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A magician does a card trick and two women embrace.

Ryan Modjeski, the Executive Director of Empatico, has found an interesting way of sharing the benefits of empathy — by using magic. Empatico is a video-meeting platform for educators that helps foster empathy among students through meaningful connections around the globe.

Although teaching people interpersonal skills through magic may seem strange, studies show that visual demonstrations help people remember and recall information.

In the video, he uses a card trick to explain how empathy makes us more resilientby fostering connections with others.


“With empathy, you build resilience,” Modjeski says in the video. “So, then, no matter how hard life is, no matter how shuffled up or jumbled up things are. No matter how much life pushes down on you. When you're empathetic and you're connected with yourself and with others. You always come on top.”

The Magic Of Empathy

In the second video, he uses a handkerchief trick and the mythical Green and Orange people's story to show how empathy breaks down barriers between different types of people. “How do we get Green people and Orange people to connect?” he asks. “The answer is with empathy. When we learn how to listen to each other, how to be kind, how to hear each other's stories.”

FInally, he uses four glasses of water to show the different types of empathy: cognitive, emotional, and behavioral. “Now, this might seem like a lot, but in fact, when you put in a little effort and you open up your heart, well you can do anything,” he concluded the video.

The Seattle Seahawks football team got a fun lesson in mental training from Oz Pearlman.

We know people can't really read minds, but there are people who sure seem like they can. If you've ever witnessed an experienced mentalist do their thing, you understand. Sleight-of-hand tricks are one thing; even if they're impressive, you kind of know the "magic" is simply well-practiced trickery. But with mentalism, you simply can't figure out how they do it. It genuinely seems like they're reading people's minds.

I have an amateur magician friend who does mentalism tricks and it's super trippy. One time, I watched him pull a piece of paper out of his wallet with a word my other friend was thinking of. He refuses to tell me how he does it, but he insists it's something pretty much anyone can learn to do.

Famous mentalist Oz Pearlman recently joined the Seattle Seahawks at a team meeting about mental training. Pearlman made a name for himself as a contestant on "America's Got Talent" and has since been in high demand. He wowed the whole team with his skills, and the reactions of the players and coaches were hilarious.


In a clip from the meeting, shared by ESPN, we can see Pearlman guess wide receiver DK Metcalf's phone passcode, somehow transfer the name of a person wide receiver Penny Hart was thinking about onto the palm of his hand, and more.

The joy and befuddlement of the whole team are so relatable. How could anyone not be blown away by these feats?

Check it out:

Penny Hart was just done. Can't really blame him.

I have no idea how Pearlman did any of these tricks, but I know that my friend is right—anyone can learn to do (at least some) mentalism tricks. After watching this video, I did a little Googling to see if I could learn a simple mentalism trick to try out on my teenager. It was surprisingly easy to do successfully. (Disturbingly easy, in fact. I was able to plant a specific playing card—number and suit—in my son's head with just a few simple and subtle hand gestures. Totally freaked him out.)

While traditional magic tricks rely on illusion and distraction, mentalism focuses primarily on the psychology of the audience. A mentalist knows how to read subtle body language and facial cues and also knows how to create their own physical and verbal cues that make people think about specific things.

Advanced mentalists like Pearlman, though are mind-blowing. How did he know that Penny Hart was thinking of his uncle Steve? Clearly, he didn't plant that. And how did he get the word "Steve" onto his hand? Truly amazing.

Unfortunately, mentalism can easily be abused by con men and grifters, but when it's done for pure entertainment purposes it's so fun to watch. And in this case, the Seahawks also got a lesson on how powerful our minds and reading other people's cues truly can be. Wise choice to drive home a point, Coach Carroll.

Somebody go check on Penny Hart, though. Poor guy's going through some things.

This foot and finger trick is mind-blowing.

Our bodies are so amazing and weird. The fact that human beings have gone from banging rocks together to creating the most intricately detailed works of art is a testament to what our bodies can do. Just think about the kinds of physical feats we (well, some of us, anyway) have mastered, from brain surgery to playing musical instruments to Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics.

Humans are marvels. Through coordination and balance and muscle training and practice, there are so many incredible things our bodies can do.

But honest to goodness, I cannot make my foot not change direction while doing this stupid physical trick.

It goes like this:

Sitting in a chair, lift your right foot off the ground a few inches and rotate your foot to the right (clockwise), making a circle in the air. While making that circle, use your right finger and draw the number "6" in the air.


I tried this a dozen times. A full 12 in a row. And every single time, no matter how hard I would concentrate, my foot would change direction as soon as I started to draw the "6." I tried it fast. I tried it slow. I tried concentrating only on my foot or only on the "6." It didn't matter. My finger influenced what my foot was doing no matter what.

