Marc Hubs, author of "Reflections Of NPD" is a writer/researcher on the mind, science, psychology/psychiatry, metaphysics and consciousness.
Human psychology, physiology, and subjective behavior work in fascinating ways. They offer some intriguing principles which can be a lot of fun to play with.
If you don't believe me, consider how magicians and illusionists entertain their audience by fooling their audience's perception, thereby making it seem like the impossible is happening. Even though we know we've been fooled, rather than think critically about it and try to work out the logic behind how it was achieved, we are entertained and amused by it and allow ourselves to be fooled for the sake of entertainment.
Mentalists, hypnotists, and psychological illusionists take things a step further and trick the mind by using a combination of psychology, physiology, suggestion, and logic. By utilizing these principles, there are a small variety of "mind tricks" that can be carried out very easily on your family and friends.
Here are some of the easier mind tricks to carry out. Some you can carry out alone, others require at least one other person. These tricks can be good fun to test with your family and friends.
Mind Tricks to Play on Your Friends
- Sticky Fingers
- The Pendulum
- Visions of Jesus
- Sinking Into the Floor
- Mind-Reading Version 1
- Mind-Reading Version 2
1. Sticky Fingers
The physics of the body can be used to trick people's minds. Our bodies are capable of bizarre and bewildering behaviors. Exploring these can be a fun way to confuse your friends and family.
How the Trick Is Done:
- This one can be done alone, or with another person. First, you need to clasp your hands together. Not together as though you are praying, but interlock your fingers and bend them, as though you would if you were holding someone's hand.
- You then put your two index fingers (forefingers) out straight, leaving a small gap between them (so they are not touching) while keeping your hands clasped together and the rest of your fingers interlocked.
- Usually, what you'll find after just a few seconds is that your index fingers will slowly start closing in on each other until, eventually, they touch. This is an automatic response and can only be avoided by purposely making the effort (which is actually more difficult than you would expect).
- When asking another person to do this, you can pretend to tie an invisible piece of string around their index fingers, thereby giving them the illusion that you are doing it.
Result: The principle behind how this trick works is ideomotor movement (or ideomotion). The trick works opposite to how you normally position and use your fingers. It confuses your senses and causes a double take.
2. The Pendulum
One common myth is that the gender of an unborn child can be predicted by swinging a pendulum above a pregnant mother's womb. Obviously, this technique would be useless in modern times (even if it did work) because we can now do this with ultrasound. Nevertheless, this same principle can be used to confuse your friends.
How the Trick Is Done:
- Make a pendulum by tying a coin or a key to a piece of string.
- Assign "yes" to clockwise and "no" to counterclockwise and then ask the pendulum questions. (Of course, all the movements are a result of ideomotion and are carried out subconsciously, but this very same principle could in fact be used to turn the pendulum into a lie detector!)
- Simply ask your friend or family member to hold the pendulum and ask them a question, but tell them to only answer it in their mind. If they hold that answer in their mind, the pendulum will usually begin to rotate either clockwise or anti-clockwise based on their answer.
Result: The participant is actually moving the pendulum themselves, they just don't consciously realize it. Real lie detectors work in a similar way. This mind trick is based on ideomotion, meaning that the subject makes motions unconsciously.
3. Visions of Jesus
This one's a pretty cool optical illusion that you can try alone, then try with all your friends. It's also one well worth experiencing.
How the Trick Is Done:
- To see this optical illusion, you need the image up above. Notice that there is a line of dots near the middle of the image.
- What you need to do is tell someone to focus on and stare at those three dots for between thirty to sixty seconds non-stop.
- Once they're done staring at the dots, tell them to close their eyes and put their head back, making sure to keep their eyes firmly shut (but tell them not to strain, or keep them too tight).
Result: Within a few seconds, Jesus will miraculously appear right in front of them! The longer they keep their eyes shut, the more pronounced and detailed the image should become... until it eventually begins to fade away.
4. Sinking Into the Floor
How the Trick Is Done:
- Get your friend to lie face down on the floor with their arms stretched out in front of them. They should remain completely relaxed.
