The apparatus consists of a hollow metal tube six inches long with a slit partly down one side. Inside the tube is a small plunger operated from the outside by a button making contact through the slit. At one end of the hollow tube, the tip of an ordinary pencil is fixed—the other end is left open. The complete job is finished to look exactly like an ordinary pencil—you cannot tell the difference unless you handle it. (Marketing rights are reserved on this apparatus).
To load the Billet Pencil, a piece of thin paper about the size of a ten shilling note is rolled tightly into a tube and then inserted after the plunger has been pulled back. Another method of dealing with the paper is to fold it in zig-zag fashion, like a continuous letter "W" (WWWW) so that when it comes out it expands. If tightly rolled, a £1 note can be loaded into the pencil. To operate the pencil when loaded, it is only necessary to push on the button with the thumb—and the billet shoots out completely.
There are very many uses for the apparatus—especially in the field of Predictions. We are dealing with tricks later on, but to give you an idea of the principle it is this. The Mentalist leaves a sealed envelope with a Newspaper Editor and tells him to keep it safe and unopened until he calls about a week later. When he arrives a week later he asks for the envelope, verifies that it has not been opened and then slits along the top and hands it to the Editor asking HIM to remove the contents and read it. Inside is found a piece of paper which predicts word for word the Headlines of the newspaper for that DAY. The Editor himself did not know what the headline would be until twenty-four hours previous! It appears that the prediction was written a week ago—a very good effect. The method of course is to have nothing in the envelope—and to shoot the billet in when you use the pencil to slit along the edge. If the billet is folded in the zig-zag manner, w hen it is in tbe envelope, if you run your fingers along the outside—pressing slightly—you will find the billet practically comes out fiat. If you use the rolled method you must adopt some form of misdirection to excuse the appearance of the billet and to overcome the danger that the Editor may well feel the sealed envelope and find or feel nothing in it:—
(¿7) The billet may be rolled and then placed in a very small rimless test tube—which is then corked or sealed. The test tube and billet complete are loaded into the pencil ^nd when desired the "message sealed in a little bottle" is shot into the envelope. It is natural for the paper to be rolled if it is in a small bottle, and the fact that it is in a bottle—gives extra conviction to the fact that all was sealed beforehand.
(b) In the presence of the Editor you write something (calling it a prediction) on a slip of paper and then ROLL IT UP and seal it in the envelope. He watches you roll it—so later when he sees the billet in rolled form, it is nothing more than he expected. When it comes to opening the envelope, obviously you have two billets. You use the pencil to open the envelope and shoot the second one in then. However, as you do so you grip the first through the envelope—and having slit it open, you appear to tip out the rolled billet on to the table or the Editor's hand. Whilst he unrolls that one to read it—you quietly remove the first and then put the envelope on the jable for examination.
(r) The first billet—a piece of paper the same size as the second is written with the message: " certify that the prediction enclosed in this envelope was written by me on May 16th, 1958*—signed Corinda". Now, this is very important, this piece of paper is rolled into two little rods—one piece of paper shaped like the letter "S" with one roll at the top and one at the bottom (see diagrams). When this is in the envelope—it feels like two pieces of rolled paper —actually it is one. Later, when the real prediction goes in you tip out, or they take out—two. They are told to read the "S" message first—and then to see if you have made a correct prediction from the other slip!
(d) This is one of the best methods—as it removes all danger of anyone tampering with the envelope in your absence. You start by simply showing the envelope sealed and telling the Editor that inside in a prediction concerning something that will happen in a week's time. You have him put his signature on the flap and then you lock it in a steel cash box and keep the key yourself. The lock may be sealed with wax to aid the precautions and the effect. This steel cash box is simply one of those strongly made cash boxes that cost about ten shillings and are obtainable from many office equipment companies and stationers. He cannot feel the envelope if it is locked in a cash box—and the sealing of the message under such elaborate conditions makes the trick so much more impressive. However, from your point of view—it is just as easy to perform. If you use this method—call the cash box "a safe deposit box" which sounds much more impressive—and should the trick receive any publicity in the press—the wording "safe deposit" could easily be misconstrued as "locked in the vaults of a bank"!! I mention this— because that is exactly what happened to me on one occasion.
To summarise the Billet Pencil—it is a beautiful thing. It is the very essence of natural behaviour—using natural apparatus. That is Mentalism.
This is a dealer-item on the market so I am not in a position to give you constructional details. However, I can say that for occasions when you are able to use a Paper Knife as an excuse to open an envelope this is a very good appliance. It works on the same principle as my Billet Pencil, that is, shooting t i f r r \ i the prediction into the envelope—but it has the drawback that you cannot carry a paper-knife as an everyday object in the pocket. The billet is unloaded from the tip of the knife—and it has been made in wood and metal.
(3) The Billet Knife—Sackville
This is a variation of the Dr. Jaks Billet Knife which shoots the billet from the side instead of the tip of the knife. It will accommodate a much larger billet and there is much less finger movement during operation than there is with both the Billet Pencil and Jaks Knife. The mechanism was designed by Neville Sackville and it works by a series of cross levers which operate from a button. When the operating button is pushed about one quarter of an inch—it forces out the billet which may be anything up to the size of a One pound note. Again it has the drawback that a Paper knife is not commonplace as a pocket item. Like the Billet Pencil, this item is in my catalogue as a Magical Dealer and so 1 have had every opportunity of examining the knife in detail. It is absolutely amazing how by moving one little lever a fraction of an inch—the knife shoots out a billet about three inches long -the principle is very ingenious and yet very simple. It is so powerful—that the billet can be shot out for a distance of two or three feet when the ejection mechanism is operated.
(4) The Impromptu Billet Knife
This is not something that you will use as a standard technique—but it is well worth knowing for an emergency. Any fairly wide table knife can be used as a Billet knife. On one side of the blade you must have something sticky to hold the folded billet. Chewing gum works like a charm—and in my experience is equally as good as any magician's wax I have encountered. The billet is stuck on the knife and the knife is used to open the envelope— after which, the billet is retained by finger pressure and the knife removed. If you must show both sides of the knife, you can use the "Paddle move"— but there is no reason to show both sides of the knife.
(5) The Pocket Index
This piece of apparatus consists of several bits of cardboard stuck together to form a miniature filing cabinet for the pocket. It is used to hold playing cards in a known order, and little tabs sticking up make it possible for you to count by feel to the position of any card in the index. The Pocket Index is a very useful piece of apparatus—it can be the modus operandi for many mental miracles. However, if you have ever bought one from a dealer— the chances are you got an instruction sheet which said something like— "put the cards in the index and when you want to remove one, count along the tabs and pull it out". That is an easy thing to write—and a very hard thing to do. Bearing in mind that more often than not—speed of location and accuracy are vital to the success of your trick, it stands to reason that your index must be well constructed and that you must be well practised. I can help you quite a bit on this subject as I have used a pocket index for a long time—and know the snags. On top of that 1 will give you the constructional details of a special pocket index for playing cards—that you will be able to make. This will reward you for the price you paid for this copy of Step Four, as the index I am about to describe is normally sold by me for 14/-.
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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.