Pentagram

An independent monthly bulletin for all who want good magic

dditmiat

The writing of one's first editorial is no easy task. Of how much to say and how much not to say. I do think, however, that I should tell my readers the main policy of the " Pentagram." Its main purpose is to present tested practical magical effects and routines. In this sphere quality will come before quantity. Book reviews and apparatus reviews will be given in an unbiassed manner. Many of my friends have asked me whether, because of my predilection, the " Pentagram " will deal only with mental magic. I should like to say here, now, that it will publish within its pages effects suitable for all types of magicians.

Jiet&c Wxvdodl'd

With a similar title I described a prediction effect in a recent copy of the B.M.S. Journal. This version is far more advanced in effect and adds a piece of worthwhile apparatus to the armoury of the mentalist.

Effect. Three members of the audience are nominated as helpers and designated A, B and C. A is handed six pieces of cardboard each a different colour and B is handed a deck of cards. The operator approaches C with a book and a knife. Round the former is a paper wrapper. C is requested to stick the knife through the paper into the book. The knife is then left in position and the wrapper removed. Book and knife are left in the charge of C. These preliminaries performed the, operator returns to his performing position and from his table lifts a teacup. " Many of you, no doubt, have had your fortune told in a teacup, and one often sees books on fortunetelling, called ' Your Fate in a Teacup.' Perhaps you are sceptical, and so to-night I am going to tempt the Fates." At this point the operator tips from the teacup on to his hand three folded pieces of paper, coloured respectively red, white, and blue. To A, he says, " This is your fate " at the same time holding up the red paper and dropping it back into the cup. To B he makes a similar remark, dropping the white paper into the cup. And, lastly, the blue paper is dropped in for C. A is now requested to choose one of the coloured cards and hold it up. We will suppose that " orange " is chosen. A member of the audience is asked to make a note of the choice. B is now asked to glance through the cards in his hands, choose one, and hold it aloft. We will suppose

One issue, the February one, will be an exception, as it will be an Annemann commemoration number, every contribution comprising new material contributed by " Jinx " contributors.

It is only by criticism that one can know one's own weaknesses. I do not want weakness in this bulletin, and I shall more than welcome the opinions of its readers. I should like to conclude this very brief note by thanking all those who have been so helpful in making the publication of this, bulletin a practical possibility;

in a ¿ieacup, that it is the two of clubs. The member of the audience is asked to note this too. Lastly C is requested to open the book at the place where he inserted the knife, and choose either page. Suggesting that the average number of lines on a page is thirty, C is asked to name any number between one and thirty and count down to that line. Then to say aloud the first and last letters of that line. We will suppose that the line is 27 on page 151 and the words " love " and hate " These too are noted by the member of the audience. The operator now recapitulates and emphasises how with each choice the odds have been stepped up . . . six, fifty two, sixty thousand ! " Remember," he says, " I said that your fate was in the teacup." He picks up the teacup and tips the folded papers on to his hand. Advancing to A he hands him the red paper, to B he hands the white, and to C the blue. A is asked to open the paper and see what is written. He does so, and reads out " Your fate is that you will prefer ' Orange.' " The first prediction is correct ! B then opens his paper and reads " Your fate is that you will choose the two of Clubs " ! Finally C opens his paper and reads " Your fate is that you will choose line 27 on page 151, and the first word of that line will be " love " whilst the last will be " hate."

The motif of this effect is that of restricted choice. In the fairest possible manner the helpers have apparently a wide range of choice.; Actually that choice is limited to forty-nine. As I consider this the main means to the end, let us discuss this first. First of all six pieces of cardboard coloured Blue, Green, Red, Yellow, Orange

