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PENTAGRAM

An independent monthly bulletin for all who want good magic

1948

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Editor's Note.— You can call this prediction, coincidence, or straight card work. The main thing is that the effect is exceptionally clean cut and is suitable for performance either in a room or a hall.—Peter Warlock.

Effect.—The conjurer offers to one spectator a pack of cards for shuffling. Whilst to another he hands a sealed envelope. Receiving the cards back, he cuts the pack into three almost equal heaps. Turning to one spectator whom we will consider as "A" he asks him the name of the month in which he was born. Supposing the spectator says ' March' the conjurer picks up one of the small heaps of cards, at the same time remarking : " March, the third month of the year," and then from this heap deals down to the third card which he places, without the audience seeing its face, in a glass that stands on the table. This procedure is continued with the other two heaps, two other spectators being designated " B " and " C " and the months of their birthdays being requested. These cards, in their turn, are placed behind the first card in the glass, so that the conjurer has now three cards back towards the audience, in a glass. The spectator holding the envelope is now requested to open it and remove the contents. He takes out a slip of card on which there is some writing. " Will you please read out what is written on the card ? " says the conjurer. The spectator now reads " 'A's' birthday card is the five of diamonds." As he says this, the conjurer turns the glass round, showing that the first card is the five of diamonds. " ' B's ' birthday card is the ace of clubs." The five of diamonds is now withdrawn, showing the ace of clubs behind it," and lastly, " ' C's ' birthday card is the queen of hearts." The ace of clubs is withdrawn showing the queen of hearts remaining in the glass !

The Requirements are very simple and are as follows :—One glass, brandy shape, into which, say, ten cards will fit without any lateral play. A pack of cards. An envelope and piece of card. Three cards, say the five of diamonds, the ace of clubs and queen of hearts" are removed from the pack and placed on one side. Some roughing solution (the two best preparations we know are Charles Harrison's secret formula and that described

" BIRTHDAY HONOURS " — continued from page 73

by Trevor Hall in " Nothing is Impossible"). Two clips for holding cards (the usual type of clip used by manipulators for holding cards prior to ' stealing.' A couple of wire paper clips of the larger variety if properly anchored will answer admirably).

Preparation. — The three extra cards mentioned are treated with roughing fluid in this manner : the face of the queen of hearts is half roughened, the face and back of the ace of clubs is half roughened, whilst the back of the five of diamonds is half roughened. When dry the roughened portions are placed together in this order : On the face down five of diamonds place the ace of clubs, and on top of this the queen of hearts. The reader will know if he handles the roughened ends have apparently one card the five of diamonds. If it is handled by the non-roughened ends he can fan three cards. These three cards are now placed in one of the clips which should be situated under the conjurer's coat on the right side. In this spot they are in an easy position for stealing (for our own part we should prefer to use the right hand trousers pocket— Ed.). Another odd card taken from the pack is placed in a clip which can either be by the side of the three clipped cards or on the other side of the body. The reader will have to judge from his own experience the best place. On the pieces of card a message as follows is written :—" A's birthday card is the five of diamonds " ; " B's birthday card is the ace of clubs " ; whilst " C's birthday card is the Queen of hearts." This card is now placed in the envelope, the flap of the latter being stuck down. The pack of cards, the glass and the envelope are placed on the conjurer's table. Thus set the reader is ready for the ...

