Mentalism Trick Using Wikipedia

You ask everyone to take out their phone and look up how many articles are on Wikipedia. You then instruct them to retrieve the data and determine the average number of words in each article. You then make your phone and multiply the number of articles by the number of words, yielding an astonishingly large number of words that can be found on Wikipedia “billions!” You then instruct the spectator to go to Wikipedia and search for anything that is on Wikipedia. Then you tell them to focus on a word, but not one of those tiny words like “the” or “and,” and to hide the screen from view.

Magician asks how many Wikipedia articles there are, and asks you to google it to go to, which is a website run by the magic app. The page generates a unique number each time you visit. He asks you to recite this number to him so he can do some math on his calculator but he’s just capturing your unique digits. So through some high-tech hocus pocus, somehow the magic app will link you (your browser?) to Wikipedia where the magician will now know what Wikipedia page you go to.

Tutorial mentalism tricks

The trick is to get the audience member to tell you the answer before you reveal it yourself, so you have time to write down the answer when you know what it is…

You ask a spectator to search for ANY object or person on Wikipedia on THEIR phone to bring up its article.
– Whilst you look away, the spectator scrolls through the article and thinks of a RANDOM word on the page.
– You then tell the spectator EXACTLY what object they’re looking at, as well as what word they’re merely thinking of on the page!

The text (and of course their phone) can be thoroughly inspected after the routine with NOTHING to find!

* Works with ANY borrowed modern smartphone, tablet, or computer.
* You NEVER touch their phone!
* Very easy to perform.
* NO accomplice required.
* NO memory work needed.
* They can begin reading the article before thinking of a word.

There are three basic versions of the Wikipedia test, two using a gimmick, either an entire Wikipedia or a single page within it (a “hybrid”), and versions using a “natural”, an unmodified Wikipedia page. There are multiple versions of each. The systems are usually distinguishable in action. Methods using a natural almost always involve two Wikipedia pages (rarely three), the mentalist hands the Wikipedia page to the spectator and has some sort of riffle or fast flipping of the pages.

Methods using a mnemonic gimmick allow free selection of the word from any page but involve a seemingly innocuous follow-up question, normally the first letter of the word. Those using the dictionary test principle have the magician holding the Wikipedia in front of them, facing out.

What Is It?

In the classic example of a Wikipedia page test, you or another spectator may be asked to turn to any page in a large Wikipedia page(like a dictionary or encyclopedia) and select a word or sentence. The passage may be revealed to the audience or recorded in some other way for later comparison.

In this trick, the magician is supposed to “telepathically” name the word or offer an impression of what is in the sentence. In some scenarios of the trick, the magician might even know the page number. The premise of the trick is that there may be thousands of words on a Wikipedia page, yet the magician can somehow identify the one word, sentence, or image within the Wikipedia page.

The Many Ways It’s Done

In some cases, the magician can derive the correct answer through basic mathematics. For example, the magician may first ask an unwitting person to choose a word or figure on a starting page. From there, that word, passage, or image leads to another predestined page, and then this pattern continues a few times, all leading the unsuspecting person down a predetermined path. After three flips, the magician stops the person and reveals the word, sentence, or figure.

Another way a magician is guaranteed to “guess” it right is by using a modified or gimmicked Wikipedia page. In these cases, the magician needs to memorize key things on the gimmickedWikipedia page to know what a person may pick. Or, using sleight of hand, the magician can incidentally insert a gimmicked page into a “natural” Wikipedia page, which is a Wikipedia page that is completely undoctored except the insertion of the gimmick page.

In another version of the trick, a natural Wikipedia page may also be used, like a dictionary, but the magician guides the person to pick something specific. Then, the magician may lightly pencil in the answers on another part of the page when the person is redirected to look elsewhere.

Other variations, such as involving three or more people, can be pretty easy. In this case, the unsuspecting people use envelopes to record their answers. The trick is for the magician to ask the person to write down their answer and put it in an envelope. Then, the next person is asked to imagine opening the Wikipedia page to a random page and write down the page, line, and word they imagined (the person will be guided to what the first person selected). With sleight of hand, the magician palms the writer’s actual slip and hands the next reader a prepared slip, who opens the Wikipedia page to a selected section. Then, the third person (who does not select anything) just opens the prepared envelope to reveal the same word, sentence, or image.

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