Skull Shakers

In this, the second of the series, Peter McDonald offers something which should shake the most blasé of audiences. The mechanics of the effect are simple and the 'props' should be in the possession of any self respecting magician. Don't wait for Number Three to appear but get going on this right away.

"Slate Prediction"1

There is no doubt about it that prediction effects are enjoying great popularity at the moment. Here, then, is a modest effect which has a dramatic flair and can be built-up into a sensation if properly presented.

The magician introduces an envelope and says that it contains two slates. He has written a prediction on the face of one slate; the other slate is to be used for the effect. He invites a spectator to assist him in the experiment and hands him a pack of cards to shuffle. The cards are not faked and can be borrowed before the show. When the spectator has shuffled them he hands them to the magician who begins to shuffle off cards one at a time, requesting the spectator to say "Stop" at any time he likes. As soon as he says "Stop" the magician places the cards which he has shuffled off into a tumbler. He begins shuffling again and asks the spectator to shout "Stop" once more. Again the shuffled-off cards are placed in tumbler. This is repeated once more, the third packet of cards are placed in a tumbler. This is repeated once more, the third packet of cards which is shuffled off being placed in a third tumbler and the fourth packet . . . (the one remaining in the magician's hands) being placed in a fourth tumbler. Thus there are four packets of cards in four tumblers, backs to the audience. The magician makes it quite clear that he is going to allow the spectator a free choice of packets and says in advance that the card which is to be used in the experiment is the one which will face the audience when the tumbler is turned round, i.e. the one at the face of the packet. Without any equivocation he allows the spectator to indicate one tumbler. After showing that the cards on the faces of the other three packets are all different, he turns round the chosen tumbler and hands the spectator one of the slates. He asks him to write on one side the initial letter representing the suit . . . e.g. "C" for Clubs etc. . . . and on the other side a figure representing the value of the card. He is then to hold the slate with the suit inital facing the audience.

"Now," says the magician, there are only four suits in the pack so I had one chance in four of guessing which suit he would pick. It will therefore not be surprising if, when I pull this slate out of the envelope, you see the same initial staring you in the face."

He draws his slate out of the envelope and it is seen that the initial on his slate is the same as on the spectator's slate. Bidding the spectator to "do-as-I-do' the magician turns his slate round and the spectator does the same in unison with the magician. When both slates have been slowly turned over it is found that the figures on the other side are the same, too. In other words, the magician has correctly predicted both the suit and the value of the chosen card!

Just to make sure that no-one feels slighted I am going to describe two versions and you can take whichever you prefer. The first calls for two "sleights" ... if one may call the second one that . . . but uses an unfaked slate. The second requires only one sleight (and you can skip that if you want to) but requires the use of a flap slate.

The first method calls for the use of three extra cards all alike. Owing to the handling they do not need to have the same back design as the pack you intend to use, but they should be of the same colour and they, like the pack, should have white edges round the back. We shall imagine that they are all "Eight of Clubs". Extract the genuine eight of clubs from the pack and add it to them. Write a "C" on one side of the slate and an 8 on the other remembering which way you turned the slate. (This is important because when the spectator comes to write on his slate later on you will have to coach him so that he turns his slate over the same way . . . otherwise when you come to turn them over together you will find that his is one way up and yours the other so that one or other of you have the "C" upside-down on your slate.

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The clean slate is placed alongside the other slate in the envelope. The four 8's of Clubs are in a convenient pocket or on the table where they can easily be added to the bottom of the deck when it has been shuffled by the spectator. The tumblers should of course be in place on the table, too.

Hand the pack out to be shuffled and either by palming or by placing the pack on top of the four cards, add the four 8's to the bottom of the face-down deck. To perform the shuffle, hold the cards by their short edges, backs to the right, in the left hand. The left thumb should be along one short edge and the fingers at the other end. Now bring the fingers of the right hand under the pack so that they lie on the bottom card whilst the right thumb rests lightly on the back of the top card. With the right fingers and thumb draw off simultaneously the top and bottom cards so that they lie one on top of the other, across the right fingers. Now thumb off cards singly from the top into the right hand so that they cover the cards in the right hand. In other words, shuffle off some cards singly, asking the spectator to call "stop", before you get too far when he says "stop", place the packet you have shuffled off into the first tumbler so that the face card is away from the audience. In placing the packet in the tumbler, push the face card (i.e. the 8 of clubs) a little lower into the tumbler than the others. Repeat this action a second time, taking off the top and bottom cards first and then shuffling off on top of them. If this is done properly, the requisite number of times, there will be an eight of clubs at the face of each of the four packets (though the audience does not know this interesting fact) and each eight will be pushed a little further into the tumbler than its brethren are.

