In my other books published by Jeff Busby, I have always gone to pains to explain why and how I have come to develop the effects and methods that I use. This stems from a frustration borne from years of purchasing magic books and props which, while they contain wonderful methods, make me wonder why more magical authors don't consider the effect first!
I don't want to appear cynical. I feel that there are a great many truly marvellous effects being invented today. However, I also feel that if you understand fully why an originator has come to invent a particular effect, you will better understand how to perform it to attain the maximum impact possible.
Personally, I have always favored a blindfold which allows the performer straight-ahead vision. In addition, I always delight in finding methods of working where the apparatus involved is either ungimmicked, or gimmicked in such a way as to make detection virtually impossible. If you're familiar with some of my other effects, you know that many of the routines I've released depend upon apparatus that is in essence ungimmicked and examinable, but specially made to achieve the effect I want. The Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold is such an item.
As I noted above, I always think of the effect I want, and then try to come up with a solution that will achieve that effect in the most impossible way.
Here's how the Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold came into being. By reading the following, you'll more fully understand the unique principle behind the method of the blindfold.
In 1983, Jeff Busby marketed in a very limited edition a color and symbol divination effect called Telepato. (The version marketed by Jeff included the props made by the late Theo Timmerman of Holland. He explains how you can easily make them up later in this book.) Jeffs routine used the props in an unique way which involved, in part, a new combination of principles rarely used even by mentalists — pencil reading and a faked blindfold. I ordered the effect, along with a blindfold that Jeff mentioned would work in the routine — one of the many other dealer's versions of the original Man in the Iron Mask blindfold.
While I loved Jeff's routine — I still use it professionally — I was disappointed with the blindfold I received. It wasn't well made, and to me the method is a bit obvious. If you have any of the marketed versions of the Davison idea, or have read about it, you'; may be aware that the area that covers the bridge of the nose is squared off, allowing you full vision through the open angles right at the bridge of the nose. As John Booth — one of the earliest proponents of the X-Ray Eyes act — has stated: "Increasingly sophisticated audiences tend to recognize the nose-window principle thus forcing mentalists to invent ever more convincing ways to blindfold themselves ... ". It has been exposed so many times in the popular press that your audience will no doubt contain spectators who are aware of this method. I don't want any of my spectators to know how anything I do works!
In conversations with Jeff, we both agreed that there had to be a better solution. For one thing, the blindfolds that were on the open market were shoddy — they looked like they had been cut from a tin can and spray painted black! Not one had a formidable appearance, and not one was made from stainless steel, as originally suggested by Malcolm Davison — it's a hard metal to work with. So, I toyed first with having my own version of the Davison blindfold made from thick looking stainless steel. But, there was still the problem of those open cutouts, which I definitely wanted to eliminate.
I kept thinking about it. Coming up with no solution, I consciously forgot about it, but it must have been lurking in my subconscious, because my "Aha!" eventually appeared!
One day I walked into the bathroom to check if my hair and face were in order before leaving home. As I pondered I happened to notice how tightly my glasses (Kreskin style... of course!) fit the bridge of my nose. At the same time, I realized that if I squinted with either of my eyes, I could see under the frame of my glasses at the bridge of my nose, even though they still looked a tight fit in the mirror.
This clicked with the idea of the metal blindfold that was still in my subconscious. I asked myself: "Would it be possible to design a metal blindfold that could use this idea?"
I began experimenting with cut up pieces of cardboard. When I finally reached a workable design for the nose opening, an idea occurred to me that would make the blindfold unworkable to anyone else unless the secret was known.
Cardboard wouldn't work for the new theory, so I immediately invested in an aluminum baking pan which I cut up and started using in ways that the manufacturer never dreamed of. I made two prototypes and sent one to Jeff who was enthusiastic about the new idea. He tested it, and fooled some well-posted mentalists with it. I used mine in my shows up until the time we produced the commercial model from stainless steel, which I'm really pleased with.
The size of my Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold is larger than any of the versions of the Davison idea on the market, since I knew ahead of time that the final product would have to be made of stainless steel — I wanted it to look super impressive.
The first time I put on my prototype I went to my bathroom mirror — the same one as before — and couldn't believe I saw what I shouldn't be seeing: I saw myself completely and totally blindfolded. And, I couldn't believe just how well I was able to see myself being unable to see!
And, the idea that I had worked perfectly from the beginning — it is so diabolical that I chuckle to myself whenever I use it.
The secret is that I placed the slots for the elastic strap in such a position as to control the leverage of the blindfold itself — you'll note that the slots are near the upper edge of the blindfold. If a spectator puts it on in the normal way, with the elastic falling where it will behind the ears, the blindfold bears down on the bridge of the nose and holds it tightly against the flesh, making it impossible to see. If, however, the blindfold is placed on die head with the elastic up slightly higher than normal on the back of the head, subtle eyebrow and forehead movement will cause the blindfold to move upwards.
The amount that the blindfold moves can be easily controlled by eye movements so slight that they are impossible to see. And, you will be amazed when you discover how much you can see with only a pinpoint opening. You can actually have a person examining you inches away and they will not seethe opening! To top this off, you can lower the blindfold back to its legitimate condition with a miniscule movement of your eyes!
Because the Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold is a piece of utility apparatus which each performer will use in his/her own personal way, it would be pointless to write these instructions in the standard magical "Effect-Method" style. Instead, we'll teach you the proper way of handling the blindfold, and then give you several applications, ideas, and references for further routines and study.
When you examine the Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold, you'll see that there is nothing gimmicked about it in any way. There are no holes, sliding panels, or cutouts.
Before we delve into the method of "setting" the blindfold, let's experiment with it in the normal way so that you'll fully understand the principle.
Place the blindfold on as you normally would, as shown in Figure One. The strap on the blindfold is adjustable and you should adjust it to fit rather firmly but not tightly on your head. The metal should seat very tightly around the bridge of the nose effectively cutting off all vision. If it does not, you may have to adjust it: the stainless steel is somewhat flexible, so you will be able to make small adjustments in shape for your own facial structure, if necessary.
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