- You then lift their forearms up to about your waist level and hold them there for between 30 to 60 seconds.
- After that, you slowly begin to lower their arms towards the floor, which makes them feel like they are literally free-falling straight through the floor.
Result: The mind and body are tricked into losing their normal sense of space. The sensation of sinking/falling will not last long, but it will certainly freak them out for a little while. The other participate will become confused as well, calling out just before they think they're going to hit the floor!
5. Mind-Reading (1)
The "carrot" trick is quite a popular and effective one, but don't question why or how it works. It just does!
How the Trick Is Done:
- Write down the word "carrot" on a piece of paper.
- Give it to your friend, but tell them not to look at it... yet.
- Let them hold on to it so they know there's no cheating going on.
- Next, ask them "what's 1+1?" and wait for them to answer.
- Ask "what's 2+2?" and wait for them to answer.
- Keep going until you get to 8+8.
- After they answer, ask them to name a vegetable.
Result: 90% of the time they will think of a carrot. They don't realize it, but their answer is already there on the piece of paper you gave them! These mathematical tricks are tools used by mentalists to "read" people's minds. We have two brain functions. When the higher cognitive function is distracted, we revert to a very suggestive state of mind. Some think that this trick works because the counting reminds us of children's books, etc. and carrots are the most common vegetable we learn about as U.S. kids. That said, how exactly it works is frequently under debate.
6. Mind-Reading (2)
Everyday we deal with numbers and letters. No matter how smart or educated we think we are, these two things can easily be used to confuse us. We spend so much time thinking linearly about numbers and letters that our desire for logic can easily be manipulated.
How the Trick Is Done:
- This is quite a popular one. Get someone to think of a number between one and ten.
- Once they've selected, tell them to multiply that number by nine. If they are then thinking of a number with two digits, tell them to add those two digits together.
- Then tell them to subtract five.
- Next, tell them to assign a letter of the alphabet to that number where A=1, B=2, C=3, etc.
- Tell them to think of a country beginning with that letter.
- Then ask them to think of an animal using the second letter of the country they are thinking of.
- Then tell them to think of the color of that animal.
Result: You then tell them that they're thinking of a grey elephant from Denmark. (Smarter people can come up with answers which are a little more imaginative. You've got to know your audience.) The math computations your participants are doing here are just intended to confuse their minds. Basically, after all these calculations, you'll get one answer, and that is four.
And then the letter that corresponds to it is D. When you are told to think of any country that begins with that letter, the first one that comes into most of the people's minds is Denmark. From there, you are advised to skip that letter and move to the next one, which leads you to the letter "E."
Now you are told to think of an animal that begins with that letter. The first animal that comes to your mind is an elephant. When you consider its color, you get grey. In conclusion, you have a color grey, the animal elephant, and the country Denmark.
More Simple and Easy Mind Tricks
Control People With Your Eyes
Do you have any friends who always take the lead when walking? Do they move too fast, or get too bossy when going somewhere? This trick is always a fun one to play.
How the Trick Is Done:
- If a person wants to go a certain way, and if they are looking at you, try looking in the opposite direction.
- Exaggerate your gait and the speed of your walking to seem like you're in a hurry. This will confuse them further.
Result: Chances are that the person will start walking in the opposite direction, or stand there befuddled.
Confuse People's Hearing
Sound localization is a listener’s ability to identify the origin of a sound in direction and distance. The human auditory system has limited possibilities to determine the distance of a sound source. This one's incredibly easy to pull off!
How the Trick Is Done:
- This trick can be performed with three people, one being the subject and the other two being objects/observers. You will also need a headset connected to routine plastic pipes on either side.
- Ask the subject to sit on a chair equidistant between you and the second observer.
- Each one of you must hold the pipes from the headset on the corresponding sides and one by one they must speak into the pipes. The subject will rightly tell the direction of the sound.
- Now, exchange the pipes and repeat voicing into the pipes. The subject’s brain will get confused and he’ll point in the opposite direction of the sound.
Result: Because this trick messes with inter-aural time differences, exchanging the pipes causes perception by the opposite sided neurons in the brain. That's why the subject will not be able to localize the sound.
