When standing it is not likely that a passing waiter will spill beer or food over you. It is also easier to move out of his way.

People will never distract from your performance by leaning over your shoulder and making performing more difficult and tiring.

You will not be surrounded in a way which would make it difficult to leave the table quickly and without fuss. To create a disturbance when leaving a table would not look very good.

On arriving at a table you can start the very second you arrive. Having to arrange a chair for yourself can be a problem and a possible nuisance to the guests.

When performing standing people at other tables can see you. You are advertising yourself and thus increasing the possibility that you will be invited to perform for cither diners. If seated you may not be noticed by some people at other tables and miss out on an invitation to perform.

When moving from table to table there is often a tendency for people to follow you around and see the same tricks more than once. This creates problems with tricks like the 'Wild Card' in which, if the same cards are used each time the trick would become progressively less effective. For over two years I have been using the following routine with this particular effect' which was specifically designed for 'table hopping'.

At the first table the 8S changes into the 4H. At the next table I show a bunch of 4H (supposedly the same cards used at the first table) and these are changed into AS. At the next table the packet of AS become KH and later the KH changes into 8S.

People who follow me around become more and more impressed as they see a bunch of cards continually changing their denomination.

The idea can be used with most versions of Peter Kane's original conception. You will require double facers as follows — 4H/AS and KH/8S which are available from dealers, and KH/AS and 4H/8S which you will have to make up. Mine are made with Letraset pips. Also required are four little plastic wallets in which the sets of Wild Cards are placed.

Prior to performance I put the four wallets under my cumberbund in the proper sequence with the wallet for the first performance at the front. After showing the trick the cards are replaced in the wallet which is put back under the cumberbund BEHIND the other three. For each performance take out the front wallet and at the conclusion replace it behind the other three. After the fourth performance the cycle has been completed once, but by resetting the cards each time, the cycle can be repeated indefinitely.

What has now become known as close-up magic is almost impossible to define, and only of academic interest, excepting for those responsible for formulating the rules relating to this class of magic when organising competitions in their respective magical societies. The term now embraces what formerly came under such various headings as, impromptu magic, after dinner magic, pocket tricks etc, all of which imply the kind of magic and choice of tricks suitable for occasions where the performer is in close contact with the spectators, and vulnerable to certain hazards not so likely to be experienced by stage and platform performers.

These hazards include comments from spectators desirous of catching the performer out to actually grabbing the performer's hand or apparatus.

There is a world of difference between intimate performances for lay audience and the problems they impose, and what has become to be regarded by magicians as close-up magic when performing for their colleagues. The atmosphere in the latter is one in which the audience is there because they love magic and are sympathetic to the performer and prepared to accept a lower standard of entertainment than would an audience of non-magicians. Furthermore they are prepared to turn a blind eye to unnatural and suspicious moves that would bring a disconcerting vocal comment from uninhibited and less polite members of a lay audience.

In addition to this inbuilt protection a further insurance is provided by the organisers — a luxury not available outside the magicians clubroom. They make every effort to position the performer's table so that he is not subject to having his tricks exposed by spectators being behind him or seated at 'bad angles'.

It is within this artificial environment that magicians perform 'close-up' magic, and as a consequence choose material suited to the conditions provided for a special kind of audience. The end result of their efforts is usually an act which can rarely be performed other than at functions arranged by their colleagues. In short, they have a close-up act which in most cases cannot be performed as a complete unit under conditions outside the magic scene. 730

There is one place in which similar conditions can be obtained — in one's own home. Here one has a captive audience which can be persuaded to sit in advantageous positions as the magician sets up his table. This procedure seems somewhat pretentious and reminiscent of a tiny tot doing his or her party piece for indulgent aunts and uncles.

Much effort has been expended by many magicians in devising such acts and in consequence have given much pleasure to other magicians, but it is important to recognise that, with very few exceptions, these acts have a limited appeal to lay audiences.

This simple assessment of magicians magic may seem self-evident to those with experience of performing magic outside the cloistered confines of their magic clubroom, but the ambitious youngster may not be so readily aware that the magic he sees when magicians are entertaining each other has little relevance to what is required when entertaining non-magicians. Even as he watches informal groups he may be misled into believing that he is acquiring valuable knowledge without realising that the essential ingredient, is, almost without exception, missing from tricks shown during these sessions — an entertaining presentation.

He will also on occasion attend lectures given by others whose tricks and minds are orientated towards entertaining their fellow magicians, and will in consequence become further indoctrinated, which, if his original intention of joining a magical society was to gain knowledge that would result in making his performances more acceptable to lay audience he will be mistaken.

Let me quote from a personal experience which illustrates perfectly the point I am making. After attending a very successful lecture demonstration by a non-professional three of us, including the lecturer, went for a meal. Within minutes he was entertaining a young lady with tricks and later remarked "That is what I do for laymen." Not one of the tricks he performed was part of his lecture programme.

More recently Johnny Paul, who has been performing close-up magic professionally for several decades, entertained magicians without explaining the methods by which his effects were achieved. All the effects shown were part of his regular programme and was a valuable lesson in presentation. It was apparent when listening to the observations made following the performance that the majority found it less acceptable than the lecture demonstration referred to above.

What the beginner in magic must understand, if he wishes to entertain lay people is that he must be a PERFORMER, and that is something he will never learn by associating with other magicians.


