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I dedicate this book to my children.

Zachary Dennis Turner - you constantly inspire me and make me want the
best for us. If it wasn't for you son I'd have never pulled myself together. You
make me the man I am today.

Bump - you are not here just yet but it won't be long. I think about you each
day and whatever happens know you are in my heart and in my mind. Until we
m eet. . .

Firstly I'd like to thank Steve Wood. If it wasn't for his analytical eye this book
would not only have been a mess, but wouldn't even have seen the light of

He encouraged me to write this book and I did so (using my iphone!) whilst

travelling back and forth between England, Paris, Spain, Dublin, Mexico and
various other locations I have recently (and fleetingly) visited.

Steve is solely responsible for the layout, and making me sound coherent in
writing. I highly recommend that anyone who has an interest in making their
own work look like eye candy should have Steve look over it. You won't regret

I'd also like to mention:

Michael Murray, the legend from the North, for his constant inspiration and for
being a great sounding board.

Mark Chandaue for letting me bend his ear off about this effect.

Fraser Parker for his encouragement and inspiration.

Max Maven for his clever multiple out.

Atlas Brookings for inspiration.

Steve Haresign and Haresign Press for the amazing work done in printing this

Earlier this year, I received a phone call out of the blue from Pete Turner.
We'd spent some time talking at a convention a few years back, and I was
very familiar with his work, but I wasn't expecting him to call. We knew some
of the same people in our respective mentalism circles and he wanted to
discuss some ideas. That phone call started a chain of events that has
brought us to this book. A couple of months ago Pete said he wanted to show
me something on SKYPE, and that was the first time I saw him perform the
routine that you have in your hands now. It's so hard to know everything that
is released in the mentalism world, but one way or another I try to see the
majority of what comes out, and this time I knew straight away that I was
seeing something special. Pete had taken several of his (and other people’s)
ideas and blended them to make a routine that was very strong, propless,
well constructed and reliable in the real world.

Since then it has been moulded, adapted and pulled apart multiple times to
try and make it as strong as it can possibly be. Of course I'm biased, but I
think that Pete has created a masterpiece and to me this is one of the best
propless routines that I have ever had the privilege of reading.

Working with Pete has been a true inspiration. His brain works so fast and
whenever I have pointed out things that I felt needed more work, or to be tied
down further, he instantly found solutions and improvements. Equally, at
times working with him can feel like nailing soup to a wall! He knows his
methods and scripts backwards, and in performance this gives him the
freedom to jazz with them in different situations. He never stresses about
things that other mentalists might worry about. He stays calm, and finds a
way to bring things to a successful conclusion every time. It is beautiful to
watch, as anyone who has been lucky enough to have seen him in full flow at
a convention will know, and the only other person I can liken it to is watching
David Berglas with a pack of cards. In both cases, nothing is left to chance.
Nothing can fail because they are completely in control.

The challenge in producing this book was to tie down Pete's ability to think in
multiple ways at the same time to something that can be done by all. It's been
a true pleasure working with him and I hope that we have managed to reach
that goal. Isabella's Star 3 isn't easy, but it is logically structured and with
work each part can be mastered quite quickly. Pete really deserves his place
as a legend in our field. I'm so excited that the readers will now have the
chance to see for the first time what I've been privileged to enjoy. It feels like
Isabella's Star has finally reached its highest point.
Steve Wood (July 2017)

Page 8

Isabella's Star 3 Overview Page 10

• The overview 10

• Working out if it's a one or 2 digit date (3 methods) 11

Creating the name of a fictional person with that date of birth Page 13
• Guess Who Effect - Version 1 13
- Version 2 14
• Breakdown 14
• Performance script and breakdown of subtleties
- Version 1 Performing with one participant 17
- Version 2 The Hoy variation 23
• Additional thoughts - Female names 24
- Deciding which sex the participant is thinking of 24
- Editor's note: Ensuring a male name is thought of 26

Using 'Guess Who' in Isabella's Star 3 to get information about the date Page 27
• Discovering if the date has one or two digits 27
• Applying ‘Guess Who’ to the date 27
• Dealing with eight as a possibility 28
• Narrowing down the list of possible names 28
• Additional thoughts - Multiple outs 31
- Mini anagrams 31
- What if the name divination misses? 31
- Editor’s note: Framing the use of the day 326

Using 'Monkeying Around' to find the star sign Page 33
• The Zodiac anagram 33
• Editor’s note: Adding in a reading 42
• The Chimpanzee and the Cat (by Steve Wood) 43

Divining the month Page 44

• Narrowing down the month 45
- The Hanging Statement 45
- The Wash Principle 46
- The ‘Repeat It’ ploy 46
- Matrix using odd and even months 47
• Extract from Memoria Two (by Fraser Parker) 49

Revealing the name and putting it together to reveal the date ot birth Page 51
• Revealing the name 51
• Narrowing down to 2 possible dates 51
• Cusp dates (3 ideas) 54
- Asking if they were born on a cusp date 55
- Throwing out twenty two at the beginning 56
- Asking if both digits are the same 56
• Zero and One 57
• The final two way reveal 57
- Alternative reveal 58
- Editor’s note 59

Additional ideas Page 60

• The month anagram 60
• Easy mnemonics to remember the cusp dates 61
- The telephone and the story methods 62
• How to create your own anagram 63
- The final French star sign anagram 66

Page 67

Page 68

I cannot believe it has been 7 years since the birth of 'Isabella's Star', when
David Sena and I set out to create a date of birth revelation like no other. At
that time, propless mentalism (outside of psychological forces) didn't exist. We
tried to make the effect as close to propless as possible as we, like many
others, were 'chasing the Holy Grail'. We were very limited in the resources
we could use as inspiration to create the effect and we ended up with
something that (even if I do say so myself) was at that time groundbreaking.

David then took time out after the release of 'Isabella's Star' and became a
successful computer engineer, moving from Lisbon, Portugal to the UK to
pursue his career. I think about David all the time and really miss him dearly.
Life has a way of creating obstacles that sometimes take us on different paths.
I hope that David also thinks of me from time to time, and even though we are
on different paths physically I love the idea that if sometimes we think of each
other simultaneously we will stay connected psychologically.

I went on to do what I always do, constantly tinkering with older ideas as soon
as I have new principles to use as inspiration to help my creations grow. I
went to work on 'Isabella's Star 2 - The Star Goes Supernova' (the title was
created by Stephen Eric Young). A group of mentalists that I still consider to
be the 'cream of the crop' contributed ideas, and together ensured that it was
unlike anything else of its time. I loved IS2 (in fact I still do) and have used it
thousands of times. My preferred method of retrieving the astrological number
is using Michael Murray's 'CALendar'. Michael is one of my biggest
inspirations and he has the heart of an angel. Too many people are scared to
admit who they are inspired by and what helps to drive them forward. It's a
shame that some people let ego get in the way of admitting that they are a fan
of other performers and creators. I am proud to admit how much I like the
work of Michael and the other usual suspects that contributed to IS2.

If it wasn't for Michael Murray this book would not be in your hands right now.
On a cold British morning a few years ago, whilst walking around the
remnants of the previous night's campfire, Michael and I were jamming
backwards and forwards the seed of an idea he had. It later found its way into
his earth-shattering book 'A Piece of My Mind' (which I can't recommend
highly enough). However, the version that was in the book a couple of years
after our initial brainstorm was so much more advanced and refined than
either of us could have dreamed of at that time, and this was solely down to
Michael's creative genius. The principle is one that Michael coined the ‘Adam
Ant Principle'. Even though that idea is entirely different in presentation,8

method and execution it was a huge inspiration for the effect that you are
reading in this book.

I'm so proud to be a part of the mentalism community at this time. It's an

exciting time for all of us because of the number of principles and methods
that are now available, as well as the number of inspirational figures that help
our own creativity to blossom. I sat a few mornings ago and smiled to myself
after imagining what the reaction would be if I had shared the description of
'Isabella's Star 3' with the mentalism community a few years ago. It's
incredible to think we have come this far. That campsite conversation was the
omen that led to what you are now reading. I'm so excited to share these
principles, methods and presentations and hopefully inspire you to further your
own work and help your creativity blossom, bringing things full circle. This will
be the last instalment in the Isabella's Star series, and for that I'm both sad
and happy. Sad that the journey has ended, but happy that I have one less
thing to obsess about. I hope you are as excited for the future as I am.

Much love,
Peter Turner (Dublin 2017)

The performer asks his / her participant to imagine their date of birth written in
large digits in the air. The performer then directs the participant to think of a
name and imagine that their date of birth belonged to an imaginary person
with that name. The performer explains that imagining the date of birth as
though it belonged to somebody else makes it possible to divine. To prove
that point the performer looks at the participant and starts by revealing their
star sign. The performer then moves on to reveal the name that the participant
merely thought of, and finishes by revealing the date of birth!
Note: this is entirely propless. It's an 'any place any time' routine that's surefire
and I feel it's as close to 'real mindreading' as we've come (though of course I
am biased!)

This effect relies on you (the reader) having a grounding in several ideas and
effects that I have released in the past, along with some updated thinking.
Using each method in symphony you will get so far ahead that you'll knock the
participant for six! For ease of learning this effect (as it will require some work)
here is the core method broken down into separate steps.
After looking at an overview of these steps, we'll then expand upon each of
them in turn, paying close attention to the subtleties involved.

1. The participant thinks of the day and month that they were born.
2. They focus on the day, and we work out if it's a one or two digit date.
3. The participant focuses on the first digit in the date, and then the second.
4. They create a name.
5. You deduce the star sign.
6. You reveal the month.
7. You reveal the name.
8. You reveal the date.

The first point should be the most obvious: ask the participant if they know
their date of birth and star sign. If they do then you're set, but if they don’t
know what it is (some people don’t) then either move on to something else, or
if you still want to do this routine an alternative suggestion for using the month
instead of the star sign is given in chapter 7.

After checking that the participant knows their star sign, it's time to work out if
there are one or two digits in the date, and there are two or three simple ways
to do that. (Note: I know I am not being definitive when I say two or three but I
feel that one of the ways is obvious and not really worth classing as anything
of value - although that doesn't mean it won't be the best route for you).

The first method is from a suggestion by Michael Murray. He addresses this

situation by using the following script:
"Focus on the day for me. Ignore the month for a few seconds and just cycle
between the two numbers in the day in your mind, over and over."
If the participant nods and responds quickly then you know it has two digits.
However, if the participant looks confused then quickly continue with:
"If it's just one digit, say it over and over again for me."
You will now know whether it is one or two digits.
Note: This is a great method, and the only time it has ever failed me is when
the participant views a single digit day as a two digit day by adding a zero at
the start as the first digit. For example, let’s imagine the participant's date of
birth is the 6th of May. Some participants (when asked to cycle between the
two digits in their mind) think of it as '06' and count the zero as the first digit.
Even though this occurs very, very infrequently I have provided some
alternative ideas so that you have the freedom to select which process works
best for you. Personally I use them all and choose whichever I feel is best for
each situation.