Confuse Their Proprioreception or "The Pinocchio Effect"
"The Pinocchio effect" is an illusion that one's nose is growing longer. It is an illusion of proprioception, meaning that the sense of the relative position of one's own parts of the body become confused.
How the Trick Is Done:
- This requires two chairs and a blindfold. The person wearing the blindfold should sit in a chair in the rear, staring at the back of the person sitting in the front.
- The blindfolded person then reaches around and places his hand on the nose of the other person. At the same time, he should place his other hand on his own nose and begin gently stroking both noses.
- After about one minute, more than 50% of the subjects will report that their nose is incredibly long. That's why this trick is called the "Pinocchio Effect."
Result: This trick is meant to confuse proprioreception. The trick always demonstrates how connected people are, how we can so easily take another's feelings on as our own. It also works on our insecurities. Our self-consciousness about our bodies can easily be manipulated.
Feel a Phantom Sensation
Using the illusion of a strategically-placed rubber hand to trick the brain, scientists have made the first recordings of the human brain's awareness of its own body.
How the Trick Is Done:
- Each volunteer must hide their right hand beneath a table while a rubber hand is placed in front of them at an angle suggesting that the fake hand is part of their body.
- Stroke both the rubber hand and the hidden hand simultaneously with a paintbrush.
- On average, it takes volunteers about 11 seconds to start experiencing that the rubber hand is their own.
- After the experiment, ask volunteers to point towards their right hand. Most will reach in the wrong direction, pointing towards the rubber hand instead.
Result: For a little while, the volunteer will become confused as to which hand is their own. The effect diminishes rapidly, but the trick will almost always work. This confusion happens in the premotor cortex, providing further evidence of the brain's ability for re-adjustment.
The World's Greatest Magicians
|Name||When They Lived||Brief Bio|
March 24, 1874—October 31, 1926
Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American illusionist and stunt performer. He became famous for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice in vaudeville in the U.S., then as "Harry Handcuff Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up.
December 17, 1982—Present
Steven Frayne, better known as Dynamo, is an English magician. He starred in his own television show "Dynamo: Magician Impossible." The show ran from July 2011 to September 2014 and won the Best Entertainment Programme award at the Broadcast Awards in 2012.
Harry August Jansen (Dante)
October 3, 1883—June 15, 1955
Harry August Jansen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and settled in the United States. He traveled the world as a professional magician under the name Dante the Magician.
February 27, 1971—Present
Derren Brown is an English mentalist and illusionist. He created the television show "Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000," he has produced several other shows and has written books for magicians as well as the general public.
Harry Blackstone Jr.
June 30, 1934—May 14, 1997
Harry Bouton Blackstone Jr. was an American stage magician, author, and television performer. He is estimated to have pulled 80,000 rabbits from his sleeves and hats.
Richard Jay Potash, known professionally as Ricky Jay, is an American stage magician, actor, and writer. In a profile for the New Yorker, Mark Singer called Jay "perhaps the most gifted sleight of hand artist alive".
Siegfried and Roy
Siegfried Fischbacher June 13, 1939—Present, Uwe Ludwig Horn ("Roy") October 3, 1944
Siegfried & Roy are a German-American duo of magicians and entertainers, who became known for their appearances with white lions and white tigers.
© 2016 Marc Hubs
Bbobb on May 06, 2020:
Cool tricks can't wait to try them.
Reinaldo DeHostos on April 30, 2020:
Jojo on April 06, 2020:
Love these tricks
Bellamy on February 08, 2020:
These tricks work so good... its creepy how the Jesus one you see an actual picture of Jesus... does it work with other pictures like that?
Sarah Payne on January 02, 2020:
I used the “vision of Jesus” trick on my friend and they actually got a vision of Jesus
Gertrude on January 02, 2020:
I like this t r i c k
oreos on December 27, 2019:
they actually worked
Lunar on December 27, 2019:
I tried the 'Falling Through The Floor Trick' on my friend. She freaked out!
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on December 27, 2019:
I'm not quite sure what you mean?
