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Topic: Tricks with Binary principle
Message: Posted by: swamy (Mar 13, 2009 09:44AM)
Binary principle has an entertaining application. This principle has been used in mathematical puzzles, mechanical puzzles and also in magic.
The following are some effects using Binary principle :
1. "It's a Dan-dy" from the book Easy Card Tricks by Bob Longe
2. Scarne's Sympathetic Card Trick from Scarne Crad Tricks
3. ROM by Max Maven published in Linking ring.

If you know of any effect please do post it in this thread
Message: Posted by: Scott Cram (Mar 13, 2009 12:19PM)
Magic Café member [url=http://www.lybrary.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=37]Leo Boudreau[/url] is the king of tricks based on the binary principle! In my [url=http://headinside.blogspot.com/2008/06/free-tricks-from-leo-boudreau.html]Free tricks from Leo Boudreau[/url] post, I have links to effects (mostly binary based) here on the Magic Café. Most them are in the banquet room, however, so you'll need at least 50 posts to see them.

Karl Fulves' books Combo and Combo II are nothing but binary-based effects, as well.

In the February 1989 issue of Genii, Kazuyuki Hase released the effect The Color Out of Space, which is a very clean binary-based divination effect.
Message: Posted by: Scott Cram (Mar 13, 2009 10:30PM)
Leo Bourdreau just posted an excellent binary-based effect [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=303546&forum=82&6]"Lie to Me"[/url] here on the Café (again, it's in the banquet room, so you'll have to have 50 posts on here for that link to work).
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Mar 13, 2009 10:45PM)
I honestly appreciate all the work you've contributed to the Café. When in Las Vegas I need to buy you a few cold ones :)

"The Professor' Slim King
Message: Posted by: landmark (Mar 14, 2009 03:14PM)
Thanks Scott for collecting Leo's always worthwhile ideas! The new one is a lot of fun.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Mar 14, 2009 05:30PM)
In Chapter 2 of my book [url=http://www.geocities.com/larrybarnowsky/kotr1.html]Kingdom of the Red[/url] there is an effect called "Binary Prediction" which uses the binary principle for a very different effect. A Scrabble Tile is freely (no force) selected and a duplicate of it is found in a small locked box which the spectator opens. It involves a piece of apparatus which I show you how to make in the book.
Message: Posted by: swamy (Mar 16, 2009 09:43AM)
"The Magick Circle" from Leo Boudreau reminded me of a circular apparatus which indicates the number from 1 to 64 for a given binary code.
Message: Posted by: GALIER (Aug 27, 2018 11:44AM)
Also, "the fortune sticks", marketed by Tenyo is a surprising application of the binary code.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 28, 2018 08:12AM)
First and last items in my upcoming, last, book - AND FINALLY! Fantastic applications of the binary principle - in my obviously biased opinion.
Message: Posted by: saxonia (Aug 28, 2018 03:31PM)
I am looking forward to see Harry Lorayne's book.

By the way: I wonder whether it actually makes sense to speak about "the" binary principle. In fact, there are so many variants: Age cards, De Brujin sequences, the right-left principle exploited by Leo Boudreau in "Skullduggery" and even every code used for telepathy that is based on a sequence of yes-no answers (including progressive anagrams)...
Message: Posted by: Thomas Henry (Aug 28, 2018 06:43PM)
Hello All,

A nice alternative to binary is the balanced ternary system. Royal Vale Heath employed this in his "Take a Number from 1 to 30," which appeared in J. G. Thompson, Jr.'s, [i]My Best[/i], (Brooklyn, New York: D. Robbins and Co., Inc., 1959), pp. 246 and 246. The chief advantage is that the method is extremely well disguised compared to binary.

I just posted an analysis of this yesterday for those of you who have access to Inner Thoughts here:


The analysis was carried out in wxMaxima, which is a free, open source symbolic mathematics package.

Thomas Henry
Message: Posted by: saxonia (Aug 29, 2018 12:29AM)
One more reference:
While I have not read the booklet, from the description of the effect I am pretty sure that Chris Wasshuber makes use of the binary system in his "Ultimate Magic Square" in an extremely clever way:
Message: Posted by: saxonia (Aug 29, 2018 12:53AM)
Thank you for the useful reference to the ternary system.
Those who are interested in this topic can find more stuff in the following books:

"Mathematical Card Magic" by Colm Mulcahy
Martin Gardner's discussion of the Gergonne pile trick in "Mathematics Magic and Mystery"
Leo Bourdreau's "Psimatrika" (using ternary de Brujin sequences, called "bracelet codes" by the author)
Phil Goldstein in "Thequal" (the trick "Q & AVM")
Message: Posted by: alicauchy (Aug 29, 2018 01:24AM)
[quote]On Aug 28, 2018, saxonia wrote:
By the way: I wonder whether it actually makes sense to speak about "the" binary principle. In fact, there are so many variants: Age cards, De Brujin sequences, the right-left principle exploited by Leo Boudreau in "Skullduggery" and even every code used for telepathy that is based on a sequence of yes-no answers (including progressive anagrams)... [/quote]

Yes, in fact, more than "the binary principle" it should be "the use of binary digits" which have different instantiations, as noted above.

