Thcks of Raised Consciousness
Dany Ray & Marcelle
He was my great example as a professional. He worked for many years at the famous Lido, before all the great nightclubs and variety shows in the world discovered him. Dany, who unfortunately died in 1989, was for me the ne plus ultra of magical entertainers. It pleased him to captivate the most difficult audiences with small tricks. Even magicians were often baffled by many of his effects. During his appearances in Berlin, I saw his show many times and learned from them how a top professional behaves on stage. We often had long discussions concerning various trick principles, during which he gave me valuable tips and useful ideas.
Marcelle, Dany's wife, was the most perfect assistant I've ever seen for a professional magician. She revolutionized the old-school of subservient and affected behavior so often adopted by magicians' assistants. Although she was on stage for only a few moments, the audience felt and recognized her ineffable intelligence and charm. Future generations of magicians' assistants could learn much from Marcelle!
ql/smllßl&lßll/sll&l&li^^ of the first magic books in English that I purchased, more than thirty-five years ago from my friend Werry in Düren, was Greater Magic by John Northern Hilliard. On pages 478 and 479, under the heading "Two New Locator Cards", are the descriptions of two varieties of "ridged" key cards, invented by Will De Seive and Jontay. Over time these special cards have been forgotten by many magicians—unjustly forgotten, as I will show you shortly.
I remember it was in 1955 when I constructed my first ridged card. However, I made a crucial error in the simple preparation. According to the instructions, when the deck was cut, the special card was supposed to wind up at the face of the pack. My first gimmick ended up at the back of the pack each time!
In those early days I knew little about forcing cards, so I gladly adopted this "newly discovered" (though technically incorrect) tool as an easy forcing method. Because the prepared card almost always found its way to the back of the pack when someone cut the cards, I relied on the ridge principle to force the prepared card. However, when at a later date I learned a deceptive force that never failed, I retired my ridged card.
I became interested in mental magic around 1963, when my friend Dany Ray gave me a copy of Annemann's Practical Mental Effects. On page 137 of that book, under the heading 'An Original Faked Envelope" is the description of a "three-way" envelope. This envelope is constructed in such a way that, when it is opened, one of three playing cards or billets, each in a separate compartment, can be dropped out of it quite naturally and without fumbling. This discovery made me think again of the old ridged cards, and suddenly I had the idea of using not just one but three ridged cards as forcing gimmicks in a deck.
I constructed a simple trick around the Annemann envelope and a pack prepared with three of these ridged cards. During an eight month engagement in the Pavilion Bar at the Berlin Hilton, I broke in the effect and it became the hit of my close-up mental program. Returning guests to the bar always asked about this experiment. Recognizing that I had come up with something quite special, I made it a point to keep it exclusive, never performing it when other magicians came to see me work.
T.A. Waters appears to have been one of the very few magicians besides myself (perhaps the only one) to whom the idea occurred of using ridged cards to accomplish a force with the deck in the spectator's hands. In his 1981 booklet, Tr ionic,x he describes a trick using just one such card.
In 1985 the last piece fell into place for me. The Dutch magician, Dick Koornwinder published a small booklet, Dick Koornwinder's Diverting Kreations. This booklet came with a prepared playing card, which made possible the "Koornwinder Kard Kontrol" My friend Ken Brooke once told me that he believed Dick Koornwinder must have invented this gimmicked card in the late 1960s or earlier, since Ken had
'Later reprinted in his huge 1993 compilation, Mind, Myth & Magick (1993), pp. 69-85.
purchased tricks from him during that period that employed the gimmick. In the Koornwinder booklet,2 a force is described that uses this special card, but this force is entirely different from the method to which I put it.
Before teaching the tricks I've devised using ridged cards, I would like to describe these versatile gimmicks for the benefit of those unfamiliar with them.
The Split Card The forerunner of all ridged cards appears to have been a split card, which had a piece of thin cardboard, cut to smaller dimensions than the card, sandwiched between the layers of the card to make the center section slightly thicker.
The Will De Seive Gimmick You can make this gimmick in a few seconds. Place a quarter or a coin of similar size onto the face of a card, positioning it in the center. Hold the coin firmly in place with both thumbs, while putting your fingers under the card. Now firmly press the fingertips against the back of the card just around the circumference of the coin, forming a circular impression (an embossment) in the back design. Use only face cards for this gimmick, as the intricate picture on the card renders the quarter-sized impression nearly invisible. Those familiar with the original De Seive gimmick will note that we have just made a "reverse" gimmick; that is, the impression is raised on the back of the card, rather than on the face. All my tricks require such reverse gimmicks.
The first time you prepare a Will De Seive gimmick, you might make two coin impressions in the card, one beside the other. This is recommended particularly if you are just developing a presentation for a routine. This double-embossed gimmick increases the probability of the gimmick being cut to the top. Therefore, you have a little less to distract you from your presentation. After you have gained some experience, you can, if you like, change to a more subtle form of ridged preparation. The Jontay Gimmick
Likewise, this trick card should be constructed from a face card—or a jumbo-index playing card, the type with a border around court and spot cards alike. Using a dry ball-point pen and a ruler, "draw" a line along the frame around the face of the card, bearing down firmly. This produces an almost invisible embossed line on the back of the card. A folded newspaper, used as a cushion under the card, is helpful in making this raised border.
