A fair amount has been written about approaching those who you will be performing for in the magic world. Most of the time, the people at the function will be unaware that there is this type of entertainment. This can cause a bit of an awkward moment when it comes time to start a 'set' for the patrons. They don't know who you are or why you are there. It is probably the single toughest moment in the close-up workers night.
Some of the better thoughts on this have come from Eugene Burger, Jim Sisti and Kirk Charles among others. You can, without too much work, adapt these to the mental close-up worker. The ideal situation is for the organizers to announce (or just make known) the fact that a strolling mindreader will be circulating and to be sure to see them. This certainly makes life easier. I find that this is not always possible, though, so I have frequently had to resort to a cold approach. Those cited above have some very good lines that work out fairly well for mentalism. My personal favorite, though, actually comes from my good friend Richard Webster. It is included here with his very kind permission. He will approach a stranger (preferably a woman) and ask, "Excuse me, but have you ever had a psychic experience?" The answer is usually no. He continues, "Would you like to have one?" This works like a charm.
I have also used the approach recommended by Michael Close. He will usually strike up a conversation with a group of people. Just whatever happens to be available to talk about. This allows the group to get somewhat acquainted. He then basically comes out and tells the group why he is at the function. He then is free to move into his routine.
Another line that I have used with considerable success comes after the Close approach mentioned above. After making my in-roads to a group, I say something like, "I'll tell you the truth. I'm a hired gun tonight. I am the entertainment. Would you like to see something really unusual?" Assuming I have made a good enough initial contact with the group, I have never been turned down on this. Plus, the initial contact helps me to get an idea of the groups 'availability' for a performance. I can easily tell if there is reasonable space in the social situation for my material. I found that after trying this a very few times, I felt quite comfortable working my way into groups this way. It's not very fast but it does work.
Ultimately, it all comes down to a certain amount of trial and error to find what will be comfortable for you. The main thing is to just summon up the courage to do it. It won't always go perfectly smooth, but that's OK. Keep after it. It will get better each time you do it.
One of the truly great things about this little world of psychic entertainment is the people you meet and get to be friends with. As this is being written, I have yet to actually meet John Riggs in person. We have spoken on the phone and corresponded by email. I just know that when we do meet face to face we will hit it off like long lost brothers. John is a magician, mentalist, psychic and all-around nice guy. I have been an admirer of John's work for some time. He has numerous publications for the magic and mentalism trade and I would recommend all of them. I was delighted when I read this routine from him. I think you will be, too. It's perfect for those of you who work banquets, as you will see. Here in basically John's own words is...
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Effect(s) - Phase one: The psychic distributes several business cards to each of the people at the table. They are requested to draw a simple doodle or symbol on each card. These are gathered and mixed.
The psychic removes about ten of the drawn symbols, and looks them over. He mentally selects one of the symbols as a target, and records his impressions on a napkin, which is folded and kept by a spectator.
Pointing to one of the ladies, the psychic says: "This is an experiment in remote viewing. I am thinking of a symbol. I want you to try to tell me where it is in this pile. Just call out the first number between one and ten that leaps into your mind."
She says: "Four."
Counting down to the fourth symbol, it is seen to be a house. "Open the target, please."
Phase two: Gathering the cards together, the performer has them mixed. The cards are spread on the table face down, and one is slid out by a spectator and held under his hand. The psychic turns his back as the participant peeks at his symbol.
Turning back around, the psychic quickly makes a sketch. Upon investigation, the psychic has drawn a very close approximation of the selected symbol!
Phase three: The cards are further mixed. One by one, the psychic removes the symbols, comments on the choice of subject matter, and gives a brief reading about the person. Then, he returns the symbols to the persons who drew it at the beginning.
Method(s) - Standard methods are employed, but in a synergistic way that gets the maximum play out of the materials used.
First, you have business cards that are secretly coded 1 - 11 (or so). Larry Becker and Lee Earle have used numbers encoded within the address or zip codes of the cards. I usually prefer to use a tactile mark that is made either with a nail nick or a Grismer card punch, but for phase two, you will need a visual cue.
