"Telekinecards" is a trick which utilises a very old Spirit Cabinet principle that is known as "The Third Hand". If you look at the drawing given you see the board just as the spectators see it. Apparently the performer holds it with both hands one at each end along the top. In actual fact the left hand is a dummy, just a set of bent fingers that can be quickly clipped on to the edge of the board. The right hand is real—but it is held in exactly the same manner as the dummy. This means the performer, screened behind the board which rests on his lap, is in a position to move his other hand to whatever purpose he likes! The cards are lined with razor blades and the performer has a powerful magnet. The board is three-ply wood which does not obstruct the magnet from moving the cards where you wish. It is as simple as that—the only points to watch carefully are; make a good imitation of the hand—gloves could be used, but they are not anywhere near as good as a first class hand. Use a powerful magnet (about 12 lbs. lift) and stick a good amount of razor blades in each card. (Step Two deals with making magnetic Cards).
You could ask the audience to call out any card which you then force to move. But the effect is doubled if it appears that you yourself do not know what one has been selected. The easiest way to do this is to mark the set of cards that the audience take. Make bold and clearly definable markings on the back of their cards—they are not going to inspect them for trickery so make nothing of it.
The board is rested on your lap to take the weight. It should be size 1 ft. 6 in. by 2 ft. of smooth three-ply wood or smooth hardboard. Along the base run a strip of wood to form a ledge. To show the cards clearly, paint the board black. The second drawing shows the operation of the board from the back view as seen by the performer.
(17) The Palladino Table Lift
There are several methods of Table Lifting which is an effect highly suitable for Stage Mediumship or Seance room. It can be presented as quite a mystery and the only trouble with the effect is that quite often the performers are tempted to go too far and a solid mystery becomes a "lark".
The Palladino method is for one person. Palladino was a famous medium who did a lot of table lifting; she had a special lightweight table that could be manipulated in the semi-dark by lifting it with her foot. Otherwise, there is the pin fake method which is very effective for single person operation— but you must have a light table. (A balsa wood one would be perfect).
In the top of the table you drive a pin with a fairly large head which is left protruding about one eighth of an inch. It is too small to be seen. On the middle finger of the right hand you have a ring which is slotted on the underside to fit the pin head. (See Diagram). It is simply a matter of engaging the ring on the pinhead as you place both hands on the table and then lifting. If you have two of these rings and two pin-heads—you can start with both hands on the table top, whilst floating in mid air, remove one hand and leave the table apparently adhering to the other. Replace that hand (engaging the other head as you do so) and free the one just used to support the table. Because of the amount of leverage you can get with the fake ring—you can, if you wish, pull out the pins at the end which makes the table free for inspection. It is not imperative that they are allowed to examine the table.
(18) Table Lifting with Arm Hooks
This method requires an assistant, you cannot work it alone. Both you and your assistant are equipped with a set of gadgets called "Arm Hooks". These are strong steel hooks that are strapped to the wrist forearm. If both you and your assistant have two of these, one on each arm, you will be able to lift an amazing weight between you.
The best way to present this is to have four people, each sit at one side of the table—but you be sure that the assistant sits opposite you. As they all place their hands on the table with fingers stretched out, etc., you engage the hooks on the edge of the table and from then on its a matter of presentation. You will find that the sleeves cover the Arm hooks and make them very hard to spot unless the audience see directly under the table. (See diagram.)
(19) Table Lifting with Waist Hooks
This is another two person method (or more) and by this means a really heavy table can be floated or, with very strong waist hooks, you can float a table whilst a small person sits on it! It has the advantage that both hands are free at all times although they must be used to steady the table whilst floating.
You have a strong leather belt about 2 in. wide. At the point around your waist in front of the stomach, you have a small steel hook. This engages on to the edge of the table as you stand and lean forward. Your assistant
(opposite) does the same. If you lean back and push on the table top with both hands, you have a very strong lifting position—so much so, that if any spectators are joining in around the table—they will not be able to push it back to the floor. The table cannot be lifted very high as is obvious—but it can be raised well clear of the floor and moved around the stage with good effect.
