EFFECT NO. ONE: Five dice with different numbers on each face are given to the audience for examination.
A spectator is requested to shake them up thoroughly, place them on the table and add up the total of the numbers on the tops of the dice.
This takes quite a little time, in view of the fact that each number is made up of three digits. Nevertheless the performer almost instantly names the grand total before the spectator really has a chance to get started.
Properly performed, the trick is a new miracle.
SECRET AND PREPARATION: There is no special preparation. All you need to do is know the secret.
You mentally add the last digit of each die. The total will be the last two figures of the grand total.
You then mentally deduct this total from 50 which will give you the first two numbers of the grand total.
(1) State that you are going to perform a near miracle in arithmetic, and for that purpose you use five dice, each one of which has six different digits of three numbers each on the faces.
(2) Hand the five dice to a spectator and ask him to note that all of the numbers are different.
(3) Request that the spectator shake the dice thoroughly in his hand and throw them on the table.
(4) Request him to place each die one below the other and add up to total.
(5) As he does this, you mentally add the last digit of each die, which we will assume totals 19. You now know that 19 is the last two digits of the grand total.
(6) Mentally subtract 19 from 50 which is 31.
(7) You now know that the grand total of all dice is 3119.
(8) The moment you know this, say to the spectator, "The grand total is 3119. "
(9) As the spectator will barely have had time to get started you can imagine his amazement at your being able to name the total so quickly
EFFECT NO. TWO: Another good way to perform the trick is to quickly add up your total of the last digit of each number and turn away with your back to the spectator.
Then request him to place each die under the other and add up the total giving the impression that you have not had an opportunity to even see the numbers.
You then ask him to total up all the columns and write the result on a piece of paper.
All this is done with your back still to the spectator.
Now ask him to concentrate on the grand total and pretend to read his mind by naming the grand total.
This makes an excellent mental effect.
EFFECT NO. THREE: In this effect you take a calling card and write a number on it which you place in your pocket.
You then show the dice, ask the spectator to shake them well, toss them on the table and total up the figures. After he has done this, you ask him to name the total.
You take the calling card out of your pocket and show the spectator that you have written the same number that he told you.
This little device is a special gimmick that fits over your thumb and has a piece of lead attached enabling you to write the total on the card while it is in your pocket.
(1) Pretend to write something on the card and place it in your pocket, as a matter of fact, you leave the card perfectly blank.
(2) Hand the five dice to a spectator and ask him to note that all of the numbers are different.
(3) Request the spectator to shake the dice thoroughly in his hand and throw them on the table.
(4) Request him to place each die one below the other and add up the total.
(5) Secretly determine the grand total as previously instructed.
(6) Now reach in your pocket and write this total with your thumb gimmick on the card.
(7) Take the card out of your pocket and ask the spectator to name the total of the five dice.
(8) When he does so, show him the same total on the card that you presumably wrote before the trick started.
You will find this a near miracle in actual practice. This is also a marvelous mental effect.
This routine is used by George Boston in his famous mental act.
This assumes the proportions of a stage illusion, as it can be used in front of a large audience with the assistance of a big blackboard, and a committee.
PRESENTATION: Performer requests the assistance of two members of the audience, explaining that he is about to perform a mental test. The five dice are shown and examined by them. One spectator is placed at the blackboard, the other spectator handling the dice.
Ask the spectator to roll out one die at a time, the other spectator to put down the top number of each die rolled on the blackboard so the entire audience may see the performance. NO NUMBERS MUST BE CALLED BETWEEN THE TWO SPECTATORS.
All this while the performer is standing in front of the stage to the side with a slate and piece of chalk in his hand.
After the five numbers have been placed on the board, the performer merely says "Now draw a line under the five numbers," illustrating with his hand in the air.
This is the most important move of the entire experiment. As he says these words, he swings his body half way around to illustrate to the committee. During that small period of time, he glances at the board and totals the last column as described before.
He then states that he will predict the total of all the figures on the board by writing it on his slate. This he does without showing it to the audience. He then requests the committee to total their figures and call out the result. This they do. The performer then turns his slate around and the two totals are identical.
