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Sweet Simplicity, 1

The effect about to be described brings into play a pack of cards in which there exists a certain arrangement. Therefore, to secure the best effect it is better to precede it with another card effect in which at the conclusion or during its performance the pack can be switched in a natural way. When presenting it ourselves we precede it with an effect in which a card has been forced (this card being a duplicate of the top card of the pack to be introduced later), it is shuffled back into the pack and the pack is placed vertically in a pocket which contains the other pack (this pack lies horizontally). The top card is taken from the horizontal pack and affirmed as the chosen card. The remaining part of the horizontal pack is taken from the pocket, the chosen card added to the top, and the pack false shuffled.

The reader must forgive the above preamble, but we wished to emphasise that the switch must be natural. Let us get down to the effect itself, which is based upon a very old mathematical principle, and my friend A1 Koran made good use of it in an effect which won first prize in The Magic Wand competition for the best mental effect some years back. The present effect, devised for small audiences, obviates certain features which I thought undesirable.

First of all, thirty-six envelopes will be needed and so also will be thirty-six pieces of card. Such card may be the magician's calling card. Taking twelve of the envelopes, the reader will have to print the name of a month on each one so that the twelve months of the year are covered. Better than printing by hand is to get some old calendars and cut the names of the months away and stick them on to the envelopes. The remaining twenty-four envelopes are similarly treated, so that when finished ^ there will be three sets of envelopes designating the months of the year. Next, twelve of the cards are taken and on each is written " Your Birthday Card is the Ace of Hearts ". These cards are placed one in each of the first set of envelopes, the flaps being tucked inside, not stuck down, thus allowing the magician to use them for an indefinite period of time. Twelve more cards have written on them " Your Birthday Card is the Nine of Diamonds " and these are placed in the second set of envelopes. The remaining twelve cards have " Your Birthday Card is the King of Diamonds " written on them, and these go in the third set of envelopes. Make sure that the sets are kept separate. Think of the sets as 1, 2 and 3.

The pack of cards is now arranged so that the top card is a corner short, and this in my own case is a duplicate of a card forced from a similar looking pack. The tenth card from the top is the " ace of hearts ", the eighteenth card from the top is marked in a recognisable form near the edge. With a white margined pack a small pencil dot will do. The marking is repeated on the opposite side. The twenty-seventh card is the nine of diamonds, the thirty-sixth card is marked near the two opposite edges and finally the king of diamonds is placed in the forty-fifth position. With the pack thus arranged it is placed in the right-hand jacket pocket so that it lies on its long side.

After the short card has been produced as a chosen card, the pack is removed, placed on the table, the short cards being placed on top. Three members are invited to assist. Taking the stack of envelopes containing the " birthday " cards, the magician approaches the first and asks him his birthday month. Supposing that it is " May ", the magician abstracts the " May " envelope from the first set and hands it to him, at the same time requesting him to place it inside his pocket for the time being. The second assistant is asked his birthday month and is handed the envelope bearing the appropriate month from the second set. Lastly the third assistant after naming his birthday month is given its namesake from the third set. The envelopes should be handled quite casually, and if the magician is fortunate enough to s rike three people whose birthday falls in the same month he Las an additional aid to his patter.

The envelopes are placed down and the pack taken. It is given an overhand false shuffle that will not disturb the order of the pack. (In this respect I don't think that there is anything better to use than either the shuffle given by De Manche in the Modern Conjurer or the old optical shuffle.) A spec'aior is ask?d to cut the pack, and receiving it back the pack is given a few casual cuts, and finally th: short card is cut to the top so that the pack once more is in the original order.

" I am going to divide the pack into approximately three parts. Here's a third for you, sir. (The first asi stant is given a bunch of cards from the top of the pack. Although handed out casually the magician has in the rough push off divided the pack at the first marked card, and the seventeen cards above it are handed out.) And a third for you, sir. (The second assistant receives the eighteen cards above the second marked cards.) And perhaps you will take the remainder." (The remaining seventeen cards are given to this assistant.)

The position now is that each assistant has a heap of cards in which the tenth card is that written on the card in the envelope that he has in his pocket.

