Again The Dead Name


THIS version of the " Dead Name Test" which has received quite a deal of attention when I have used in my "Sweet Simplicity" lecture has a few points which will interest all those who like this brand of divination cum telepathy.

The effect quite briefly is that after a spectator has written down the name of a dead person on a slip of paper which is folded and handed to another spectator for safe keeping, facts are given respecting the dead name and finally the name itself is revealed by the mentalist.

Requirements and Preparation.

Three slips of paper measuring approximately three and three quarter inches by two and three quarter inches. Each slip is taken and folded first in half widthwise and then twice lengthwise. This is a standard fold well described in Annemann's " One Man Mental and Psychic Routine." When the folding is complete run the nail well along the edges. The reason for this is that with the slip which is to be handed to the spectator, a well creased paper makes him automatically use the same folds when he is asked to refold. If however, the folding is sloppy he may fold it in some other way which may well prove embarrassing to say the least.

One of the folded billets is now unfolded and that part which is the inside is covered with a good adhesive. It is refolded and allowed to dry under pressure. When completely dry, the performer has what appears to be another billet, but which in reality is a thick piece of paper easily handled and which cannot unfold. This sticking of the paper is by no means essential but it does make for very easy handling at a particular stage of the effect.

You will also require a liqueur or champagne glass. Into this glass before commencing the effect place first of all the prepared billet and crosswise on top of it one of the unprepared billets. (Figure 1)

The remaining billet folded is placed in the left hand trousers pocket.

One other thing is required and that is a fairly soft lead pencil, say 2 or 3B with a cap which carries a rubber eraser in the top. This pencil with the cover over the point is placed in the outer breast pocket. On the table there should be a pack of cards in its case. With these preparations made you are ready for the presentation.


The performer tells his audience that he would like to show them an experiment in telepathy. For this he will make use of two slips of paper. At this point he gestures towards the glass and taking the topmost billet removes it with his left hand. It is unfolded and then saying that he wishes a spectator to write upon it the name of some person who is dead, but whose work is still alive such as an artist, musician, poet, writer etc., he hands it to a member of the audience who is seated in the front. Without pause he takes with his right hand the pencil, removes the cap, places it on the non-writing end of the pencil and hands it to the spectator. The timing of this action must be such that the spectator has no chance to use his own pencil or pen.

Whilst the spectator is writing, the performer turns away, and without turning round asks whether the spectator has done as he was requested. When the answer is in the affirmative the spectator is asked to refold the paper. As he has turned away, the performer's left hand has gone to his trousers pocket and obtained possession of and fingerpalmed the third billet. This hand with the billet is now withdrawn as the performer goes to the spectator. First of all he takes back the pencil with his right hand, replacing it in his breast packet. The right hand now takes the spectator's billet at the fingertips. As he holds it he gestures towards the spectator with this hand saying, "On this little slip of paper, sir, you have written a name a name of some fairly famous or perhaps infamous person. I am not at the moment greatly interested in that name, but rather I wish you to think of when he lived and what he did. I intend to try and receive those thoughts. For the moment this gentleman over here I wish to act as a referee. Would you hold this slip for the moment." At this point the mentalist switches the billets so that a member of his audience on his left is given to hold the blank billet whilst the paper written upon by the spectator is held in a fingerpalm position in the right hand. Any method of switching, providing that it is deceptive, will suffice. The switch I use myself is described in "Patterns for Psychics." It is a hand to hand switch and well handled is completely deceptive.

If however the performer intends using a single hand switch, naturally, unless he is left handed, the extra billet will have to be on the right side and stolen from that position.

The left hand now takes the glass by the stem, and as the performer remarks, "On this other slip of paper, I intend to note the thoughts I receive from you," the right hand comes up and is cupped whilst the solid billet in the glass is tipped out on to the palm of the right hand as shown in Figure 2.

The thumb presses down on the solid billet and slides the spectator's forward. Again the move is most natural and there is not the slightest reason for anyone to think that a switch is being made. The left hand replaces the glass upon the table and coming up to the right hand aids the latter in unfolding what to the audience is another piece of paper but which in reality is the spectator's paper. The left hand leaves the unfolded paper held by the right hand, and taking the cards in the card case from the table brings it up to act as a writing desk. The right hand places the paper on top of the card case but allows the solid slip to go underneath where it is held hidden by the fingers of the left hand. The right hand now free goes to the breast pocket and removes the pencil.

By now the performer has noted the name written upon the paper and with, we hope, sufficient knowledge of what this person has done he looks towards the spectator who wrote the name. First of all, sir, I want you to think of the period when the dead man lived. To make a case we'll suppose that he has written " Dickens." " I get the impression, sir, that you are thinking of the nineteenth century ! . . The performer writes at the top of the paper " 19th century" ... "is that correct? . . . The spectator answers in the affirmative.

The performer starts writing again. He puts down the word, "Writer," but to the spectator he says ..." You have in mind a painter. Am I right?" The spectator will certainly say "No" " Funny" says the performer, but that was the impression I got. Never mind, sir, I'll try again." With this the pencil is turned round and the apparently wrong information erased. What actually happens however is that the word " Dickens " written by the spectator is rubbed out leaving only the words, "19th Century" and " Writer " upon the slip. Now at this point depending upon his skill as a psychologist and the ability to lay the right bait, the performer can either play safe by writing in his own hand the words "Charles Dickens," and finishing the effect, or alternatively he can try and get the name of a work of the dead man. By forcing a quick choice using the formula, " Now sir, think of something that he wrote," said very quickly the odds are in favour of "Pickwick Papers" or "Christmas Carol" coming up in a case ilke this. A judicious piece of fishing before writing it down will help the performer. If successful however he has turned quite a good effect into something that will never be forgotten by the spectator.

Whether or no, the name of the dead person is written down, the pencil is returned to the breast pocket, whilst the left hand replaces the card case on the table with the solid billet underneath it. The paper held by the performer is folded once and handed back to the spectator who wrote the original name. " Don't look at it for the moment, sir, because for the first time I am going to see and read out from the paper over here (at this point the performer steps up to the person holding the dummy billet and takes it from him) the name you wrote down in the first place.

Unfolding the dummy billet and opening it out, the performer at first sight seem to have it upside down, for he turns it around (this is an effective touch) so that he can apparently read what the spectator wrote.

The performer looks up and says "On this piece of paper you wrote the name Dickens." I also asked you to think of one of his works. What was that work, sir ? The name of the work is given. Will you please read out everything that I have written on that slip of paper? The spectator reads out . . . . "19th Century Writer, Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens." A pure case of telepathy I think, sir," says the performer.

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