Dead Reckoning


THE conjurer shows a slate on which are chalked four columns of ten figures, as shown in Diagram 1.

A member of the audience is first asked to give the initials of someone whom he thinks to be psychic and these are written on the opposite side, the slate then being placed leaning against a book within view of the audience. Four other members of the audience each volunteer a three-figure number, and these are written on a second slate in the form of an addition sum.

This slate and a piece of chalk are then handed to the volunteer who gave the first number and he is requested to add the four sets together. The climax of the effect arrives when the first slate is turned round, for it is then seen that all the numbers have been erased, with the exception of one digit in each column. These digits agree with the total already given, the other figures hav ing been rubbed out by a ghost induced by the medium whose initials appear on the slate.


Chalk. One ordinary slate. One non-locking flap slate. A fairly heavy book slightly larger than the flap of the slate.

As the ultimate number is forced, the magician writes down the figures " 0 " to " 9 " on the date proper and then rubs out all but, say, " 2 " in the first row, " 0 " in the second row, " 7 " in the third row and " 6 " in the fourth row.

The flap is now placed over the figures and the four columns, " 0 " to " 9 " are chalked on the visible side. The book, the chalk, and the two slates are arranged on the table as shown in Diagram 2.


The rows of figures on the flap slate are shown to the audience. The initials are then obtained and, having been written on the blank side, the slate is momentarily placed, flap side down, on the table to the rear of the book. The latter is then picked up and opened to stand as a support for the slate,

The flap is left behind (completely screened by the book) when the slate is picked up to rest against the spine, with the initials facing the audience.

The conjurer goes with the second slate to »me member of the audience in the front row, md he asks for a three-figure number to be whispered to him.

Suppose the given number to be " 125," this is written on the slate and the spectators are given an opportunity to see it. He then goes about one-

third of the way down the hall and asks for a second three figure number to be whispered to him as before.

Suppose the second number to be " 878," this too is written on the slate, the spectators again being given the opportunity to see it. Visiting a third person the magician asks for another number but this is ignored and (in this example) the number " 121" is written down, as " 999 " is required in every instance for the total of the second and third numbers. The spectators do not see this last number being written as the slate is held out of their line of vision.

The number given by the fourth member similarly is ignored, the conjurer writing a number which, for the purpose of this total (2076), when added to the first number will give a total of 1077, i.e. 952.

The slate now bears the following figures:— 125, 878, 121, and 952. The first two sets have been given by spectators and the next two by the magician who ensures that the desired total will be forced.

Here comes the misdirection. The conjurer now says, " Four members of my audience have given me sets of three figures. I would like the first one, if he will, to add them for me." He goes,

however, to the second volunteer but, apparently realising his error says — " Oh, no, you are the gentleman who gave me the number 878." He turns to the first spectator—" You gave me 125." This casually gives the impression that all the numbers are genuine.

The first spectator now adds up the figures and the performer makes the most of the climax.

" Also try to eliminate, as much as possible, bringing people up on to the stage. It's fine for once, but after three or four have come up it becomes boring to everyone."

David Bamberg—" Greater Magic."

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