Presentation.—With one hand the conjurer hands the pack of cards to one spectator for shuffling whilst with the other he gives to another member of his audience the envelope with the request that he keeps in safe custody. The conjurer moves back, and with his right hand gets possession of the three roughened cards and retains them in a palm position. (It should have been previously mentioned that the cards when removed from this position into the palm should have the roughened ends towards the heel of the palm.) Seeing that the spectator has finished shuffling the conjurer steps forward, taking them with his left hand. Holding them up he says, " Ladies and Gentlemen ... one of your audience has been good enough to shuffle these cards. If anyone doubts that they are well mixed would he say so now ? " No answer being forthcoming, the conjurer goes on to say " This piece of magic I call ' Birthday Honours ' . . . the honours are for three of your number, and, therefore, I will cut the cards into three heaps." As he suits these words to his actions he passes the pack to the right hand. Remember that this hand contains palmed the three roughened cards. The right hand, holding the pack, now cuts it into three approximately equal heaps on the table, and with the cutting of the last heap drops the three palmed cards on top. (All these movements, i.e., the passing of the cards from one hand to another, and the cutting should have an easy action and follow through The whole sequence has been designed to help those who are awkward in the handling of cards especially when palming cards.) The conjurer now designates three spectators, A, B and C respectively, and as he does so he stands in such a position that he can, if necessary, obtain the single ordinary card that is palmed. This necessity only arises if the first spectator tells the conjurer that his birthday is in February. The spectator A is asked to name his birthday month. If he says " January," the conjurer is set for the most natural piece of chicanery that has ever come his way, for all he has to do is to take up the heap with the three roughened cards on top and dealing them off as one card from his left hand to his right, place them also backs towards the audience as one card in the glass (the reason for perfect fitment now becomes apparent). If the spectator should say " February," the extra card is stolen and added to the top of the roughened card pile as the cards are picked. The conjurer always has plenty of time, because each time before he deals the cards off, he repeats the month, also mentioning its number. If it is February, the first card is dealt off, the three roughened cards as one, being dealt as the second card and placed in the glass. If, however, the month is March or later, the conjurer uses the utility false count (see " Pentagram," page 47, volume 1, " The Nonsuch Card Prediction," by Francis Haxton). In doing the false count for this effect, start with the cards low so that the face of the first card (?) cannot be seen. The three cards are removed at the appropriate number and placed in the glass. The second and third heaps are treated genuinely, and the cards at the desired month numbers are removed and placed behind the three cards already there. With the three (five) cards inside the glass the conjurer now remarks, "And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us see whether I nave been successful in forecasting your ' Birthday Honours' . . . Would you mind, Sir, undoing the envelope and removing a card that you will find inside ? . . . And now will you read out what is written on the card ? " The spectator reads out the name of the first card and as he does so the conjurer slowly turns round the glass, showing that the first card is correct. The second choice is read out, and whilst to the audience the conjurer simply slides the face card out, actually his forefinger pushes the first card away from the second, so that the roughened surfaces are separated and the face card assumes concavity towards the second card. In this manner, with the aid of the thumb and fingertip, it is withdrawn from the glass showing the face of the second card. The naming of the third card is followed by a similar removal of the second, leaving in the glass, from the audience's point of view, the third and last card. These cards, unless the conjurer intends to perform another card effect, should be left in the glass.

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This effect is really for stage use, but it can be worked at reasonably close quarters. I worked it several times during the war years, and intended to put an improved version in " Patterns for Psychics." The improvement I experimented with did not work satisfactorily. This was possible due to the fact that I am an impatient worker, and the apparatus still stands waiting attention.

The Effect.—The conjurer exhibits a glass lamp chimney three pieces of newspaper (two five inches and one twelve inches square) and two metal rings (wide elastic bands can take the place of these latter articles but are not so easily handled). All these articles are handed to a member (or members) of the audience (in working I had two persons seated well down stage whilst the table on which the glass chimney was ultimately placed was well up stage). A request is made that the twelve inch square of paper be rolled into a tight ball and also that one end of the chimney be capped by means of the five inch square of paper and the ring. The ball of paper is dropped into the glass chimney and the other end capped. All this is done by the spectators. The ball is shaken inside the tube and thus audible comment convincingly shown without that it is unattached, after which the tube is placed down on the table. From this point onwards the ball of paper inside the glass tube is under the magician's spell and it can fall or rise at his commands. The ball finally falls to the bottom of the tube, and one of the spectator's is requested to step forward, pick up the tube, inspect and dissemble it. There is nothing to give any possible clue as to how the levitation has been effected.

The Requirements are few. They are as follows:—One straight-sided lamp chimney (the size of the one that I used is inches by inches). Three pieces of newspaper (two measure five inches square, the third twelve inches square). Two metal or cardboard bands that will slip comfortably over

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