(20) "The Haunted Ball"
This is strictly a drawing room or seance room stunt—and cannot be done on the stage. In effect, you have a card table (although almost any table will do) and it may be examined before the experiment and after. It is in no way prepared. You have also a table tennis ball which can be examined before and after—it too, is unprepared. A spectator places the ball on the table—which is stood in the middle of a well lit room. No one goes near the table and people can stand all round. The Medium, demonstrating Telekinesis, proclaims that he will move the ball at any time suggested by the audience. He waits until he is told to try and then stares profoundly at the ball. Slowly it moves and gaining speed rolls to the edge of the table and falls to the floor. Immediately everybody can examine everything and they are not likely to find the answer! The Medium stands some ten feet away from the table whilst the effect is demonstrated.
This is another of those ridiculous methods that achieve such good results. It costs very little to rig up and it is quite reliable. The room must have a carpet and you need a platelifter with a long extension of fine rubber hosing. Run the plate lifter under the carpet leaving the bulb somewhere in the middle of the floor. Note the spot where it is by looking for some marking in the design of the carpet. The other end run well away from the centre of the room and leave that too (with the second bulb) in a place that you can identify.
Borrow a table, the lighter the better and have it examined. Move it to the middle of the room and in placing it there—be quite sure that one of the legs stands over the bulb under the carpet below. Now take up your position near the other end of the lifter and have the ball placed near the middle of the table. To make it move, you only have to tread gently on the bulb below your foot and the table is lifted slightly causing enough tilt to make the ball roll off. The tilt, which is about one inch is too small to be observed by the most observant watcher. Yet it is quite sufficient to cause the ball to move. If you like, you can lift your foot before the ball drops off the table, which will stop it at the edge. Also, if you care to repeat the experiment, move the table so that a different leg stands on the lifter—and then the ball will roll in a different direction on the second showing! If you try this as I have, you will find that an ordinary platelifter will lift quite a heavy table— it is more than surprising to find a small rubber bulb will lift a medium oak table—but it does.
Finally, if you do work with an assistant—make full advantage of the situation by having her work it whilst you stand wherever the audience decide—even out of the room if they insist! One thing that must be watched all the time if the audience surround the table, is that no one of them stands on the feed pipe. This would block the air supply and spoil the effect. I have used this principle for challenge effects—where people defy you to demonstrate telekinesis—it has always won the battle for me!
(21) "Spirit Guide"
One of the best methods of appearing and disappearing what seems to be a ghostly figure, is to paint a crude six feet tall spooky picture on a large black curtain or roller blind. The "picture" is a life size cowled figure painted in good quality luminous paint; alternatively an animal or a shapeless blob can be used.
To operate, it is simply a matter of slowly unfolding or unrolling the picture and then twisting it about in the dark to cause weird movements of the cloth. The effect is very good, the constant change of the shape causes people to imagine that they see all sorts of things materialise. Again, this is one of the simple things that look silly in daylight—but incredibly different in the dark and mysterious atmosphere of the seance room.
(22) "The Dead Hand Writes"
This is another visible effect which has all the qualifications of good spooky magic. It is the glorified presentation of a Living and Dead Test—but how it's glorified!
In effect, a sitter is invited to write five names on a card—and to make any one of them the name of a Dead Person. He does not say which of the names is the Dead name nor does he reveal its position on the list. The card is taken and placed on a board. A box is brought in, it is opened and with great care a Hand is unpacked from cotton wool in which it is wrapped. The hand is laid on the board and a pencil placed between the fingers; a square of black cloth is laid gently over the hand and all is set.
It is suggested that in order for any "Communication" to be received in the form of writing, it is necessary for our Spirit Friends to Control the mediums hand or be allowed to manipulate a hand. The handled for your experiment was "lent by a Museum" (don't say whether it is a dummy or an amputated real one—leaving a nasty inference!). For the test, the Spirits will form an ectoplasmic arm to join the hand (w hich may or may not become visible) and having done so, will write or make a mark on the card. So that it may be known that the communications is from Beyond, they will identify the dead name with their mark of the cross, a thing which would be quite impossible for another person to do!
