Commentary

Of particular note is the advice Faucett gives on presenting the effect, his critique of the famed Tarbell act, and the beautiful card matching sequence. Regrettably, the remainder of the letter is missing, as is the Francis Carlyle routine referred to in the introductory paragraph. However, from a later letter, it is clear that Faucett is referring to an A1 Baker method called Al Baker's Pet Hat Trick from AL BAKER'S BOOK (New York, 1933, pages 4-5). The Baker book is difficult to locate, so perhaps a precis of the method might be in order here.

The method is typically Baker — subtle and ingenious: What looked like an ordinary hat (and Baker wore his gaffed hat as a normal one) actually had an interior shell made from a cut-down second hat. This was inserted into the normal hat with the edge of the shell fitting under the sweatband of the normal hat. One side of the shell had a cut out section which just cleared the sweatband. This was propped open with a matchstick and the hat was placed opening upwards on the table. Three folded bills were secretly placed into the hat prior to the performance. Each of these bills had a different starting digit for the serial number and the three complete serial numbers were memorized. When ready to perform, Baker had three spectators remove bills from their wallets and fold them into eighths. These were dropped into the opening of the shell, the matchstick kicked out of position and the flap closed. An assisting spectator was asked to take the hat, mix the three visible bills, remove two and hold the third while visualizing the serial number. As the three pre-loaded bills each had a different starting digit, all Baker had to do was to "pump" for the first digit. Once he had that (and at most you could fail twice) you could then slowly and dramatically give the remainder of the number. (There are, of course, some very subtle methods of pumping for the number other than just "going for it".)

Faucett mentions "rolling" the bills, but this would cause the side of the gaff to bulge. If you need to flash the inside of the hat, folding the bills, as in the Baker original, is recommended. The Baker hat idea is a clever one and still appropriate to a Sightless Vision routine, as suggested by Faucett. However, if you feel a hat is an outmoded form of dress, you may, of course, use any other switching device that can be handled by the spectator to accomplish the same effect.

You will note the reference to Dai Vernon's "Brainwave Deck" in the above letter. But, you'll also have noted that the effect commonly known as the Brainwave Deck differs greatly from that described by Faucett and as named by Francis Carlyle. The effect that is now known by that name is one of any named card being reversed in a sealed deck, with the named card having a different back color. That effect based on a Judson Brown concept, was invented by Paul Fox, and was published by Ted Annemann, erroneously credited to Dai Vemon in Jinx Number 49, for October 1938. The method was published without the permission of either Vernon or Fox.

However, that effect and method had nothing to do with the Dai Vernon forcing deck as briefly described by Faucett, and, until now, not previously in print. The Vernon deck was constructed as follows: Eight to ten duplicate cards are used. It is best that these duplicates be an insignificant spot card, such as the Four of Clubs. Any other eight or ten cards are discarded from a genuine matching deck and this 44 or 42 card deck is trimmed or sanded shorter by the barest fraction of an inch and the corners rerounded. The duplicate cards are polished on the face with Slick Ace paste or fluid. They are then inserted into the deck with five or six indifferent cards between each of the duplicates. The end result is a deck which the spectator can give a cursory examination and then shuffle. You then request the spectator cut the deck. If he cuts by lifting up a portion, he will more often than not break the deck at one of the "long" cards. If he cuts by pushing the upper portion of the deck to the side with his thumb, the deck will usually break with a Slick Ace card on the face of the upper packet. While the force is not 100% surefire, the deck offers such freedom of action and such an apparently free choice on the part of the spectator that it is worth the chance. Faucett's suggested presentation using another deck with a Short Card matching the force cards in the Vernon deck is a clever idea and sure to baffle anyone. It is, as he notes, particularly effective in the context of a Sightless Vision act. Now having the secret, I suggest you back up and read Faucett Ross's explanation of his idea once again.

A final comment on the Brainwave Deck: Astute readers will no doubt be asking themselves this question: "Why, if the Brainwave Deck was published in October of 1938, was Faucett still referring to another deck by the same name in November of that same year?" The answer is simple: As with most magic magazines, Annemann's Jinx was chronically late — it's publication schedule did not match the date on the masthead and the issue was actually published sometime after the "October 1938" dateline. As for the title given the published effect, it would seem that Annemann had heard the title for the effect bandied about and thought it a good one for the Fox effect he published under Vernon's name in the Jinx.

Thursday Evening

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The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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