In offering this to mystery workers at large I only ask that it be given a fair trial after the routines have been thoroughly learned. This type of work has proven itself the most lucrative in the mystery field and everything depends upon the showmanship and presentation used by the performer. Through three years of practically constant use, I have developed this effect from a mere idea into a feature number. It is now as perfect as I can make it, and every move, every phase and every excuse is logical and accounted for. I have removed possible sleights, out of sight moves and suspicious actions.
I have given throughout this writing different methods that are possible of being put to use. Conditions (especially with this type of work) are always very strict and are always different and varied. Sometimes one way will be perfect, while the very next performance will need a few changes. Then again some operators like one method better than another and adhere to only that one. I give them for completeness and because I am always ready to use the one that suits me best for the occasion.
I shall not go into a detailed effect and waste time and space, the effect will be easily realized through the reading of the methods.
The first method is one which is entirely impromptu with three unprepared drug envelopes and three cards. The choice of writing material may vary. I have used letter envelopes and slips of paper which have been folded alike. This is all borrowed material.
All of this is handed out to three people. The first is asked to draw a picture of any type they wish and then seal the card securely in the envelope. If they have a slip of paper, they are told to refold it as it was before and seal securely.
The second is asked to write a word of any nature. For the best effect the performer limits them to ten letters and asks that they print the word instead of writing it.
Taking the third piece of paper or card, the performer asks the spectator to whisper into his ear any three figures and upon hearing them, the performer writes them on the card before the eyes of that spectator. Passing to another one at a little distance, they are asked to do the same. This time, however, performer starts writing as he moves away and instead of writing the numbers given, writes figures under the first row of three that will total nine with the one above it. The performer returns to party who has envelope and who gave the first row and asks him for another set. The performer actually writes these down under the first two rows of figures and hands spectator the card before walking away. He tells him to add up the three rows and to remember the total after sealing the paper or card up. The performer only remembers the last row of three figures that he wrote down. The misdirection of this is perfect and because the first and third rows have been seen written exactly as given performer, there is no suspicion about the middle row. The starting and finishing of the numbers with the one spectator brings all attention to bear at this point where there is nothing wrong.
As matters now stand, three envelopes are sealed and the performer is acquainted with the total of the addition on the one page. How? Because of a simple bit of rapid mathematics. He has remembered the last row of three figures written. When ready to reveal the numbers of the answer (always four figures) he merely subtracts 1 from the last of the three figures and places it in front. For example, 347 would result in 1346, and likewise 640 would result in 1639.
There are two distinctly different methods of procedure from here on. In one method the performer writes the names of the spectators on the envelopes, and in the other the names are written by the spectators themselves. I shall describe the first to start with.
In this case the performer knows the name of a certain person in the audience whom he will use in the test. This is the person to whom the request for a picture is given. We shall term the number as first, the word as second, and the picture as third and last. The performer knows the contents of the first and the name of the party holding the third.
Stepping to the first party, the performer asks their name as he takes the sealed envelope. They state it, and with pencil in hand, performer apparently writes it on face of envelope as he moves toward next party. HE REALLY WRITES THOUGH, THE NAME OF THE PERSON (third) THAT HE KNOWS.
Taking the second envelope on top of the first, he asks this person their name and apparently writes it as he goes to the third party. HE WRITES THE NAME OF THE FIRST PERSON WHICH HAS JUST BEEN TOLD HIM-
On the third envelope, as before, HE WRITES THE NAME OF THE SECOND PERSON and with the three envelopes in hand steps back to stage or front.
There are two methods of procedure from here on. The three envelopes can be tossed upon an empty table in full view to be picked up as desired; or they can be handed a volunteer to hold, he standing six or eight feet to your side.
Starting with the first person the performer asks his name again. Now the performer either asks the volunteer to hold that particular envelope in full view with name outward or does so himself. The party in particular has seen you sign his envelope with his name when he gave it to you (?) and now sees the volunteer holding it up in full view. HOWEVER, IT IS REALLY THE ENVELOPE AND CONTENTS BELONGING TO SECOND SPECTATOR!
With a slate and chalk or pencil and fairly large pad, the performer works up the effect as desired and depending upon his own showmanship. He writes the total of four figures on the pad or slate but does not show them yet. Taking the envelope in hand, the performer tears it open and APPARENTLY READS ALOUD THE TOTAL OF FOUR FIGURES FROM OFF THE CARD OR PAPER, but he is REALLY READING TO HIMSELF THE WORD WHICH SECOND PARTY WROTE! When this has been read the performer immediately calls attention to slate or pad on which he wrote something BEFORE anyone knew what first party had put down. Turning slate or pad around, the performer SHOWS THAT HE HAD DIVINED THE CORRECT NUMBER WITH THE FIGURES IN THE EXACT ORDER.
Every move as given above has its own reason. The reading of the envelope's contents, and the subsequent showing of what performer had written brings things to a climax correctly and dramatically. Verification of the envelope AFTER the showing of what performer had divined would make an anti-climax and not have any reason.
