MtEls Card

After embarrassing you all by feverishly denouncing the practice of forming an effect from the basis of an appealing sleight (rather than beginning with the question of what would appeal as an effect), I must upset you further by explaining that the following magical routine was indeed borne from little more than my enjoyment of a 'move/ I had, for perhaps no other reason than simple madness, spent some days working on a routine where a playing card, signed no less, is torn up rather horribly before a paying, baying audience. As if this were not spectacle enough, I would then take the disembodied fragments and from them form once again the veiy same card in a grotesque and Gothic piece of Frankensteinia. It would be called The Card that is Tom Apart and then Is Fine Again.' After a while I abandoned the effect, but I retained a move that I had developed through my efforts - a mixture of previous ideas concerning the false transfer of a playing card from one hand to another. This loose and shabby mongrel now needed new accommodation, and after a while the following effect was born.

My marvellous friend Lennart Green had installed in me a love of very 'visual' card magic, and a faith in performing bold vanishes and reappearances. After many splendid evenings spent with a deck of cards, a fine wine and a couple more whores, I seized upon a simple notion that 1 thought would make a splendid effect, and which could utilise in the process this new sleight. Namely, that a card could be thought of by a spectator, and then the magician would find the card in an imaginary deck on the table, by peeling off real cards from the top of it. Cards would appear at his fingertips as they were removed from this invisible deck, and one by one would be openly placed in his pocket. Eventually he would stop, holding a card before him, its back to the audience, and ask for the card to be named. The spectator, who has merely thought of a card, names it for the first time. The magician fairly turns around the card, and it is indeed the correct one.

The idea of removing real cards from an imaginary deck appealed immensely. This is really no more than producing cards at fingertips, which is of course familiar in one form or another to us all. However, this handling allows for a constant stream of cards to be produced individually, and at each appearance the hand can be shown to contain only that card. The false transfer, which I have called The Figaro Transfer (after my parrot), can be used whenever a card is apparently moved from a right hand to a left, and I feel is a convincing ruse when one wishes openly to place a card in the left pocket with the left hand, but retain it in the right hand. The reader, no doubt nonplussed by that last brag, will bear with me in anticipation of a full explanation of the move in a later paragraph.

As for the selection of the card, this can be arranged in various ways. Most of the time for lay audiences 1 will riffle a real deck of cards before a spectator and ask her to remember one that she sees, and force a choice using the short card in my deck. Then i bring it to the top and vanish the pack by lapping it, and proceed with the effect. Alternatively, a card can be forced and returned, controlled to the top using your most loathed method, and then the deck vanished in the same way. Whichever way appeals, you wish to have the forced card accessible on your lap.

When I perform this for wise and knowing magicians, I ask the spectator to shuffle an imaginary deck and then I spread it before her and ask her to remember one 'that she sees.' Here I shamelessly instigate her into the proceedings with an idea that has precedent in Karrell Fox's Another Book: I allow her to see a torn index of the force card, stuck to my palm. This is just the corner of the card, torn from the main body and adhered with wax or similar substance in the centre of the palm, which will be visible to her as I spread the imaginary cards. One can even ask her quite openly to 'play along' at this point, and the audience will be none the wiser. It's not big, and it's not clever, but sometimes competitions offer large sums of prize money, and one must do what one must. Besides, I have an appealing charm and devilish handsomeness about me that spectators adore, and no one ever tells.

Procuring the card for the Figaro Transfer

The audience is seated and physically restrained in front of you. A spectator may sit at your right, or come forward from the audience to assist at points where she is needed. In your left jacket pocket there sits in trepidation an indifferent card, facing the body.

Firstly, let us presume that you have taken the honest route and employed a genuine deck for the selection of the card. The card now resides at the top of the deck (and quite excitingly so, for no one knows but you) as you say words to the effect of, "Now, let us make this a little more interesting. You have a card in mind, and she resides somewhere here amongst her brothers and sisters. Were I to run through the deck and find her, you might be impressed, you might be astonished, you might even be sexually aroused, but I would feel unworthy of your delight, for such a triumph would be pedestrian in the extreme. Therefore, with your permission, I shall find the card without being able to see the deck. This would allow me to share in the sensation of magic. Shall I proceed?"

During this talk, you have spread the cards face-up on the table, and in doing so, theatrically faced away from the display. Obviously you have taken a modicum of care not to expose the face of the chosen card at the top. After briefly displaying them thus, you reassemble the spread, and face the spectators again. You turn the cards face down, lapping the deck as you square it. You then mime the action of spreading them face down, revealing the disappearance of the deck, and continue by saying, "I can now no longer see them. Yet I shall find your card,"

Allow the vanish to achieve its effect on the spectators, and then mime reassembling the deck once again. Lean forward and ask the spectator to cut the deck and complete the cut. You have your elbows on the table at the edge nearest you. Your right forearm crosses along the table edge to your left elbow, with the right hand loosely hanging over the edge of the table above your lap. The left forearm crosses in front of the right. As you lean forward to request the cut, and as all eyes regard the actions of the spectator, your right hand secures the top card of the lapped deck in Tenkai palm. Once it is held, the left forearm moves perpendicular to the body and places its hand near the centre of the table, and the right hand with the palmed card comes onto the table and relaxes.