The committee joins hands and wait in solemn silence. They watch. In due course there is an obvious slight movement of the cloth, this intensifies and becomes a definite upheaval that looks very much like a hand writing and moving under the cloth. Then it stops and the cloth is still. The Medium goes to the hand and lifts the cloth, takes the card and loDks at it and sees a mark has been made. (Indicated to the audience by surprise on the face). Excitedly the medium calls to the sitter "We have a result—truly a manifestation—but they may be wrong—which name was the dead one?" The sitter replies as the Medium hands him the card with a flourish that conceals the neat little black cross just made with a Swami Gimmick!
All that remains is the working of the hand. In brief, get a heavy, old rubber or wooden hand (window display model will do) and about twenty feet of thread. Run the thread across the board a la Rapping Hand. Floating Ball and similar effects and lead it off to some place where you have a stooge, assistant or committeeman ready to gently tug at the right moment. Alternatively, for one-man working; run the thread from the cloth up to the ceiling and through * small hook. Lead the end back and anchor it to a chair standing nearby. Thus when you back away from the board you may casually rest your hand on the chair and in doing so engage the thread. Screening the movement with your body by a slight turn, you tug away merrily until you think the illusion has been created. Another method is a platelifter —but I dare not venture into that one or 1 stand to be accused of having platelifters on the brain! Thread is good—thread works and that's all that matters. Never think twice about the method as long as it works; remember at all times you are demonstrating effects—not how they are done.
(23) "Corinda's Ghost Walk"
There is an old maxim for ghostworkers that is as true today as it was in the beginning; "The more Ghosts in a Ghost Show—the better it will be". This is absolutely the last word in man made Ghosts. The apparatus seen in daylight is a laughable heap of nonsense, but paraded in the gloom of the seance room—it is the ultimate in spookery.
In effect, the performer (usually the Medium) reaches the point where it is necessary to climax the proceedings—and naturally the aim is to make this the very best you can offer. The onlookers have seen mild manifestations, ghostly effects have come and gone but nothing typical of the classic ghost has been seen. Now we come to such an effect. Our Medium prepares the path by delivering an address in which she tells that for the final experiment, she will call upon the Spirit World to send a fully materialised form. She explains that all must be patient, everybody must join hands and under no circumstances should anybody touch anything that materialises. (By the way, there are several reasons why people should hold hands and one of them is so that they will not be tempted to grab at your ghost and thus expose the ruse! Other reasons are best left to the imagination of the Reader!)
The gathering sit in near total darkness waiting for the materialisation of ' a Spirit Friend. Quiet organ music is to be heard in the background and the Medium is to be seen breathing heavily in trance condition. (To affect Trance Condition, flop into a chair and act as though you have just drunk a bottle of Gin!). Slowly but surely the door creaks open and then in glides a full size Ghost. This ghost can be anything from five to ten feet tall, it flows into diverse shapes as it moves, sometimes touching the floor, sometimes floating in mid-air. It glows with a greenish light (which is said to be ectoplasm) and it does not flop around within two feet of the door—No! It comes right into the audience, flows within inches of them—they see it and some see through it. More! It touches them with icy cold fingers and whispers or groans odd sayings into the ear of any disbeliever! Then it oozes back to the centre of the floor and there, in full view of the audience, slowly begins to dematerialise until it shrinks in size from feet to inches and finally vanishes completely. The lights go on—the Medium recovers from her ordeal with the Spirits (not Gin!) and nothing is to be seen which explains such unorthodox goings-on!
Before disclosing the modus operandi I will relate briefly a memorable story concerning my apparition. It happened some years ago whilst my time was spent in cavorts to expose Fraudulent Mediums. Very few were to be found that ever did anything worth exposing—but one man (a Medium) did occasionally, and for the right price, "materialise" a Spirit Friend. On one of these occasions I had the good fortune to "get in" with another friend. We waited throughout the usual rigmarole until "Mr. X" declared that "they" would come through—and at this he departed into a large screened Cabinet.