The second method uses a similar linguistic dodge:

"In your mind focus on the day that you were born, ignoring the month for a
few moments. Imagine the first number in the date, and now the second."
If there is only one, the participant will verbalise that this is the case and you
will instantly know. There is a greater probability that it will be a two digit
number anyway, and at this point in the routine nothing has happened yet, so
the participant will never suspect that you know anything.

The third way (and the easiest, as you can see in the example script below) is
to ask!
Performer: "Can you think of your date of birth and star sign for me?"

Participant: "Yeah."

Performer: "I’m going to be really honest from the off. The likelihood of me
guessing this in its current form is slim to none because that information
personally belongs to you, but if we remove your attachment to that
information it will make it possible. Til explain how we will do that in a moment.

Focus on your date of birth written in the air starting with the day, then the
month (ignoring the year)."

(This tiny piece of script about seeing the day then month sorts out a huge
choreography issue I had with this routine when I first started performing it. I
used to run into the problem with people not understanding whether I wanted
them to think of the actual day of the week that they were born (Monday,
Tuesday etc) or the digits and it created a horrible hurdle in the routine.
Scripting it like this makes it clear and understandable. It's a very small touch
but these touches are honestly the real gold.)

The participant confirms that they are doing this.

Performer: "The only question I'm going to ask is: does the day have one digit
or two?"

Participant: "Two."
Alternatively, you could use the following question which is less direct and can
play more as a statement:
"This is not a double digit, is it?"
If the participant says 'no' then follow up by saying:
"I didn't feel it was, but had to clarify before we got ahead of ourselves."
If the participant says 'yes' then follow by saying:
"I felt so, but had to clarify before we got ahead of ourselves."

After ascertaining the number of digits, the next part in this routine is to have
the participant think of a name before creating an imaginary person with the
same date of birth. This is one of the most fundamental moments in this
routine, as the name directly leads us to know a portion of the date. To do
that, first let's look at a routine I call 'Guess Who?' It is essential that you know
the mechanics of that routine in order to proceed with Isabella's Star 3.
(Note: 'Guess Who?' can also be performed as a standalone routine if you so

I am going to share two variations, using the same method. I have tried to
ensure that this is as streamlined as possible and I have road tested this
extensively. When you know the method this might seem really simple, but I
promise you that in practice you will not believe how well this plays out. (After
redrafting I have also added a series of techniques to enhance the deception
of this simple name divination.)

The performer proposes to divine a merely thought of name from the mind of
his participant. However, the performer does not want the participant to think
of someone they know so instead they will create a random name in their
mind. The only rule is that the name must not be unisex so that he (the
performer) doesn't get confused and thrown off by something as irrelevant as
getting caught up on the gender of the person the participant is thinking of.
Within ten seconds of the participant thinking of a name the performer can
reveal it!

VERSfl©Ei TW ©
The participant asks three people to generate a name at random in their mind.
The performer looks at the three participants and calls out what he believes
the names to be. Each participant confirms that the performer is correct!

I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how simple this is. It was born out of
not wanting too much process, whilst also making the steps easy to
understand for the participant and the outcome as surefire as possible. The
best way to show you how powerful this is, is to perform it interactively for you
the reader. In a moment, when I ask you to think of a name I want you to see
the name in its simplest form (so Edward would be Ed), and don't pick a
unisex name as it will confuse things. This is the only stipulation you must
stick to when creating a name.

Clear your mind. In this experiment we will use numerology to generate a

name at random.

Think of two digits of your pin code written large in the air in front of you. For
example if you picked a 9 and an 8 you would see a big 9 in the air and a big
number 8, but for obvious reasons don't go for the same numbers as me as
you need to use your own thoughts, not mine. Imagine whichever two digits
you are thinking of as a two digit number and now instead of seeing these
digits in the air as numbers imagine them as words written in the air, like

Now that you have done that, in your mind gravitate toward the first letter in
those words, and think of the first male name that pops into your mind that
starts with the letter that you are thinking of. Again, please don’t go for a
unisex name, and see this name in its simplest form so for example Peter
would be Pete. Have you got a random name in mind?

If you are thinking of someone you know with the same name, it is only by
chance that you are thinking of this person. Really see this name at the
forefront of your mind. Think of the number of letters in this name. Okay, as
there are a few people reading this simultaneously I will try to guess the
names you are thinking of. Here goes. One of you is thinking of Frank or Fred
(you were changing your mind between the two). I see the name Tom and
Steve? Was I close?? If I wasn't close then you were likely to be thinking of

Sean / Shaun. (Those names rarely come up, and when I explain the method
you will understand why.)

If you haven't already figured it out, the method here is 'restricting without
seeming restrictive'.
Let's take a look at the restrictions. First, preventing unisex names from being
used in this presentation drastically reduces the number of names that the
participant can think of. By mentioning them in my instructions I also exclude
the numbers 8 and 9, which means all the names that begin with N or E are
also excluded. Let's look at the numbers that remain, and the letters (and
names) that could relate to those numbers. We will then look at how to narrow
things down to one name.

Using this force for 2 digit numbers that are spelled out (as in this routine):
11 Eleven Begins with E (see note below)
12 Twelve Begins with T
13 Thirteen Begins with T
14 Fourteen Begins with F
15 Fifteen Begins with F
16 Sixteen Begins with S
17 Seventeen Begins with S
18 Eighteen Begins with E, but 8 was dismissed in the instructions
19 Nineteen Begins with N, but 9 was dismissed in the instructions
20-29 Twenty . . . Begins with T
30-39 Thirty . . . . Begins with T
40-49 Forty . . . . Begins with F
50-59 Fifty. . . . Begins with F
60-69 Sixty . . . . Begins with S
70-79 Seventy . . Begins with S
80-89 Eighty. . . . Begins with E, but 8 was dismissed in the instructions
90-99 Ninety. . . . Begins with N, but 9 was dismissed in the instructions

Note: 11 is the only 2 digit number that begins with E but doesn't come from
the digit 8, which was dismissed as part of the instructions. The most natural
name from E is likely to be Ed / Edward, which has been mentioned and
therefore is unlikely to be chosen anyway, but it's still technically possible for
11 to be chosen. To avoid this, make sure that you ask the participant to
"Think of 2 different digits from your pin code" which will exclude 11 as a

Looking at the table, you should now be able to see that any 2 digit number
(not containing an 8 or a 9), when spelt as a word, will lead to a name
beginning with either T, F or S. Given the instruction to think of a name . . in
its simplest form . . . " the most likely names will be Tom or Tim, Fred or
Frank, and Steve or Shaun/Sean.

Note: in my experience these names work perfectly here, but IF you find that
Sean/Shaun is occurring more than Steve then simply swap it in place of
Steve as the most likely. I can honestly say I have never had Shaun come up,
but my American friends have said that Sean or Shaun may come up more
frequently than Steve. The principle is still the same and if you are at all
worried about the participant going for that name in the performance, simply
add this line of scripting:

"If for example you ended up thinking of the name Shaun, imagine what you
feel a Shaun might look like. For obvious reasons, since I have said Shaun
don't go for that."

This dismisses the name Shaun/Sean from the list entirely and stops any
concerns about it being an issue (although I have never found it to be a
problem anyway).

The thing I find really interesting about getting people to think of a name this
way is that it seems so random and yet it's very restrictive. Pay close attention
to the way I 'paint this red' in the performance (I frame it up as an example of
using numerology). You will notice that when performing the effect on you the
reader I asked you to think of a male name. There are other ways to ensure
the participant picks a male name that are not so transparent, and if you really
wanted your participant to pick either sex a suggestion is given later. [Editor’s
note: there’s a school of thought that using the phrase ‘his’ in the script in
reference to the fictional person also helps to ensure that a male name is
picked, and could also prompt the participant to change their mind - as if they
had misunderstood the instructions - if they originally chose a female name.
Pete prefers to avoid further reference to the gender, to mask the original
instruction to think of a male name.]

By simply knowing the number of letters in the name you will instantly be
down to either one or two names. If there is a name that you find keeps
cropping up, simply add it into the list of names and use it as part of your
performance (I know I have repeated this point several times but I really feel it

is important to note). Try to keep the 'formula' as simple as possible. You will
find that this is very reliable and it is startling just how quick the routine is over
and how great the reactions are. Now that we have the basic structure of the
routine outlined, let's look at the script and break each part down.

Note: We will assume that the performer is acquainted with the participant.

"If I asked you to think of a name, the likelihood is that you will think of
somebody you know. I really wouldn't mind you thinking of someone you
know, but the problem is that the more sceptical people watching will always
assume that I somehow found out from Facebook or some other social media

One thing I always strive for is to make the moment that the method occurs in
a performance the part that seems the fairest. I always try to appease the
participant's logic. This framework allows me to implement the method whilst
at the same time getting the participants to agree that it is fairer than simply
thinking of a name.

"Let's create a name in the strangest, yet fairest, way I can think of. Off the top
of my head imagine, say... two different digits from your pin code and see
those numbers as a two digit number like 98, but for obvious reasons don't go
for those numbers as I have said them."

What we have achieved here is to eliminate a 9 and an 8, which drastically

reduces the number of possible names. Notice that this happens before I even
mention anything about using the numbers to generate a name and therefore
doesn't seem suspicious or restrictive. I also ask the participant to think of two
numbers, which subtly makes the entire thing seem a little bit more impossible
when in reality the second digit is little more than fluff to make the effect seem

The participant could think of a random number from something such as the
'Life Equation' routine or any other force that guarantees an outcome and
again this would subtly restrict the participant to a small number of names.
One huge, huge thing that aids this routine in working seamlessly is to make it
appear as though you are inventing the process off the top of your head. If it
seems that you made the process up on the spot, it is no longer a strange
process. It is random and random is good.

I think it's important at this point to talk about 'painting something red'. If you
point out that a process is going to be strange and random, it doesn't seem
out of place if it then becomes a natural part of the process. One rule I always
stick to is if a routine has a flaw then 'paint it red' by trying to make the flaw
seem as though it is the fairest part of the process. I feel that the use of a pin
code is a great solution because you can say something like:

“Let’s take something more impossible than a name. Let’s say two different
digits from your pin code. ”

We'll now continue from the point where the participant is seeing two numbers
in the air.

Performer: "Instead of seeing these numbers as digits, imagine seeing the

numbers written in the air as words."
Participant: "Okay."
Performer: "In your mind gravitate toward the first letter . . . " (pause for a
second)" . . . and let the first male name starting with whichever letter you are
thinking of right now pop into your mind, but please don't go for a unisex
name. I need you to be definitive."

