Pentagram

An independent monthly bulletin for all who want good .magic

Januwiy., 1947

SWice, One SAiUing,

Money,

Editor's Foreword.—Those visiting or residing in London will have an excellent opportunity of seeing Robert Harbin in the Jasper Maskelyne show " Hey Presto." It is good to see both these names together in a west-end theatre. Let us hope that this may be a forerunner of a permanent London Magical Show. In this item Robert Harbin in attacking the subject of magical coin-catching treats it in entirely different way from Geoffrey Buckingham, whose routine is concluded in this issue. Whilst this method requires practice to perform, it is more of a ready-made method and should prove a valuable salve to those who have neither the time nor digital aptitude to master sleight-of-hand.

The effect is that the operator picks up a small metal cup (one used for the cups and balls is admirable) and then reaching this way and that way produces an indefinite number of coins, each one as it is produced being quite definitely dropped into the cup. The routine can be finished in one of two ways, either by the evanishment of the coins, or their being poured out of the container.

The requisites are shown in A.—A cup, a coin with a hole through which is threaded a piece of black cotton. The free end of the latter (the length of which will have to be determined by the individual magi) is fastened to the top of the trousers. With the coin in a get-at-able position and the cup on table, the operator is ready for the . . .

Presentation.—Possession of the coin is obtained in the right hand, where it is thumb-clipped. Left hand picks up the cup holding as shown in B. Right hand reaches out and produces the coin at the finger-tips. It is then thrown into the cup, the left hand bringing the cup forward so that the cotton is over the left thumb. A turn is made to the right and the right hand takes the cup (as in C) whilst the left hand comes away from the cup, the tension of the cotton causing the coin to take up the position shown in D. The left hand reaches out and apparently produces a coin at the finger tips. With an alternating change of hands this process is continued. " Wealth," says the operator, " what does it mean . . . just nothing," and with that he turns the cup upside down (taking care, of course, that the coin on thread is under control in one of the hands) ... it is empty.

If the operator wishes to finisii with a display of the money he has caught, he starts in a different way. The cup lis loaded with say a dozen coins. Picking up the cup in his left hand, the operator commences the production as before, he is careful, however, until he has apparently caught three coins to prevent any noise (other than the dropping of the coins) coming from the coins in the cup. After he has caught three, it doesn't matter and as he goes on still more freedom in handling the cup can be obtained. At the end of this routine the coin can be snapped from the thread and dropped into the cup, the contents of the latter being tipped on to a plate or table.

J. SL ffitaice?'a

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Editor's Foreword,—Fctu readers will be unacquainted with the effect known as the Bruce-Hurling Bowls, a version of the Chinese Rice Bowls, which was marketed before the first World War. jf. F. Bruce was the inventor of that effect and many others of like ingenuity. Perhaps his finest effect is the one to about be described. Whilst I never saw the inventor present the effect himself, I did, in the early twenties, see two or three performances of it by the late Bruce Hurling, with whom in the presentation of all his effects, Mr. Bruce was intimately connected. Mr. Bruce has now retired from the active list of magic, but still not only retains a keen interest, but also plans effects which are still in advance of many modern ideas. He is a first-class mechanic and general craftsman. I feel sure that my readers as well as myself, owe him a debt of gratitude for releasing this effect exclusively to the " Pentagram." In later numbers, still more of his effects will be described.

The Effect.—The operator requests the assistance of a spectator who, when forthcoming, is handed a birthday book with a request that he autographs it on his birthday page. A blank card is now taken and dropped inside an envelope, which the spectator is asked to seal and retain in his possession. The operator now draws his audience's attention to a desk calendar, and if thought necessary, hands it for examination. After this, the operator takes it back and sets it to the current day's date. This done the calendar is placed back towards audience (or if the operator is surrounded by his audience, covered with a silk). The operator now takes envelope from spectator, and opening it withdraws the card, on it being written the birthday quotation which is found on the page of the birthday book where the spectator has written his name. The climax comes when the operator turns round the calendar revealing the day and date of the spectator's birthday.