NOTE: The strong points of these effects are the facts that the entire audience may watch and check the addition. Mr. Boston sometimes uses a blindfold over his eyes, the reason being given is that he is then unable to see anything that transpires. The blindfold however, is the we'll known double thickness blindfold made of pan velvet. One thickness you can see through, two thicknesses you cannot.
IMPORTANT: The spectators on the stage are not to talk to each other.
'Robert A. Nelson
"Dr. A" is a very real-life figure, having devoted 20 years of his life as a very successful office reader and clairvoyant. It is almost necessary to know this individual personally to appreciate his real talent.
He is one of the cleverest of the old school of clairvoyants and one of the most interesting scoundrels that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I cannot speak so highly of his ethics, nor can I condone his practice, but I do recognize his superb showmanship and genius.
Let me first tell you something about this clever character and his genius. In knowning him better, you will perceived a better understanding of his methods, and should be able to use them to great advantage in legitimate entertainment.
I would judge 'Doc' to be about 38 years of age - recently honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of Uncle Sam. He has been thrice married, and unfortunately, it didn't 'take' on any of the multiple occasions. This is another way of saying 'Doc' is not the type of individual that goes to make a model husband. He is sufficiently attractive to the ladies - Oh, yes, but he is definitely not the stay-married type. His shoes are filled with wander-lust -- this may likewise be said of his soul. Consequently, Doc is always on the 'go, ' a few weeks at the most here, there and everywhere.
Besides the wander-lust fever, it is most likely that his activities prompt some of his extensive travel, as you will later learn. Like many a genius, Doc 'A' has a weakness - perhaps I should have spelled the weakness with capital letters and pronounced it whiskey.
They are inseparable friends -- these two. One was never without the other for long. Doc's association (close) with liquor, I perceive, is the only stumbling block to his rise to great fame and fortune in his chosen profession, that of a mindreader and clairvoyant, for Doc would 'read your fortune' at the drop of a hat and before you could say 'hocus pocus. '
He was a man of high school education, but unduly wise in worldly affairs. One secret of his success was that he was a 'natural born talker' --a good mixer with an infectious personality. Though often rudely butting into the conversations of strangers, the intrusion was not resented -- but welcomed, when it became apparent that here was a 'fortune teller' ready to deliver the goods.
This man had all the brass in the band -- plain guts, plainly speaking is the only way I can accurately describe him. Strangers to him, existed only momentarily -- he did the talking -- he held the spotlight.
As I have said, and in all fairness, Doc was a very likeable guy --a fellow for whom you would gladly do a favor. Sober, he was a swell fellow, well-behaved and nice to have around. The desire for his company would lessen with each succeeding drink, naturally, yet he wore well and long. Maybe I should have just briefly described him as a 'clever drunk' and let it go at that -- if I did, I would find myself defending him. But I think you begin to perceive something of his character.
Thru his travels and constant contact with the public, his perception of human nature -- psychology and the raw course of life was sharpened. Instinctively, he acquired a knack of approaching people --of reading their character -- of being at all times the commander of the situation.
When I say Doctor 'A' was one of the old school of clairvoyants, I mean that his practice is not just that of entertaining with mindreading and psychic feats, but earning his livelihood by his wits,. It was not his problem to secure clients for private readings only, but to find patrons whom he could 'case'.
There is a term of the old school meaning that the clairvoyant would sell his bill of goods to the patrons -- scare the very daylights out of them with the thoughts of dire evil that was about to overtake them --and then, by the use of black magic, bring about a cure for the situation - - at a large fee.
It mattered little to the Doctor as to the patron's worldly goods -- all that he was interested in was, "How much cash you have now?" Of that, rest assured, he would secure the greater portion, and so frighten the client into a desire to overcome these adverse conditions that the patron would make repeated visits, bring alms to the Great Doctor.
The reader may take exception to this line of reasoning, --in this enlightened age, and refuse to believe that people today are so gullible, as to accept the blabbering of a clairvoyant, and hand over large sums of money 'for work to be done' to overcome evil conditions, to bring back lovers, husbands or wives --to bring new and vibrant health to the individual thru charms and the working of black magic.