" I want you each to think of a two-figure number, but it shouldn't be greater than the number of cards that you hold. A third of a pack is approximately seventeen—keep that in mind. Have you thought of your number, sir ? (This to the first assistant.) Keep it well in your mind and count that number on to my hand. This is done, and we will suppose that the number is fourteen.) Just take the cards and give me those that are left over." (The unwanted cards are dropped into a pocket. The magician moves to the second and third assistants in turn, and a similar process goes on.)

"You, sir (this to the first assistant), thought of the number fourteen ... we are dealing in numerology . . . one and four make five . . . just count to the fifth card and place it aside. I'll take the remaining cards. (This is done.) Because of the counting of the cards, the ace of hearts will be the card placed aside. The second and third assistants are similarly instructed, and each assistant should now have placed on one side the card represented by the message on the card in the envelope that he has in his pocket. To conclude, each assistant is asked to remove the envelope from his pocket, read out the contents, and turn over the card in front of him.

It sounds as though the effect is rather drawn out, but this is far from the case. It hasn't the advantage of being impromptu like Al Korna's effect, but it has the added advantage of not stressing that a number between ten and twenty must be selected. All the assistant is asked for is a two-figure number not greater than the number of cards he holds.

Smeei Simplicity 2

In My Best and Patterns for Psychics, I descr bed a method of the Rising Cards that had many advantages. The nature of the set-up looked a bit complicated and rather Heath Robinsonish, but the method was thoroughly practical and actually very eas'ly set up. The following version, however, brings about a similar series of effects in a far easier manner and is based upon a method that I must have used some tl.irty-two years ago. In those days I fitted a piece of celluloid across the mouth of a straight sided glass. A small hole was made in this strip, and through this a piece of cotton was taken and tied. The cotton was then taken over the back of the glass and anchored to an adjacent object (see illustration). It followed that if a card was continued on opposite page


S stands for Scotfcanus

By Perm'tjjion.


ATtheCOUNCILROOM, Ipswich, on Mo«. pay the 12th of March, and every Evening during the Week, The UNDECEIVING- EXHIBITION, or DISSERTATIONS on DECEPTION; discovering the modes of deceiving pradifed by Jugglers, SJight-of-hand-nicn, Fortune-Tellers, and Natural Magicians, as displayed in the exhibitions of Briflaw, Jonas, Katterfeho, See. a diftovery never mgde to the world before ! wherein' the feveral Tricks are firft (hewn, and then laid open to the public, thereby preventing their being Dupes to Sharpers and Gamblers, by Cards or Dice. A moft glorious thought! and golden opportunity I Alio, detefting the Frauds of Mountebanks,- Quack Doftors, and Lecturer on population. To conclude with a choice and vail numerous»Colle&ion pf the moft Miraculous Discover j ej on Cards, Money, Boxes, &c. in'fuch a man. ner, that every perfon in the room will be capable of doing them immediately by themfelves,

SCOTICANUS declares he will difle& more Deceptions to his audience for the fmaU admittance money, tbanany performer would do for One Hundred Guineas to any fingle perfon.

ADMITTANCE TWO SHILLINGS each Perfon. The above performance has; been acknowledged by thou-fands to be the moft hcmeft, ufeful, humorous, and entertaining piece of real novelty, that ever was prefentcd in public; and what thou-fands muft live In total darkntfs, if they are able to fee and will not fee that which has amazed ! enlightened ! edified ! and give« fuch capital fatis-faftioii and inftruftions to eveiy beholder I

Tickets to be bad at the principal Inns. Doors to be opened at Six.—The LeftBres to begin at Seven, and the Deceptions, with their Difcoveries, at Light.

N. B. The room will be genteei>f fitted up for the reception of a faihionable audience, comfortably feated round with covered.benches, and fires kept during the exhibitioo.

From the J. B. Findlay Collection brought to the top of the pack, and in the action of placing the cards inside the glass and in front of the celluloid strip, the top card was separated and allowed to go behind and fall so that the cotton was carried down to the bottom of the glass, a pull on the cotton would cause the card to rise.

In that method, of course, the glass being faked had to be handled carefully, and though on principle I am against having things examined, in the " rising cards " I always think that the container should not in any way be suspect."

The present method allows for use of a borrowed pack and borrowed glass ; the latter, however, must be either straight sided or bulbous like a brandy glass. Such glasses allow the cards to rise without any tendency to fall sideways.

