Crystal Balls and Playing Cards

My first encounter with such a crystal ball -today you can purchase light, unbreakable crystal balls made of acrylic (Lucite) - was 50 years ago at

14 This has a big advantage over the Dunninger method which used a piece of watch crystal with a miniature playing card attached. The advantages are the impromptu nature of this version in addition to the fact that the distortion induced by the crystal ball causes the edges of the piece of paper or cardboard which bears the message to blend into the white expanse of the silk. BP

Janos Bartl's. He sold it for a trick in which the index of a freely selected card appeared in the ball. It was primitive but effective. The performer had the card returned behind his back. He then turned so he was facing the audience, tore the index corner off, and placed the card visibly into his trousers pocket, concealing the missing comer. He took the crystal ball out of his pocket and placed it upon the missing corner in his other hand. Then he could cause the magnified corner to appear in the ball - what a miracle - and allow the audience to see it.

The idea was good, but the trick had serious weaknesses. You ruined one card each performance. Using a borrowed deck was out of the question. In addition to that, the performer had to hold the ball which was 5 cm. in diameter at a greater distance, otherwise the entire.index, with its torn edge would be visible.

So, it is possible to make a card appear, and if you wish to make the entire card appear, you may use a miniature card. At first glance, this is only possible if you force a card, but it can be done with a freely chosen card. I will explain one of the simpler methods here.

You have four different miniature cards in a "hold out." This is simply a piece of cardboard with some rubber bands or a strip of tape to hold the cards in place. The whole thing is attached inside the pocket or under the edge of your jacket, using a safety pin. You have the four corresponding normal cards in your trousers pocket.

While the spectator is shuffling the cards, palm the four cards and place them on top of the deck when you take it back. Deal the top four cards face down on the table, then have the spectator turn any three of the four cards face up. You will make the card lying face down on the table, which nobody is supposed to know the identity of, appear to one of the spectators with the help of the crystal ball. In the meantime, you have stolen the duplicate mini card, reach into the pocket with your other hand and bring out the handkerchief containing the ball, holding it by all four corners. After you made the picture of the card appear and disappear, have the last of the four cards on the table turned face up and take a well-earned round of applause.

This is the nude from "The Anniversary, in Chapter 2 of this book. On its back is a flap made of cellophane tape, which acts as a hinge. This gives you two surfaces to use for revelations, such as playing cards. The card that is revealed depends on which way you turn the flap under cover of the silk and the ball.

With the idea from "The Anniversary", where you use a double sided card which you secretly turn over under cover of the handkerchief, you can actually increase the impact of the trick. Instead of a nude, which is always funny, except the ladies, you can first have an INCORRECT CARD appear, for example, a seven of spades instead of an eight of spades. After the "spectator's error," because only HE sees the card, then he sees the correct card.

It is clear that to perform this version, you will have to fasten two miniature cards together. Join them together on one long edge only, so you can open the card like a book. Glue the picture of the nude to the double side. You can also use some other gag in its place. This gives you the opportunity of working with two different cards.

A Completely Crazy Idea

A mental experiment, in which you reveal a word, symbol or something else, suddenly goes awry. You know, probably by using a force, what the spectator is thinking of, but you pretend that you have made a mistake. Bravely, you go on to the next experiment, the one with the miniature cards. The wrong card appears first instead of the selected card, and you act confused. However, now comes the "message" from the previous, "wrong" trick. "The spirits appear to be appeased." Finally, the correct card makes its appearance - and you get a big round of applause.

Because I am always in favor of understatement, I would not let the ending go off without a hitch. Assuming that the queen of hearts were the chosen card, then during the apparent "miss," I would let the queen of spades appear. Afterwards, there would be the resolution of the first wayward experiment, and finally a card that was half queen of spades and half queen of hearts. (By the way - and not entirely uninteresting - if you have a crystal ball that is 8 cm. or more in diameter, you will find that you can hold the ball certain distance from the eye, and by simply revolving the ball a little you can show either the upper or lower half of this queen of hearts/spades. You will have to determine this distance by experimentation.)

