October 1989 FINAL

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while many have visited or revisited the Travelers plot in the years since Vernon's handling appeared in Stars of Magic (Series 6, No. 3, 1950, page 97), raising it to neo-classic status, few have meaningfully addressed in anything but the standard way one of the important issues it raises. I refer to the potential perception that duplicates are being used and the most common solution, that adopted by Vernon in Stars of Magic, having the cards signed. In my 1989 lecture notes, Stop Fooling Us!, I released my treatment of the plot ("wj Travellers," page 5). I paid little attention to this matter, simply acknowledging that the time lost by having the cards signed slowed the pace of the routine unaccept-ably. I might also have mentioned that my construction of the routine offered only one solution to the problem. I would then have had to admit that by the time I released the routine I had rethought the matter and resolved the problem in what I consider a unique way. That solution will be presented here for the first time. I should make it clear that, in my opinion, taking the time to have the cards signed is most often entirely acceptable. In an opening effect, however, which is how I use the Travelers, the sacrifice is too great. The solution that follows can be performed with or without having the cards signed.

I begin by asking someone to name any four of a kind. By asking a spectator for a favorite value and having them instantaneously appear on top of the deck, immediately before the Travelers portion of the routine begins, I effectively eliminate the possibility that I might be using duplicates. With either approach, the possibility of duplicates is structurally defeated from a spectator's point of view. Someone is bound to point out that four thirteen-card indexes, one in each of the four pockets, would allow a performer to accomplish the effect using duplicates and only one palming technique. No doubt this is true, and if someone elects to perform the routine in that way, so be it. This, not surprisingly, does not occur to lay people. Moreover, I can't imagine it would be much fun to perform the routine that way. Nevertheless, I concede, it is theoretically possible.

I was doing a lecture for a group of magicians when someone asked, "Why perform the Travelers without signed cards?" The questioner asserted that if the cards are not going to be signed, one might as well use duplicates. I have maintained that while it is true that one could conceivably use duplicates, the audience would sense the difference. My experience with the routine I had been performing since 1968, the version in my lecture notes, offers support for that assertion. The question, nevertheless, started me thinking and led to the routine that follows.

EFFECT: On the outside chance that you haven't put all the pieces together in your mind, here's what the spectators see. The performer spreads through the deck with the faces toward himself as he asks a spectator to name any value from Ace through King. The deck is immediately turned face down. The top four cards are removed. They are the named four of a kind. These four cards are openly placed into four different parts of the deck and the deck is given one cut. The performer then announces that the four cards have traveled, one to each of his four pockets. He tables the deck and proceeds to demonstrate the truth of his assertion.

SET-UP: Arrange the deck from top to bottom: four Aces, four Kings, four Queens... four Twos. The suit order should be consistent and known to you but it doesn't particularly matter what that order happens to be. When you remove the deck from its case, the Twos should be on the bottom.

1 After voicing whatever opening lines you usually use, turn to any spectator and say, "Would you name your favorite four of a kind, your favorite value?" Regardless of which value is named, immediately say, "That's amazing! Is there any way I could have known what value you would name?" As you say those words and the spectator answers, spread the top, bottom or middle of the deck, faces

- toward you, to the area where the value the spectator named lies. Form a fourth-

y ; finger break below the named four of a kind as you close the spread and lower your hands, revealing the Two on the face (unless the Twos are named, in which case you keep the face of the deck obscured).

2 Perform Dr. Daley's handling of the Hofzinser-Herrmann Turnover Pass (Stars of Magic, Series 7, No. 3, 1950, page 112). This results in the named four of a kind being brought to the top of the deck.

3 "A lot of magicians would now set about magically finding the four [name the value the spectator named]. Not me, I just start out with them on top of the deck, and that, of course, is absolutely impossible, since I couldn't have known which four of a kind you would name." Openly remove the top four cards from the deck one at a time, showing their laces and dropping them to the table. The audience will be surprised but may not spontaneously applaud. You will next need to incorporate the "Disordering" procedure that follows:


What I am about to describe is a unique task for a move. The task is the semi-secret disordering (mixing) of a deck under the guise of cutting it. This is unusual because we generally want to preserve or control the order of the cards while apparently mixing them. The odd situation this move addresses can, however, arise when an effect begins with the deck in what would be a visibly apparent order but must end with the deck in an apparently random order. This would be an easily solved problem if there was a reason to shuffle the deck during the effect; sometimes there isn't.

The mechanics behind my technique grew from one by Derek Dingle. He showed me his means for accomplishing the task more than twenty years ago, and eventually published it in The Complete Works of Derek Dingle ("Side Cut Faro Stack," 1982, page 134). Both techniques utilize a Faro Shuffle, however Off-Center and imperfect that Faro may be. Both techniques can appear to spectators as though the deck were merely being cut. Still, both techniques are significantly different and my application is, to the best of my knowledge, unique.

