Heads or Tails Trick

The heads or tails mentalism trick. On to the table you place a sealed envelope and a 10, 20 and 50 pence piece. The spectator chooses one of the coins and the others are discarded. The chosen coin is flipped so it lands heads up or tails up.

The envelope is opened, turned upside down and a folded piece of paper falls out. The spectator opens the folded paper to reveal a prediction. You have correctly predicted not only the chosen coin but whether it would land heads or tails.

This simple routine introduces two important concepts important to mind reading and mental magic.

The first is known as magician’s choice and can used in many mentalist effects. Although the spectator appears to have a free choice, they are choosing exactly the coin you want them to. For instance, if you want them to choose the 20p piece, invite them to choose two of the three coins. If they choose the 10p and 50p, you ask them to push those to one side, leaving them with the 20p.

If they choose the 10p and 20p, ask them to push the 50p to one side. Then ask them to choose either the 10p or 20p. If they choose the 20p, say “You chose the 20p. Then that is the one we will use,“ and ask them to push to 10p to one side.

If they choose the 10p, ask them to push it to one side and say, “And you are left with the 20p.  That is the one we’ll use.” Then ask them to flip the coin. See whether it lands tails or heads and ask them to call it out. This is where the envelope comes in and as you have probably guessed by now, all is not as it seems.

This is our second important concept - multiple outs. We have already seen this used in the first effect, where two outcomes were covered by two different predictions. Effects that use this concept have more than one way of finishing, so you need to have all possible outcomes covered.

Heads or Tails... The Envelope

You will need two identical brown pay envelopes. Take one envelope and trim off about 1mm from the bottom and the sides. Trim off the flap so you are left with what used to be the front of the envelope: a rectangle of paper just slightly smaller than the envelope.

The trimmed envelope slips inside the other envelope, creating two compartments. You will also need two predictions, one that reads “You will choose the 20p and it will land head side up” and another that reads the same but ending “tail side up”.

Place one prediction into each compartment and stick down the flap. When you slit open the envelope to reveal the prediction, slip your first and second fingers inside to open up the envelope. As you do so, push the flap backward or forward depending on which prediction you need to reveal.

Once the flap is in place, hold it there with your thumb and finger, then tip the envelope upside down so the appropriate folded prediction falls out.

As the spectator is unfolding and reading the prediction, slip the envelope into your pocket.

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