Once you start working with this idea of turning the ball, you will find your head swimming with the sheer possibilities of it, as I did. Try it out with a divided miniature card. You will discover that you can show a spectator on your right a different card than you show the one on your left. This will not only work with cards, but it must also work with WORDS and SYMBOLS. It is most convincing with a wide colored line. Try it sometime with three colors. I anxiously await a report on your results.

But there are even more incredible possibilities. Think about the "center tear." (In one of my next books - the working title is The Worm-Phenomenon of Professor CornellI will describe the ante-ante-penultimate version of this sleight. Pure, unadulterated "chutzpah."15

So, you tear the spectator's billet, with the word, number, or figure he has written, steal the center, bring it under the ball, and read what the spectator has written. Another spectator who looks into the ball sees nothing. After you have "hypnotized" him, he is suddenly able to read it.

Finally, one more "impromptu" trick which works completely without preparation. You only need your crystal ball.

Take an old newspaper and remove a sheet from it that has small print or classified ads. Tear the sheet in quarters. From these four sheets, cut out a square of paper about 8 cm. x 8 cm. This will give you four pieces of paper the same size. Turn your back to the audience and have the spectator choose one of the squares of paper. Have him draw diagonal lines from corner to corner, either mentally or with a pencil, and

IB "Ante-ante-penultimate version" Is the version before the version before the version before the ultimate version. Punx does not believe there is an "ultimate" version of anything. This is a sign of clear thinking. Chutzpah -pronounced "hhhootspah" - a Yiddish word, not for extremely polite company, meaning "nerve," "brass," or "guts." The classic example of chutzpah is the story of the boy who killed both of his parents, and then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan. That's chutzpah 1 BP

have him read the word or words at the point where the lines cross, that is, right in the middle of the square. Have the spectator fold the paper. Take the piece of paper and stick it to your forehead. (It will adhere by itself, especially if you are performing the trick for the first time or the audience is laughing at your tricks.) - Now you attempt to be clairvoyant. It doesn't work. "No concentration." Angrily tear up the piece of paper and throw it away - preferably in a full wastepa-per basket or an ashtray. This will prevent some smart aleck from discovering afterwards that the center which you have stolen is missing.

Now you place the little piece of paper, the center of the clipping, under the ball. Now you have plenty of time to look for something that you read in the middle. Now you describe, first in the most general of terms everything that surrounds the word at the intersection of the diagonals. When you are about to finish, after you have disposed of the torn piece, begin to paraphrase the word in the middle. NEVER SAY THE CORRECT WORD. You will achieve a heightened effect if you apparently cannot see the last word. Have them write the word down "in order to be able to visualize it more clearly," and then begin to define the word. It is very effective if the spectator writes his word in large letters on a blackboard and shows it to the audience, with out letting the performer see it. Then all of the spectators can follow you as you stalk along the correct trail to find the word.

Before the necessary "cleanup" at the end, take the ball out of the silk, place the silk and the billet into your pocket, gaze into the ball once more, as if it worked better with out the silk (!!) - and you are "clean!"

Consider the fundamentals of this trick. For a lay audience it is mystifying right down to the last detail, and - if you don't mention it - nobody will think it is a trick. Parapsychologists will be completely fooled. A trick almost under test conditions.

There is a psychological trick, which Carlhorst Meier of Nuremberg discovered. During the last revelation, the "corpus delecti," the missing piece of newspaper is discarded as "garbage," and thus, is forgotten. That is why you should not have it burned. That somehow gives more significance to these pieces and draws more attention to them.

In the sprit of the crazy ending, here are the signatures of the seven demons, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan, Astoroth, Leviathan, Bllmi, and Baalbarith. They are found on a pact (still extant) which the priest Urban Granier of St. Peter's in London is supposed to have made in 1616. (Original may be seen in the Bibliotheque Natlonale Paris.)

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