Skull Shakers No 6


"Still Out of My Depth"

You will recall that last month I was playing about with the mathematical principle based on numbers the digits of which add up to 18. Here is a card effect based on the same dodge. In effect it is a prediction but it can be done almost anywhere with a borrowed pack.

The magician starts by showing a mixed bunch of cards which he holds faces to the audience. It is obvious that there is no pre-arrangement about them. Without showing its face he openly reverses one of the cards which he says is his prediction. He then places the packet behind his back. He tosses a scribbling pad to a spectator and asks him to write a three-figure number on it. This number is then re-written in reverse order and the smaller of the two resulting numbers is subtracted from the larger. The pad is then handed to a second spectator who is asked to multiply the answer by any number between one and ten. The pad is again passed on and a spectator is asked to strike out one of the figures in the answer; another spectator strikes out another figure and, finally, a third spectator strikes out a third figure. Each calls out the figure as he strikes it out. The pad is then handed to another spectator who is asked to confirm that there is one figure which has not been struck out . At this point the packet of cards is brought to the front again and fanned with its face to the spectators. When the figure is announced the reversed card is removed and shown and it proves to be of the same value as the figure. In other words the magician has predicted which of four figures will be chosen out of the answer to an unknown sum !

Naturally there is a little jiggery-pokery but not a frightful amount. First of all the packet of of cards. This consists of nine cards . . . Ace to nine inclusive in mixed suits. They are arranged in the following order:—

8, 2, 9, 1, 5, 6, 4, 7, 3 reading from the top of the face-down packet. Before showing them to the audience, however, the five is reversed without altering its position at all. Fan the cards faces to the audience and point out that one card is reversed. Hold a break above the reversed card when you square up the cards. Place them behind your back. Cut at the break to bring the reversed card to the top and secretly reverse it again so that all the cards are now face down. Now you have to re-arrange them. This is easy once the principle is grasped. Holding the cards in the left hand, thumb off one card into the right hand, then transfer the next card to the top of the one in the right hand, the next card BELOW the two in the right hand, the next ABOVE those in the right hand, the next BELOW and so on, putting one above and one below until all the cards have been transferred to the right hand. They will now be stacked from nine down to Ace in sequence reading from the top of the face-down packet.

So far so good. This is all done under cover and there is plenty of time to do it. Meantime guide the spectators through their part of the effect. If the routine given above is followed the thing (as 1 explained in more detail last month) works itself. The only thing to remember is that just before you ask the spectators to start striking out the figures, ask how many figures there are. If there are only three (usually there are four) only ask two spectators to strike out figures . . . otherwise there won't be one left to demonstrate your cleverness. Ask, also, if there is a nought and, if so, have this struck out first.

Now whilst the spectators are striking out their numbers and announcing them, you have to do a bit more work behind your back. As each figure is called, transfer that number of cards from the top to the bottom of the pack without disturbing their order. When this has been done the card at the top of the packet will be of the same value as the figure which hasn't been struck out. All you have to do, therefore, is to reverse that card and stick it in the centre of the packet giving the packet a quick shuffle as you do to destroy evidence of the sequence (alternatively, bring the packet out squared with the backs to the audience and fan it later to show the face of the one reversed card). Bring the packet to the front, fan it to show the faces, ask the spectator to read out the remaining figure and then turn over the reversed card to show that your prediction was correct.

Now a little more about the reason why this thing works. First of all, let's revert to the example we used last month. The first spectator writes 321; this is reversed to 123; 123 is subtracted from 321 and leaves a remainder of 198.

"Tricks for the Thumb Tip ff

(Continued from last month)

A lecturer on photography once described a camera as an important device for self-expression. How appropriately can this definition also be applied to the THUMB TIP. Each performer employs this gimmick in his own particular way implying, of course, that while the basic implement is the same in all cases, the results vary according to the expression of the performer's personality.

