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Dear Peter,—I was very pleased to see you had published my two contributions. I had almost forgotten about them. The only comment I have had on my '' slaphappy pass '' is unfavourable ! So much the better !

Do you remember how Annemann used to publish occasionally a page of '' Improvements '' ? I notice you don't do this—maybe because most of your items are so good already that there is ilo room for improvement !

However, there are a couple of ideas that I consider well worth while, and am using.

Hark back to the " Pentagram " of August, 1947, Page 77, James Douglas's " Recovery." Now my little improvement is this. Before beginning, fold the ma°az'ne wit'i the duplicate cover that yOu have fixed in the centre so that this cover appears to bs the normal uutside cover. The magazine can then be displayed casually at the start without anything untoward appearing. It is then the duplicate cover that is torn away. And at the end the magazine you display is a normal and quite unprepared " Illustrated," or whatever you use. It can then be presented to a member of the audience, and is bound to be the object of later discussions—(you know, " but here is the very magazine he used," etc. !). And as a drawing-room trick it causes a great deal of comment, I assure you.

Well, great credit goes to James Douglas for this delightful trick. I wonder how many have passed it by ?

And n6w Idea No. 2. Reference " Sharpe Scissors " on Page 68 of the June, 1949, " Pentagram." The length of the slit need only be a little greater than the width of the ribbon you are cutting. Then when you are past the ribbon, the scissors can be shown above and below the envelope actually and deliberately cutting it. This very much enhances the illusion that you have just cut through the ribbon. Spectators notice this particular point, because I have heard it commented on afterwards. Incidentally, I use a spectator's tie !—a procedure of which you probably don't approve ! I also use an envelope of a letter that has been through the post in the normal way, and I remove the letter at the beginning of the trick. It all makes things look normal, and incidentally the writing on the envelope helps to camouflage the slit (good old Army training!). However, this idea comes from Annemann's " The Card Unharmed " Jinx II.

Many and sincere congratulations on the Pentagram—you are producing a magnificent magazine. I hope you can keep it up ! I am the proud possessor of a complete file !

Yours sincerely,

PETER SUTTON.

Mitring, Stink Stack

" MISE EN SCENE."

The Mysticologist and his ' wife ' are in the drawing-room of their home, entertaining a gathering of friends, and as may be expected, they are discussing magic, or maybe the weather —for a change.

In a somewhat off-handed manner the hostess asks her knight-of-magic : " Have you shown our guests that ' funny trick ' of yours yet ? " What funny trick ? " asks her hubby. " The one you showed to Mr. and Mrs. Hocus the other night. Don't you remember ? " " Oh ! that stunt ! "

The trickster, (pretending to shake-off his wife) explains to the guests : " Oh ! it's nothing much, just a little idea the wife and I tried out for a bit of fun."

By this time the hook is well baited, and everyone in the asylum insists on seeing that " funny little idea." And that's just exactly what the performer so cunningly engineered.

Somewhat reluctantly, but happy within, the ' host ' condescends to show it, to please the gathering.

Then, from a near-by shelf or handy drawer, etc., etc. (after a search ? ? ?) he brings forth a pack of. cards, in their case. The cards are removed and placed on the table, they are held together with an elastic band.

Performer does not touch, the cards again. Next, he explains that his wife will assist him and that she will retire to another room, then, while he turns his back, or leaves the room, for that matter, any volunteer is to take the pack and shuffle the cards. Then he is to select any one card, look at its face, memorise it, and then to shuffle it back into the pack and replace the rubber band around it. The performer, his wife, and no one else is to know which card is selected.

Thus said and done, performer turns round facing again and invites any other volunteer to take the pack to his wife in the other room.

He must not speak a word to her or answer any questions. This is done, and almost immediately the volunteer returns with the pack of cards, still secured with the rubber band, and places it on the table, according to instructions.