The fake used by the magician is simply made from a lady's hairpin. It is shaped as in the above illustration, which shows it also clipped on to a glass. The cotton that is attached goes off at right angles once it is fixed. Incidentally, though such line is finer, don't use nylon, for this has not the limpness of cotton.

In working, the fake lies under a pack of cards near one end. The glass is shown, tapped with the fingers and placed down. " As you can see," says the magician, " it will jus': accommodate a pack of cards." The cards and fake are picked up as one and placed inside the glass, and at the same time the wire fake is slipped over the sides and engaged. The length of the wire should be less than the diameter of the glass, and it should take up its position in the rear half of the glass. The cards are withdrawn, and the company allowed to take, say, three cards. These are placed in the pack and controlled to the top. A little finger break is secured under the three top cards, and in the action of placing the cards in front of the wire fake, the three cards drop :nt >

the rear section. If the glass is picked up and tension obtained on the cotton the three cards will rise as or.e-. Approaching them with the free hand the sides of the face card are lightly gripped, the tension on the cotton being lessened so that the two cards behind fall back into the glass. The move is repeated, and finally the last card comes up.

If the performer likes to have an off-stage assistant (and though it sounds as though a lot of practice might be required to get the necessary synchronisation, I can say from experience that provided the assistant can see what the magician is doing, and such an assistant has a little " savvy," only a few minutes rehearsal is needed), the last card can be made to jump from the glass into the performer's hand, a simple jerk on the cotton making this possible.

Sweet Simplicity, 3

Everything in this effect depends upon natural handling.

First of all, take a pack of blue-backed cards and discard a dozen cards. From the red-backed pack take their equivalents and trim the opposite corners of one so that you have a " corner " short. Now turn the red-backed cards face down, and see that the short card is at the bottom of the heap. Underneath these twelve rcd-backed cards place the balance of the blue-backed pack. The only other items that you will require are two stemmed glasses capable of taking the playing cards. These are placed on the table about a foot apart.

Picking up the pack from the table the magician gives a casual spread to the top dozen cards, remarking that whilst it is a common practice to have cards selected whilst the cards are face down, this mystery is an exception. The pack now held in the left hand is turned face up, and whilst two members of the audience agree to assist, the right hand approaches the pack. The pack at this point should lie across the palm of the left hand so that the top left-hand corner is near the thumb whilst the bottom right-hand corner is near the base of the little finger. The r'ght hand comes over and grips the pack; the thumb feels for the short, and the left-hand li tie f nger holds a break. The right hand now prepares Id make a number of running strip cuts. The left-hand tl rmb and second finger grip the cards about a quarter way down from the top, and the riget-hand thumb and first finger draw the cards underneath p.wav. the break previously held by the left-hand little finger being taken over by the right-hand thumb and third finger. A number of strip cu'S are made, the cards being turned so that the red back of the bottom card shows, as the magician addresses the two assistants-to-be, and when he gets to the break, i.e., when he

Vietm ZcvteMi dnent CUtfuvc SA&auaad

London, 9 April, 1951.

Dear Mr. Warlock,

I have read your interesting article on the late Arthur J. Sherwood which appeared in the March (1951) issue of The Magic Circular, and I expect you will be surprised to learn that Sherwood's success as a magician was due, to a certain extent, to David Devant, whose pupil he was. Over twenty years ago, the Master himself told me that he had " rehearsed " him in some of his routines, including, I think, the Chocolate Box.

Devant also informed me that, in spite of statements to the contrary, he had had very few pupils, although some unscrupulous individuals had claimed to have taken private lessons from him.

Apart from Claude Chandler, R. Woodhouse Pitman and the late Vincent Dalbin (who all took out, at different times, the Devant show, or part of it), I know of only one, namely, Dr. O. H. Bowen. Of course, there are others, and I am one of the few. Readers of The Odin Rings, published in London in 1931, may recall having seen an intimation to that effect on the title page of the book in question.

Before starting my course of lessons, I had already been a full-time professional performer for three years. Devant did not teach me any new tricks—he said that I had plenty—but he showed me how to present some of those that I knew, or thought I knew.

His fee was a guinea a lesson, and I consider that the twenty-five guineas that I paid was one of the soundest investments that I ever made.