At this stage point out that you are going to turn one of the tumblers round and the card which then faces the audience will be the chosen card for the purpose of the experiment. Say that to obviate any suspicion that you exercise any physical control (emphasise that word for it suggests to them that you might exercise some mental control) over the spectator's choice, you will now ask him to think of any one of the four tumblers. When he announces that he has done this, say to him "Is it this one sir?" and point to the first tumbler. If he says "Yes" make the most of it and say "I thought so". If not, say to him "Well, if you'd thought of this tumbler, sir, your card would have been this . . ." So saying, take out not the face-card, but the one immediately behind it, a task made easy by the fact that you pushed the 8 lower than the other cards. Turn this card to face the audience and stick it into the tumbler in front of the pack where it remains on view. Proceed to do the same with the other tumblers, leaving for the time being the one which he says he has chosen and merely showing what the audience thinks are the face cards of the other packets, saying "If you had chosen this tumbler, this would have been your card". Thus three different cards are facing the audience and under the guise of showing what he might have picked you have made it seem that all the face cards were different.

When showing the chosen card, turn the whole tumbler round and make it quite clear that you do not touch any of the cards in it. The eight of clubs is, of course, staring him in the face. Hand him the blank slate from the envelope and instruct him in the method of writing the initial and the figure on the slate. All that remains is for you to bring the effect to the conclusion outlined above. Provided the moves are done smoothly, you need not fear that anyone will spot that you are using three "stranger" cards. By carrying three cards with you and borrowing a pack which looks roughly like them, you are all set to perform anywhere where they have four tumblers, for a couple of postcards will do instead of slates.

How about the flap slate method? Well. I've rather overshot my mark already so I must be very brief. This time you use an ordinary pack and instead of using four 8's of Clubs for the routine you use the 6 and 9 of Hearts and the 6 and 9 of Clubs. On the flap of the slate is written an "H" and on one of the genuine faces is written a "C". Thus, by dropping or retaining the flap as appropriate, you can show the correct initial. On the other genuine face of the slate is, written a figure 9 which, it will be recalled, looks like a 6 if held upside down. This calls for a bit of memory work for you have to remember just which way to get him to turn over his slate when writing to enable you to turn yours up the same way to get the correct figure.

Ravelle and Andree present—


EFFECT.—A pack of cards with a hole running through the centre of same, is shuffled by a member of the audience and a card is chosen and replaced in the pack, which is then placed in card case . A paper bag with a hole either side is now given for examination and also a length of ribbon. The ribbon is threaded through holes in bag and the two ends are then tied, forming an endless band running through bag. The pack in case is now dropped into bag, the performer holds loop of ribbon with left hand, whilst right hand pulls bag from ribbon and there threaded on the SECURELY TIED ribbon is the CHOSEN CARD. Immediately everything may be examined.

REQUIREMENTS.—A pack of cards with a f " hole running through centre, a ribbon about 15—18" in length and wide and a paper bag with a hole either side about 3" from top and central, the bag to measure approximately 8" x 10".

WORKING.—Remove cards from case, have one chosen and replaced and by your favourite method bring this to top of pack. Place cards in case and in tucking in flap, MAKE SURE THAT THE FLAP GOES IN BETWEEN CHOSEN CARD AND REST OF PACK, if this has been done correctly a small piece of the card can be seen in the cut out of case, if thumb is held over this, however case may be shown back and front. Give paper bag for examination and ribbon and whilst these are being examined pick up cards, take bag back with same hand holding cards, bag going on top of cards, whilst pattering remove card from case via thumb groove, keeping a grip on bag and card, replace cards on table. Now take ribbon back and thread it through holes card" fggffc ■ I

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in bag and ALSO through card, which lies at back of bag away from audience on the OUTSIDE of bag, tie ribbon ends together. Now drop pack into bag, making sure that bag faces audience flat on. in other words this gives ample cover to card BEHIND bag and audience has no knowledge of card already on ribbon. Hold ribbon with left hand, grip pack through paper bag with right hand tear bag downwards and off of ribbon and bring your trick to a successful climax.

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