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If one can believe the spoken and printed word, the late Theo. Annemann was the richest man in magic. The noun is used as it applies to friendships, not material wealth. Wherever magicians congregate, at conventions, society meetings or in the back rooms of the magic shops, the conversation bears testimony to Annemann's talent. Magic magazines periodically publish special Annemann sections, Annemann anecdotes and reprints and variations of Annemann effects. Weird Wire, Jr., is nothing more than the latter, a variation of an effect entitled Annemann's Weird Wire which appeared in Jinx No. 89 some eight years back.

The original effect made use of a set of the now famous Rhine symbols—a circle, cross, wavy lines, square and a star—a deck of cards and a magazine. The performer asked the subject to select one of the five symbols and then call a previously given telephone number. The performer's associate on the other end of the wire questioned the subject and revealed the selected symbol. Annemann cautioned, however, that the effect was not fool proof. He had devised a book test using the cards and magazine as an alternate when the first effect failed.

Annemann objected to the use of foreign articles in performing magic. He believed that use of such articles excite suspicion in the subject's mind. An analysis of that belief and the foregoing effect will prove them contradictory. Use of one of the objects in Weird Wire, automatically should cancel out use of the remaining two. While they are not " foreign articles " in themselves, none of the items are in any way related.

Weird Wire, Jr., eliminates the possibility of failure. Further, the performer's associate need not question the subject. And it makes use of only a single item—cigarettes. (As a regulär reader of the British press, the writer is aware that mere mention of My Lady Nicotine will cause a number of Pentagram readers to turn the page. But wait!)

Effect : A number of different brands of cigarettes are collected from the on-lookers. The performer explains that he has a friend who has developed an animal-like sense of smell. He hands the most sceptical member of his audience a slip of paper on which is written a telephone number. " Freely select a cigarette," the performer commands. The doubting Thomas chooses a cigarette, dials the telephone and the performer's associate on the other end of the weird wire tells the subject the name of his cigarette.

The effect makes use of Anneman's Weird Wire code. (American brands of cigarettes are here listed. Pentagram readers will, of course, want to revise the code to list the most popular makes of British cigarettes). The code follows, with code words underlined :

What brand am I smoking? What brand am I smoking? What cigarette am I smoking?

Lucky Strike unlit Chesterfield lit


What cigarette am I smoking? unlit

Old Gold

What brand of cigarette am I smoking? lit

Philip Morris

What brand of cigarette am I smoking? unlit

Pall Mall

What am I smoking?

What am I smoking?

Kool unlit


Working : If the subject selects, say, an Old Gold, the performer instructs him to dial the telephone number and ask, " What cigarette am I smoking ? '' By casually emphasizing the word cigarette, the performer invariably will force the subject to use the code word. When the performer's associate answers the telephone, he tells (he does not ask) the subject to blow a thin stream of smoke into the telephone receiver. As - the subject must pause a moment to light the cigarette, the performer's associate knows it to be an Old Gold.

If the subject selects a Lucky Strike, the performer instructs him to light the cigarette before dialling the telephone and asks, " What brand am I smoking ? " Again, the performer's associate tells the subject to blow smoke into the receiver. If the subject does so immediately, the associate knows the cigarette is already lit, and is, therefore, a Lucky Strike.

Use of this particular code is limitless. By enlarging the list of code words, the performer can include a key word for every brand of cigarette made. The same code easily "can be applied to books, magazines, wearing apparel, coins, cards and an endless variety of articles.

A few pointers in performing the foregoing effect : If the performer does not have the undivided attention of the subject, it is well to repeat the code sentence immediately after he, the subject, dials the telephone number. Forcefully impress upon him by the tone of your voice what he is to ask.

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