Ramsay On Misdirection And Ramsay The Artist

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Brian Sinclair

This old classic is enjoying renewed popularity, due^in no small measure I think, to the superb handling of the effect by Johnny Paul witnessed by many of us on his recent visit to this country.

I predict that this popularity will rapidly fade away when the boys taken in by Mr Paul's effortless handling of both the technique and his assistants, actually try the effect and are faced with some of the pitfalls. It is a trick, that more than most, requires 'address' and the ability to handle those assisting with some 'humourous' authority.

This version owes a great deal to two great magicians. Edward Victor, whose fertile mind was responsible for many of the 'newer' things in magic, and Patrick Page Esquire who taught me almost everything I know about magic (the rest I stole from him). He it was, who showed me the Topit vanisher, and the importance of 'front', the latter of which, Mr Page has more than 'Brighton'. You will need both for this version.

With the Topit in position, three cards from the pack in use slipped into the left sleeve (faces towards the wrist) and a spectator on either side — begin.

Ask Mr Left to count ten cards onto your left hand, making sure that the audience clearly see the number of cards counted and that both hands are otherwise empty. Spread the cards before his eyes asking him to note one or two, and as you drop your hands and square the cards get a little finger break above the bottom three cards. The right hand takes the ten cards from the left hand with the fingers at the outer end and the thumb at the inner, the latter taking over the break from the left little finger.

Spin quickly round to Mr Right and ask him if he has an inside pocket on the left side of his coat. Make a gesture with the right hand holding the cards towards your own inside pocket to demonstrate. In this gesture the right hand goes just inside the coat and the three cards below the break are ditched into the Topit. IMMEDIATELY bring the hand out, and with it open your coat on the right side and gesture with the left hand as you say "Or have you just the one?" Timed correctly the sudden turn to Mr Right who was a moment before engrossed in watching Mr Left counting the cards etc, the instructive gestures, which provide the misdirection for ditching the three cards into the Topit, will be over before he can focus on your hands. From the front it will look as if you are simply cueing Mr Right.

Before he can react to your request, say "Never mind, we'll use your top pocket." Square up the cards and very openly pop them into his outside top pocket leaving most of the cards protruding outside.

Next take the pack from Mr Left and give it to Mr Right asking him to count ten cards onto your left hand. Spread the cards faces towards him for a.moment before squaring them up. Turn to Mr Left and open your coat with the right hand ask him to make sure that the pocket is empty. Your left hand drops to your side and the three cards in the left sleeve allowed to drop onto the ten cards already in that hand. The cards are held with one end away from the hand and against the sleeve forming a slide which will ensure that the sleeved cards fall silently and swiftly onto the bottom of the ten card packet. The action is well covered by-Mr Left reaching to carry out your instructions.. Before he can do so, say "Better still, let's use your top pocket also." Pop the now packet of thirteen cards into his outside top pocket leaving most of the cards showing. The 'work' is now over and all that remains is to build up the effect towards the climax in the usual way causing the three cards to fly invisibly from the pocket of one spectator into that of the other.

Provided that you are not conscious of your instructive ? movements the spectators won't be either — success is dependent on the strong misdirection provided by the gestures, which should flow freely and naturally. The secret disposal of the three cards into the Topit as the right hand goes momentarily inside the jacket during the gestures will appear to the spectators quite natural and accepted as part of your efforts to make crystal clear what is required of your helpers. Afterwards no-one will recall that the hand ever went inside the coat providing the timing — the essence of misdirection — was correct. Further misdirection is provided by making your helpers the focal point which is achieved by causing their actions to appear to be of more importance than your own. Who is likely to see or suspect that three cards are falling from the left sleeve onto the ten already in the hand when their attention is on Mr Left who is about to ascertain if your inside coat pocket is empty?

For stage or platform work and other occasions when it would be impractical to slip three cards into the sleeve, a card clip to hold the three cards could be worn near the hip pocket. The cards could then be added as you ask Mr Left "if he has two hip pockets?"

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