In due course a rather small misty shape emerged from the cabinet and uttered unintelligible sentences which sounded remarkably like the Medium talking with a peg on his nose! In time the little one disappeared and another slightly larger came forth. However, more or less as this appeared—so did something else! Nowhere near the Medium but well within the seance room when it was seen—a six foot monster groaning and slithering towards the cabinet was soon spotted by the Medium who rapidly came out of his trance and dashed from the cabinet quite horrified that there in his seance room was a ghost that he didn't materialise!! Nothing can be more embarrassing to a ghost worker—than to have a.ghost turn up that isn't "one of yours"—and our spook, w hich we took along, nearly gave the Medium heart failure. That was how the ghost walk camel itfo being.
To make such a monster as I have described, one requires about six yards of fine white net or nylon material (54-in. wide). This material one forms into a crude shroud—cutting a billowing head cowl and allowing the rest to drape loosely. No arms are required. The shroud is then daubed with a good quality liquid luminous paint and for best effects, this is done in a haphazard manner for strangely enough, the rougher the painting the better the ghost.
The next requirement is an assistant who wears all BLACK clothing. Over his shoes he wears a pair of black socks which allow footsteps to be deadened. The appliance is exposed to a bright light (electric will do) and then donned by the assistant. When ready he has but to enter the room and go as near as he likes to the sitters. It is strange that the luminous net over black cloth creates an illusion of transparency, which in effect makes the ghost look entirely vapour. To make the monster more fiercesome, the assistant wears a skull mask that has been similarly treated with luminous paint and a pair of white gloves that have been treated adds the finishing touch. i
If you so desire, the Ghost can be materialised actually in the seance room. All you have to do is to pre-expose the shroud and accessories and stuff them into a black bag. In full view of the audience (with the lights out that is) you pull out the material bit by bit. which allows the Ghost to slowly form. From then on it can be donned by an assistant in the room (perhaps from the audience) or may be paraded around without being worn at all. Finally, the black bag is used to dematerialise the ghost. It is simply stuffed into the bag—but for best effects, slowly bunch it up first to create the illusion of diminishing in size before entirely dematerialising. Sometimes I have had the black bag tied to a black rope—and after the ghost has been "bagged" an assistant pulls the bag away into another room or into some convenient hiding place. At the worst, to use a current colloquialism, you can "stick it up your jumper"—there is little bulk to it all when well bunched up.
As a final word on the Ghost walk I feel I should add that, on occasion I have used the apparition to entertain friends at home—just for the fun of it. This I no longer do as experience has taught me that it is too frightening and I think it should be confined to the seance room where people expect and hope to be scared. Under no circumstances should it be demonstrated to any children—it would be liable to cause considerable harm.
(24) Spirit Moulding
In the History of Spiritualism we find that some "investigators" have managed to get the Spirits to mould their hands and faces in wax. The method is a bit messy but undoubtedly sets an air of mystery as to how such a thing could be done.
On the seance room table the medium places a bowl of luke warm molten paraffin wax. (Low melting point wax is obtainable from suppliers to Histologists). Alongside she places a bowl of cold water. The lights are put out and the sitters wait. After a while the lights are put on and now to account for slight noises which happened in the dark, we find a perfect hand moulded in wax—floating in the water bowl. It could not have been made by the medium or anybody by just putting their hand in the wax and then into the water—as it would be impossible to withdraw the hand from the cast without breaking the mould.
The method I can reveal in a few lines as once you know the secret it is obvious. You have a thin rubber glove which you inflate by blowing up. This you dip in the wax and then into the cold water which sets the wax quickly. Release the air from the glove and remove it through the wrist hole and there is your "spirit hand". Specialists in this sort of trickery have gone to the trouble of making a fine mould of their own hand, from which is made a rubber glove with their fingerprints on the outside. When this glove is used for the Spirit Moulding process—it forms a cast with fingerprints on the inside—which "proves" a hand must have been used to form the cast!