4 Hold the deck in left-hand Dealing Grip or right-hand Overhand Grip. Bring the hands together so the left hand can undercut what you estimate to be half the deck or less. As the left hand, with its cards, moves out from under the right hand's half deck, it should move diagonally left and forward.

5 Both hands come together as though the left hand were going to deposit its cards onto the right hand's cards. The left hand's top card should be higher than the right hand's top card. As the packets meet, the near right end of the left hand's packet should contact the left front side of the right hand's packet (Figure 96). If the right hand exerts pressure with its packet against the corner of the left-hand packet and slides the edge of the packet along that corner, the packets can be made to interweave rapidly (Figure 97).

6 As soon as the packets interweave, both hands 98

must lighten their grips as much as possible while maintaining control. The left packet should be moved diagonally right and inward, as though completing the cut (Figure 98). At some point, the packets will bind. When this occurs, both hands must convert to a squaring action to finish the apparent cut. Immediately do another Cut-Faro.

NOTE: The toughest part of this move is making it appear as effortless and casual as cutting the deck. This easy, unstudied look comes only with practice. Those who have a naturally light touch on the deck will acquire the move more readily. Those with a heavier touch must concentrate on lightening up for this technique. If you cannot perform this Cut-Faro Secret Disordering technique deceptively, it is possible to wait until after the named four of a kind are removed, then openly shuffle the deck before proceeding. This may be grossly illogical, as a deck that is believed to be in random order should not be mixed further, but it does not expose any part of the method. In other words, if you can't perform the technique, you need not forsake the effect.

APPLICATION NOTE: You may deal the four of a kind to the table and perform the two Cut-Faros before the Travelers portion of the routine begins, or you may perform one of the two Cut-Faros before the effect begins and the other near the end of the routine, just before you turn the deck face up to show that none of the named value are left in the deck (Step 21).

8 Bring your right hand to the front left corner of the pack, so the right first finger almost touches it. Pull in with the left-fourth finger, which moves the four-card block diagonally over the front left corner (Figure 99).

Pick up the four tabled cards, showing them to be, let us say, the four Aces. Turn them face down on the deck, obtaining a break with the left fourth finger, and square the cards.

Take all four cards as one, the right first finger along the front edge, screening its thickness. Break the pack about two-thirds of the way down with your left thumb. Insert the four Aces as one card, into the opening. Tip the deck sharply downward while the right hand remains in full contact with the still protruding block. When the deck is at a forty-five-degree angle to the floor, turn your left hand palm down as you simultaneously push the three upper Aces into the deck with your thumb while your right first finger remains in contact with the one remaining Ace. Show the face of this Ace—we'll say it's the Diamond—and turn the left hand again palm up.

10 Continue by inserting the top three cards of the deck at various points above the Aces. The audience will believe these to be the other three Aces. Push all four cards flush with the pack, forming a break above the lowermost card (the Ace of Diamonds). To do this I take advantage of the natural tendency of the deck to break at the point where the lowermost card has been inserted and execute a block Pull-Down. Others may wish to use a diagonal jog. Either is workable.

11 Cut the deck at the break and complete the cut. Three of the Aces go to the bottom, one to the top. This sequence constitutes the Veeser Bluff Multiple Shift, which originally appeared in Ed Mario's book, The Multiple Shift (1961, page 31). My variation in handling is minor.

12 As you spread the deck between your hands, obtain a left fourth-finger break above the bottom three cards and square the deck.

WJ BOTTOM PALM circa 1968

13 The following sequence of moves constitutes the WJ Bottom Palm. It is related to many previously published Bottom Palms and one as yet unpublished. It is, however, significantly different from all others both in timing and specific mechanics. Its closest relatives are the Zingone Bottom Palm (Expert Card Technique, 1940, page 62) and the LePaul Bottom Palm {The Magic of Paul LePaul, 1949, page 55). The deck is held in left-hand Dealing Grip, but the fourth finger holds a break above the cards to be palmed (three in this case). The left: first finger is curled beneath the deck and the near left corner of the bottom of the deck is in firm contact with the base of the thumb at the spot where that corner would be if the cards were palmed. When the time comes to make the Palm, the right hand takes the deck into Overhand Grip. The left hand breaks inward slightly at the wrist taking only the cards below the break along with it. The block to be palmed should pivot on the contact point at the base of the left thumb (Figure 100). Continue to pivot the block until the front right corner becomes firmly planted at a spot between the bases of the third and

fourth fingers of the right hand. The hands and cards stay in their positions until you are ready to palm. The left first finger should uncurl at some point before the actual palming action. When you want to take the cards into the left palm the action is simple: Straighten your left fingers and push with your right thumb. The cards go directly into Palm Position. From there they can be dealt with as required. The patter that covers this activity for me is "You may wonder why I took the Aces out of the deck only to then lose them. It's simple. If you didn't see me lose them you wouldn't believe they were lost. What I propose to do is to cause the Aces to vanish from the deck and travel, as if by magic, to each of my pockets. One here, one here, one here and one here." I tap the outside of my side and breast jacket pockets as I say the last part of the patter line. All this gesturing is more than adequate cover for the Palm.

