1 I Ii I I I I

Note by Corinda.—This particular switch has the disadvantage that it fringes on the magical appearance of writing on a blank piece of paper. For Men-talism it must be questioned whether or not this is a good thing. However, for those seeking effects which are suitable for demonstrations of mediumistic abilities, this switch then comes into a class on its own, and utilised to perform Living and Dead Tests—where the dead name appears written by The Spirits, you have one of the best methods available.

(14) Summary of Billet Switching

Somewhere one must draw the line; I can go on and give you a dozen other methods and at the end you will be so confused—you won't know which one to use! Enough has been said, you have a fair selection of methods of skill and mechanical self working ways.

As I have said before, and must stress again, it is not essential to know different techniques—but it is essential to understand and apply the same basic principles of Billet switching, no matter what method you choose to use. To summarise those principles in a few words:—

(a) Be able to do your billet switch when your eyes are closed—so that you need not look at your hands.

(b) Go steady—not fast and not slow. A sudden quick move which noticeably changes the tempo of your performance—is the deadliest way to inform your audience that something is being done. They may not know what—but they know something has happened. It is better to go slower than faster.

(c) Pay attention to the section in this book which tells you how to mark your billets so that you can recognise the dummy easily. If you don't, one day without fail, you will land yourself in trouble.

(<d) Wait your time for the switch. Many a clumsy switch is caused by lack of good timing. When you take a billet from somebody— THEY EXPECT YOU TO DO SOMETHING WITH IT—otherwise why would you take it? So you do nothing. Take it hold it and show it whilst you talk—let them wait until they no longer know what is going to happen—and then switch. Never fall head over heels trying to do the switch as soon as the billet arrives in your hands.

(p) Never forget that misdirection can do more for you than anything else. Faith can move mountains—and misdirection will move them back again—neither time will you see them go! Learn six stock questions or requests like "do you mind if I use that ashtray over there?" and "Will you see what you have in your right jacket pocket and remove it please . . ." These stock questions and requests are your standby to put the spectator off his guard for the switch. Do not wait until you are performing—learn them first—they don't always come to mind when you have other things to think about.

(/) Have faith in yourself. Never worry—you cannot do Mentalism in any shape or form without confidence. Remember they are at a disadvantage all the way—they do not know what you are going to do—whereas, it is hoped that you do! Always remember that an occasional FAILURE makes things look much more legitimate than constant success. You can afford a mistake—it's good publicity.

(g) The best way to learn billet switching is to perform with billets until you have made every possible mistake and general blunder. That will teach you more than fifty books—and you will remember what matters!

(15) Marking of Billets

This is important—read it and remember it. Whenever you intend to use more than one billet, make a habit of secretly marking the dummy. Suppose you are doing a trick with three billets—a question and answer effect. On the table are the three billets each one folded and ready for you to read. To do this, you will probably use the "one ahead" system. This means you must switch one of the real billets for a dummy which will leave two questions and one blank on the table. You proceed through the routine, secretly reading the stolen billet and applying that question to one of the others—a normal one ahead technique. BUT you have to know which of the three on the table is the blank—if you get mixed up at any point in the proceedings, you are quite liable to pick up the blank and end your performance abruptly because you cannot read the next question.

Don't rely on luck—play safe all the time and mark the du\nmy so that it can be left without fail, to the last.

To mark a billet for the one ahead system, I usually fold or roll the billet as usual—but taking one corner of the dummy, give it a tight twist forming a tail which although small and inconspicuous, stays put regardless of how-much handling it gets, and can always be seen if you know where to look. Moreover, if done properly, it can be detected by feel which occasionally comes in handy.

Other methods include nail nicking and folding in a special manner known to you only. These methods are alright as long as the billets are not going to be handled to the extent that they may become accidentally marked in a similar manner.

Whatever method you decide to use, it should be one that is good enough to avoid suspicion and yet one that allows you to choose the marked billet from any other ten—at a glance.

(16) Billet Stands

A Stand, designed to hold and display a billet can serve more purposes than it might appear to! Primarily, it helps with the presentation—but behind the scenes, it affords you the chance to DO SOMETHING with a r i i r i r [

billet; an opportunity to do something is an opportunity to switch. Either in the act of taking the billet off the stand—or putting it on in the first place, you have movement and cover all with reason and cause.

