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The chair is placed in a position which is well lit from above, as this makes the task much easier. The tray with the requirements in this order, from the bottom upwards, is on the chair:—

Pad and crayon pencil.

Table napkins.


The performer tells the audience that he wishes to demonstratenhe powcrsof "Sightless Vision", using some raiher technical language about physical phenomena, without becoming facetious, and then invites two members of the audience to come up and assist him, laying stress on the fact that members of the medical profession are particularly welcome to assist. The assistants are placed either side of the chair and invited to hold and examine the newspaper and table napkins.

The performer then takes the newspaper and separates it into sheets, folding them to make three pads:—

One twelve by six inches.

Two six by six inches.

These are then handed back to the assistants to be further examined. The table napkins are folded diagonally to make them about six inches' wide and handed back to the assistants. Placing the tray on his lap, the performer then sits on the chair and does not rise from it until the very end of the demonstration. The performer closes his eyes. Taking the two small pads the performer places one over each eye, making the edges overlap over the nose, but the bottom corner can come below the nose. The long pad is then placed over the two smaller pads so that at least two layers of pad cover each eye, the bottom edge should come to the tip of the nose.

Whilst this is being done, but before the long pad is placed in position the performer lowers his eyebrows and screws up his eyes and keeps them in this position until the blindfold has been completed and examined by the assistants.

The two table napkins are then tied by the assistants across the face—one napkin over the left eye and round the right ear, the other over the right eye and round the left ear, and the assistants are asked to make sure that the knots are really tight. They are then invited to examine the blindfold and to assure the audience that it would be impossible to see at all using normal vision.

At this moment the performer raises his eyebrows, whilst turning his head from side to side, and ensures that he has a clear "peep" down one side of his nose. This is quite easy with practice, and the tighter the blindfold the easier it is to get the "peep".

It is essential that the performer does not touch the blindfold with his hands at any time during the following demonstrations.

One assistant is asked to take the pad and crayon pencil from the tray whilst the other one takes the tray itself. The one with the tray is asked to collect six articles from the audience, if possible, articles such as driving licences, bank notes, engraved jewellery, club cards and keys which have identification marks or numbers, and to return the tray with the objects to the performer. The second assistant is asked to get a member of the audience to write a word in a foreign language on the pad and to return with the pad to the performer. The assistants are asked to stand slightly behind and each to one side of the performer and to place the tray on the performer's lap.

At this stage the showmanship must come in, to convince the audience that the objects are identified whilst held by the performer in front of his blindfolded eyes and I advise anyone trying to get up an act of this nature to rehearse, rehearse and rehearse before trying it out even in front of the family. If humour comes naturally, it can be used in describing the articles, use speed on the uninteresting but dwell on the articles of interest, such as an endorsement on a driving licence, a key or an unusual object. Always leave an interesting and apparently difficult object to last. Return the objects to the tray handing the tray back to the assistant.

The second assistant is then asked to hand over the pad, which is "peeped" and then he is asked for the crayon pencil. Holding the pad at normal eye level the performer turns his head slightly away from the audience and immediately, slowly and deliberately copies the word. It is as well to make some reference to the handwriting, or if possible the origin of the word, or maybe some appropriate reply.

The pad and pencil are handed to the assistant and the applause, which is never missing if this is done properly, is cut short by the performer raising his arms sideways and in a loud voice requesting the assistants to remove the blindfold.

At this moment the performer must close his eyes very tightly and keep them closed until the blindfold is completely removed, so that his reaction to light will be that of a person who has been in the dark for a long time.

He rises from his chair, asks the assistants to return the borrowed objects and "props" and with some further remarks about "well you too could do this if you knew how" takes the final applause.

To gain the maximum effect of "Sightless Vision" it should not be part of a conjuring show but rather included in a demonstration of mental magic or pseudo-psychic phenomena.

A word of warning — if there is a chance that the audience will be able to experiment and try to reproduce your miracle immediately after your performance, be careful to finish the show with something quite away from "Sightless Vision", or the observant will be showing their friends how you did it.

