R r c i c cr i i

(8) The Body Index (Corinda)

Later on in this series we shall be discussing a "Mentalists Pack"—which is a pack of cards containing duplicates so that the maximum number of different spot cards is only ten. With such a pack, or with any trick where the possibilities can be confined to ten—we are able to index the cards by distribution on our persons and since this requires no apparatus whatsoever— we will find it a good standb> for emergencies:—

Consider the EFFECT—a pack is handed to a spectator to mix they are then fanned and the spectator told to remember any card he can see. The deck is placed aside and then the Mentalist asks that the card be named. No sooner is the chosen card declared—than the spectator is asked to reach into the Mentalisfs jacket pocket and pull out the contents. He removes one card—the only card in the pocket and the same one as he thought of a moment ago. There are very many variations of revealing the chosen card from the index—this is but one.

To index the cards, as we call it, "on your body"—start with the lowest value and place that down the left-hand side of your left ankle (just tuck it into the sock) it should face the leg. Put the next one (in value order all the time) down the right-hand side of the left ankle, put the third down the left side of the right ankle—the fourth down the right side of the right ankle. To show any one of these cards—without revealing the others is a simple matter. Suppose it was to be the Ace—situated down the left side of the left ankle. You would turn the body to face the left side to the audience, make sure the left leg was pointing directly at them, then slowly pull up the trouser leg and raise just enough for all to see a card stuck in your sock! Since they cannot see through your leg they will not get a chance to see Number Two on the other side.

From the legs or the ankles, we move up the body to the pockets; keeping to our system of going from left to right we start with the trouser pockets. In the left goes number Five—and in the right, number Six. Then up a bit more to the outside jacket pockets—left number Seven—right number Eight. We now come right up to the top jacket pocket—the handkerchief pocket for number Nine—and number Ten goes into the wallet on the inside pocket (jacket) or it may just stay in that pocket. It takes you two seconds to think w here any card maybe found and if you present the effect correctly— no one will suspect that you ever had anything BUT ONE CARD. Some performers may prefer to have each card sealed in a paypacket or to use index cards that have a different coloured back to the deck in use.

The application of the Body Index System during a routine will be seen in Part III under a stage trick called "Quadruplication" by Corinda.

(9) The Swami Gimmick

A survey of the Technique of Predictions would be incomplete without mention of the Swami Gimmick. However, Step One of this series gives you precise details of this small apparatus and further writing would be superfluous. There are many good Predictions included in the Step One book— and you would be advised to run through them.

(10) The Switch and The Force

Many Predictions rely on the technique of switching an envelope or forcing a card or other things. There are very many methods by which this may be done—but there is no necessity whatsoever to know them all. The most you should try and master is ONE good way to switch (or exchange) say a Billet, ONE good way to switch an Envelope. ONE good way to switch a Pack of cards and so on. Never mind about v ariations—there is no necessity to search constantly for new and better ways—if you work hard enough on any solitary method—you will get it down to a fine art. The same applies to Forcing. Learn ONE good card force and use it—for it is better to find different ways to present an effect by forcing a card, than it is to find different forces to present the same old effect.

We will give a few examples—but it is as well to mention that you have at your disposal a more detailed examination of Billet Switching in Step Six and Card Forcing in Step Ten.

(a) To switch an Envelope, a Billet, a Pellet or Playing Card—there are two outstanding requirements. Misdirection and Timing. We will analyse the Scarne Pellet Switch as an example.