The moulding of faces is less dramatic as it offers no problem as to how it is done. If you want to do this the best thing is to use ordinary face masks but keep them slightly oiled to prevent the wax sticking. As a matter of interest, in the Museum of The Society for Psychical Research there are Spirit Hands (moulded) to be seen on show today. I do not know how the Society explain their origination.
PART THREE: MENTAL PHENOMENA (25) "Phoney Business' By Corinda Effect
The experiment takes part as one of a series of demonstrations of paranormal perception. This time a telephone is used to prove that it is possible to control thought over a considerable distance.
The performer conducts several tests. If the demonstration is outside of a seance room—playing cards are used; if not, Tarot cards are used. The performer explains that he knows a Medium who lives, shall we say, in Brighton. (He chooses some place away from the scene of action). He tells that arrangements have been made with the medium to conduct a series of E.S.P. by telephone. He explains further that arrangements have been made so that the medium can signal the audience by ringing the telephone from her end of the line.
First about four cards are selected from a pack and then replaced and mixed with the remainder by the audience. Next a number is written by a spectator and the information is kept to himself for a while. Lastly a word is chalked on a board.
The performer now asks a member of the audience to dial a number which is the home number of the Medium. He tells the spectator to ask if she is ready and if she will ring the phone three times as soon as the receiver is replaced. The spectator does as told, telephones the Medium who tells him she is ready. Next he replaces the receiver and immediately the Medium rings the phone three times. The performer picks it up again and tells her thai ever Lhing is working correctly and that they are ready for the first test.
He explains to the Medium that four cards have been chosen from a full pack of fifty two. A spectator will hold them one at a time over the telephone and will she try and identify the selected cards by ringing once when the spectator happens to be holding one over the telephone?
The spectator quickly passes the cards one at a time over the telephone which stands with the receiver replaced. Four times the telephone rings and on each occasion—the spectator is found to hold one of the selected cards! At the finish the performer lifts the receiver and congratulates the Medium on a perfect score! For the next test he writes the complete alphabet on the board. He tells the Medium that a spectator will run along the row of letters and asks her to ring "stop" on each letter required to name the word that has been selected by the audience. He replaces the receiver and instructs a spectator to begin. The telephone spells out the word.
The final experiment concerns the number chosen by a spectator. The bell on the telephone rings out a series of numbers and these are chalked on the board. When the last number has been signalled, the performer asks if the spectator will stand and for the first time announce what number he decided upon. They agree!
Before you can perform this effect it will be necessary for you to make yourself what is called a "Body Ringer", which is a similar appliance as is used for electrical Spirit Bell Routines. The Body Ringer is simply an electric bell, a battery and a flat push-button wired to function properly. The Bell is strapped to the leg (thigh) and the battery is carried in the back' trousers pocket. The push-button is affixed with elastic bands to one knee and is adjusted so that when both knees are pressed together, the bell is sounded. The tone of the bell should resemble the tone of any normal telephone bell although absolute likeness is not imperative since the real telephone bell is at no time sounded and the audience cannot compare the two noises.
Other necessary equipment for this routine is a Telephone, Playing Cards or Tarot Cards, Chalk and Large Slate or Blackboard and some means of getting a carbon impression of the number written by the spectator. This may be obtained by way of a Clip Board, Impression Wallet or the Clip Book which is described in detail in Step Seven.
If you can arrange it so that you have a friend standing by ready for a telephone call from the seance room, you can use a real telephone and have the spectator dial the number and ask for the Medium. If this cannot be contrived, it matters not as you dial any number and act the part of talking to a Medium. Once the arrangements have been made at the start of the routine, the Medium actually rings off and you do all the ringing with the appliance on your person. When on occasion throughout the routine you lift the receiver to congratulate the Medium on her success, you act the part again because in reality, the telephone line is dead.
