This act provides interesting entertainment at a party or at dinner when a few guests are assembled.
Performer and spectators sit around a table. Each one places his hands at the edge of the table, touching the little finger of the person on each side of him. Spectators have their feet touching also. Performer's hands and feet are touched in the same way by the spectator on each side of him. A tambourine, a bell, a mandolin, and a trumpet are placed on the table. The lights are turned out and soon odd manifestations occur. The tambourine jingles and floats around in the air. The bell rings and floats around, too, while the mandolin gives forth sounds. Spectators feel ghostly touches and fingers run through their hair or down their backs. The light is then turned on and performer is seen sitting peacefully as in the beginning with his hands and feet held by spectators. Magician calls attention to a megaphone and places it on the floor at his side. Spectators again clasp each other's hands and touch feet and magician is again touched by spectators on each side of him. Light is turned out again, and suddenly the megaphone is thrown across the table. Mysteriously the table is tipped upward and falls back again, then all is quiet. Lights are turned on again and performer is still in same position, held by spectator on each side.
A tambourine; a bell; a musical instrument, such as a mandolin, ukelele, or guitar; a trumpet or some wind instrument (even a harmonica is good); and a megaphone or sheet of paper rolled into shape of one.
Various other articles may be used, as performer desires.
A slate can be used and placed on table with a piece of chalk. In the dark a message appears on it.
A glass of water may be placed on table and mysteriously emptied.
A piece of paper may be placed on table with a pair of scissors. The paper is cut in two in the dark.
A red silk handkerchief placed on table can change color.
A handkerchief placed on table can knot itself mysteriously, or a handkerchief full of knots can untie itself.
Dark seances offer many opportunities for puzzling effects even with common articles at hand. Thus they can be made entirely impromptu.
SECRET AND PATTER:
No preparation, unless you wish to supply special articles and have exchanges made.
Spectators are seated at the table. The effect may be produced with two others besides yourself at a small table or more people around a larger table. When there are just four people, you may each sit around a card table.
Place tambourine, bell, mandolin, etc. on the table, where you can reach them easily and yet far enough away so as not to excite suspicion.
"In dealing with the so-called spiritualistic or psychic or whatever the phenomena may be, it is customary to establish an harmonious circuit between those entering into the seance. This is best done by holding hands or merely touching one another's hands so that energy may flow from one to another around the circle. -Of course, even with the greatest of care, sometimes phenomena do not take place. Tonight, as an added measure of precaution, it might be well not only to touch hands to form a circle but to touch feet as well, thereby establishing a circuit on the floor. Now, first we shall place our hands flat on the table, palms down."
Place your hands on the table to show spectators how to do it. Have about three inches between your thumbs.
"It makes no difference how far apart your hands are, the idea being merely to establish physical contact with the one sitting on each side of you. I want you to touch your little fingers together."
Say to person at your left:
"Just place your little finger of your right hand on top of my left little finger."
To person at your right:
"And you place your little finger of your left hand on my right little finger."
Figure 2 shows position of spectators' hands on yours.
Figure 2 shows position of spectators' hands on yours.
"Now, everyone around the table hold your hands in a similar manner, just touching little fingers. That's fine. So as to establish further contact, will each of you sitting next to me place your foot on my foot? Now establish similar shoe connections all around the table. In the center of the table I have placed a few articles. Center manifestations may appear in any one or perhaps all of those articles, depending, of course, on the power we can generate from pur sitting. I shall have the light turned out. Under no circumstances turn it on again until I tell you to. Also dp not break the circle until I tell you. It is important that the circuit be established and continued until manifestations have ceased. There is nothing to be afraid of. At times, my hands move a bit to balance the current, but you who are sitting at my side must keep in contact with me all the time. Now I shall ask you who are sitting nearest the light to turn it out and then come right back to your place again, be seated, and establish the circuit again. You can find your way back to your position easily, I believe."
Spectator turns out light and all is dark. When he returns to position and touches hands of people to each side of him, continue your talk.
"The reason for sitting in the dark is that certain senses become more acute in darkness. In the light it is more difficult to concentrate -- too many things to distract our attention."
As you talk, bring your hands close together, then apart, and together again. Place right hand over left and move hands forward and back a few times. Be sure to keep contact of spectators' little fingers.
You are preparing to work a ruse in which you can free your right hand unnoticed and in such a way as to lead spectator at your right to believe that he still holds your right little finger.