If you have chosen to utilise the imaginary deck for the selection of the card, here is my handling. The spectator sits at your right side. In the left jacket pocket you have an imaginary deck and the torn force index with a large blob of some adhesive substance such as wax or Blu-Tack upon it. Also residing there is some sort of unusual item that the invisible deck will be placed upon later - I use a little spinning disk with a holographic design on it - and an indifferent card, face towards the body. In the left waistcoat pocket one can find the matching entire card, also facing the body. Should you perform in more shabby attire than I, the card can protrude from your trouser waistband. I trust you all wear trousers. Should you be a female performer and are still unsure what to do, may I suggest that you read this as a signal that magic is a man's job and that you may be better cut out for a counselling profession or just sitting with friends talking about relationships.

The left hand goes into the pocket and adheres the torn index to the palm. Try and secure it so that it will be presently displayed the right way around to the spectator. It emerges from the pocket carrying the imaginary deck, which is offered to the spectator for shuffling. You retrieve the deck after complimenting her on her efforts, and spread them before her, asking her to remember any card that she sees. At this point I face away, but I look back briefly and add, 'just go with me on this one.' I then continue with, "...and say it to yourself over and over again." The point of this phrase is to stop her from questioning whether or not she will indeed choose that card, or whether she will select another to ruin the game. By forcing her onto the next stage in the proceedings and giving her new and absorbing instructions, she will follow along and not spoil the effect. It is worth adding that you should communicate a note of mischievous gratitude and good humour to the spectator so that she feels appreciated, and not used.

Return the cards to her and remark to the audience that you have something of interest to show them. The left hand goes into the left pocket to disengage the index and remove the disk. At the same time, the right hand holds the jacket to aid the removal, and steals the force card in Tenkai palm. This is a steal common to Gary Kurtz's Flurious routine and several of Guy Hollingworth's effects. The disk is displayed in the left hand as you describe it as some sort of lucky talisman. "For magic is about dreams," you exclaim, "and realising the imaginary." Theatrically place the disk in the centre of the table. Be good enough to place your deck on the exciting object and I shall in turn find your card from within it" Pause dramatically.

You are now ready to perform the Figaro Transfer, which will create the effect of removing cards one by one from the top of the deck. As with any move that boldly employs the Tenkai palm, you should be aware of your geometric relationship to the spectators. The more sat in front of you, the merrier.

T}ie figarc Transfer

The right hand approaches the imaginary deck with the card in Tenkai palm. The palmed card should be face up. The first and second fingers curl in and clip the left corner on the approach to the centre of the table. They extend to reveal the card at their tips as it is apparently removed from the tabled deck. It should be held with the long sides parallel to the table, back to the audience. The hand is seen to be otherwise empty. Look at the card as if to determine whether it is the correct one, and alter the finger grip on the card, so that your thumb is on the face against the second finger on the back. "No," you say, and the left hand comes to apparently remove it and place it in the left pocket. The left approaches from above, turning down and to the right as it moves to take the card in a dealing position, only with card and hand rotated ninety degrees to the right. However, as the left palm covers the face of the card, the right snaps it into Tenkai again. The left merely mimes the removal of the card, cupping around it, and apparently places it in the left jacket pocket. Here it secures the indifferent card in a classic palm.

The right approaches the 'deck' again and removes a card in the same way. Again, the performer looks at the card for a moment.

A similar process occurs, but this time the left approaches with the palmed card. As it moves slightly in front of the card displayed in the right, two actions happen simultaneously. The card in the right is snapped into Tenkai again, and the card in the left is revealed, back again to the audience, by opening the fingers ivide and curling in the forefinger so that it grips it against the thumb. The card in the left is being held as if it were a sodden piece of tissue paper about to be flicked across a classroom at the face of a girl.

The illusion of the left hand merely having taken the card from the right is very strong. It happens in a split second, and then the card is carried away by the left hand, which goes back into the pocket. The fingers resume their position and the card is again classic-palmed. Meanwhile the right has again approached the deck and brought the next card into view. The transfer is repeated a few times - I find that seven times is ideal. (Lovers of "Der Freisch├╝tz" will remember that

Zamiel's bullet is the seventh. Here we have the magically forged seventh card). On that final production, I approach the right hand with an empty left, and genuinely take it for a moment. Then I exclaim, "Aha! That one seems about right Would you name the card that you have in mind for me." The card is held facing you as the card is named. She names the card, and you look for a moment at the card before you. Look up at the audience and say, "Well..." and turn the card around. "There we are - the Four of Diamonds" or whatever it may be.

If you choose to use the 'instant stooge' methodology in this or another effect, it is worth using an index that is clear and simple. I use the Two of Hearts. I would avoid using picture cards. The spectator will be a little confused anyway when she sees the index, and will have to shift a few gears in her mind. It is worth not complicating things further by using a card that might be difficult to catch during those moments. For the record, I do not advocate this method - I think that to use a deck and vanish it is a neat beginning to this pleasing effect.

This effect is a very strong one, and I do say so myself. The image of the cards being peeled off the deck is, f find, rather lovely, and I feel it is more impressive than producing them from the air. Such a presentation would lack the conceptual appeal of a magician coolly removing real cards from an imaginary deck. Here I was trying to capture some of the strong aesthetic impact that Mr. Green creates when he deals cards on the table only to have them vanish as they touch it. I hope that the confident reader will enjoy performing it as much as I.

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