By now the procedure should be clear. The cards selected by the audience can be marked so that you can identify them as they pass over the telephone. The word is easier still, as you have only to watch carefully and ring your bell when the required letter is reached; the number is known to you because of the carbon impression which altogether means you have very little work to do outside of acting! The last thing to add is that it may be well to telephone the seance room number from an outside telephone and leave the receiver off so that the line remains engaged and cannot be called accidentally from an outside source—if such a thing happened it could be quite embarrassing!
There are two ways of presenting this swindle—and it depends on what sort of audience you have—as to how you work the trick. The first method is for laymen. The performer enters holding a slate and chalk in the hand. He points to someone and asks "Can you read minds?" Whatever the reply, he proposes an experiment. He writes vigorously on the slate and holds it so that no one sees what is written as yet. He now asks the spectator to be quite honest, and to say outright if they can tell him what he has written on the slate. Invariably the reply is "No" whereupon our wit turns the slate to reveal the word "NO" chalked boldly across the slate. A mind has been read! It's a corny gag that gets a good laugh—and the number of gags that get laughs in Mentalism. are few and far between. Just one thing has to be watched when writing "No". You go over the same lines several times because it can become obvious from your arm movement what word you are writing on the slate.
The second variation is a sucker effect for magicians who know the first version! Performer enters with slate as before and goes through the same procedure, asking a spectator to try and read his mind. However, after writing "No" on the slate it is "accidentally" flashed to the audience who get a glimpse of the word and naturally presume they know what's coming! Again you ask the spectator to be quite truthful—and say outright if he knows what you have written on the slate. This time he answers "yes" because in truth, he has seen the writing. Slowly, and with amazement on your face„ you turn the slate and there in bold letters in "Yes" . . . !
The method, which I should think is obvious, is simply a flap slate. Under the flap on the slate itself you have previously written "Yes". The flap is put into position and the slate is shown clean with a casual wave before you write "No" on the flap. It is dumped on a table for a brief second whilst you do something like putting the chalk away in the box—and then picked up again leaving the flap behind. As a final word, take great care with both methods—that when getting the spectator to answer "yes" or "No"—you phrase your question so that he cannot reply in any other manner. This is not too difficult.
Another simple mediumistic mental effect is this stunt where the medium leaves the room and stays outside, the performer has the committee write a list of objects and some of these are chosen. The list is taken out to the medium who proceeds to tick off the chosen items. The test can be repeated over and over again and it may be done impromptu.
It is very, very simple but also very deceptive. The performer in the room explains that certain objects have harmonious relationship with others. He asks the spectator to write down a list of about a dozen objects. He then glances at the list and names two or three items that he thinks are linked by this so called Harmonious Relationship. He instructs the spectator to take the list to the medium who will name any objects that she feels have this binding factor—and she names the same because all she does is to look at the second letter of the first word, and to tick off every word in the list that has that letter in it. You have named the objects by virtue of the same principle.
It will be seen that the code will probably vary each time the test is done and although it would be a simple matter to devise continuations that would withstand rigid inspection, it is hardly necessary as it is only a simple parlour stunt that you can use to fool a few friends. Do not be inclined to scorn the simplicity of the code, Fogel and I have used it with very good effect and it's one of those effects that if you do have a spectator solve the code—it makes him very happy because he supposes he is more intelligent than the others! A little psychology goes a long way!
(28) "The Ouija Board"
Of all the forms for novel revelation of a chosen word, dead name, spirit message or what-have-you, this is one of the best and most suitable for seance room Mentalism. Although I have used a Ouija Board for many purposes, 1 did not think of it for this. 1 credit the idea to A1 Koran and the angle, although only a twist on presentation, is really good.
Most of you will know what a Ouija Board is—but for those of you that don't 1 will describe it briefly.