It is true that this practice has greatly died out -- not so much because human nature has changed or smartened, but because of stricter law enforcement. This confidence game still continues on a greatly diminished scale, and I am sure that our friend the Doc is contributing his efforts to the unsavory business as I write these lines.
To the man, woman or child in great mental distress, and in an unbalanced emotional state of mind, they will reach for any straw. And if they are convinced that this man or woman can 'correct all' any fee, no matter how large or small, is trivial.
The old school of clairvoyants realize this only too well. They are dealers in human behaviour -- in cause and effect -- supply and demand in human emotions. They are master and salesman, meeting a situation that is greatly in continual demand.
As the author stated awhile ago, I can only condemn these practices as so much thievery. It places the entire field of mentalism in a bad light. It is a situation that the law alone will eventually clean up, just as it has made great strides in the past.
On the other hand, I express the opinion here that any 'fortune teller' who understands human nature -- and who is a good listener, can do, and does a world of good, if their efforts are sincere and directed at helping the individual to a better solution.
It may be of interest to my readers to know how the clever Doctor operated -- from whence came his business and revenue.
This fearless individual would move into a strange city without a dime in his pocket -- register at one of the better hotels, and within an hour have plenty of money in his pocket. He didn't use newspaper advertising --he used himself!
He would accost you in a bar --a favorite place for the Doctor --and begin to read your fortune. In a moment, you would be very much engrossed by his reading -- others would gather. He'd tackle mostly women -- they were his fish. Find a woman (in the presence of a fortune teller) who doesn't promptly stick out her hand and want her fortune told.
Doc would start out with a hand full of cards -- give them to everybody. He has a passion for beauty shops -- stop in each, passing his cards around and giving a reading to the owner gratis. He claimed to be a mindreader -- and he would prove it on the spot. He'd pick up two, three and five dollar readings in beauty shops, in cocktail rooms', on the street, wherever he could.
The author spent many an interesting (and sometimes weary) hour with the Doctor, watching him work -- studying his approach -- his unusual technique. It wasn't long before I concluded that a great majority of the women -- and many men are sure-shots for having their fortune told.
Nearly EVERYBODY wants their fortune read! It is true, many go in for it for just the lark of the thing. And at the same time, with their fingers crossed. Millions and millions of dollars are spent in this country every year for 'fortunes' and in quest of the very elusive and mysterious future.
It has taken many paragraphs to bring up this point at a proper conclusion. It is one of Doctor 'A's Secrets -- the knowledge that he can crash practically into any situation -- proclaim himself as a fortune teller -- and have ready and eager clients, willing to pay for his services.
I said the man has guts -- he has, but does it take such great intestinal fortitude to make these approaches after you have learned that you will be eagerly received and compensated for your efforts?
His manner of getting business had a new approach -- he didn't advertise thru printed messages, and except that media to bring him a land office business. As to be successful in any business, he went out after it. He advertised himself by card and by actual demonstration at the point of sale -- and made it. He knew that people would gladly buy his services, if they believed in him, and it was convenient.
His advertising cards were placed wherever he would go. And my observation was that they were not left on tables, or tossed onto the floor, but carefully put away in pockets and purses for future reference, or to tell a friend. This is not theory, but proven practice. This is a lesson in psychology, and my point I repeat, is that there is a definite and eager demand for a person who professes to tell fortunes, and once the ability has been demonstrated, the sale is a cinch.
After a day or two of such exploitation (though it never ceased, even far into the night), the patrons would pour into the Doctor's office -- his hotel room. He made a point of giving cards to all the hotel maids, elevator operators, clerks, etc. , and most often, a brief demonstration, in which he answered one or two brief questions --a come on!
Doctor "A's" Demonstration
His demonstration, as you have been led to believe, was not miraculous -- but it was damn clever. It was brief, apparently fair and above board, and intrigued the spectator.
He would ask you to write the name of any person on a slip of paper, press it to his forehead, attaching it there with a drop of 'spit', or simply leave it lying on the bar or table. He would knock you right off the chair by calling the name and telling you a few other things -- and you would open the paper, and there it was.
