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of the hand. Hold tight with the thumb and first finger and clip the very bottom of the Billet with the edge of the third finger. Now, if you curl your last three fingers the end of the Billet is torn off and carried into the hand all in one move and the visible part of the billet does not move. Diagram No. 10 shows how the spectator sees the billet being held at the start, and No. 11 shows how they see it after the tear. Diagram No. 12 shows the hold before the tear from your point of view, and No. 13 shows after the tear.

((d) The tear is accomplished under cover of misdirection which is gained by moving the hands towards a clip or stand. It is a good thing, for example, to be holding a bulldog clip pinched open in the left hand. The right seems to put the billet into the clip. It does, but performs the tear on the way. See section which deals with Billet display stands and clips.

(4) Centre Tear (Corinda's "Backward" Variation)

This is a gag. I've had lots of fun with this idea and although I meant it to be a laugh when I first invented it, from time to time it has been taken seriously and caused a sensation! It's strictly for the Magic Club or gathering of magicians—and means nothing to a lay audience.

Get a friend to act as a stooge—or, for those with high morals—use an impression pad or pencil reading (!). Arrange that he will write "Sausage". Work the routine like this:—

(a) Stand up and say you will show a new trick that you saw published a week ago in "The Fishmongers' Gazette"! Ask for an assistant and state that you would prefer a Mentalist or someone interested in mind reading. Your friend gets there first.

(b) Take a piece of paper and very carefully tear it into a small square. Then take a pencil and with a lot of trouble, draw a circle in the middle.

(0 Give the paper to the assistant with a pencil and say, "I want you to think of any word you like, then to write it in the circle, I repeat, in the circle, in bold

capital letters, then fold the paper exactly in half and in half again so that it is just a quarter of its original size".

Great deliberation on the instructions from you are given with painfully obvious details that indicate the Centre Tear. Those only half in the know, will recognise what you are doing and, with knowing nods and whispers to each other, will declare "old stuff"—it's the Centre Tear !

(id) Stand away with your back turned to the spectator (assistant). When he has done as told you bring in the surprise!

"Now before you came up to assist me I asked for a Mentalist and you came. By that I would suppose you are acquainted with the basic principle of Mental Magic? You are, good. Then you will know roughly perhaps what is meant by the Centre Tear! You do— excellent—then please do it with the paper you are holding". At this stage things go very quiet as the bright boys are quite taken aback by this display of unexpected frankness. Quietness is usually followed by laughter from those who appreciate what you are doing

(ie) The assistant does the Centre Tear—usually a diabolical performance —but he does it! You say, "have you done it? Excellent, are you sure you have the bit that matters—you know what I mean! You have, good—then hand it to the President for safekeeping and then kindly give me the other bits'9. These you take and hold above your head perhaps making a false glimpse as you put them there. Slowly and melodramatically you reveal the chosen word. Remember it was "Sausage"—so we go something like this:—

(/) "I'm getting an impression of a living object, it's living and yet dead! It seems that you have written something connected with an animal, it could be a dog. Has your word any animal connections?" (Ask the assistant) "Don't help me! You have written a word connected with food—it's Fried Kipper, No—nearly right . . . Sausage!! Will you check that please Mr. President. . .

(Note.—1 am aware that the similarity between a Kipper and a Sausage is only skin deep—Author).

(5) Centre Tear (Preparation of the Billet)

(a) Folding. Some Mentalists find that more satisfactory results are obtained if the square of paper is pre-folded before it is handed to the spectator. The theory being that the spectator, when told to fold the paper, will follow your creases and do so correctly. It invariably works. Most performers who use this preparation feel that it does away with the necessity of telling the spectator to fold in a specific manner. If you feel inclined to use it do so. With my routine for the Centre Tear I do not find it necessary.

