# Gimme a Number

"Ah, good evening Ladies and Gentlemen; it's great to be here. And how about that meal — delicious wasn t it? The manager asked me to tell you that if you 're still hungry, there's some complimentary gum stuck under the seats. Pardon me sir — yes, you. Don't try to get out of it. Would you come up here and act as a witness to what is about to transpire?"

Your new friend comes up on stage with you. "Sir, I had the funniest dream while I was driving to the show tonight. It involved a list of numbers. The numbers stuck in my mind and I wrote them down. Would you mind wearing this for a second?"

You drape a ribbon around his neck with a bulldog clip suspended from the end. A folded card is seen to be sticking out from the clip. "It looks good on you, and believe me when I say it's hard to accessorize something like that. Just stand there and stay out of trouble for a few minutes." Hand him a bolo paddle or a yoyo, with the remark, "Just amuse yourself with this until I get back."

Walking out into the audience, you remove a stack of index cards from your pocket along with a pen. Approaching an audience member, you say, "Sir, would you please write down any three-digit number, right here? Thank you, that's very good. I did a show in Hoggsbend last night and the guy drew a picture of three fingers. Please write your name next to your number. "

Voyaging further out into the audience, you get two other people to also write down 3-digit numbers. While still standing in the middle of the audience, you total the numbers fairly (no switch!). Assume for example that the numbers totaled 1359. Show the total to the three people who contributed the numbers, asking them to call the total out loud. As you approach the stage area, show the numbers to several people, repeating it several times. "1359. Right? 1359."

Coming onto the stage, you point to the slip of paper hanging from the person's neck. "You remember this piece ofpaper that has been hanging in full view for the better part of an hour now? Well, it's time to see what all the fuss is about. " Removing the card from the clip, it's handed cleanly to the witness. "Will you please open the card and read aloud the note I made earlier? The total of the numbers contributed by Bob, Pete and Miranda is 1359. What does the note say?"

The witness removes the prediction and reads it out loud. "Thank you for thinking of the number 1359!" he cries out in a loud voice, just before he swoons from amazement. When he awakens, allow him to kiss your ring.

Here's how: The prediction that's hung around the witness's neck is held by an Ostin-style Bulldog clip switcher. For the best book on construction and application details, see Richard Mark's excellent book INVISIBLE HAND. For those of you who aren't aware of how this handy device works, it's basically a medium-sized bulldog clip with a rubber band stretched around it. The band goes

Rubber band into the inside of the clip and you hang a

folded piece of paper on it. When you stretch the paper into view and let the clip hold it, it's under tension, and as i 1 soon as you open the jaws of the clip, the rubber band pulls the slip out of sight. \ See the illustration above for

### Foldedslip construction details.

The numbers are written on a piece of white paper, the same size as the index cards (usually 3" x 5") that is prepared as in the old Out To Lunch Trick. That is you have a stack of index cards with a rubber band around the center. The bottom half of the top card is really a card that has been folded in half. Position the folded card so that the fold is horizontally at the bottom, and the two ends are at the top. On the top half write: "Thank you for thinking of the number . . . " The bottom half, which is folded out of sight at this time, is left blank. Once again, see the picture. Turn the card over and tuck the folded edge under the band. For all intents and purposes the top card seems continuous, but it really consists of two separate cards.

The three 3-digit numbers are written on the top half, above the rubber band, but the sum is written on the folded slip. The sum is verified and called out loud by several spectators. This is an important point; you want as many people as possible to see the total before you return to the stage. Have at least one other person verify your addition.

As you return to the stage, you palm off the slip, fold it in half again by closing your hand into a fist, and call off the total one last time before returning the stack of cards to your pocket. Call attention to the slip hanging on your witness' neck and pretend to remove the prediction from the clip. Of course, the visible slip goes you-know-where and the palmed slip is pushed to the fingertips and shown.

At this point I like to use a subterfuge performed by the late Dr. David Hoy (Dr. Faust). He removed the slip from the clip, actually making the switch. Calling attention to the slip, he returned it to the clip and re-verified the information. Then he allowed the witness to remove it, open it, and call out the total.

In our example, you have already returned the stack of index cards to your pocket. You remove the slip, show it, and return it to the clip. Then you remove the stack from your pocket one last time, and while apparently glancing at the card, you call off the three names of the volunteers and also the total (this requires that you remember it, since it's no longer there). Then you instruct the witness to remove the paper, unfold it, and read it aloud. Marvelous!

Here's another one for you — if you possess a large helping of nerve. It's based on a center-tear routine of the late Al Koran.

Someone writes down a piece of information that you couldn't possibly know, such as their mother's maiden name or the name of their first grade teacher. The slip is shown to several people and burned. Your prediction matches!

This is an idea based on a center-tear handling of Koran's. A witness is appointed and the clip is hung around their neck, just as in the last trick.

When you take the slip back from the spectator for burning, you execute the Osterlind lighter switch (described in THE SLOW-MOTION CENTER TEAR AND OTHER TECHNIQUES, and also taught by Bob Cassidy in his ELEMENTS series) and actually burn a dummy. Palming the real slip, you pretend to remove his original billet, the one filled out by the spectator, from the Ostin clip. Whew! I get an rush just thinking about it.

The witness reads aloud the prediction, which matches the item of information that you never knew to begin with. Destroy the billet so that the original spectator won't find it later.

If you don't know the Osterlind switch, look it up or use any other billet switch. Several can be found in Corinda and Annemann.

Note: Koran used to perform this effect using his secret center tear. Basically, he had the information confined to an are in the middle of the slip. He then folded it and secretly removed the center. Alternately, you could perform the standard center tear and keep the stolen center palmed. He then pretended to remove the stolen center from the clip and had the witness read it aloud.