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Contimental by Max Maven

This is my not so literal transcription of Maven’s effect Contimental as

performed by him on video.

Effect: The magician chooses a spectator in the audience. Here is what he


“Madam, I’d like to take a trip to Europe with you—a mental trip.
Let’s go to any country in Europe—I’ll even give you Scandanavia. Let’s just
not pick a country in Eastern Europe, the names there change every week.
So, I want you to think of a country in Western Europe or Scandanavia. Got
it? Good. Now visualize the name of the country. Now I want you to focus--
you’re kind of jumping all around there—focus on the letters. You’re still
jumping around there, all right let me try, I’m going to try to get the letters
here, but they may come in a little jumbled.”

“I’m receiving an A,” says the magician. The spectator nods her head
“Good. I’m also receiving an N.” The spectator nods her head yes
“And I’m also getting a D.” The spectator embarrassed for the
magician laughs “No.”
The magician, surprised, replies playfully, “Ooh, this is going to be
more difficult than I thought. Focus clearly please. Okay, I’m getting what
looks like an R.”
The spectator again says No. The magician in mock outrage says, “I
thought you were a nice person! Okay, let’s forget about words. Maybe
you’re a more visual person. I want you to think of some strong image
associated with the country. It might be an image of an important place of
interest, or maybe what the clothing looks like, any strong visual image. Got
it? Ahh, good that’s much better. I’m getting the image pretty clear I think.
I’m going to write the country down on this pad. What is the country you’re
thinking of? Spain? Yes, that’s just what I wrote.”

And indeed as the pad is turned over, it reads Spain.

Method: This principle is called progressive anagramming. The

magician can tell which country is chosen based on the spectator’s responses
to his guessed letters. Believe it or not, with only two No answers, the
correct country out of 20 can be determined. The performer must memorize
the following table (another option is to have this crib sheet attached to the
side of the marker the performer uses to write his prediction):

Call out capital letters until you get a no. Then call out small letters until you
get a second no. The country at that letter will be the answer. If you reach
a country with a line next to it, stop there even if you don't have two nos yet.
l Sweden
g Liechtenstein
i Luxemborg
-- Belgium

l Austria
t Wales
i Portugal
-- Italy

r Spain
e Norway
c Germany
-- France

-- Denmark

o Finland
h Scotland
-- Holland

-- England
-- Netherlands
-- Ireland

-- Switzerland

Let’s try a couple of examples: You say A. Spectator says No. So now you go
to the small letters underneath the A. So you say L. Spectator says yes.
You continue right under the l, so you say G. Spectator says yes. So you
continue with i. Spectator says no. Since this is your second no, you know
the correct country is directly opposite that letter i. You now know the
answer is Luxemborg.

Let’s try another. You say A. Spectator says yes. So you go to the next
Capital letter. You say N. Spectator says no. So now you go to the small
letters under the N. You say L. Spectator says yes. You go to the next small
letter, you say t. Spectator says yes, you go to the next small letter you say
i. Spectator says yes, now you see a line under the t. The line tells you that
you’ve reached the correct answer even though you have only got one no
answer. You tell the spectator their answer—Italy.

Another one. A, yes. N, yes, D, yes. L, yes, E, yes, R no. So you go directly
under the R and there is only a line. That means you have got the answer—

One last one, then play with it yourself. A, yes, N, yes, D, yes, L, yes, E, no.
So you go to the small letters under the E. O, yes, H, no. You’ve now got
two no answers so you must be at the answer—Scotland.

This can be a very powerful effect, but it does take some selling, otherwise it
just looks like a guessing game. When you make the first statement, nod
your head up and down to try to get agreement or disagreement without
specifically asking for it. Be playful about the spec stumping you, set up the
expectation that you may not be 100% accurate. Also, as I indicated in the
Effect section, if the two No replies are coming fairly early in the process, you
can declare failure and switch modalities to the visual. This can be quite

A warning: not every Western European country is listed here. Some notable
missing countries are Greece, Iceland, Cyprus, Malta, and the United
Kingdom. If you are worried about this here are two suggestions that might

By setting it up so that you and the spec are going on the vacation trip
together, you should get one of the less obscure countries.

You can simply eliminate the United Kindgom or Greece as possibilities by

saying “Let’s go to a country like England or Greece. Pick a different country
where we might enjoy vacationing.”

It takes a while to get this down, but once you have it, it’s an awful lot of fun
to perform, and it looks like real mind reading.