While on the subject of magicians and their pupils, I wish to take this opportunity of stating that there is no truth in the often repeated assertion that " It was LeRoy who gave David Devant his first lessons in magic." (See Gold-ston's " Who's Who," pages 27 and 60).

David Devant was born in 1868, and assuming that the late Eugene Powell was right, Servais Leroy was younger than his supposed teacher, not having seen the light of day until 1875. See The Sphinx, July 1928, page 223). Devant said to me : " LeRoy and I studied conjuring together, but I was not his pupil."

When associated with the Maskelynes, Devant gave much sound advice and practical help to the young men appearing at the " Hall," including my old friend, the late Owen Clark.

Kindest regards,

Yours very sincerely,


P.S.—According to Will Goldston's " Who's Who " (page 59), Servais LeRoy was born about 1860, and it is possible that Powell made a mistake in his article, or, more likely, that the compositor was to blame. Unfortunately, "Who's Who" is full of errors, and cannot be relied upon. For instance, it is stated (on page 77) that Ramases died in 1896, but, as a matter of fact, I stopped in the same hotel with him, for over a month, in Cairo, Egypt, in 1920. And I met him here in London on more than one occasion in 1927.—V.F.

¡Raymond of JHeed't

Supsteme Gaiowt, ¿PtedicUan

In describing the following routine, full credit must be given to the two brilliant predecessors, " Grant's Slates and Aces " and " Supersonic."

I was greatly intrigued by both these grand effects, but both lacked what I consider the essential for presenting them as serious mental tests.

It was with this thought in mind that I devised the following routine.

Briefly, the effect follows on the same lines as Grant's Slates and Aces, but instead of using cards on a small slate, I mounted a blackboard on a stand and substituted large colour cards for the playing cards.

A glance at the diagram will give an idea of the set-up of the stand. Also, by using a little subterfuge it is possible to show the whole of the selected cards, which greatly enhances the effect.

What the audience see is a blackboard with the backs of six cards showing, the cards being held in place by a strip of white elastic.

After an introductory line of patter by the performer, he draws attention to the six cards on the stand, by giving a number to each card, from one to six. He then asks a member of the audience to concentrate on one of these numbers, but not to call it out. After due concentration the continued on opposite page performer steps behind the board and writes the colour forced on the board. In this case, as illustrated, green.)

Addressing the audience once again he asks a spectator to name the number which he freely selected. The number having been called, the performer removes the appropriate ca.«! and places it in position at the top of the stand. (The illustration shows No. 6 as the selected card.) Care should be taken not to show the face of the card as it is removed.


The following effect can be worked almost Oinder any conditions. Naturally, slightly different methods of presentation will be required to suit the conditions, but the method and basic principle of the effect remain the same.

Assuming that you are performing an intimate type of show, explain to your audience that your partner is going to attempt a demonstration of impulse writing.

This will necessitate the borrowing of a pack of playing cards and the voluntary assistance of a member of the audience. Emphasise the fact that the cards are borrowed and that you have never handled them before.

Then ask your volunteer to mix the cards. Whilst this is being done, a request is made for someone to escort your partner out of the room— out of hearing.

This having been done, you explain that you wish to have a card selected in the fairest possible manner. Ask your volunteer to deal the cards slowly down on to the table, and when any member of the audience shouts " Stop " the card he is dealing must be placed on one side.

When the card is in position the stand is turned round showing that all cards have a different colour, and that the performer has successfully predicted the colour which was at the number so freely selected.

A glance at the illustration should explain the construction of the board and stand.

The board illustrated shows six cards held in place, backs facing the audience. Each of these cards is coloured in two colours, one half being the force colour, in this case green, and the other half a different colour.

At the back of the stand, fastened to a strip of elastic, and between the elastic and the board, is a half green card. This is just a fraction wider than the other cards. It will be seen that it forms a kind of mask pocket, behind which is placed the different colour of the selected card, the join being masked by the elastic band so that when the stand is turned round the whole of the green card is shown.

The illustration shows the back of the stand, card No. 6 having been removed and placed in position at the top, the orange half going behind the half card so that the whole card appears to be green.

One last word, this is a grand mental effect, so please use it as such, and do not use it in an ordinary magic programme, when it becomes a mere trick.

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