Rara Avis

JACK AVIS

IN THE previous number of the Pentagram we described the effect of this miracle stab with the result that many readers either thought we were trying to exaggerate or tjiat some ingeniously gimmicked pack was being used. There was no exaggeration and an ordinary pack, somewhat maltreated by the time the effect is finished, is the only requirement apart from a pocket knife.

For the benefit of new readers let us describe the effect as the audience see it.

A card is chosen from the pack, noted and replaced. The pack is then placed on the table and taking an opened pocket knife, the performer demonstrates that he proposes to stab the pack with the knife, bringing up a number of cards on the point. Actually the main point is that the chosen card shall be at the depth of the stab. " If I choose the cards you might not think it so magical," says the performer, taking the cards from the point of the knife and replacing them on the pack, " so I will stab the pack at the point you wish; please cut the pack!" The spectator cuts the cards the topmost ones being placed upon one side. Taking the knife once more the performer stabs the pack to a depth of about ten cards. Bringing the point of the knife upwards it is seen that the chosen card is the face card.

The only requirements as we previously mentioned are a pack of cards and a pocket knife. The presentation is as follows : The spectator is asked to take a card, initial it if he cares, and return it to the pack. At this point the card is brought to the top. Individual methods will prevail here but whatever the method it should be one hundred per cent effective and deceptive for table work.

Placing the cards on the table in front of him, the performer takes the knife from his pocket.

opens it and demonstrates what he intends to do. The point of the knife is brought down on the top of the pack so that when it is lifted about ten or a dozen cards are impaled on the point. This action has the purpose of actually making a hole caused by a knife stab in the topmost (and of course the chosen) card. The cards are removed from the point of the knife, replaced on top of the pack and the spectator is invited to cut the cards to the point where he wishes the performer to make a stab.

Taking the cards cut off, the chosen one still being at the top, the performer asks the spectator whether he is satisfied or whether he would like to cut off some more. As this is said, the performer casually cuts the cards a couple of times. Actually he performs a double undercut which at the end of the second cut leaves the chosen card at the bottom of the packet. (For a clear description of this sleight, if it is not already known to the reader he is referred to "Cutting the Aces" in the Stars of Magic series or to the " A1 Koran " number of The Wizard). If the spectator does cut off a few more cards these go on top of those previously cut off and now held by the performer.

With the spectator expressing satisfaction, the cut off cards in the performer's hand are placed to the left of the remaining cards. At this point the performer should have his left side to the spectators. The knife is now picked up by the right hand, and as this hand comes up to the selected heap, the left hand shifts the unwanted packet to the left. A movement of stabbing is made but the point of the knife is not allowed to penetrate the cards. (See Illustration 1). The knife is lifted again and at the same time the left hand moves the unwanted packet. This time it takes it right off the table. The knife comes down on the heap, the point penetrating the topmost

beginning of the effect the cards should be handled in a similar manner.

The performer should in no way try to place the card on the point of the knife but rather in one clean action it should appear that the card is simply being taken off the point of the knife. Thanks to the preliminaries there is already a stab mark in the chosen card.

The whole thing sounds audacious to a degree, but I have had the opportunity of seeing Jack work this on a number of occasions before well-informed card men and also the uninitiated. In both cases the result has been one of pure magical deception. To my own way of thinking the beauty of the effect lies in the natural way that the effect is brought about with the minimum of skill and because of the positioning of the performer even the most difficult piece of technique, the bottom palm requires the minimum of cover.

cards. During the down movement the left hand bottom palms the selected card by using either the Gambler's Palm described by Dai Vernon in his five card mental miracle in " Stars of Magic " series or the bottom cop " Off the Bottom " described by Mike Tannen in Phoenix No. 64.

The right hand comes up with a number of cards impaled upon the knife and at the same time in a casual way the cards in the left hand, apart from the palmed card, are allowed to slide on to the table. (Illustration 2). As the knife comes into a horizontal position the left hand comes in to remove the face card. Actually what it does is to bring the card palmed in that hand into view. (Illustration 3 and 4 show the process).

Here it should be mentioned that when the performer is making a preliminary stab at the

" Audiences don't mind being deceived, they like it. Every time they go to the theatre, they deliberately enter a make-believe world for the express purpose of being agreeably deceived in some way. With definite psychological pre meditation, they not only do not try to interfere with the deception, but actually and consciously, aid the deception as much as they can. The success of their evening depends upon it."

Leith Loder,' An Approach to Misdirection.' ' Sphinx,* Vol. 40.

SPIN CUT ACES

JACK AVIS

THIS IS a version of "Cutting the Aces" which makes use of the rather showy " Spin Cut."

