The Clairvoyants

Jelly Bean Trick


In this fascinating illusion, the Clairvoyants first present a covered board. They show that there is something written on it, but we can't see what it says. The board is then lifted above the stage where it stays until the ending of the trick.

Thommy then presents the judges with a bowl of jelly beans. He asks Simon to pick any jelly bean from the bowl. Thommy eats the jelly bean, and Amelie, who is looking away, immediately correctly names the flavor and the color of the jelly bean.

Next up is Heidi. She picks another jelly bean from the bowl and eats it herself. Again, Amelie correctly names the flavor and the color of the jelly bean.

Thommy then asks Howie what would be his dream flavor for a jelly bean. Howie says »spicy chocolate«.

Next, Mel B is asked to take a scoop and use it to put as many jelly beans as she wants from the bowl into a glass. Nobody, including her, knows how many jelly beans she put into the glass. Yet Amelie is able to correctly tell that there are 22 jelly beans in the glass!

But just when you thought it was all over, there is another big revelation. The board is lowered and exposed. On the board are written the predictions of all the choices the judges made, including Howie's »spicy chocolate« flavor!

How did they do it? First see the performance and then check out the explanation below.



So, how do they do it? It surely seems impossible, but here at Magic Secrets Explained, we don't believe in supernatural powers.

Thommy and Amelie have some sort of a wireless communication system which they can use to communicate with one another. Specifically, Thommy has to be able to communicate the color of the jelly bean to Amelie. This isn't that hard since there are only a few different colors of jelly beans in the bowl. He has a transmitter somewhere on him, probably in his shoe. He can use this transmitter to send a signal to Amelie, who has a receiver somewhere on her body. The receiver probably vibrates in a certain manner or uses some other way to let Amelie know the correct color.

So when Simon (or Heidi) takes the jelly bean, Thommy sees the color and sends the code for that color to Amelie. Again, it doesn't have to be a complicated code since there are just a few possible colors of jelly beans in the bowl. We cannot know what code they use, but it could be Morse code or something even simpler.

Let's say they use Morse code. When Simon picks the purple jelly bean, Thommy can simply use the first letter of the color (»p« for »purple«) and translate it to Morse code to send it to Amelie. In Morse code, »p« simply reads:


So he only needs to send one short signal, followed by two long signals, and another short one. Amelie feels these signals as vibrations on her skin, translates them to »p«, and immediately knows both the color and the flavor of the selected jelly bean.

But how did Amelie know that Mel B put 22 jelly beans into the glass? Not even Mel B knew the exact number! Surely this can only be explained by supernatural powers.

Not so fast. This part of the trick also relies on clever use of technology. However, this time, there was no need for Thommy to send anything to Amelie. Instead, the trick is in the bowl. The bowl which holds the jelly beans also functions as a weighing scale. Notice that when Mel B is done, Thommy takes the time to take the scoop out of the bowl. He has to do this so the scoop doesn't get weighted.

Since all the jelly beans weight the same, it's possible to calculate how many of them left the bowl. Just divide the missing weight by the weight of a single jelly bean, and you know how many jelly beans have been moved to the glass!

There is another transmitter in the bowl, which gets the information about the weight and sends it to Amelie. Again, we don't know exactly how they do it, but this is possible with the correct technology and a simple coding system. For example, in Morse code, »22« simply becomes:


Not that complicated, right?

It is harder to say how exactly the part with the board was done. However, one thing is certain: the flavors and the number 22 were written while the Clairvoyants were performing the trick, only after they were already said out loud. Who wrote it, and how? It's hard to say, especially since we don't see where exactly the board is positioned during the trick. But it's a safe bet that they had an assistant who filled in the missing words during their performance.

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