Backward Time Displacement

"It ain't over till it's over."

Yogi Berra

Mr. Berras insightful observation not withstanding, one of the subtlest ptoy, m magic is to convince the audience that it's over before its over. In forward tunc displacement you alter the audience s perception of when the ZZn "H! ^ ^^ y- alter their per-

hapZi r / ^' imCrVa' ^ You ™ke <he effect appeal happen earlier than it really did.

the Ztl'lt / Kkr/d time <%'«cment comes from exploiting most fundamental belief about causality: cause precedes effect. With e displacement we turn this universal truth against the audi-^v-ifJ t,mCc juppens after the effcct. If the message of forward time f|Wc. l'K caU?s n0,hing has happened yet, the message of backward time M**"* J it's already over and you missed ,t.

jiiplac«11'cn tirne displacement is not as broadly applicable as forward Back*8 ^ gut when you find the right spot for it, it can crcatc licit tli5p^CCrc again, although applying the technique requires ingenuity, miracles- H ^ casy_ you make the audience believe the magic lias staling tlu tin"ej 7fan you perform the sccrct move that causes the magic already happe" (obpPen-

Psychological Surrender every strong magic effect there is a moment when the audience psy-^ surrenders. However inexplicable the effect, they arc forced to that vou did succeed in doing it. Not surprisingly, most of the time ^"have to actually achieve the effect before the audience accepts that achieved the effect. If, however, you can trick them into thinking 'hat you've achieved it before you really have, you can attack after the audience has surrendered. You can do the dirty work after the audience drops chdogk:»11)'

its guard. Best of all, if you do it right, they will never suspect that you really won the batde after they ran up the white flag.

A dassic example is the brilliant Fred Kaps/Bruno Hennig Card in Ring Box. The performer places a small ring box in full view. He then has a card selected, signed, and returned to the deck. The performer now places the deck aside and picks up the ring box. He opens it to reveal that the signed selecrion is folded up inside.

Ihe moment the audience sees the folded card, they believe that the magic has happened. The performer has somehow succeeded in getting the selected card inside the box under the most impossible conditions. Ihe inner reality is that, the performer hasn't yet gotten the card into the box. In feet, the selected card is never in the box at any point in the effect. The card the audience sees in the box is a dummy. In the process of seeming to «move the card from the box, the performer switches it for the real selected urd that he has folded and finger-palmed. This switch, the central move n making the magic happen, occurs after the audience thinks the magic


his ?an.Garrcn: does a beautiful effect in which he produces an egg from

CCany empty hands. He then cracks it open into a glass to show that it is real. In acruality, he produces a sponge rubber egg ^^ , When he reaches for the glass, he switches the sponge e c Pai^ rhat he then cracks open. I've left out numerous derails rhat^ ^fc»l ^ feet great. The imporrant point here, however, is that he do"'^ ^ the egg until after \\ehzs produced the "egg." You couldn't Ju^ Prc% on a switch. Furthermore, there is no chance rhar anvone t C5s'untruth in retrospect, ' VV1 on ^

Because thespecrator believes in antecedence—causeprec d he simply won't look for the solution ro the mystery after he ^ rhe box or the egg appear from nowhere. He will only seek arT ^ Qrdi-i somewhere before the box was opened or the egg produced none to find, he must concludc that he witnessed a miracle ^

Case Study: Carlyle's Homing Card

Another classic example of backward time displacement is h phase of Francis Carlyle's Homing Card. Hie performer has a cardsdc signed, and returned to the deck. He then announces rhat he will^f' the card travel to his pocket. After a magical gesture, he shows his 2 empty and reaches into his pocket. Pulling a card partway out he elan at its face and names the card. When the spectator confirms that this J indeed, his card, the performer removes it so that the spectator can verify has signature. (The trick also contains a terrific repeat phase that we've already discussed.)