If the spectator really reacted -- then he would start a little psychological line about the disturbing influence in their life -- beat all around the bush, and consent then to your pleadings to tell you more.
Another piece of paper or a card, and you write three questions. The same darn clever procedure, and while his method might be what you now suspect, you would never catch him -- unless he was falling-down drunk.
He had developed, over a period of many years, a very peculiar technique that always fascinated me hour after hour. It is the author's opinion that his method of gaining the information, under the circumstances in which he worked, is without equal.
It did not matter to the Doctor where the reading took place. I have observed him give readings drunk and sober in cocktail lounges, surrounded by spectators, at bars, standing in crowds, and even under street lights. And during my observations, I have shuddered many times and crossed my fingers that they wouldn't string him up on the nearest lamp post!
Giving this observation logical consideration, one must believe that his boldness was perhaps his greatest virtue. It took nerve, daring and resourcefulness, to get away with the many things Doc perpetuated on the public. It brought forth another important secret of Doc's -- that the successful mentalist, fortune teller or clairvoyant must not only be resourceful, but extremely bold and daring! !
To those who would like to use some of the secrets and methods of the good Doctor for entertainment purposes, let us pattern - to a certain extent -- our methods and technique after him. As stated before, his only stumbling block to fame and good riches -- even as a legitimate reader, was excessive drink. So, we can pattern after his 'reading technique', and profit greatly.
DOCTOR A'S MASTER SECRET -- THE INDEX CARD BILLET SWITCH
Before the author reveals the basic method of Dr. A's work, may I add a word of my own. The last twenty-five years of my life has been very closely associated with all forms of mentalism -- as a writer, publisher, manufacturer and dealer also, as an observer and investigator.
It has fallen within my province to personally witness the demonstrations and technique of literally hundreds of stage, seance and office fortune tellers. My quest is never ending -- always in the search for information as to methods and means of performing these tricks. I have seen hundreds of office workers (the most of whom are exceptionally crude) do the billet switch for many years, but I have never before seen a switch so clean and cleverly presented as the Dr. A's Billet Switch. Dr. A added a subtle and master's touch that actually removes it from the realm of others who make the obvious switch.
If a client has called in quest of a reading and with the good intention of paying for this service -- and catches a clumsy operator fumble and deliberately switch the billets -- this fish -- pardon, client, will escape the hook. Not so with Doctor "A".
Regular index filing cards - size 3x5 inches are used. These are obtainable in any stationary store. Best use the plain or non-ruled cards. Some performers may find it easier to use a slightly smaller card - say 2 1/2x3 3/4 inches, however, this is optional.
There is a special reason for using the index card. It is of such a texture that it holds a crease, and may be opened and closed SILENTLY. (This type of card is used by most billet-switching clairvoyants. )
A long soft lead pencil is also used. This insures easily read writing. These are important details. The performer folds the cards in half, the short way, and a second fold in half, giving a folded billet approximately 1 1/2x2 1/2 inches, and when placed in an upright position on the table, will stand like a miniature tent. This same fold should be used in every case.
This card is unfolded and given to the client with the request that a name or two be written on the card, and three questions that are uppermost in the client's mind -- and then to refold the card.
The client writes this data on the card and folds same. If they retain it, performer asks them to put it on the table. Nothing is done hastily -- everything leisurely.
Needless to say, the performer has concealed in his right hand palmed a duplicate card, and folded in the same manner. The card should rest in the slightly cupped right hand, folded edge uppermost, and about half behind the two center fingers and the balance in the palm. See Figure 1.
The hand should be carried and maneuvered in a natural manner. Performer reaches with the left hand, picks up the client's billet in the tips of the fingers. He approaches the right hand, concealing the dummy billet, and places the real billet between the forefingers and the thumb of the slightly cupped right hand, allowing the real billet to partially protrude above the cupped hand and in view of the spectator. Figure II.