(b) Misdirection for the Circle. Here again, ways and means have been devised to excuse the drawing of a circle and to hide the reason why they should write their word in the middle. Some call it a mystic symbol and write or draw additional signs around the outside of the circle, so that you have no choice but to write in the blank space—the centre. Others call it "A Magic Circle" which is downright ridiculous for a mental effect. A good excuse that I once favoured was to call the circle a globe of the world, and to tell them to think of any place in the world and to write the name on the

globe—like marking a map. These days I do not find any of these subterfuges really necessary. A casual mention of "in the circle" during your instructions and they do as they are told and 1 have yet to meet a spectator who remembers the details of your instructions.

As a change for your own persona! entertainment, if you use the Centre Tear a lot you might like to use this idea which 1 thought up and found impressive.

Draw a square instead of a circle and tell them that it represents a mirror. Ask them to imagine that they have a stick of lipstick and that they are going to write a word on the mirror. When you come to reveal their word after doing the usual routine, write it—but write it backwards and explain that you received a "mirror image"—a nice touch for presentation and a reason for the*square.

(6) Centre Tear (Reading the Billet)

I think it would be safe to say that the reason why the Centre Tear is not used as much as it should be—is because most performers cannot find a comfortable way to glimpse the billet when it comes to reading the word or number. Having done a bit of research on this trick I find that throughout the pages of magic in print there are literally dozens of means suggested.

"Look at the billet whilst lighting a cigar (or cigarette if you are a Magic Dealer!)—look at it in the lap, under cover of a notepad", and so on. Take it from me, if you use the method 1 give in my routine you wont bother with these alternatives. Wait your time, open it, look at it. Sometimes one is tempted to try and be too clever and I can give you a wonderful example of applied stupidity achieved in an effort to be over keen. „

A friend of mine, a good friend but stupid all the same, was with me and performed the Centre Tear on another person. The spectator was the only other person present except myself. He got up to the point where he had to do the steal and did this by taking it from the ashtray on the end of the match (another diabolical variation). Having done that, and made himself really nervous, he subjects himself to further torture whilst he manipulates the centre billet to the second sheet down in his notepad. The top pad he scribbles on, tears off and chucks away and then sees the word. From the manipulation that followed you would suppose that not only was the billet upside down—but also that it was written inside out! So he gets to know the word and then, telling the spectator to close his eyes and think hard he reveals it letter by letter. He followed a routine that has been published—and I say it stinks because if you are going to tell someone to shut their eyes—then that is not a bad time to read the billet. With one person it cannot fail. Don't murder Mentalism—just do it!

(6) The Billet Switch (Bare Hand Method)

The next few paragraphs on Technique will deal with a variety of methods that can be used to exchange one billet for another. Before we begin, I should explain that several methods are given because what suits one person is not always adaptable to another. However, it would be a mistake on your part to learn all methods. Run through them and try them out until you discover which one suits you best and then stick with that one and practise it to perfection. You cannot use two methods at once and since they both achieve the same effect you waste your time learning more than one.

-rrr

FIC M. Fiw&t^ PALMtO &IUUST

The Basic Billet Switch as suggested by Theodore Annemann in his Practical Mental Effects requires that you first learn to finger palm a dummy billet. The Billet size is of some importance and also the method of folding. The size should be 2£x3£ inches and should be folded once the long way and then twice the other way. This forms a small slip of folded paper which can be finger palmed as shown in Diagram No. 14.

You will appreciate that if dummy billets are to be folded in a special manner, then so must the real ones. Consequently, see that every billet for this type of work is folded in the same manner. The next step is to learn how to exchange a finger-palmed billet for another one. Diagrams 15, 16 and 17 show the mechanics of the switch and the real billet is shown in black; it will be exchanged for the white one which was finger-palmed at the start.

The dummy is finger-palmed in the left hand, clipped over the first and second joint of the second finger. A slight bend of the second finger tip keeps it in position. The hand is held at waist level, palm facing the body when the switch is executed.

FIC M. Fiw&t^ PALMtO &IUUST

Hold the dummy finger-palmed. With the same hand, pick up the real one holding it at the fingertips. Using the ball of the thumb, draw the real one back on top of the dummy and further still until you get it as far back as you can, then using the thumb and fingers, manipulate the dummy into view, retaining the real one from sight.