And, like some others said above, why stopping in binary? There are very interesting applications of ternary digits, or even in other bases. Alex Elmsley has several interesting effects based on octal systems.
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Aug 29, 2018 02:48PM)
[quote]On Aug 28, 2018, Harry Lorayne wrote:
First and last items in my upcoming, last, book - AND FINALLY! Fantastic applications of the binary principle - in my obviously biased opinion. [/quote]

How did I know know this was coming?!

Can anyone share any release details?
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Aug 30, 2018 08:18AM)
Sure - send your email address to harrylorayne@earthlink.net and I'll be more than happy to send you a copy of the ad for AND FINALLY!
Message: Posted by: Papa Legba (Sep 2, 2018 01:18PM)
Interlaced by Phil Smith
Message: Posted by: saxonia (Sep 3, 2018 11:24AM)
One more (and a very different one):
"An Improptu Torn Newspaper Test" by Edmund Rowland, Pentagram vol. 7 no. 2,
also published as "news Test" in The Pallbearers Review vol. 6, No.10
Message: Posted by: everitt99 (Sep 3, 2018 05:54PM)
"Kansas City Hold 'Em" by Stu Lewis from Hold 'Em Magic also uses a little bit of binary to deal a winning hand in a round of poker.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Henry (Sep 4, 2018 06:43PM)

For completeness, the Rowland newspaper test Saxonia mentioned above appears on pages 11 and 12.

Richard Osterlind demonstrates this on one of his DVDs. Sorry, I can't recall which one.

It is perhaps one of the best examples of a base-2 geometric progression in magic. It's also highly deceptive.

Thomas Henry
Message: Posted by: Papa Legba (Sep 6, 2018 06:29AM)
Christian Chelman has an effect that is baffling me, its called "Psychic Instructor". I am sure its binary but his methodology is sooo cleverly disguised. If anyone knows of anything similar in print I would be grateful for details of such a publication.
Message: Posted by: Papa Legba (Sep 6, 2018 10:57AM)
Managed to work it out based on what Scott Cram (thanks) posted about Leo Boudreau.
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Sep 17, 2018 02:40PM)
[quote]On Aug 30, 2018, Harry Lorayne wrote:
Sure - send your email address to harrylorayne@earthlink.net and I'll be more than happy to send you a copy of the ad for AND FINALLY! [/quote]

Thanks Harry, just emailed you. Best wishes!
Message: Posted by: glowball (Sep 26, 2018 02:15AM)
I want to know inventor of a great binary trick that used a white card with letters of alphabet on one side and 30 words (each word is 5 characters) from the Bible on the other side.
Spectator thinks of a word then magician holds the card with alphabet side facing the spectator.
The magician turns his head so he can't see as the spectator types (touches) each of the 5 letters with a tiny plastic mouse (for a little comic effect) then the magician reveals the typed in word explaining that he (the magician) has very sensitive fingers!