That is the broad outline of the effect, which gives scope to every kind of presentation. On the occasions when I saw Bruce Hurling present this effect in his polished and convincing manner, the audience, consisting of both magicians and lay public, were astounded.

Before going into details let us analyse the effect. Two results have to be accomplished. The first is the writing on the card, the second the change of the date on the calendar. The first calls for little intricacy, as a double envelope is used for the change of a blank card for one on which there is writing. The reader may well ask, " but how the particular quotation ! " The answer is simple. The birthday book used by the operator carries one quotation on each page (which may carry more than the Catendwt one day). The book when bought should have no quotations but the services of a good printer are engaged to overprint seven quotations consecutively through the book. Thus the operator is only concerned with seven quotations. (I would suggest that for easy reference the first word should be " I " or " A " (one letter), the second, two letters, etc. This makes for speed as well.) Inside an envelope box on the operator's table are placed in order seven double envelopes each carrying in the double part of the envelope, a card which carries the appropriate quotation. (This is, of course, optional, the envelopes can easily be placed in order in a pocket.) Having dealt with the modus operandi of the message, we come to the question of the calendar. The one lent to me by Mr. Bruce (there are only two in existence) is beautifully made and can be handed without any qualms, for examination. The internal mechanism consists of a spring blind which carries pieces of thin card made to represent the date when the effect is performed and which, when in position, conceals the normal date. This blind is controlled by the spindle at the top, i.e., the one which alters the day of the week. The photograph shows the spindle being turned and the blind coming up (the front of the calendar being removed for this purpose). That is a rough description. Let us go into the matter in detail. The case for the calendar is first made. (The maker's best method is, perhaps, to buy a desk calendar and use the rollers and numbers, then either adapting the case or making the case to fit.) Underneath the roller which carries the months, a spring roller is placed on which is fixed a blind. This blind is made of thin oilskin, and is bound by tape at the edges, stitching being made across the oilskin so that pockets are formed for holding the day, number and month cards. This blind can be quite easily seen in the photograph and in more detail in E. Two hooks are connected to the ends of the tape (see E). One thing which should come first is that the front of the calendar, together with the piece of glass which backs it, should slide in from the base, the mere replacement of the base keeping them in place. (In Mr, Bruce's model, the base has a special locking device.) The top roller, representing the days, is encased in a metal cylinder, the latter having an opening towards the front (see C). Before this happens two things must be done to the roller. These two things are shown in A and B. A slot is cut in the roller and a wooden slide made which carries the wood spindle. In this slide a small hole is bored. D shows a diagram of the roller inside the cylinder (in actual fact the end on the metal cylinder is about one-eighth in thickness), A hole is made for the spindle (the other end for the moment being left open) and around this hole are fixed seven strong metal pins at equidistant intervals. The roller is now dropped continued on page 23

