The Huma N Cigar

BY MARK STRIVINGS

Effect - The performer displays and has inspected a paper bag and five cigar lighters. It is found that four of the lighters work normally while one cannot be made to light. The performer explains that this particular lighter has been allowed to run out of fuel. Apart from that it is just like the other four lighters.

"The reason for cigar lighters as opposed to regular cigarette lighters is simple -intensity. A cigar lighter throws a much higher ├▒ame. There's more fuel and oxygen involved and, therefore, much more actual heat. It is essentially a minature flamethrower. I'm told that a cigar lighter's flame is actually about 150 degrees hotter than a regular cigarette lighter's flame. The importance of this little known fact will become apparent shortly. I propose a little game of sorts."

The lighters are all placed in the bag it is shaken by the performer as well as a couple spectators, completely mixing the lighters. The performer has one spectator reach in the bag and remove a single lighter. With the selected lighter completely concealed in the spectators cupped hands, the performer places his hands at a small distance away, all the while turning his head away from the proceedings. Sensing vibrations of heat and recoiling from the sensation, the performer has the spectator light a candle with the lighter. This process is repeated with the next one or two lighters, each lighting a candle.

During one of the selections, the performer senses only coolness while placing his hands near the spectator's containing the lighter. Still keeping his head turned away, the performer instructs the spectator to hold the lighter directly underneath his now palm down hand. If this lighter works, the hand will burn! Upon the command of the performer, the spectator strikes the lighting mechanism. It won't light! Using ESP, the performer has been able to psychically determine the non-working lighter! Everything can be examined, all other lighters still work, while the one will not

Method - This presentation obviously falls into the same general category as the Russian Roulette, the Acid Test, Cheating The Gallows and others, that of the danger presentation. It is designed for close up and parlor situations and plays very effectively in those conditions.

* Caution * The danger in this test is very real. Should you choose to perform this effect, you do so at your own risk. The author and whomever you purchased this book from assume no liability should you injure yourself performing this effect Caveat Emptor!

In order to put the set of props together to perform this, allow yourself plenty of time to make sure you get everything right Your safety depends on assembling all of the props correctly {see previous paragraph). Every instruction that follows is very important, read carefully.

You will need the following:

1. a plain brown paper lunch sack size paper bag

2. four tall candle sticks

3. four hollow based candlestick holders {the hollow base is optional depending on your performing conditions, details follow, see below). The shape of the inside of the base should be round.

4. five cigar lighters - I use model G77R made by 1MC0 from Austria. These are easily obtained from a good cigar and pipe store. Other models certainly would work, but this particular model is easier to gimmick than any other's I've tried.

5. four round ceramic magnets of the type used in many refrigerator magnets. They are about 1 1/4 inches in diameter and have a hole in the middle. These are for use with the hollow base candlestick holders.

6. At least twelve button magnets. These are available from Radio Shack. They come two to a package for under $2.00 per package. They measure about 1/4 inch across and are less than l/8th inch thick. They are very powerful for their size. You will probably want to pick up several spares, you may need them.

7. A permanent adhesive of some sort. I have found a gel based permanent adhesive to be better for this application than a super glue. The specific brand that I use is 'Bondini Everything Gel'. Epoxy would work well. Check your local hardware store for a good selection.

8. One regular thumb tack with the wire removed, leaving just the shallow, rounded head of the tack.

9. Flesh colored paint (optional).

10. A canister of butane fuel {for multiple performances).

We'll do this in stages. The single most important thing to keep in mind through all of the following is to make sure that your magnetic poles line up. In otherwords, in each step, remember which magnet needs to adhere to which other magnet. You'll see what I mean as we proceed.

We'll assemble the gimmick first. You'll need at least four of the small button magnets, the head of the thumbtack and the glue. Stack the small button magnets together. They will adhere naturally. Locate the crown of the thumbtack head. This is the part that you would push on if you were using the thumbtack normally. It is rounded. Put a drop of glue on the center of this crown. The reason for the tack head will become apparent as we go on. Attach the four button magnets to the tack head where the glue is. Allow to dry. When done it will resemble a small hat with the brim turned away from the body of the hat (just a position check, here). All of the remaining magnet placements will be determined by using this gimmick to make sure that the magnetic poles line up correctly.

Now get your four candlestick holders, the four round ceramic magnets and the glue. Since the inside of the candlestick bases are round, the magnets should fit nicely part way inside the base, laying flat The candle should be able to stand normally if the magnet were underneath the base without protruding, still leaving some space.

Assuming these conditions are met, place the gimmick you just constructed against the ceramic magnet The two will adhere naturally. In order for everything to work correctly, your gimmick should be attached with the tack portion away from the ceramic magnet. If the gimmick wants to 'jump' over and lie on the head of the tack, turn the ceramic magnet over. You want the two actual magnets adhering naturally with the tack head away from the ceramic magnet. Now place the magnet (with the gimmick attached to it) under the candlestick base, gimmick facing down. Stand the candlestick in an upright (normal) position. If there is enough room for the gimmick while it is attached to the ceramic magnet under the candlestick holder, you're in business. This will act as a 'hold-out' later.

