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The Number Magician

I met the Number Magician at a hockey game in Flint Michigan. The game featured the local team, the Flint Firebirds against the visiting team, the Erie Otters in an Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The OHL consists of twenty teams, two in Michigan, one in Erie, Pa. and the rest in Ontario. Players travel by bus to games that are as far north as Sudbury Ontario and as far east as Ottawa Ontario.

I am standing by the Zamboni door watching the teams warm up when this guy chats me up about how the local team was doing and other topics which leads to him sharing that he was the teams bus driver and I confessed that I was a math nerd at which point his eyes light up and he pulls out a worn rubber band wrapped set of six index cards that were covered with numbers.

He tells me “you’re going to like this. Pick a number between zero and sixty-four and don’t tell me what it is.” Easy, I think and pick 33. He then asked me 6 questions that I answer yes or no. “ Is your number on this card?” I say no. He repeats the question for all 6 cards then says miraculously “your number is 33!”

Dang! He was right. He repeated the trick a few times before we parted company

leaving me with one clue. It has to do with base 2 numbers that use the digits zeros and ones.

Below is a description of how to perform the trick. It is easy to do. Try it on your friends and let me know how it goes.

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