In order to perform this move smoothly and faultlessly, one must be expected to practise it for a considerable while. The essential move of drawing back a billet into the finger palm position, and then pushing it— or another into view again, has to be practised time and time again. Work with one slip to start with, learn to control that using either left or right hand and then introduce the second. You will discover that for experimental purposes, highly gloss paper is best as it has a smooth surface which allows the slips to pass over each other with ease. Later on, when proficient, you will work with any paper.

During the performance of the basic switch, it is a good thing to keep the hands in motion and to avoid looking at them. As for misdirection, it is always a good thing to know that if you look straight at a person and ask them a question—they will look at you—which is enough. A1 Baker, using his own Billet switch, always asked "Did you write it in English?" at the vital moment when the change took place. (7) The Billet Switch (Bare Hand Method—Corinda)

I have had a great deal of success with this method and I think it is the easiest one to learn. The Billets used are size 3x3" or thereabouts. They are not folded—but rolled instead into a tight ball. This makes the handling in general ten times easier than a slip of folded paper. The ball, being about half an inch in diameter, gives you something to get hold of—and can be retained in the Classic palm as well as the finger palm. Like sponge balls used in magic or other small objects used in Cups and Balls, there are many possible sleights available and some of them we find adaptable to Mentalism.

^ Care should be taken to avoid any move which in itself suggests a sleight.

To exchange two rolled balls of paper (which have the same appearance) the following simple moves are made:— •

{a) Practise with balls made from slips of rolled up newspaper.

(b) Hold a dummy just out of sight at the fingertips of the right hand. (Diagram 18).

(c) Pick up the real one with the right hand pressing the dummy on top as you do.

(d) Transfer both to the left fingertips pushing the real one on top out of sight and leaving the dummy showing.

(e) Tell the spectator to "roll them really tightly" showing them what to do by squeezing the dummy (Diagram 19) and under cover of this motion let the real one drop into the palm leaving one only at the fingertips of the left hand.

(/) Take the ball from the left hand (dummy) and give it to the spectator. Diagram No. 20 shows the position just before handing the dummy back in place of the real one.

Those of you who are acquainted with Slydini's Torn and Restored Cigarette Routine (Published in The Stars of Magic) will recognise the opening moves.

(8) The Billet Switch (by lapping)

Mention of Slydini automatically brings to mind lapping! There are several good uses for lapping when working with Billets—not only for switching, but for reading them also. Since a lot of Billet work is done at the table, these things will be found useful and you will get the opportunity to apply them.

We cannot deal technically with the Art of Lapping here—for two reasons; I have neither the space nor the knowledge! However we can cover the Billet switch by Lapping—that I have used!

Make sure that your audience cannot see the lap. The best time for this switch is when you are seated opposite the spectator. Have a dummy billet held at the fingertips of the right hand and have the other billet/s lined up near the edge of the table nearest to you. Make a slight sweeping motion bringing the right hand over the table and towards the billets, appearing to pick up one. In actual fact, you sweep one into your lap, over the edge of the table and bring the hand up without a pause; display the Billet you held at the start.

(9) The Billet Switch (Magnetic Clip Method)

Billets size about 3x4' are folded twice and sealed with an ordinary paper clip. They are dropped into a cup, shaken and then tipped out. They are all switched or any number of them have been exchanged.

In the bottom of a cup stick (with Araldite or Evostik) a powerful magnet. Buy some paper clips made of steel which you will find are magnetic. Buy or make some more (brass that is nickel plated) that are non-magnetic. Put ' non-magnetic clips on those you want to act as dummies and have them in the cup to start with. Give the spectator steel clips to put on his billets. Drop these also into the cup. Shake the lot—holding it of course above eye level so that no one can see into the cup, and then boldly tip upside down shooting the contents on to the table. All the billets with a steel clip are held back by the magnet.

This sort of switch is handy for a Living and Dead test where it is expected that you will mix a number of billets.

