Pete McCabe's comments on Chris Philpott's Intimate Mysteries

From Pete McCabe’s introduction to “The Open Door” in Scripting Magic 2
(used with permission – script subject to revision)

The Open Door” is from the “Double Koko” section of Intimate Mysteries. Koko, in this phrase comes from “kokology”. I’ll let Pete take it from here…


“Well, let’s start by talking about what the hell Kokology means. For some of you this is very familiar, although you may not know it by that name. It refers to a group of 'personality tests,' where you ask a person to make a series of choices, which end up revealing things about their personality. It got its name from a series of best-selling Japanese books, which were based on the psychological theories of Freud and Jung.

Typically, the person being tested is guided through a brief scenario during which they make a series of decisions. Afterwards, the decisions are analyzed to see what hidden attitudes they reveal about various subjects. One key factor is that the spectator does not know what the choices mean until after the test is completed. In fact, usually the subject doesn’t even know they’re taking a personality test until it’s all over. The basic idea is that people will reveal more about certain subjects if they don’t know how much they are revealing. Often the most revealing part of the process is the conversation after, while you are revealing what their answers mean.

If you have heard of this, it is probably in one of the many “How to Pick Up Women” books that describe a Kokology game called “the Cube.” In this one you imagine yourself in the desert, and you see a cube; describe it. After that you imagine a ladder, some flowers, a horse, and a storm. Each item is analyzed as a specific part of your life…

That’s pretty much as far as Kokology went, from its invention as a tool for psychologists, to its status as a favored tool of pick-up artists.

And then Chris Philpott got a hold of it.

A lot of you will know Chris from one of his marketed tricks or his articles in Magic Magazine, but I was lucky enough to meet him at the Elders, a group of Mentalists who meet monthly in Los Angeles. In his day job, Chris is a movie director and writer, and he immediately understood the strength of the basic Kokology routine. People love stories in which seemingly random things happen, which then turn out to be meaningful. This kind of action is a staple of the movies. There’s something about that moment when it slowly dawns on you what’s really happening. Audiences love those kind of revelations.

Well, Chris figured out a way to give your audience that experience twice. The first time is in the normal course of Chris’s unique Kokology game. The second is when the audience realizes… well, I don’t want to ruin it for you. Just read it.”

-Pete McCabe


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