Thus the performer has divulged the first party's number and now knows the second man's secret. When the first envelope was torn open and the card apparently read from and attention called immediately to the pad or slate, the card was replaced on top of the envelope and both dropped into performer's side coat pocket on the left with the card nearest body. The following two times that this is done the card and envelope each time is placed in pocket between those already there and body. After last is in place, by moving card only which is next to body to the other end of the stack, the stack may be removed from pocket and the envelopes and cards are now paired up correctly so they can be carelessly tossed over together.
It is incidentally obvious to the seasoned performer what the remainder of the routine is. While the second envelope is being held in view, the information is written down and when performer apparently reads the contents of this envelope, he sees the picture drawn by third party. When he has finished the third or the picture, he verifies and is now looking at the addition card of the first man. He, however, describes what the picture is and has the third man verify this description and then the performer's drawing is revealed.
I have another method for this finish which is optional, but more effective. In this method I do not return any of the envelopes or cards, which same is really not at all necessary because of the various elements of misdirection which do away with all thoughts of trickery connected with the material used. In this case two slates are used, or perhaps two pads. When the last envelope is held up the performer apparently changes his mind as to the procedure and states that because a small picture would take too long to hand around so all could see it, he will ask the gentleman to redraw it on a pad or slate. So saying, the performer carelessly takes the envelope from volunteer and tears it to bits and drops same in pocket as he hands out the slates. After the spectator has taken one and starts drawing, the performer takes the other and draws also. When they have finished, both drawings are found to be alike as near as possible!
Another point that should be obvious is the fact that any number of envelopes and cards may be used, as the system, of signing prevails throughout. However repetition is useless and boring, and three tests are sufficient to make a really sensational test. If desired, the subject matter may be varied as long as all three are different. The performer may have one write the name of a deceased friend or relative instead of a word, they may write a short test which the performer is to go through with, etc.
The following is a complete variation from the above procedures. This, however, is not as impromptu and free from outside preparation. It brings to light, though, what I think a diabolically clever variation of an old time principle which is totally unknown, but to the elite of subtleties.
This enables one to have the envelopes signed by the spectators themselves. In this method, however, cards only may be used and it is imperative that the performer pass out the cards only first. The addition problem is not used, and the first party merely asked to write any three figures and to remember them. In sealing them, the performer goes to each and holding the envelope asks them to place the card in same with writing side down. This is done so that all of the writing sides are against the face side of the envelope. As soon as the card is in envelope, it is left with spectator to seal and sign across the flap side of same to prevent tampering and to serve as identification.
In all of the old methods for using a transparency, there have been clumsy and cumbersome pieces of apparatus or fakes to contain same. There have been extra appliances to hold in one's hand, such as sponge boxes which had to be palmed and kept out of sight, envelopes containing pads which necessitated having an extra pile left in hand to conceal them.
In this rejuvenation of an old principle, the hands are seen empty and there is nothing to palm, (or to hold with cramped positions and strained muscles), nothing that can get away and nothing to be afraid of.
The Magician's old standby, the thumbtip, is brought into play through an ingenious application and preparation with a few moments work. A round hole about half an inch in diameter is cut through the ball of the thumb tip. The edge is rounded off and smoothed. A piece of pale pink silk or finely woven cloth is folded into a pad of five or six thicknesses and forced down into the tip with the thumb. After this, is forced in also a not too thick pad of absorbent cotton. One must experiment a little bit to get the correct amount, which depends upon the fitting of the thumb into the tip. One cannot have too much of the padding inside. Also at hand is a piece of rubber about three or four inches square and cut from a toy balloon. To prepare this, about half a teaspoonfu'l of the transparency is poured into the mouth of the tip and the sheet of rubber folder over several times and forced in on top of all. The tip is then left in your right vest pocket. Such a prepared tip will be ready for use for the greater part of an hour after being fixed at the last moment possible. For a transparency, there are three kinds, all of which are as good as the other in actual use. They are alcohol, Carbon Tetrachloride, and De-ordized Benzine. When used in great quantity and over a period of fifteen or twenty envelopes as in all of the other antiquated methods, the odor becomes very noticeable. But with three or one only, and in such small quantity, there is nothing to be noticed at all.
The ease and practicability in handling and using cannot be denied. When on the thumb and handled with due caution as a thumb tip is ever handled, the mere action of running the envelope between the thumb and fingers of the right hand serves to do the work on the face side of same towards performer. It is done when the envelope is first picked up from the table after collecting and when performer calls the name and shows envelope. It is then laid aside in view while performer writes or goes through test. Within two minutes the transparency has vanished and the envelope is once more opaque. I advise the opening and verification at the finish of each test and then the returning of the envelope and card at once. Use manilla quality envelopes as those do not wrinkle as do white ones when drying.
For another variation, the tip may be used only to gain the information on the first envelope when collecting and the one-ahead method adhered to after this. Thus, the performer would write the names, and in returning to the front would gain the necessary information from the first man's envelope signed with last man's name. From here on, use the first routine as given.
I have used all of the above methods at different times. Under closest watching, the thumb tip principle has not been seen nor caught and is the most subtle and perfect of the transparency methods ever conceived.
No matter what your conditions may be, there is a variation and routine to fit. The beauty of the various points lies in the fact that they may be inter-changed on an instant's notice without much thought and with very little or no work.
I trust that my reader will put this effect into operation and actually become acquainted with it 'under fire' as I have, before casting any opinion upon its value and worth.
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