fM&i Wxvdeck'i a Side

I wonder how many conjurers realise that it is possible, by only using a slate with one flap, to have that slate marked on one side and yet get five different messages on the other. It sounds a tall order, and yet it is so simple. The basis is to be found in the " Satchel " (Jinx Summer Special, 1939, and " Annemann's Practical Mental Effects ") and under another title (" The Best Tricks with Slates). In this routine I only went for two messages. With the same principle as I say, five messages can be obtained. Actually I would at the most use four as, unless there is a strong reason for repetition this is enough. The method is a combination of slate manoeuvre and so-called chemical chalk. First of all a few words about the chalk. On the other side of the Atlantic it is possible to get Burling Hull's outfit, but since, in his book on Slates, he gave a formula by Lonergen, I have used this for some time. The formula is this. Mix an equal quantity of methylated spirit and Steven's gum in a small glass. Take a piece of white chalk and dip it into the resultant mixture. Capillary action will cause the chalk to soak up some of the mixture. Now take the chalk and start writing on the slate (a bakelite type of bed, like Wandman's slate, is more effective than slate proper). In a matter of seconds almost the writing will appear hard and white. (In fact it is really fixed in the manner that a pastel worker causes pastel to stay put with fixatif.) If a wash of Carbon tetrachloride is now given to the chalk, the writing will (whilst the surface of the slate is wet) disappear. As evaporation takes place (and because of the high volatility of carbon tetrachloride this is very rapid) the writing comes back again. Now let us get to our routine of getting four messages. On the slate proper write the words " very easy " in one line, but in writing them, the letter " y " in " very " and the letters " e " and " s " are written in chemical chalk. The other letters are written with ordinary chalk. Supposing that you are forcing a word. Write this word on one side of the flap in ordinary chalk, then place the flap in position in the slate so that it is blank on both sides. Now on the flap side of the slate, write in chemical chalk the name of the spirit you intend to conjure up. The only other requirements besides the impedimentia for forcing, are a small dish to hold the carbon tetrachloride (with a lid) and some non-abrasive material for applying the carbon tetrachloride. The ideal thing I have found is a wad of cotton wool covered with a small piece of silk. A newspaper of the smaller size is the only other requisite, and from the centre of the bottom edge a semi-circular wedge of paper is torn. The dish of carbon tetrachloride should be concealed and it should be easy for the operator to knock the lid off. If there is no lid it easily is possible for the liquid to evaporate. Now for the method. The newspaper is folded around the slate (message side down). The operator invites a member of the audience to assist him. This spectator chooses a name or some article ; two very good forces here being the glass force or pin force in " Patterns for Psychics." The paper is now removed from the slate, the latter being held message side down, the former being replaced on the table. The slate is washed first on the non-flap side and then on the flap (name) side. When completely wet,this side is turned round (and don't forget to give it a good soaking). The slate is turned round again, and on the side now showing the spectator's initials are written with a piece of chalk which the operator takes from his pocket. The slate is now laid on the newspaper and half of the latter folded over it " just to act as a Seance Room," says the operator . . . Slate and flap are then removed and the name of the spirit shown. The slate is not cleaned this time but simply placed back inside the folded paper flap side down. The operator asks the spirit whether conditions are difficult or easy. The slate is now removed from the paper leaving the flap behind. On the slate are seen the words " Very Easy." The slate is now wiped with carbon tetrachloride which has the effect of erasing the ordinary chalk and just leaving the letters " Yes." The slate is placed back inside the paper and the ghost asked whether he will assist. The slate is now removed showing the answer " Yes." This time the slate is not cleaned, but a manoeuvre is adopted in replacing it in the paper. The slate message side up is held in the left hand, the table and paper are on the operator's right. The operator approaches the table and instead of just lifting the top half of the paper, lifts the flap as well (remember the underside of the flap had the name of the ghost, but the uppermost side bears the final message), the semi-circular cut-out making this easy, the left hand comes across with the slate, holds the paper for a moment, the right hand leaving go and taking the slate which is placed inside the paper. The right hand now lowers the upper part of the paper and the flap on to the slate.

For the finale the operator has now only to take paper and slate, remove slate and flap, show final message and drop paper on to the floor. Needless to say, during this routine, attention is called to the fact that the initials are on the slate all the time.

To get an extra message means a combination of ordinary and chemical chalk on the other straight message.

THE GENII IN THE CALENDAR — continued from into the cylinder and it should now be obvious that a pull on the spindle will cause it to engage with one of the pins, and, consequently, a turn of the spindle will turn roller and cylinder. The other end of the cylinder, with a hole to accommodate the other spindle, is now soldered on. Tapes are now fastened around the cylinder at each end, care being made that they are secure all the way round. A small piece of tape is left free and to this a metal eye is sewn which is necessary to engage with the tape around the spring roller. For a continual performance of this effect the operator will require a complete set of days, dates and months on card for insertion into the blind. With the current date set, the envelopes in the box and the birthday book at hand, the operator is ready for the . . .

