sand readers, Kirlian photography, numerologists, crystal ball gazers and even the old button on a piece of thread sex detector was being worked to test peoples 'vibes'. A reporter from the local radio station was also there to interview the operators — her final comment was that she had never before seen so many nutters under one roof. Obviously she had never been to a magic convention.
Magicians are an odd lot. During a recent debate at the Magic Circle on 'Should magic and mentalism be mixed' a show of hands indicated that well over half included some kind of mental effect i.e. a prediction, book test etc in their acts, yet the final vote decided that they were not in favour of mixing the two. The attempt to separate magic from mentalism is confined to magicians and is of no concern to audiences who are only there to be entertained. No doubt most magicians would call David Berglas a mentalist, and happening to be present he was able to say that he attached no such label to himself, adding that he included hypnotism, table lifting and pocket picking in his performances.
Again — let us take the attitude of magicians towards Uri Geller. Here was a man who had a great impact on audiences with 'mental' or is it 'psychic' performances. What was the reaction of magicians? There were inevitably those who jumped onto the band wagon only to fall off again before getting much of a ride, and the 'exposers'. No doubt the latter gentry benefitted both with the publicity they received and financially, but what is the justification in 'giving the game away when no-one is getting hurt. Had Geller been resorting to the unsavoury practises such as those of the so-called psychic surgeons there would have been good reasons for an exposure campaign. «
The point I am making is a paradoxical one. Why did so many mentalists — and magicians, who are endeavouring by the use of their acting ability and showmanship, to impress others, albeit momentarily, that they have some magical power wish to denigrate someone who was a success in this area? Surely Geller has proved to be the greatest close-up magician of this era. From the point of view of the layman this is beyond question, but maybe magicians think otherwise because as stated earlier — they are an odd bunch.
Following the above mentioned debate and after the meeting a few were gathered together over a pint and one — a mentalist — claimed that his audiences did not suspect that he was using trickery and was totally against the use of mental effects by magicians on the grounds that if they happened to be his effects — or similar — he would lose credibility. -^
Doubt was expressed about the possibility of the average mentalist being able, to convince a lay audience that his performance was 'genuine'. The general consus of opinion was that the majority would believe that there was 'something in this psychic business', providing the performer had sufficient talent as an actor and they were unaware that he did tricks. Given this — he could convince the majority of his 'gift'.
The gullibility of people who by their very nature have to believe in something is really astounding. They are extremely vulnerable to all kinds of chicanery and will seek the help of anyone they believe are gifted with unusual powers to dispel their fears, give hope of future good fortune, or get into touch with departed loved ones.
That this is so, can easily be proved by anyone willing to have a go. Some time back Walt Lees did so — working an act combining astrology with mindreading. To his surprise and embarrassment he was beseiged by members of his audience with requests for information usually provided by fortunetellers and the like, and only being interested in presenting the act as entertainment ceased forthwith.
It would seem to be that the lesson to be learnt from this is — if you wish the audience to regard you as a magician, i.e. someone having real magical powers, is to become a mentalist. Better not to advertise yourself as such as you may be regarded as being involved in psychiatry — which is not unlikely — one way or another.
It's always a pleasure to know that effects appearing in this magazine are being worked. Recently Stephan Stamm visited this country and has been using Andy Galloway's Pegasus Coin which was the first effect to appear in Pabular being on the front page of Vol. One No. One. Since his return home he has written in praise of Bob Hamilton's For Nudists Only waying 'this fantastic trick will be a regular feature in my programme'. Others to shower praise on this effect are Roy Walton, Gordon Bruce and Peter Duffie. Another boost to our morale came from Jeff Busby who in a recent leaflet observed 'It's a fine magazine. The material is generally good and the graphics and production haven't been equalled by any other close-up magazine on the market'. Mentioning the above gives me the opportunity to say 'Thank you' to the contributors who make it possible by generously presenting us with their pet effects for all to share.