Scarne Pellet Switch

The Scarne Pellet Switch is an ideal way of exchanging two pellets. It is easy to do, hard to detect, almost impossible to do wrong and is not widely known. Basically it is this. You have one small rolled pellet (a cigarette paper) on the table. You have one in the hand, moreover, you must now swap one for the other without anyone knowing. The one in the hand we shall call Pellet "X"—the one on the table Pellet "Z Hold "X" pinched between the second finger and ball of the thumb—the first finger extends a bit. Go to "Z" and pick it up with the first finger and ball of thumb and at the same time drop "X". In effect you swap over fingers on the ball of your thumb and at the same time pick up and drop a Pellet. So we know the MOVES—but there is more to it than that. Our next consideration is how to cover the move —Why should we pick up the Pellet in the first place? Scarne utilises this switch in his Think-a-Card' routine (a good mental effect) when the Pellets are used in conjunction with cards. The pack is spread face downwards and a card withdrawn. The Mentalist has just written a prediction and dropped the Pellet on to the table. The card is taken and placed over the Pellet—so that it cannot be touched! Now we have our MISDIRECTION, for when we want to get the Pellet later to see if it predicts the card correctly, we can reach forward, lift the card slightly, bring forth the Pellet and drop it bang in the middle of the card. It would appear that you have just taken the Pellet and put it from underneath the card to the top. The switch is performed then. It remains now for us to consider the TIMING. If we dropped the Pellet on to the table, immediately covered it with a card and then without so much as a pause lifted it out and put it on top of the card—we w ill have to work out why the card was placed over the Pellet in the first place. It is not right—we must allow time to pass to make the move logical and then, accompanied by suitable patter and action—all in the right tempo—we make the move. (You will be able to use the Cigarette Packet Pellet Index to perform this trick).

Our analysis shows the rudiments of the switch. If we understand the general principle—we can switch anything within reason. You don't have to go reading through dozens of magic books to find a method—it is much, better that you construct your ow n sw itch. If you start by saying to yourself— "Now I want to exchange this piece of paper for that—how can 1 do it"— solve that and then say "Now how can 1 hide the moves under cover of misdirection and timing". You will find that when you get the switch—it is the one which suits you and your style as no other switch can—because no other switch was made for you. Bear in mind that Misdirection comes in many shapes and forms—in Patter, Sound, Action, Facial Expressions— especially the eyes—and if you use misdirection you will be able to perform anything equal to the most complicated sleight in existence. We will consider two more examples.

The Switch of a Pack of Cards

We shall deal with this from a purely theoretical point of view. The spectator has seen the deck and we want higi to hold it—but at the same time we desire to switch the deck so that he really holds another pack. We have the second pack in our left jacket pocket. We take the pack he has seen and say "Now 1 want you to put the cards in your jacket pocket and hold your hand over the flap like this . . . following the action to the words you SHOW him what you want, put the pack in the left pocket, let go, take out the hand and hold down the flap apparently securing the cards in the pocket—reach back—take out pack No. 2 and give it to him—where-, upon he immediately puts it in his pocket.

If the action was performed in a natural manner—it would not seem unnatural that you should show the spectator what to do—that is why the right patter with the right movements is of the greatest importance. There is a degree of boldness in this type of work—and boldness should not be scorned; as long as the switch is not blatant—you can be as cheeky as you like.

The Bare Hand Envelope Switch

This serves as another theoretical example—although you will find that the method is used during a "Just Chance" routine published in Step Two. It is a case of having two envelopes on show and wanting to switch one for the other. The technique is the height of boldness—you literally exchange them under their noses! BUT IT WORKS. You have no stack of envelopes —no mechanical apparatus or gimmicks—the only requirement is the Mentalist's Best Friend—personal ability.

The spectator holds envelope "X" you hold "Z" and want to swap. You go up to him and ask him to be sure that he still has the folded paper sealed inside—and instinctively he begins to feel the envelope. Immediately you reach forward and take—I repeat—take it from him saying "look if I hold it up to the light you can see the shadow of the paper inside—right?" You hold his envelope "X" in your right hand and "Z" in the left. Without much waiting you continue, "and the same with this one—you see the shadow again?" Timing the move (if it can be called a move since you do nothing) you bring down his envelope and for a second bring the two together, one on top of the other—then show him "X" AGAIN—but at the same time you say "and you see the shadow again"—as though you were showing number two. You cannot detect when the envelopes are together—whether they are switched or not—and to prove it—you will see the spectator's eyes go straight back to your left hand which he honestly thinks holds his envelope —this one you give him.

These few examples should be sufficient to illustrate the general principles of switching. It would be pointless to overburden you with dozens of varied techniques and since it all depends on what you want to switch, the best approach is to understand the simple rules and apply them to the best of your ability.