Andrew Pargeter

The Elmsley Count

To perform the Elmsley Count, the grip of the right hand on the cards is slightly different. The cards are held between the right hand thumb and first finger only at the right hand bottom corner, the sides of the thumb and finger being parallel to the lower edge of the cards. See sketch. You may care to try this hold with the Haitiman Count, but it is not recommended for more than five cards as it does allow the cards more freedom to slip out of line. The procedure for the count is as follows.

The first card is counted off in exactly the same manner as the first card in the Hamman Count. As the right hand approaches the left, hand to count the second card two movements take place. The left hand forefinger pushes back the first card as it did for the Hamman Count enabling it to be clipped by the right hand. The thumb of the right hand pushes on the edge of the two top cards it holds sliding them to the left as one card.

As they jneet the left hand the left thumb and forefinger grip the two cards as one taking them from the right hand at the top right hand corner and the right hand first and second finger clip back the first card. The two cards now in the right hand are counted as the third and fourth cards.

Notes: With practice it will be found that the first card can be clipped back between the thumb and first finger as in tfce original method, making the count even more deceptive.

When holding the cards in the right hand, the thumb and first finger should press together over the edge of the cards to prevent them from swivelling out of line.

The Jordan Count

The right hand grip is as for the Hamman Count and the first card counted off as already described for this count, but as the second card is counted off the forefinger of the left hand pushes back the first card jogging it towards the performer beneath the second card.

As the two remaining cards are brought over they are counted as one into the left hand and, at the same time, the injogged first card is clipped back by the first and second fingers of the right hand. It is then counted as the fourth card.

Notes: The clipping back of the first card is done mainly by the second finger of the right hand performing a gliding action beneath the^card drawing it back until the first finger and thumb fall back naturally onto thé card.

This count may, at first, seem to be the most difficult to perform using the multi-count, technique, but once mastered, it does overcome the problem encountered by many performers in counting the second card with the orthodox technique i.e. when drawing off the second card, it is often found that the third card tends to come with it, leading to an awkward fumbling which destroys the illusive quality of the sleight.

Jordan Variation — The Siva Count

This is a count that was published by Jack Avis designed to hide the middle card of a five card packet as the cards are counted singly as four. The following method achieves a similar result but uses a different setup.

The card to be hidden starts at the bottom of the packet. This is, in fact, an advantage as it can be stolen with a fan add-on move.

The cards are now counted singly from the right hand to the left using the holds described for the Hamman Count, the only 'move* being that the last two cards are placed over as one. The packet is then turned over and the same count is done except that when you come to the third card you actually push over two cards as one and then count the last card over singly.

The concealed card is now in the centre of the packet and you can reveal it as you wish.

Note: The two card push-over is the same as the one described in the Elmsley Count.

Edward Victor's 'Eye* Count

This is the simplest of the counts to perform, and if the counts described so far have been mastered, no trouble should be experienced in performing it.

The grip of the right hand is as in the Hamman Count. The first card is counted off in

the usual way. The remaining two cards are then placed as one into the left hand while at the same time the original first card is pushed back by the first finger of the left hand and clipped back by the right hand. This card is then counted normally as the third card.

Count Variations

While experimenting with the counts described so far it occurred to me that it would also be possible to introduce a left hand little finger break into the technique and whilst this was not necessary for these counts I found that it could be used to produce variations of the Jordan and Elmsley Counts that seemed intriguing. These will now be described.

Jordan Variation

Start with the normal setup for the Jordan Count. The right hand grip is as described for the Hamman Count.

The first card is counted in the usual way. Now, as the second card is counted off, the little finger of the left hand is inserted under it forming a break. The two remaining cards are then placed as one into the left hand but, as this is done, it will be found that the bteak enables the first and second fingers of the right hand to clip back the second card which is then counted o\fer as the fourth card.

Notes: This count conceals the bottom card of a four card packet and leaves it third from the top as in the Jordan Count. The differences are that it leaves the other cards in a different order and is, I feel, easier to perform.

Elmsley Variation

Start with the setup used in the Elmsley Count and the grip as described in this article for the count.

The first card is counted in the usual way. The next two cards are now pushed as one by the right hand and, as they are taken by the left hand, a little finger break is obtained under them. The third card is now counted over and in the process the two cards above the break are clipped back by the first and second fingers of the right hand. These two cards are then counted as one completing the apparent four card count.

Notes: You must be careful not to spread the two caids as they are clipped back and counted as one.

You will find that at the end of this count the concealed card is second from;the top in the packet. This means that*the packet can then be flipped over and counted with the normal Elmsley Count and the same card will still be concealed. I feel this has great potential.

The moves with the little finger break described in the above two counts can also be used to produce more false counts where cards are counted as being more or less in number than they really are.

Further Notes on Technique

At the beginning of this article I described two right hand grips that were to be used in the various counts. Variations of these grips are, of course, possible and you should experiment until you find the grip that suits you best.

I find that all these counts become even more convincing if the cards are taken by the left hand with a slight snapping action. This is achieved by rolling the left hand in a clockwise direction by a small amount as it takes cards.

Aim to give the impression that the left hand thumb is takirig cards from the right hand even when those cards are actually being placed or pushed into the left hand.

A False Count

To count a packet of cards as less than there are or more than there are the same technique as for the Hamman Count is used, but the switch is done at different points in the count. For example, a packet of seven face down cards can be counted as five if the switch is made on the third count. To count the same number as nine cards the switch is done on the fifth card.


Once the techniques for the above counts have been mastered it will be found that there are many other variations possible. This is because the switch, the push off move from the Elmsley Count, and the injog move of the Jordan Count can be employed in various combinations. I am sure that you will find other possibilities and I wish you as much pleasure in experimenting with this technique as I have had.

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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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