Slate Immortality

ROBERT PARRISH

The effect of this startling variation in Living and Dead Tests first appeared in Annemann's publication "Sh-h-h!! It's a secret."

On an unprepared slate the performer writes a row of six figures from 1 to 6 in a column down the left side. The slate is handed to a spectator to write the name of some dead person, known only to himself, after any one of the six figures. This is done while the performer's back is turned.

The slate is handed to another person who writes the name of a living person after any of the remaining figures. This is repeated until six names are written on the slate, one of which is a dead person's name among five "living" names.

The performer is given the slate and, concentrating upon it, he asks the spectator who wrote the "dead name" to think of the person as he last saw him. The performer starts rubbing the slate with a cloth. Then he asks the spectator to speak the name aloud. Turning the slate over, the audience is shown that all the living names have been erased and only the dead name is left untouched!

This is truly a nice effect and is accomplished by the simplest of methods. It is only necessary for the performer to know which name has been written first. After the first person has written the dead name, the performer approaches him and takes the slate by the top with his left hand. Calling attention to the fact that he does not make any attempt to sec what has been written, the performer transfers the slate to his right hand, taking it with the thumb behind and the second finger on audience side, the finger being near the top edge on the right side. The finger is far enough in on the slate so that it rubs across the name as the right hand slides downward to grasp the slate firmly near the bottom. This action is perfectly natural and the finger merely slips over the slate surface without any pressure. Thus, the dead name, wherever it may be, is crossed and a resultant blur of its chalk is made with a very slight streak visible below.

This is done as the slate is handed to another person within two or three seats of the first. After this name (living) the performer handles the slate again, but from then on merely directs each spectator to pass the slate to someone near him.

It is only necessary now for the performer to take the slate and erase all names except the streaked one.

This effect is one of perfect mental misdirection for the onlookers always seem to believe that it is necessary for the performer to know the name, they do not realize that it is only necessary for him to know where the name is. There is no conceivable way in which he can know what the name is, so they are completely thrown off the right scent.

A Variation: Mr. Parrish has worked out a completely novel effect using this principle, basing his patter on the identification of individuals through their handwriting. Have a column of three figures on the slate. Three different people each write a word before one of the numbers. The performer now looks at the slate and tells which person wrote each word, though his back was turned during the writing.

Proceed with the first person just as described in the first effect. Ditto with the second person, only your finger is extended a bit more than before. No trickery is employed with the last writer. Now by looking at the slate, the performer will find two slight chalk traces below the word written by person No. 1, and only one streak under the word written by person No. 2.

Continue reading here: Half And Half

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