say that all the cards are different. Otherwise, who on
earth would display a trick deck of cards so openly? They must assume you would not. This is
the real work, friends.
The suggestion combined with a little motion for a brief moment does the trick. I close the fan
and do another one or two in succession. Meantime, I appear to be doing this to see what the
spectator might think, or to project some unknown card to him. If you have ever tried to show
a fan of cards to a spectator close-up and they have said "Wait. Slow down, I can't read those...
You are moving too quickly" that is the movement. If you have ever tried to do a psychological
fan force, this is the thought you should have.
Go back and read the effect once more. That is what this should look like to the audience and
spectator. It should appear to be a display of cards so you might try and figure out what the
spectator will do.
Close the fan, and frown. With faces still towards the audience spread the cards from hand to
hand in front of them. Do NOT try and hide anything. Keep the cards moving by the spectator's
eyes but never say anything about the spectator concentrating or thinking of a card.
Suddenly close the deck and frown again. Peek at what you wrote down before you began.
Spread the cards past the spectator's eyes again. Smile and nod as you close the deck.
Remember that both motion and suggestion is working for you here. There is no need to fear. If
you fear, you send another suggestion - one you do not want! I like using red force cards as
they fade in motion. I do not use force cards that obviously stand out - that helps certainly.
Keep in mind that your mind matters too.
The spectator and audience are trying to figure out what on earth you are doing anyway. That
means their minds are busy. We see with our mind, not our eyes. Besides, you wouldn't think
of someone showing you a trick deck in your face openly without fear would you. The showing
of cards, the motion, the seeming confidence, the curiosity of the moment, the suggestions
implied, all signal indirectly that they need not be concerned with whether or not the deck is a
trick one. That must not be the case or you wouldn't keep doing what you are doing. You must
want or need something. It must be you are going to do something, but what? You haven't said
a single thing yet.
As you close the deck, table it face down. Write a little something more on the paper you keep
checking. Here is another subtle bit. Let's imagine your force deck is the Four of Diamonds.
When you first went to jot something down on paper, you carefully made the shape of THREE
diamonds only. When you go back to write on the paper again, you hastily and oddly draw in
the fourth diamond.


Why? At the end of the effect, it will seem you really were looking for something in the
spectator's reaction and eyes. The fourth hastily drawn and sloppy suit shape suggests all of
this and more. It hints that you were going for the Three of Diamonds, and then saw something
in the spectator's eyes and changed your mind. It implies you were originally unsure. Certainly,
you see how all of this suggests that you were not using a trick deck that forced a single,
clearly known card. Suggestion is what communicates the magic.
If there was even one suspicious person that remained, their notions are about to be destroyed.
You won't believe this perhaps until you try it. Pick up the deck, faces towards the audience and
spectator. I am careful about making sure the deck does not start or end on a force card. I
don't want that image burned into their minds. Assuming an indifferent card is on the face
towards the spectator, begin doing an overhand shuffle. Yes, I mean a regular, normal shuffle,
pulling cards off the face into the hand. I will give a bit more detail, but please don't turn this
into a move. That would ruin it. Merely for clarity, your hand holds the deck at the short ends,
faces out. Hold the deck with some pressure, but don't overdo it. The other hand comes under
the deck, while the thumb of this same hand pulls off the cards. This thumb will pull cards off
from the long edge at the top. This is not to be a "Waterfall Flourish". It is just your same old
basic overhand shuffle. The kind people do in their homes or at the bar all of the time.
Such a shuffle suggests a casual attitude and sloppy, uncaring mixing. In a way, that is exactly
what this shuffle is. The interesting thing is that with a Svengali deck, this shuffle tends to keep
the short (force) cards behind the long (different) cards as they are pulled quickly off. Please do
NOT do this with thought, care, or concern. To do so would be to suggest something sneaky is
happening. Simply do an overhand shuffle. Heck, do it a few times if you want. What everyone
sees is that the cards are different, as you casually and sloppily shuffle the cards like they do.
Or you seem to shuffle worse - which is even better - as a suggestion. Read the effect and you
will get a sense of timing and of what the spectator is hearing from you as you do this shuffle.
While I have been very detailed, this all takes a mere moment. Maybe half a minute all told, a
minute tops if you are the dramatic sort. Keep in mind the suggestion is always to be about
your unconcern about the cards and your focus upon the spectator and his eyes.
After these last shuffles, hand the deck to the spectator. Finally speaking, you instruct the
spectator to shuffle. Mention he should probably keep the faces hidden from everyone including
himself - just so we know he is playing fair. Whatever that is supposed to mean. The truth is,
he is not likely to flash too many force cards anyway. I often don't worry about this part at all.
The Svengali principle helps assure us the force duplicates stay hidden. Suggestion takes care
of any minor repetitions or flashes anyway. Stay calm - it works.
When he is finished, you may see that he has a force card on the bottom. You might note one is
on the top of the deck due to the marking. If not, have him cut the deck as if you had planned
this all along. Let's face it, your odds are 50/50 that he first hits a force card, and even better
due to the Svengali principle. Much better odds in actual practice.
When you see he has hit one of the force cards, you end as previously described. Place the deck
away and leave him with his card, as you speak. Use your other hand to push the paper
towards the spectator, but let him turn it over. You have a miracle, and it appears that the
spectator has done everything. If they forget that, remind them that this was the case. You
only touched him with your EYES.
Try this a few times at home in front of a mirror, and then try it on a few friends. The first time
I attempted it, I did this for both regular people and magicians. It went over very, very well.
Fake your confidence for the first few times, if you are a little concerned. Just ACT confident.
This sends a suggestion that all is fair. Fear is a suggestion that something is amiss. Even silly
actions can be taken seriously when you act as if they are meaningful. Trick decks can
transform into regular ones and spectators become magicians. It just takes a little hinting and
suggestion to make all of this, and far more, possible.


