This little jewel has virtually nothing brand new to offer, but there are a couple of really nice, practical wrinkles here. I think you will enjoy it.
Effect - Let us suppose that you missed, by a little or a lot, on the 'Sort Of Numerology' routine. For example, you came up with the number 27, and they were actually thinking of 31 (however THAT happened!) You apologize for not being able to tune in to their thoughts. Suddenly you stop the conversation and ask them to repeat the number they thought of. They reply 31. You relate the story of how earlier in the evening you got a very strong impression from out of the blue, but didn't know what it meant. You decided to write it down, whereupon you produce a small coin envelope, reach in and remove a folded piece of card. You hand it to your spectator, they open it and reveal that written on the card is the number 31!
Method - The above is but one of a virtually unlimited number of possible scenarios. I now use this as an effect unto itself as well as my out to practically anything that doesn't quite work out, but I would still like it to. Using this little combination, I can bring just about any 'chancy' demonstration to a successful conclusion. Obviously we have something here of a very high utilitarian value.
In my search for walk around material, I have gone through a very wide variety of classic techniques. One that I really like in terms of versatility is nail writing (or boon writing, or...), however, in the walk around environment it can be somewhat risky. I wanted something that I could do completely surrounded, up close and not be detected. What we have here fits the bill to a "T".
The answer, or at least part of it, is pocket writing. It's angle proof, it's versatile and it's very quick when it's done right. You can use any method that you would like. There is an excellent, though very brief, explanation in Al Baker's Mental Magic under the title "Chicken-Feed". Let me describe the set-up that I have used for a long time.
Obtain a couple hundred 3" x 2 1/2" blank cards. I get these by purchasing a package of blank 3" x 5" file cards and having my local quick printer cut them in half. This leaves me with a couple hundred of the correct size cards. You will also need a paper clip of the type that is coated with a rubberized plastic material that is somewhat tacky. These are easily obtainable at any office supply and they come in a wide variety of colors, although the color is immaterial for our purposes.
You will also need a writing utensil of some sort. A short pencil stub is the classic stand-by, although I frequently use a short ink cartridge that I obtained from a multi-cartridge pen. Whatever you decide to use, be sure to have a regular duplicate in your shirt or jacket pocket for regular writing. It adds a small detail of credibility to the handling, giving the impression that your predictions were written with THAT utensil, when it was actually done with the one in the pocket.
Take a stack of about 15 of the cards and clip them together with the paper clip on one of the short ends of the stack. Now take a single card and place it cross-wise under the clip. See diagram at left. DO NOT pre-fold the card! This will leave creases and make the actual writing much more difficult.
This will leave it with its' ends sticking out on the sides of the stack. Place the stack in your writing hand side pocket with the clip on top and the single card facing away from your body. Have the writing utensil in the same pocket (see end of description for an alternate) and your are ready to go.
Once it comes time to actually write your prediction, you write it as large and plain as possible, drop the pencil (or whatever) in the pocket and slide the single card free of the clip. This is the reason for placing it cross-wise under the clip. There is no fumbling in the pocket to get JUST THAT ONE CARD free. Fold it in quarters with the writing on the inside in the pocket and fingerpalm it. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Back to the effect.
Whatever technique you use is immaterial as long as you are comfortable with it. Obviously, once they give you the number they are thinking of (in this case 31), you simply pocket write it on the 2 1/2" x 3" card, fold the card and introduce it in some way. A simple billet type switch of some sort works just fine. I personally use something a bit sexier.
I have opted for a very low-tech approach. I use a coin envelope that has a window cut out of the solid 'address' side of it, with two small subtleties. Obviously, all you must do is load the fingerpalmed card under the envelope when it is removed from the pocket, through the window, and pull it out with your fingers of the other hand to reveal.
One subtlety that I use has to do with the way the envelope looks when it is introduced. An empty coin envelope looks flat and, well, empty when there is nothing in it. I want the envelope to look like it contains something when it is introduced. Toward that end I have a matching folded card taped, with double-stick scotch tape, to the bottom of the envelope, against the side opposite the window. See diagram for x-ray view of the location. It actually shows partially through the window. Since the envelope is handled opening down, this is never seen. What this accomplishes is a bulge in the envelope that is apparent when it is introduced. You can actually play up the fact that there is something in the envelope when it is introduced, because there is! Plus the folded card doesn't get in the way of loading the real card.
