mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

Psst! Over here

It's against the code for current and former magicians to reveal how tricks are performed. Not even professional skeptics such as Scientific Inquiry magazine's Joe Nickell will break that rule. But a quick perusal of the Internet reveals a few tools of the trade:

Spoiler alert: If you're not concerned about ruining the surprise, feel free to scan the list below, though bear in mind that there are at least half a dozen ways to perform the same trick.

If, on the other hand, you cherish your illusions, you've been warned.

See-through blindfolds: Some blindfolds come with two "settings" — transparent and opaque. As a general rule, the harder performers work to demonstrate to the audience that they can't see, the more likely it is they can.

Transparent clipboards: There's a reason that mentalists have their subjects write down the details they're concentrating on before they magically envision the answer. Some clipboards look ordinary but retain a magnetic trace of whatever was just written upon them.

Verbal codes: Let's say the mentalist is on stage and his assistant is in the audience, holding the clipboard on which the subject has just written down a phone number. The pair will have worked out a system of verbal cues in advance. So for instance, if the assistant says "OK," that might stand for the number 4; but if instead he says, "All right," that could stand for the number 7. And so on.

Body language: Hide a coin in your hand and hold both arms out in front of you. The mentalist correctly guesses 20 times in a row which hand is holding the hidden coin. That's because the subject's nose tilts almost imperceptibly toward the hand protecting the money.

mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

If you go

The Evasons will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., Highlandtown. Tickets cost $20 for members and $25 for the general public. Call 410-276-1651 or go to creativealliance.org.