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The Most Deceptive Coin Magic - 'The FBI Knows'

I have a free tutorial I want to share with you, a piece of knowledge that the FBI uses and how it can improve your coin magic.

I also want to talk about how this information points to the major flaws of 'Shadow Coins' and how to fix that flaw to create a more deceptive routine.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, our body language communicates a lot of information to the people around us, in particular, how we hold our hands. In fact, science has shown us that our brains put a great amount of focus on the hands of another person compared to the rest of their body.

This makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. As humans evolved, our hands became more skilled and dexterous, and potentially more dangerous. As a survival mechanism, our brains developed a bias to focus on another person’s hands in order to assess whether we could trust them or not.

A particularly universal sign of trust is the open, upright palm, which implies that the person has nothing to hide. On the flip side, a palm facing downward or closed in a fist implies the opposite, that this person has something to hide.

The FBI uses the science and psychology of body language–particularly hand gestures–to interrogate suspects. They often practice using open, upright palms themselves in order to build trust during the interrogation, as well as assess the hand postures of suspects for telltale signs of lying.

Subtlety Tutorial

As magicians, we can use these principles to build trust with our spectators and make our magic as compelling as possible. For example, when you’re doing a coin vanish, if you keep the hand you want your spectator to believe is holding the coin in a slightly open palm, this will communicate honesty and trustworthiness much more than if you keep that hand in a fist.

Spectator's view:

Magician's View:

If you turn the wrist inwards a little bit the angles for this subtlety are great. The thumb and curled finger obscure where the coin is believed to be. On top of that, this gives the feeling that they could have looked into the hand if they wanted to.

The tightly closed fist is more likely to signal to the spectator that you’re up to something, that they can’t necessarily trust you, and that maybe the coin isn’t actually in that hand.

This subtlety has had such a strong impact on my vanishes that I've started to look at other places that the open palm could be displayed to make my magic more deceptive.

Shadow Coins is one of the biggest culprits of untrustworthy gestures and therefore I think it brings way too much suspicion to the concealing palms. This unfortunately makes the method quite obvious even if it is a very visually enjoyable performance.

In my variation of Henry Harrius' Shadow Coins I devised a method to show the hands completely empty between jumps. The technique can actually be used between every jump!

See my full performance of this routine by clicking the button below and scrolling down on the page.

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