Once the real card has been 'removed' from the envelope, just put it back in your pocket, being careful not to flash the window. The rest is presentation.
I mentioned that I used two subtleties in this. The other (in addition to the prefolded billet attached inside the envelope), is to use a colored coin envelope. I personally use a black one that Larry Becker has supplied with some of his very fine effects. I have the window cut out of the back and the extra billet attached inside. THEN I take a black magic marker and color the visible portion of the attached billet. This allows black art to go to work and makes any accidental 'flashes' of the window side of the envelope virtually invisible!
I mentioned another way of using a writing instrument in the pocket. In using a short ink cartridge, I have found that it will store vertically, writing tip down, on the back of the stack in the curl of the paper clip! This keeps the tip down for better writing (what with gravity and all), and also keeps ink off of your pocket. Plus, you don't have to dig in your pocket to find it. Just replace it in the curl when you are done and it is ready to go again. Also, to set the next card for writing, simply pull the back (or front, it doesn't matter) card of the stack out and turn it 90 degrees. Slide it under the clip and you are ready to go again.
This makes a great out for the numerology effect. It also can be done for a wide variety of other effects. But those will have to wait for another time. In any event, use this out while you perfect 'Sort Of Numerology'. You can always bring the effect to a successful conclusion and you have a dynamite demonstration
Close-Up mentalism is a special situation in the world of entertainment. If you are performing in a walk-around venue, you most likely will have some time constraints to deal with. if you have a lot of people to cover you won't be able to spend more than a very few minutes with any particular group. Typically, if the organization you are working for has hired you with just enough time to cover the room once, you will have little to worry about. In this case you will probably need about 5 to 7 minutes of material at the most. You will just do the same set over and over. With typical performances this will probably mean only about three effects. Of course you will want a definite beginning, middle and strong closer to the set.
If time allows for covering the entire room, or significant portions of it, more than once, you will need extra material. This is where more involved demonstrations can come into play. Perhaps a pendulum routine or something similar for the second set. Something that can take some time to set up with the spectators. You will have already established who you are and what you do. You will, for the most part, be able to go right into the material without any problem. My ESP card routine in this book is a good example of this type of situation.
Anything beyond that and you may need to carry extra material with you in a case that is stashed away somewhere accessible (this is a good idea anyway). Of course, if you have that much time to cover, longer sets are perfectly acceptable. It just depends on the job and your working conditions.
I like to leave my spectators with something from the performance that has my name on it. Business card effects are a natural in this case. Predictions written on the back of the card work extremely well here. "Predic-A-Date" from this volume fills the bill nicely here. I also will frequently do my marketed effect, "Symbol Minded", which is a design duplication done on my business card. Again, it's a natural in this situation. Terry Nosek has a couple of effects in this volume that also work very well here.
A typical walk-around set of mentalism for me would be to both open and close with 'Predic-A-Date' (read the write up and you'll see what I mean by both open and close with this), followed by my close up version of 'Seven Keys To Baldpate', (from my book, "Annemann For The 90's", and also marketed by me). Then, depending on the makeup of the group, I'll probably do "Warm Fuzzies" from this volume, then close with the finish of 'Predic-A-Date1. This set will take about 6 to 7 minutes to perform and can involve up to 5 people in the group at any one time.
A typical second set for me would be 'Symbol Minded', followed by 'Sort-Of-Numerology' from this book (with or without the out), and close with a pendulum effect. For these type of effects I can do no better than to recommend Richard Webster's fine book, "Pendulum Power".
The fact is that you don't need a ton of material to do this kind of work. Armed with about a half-dozen solid effects, you can go to work. Hopefully you will be able to find some material in these pages that will suit you and your style. Remember, when all else fails, adapt, adapt, adapt!
You obviously haven't been in this game too long if you don't know the name Richard Webster. His many, many books for psychic entertainers have been lauded by everyone who has ever read them. Richard has single-handedly created an entire library that every psychic entertainer simply must have! He is an outstanding performer, creator and writer.