What makes this a miracle is the faet that the performed hand is „„. nnstakably empty when he teaches in to pull out the card. But it's only empty the first iinte he teaches in his pocket. That rime he pulls out a dummy card previously hidden in the pocket. When he glimpses its fact, he miscalls it as the card he forced on the spectator. Th is force card is a n„t match to the pocketed card. (For example, if the force card is the scveiiof clubs, the pocketed card is the eight of clubs.) Therefore, the perforate, ran Hash a portion 0f facc brforc push.ns ,r back inm hk £

.j ¡„"T. P<T a'"Iicnc= concludes that the performer has sueceed-onlZr^ Cird *raVCl m hi£ ^ evidence seems

Mf 5aw 3 ca/d f^r from the pocket. They saw

that the magic has already happened.

70 ' a"l""'l'T.mpo„JDl!,,„tt did1

now th" Pllms •>* selection off the Bp rfthc Tat.paten'l)' removes it from his pocket. This seems almost i. alio *lr | fnrmalitv ofvcrifvinp tin- titm^

_nc just for thc formality of verifying the signature. Most of the '* ti if«" Occurs after the effect has happened—at least afe it's happened tod occu™


. OralHyi rAss SPtdyi ears ago, as an exercise, I created a vetsion of the Card to Mouth SOuCr ] dubbed Oral Hygiene. It relies largely on backward time dis-tftit tha ^ suo.ess I'll explain it here, not only for the heneht of pbcen^nt^ ^ ^ perform it but, more importantly, to illustrate how

* "creatively applyPrinciPles in ,llis » develop new, highly vrcucan rorniance material. 1 believe it contains lessons even for those ^T. are not fans of the Catd-to-Mouth plot.

I ' out right pants pocket, have a card folded back outward into 1 litis card should match the deck you're using. Also have a mark-:§ 1 ' L|,L. same pocket. Have a handkerchief in a different pocket.

pe!I> finger-palming the folded dummy card, and drop the

Explain that people sometimes accuse you of talking during tricks in ,der to distract them. Therefore, you'll perform this entire effect without rrcrin^ > word To illustrate this comment, cover your mouth with your hand and perform the classic zippering-it-shut gesture that parents and teachers often use with children. In the process, load the dummy catd into your mouth. You will perform the rest of the effect in silence. You'll convey jrr; instructions to the spectator through pantomime.

' Spread the deck face up and have a card selected. Have the spectator sign the face of the card. Insert die selection face up Into the middle of the fccedmra deck. Spread the deck to show the selection, at the same time spread-culling it to bottom. (Alternatively, you can catch 1 break below the card is you insert it and perform a pass to bring it to the bottom.)

Perform Tommy Wonder's card fold. This leaves the selected card fold-ill in eighths back outward. Keep the catd finger-palmed in the left hand under the deck. With your tight hand, remove the handkerchief from your pocket and drop it on the table.

Perform any magic gesture. Ribbonspread the cards and point to the crater of the deck with your tight hand to indicate that the selected card tas vanished. Point to your mouth and push the dummy card out so that

Chapter-4; Temporal Distance I 71

it protrudes between your lips. Reach up with your left hand card from your mourh. Actually, you push the dummy card b° ^"'^tlv mouth as you produce the finger-palmed card. ac* 'm0

Use the handkerchief to unfold the card—-a touch that th tidious in your audience will appreciate. Have the identity anj n.l0rc verified by the spectator. Crumple rhe card inside the handke > ^^'"'t your mouth with the handkerchief, secretly spitting the dumr C

it. To clean up, pocket the handkerchief and its contents ^ 'n,o

It doesn't require any analysis on the audience's part to aD impossibility of the eiFect. The card traveled from the deck to vn. C'a'f The deck never approached your mouth. Your hands never

The deck never approached your mouth. Your hands nev faring- che performer draws attention to tne oox your mouth. Nothing ever approached your mouth^ no ^^ ft?!X A«* mtad ^ ^ ul ' tion). Therefore, the card couldn't have traveled to your mouth. Yet condi. ftjj already P a obvious|y empty hand, he pic s up t e ox a

tion). Therefore, the card couldn't have traveled to your mouth. Yet, it aid

It adds up to a miracle that can be grasped instantly and instinctively fo.


