A Getting the Gimmick into position for use

If you can't get it on—you can't use it ! First deal with your 44 hiding place the spot where the gimmick is kept ready for use. If you intend t<

i i r i t i i i use it for an opening effect, the best thing is to put it on the nail or in position >ust before you are due to perform. This way means you know it's on just neht. If this cannot be done, you must steal it, magically speaking, just before you want to use it. (Although in many cases you can wear it throughout your act). It does not matter where you hide the gimmick as long as \ou can get at it without attracting attention and as long as it cannot get iost. It may be as well to mention here that a spare gimmick on your person cises you considerable confidence and accidents can always happen. I have always carried two and have not yet had cause to resort to the emergency one—but one day I shall be very grateful. (That's a prediction !)

The magical fraternity being blessed with magical dealers having nothing hut the desire to further your success, has at its disposal what are known as " Holdouts A Swami holdout is anything that inconspicuously hides the gimmick and yet delivers it to you when required. Usually a pencil is used. The gimmick fits into a slit designed to hold it conveniently for getting on. Two holdouts designed especially for Boon are presented by Sir. Mason. The first is a small pad which you hold when writing your predictions and the second a magnetic holdout built into a pencil. Both are good if you use Boon but neither can be used to accommodate other varieties. Other holdouts have been fashioned with finger rings, pens (where a special writer that writes in ink is used) a rubber and so forth. These appliances are b> no means essential but most have one useful feature. They enable you to see yourself fitting the gimmick on whereas putting it on in the pocket means you work by feel alone. Outside of holdouts you can't go far wrong with having it in a pocket. A waistcoat pocket is quite good because it looks ^crv natural when you stick BOTH thumbs in the pockets. (One in each of course). I use my trouser pocket and have nothing else therein. Fancy places have been suggested which no doubt appeal to the mind as clever, hut are, more often than not, impractical. The lapel sounds clever because

* ho would think you had a Swami Gimmick hidden behind your lapel? •\nd who the Devil knows you have one anyway? Don't try and fool >ourself—in the long run simplicity pays where complication fails. If you .ran not use your pockets and it is not always convenient, put it on a chair or table and pick it up when you want it. A final suggestion that I have considered but not tried over any period—but think it suitable ; have the eimmick on the wrist watch strap then you may acquire it whilst looking ¿t the time or winding the watch a bit. It is perfectly natural which is what t should be. All this is recorded although it may well be taken for granted •.hat vou get the gimmick on secretly. However, I have seen many performers ook as though they were having a manicure during the process of getting ' off and on. You are excused a glimpse whilst getting it on—just to check j ! is in order—but getting it off is different. You are fully aware of the •cation of your thumb and must therefore know the position of the gimmick

* ÍTHOUT LOOKING and so you take it off, if you must take it off,

* thout looking. Annemann had a suggestion for this and I have another. He used to run his hands through his hair and leave it there and occasionally have left it in my mouth and removed it with the teeth under cover of the natural position of thumb nail just inside mouth, fist clenched as do so many rcopie w hen adopting a " let me think " air, you cough it into your hand -iter—they are indigestible and should not be swallowed. Right ! You ^"•c got it on and you are able to take it off, now let us deal with your behaviour WHILST it is on :—

(b) How to Handle the Gimmick when it is on

The most impressive demonstration of handling a Swami when it's on can be given if you FORGET ALL ABOUT IT until it is actually used. Weigh the odds in your favour.

(1) No one but you is aware that you have something stuck on your thumb.

(2) It is very small or flesh coloured and is barely visible.

(3) The audience do not know what you are going to do—until you have done it—wiih very few exceptions.

(4) You are performing and distracting attention from the hands.

Once you have acquired the art of ignoring the gimmick when you have it on, you may attend to the finer points of handling.

We will suppose for the moment that you must write a number on a card. In order to achieve this simple feat, you must have everything just so. The card should be of the right thickness—that is very important—then it must be of a certain size, which also matters considerably ; on top of this, the card must be held in the correct position during the writing process and last but not least, at no time must the audience suspect you have written right under their noses. All points may be regarded as details, but I would prefer to consider each one a major operation if one chooses to progress to perfection.

(r) What to write on—the Right Type of Card

With a Swami Gimmick and a lot of trouble and risk, you can wrjte on practically anything. With very little trouble you can do it right and take no risks. The very best thing to use is an ordinary white visiting card of fairly thick texture—about double the thickness of common cartridge paper. The size should be 3£ x 2\ inches—not smaller. The thickness of the card recommended is such that when writing you have a substantial or rigid surface ; as would be quite different with paper. Even resting paper on a stiff rest is not as good since it involves holding too many things in one hand at once. The size recommended is such that it nicely covers the thumb or finger during the writing process and at the same time, is very easy to hold in the hand in the correct position. You must take it that exceptions will occur. Should you be using one of the special gimmicks known as a 44 STYLUS WRITER which is used to impress writing via a carbon sheet sealed in an envelope, naturally you must write on the envelope and the card by virtue of its thickness would be most unsuitable. However, with or without exceptions, it is a wise policy to adopt one technique and stick to it. I recommend a thick white card of the size given and advise you to use the same thing all the time. From any good stationers you can buy at 2/- per hundred—ready cut unprinted visiting cards and there is nothing strategically wrong in the use of visiting cards printed on one side with your name and address—a constant reminder to the audience and a good advertisement for you. Have a few of these cards blank both sides though, as sometimes you require two sides free.