Assuming four spectators, you distribute eleven cards to them as follows:
1st spectator gets cards 1-3 2nd spectator gets cards 4-6 3rd gets cards 7-9 4th gets 10-11,
In a group this size, it is almost certain that at least two of the assembled drawings will be of the same subject - a house, a flower, a smiley face. You gather up the cards and mix them, face-down. If there are no drawings that match exactly, use similar drawings - a tree and a flower, for instance - and predict a 'plant'. But I find that most people have a very limited repertoire of drawings.
Turning them face - up, as you are apparently selecting your target, you select as your target the two similar drawings. Position these 3rd and fifth from the top of the stack. This can be done very casually.
One by one, you turn the cards face up and show them as you comment on the experiments in remote viewing. But, you are doing one other thing: You are forming a mnemonic link between your secretly encoded number and the object drawn! More on this later.
Now, when you ask for a number from 1-10, you can arrive at either of the two symbols using the European 10-11 force, published many times in Magick magazine. The working is simple. With any number called between 1 and 10 you can arrive at one of the force designs as follows:
If they call 'two', count off two cards and have them take the third card. If the call 'three', count off two cards and have them take the third card. If they call 'four', count off four cards and have them take the fifth card. If they call 'five', count off four cards and have them take the fifth card. If they call 'six', 'seven', 'eight' or 'nine', turn the packet face up and count from the bottom. This will force one of the two designs similar to the above procedures.
Count to the requested number and show that your target has been successfully 'matched' by the intuitive subject.
Phase two: The cards are mixed by an audience member, the mixed cards are spread on the table. The spectator draws one out, and you note the encoded number. You now know the drawing, because of your memory link! Play it up.
Phase three. The easiest of the lot, mechanically, but the strongest as far as audience is concerned. Looking at the secret number on the card, you know which spectator drew which drawing! Remember, they were passed out in order Don't do them all, since each spectator drew three drawings each, but get enough drawings going to prove your point. Then quit.
Commentary - If there are a small number of spectators, they draw more symbols, obviously! I may even draw a few, making sure to match one that one of the spectators drew (for phase one). If you can remember the order of the cards, you can throw in Annemann's Extra-Sensory-Perception as well.
I think this is stronger than remote-viewing/design duplication using the performer's deck of symbols. The audience creates the props and becomes more involved as a result.
Mark's comments - This is powerful stuff and very easy to do. I particularly like the flexibility in the number of people used. This allows for getting a fairly large close up group involved. It doesn't pack much lighter than this and still pack this much punch. Thanks John!
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Effect - You have a married couple in the group you are working for and decide to do something to demonstrate the way they are attuned to each other. You produce a small packet of business size cards with colored spots on the back. Mixing this packet of cards, you have the husband select any one they wish. Keeping its' identity a secret, the card is placed aside. You now bring out a small drawstring pouch that contains several small stones of different colors. With you providing the randomizing factor, you and your lady spectator take turns eliminating stones until only one is left. When the card is turned over it is found to have the same color as the stone selected by the wife, leaving you in the perfect position to do a brief reading based on the color for your two lovebirds.
Method - This effect was originally published in Magick #496 (regrettably, the final issue of Magick) by John Yeager under the title, "Love Match". I spoke with Bascom right after it was released and relayed the following handling to him. He told me that he liked this minor variation better and would publish it straight away. Unfortunately, it never came to pass. I market this effect under this same name with materials already provided and specially printed cards included. However in Bascom's memory, I'll publish it here.
This is really very simple. All you need are 5 business cards, 5 round Avery™ colored labels each with a different color, 5 small colored stones to match the colors of the labels, and a pouch of some sort to carry the stones in. This one of the few times when I violate my own rules for working materials in walk around mentalism. Who in the world carries around a bag of rocks? However, in this 'New Age' we live in, it's very easy to justify carrying some small 'energy stones'. Besides, the effect is worth it. And if you want you can do miniature gemstone readings with this set. That's always fun.