Now put a bead of glue all the way around the outer edge of the opposite side of the ceramic magnet, away from the side where the gimmick is currently attached. This 'corner' surface is all that will touch the inside wall of the hollow candlestick base. Push the magnet in to hollow base and hold until it adheres. The position of the ceramic magnet is parallel to the tabletop if the candlestick holder is upright. If you've done everything right, the gimmick will adhere to the exposed surface of the ceramic magnet with the tack head away from the ceramic magnet. I know this sounds confus ing, but I don't want to leave any doubts. If anything is unclear, go back and read it all again with materials in hand.

Do this exact same procedure with the other three candlestick holders. When done, you'll have four candlestick holders, any one of which would snatch up the gimmick if it were held underneath. So far, so good. Is everybody with me?

Now drain the lighter fluid from one of the lighters. The safest way is to simply keep one lighter lit (watch those fingers!) until the fluid simply runs out. Make sure it is completely out of fluid. This will become your gimmicked lighter.

You will need to access the inside of this lighter. If you are using the type of lighter 1 outlined earlier, simply push up on the striker button. The entire striker assembly will lift out easily. The striker button itself is removed by pulling it straight out away from the lighter. This allows open access to the inside of the lighter. If you are using some other type of lighter, do whatever is necessary to get inside of it without leaving any physical signs of entry. When everything is done, this lighter must appear exactly the same as the ungimmicked lighters.

Assuming you are using the type of lighter I outlined earlier, look inside. You will see that there is ample room on each side of the fuel container. You are about to affix several of the button magnets to the inside of these two chambers.

The easiest way I have found is to first attach the magnets to something flat and narrow, and then glue the entire unit in place inside the lighter. I used a couple wire ties. These are flat pieces of plastic (used to hold together bundles of electrical wires) that are the same width as the diameter of the button magnets. A small plank of wood would work just as well. I'll assume that you are using a wire tie. Slide the tie into one of the side chambers and cut it off so it is slightly shorter than the inside depth of the lighter.

Be very careful from this point on. ALL MAGNETIC POLES MUST MATCH UP CORRECTLY YOUR SAFETY DEPENDS ON U!

Using the gimmick, simply pick up one of the button magnets. It will adhere correctly naturally. The side that does not adhere is the side you will glue to the end of the wire tie. You will do this same procedure with several of the magnets. When gluing them in place on the wire tie, allow about a magnet's width of space between each one

(see diagram below). You don't want them too close together. Over time they will lose their magnetic qualities and this could place you in danger. You should be able to get 56 magnets on the strip.

Allow the magnets to dry completely on the wire tie. Once dry, place into the side chamber of the lighter with the magnets facing the outer wall {the narrow side of the lighter). Check to see that everything will fit. If not, you may need to shave down the wire tie on one end. * See position check in the next paragraph * Once you're sure everything will fit, remove the entire assembly. Now place a drop of glue on each of the magnets. Slide the whole assembly into the lighter with the magnets facing the outer wall (the narrow side) of the lighter. The magnets will be glued to the narrow outer wall of the lighter. You may want to use a narrow screwdriver or something else of appropriate size and shape to help hold the row of magnets in place while the glue adheres.

* Position check * - Use the gimmick and simply place it against the narrow wall of the lighter that now has a row of magnets inside. The gimmick should adhere with the tack portion away from the lighter. Check each magnet along the row to make sure everything is correct.

Once you're sure you've got it right, simply repeat the same procedure with the other chamber of the lighter. Once done you will have a magnetic lighter, all poles facing out from the lighter and the gimmick adhering identically on both sides of the lighter. This is the crux of the entire routine. Making sure that this situation is correct is vital to the proper working of the routine and to your safety! Reassemble the lighter. It should appear to be identical to the other four lighters.

Only one small bit of preparation left, campers! This will take some experimentation. You will need to put the finishing touches on the gimmick itself. Currently it is made up of four button magnets with the tack head glued in place on one end. Place the gimmicked lighter in the paper bag. Hold the gimmick in your cupped fingers and place the bag over the gimmick. You may need to shake the bag a bit to get the gimmick to adhere through the paper. The gimmick should adhere with the tack head standing away from the bag. Here's where the experimentation comes in. Clip the tack head between the base of two fingers of your cupped hand and remove it. This is the reason for the tack head to begin with. If you cannot get a good hold on the tack head, add another magnet to the stack and try it again. You shouldn't need more than six magnets to make this work. My personal gimmick uses only the four original magnets and works like a charm.

