What Are You Playing


XPERIMENTS in psychic phenomena are many and varied," says the mentalist to his gullible audience," but I am going to attempt one that is different from the average test, and it will, I hope, convince you of the reality of those discarnate intelligences that often play an active part in our every day life

He then proceeds to tie together two unsullied slates, first marking them for future identification. They are given to someone to hold.

A pack of cards is next introduced, but, instead of the familiar red and black pips, each card has the name of a musical instrument—violin, 'cello, bassoon, cornet, piano, etc.—printed upon it. This pack is introduced as a complete orchestra. A volunteer is asked to step forward and the cards ^re given to him to shuffle.

" Now," says the psychic demonstrator, " I want you to select one card, and whatever instrument it denotes shall be the one we will use in our experiment."

The volunteer cuts the pack, removes the top card, and shows it to the audience (let us suppose it has " TROMBONE " printed upon it).

" Your job is going to be a very responsible one," continues the genial performer, " for by selecting that particular card you have voluntarily undertaken to play a trombone solo in our invisible orchestra. Now this is the important point, you yourself shall decide what piece you will play but you will keep the name of it to yourself and not let me, or anyone else know the title of the musical composition that you have in mind. While you are playing your imaginary trombone my invisible discarnate intelligencer will be watching your movements, and from them he will be able to discover what you are playing, and, as proof thereof, he will write it down on one of those two slates that are being held by yonder obliging gentleman, and on the other slate he will write the name of the instrument you are using in your solo performance. Ladies and Gentlemen, to make this experiment more exciting I am prepared to issue a challenge if my psychic power fails to name correctly what this gentleman is playing I will give £50 to any deserving charity he cares to name—even if that charity happens to be himself."

The challenge having been accepted, the volunteer soloist is made to stand facing the audience, and he acts the part of a trombonist (if there is such a word!) one hand holds the invisible instrument to his mouth, and then, puffing out his cheeks and working his other hand to and fro, he goes through the actions of a player who is performing on that queer looking musical contraption. Needless to say, from the audience's point of view, he cuts a ridiculous figure, and his antics are calculated to provoke a good deal of merriment.

After a minute or two of this absurd miming the performer says, " By now my discarnate intelligencer should have discovered the name of the instrument you are supposed to be operating and also what you are playing. If he has failed I stand to lose £50, so this is a critical moment for me. Please untie the slates."

When this is done, on one slate is written " TROMBONE" and on the other — have you guessed it?—" YOU ARE PLAYING THE FOOL." Shrieks of laughter from the audience, and complete collapse of the volunteer instrumentalist!

There is very little to add. The slates are provided with the usual loose flap which hides the writing until the final revelation is made.

The instrument card is forced by any of the one hundred and one methods that are available.

And the volunteer? Well, care should be taken in making the selection for not everyone is going to appreciate the humour of the final situation! However, if the performer, during his show, has suffered at the hands of some interfering member of the audience—one of those horrible " funny men " volunteer to help and then steal the magician's thunder by doing their best to spoil the trick —here is a grand way of scoring off him and keeping him silent for the rest of the evening.

But a word of warning. Please do not try this psychic experiment on a Bishop, or any other dignitary, for quite frankly, they will not be amused!

" And why not Magician? Let us avoid pedantry and be as euphonious as possible. We do not call an actor a 'player' or a chiropodist a 'corn-cutter'? Let us see that Magic in our hands is an Art, that we may prove it is so to the carping critic. Let us above all, remember that Art is not a thing separate and apart, it is only the best way of doing things." Douglas Dexter—" The Magic Circular," 1927.

IN our previous issue we made mention of the fact that Eric de la Mare's brick production elfect would appear in this number. Because of many things this could not be, but this pleasure for readers will mean they will have to wait for the July issue which will be a Malini number.

Dai Vernon has now left these shores and an aching void is left amongst those who eat, drink and dream magic. To those with magical integrity, his advent and work have meant an adjustment of technical standards. His advice and logical reasoning brought back only too well the utterances of David Devant. There never will be an adequate way of thanking Dai Vernon for his patient and exhaustive treatises regarding the effects that he presented. It was very nice to hear such a great artist giving so much credit to other magical workers and his oft repeated admiration for Johnny Ramsay must have been balm to all those who hold this mighty atom of a Scot in such high esteem. Let us thank too, I iarry Stanley for without his enterprise and organisation there would have been no Vernon. Without his persuasiveness there might have been many who thinking of Vernon only in terms of card work would have stayed away from the lectures and missed the most magical performances of the great classics that we have seen.

If you suffer from very dry hands and perform the cups and balls, the routine used demanding classic palming, substitute for the usual cork balls pieces of rolled plasticine. (This can be obtained in a variety of colours). You will find that this is ideal for handling.

Once again we'll remind readers that the fastest drying adhesive for joining two materials, wood, silk, rope, etc., is Balsa cement. Although of little use in a rope routine where two ends have to be joined during the course of the routine, a permanent joint such as required in an extra loop can never be equalled by rubber cement. Once joined with Balsa cement two ends can never be separated.

Dr. Harley's three card prediction described in this issue is an ideal item for intimate. Regarding the place back move he mentions, we are certain that credit should go to Francis Haxton.

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