This is a simple set of instructions; this paragraph is the most important

paragraph of all as it completely leads the participant to one of the restricted

"You may coincidentally know someone with the same name as the name you
are thinking of right now, but you've arrived at this name by chance not choice.
Concentrate on the name."

This is just to press the point that the name was arrived at by chance not

"Imagine the name in its simplest form for me, so for example Peter would be

This is the only place where we have to apply any real work - figuring out the
number of letters. Personally I use Michael Murray's CUP’s technique as I
think it is the most elegant tool for the job. With Michael Murray's permission,
here is how we can utilise this principle:

"Think of the exact number of letters in this name."

If the participant responds instantly that they have thought of the number of
letters, it is a good bet that the name is 3 or 4 letters long (and once you get
good at this technique you will be able to differentiate between 3 and 4
letters). If they struggle slightly, then the name is likely to be 5 letters long. In a
nutshell, this hesitation is the CUP’s central idea. It enables you to be able to
know the rough number of letters in a word. Please look at Michael's work to
see all of his wonderful uses for this principle.

Using the CUP’s technique in combination with a 'hanging statement' will

instantly give you the number of letters. First work out if you think it is 3/4
letters or 4/5 letters using the CUP’s technique and then address the
participant. (For the sake of example we will imagine that the participant is
thinking of 3 letters.)

"This is three..." (Pause.) The participant will say you are correct.

Now let's look at the same statement and how it would play out if the
participant was thinking of a four letter name.
"This is three..." (pause) " . . no, four letters long, right?"

Notice how I finished the statement this time, whereas the first time the
confirmation from the participant halted me in the middle of my statement.

The same thinking applies to 4/5 letter names also.

Side note: I often feel that mentalism lacks an air of drama or tension.
Everything seems to flow all too smoothly and it is easy for the participant to
feel like you know their thought before it comes to the revelation. That's
something I believe we should aim to avoid. As mentalists we should be
predicting others, not predictable ourselves. Let's imagine for a moment that

we are watching a show like Holby City or ER (for those outside the UK these
are television shows about hospitals). Imagine a patient is brought into the
hospital who is in a critical condition and needs an operation, and the surgeon
says "There's a 100% chance of success" before the operation has taken
place. After witnessing the surgery, imagine another story unfolding where the
doctor claims that the patient needs to take a tablet and their condition will be
resolved within 24 hours, followed by people checking in and out of the
hospital with injuries like paper cuts or a sore throat. I am certain that the
show would become boring rather quickly!

In fact, thinking about it the best show I can think of to represent my point is
an animal hospital show. 98% of the time on these type of shows the animal
survives BUT the show’s producers have a way of editing the show so that
there is an air of suspense. Each moment is dynamic, from the voiceover to
the conversation between the professionals about the animal and each
moment is carefully constructed to point toward the chance of failure on the
vet's part and suggest the possible demise of the animal. It isn't until the very
end of the show that we realise the outcome of each particular case. The
show’s creators have a way of painting an image in our mind that suggests
that the animal may or may not make it, and this keeps us hooked.

When an animal doesn't make it, it is instantly upsetting for us the viewer. The
reason is not only because an animal has lost its life (which is upsetting in
itself) but because they hit us with the sad stories at the moment that we start
to become accustomed to the animals surviving. Have you ever noticed that
the saddest stories air during our most comfortable moments of viewing? That
is no coincidence.

The same kind of thinking should be applied to mentalism. It will add an air of
drama and impossibility. If the participant thinks that you know the number of
letters in a name they are thinking of and they see you guess that with ease,
then it suggests that you are already close to guessing the name they are
thinking of. However, if you incorrectly guess the number of letters in the
name and you are not remotely close it will lead the participant to think you
are completely off track, so when you do reveal the name you will completely
knock the participant and audience for six. Of course, it isn't as straightforward
as "Think of the name, here it is." There has to be byplay, but hopefully you
understand my point.

This routine does require you to know the number of letters in the name to
bring the effect to a conclusion. Once you are entirely comfortable with the
CUP’s technique, miscalling the number of letters to create this drama is a
simple yet elegant principle that I feel it would be a shame to dismiss.

For the sake of full explanation, here are a couple of alternative methods
which will enable you to deduce the number of letters. They are useful when,
for example, you have used the CUP’s technique previously in your
performance and you don't want to use the same principle for fear of the
participants catching on. Whilst hopefully that shouldn't happen, there is
nothing wrong with playing safe.

One method is fishing (and I also use a hanging statement) for the appropriate
number of digits. This method is simple and since in most cases the name will
be 3, 4 or 5 letters long you have a one in three chance of being right by

Address the participant and say:

"Okay, so how many letters do I think are in this name? Hmm, I'd say 4 "
(pause slightly to wait for the reaction) " .. or 5."

If the participant reacts by nodding or affirming in some other way on either of

these then you know the length of the name. If not then you are down to Tim
or Tom. Since they are so similar, either one would be a hit. If the participant
says ‘no’ when you deliver the above script simply say:

"I wasn't asking, don't give me any clues, I was just speaking out loud."

This kind of quick sentence is something I have always adored. It's very
simple yet elegant, and makes the participant feel that they have accidentally
tipped something that they shouldn't have.

Another way is to reduce the amount of possibilities via proxy. This is

something I love to use in performance as it gives me the ability (without
missing) to either know the exact number of letters, or at least to reduce the
possible number of letters (or objects, words, whatever you are using this for).
We are going to make use of a second participant for this.

Performer (addressing the second participant): "Dave, I would like you to try
and guess the number of letters in the name. Do you feel it is three, four or
Dave: "Three?"

If participant one says Dave is correct, you take credit for the fact that you
chose Dave, knowing that he could guess it correctly. If Dave misses, look at
him and say:
"You were not too far out, and this proves just how much of a feat it is to even
guess the number of letters in the name."

The most important thing to remember here is to say "You were not too far
out" as it makes it seem like you know the number of letters in the name. You
have to listen carefully to what Dave and the first participant say. If Dave
guesses correctly then move into revealing the information. However, if he
doesn't (which is more likely to occur) then you have still reduced down to two
possible numbers. If he eliminates four, then you know that it is three or five
letters long. If he eliminates five you know that it is three or four letters long
and if he eliminates three you know it is four or five letters long. (This may
seem like a given to some but the number of emails / messages I receive
each week because I do not describe things like this in their entirety is

Let's look at the scenario where Dave eliminates three letters, leaving the four
letter and five letter names - so Fred, Frank and Steve remain. The interesting
thing here is that Fred and Frank are not worlds apart and can be thrown out
together, after first eliminating Steve. By far the easiest way to do this is using
Derren Brown's 'repeat it' ploy. Say to the participant:

"Keep saying the name to yourself over and over again like Steve, Steve,

If it is Steve then the participant should react and your job is done. However, if
the participant doesn't react you know that you are down to the last two
names. I simply push it back onto the participant whilst mentioning two names:

"Stare at me. Imagine saying this name to me. Okay, I wouldn't usually find it
this difficult. I think it's because you thought of one name and then changed
your mind or were torn between two names. Anyway, that doesn't matter. I'm
going to tell you the two names and let's see how close I get...Fred or Frank?"

This should be a hit. One thing that is very important to remember here is that
the moment I mention the participant thought of two names, I quickly stop
them from saying that they haven't thought of two names by saying "Anyway,
that doesn't matter" and then continue to talk so that the participant has to
listen. The reason that this is an interesting technique is that the audience will
assume this to be true and therefore will assume that you not only got the
name that the participant is thinking of but also the one that they changed their
mind from. The great thing about this effect is that as soon as you know the
number of letters you pretty much will know the name, or at least you will be
down to a couple of possible names.

This is very, very similar to the interactive effect I performed on you at the start
of this effect, except with an audience. If you perform this effect on three
participants simultaneously you can simply say:

Performer: "Keep a straight face and don't give anything away. Even if I say
your exact thought, please don't react. Close your eyes for me and remember
to keep a poker face. I fe e l. . . Frank or Fred . . . " (point towards one of the
participants) ". . . Tom. . . " (point to someone else) ". . . and Steve" (point to
the last participant). "Open your eyes for me. Answering just yes or no - did I
get your thought?"
First participant: "Yes."
Performer: "Yours?"
Second participant: "Yes."
Performer: "And yours?"
Third participant: "Yes."

By pointing at the participants (while their eyes are closed) the audience will
assume that you are guessing each person's individual thoughts. The
participants of course cannot see this so never know you have pointed at
them. When they confirm that you hit on the name, that's all the confirmation
the audience need. If one participant says no just ask them what name they
are thinking about and declare that "Two out of three ain't bad!" This is a
simple variation but it is so powerful. Imagine sitting at a table and nailing
three thought-of names with no billet peeks or the use of the 'one ahead'

Personally, I have found that female names are a lot more difficult to get a hit
from than male names. I did experiment with female names but it wasn’t
surefire and I quickly reverted back to using male names.

However, as part of my exploration I did come up with a clever way to get the
participant to tell you the sex of a person they are thinking of without ever
knowing that they have. The performance would have to be slightly longer,
and this adds a slight amount of process to the routine but it is entertaining
and therefore shouldn’t detract from the overall performance.

Performer: “I don’t know if you know this but knowing someone’s

characteristics and traits can often lead you to their name. You don’t believe
me? How many people called Herbert or Percy do you know that are cool?
Joking aside, the person you are thinking of - are they tall or small?”

Let the participant answer.

" What colour hair do they have?”

Let the participant answer.

” What are this person’s hobbies?"

This is the answer that is important as the person’s hobby will usually lead you
to the sex of the person! When you get the participant’s answer you will find
that often it will lead you obviously to the sex. As an additional thought you
can also get extra hits from the characteristics. I have found that if you wanted
to add the characteristics phase to the routine while performing this, and you
are asking the participant to think of a male name, the most common
description selected by the participant is:

Dark hair (brown black etc.)
Medium build

The way to approach this is simple:

7 want you to think of this person, and in a moment you are going to make up
some characteristics about them. ”

Write down the word ‘tall’ and keep it towards yourself,

“Is this person tall or small?”

If the participant says tall, then turn it around and show the participant that you
were correct. Write ‘dark hair’ (the reason that I use dark hair is it covers a
range of colours).

Performer: “What colour hair does this person have?”

Participant: “Brown.”

Again turn your piece of paper around to show that you hit. Write down the
word ‘Medium’.

Performer: “Is this person thin, heavy set or medium?”

Participant: “Medium.”

If you were feeling particularly bold you could write the word 'sport' and ask for
the hobby of the person and if that hits then BOOM! Miracle!

If none of the above hit (which can be the case) simply say “I am going to
make some notes as we go along.” Write down what the participant says and
then finish by saying:
“You said the person was XX and their hair colour was XX and their hobby
XX. There is only one name I have in my mind right now - XX”

This wraps up the routine in such a way that makes the participant believe that
by using the description that they have given you, somehow you deduced the
thought of name!