The Ouija Board is usually a plate of glass square or circular in shape and around the rim are stuck small pieces of card or paper which bear the letters of the alphabet; additional to 26 letter cards, there is usually a "Yes" card and a "No" card. In operation, a small tumbler is placed on the glass and the medium (sometimes with a sitter or two) places her fingertips on the bottom of the glass. (It goes upside down on the Ouija Board). It is now purported that the Spirits, acting through the Medium, move the glass around the board goirg from letter to letter thus spelling out a message. I
Those of you with lesser morals than myself, will readily see the wonderful opportunity to push the glass where you want it to go—and to Summerland* with the Spirits! So with the knowledge that we can easily make the Spirits spell out a word—it remains a matter of getting the word. In Step Six on Billets I gave you the easiest method in the World—the Centre Tear, and this would be a good place to use it. (See page 166). Alternative methods would be forcing, carbon impressions, pencil reading and billet switching; all these are to be found on the lower rungs! (Steps 1-8).
*Ncte.—Purely as a matter of interest, "Summerland" was the name given by an emminent Fraudulent Medium to the "home" of Spirits—
the world from which they come. One should picture the location as a sort of Astral Vineyard.
(29) Spirit Writing on a Slate
There are very many methods of producing a spirit message on a slate, and during the course of time 1 think I have explored the best of them. This one I have used very often and it is quite good.
Four people sit round a table, you have a slate cleaned by the sitter opposite you and then you both hold it under the table for a brief moment, having given the Spirits sufficient time to materialise a message the sitter pulls up the slate and there is chalked a few kinds words from Granny!
The modus operandi is cheeky—that's why 1 liked it. You have two slates and one of them is prepared with the message written in chalk. This slate lies in your lap as you sit opposite the victim. To your right is an assistant— although nobody knows it. All you have to do is to show the clean slate and take it in the left hand—as you go under the table you simply pick up the other slate in the right hand, push that forward into the subject's hand, but, at the same time, cross your arms and pass the clean slate to the assistant on your right who takes it into his lap and then sticks it up his jumper. This can be done without any conspicuous movement. Usually at this point 1 would give the assistant a chance to dispose of the slate by turning to him and saying "would you please get a duster—we may need it". He would get up and go for a duster, leave the other slate and return leaving the whole phoney set-up as clean as a whistle!
If you have one of those tables with cross bars just under the top—you can rest the message slate on the bars in place having it in the lap. It is all very simple and bewildering—which is what good spook stuff should be.
(30) "Strike a Light" By Punx
Usually any effect which involves putting all the lights out—is a waste of time, but in this case—working in the seance room—we have every opportunity for doing so and the trick is very good.
About a dozen people sit around the seance table. The performer works alone; he throws a box of matches on to the table and then turns his back to give instructions to the gathering. He asks any one of them to open the box and select any match from the thirty or forty therein. This done he tells that person to give the match to any other person who is then to mark their initials on the stem—at the end away from the head. The match is then replaced in the box and is thoroughly mixed with the others.
Now the performer turns round for the first time. He takes the box and ' calls for the lights to be turned off. As soon as they go off—within a matter of seconds the audience see him strike a match and with it burning in his hand he goes round the circle looking into the faces of the sitters. In front of one man he stops—and calls "Lights". As they go on—he blows out the match and hands it to this man saying—"this is the match chosen from the other fifty and you were the man to mark it with your initials!" He is right.
The match is examined by all—it is indeed the original match chosen by a spectator and it has the initials on the stem. All others in the box are also open to inspection and there is no clue to the mystery.
The method is quite simple. You have two boxes of matches. The first box which you throw on the table at the start contains matches which have all been dipped by their ends into luminous paint. When the lights are on this is not visible! So a luminous match is chosen and when this has been done you remark casually "can I have the box back please". Having regained the box—it is an easy matter to switch it for a box of untreated matches whilst your back is turned to the audience. The initials are marked on the chosen match and you throw the box behind you on to the table so that they can mix the luminous match , with the untreated ones. This done you have nothing more to do other than to have the lights put out. As soon as this is done you open the box and there will be one match glaring at you. Hold it by the tip so that others do not see the glow and strike it. As you do so you will find it an easy matter to read the initials on the stem and knowing who those initials belong to—go round the faces until you recognise that person.
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To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them