Presentation.—-The assistance of a spectator being forthcoming, the operator hands him the birthday book with the request that he autographs it. The book is opened at the page and the writing done. The operator notices the quotation and going to the box on his table, takes the appropriate envelope, and then showing a blank card drops it inside. The envelope is sealed and handed to the spectator to hold. The calendar is next introduced and, under the pretence of setting at the current days' date, the operator sets it at the chosen day and month. When it comes to the point of apparently setting the day, this is done quickly and the spindle pulled out, the result as we know causing the roller to engage with the spindle and raise the blind. (The great point about this locking device is, that when the blind is released the roller comes back to exactly where it started.) The hand retains sufficient pressure on the spindle to prevent it's release and turns the calendar round so that the spectators can see it. It is then either turned round and placed on a table or covered with a silk. In either case directly the calendar's face is out of sight of the audience the pressure is removed from the spindle and the blind allowed to rewind. The operator first opens the envelope, showing th^t the spirits have been at work writing on the card, the birthday quotation . . and then as a climax, the work of the Genii in the Calendar is shown . . . the assistant's birthday has superseded the current day's date.

continued from page I^

CLeniaÎ Jxeatwuf

The next two moves are repetitions of the foregoing as far as the sleights are concerned, except with a greater number of coins. The associated actions, however, are varied thus—the operator is now left with the stack of twenty T.N.D. coins, together with the loose glove in the right hand. Transfer the loose glove to left hand. Produce eight coins with the right hand, i.e., front-palm production. Change glove back to right hand under cover of which remainder of coins (twelve) are picked up by fingers of left hand in back-palm prosition.

It will assist in carrying out this move if the fingers of the right hand press the coins into position and slightly spread them as the left hand moves away from the right hand. The left hand now reaches up to produce the first of the twelve coins. Simultaneously, the right hand with the loose glove drops naturally to the side of the body so that the edge of tile cloak drapes round the whole arm. In this position the hand goes into the tail pocket and grips the stack of nine coins between the first finger and thumb. These are withdrawn from the pocket with the minimum amount of movement, the complete steal being carried out under cover of the edge of the cloak, while the left hand is producing the first coin by the back-palm production. The right hand now reaches up and removes the opera hat. To the audience this hand apparently only contains the loose glove, but the nine coins just withdrawn from thé tail pocket are also contained therein, and the loose glove helps to conceal them and also give the hand a natural position.

If this move is carried out properly, it will be found that the hat can be held quite easily by the brim, and the coins can be allowed to drop farther into the palm of the right hand as the hat is turned mouth upwards to receive the twelve coins about to be produced by the left hand back-palm production. These twelve coins are now produced and dropped, one at a time, into the upturned opera hat, one or two being spun into the air after producing and caught in the hat. A stout piece of cardboard should be fined into the bottom of the hat in order that the coins will make more noise in falling.

As the reader will know, considerable practice is required to back-palm and produce twelve coins in a single load. A great deal depends on obtaining the correct position at the commencement, and this is greatly facilitated by the use of the loose glove as a subterfuge to cover the pick-up, as it is changed from one hand to another. The correct position for the back-palmed coins is shown in C, with the first coin as close as possible to the tips of the fingers

After the production of the twelve back-palmcd coins by the left hand the hat is passed from right hand to left hand by the loose glove which is held against the brim with the left thumb.

The right hand is now free to produce by the frontpalm production the nine coins recently extracted from the right hand tail pocket. Each of these is thrown, one at a time, into the hat and the production increased in speed towards the end as if leading to a climax. When the last coin has been produced, change the hat over to the right hand again, leaving the loose glove in the left hand and stepping close to the table, pour the whole of the coins from the hat into the glass bowl.

As this is being done by the left hand it is obvious that the crown of the hat is towards the audience. The hat should, therefore, be held well above the glass bowl in order that the coins can be seen to fall into the bowl. When empty the hat is immediately placed back on the head.

Under cover of this action, the left hand goes into the tail pocket and withdraws the stack of fifteen coins previously placed there. It will be remembered that this hand still holds the loose glove. This should be held well into the crook of the forefinger and thumb, leaving the tips of the finger and thumb free to grip the coins. As the coins arc withdrawn from the pocket, the palm and fingers of the glove are allowed to drape over the coins to conceal them from the audience, as in D.

This left hand steal should be completed and the arm in repose at the side of the body, by the time the hat is replaced on the head. This is important, because as the hat is replaced, the operator makes a half right turn towards the audience so that he almost faces the auditorium, giving the impression that the routine is complete.