The only other consideration for how many magnets to use with the gimmick is making sure it will still fit underneath the candlestick bases when adhered to the ceramic magnets concealed there. Once you've determined how many magnets will work for you, separate all the magnets and then reattach them with a drop of glue in between each one. This just insures that they won't come apart at some really bad time. Once dry you can paint the gimmick with flesh colored paint for an added bit of security that it won't be seen.

Believe it or not, you're now finally ready to work the routine!!! Whew!!!

Congratulations on getting this far. Obviously you've got 95% of the handling figured out by now, but here we go anyway!

Routine - The five lighters start in the bag with the gimmick adhered to the gimmicked lighter through the underside of the bag. You can place the bag on the table in this condition, just be careful not to slide the bag sideways at all. The gimmick will dislodge and end up on the table in plain sight (believe me, I know). The candles are either already on the table, in my case to my right nearest me, or in a case off to one side on a chair.

Simply pick up the bag and place your hand cupped underneath it. This is a perfectly natural position. Cop the gimmick away and shake the bag with the other hand by the top. Hand the bag to the spectator on your left and have them shake the bag, likewise With the spectator on your right. Retrieve the bag and cup your hand underneath it as before. You may get lucky and feel the gimmick 'jump' away from your palm. If so, it's gotten a hold of the lighter through the bag. If it doesn't jump, shake the bag around gently with your hand underneath and the other hand at the top until you do feel it jump. This rarefy takes long. Patter will cover the time for you.

I keep the gimmick in my left hand and therefore, keep my left hand cupped underneath the bag. Extend the left hand with the bag to the spectator on your left. Have them reach in and remove any lighter they want. Odds are that they will remove a regular lighter. If the gimmick doesn't fall back into your cupped hand, they have a normal lighter. Have them keep the lighter clamped in their two hands so you can't see it.

Place the bag on the table with the gimmick underneath as before. Place your open {and therefore, empty!) hands around theirs. Move one of the candles to a position near the spectator. Keep your gaze fixed away from the proceedings at ali times. After a few moments, recoil in apparent pain. Have them light the candle with the lighter. They can then place the lighter to one side.

This entire procedure is repeated until you fell the gimmick drop into your cupped fingers. I always double check by shaking the bag and trying to get it to re-adhere, asking them if they would like to change their minds. Once I am sure that they have the gimmicked lighter, I table the bag as before. I now move a candle to a position near them, ditching the gimmick underneath it as it's moved. The hands are placed as before around their cupped hands. This time there's no pain. Time for the climax.

Keeping my gaze fixed away from the spectator, I place my hand in a position parallel with the floor. Instruct them to place the lighter directly under the center of the palm and on the signal, light it. Wait a beat or two to let the tension build and call, "NOW". Of course the lighter doesn't light and your palm is safe. If there are any other lighters left, have them removed and lit to prove their authenticity. You're clean and everything can be examined.

Post traumatic thoughts - If you're working with the candles in a container off the table, you can simply ditch the gimmick in the container when you go for the candle at the proper time. It's nice to have everything on the table from the beginning, though. Having the candles gimmicked makes for a very clean ditching of the gimmick.

Obviously the gimmicked lighter can be selected at any time. If it gets down to the last two lighters, I will have each of my spectators take one and conceal it in their hands. Thanks to the gimmick, I know who has the gimmicked lighter and can finish from there. My hands go around each of their hands and I 'sense' which lighter is which. I then go for the lit palm and allow the remaining spectator to light the final candle.

If the gimmicked lighter is withdrawn first, I will generally have them set it to one side for a bit, preferably in a pocket or somewhere else out of sight. Try a couple other lighters as above and get a couple candles lit. I come back to the first selection in between each of the others and have them set it aside again. After two other lighters, I'll try one more time with the first selection and go into the burned palm bit. All of this to make it as dramatic as possible.

Work extensively with the gimmick and the lighters in the bag to get the feel of how your gimmick behaves and how to shake the bag. When the gimmick falls into your palm, always double check by shaking the bag some more and trying to get the gimmick to re-adhere. I have had this fail (rather painfully) and it was because I managed to fake myself out by not double checking with the lighters in the bag once the gimmick fell into my palm. It had simply become dislodged and I neglected to double check. Needless to say, I got burned, literally! Learn from my mistake. Don't let this happen to you.

This can make for a very dramatic and intimate mentalism performance. The heart pounds just as the lighter is getting set to be lit under your palm. The build up during the opening speech will really help to set this up. Just be careful not to telegraph the palm bit before its time. It's the equivalent of pulling the trigger in Russian Roulette. Build it for all it's worth.

Well, this has been a very long explanation. Thank you for making it clear through to the bitter end. I've tried to be a thorough as possible and to cover all the in's and out's for you. I hope you take the time to put this together and perform it for your audiences. Do be very careful and double check everything. If you put the necessary time and effort into this, you'll have a winner on your hands (no pun intended). Enjoy!

CHIP CLIPPEDf

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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