(10) The Billet Switch (Corinda's Billet Pull)

Whether or not Billets appeal to you—and whether or not you try anything told to you in this Step, please do one thing for me—try this out. Even if you do not see fit to use it (which is doubtful) I can assure you that it will give you an awful lot of fun. You will get carried away with the many moves and applications of the simple gimmick—it might entertain an audience—but it is sure to amuse you!

The apparatus consists of our old friend, a piece of elastic acting as a pull. Get a piece of elastic about two feet long. (Adjust to the exact length during use.) On one end tie a small safety pin and on the other end, a paper clip. With that done—the apparatus is ready. Fix the pin to the inside of your right jacket sleeve—just under the armpit. Run the other end down the sleeve and see that the clip hangs about three to four inches from the end of the sleeve. Always have the shirt sleeve rolled up past the elbow when you intend to use the pull. It affords an easy passage up the sleeve which would otherwise be different with the sleeve down.

The Billet pull is designed to help you switch billets. In some respects it has a limited application, because it is not possible to obtain the switched billet back from the clip, without a little manoeuvre which takes a second or so with both hands behind the back. However, there are a large number of effects where one does not have to read the stolen billet immediately, and for that type of trick, this apparatus is ideal.

You will have to work with this gimmick for quite a long time (a few hours) before you acquire sufficient proficiency to use it in public. The handling is much the same for any of the moves.

First, learn how to get hold of the clip simply by putting both arms behind your back and, with the left hand, pull down the clip to the fingertips of the right hand where it is gripped between thumb and first two fingers.

Next, learn how to hold the clip without displaying the elastic. If you keep the back of your right hand facing the spectator—you are reasonably safe. Lastly we come to a few of the various moves.

Number one is what 1 call the throw. This is possibly the most amusing and yet startling switch of all. Have a dummy billet ready folded to size 1 x held sideways in the right hand. Our drawing shows you how to do this. Pick up the spectator's billet and clip it; that is, put it into your pull-clip. Swing the right hand upwards in a small half circle and show the billet in the clip as seen again in the diagram. Now we come to the release and the exchange and we need to time things very delicately. Move the hand in a small circular motion in an anticlockwise direction. When it reaches the bottom of the circle the billet points to the floor and the bafk of the hand at the spectator. Bring the hand upwards in a straight line towards the spectator and at the same time let go of the clip. At the same time open the hand and allow the dummy to travel forward towards the spectator.

The swinging motion looks like an ordinary throw—and at no time is there a pause especially when the hand begins to travel upwards. The dummy billet will have a clip like the pull clip of course. Performed correctly, this move is absolutely indetectable—and 1 defy anyone to say they can see it. Any slight noise of the elastic is covered by a well-timed cough!

Number two variation is the "slap down switch". More or less the same handling as the first method is adopted—only the billet is slapped on to a table instead of being thrown.

Number three—"on to the spectator's hand". Yes, you can even switch it in their hands! Tell them to hold out their hand—don't say why, show the billet and place it on to their hand telling them to hold it tight!

Number four—"the hand to hand pass". You appear to put the billet from your right hand into your left and exchange it as you go. All these moves are so simple that I save space by avoiding details.

Number five, "into the glass switch". This is pretty—but you have to get the timing right again. The billet is shown and dropped into

a glass—you release just as the hand covers the top of the glass. This looks best with a tall beer glass which allows the audience to see the billet leaving your hand and falling down to the bottom.

Number six, "putting it on display". This is also very good—if not the best of the lot as you have a logical reason for the clip. You have a Billet Display stand as described in this book and the exchange is made as you put the Billet on to the stand. As a final tip—when you first practice make the billets out of fairly-thick card—that makes it easier to handle.

The Billet is regained from the clip after the exchange—by the same method as the clip is obtained in the first place. Both hands behind the back—or, if you can turn your back on the audience with some suitable excuse, do it then with your hands in front of you. I will give you some more uses for this Pull in Step Ten.