Part of the presentation for 'Guess Who' relies on the spectator thinking of a
MALE name. We can simply ask them to think of a male name, but in
discussion about this part of the routine I came up with a way to ensure that
the participant thinks of one without having to do that and Pete suggested I
should include here. It could work in conjunction with Pete's idea for
discovering whether someone is thinking of a male or female name, and
removes the restriction for them in the instructions. (Although this is offered as
an alternative, in the original routine this restriction is such a small aside that I
don't think it plays as an issue to specify a male name from the start - it's just
a case of personal preference.)

Instead of initially saying that the participant is going to create a male name,
say that they will build up an image of a person in their head. Then use Pete's
idea above, asking about Height / Hair colour / Build and Hobbies to work out
whether the image is of a male or female person. If you want absolute
certainty, you could state "So this is a male, right?" to either get confirmation
or denial, but you may be pretty sure without needing to do this - it's a case of
personal choice.

If the person being thought of is male, continue with the effect of thinking of a
name, generated as before from 2 digits of the pin number. However, if the
person is female then ask the participant to give a name to her. Continue as
though that was an example of the process that you want the participant to go
through, but say that of course that could have been influenced by you, so:

" . . . let's start again but make this more random. We'll imagine that X X X . . .
" (insert the name that the participant gave to the female image they had built
up) " . . . has a brother. Start by again thinking about his height, hair colour,
build and hobbies but this time answer only in your mind. Now let's think of a
name. We'll use 2 numbers from your pin code to make this even more

The rest follows as before, and we have ensured that the name will be male
without directly requesting it at the beginning.

'Guess Who?' is one of my 'go to' routines in close up situations. We are going
to be using the core method to gain extra pieces of information pertaining to
the date the participant was born. Here's how:



This was covered in chapter 1, where 3 different methods were discussed. We

will assume in this chapter that you have already been through that procedure
and know whether the date has 1 or 2 digits.


We will now use a modified form of the 2-digit restrictive force outlined in the
previous chapter.
Ask the participant to focus on the first digit in the day and then move to the
second digit, ignoring the first. After a few seconds proclaim that you feel the
participant sees things better as words, as opposed to numbers. Ask the
participant to imagine whatever digit they have in their mind written as a word
in the air, and then use the same principle in 'Guess Who?' (moving to the first
letter, then creating a male name that begins with that letter). This is very
similar to the previous version that uses the written form of a 2 digit number,
but this time only a single digit (the second digit) is used to spell the number in
the participant's mind.

Here are the possibilities and the most likely names to go with them:

0 Z Zac / Zach
1 0 Owen
2, 3 T Tim or Tom
4, 5 F Fred or Frank
6, 7 S Steve or Shaun / Sean
8 E Ed
9 N Neil or Nigel


Performer: "Perfect. Focus on the first digit in the day for me “ (pause) “ . .
. ignore the first, move to the second. See this digit printed large at the front of
your mind like 'Eight'. . . “ (Pause) “In fact I think you would see this second
digit better as a word - so if it was Eight it would be spelt E...I...G...H...T.
Are you doing that?"
Participant: "Yeah."
Here, we are looking for a reaction on the initial ‘Eight’. If we get a reaction we
know it is an Eight and we will leave out the name divination (you can still
assign a name beginning with E to the image of the male person built up, but
this is done as more of a case of providing further detail instead of being to
reveal a thought of nam e).


If we do not get a reaction on the initial 'Eight' we continue to generate a name
- having reduced the possible letters by one. At this stage, there are 6
possible letters that the participant could have in mind: Z, O, T, F, S or N. Now

Performer: "In your mind gravitate towards the first letter in this word."
Participant: "Yeah."
Performer: "Can you think of a day of the week starting with this letter?"

Participant: "Yes."

Performer: "In fact let's make it more impressive. Think of the first male name
that pops into your head starting with this letter, but don't go for a unisex
name. Be definitive. The more definitive you are the more I can be. If the
name is questionable, dismiss it. For example, Terri or Toni might be
questionable, but Shaun is fine. Obviously don’t choose that now, since I’ve
just said it."
[Editor’s note: if you pause slightly after the word ‘questionable’ it provides an
opportunity for an instant hit if the spectator happens to have quickly thought
of Shaun / Sean - although in general we leave the name reveal until later in
the routine.]

Participant: "I've got one."

Performer: "I want you to imagine that your date of birth and star sign belongs
to this person. That way you are viewing the information from an objective
perspective and it becomes easier to read."

If the participant says 'yes' when asked if they can think of a day of the week
starting with that letter then the only letter they could be thinking of is T, F or

If the participant says 'no' then the letter they could be thinking of is O, N or Z.

Either way, I change the goal posts and get them to think of a name, claiming
it would be more impressive. This justifies the reason for creating the name,
and methodologically we have reduced the possible letters down to 3.

In the ‘yes’ situation I use the name Shaun/Sean as described in the script
above. However, if the spectator answers ‘No’ to the day of the week question
then the script is slightly different and becomes:

Performer: "In fact let's make it more impressive. Think of the first male name
that pops into your head starting with this letter, but don't go for a unisex
name. Be definitive, and if it can be shortened then you can choose if you do
that. For example, Nathan might be shortened to Nate, but Owen is fine as it
is. Obviously don't choose either of those, since I've just said them."

(Asking if they can think of the day of the week starting with the letter is a very
clever ruse that was inspired by Atlas Brookings. Atlas uses this question in a
very different way but it works so perfectly here.)

From here we will finish in a similar way to 'Guess Who' in chapter 2:

T - Tom or Tim or O - Owen or Oscar or Oli/Oliver

F - Fred or Frank N - Neil or Nigel or Nathan/Nate
S - Steve or Shaun / Sean Z - Zac/Zach

The process will be:
a) Use one of the techniques outlined in chapter 2 to discover how many
letters are in the name.
b) Once you know the number of letters in the name, you will be down to 2
possible names. (Note: I have chosen to eliminate Sean/Shaun or
Nathan/Nate and Owen - depending on whether the participant can think of a
day of the week starting with the letter they are thinking of - because in each
case there are other names that the participant could then think of for each
letter and it also ensures that there are only 2 names to consider for each
possible number of letters.)
Finish as outlined in the previous chapter:

"Stare at me, and imagine saying this name to me. Okay, I wouldn't usually
find it this difficult. I think it's because you thought of one name and then
changed your mind or were torn between two names. Anyway, that doesn't
matter. I'm going to tell you the two names and let's see how close I get...Fred
or Frank?"

Where we are heading overall is this: by knowing the name that the participant
is thinking of, you will know (using the first letter of the name) what the second
digit of the date is (sometimes this will be between two possibilities). For
example, if the participant thought of "Frank" or "Fred" you know that the
participant must be thinking of a four or a five. This is a clever use of the name
divination to gain extra information and I think it really puts a new spin on the
idea of fishing for information.

We then put this alongside knowing whether the date has one or two digits to
narrow things down to either 2 or 4 possible values. In the above example, if
the name is Fred and the participant is thinking of
a) a single digit date then it's either 4 or 5
b) a 2-digit date then it's either 14, 15, 24 or 25

As soon as the participant has created a name in their mind, and we know
what it is, we will swiftly move into the star sign divination (saving the name
revelation for after the star sign). It is important to save the name because it is
a much more impressive piece of information to reveal.

I would highly recommend carrying a few multiple outs in your wallet with
some of the possible names on, including some that haven't been included in
the main effect (like Simon) upon the cards. This is not essential but I find it
makes the effect move more seamlessly. I write on each card: "I don't know
where, why or when but I feel today I will meet someone who will think of the
name xx." Have these set up in different positions in your wallet. If you happen
to have a multiple out wallet, even better. Leave the wallet on the table
throughout the duration of the performance should you need it. It NEVER
hurts to have a plan B. I have naturally tried to take into account other likely
names, in order to do the routine with no props at any given time, but I still
carry these as 'outs' regardless of whether I intend to use them. 4 business
cards really do not weigh much or take up much room, and they are easy
enough to conceal (whether in separate pockets or different portions of a

It's also possible to use a mini anagram to discover the name, once you know
the number of letters (or even instead of that), but I haven't gone down that
route as we will be using an anagram in the next part.

The biggest thing to remember here is that even if you miss on the name
(which in my experience is very unlikely) don't worry. It is very likely to be
close which you can still count as a hit, and if it's not then this is only one part
of a bigger effect. If you really have to ask the name they have in mind, you
can still use that to help you to divine the number, and you will still be able to
divine the star sign, the month and the date.

It would make the script a bit lengthier (by adding extra process) but the day of
the week could be framed as the day that the fictional person was born on.
The script would become something like:
Performer: "It's said that people born on different days adopt different types of
characters. You may have heard the poem that begins ‘Monday’s child is fair
of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace In your mind gravitate towards the
first letter in this word."
Participant: "Yes."
Performer: "Can you think of a day of the week starting with this letter?"
Participant: "Yes."
Performer: "In fact let's make it more impressive. Think of the first male name
that pops into your head starting with this letter, but don't go for a unisex
name. Be definitive. The more definitive you are the more I can be. If the
name is questionable, dismiss it. For example Terri or Toni might be
questionable but Shaun
That way the question about a day of the week is tied into the wider
presentation, and (if you wanted to) you could add an additional reveal of 'the
day that person was born on' once you knew the name, giving 2 reveals for
the price of one.

Now move on to divining the star sign. We will use an anagram that I like to
call 'Monkeying Around'. The beauty of using an anagram at this point in the
process is that you can fish for letters under the guise of 'calibrating' the way
that the participant thinks. This will be seen as completely credible (from the
participant's perspective) as soon as you move onto divining the name
(without fishing for letters).

I would advise the reader to pay close attention to the way that this anagram
is constructed and executed as there are lots of little subtleties and nuances
that can be applied to many other Zodiac-style routines (these are detailed in
between the lines of the anagramming process). To effectively outline my
process of constructing and executing the Zodiac anagram I am going to write
a hypothetical presentation where the participant’s star sign is Capricorn. I will
then break down the performance in detail, piece by piece, outlining all of the
nuances and subtleties that I use in performance. I believe this will
demonstrate how clean anagrams can look when executed correctly. After first
outlining the presentation with just the anagram (to avoid making things
unclear), I will then add pieces of performance / scripting around the
anagramming process to help disguise the anagram further.

You will notice that the scripting and choreography is what makes the
anagram beautiful. I know you are waiting to get on with reading the anagram,
but let me first point out a few things that historically I didn’t like about using a
letter anagram in conjunction with a star sign. These thoughts may be similar
to your own, in which case you will appreciate the things I have changed to
make the process logical.