More important than that, he is also a close friend. I can credit Richard with much of my own success. He has been a mentor and an inspiration for many years. He told me he felt almost silly (if you know Richard, you can hear him saying this!) contributing this little effect. I think it's a gem! It's so typically 'Richard'. It's light-hearted and very effective. Thank you, Richard!
Effect: You hold in your hands six blank cards, business card size. You show that one card has a message on it, but the others are all blank on both sides. You mix them up and ask a spectator if she has psychic ability. No matter what she says, you prove that she does. She touches one card and this is rested face-down on her hand. You show the others are blank on both sides. She turns her card over and - miracle of miracles - it is the card with a message on it. The message says: "If you are psychic, you'll pick me."
Method: 5 cards have the message printed on one said. The sixth card is blank on both sides. They are shown first face down, demonstrating that they are blank on that side. The top face down card is turned over to show the message. This is given to a spectator to hold for a moment while you show the others are blank on the other side.
This is done using a Flushtration Count by Bro. John Hammond. With the double blank card on the bottom of the stack hold the stack from above with the fingers at the outer end and the thumb at the inner end. This is known as the Biddle Grip. Turn the entire stack over (palm up) and show a blank surface from the bottom. Rotate the hand back up and peel off the top card (closest to the palm) with the left thumb into the left hand. Repeat the entire procedure until you are out of cards. The last card (double blank) goes back on the bottom.
The card with a message on it is added to the pile, face down, and the cards mixed, keeping the double blank card at the bottom. The cards are spread out for a selection to be made. If you like the double blank card could be concealed under the others. I don't do that. In the very few occasions where it is chosen I show it is blank on both sides and then send them some "psychic energy" to ensure they get it right on the second attempt. Once they have chosen a card it is placed on their hand, while you do the same count again to show the remaining cards are blank.
(Mark's note) Excellent effect. Simple and direct. A couple of thoughts for those of you who want to end clean. Keep a stack of 5 matching double blanks in your shirt or jacket pocket out of sight. When the card is selected and sitting on their palm, quietly place the cards in the pocket sideways (so as to keep them separate from the others already there.) Once the message has been revealed you can remove the 5 double blanks and all can be examined. Just return the message card to the other stack and you are reset.
By the way, double blank playing card stock handles very well for the Flushtration Count. You can obtain this from your local magic outlet.
Ed Fowler, aka E. Raymond Carlyle is a legend in the world of psychic entertainment. He was the first resident medium for the Houdini Seance at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. He was the Guest Of Honor at Weerd Weekend III. He is easily one of the nicest and gentlest souls on the planet. To know Ed is to love Ed. I am very proud that he is represented in these pages.
Ed will be the first to admit that he is not a close-up kinda guy. However when I saw him perform this effect around the pool at a convention last year, it registered as being perfect for this book, as well as being completely different from anything else represented here. Thank you, Ed for your friendship and willingness to share.
tilings Or ^Watches?
Effect: - A pencil with two shoelaces tied to it is displayed by holding the end of the pencil. The shoelace is untied and the pencil and laces are laid on the table. The loan of two watches is ask for. While the two spectators are removing their watches, re-tie the laces around the center of the pencil. The ends on your left are handed to the spectator on your left to hold. Likewise the two ends on
the right are handed to that spectator to hold. The two watches will need to have their straps closed if they have them. If they are stretch bands or clasp types you're all set. Ask the spectator on your left to thread a watch on the two ends he (or she) is holding, and push the watch to the pencil. The spectator on the right does the same.
The left spectator is asked, "give me either end you hold." The right spectator is asked to do the same. You then make a single overhand knot and hand the ends back. Note that the ends are now switched. That is the end held by left spectator goes to right spectator etc. You have tied the watches on the side of the pencil closest to you. This is important as you will see in a moment. You now ask for the loan of two rings. The same procedure is followed with the ring except the rings are tied to the back of the pencil, that is on the side away from you.