In year 2009 I created my own version of this effect using scifi words (took many hours to come up with the words that will fit the binary scheme of the "keypad" and my own “keypad card”).
I want to give credit to the inventor when showing this trick at close up rooms at conventions or contests.
My friend Garry Hayes thinks the name might be something like the "Educated Mouse".
Who is the inventor? and perhaps his source?
Message: Posted by: Emory Kimbrough (Oct 6, 2018 12:52AM)
Glowball - Your post exactly describes "Jerry Sadowitz presents Mr. E. Ozo's Mindwarp." Including even the little mouse. But the word list in Mindwarp is an ordinary-looking collection of common words, not Biblical in theme.
Message: Posted by: glowball (Oct 9, 2018 08:43PM)
That's it! Thanks so much! Now I can give credit where credit is due. I wonder if Jerry created the "touch" principle or got it from somewhere else? The binary method of 1 2 4 8 16 has been around a long time.
Message: Posted by: glowball (Oct 9, 2018 09:44PM)
I wonder whether the "Bible Computer" is "pre" or "post" Mr E Ozo Timewarp?
Message: Posted by: lin (Oct 10, 2018 03:46PM)
Bob Ostin. I think he adapted Sadowitz’s effect, but I’m away from home and can’t check my library. Will try to follow up when I get back.
Message: Posted by: glowball (Jul 9, 2019 09:26AM)
To see this trick performed by a 75 yr old hobbyist magician do a YouTube search on "Larry Finley magic" and then click on the one with the Dr Doctor Who TARDIS and the pretty (74 yr old) assistant (wife).
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Jul 9, 2019 10:28AM)
In the Magica Series I-IV there are some original effects using the binary principle. In Magica Analytica II there is an effect called Sphere of Influence:
The magician shows the audience a collage which illustrates 16 different items, each of which begins with a different letter of the alphabet. A spectator is asked to think of any one item and concentrate on its first letter. A box and seven square cards are introduced. Each of the cards has different rectangular cutouts and letters or words written on them. The magician asks the spectator yes and no questions about his item, and based on those answers, cards are inserted into slots in the box. A metal ball is introduced and the spectator is asked to drop the ball into one of five holes at the top of the box. The box is jiggled allowing the ball to fall randomly through holes in multiple levels like a pinball machine. The ball finally lodges in a tray with 16 wells at the bottom. The tray is slid out and the ball removed by the spectator. Beneath the ball and at the bottom of the well is a letter which matches the first letter of the spectator’s thought of item. All the other wells have different letters. Only one ball is used and the box itself is not gaffed.
[url=http://www.barnowskymagic.com/MagicaAnalyticaTWO.html]See this page for picture of apparatus[/url]
Message: Posted by: Papa Legba (Jul 22, 2019 08:42AM)
"Kioku" and "Mr Dark's 5 Shot Tarot" by Outlaw Effects, were both, well disguised, binary effects
Message: Posted by: Andy Moss (Jul 25, 2019 02:09PM)
Funny that I should read this thread. I have just created an effect that is very devious indeed. I have not even tried it out yet but it should work in practice.

It fuses several principles together nicely.

Basically the effect is as follows. You have a person roll a die MENTALLY in their mind four times and to add up the die outcomes as they go along to reach a grand total.

They are then handed a double sided chart. On one side of the chart are a list of words. All the words are different and of differing length. This list of words can be examined at length. The words are completely innocent looking and the list does not look contrived in any way or form. Once they have found the word that is associated with their dice grand total then they turn the chart over to the other side.

On the other side of the chart is a chaotic display of all the letters of the alphabet. All the letters are the same way up. Just the twenty six letters. No duplicates. Again this side of the chart can be minutely examined. It all looks random and innocent in every way.

You then ask the person the focus MENTALLY on the first letter of their thought of word. Ditto with the second.

After they concentrate their mental attention on the second letter in most cases you can divine their dice total and/or their word. For the remainder of cases a third letter is visualised and you are ready to go.

This effect uses binary coding amongst other things! It took quite a while to come up with the appropriate words but I am happy with how it has turned out. :die:
Message: Posted by: Andy Moss (Jul 25, 2019 02:16PM)
......and no PA fishing. The person need not say a thing from start to finish.
Message: Posted by: saxonia (Jul 25, 2019 03:14PM)
Sounds nice - like a Leo Boudreau effect ;-)
Message: Posted by: glowball (Aug 8, 2019 08:06AM)
Yes, I'm guessing probably like Leo's "eyes closed if red card". But maybe more like Jerry Sadowitz Mr E Ozo but instead of touching the letters the magician watches which quadrant the person is looking at? Very clever Andy! A few years ago I created my own special list of 30 words on a board and my own pattern of letters on a Sonic Screwdriver and then used pure binary simply by seeing which of two ways the spectator holds the Sonic Screwdriver as they look at each letter. See the link below:
Note: this was performed at Pigeon Forge Tennessee in March of 2019. The hot looking assistant (wife of about 50 yrs) is 74 years old! I am 75 at the time.
Message: Posted by: Andy Moss (Aug 21, 2019 12:21PM)
The person does not need to close their eyes nor use their finger to point at any of the letters. It is purer and more devious than that.

Glowball, This is an open forum but let's just say that you might be in the right ball court :)

Message: Posted by: glowball (Aug 31, 2020 11:07AM)
Andy, Last March 2020 I whipped together a little last minute performance more as an example than a competition. I have four people on the stage. Each person has a chart of about 16 words. The second, third, and fourth person I incorporate your quad principles. See the link:


Note at the beginining I mistakenly say "five words" and "four words" when I should have said "five letters and "four letters".

At the end I use a different chart of 16 words and all four people look at that chart and I reveal their words. This is a trick that I invented by using four words that are homophones and I have each of their four homophones on the chart giving 16 words.

Note the trick before that used only the fourth person I Incorporated the homophones with your quad principle - that way I only needed one signal.

Note at the very beginning the first person I used my binary vowels trick.

With great effort I was able to incorporate my binary vowels chart and your quad principals in the same chart so that person 1, 2 and 3 were all looking at the same chart.
Message: Posted by: glowball (Sep 20, 2020 08:03AM)
Clarification: the person nearest me is the fourth person then the third person and so on meaning the person further away from me is the first person.