Genuine Blindfolds

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

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There are a certain number of excellent effects that can be performed while fully and genuinely blindfolded. The great majority of these depend upon a force or upon memorising. There are, of course, many self-working card feats that involve neither force nor memory, and these can just as well be done blindfolded as otherwise. The number of such card effects is far too great to be detailed here, but if the performer is anxious to present card tricks blindfolded, there is no lack of them. Greater Magic, Paul Clive's wonderful Card Tricks Without Skill, Hugard's Encyclopaedia of Card Tricks, Bruce Elliott's Phoenix, and the file of Annemann's Jinx will produce enough self-workers to last a lifetime.

Even many of the card effects that are not self-workers can be adapted to a blindfold routine. An example is the usual "Do As I Do" type of trick. Stripper decks, short cards, rounded corners, thick cards, and longs and shorts can be rung in most unscrupulously when doing blindfold magic. A bold "reader" or marked pack, which uses a system such as Ted Lesley's (it requires absolutely no memorisation and can easily be read with a downward glimpse), would lend itself to a smashing routine.

Other types of effects that could be done without seeing a thing would be the Book Test (force), Sum Tests (force), Living and Dead, with variations (force), the many Lock and Key effects (force), Giant Memory (memorising), Knight's Tour (memorising), the Clock Dial (force, varying each time the hand is spun), E.S.P. Tests (mainly forces) and many prediction and spirit effects that can be altered and adapted to fit the blindfold routine, where the performer, be it remembered, is not psychic nor telepathic, but merely able to sense what other people see.

As an example of adapting a well-known effect, I would mention the following: the performer is well and truly blindfolded with a genuine blindfold. A number is written on the blackboard, together with any other matter he may direct. He turns his head, still blindfolded to the blackboard, takes out a pencil and pad from his pocket, and writes on the pad. He then holds the pad above his head with one hand and takes off the blindfold with the other. He recapitulates what has been done, reads the numbers etc. from the board, and hands the pad to a member of the audience, who finds that the performer, while blindfolded, has duplicated what was written on the board.

The method? Simply a thumb writer and the ability to write with it while one is talking. Annemann's "Pseudo Psychometry" lends itself to genuine blindfold work, if the original instructions are varied a little. The effect, in brief, is that members of the audience are given envelopes, into which they are asked to place some article from their possession. The performer is blindfolded meanwhile, and the envelopes are handed to him. He takes one at

a time in his hand, and announces, after tearing open the envelope and handling the article it contains, to whom it belongs.

The original instructions called for a pencilled number inside each envelope, so that when the envelope was torn open, the number would be exposed to the performer's view. Long ago I gave up using the pencilled numbers, and now always use a method of identifying each envelope by touch. Envelopes are prepared beforehand by placing a of Seccotine or Durofix in a certain place on each. The positions vary for each number (Figure 29) so performer has only to run his thumb over each to identify each number, and consequently each person.

There is temptation here to identify each person's envelope before it is opened, but this should be avoided. After all, it is the articles and their owners that are being identified, and not the envelopes. The more thoughtful members of the audience would soon tumble to the secret, I think, if the envelopes alone were identified.

With a little thought, many other effects can be adapted in this manner. The main thing to remember is that some other sense has to replace the sense of sight. In the case of the envelopes, it is the sense of touch, but I see no reason why the senses of smell, taste, hearing and balance should not be enlisted as well.

Misdirection would have to be employed strongly, but there is always, at the performer's aid, the fact that the articles he is identifying are normally identified by sense of sight. It should not be too difficult, with practice, to recognise figures and letters chalked on a blackboard by the sound made in forming them with the chalk. Pencil reading is a comparatively simple task when using the eyes; chalk reading is almost as simple when using the ears. The use of other senses will nearly always be apparent when the magician gives a little thought to the matter.

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