The two spectators now hold two ends each and the watches are tied to the front and two rings to the back. Place your left hand over the pencil, watches and rings with the pencil coming through between your middle two fingers. Take hold of the pencil end closest to you and pull the pencil out. Hold on to the rings and watches and ask "I have tied one of them so they wont come off and the other so they will. So which will it be, rings or watches?" After they answer, (say it's watches) say, "Watches it is!" and put the pencil into the watch bands and tell the spectators to hold tight. With a downward pull remove the watches. They will now be hanging on the pencil and the rings will be tied together.
Method: This is a really fun effect that has something many effects in mentalism don't have, a visual factor. Ed has taken an old chestnut, added a twist to the handling and a premise to the presentation that turns it into a minor mental miracle. Everything can be examined and all you need is the a pencil and two twenty-seven inch shoelaces. Everything else is borrowed.
This, as many of you will realize, is the old "Grandmothers Necklace". In actuality, it's Grandmother's Necklace done twice, that is, a second knot on the side away from you to hold the rings! For those of you who know the effect, you probably don't need to continue reading. You will have already figured out the whole thing. For those of you who don't know the effect, if you follow the directions exactly, the effect is self working.
This is going to be a real bear to explain, but here goes. To help keep thing straight, and for learning purposes only and not for performances, I will describe the effect using two different colored laces. Remember this is for learning only. In performance you want two identical laces. That's so you can see the ends move from right to left and keep them straight. I'll use the colors red and blue.
Here is the setup. Have the two laces tied, as one, in a single over hand knot around the middle of the pencil. In doing this you will have a red and blue end hanging at both sides of the pencil. As you ask for the watches, untie the two laces and show them and the pencil, but making no big thing out of it. Now before both watches come to you and while you are asking that the straps be closed, re-tie the laces around the middle of the pencil. This time though, when you drape them over the pencil with the pencil pointing right and left, put your middle finger of your left hand between the two laces, tie the lace on the right around the lace on the left. The knot will look the same as the first "real" knot. This is done while attention is on the watches.
The ends are handed (as in the effect) to the left and right spectators. If you have done things correctly, the left spectator will be holding (say) both ends of the red lace and the spectator on the right the two ends of the blue. Now the watches are given to them both with instructions to thread them on to both ends they are holding and push the watches to the pencil. You now ask for either end the spectator on the left is holding. It makes no difference which they hand you as they are both, say red (for our learning). The right spectator does the same. You tie a single over hand knot. You will note now that both spectators are holding two different colored ends. The tying exchanged the ends.
The second tying does nothing to the laces, there are still two laces across from spectator to spectator. The second tying is for the rings and they will stay on at the end. You do the same thing when having the rings tied on as you did with the watches except the tying is done on the side away from you not the same side as the watches. With both sets now tied on you ask the question, rings or watches. The choice is a minor form of equivoque. That is to say, that which ever they ask for you are going to remove the watches. Therefore you must make it sound as if that is the way it was suppose to be. You might say something like, "that leaves you with the rings tied securely to the pencil" or "you have asked for the watches and here they are free from the pencil as I said I would."
I hope this is clear and as I have said two black or brown laces are used not a red and a blue one. Once you go through this a few times with props in hand, it becomes extremely simple. Present it as powerfully as you want. It can play to any closeup crowd, large or small. If you are going to repeat the effect close to the last group you worked for put the rings on first which in that case you will put your pencil into the rings and pull them off.
If you wish to set up a number of laces for doing many tables etc. knot the laces then remove the pencil and leave the hole for reinserting the pencil later. That gives you a fast reset. On the other hand if you have pencils with your "ad" on them, just leave the pencil with the spectator and pocket the laces. Another quick reset is to simply tie the two laces in a single over hand knot as if they were one lace and thread the pencil into the opening. Tighten the knot and you are reset. Have fun and as Ed would say, "may Kismet be kind to you and yours."
As a minor footnote, if you would like a visual representation of most of this, consult the recently released set of video tapes by Daryl on rope magic. On volume one of the series there is an item entitled "Ropes and Cups" which is almost identical in method. The main difference (apart from the materials involved) is that Daryl doesn't do the final overhand knot. Compare the video with what is written here and you will immediately see the identical handling up to the very end. Simply add one more overhand knot and you have exactly what Ed has come up with here.
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