I was sitting at a square kitchen table with a couple of young ladies (early 20’s) Saturday evening.

The event was a Halloween house party at which I’ve performed for several years in a row. About an hour earlier, all of the guests had gathered in the living room for a 20-minute performance of magic and mind reading. The rest of the evening, I did close-up magic at the kitchen table for small groups.

Upstairs, there was a psychic doing readings for the guests. Over the course of the evening, I’d hear little reports about the readings and accuracy of her work. Mostly mediocre.

I asked the ladies at my table if they had gone up for a reading yet, and they said that they didn’t want to because they felt it was a bit creepy. As the ladies and I were talking, I’d been casually doing bits of magic with them. Eventually, I pulled a fork from my suit pocket and handed it to one of them. She had no idea what was coming.

After she had checked out the fork and autographed the handle for me, I asked to see her hand. I set the fork on the table, gently took her hand and pointed out the various lines on her palm. Taking her pulse, I dove into a classic palm reading. We were laughing a bit at how she handled money, as well as about her shopping habits. I would make an observation about her palm in relation to her anger and frustration levels in certain situations and her friend would verify my comments. Soon, there were several people gathered about the table watching this reading. My lady friend was astonished by several of the bits of information that I “knew” about her.

After a few minutes of this reading, I returned focus to the fork. Asking her to make a wish, we proceeded to elegantly mangle the fork—which I gave to her afterward as a small gift to remember her time with me.

The gathered guests erupted into applause and the young woman was at a major loss for words. Not scared, simply astonished.

Magician’s Take Away: I rarely do palm readings or other psychic-style presentations in my work. Generally, I simply don’t have enough time with an individual guest to do one. Also, if someone asks me to do one, I always refuse. I’m a magician / mentalist, not a psychic. I don’t claim any extra-sensory powers, and I openly discuss the psychology behind what I do.

At this point in the evening, everyone at this party knew that I was a respectable magician. They’d all seen parts of my work. Diving into this palm reading threw them for a major loop. I’d nailed the reading on this girl, much to the complete amazement of the whole group. I displayed a skillful knowledge in an area that “magicians aren’t supposed to know.” My status at the party went from magician to … something much more. In that reading, I revealed more than the tip of the iceberg of my skills.

Push it. Push the performance. I firmly believe that it is our job as magicians to be much more than a run-of-the-mill tricksters. We should be performers of limitless knowledge and abilities. That only comes through constant study and research.