How is this possible?
May 3, 2002 4:41 PM   Subscribe

How is this possible? I know there must be a sensible explanation for why this 'ESP experiment' works every time, but I certainly can't figure it out. Anyone? Other 'ESP' tests and the like leave me a bit cold, but this made my brain hurt, and that can't be all bad.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken (30 comments total)
Probably old, definitely ugly, but hopefully amusing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:44 PM on May 3, 2002

Um..stav, buddy...It works because none of the cards from the original batch appear in the "revealed" batch. Any card you select will give the illusion of a successful choice on the computer's part.
posted by Optamystic at 4:46 PM on May 3, 2002

Don't feel bad vunderpoultry, I fell for it the first time I saw one of these as well.
posted by machaus at 4:49 PM on May 3, 2002

what optymystic said.....
posted by protocool at 4:50 PM on May 3, 2002

From the feedback page:

From Kim:
My boyfriend and I found out by trying the experiment together. At first, we thought you could simultaneously detect both our thoughts.
By the way, I am an eighth grade science teacher. I use your Alien IQ Test book on my students. They love it! Any further suggestions?

posted by Optamystic at 4:51 PM on May 3, 2002

Whoops. Well, perhaps I can salvage this post (and my dignity) by asking folks to share some stories about how they've been hoodwinked by the obvious...?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:53 PM on May 3, 2002

Did someone say ESP test?
posted by skallas at 4:54 PM on May 3, 2002

I've seen this on MeFi before.
posted by donkeyschlong at 5:02 PM on May 3, 2002

Commence salvaging. I fell for the exact same card test a while back, so don't feel too badly, stavros. You weren't the only one to get hoodwinked. I think you're supposed to be so overcome by the fact that your card isn't there that you just don't notice that all the cards are different.

Here's a few more goodies.
posted by iconomy at 5:07 PM on May 3, 2002

What is the point of this? I think of a card and the computer removes ALL of the cards it made me think about. There is nothing ESP about that!
posted by cx at 5:07 PM on May 3, 2002

This guy figured it out with his dog.
From: "Michael B.
It took me about 10 minutes to figure out what appears some very intellegent people are dazzled over. I admit you got into my head for about 5 minutes. I was even getting chills when my dog started wimpering for no reason. What was really cool however was my thought process that lead to my discovery. The thought of choosing tarrot cards lead to my disbeleif from the get go. My first Impulse after the experiment was total disbleif and that there had to be a logical explaniation. Which would be very easy using some simple Html and scripting tatics that I really know little about. So therefor I began to mentally break down the entire picture,even if it meant a complent reverse engeniering of this site..... Well the results gave me a very mixed oppinion and I began to explore the ideas that were being presented.And Mind you I consider myself a spiritual person, beleiving in both heaven and hell. When my dog, who is very sentive to the "mood"of the room began to wimper, I started to freak. (hahaha, I am sure you are getting a kick out of this.) Anyway, after the demon was rebuked from the room, I decided that if simple logic could not "break it down" then, I was going to be gobbled up by this "demon" where I would rot in eternal hell wandering how on earth did you do that. "Simple Logic did not and will never Fail." It is only a matter of the preception of the "Individual", and what the Individual chooses as the center of the Universe, it will surely be.
posted by skallas at 5:11 PM on May 3, 2002

Den Beste in da hiz-nouse!
posted by Optamystic at 5:12 PM on May 3, 2002

Here's a relevant thread.

Whoops. Well, perhaps I can salvage this post (and my dignity) by asking folks to share some stories about how they've been hoodwinked by the obvious...?

Don't feel bad... On a somewhat related note, I have an extremely nearsighted friend who spent two hours looking for his glasses. It turned out he was wearing them.
posted by epimorph at 5:13 PM on May 3, 2002

I sent it to my mom and she figured it out in 30 seconds. Moms rule.
posted by luriete at 5:15 PM on May 3, 2002

Here's a relevant thread.

Ah, that would be why I couldn't find it when I searched. Different site.