This action brings the left arm into view, but the loose glove effectively hides the stack of coins held between the left forefinger and thumb. After a pause to receive any appreciations from the audience which may be forthcoming, the magician glances down at his left knee and changes the loose glove from left hand to right hand.

This move serves a double purpose.

Firstly it covers the transfer of the stack of coins from left forefinger and thumb to the palm of the right hand. These are pushed into the palm of the right hand as the glove changes hands. Secondly, it appears to the audience a necessary change simply to leave the left hand free, which immediately extracts the coin which has been secreted in the braid of the left trouser-leg. This coin is produced and dropped into the glass bowl. Following this the loose glove is passed back to the left hand and the right hand makes several catching movements in the air, making louder and louder clinking sounds with the stack of coins palmed therein, and finally dropping the whole stack in the form of a shower into the glass bowl.

The routine can now be brought to a close by the use of a coin ladder, as described at the commencement of this article, or by any other means which may occur to the individual operator.

PENTAGRAM GRADING : ***** (Five *** (Three stars)—Of Practical Value.

**** "CARD TRICKS WITHOUT SKILL"

(Edited and published by Paul Clive, price 5/6).

Of recent magical publications, I must say I know of no greater value for money than this book of card effects. Stiff cover, well printed and copiously illustrated (I think by Wilfrid Jonson) it covers two hundred odd pages and well over a hundred effects. The non-skilful aspirant should not be discouraged by the glossary of card artifice which covers the first thirty pages. Whilst a number of these (and remarkably simple ones) are necessary for the accomplishment of some, there is a spate of self-working card effects. Many sources have been tapped to provide this feast, and the editor has given credit where known. In all there are eight chapters comprising Beginners' Tricks, Impromptu Mysteries, Miscellaneous Mysteries, Treated and Prepared Cards (particularly in this section did we like the editor's own effect " Stained Glass Window ") Pre-arranged cards, The Identity Deck and Contemporary Effects. The eighth chapter is the glossary previously mentioned. Just some of the names which should focus attention are those of Stewart James, Zens, Dai Vernon, " Gen." Grant, Gravatt and Ted Annemann. The last chapter has contributions by English conjurers and they have stuck to the letter of the law in really giving effects without skill. All are practical as I well know. The gem of these, however, to my own way of thinking, is Victor Peacock's " Magic by Proxy." I like the dedication page.

Unreservedly recommended.

**** "RINGS IN YOUR FINGERS " by Dariel Fitzkee (published by San Raphael house, price 5 dollars.

That Mr. Fitzkee is an indefatigible analyst has been evidenced by his previous books. This is no exception for here in the space of eleven chapters, covering one

X (Two stars)—No Reason for Publication.

hundred and twenty pages, every phase of the Linking Rings seems to be covered. The titles of the chapters should give the reader some idea of the completeness of this work . . . The Effect, Methods of Counting, Substitutions and Exchanges, Simulated Linking and Unlinking, Methods of Linking, Secreting and Securing the Key Ring, The Figures, Ending the Routine, Routines (eighteen routines including the Odin), Routines without a Key Ring, and Final Suggestions. In its completeness this book should stand as reference and guidance for many years. To the would-be linker of rings . . . buy . . . for you will find no better literary mentor. The chapter on Figures is the most complete we have seen, but we agree with the author insofar that they add nothing to the effect and in certain circumstances detract. This book is not of the same standard of printing and finish as Mr. Fitzkee's Trilogy, but all the same it is clearly printed and illustrated, although the illustrations are grouped. The binding is better than we are accustomed to over here, but there is no spine title. Unreservedly recommended.

*** " HOW TO DO JUGGLING " by John J. Mills (published by the Vampire Press, price 10/-)

Within the forty-odd pages 9f this well-printed little booklet, Mr. Mills certainly shows the reader how, with the minimum of practice, he can put together an acceptable juggling routine. Ball and Club Juggling, Balancing and Spinning, are all dealt with. The author writes clearly, and with the necessary practice we see no reason why a person of normal intelligence should not reach the stage of proficifency desired by the author, but the acquisition of skill is something gained which is not easily lost. Recommended.

