Penn and Teller Nail Gun Memory Magic Trick. Memory or Magic? I Say Magic
Here is a video of what I call the Penn and Teller Nail Gun Memory Magic Trick. The way they are positioning it is a memory demonstration. And it certainly could be. What they are proposing is within the realm of possibility for any memory expert. I could certainly do it and most memory experts I know could as well. But we couldn’t. The risk of a goof up in memory isn’t worth the reward of getting it right. Here is the video
First of all how did they do it if it wasn’t memory in this Penn and Teller Nail Gun Memory Magic Trick? I don’t know because I am not a magician. My guess is :
1. The nail gun won’t fire nails unless it is depressed against the wood
2. Or unnless a safety button is pushed (less likely because of the speed he is doing this).
3. Another option would be that the nails are somehow coming out of the wood and not the nail gun. Although I don’t know how this could be pulled off at that speed either.
All I do know is that this Penn and Teller Nail Gun Memory Magic Trick is a MAGIC TRICK and not a memory trick.
Could it be done? Yes. Any memory expert could memorize this sequence. But every memory expert has transposed a number or spoken too fast and got it wrong. Because of this they wouldn’t risk this unless the payoff was HUGE.
Penn & Teller have no need for a big payoff and the payoff they got wasn’t worth the risk. So it is a magic trick and they even allude to it at the end.
I don’t disparage them for this Penn and Teller Nail Gun Memory Magic Trick because it is a GREAT performance and this is their job. They did a great job.
On the other hand, I have seen illusionists do stunts they claim are memory and they are just tricks. This does give legitimate memory experts a bad name or hard time because when someone finds out these are just tricks they just assume all memory experts are doing tricks and that hurts us all.
I gave a speech for 2,000 people in Italy a few years ago and hardly anyone purchased my memory course. I was stunned. Then afterwards many in the audience told me there had just been a huge national scandal.
He had pretended to memorize cards very fast but it was discovered later the cards were marked (or something like that). So now when they saw a real memory expert offering real value no one took advantage. This hurt my sales but more importantly it hurt them. I was offering a major life skill to learn.
So how could this Penn and Teller Nail Gun Memory Magic Trick be pulled off?
1. You need a Memory Palace like here
2. Once you have your locations in your memory palace selected you then need to determine how you will memorize the sequence. Will you:
- Create an image for the sequence of nails. For example if you have 4 nails in a row you will create an image for the #4 and see that on your first piece of furniture
- If you have a sequence of 2 shots with no nails you will then need to maybe see images on your next 2 pieces of furniture that represent no nails. Maybe a dog, cat, fire, water, donut, whatever. It doesn’t matter what the image would be.
So that is a way it COULD be done and as long as you have enough pieces of furniture you could memorize 100 nail sequence easily.
But in this Penn and Teller Nail Gun Memory Magic Trick did they do it this way?
I doubt it. Why? Too much risk for too little pay off. But a great trick and they are great performers