The stand should have two or three essential qualities. It should appear simple and unlike a conjuring prop in every respect. The best type is easy to make and meets all our requirements for Mentalism.

Take a ten inch 14 gauge knitting needle and nip off the nob at the end. Bend the pointed end to form a loop as illustrated in the drawing. Get a block of wood to act as the base and drill a hole (slightly smaller than the diameter of the needle) right in the centre. Into the hole jam the needle— your stand is made.

In use, a Billet is folded and then clipped with an ordinary small paper clip which is then hung on the stand. It looks good—it is good!

You will be able to put the stand into your pocket—making it easy to carry. To pack down, simply pull out the needle and it becomes two parts both easy to carry.

Note.—Those of you who are familiar with the Ostin switch using a Bulldog clip, will find this

Another means of displaying a Billet which again offers you considerable scope for trickery—is to have a Small Bulldog Clip attached to a little safety pin. This clip can be pinned on your lapel where the billet can be held on show clearly visible to all and yet not in your hands. Alternatively, the clip may be pinned on to the spectator's lapel and the billet left there—which can be very useful on occasions when you would rather not trust the billet into his hands!

Of the many means that have been aevised for the purpose of secretly reading a billet, the use of a Crystal Ball is one of the best. A good ball magnifies the writing which helps, it seems a natural thing to hold in the hands for this type of work and simply by holding a billet open in the hand and reading through the crystal ball you can see everything. From time to time you will find that with careful handling of the crystal ball, you can let the subject look himself and see the answer to his question, etc.

stand more than useful!

(17) The Use of a Crystal Ball

The use of miniature playing cards for the last mentioned principle, offer you a wide range of effects where the spectator "reads" the name of his card in your crystal.

(18) References on Technique with Billets in Other Steps

Billet Knife and Billet Pencil ... Step Four Billet Index and Pellet Index ... Step Four Questions and Answers with Billets Step Eleven


4'The Crystal Locket" by Dr. Jaks (New York City)

Dr. Stanley Jaks needs no introduction to the world of Mentalism having established himself as a first-rate performer. This effect is one of his favourite close up tricks and the routine is just as was written by Drv Jaks for this Step. \

An interesting crystal locket is shown and placed on the table. It is one of those pendant lockets that hangs on a chain and should be an attractive ornament, it is also necessary that it opens so that you can put a slip of paper inside—but most types of pendants are made to hold a small photograph so you will have little trouble getting one.

Next you tear off a sheet of paper from a notepad. This sheet is prepared for the trick by having faint pencil lines ruled on it. The size of the pad should be three by five inches. The top sheet has five lines ruled across the width on one side, and two lines ruled along the length on the other side (Diagram No. 29).

Having removed the top sheet the performer takes a pair of scissors and cuts along the five short lines making six slips of paper. On the back of each of these slips will be two lines running the other way. The slips are handed to six people and each person is asked to write the name of a male or female friend on their paper. However, it is important that you emphasise that the name should be written across the lines covering the full distance between the three divisions, and you say that you will explain the reason why in a moment.



The scissors are placed on the table and the performer turns his head whilst the writing is done. Still without looking, he tells each spectator to take the scissors and having written the name, cut along the two lines dividing their slip into three sections, and when this has been done, to turn all the slips writing side downwards and to mix every one together in a pile in the middle of the table. When that has been "done, he turns round again.

The performer picks up the locket and begins to talk about the powers of a Pendulum. The spiel is patterned along the lines of the old sex detector trick, and the locket is used to demonstrate that a Pendulum swings in circles to indicate a male, and in straight lines to indicate a female. (Diagram No. 30).

Holding the chain so that the locket swings about two inches from the eighteen slips of paper, the performer moves around until suddenly there seems to be some reaction. The locket begins to swing back and forth in straight lines—over one piece of paper.

Triumphantly the performer siezes this piece and folds it without looking at the writing on the underside. He puts this piece in the locket, closes it. and then explains that it will act as a locator for the pendant.

Again he holds the locket over the slips on the table and moves round until he finds another piece which reacts the same way—and then another. These two are pushed to one side. This done, the piece in the locket is removed and added to the other two. These three are lined up to form one piece again—but left face down on the table for the moment. The lockel is held above them and this time begins to react immediately. This, says the performer, shows without doubt that the name was written by a lady. All the ladies are told to hold out their hands, and one by one the pendant is tested over their palms. One of the hands give a reaction and the performer asks this lady if she will admit that the name she wrote wae a Female friend. She agrees that it was so.

This lady is now asked to turn over the three slips on the table and she finds that out of all the eighteen pieces, mixed and identical in appearance, the Crystal Locket has located the three bits of paper that spell out the name of the woman friend written in her own handwriting!

The Method

Based on an idea of Stewart James, I think that it has been hoccussed beyond recognition. Consider, what do you really have to know? You must be able to identify one slip of paper, and you have to know who wrote on it in the first place—that's all.

When you remove the top sheet from the pad, hold it with the five pencil lines towards you. As you cut off the first slip, make sure that you cut slightly above the pencil line so that this piece of paper HAS NO LINE ON IT. Give this piece to a lady and remember that she has that slipA Put it on the table in front of her with the white side down—the two lines snowing uppermost. Go back to cutting the other slips from the big sheet and do so in the same manner which will have the result that the next five pieces all have a pencil line along one edge. This is your means of identification—simple and sure.

When you turn your back, instruct the first lady with the blank-back slip to write a name—the name of a female friend. Tell the others to write the name of a male friend. When you hold the locket over the eighteen pieces of paper, scattered across the top of the table, you will have ample opportunity to look for the three pieces that do not have the faint pencil line across them. These must be the three that matter.

The routine requires a lot of presentation—in Mentalism EVERYTHING is presentation and even though you told the lady to write a female name, they will be amazed how you found out—and how the pieces all came together. The effect could of course be presented as a Living and Dead Test, but I personally never liked those effects.

Three Little Questions (by Corinda)

I have used this routine for many years and I have found it indispensable for the occasion when one is called upon to display one's strange faculties to ladies. It is not my trick—the effect is as old as the hills—going back to the days when Fraudulent Mediumship was big business in America. However, this is my handling and my routine and it is the result of trying out many variations to find the very best.

The Mentalist condescends to give a lady a private reading. To try and receive inspirations which may answer any three personal questions the lady may like to ask. No positive results are guaranteed and the questions should be serious and private. The lady writes three questions and the performer answers them. Having done that, the lady will never forget you!

The Routine

Get ready before you offer to give the reading. Prepare by taking a sheet of paper size 5y 4 inches (or thereabouts) and tear it into four equal pieces. One of these will be your dummy billet and must be marked. Roll it into a tight ball and screw a tail on it to mark (see page 185). Drop the dummy in your pocket for the moment and with the three slips and a pencil on the table you are ready to begin.

Hand the three slips to the lady with the pencil and tell her to consider any three personal questions she likes. Emphasise that she must be serious and that she has a free choice of any subject—no embarrassment will be caused. The lady is told to print one question on each slip of paper and to tell you when she has done that.

You walk away—well away and make no effort to see what is written. However, if you do happen to pencil read all her questions by looking in a mirror—don't pass it by! Whilst waiting, take the dummy from your pocket and hold it in the right hand. When she tells you she has done that, call out—"roll the pieces into a ball please, each one separately". Give her time to roll up the first and the second but arrive at the table as she is rolling the third. Immediately pick up one and say—"No—roll them really tight please—like this". Switch that one as per the instructions given under Section 7 of Technique in this book.

Put the dummy down and tell her then to take all three in her hands and to mix them thoroughly so that neither of you know the order (that's why you mark the dummy!) As she does this, sit down opposite her and holding the first real billet in your lap—read the question. Tell her to follow your instructions very carefully. Look at the three billets now on the table and see which are the two real ones. Push one of these forward with your finger and say "hold that to your forehead please". Now this is important from the point of view of presentation. Whatever the first question may have been—answer if favourable but also indirectly. NEVER let it be known that you know the exact wording of her question. Suppose she wrote:—

"Should I go and see Mary or will she visit me".

