Every performer who does magic, whether as a profession or as a pass time, has his pet trick. By pet, I mean a trick or a series of tricks from which the performer himself derives especial pleasure and satisfaction in the presentation of same.
For private and social affairs, the following series is one with which I have had great success, both as a source of satisfaction to myself and a wonderful mystery producer to the onlookers.
I therefore take the liberty of describing same herewith, and commend it to all who can use it.
The performer, upon being called upon for a donation to the evening's festivities, proceeds as follows; about a dozen cards are first shown, each bearing the name of some prominent author, statesman, president or public official. One is selected at random and placed in a small box. This is held by a spectator. The performer does not see it. Next, another person is requested to write tipon a small slip of paper, any name, number or question that they would like to have answered. After so doing, they fold up the paper and place it in their own pocket. The performer does not even touch it.
Next two small slates—are~shown_,_and aiter-due.inspection are placed together and given to a lady to hold,-one Jhand -underneath_and_one hand on top. 'After a short pause, the lady is told to separate the slates and to note the result. She does so, but find's the slates blank. The performer, suddenly remembering that he forgot to give the spirits anything to write with, places a small bit of chalk between the slates, and the lady again holds them between her hands as before.
Now the performer begins his marvelous demonstration. First, in a some-, what weird and dramatic manner, he reads aloud, the exact words which the spectator has written on the paper, and which has never left his possession for an instant. If he has asked a question, the performer answers this as well.
The spectator removes the slip of paper from his pocket and the performer's answer is found to be correct.
To proceed, the performer requests the gentleman to open the little box and to take mental note of the name which has been written on the card, but NOT to let ANYONE SEE IT.
The performer then commands the unseen spirits to write on the slates the name that is on the card held by the gentleman. After a brief pause, the performer quickly says. "Stop, you are not writing the correct name; stop writing at once, and write the name on the card I told you."
Another short interval of silence, after which the performer says to the gentleman holding the card. "What name have you on that card"? Let us suppose he says, "George Washington". "Very well", says the performer, "then my commands have been obeyed". Then to the lady» "Please examine the slates" This she does. Plainly written on the slate is part of the name
"Benjamin Fran----" then an abrupt stop, followed by a wavering line back across to the left side of the slate, then a full stop and the name "George Washington".
There is absolutely nothing which could create a more decided impression than this effect as above stated, everything is so fair and above board. The performer is right in the midst of the company without recourse to tables, chairs or assistants.
Articles required are about 12 to 15 cards of any convenient size, each bearing the name of some noted author, president. Poet, Ruler, etc.
Several old addressed letters and one or two plain envelopes in inside coat pocket. In one of these old letters, I first place a slip of finest grade carbon paper, and secure in place with a touch of library paste.
The carbon slip should fit in the envelope easily, and when in place, the back of the carbon should be next to the address side of the envelope. This envelope should open at the regular flap side and not at the end. Underneath this carbon slip I also place a half dozen slips of white paper which also should fit the envelope easily. This prepared letter must be the top most one of the packet.
A pair of Midget Spirit Slates one with a flap, and a Roterberg nickel card box complete the apparatus. One slate is prepared with one name written partly - then a stop, with irregular line back to left side and then the full name of George Washington.
Also have a tiny pellet of chalk and a hard lead pencil in vest pockets.
In the card box proper I have previously placed, written side down, one of the cards bearing the same name as one written in full on one of the slates,
I first introduce the cards and offer them for inspection. Then I show the card box. The cards are then placed in a row, face down and a spectator is asked to freely choose one, and WITHOUT looking at it, to place it face down in the card box which I hold open for that purpose. I then close the lid sharply and give it to him to hold.
Next I take the packet of envelopes from my pocket and open the top one which is the prepared one, and take one of the slips of white paper. While I am doing this, I am explaining what I want done, either to write the date of their birth, their mother's inaiden name, date of some historic event, or some question which they may wish answered. I generally decide upon some lady for this part of the experiment, and just at the proper moment, I rather forcibly place the packet of envelopes in her left hand, the white slip of paper on the top and prepared envelope, while at the same time I place the pencil in her right hand. I then suggest that she allow no one to see what she is writing and keep up this line of talk continually. When I notice that the writing is nearly finished, I request her to fold the slip of paper over to herself, and then again and again, so on one could possibly see the xiriting.
I then reach for the packet of envelopes and pencil, and as I take them, I remove one of the blank envelopes and give it to her, at the same time requesting that she place her question therein, seal it and under no circumstances allow anyone to touch it. Meanwhile I have placed the packet of envelopes in my pocket again.
The slates are next shown, wiped with a handkerchief and by means of the finger switch as explained in "Magic" by Hopkins, each slate is apparently passed for inspection, though in reality it is the same slate all the time.
I next place the two slates together, holding them at both ends, fingers underneath, the flap at bottom of underneath slate and resting on tips of the fingers, while explaining I allow the flap to clear the lower slate, and draw it slightly towards the left end, holding it against the frame with my fingers. I remark about the size of the slates, stating that I desire them small in order that I raay carry them in my pocket, and suiting action to word, I turn my left side uo the audience, and with my right hand place the ends of the two slates jrst within the top of the left coat pocket, my left thumb drawing the pocket open slightly as if to receive them. It is during this move that the flap is secretly disposed of. This leaves the writing on the outside of the lower side or slate, as I hold thexn writing down in my hands.
I now request a second lady to hold out her hand, palm up and on which I place the slates, the one with writing down being next her palm. She places her other hand, palm down, on top and in this position holds them.
I now-request the gentleman holding—the—card box, to open __same.-andto note the name on the card. Of course it is the—forcad._card that he looks at." I now suggest, that in order that he will not forget the name,.I give him one of the slips of white paper from the envelope in my pocket. I remove all the slips from the envelope, the top sheet of coursf bearing the carbon copy of what the lady has written- I hand the gentleman a plain slipi and during this I have ample opportunity to read what the lady has written.
I now command the name which the gentleman has written to appear on one of the slates which the lady holds, After a moment I lift up the top slate, but of course find nothing. After appearing puzzled, I produce the pellet of chalk and place it on the slate which I hold, and then take the other slate from the lady's palm and place it on top of the first one. This brings the writing on the inside of the top slate.
I now proceed as fully described in the EFFECT, first appearing to go into a trance and announce what the lady has written.
Then I command the name to be written on the slates, the spirits apparently misunderstanding and start to write the wrong name, after which I command them to stop and proceed with the correct name.
This completes the climax,which for a mystery producer is hard to beat.
I am indebted to my friend. Prof. Harry Cooke for this particular manner of handling the slates.
THINK--0 (Fred Ledoux)
Effect: Anyone selects a word from a large list secretly. The performer merely spells the word THIKK-0 one letter at a time and the spectator tells him if any of the letters in TKI.NK-0 also appear in the chosen word. Without any further information being given, the. performer tells the spectator which word he had chosen.
Method: The secret is in the special arrangement of the words and the values assigned to each letter in TrIINK-0 which is as follows:
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