YOUR FATE IN A TEACUP—continued from page x and Black (I know black is technically not a colour, but by the majority of people it is so considered). The size of these cards is immaterial. These cards constitute the only free choice. The deck of cards which is handed to the second spectator consists of twelve cards repeated four times. I suggest that for conveniences sake these cards should range from Ace to Queen, the order and suits being mixed. With this deck in his hands the second spectator 'obviously can only have one of twelve choices. In the book the use of a wrapper is to cover a slide which will force the knife to go between two previously decided pages. This slide consists simply of two pieces of thin cardboard inserted into the pages required and doubled back on to the cover of the book. The wrapper is then put in place and glued, which has the dpuble effect- of pressing the pages together and concealing the slide. Figs. E and F show what I mean. The book should be fairly thick and contain illustrations. I forgot to mention a couple of points regarding work to be done before the slides are inserted and the wrapper placed on. The first is that the two pages must consist of one printed page and an opposite one of a full page illustration. Secondly that the operator must take thirty-one pieces of thin blue paper (each measuring three inches by two). On thirty of these papers he writes " Your fate is that you will choose line ... on page . . . and the first word of that line will be . . . and the last will be . . . The blanks will be filled in to cover number of page, each line and the first and last words in those lines. On the thirty-first billet, the operator will write " Your fate is that you will choose page . . . on which there is a picture of (followed by description). These pieces of paper are now folded lengthwise and crosswise, so that their final measurement is one and a half inches by one quarter of an inch. As each one is folded it is placed into a billet index which is to be described. Quite obviously the chief point is that order shall not be lost or confused.

Now for the billet index. There have been many ideas put out for the accommodation of billets, but from my own point of view I have not found one capable of accommodating over fifty billets and giving trouble-free delivery. Let me describe the one I use. First of all you will want some cardboard the thickness of three playing cards (failing this playing cards can be stuck together giving the desired thickness). One piece is cut to the size x If and equidistant along its length are cut six pieces measuring 5/16" x 1". Two pieces of playing card 3f x 1" are glue respectively front and back of this comb-looking piece of card so that a piece of card with six slots is formed (Fig. B shows exactly what I mean). These slots are capable of accommodating billets when folded to the size stated, so that half-an-inch projects. Pieces of linen tape are glued in the position shown in Fig C, and a piece of thin, but strong, cardboard is cut to shape and stapled to the slotted card (Fig. C again). Another slotted holder is made to the same size, whilst others are made to these sizes : 2 @ 3£" x 2 @ 3£" x 2 @ 3i" x 1 @ 3f

The size of the slots in each one being the same.

Slips of thick cardboard 3f x are now glued between the linen tapes with the billet holders arranged in ascending and descending order as shown in fig. D. This is an arrangement that makes for compactness. The flaps should all face the same way. When finished the reader has a holder capable of taking fifty-four billets, which for, card work, would mean the whole deck, Joker and Score Card. TTie index is now prepared for the effect as follows : Into the first holder are placed six red pieces of paper on each of which is written a message with a colour corresponding to the six cards. Into the next .twelve divisions are placed pieces of white paper carrying the names of the twelve cards. We have already discussed the magazine and mentioned that the thirty-one billets go into the index in a known order. One final point to be discussed and that is the teacup, a fair-sized cup is taken, and about half-way down a circle of cardboard from the centre of which a piece of card half an inch in diameter has been cut, is jammed and stopped from moving by means of scotch tape (see fig. A). This is somewhat rem» iniscent of a wasp trap and if a-billet is dropped through the hole into the cup a reversal of the cup will not allow it to fall out. That is the apparatus for the effect, and although it seems a lot it is all a means to an end. From the audience's point of view there is no apparatus. The only other requirements are three slips of paper : one red, one white, and one blue, folded to resemble the billets in the index. These are placed on top of the cardboard circle in the cup. With the cup, cards, and book on table, a small paper knife in breast pocket, and the index in the trousers pocket the operator is ready for the presentation.

