Everyone has probably happened to see, in some theatre or circus or other public place, how various so-called Indian fakirs, conjurors, wonder-workers and other remarkable exponents of the secrets of supernatural knowledge, astonish people with their magical phenomena, finding hidden objects or performing some other action previously decided upon by the audience.
In accomplishing these miraculous feats these magicians hold the hand of one of the spectators, who of course is thinking about the action decided on, and, simply by means of the unconscious indications or shocks received from the person’s hand, they ‘guess’ the action and carry it out.
They can do this not because they possess some special knowledge, but merely because they know the secret of this property of man. Knowing this secret, anyone could do the same with a little practice.
One has only to be able to concentrate one’s attention on the other person’s hand and catch its slight almost imperceptible movements. With practice and perseverance one can always succeed, like a magician, in guessing what has been thought of.
For instance, if the idea is that the magician should pick up a hat lying on the table, then, even if the person knows the trick and tries hard to think about the shoes lying under the couch, he will still unconsciously be thinking about the hat, and the muscles which guide the magician will tense in that direction, as they are subject more to the subconsciousness than to the consciousness.
As I have said, Ekim Bey performed experiments of this sort on his friends in order to learn more about the human psyche and thus determine the causes of hypnotic influences.
Among the experiments he made to accomplish this task he had set himself was a highly original one which astounded the uninitiated more than any of the fakirs’ tricks.
He proceeded as follows:
On a sheet of paper divided into squares he wrote the entire alphabet in order, and on the bottom line all the numbers from one to nine followed by nought. He prepared several such sheets and on each sheet he wrote the alphabet of a different language.
Sitting at a table, he put one of the alphabet sheets in front of him, a little to the left; and with his right hand he took a pencil. On his left, just opposite the alphabet, he seated the subject of the experiment, for example, somebody who had asked him to tell his fortune. Then with his left hand Ekim Bey took the right hand of this person, and began to speak more or less as follows: