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Many years ago I encountered an old effect wherein a solid steel ring was passed on to an arm whilst the hand was held by another person. It was presented as a mediumistic trick, the ring supposedly materialising on the arm. The effect in itself was powerful but lacked interest as it was necessary to put out all the lights in order to perform it. For the seance room, that was alright, but for use in the field of magic it was impractical. Because of this I more or less forgot about the trick.
Some time later, my good friend Sid Emons happened to be in my Studio and having some visitors present, he decided to show them an old stunt which would be entertaining. It turned out to be a modification of the ring on arm but this time it was presented as an effect performed on one person — and whilst that person was completely baffled, the rest of the audience — though not baffled, were indeed very amused. It seemed too incredible for words that anyone could be fooled so easily. It became apparent that what the trick lacked in one sense (it did not fool all) it certainly made up for in another (it entertained everybody). Having seen this, I decided to work on it.
One day Jon Tremaine came in to see me and we discussed the ring on arm. For five hours we experimented with the trick; every variation that was known was tried, new ideas were tested. Out of the many abortions came two or three strong ideas, and later, given more time to work those ideas I founded the basis of this routine.
The Powers of Darkness can hardly be called a new magical effect. The fraternity have been cluttered up with rings on sticks, off sticks and through sticks for many years. What is new is the approach. The routine is presented as a demonstration of psychology — not conjuring. It is devised to show how a man can be deceived when deprived of one of his senses — that of vision. The name of the routine explains that in the dark, the performer is gifted with new powers. The subject or spectator having his eyes closed is in the dark. If the routine was presented when the subject could see, it would look silly and fool nobody. But under the cloak of darkness, without vision, the spectator would be sure to gamble a fortune that you could not achieve what you do! To them, there is no explanation.
The audience will see what you do and how you do it. If any one of them is able to go away and do the same it will be exceptional. First they must have the equipment and second, having seen you do it only once — they must know move by move how to proceed. There are many moves and any one of them omitted will quite probably fail the trick. It becomes a curious position; you show the audience what to do and how to do it. and after that they cannot repeat the same! If any man has ability to remember every move you make, and has the necessary equipment to do the effect and that man wants to do it — he will be as successful as you. But it will take a clever man to remember the routine on one show.
Before the demonstration begins, a suitable opening address should be given. As a preliminary, the subject chosen is seated and then asked if he thinks his senses (i.e. that of sight, hearing, smelling, feeling and taste) are normal. To "test"
the important senses you hold a coin up and ask him "Can you see this?" and then take copper and silver coins and giving them both to the subject say "Will you feel which one is the copper one and give it to me?" Then you drop either one or both and ask "Can you tell by sound which coin I have dropped on the floor?" These tests, all being easy, will result in correct replies from the subject. You appear satisfied with the results, explain that you were indeed testing his senses to see if they were normal and say they are. You now propose to demonstrate how normal senses can be deceived; how you can be made to feel something, when there is nothing there, to hear something when all is silent and so forth.
The subject is seated in a chair and you sit opposite him. (Under special conditions, the routine may be performed whilst both stand). You want him to be at ease, so you explain very clearly that you are going to perform a few simple tests. These tests will not hurt in any way and no embarrassment will be caused. He is to close his eyes when you tell him to do so, and to keep them tightly closed until told to open them. Explain that you do not want to use a blindfold so you will trust him to keep his eyes closed. You may add that he will enjoy the experiment much more if he plays the game and does not peep — it will not be amusing for him if he looks.
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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.