As the three members of the audience are being chosen the operator picks up the coloured cards, playing cards and book. He advances to A, handing him the coloured cards. To B the deck of playing cards is given. Moving to C, he hands him the knife with the right hand, retaining the wrapped book in the left. C is asked to push the point of the knife through the wrapper and into the leaves of the book. This being done and making sure that the knife is well gripped, the operator holds the book and knife aloft for all to see, at the same time accentuating the impossibility of anyone knowing the particular pages that the knife would find. The operator now moves the knife to one side of the wrapper and rips wrapper and pieces on card away from book. The book and knife are then handed to C, and the wrapper and card placed in pocket. Great care should be taken here to see that when C receives it there is no possibility of the knife slipping on to the floor, thus ruining the force. These preliminaries having been accomplished, the operator picks up the cup and tips into his right hand the three folded billets. The cup is then replaced on the table. Showing the red first he takes it with his left hand and drops it into the cup, taking care that it enters the circular opening in the card. This procedure is repeated with the remaining two billets. The operator now places his right hand in pocket opening the flap of the fake which covers the red billets. Directly A chooses his colour the appropriate billet is located and pulled out of its hiding place. It is not palmed, but simply held. A member of the audience is asked to note the colour.

Continued on page 5

Qe&tge Mafatb

The reader may have come across many types of spelling tricks, and, like myself, have found that most of them had snags one way or another. Perhaps there was too much to remember, or, perhaps, there were too many ' ifs ' and ' buts.'

Therefore I set myself the task of finding a routine that was straightforward, easily remembered, non-confusing to the audience, and would bear repetition, for, while I agree in part that effects should not be repeated before the same audience, I find from experience that spelling effects when presented once only leave the impression of a lucky fluke on the performer's part, but, if repeated, gain rather than lose by such repetition.

After literally hundreds of try-outs, pages upon pages of figures and calculations, I came upon what follows, and I can only hope that the reader will think as highly of it as I do myself. Or do we all think our own ' children ' the best ?

The performer fans out a pack of giant cards and invites a spectator to merely think of one card he sees. When the choice has been made, performer closes the fan, remarking, " This gentleman has merely thought of a card and at the moment it must be admitted that he is the only person who knows what the card is. Now sir, will you make me a promise ? I am going to ask you a series of questions, and I want you to promise that you will tell me the truth in your answers, for I intend to spell out your answers, moving a card at a time for each letter spelled. If I succeed in the effect, I shall be able to turn up the very card you are thinking of now." From here on the performer asks the colour of the card, then the suit, whether it is a picture card or a spot card, and, finally, asking its value, turns up the very card. Each answer given by the spectator is spelled out, even to " yes " or " no" when asked if it is a picture card. The routine is always the same, with no variations whatever, and in all cases the next card following the completion of the spelling is always turned up and is the chosen card. It cannot fail.

Continuing, the performer says, " You may think I was lucky, so what do you say to a really convincing test ? I will ask a lady this time to be as awkward as she can and to chose a most difficult card. Perhaps you, madam, will kindly concentrate on one of these cards. Make it as difficult as you can, please. You have made your choice ? Thank you ! " and, without further ado, the performer places the cards into a small holder, backs outwards, so that he has to handle them as little as possible.

It is a simple box affair, just slightly larger than half the height of the cards. The performer then goes through the same spelling routine, moving one card at a time from the front of the box to the back. At the completion of the spelling the performer names the card, which, of course, has been gleaned from the spectator's answers, and which is now known to the audience, then, pointing to the houlette, one card is seen slowly rising from the rest. When the card is almost half way out, the performer takes it cleanly from the box, brings it forward, turns it round and displays it as the card initially thought of.

You will need twelve giant cards. Did I mention at the beginning that a pack of cards was fanned ? Perhaps I did, but believe me, if you fan twelve giant cards in front of an audience unused to such things, the twelve cards will look like two handsful. Anyway, that's all vou need. Here are the cards :—8S, 9D, 10S (or ten of diamonds would do here), KH, JC, AS, QD, 5C, 5D, 7C, 8H, 9H. They are arranged in that order, eight of spades being on the back and nine of hearts on the face, lender both indexes of the nine of hearts make a

small red line.

