Thought Waves

Thought Waves – Geno Munari

I am fascinated by the concept of “A Mathematical Problem” In Plate and Hatton, Magicians Tricks among many of the other effects in the book. I sense that Jimmy Grippo certainly must have perused this book, published in 1910. There are many concepts in this book that resemble some of the ideas and methods Jimmy used in his most entertaining close up magic performances.  The effect that I created, based on the binary concept, was not used by Jimmy Grippo just to be clear. It is however an amazing mental revelation, I believe Jimmy would have enjoyed watching, as Jimmy told me that he “would perform a mental card effect in his stage hypnotic shows.”

Here is Thought Waves

The effect: A person just thinks of any card in the deck. The performer reveals the card.  

Facts: No questions asked. The performer never sees the cards before naming the card or anytime. Spectator can shuffle the deck before thinking of any card. Spectator can think of any card and not just cards shown by the magician. Magician does not put cards before spectator’s eyes to be selected. Can be repeated. No set-up. 

Modus Operandi (Method Of Operation)

There are two groups of cards that are marked on the back with a easy to use white marking pen called, Uni-ball Signo (broad) from Mitsubishi Pencil Co. The first group of cards will be used to determine the value of the cards using a binary method. Don’t let this term “binary” scare you.  This is a simple method and very easy to use. Bicycle cards are secretly marked with small numbers 1 through 4 on the back of the cards. Each mark is located in the middle of the card, inside the circle. The photos indicate the cards that are marked. Those marked inside the circle will be dealt on the upper row to four piles. The cards marked outside the circle will be dealt into four piles making a second row, to be placed below the first row. The number will determine which pile, from #1 through #4, each card will be placed. 

Remember: if the number is inside the circle, that card is placed on the top row. If the number is outside the circle, it is placed on the lower row. 

To be clear: Each number represents a pile number from 1 to 4, that will be seemingly randomly dealt on the table. The performer will deal the cards onto the table one at a time into four different piles. From the performer’s view, the first pile #1 is to his left, then pile #2, #3 and #4.

On the row beneath this you will deal out the remainder of the deck which are marked just outside the circle into four piles below the first row, into piles #1, #2, #3 and #4.

The marks are located outside the circle on the card back. Once the performer learns to look at this spot as he or she is placing the cards into piles, it will soon be easy to develop a little speed and the process will go rather quickly. 

The mark on the back of each card signifies the pile number where the card should be placed. Remember: inside the circle on the top row, outside the circle on the bottom row.

There are 48 cards marked in the deck, the four aces are not marked and placed in your pocket  when presenting this effect. They will never be noticed missing. Occasionally, one of these cards will be the card the spectator selected. In this case, simply reveal his card by retrieving it from your pocket. The four cards can be in ascending order and easy to remember the sequence for quick retrieval. 

As an option: In another pocket have four separate small pieces of paper with four different messages written in your handwriting: “You will think of the Ace of Clubs”, “You will think of the Ace of Hearts”, “You will think of the Ace of Spades”, “You will think of the Ace of Diamonds”. Each prediction will be folded and placed in a stacked order to remember them. The word CHaSeD will help you remember the order of C for Clubs, H for Hearts, S for Spades and D for Diamonds. The reason for these four different notes or predictions is that many spectators will think of an Ace. If the do, the trick is over and you simply produce the desired prediction. The trick can then be repeated telling the spectator to think of another card, because many people think of Aces.  


A person merely thinks of any card in the deck.

Performer says, “Think of any card in the deck. Write it down on a piece of paper that only you can see and let no one see it. Fold it up and place in your pocket. You are doing this only so you won’t forget your thought.”

Tell the spectator to shuffle the deck of cards and then cut the deck on the table as many times as they wish.  

I tell the spectator to concentrate and visualize their card as a picture and you will try to intercept the radio waves that are emitting from their brain. I say, “If a cel phone can send a Radio transmission through time and space, so can a human brain.”

The performer picks up the deck and begins dealing the cards onto the table in piles. As they are being dealt the mark on the card signifies which pile to place the cards. As the performer is dealing the cards, he occasionally hesitates and looks at the spectator, as though he is perceiving a thought from the spectator’s brain. The entire deck is placed in seemingly eight random piles.

The performer points to pile #1 and tells the spectator to shuffle this packet. 

Performer says, “I have not looked or touched these cards. Look at this pile and visualize the card you were thinking of. If you see the card in the pile or even the same VALUE of the card in the pile, put the entire pile in your pocket for safekeeping, out of my sight. Remember only you can see the cards. If you don’t see your card value push them aside, but don’t let me see the cards. 

The performer will do this exact same procedure on the first four piles each time reaffirming what has occurred.

Calculating the Value of the Card 

This effect uses binary system to determine the value and suit of the selected card based on the cards the spectator “affirms” that he has seen, When the spectator sees the same value of his card, he places them in his pocket. This signals to the performer a “Yes, I see the value.” 

Each of the first four piles have been given a designated value:

Pile #1 is 1

Pile #2 = 2

Pile #3 = 4

Pile #4 = 8

If the spectator puts pile #1 in his pocket add 1. If he puts pile #2 in his pocket, add the value 2 to the 1, for a total value of 3. Do this for piles 1 through 4. This total value will give you the value of the card thought of.

Here is how to translate value to the card.

Total value is 1, card is an Ace.

2= Two

3= Three

And so on,

11 = Jack

12 = Queen

13 = King

After you have the card value, tell the spectator to put what’s left of the remaining first four piles in his pocket. This is just a smoke screen to help hide the secret of the effect. When the spectator tells someone of how you revealed his card it will be like he explained a miracle to his friends.  

Just remember the value of the packets the spectator picks up to get the value of the card chosen. This is real easy to do and not difficult to with a little effort. Don’t let it scare you.

To determine the suit:

There are four remaining piles on the table. Each of these has been given a value for the suits, Clubs, Hearts , Spades and Diamonds. The first pile, #1 to the performer’s left is Clubs, then #2 is Hearts, #3 is Spades and #4 is Diamonds. 

The performer says, “Pick up this pile (pointing to pile #1) and if you see your card suit in the cards, place all of them in your pocket” 

The first time he DOES NOT put a pile in his pocket tells you that this pile is the value of the suit. So for example if you point to pile #2 and he looks at the cards and does not see his suit value and leaves these on the table signifies his suit was Hearts.  

You follow the same direction on all four piles. There can only be one pile that he doesn’t see his suit value.  

After you have determined the suit, have him place all the rest of the cards into his pocket. Now the entire deck is in his pocket.  

Now is a good time to recant what has taken place. Have the spectator take the deck from his pocket and place on the table. The performer does not touch or look at the deck.

He looks at the spectator and reveals his card in a dramatic fashion.

The next four photos show which cards are marked inside the circle and with which number.

The next four photos indicate which cards are marked OUTSIDE the circle.