Should you by any chance be cycling in Scotland and find yourself freewheeling uphill you will most certainly be on Electric Brae where the configuration of the landscape creates what is Britain's best known optical illusion.
You will also be within a few miles of Ayr, the venue of the 24th Annual Convention of the Scottish Association of Magical Societies an event which most certainly lives up to the words of President Bill McBrinn as being 'The Friendly Convention'. We were made most welcome, being introduced as representing TUBULAR' which is probably more descriptive of our methods of production than the existing title, which is 'food for thought'. When, following our introduction, the chairman announced that 'Bob Read will now lecture' we realised who was responsible for the twist on our title. Based on his book 'Thanks to Pepys' with some bonus items which included some of his 'Bits of Business' from 'PABULAR', he proved the practibility of his printed material. For the close-up performer, and, possible for others, this was undoubtedly the highlight of the Convention.
Readers may also be aware that Ayr is also the home town of John Ramsay who Peter Warlock described in the Souvenir Programme of the Convention as 'the greatest international close-quarter magician these islands have produced'. Andy Galloway took us on a guided tour and pointed out the little grocer's shop which Ramsay had owned and the door through which some of the 'greats' had passed to be mystified and entertained by this master of misdirection. And he showed us the cul-de-sac just round the corner where Johnny watched the buskers and learned their tricks.
He also observed that 1977 would be the anniversary of Ramsay's birth, an event that most certainly will be commemorated and what better than with a close-up convention in Ayr?
The Gaming Board for Great Britain in their annual report regret that 1974 may well be noted as 'the year of the cheat'. Properties found during police enquiries included inks for marking cards, glasses and contact lenses. It seems that amateur sharpers are appearing on the gambling scene. No mention is made in the Report that patrons of casinos are being lured from these places into hotels and other places for a 'friendly' game and taken for a ride. Maybe you think this is confined chanced to mention that a certain card player was extremely lucky and never seemed to lose. It appeared that this lucky (?) player invited some acquaintances back to his home for a few drinks after a session at the local casino and after a while a school was in progress — and the host was being the lucky player. At our suggestion our friend managed to bring away one of the aces from the pack used. It happened to be of a pattern readily obtainable and it was easily possible to see even without being compared that it had part of the pattern scratched off. In this particular case this marking was crudely done but there are methods that are extremely subtle. We have in the past been invited to examine a pack for evidence of marks and after a couple of hours failed to find any, finally admitting defeat and be shown. The method of marking used, has not, as far as we know appeared in print, and the ends of the pack could be riffled until the 'cows come home' without the pattern dancing as it does with most methods of marking cards.
Probably the most effective thing that can be done with a pack of cards before an audience of card players is to create in their minds that you have the ability to deal yourself a winning hand as and when required. Here is a simple method for showing how to win at Pontoon or Black Jack. It requires a set-up as follows. From the top, the first four cards must be any other than aces, tens, or picture cards, followed by the four aces, then sixteen comprised of face cards and tens, and then the remainder of the pack. Request someone to say how many players, five, six, seven, or eight. False shuffle retaining the stack, at the same time saying you are setting up a good hand for yourself. Deal out the cards face up into the requested number of hands and you will receive an ace and a ten or picture and being the banker will win. The stack of twenty cards can be in the bottom half and remain there undisturbed while performing a few tricks with the upper section of the pack. When ready to perform the above simply turn the pack face up and cut at four cards to the left of the aces.
First magician: 'I saw old so-and-so's show last night.'
Second magician: 'What did you think of it?" First magician: 'Not much.' Second magician: 'What did he do?' First magician: 'All the old stuff, die-box. egg-
bag, rings etc.' Second magician: 'Did the audience like it?' First magician: 'Oh, yes but It's worth a thought.
KAN'T TEAR PAPER (2"x3") 100 Blanks Plus 12 SEX GAG CARDS £2.00 ($ 5.00) 'TOM'FITZGERALD, 2814 Washington St., Wilmington, Dela. — 19802 U.S.A.
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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.