With the cards so arranged, display them face outwards, running through them in small cuts as you name them, and placing the cards cut off to the back of the packet. Thus you have apparently handled them carelessly but have not disarranged their order, for cutting the nine of hearts to the front or face, brings them back to the original order. Fan them out for a choice and then close the fan. Explain how you are going to spell the spectator's answers, illustrating your remarks by moving a few cards one at a time from top to bottom. Before asking the first question fan the cards towards yourself, pretend to study them and remark " I think I will take a chance and cut the cards here this time." In any case you always cut the nine of hearts to the face of the packet, hence the small mark on the index, just to remind you. From this position, and turning the cards face downwards, you can now spell any card in the set, if you use the following questionnaire.

Always ask the questions in the singular and interpret the answer in the singular. If you remember that the routine is perfectly straightforward. (1) Is the colour of your card red or black ? Spell red or black. Is your card a heart or a diamond ? Spell heart or diamond. Is your card a club or a spade ? Spell club or spade. Is your card a picture card ? Spell yes or no.

From here there will naturally be a diversion, according to whether the answer is yes or no. Suppose it is yes. After spelling yes, proceed :— Is your card a king, queen or jack ? Spell king, queen or jack and turn up the next card.

Suppose the answer was no. Having spelled no, proceed :— Not a picture card. Then it must have been a spot card. Was your card high or low ? Remember, Sir, Eight up to Ace is high, Seven down to Two is low. I repeat, Ace, King, Queen, down to Eight is considered high, Seven down to Two is considered low. High or low ? Spell high or low. (6) How many spots on your chosen card ? Whatever the answer, count that number of eards from top to bottom, and at the finish turn up the next card.

So, briefly, we have the following rules, which are always adhered to : —

Always cut the nine of hearts to the face before spelling ;

Always ask the questions in the singular and interpret the answers in the singular, as : —

Red, Black, Heart, Diamond, Club, Spade, King, Queen, Jack. Yes or no. High or low are naturally spelled as given. Always count the number of spots given, In the case of a spot card, moving a card for each count from top to bottom ; and, finally,

Always remember that Ace is high, then king, queen, jack, down to eight are high, and that seven down to two are low. That's all! Oh, the Rising Card Effect ? I almost forgot 1 The spelling is exactly the same except that the cards are moved in the houlette instead of in the hand, and always from back to face of the packet. The chosen card is then the nearest one to the audience at the conclusion of the spelling. As to the rising effect, you will perhaps arrange your own method. Mine is a box, the mouth of which is four and three-quarter inches by three-quarters of an inch, and the depth inside is five inches, thus leaving

Continued on page 4

Cecii

Qiy ¿Repeat

Those who, like myself, have had the pleasure of witnessing Mr. Tebbett perform this series of sleights know full well the deceptive nature of the effect produced. It is a nice interlude and makes a welcome change from a lighted cigarette production.

The operator places a hat on a table and standing right side to audience raises his left hand back towards audience. It is closed into a fist, and then a cigarette is slowly seen to emerge at the top. The right hand removes this cigarette depositing it into the hat. The production is repeated some half-dozen times, and with the taking of the penultimate cigarette from thp left hand, any theory that the right hand deposits a cigarette in the left hand under the process of removal of the produced cigarette, is disproved as the right hand is, without audible comment shown to be quite empty.

The requirements for producing the effect are few, just a hat and six or seven cigarettes. One of these cigarettes is in a clip on the left side of the operator, whilst the remainder are in a position for easy acquirement by the right hand. A hat, either the operator's or one belonging to a member of one's audience should be available.

The right hand obtains possession of the half dozen cigarettes and in the action of placing the hat on the table, loads all but one into it. The remaining one is thumb-clipped. Whilst the hat is being placed on the table the left hand has obtained possession of the cigarette on the left side. Turning right side to the audience, the operator raises his left hand, fingers outstretched back to audience and closed into a fist. With attention directed by mannerism or patter towards the left hand, a slight upward movement of the left thumb inside the fist causes the concealed cigarette to rise. When a couple of inches of the cigarette

is visible, the right hand approaches the left to remove the cigarette. Nozv comes one of the vital moves. As the tips of the first and second fingers of the right hand reach to take the tip of the exposed cigarette, the concealed thumb-clipped cigar* tte in the right hand enters the left fist (Fig. 1 shows the cigarette by means of a dotted line).