Backward Time Displacement Methodology

The Dummy:

Interestingly, the dummy principle that works so well for shifting time forward is also useful in shifting time backward. A dummy allows you to have an object in two places at once. That means that it can be somewhere before it's there. The Homing Card, Card in Ring Box, and Oral Hygiene all convince the audience that the effect has happened before it really has by passing off a dummy card as the selected card. After the audience has mistaken the dummy for the selection, you switch the dummy for the selection.

This idea can be applied to many translocation effects. In Carneyco-pia, John Carney has an excellent trick called Seconds On Jack Sandwich that uses this idea in a sandwich plot. In the cleanest possible manner, a selected card buried in the deck appears between two jacks lying on the table. In reality, the card that the audience initially sees between the jacks is a dummy. Only after the audience sees this card and assumes rhat it is the selection docs the performer load the palmed selection between the jacks. (In fact, the entire Carney trick is structured exactly like the Carlyle trick. Even aside from the inherent merits of Carney's effect, it's worth studying as an example of how principles can be extracted from one plot and applied to another.)

M*d*lS0U''dS: V d sound can be used to suggest that "nothing has . as * m'"1 , suggest that "its already happened." Peter Kane U'!t can.?e S little effect called The Ring in the Card Case. A bor-aNVO" ,ishcs from the performer's hand and appears in a card p I fingef ring V. _n che table. The secret is that most wonderful of ¿athasb«n lying °ut .n ^ containcr. The subtlety that really sells .gic principle ^ ^ ^ box also has a rattle gimmick built into ic. ^effect. h0*eVC*'J a sound similar to what you would expect if it con-Shikeitandy0Ug ned a ting' rjngi che performer draws attention to the box.

Aftff ^"'lan^in the audience's mind the thought that the ring may '""^«rihan obviously empty hand, he picks up the box and shakes te¡„side. \ ' ^ thc rattie; confirming their suspicion thar rhe ring is ^ ¡Cnafter the audience has psychologically accepted that the ring iniide. On y^ doej the QCher hand containing the palmed ring load j,tighthe hole in the underside of the box.

Impositions And Translocations:

When audiences see a good performance of thc Metamorphosis illusion, they believe that the effect happens extremely fast. This is because they think that the effect happens when the assistant disappears and the magician appears in her place.

Strictly speaking, the effect does end at that point. But the method dots not. While the magician is taking his applause, unlocking the padlocks, removing the chains from the trunk, and opening the trunk, the assistant is completing the method. She is sneaking inside the trunk and then inside the sack and, in some cases, even changing costume.

When people see a transposition effect, they believe that the entire transposition is over when the first half is revealed. As soon as they see the magician, they assume that the assistant is already in the trunk inside < esack. If he is where she was, she must now be where he was. The rest of 7 3 "T" °f confirmi"§ what everyone already believes. As

■SliT , 3SSUmpti0n may a"OW y°u co F*rform Pa" ^the

W ^ h3S COndudcd in the minds of the audience.

STu" aPP,iCablC C° d0Se"UP- 0iland « heart

*"*» How ""I rOUtJ,ne, " the dimax'the black cards «n be " °WeVer' thc red below them still require a secret move ro rearrange them. As soon as the audience sees rh believe the effect is over. Therefore, there is no heat whcri ] '"Sids sary adjustments to the red cards. '" ^ake th-n

Like transposition effeccs, translocations arc often Steps. First you show that the object has vanished from n "Tcileii in „ show that it lias arrived at point B. nc fli,.r ^

In Scams & Fantasies with Cards I published an eif Cross. It's a version of the Cards Across plot using ten red" % black cards. Three cards travel from the red packer to the black of what makes it seem impossible is that the red cards end Pa<" throughout the black packet. This seems to eliminate any «f ?!**!• the three cards were simply palmed across. In fact, it seenrs any explanation. ' t0 e''ra'nav

After the gesture that signals the magic, rhe first spectator c red packet and finds only seven cards. I verify the count by dolT"1" cards face up. The sccond spectator counts the black packet and fi 'i"8!-' teen cards. The audience doesn't know it but, at chis point, the th,'." cards are on the bottom of the black packct. Once again, I verify thj by dealing the cards face up. In the process, I execute three said L7" deals at various points. These have the effect of distributing the th,« cards among the ten black cards.

