As a magician, Penn Jillette has made a career out of always having something up his sleeve. But turning out tricks for a living has also given him a reservoir of something else fun to pull out at parties: stories.
While answering questions from Twitter for WIRED’s latest Magic Support video, the celebrity magician shared one such anecdote. Turns out, back in 1991, before Steven Spielberg married Kate Capshaw, Jillette and his partner Teller performed at his bachelor party. At the time, Jillette referred to their performance at the event as “a cheesy Boy Scout act,” but he actually did a séance—a séance that almost went very wrong.
It all started when Jillette tried to do a “force”—a trick where the participant thinks they have a free choice, but the magician actually forces them to make the choice they need them to make. Jillette had a series of photographs and was going to force Spielberg to choose the right one, but then “Spielberg decided to just grab a picture and say ‘This is the one I want!'” Jillette says. This should have ruined the whole trick, except Spielberg actually picked the photo the magician needed him to.
“I got really, really lucky,” Jillette says. “It turned out that trick was impossible to explain just because he screwed up.”
Find out more about Spielberg’s bachelor party, and a few other of Jillette’s magician secrets, in the video above.
More Great WIRED Stories