Performer now recapitulates the proceedings, thus far, and asks anyone to take up the pack. He explains that he and the audience, jointly, will now count the cards aloud, and during this operation the spectator who selected the card must stop the person who is to deal the cards as soon as the selected card shows itself.

The cards are then dealt-off, faces up, one by one, on to the table, and everyone joins in and counts aloud.

Strangely enough, there are only 51 cards in the count, and the selected card is not among them.

The performer enquires : " Isn't your card e ? " The person who selected the card says, o."

The performer continues : "In order that there should be no loophole for dispute about the identity of the selected card, later, will the spectator himself please name the card he selected, for all to hear.

Someone is then requested to recall the good lady from her room, and she walks in with the selected card in hand.

The trick may be repeated with similar success, but why ?

REQUIREMENTS.

Four packs of 'cards with back-designs to match, also three small rubber bands to snap around three of the packs. These must look alike, for safety's sake.

PREPARATION.

Pack No. 1. Arrange the cards in suit order, aces to kings.

Pack No. 2. A well shuffled pack with a rubber band around it, but without the case.

Pack No. 3 and Pack No. 4. These two packs are sorted out and re-assembled to make up two " MISSING LINK PACKS."

These packs consist of 51 cards each, made up in a manner that any one card of the 52 in a regular pack, is found to be missing, from either the one or the other of these two packs, when the cards are checked through.

To make up these packs proceed as follows :

Pack No. 3 consists of the undermentioned cards from both packs, namely : The ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 of clubs and spades. The 7, 8, 9, 10, jack, queen, king of hearts, and diamonds, repeated.

Pack No. 4 is made up of the remaining cards from both packs, namely : The ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 of hearts and diamonds. The 7, 8, 9, 10, jack, queen, king of c'ubs, and spades, repeated.

From Pack No. 3, discard one ace of spades, and from Pack No. 4 discard one ace of hearts. Shuffle these two packs thoroughly, and place a rubber band around each, to hold the cards securely.

Next, take Pack No. 1, and No. 4, and leave them in the room to which your assistant will retire out of sight when the time arrives. On a small table in that room, Pack No. 1 is spread out so that your assistant can quickly get at any wanted card, without delay. Pack No. 4, with its rubber band in place, is left in a handy and get-at-able point, somewhere near the doorway.

Pack No. 2 goes into one of the performer's favourite side pockets, secured with a rubber band.

Pack No. 3 (with a rubber band around it) is in its case and is left in a handy dreawer on the book-case., etc., etc., in the room where the company is congregated.

WORKING.

When the right moment arrives, the performer " introduces " Pack No. 3, while his assistant retires to her room. This pack is handed to a volunteer to shuffle and to select a card mentally, then to replace the card and re-shuffle the pack and to snap the rubber band around it again.

A second volunteer takes the pack to your assistant, who receives it through a small opening of the doorway. Your assistant stalls for a few seconds, and then hands the volunteer the pack back again, actually Pack No. 4, but that is nobody's affair.

The volunteer returns and places the pack on the table.

Once again, the performer recaps. The cards are dealt-off and counted, and the selected card is said to be missing. The selector is then asked to name the card he selected, to avoid arguments, for all to hear, etc., etc.

MEANWHILE, your assistant sneaks close up, unobserved, of course, and listens in to hear the name of the missing card, after which she hurries back to her lair and takes the card named from the spread-out of Pack No. 1. (THINGS MUST MOVE RAPIDLY TO PREVENT SUSPICION) .

Someone is then asked to re-call your assistant, and she re-enters the drawing-room carrying a card, face down, which she deposits on the table.

Once more, performer recaps (during which time he gathers the pack from the table and casually snaps the rubber band around it. Then, when all eyes and attention is concentrated on the missing card as it is turned face up, the sly performer politely pockets that pack and switches it for the one in his side pocket, i.e., Pack No. 2.

The extra card on the table must be disposed of as best as the prevailing circumstances will permit, just in case some wiseacre asks to look through the pack. (This is the only little difficulty which may arise.)

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