In all these examples, part of rhe dirty work happens in ^ K[(f merely confirming what the audience believes has already happened Tfe allows you to embellish and improve the final result.


Keep in mind that, as important as technical devices are, they need to be supported by your own convict™, communicated ro the audience, that uie cheer is over (before it's over).

One of the strongest effects in Juan Tamariz's book Mnemonica is r,,iS "iplc Wit™ is bascd the concept ofVernon's TM its ohvin Wha< both magicians and laypeople is th h™, u , ™uldn'1 h»ve controlled rhe selections. He doesn't it ' spectator what card he chose before he finds

'ng himZC0°™pte ZEt" dlm'"raliM lhM **thMSdVtS ^ 8i"

h<= *» as if he his ,1 ,lU°™">™ be needs to find their card? BfflM »l'«dy divined and strategically positioned their card

,ks what it is Hc ™nvc>'s th'oueh his attitude tha, the crick is btio" »« 1 ^ casually asks what card the person selected. Just as Allerton Tfthc tri'1' hadn't started yet. Tamaiiz acts as if i,'s M B<)od ® ' hi5 book, Juan emphasizes the importance of such techniques. finii 1 don't think anyone will ever be able to stress the importance ¡fe *rlKS' ho|0gical. or behavioral, subtleties too strongly. I find them 0f these ps;1- [he most exquisite manipulative method ot the most more decept ^^

iH|Ttnious ^ unpublished effect in which a spectator names a number j3 ' the catd at that number. To verify the divination, I write the ' lV1 on a business card. When the spectator first names the lium-tard s naI^otrat|, inrciitly. After a moment, I relax and announce that I've b ed the card's identity. I then reach for the business card to write it

£ c| I have no idea what the card is until I teach for the business "that's when I perform the necessary glimpse. By conveying the nt>. ,:* r [t | riie card before I really know it, I avoid any heat on the se The audience isn't looking for a move because they think it's all S „Writing down the information is just a formality, ' ; ^rt|1( 1 Mentalism of Bob Cassidy, there is a book test that even further. Cassidy starts calling out the letters in the chosen word before he has any idea what the word is. Once again, the method is based ona peek (in this case performed under cover of riffling through the book), tte act of calling out letters before doing the peek is a bluff, but an important part of disguising the method. As Cass idy writes, "Remember, though, it should appear as if you know the word before you do the final riffle. [The riffle] should seem to be a mere afterthought designed to accentuate the difficulty of the test."

In each of these examples, che main tool for achieving backward time displacement is nothing more than your acting ability. The audience believes the effect has already happened simply because you act as if it's already happened. But even in effects that use technical devices such as dummies or sound, acting plays a role in pulling off the con.

Earlier 1 mentioned Peter Kane's excellent Ringin the Card Case, which uses a rattle device to create the impression that the ring is in the case before it is. Kane says this of che moment after you've shaken the box but hjirt you've loaded the ring, "Your whole attitude should convey this feeling as if the effect is practically over."

Chapter 4;Tcmpoml Piriance I 75

Technical mastery is important here. If you're pCrf0 Homing Card and you're sweating bullets over the top palmd,"^ ing to have to do in a moment, you'll never convince pe0p|c th is over. If you're performing Hennig's Card in Ring Box God, I'll never get away with this shuttle pass," you probably w to convey the notion that the magic has already happened. °n 1 ^

If you do have complete confidence in your ability to d r technical requirements deceptively, the next step is to believe th,"^ already brought the effect to a successful conclusion. It rcquircs 5i°U'Vt most rudimentary acting skills. Convince yourself and you'll convh^ audience.

I mentioned earlier that a magic gesture can provide a focus f0t acting. I remember, many years ago, seeing A1 Schneider perform was then a novel coin effect called Matrix. At the start of each phase, ht would gesture with both hands—with his entire body really—as if willing the coin to travel from one spot to die other. It was similar to the body language you see in bowlers who are trying ro will the ball to shift to the right or left as it rolls down the lane. It was so compelling that you felt thM the coin was moving in accordance with this action. Lifting the cards just confirmed what one expected, that the coin had traveled across.