*sigh* Another double. My record-breaking streak of double posts continues unabated. It still sucks to be me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:19 PM on May 3, 2002

Here's a few more goodies

That thatcher picture on the left is scary.
posted by vacapinta at 5:25 PM on May 3, 2002

Optamystic, Darth Vader is Luke's father. Evens?

Old, old trick. But it's always new to somebody, and the joy in figuring it out is proportional to the frustration in solving it. Phooey on you.
posted by dhartung at 6:01 PM on May 3, 2002

Oh, lighten up. I wasn't trying to crack on anyone. ('cept for Den Beste). I was engaging in a little friendly ribbin' of the chicken. No harm intended.
posted by Optamystic at 6:10 PM on May 3, 2002

Well, the 'chicken still is the sole and founding member of the Blue Poop Man Group.
posted by y2karl at 6:13 PM on May 3, 2002


But yeh, the first time i saw something like that I was confused for a bit of time.
posted by delmoi at 6:22 PM on May 3, 2002

It was driving me nuts until I tried to pick two cards to see which one would go away.
posted by electro at 6:31 PM on May 3, 2002

Ha! You can beat it by choosing a card that isn't there. All-knowing website, my foot. The amazing D outwits HTML once again!
posted by D at 6:59 PM on May 3, 2002

You have to give Cliff some credit. The first time I saw this was on some Matrix website and it was supposed to fool me into thinking I'm in the matrix. Cute, but I figured it out quickly when I noticed it wasn't telling me what card I picked but which ones I didn't pick. That leaves a huge set to display.

Cliff's site uses some redirection to help people come up with wacky theories instead of realizing that this is just a plain-jane card trick. The eyes are there to help encourage big brother/ESP type explanations and the quantum silliness is there to help encourage "scientific" explanations. Toss is the fact that a lot of people have little knowledge on how computers and the web work and you've got a great magic trick that makes people speculate crazily.

Usually when a magician does a trick we know its a trick, but Cliff's redirections make a mere card trick something sci-fi/ESP. His feedback page is the best laugh I've had in a while, it speaks volumes about his fans.
posted by skallas at 7:13 PM on May 3, 2002

The first time I saw this site (couple of years ago?) it reminded me of an old card trick. Try this:
Take the 10 of Spades and the Nine of Clubs and place it on the top of the deck. Take the Nine of Spades and the 10 of Clubs and place them on the bottom of the deck. Find an unsuspecting victim. Show them the the top two cards (very briefly --the trick is in allowing the clubs, spades, nine, 10 to sink in, not the actual combinations.) Then, smack the top of the deck. Turn the deck over and show the bottom two cards. It will seem, again initially, this has to be quick, that your cards have moved to the bottom of the deck. Then smack the bottom of the deck and "bring them back up to the top."
I knew about the card trick long before I ever saw this site, so the first thing I did was save the two card images and line them up. Problem solved. Same trick, more cards.
posted by eyeballkid at 7:37 PM on May 3, 2002

Can you believe it? I just read last week that the word "gullible" is not in the dictionary!
posted by anser at 8:35 PM on May 3, 2002

Can you believe it? I just read last week that the word "gullible" is not in the dictionary!

That's older than this post.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:31 PM on May 3, 2002

Safe to date, then.
posted by y2karl at 9:38 PM on May 3, 2002

This is one of those things that keeps on making its way into my email box year after year. Some people never learn :).
posted by merkuron at 10:08 PM on May 3, 2002

Just because we're all jaded and cynical and have seen it all doesn't mean everyone has. There are these things called kids, and every day another one of them gets a computer and discovers AYBABTU or Newgrounds or some what foo are you quiz, and they thing they've discovered something new and amazing. And they don't even know it's already been double-posted on MetaFilter. They have never even heard of MetaFilter. Amazing!
posted by iconomy at 12:09 PM on May 4, 2002

This guy is good:

I was somehow able to guess which card was going to disappear from my screen, but I couldn't correctly guess which ones would remain. No matter what I tried.

Giving away the joke -- without giving away the joke.
posted by ook at 4:42 PM on May 4, 2002

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