SEEING WITH THE FINGERTIPS The Faucett Ross/Paul Fox Correspondence Commentary by Jeff Busby
Two undeniably legendary figures in the area of subtle magic were Paul Fox and Faucett Ross. Over a period of three decades, these professional magicans kept up a voluminous correspondence on a wide-ranging variety of magical subjects. I consider myself fortunate to have many of these letters in my files.
Richard Osterlind's Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold is so exceptional — to me the best all-around method — that I felt the relevant extracts from letters between Faucett and Paul belonged in this instructional book. In this way you will have not only a fine prop, but the most informative instructions possible. It is my feeling that this discussion of methods, between two thinking professionals, contains valuable information and new methods for the blindfold worker.
At the very least, the comments on effects by both Faucett and Paul will give you a unique insight into developing and performing more powerful and effective routines — routines which can be the highlight of your show.
Both Paul Fox and Faucett Ross had experience with the Sightless Vision effect. In the late Thirties, Fox used the Blindfold Drive combined with the Blindfold Walk as a publicity stunt, as shown by the photos and ads reproduced in this book. And, Faucett Ross certainly performed the effect, as evidenced by his comments in the letter to Fox of January 17th, 1939. It's not well known that Ross performed with his own spook show throughout the mid-west as "Dr. Ross"; it's quite possible that the blindfold was a part of this show also.
The letters on the subject of Seeing with the Fingertips cover only a period from November 1938 through January 1939. However, an incredible amount of information on the subject — information that will be new to most readers — passed between the two magicians. Embedded within the letters are totally new effects by Dai Vernon, Faucett Ross, an ingenious and logical piece of apparatus by Paul Fox, plus suggested routines, and the reasoning behind the act. Apply these ideas to Richard's Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold and you'll have an unbeatable combination.
My only regret in releasing this material is that Faucett Ross did not live to see it published. Faucett, a friend and mentor, died May 18th, 1987 of a heart attack while this book was still in preparation.
The series of letters begins with the following. In the interest of historical accuracy, they have been reproduced without change, exactly as written originally.
LETTER FROM FAUCETT ROSS TO PAUL FOX November 30th, 1938
Received letter this afternoon from Finneran [Francis Carlyle] more or less detailing his version of "Seeing with Fingertips". The data is not complete (shall write
Publicity Photo for Francis Carlyle's ("Finneran") Seeing with the Fingertips Act.
him again) and nothing original but shall subjoin it later in this letter, word for word, and you can use your own judgement.
Think I told you that years ago I did this thing for several months — the orthodox method with a rather strong finish. Now I'm all interested again but during the past few months have tried to analyze the thing and have a few theories to offer. So read carefully!
The weak thing about this trick as usually presented is the fact that there is a decided let-down in audience interest after the first few moments. Here's the reason. The performer is "securely" blindfolded and starts the tests. After one or two it is immediately obvious to the average spectator that the [performer] is using his normal vision to accomplish his ends. They are probably fooled as to how he is able to see but they do know he does see.
Why? Because everything he does could be accomplished if he had the use of his sight. The conclusion is that he does see by some ingenious artifice. Therefore the only
Was this article helpful?
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.