Luke Jermay's "Kneppertfem" Contributions

A very talented magician and comedian by the name of Bob Kubota saw my "Kentonism" book.
Being a friend of mine, Bob caught up with me and said, "Look, you ought to do a follow up and
call it 'Kneppertism'..." and I said "Yeah if I can get some friends to contribute". If you don't get
the joke yet, look up "nepotism", and keep the gag in the family, please.
This is not a follow up book to "Kentonism", but as it deals with suggestion, I got permission to
share a few incredible ideas of a friend. Luke Jennay comes from across the pond from the UK.
When he shared with me his ideas, I was most thrilled. While he gives me most of the credit,
don't be fooled. His thinking is a beautiful thing - all on his own.
It is rare for me to be extremely impressed by someone doing "a version" of my work. Usually
people come up with the same basic ideas. But such is not the case with Luke. He has his mind
wide open, yet tightly focused. In fact, I know some people will buy this little booklet, just
because they saw Luke's work performed by some of us.
Luke is working on a booklet himself, of seven psychologically based effects, one of which you
will discover next. I am certain you will want this booklet for yourself once it is released. It is
tentatively called (a working title) "Seven Deceptions". At the time of writing, it is difficult to
imagine Luke is only seventeen years of age, but that is a fact. His depth of thought and
original material belies the notion entirely. You may contact Luke via e-mail at:
Here you will find Luke's work in more or less his own words, as I add in my comments along
the way. If you love this stuff, contact Luke and let him know too. Here's Luke:
I would like to include an effect that I developed because of Kenton. I am a big fan of Kenton's
work and what follows is inspired by it. I hope you like it

RGM (Reversed Gestalt Moment)