Attach one label to the back of each of the cards. Mark the face of the cards in some way so that you can tell what the color of the spot is on the other side of the card. Usually a slight shading with a pencil in various letters or features on the card is enough.
One caution, be sure to make your markings definite enough to be seen easily by you in dim lighting. If you do this effect long enough, the day is coming when you will have to perform it in a dimly lit room. Consider yourself warned. Place the cards into a business card case or an available pocket, put the stones in a drawstring bag and you are ready to perform.
Produce the cards and show them front and back, pointing out the colors of the stickers. Patter about the way most couples can communicate on a subconscious level, etc. Mix the cards spots down and have one selected. Be sure to note the marking on the card and remember the color. Place the rest of the cards aside, and produce the bag of stones.
Have the wife (I am assuming a married couple here) mix the stones in her cupped hands and place them onto the open hand of her husband. You will then force the matching color stone by means of the PATEO force (described elsewhere in this book in Terry Nosek's effect 'Suite Prediction'). In this case you would select the first two stones for the force to work out since there are an odd number of objects involved. Place each stone that is eliminated (somehow that sounds medical) back into the bag until only one is left, the matching color stone. You can now reveal the match between the two colors and give a brief reading based on the color that they had.
This can be almost romantic in tone, hence the title. Depends on how you present it. Of course it can be worked for any two people, but I always make it a point to use a man and a woman for this. I have used this as a 'compatibility test1 between two people. There's a lot of room for humor in this situation. It's a lot of fun for the right crowd.
For more information on the meanings of the various colors, there are numerous books available at your local bookstore that will tell you more than you ever wanted to know. Try this effect out. It's real easy and very effective.
Commercial production and resale rights strictly reserved by Mark D. Strivings.
Robert Waller has been my dearest and most trusted friend for over 20 years. We have been through it all together. He is an incredibly quick and agile thinker. He is also the one person on the face of the earth who can make me laugh any time he wants. His mind seems to work in such clever ways, I am and will forever be jealous. I strongly suspect that you will be hearing more from
Robert in the coming years. As this is being written, he is part of the management team for a popular Phoenix restaurant and, as a result, frequently finds himself in the type of circumstances that are most conducive to his effect. Enjoy!
(psychic cpsuds cI^obert ^^alier
This is perfect for those of you who find yourselves working around bottled beers, whether in clubs, hospitality suites or cocktail parties.
Effect - The performer picks up a full, un-opened bottle of Moosehead beer and hands it to a spectator. He has them look over the label on the front of the bottle and get an impression of the color of a playing card from the label, either red or black. Suppose the spectator says they get an impression of a black card. They pass the bottle to the next person and they are asked to look at the cap of the bottle and see what kind of impression they get as far as the suit of a card goes, either spades or clubs (since the first spectator saw black). Suppose they say clubs. They then pass the bottle to another person and they are asked to look through the back of the bottle and get an impression of either a face card or spot card from the clear liquid. Suppose they say a spot card. They then pass the bottle to another spectator and they are asked to gaze into the bottom of the bottle and get an impression of any spot card value. Suppose they say the nine, thus forming the nine of clubs. A free selection if ever there was one.
You now produce a deck of Budwieser logo playing cards. You look through the deck and find the nine of clubs. Upon turning it over, it is found to be the only Moosehead label playing card in an entire deck of Budweiser cards! You are now free to proceed with a beer bottle reading for your spectator.
Method - Obviously this needs to be performed where bottled beers are being served. The working is simplicity itself. There are actually two decks of cards involved, although the audience is only aware of one. Obtain a deck of Moosehead logo playing cards and a deck of Budweiser logo playing cards. These are available at many liquor departments of drug stores and the like. Robert has had good luck with Target Stores in the kids toys department. Any other brand(s) of cards may be substituted as long as they have a white border on their backs and are the same size. Just keep your eyes open and you will find suitable cards. You will also need something to rough the cards. I use Matte Finish spray available at art supply houses and craft stores.