14 In this instance, after returning from tapping the left side and breast pockets the Bottom Palm is completed. Continue to hold the deck in the left-hand dealing position but with all four fingers at the right side of the deck. Move the right hand away to tap the right side-pocket and your chest, over your inside breast pocket, then bring it back to the deck and palm the top card. I use Vernon's Top Palm (see "Topping the Deck" in Select Secrets, 1941, page 7). I think almost any Top Palm you can do smoothly will work if it is invisible and doesn't disturb or flash the cards palmed in the left hand.

15 Riffle the front end of the deck and say, "It's done!" Look at the audience and add, "You believe me don't you?" Some may say "yes," others "no." Pretend to hear only the believers. "Good, that means I don't have to show you." There will be some muttering from the audience, so you continue, "I guess you're going to make me show you. Okay." With your right hand, place the deck onto the table. As you do so, your left hand should fall to your side, naturally but very briefly. Remember that an empty hand would swing slightly before coming to rest: It should not come to an abrupt stop, nor should it rest longer than the time it takes to put the deck on the table.

16 Both hands should now move together to their respective side jacket pockets. Once inside, the right hand has nothing to do but transfer its Ace to a clipped position between the first and second fingers and come back out of the pocket with its Ace back to the audience (Figure 101).

17 The left hand must first take the Ace nearest the palm from under the other two. To accomplish this, curl the fingers

around the lower end of the Aces, grasping them. Press the thumb against the face of the Ace nearest the palm, at the lower left corner, and push upward (Figure 102). The card will move out to be taken between the thumb and the side of the first finger (Figure 103). That finger then moves around the edge of the card, leaving it clipped between the first and second fingers (Figure 104). The thumb moves behind the card and presses forward causing the card to rotate over the first finger as the second finger releases its grip (Figure 105). Adjust the other two Aces to a Gamblers Flat Palm (Figure 106). Now reclip the single Ace between the thumb, on the face, and first two fingers, on the back, with the back turned outward, and withdraw the hand from the pocket, using the pocket to help twist the card about ninety degrees between the two fingers, so that it is held near the non-index corner of its inner end when the hand exits the pocket. The description sounds complicated but the sequence is actually rather easy. Most of the position transfer takes place in the pocket and is, therefore, invisible. It should, nonetheless, be done quiedy and rapidly, though the action is somewhat constrained by the small space in which it must occur.

18 The right hand places its Ace face up on the table, then moves to the left hand to take its Ace, which is also placed face up on the table. As the right hand carries the left hand's Ace to the table, lean forward and move the left hand to the edge of your jacket, where you slip the inner end of the palmed cards just under that edge. The palmed cards enter deeper inside the jacket automatically as the left fingers grab the lapel. This is essentially Mario's Lapel Load technique hom Amazing Isn't It (1941, page 11).

19 The right hand enters the left side of the jacket, going all the way in to place the fingers at the edge of the inside pocket. The right wrist then bends sharply inward. The right first and second fingers clip the Ace nearest the left 107

palm (Figure 107) and draw it forth, as though from the inside jacket pocket. (If your pantomime skills are not refined, actually put the card into your pocket before you withdraw it.) This Ace is also deposited face up on the table.

The left hand, fingers still curled lightly, moves across your chest and into the jacket on the right side, carrying with it the last of the Aces. This Ace is produced as though from the right inside jacket pocket. The left hand brings out the fourth Ace and transfers it to the right hand, which drops it, to join the others, face up on the table. The spectators should start to applaud but stop them.

You then comment, "This effect wouldn't be very impressive if I had an extra set of Aces left in the deck." Pick up the deck, turn it face up and spread it widely across the table. "But I don't." The audience will look hard at the deck for a few moments and, therefore, will not react. You must let them know that their time for looking at the deck is up. Don't wait too long. Say, "I usually get a round of applause at this point." Begin the applause yourself, then pose to accept it with your hands out to your sides.

PERFORMANCE NOTES: This effect plays very strong. The reaction at the end, however, must be cued. The audience is left with the task of searching the deck. If you don't tell them that their time is up and that it's time to react, they will look until they give up in defeat. This is not the kind of reaction you want. I find that by using an effect of this type as an opener and prompting the audience for the well-earned applause, I accomplish two things. First, I set up ground rules that suggest when an effect is over the audience is to react to it, not puzzle over it. The message is that the magic is to be considered an entertainment, not a problem to be solved. Second, close-up magic doesn't have a standard set of theatrical conventions in the way other forms of performance do. That being the case, and like it or not it is, we must inform the audience what conventions prevail. Audiences like to applaud; it is their way of telling themselves, the others in the group and the performer that they enjoyed themselves. It is not a matter of the performer's ego that is at issue here but the audience's right to enjoy the experience. This should not be denied them.

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Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

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.

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