some of the effects in this book suggest that the performer has the ability either to predict or control future events, or to read or control a spectators thoughts. Such effects are commonly classed as "mentalism." There are some members of our fraternity who would contend that magicians should not perform such effects, that they should be left to those who work as mentalists. I am not sure how widely held this position is, and I don't want to set up a straw man; but I feel this issue should be addressed. I believe the mind and the future are fair game as subject matter for magic. I also accept that all manner of objects are fair game for mentalists. For example, moving a pencil could be presented as a magical animation effect (under the Fitzkee definition; see The Trick Brain, 1944, page 27). I don't believe this precludes mentalists from presenting such an effect as telekinesis. In sum, everything is fair game for each, in the theoretical sense. It is questionable whether mentalists are well advised to use playing cards as props. Consider, if you will, the associations that cards have for the public: card games, gambling and card tricks. Are those the associations the mental performer wants? I would not think so. This is not to say that playing cards should be precluded from use by mentalists. It is, however, proper to challenge the wisdom of their so doing. It seems to me that we could make a pact: Mentalists won't use playing cards and magicians won't use ESP (Zener) decks. With that as my stated position, I predict that you will enjoy the following feats of mental magic.
the vibratory prediction
ONE OF the techniques I have used in attempting to create my magic is to ask, "What would it look like if I could really do it?" This approach isn't unique to me. I am persuaded, however, that my penchant for honesty—always sought if not always realized—has made the question inordinately helpful to me. The procedure followed in this effect appears very close to what one might do if one could really predict or control a spectator's thoughts. While the effect is classic, little else about this approach is conventional. Here's what the spectators see:
EFFECT: The performer allows the deck to be shuffled to the spectator's satisfaction. On return of the deck, the performer removes a card, laying it face down on the table without showing its face. The deck is then spread face up across the table. The spectator is asked to think of any card she or he sees, then name it aloud. The card is located and removed from the spread. The spectator turns over the magician's prediction. It is the mate of his mentally selected card. People were once barbecued for doing stuff like this.
When I first started developing my approach to this venerable effect, I was actively investigating the Faro Shuffle, Stay-Stack and other stacked-deck ideas. There is little doubt that this immersion influenced my first approach. For about three months I performed a routine involving a fully mirror-stacked deck. (That method was related to published material from Mario, Rusduck, Elmsley and, later, Ron Ferris.) This first effort played very well with my audiences, which is what convinced me that I had constructed a workable sequence. It was clever, if I do say so myself; but while I was very pleased with my audiences' reactions, I began to bemoan the need for the complex set-up. That drove me to develop my first impromptu method (also not included here), which I used for nearly five years with rewarding results. The method that follows meets all the goals of the first impromptu method and improves upon it. I've used it ever since.
Was this article helpful?
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.