Kylie on December 26, 2019:
I live on the Keyes one
Daily Tay on December 23, 2019:
Shall we discuss the elephant in the room? This is an amazing
Jessii Vee ❤️r (*≧▽≦) on December 23, 2019:
Hi guys! If you liked these optical illusions, check out the episode of Jessii Vee, and see the optical illusion of Adele! She’s upside down, but when you flip your phone over to try and see her clearly...she’s different...!!!
bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb on November 18, 2019:
the carrot one brooooooooo
bingdong on November 17, 2019:
i love jesus one
Anike' Baker on October 10, 2019:
love the Jesus one
Ashley on July 24, 2019:
I liked the Jesus one but I think. If I didn’t now it was Jesus I probably would of thought it was the Mona Lisa
Madeline on July 16, 2019:
The carrot trick worked on my mom, but both my little brother and little sister said peppers.
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on June 25, 2019:
That must be an ad, I didn't put that in there!
Hilary Hsieh from Georgia on June 23, 2019:
I loved your article! The carrot tricked worked on my friends. They were quite amused.
On another note, I am a little bewildered by your list of the world's greatest magicians. It seems a little irrelevant to the rest of your post.
Anyway, great job! I really enjoyed reading.
AspenToliver on June 21, 2019:
Carrot one worked on lil sis!Hilarious
Tyne Ericsson on May 30, 2019:
There fun thanks I’ve tested five of them 3 out of 5 work (:
your moms on May 18, 2019:
Gorl3girl on April 30, 2019:
The carrot one tho
RainbowKittyPlayz on April 12, 2019:
I also did the carrot trick on my mum, but she said eggplant instead of carrot. I guess he is one of the lucky 10 percent!
Thank you. on April 05, 2019:
TheRichest - The World's Most Entertaining Site
Raven on April 03, 2019:
I did the carrot one and my mom said pumpkin.
Aveline carroll on March 27, 2019:
these are the most amazing mind tricks ide ever seen
Toxic on March 26, 2019:
All worked but the nose one sadly, although everything was very fun to participate in.
Mandrick on March 14, 2019:
Arielys Sanchez on March 11, 2019:
So I tried the carrot trick on my mom, j was asking her the questions and my sister was listening. She was sitting on the couch and my mom and I were in the kitchen. I gave my mom the paper for her to hold onto but I cracked up bc my sister named the vegetable. She said carrot. I cracked up.
Toothless on March 10, 2019:
The Jesus one was cool. Although he kind of looks like weird Al
Yo what is up people on March 07, 2019:
Hey ya’ll I like this site what about ya’ll
Bxhshdhdhhs on January 20, 2019:
The Jesus trick was so awesome!
Aisling Ireland from Bolingbroke, GA on January 17, 2019:
These are amazing tricks. I've done the elephant one before and it's worked every single time. I can't wait to try to others, especially the sinking into the floor one, with my godchildren. They are big fans of this kind of thing! Thanks!
Willy on January 15, 2019:
my friend said emu instead of elephant and they BOTH PICKED 1 as their number!!!
Willy on January 02, 2019:
Hi a canned be arsed to do this
Ashlyn on November 22, 2018:
I legit screamed when I did the Jesus trick. I swear it works!
AshleyLexi on November 19, 2018:
I tried this on my mum and she was like.. Carrot!
Cool on November 18, 2018:
julia on November 16, 2018:
nyc tricks i liked them alot and will surely use one of them to trick my friends ..................hope they don't get the trick.......btw thnks
Kacey on November 02, 2018:
The mind reading one is so cool
MARKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKkKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK on September 30, 2018:
I don't get this at all.
katelyn on September 04, 2018:
i dont understand any of this and it would be better if it was step by step. it takes a lot of efort to read it all
Joe on June 13, 2018:
Ivy on June 09, 2018:
That Jesus trick had me and my friends shook
0JustAShadow0 on May 27, 2018:
I just realized that light as a feather and stiff as a bord is real just tried it out
Jerry on May 25, 2018:
I will know if someone is lying to me now.