This form of cut generally attributed to Nate Leipzige was very nicely dealt with by Bruce Elliott under the title of " A Lesson in Magic " in Phoenix No. 277. However, we have taken a few photographs which should help the reader to whom the flourish may be new. Holding the pack with the right hand as illustration 1, the left hand forefinger presses against the corner of the pack and swivels the lower part of the pack round using the right hand middle finger as pivot. These cards go all the way round and are allowed to fall into the palm of the left hand. The left hand thumb then comes underneath the bottom-most card of those cards held in the right hand slides it towards the left and then by slight upward pressure causes it to turn over and fall face up on the cards held by the left hand (Illustration 2 shows this movement taking place). That is the spin cut which is nothing more than an elementary flourish. In the effect to be described however, it is adapted, not for the first time by any means, as a false cut. In this version, the performer leaves a number of cards below that portion which is levered round (see illustration 3), with the consequence that the card turned over by the performer's thumb will, instead of being a card near the centre of the pack will actually be the original bottom card of the pack. In using this cut it is of course quite obvious that the audience should not be in such a position that the lower portion of the pack left behind can be seen as the performer makes the cut.

" To be applauded by fellow magicians for a clever piece of misdirection should not be considered a compliment, Misdirection, recognised as such, has failed in its real purpose."

Lcith Loder. ' An Approach to Misdirection.' ' Sphinx,' Vol. 40.

" To be applauded by fellow magicians for a clever piece of misdirection should not be considered a compliment, Misdirection, recognised as such, has failed in its real purpose."

Lcith Loder. ' An Approach to Misdirection.' ' Sphinx,' Vol. 40.

The set-up is simple. The four bottom cards of the pack reading from the bottom are three aces, a spot card (for example, say a seven) and the remaining ace.

The pack is false shuffled and the performer then illustrating the normal spin cut by showing how each time a cut is made a different card is turned up from the centre of the pack. The pack is then false spin cut three times so that the three aces at the bottom of the pack are produced one at a time and turned up on top of the left hand pile from which they are then thumbed off on to the table, the original bottom half of the pack going back each time to the bottom of the pack.

False cut again producing the seven spot and turning it up on the left hand heap. This heap is now placed upon those held in the right hand a break being kept between the remaining ace and the cards below it. Mention the number of pips on the card and at the same time thumb count with the right thumb seven cards holding the break at this point. The left hand now deals off the spot-card and the pack is given a double undercut which has the final effect of bringing the last ace into seventh position from the top. "Seven Spots," says the performer " Seven cards," and slowly counting them off one at a time, the final card is found to be the fourth ace.

DISPLAYED DEXTERITY

ANON

<( T BELIEVE, and I apologise for differing from [ so many magicians in so doing, that the inclusion of flourishes at the beginning of a performance of card effects can in no way be detrimental to the performer's prestige. On the contrary, it can only establish a favourable impression in the opinion of the most sceptical and establish an atmosphere of sympathy, admiration, superiority and confidence. Furthermore, these are no longer times when one can seriously explain a card trick as being due to some mysterious or supernatural cause. The discerning and incredulous spectators no longer allow themselves to be easily convinced by the phenomena of thought transmission or other telepathic means. But, faced with the mysterious effect of some incomprehensible trick there is only one explanation which furnishes them with a reasoning behind which they are happy to withdraw and which suffices to satisfy their self respect, and that is your skill.

From the moment when you have proved yourself skilful, any miracle is permitted you, they no longer seek to fathom it and do not resent being mystified."

Thus wrote Jean Valton and in doing so he has voiced something which it is just as well should be appreicated by card conjurers—not manipulators, whose skill is visually apparent as is a juggler's. The advisability of the modern tendency to conceal any evidence of dexterity in handling a pack of cards is very open to question as a present day audience will explain everything somehow and for the sake of a performer's reputation what more desirable cause is there to which they should attribute results than his skill.

The brilliant new sleights in the card conjurer's armoury available for obtaining effects are legion but these must, or should remain secret weapons for there is little point in achieving some amazing effect thereby if only a fellow card expert can appreciate the technique. The reaction of the audience is too often that it is only necessary to buy some trick pack that they may have seen advertised, arid equal the performer.

The reaction of the lay public to such flourishes as the " card spring," " waterfall shuffle" and " single-handed cut " is more than favourable and the way be handles the cards tells the audience that there is nothing thathe cannot do with them. His parade of dexterity is rewarded accordingly.

Displayed dexterity is something that an audience realise they do not possess, and which also cannot be bought across a counter. Card players in the audience can often surpass the overhand shuffle of a conjurer in speed. The same also goes for dealing, for in certain cases the conjurer is slowed down by counting, running or jogging. To these people the use of displayed dexterity places him therefore above themselves. Fancy cuts, counts, deals and lifts all can play their part especially when the trick, from the point of view of method, is practically self-working. Read what Buckley wrote about; such tricks : " These things I admire only for the creative thqught necessary to give them birth and also the art involved in their presentation to maintain their secret. However, they are weak things on which to build the reputation of a conjurer magician because their strength is wholly in their secret, which is much too easily disclosed. When such a thing happens, often someone will remark ' Why, that's nothing, I can do it'." *

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