Separate each deck into odd blacks and even reds in one pile and even blacks and odd reds into another. I am going to assume the use of Moosehead and Budweiser cards for the purpose of this description. Take the odd black/even red cards from the Moosehead deck and rough the backs. Likewise take the even black/odd red cards from the Budweiser deck and rough their backs. Take all of the other cards from both decks and rough the faces.
Once the cards are dry, assemble the odd black/even red Moosehead cards (roughed on the backs) and shuffle them thoroughly. Do the same with the Budweiser odd red/even blacks (also roughed on the backs). Do the same with the other two packets, being sure to keep the individual packets separated. Now pair up (in random fashion) the odd red/even black Budweiser cards (roughed on the backs) with the odd black/even red Moosehead cards (which are roughed on the faces). Once assembled you should be able to fan the deck and see only Moosehead backs and odd red/even black faces, the roughed pairs adhering to each other. The Budweiser cards will be the face card of each pair. This deck will be referred to as the LOREB (to be explained shortly) deck. Assemble the other deck in the same fashion only putting the Moosehead cards on the face of each pair. With this deck you should be able to see only Budweiser backs and odd black/even red faces. This deck will be referred to as the ROBERT deck.
All that needs to happen now is put the LOREB deck into your left jacket pocket and the ROBERT deck into your right jacket pocket. Here's how it all works. LOREB stands for Left Odd Red/Even Black, meaning the left pocket and odd red and even black cards will be on the face of each roughed pair. ROBERT stands for Right Odd Black/Even Red, meaning the right pocket and odd black and even red cards will be on the face of each roughed pair. You are ready to go, except of course, for finding a suitable bottle of ale.
Go through the entire presentation up to the point where an actual card is created. In the case of the description cited above, the nine of clubs. That is an Odd Black card. It is in the ROBERT deck which is in your Right pocket. Produce the deck and thumb through the cards until you come to the nine of clubs. Split that pair and upjog the card or deal it to the table. You can now fan the cards and show that the nine of clubs is the only Moosehead card in a Budweiser deck! Obviously for five of diamonds (for example) you think Odd Red, which is part of LOREB and is located in your left pocket. With this you would show the only Budweiser card in a Moosehead pack. Try this a few times and you will have it down with little or no thought.
This plays very well and people actually go back to the bottle that was used and look for subliminal things in the design of the labels and such searching for clues as to how you knew what card they would construct. It's very effective. Put this together and try it. You'll like it!
By the way, I first saw the use of ROBERT and LOREB in an effect called
FRED which was published by Ken de Courcy in an early issue of "The Coffee Break Chronicle", a marvelous little magazine Ken puts out. I suspect it goes back further than that. Certainly the overall concept does. Thanks to Ken for putting this out.
Method II - For those of you who don't mind using a little sleight of hand to accomplish your miracles (which, frankly I think should be used VERY SPARINGLY in mentalism, if at all!), here's another way to accomplish this effect using only one deck. No memorization, no roughed pairs, just one sleight. All you need is a complete deck (we'll use Moosehead again) and one Budweiser X card. Put a 1/2" piece of double stick tape on the face of the Budweiser card and put it third or fourth from the face of the pack. Put it in the box and you're ready to go.
With this you can have the deck on the table all along. In fact, I would recommend it. Simply uncase the deck and, without calling attention to anything, 'unstick' the taped card from the card next to it and place the deck face up on the table. Don't place it face down or the tape will re-adhere. Go through the entire presentation and when the card is named, pick up the deck and perform a Hofzinser cull of the Budweiser card under the spread, breaking the deck at the selected card. Allow the Budweiser card to end up under the selected card. Square up and squeeze the deck, adhering the Budweiser card onto the back of the selected card. You can now cleanly spread the deck and show one card with a Budweiser back, and it's the selected card!
I am assuming you know the Hofzinser cull. If you don't, it is written up in several standard texts, most notably the works of Michael Ammar and Michael Close.