The performer shows a spectator a playing card, and then turns to show the card to the rest of
the audience. The card is placed face down on the tabletop or another spectator can look after
the card if you wish.
The first spectator who saw the card is asked to extend her first finger. The performer places
great focus on this, and takes a deep breath as he touches the spectator's first finger with his
own. He asks the spectator to name the card. The spectator looks around with a dazed look on
her face, as she cannot seem to recall the name of the selection. The spectator remains
confused and becomes even more so when the card is turned face up. She will never remember
the name of the card she saw. Sounds too good to be true?
This effect is not a pipe dream. I do it; moreover, I do it regularly. It combines some sneaky
sleight of hand with some even sneakier psychological trickery. The basic work of the physical
method is a simple double lift.
You begin by cutting two contrasting colored cards to the top of the deck and then perform a
double lift to show the card(s) to a spectator. No one else gets to see this card yet. Square the
double card on the deck face down, and remove the actual top card, showing this to the rest of
the audience. This card is given to someone to hold. I often place the card face down on the
floor near the spectator or on the tabletop in full view.
You cause the spectator to forget the name of the card they saw using some psychological
direction as follows:
What I do is very similar to what Banachek calls "Remedies or the Old Witch Doctor" in his
"Psychological Subtleties". It is similar in the fact that the spectator must firmly believe in
your confidence (i.e. you must use suggestion - K) You must appear self-assured and confident,
for the effect to work. You place so much focus upon the first finger being extended, and of
your finger touching hers, that the spectator will assume it had to have some kind of effect.


This also secretly places the focus away from the card.
As you ask the spectator to name the selection, wave your hand at their eye level a few times.
This will confuse their thoughts further and help delay their response.
Spectators have trouble remembering cards at best. These bits of mystical theatre work as
pattern interrupts of sorts. The usual pattern is for the spectator to say what the card was that
they have seen. As they are about to answer, you start waving your hand in front of their face!
This stops the normal mental flow of the answer. If you move the hands downward in front of
their eyes, this also tends to suggest relaxation or a trance-like effect. You throw their mind a
mental curve, and suddenly the spectator finds their mind has jumped tracks. Or been derailed
This is quickly followed (but not hurriedly or suspiciously) by a visual distraction designed to
further confuse. Turning the card face up surprises the spectator. Nothing has happened to the
card at all as far as the audience is concerned. But the spectator struggling to say the name of
the card hits full disorientation when she sees the card face is different than she remembered.
Nothing makes sense. This has the effect of rendering the card "forgotten" by the spectator, as
she struggles to name the card she alone held in mind.
The spectator will struggle. She will eventually, given a minute or so, begin to remember things
about the card. The first thing will be the color. As the spectator begins to "remember" the color
of the card, the audience will disagree (due to the fact that the audience saw a completely
different card than the spectator). I also disagree and that is when I turn the card face up
revealing a different card. The spectator will usually argue hard that they saw a red card. This is
great, as the audience will argue it was black, and that the spectator absolutely did not see a
red card.
That's most of the work. Whether or not the spectator recalls their card at this point doesn't
even matter. The effect is that the spectator has totally forgotten the name of the selection.
That is what we desire after all the mysterious effect. Who cares what the spectator thinks
when she cannot prove it, and everyone else doubts it anyway?
As Kenton says "Reality is a consensus", and if all but one person agrees with what reality is,
then guess who appears to be crazy? Even if the spectator is the only one who has seen the
truth, they will appear to be the person "losing his mind".
That is the basic method for the effect which, when performed in a confident and theatrical way,
will work 100% of the time. Let us now examine the patter used in the opening of this effect.
This is the rest of the secret. The words spoken subtly implant the idea of the spectator
forgetting the name of the selection in the first place.
"Lesley would you mind helping... fantastic. We are going to 'steal a thought' rather than just
read one. Don't worry, nothing important, just the name of a playing card. Is that OK with
you? It will not hurt one bit and will do nothing but totally erase the memory of the playing
card. It will almost be like one of those old films, you know, when a scene has been cut and it
just jumps from one thing to the next a little confusing... but bear with me"
The text in bold is delivered while maintaining eye contact with the spectator and with a slightly
stronger tone to it. When you make these bold remarks, look into the spectator's eyes. Change
your voice slightly. You don't want to make this too obvious. This method implants in a subtle
way important elements critical to the effect's success. It suggests that the spectator will later
be confused. It tells the spectator it's OK to be confused. When that happens.
You have the spectator remember the card (using the double lift). You show apparently the
same card to the rest of me audience, and set the card down.
'Wow I want you to just relax and remember how easy it is to forget things. We will
remove the memory of that card now. Would you mind just raising your first finger and
pointing it toward my own? "