(id) How to Hold the Card Before, During and After Writing

We will start with a conclusion ! The best way to hold the card is naturally. Idiotically simple as that may sound it is quite a difficult thing to do unless you train yourself. A fault generally develops because you cannot forget that in a moment you must have the card in a certain position and then write on it. This you must do to be natural—you must forget and regard the card with the same indifference that you hold for the Swami —until the vital second when it is in use. The easiest approach to this is to practice mirrorwise without the gimmick on—just practice holding, waving, passing from hand to hand and see what looks natural and what looks unnatural. I prefer to operate this way and give you the effect to show the construction of the plot step by step.

An opening effect of mentalism ; I stand central facing the audience and point directly with the right hand (which has a swami on the thumb) at a person who is seated over to my right. The card I hold is held between the thumb and finger tips of the left hand—held in view without waving it like a Union Jack on Coronation Day. I point to a person and say dramatically, 44 You sir ! Would you please stand for just a brief moment—thank you. (He stands.) Sir, will you please point to any member of the audience anywhere you like." As the last few words are said, the card is transferred without looking to the right hand to allow the left to wave at the left side of the audience. 44 Thank you sir ! Madam, the gentleman has pointed to you—he could have chosen anyone here tonight—but for some unknown reason he has asked you to take part—and all I ask you to do is to call out loud—very loud and clear please—the very first number that comes into your head—NOW ! " As the last few lines are spoken, the card in the right hand is manouvered into the 44 writing position " which is this. The lady calls out her number and immediately you call back 44 Will you repeat that a little louder please And the time it takes you to say those words is the time it takes you to write her number on your card—then instantly spin it out into the audience at the lady and—44 Catch ! Take this card please—read out loud everything that is written on it—thank you! " It reads, 441 Corinda predict that the first number you will think of will be 732 and that you will not change your mind. (You had better use your own name !)." It remains only to mention that during the writing, the card completely screens the thumb—FROM ALL ANGLES—which is achieved by holding it almost against the chest when writing. You should note that the'44 writing position " is such that most of the card is in view of the audience and it is not obscured in the hand like a palmed playing card. It is held in the writing position for the least possible time—immediately the work is done, the arm shoots out to full length—the card comes to the absolute fingertips—it is not even given a glance.

If the person to whom the card must be given is near to you—within reach, it is a good thing to hand it to them. You do this with your right hand and to hide the Swami Gimmick hold the card between the thumb and second finger and cover the gimmick with the tip of the first. Alternatively, you may clip the card between the first and second fingers whilst they are outstretched, and hide the thumb nail under the other fingers which are bent exactly as is required for the two-fingered Clubs salute. (Boy Scouts.) Lniess it is quite unavoidable, do not change the card from one hand just to give it away.

(e) The Technique of Writing

According to what you must write, the technique will vary. Fundamentally it amounts to the same principle each time ; gaining time to write inconspicuously or without the audience knowing. In nine cases out of ten you will be able to resort to verbal misdirection by asking a question or giving an instruction :—" Will you repeat that out loud please Or, an old dodge is to repeat the number given, incorrectly—they might call 41 sixty four " whereupon you call back 44 did you say sixty-five "—and whilst doing so write sixty four. This is best used only when the number given has a phonetic resemblance to another number—as for example—fifty-four and sixty-four.

For longer numbers or words I have developed my own technique which I offer you and promise is very practical and makes a difficult job easy.

44 Think of a number—a number of several digits—two, three, four, five you have a free choice. (Do not invite more than five !) I want you to imagine the number written in the air—in great big numbers (or letters for a word). Have you done that ? What did you imagine ? Did you actually see the number like this f\ As you reach this point, whatever number was given, with the card in the writing position subscribe their number slowly and deliberately in the air—doing each number separately and, as you do so, writing each number on the card ! Believe me, it's so blessed easy you can't go wrong ! The numbers you draw in the air should be (in imagination) about two feet high. The move is absolutely natural and not only does it help you to form the written number, but it allows you every chance to look at what you are writing. This is one technique that helps to overcome clumsy misformed numerals and letters. Which brings us to our next step— the style of writing.

(/) The Style of Writing and What to Write

Without considerable practice and experience, you will find it hard to create written numerals that look nicely written. The numbers are badly formed and are not the same size or maybe out of line. These are imperfec-*' tions which use of a Swami Gimmick over a long period—will overcome. However, you must not worry about this side of it too much—in truth it matters very little as long as your writing is legible. You can do several things to improve the faults. First, as you will realise, the complete prediction is not written with the Swami Gimmick. The 44 lead up " is filled in on the card and a gap left where the vital facts (such as the thought of number) are inserted. Aiming at a uniform appearance throughout, you write the general prediction or lead up in shaky writing—some performers even write it beforehand with a swami ! The bad writing then conceals the bad figures. Another dodge is to write the lead up with your left hand or, if you normally write with the left—with the right. (And should you be awkward and be ambidexterous—with the teeth). Don't think that can't be done either ! Slade mentioned earlier, fooled Professor Hyslop by writing a message of some twenty lines on a slate whilst both his hands were held. He held the chalk in his teeth—and with a gag he would have done it with his feet with the slate on the floor—he was an exponent of all fakery with writing. The other aids to improved writing are ; first write as slowly as you can when learning to use the Swami, second ascertain the best size figures for yourself—and stick to that size—adjust the swami to

the right or the left of the nail until the lead in it points in the direction which you find works best. Again stick to that position once you find it. Last but not least—take it easy—and by that I mean, control ambition and in the early stages of your work, stick to writing numbers—the shorter the better—or to making a simple cross against a list of names and so on. In time you may write sentences with a Swami—but, as I say, first avoid all forms of digital dexterity and stick to that which is practical and of use.

Understanding Mind Control

Understanding Mind Control

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