I contend that the chief requirement for a good presentation of "Sightless Vision" is showmanship accompanied by a thorough knowledge of what you are going to do and the methods you wish to employ. In this particular field the know-how is the least important requirement and every effort must be made to convince the audience that you too are convinced that you arc demonstrating a power which they all have.

(1) Psychical Research versus Mentalism. Corinda

For many years I have dabbled in what is called "Psychical Research" and during that time I have encountered many people and societies concerned with the subject. About two years ago I met with one group of investigators who called themselves by a name that suggested they would prove the existence of supernatural phenomena. In order to prove their point, it was claimed that their various tests and experiments were conducted on scientific lines, which supposedly eliminated chance, luck and trickery. This to me was a challenge because I am a firm contender that scientific training cannot make an investigator competent to deal with experiments that could involve trickery. A well trained magician will soon baffle a well trained scientist! The only man to do the job is someone skilled in both fields— magic and research.

At this particular time, the organisation who shall remain nameless to avoid any embarrassment, were dealing with a series of card guessing experiments, conducted along the lines of Dr. Rhine's work using E.S.P. or sign cards. At two ends of a table sat the subjects a distance of about seven feet between them. Across the middle of the table was erected a screen of plywood. On one side of the screen the first subject ("the transmitter") was given any one of five cards. Each card had a different design. The transmitter looked at it and attempted to project a mental picture of that design to the subject at the other end of the table (the "recipient") Research officer stood by taking records of correct and incorrect "calls" and doubtlessly on the look out for cheating.

One day I "discovered" a medium, a young lady with highly developed "psi faculty" and her "sister" who likewise had strange mental abilities. The society "tested" the two under their scientific conditions and two months later published their findings to the effect that these ladies were capable of controlled telepathy.

This is the first time the truth has been told, and the method divulged. The swindle, as such it was, having been performed not simply to make a fool of a group of investigators, but more so to show them that "findings" of psychical research mean very little when supplied by unqualified investigators.

One girl was seated at the end of the table behind the screen. Acting as transmitter, she was to convey thoughts to her sister at the other end of the table. The latter girl, the recipient, was blindfolded by the investigators and she was given a pad and pencil with which to draw her impressions. Twenty-five cards were used, the pack consisting of five designs repeated five times. The designs were:—A circle, a cross, a triangle, a square and a star. The cards were mixed in a box, withdrawn one at a time by different investigators who did not look at the design until the medium herself had attempted to "send" it (this was to prevent the recipient from reading their thoughts!). The medium took the chosen card, looked at it, put it down on the table and simply nodded. The investigator would tell the other girl the card had been seen and did so every time by saying one word "Now". Every time five cards had been dealt with, two people were asked to leave the room so that in turn, everybody was outside at some point in the experiment. The score as a result of the test was twenty three correct out of twenty five. It could have been twenty five correct—but the little difference convinced everyone it was genuine.

The method, as you will have guessed, is a code system—but I wouldn't mind a little gamble that it would fool you if you did not know. I had to devise a simple code that would survive their test conditions. It was sound— and the sound was made by the playing card being dealt on to the table! Practically the only thing the medium could do—was to look at a card and then put it down. The table top was hard polished wood—so get a card and see what you make of this. The five designs can be remembered as 1,2, 3, 4 or 5 by their construction (see page 38, Step Two). If it was No. 1, the card was placed on the table without any noise. If No. 2, it was caused to make one click simply by bending slightly as it is put down. No. 3 makes two clicks by putting the index finger in the middle, holding both short ends with fingers and thumb and letting one end go after the other. If it was No. 4, the card is put down without noise, then picked up again in such a way that it makes a sliding noise and one click, then it is looked at and again replaced quietly. No. 5 was the same as No. 4 for the start—but instead of replacing it without noise it was put down as No. 1 with a single click. That is all there is to it!

There were times during the experiment when the silence of the room seemed to be broken by the deafening crash of a little card hitting the table, but no one could hear the noise because THEY were not listening for it. Now to adapt the trick with perhaps even more mystery—you can have two subjects and blindfold both. As long as one can see the cards given to her—perhaps by peeking—it will be easy to do.

