Larry Knecht (James Swoger, -ions'" of Enchantment)
This is an effect that I have used for over a year in my otto shows, and one which caused me to debate for some time before I decided to release it to the profession. It is not a simple trick and should be treated as an actual demonstration of thought controls disguised as a Voodoo Ritual. I have included two routines here. The first routine is for the advanced performer and requires the ability to do a billet switch. The second routine given requires no skill. I would advise all who perform this effect to eventually learn the first routine The demonstration can be performed under almost all conditions and is suitable for all types of audiences,
ITEMS NEEDED TO DO THE EFFECT;
Effigy; The Effigy's cloth body is divided into five sections, each section being represented by a different color. The performer should memorise the colors in the order of.yellow, red, blue, preen, and orange. The body is soft and can be penetrated by a pin.
Four Hat Pins; These pins are used to penetrate four sections of the Effigy The use of these pins will be fully covered in the routine given.
Voodoo Board; The Voodoo board is hinrced at the back. Pulling this hinge back will -show that there are four billets inserted in the recess under the hinge. Each of the billets is to contain a prediction, preferably in the performer's handwriting, as follows; "You cannot stick a pin in the (Color) section of. the body." Each billet contains a reference to a different color. Relative to color, the billets are in the order of red, blue, preen, and orange from top to bottom on the board (Figure 1).
The billet which will pertain to the color yellow is not inserted in the board, but is included separately. The reason for this will be explained in the routines.
Billet Pad; A pad of billets is required. These papers are cut to about normal size, but due to differences in the sizes and shapes of hands, the performer may find it advisable to alter the pad as to size.
THE EFFECT AS SEEN BY THE AUDIENCE; Upon hearing the performer tell a strange tale of Voodoo Witchcraft, as practiced in Haiti, the audience is invited to particinate in such a Ritual. The performer is to be the victim of the Voodoo and each member of the audience will act as a Voodooist. The audience is informed that the Haitian natives believe that each person has a certain spot on his body known as a "Vital Zone", and that if this spot is injured in effigy, then the victim will die. The performer introduces an Effigy and four large pins. The Effigy is divided into five- parts, each part represented by a different color. He states that one of the ^colors represents his "Vital Zone" and that he has written this exact spot, represented by a color, on a folded
The performer now challenges the audience to find the spot that he has written on the paper. He states that he will use a "Cross5' or "preventive mental force" to keep them from nami„g the color written on the paper. As members of the audience call out a color the performer sticks a pin into the. corresponding section of the Effigy. Since there are only four pins, but five colors, there will be ore color left on the Effigy that does not have a pin in it. A member of the audience reads aloud the prediction made by the performer, and to the astonishment of the audience the performer has predicted the exact color section of the Effigy that could not be stuck with a pin.
PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT UPON THE AUDIENCE:
Operator Attitude: In performing this effect it is important that the performer understand the psychological factors involved in order that his "attitudd1 may be such that the greatest possible reaction on the part of the audience is obtained.
Fascination: The very mention of "koodoo" and "Witchcraft" brings to the mind of the average spectator a picture of natives in far-off lands practicing forbidden rituals accompanied by strange and fascinating music. This recollection is natural because that is the way these things have been pictured in our books, movies and television. One can see why it is so important to present this type of effect in a serious and straightforward manner. Remember that the audience wants to believe that the performer can do the things he says he can do. Why disappoint them?
Audience Participation: It is a fact that everyone wr.nts to "get into the act". When audiences participate in an effect and are not required to lend objects, add numbers„ or look silly, they feel that they are a part of the act, and want it to be a success. They feel' a closeness to the performer. This effect offers a*:nh an opportuni-y for participation, and this in itself contributes a great deal to its. success.
Challenge: Life itself is a challenge;, so is it any wonder that people in general react favorably toward she..Herges? One of the elements included in this effect is "chaili■ The audience'3 wits rre pitted against the performer's.
Even though it night sae^. that the audience should be disappointed when they "lose", in Tvstu-JL ff.cn th^y you to "win" and bring the effect to a success ful conclusion, After aII, they ase an audience because they want to be entertained.
Mystery: In any radical or psychic effect the entertainment value, in the effect itself, lies in its nyc, L :.ry, All other things being equal, the degree of the mystery reflects itself in the effectiveness of the entertainment value of the effect. This effect, if performed in the manner suggested in Routine #1, will leave a lay audience completely baffled, with no logical solution in sight. A little thought concerning the effect as seen by the audience will clearly reveal what I rnav. .1
Voodoo Board: The loaded board with its flap closed is placed on the table.
Effigy: The Effigy is placed cn top of the board, but not under the rubber bands on the board.
Pins; Ths-pins _are placed on a pin cushion or some sort oi holder and displayed -on-the tabls. The pins may he carried in the right coat pocket.
The Fifth Billet; The fifth billet, concerning the yellow portion of the Effigy, Is in your right coat or trousers pocket.
The Billet Holder? Something to hold the fifth billet should be in sight on the table and to your left. I use a very fine Buddha which I purchased in China. A good holder can be purchased in a restaurant supply house. It is a ring type holder normally used for menus. For purposes of illustration, we shall use an inverted glass. The billet is placed on the glass tent fashion. (See Figure 2.)
Routine -iith Patters "Ladies and Gentlemen, never xn tne history or otllr — nation has popular interest in so-called psychic phenomena, spiritualism, native witchcraft, and methods of looking into the minds of men been greater than at the oresent time.
''Tonight I would like to conduct a demonstration relative to two of these forms: Witchcraft and Thought Control.
"In the Island of Haiti the natives practice a strange and evil form of witchcraft known as Voodoo. Its primary function is to bring harm to one's enemies. They generally push pins into an Effigy or small doll which represents their enemy or the one they wish to Hex. Supposedly the hexod person feels the pain as the pins are pushed into the doll.
"In our experiment tonight, you, the audience, shall be the ones to cast the spell; and I shall represent the victim of your Vooeoo. Among the believers of Voodooism every person has one spot on his body commonly known as the "Vital Area". The natives believe that when that part of the body has been injured, it will cause the victim,'s death. I have such a Vital Area. Each of you as Voodooists shall try to find this area. I shall use a cross or mental protective force to keep you from injuring this vital spot.
"Now, before you can conduct a Voodoo Ritual you must first construct an Effigy to my likeness. I have here such an Effigy."
Performer here picks up the Effigy from the table and shows it to the audience.
"Also a Voodoo board is needed. Here is such a board."
The board is picked up from the table and displayed to the audience. It is simply turned over once In the hand. This action allows the audience to see both sides of the board without effort on the performer's part to show that the board is an "ordinary one". The Effigy is placed on the front of the board, with the head under the upper rubber band and the legs under the lower one. The patter is continued as follows:
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