Many years ago I published a book dealing with the Magic and Mysteries of India. Amongst other tricks I described one of the country's famous mysteries so effectively and effortlessly presented by the native JADOOWALLA. This was the HINDU YARN TRICK.

The effect comprised the exhibiting of a 25 to 30 foot length of cotton yarn and then breaking it into little pieces. The pieces were then rubbed between the fingers and restored again to their original state.

In the orthodox rendering of the trick no gimmick of any sort was used. I disclosed the working secret exactly as practised in India. It is but natural to suppose that whichever method one uses the mutilated yarn has to be substituted ultimately for a duplicate stock to bring about the mysterious result. The entire success of any trick involving such a procedure depends on the natural cover afforded for the exchange.

This month I shall describe another version of the HINDU YARN trick—the presentation and the working details of which have been specially developed^y me. You will see how, by employing a THUMB TIP, and following the moves detailed below, the complete proceedings become practically effortless.

Instead of the cotton yarn used by the JADOOWALLA I would suggest that you procure a card of WOOL and NYLON mending yarn. This could be obtained from Woolworths. You will also require the THUMB TIP and a little wax.

Stick a little wax on the free end of the yarn and press it near the nail end of the tip. Wind the yarn about a hundred times around the tip and break it away from the card. The outer end of the yarn is also treated with the wax and pressed this time in position near the open end of the tip. Fig. 1. illustrates the initial set up.

The THUMB TIP is now slid under the yarn at the back of card and Fig. 2 shows how this is done.

PRESENTATION:—The card may be lying on the table or brought out of the pocket and held by the extreme points of thumb and first finger. Fig. 3 depicts the manner of introduction of the yarn card. The card is then transferred to the left hand while the right begins to pull on the free end of the yarn to about a couple of feet. The free end is then offered to some spectator and he is asked to walk away with it.

As the spectator moves back you continue to unwind the yarn to help him along. During the unwinding period the THUMB TIP is pulled into position behind the left fingers and Fig. 4. will make this stage clear.

When the entire supply of yarn has been unwound you drop the card on the floor. At this stage, the spectator will be at one end of the stretched yarn and you at the other. You now begin to wind your end of the yarn around the four fingers of the left hand once and then snap it there. Again wind the yarn around the fingers and break it at that point. However, as you do this, you keep walking towards the helper, because the yarn gets shorter with each snap. Fig. 5. shows how the yarn should be wound around the fingers of the left hand in readiness for each 'break'. With each break of the yarn you get nearer the assistant and finally you will be left with little pieces of the yarn wound around the fingers.

The right hand now approaches the left hand and appears to pull the mutilated yarn away. This is, at least, the impression you are out to convey, but while the pieces are being removed with the fingers of the right hand, the thumb of this hand will be well covered and it enters the tip.

The right now moves away with the broken pieces and holds them up between the thumb and

first two fingers. The THUMB TIP, being behind the pieces, cannot be seen. At the same time, without drawing attention deliberately to the left hand permit its interior to be exposed. Since this hand is empty and all they see in the light are the little broken pieces of yarn, you have suggestively impressed the idea in their minds that you have nothing else there. Fig. 6 is an exposed view of the


secret action of inserting thumb into tip and Fig. 7 shows how the THUMB TIP with the duplicate yarn around it is kept hidden behind the broken pieces.

Having displayed the bundle of mutilated yarn, the right hand openly transfers it to the left. Under cover of this action, the left thumb pulls away the TIP from over the right. You now proceed to squeeze the little pieces and under this pretended gesture you actually push them INTO

the THUMB TIP and without any hesitation pull out about six inches of the duplicate from over the THUMB TIP. Fig. 8 shows the start of the restoration. Having pulled out the first six inches . . . you wait a second and then pull out a little more . . .and then a little more. As you pull on the yarn allow it to fall on the floor or the table. This process is continued until you have pulled out the entire length. The inner end of the yarn will by now be in the right hand. The THUMB TIP will still be behind the left fingers.

i| George Blake
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