Qaxenden Slate

Slate writingN has always fascinated me, and to-day I still consider that the finest method for. obtaining writing on an examined (if necessarily borrowed !) slate initialled on both sides is that of Woodhouse Pitman's (see "Slates—A Learner's Course," Page 53, or " The Best Tricks with Slates," Page 51). To those unfamiliar with either book the method, one that was presented at the Magic Circle Grand Seance in 1921, consisted of a paper or light cardboard cut-out of the message being picked up on to the slate by means of an adhesive.

The present method was first used by the writer at Garendon Hall in Leicestershire , in 1944. It was not included in the lecture that I gave at Hereford to the British Ring in 1946, as at that time I wanted to keep it to myself. In the issue of " Abracadabra " dated 22nd February, 1947, Jimmy Flowers, in describing an excellent effect, " The Radar Card," almost duplicated the method, with the result that it was demonstrated in my lecture " Slates for Experts " at the Magid Circle, in the spring of 1947 (see report Magic Circular, July, 1947), and also at the "Abracadabra Jamboree " in the autumn of the same year. My reason for this preamble is that in describing the effect and method I feel certain that I may be giving the method of a much-publicised effect that has hit the American magical market in these last months, the " Diabolo Slate," and I do not wish anyone to think that the Garendon Slate was inspired by that description.

There is one other point from which one, I think, can draw a moral. This method was given away to possibly an audience of at least two hundred and fifty conjurers. I have never heard of anyone using it. Had I marketed it, it would

I feel sure have been a fairly good seller. Again at the " Abracadabra Jariiboree," I threw away the main working principle of " Gap in the Curtain," and yet again nobody seemed to worry to work it in any way until I sold it as a routine.

The Effect.—A slate is examined and initialled on both sides. It is then either rested against some prominent object, hung from ribbons, or wrapped in a sheet of tissue paper. Ultimately a message appears written across either or both sides of the slate.

Description of Apparatus.—The method is based on the Woodhouse Pitman method previously mentioned. Ail the present method achieves is to remove the messiness of the adhesive. Instead of a paper or light cardboard cutout, the name or words to appear on the slate are cut from very thin sheet iinplate (the cutout I used came from a wartime dried milk container ; this was very easy to cut indeed. If one uses thicker metal it is a devil of a job to cut out the smaller pieces). The accompanying illustration shows what I mean. When the cutout or cutouts are complete they are given a coat of dull black paint on each side, and when dry, chalk is rubbed over one surface. The slate consists of a normal slate frame with two pieces of blackened cardboard to form the writing surface. On the inner side of one of these pieces, two " Eclipse " magnets were fixed into position by means of adhesive tape. These magnets are not very thick and only a very slight bulge resulted, giving a certain amount of convexity to the surface. The illustration shows the position of the magnets. To-day one could obtain alnico magnets thinner than the "Eclipse," with the result that by putting cardboard around the magnets, thus forming a sandwich, the sides could be perfectly flat.

In presenting the effect the cutout would normally lie on the table, and, of course, the mere placing of the slate over it means that the cutout would come up against the surface of-the slate and be retained there by the magnetic force in that area. This unfortunately (unless the performer likes to cover the non-chalked side of the cutout with felt or velvet) causes a slight " clang," and I therefore used to have a sheet of tissue paper lying on the table one part of it overlapping the cutout. The slate after examination was placed down on the tissue which was wrapped around it. The cutout came up against the slate, but in b^+ween it ana the surface was the tissue paper.

in the following manner. On the performer's table rests a sheet of newspaper, of such a size that two slates could be placed on it side by side. Equidistant from each are placed two cutouts, the unchalked surface being covered by newspaper so that it blends into the newspaper background. After the slate is examined it is placed over one of the cutouts so that this comes up and adheres to the under surface of the slate. The part of the paper under the slate and the slate itself are now turned over (the paper being folded in the process), the result being that the other cutout comes up to the/other surface. Slate with paper surrounding is now placed on top of, say, a tumbler while the spirits get to work, the paper is removed and the messages shown on both sides.

The bundle was rested (cutout to rear) against a table lamp. When the performer wished to show the message, the bundle was picked up, and the tissue paper gently pulled away, the slate then being turned and the message displayed. This was made possible (1) because of the softness of the paper which easily comes from under the cutout ; (2) the strength of the magnets, which easily kept the cutout in place.

