Mind Reader?

by Bernie DeKoven on June 13, 2003

There’s something about the Flash Mind Reader that’s almost scary – in a fun sort of way. Which, of course, is the whole point. You pick a number between 10-99. Add the digits together. Subtract them from your original number. And then look on the chart – concentrating with all your virtual might on the “relevant symbol.” And then, when you click on the virtual crystal ball, that very symbol wil purportedly appear. And, darn if it doesn’t!

Even before you clicked, even before you picked your number, you knew it had to be a hoax, didn’t you? And yet you picked and clicked anyhow, you wacky person. Because it’s fun to almost get fooled. As long as it’s “almost.” And Andy Naughton’s silly mind reading trick is really fun, because it really fools us into thinking that somehow it isn’t a trick at all – that somehow it really is able to read our not-quite-gullible little minds. And then it gets a little scary, because we really can’t figure out how it works.

This is a good trick, and a hard puzzle. And there is a solution, which, when you’re finally puzzled enough, you can find here. But the real learing happens when you rediscover that knowing how it’s done isn’t really as much fun as it was when you were almost fooled into believing in magic again.


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