Cditoxial

Just as the " Pentagram " was going to press, I received the very sad news that Mr. J. F. Bruce had died. He had suffered a lot in the latter part of his life. To his wife and son we extend, on behalf of the " Pentagram " and its readers, our deepest sympathy.

In watching Dante at the Nottingham Empire, our thoughts turned back and we were talking to Rupert Howard just before he left for the States, where as Danton, he was going to take over the Dante Show. Looking at the feather bouquets filling the stage we wondered if and when there would ever be another Devant. To the present generation he is a name, and one wishes that talkies and technicolour might have been invented earlier so that the might of this one man might have been caught for all time. He zvas a magician !

Those who met and knew Rooklyn whilst he was here, just before the war, will be pleased to know that he is running a full stage show in the Antipodes.

" Punch" recently tried to outshine one of our contemporaries and had a very interesting article entitled " You too can be a carpenter."

" On the Beam " seems to be attaining world-wide publicity, and the latest port of call seems to be Norway vide Magiens Verden. In this same magazine we were greatly surprised to see an explanation of Scarne's Triple Coincidence, by Hubert Lambert.

Abbott's are putting out an improved version of the Warlock " Glass Penetration." From the advertisement, the improvement seems to be that it is painted in two colours.—As a suggestion, why not a sympathetic effect using " Soft Soap " (Tommy Windsor method), Red Silk in one box, red card in front . . . black silk in other, black card in front . . . cards changed over and so have the silks.

With such poor bindings on so many recent publications, I was beginning to think that the art of bookbinding was lost. Mr. Field, of Sheffield, has convinced me that such is not the case, for some books sent to him recently for binding, have been returned in a state that would have delighted the past generation. I cannot say more than that.

If you still lack a particular book on your bookshelf, that well-known collector, George Jenness, has just published a new list of books that he has for sale. It runs to several pages and includes many books which are very difficult to obtain. You will find his address on the next page !

" CARD TRICKS WITHOUT SKILL "

NOW READY

Contributors include :—Geo. Braund, Herbert Collings, Douglas Craggs, Lionel King, Jack Kinson, Victor Peacock, Edward Victor, Peter Warlock, etc. Cloth bound. 120 Effects.

Price 5/6

Post paid 5/10 (SI.35) from your dealer, or direct from :

PAUL CLIVE & Co., Ltd., back 68 Cocker St., Blackpool

New Price List, 6d. post free, now ready

JUST OFF THE PRESS

Patterns for Psychics by Peter Warlock

Packed with Mentalist Eflects that are positively UNCANNY. Card prediction effects, billet tests and thought-reading brought to the highest pitch of perfection. Fully Illustrated, Cloth bound

Price 10/-

READY IN JANUARY, 1947

Expert Manipulation Playing Cards by Lewis Ganson 195 Plates Price 10/-

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CONVINCING COIN MAGIC

Victor Farelli's latest and greatest work Close-up, Platform and Stage Effects. Cloth bound, art paper, 33 photographs and 24 drawings Price 17/6 post 4d.

MAGIC WAND YEAR BOOK

ALL ABOUT EVERYTHING

Eighty pages of Magical Information. Tricks of the Trade, Make-up for the Stage, Workshop Wrinkles, Radio Publicity for Magic, Society Reports( Trade Section, Cartoons, etc., etc., etc

Price 2/6, pott 4d. 20/- for both books post free

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PENTAGRAM

An independent monthly bulletin for all who want good magic

Mmaxp, 1947 friice One SAiUing.

JAeedwe (Innematut

It was with much more than regret that I heard of the passing of Ted Annemann, for whilst we had never had that pleasure of meeting in person, we had corresponded quite a lot, and in that correspondence found that we had so much in common regarding our attitude to conjuring in general, and mental and psychic magic in particular. The " jinx," which he founded and so faithfully personified as its editor, will remain a lasting monument to him.

Towards the end of my temporary Army career, when I started to plan this little bulletin, I decided that I would try and repay to a small extent the benefit that had been received from the " Jinx " by each February publishing an issue of the " Pentagram " with the contributors all ex-" Jinx " writers. And so here, as was announced in the first issue, is the first Annemann commemoration number. 1 should like to express my gratitude to my fellow contributors in this number, and particularly to Orville Meyer, who, after the arduous task of editing an " Annemann " parade for the October " Linking Ring," so graciously came forward with an item for this issue.