(11) The Billet Switch (The Matchbox Switch—by Will Dexter)

It might not always be logical to burn a billet—but logical or otherwise-it's darn convenient! You find a better way of destroying the evidence of your sins. So for many effects we just have something written, the paper folded and burnt. From the ashes, etc. . . . you read the question. To burn anything requires matches—and this method is a switch which is made possible by a fake matchbox which exchanges the billets (i.e. real one tor a dummy) as you remove a match and strike it ready to burn the billet. Natural moves with apparatus above suspicion.

The box is made with both the drawer and case part faked. The drawings show how. You have the dummy ready held under the box in a cut out clip arrangement. It has a section cut away to allow the fingers to pull out the billet later. The same part of the box has one side cut away with a slot large enough to allow your billet to pass inside the case part when the box drawer is open. The inside of the case part is lined with black paper or painted black.

The diagrams show you how to make one of these matchboxes. Drawing No. 22 shows the case part looking at the side—showing the slot for the billet. The other side of the case is left intact.

The next drawing, No. 23, shows the underside of the case part. By attaching an extra piece of casing from another box, we form the holder for the billet and we see the cut out part which allows it to be removed easily.

Drawing No. 24 shows the construction of the drawer itself, seen from a side view. You will note a recess is made to allow the billet room inside the

FIG.2». THE BILLET PULL

FIG.2». THE BILLET PULL

box. In actual fact, a small piece of wood is stuck in the drawer making a false bottom so that matches go on top and the billet goes below. No. 25 shows the drawer in the box, open ready to remove a match. The real billet slides into the slot at the left side of the box—which can be done only when the drawer is open. As the drawer closes, the right hand slides the dummy from under the box (out of the holder) and that one is burnt. It appears as though you have simply dropped the matchbox with the billet into your left hand, removed a match and then pulled the billet from under the box and set it alight. There is nothing to be seen as yoo put the box away— the real billet is now inside and can be tipped out into your hand when you want to read it. Drawing number 26 shows the right hand removing the dummy billet.

(12) The Star Trap Billet Switch (Eric Mason)

This method will be found of use for effects that require the handling of few billets. It is more or less limited to working with two billets only. A good example of its use would be the trick where the spectator takes a £1 note from his wallet, rolls it into a ball and throws it to you; without unrolling it, you hold it to your forehead and call out the number of the note— then throw it back to be checked.

Obtain one of those plastic or rubber "star trap" towel holders. Stick this on a small square of cardboard which may then be pinned to the lining of your jacket—in such a position that when the right arm hangs naturally at the side, the fingertips of the right hand arrive level with the Star Trap. Just behind the side jacket pocket is the place.

Eric Mason advocates that in the act of performing the switch—a drop is . made to give the necessary misdirection for the exchange. Although dropping and picking up of articles is a clumsy affair—one cannot question that in doing so, you create a very powerful form of misdirection. 1 am inclined to condone the means in this switch—having seen it done and tried it myself. You must decide for yourself if it is something you can use—or if you would rather find another method. However, you are going to work fairly hard to find a move which all in one, is natural and deceptive. In your right hand hold a £1 note that has been rolled into a ball. The number of this note— you know and have memorised. Ask the subject to lend you a note, tell him to roll it tightly into a ball and take it from him with the right hand. At some point early on in your patter, appear to drop his note to the floor. In actual fact, drop your note with the known number and draw his back from sight into the right hand. As you drop the note—look down at it in surprise and immediately bend forward reaching across the body with the LEFT hand to pick it up. As the left hand picks up the note, the right hangs naturally at the side for a moment—and as it does, it sticks the borrowed note into the Star trap. By the time you are standing upright—a matter of perhaps three seconds, you have one note in your left hand, the number of that note you know and the right hand is empty. You are all set to perform.

1 suppose it is obvious that at the start you make no mention to the spectator that you intend to deal with the number of his note. He must not look at his note because the one he gets back is not the same as the one he gives. Hasten the proceedings at the start and you will have no trouble.