I have mentioned the matter of two messages, one on each side of the slate. This is accomplished

A dhestve


C stands for Comus

NEW PHILOSOPHIC DECEPTIONS, '// jr(By dcJire of many diltinguiihed Perfonages) /SIEUR COMUS will perform in the Great Exhibition

Room, No. 48, Hay market, r JHHIS prefent EVENING, Saturday, Dcc. 7, JL Motufey, Dec- Q, and EVcry Evening till farther notice*

PART I —THE SIEUR COMUS Will difplay his aftontflUng PERFORMANCES a« follow :

He wit! exhibit in the granaeft manner many curieus Deceptions with Calkets, Letters, Rings, Swords, Silver Gups, Medals, Clafie». apd Watches.

Atfo with his New Invented PHILOSOPHIC and THAUMATURGIC MACHlNEi*t£S.

Part II—Mr. Cotutm will comrauni -ate the reslThoughtsof tine PtafOu to another, without Speech or Writing, by means •f a MAQtCAL ALJRIDA1 E, which none was ever yet potltfiVd of hut hlmfelf.

Partllf'.—Various uncommon Experiments with hi* en-chantedH'OB.OJLOOIUM, PYXIDEES, LITERAIC&M, andmanyeuridusoperationsin RHABDOLOGy ,S1'EGA* NOGRAPH Y, and PHYLACTERIA.'Vith many won-dtrful Psrfoftjwrces on the GRAND DODECA&DRON. AMo Chartonjaptic Deceptions, and' Khararaatic Expert«-scents. To Conclude with the~Pcrform£ffce of the Tflretopsi> Figure and Magical .Houfe..

The lik«j ocver teen in this Kingdom before^ antf will aftomih.tVtTy Beholder.—Admittance 2s. 6d. each Perfon.

Doors toBe opciifdat 6 O'clock, and the Opertltions begiq at 7 prtcil'ely, and finiihat 9.—The Room will^e elegantly illuminated find CQmmddioufly prepared.

From the ]. ti. Findlay Collection

Jltathex Qaeue SWedictien

EDITOR'S NOTE. The little books necessary jor this effect are published by Messrs. Raphael Tuck and Sons, Ltd. Generally they can be obtained in Woolworth's Stores. To save some readers the trouble, Mr. Douglas Francis made us a present of some fifty of the booklets, and these will be available to the first fifty who send me a stamped and addressed envelope.

Effect.—The performer takes a pack of cards and a small book of Mother Goose Rhymes. Looking at a member of the audience he hands him the booklet and takes from his pocket a pad and a pencil. He writes something on the top sheet of the pad, tears off the sheet, folds it, and hand it to the person holding the book. He then approaches a member of the audience and asks him to take a card, show it to the person with the book, and ask him to turn to the page represented by the number of pips (court cards counting as ten). Another member of the audience is approached, and he is asked to take a card, show it to the person with the book ; this time he is to count to the word in the rhyme indicated by spots on the card. When the holder of the book indicates that he has found the word he is asked to hand the prediction slips to another member of the audiencc with the request that he unfolds it. The holder of the book is now requested to name the word arrived at by selection of the card. He does so. " And now, sir, will ycu read out the word 1 wrote on the paper ? " He does so, and of course they agree The performer, if he so wishes, is in a position to repeat the effect, six more times !

Preparation.—This amounts to very little. The little booklet is unnumbered, therefore the reader will have to number each page, treating the ■inside of the cover as Page 1. This has the effect of giving the reader ten pages that have rhymes and pictures on them. The pack of cards is then stacked so that the tens and court cards lie respectively at the top and bottom, whilst the twos, fours, sevens and nines are in the centre. The pack can be casually fanned whilst like this. The top card should be a short card, or key card, that will enable the performer to cut it to the top with the minimum of effort.

Supposing1 that the fours form the topmost part of the middle stack, the uppermost four should have a light pencil dot at each end on its back so that by means of a quick glance, when the cards are fanned the performer knows the run of the cards and where that run starts. With the pack tlyis set, the performer is in a position to easily cause a spectator to take a ten spot (or its equivalent), a two, a four, seven or nine ; because we think that a repetition of tens being selected looks rather bad we have departed slightly from Mr. Francis's original oral description. For this ending the performer will require another pack of cards which consists only of tens and court cards, a joker card being placed on the face of this pack. Prior to performance this is placed in the performer's left-hand jacket pocket.

Presentation.—The performer takes the scratch pad and writes on the topmost sheet the word " the " ; this sheet is then torn off, folded, and handed .to spectator, who at the same time is given the book. The pack of cards is then cut, bringing the tens and court cards to the centre, another spectator being approached with a request

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