I have gone to some lengths to describe this plot as the principle is undoubtedly terrific, and if it was given in a couple of words—you may pass it by. With the full circumstances telling of its use, you will appreciate more how something so simple can be worth its weight in tons of gimmicks. It is a method which embodies an essential of good Mentalism—and that is natural behaviour.

(2) 4'Mental Masterpiece'' by Maurice Fogel

Anyone who has had the good fortune to witness "The Amazing Fogel" performing a series of Mental miracles, will know that it is not so much what he does, as how he does it. With showmanship, almost unrivalled throughout the world, Fogel will slay an audience with the mere trifle of a trick. This effect is one that he has used with great success and I am endebted for his contribution in this Step. The effect is a Prediction which is performed partly whilst blindfolded. Two persons are invited on to the stage to assist. One is given a sealed envelope containing, as you say, a card upon which is written one word—a word that you predict will be chosen. On one table is a pile of about twenty different newspapers. In your pocket you have a red pencil and nearby stands a blackboard with chalk ready for writing.

When the two assistants arrive and one has been given the sealed envelope to hold tightly, the other is told to go to the table and choose any newspaper.

You do not appear to pay any attention to his choice, and whilst he does that, you put on a blindfold. However, in actual fact you make a very careful note of the paper he chooses. When he is ready, you tell the other spectator to take the red pencil that you will hand to him, to open the chosen newspaper at any page and to underline any word. You stand near enough to be able to peek what word he underlines. This having been done you move casually away and tell him to note the name of the paper and then to mix it with the others in the pile.

Next you point out that whilst blindfolded a paper has been chosen and a word freely selected from many thousands. You ask to be lead to the table and when there, go through the actions of finding the chosen paper. You take two or three, hold them in the air as though trying to get some "feeling" from them, discard one and then another until you are left with the chosen one in the hand. You display the name of this paper to the audience so that they can see that you are right also. Then hand that paper, unopened, to the first spectator. Tell him to hold it for a moment whilst you show the complete audience what is written on the card sealed in the envelope. Take the prediction from the assistant and cross over to the black board; there rip open the envelope, remove the card and look at it and then MISWRITE the name so that you spell out the word chosen in the newspaper. The audience do not know what it is yet! Have something written on the card so that you can casually flash something written. When you have the word written in bold letters, tell the man with the newspaper to open it and find the word underlined in red and to call it out. This he does. You immediately ask the other person to confirm that this was the word he actually chose— it is, so he must agree!

The blindfold is removed as you get to the blackboard. You are supposed' to look at the card to check your prediction. Make nothing of the card— and the audience will forget it ever existed.

An alternative method of sighting the underlined word is to glimpse it when you run through the papers to locate the chosen one. If you can do this without appearing to open the paper, the effect is so much the better.

The advantage of asking the spectator to check through the paper and find the word underlined is that you get a time lapse which helps to withdraw attention from the fact that you copied the card writing (apparently) on to the board. You make sure that the man who does the final check is not the man who actually underlined the word. Otherwise he knows where to look and it would be found too quickly. Lastly, when you watch him underline a word with the red pencil, you can also take the opportunity of looking at the top of the page to see the name of the paper—just to confirm that your original glimpse was right.

(3) "X-Ray" Eyes by Corinda

This is another one of those little things that its nice to know because you can use it impromptu and it has an astounding effect upon onlookers. A pack of cards are borrowed, any seven are removed and any one is chosen for the experiment. The seven are taken by a spectator and mixed, given to you, and then your hands are immediately covered completely with a handkerchief. Your hands are in the middle of the table aw ay from the lap (!) You appear to have "X-ray" Eyes—because from under the handkerchief you will pull out one card and that one is the chosen one. It can be examined microscopically as it IS NOT MARKED in any way. The effect can be repeated indefinitely—with those cards or with another seven from the deck.

The method is a principle that I have used widely with playing cards and have found it extremely useful and deceptive. 1 call it location by "negative reasoning", and it will serve you well to apply it when performing mentalism with cards. When you know the method you are liable to question its probability to fool, but you will only have to use it once or twice to realise how good it is.