Meena on May 19, 2018:
Faith on May 16, 2018:
The best is mind reading
Ava on March 06, 2018:
Elisha Thompson on March 03, 2018:
Purple on February 28, 2018:
Jesus trick was ok but the carrot one was the best
S P Austen from Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada on February 24, 2018:
This is a great little article, Sparkster; the Jesus image is excellent, and I was amazed by N0 6 Mind Reading. I did this one on my own, first writing down number 7. I did the calculations exactly as described, writing everything down first. I got number 63, then 9, then 4 following your directions. I then wrote down the letter D. Then Elephant. then Grey. I had exactly what you predicted, a Grey Elephant from Denmark! I must try this out on someone!
email@example.com on February 24, 2018:
cabbage what did you do to me?
yellow on February 23, 2018:
the jesus trick was cool and before i read this my friend showed me the falling one at school
Ethan on February 22, 2018:
the Jesus trick is awesome
Emily on February 21, 2018:
This is so cool my friend was clueless
Arion on January 28, 2018:
Jesus trick is cool
noice dude on January 17, 2018:
As stated above
Julia on January 10, 2018:
I loved the Jesus trick
bob on December 10, 2017:
this was amazing
Animal jam fan!!! on December 07, 2017:
Chloe on December 05, 2017:
I'm gonna try the carrot one
n on November 29, 2017:
landon on November 27, 2017:
the carrot one did not work for me. Cabbage was the vegetable. My friends are smart.
COOL GIRL on November 08, 2017:
Dan on October 31, 2017:
Tamara Yancosky on August 16, 2017:
You mean, where am I? Or, were you asking someone else? Sorry I am late answering this. My email for this account was down, so I didn't know.
cutie pie on August 15, 2017:
that was amasing
momina noor on August 06, 2017:
Lyssa on August 06, 2017:
The last one has never worked on me because in school they made us memorize all the countries of Africa and I have Dijibouti permanently stuck in my mind. Green iguanas are not the same as grey elephants!
Lololol on July 26, 2017:
The elephant one didn't work for me
Tamara Moore on July 12, 2017:
These are cool! I wish I was better at playing tricks, but it's just one reason why I cannot play Poker...
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on July 11, 2017:
It doesn't work on everyone but about 75% of people usually think of a carrot, at least in the UK they do. Where in the world are you? I'm wondering if location makes a difference.
jolly on July 08, 2017:
carrot trick is not working ..
Suzie from Carson City on May 03, 2017:
Sparkster.....Clever tricks that sound like fun! I'm looking forward to trying them out with some friends! Always a good idea to bring along some entertainment!
BRAVO to you for deleting a nasty comment and informing the person what a jerk they are! I will not tolerate that nonsense on my site either! TROLLS need to know they are not wanted on HP!!!
Tamara Moore on May 03, 2017:
Thank you, Sparkster, for helping to defend us against these abusers; I became very much fed-up with the one who kept showing up on my HubPages commenting about how "it is the victim's faults for making such bad choices". I tried to explain to him, over and over, that with Covert Abuse, we cannot see who they really are until it is too late. But, the abusive commenter merely side-stepped my explanations, and continued on with his relentless comments.
I finally told him that no more of his comments would be approved until he got more educated on Covert Narcissists and Sociopaths. He believed he was quite "dashing".
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on May 03, 2017:
Dear Mr D.Rage,
Abuse will not be tolerated on my articles. Your comment has been denied. Please go play your childish games somewhere else and pick on someone your own size, or at least go and seek psychiatric help for your mental health problems.
Your IP address has been logged.
* the comment was targeted at you Tamara and you Chitrangada *
Tamara Moore on April 01, 2017:
Wow! Ha Ha...
Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on April 24, 2016:
The elephant trick is a pretty common one.
There are quite a few mind tricks like this that can be a lot of fun, some of them are a bit more extreme though. I'm thinking of writing an article about the more extreme ones.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on March 02, 2016:
Very nice mind tricks and it is so thoughtful of you to write a hub about it. We do play some of them with friends and family but it would be easier to remember them if written like this.
Enjoyed going through your hub. Thank you for sharing!
Paul Levy from United Kingdom on February 18, 2016:
Nice tricks. I've had someone do the grey elephant one to me before... now it's time for me to have a go!