Phil Goldstein writes — regarding the following which appeared in this column a couple of months back. 'It distresses me to read that "no. . . pains are suffered by the practising performer because his work fails to reach some hypothetical artistic heights. . ." There would seem to be an ongoing misconception in magic that one is either entertaining or artistic. To me, the two terms can and must co-exist. There is a modern prejudice which assumes that if something is based on "artistic standards", it Is thus by definition be "highbrow" and "boring". I disagree. To create magic that is entertaining is in and of itself artistry, requiring all of the dedication and effort that word suggests. I realise that there is a semantic problem here, but all too often I have encountered magicians who seem to feel that they've no need to reach for any standards, as long as their work "goes over". One need only consider those close-up entertainers who are known specifically for their entertainment value — such as A1 Goshman, Bob Read, John Thompson, Del Ray, Ricky Jay, Flip, Harry Lorayne, etc etc etc. Each of these gentlemen is an artist, holding to high standards for the sake of entertainment. I feel very strongly that a magician must "impose his own conceptions of what he considers the art of magic to be" — to not to do this is to produce poor magic. Simply, I believe that one cannot be a good magical entertainer without being a good magician" — end of quote.
I will respond to the above in a future issue when space and time permits a considered reply.
Magicians with seaside engagements are now at their venues. Kevin Davie is in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight with his vent act, and Simon Lovell at the Berwick Holiday Centre. Both will welcome a visit from magicians, especially close-uppers.
Next month's issue will be filled with contributions from Scottish readers when we shall be 'Remembering Ramsay'.
THE M.W. VANISHING PACK Mark Weston
During my cabaret act, about midway I perform a series of card effects, these are all feature items such as Bullet Hole Through Card etc, at the conclusion of this card routine there remain four spectators holding the last four cards from roughly ten spectators each of whom chose one card at the beginning of the sequence. Unknown to the audience these are the last four cards which will enable me to conclude my card routine with the pack vanish. As I then have no cards with which to continue I pass on to other miscellaneous magic in order to conclude the act. There are certain golden rules to be applied in vanishe.s of this type, a psychological approach being necessary throughout, the audience are led up the garden path so to speak, the following points must be observed :-
The audience must never ever be aware that the pack will disappear.
The correct amount of misdirection is required, this must be so timed that the performer has all the time in the world in which to effect the vanish.
Briefly I have the four spectators hold up their cards so that everyone except myself can note each chosen card, during this I turn away from the audience so that I will not see any of the chosen cards, I then tell everyone this is the last thing I am going to do with cards and I am collecting the four cards in a fan still showing their faces to the audience, next I insert the four cards into the pack and the cards are shuffled after which I drape a handkerchief over the pack which is held in my LEFT hand. I tell the audience that I will remove one card from the pack WHICH WILL NOT BE ONE OF THE CHOSEN CARDS, this is checked by a gentleman on my left and the card, despite my statement to the contrary is found to be one of those four chosen cards.
Nevertheless I proceed to remove a second card from under the hank again assuring the audience that this will NOT be one of the chosen cards. . and again the card proves to be another of the four selections. In dismay now I produce a third and fourth card from under the hank and I have accidently found the four chosen cards so audience begin to applaud. . . But I stop them. . . still holding the pack in my left hand covered with a hank, and I tell them the trick has gone wrong and that what I intended to do was make the four cards disappear. . . "BUT INSTEAD I VANISHED THE PACK". . . as I say this I whip the hank off my left hand. . . usually amid gasps from the spectators.
A normal pack of cards.
A coat with an empty left side pocket, this is to contain the pack after the vanish.
During the run-up to this effect, you will be facing the audience and should take note of a handy gentleman on your left side as he will be important to the vanish, someone sitting at the end of the front row is ideal, and during the action you must time everything so that you are in the exact position in relation to this man at the correct time. The gentleman is never aware of the assistance he gives the performer at any time and he is just as stunned as the remainder of the audience in conclusion.
The actual performance including patter which is an essential part of the routine is as follows:-
"Now hold up your cards please, how many are there?. . ., Four. . . when I turn around show the cards to all the audience. . . don't let me see the cards. . . come back second house and I'll finish the trick."
"Hide them from me now (turn to face audience) this is card number one (take from spectator as described) and card number two cards three and four." (cards are displayed in a fan).
"I am now going to push the cards half way in the pack like this, (the four cards are inserted half way into pack in readiness for the multiple card shift, I prefer the card shift for this routine but I could use the Hindu shuffle or any similar false shuffle that brings the four cards to the top of the pack in conclusion).
