The girl who can't dance says the band can't play.
The move that separates the men from the boys, the great reputation maker, the shining star in the cardician's firmament is the Pass. Of all the moves in the arsenal, it arouses the most controversy. Magicians divide sharply along battle lines. Some say it can't be done invisibly; others argue it can. Some say it isn't needed; we have other techniques for producing the same result. Others argue for the directness of the Pass. Each individual tends to choose sides based primarily on whether he can do a Pass. The truly interested observer finds both sides are right and both sides are wrong; and I say that as one who feels very confident about the indetectability of my Pass. The problem, it seems to me, arises from misunderstanding the move. No Pass can be done invisibly without the hands being in motion. The reason is simple: The two packets cannot be made to clear each other without movement occurring at the top, at least one side and the bottom of the deck. With three areas to cover, it would be an unusual position at best that would allow the Pass to be completed without a flash of some kind, somewhere. By that definition, the Pass cannot be made invisible. Many, if not most other moves would fail the same invisibility test. The Pass must be done with the hands in motion. Fortunately, this is the normal state of affairs. The Spread Pass can be totally invisible from the front and the right. The Turnover Pass is invisible from all sides except the bottom, but the hands and the deck must be in motion and no single action is satisfactory for every situation. Mario's Wrist-Turn Passes are invisible from most angles but they have a tell-tale action. Riffle Passes, in the hands of Derek Dingle or Ken Krenzel, or even myself, are invisible, but they have a great deal of movement associated with them. The Jiggle Pass, Black Pass, Sprong Pass and many others can and have been done invisibly. There is, at least in my mind, no doubt that the Pass can be done invisibly. The problem is the action, timing and tailoring to the situation in which the sleight is to be used. Amazingly, most, if not all, magicians I have seen use the Pass have succeeded at making it invisible to the eye, but not deceptive to the mind. The reasons vary. The Pass must flow from the action that precedes it to the action that follows it, and it rarely does. I could probably write another ten pages on this subject, but I'll include here instead six new Pass treatments that illustrate the point.
Almost every description I have ever read of the Pass is wrong in at least one major respect, the initial action of the top packet. Only once have I heard an explanation of the Pass (one that is available to the magic public) that is correct on this major point. I won't name that source because, while the individual executes the Pass very well, it's always evident, at least to me, that he's doing a Pass. Part of the reason I know he is doing the Pass is his hand positions, and part is his cover action or, more correctly, lack thereof. His attitude and body language, however, are the big tip-offs. I raise these points because they are the main reason most magicians know when their fellows are doing a Pass. This need not be true; but the foregoing factors coupled with my earlier comments contribute to the belief that the Pass cannot be made indetectable, which, of course, is what is really meant by "invisible." The six Passes I'm including, each in its way, are incorporated into actions that make them indetectable. The attitude and body language you'll have to work out for yourself, but I will give you one important tip: Stop looking at your hands. It is bad enough that when most Passes are performed, both hands must be on the deck. If your eyes are also on the deck it is clear to anyone watching that there is nothing else worth watching. Misdirecting becomes nearly impossible. With this in mind, read on.
Each of the following Passes approach the problems of the Pass uniquely. I will warn you, because they approach the task of creating an invisible and indetectable Pass from a different perspective from most approaches that have seen print, they may be difficult to understand. For most Pass techniques, cover is an afterthought. In these Passes, technique and cover are integrally related. They can only be truly understood with cards in hand. Even then it will take effort to get any of them working well enough to permit one to evaluate the elements that produce the increased deceptiveness. Trust that each has been used under fire and I am fully confident of their deceptiveness and invisibility.
the basic position
ALL passes but the last described in this section start from the Basic Position. All modifications will be noted within the descriptions of the individual techniques.
Hold the deck in left-hand Dealing Grip with a break held by the flesh of the fourth fingertip. When it comes time to execute the Pass, the fourth finger will enter this break—however, all my Passes are done with as little of the fourth finger as possible in the break while still allowing me to maintain control of the packet. Do not insert the middle phalange into the deck! This is one of the hardest tendencies to fight, since there is a strong inclination to dig deeper to compensate for a lack of fourth-finger strength. This tendency must be resisted or the top packet will swing wider and lower as it clears the bottom one.
The left second and third fingers are curled around the right side of the deck. The front right corner of the deck rests firmly against the inside edge (not the surface) of the left first finger. Figure 241 ___ 24J
shows the left hand's grip, with the right hand omitted. You must be able to control the top packet of the deck with this grip and you must be able to tip the packet rapidly to its edge with only the fourth fingertip under the upper packet.
NOTE: The most important difference between these first five Passes and most others, which points up the mistake in every published description of the Pass, is this ability to control the top packet with very little fourth-finger purchase. This control also takes the longest to develop. Until it is sufficiently developed you will be inclined to drag the top card of the
lower packet along with the upper packet. Most people don't have enough strength in their fourth fingertip to maintain the necessary control, resulting in the use of too much finger or the aforementioned drag.
Speed is important to the indetectability of the Pass, though not to its invisibility. You need explosive strength to attain this speed. This involves the white (fast twitch) muscle fibers, which are harder to develop. The difference between fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers has never, to my knowledge, been explored as it relates to sleight-of-hand. It is the difference between the musculatures of weight lifters' (fast twitch) and body builders' (slow twitch) development. It might be possible to develop techniques that increase the speed of the Pass by emphasizing these fibers but I have not concentrated on doing so, as I have already developed the requisite strength and speed.
Finally, anytime both hands are in contact with the deck there must be an apparent reason, apart from the actual one, that this contact occurs and is sustained. Apart from the Automatic Pass, where the reason is left to the performer, each of the Passes I offer includes its own internal reason. This doesn't give one license to maintain the suspicious position, both hands on the deck, for any longer than is justified by the covering rationale. You must, therefore, be extremely comfortable with the Basic Position and any adjustments to it required by the particular technique you intend to perform. Any adjustment to the position of the deck in the hand that holds it—the left in all these Passes—that is not part of the apparent action, increases the duration of the suspect hand position. This must always be considered and reduced to a minimum. This argues for always practicing the Pass in its complete performance frame, including the actions that precede and follow it.
The position of the right hand must also be understood. The first finger and thumb are the gripping fingers. The first finger holds the extreme left front corner of the bottom packet, the thumb the extreme left back corner of the same packet (Figure 242). The second fingertip, which does major work in
some of my Passes, must extend far enough past the bottom card to be able to exert upward pressure on the bottom of the deck.
NOTE: While many will argue against the use of the second finger as a source of motive force, a little experimentation will assure you that the pull of the second finger can be made totally indetectable. Any perceptible movement of the second finger is, to the extent it is noticeable, attributed to normal squaring. Watch yourself square a deck at the fingertips and you will notice that most of the work is done by the right second finger and thumb, and the left second finger and thumb.
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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.