In reality, of course, lifting the cards didn't confirm the cffect. It causcd it. The pickup move was the key sleight in the effect. Yet, there was little heat on it because, psychologically, it came after the audience felt that the effect had already happened. All of this resulted from convincingly acting a magic gesture.

Backward Time Displacement and Intensity Misdirection

In Strong Magic, I talked about two kinds of misdirection. In directional misdirection you make the audience look over there while you do something over here. In intensity misdirection, however, the spectators don't look away; they just watch less closely. As a result, they see less. One advantage of backward time displacement is that it automatically generates intensity misdirection.

In the Card To Ring Box, when you open the box and che audience sees the folded card, they believe that you've already succeeded and relax their attention. That's when you perform the shuttle pass that is the key to the method. In Carlyle's Homing Card, when the audience sees you pull the dummy card partially out of your pocket, they conclude that you somehow

,. sncaking the selection into your pocket right under their nos-sU letdown their guard, allowing you to sneak the selection into your • hi und<.T their noses. In Dan Garrett's trick, when the audience pO*et "f appear at your fingertips, their focus turns inward to wonder ^fcmiSle they've seen, not outward to guard against the switch you're ab°l" l° ch case, because they believe that the effect has already happened, 1,1 ^ators relax their vigilance at exactly the moment that you perform '^centra' move. This is a bonus byproduct of this kind of effect design lime Displacement and Sleights

Where the Dirty Work Happens

Tl,is book is about the design of effects rather than the design of moves. Yet considerations of time displacement pervade every aspect of magic. That's why I think it's worth taking a few moments to sec how it can provide an insight into how sleights deceive or fail to do so. Just as effects have a critical interval, in many moves there is a critical moment. This is where the audience feels, "if he's going to do something, now is when he is going to do it." I've already given as an example the moment immediately after a selected card is returned to the deck. Moves in which the cheating occurs before or after this critical moment arc often particularly deceptive.

In a typical multiple shift, you insert the four aces into the deck, leaving thein outjogged. It's what you do next that rhe audience will scrutinize most closely. In the classic Vernon multiple shift, you go straight from this condition into a Hindu shuffle to control the aces. I've always thought that the Neal Elias shift was a more deceptive approach. You square the aces cleanly into the deck. This convinces the audience that all is fair and makes them drop their guard. Only then do you perform the strip-out cut that controls the aces to the top. The cheating happens after the critical moment has passed. (Andrew Wimhurst delays the moment still further. By employing his fan subtlety idea, he can fan the deck and then close the fan after squaring the aces and before performing the strip-out cut.)

For the right situation, the Vcescr/Dingle bluff multiple shift may be the most deceptive of all. You insert the aces into different parts of the ' 'Caving them outjogged. After the audience has registered that they are, in fact, well separated, you square them cleanly into the deck. There question that the cards are legitimately squared. At that point, Chapter 4: Temporal Distance I 77

can be rhe move is actually finished except for giving the deck (You also have tile option of delaying the cut as long ' leB*t ¡oiatc i(1l s time misdirection.) Tn feet, the Huff shift is Uj „„ a °"Wis!> «»a <**

that the move is virtually over beforey»u even finish on"'""1.'1 SorB, "

Ihe Elias shift does the dirty work after rhe critical nn/^'''1' ^ audience has had a chance to relax its guard. Hit bluffsh'ift d"lhatthe work before thc critical moment so that the audience is nor ^diny

"uuicnce rs n0E „ Both ate superiot to the Vernon shift, which does the dirty lvo r critical moment when theaudience is most on guard 1