The words "that card" are used to induce a magnified feeling of isolation from the cards identify.
This further helps in confusing the spectator. I take a deep breath, extend my own finger, and
touch it to the spectator's after very slowly edging it toward her. I leave the fingers touching for
a second or so, then continue:
"Now! (Snap other fingers) What was the name of the card you remembered to forget...
out loud... what was the name of that card... ? (Waving hand gesture at eye level to
further confuse) out loud now!"
The above wording helps place the spectator under pressure, and ensures they are further
confused. The hand gestures in a left to right movement are at the spectator's eye level two or
three times. For a moment or two remain totally silent and stare directly into the eyes of your
spectator. She will remain silent too, and have a very confused, searching look, about her face.
The spectator will usually speak after around a minute or just under that, saying something
along the lines of:
"I know it was red..."
At this point, the audience is understandably impressed, and will inform her that it was not red.
This is the clinching point of the effect. By the audience disagreeing with her (when in fact she
was beginning to recover her true memories) she will suddenly be further confused and begin
to search for new ones. At this point, there is no thought of the actual card she saw. She will
struggle for a while, at which point I say:
"You cant remember can you? Take a look same color... same shape. We won't be too picky.
It's the card right here... What's its name now? Yes indeed! Thank you very much for helping.
You were great"
The final lines may appear to be simply a "cute" way of finishing but in fact, they are more.
They create a subtle way of informing the spectator that she did very well and has nothing to
feel bad about. This also reinforces the idea of the card she saw being the color of the card on
the table.
I am very proud of this effect - it works well and has an amazingly clear appearance to the
group at large. It has seriously strong theatre inherent in it. Next time you perform some
mentalism throw this number in and see what a reaction it can get. Kenton dares you to put it
into your close-up.
With this effect, the words and suggestion are almost the entire method. I have incorporated
many established ideas from Kenton Knepper, Docc Hilford, and a few others. Try this - give
it the theatrical staging and presentation it deserves, and you will have an effect that will really
leave them awestruck.

Slip of Suggestion
Here is something I have been using for maybe the last year or two. It is nowhere near as
complex as the forgetting sequence. This is just a very simple verbal force of an ESP symbol,
using suggestion.
I begin by arranging the ESP cards (star, wavy lines, circle, square, cross) in a known order
from the top of the packet. The force happens as you apparently explain what the designs are. I
begin by going through the well-known patter about Dr. Rhine and his legendary tests for extra
sensory perception. From this, I move to the explanation of symbols:

"We have a group of simple designs. The star, (briefly flash the face of the star and drop it to the
table) the square (flash the face of the next card - in our example the wavy lines - and then correct
your self)... er, wavy lines ".
This should be delivered as if it were a genuine mistake on your part. You simply messed up on


the order of the cards. You correct yourself in the way you would correct any normal "slip of the
tongue". You continue moving right along:
"Circle, the square and lastly the cross".
Notice the repetition of the same shapes by repeat wording (the square). These words should
be said with either a lighter or stronger tone of voice to your other words (depending on which
works best for your style). You should also maintain eye contact as you speak the "special
This steers the spectator away from the designs such as the star (generally in my experience
the favorite with female spectators). The words and special tone suggestions tend to influence
ever so lightly toward the square or the circle.
'Now I need you to get the simple design in your mind now"
This is said with an air of urgency which is underlined with a snap of the fingers. This will cause
the spectator to rush their thought process and they will, in my experience, go for the repeated
design (in our example the square). It is important that the repeated design is said once at the
beginning and once near the end, as this solidifies the design in the spectator's mind.
I know, its a lot of effort for only the first selection process in an ESP card sequence, but it is
one of the most direct and startling openings for such sequences that I have ever performed. It
works it works very well.
For those interested, I would suggest that 70 - 80 % of the time the next selection will be the
star, especially when using a female spectator. I usually ask them to picture "their favorite
Kenton: This is perfect for those of you who do Kentonism effects. Even if the spectator misses,
you may explain what you were attempting to do - use suggestion to influence their choice.
This fascinates the spectators, and your miss is informative, and not a failure. Turning a miss
into a pragmatic demonstration is a useful tool. If the spectator does not hit the suggestion, it
"proves they are not overly suggestible - Not a pushover". This is a compliment and few will
argue against you on this point. Please see Kentonism and Docc Hilford's "For One to End"
regarding more details along these lines. It becomes quite devious. You may also change
symbols and combine this with the following:

