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TO WORK: As the cards are called the menta'list writes them in any column. When all the cards have been called he merely rearranges the colours and symbols correctly under the pretence of correcting.

This presentation would not be possible with the coded cards.


Frank Monaghan

The Oracle is a board, so devised that it will enable you to apparently read minds. The mechanical principle of the board is, I believe, a new one, and has completely baffled everyone to whom it has been shown. It is capable of many variations and routines, and to be quite frank, its potentialities, have not, as yet, been fully explored.

APPARATUS: The Oracle is a board which is displayed on a stand as in Figure 1. There are four black panels, triangular in shape, which are superimposed on the board and on each of these panels is a small hook. Each panel has a number above it so that each panel may be referred to by number. These- panels are movable, so that they can swing around and cover up the number above it, and at the same time, expose another number. Within each panel there is a small stop, which prevents it from swinging too far. Also needed are a number of paper clips and a few pieces of paper. If these pieces of paper are folded into four and held in the paper clip, it may then be hung on one of the small hooks. Billets can be placed in envelopes.

HANDLING THE BOARD: At the back of the board mark each corner in pencil as A, B, C, .and D as per illustrations. Hold the board so that the corner 4 is at the top and turn it round in a clockwise fashion so that the B corner is at the top. You will notice that the black panels will swing round and the number above each one will actually change. Now if you have a small billet of paper hanging on each hook and the board is turned, they would all move round one number BUT WOULD STILL LOOK THE SAME.

What we have to do now is turn the board in such a way that no one will ever know that any switch has been made, and this is done in such a cheeky manner. Hold the board between the corners A and B as in Figure 2. Note that the right thumb is pointing to number 2. The board is now transferred to the left hand, but to do this the board is turned over so that it's back is to the audience and the left hand takes it between corners B and C as in Figure 3. The left hand now turns the board round to face the audience and places it on stand which should be on your table to your Left. In other words, all you have really done as far as the audience is concerned, is take the board in your left hand and place it on the stand. It should be done quite casually.

ROUTINES: There are so many routines possible with this prop that we could actually write a book of them. What we have done is select two of what we think are the best.

NUMBER ONE ROUTINE: Three billets are handed out to three members of the audience and they are asked to write something on each one. If you wish you can work the three items into a sequence, such as, a time, a place and a date. A fourth billet is shown to be blank and hung by means of a paper clip on number four panel. The three spectators are told to fold their billets in four and place a paper clip on it.

Advance towards the audience holding the board in right hand and take first billet and place it on number one panel and ask this person to remember the number. This' is repeated with the other two billets, being hung on numbers two and three.

Transfer board to left hand (SWITCH) and place it on stand. Remove billet from number four panel, open it out and write something on it, and hand it to another member of audience. What you have really done is hand out number one billet. This is handed out as your first prediction. Now remove billet from number one panel and read out the contents of it, and screw it up and throw away. In actual fact you read out the contents of the billet you handed out, upon which you only pretended to write something.

When person in audience reads out what is written on his billet, it appears that what you have written is a correct prediction of the contents of number one billet.

The actual billet that you removed from number one panel is really number two. Before screwing this up and discarding it, you must note and remember what is written on it. Have your first prediction returned to you and this time you really write something on it. You write the contents of the billet you discarded and hand it back to someone to hold. Now remove the billet from number two panel and open it out and read out the contents of the billet you have discarded and when the person in the audience reads out your second prediction this is also found to be correct. Discard the number two billet but remember its contents and take your billet from the audience and make your third prediction on it and once more hand it back. Remove the billet from number three panel, which is actually a blank and open it up and read out the contents of number two billet. Once again the person in the audience reads out your prediction and again it is correct.

Basically, the above is really a one-ahead routine, but due to the use of The Oracle, there is no need to resort to either a force of one of the objects which is usual, or to any form of sleight-of-hand switches.

NUMBER TWO ROUTINE: This is a much simpler and more direct routine. Two spectators are invited on to the platform and one is seated on either side of you. The Oracle is sitting on your table which is also between the two spectators. Four billets are in view on the table.

Pick up one and apparently write something on it, place it in your paper clip and hang it on number one panel. Repeat this with a second billet and hang it on number three. Explain to your audience while you are doing this, that you are going to make two predictions.

Ask your two assistants to count all the small change in their pockets and ask each of them to write their results on a small piece of paper which you provide with a paper clip. "When they have done so, pick up The Oracle in your right hand and take the billet from the assistant on your left (as you face the audience) and place it on number four panel. Move across (Past your table) to the other assistant and hang his billet on number two panel. You are now standing between an assistant on your right and the table on your left. Transfer the board to your left hand (SWITCH) and place it on the table. The two billets which the assistants had are now on numbers one and three, although they still appear to be on two and four. Remove the billets from one and three and hand them to someone in the audience. Now remove the billets from two and four, and tell your assistants that you are going to trust them not to tell a lie and change their minds as to the amount of money they had. Whereupon you tear up the two billets upon which they have apparently written. Ask each of them in turn how much money they had in their pockets, then have the person in the audience read out your apparent predictions, which are in reality the two billets written upon by your two assistants.

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