Many of you will soon put into effect Robert Tothill's idea, for the effect on the audience is one of the superlatives.

In memory of a great magical writer I wish you 41 Good reading 11"

PETER WARLOCK.

Sortit ACeiuô, Conference

Editor's Note.—A resident in Cornwall, Robert Tothill is not so well-known to magicians as he might be. A first-class technique, coupled with well thought out presentation of every effect which he essays, his work is a joy to watch. Readers of the " Jinx " will well remember him for his card routine on page 500, " Secrets for Sale."

Introduction.—In my " Spirit News Conference " effect there is considerable speculation as to how a facsimile of a selected newspaper picture can be produced on a card so that actual comparison may be made with 'the original. My routine, although evolved some time ago, has recently been brought up-to-date and I have had marked success with it at smokers and intimate performances, audience appeal being an outstanding feature.

In this routine use is made of stock effects; credit is given wherever possible to sleights and apparatus invented by other magicians.

Presentation.—The operator mentions that it is believed the spirit world has newspapers, with a counterpart to our Fleet Street and often publishes news relating to the earth plane.

" It is, therefore, highly probable that there are spirit beings who are interested in feminine fashions, and I am sure there must be some who even follow the latest escapades of Jane in the Daily Mirror. So let us have a News Conference with the spirit reporters,"

The operator passes out for examination a blank piece of card. " The card is placed in this window envelope. The purpose of the window is to enable the card to be seen the whole time and for the card to be initialled. We will take the Daily Mirror as a suitable paper for reflecting the earth's happenings. I will number the main pictures throughout to-day's paper, actually there are six. To convince you there is no conscious, or unconscious co-operation on anyone's part, the choice shall be decided entirely by chance. If this die is shaken well in a matchbox by someone, and we take the number which is uppermost, the picture will be chosen by chance. Thank you for shaking, there is really no need for all that shaking, for I can assure you that the spirits will not be in any way frightening. The" number uppermost, I see, is four, will you confirm that, sir ? One, two, three, four ... I see you have chosen quite a suitable subject.

" Now that the picture has been decided upon, a word will be selected by what is known as a selector-plate. As you see, it is an oblong piece of metal with a small portion cut out of the centre. I will move it up and down the columns of newsprint until you say ' Stop,' and the word showing through the opening in the centre will be the word chosen for the News Conference. Should there be two words we will carry on again \intil you say ' Stop.' Will you please decide the page to be used ? This one ? Now say ' Stop ' whever you like. Stop ? Well, here is the word. It is . . .

" Common to all News Conferences we can imagine the reporters dashing off to 'phone the City desk. Soon the presses are turning out the editions, the distribution organisation gets going and finally the news boys put their initials on the papers which have been ordered—the newsprint shortage being not only world-wide but universal. Your initials, sir, are on this card and I see on the other side is a spirit reproduction of the Daily Mirror heading with to-day's date, giving the selected word and the chosen picture, proving our News Conference a success."

Method.—In the routine a certain amount of preparation is necessary. A reproduction of a predetermined picture and word has to be made on a card. The medium employed in transferring the picture from the newspaper to the card is paraffin wax. I have found that candle grease and toilet soap can also be used, but does not give such good results. The following is my method of transfer. Wax a piece of thin good quality paper on one side. Lay this paper wax side up, and on it face downwards place the newspaper with the selected picture. Over the newspaper place another piece of thin paper and with a blunt pencil, using a fair amount of pressure, the whole of the picture area is shaded over. This transfers some of the ink from the newsprint to the waxed surface of the paper underneath. When the whole area has been covered in this way you will find a reproduction of the picture on the waxed paper. But it will be noticed that the positions and printing are reversed. I call this a negative as this impression has to be transferred to the card, then the picture and printing becomes the correct way round. The card is waxed on one side, the negative placed over it face downwards. The pencil operation again carried out on the back of the negative. The picture on the card will now be a positive. Similar treatment is used for the forced word, employing an unused part of the negative. I also use the Daily Mirror heading on page one, which gives the date and is printed in red. Best results are obtained in the morning before the printing ink has had time to harden. The prepared card is now placed in position in the switching envelope.