The first question I always asked myself was "What the hell does seeing the
word have to do with star signs?" When you think about something people

consider so emotionally relevant, how can you reduce that to just guessing the
word, almost making the process scientific? The second thing I didn't like was
the idea of throwing out the letters in a random order. It didn’t make any sense
to me. Thirdly, I hated people asking: “IS THERE AN XX IN YOUR SIGN?”
Are you kidding me? You can read people, so tell them confidently what
letters are in the sign. Finally, when it comes down to the last two star signs I
didn’t want to ask several more questions. I wanted that part of the process to
be streamlined and handled beautifully, and to make it feel as though I really
was feeling what they are like as a person and reading them for real.

As a result, I have tried to create viable reasons that were logical, to wash
away the things I didn’t like when anagramming. You might think I am running
when not being chased; I would argue that I am just going the extra mile.

So how did I remedy these problems? Here's my take on star sign

anagramming. I hope you like it!
Performer: “Do you believe in the Zodiac or horoscopes?”
Participant: “I do.”
Performer: 7 certainly think it is a fascinating subject, and I am a great
believer in the fact that even though the stars are thousands of miles away,
they really can and do have an effect on our lives here and now. I would like to
read you, with your permission of course, to not only intuit your star sign, but
to learn about you during that process. ”
Participant: “That is fine with me.”

Performer: “It might get a little bit rocky in places, but this is nothing more than
connection building. Building a connection emotionally and mentally can take
years, as I am sure you know, and I have only known you a matter of minutes.
Some people are better at seeing letters, others are better at seeing pictures. I
need to figure out how you think. All I need you to do is to imagine your star
sign written in the air. I want you to imagine looking over all of the letters of
your star sign and just beam them towards me. The clearer you can imagine
this, the easier it will be for me.

There is one thing I will point out. Because you have not mentally transmitted
a piece of information before, I think we should make this process fun. The
guicker your mind spins the easier it is for me to receive your thoughts. I want
you to imagine seeing the letters in the star sign in a completely random order.
Keep changing through the letters randomly, in any order you choose. Can I
take your hands?”

The participant gives the performer her hands.

Performer: “Don’t say anything unless I ask you a direct question. Focus on
the star sign written in the air between Are you seeing the
letters from YOUR sign in the air?”
Participant: “la m .”
Performer: “Great, then we can begin. Keep changing through the letters, stop
there, go back. There’s an R in this, correct?”
Participant: “Yes.”
Performer: “There's also an A .”
Participant: “Yes.”
Performer: “I am getting slightly confused now. I think the connection has
weakened slightly. There isn't a letter I in the star sign, is there?”
Participant: “Yes.”
Performer: “You are doing perfectly, though I might in a moment have to resort
to you focusing on the picture of this star sign. Is there an ‘S’ in there?”
Participant: “No.”
Performer: “Ok, can you just in your mind count the number of letters in the
star sign for me?”

The participant starts to count.

Performer: “In fact, please focus on this as an image if you can.”

The participant starts to focus.

Performer: “Wow, this is much better; a wealth of information has just flooded
in. I now know you focus on things aesthetically instead of analytically. You’re
a Capricorn, correct?”
Participant: 7 am!”

It’s as simple as that. What I have done is created a logical explanation for a
lot of the flaws that I found in common star sign anagrams. Let me point out
the star sign anagram I use and then I will go back over the presentation and
break it down piece by piece to show you why I applied certain 'excuses' and

th e im m a e m
You will be throwing out these letters in this sequence:
R. A. I. S. E. the word (RAISE)
A lot of performers use R.I.A.S.E. but I have found from a presentational point
of view using R.A.I.S.E. is easier to remember and flows better. Let’s look at
this in anagram form:

The chart is incredibly easy to follow. You say a letter and if you get a 'No'
then you move to the right; if you get a 'Yes' you move down the chart to the
next letter. This is the anagram in its simplest form, but with presentation it
becomes so much more. Let’s look at our example of ‘Capricorn’ again and
break it down piece by piece.

Performer: “Do you believe in the Zodiac or horoscopes?”

Asking this question is the start of the anagramming process. I will base my
performance on the participant’s answer. I want to create instant rapport, and

therefore the way to do it is essentially to agree with their viewpoint. No
performance of mine is ever the same.
Participant: “Id o .”

In this performance the participant does believe in them; this is the scenario I
find occurs the most frequently. If the participant says 'No', then make a
judgment on their answer in a positive way. What do I mean by that? Let’s
assume the participant says 'No'. Respond with:

“That tells me you are a logical thinker who tries to see the systematic side of
things. That’s great, and I think what I am about to show you will fit perfectly
with the way you think. ”

You have complimented them for thinking this way, therefore maintaining
rapport instead of brushing against the way they think. If the person is on the
fence about believing, I might say:

“Are you open to experiencing something new and exciting that might change
your viewpoint?"

Then I move into the next line about the stars.

Performer: “I certainly believe it is a fascinating subject. I am a great believer

in the fact that even though the stars are thousands of miles away, they really
can and do have an effect on our lives here and now. I would like to read you,
with your permission of course, to not only intuit your star sign but also learn
about you during that process. ”

I ask for the participant’s permission to read them. This suggests that what I
am doing is private, and there must be something about to be read. Think
about this for a second. If I wasn’t really going to get inside the participant’s
mind, why would I ask that question? It gives what I am about to do an instant
air of credibility and at the same time I think it is theatrically strong.

Participant: “That is fine with me.”

In this scenario the person said it was fine; if the person says 'No' then I
always respect their wishes.

Performer: “It might get a little bit rocky in places, but this is nothing more than
connection building. Building a connection emotionally and mentally can take
years, as I am sure you know, and I have only known you a matter of
minutes. ”

This provides a logical early excuse if you get a ’No' response in performance.
In this system that will only ever happen once, and it won't seem like a miss.
In other systems you could get two. I have taken principles from outside
anagramming that fit perfectly to ensure that you can only ever get one 'No'
response, and that is in such a logical place that it will never be remembered. I
always hated the idea of apparently being wrong after you have been right so
many times, and I feel that is one of the main issues with using anagrams. I
really focussed and spent time ensuring that I tied these areas up logically.
Now I never worry, because the logical justification is more than enough (after
they agree with it) to ensure that they don't even think about a miss. In fact, it
opens the doors to you being bolder.

Performer: “All I need you to do is to imagine your star sign written in the air. I
want you to imagine looking over all of the letters of your star sign and just
beam them towards me. The clearer you can imagine this the easier it will be
for me. There is one thing I will point out: because you have not mentally
transmitted a piece of information before, I think we should make this process
fun. The quicker your mind spins the easier it is for me to receive your
thoughts. I want you to imagine seeing the letters in the star sign in a
completely random order. Keep changing through the letters randomly, in any
order you choose

Again, another pet hate of mine when using anagrams is the seemingly
random nature of picking up on letters. We don’t focus on words in a random
order, so why would we receive them in a random order? I thought about it,
and this idea seemed very plausible and gave me an excuse for receiving
them in a random order.

Performer: “Can I take your hands?”

This is theatrical but suggests to the participant that some connection has
been created. Why would I do it if that wasn't the case? The participant gives
me her hands.

Performer: “Don’t say anything unless I ask you a direct question. Focus on
your star sign written in the air between Are you seeing the
letters from YOUR sign in the air?”

This is a very important section; the timing is essential here. I first mute the
participant. Remember at this moment in time we don’t know what the
participant’s star sign is. If we get a 'No' on the letter R, we can see by looking
at the anagram outlined above that there are three star signs it could be (Leo,
Pisces, Gemini). I need to eliminate one of those star signs before any letter is
ever thrown out, to cover the eventuality that there isn’t an R in there. I need
to be on a branch with two signs not three.

Let’s take a look at why I mute the participant from speaking. I ensure the
participant doesn't say a word during this first part of the anagram because I
need to stop them from saying “That isn’t my star sign” when I mention Leo. I
do this by carefully thinking about the way that I throw out Leo, as the timing of
it is essential. Take a look at the script. There is a slight pause before the
word 'like' and then again a pause before you say “Leo”. The reason for the
pause is because if the participant’s star sign is Leo, they will react as though
you got it right and you won't need to continue with the rest of the anagram. If
they don't react as though you have hit their sign, you need to follow up
directly with:

“Are you seeing the letters from YOUR sign in the air?”

Slightly emphasise 'YOUR', which suggests that you know Leo isn’t their sign
and you were just using it as an example. If it is Leo, it will appear to be a
miracle and then you can move into the reading from here. If not, move
straight on.

Participant: 7 am.”
Performer: “Great, then we can begin. The first thing I am feeling is there is an
R in this, correct?”

I point out that we are ready to begin. This indirectly suggests that you haven't
already begun.

Participant: “Yes.

In this scenario it is a hit; if it's not and there is no R in the star sign, move
straight into asking the participant to focus on it as a picture (outlined in this
example after the letter S). For demonstration purposes, let’s assume the
participant says 'No' at this stage. The signs would now be Pisces or Gemini,
and you can use Derren Brown’s 'Repeat it’ principle: instruct the participant to
focus on their picture and whilst focusing on it to just keep saying the title of
the picture over and over, . like Pisces, Pisces, Pisces."

If the participant reacts instantly, jump on the reaction and say: “I was feeling
that was your sign.” If not, simply respond with “Just repeat it over and over
again like that. ”

Now you know they must be a Gemini. Seemingly, a miracle has taken place.
In our hypothetical scenario (where the star sign is Capricorn) there is an R.
When we deduce that this letter is in their sign, we receive positive affirmation
and therefore we move on to the next branch of the anagram.

Performer: “There is also an A.”

Participant: “Yes.”
Performer: 7 am getting slightly confused now, like the connection has
weakened slightly. There is not a letter I in the star sign, is there?”

This is another important line. By claiming you are getting slightly confused, it
provides an excuse for a miss. Remember, probability tells us that the further
you get down the anagram the greater the chance there is of getting a 'No'
from the participant on each subsequent question. I have taken this into
account and have offered another logical excuse / reminder to 'wash away' the
'No'. If you haven’t noticed, I have also applied a closed ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question
which is “There isn’t the letter I in the star sign, is there?”

Say this with a little bit of a confused tone. Look at the question again more
closely. It enables us to ensure that your response to the participant’s answer
will always be a hit, as whatever the participant answers you have a line
prepared. For example, let’s say the participant responds “No, there isn’t ”
Quickly continue with “I didn’t think so,” and smile as though the pressure of
doubt has been removed from your mind. Now move into the line “Focus on
this as a picture."

It never seems to be a miss. On one occasion (after mentioning I was losing
the connection), the participant’s phone began to ring and when the
participant stopped it I said “Ah that explains why. That really threw me off.
Where were we?" This gave me a logical reason for getting a 'No' later as I
could point out that the phone interrupted me and I needed to refocus. In our
hypothetical scenario there is an I in the star sign so the response from the
participant would be 'Yes'.

Participant: “Yes.”
Performer: “I might in a moment have to resort to you focusing on the picture
of this star sign. There is an S in there?”

