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ATM - The History & Inspiration

Posted on 22 May 2014

Way back in 1999 I purchased a copy of “Psychological Subtleties” by Banachek.  Amongst the many great ideas within this book is one titled “Subtle Telephone” (Chapter 16 page 84).  Banachek states that this is his re-working of an idea which he originally saw in “Magick”, this is credited to a gentleman by the name of Tony Raven.

Fast forward about eight years and I plucked up the courage to e-mail Banachek with my take on “Subtle Telephone” in which the telephone number was replaced with a PIN number.  Thankfully Banachek seemed to like my take enough to publish it in “Psychological Subtleties 3” under the title “Your (Redundant) PIN Number” (page 183).

As a side note I strongly suggest that if you don’t yet own the three volumes of “Psychological Subtleties” then you should head over to www.magicbox.uk.com and pick them up!

Over the years I enjoyed working my version in both casual close-up performances and even used it on stage as part of my act for my local Magic Circle.  I’m happy to report that this method flew by everyone including those who were familiar with the original effect.

Whilst I loved the premise and rationale of my idea I always wished that I could have the audience verify that I had written some numbers before the final reveal (I’m being purposefully vague to protect the original secret). 

I then discovered the work of Haim Goldenberg.  Haim has created an amazing revelation system titled “Cryptext”.  This opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me and ultimately brought me one step closer to my goal.

Moving forward to August 2012 I had all but forgotten about this plot until I had the good fortune to meet Peter Turner whom I consider to be one of the greatest thinkers in mentalism to date.  During a discussion with Peter he mentioned a routine that he had published in his book “Bigger Fish” which culminated in a PIN reveal.

This discussion reminded me of my previous efforts which I proceeded to share with Peter and my good friend Steve Shaw (not of Banachek fame).  Within ten to fifteen minutes of brainstorming with them I had an epiphany.  The result of this allowed me to complete the puzzle.  I could now openly write four numbers, re-arrange them and then have a single spectator announce that it generated their PIN number!

This was a huge breakthrough for me and even Pete Turner himself seemed impressed enough to want to include the idea within his working repertoire!  In its infantile state I began road testing the idea within a close up environment.  Whilst it did seem to generate a good response of sorts it quickly became evident that this was best suited as part of a larger stage or parlor routine rather than a solo close up performance piece.

It was evident that more work would be needed to transform this idea from an add-on to an existing routine, to a fully-fledged routine that could stand on its own in both a close-up and stage environment.

Over the next twelve months this idea was given a huge amount of thought and with a lot of trial and error on my part this gem was polished into something that I’m dearly proud of.

To purchase a copy of ATM by Michael Murray please click (here).

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