You have seven cards and must locate one. The one you must locate is the centre of attraction so you leave it alone and mark the other six! By negative reasoning you have no idea which is his card—but you can soon find out which it is not!! Somehow the average man does not think to look at the others, logic makes him examine the card you found and it is beyond reason to think that you really found six and the one left was the chosen one.

The method of marking the cards is one that I found myself. 1 daresay it is not new and most methods of marking cards have surely been discovered. However, it serves its purpose and that is all that matters. In Step Two, writing about a trick pack called the "Ghost Deck" I have given drawings on page 46 which show a fingernail running down the edge of a card. This is the marking method. At the same spot on each of the six cards you press slightly with the nail directly on the edge. The pressure causes the edge to expand very slightly—but not enough to be seen. To read the marking, the card is run through the ball of first finger and thumb and if it is marked a distinct bump is felt, against a smooth edge if it is unmarked. Makethe marking exactly where you know where to feel later. It can be done so quickly, and with such natural handling, that six cards can be marked as they are dealt on to the table one by one.

Under cover of the handkerchief—be sure to check both ends for markings as the cards may have been reversed in the shuffle by the spectator. If you wish, when everybody is examining the chosen card afterwards, you can dispose of the marked six on to the deck and then cut it, or switch them for six unmarked ones or, if you like, remove the markings by squeezing the marked edge through the fingertips. I have never yet found it necessary to worry about the other six.

As alternative forms of presentation, you can locate the card whilst holding them all behind your back, under the table or above your head. It can be done blindfolded, with the cards in a bag or hat, spectator's pocket or in total darkness.

(4) A Gem of Mental Magic by Corinda

For many years one principle has been exploited by my enthusiasm from every conceivable point of view. It is the principle of the Centre Tear or Torn Centre. I would say that this is one of the greatest things of Mentaiism —if not the greatest. I have encountered many good ways of doing and using the Centre Tear and it is used to grand effect in this trick.

Step Six on Billets gives you all the basic technique for doing the Centre Tear. Once the timing and misdirection is mastered the steal is perfect. So easy in fact, that it can be done with your eyes closed or blindfolded—and that is what you have to do for this trick. Should any be in doubt that this can be done with success, I am ever willing to do it if you care to ask.

The spectator is given a small square of paper and told to think of any word or person's name. To wait until you are blindfolded and then to PRINT it down. To fold the paper and give it to you. (You should consult Step Six for the exact patter, paper size and preparation of the billet). Whilst blindfolded you take the paper slip and hold it undamaged to your forehead attempting to "read" the name. After what appears to be a mental struggle— you shrug your shoulders and proclaim, "Sorry, somehow I am getting interference from another place—it is your handwriting and not another persons' ?" When you started you said "print it" not write it so you can argue that it should have been handwritten and not printed. Appear to give up, say "Never mind, take another bit of paper and do it again, but please be sure to use your own handwriting . . ." as you talk you casually tear up the other billet and do the Centre Tear as you go. He thinks it is done with so for a moment his attention is off the billet. Drop the scraps in front of you on the table and whilst he writes the second billet—read the first.

When he is ready, tell him to ROLL his paper into a ball and hold it against your forehead. Now you tell him what he has written when the billet is in his own hands and then you have done something! I always give the torn centre a couple of extra tears after reading and then add it to the other bits on the table—just in case he should be intelligent enough to look there!

(5) The Bartender's Nightmare!

It does not take a census poll to discover that quite a lot of magic is done by performers who are supported by the saloon bar. Quick tricks that can be done for light entertainment in "the pub" are worth knowing. This one you could also do at the Townswomen Guild Tea Party or for that matter, whilst playing Croquet with the Vicar on the Parish Lawns.

You blindfold yourself with a handkerchief. You ask the barman to take' a pound note from his pocket and roll it into a ball, then to give it to you. You take it and for a moment hold it to your forehead—then immediately give it back. Still blindfolded you reach into your pocket and remove your visiting card and a pencil. On this you jot down three numbers. You whip off the blindfold, ask the barman to unroll the note and call out the last three numbers. This done, you hand him the card and let him see that you have written those three numbers on it.

