Mirrorslate

LEN BELCHER

THIS IS DESIGNED for performance with two effects, followed by the method, performer and medium, and I shall describe Effect 1. The medium leaves the room. The performer takes a slate into the audience and has spectators write down any numbers they wish. These same numbers are added up by another spectator. (No switches!) The performer then cleans the slate thoroughly and hands it for inspection. He now leaves the room while the spectator takes the slate up to the stage, calls the medium and then goes back to his place. The medium adjusts a previously examined bag over his head, takes the slate, and writes the total of the addition on it.

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Effect 2. The medium again leaves the room, while the performer takes the slate into the audience and asks for any names of living persons to be whispered to him. The spectators see him write these down as each one is given. Finally the name of any dead person is whispered to him by a spectator who again sees it written down.

The slate is again thoroughly cleaned, handed for examination, and given to a spectator to take up to the stage. The performer leaves the room and the medium is called in. The bag is once more adjusted over his head and then he first of all describes the person who gave the dead name and finally reveals the name itself, writing it on the slate for all to see.

Method. The slate employed is a modification of a slate described in Best Tricks With Slates (Peter Warlock). The original slate had a sliding flap on top of the fixed slate surface, the frame being constructed so that the sliding flap would move sideways to reveal a slip containing information required for a book test, for example. In the modified slate, the sliding flap moves up and down, and may be locked in either position by means of a simple ball and spring catch incorporated in each side of the frame. (See drawing.)

To commence the demonstration, the flap is in the ' up ' position. The numbers are written on this flap, one under the other, leaving just sufficient room at the bottom for a spectator to write the total. The space thus left is the part of the flap which slides down into the frame, carrying the total with it.

When cleaning the slate, the performer slides the flap down, leaving the total unharmed. The slate is turned to face the audience when sufficient cleaning has been done to conceal the fact that the flap has moved. The slate may be examined as it automatically locks.

The medium, using a fake blindfold, simply slides the flap up with both thumbs, makes a false start, erases it (and also the original total!) and then writes the total clearly across the slate.

The slate is thus set for the second test. The performer writes the living names under each other, leaving room at the bottom for the dead name, where the total was written at first. The slate is cleaned as before (the dead name now being hidden in the frame). However, before cleaning the slate the performer marks two letters of the dead name with his thumb. One nick indicates a row in the audience, two nicks indicate the person in the row. (Many pre-arrangements are possible here.)

The medium is thus enabled to describe the person who gave the dead name, and finally to write the name on the slate—the ' false start' enabling him to erase the original writing.

The operation of the slate is simplicity itself as there are no catches to adjust and the necessary movement and position of the hands are quite natural.

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