Luke's "Blurred Vision

This one had me excited ever since first playing with it. You fan in front of the spectator a
packet of cards (in my own routine ESP symbols). Ask the spectator to close their eyes and
then to open them again. They are to retain the thought of the first image or shape they come
to see. With no fishing, you gaze deeply into the spectator's eyes and name the chosen design.
"Victorian armchair scientists loved the idea of the captured image. In fact, they so believed in
images, they thought you could catch the culprit of a murder simply by gazing into the eyes of
the victim. The murder would be the last person the victim saw, according to the armchairist'
theory. A naive and humbling concept I think you would agree. But we will try it anyway. I
would like you to close your eyes firmly. Thank you. When I ask, open your eyes, but do not
let them circle around. Simply retain the image of the first design that comes to your
By using the phrase "do not let your eyes circle around" you will have, unbeknownst to our
sweet spectator, firmly elbowed her away from the circle.
The shape of the circle itself has importance in the positioning of the fanned cards. Place it
directly behind the star, which is the middle card of all. When fanning these cards, allow the
star to be on show slightly more than the others do. Balance here is the key - too much and the
whole thing becomes a joke. This is an obvious variant of the fan force.


By encouraging the spectator to close the eyes tightly, their vision will be temporarily blurred
upon opening them. Ask the spectator to open their eyes, accompanied with a sharp snapping
of the fingers, and then move the fan towards them slightly. Ask if they have a design retained.
Notice the use of the word "design" rather than shape. "Design" sounds much more complex
than a mere "shape", thus helping to eliminate the circle or cross.
Square the fan. Look intently into the spectator's eyes and smile a knowing nod. Remove the
star, and ask them to hold their hands out palm up.
"You didn't happen to go for the wavy lines did you? "
They might say they did indeed. This can happen as the wavy lines are instantly
recognizable even with blurred vision. You have a quick proof of your abilities.
"Thought that was what I saw" or "I knew that eye wasn't just bloodshot!"
Pick up the card from their palm and replace it onto the packet. Recall your premise was that
you could see the image in their eye... The emphasis is not on finding a card.
If they say they did not go for the wavy lines, you state:
"Well I knew that you thought of the star, that's why I put it on your hand".
This sequence is a veritable balancing act of management and direction. It draws inspiration
from (obviously) Wonder Words, a think of a card routine by Dan Garret, and an effect of
Ken Krenzel. Krenzel placed a gimmicked card onto the spectator's hand and simply trusted
them with it. This is a very strong tactic when concealing something - give it to the spectator.
Suddenly, they are not so interested. This is the so-called "Duh" factor of suggestion (from
Wonder Words). Larry Becker, Docc Hilford, Kenton, and others have used this in varied ways,
some of which are in this booklet. Just make sure the spectators are the responsive and helpful
types of spectators. How do you know which spectators those are? Well that my friends, is all
covered in the brilliant Wonder Words without which the last three things would have never
have come into life. Thank you Kenton!
Our thanks; mine especially included, to you Luke. As you know, I am duly impressed with your
study and applications. I am certain we will hear much more from you. Thank you for allowing
your applications to be used as fine examples of suggestion in magic.


Dear Reader, I intend to implant into your mind the idea that all the secret work you do should
be done indirectly as much as possible. Further, all actions, instructions, ideas, and beliefs
should be reconsidered and restructured to suggest rather than directly state when possible. I
am not suggesting that everything you think, say, or do can or should be done that way. But
point your mind in the direction of suggestion and indirect influence, and you will be well on
your way to true mental ability and magical demonstrations.
While we have skimmed the surface only, perhaps I have wet your appetite for deeper
investigation. Be not afraid of applying such magical methods to magic. If these notions seem
too much like magic to you to be real, perhaps you need to reconsider what it means to
perform magic. That is what many of us mean to do, and suggestion is a magical way to
accomplish such work. I hope more will now follow.

Kenton Knepper
March, 2002