Emboss along this border Clue bumps -»- o
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The Koornwinder Gimmick
Dick Koornwinder conceived the idea of constructing ridged cards using two-part epoxy cement. In the United States both Duro and Borden, Inc. make suitable cements for our purpose. I color the cement with either red or blue aniline dye when mixing the components, to match the back of the card I am gimmicking. Using a toothpick, place five tiny dots of your colored cement mixture on the back of the card, one at each corner and the fifth in the middle. These glue spots should be no larger than the head of a pin. Let the cement harden for a few hours and the card will be ready for use. This type of preparation is particularly well-suited for jumbo cards. The Breather Crimp
While Larry Jennings was living in Berlin a few years ago, he showed me another prepared card that serves the function we're concerned with here. This was used by professional card sharps (and probably still is today). Recently it has been meticulously described in The Vernon Chronicles, Volume 1: The
Lost Inner Secrets3 under the heading of "The Breather Crimp" The preparation is simple: Hold the card you wish to prepare face up in both hands, thumbs on the face, fingers below. Press the tips of the thumbs firmly onto the center of the card and slide them apart, moving them toward diagonally opposite corners as you maintain heavy pressure. Do this two or three times, until a shallow trough forms along one diagonal of the card. Then repeat this process along the other diagonal, forming another trough. The two troughs intersect at the center of the card, making a mild depression there that is barely perceptible, yet is enough to do the task we require of it. This subtle crimp will remain in the card through any sort of shuffling. For further details, see the Vernon volume. This crimped card can be particularly useful when you find yourself without a ridged card or working with a borrowed deck, as the breather crimp can be put into a card in just seconds. However, if this crimp is to be dependable, the deck must be in good condition; a battered relic from the kitchen drawer is not suitable.
Other types of ridged cards exist and have been used by conjurers; however, my experience has proven that the five I've just described are the best for professional use. With the help of these gimmicks, genuine miracles can be accomplished, because you never need to handle the cards. Your spectator will unwittingly force the card on himself!
This principle makes possible some extraordinarily powerful close-up, cabaret and stage routines; and, as is true of almost all of my tricks and routines, little or no manipulative skill is required. I am not a "magician's magician" and have never been mistaken as a finger-flinger. The methods I use are simple and direct. I've seen many magicians at conventions who are far more brilliant technically than I will ever be; but this exceedingly polished technique sometimes gets in the way of their being good entertainers, and technique by itself only bores the paying public. This is damaging to professional conjuring. If a magician or a mentalist is being well paid for a performance, he should give the audience what the audience wants from a mystery worker: amazement, mystification and entertainment! In my mind, that's what makes the difference! Exquisite technique is fine, but without a strong presentation, it is worse than useless.
You will find the items in this book easy to perform from a manipulative standpoint, but they require high levels of showmanship and presentation. The patter I use is tailored for me, since it has been developed slowly through arduous work. Therefore, I have most often omitted my patter from the descriptions, as I am of the opinion that borrowed gags and presentations fit a performer as badly as a borrowed suit.
Tf?e Principle oi^MMM^i^eii&i&jsi^iiea^M^a^Ma^ajQiei'FoR MY stage and close-up performances, I exclusively use Bicycle poker-sized jumbo-index cards. The very large indices of these cards make their values recognizable at greater distances.
To perform the first two tricks in this chapter, you will require three ridged cards. If you decide on the Jontay gimmicks, you can use either face or spot cards with a jumbo-index deck. With Will De Seive gimmicks, use three different face cards.
Place one of your ridged cards approximately in the center of the pack. If you now do a one-handed cut, such as a Charlier Pass, you will find that the prepared card comes to the top of the deck, with ninety percent certainty, thanks to the raised area on the back of the card.
Ninety percent certainty is not good enough, though, for a professional mentalist or magician. That is why I use three gimmicks in a deck of cards. The backs of these gimmicks are marked as well. Now the spectator can shuffle the cards himself; yet, when he cuts the pack, one of the three prepared cards will almost always come to the top. And on those very few occasions when this fails, another cut or two will resolve the problem.
Important: I have found that a force card is more certain to be cut to the top of the pack if the spectator cuts the cards in his hands, not on a table.
There is the possibility that an awkward spectator will drop the cards. For such occurrences, I always have in my pocket a second pack prepared with the same ridged cards . It looks quite inelegant for the performer to have to hunker down and pick up cards from the floor. Being prepared for such situations is part of being professional, and audiences recognize this.
The force cards are marked on the backs, using a felt-tip marker that matches the color of the back pattern. These cards are marked one, two and three, to be recognized quickly and certainly. Here is the marking method I use with Bicycle Rider-back decks: There are two bicycle-riding angels on the backs of these cards. With your felt-tip marker, fill in the left wing on both angels. This makes the wing "invisible". When you put in your preferred ridge-work, this marked card becomes Force Card One.
The angels on Force Card Two have the right wing blocked out—and on Force Card Three you remove the lower half of the bicycle wheel.
These marks, though bold, are noticeable only to the performer and can be seen at a fair distance in only a glance.
Most commercially manufactured forcing decks cannot be passed out for examination, as their preparation would be immediately detected. On the other hand, this marked ridged-card deck can bear a reasonable inspection without yielding its secret, since only three cards are prepared, and the preparation is fairly subtle. For this reason, I am convinced that this deck is the superior tool for professional mentalists and magicians.
One last, important tip: Marked ridged cards should never remain in the pack if it is stored in a card case after performance. Always keep the prepared cards in a separate envelope. If ridged cards are subjected to pressure, the subtle embossments will deteriorate and the cards will cease to function as surely as they should.
Certain theorists of mentalism have asserted time and again that there is no place for card tricks or magic effects in a mental program. Yet, as this book will show, I am of a different opinion, as are many professional mentalists. Artists like Dun-ninger, Koran, Fogel, Kreskin and Osterlind, to mention only a few, have and do perform "common magic tricks" in their mental shows with great success, including experiments with playing cards. The card effects in this book do not in any way look like "tricks". To the public, they can only be explained by paranormal abilities. As for mentalists and magicians, if they aren't familiar with the principles described here, there will be no possibility of their fathoming these subtle secrets.
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