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How Peter Answers works like magic

Like an evil spirit, Peter Answers swept into my room and magically hypnotized over half the kids. I tried shouting. I tried clapping. I tried cold water. But nothing I did helped. Peter Answers ( kung-fu was too strong.

Its magic was hypnotic.

“NO WAY!! How did it know that?”

“Ask Peter who is standing behind you!”


“Ask Peter what the name of my dog is!”


(whispered) “Ask it who is in love with Nicki.”

No, I was pretty sure this was not what I assigned. Sometimes a little distraction is a good thing. It helps to break up the day a bit. Keep things fresh. But this was like a virus. A nasty one. And it was spreading rapidly. The Peter Answers Computer Prank

What is it?

The Peter Answers (or Computer Prank is a magical virus, pure and simple. It’s spread from host to host through word of mouth and has an incubation period limited only to a carrier’s access to a computer with internet connection.

How is it spread?

It all starts with an initial carrier–some individual who knows the secret trick to this hypnotic prank. It works like magic, and if you knows it, you most definitely have the power–hypnotic power, psychic power. Once you know the magic, all you need to do is simply hop on a computer, zip to the Internet and go to

Once at the site, all you have to do to memorize your audience, is draw attention to the idea that there’s an entity within the Internet that can answer all of your questions. Kind of like a Ouiga board but with dead on accuracy. What happens next, is what reminds me of a David Blaine trick. Because it’s pure magic.

Pure genius.

In the first box, the keyboardist types in the petition:

Peter, please answer the following:”

In the second box the typist enters whatever question they’d like–usually from the growing crowd.

What is Jesse’s middle name?

Upon hitting the return button, Peter, from his comfortable couch at, instantly answers the question. Correctly.


Peter Answers My Question: How does work? Subtle Mind Control.

Peter Answers: Special Report

Like I said, I’d already lost over half the room. Even if I’d ordered all computers shut down, they’d still be thinking about how to do the magic trick for the rest of the day. I’m not kidding. had a firm hold of these kid’s minds, and it wasn’t letting go any time soon. So I figured I might as well do a little research.

With Google’s help, it didn’t take me long to figure it out. And once I did, I knew had met it’s match. As with any infectious illusion, the best way to vaccinate is to simply reveal the magic trick.

There’s really nothing like a quick injection of the truth. Sure, the David Blaine impostors will be furious at having their trick exposed. But any short term disruption they may cause is nothing compared to the long term, manic-obsessive behavior that are symptoms of the Peter Answers Computer Prank virus itself. The Magic Tricks Revealed

First, instead of typing in the petition box, “Peter, please answer the . . .” begin by instead typing:


That’s right. Simply type a period. What happens next is pure magical genius.

Instead of seeing what you’d expect (a “.”) you see a “P”. Then type whatever the heck you want and the rest of the phrase “Peter, please answer the following” appears.

As long as nobody pays any attention to where your fingers are actually landing the prank works slick.

The trick to the prank is to here type in the answer to whatever question you are going to ask next. When you’re done just keep typing until the phrase is complete. Whenever you hit the “:” your cursor will jump to the next box–where you’ll type in the actual question.

Hit return and bingo! Whatever you really typed into the petition box appears. and peter answers for advanced users

Once you get the hang of how works, it won’t be long before you run into a little snag. The problem is, sometimes your answer is much shorter (has fewer characters to type) than the 41 keystrokes it takes to type “peter please answer the following question”:

There are actually three ways to solve this problem:

  1. Type another “.” When you do this, the program opens back up and shows exactly what you are typing again. For example, if your “answer” was “Lisa.” That’s only 4 keystrokes, which would take you to “Pete” in the petition. Just type another “.” after the last letter of your answer. Now you’ll have “Peter” and from now on you can continue typing the rest of the petition, “please answer the following question:”
  2. Another option is to fake it until you get to “Peter, please answer.” You don’t have to keep punching keys until the entire long petition is filled out. Just remember to type the “:” when you’re done.
  3. The final way to make this work is to simply play dumb. Pretend you lost control of your fingers and type a “:” when you’re done. As soon as you type the “:” you’ll skip to the next box. Just say “oops” or something and keep going.

So there, my dear friends. The truth has set you free. Once the mystery of is solved, the novelty wears off pretty quickly doesn’t it?

And if you’re a school teacher, it’s really fun to watch two things:

1) The air escaping from the Peter Answers carriers as they lose their power, and

2) The enlightenment of one who only recently had been losing their minds in a state of confused awe.

What? Still don’t get it? Well how about this? What follows is the absolute best of the best . A complete collection of the best Peter Answers tutorials available on the web. Can’t do much better than that can we?

To start off here, first I present to you a YouTube Peter Answers video shot by a kid. The video itself is terrible, but I love the kids accent and language. It’s only about 3 minutes long so go check it out.

Not good enough? Boy tough crowd. Ok. Try this next link on for size. WikiHow has the absolute best explanation on the web about how to do Peter Answers, and how Peter Answers really works.

Alright, surly you get it now right? No? Fine. More of a visual learner. Great. Check out this next YouTube video and I promise without a doubt you will be working Peter Answers like a wizard. This Peter Answers Video Tutorial, unlike the one above is short, sweet, and very excellent. This guy does a perfect job explaining this trick.

Now stop dilly dallying and get on over to the real Peter Answers web site and have some fun!

UPDATE 8/7/07: Apparently Peter isn’t the only tarot prankster anymore. Jud is now officially the new kid on the block.