Start your reading by saying that you have no idea what questions she has asked or which question she has chosen and is holding now. Say that you receive "ideas" and "feelings" that could mean something regarding any of the questions so if you say anything that fits one of her questions—she must say yes, and acknowledge that she understands what you are talking about.

Your first remarks are deliberately vague and gradually you build up the reading to make it obvious that you are answering one question, finally you deliver an answer which is a mixture of the unbeatable reply—a sure-fire prediction, a happy ending, flattery, etc., etc. The answer may be something like this:—

"As soon as you held that paper to your forehead—I got an inspiration which suggested a clock. Does that have anything to do with any of your questions? You can't place it—never mind. Now I also see what appears to be a calendar, would I be right in saying that somehow you are concerned with time? Don't answer yet—I also get a letter—a friend —a message from someone who has been away for a while—you are waiting to hear from someone—is it a friend?" (She will place the question by now) "I can see a rather unexpected event here, you think you are going to meet someone—a lady—but this lady can't be just where you think she is. You must meet this lady—she wants to see you, you have a lot in common—especially your intellectual tastes. I cannot say exactly what the question is—but 1 feel Tshould answer it by telling you that you must see a lady—and that there,will be a letter concerning this matter. You understand what 1 mean—I could go a bit further but I feel that this matter is really too personal to discuss openly—you know what I mean don't you? Let me read what you wrote please . . .

At this point you reach forward and extend your hand. She drops the billet into your outstretched palm. You open it, appear to have a little difficulty reading it and then slowly read out loud the exact wording of her FIRST question. At the same time you note and remember this question— which is the next you will answer. Look at the billet and make the misreading convincing. Smile as though to say "well I was almost dead right!" Immediately screw up the paper again and drop it into your pocket—with indifference.

Point to number two on the table, the only real billet left, and tell her to hold that one to her forehead. During the reading of this one, which is done on similar lines to the first, you exchange number one fot number two in your pocket and drop the first question on to the table. Do this as though you are not thinking.

When you end the second reading, do the same stunt, open it and misread the question thus learning the third question. At the end she will be holding a blank piece of paper to her forehead—but for the climax we add a nice touch.

When the reading has finished—have number three question in your hand. Take the dummy as though you intended to read it aloud like the other two—but change your mind and giving it back to the lady say, "read it out and tell me what you wrote". You switch the dummy for the third question at this point and give her back the proper slip of paper. The other two questions lie on the table in case she should look and you have the dummy back in your pocket.

It's the One Ahead System—one of the oldest and one of the best. The effect will do you more justice than fifty card tricks—you wont find much better anywhere and it's nothing—a rigmarole with a few bits of paper and lots of spiel. That is Mentalism.

4'It's a Record" by Corinda

The Effect

A gramophone record is seen displayed. A catalogue of records is produced, any page selected and that page torn into small pieces. Any

* piece is selected and the title of any record taken from that piece. The title is announced—and when the record is played—it is the same one as was selected. Nothing more than a prediction like a newspaper test disguised as a coincidence.

The Method

Obtain a catalogue of gramophone records which can be got from any dealers for nothing. Sort through your records and find one that most people will recognise when they hear it. Locate the title of this record in the catalogue and remove that page. Tear out the section with the title until you get a piece of paper about one sixteenth the size of the original page. Fold this twice and have it in your pocket—this piece shall be the dummy billet.

To perform, have a gramophone ready and one record on show. Take the catalogue and explain what it is and that it contains no fewer than seven thousand different titles. Count them if you wish to be exact! Hand the book to someone and tell them to tear out one page—take it from them as soon as it has been torn out.