The Zarrow shuffle is one of the great innovations in mod magic and is extremely deceptive. As many magicians have pr""""d deceives even when performed very poorly. But I've ahvavs7e7' an effect like Triumph where emphasis needs to be placcd an'! itself its thoroughness, etc.-thac a push-through or strip-a« V« superior. The critical moment in a riffle shuffle comes when the J pushed together. Having performed Triumph countless times Jj years, I've noted that, once the cads are pushed together and s„uarJw! audience always relaxes its attention. In rhe audiences mind, the s i has reached the point of no return. 'Ihe strength of the push-th™!^ strip-out shuffles is that they do the dirty work after that critical m ^ By contrast, the Zarrow retires you ,„ do the dirty work right at that 2

T ^ ^ 'J;™0"11* "" tf ^ fim d™« for - ^ KuZ

whete the thoroughness of the shuffle is a selling point. P

Where the Move Happens comptismng the action unobserved "

The Expert at the Card Table spectator, II ^ ma8'C " rlle St"P Trickvhm you deal until the

5!°P "dir rhc" —1 >1» rhe selected card is«

a second deal you hi I rei,UirCS » d° sights. With ^th a bottom deal you „7d n dCali"8 Un,i' 'hC ^ **

J1™ then do iust L (T j , «i'Mutely until the spectator stops ' °M yst dral- > case of perhaps a dozen or mote

vhat this analysis 'Snol'es is thc mmer of when the

&li! oca*- i . (feet you've probably noted that it's oncc the spec-"ie audience really focuses on the cards. With a bot-¿Us 'itoP 2 do the move at that moment. With a second deal, h",e1t°h£ 5topped-at card offtbe top. You can even, as I do, ""oncl«"1'' df thc card off the deck himself. A well-executed bottom Sspec»« a Jjencc even if performed at this moment of maximum ,viil f""1 lh.C jllow that cleanliness of handling. This shows how scrutiny, b"'11 °fsleight of hand by the pound. One move at the wrong M a* C°mlLrst than ten at the right moment

4H0>"*> |c showed how you could change the moment by using flBlast e», PHown,et_ creative thinking can sometimes allow you to ,03cm for rh(. s jme jjsk, yet change the moment for thc better.

use«1* ^""[jenis with thc Mexican turnover is that it usually comes Opcofthc Pr0 moment. It happens when the audience is focused on t°°uc ks iden"t>'- h's ais°ti,e imm"when ,h< J nee Instinctively feels that, ifyou're going to do something, this is i" ou"re going to do it. In Sonata, Juan Tamariz explains an extremely 1 method of getting around [he problem. Before drawing attention to rilW card, he tries to rurn it over with the card in his hand. But he fables and has to try again. When he does succeed in turning over thc raid, it's as dean as could be d«ircd- In rcalicy' 115 did th= switch duong die "accidental'' fumble, allowing a fair rurnover a moment later.

Erdnase's quote above refers specifically to shifting the cut in card pmes. As he explains, the challenge is that, "the object of a shift is well known, and especially the exact moment to expect it, immediately after the cut.''Far this move, "immediately after the cut" is the critical moment. His solution: "The dealer holds the location of the cut [with a pinky break! until the hands are dealt, and makes the shift as he lays down the deck. Ihcn the desired cards can be dealt from the bottom during the next deal," In otlierwds, having performed the shift long after even che most vigilant player would expect it, you can now exploit it when dealing draw cards or dealing subsequent rounds at stud. (Today, yon could use this approach to control the board cards at Texas hold'em.) The underlying concept is just avilid in magic. Any move becomes safer if you do it when, in Erdnase's "there is less cause for c|osc scm[iny » '

Sac 1,1 ' k° r°UIU' 0l" tin,c considcrations rclMC t0 sleights, 1 sug-JO" go back and look at the discussion of time misdirection.

one. move.

The question of which sleight to choose for a parricular • . It depends on many factors, including how well you f's - -vi ! m nor suggesting that time displacement should d^013

sideration. It is, however, an important factor to consider. B * °n'y ^tiro that factor will help you think about sleight of hand anal ^ ^'¡Vt than in the fuzzy maimer so common in magic. Mt^

To sum up this chapter, apply the tools we've discussed and able to do the dirty work before the critical interval or after tl '!°U'" ^ interval. Your reward will be astonished spectators exclaim" V"'1'^ didn't do anything!" "Bur h,

0 0

Post a comment