(13) Eclipse Billet Switch (John Henley)

The following is the basic effect as the audience sees it, but without dressing of any kind. An assisting spectator examines a piece of paper, about 5Jx folds it twice and secures it in a small Bulldog clip. He then signs his name on the billet which is dropped, complete with clip, into a tumbler. When next he examines the paper, the spectator finds written on it the name of a chosen card, colour, number or design, as the mentalist pleases.

A few points to note are as follows: (a) the mentalist has no need to touch the paper at any time, except of course, when handing it for examination at the beginning; (b) the piece of paper the spectator signs is the one on which the writing appears; (c) the spectator removes the billet from the glass and unfolds it himself.

The switch gains its title from the gimmicks that are used. To perform the effect the following items are needed:—2 Eclipse magnets, 2 pieces of paper about 5Jx2J\ 2 Waverley Bulldog clips, a short pencil and a glass tumbler.

For the sake of argument we shall assume that ESP cards are being used and that the spectator is going to 'choose' the triangle design. First, empty the back pocket of your trousers and put one magnet in one bottom corner and the second magnet in the other. You may find it convenient to place a box of matches between them to prevent their clinging together. The pencil is also kept in the back pocket.

Now take one of the pieces of paper which, incidentally, should be thick rather than thin, and draw a picture lightly in the centre area. Fold the paper into four and secure the four narrow edges with one of the clips, remove your jacket, let the clip cling to the left hand magnet through the cloth of the back pocket and you are ready to begin. The tumbler is on a nearby table.

Having selected a suitable subject, hand him the other piece of paper and ask him to examine it, fold it twice and secure it with a clip. At this point indicate the end you would like clipped as it must go on the same end as on the duplicate billet. The following actions must be rehearsed until they become natural: (a) Take the billet from the spectator by the clip with the left hand, which is then held waist-high, and feel with the right hand in the right trouser pocket as though looking for the pencil. (b) Withdraw hand and swap billet from left hand to right, again holding it by the clip, (c) This is when the switch is made. As the left hand feels in the left pocket for the pencil the right hand moves behind the back and as it passes the back pocket is leaves the clip attached to the right-hand magnet and immediately removes the duplicate clip and billet from the left-hand magnet. (d) As the left hand is withdrawn the right hand comes to the front, swaps billet from hand to hand as before and the right hand goes behind the back, removes the remaining billet and clip which is adhering to the back of your trousers, drops it into the back pocket and removes the pencil. This method of disposing of the billet was suggested by Slydini, and as you can see, leaves the performer "clean".

You give the spectator the pencil and after he has initialled the paper ask him to drop it into the glass. He now selects a symbol and it is up to you to impress upon him that he has the power to transmit his thought-of design to the nearby tumbler. Patter theme, however, depends on individual choice and is not, therefore, dealt with here. Build up a certiin amount of tension without overdoing it, and then let him remove the clip and billet from the tumbler. DO NOT HANDLE THE PAPER YOURSELF as, after the effect is over he will remember, when speculating, that he put the billet in the tumbler, and also he was the one to take it out.

Although the moves surrounding the switch have taken many lines to describe, their actual execution is completed in less than half a minute, and as stated at the beginning, this is only the basic handling without dressing or elaboration. The design, card or colour is of course forced, and the spectator must be given the impression that the clip is used only to eliminate your handling of the billet. A short pencil is used as it is more natural to have difficulty in finding this than a full length one. The writing on the duplicate billet has to be light as, even on thick paper, it tends to show slightly when the paper is folded. Working without a jacket helps to convince your helper that no switch could be made without his seeing it, although, of course, you do not actually say so. In any case you will find it more difficult to make the switch whilst wearing a jacket as the cloth will tend to impede the smoothness of the move, and may also dislodge the billet before the switch is made.

One thing to remember is that the confusion in looking for the pencil must appear natural and not hurried. As far as the spectator is concerned the trick does not start until he has put the billet in the glass, by which time, unbeknown to him, all under-the-counter handling has been completed.

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