This is a very clean way to perform the effect. For those with the sleight of hand skill who can do the cull cleanly, it passes as being completely 'normal'. Check it out.
One last thought. This concept could be easily adapted to any product or service that has playing cards available with the product or company logo. Give it some thought and you could have a winner on your hands!
Gene Urban is fast becoming one of the top trade show performers in this country. He is highly skilled and a top-notch performer. He is also a very good friend. He and I have collaborated on a number of projects and he has always been an MVP. What Gene offers here is one of the most commercial ideas in the book. It's based on a very old concept, but the application of that concept is the real jewel. When you get the right situation, you simply must try this out!
Effect - While performing at a private party in someone's home, you offer a demonstration of your HOST'S psychic abilities. Stating that the basis of all psychic ability is energy, you choose to use money as a catalyst. Tearing up a dollar bill in to several pieces, have your host take one piece and retreat to the next room. While they are out, several objects are distributed on the coffee table and one of the other pieces is placed under any object. The host is called back to the room, and, placing his hand containing the torn piece he holds over each of the objects, is able to devine the exact location of the other piece. A conclusive demonstration of psychic ability!
Method - The great thing about this presentation is the fact that you can turn your host (the one who signs your check!!) into a mysterious and powerful psychic themselves. Believe me, they LOVE this! I remember the basis of this being done as a party stunt back in high school and I'm quite certain it goes back WAY before that. Gene has come up with a way to hide the method and still make it very easy for the host to learn.
You will use whatever props are at hand. This works best in any location where there is a fairly spacious flat area like a coffee table or kitchen counter. As such, it's not truly a walk around performance piece, however, since much of this type of work happens in locations where this condition is possible, it certainly is suitable here. Plus, there is no set up (apart from teaching your host their part), so it can be done at any time. Tuck this away in the back of your head and try it when the conditions are right. It's a guaranteed audience pleaser.
All you need do is lay out nine objects on the table top. Any objects will do as long as the piece of dollar bill can be concealed under the object (see end of this write up for another idea that doesn't destroy US currency). Simply divide the table area (mentally) in to a 3 X 3 grid and place one object in each area.
Don't center them but apparently place in a haphazard fashion. This will disguise any apparent arrangement. See the diagram for a sample. All you are going to do is code the location to your host.
Try to have another flat, smaller surface nearby like an end table or magazine. All you are going to do is place some object that you have, for instance a cola can in the same relative position on the magazine or end table as the chosen object. This will code the location to the host when they come back into the room. Whatever object you use to do the coding should be something that is natural to put down without any attention being called to it. A drink is a natural in this setting.
Simply prime your host for a couple of minutes on he system before the other guests arrive and you will have a miracle. Just follow the performance outline above. It won't take much to Magazine or swear your host to Side rable secrecy. They love being in this position, and will totally baffle their friends. One word of caution, don't over do this. A couple of times in an average evening is more than enough. You don't want to turn it into a challenge to be solved.
The impact of tearing up a dollar (or bigger bill) is very strong. You can simply tear a bill in half, give one half to your host and hide the other half. Alternatively, you can use one of THEIR dollar bills, stating that the energy is even stronger when they use their own money. For those of you who don't want to destroy paper money, just use a dime. The reason being that it is small enough to be concealed easily under most table top objects. Have your host use another dime and let like attract like!
The biggest contribution Gene gives us here is the concept and practical
use of giving a spectator the power to devine the unknown. The fact that it's the person who hired you is doubly strong! Try this out when the circumstances are right and you will have a killer!
By the way, Gene also points out that you could use any flat object that can be held in your hand like a business card case or pack of cards as the cueing device. Simply place your thumb on the proper position on the case, thus sending the info to your accomplice. Always remember to code the information from their perspective. You don't want to turn them around and get them confused. Keep it as easy as possible for them and they will really shine.
And one last thing. You can always do this with YOU being the one who gets the information, someone else sending it to you. This requires a secret accomplice that you can work the system with. It's a great idea, but I still like it better working with your host. Try it out and see what you think!
For Tour Thoughts"
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.