Self-Hypnosis and the Ideomotor Effect – The Haunted Key

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This is a slightly ‘left of field’ piece! Essentially I am taking myself into an altered reality to generate a hypnotic phenomenon – an ideomotor effect. Now this looks nothing like people generally expect self-hypnosis to look, but it is a great piece to illustrate certain principles, most notably, the hypnotic loop.

The effect is classically called The Haunted Key in Mentalism, and that is what I have called it here, although the way I present it is generally within an ‘energy’ or ‘chi’ frame (not really using ‘chi’ but framing it as such – in this video I am tipping the trick).

It may take a little practise and dedication, but stick with it and you will have both a fun little performance piece as well as an interesting first person insight into the hypnotic experience.

Because this is a ‘hypnosis’ piece, NOT JUST A MAGIC TRICK, it can be made to happen in someone else’s hand:

I would like to credit mentalist Richard Osterlind with this approach to The Haunted Key (From one of his excellent books Making Real Magic, or Making Magic Real… can’t remember which: ).

There is a more common approach to doing the Haunted Key that many magicians may be familiar with – it uses consciously directed hand angling, but it rarely looks very convincing because it is very difficult to do with the appropriate subtlety when consciously directed. THIS IS NOT THAT METHOD!

And for those who say this is not really hypnosis, I would recommend opening their minds and exploring what really goes on under the surface of what is generally called ‘hypnosis’! For more detail on that, please do visit my website:

NOTE: Someone commented about calling in James Randi to ‘de-bunk’ me on this. Here is James Randi himself ( James Randi Speaks: Dowsing, the Ideomotor Effect ) talking about the Ideomotor Effect:


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