Tear it in halves and in halves again—once more tear and again until you have a handful of pieces. Go to another person and ask them to take any piece and fold it twice. Drop the other bits aside and then take the chosen piece and hold it up whilst you explain that the choice was one in thousands . . . switch this piece for the piece in your pocket (by any of the methods given) and hold it yourself. Go to a spectator and open it up— hold your thumbnail right under the title of your record and say to him, "Will you read that title out loud please". He does—leave the paper with him—return to the gramophone—show the only record and play the first few bars

Presenting the L & D Test. Corinda

As Dr. Jaks says—"Living and Dead Tests and not everybodys' favourite effect"—but this presentation does make any of the standard methods amusing and interesting. You have four living names written on slips of paper—and one dead name written on another. By marking the dead name billet you keep track of it. Now we come to the location of the dead name. The five billets are mixed and laid in a row. You get one of those novelty key-chain skulls that are on the market and have it on a chain. Much the same as the sex detector trick—you use that, acting as a Pendulum to locate the dead name. It's a nice touch—appropriate and a bit better than the usual "deep trance" revelation.

"Great Minds Think Alike" by Punx Introduction

In every hundred or so new tricks that come along each year, one finds that ten of them are really any good. Out of that ten, we are fortunate if we find one that is distinct and really exceptional. This is one in a hundred— I would go further and say, one in a thousand. A veritable miracle of mental magic and a secret that up to now—four people in the world know.

Six months ago Punx the German Mentalist walked into my studio and performed this Trick. When I had seen it—I had two words to say-—'"How much?" But it was too good to be bought or sold and after six months' persuasion Punx gave in—and for the first time in print—here is the Punx Test or "Great Minds Think Alike".

The Effect

Two strangers are used. One leaves the room and one stays with you. You ask him to think of anything he likes—a word—a number—a drawing, he has a free choice. He writes down what he thinks of—rolls the paper into a ball and drops it into his pocket. YOU DO NOT TOUCH HIS PAPER. The other person is called into the room, given a sheet of blank paper and told to gaze at it and try to get an inspiration of something. You don't suggest anything. If he sees anything—and he must not guess—he is to write it down and roll the paper into a ball. He does as he is told. Both subjects now exchange their papers, open them and read them—THEY ARE THE SAME. No known method is used—it is a new development by Punx.

Never mind about the method for a moment. Can I ask you quite honestly —do you know of a better effect for Mentalism? What is there so near to the real thing—so clear and unbelievable? There is nothing—this is one of the best—a classic.

The Method

1 have promised Punx that every detail of working will be given so that his trick will not be ruined by bad workmanship. I ask you to follow the details and be sure you stick to the book. No unnecessary moves are made. First you require a special type of paper. The best is called "Art Paper" and it is a matt white finish—like paper coated with white poster paint. The second best is a cheap grade white duplicating paper. The special paper is such that if you run your fingernail over the surface, it leaves a shiny line which becomes visible when the paper is tilted to the light. Tf}e paper must be white—coloured art papers are too effective and should »not be used. When you get the right paper, test it to be sure it is alright ar^i then cut a few sheets and put them in your wallet. The size should be about 3x5 inches and the surfaces must be undamaged.

Get your two subjects and explain that you want to perform a test. Two total strangers are best. Tell one of them to go away and return when you call him. He can go into another room or stand a good distance away.

Bring out your wallet and open it. Pull out the papers and take one sheet. With your pencil draw a small circle about J" diameter in the middle and put a wee dot in the centre of the circle. Do exactly this—do not put a cross which is sometimes misconstrued as the Roman numeral for ten.

Hand this paper to the subject with you and ask him to look at the dot and to try and get a picture from it. Suggest that he may be able to see a number—say "like 983 or 46—anything". Wait a moment and then say, "What can you see?". If he says "Nothing" say to him—"Well imagine you can—what do you see now ?" He tells you what he can see—and we will suppose he replies "Seventy two". "Right" you say, "well take that pencil and write a big seven and a two like that . . ." Now this is it. As you speak to him, telling him how to do it, you draw on another piece of the paper a big "72" using your fingernail (either thumb or forefinger). You are actually writing his number under his nose—but he cannot see it and thinks you are showing him what to do. He will never remember that you did this. Because the paper leaves the shiny line—you have marked it perfectly. Don't hurry, behave just as you would if you were showing him with a pencil in your hands. When you come to mark the second paper, see that it does not rest on any other sheets or a carbon may be suspected.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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