The Blindfold Act (or Sightless Vision, Seeing with the Fingertips, X-Ray Eyes, or whatever you want to call it) has been an integral part of magic and mentalism since 1816 when British psychic Margaret M'Avoy pretended to see colors and words with her fingertips while blindfolded. Most blindfold methods published or marketed employ either the downward peek, or allow the performer to have straight-ahead vision through the use of an opening or some sort of alternately opaque/transparent principle. Some versions use both methods.
The downward peek has been widely explored (and exposed) in print. You'll find a clear description of it in Gilles-Edme Guyot's 1740 French classic NOUVELLES RECREATIONS PHYSIQUES ET MA THE MA TIQUES in the form of the Blindfold Card Stab (later made famous by the legendary Max Malini). And, you'll find other blindfold routines using the same method described by John Henry Anderson in 1844 and a blindfold gambling routine described by Robert-Houdin in 1858.
Many performers have made themselves legends through their acts with the blindfold. Kuda Bux, Dr. Harlan Tarbell, John Booth, and Maurice Fogel come to mind immediately. Ronnie Gann has developed his routine to where it is the highpoint of his act, and is primarily responsible for his vast success on the cruise ships and in top nightclubs. Glenn Falkenstein uses one in his top-rate message reading routine. Max Maven uses the blindfold in his act in a memorable way that fools even other mentalists. There are, of course, many other workers who do fine routines with the blindfold, and a complete list of both present and past magicians and mentalists would be quite extensive.
As noted above, the downward peek method has been widely explored in print. Many of the routines by Tarbell, Corinda, Bill Larsen Sr., and others covered in the Recommended Reading section of this book are outstanding examples. These methods are ideal for any act where the information to be gained is below the eye level of the performer so that he does not have to tip his head back to be able to see.
Some routines requiring straight-ahead vision are the Blindfold Drive (first introduced in 1885 by mentalist Washington Irving Bishop — a tragic figure in magic history — though the Blindfold Walk was done as early as 1821 by English stonemason Dennis Hendrick and Joe Dunninger was the first to use a car in 1917), Ted Annemann's Mystery of the Blackboard from Jinx magazine, and Jeff Busby's routine for Telepato (later in this book). In truth the latter method of secret vision has far more applications than the former, which can be very limited.
Many of the trick blindfolds in the literature and on the market over the years use ingenious methods to render the opaque blindfold transparent so that you can actually see through one or more layers of the cloth, which is usually black in color. French magician Alexis Didier was apparently the first to use a faked blindfold as early as 1847.
Many of the "hood" or "bandage" types of faked blindfolds generally use this type of method. This can be convincing, however most of these will not stand up to more than a cursory inspection. In practice, I have found that audience members are suspicious of a cloth blindfold, being well aware of the transparency of cloth. Yet, methods still continue to be published — there are books full of them, such as Will Dexter's SEALED VISION and Burling Hull's LAST WORD BLINDFOLD METHODS which contained a full dozen of them.
In using some of the cloth straight-ahead vision faked blindfolds there is another drawback: if you work in a nightclub with rather bad light, you may find the blindfold to be more legitimate than you might like!
Finally, we come to a blindfold often used by modern day working mentalists: the so-called Steel Blindfold — the Man in the Iron Mask blindfold invented by Malcolm Davison and first explained in Harry Stanley's Gen in 1958. You'll find this on the market under the name of Steel Blindfold, Solid Steel Blinctfold, Mentalist's Steel Mask, and so forth.
Obviously you cannot see through steel, so logically there must be an opening somewhere to give you vision. This opening is usually around the nose cut-out, which you must have on a metal blindfold to keep your nose from being squashed flat! This opening is cut square so you are able to see out the sides of your nose, since the bridge of your nose is round. These blindfolds are usually painted black so that the spaces will blend in with the blindfold to help conceal the secret. Unfortunately, a spectator will discover the secret if he is allowed to put the blindfold on, and careful visual examination from a few feet away might reveal the open triangles at the cutout.
It is with this last type of blindfold that Richard decided to concern himself when designing his own blindfold. He decided that when a layman thinks of "steel" he or she pictures a shiny object. And, in order to make the "steel shield" concept more formidable looking, he also decided that it should be rather large. In addition, he wanted a method that would allow good straight-ahead vision without any tilting of the head — even the standard Steel Blindfold requires some tilting in order to see something at eye level.
The Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold meets all of these requirements and also has the advantage that the spectator can try on the blindfold himself without discovering anything. In addition, there seems to be no space at all around the nose opening so that the performer can have the spectators staring right at the blindfold from just a few inches away and still not have to worry about them seeing anything. The design of the blindfold allows you to have vision when you want it and it is legitimate when you don't have to see!
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.