I have suggested to the participant several times that this could fail at any
moment. In this scenario I am indirectly blaming the participant for not being
able to focus on the letters, and that’s the reason we are having to shift to
pictures - it's almost blaming them for the reason that I got a 'No' and therefore
it doesn't play as if I've made a mistake. In this hypothetical scenario, suppose
we get a 'No' at this part of the anagram.

Participant: “No.”
Performer: “Ok, can you just in your mind count the number of letters in the
star sign for me?”
The participant starts to count.

Performer: “In fact, please focus on this as an image if you can.”

The participant starts to focus. Here I apply Michael Murray’s CUP’s

technique. I would for any other letter apply Derren Brown’s 'Repeat it’
principle, but as I keep striving for the 'perfect' version, on this letter I use the
CUP’s approach. I notice the participant is struggling to count (had it been
Libra then the response would have been instantaneous). I cut them off after a
few seconds and continue.

Performer: “Wow, this is much better; a wealth of information has just flooded
in. I now know you focus on things aesthetically rather than analytically. ”

I now claim that a wealth of information has come through, as a result of the
participant thinking in a different way. This gives you a perfect opportunity to
read the person, and at the same time it 'washes away' the miss by implying

that you have discovered how the participant thinks. Remember, you told the
participant right at the start that you needed to find the connection.

Performer: “You’re a Capricorn, correct?”

You now reveal the star sign. Your work here is done. You have gained
credibility and with no props (not that I think props are an issue) you have
collected several pieces of information about the participant that you may not
have known before. Fin!

(If I was performing this as a standalone piece, I would now give a reading of
the person based on their star sign.)

This is written as a standalone piece that enables you to reveal the star sign of
the person that you are performing to. In Isabella's Star 3, remember that it is
the star sign of a fictional person that the participant is thinking of, so 'your
sign' should be replaced with 'the sign' or 'the sign that you're thinking o f in
the above script.

As an additional idea, when it comes to revealing the star sign, because this is
about a fictional person you could also give a quick 'cold read' about that
person by asking the participant to focus on what they think are that person's
characteristics. This opportunity provides an additional 'hit' and comes as a
freebie in the routine. The beauty of it is that you can't miss, because it's not
about the person you are performing to, or even someone that they know. The
script would be: "So now thinking about this person's characteristics I'm
feeling that they are X, Y and Z, and some people believe that they are
characteristics often associated with someone who is a Scorpio." X, Y and Z
could be any general, positive statements of your choice. The worst that could
happen is that the participant says "Well I pictured him as a really nasty piece
of work" to which the response is "That's quite unusual for a Scorpio" and this
finishes with the hit on the star sign anyway.

This enables you to remember the 2 star signs at each branch easily, using a
visual memory aid, and it can be learned very quickly.

Picture a lion watching a dance off featuring a chimpanzee versus a cat. The
chimp is really going for it, dancing his heart out, then stops and gestures at
the cat who ignores him, makes no attempt to dance, but just sits there licking
its arse. Technically it's an American cat and is licking its ass. I apologise if the
crudeness offends the reader, but it will help you to remember the progressive
anagram. Just remember to keep a straight face in performance!
Here's how:

Picture a lion (LEO)

Watching a dance off featuring a chimpanzee. . . (In the UK we had a famous

advertising campaign featuring chimpanzees for PG Tips tea. PG - PISCES
and GEMINI. You may prefer instead, particularly if you're not from the UK, to
think of a PiG for the same 2 letters.)

Versus (VS - VIRGO and SCORPIO)




Technically ARIES is not included in this, but since it's the only star sign that is
an anagram of the 'RAISE' letters that you use for the main divination, it's easy
to remember. In fact, in the same way I usually don't bother picturing a lion
watching as LEO is easy to remember as the first sign in the progressive

ff)I!/Ii\jit\[0 TJHE IMWOSMTE
Following the reveal of the star sign, this is where you move into divining the
month that the participant was born in. After utilising the 'Monkeying Around'
anagram we will know the star sign, and therefore have reduced the possible
months in which the participant could be born down to 2. After performing this
hundreds of times, I now know which months belong to which star signs (it's
not difficult to learn). The way I learned it was by using Stephen Young's poem
(which he has given me permission to include here):

A quarius rains so the fish can swim . The ram and the bull come
charging in. Twins on giant crabs will ride. The lion sleeps by the virgin's
side. To balance out the S corpion's sting, the archer hunts the goat for
its skin.

This is really simple yet elegant, and so easy to remember. It outlines the
months perfectly. Hold up a finger as you say each sign and all twelve are
accounted for. In order they are (the number corresponds to the month that
they START in - on roughly the 20th, although this does fluctuate slightly
between different months - and they then continue into the next month):
1) Aquarius January or February
2) Pisces - fish February or March
3) Aries - ram March or April
4) Taurus - bull April or May
5) Gemini - twins May or June
6) Cancer - crab June or July
7) Leo - lion July or August
8) Virgo - virgin August or September
9) Libra - scales, balance out September or October
10) Scorpio - scorpion October or November
11) Sagittarius - archer November or December
12) Capricorn - goat December or January

There is a very, very important rule to remember here. IF at the beginning you
found out that it was a single digit date, then you will automatically know the
month as it must be the second month of the 2 possibilities for that star sign.

If it is a double digit date then you will now need to divine the exact month
from the choice of 2 that each star sign covers. This is a very important part of
the process as it is going to aid us in getting down to one of 2 days for the
chosen date of birth.
There are a number of different ways to achieve this which are outlined below.
Each one is as practical as the next but the route that you choose should be
dictated by the situation that you are in and what you have already used in

This is my 'go to' method for ascertaining the month as I usually perform this
effect on the fly when the moment calls for it. After you have guessed the star
sign you are going to be down to 1 in 2 months. Let's for example say that it is
Taurus - this would give you April or May. Say to your participant:
"You were born in A p ril. . . "
Pause very briefly, waiting for a confirmation.
"No, it's May isn’t it?"
Your timing here is crucial. You have to pause and catch the person before
they say 'no' and then continue with the rest of the script. If the participant
reacts when you throw out the first month then there is no need to continue
the script.
This is quick, simple and elegant. If timed perfectly it really flies straight by
people. You could also use another linguistic hanging statement that I thought
I had created (but I later found out that Yaniv Deautsch has something
similar). Again we will use the example of Taurus:
"When I first met you I assumed you were born in A p ril. . . " (pause) ". . . "but
I'm glad I didn't follow my assumptions. You're born in May, right?"
Again this is a simple verbal way of reducing down to one month. The hanging
statement is the method I use more than any other. As an alternative to the
hanging statement above, you could apply the 'Wash Principle' instead.

The Wash Principle can be used verbally or physically. This principle (when
used wisely) will significantly reduce your chances of 'missing'. In this
instance, we will assume that you are working with numbers.

Imagine that you are fishing for a number someone is thinking of out of a
series of numbers (like a pin divination, to give this a real world context). You
have deduced that the last digit is odd and is reasonably low (3 or 5). Address
the participant:
“Can you think of the last digit for me? Imagine drawing the number in the air;
imagine seeing all the different lines and the way the number is constructed.
Concentrate for me but don't say anything out loud. ”
This is where you pick one of the odd numbers (let's assume you have chosen
5.) Start to draw the number quite big in the air (remember to draw it from
their perspective so you are in essence drawing it backwards). Watch the
participant’s face; if they react by starting to smirk, you know it's that number!
If not, wipe the air clean and shake your head as though you are not seeing it
clearly. Secretly we now know it isn’t 5 and therefore we know it is 3!

Even if you didn’t hit with the choice of 5, you corrected yourself and therefore
have NEVER missed. The theatrics are also beautiful here as it really is just
two minds working in unison.
The same principle can be used here between 2 star signs. The initial letter
needs to be drawn clearly in the air to get the reaction from the participant.
[Note: I wouldn't use the Wash Principle with Cancer - June or July]


Providing you haven't used this earlier, at the end of the star sign divination
you can use this method to reduce the month down to one. Repeated use of
this technique removes its impact, but for a single use it is very strong.
More generally, some of the main techniques that I use in this routine are
Hanging Statements, the Wash Principle, the 'Repeat it . . . ' ploy and the
CUP’s technique. In many cases one can be replaced with another (based on
personal preference) at each stage, but be mindful of which of these
techniques you have used and try not to use the same one twice.

One method that I highly recommend if you are using this as a stage piece (or
for a group in a close-up setting) is to discover whether the month is odd or
even, and for this we use a form of 'audience polling' or 'matrixing'. For those
not accustomed with audience polling, it's the process of asking your audience
to raise their hand when you ask a question. Let us say you wanted to find
someone in the audience that banked with a particular bank, because you
have information about that bank that you can use as an effect. You would
hide your request amongst other questions but it might sound like this:

"Just to show you how varied the audience is here, by a show of hands how
many people like rock music?"
"How about RnB?"
"Dance music? These are examples of social choices, but what about our
different tastes in making more personal decisions? Who banks with HSBC?"
"Lloyds? I think we've proven that there are a wide variety of people in this
room, all with different mindsets. In fact there is no one person in this room
that is exactly the same as you in the way that you think."

All you are doing is spotting two people that bank with the bank you know
information about. The reason for picking two people is in case one of them
hasn't brought their bank card. This is essentially the art of matrixing.

I wanted a way to do this without the participants having to raise their hand, as
personally I think that asking is the wrong way to do this. As a result, here is
the script that I came up with, which I think is really solid:

Performer: "The way we think is completely influenced by the music we listen
to, the films we watch, the stars we were born under and the people that we
choose to let into our lives. It is said that those born on an odd month or a
waning star are better at building an image in their mind by hearing their own
voice inside their head, whereas people born on an even month are better
visually. I personally don’t know how accurate this is but let's put it to the test.
The people in the audience who were born on an odd month close your eyes
now to block out your sight and imagine your own voice telling you a fact
about yourself. It can be a star sign, pin code, a random name - anything you
wish. For the people born on an even month close your eyes now and imagine
seeing an image of that random piece of information. If it's a pin code, imagine
pressing the buttons on a pin pad. If it's a name, imagine seeing the person
wearing a name badge."

The word "now" needs emphasising to ensure that the audience do this at the
correct time. The beauty of using this technique is that everyone has their
eyes closed at the end when you say:

"Everyone open your eyes and shake yourselves off. I am going to attempt to
pick up on a few of the things that you created in your mind just now."

