Seeing Colours by Touch
The classics never die. Despite the legions of fraudsters that have visited this well, it still pays out.
Also in this week's column: Does garlic ward off the common cold? Will sweets really rot your teeth? Is an artificial eye close to reality? Asked by Leo Sanualio of Green Acre, New South Wales, Australia A California researcher predicts that an artificial eye is "in sight" in the near future. Dr Armand Tanguay Jr, …
This is an old trick.
First of all, since they are putting a blindfold on the woman, she's probably legally blind but not totally blind.
Second, unless the blindfold is put on by someone who knows what they're doing, she's probably seeing the color by looking down her nose - this is how almost all the people doing this trick do it.
Finally, if she really can do this under proper scientific conditions (in other words, with some real magicians around to make sure they aren't being fooled), The Amazing Randi (www.randi.org) has $1,000,000.00 to give to her.
http://www.randi.org/jr/021502.html and http://www.randi.org/jr/022202.html contain a two-part article about a girl who claimed she could do this, and how the trick is done.
Here is a simple experiment. I did this many times as a kid with a near 100% success rate.
Get a Nerf brand football (american football) that has one side black and the other side any other color. (Mine was black and bright orange. I'm sure they still sell them.) Keep the football away from any intense lightsource such as sunlight coming in through a window. This will make ensure that it has a uniform temperature and one side is not over-heated. Close your eyes and hold the football in your hand turning it over and over until you have no idea which is the black side. Keeping your eyes closed turn the ball more slowly and feel the temperature of the ball with your finger tips. After some practice you can sense a very slight difference in temperature between the two colors. The warmer side is the black side. I could guess it nearly every time. I guess I was pretty board in those days. Try it before you knock it.