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THEY'RE ALL JACKS !
IN MAGIC, as in Music, the listener's attention is most easily gained through a recognized, familiar proceeding, that the group feels they can follow. Once they are firmly upon your trail, your unexpected departure from the familiar process will leave them stranded, perplexed, and if the parallel to the off-beat in music is clever, we hope it will leave them pleased, or at least talking about you.
Using the story that is repeated, with an improved method at each re-telling, easily builds up following in a group that is receptive to close-up magic, just now so popular in the States. The droll climax of the build-up will leave them laughing with you, and avoids the usual triumphant atmosphere that might cause them to tire of you, were you to prevail over them openly, in each effort.
Many well-known lay-down tricks may be adapted to this presentation. The old Four Jacks challenge will soon get their grudging attention, and will serve as a sample of the build-up of admiration that may be obtained by this process. You start with the four Jacks held in a vertically overlapped column in one hand, with three odd cards behind the next-to-top Jack, as illustrated in all the old books. Slide them all square together, and place them openly on the face-down pack. Proceed with your story about the four housebreakers, who, leaving one of their number (lay top Jack aside, face up) to watch for the constable on the beat, each took a different floor of the building to ransack: Inserting each of the next three " Jacks " (really odd cards) into three different inner levels of the pack for each law breaker you mention. Finally, when the Lookout hears the constable approaching, he returns to the top of the building, gives a signal whistle, and, as you deal four cards off, face down on the table, the other three thugs are found to have rushed to the top of the building to join him in making their escape over the rooftops! (Show all four to be Jacks).
Now, even if they conceal their contempt for your effort, you will at least have gained their willing attention, and you proceed to repeat the story, first letting one of your spectators place the four Jacks openly on top of the pack to start. But you have now turned the lower two-thirds of the deck face-to-face with the upper third, secretly, and as you lay off the top Jack, face up, in an identical repeat telling of the first story, you drop the hand that holds the pack at your side, turning the pack over in the move, and on taking the second " Jack," you actually take the odd cards from the opposite end of the pack and thrust them into the upper two-thirds of the pile in different places. Now the lookout hears the constable approaching, and you again reverse the pack as you reach for the table Jack, slap him on top of the pack, and deal off four top cards, facedown as you did to climax your first story. On turning these face-up, your watchers may be surprised to find that again, the four law-breakers made their escape over the rooftops!
For those who are now curious about your second method, you again set up the four vertically-overlapped Jacks, and openly put three odd cards behind the next-to-top Jack, as in your very first set-up. This set of seven cards you now square up, place on top of the top face-down-third of the face-to-face pack, as it was left after the second story, and you repeat your first story a third time, but openly explain, by active illustration, how it was not the three remaining Jacks that you put in separate parts of the pack, but the three ODD cards that rested just above them, after the top Jack has been laid aside. You herewith lay aside these top three ODD cards, and in that same motion, you reverse the pack secretly, and openly take the now odd top card, putting it into the top two-thirds of the pack, explaining that it is NOT a Jack (they think it MUST be one) . . . but was really the first odd card, which you now flip over on the table, face up, to emphasize your account as you go along.
Sliding the second top card (here, again, they feel you have taken a Jack) in another part of the top two-thirds of the pack, you remark that it, tbo, is an ODD card, NOT a Jack (which they are becoming more certain it is), and flip over another of the three odd cards on the table for emphasis.
Filially, the last supposed Jack is buried in the top part of the pack, the third odd card on the table flipped over, and you take up the Lookout Jack from the table to finish your story as in the second telling by secretly reversing the face-to-face pack, replacing the top Jack, dealing off the four Jacks face-down, and declare "That is how this clever quartet always got safely away across the roof-tops!"
This time, your onlookers may turn over the four Jacks for themselves, and find them to be NOT a mixed lot and one Jack, but REALLY all Jacks, in spite of their suspicion of your having been confused in your handling of the cards! But you have a fourth and final surprise for them. . .
Secretly correcting the reversed portion of the deck during the momentary excitement of this last denouement, you hand it, and the Jacks to them, and ask one of their number to run through the story just as you told it, apparently to see if he understands how to do it. Let him actually lay aside the three odd cards, and the Lookout card, and REALLY BURY the next three Jacks in the pack. Let him now return the Lookout card to the top, then deal of four cards facedown, and when they are convinced that he has NOT come to a successful climax, you openly assure them that the pack is an ordinary one, in fact, not even your own, but a borrowed one (you really HAVE borrowed it in advance from someone like Jack Avis), and you now assure them that the four cards now face-down on the table are all Jack's. You will hear from this challenge, and without touching the four facedown cards-, you merely prove your claim by reminding them again that the cards are NOT yours but borrozued cards.
" Whq loaned me this pack, by the way?" you inquire. ..
Mr. Avis (or someone with his first name among your onlookers), now admits ownership, and you say, " Thank you, JACK ". . . .
... "Is there anyone else who doubts that these four cards are ALL JACK'S?"
Two other methods of doing this, without sleight-of-hand, are : (1) Pick up four Jacks as one, and lay all four aside, face up, as the one LOOKOUT JACK. Returning "him" to the pack will leave you set for your climax. Or (2) Insert SIX cards openly behind the next-to-top Jack in your vertical display column, as in your third telling of the story, but declaring that there are three extra ones used. The fact that you seem to reveal a bit of a swindle here blinds them to the extra swindle you are perpetrating, with SIX extra cards, instead of three, and enables you to do the fourth telling without having to use the face-to-face move you used in the second and third telling of the story. Still further methods are possible, but the working out of these I will leave to those who find this repeat presentation theme a good one with which to ama2e their friends.
" I defy the wisest man in the world to turn a truly good action into ridicule."
Henry Fielding, "Joseph Andrews."
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.