This is an epic line as it completely suggests that when you later guess things
you will be revealing the things that they just cooked up in their minds, rather
than things that you have set the parameters for. All you have to do is watch
for the people who close their eyes first! You now know that they are born on
an odd month. Remember one or two of these people. Perform a couple of
other routines and when you move into Isabella's Star 3 later and use
'Monkeying Around' to get the star sign you will know exactly which month
they were born in, as it will be the odd month out of the two possibilities.
Note to reader: Devin Knight uses a polling system involving participants
closing their eyes (which is different to the above as half the audience have
their eyes open and half closed), but I personally feel that this tips the method
to one part of the routine if anyone was to attempt to backtrack. By having
everyone close their eyes and then placing emphasis on "everyone" when you
ask them to open them again, you completely 'kill' any backtrackable method.
(That's not to say that you cannot choose to do it this way.)
Fraser Parker has an interesting take on Devin's principle that he has allowed
me to contribute here.

Let's say I secretly know the colour of the participant's thought of card. I can
now apply the eye cues to work out which of the two possible suits they are
thinking of, as follows:

“If you are thinking of a Heart I want you to just close your eyes for me "
[pause] . and focus on a time when you felt passionately towards someone
or something. If this is a Spade then focus on a memory when . . . I f this is a
Diamond then focus on... And finally, if this is a Club then focus on...

Now, open your eyes. ”

What this scripting does is to allow us to know with complete accuracy which
one of the two possible suits they are thinking of.
If we already know they are thinking of one of the red suits and we place one
of these at the front of our instructions then it becomes an easy matter to work
out which of these they are thinking of - whilst at the same time making the
selection field look much larger.

What is clever about the scripting is how it allows us to nail down and
eliminate one of these possible thoughts. We give the following instruction
followed by a slight pause.

“If you are thinking of a Heart I want you to just close your eyes for me."

Because we pause for a second or two, the spectator will understand what
you say to be a direct instruction and will therefore close their eyes at this
point, if they are indeed thinking of a Heart. If they are not thinking of a Heart
then they will keep their eyes open and we then automatically know they must
be thinking of the opposite suit of the same colour: Diamonds.

This would be obvious if it were not for the fact that we simply continue with
our script, no matter how the spectator responds - and we do this without
seeming to be interested or taking any real notice. It will appear to the
spectator that we were always going to list each of the possibilities while they

had their eyes closed. This will cause them to feel that they simply missed our
instruction for them to close their eyes from the start.

This is a slight reframe that occurs, naturally - our actions, and how what we
do appears outwardly, is what changes the meaning of our words and our
apparent intentions as well. This shifts the perception of the spectator, in line
with the illusion we wish to create. If the spectator closes their eyes from the
start, then great! Everything will look as it should. If they don't close their eyes
then all we need to do is remind them to close their eyes after we have given
them each of the different options. It's as easy as that! Thanks to the shift in
meaning that takes place, everyone will be none the wiser.

As you can see, labelling each suit with a different memory or category also
allows you to essentially get two thoughts for one - if you know the suit then
you also know the memory.

Now that we have defined the exact month that the participant was born we
can move into the revelation of the name, after using the 'Guess Who?'
techniques from chapter 3



Divining the name gives you the second digit of the date, within one digit. So it
could be:
a) 0 (if the name starts with a Z i.e. Zac or Zach)
or b) 1 (if the name starts with O)
or c) 2 or 3 (if the name starts with T)
or d) 4 or 5 (if the name starts with F)
or e) 6 or 7 (if the name starts with S)
or f) 8 (if you get a hit when you mention 8, and therefore leave out the name
anagram part)
or g) 9 (if the name starts with N)
Once you know the name, the month and whether the day of the month has
one digit or two, you will know that the date of birth is one of 2 dates (which I
will wrap up shortly to bring us down to 1).
Since star signs start around the 20th of each month a single digit date
instantly eliminates the first month so you will know it's the second month of
whichever star sign it is. For example, let's say it's a single digit date and we
divine the star sign is Libra and the name is Steve. Libra falls over September
and October, so in this example the date of birth would be either the 6th or 7th
of October. If instead we know that the date is a two digit number and then we
determine which month the participant is born in, this gives us a vital piece of
information. If it's the first month in a star sign then it's in the 20s or 30s. If it's
in the second month in a star sign it's in the 10s.
Let's take the above example of Libra and use the name Steve again. As I
mentioned previously, Libra falls over September and October. If it's
September (which is the earlier month of the two) we know it's in the 20s so
this time (using Steve) it would be the 26th or 27th of September. If it's
October (the second month in the star sign) then we instantly know it's in the
tens so this time it would be the 16th or 17th of October. This works because
Libra doesn't start until after the middle of September so it can't be in the 10s
in that first month. This is one of the most important things to remember in this
effect. Watch the performance videos back to get to grips with this section of
the routine as it is crucial.
The following tables give some examples of the possibilities for different dates
and names:

Date ends in: 6 or 7

Star siqn: Libra

Months: September or October

Single or double digit First or second of the 2 Possible dates

date possible months
Single Second (Oct) 6th or 7th Oct
Double First (Sept) 26th or 27th Sept
Double Second (Oct) 16th or 17th Oct

Date ends in: 4 or 5
Star siqn: Scorpio
Months: October or November

Sinqle or double diqit First or second of the 2 Possible dates

date possible months
Single Second (Nov) 4th or 5th Nov
Double First (Oct) 24th or 25th Oct
Double Second (Nov) 14th or 15th Nov

Date ends in: 0

Star siqn: Sagittarius
Months: November or December

Sinqle or double diqit First or second of the 2 Possible dates

date possible months
Single - Not possible
Double First (Nov) 30th Nov
Double Second (Dec) 10th or 20th Dec

Date ends in: 1
Star siqn: Aquarius
Months: January or February

Sinqle or double diqit First or second of the 2 Possible dates

date possible months

Single Second(Feb) 1st Feb

Double First (Jan) 21st or 31st Jan
Double Second(Feb) 11th Feb

In each case once you know the second digit, the star sign and which month it
is then you are down to at most 2 possible dates. However, there are 2
situations that we need to take into account. Now that you have understood
the basic idea, let's look at each of them in turn.

Name: Tim
Date ends in: 2 or 3
Star siqn: Cancer
Months: June or July

Sinqle or double diqit First or second of the 2 Possible dates

date possible months
Single Second (July) 2nd or 3rd July
Double First (June) 22nd or 23rd June
Double Second (July) 12th or 13th or 22nd

The example on the previous page is a special case, and occurs when the
spectator's date ends in a 2 or 3, and falls in a star sign with 22 as the ‘cusp’
date i.e. just before the star sign changes (so Cancer, Leo, Virgo or Libra).
Although this only affects 12 dates in the calendar year, those 12 dates (12th /
13th / 22nd of July / Aug / Sep / Oct) will lead to 3 possible dates at the end.


Jan 20th Feb 19th March 21st April 20th May 21st June 21st
Feb 18th March 20th April 19th May 20th June 20th July 22nd


July 23rd Aug 23rd Sept 23rd Oct 23rd Nov 22nd Dec22nd
Aug 22nd Sept 22nd Oct 22nd Nov 21st Dec 21st Jan19th

I will outline 3 ways to deal with this:

At the beginning of the routine say:

"You weren't born on the cusp of two signs, were you?”

(Wait for the answer)

Performer: "The reason I ask is that you might have characteristics that are
tied over from another sign and that can totally throw me off as sometimes the
characteristics are contrasting."

If the participant says that they were born on the cusp of two signs I respond
with "/ felt so". Then move on to the above line of script about the reason I
asked the question. The spectator's confirmation or denial will then help you to
know whether the date is the 22nd, when you know later that there are 3
possible dates. This method does rely on you knowing the cusp dates, or at
least the dates affected by this situation.

[Note: personally, if the participant says that they were born on the cusp of 2
signs I perform the routine differently to how I usually would from this point. I
ask the person to think of their sign and I deduce the sign and after deducing
the sign I give the participant a brief reading based on their sign and finish by
revealing the exact date.

I know the exact date because I know the cusp date that fits that particular
sign and that's why there is a benefit to learning the cusp dates.]


(In a similar way to throwing out the 8 and eliminating the name part if it hits
which was detailed earlier.)
Start by saying "Focus on the day for me. Ignore the month for a few seconds
and cycle between the two numbers in the day in your mind, over and over."
This (or one of the other methods in chapter 2) establishes whether it is a
double digit date. If it's not then the scenario we are dealing with here can't
happen so there is no problem.
"Keep repeating the date in your mind, like 22, 22, 22 . . . "
If this gets a reaction then you've nailed 22 at the very beginning of the
routine, without any process. You then proceed with the star sign anagram
and then get the month. If it doesn't then you know it's not 22 and so if you
find yourself in this special case then you know that only the 12th and 13th are
left so you have reduced down to just 2 possibilities. Then continue as before
"Perfect. Focus on the first digit in the day for m e . . . “ (pause) " . . . ignore the
first, move to the second. See this digit printed large at the front of your mind
like Fight' . . . " (Pause) “In fact I think you would see this second digit better
as a word - so if it was Eight it would be spelt E...I...G...H...T. Are you doing


If you don't like using the same idea to throw out 22, and then a moment later
throwing out 8 then once you know it's a double digit date you could ask "Are
both digits the same here?" The response will then eliminate or confirm 22 if
you later find that you are in this special case scenario.

Let's assume you know the name is Owen and the date has 2 digits.

If the star sign is Gemini then the possible double digit dates would be 21st or
31st May (i.e. two days in the first month) or the 11th June (i.e. one day in the
second month).

However, if the star sign is Leo then the possible double digit dates would be
31st July (i.e. one in the first month) or the 11th or 21st August (i.e. two in the
second month).

If it is Pisces then the possible double digit dates would be 21st Feb (i.e. one
in the first month) or 11th (i.e. one in the second month).

This illustrates that knowing how many possible days there are for the first or
second months depends on knowing what the cusp dates are. (The same
thing applies for numbers ending in 0.) Personally, I took my time to learn the
cusp dates and therefore to me it makes this part of the routine extremely
simple. However, the way that we deal with the final 2 way out means that you
can do this routine without worrying about when each star sign begins and

For this we are going to use an idea from Max Maven.

Suppose that you know that the date ends in a 0, and it is a double digit date
in the first month. For this example, we'll assume that the star sign is Leo.
Even if you don't remember whether Leo starts before, on or after the 20th (in
reality the only possibility is 30th July) this will work. On a piece of card write:

This covers both possibilities (even if, unbeknown to you, 20th isn't even an
option for that star sign in the first month). When the participant says which
date they are thinking of at the end, turn it round to show them your prediction
and cover up with your thumb / fingers the value that is incorrect / irrelevant.

In the same way, if it is a double digit date in the second month then write:

In a similar fashion, this method will cover every other 2 way out scenario and
remove the necessity for you to learn the cusp dates.