It's not a new trick, but it was new to me and to the people who responded to a tweet sharing the trick with various iterations of "What is this sorcery?!?"

If you are one of those people who were able to do it without any problem, congrats. You have some kind of superhuman coordination.

That's what I'm telling myself, anyway. My teen and young adult children were somehow able to keep their foot going clockwise. One of them is a musician and one is left-handed, so maybe that's why? Drummers and ballet dancers in the comments said they didn't have any problem with it.

As it turns out, there is a scientific explanation for why it's pretty much impossible for most of us.

The Curious Crew folks at Michigan State University explain why it works:

"The cerebellum part of the brain manages body movements, like the circling of the foot or the drawing of the number 6. However, the nerve fibers from the right side of the body cross the brain stem and connect with the left side of the brain, just as the fibers on the left side of the body connect with the right side of the brain. When you try to draw the number 6 with your right hand, those signals are coming from the left side of the brain. Even though circling your foot is easy to do in either direction, you cannot rotate your foot in the opposite motion of the drawn six at the same moment. The left side of the brain cannot manage two opposite movements in the same moment, so the brain combines the movement to a similar motion. When you switch to the left foot, there is no problem because the right side of the brain controls your foot movement, while the left side can focus on drawing the number 6."

So there you have it. The old brain controlling the two sides of your body thing. Clearly, there must be a way to train yourself to not have your foot wig out when making the "6" in the air, so pardon me while I spend the next six hours trying to make my body do my bidding.

When we go to magic shows, we know what we're actually seeing are cool illusions and sleight of hand tricks, not someone's supernatural ability to actually defy reality. Sometimes we can even figure out how a magician does it—especially in the age of the internet, where you can look. up the secrets of magic tricks—while still being impressed with how well they pull it off. Magic is a skill that takes relentless practice to perfect, and it's fun to see someone at the top of their game.

There's "top of their game," and then there's David Blaine.

David Blaine is an illusionist and endurance artist who first made a name for himself with his TV show Street Magic. He has set world records for feats of endurance and wows audiences with his magic tricks that are truly hard to believe.

In his show Real or Magic, Blaine performed his tricks on celebrities, and one incredible card trick he pulled on Harrison Ford is going viral because Ford's reaction is hilarious. It's an old video, but someone shared part of iit on TikTok, which has given it new life. The full video is included below.

First, Blaine tells Ford to think of a card, then hands him the deck. "Are you thinking of a card?" he asks. Ford nods. "Do I know what card you're thinking of?" Blaine asks, and Ford shakes his head no.

"Your card just left the deck," Blaine says. He tells Ford to look through the deck, but that he won't find his card there. "You won't see it there," he says as Ford flips through the cards. "It's nowhere."


So far, this seems like a fairly standard mentalism trick, but then Blaine tells Ford to pick a piece of fruit from the fruit bowl on his counter that can be cut into. Ford picks up an orange from among a dozen or so apples and oranges. Blaine tells him to cut open the orange, but first asks him to name the card he'd chosen.

"Nine of hearts," said Ford.

Together they slice open the orange, and sure enough, rolled up inside is the nine of hearts card. Ford looks stunned, and a voice off-camera says, "No way."

Then, after a few seconds of silence, Ford's hilarious reaction: "Get the **** out of my house."

Harrison Ford Finds Card in Orange: Real or Magic | David Blainewww.youtube.com

Some might think that Ford and his family were in on it, or that this was some sort of editing for television trick, but Blaine's magic skill in real life is legendary. According to professional magicians, it's not that his tricks are over-the-top impressive in and of themselves, but rather his skill at entertaining with magic and pulling off the tricks with a large audience that works so well. It's not that he's a flashy entertainer most of the time—it's actually his understated way of talking through the tricks that makes them so amazing to witness.

Blaine's skill with cards is where he really shines. He does sleight of hand card tricks better than most. And while there's an explanation on YouTube of how to get a card inside a piece of fruit (that part's actually not that hard), how he managed to get Ford to choose the nine of hearts as his card and how he got him to choose the orange remains a mystery.

At least it remains a mystery to me. I have a friend who does mentalism tricks and it freaks me out every time (and he refuses to explain how he does it—he just says it's something anyone can learn to do). But part of me doesn't even want to know. Being wowed by magic tricks allows us to keep a bit of childlike wonderment alive—and also gives us delightful moments like this one with Harrison Ford.

Speaking of childlike wonder, if you want to see more of David Blaine's card tricks, his appearance on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon does not disappoint. Jimmy Fallon practically pees his pants being blown away by Blaine's tricks. Enjoy:


David Blaine Shocks Jimmy and The Roots with Magic Trickswww.youtube.com