When right hand is over left, hold thumb and forefinger up high so that they do not touch little finger of spectator at your left. Your fingers are fairly wide apart. Slip right hand forward a little so that tip of left forefinger is under base of little finger of right hand.
Move left hand forward, bringing forefinger directly under and parallel to right little finger. Be sure not to touch little finger of spectator on left during these moves.
Now move both hands backward again. Suddenly draw away right hand, allowing spectator's little finger at the right to fall on the first finger of your left hand.
When properly done, there is nothing suspicious about these movements. You are talking as this is going on. After you have made the change, say:
"Be sure not to break the connection. I distinctly feel the touch of those sitting next to me, as they, no doubt, feel my hands. Do not let go."
Move your left hand from side to side and backward and forward as you did before with both hands. You can let your hand rest and then move it wherever you think advisable.
"I already feel a slight sensation passing up my arms and over my shoulders."
YOUR RIGHT HAND IS FREE. IT IS DARK. PHYSICAL PHENOMENA ARE NOW EASY TO PRODUCE. In using right hand, be careful not to touch hands or arms of spectators sitting next to you. If you do accidentally, they may not think it is you.
"Sometimes, I feel a slight quiver going through my hair. a ghostly touch."
Suddenly move your flat right hand up the back and over the top of the head of the spectator at your right. This will be something of a thriller to that person.
"Sometimes, I feel taps on the shoulder."
Reach over in front of you and tap spectator at the left on the shoulder. Perhaps you can reach another spectator. Mysterious touches have a peculiar reaction on the person being touched.
Reach over and pick up mandolin. Wave it about, touching people with it and strumming the strings with your thumb as you wave it.
Pick up megaphone and talk through it in a disguised voice. Replace on table. If you have a tambourine, shake it and wave it about. Ring the bell and blow the trumpet if you have them. Make good use of whatever you have at hand.
This done, you must get hands back to position you held when lights were on. Move left hand back and forth a little, then slip right hand under left so that little finger is directly under left forefinger.
"Sometimes a current can be felt through the arms, though I will not say it can at this time. Move your hands back and forth a bit on the table, say about an inch or two."
Move hands back and forth a few times, and as you do so, quickly slip left forefinger away and let little finger of spectator at right fall on your right little finger again. This can be done with a peculiar jerky movement, if desired. Then continue moving hands back and forth.
"I felt a jerky movement then. Perhaps you felt it all the way around the table. I wish the forces would flow a bit more smoothly. Perhaps there was a slight break in the contact. Let your hands rest now. I feel the forces leaving mine. Please turn on the light until we rest up a bit. Everyone keep his hands in place except the one who breaks the circle to turn on the light."
Light is turned on and spectators see that your hands are still in the same position as at first.
"Now everyone let go of hands."
Hands are released. After a few moments you are ready to continue the seance.
"This time you just clasp hands. Before we begin again, I shall place this megaphone at my side on the floor."
Move your chair back a little to give you more freedom for manipulative work. Place megaphone on floor at your right side with small end up.
"Turn out the light again please."
The moment light is out, pick up megaphone with right hand and place it on your head.
"Now we shall grasp hands so as to establish the circuit again. Also place your feet against each other, touching your toes."
Have spectator at left hold your left hand and spectator at right hold your right hand. Have them also place the toes of their shoes on yours.
"Clasp my hands fairly tight. Hold on. Do you think you can hold on all right? Fine. Sometimes there may be a slight swaying of any one of your arms or both, but do not let go. Keep the circle intact. I am going to try a form of levitation -that is, the lifting of solid objects through magnetic forces. I have my feet and hands held for several reasons. One is to establish a more powerful circuit between you and myself. I feel a power entering me now. It is growing stronger and stronger. It is radiating outward. I shall direct it as you wish. The megaphone is on the floor at my right. Where would you like to have it directed to or hurled forcibly — straight ahead, backward, to the left or right?
A direction is given by someone.
"Hold tight everyone. Sway a bit if you care to. The forces are getting stronger — stronger — STRONGER."
Sway a bit with your hands raised from the table. Suddenly with a movement of your head, throw the megaphone in the desired direction. Be careful not to hurt anyone.
Now move back in your chair, raise your hands a little, and get your head down under the top of table. Raise table, tipping it up and down with your head. Finally let it fall back into place again. Sit upright and have light turned on again. Spectators see that your hands are still held by person to your right and to your left.
A table seance offers many opportunities for producing excellent effects. Study the conditions under which you work and make good use of the things you have at hand. You can inject good Showmanship into the work and make a fine impression.
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