Writing down the reveal serves as a point of reference, and also makes it
more theatrical. In a similar way (as an example to illustrate my point), if we
take a look at a 'which hand' style routine where the participant simply
imagines the coin (instead of physically holding a coin), I feel that when it
comes to the revelation it can be boring and flat for the audience. The reason
that it can be underwhelming is that the only confirmation that they have that
you were right is the reaction of the participant. If the participant’s reaction is
flat, then that’s what you can expect from your audience. If the participant is
physically holding a coin the audience have confirmation when the participant
opens their hand and it gives them a moment in which they can react and the
routine comes to a bigger crescendo. The same thing applies here with the
reveal of the birthday.


After the first draft of this book was complete, we looked further into each part
of the routine and saw that some people had commented on the final reveal
within Max Maven’s original routine, because that approach prevented the
performer from being able to hand the card out at the end. Whilst this routine
is large enough in scope to ensure that not handing the card out really
shouldn’t be a huge issue, it did feel as though it would be preferable to find a
way to do that (especially since the reveal is on a business card). We wanted
this routine to be as complete as possible and we didn’t want to leave
anything in that we felt could still benefit from further improvement. Here is my

Start with a stack of business cards that have been signed by you in advance,
and put a blank business card on the face. Write the 2 way reveal exactly as
detailed earlier, covering up one outcome and revealing the other as
described. After that reveal, take the card and add it to the face of the stack of
cards, but in doing so glide the next card (which has a signature on it already,
without the audience knowing that) aside so the actual prediction card just
shown can be placed back second from the face.

Reach for a pen and say “Let me sign that. Whilst the participant thinks you
are signing the card (but you don’t need to because, unbeknown to them, the
new face card is already signed) you actually write the correct date on. That
way you create another version of the prediction that can be given away.


Pete and I both set about resolving the issue of not being able to hand out the
card at the end and our results were similar, but with a small difference. As a
result we have decided to present both as alternatives for the reader.

My version requires a similar set up in advance, but this time with your initials
rather than your signature (or as an alternative you could use today’s date)
written on them in advance. It also requires the ability to double write without it
being obvious to the participant. Hold the stack of business cards blank side
towards you and write (for example) 20th July 30th on the face card as before,
but upjog the card in your hand before you do. If you start to write it when you
are revealing the name, this provides a logical reason to start, then stop and
start again which masks the time it takes to write ‘20th July 30th’ on the face
card as well as also writing ‘July’ on the next card. Place the ‘20th July 30th’
card on the table and reveal the prediction as before, then take it back and
say ‘Til add my initials.” (Again, this could be today’s date instead.) Whilst
apparently doing this, write in the ‘20th’ or ‘30th’ to create a version of the
reveal that can be given away. I think this version gains from the initials (or
date) being so small in length that even if there was any suspicion of what you
are doing (which there shouldn’t be at this point in the routine) you could never
be writing the whole birth date at the end. However, the cost is the ability to
convincingly double write at the beginning which isn’t an issue with Pete’s


You may not be comfortable with using star signs in your act. I personally love
them and would always use that method. Alternatively, you might just prefer
this anagram to the star sign anagram as an alternative way of getting the
Note to reader: in the same way as before, this works by moving to the right
when you get a 'no' response, and when you get a 'yes' response you
continue on down the tree.

With this Anagram I would start with a 'closed' yes or no question:

"There's not an A in there is there?"
If they say 'yes' simply move on down the tree swiftly.
However if they say 'no' then quickly continue with:
"I didn't think so, but there is a B in there?"
Continue down the anagram.

When you do get to the month, it enables you to casually ask about the star
sign as you've deduced the month and this won't seem important now.
"I'm intrigued, does that make you a Taurus ora Gemini?"
By starting the sentence with "I'm intrigued" the participant will not challenge
your question and will respond with their sign. It is usually best to give a small
reading after being told the sign.

Note: If the answer to the first question (about A) is 'No' then you can use the
CUP’s technique before asking about B. That way, based on how long it takes
the participant to respond to your question about how many letters it contains,
you will already know whether it is a short name (and hence June or July) or
longer (hence September, October, November or December). You can then
miss out the question about B if it's June or July, to avoid another 'No'
response, or choose to include it and get a guaranteed 'Yes' if it's one of the


Here are the cusp dates again:


Jan 20th Feb 19th March 21st April 20th May 21st June 21st
Feb 18th March 20th April 19th May 20th June 20th July 22nd


July 23rd Aug 23rd Sept 23rd Oct 23rd Nov 22nd Dec 22nd
Aug 22nd Sept 22nd Oct 22nd Nov 21st Dec 21st Jan 19th

Laid out from Aquarius to Capricorn the final date in each sign is:

18, 20, 19, 20, 20, 22, 22, 22, 22, 21,21, 19

One way to remember the cusp dates is to imagine the last digit of each of the
above numbers as a telephone number:

In this case think: 809 double 0 quadruple 2 119

It doesn't take long to learn a telephone number, and as we are solely

focusing on the second digit we reduce the number of digits to remember plus
there are repeated digits which also makes the memory process easier.


Another method is to create a story based on the numbers, I would suggest

again focusing on the second digit solely. Here is an example story:

80 9 year olds with 0.0 pocket money stole 2 quads and drove down route 119

Of course, this is an example, and creating your own story will make it easier
for you to remember. Don't be intimidated by the cusp dates. Take your time
to learn as much about this as possible. I promise that even outside this effect
it will come in handy.

One issue that crops up over and over again is the language difference with
star sign anagrams, so I am quickly going to share how to construct an
anagram. I will attempt to be brief on this, and please remember that it doesn’t
just apply to star signs. You can create an anagram using any list of words
that you like! I am going to do this in a language I don’t speak - FRENCH. We
would then apply the same techniques and subtleties as with the anagram in
English. Here are a list of the star signs in French.

Aries: Belier Libra: Balance

Taurus: Taureau Scorpio: Scorpion
Gemini: Gemeaux Sagittarius: Sagittaire
Cancer: Cancer Capricorn: Capricorne
Leo: Lion Aquarius: Verseau
Virgo: Vierge Pisces: Poissons

To create an anagram first do a frequency analysis of how many times each

letter appears across all of the signs. The table below summarises the results:

A B c D E F G H 1 J K L M
10 2 6 0 13 0 3 0 8 0 0 3 1

N 0 P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
6 6 3 0 9 6 3 4 2 0 1 0 0

The most common letter is E, so this will be the first letter called in the
progressive anagram. We now eliminate any signs that do not contain an E
(these are highlighted in red below).

Aries: Belier Libra: Balance

Taurus: Taureau Scorpio: Scorpion
Gemini: Gemeaux Sagittarius: Sagittaire
Cancer: Cancer Capricorn: Capricorne
Leo: Lion Aquarius: Verseau
Virgo: Vierge Pisces: Poissons

These 3 signs will be the 'No' outcomes on the first part of the progressive
anagram, which so far looks like this:

E Lion or Scorpion
or Poissons

Next repeat the process by doing a frequency analysis of how many times
each letter appears across the remaining 9 signs. The table below
summarises the results (E is highlighted in yellow as it has already been used
in the anagram):

A B C D E F G H 1 J K L M
10 2 5 0 13 0 3 0 5 0 0 2 1

N 0 P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
3 1 1 0 8 2 3 4 2 0 1 0 0

The most common letter (apart from E) is now A, so this will be the second
letter called in the progressive anagram. We now eliminate any signs that do
not contain an A, and highlight them in red to go with the first three.

Aries: Belier Libra: Balance

Taurus: Taureau Scorpio: Scorpion
Gemini: Gemeaux Sagittarius: Sagittaire
Cancer: Cancer Capricorn: Capricorne
Leo: Lion Aquarius: Verseau
Virgo: Vierae Pisces: Poissons

These 2 signs will be the 'No' outcomes on the second part of the progressive
anagram, which now looks like this:

E Lion or Scorpion
Yes or Poissons
! No
A Belier or Vierge
Repeat the analysis on the remaining 7 signs:

A B C D E F G H 1 J K L M
10 1 5 0 9 0 2 0 3 0 0 1 1
N 0 P a R S T u V w X Y Z
3 1 1 0 6 2 3 4 1 0 1 0 0

This time choose R, since A and E have already been used. Eliminate any
signs that do not contain an R, and highlight them in red to go with the first

Aries: Belier Libra: Balance

Taurus: Taureau Scorpio: Scorpion
Gemini: Gemeaux Sagittarius: Sagittaire
Cancer: Cancer Capricorn: Capricorne
Leo: Lion Aquarius: Verseau
Virgo: Vierge Pisces: Poissons

These 2 signs will be the 'No' outcomes on the third part of the progressive

Lion or Scorpion
Yes or Poissons
I No
A Belier orVierge
I No
R Gemeaux or Balance
Finally do the frequency analysis on the remaining 5 signs to give:

A B C D E F G H 1 J K L M
7 0 4 0 6 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 0
N 0 P Q R S T U V w X Y Z
2 1 1 0 6 2 3 3 1 0 0 0 0

Choose C (since E, A and R have already been used) and then use the
remaining signs without a C as the 'No' outcomes on the fourth part of the
progressive anagram.

Aries: Belier Libra: Balance

Taurus: Taureau Scorpio: Scorpion
Gemini: Gemeaux Saaittarius: S aaittaire
Cancer: Cancer Capricorn: Capricorne
Leo: Lion Aquarius: Verseau
Virgo: Vierge Pisces: Poissons

The 2 that remain will go at the bottom of the completed anagram.


Lion or Scorpion
or Poissons

Belier or Vierge

Gemeaux or Balance

Taureau or Sagittaire

Cancer or

I am sure that if I spoke French I could clean it up even more. I hope that you
get the idea of how easy it is to create an anagram, and if you want it bad
enough then take your time to do it. I honestly think it is worth it. I really hated
anagrams until I started using them and I would now say that in close up this
is one of my go to pieces for any place, any time mentalism. Some people
also seem to have an issue with star signs only having a probability of 1/12,
but people who believe in astrology don’t see it that way at all! Probability
doesn’t even factor into it, and I'd urge you to try it before you write it off.

Bob Farmer and Ray Grismer for their work on star sign anagrams
Bob Farmer - Fate Accompli (1986)
Ray Grismer - What’s my sign? (1986)

Michael Murray for inspiring the CUP’s technique, and for the ‘Adam Ant’
principle, both from A Piece of My Mind (2014)

Derren Brown for his 'Repeat it' principle

First released in the routine ‘Smoke’ from Pure Effect
(first edition self-published late 1990s)

Max Maven for the written two way out from Positive Negative
on Videomind Volume 2 (1997)

Steve Haresign, who came up with the idea of restricting the choice of letters
to T, F and S from the spelling of numbers. His work on this principle will be
published in his upcoming book ‘Do Animals Believe in God?’

Louis Cipher for your constant inspiration. It’s been a real pleasure working
with you.

Atlas Brookings, who inspired the question about thinking of a day of the week
beginning with the thought of letter.

Devin Knight for the principle behind Four Told (2011)

Stephen E. Young for his poem that helps you to remember the order of the
star signs.