In synchronisation with the taking of the cigarette from the left hand by the right and under cover of the latter, the thumb of the left hand guides the intruder into the position for the next production (Fig. 2 shows what happens, the right hand not being shown). The right hand apparently places the first cigarette into the hat, actually leaving the latter with the cigarette thumb-clipped and ready to repeat the move which is done once more. With the apparent production of the third cigarette the left hand turns over to the position shown in Fig. 3. The right hand this time approaches with the concealed thumb-clipped cigarette, and takes the tip of the exposed cigarette as in Fig. 4. In removing the cigarette from the left hand, it is turned over on the hand in an upward movement, and as the left hand fingers open to release it, the thumb-clipped cigarette in the right hand is left in its place. The right hand carries through its upward move ment and the left hand turns back to the audience for next production. The right hand now apparently places the produced cigarette into the hat, but this time picks up another and comes away with two thumb-clipped. After the production of the next cigarette, the right hand leaves the two thumb-clipped cigarettes inside the left fist. The left hand thumb now pushes up one of the cigarettes, and in approaching the left hand to remove it the right hand is seen to be empty. This should be as unostentatiously as possible, as possible. The right hand drops this cigarette into the hat, and as a finale picks up the latter. The final cigarette rises from the left hand and is dropped in to the hat which is held underneath.

two inches of the cards standing out. Inside the box is a small metal bar, made in the shape of a trough or channel, and this slides in grooves cut in the sides and near to the front of the box. These grooves, one on each side terminate about half-an-inch from the top of the box, thus giving a rise of just over four inches. The ends of the bar are drilled to take two threads, and these threads pass up the grooves mentioned, out through small holes at the top front corners, thence along the two narrow edges of the box and down the back to a small rising motor attached to the back of the box. The threads pass through one eyelet in the Cent ¡;j of the back, thus gathering the two threads together as one for the motor roller.

For the spelling, the cards go back outwards, behind the metal bar, and as each card is spelled it is placed at the back, pushing the other cards slightly forward each time. As the last card is spelled and placed at the back, the now front card, the chosen one, is eased slightly forward and into the metal channel, and the motor started up.

If a motor is not available the anchoring of the threads to the table, the performer picking up the box and causing a tautening of the threads would achieve the same object.

Sjont SxUvu?

JiAAue

Mr. Selle» in this effect has produced something which is hard to find ... an impromptu effect capable of stage performance.

Effect.—Three hats are borrowed and placed in a row on a table. The operator then takes a square of white tissue about a foot square, rolls it into a ball and drops into the right hand hat. Another piece of white tissue is similarly treated and dropped into the left hand hat. Lastly a square of red tissue is rolled into a ball and dropped into the centre hat. During all this procedure the operator is careful to let the audience see that nothing but the paper balls go into the hats. The hats are then moved about and the audience asked to say what hat the red ball is in. Needless to say they are wrong, not once, but repeatedly so.

The requirements for this effect are simple . . . just the borrowed hats and four twelve inch squares of tissue, three of which are white, the remaining sheet being red. Prior to presentation, the operator screws up one piece of white tissue into a ball and drops it into his left trousers pocket. The remaining sheets of paper are placed on his table.

Presentatión.—Having obtained possession of the white ball of tissue with his left hand, the operator asks for the loan of three hats. The request being answered, he takqs the first with his right hand and passes it to the left wBicfc takes it in such a manner that the ball of tissue is held against inside band and covered by the fingerfc, thumb, of course, is gripping the outside of the brim. The hat should be held crown towards audience. The next hat is taken by the right hand and again passed to the left, which, by temporarily releasing the grip of the thumb, takes this hat and holds the two brims together, •so that in effect one hat is on top of the other. The third hat is taken by the right hand and the operator returns to his platform. The hat he is hólding/with his right hand is placed on the table to the operator's right. The right hand takes the topmost hat from the left hand and places it on the left hand side of the table. The left hand now allows the crown to drop and released the grip on the

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