"These are the last four cards. . .this is the last thing I am going to do with cards, so I push the four cards into the pack and then shuffle off like this, (suit actions to words), I didn't always do this for a living. . .used to work on the halls . . .but now I only do one night stands. . .ONE NIGHT'S ALL THE AUDIENCE CAN STAND!"
Cards are now held in left hand mechanics grip style and the right hand covers the pack with a hank from the breast pocket, the performer's right side to audience from hereon until the vanish. Once hank is covering cards the left hand thumb counts the top four chosen cards and a break is held between these and the pack.
We are now approaching the vital part of the routine, so read very carefully from hereon with cards in hand.
Casually cross to the position of the gentleman on your left side but stop just out of his reach. . .so he would have to stretch in order to touch your extended arm. . .about five feet is correct. . .patter to the audience as you cross the floor. . ."Now I am going to take one card from the pack. . .and THIS WILL NOT BE ONE OF THE FOUR CHOSEN CARDS. . .it will be a different card entirely." Reach under hank with right fingers taking hold of one of the four chosen cards BUT DO NOT REMOVE THIS CARD YET. . .look at the gentleman on your left and say "I want you to look at this card.. . show it to the audience. . .and make sure it is not one of the four cards.". . .Now and only now, after you have primed the man and the audience do you remove the card from under the hank. TAKE CARE THAT THE GENTLEMAN OR INDEED ANYONE IN THE ROOM DOES NOT SEE THE FACE OF THE CARD. . .NOW AS YOU HAND THIS CARD TO THE GENTLEMAN YOU ARE GOING TO VANISH THE PACK OR AT LEAST DISPOSE OF THE PACK FOR THE TIME BEING. HERE'S HOW. . .follow the moves carefully :-
The left hand is holding the pack under the hank with a break between the chosen cards. . . the right hand removes one card and this is handed to the spectator on your left as stated. . . now as soon as his fingers take the said card (and he must be made to reach out for the card in order to put as much distance as possible between the man and the performer) the RIGHT HAND RETURNS TO THE LEFT, GRIPPING THE THREE REMAINING CARDS AT THE FRONT OF THE PACK THROUGH THE HANK. . .and the left hand which holds the pack DROPS TO THE LEFT SIDE AND DISPOSES OF THE PACK INTO THE LEFT COAT POCKET. . .THE LEFT HAND THEN IMMEDIATELY RETURNS TO ITS FORMER POSITION TAKING HOLD OF THE THREE REMAINING CARDS AND ALLOWING THE RIGHT HAND TO FREE ITSELF FROM THE LEFT AND ITS HOLD OF THE THREE CARDS . . .THE DEED IS DONE. . .
You have ample time to effect the vanish, timing being the important thing. Now the audience are saying that you have found one of the chosen cards, so you say, "Well that cannot be right. . .what about the six of clubs: is this one of the four? (remove another chosen card from under hank and display) it IS. . .well the trick's going wrong." (remove next two cards one at a time) "What about the four of spades. . . (audience begin to clap because you have found four lost cards. . .so you stop them) — is this one of the four?" "IT IS?. . .Oh, well the thing's gone wrong. . .NO. . .NO don't clap. . .just throw bricks wrapped in pound notes. . .1 must get a card that is not one of the four." (remove last selected card and display. . .keep left hand in same position fingers spread to simulate the pack under the hank). As you bring out the last selected card you will need to hold up your right hand in order to stem the applause as you say. . ."NO THE TRICK'S GONE WRONG. . . what I set out to do was make these four cards vanish. . .but instead I vanished the pack." (here you whip off the hank and take a bow).
This is a very difficult routine to explain on paper, hence you really need to see it in action and remember the vital points. What is happening from a practical viewpoint is that during the act all eyes are on you the performer. . .by conditioning your audience when the first card is removed from under the hank they are curious to see this card so they take their eyes from you and try to see the gentleman with the card. . . every person in the audience will follow the card with their eyes until the card is shown or seen by everyone, there is further delay as the gentleman looks at the card before he shows the card around. . .the man always hesitates because you have assured him "IT WILL NOT BE ONE OF THE FOUR CHOSEN CARDS." He knows you would not tell a lie, and your words conflict with his thoughts on the four selections . . .he does not know if you have made the mistake or himself. . .so he puts the blame on himself naturally. . .all this gives you more time for the disposal of the pack." Try the routine and don't be afraid of it. . .it is the best pack vanish I know.
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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.