The left hand lazily drops away momentarily, as the performer is talking to the client and gesturing with the right hand. The left hand again approaches long enough to draw the real billet into the right hand, behind the dummy billet, and gets them in perfect alignment. The thumb and forefinger of the left hand takes the TWO billets by the upper left corner and partially draws them from the right hand, and the thumb and forefinger (of right hand) slips down to the center of the TWO billets. Retire the left hand, holding the two billets as ONE in the thumb and finger of the right hand. Gesture with the hands, as shown in Figure III. Just for a minute - while talking - thus showing BOTH hands empty, except for the SINGLE (? ) billet, which the spectator observes as ONE and his billet. It has never left his sight - except for the briefest moment as the two are slid together. This must all be done in a most natural manner, and almost as a continuous move. Don't be hasty.
At the point where the billet actually leaves sight, you are talking directly to the client, looking them straight in the eyes and holding their undivided attention. Later, they will never realize the billet actually left their sight.
One could hardly be accused or suspicious of a switch, and as the performer merely picks up the billet for a moment, while making reference to it -- SHOWS THE HAND TO BE DEVOID OF ANY BILLET THAT COULD BE USED AS A SWITCH. Actually, the two billets are held together as ONE!
At this point, there are two procedures used by Dr. "A" -- depending on the observation of the client. The two billets are in the right hand -held as one - between the thumb, fore and index finger. In a slightly overhand movement, the thumb slides the real dummy down slightly and the finger pushes forward and releases the dummy, which is thrown on the table in an overhand movement. Needless to say, if the performer is holding the undivided attention of the client - their line of vision - most any kind of move could be performed unobserved. This is perhaps the sloppier of the two procedures.
In the second method, the left hand again approaches the held bi'llet(s) taking it momentarily from the right - a fraction of an inch so the right hand relaxes and the left hand puts the two billets into the right hand where the dummy was originally. See Figure I. The thumb pushes the real one down slightly and quickly moves up, and with the fingers withdraws the dummy and casually drops it on the table. It is one continuous move.
It is a move that warrants many hours of practice. The author has spent hours in practicing before a point of perfection was reached. It is essential this be done perfectly- - and with the correct timing. The move, if closely observed, must appear as though you are merely placing the original billet on the table. This is your goal - a perfect resemblance of the true movements.
The original billet is now retained in the slightly cupped right hand - palmed. Sitting at a desk opposite the client, the performer begins the reading with a few psychological remarks, billet is dropped in the lap. Under no circumstances should the performer attempt to open and read the billet immediately. Proceed into the reading for a full minute at least, pattering along psychological lines.
Leisurely and without haste, slowly open the folded card in your lap and place it on your knee. You are ready to 'cop the message' when the opportune time arrives. Remember, no haste.
Scattered down thru this text of the last few pages will be found many more of Dr. A's secrets - important ones - timing - natural moves - leisurely procedure - holding the client's undivided attention at the moment of mis-direction. Each, blended into a composite picture, make for a tremendous and subtle presentation.
It is quite easy to move slightly in the chair, and shade the eyes as though in a moment of concentration, and read the message on the knee or in the lap.
The spectator's guard is down completely - because of the cleverness of the switch and the fact you immediately jump right into the business of the reading. Other vital psychological factors come into play here, in the performer's remarks, which will be revealed later. Ways and means of riveting the client's attention on the READING - which means themselves, their loved ones and the key to their future.
To proceed with the mechanics of the switch, after the reading is completed, Dr. A always re-switches the billets, and usually makes some remark which lead them to open and refer to the written questions. This is proof again that the switched billet was always on the table top - and NOT read by the medium. It all leads up to a 'perfect crime. '
The method of switching is the same as the last part of the original switch. The business of showing the hands empty - except of the billet -is omitted, as there is no necessity for same. The left hand picks up the billet, puts it behind the now real one in the right hand, switches and tosses the real one on the table. Usually at this point, the Doctor leans forward with arms crossed, and drops the dummy in his lap.
Study carefully the diagrams, especially the all important Figure III where both hands are shown empty, exception of the single (? ) billet. This is the piece de resistance of Dr. A's work! If you wish to do this switch, I can hear the Doctor saying "Practice, practice, practice - and practice some more. "
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