As will be realised, the card examined is exchanged for one upon which is the reproduction of the picture and word. I use the clever device for switching described in " Message from Confucius," by Eric C. Lewis, in Abracadabra. It is Mr. Gripper's adaptation of Mr. Len J. Sewell's device for switching envelopes. (See footnote to " Spirit News Conference.) However, any of the standard methods of envelope switching using window envelopes could be employed.

For forcing the picture a die shaken in a match box is used. A small die is glued towards the end of a drawer of any empty match box, with the four spot upwards.

Another die is also placed in the box. On order to do away with cards and numbers as far as possible the effect " Wordo," which can be purchased from any dealer, is used for forcing the word. If anyone does not possess this effect, it is money well spent to purchase one—the method is direct and easy to perform. The match box is placed in the coat pocket, the selector-plates in the waistcoat pocket, a Daily Mirror and the switching envelope put in a convenient place. The preparation is now complete.

To present the effect, the card is examined. When using Gripper's switching envelope, I take this card from the envelope where it has been placed in front of the fake, as it enhances the illusion of the switching for the prepared card when it is replaced. After the card has been examined and placed in the envelope, the back of the prepared card which now shows, is initialled through the window.

Number any six pictures in the paper by ringing them with a red crayon and place the number in a conspicuous position. Care, of course, should be taken that four, the number uppermost in the match box is the number of the picture which is to be forced. The loose die is taken from the box and shown, is then replaced and the box shaken. Remembering which end of the box the dice has been glued, it is tilted so that the loose dice slides to the opposite end. The drawer is opened enough for the fixed dice to be seen with the number four uppermost, the loose dice, of course, is hidden. The drawer is closed and the box pocketed. The chosen picture is shown.

The two selector-plates are taken from the pocket, the faked plate palmed, the ordinary plate is shown to demonstrate how the word will be selected. Whilst the page is being chosen, the plates are exchanged, the ordinary one returned to the pocket. The effect is worked according to the instructions supplied with the plates, and after the word has been seen by the spectator, the plate is immediately placed in the pocket.

The situation is then built up to a strong finish by taking the card from the envelope and showing the spirit-picture is indeed a replica of the original. The reaction is one of astonishment when the two are held side by side for comparison.

For those who prefer the prediction type of effect here is an alternative presentation.

Effect.—Operator states that a week ago he predicted a certain newspaper picture and word, not even then printed, would be freely chosen here to-night. That prediction was enclosed in an envelope and posted to himself at this address. To bear out the statement the envelope is handed out for inspection, with the request that special notice be taken of the date-stamp of the post office franking and the fact that the envelope has not been opened.

A picture and word is then chosen from a newspaper in the manner previously described, and a startling effect is produced when the envelope is dramatically opened, revealing inside a sheet of paper bearing a reproduction of the chosen word and picture.

Method.—The reproduction of the picture and word on the piece of paper and the way the force is accomplished have already been given. What may not be so clear is how it is possible for a letter posted a week ago to contain such a piece of paper. The " Jinx " issue number sixty-five published November, 1939, on pages 455 and 456, gave Sid Lorrain's version of rubberised envelopes under the heading of " Prediction."

An ordinary envelope is coated with latex on the gummed part of the flap and that part of the envelope where the flap folds down. When dry the envelope is sealed by pressing the rubberised parts together. The envelope is addressed and posted a week before the date of the performance.

Upon arrival at the place of entertainment, the letter is asked for. Take it somewhere free from observation and open the envelope. It will be found that this is quite easily done. Traces of latex are removed from the envelope by a rolling action. The reproduction already prepared on a piece of paper is inserted in the envelope and sealed by moistening the gum which has not been impaired. The envelope is then given to someone in the audience to hold until required in the routine. Rope cement, or Wunda Cut fluid used for " Clippo " may be substituted for latex.

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