The Method? Swami Gimmick—Step One!

(6) The Blindfold Drive and Location of Objects Hidden at a Distance

Effects of this type, although requiring the use of a Blindfold, have been left to Step Twelve "Publicity Stunts" where they can be given a wider explanation.

(7) Corinda's "Money Box"

The Effect. A small black money box stands on a table and it contains an amount of real money. One spectator is asked to take part. The performer is blindfolded and stands about ten feet away from the box. The spectator opens the box and removes as much money as he likes. That is, he can take it all, leave any amount or if he likes—take none and leave it all. He closes the box and locks it and then tells the performer that he is ready.

Remaining at a distance of ten feet away from the box and spectator and without asking any questions, the performer correctly names how much money has been taken and then tells the exact date on every coin held in the spectator's hand.

There are alternative variations for presentation and we will deal with them when we have first considered the apparatus.

The Method. A box is so designed that when coins are placed in it, they form an electrical contact across two terminals. This contact lights a small torch bulb which shows a pin-point of light through a hole in the back of the box. Altogether, there are four sets of these terminals and four coins are used to make contact. The design and construction of The Money Box is comparatively simple. Having made and sold a good many, we know most of the potential snags and these have been eliminated in the plans given in the drawings.

Constructional Details

The box is made of wood. The thickness about one quarter of an inch. With observation, you may be able to find a box ready made that will do— and that can be adapted. It should be about 7 in. long by 5 in. wide and 4 in. deep. The lid is hinged and may be locked by a small catch at the front.

Inside the box, on the base at the back is stuck a strip of wood J in. square. This strip has four holes drilled through of sufficient diameter to accommodate a small 2.5 volt torch bulb. In line with the centre of these holes, running right through the back of the box are four pin-holes. They should be made with a 1/32 in. drill or a hot needle. The pin-holes are so small that they are practically invisible—and yet, when the light shines through them, it can be clearly seen.

The fact that the four bulbs are pushed into a hole makes the box literally lightproof—which is an essential feature.

To the strip that holds the bulbs is fixed a set of adapters. The bulbs screw into these adapters. On each adapter is two terminals and we shall deal with the simple wiring system in a moment.

The bulbs, adapters and battery must obviously be concealed, so we make a false bottom to the box which will cover the mechanism inside. A section of three-ply wood is cut to fit just inside the box and good fit cuts out any stray light. It can be supported by small strips of wood running around the inside of the base compartment.


When the false bottom has been made, cover it with a green baize material. Next nail eight small brass tacks in a line across the middle of the false bottom. The heads of these tacks will act as terminals and when a coin is placed across two of them it will complete one circuit. Let the pointed ends of the tacks go right through the wood as these will act as contacts for the circuit inside.

To conceal the heads of the tacks, we fix a strip of elastic across the row, nailing it down between EACH PAIR of terminals. This elastic serves two purposes, it hides the terminals and it pulls the coin down making and maintaining a good contact. If the coins were just left to lie on the terminals, the slightest jar would break the contact and ruin the trick. As it is, they are locked quite firmly in position and they have to be removed before it is possible to put out a light. With this arrangement we have tested a Money Box by shaking violently—and still you maintain a perfect contact. You will appreciate that sending them to my customers through the post—has been a pretty good testing ground!

All that remains now, apart from painting the box black, is to insert a 4£ volt torch battery and wire the circuit. To make this easily understood we will describe it as follows.

First use one piece of wire to join every other tack-head terminal together and lead that wire to any one of the battery terminals. Fix it there, as with other joins, by soldering or using a radio twist.

Next join every other adapter terminal with one length of wire and lead this to the other battery terminal.

You are now left with four tack-terminals and four adapter terminals. Using four separate pieces of wire, join these together so that you have one of each linked—a tack-terminal with an adapter terminal. That completes the necessary wiring, however, the diagrammatic circuit drawing will make things clear should you be confused.

Understanding Mind Control

Understanding Mind Control

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