(b) Forcing. Here again we can only deal with the matter by analysis and cope with general principles. I will, however, step out of line from other writers and probably make a few enemies by advocating that you discard some accepted methods of forcing. I refer to such methods as those which involve weird and wonderful apparatus and quaint sayings. I refer to such classics as the Drawer Box and the Changing Bag. Doubtlessly these items were good in their day—but their day is past and outside of doing a Mental Act in a Cathedral I wouldn't go w ithin a mile of a changing Bag. If apparatus has to be used to perform a Force or a Switch—it is essential that it is in keeping with Mentalism and that it does not in any way resemble a conjuring appliance. One of the cleanest mechanical switches available to the Mentalist is the Dunninger-Annemann Routine using a changing tray as is described on page 133 of Annemann's "Practical Mental Effects", the tray may also be used for Forcing.

Aside from unsuitable apparatus (and there are a lot more examples that could be given) we are bound to reject the peculiar approach which always ends with the tag line "That leaves". This is an utter waste of time and a lot of nonsense. Suppose you have to force one of three books. You lay them all in a row on the table and say "kindly select any two" and if they leave the force book—go straight ahead without saying "that leaves this one"— what else could it do? If not, you say, "thank you, give me one of them"— if you get the force book you make it appear that this one was selected for the test, if they keep it, you say "right, that's the one you have chosen so that's the one we shall use".

As for cards, the easiest way to force a card is to use a Forcing Pack and after that there are many methods and as long as you know ONE good way— that's all you need to know.

Other forces achieved by the use of Dice, coins etc. may be used, but generally speaking they do not improve the effect. I detest Book Tests that start off by the throwing of a pair of dice and then go into a long involved counting-location of one word. I would sooner use a Swami Gimmick and do away completely with the force in the first place. All these things you must judge for yourself—and as a general guide to forcing—make it quick, clean and simple and above all, make it convincing.

(11) The Prediction Chest

This is usually a costly affair. A special box bestowed with the title "Prediction Chest" and if you can afford the luxury it is a good thing to have. There are,two or three types available, Nelson Enterprises (Magical Dealers, U.S.A.) market one variety, and there are others you can buy or make. The principles vary. Sometimes the billet is shot from the key into the chest when the lock is undone—sometimes the billet is written on whilst it is in the chest and sometimes the billet is switched although the chest is locked. If you want a really reliable model you would do best to buy one rather than risk a home made model.

(12) Trickery with Envelopes

(a) The Carbon Prediction Envelope

This can be a very good technique and with the right sort of trick and presentation you have one of the best methods of working.

The idea is to have a specially prepared envelope. Inside the envelope is stuck a sheet of BLACK carbon paper, it goes on the address side with the glossy side outwards so that when you put a card in the envelope and then impress from outside, the writing is duplicated by carbon impression on the card inside. However, it is as well to dress the plot a little more and to have a letter or fully worded prediction in place of a plain card in the envelope. If you "line up" the wording inside so that you know the exact spot above the spaces in the prediction, you can write on the envelope and fill in as you go. Further details about this type of thing appear in Step One—which also covers work with N.C.R. white carbon envelopes and paper, and Stylus writers.

Under the heading of Stage Tricks Part III we give an example effect using this technique.

(b) The Nest of Envelopes

There are three ways that you can use the Nest of Envelopes. First, you can have them all sealed at the start and by having the middle one prepared as for the Carbon Prediction Envelope you can press hard with a ball pen to get the writing-copy on a Prediction in the middle of the Nest. Or, you can have them all nested but open ready to drop the small card into the middle one and then seal quickly. For this you use a Swami to write on the card and then produce the envelopes under cover of misdirection loading the card inside. Third, you may transfer a carbon impression of some writing into the centre envelope.

To seal them all quickly you may use Rubber Cement along the edges so that the envelopes seal on impact or by slight pressure, alternatively you may use the "Seal-easy" type paypacket which is obtainable from stationers in various sizes and which require no preparation. You just press the flap down to seal—no licking is required.

Three nesting envelopes are usually considered sufficient although Robert-Houdin describes an effect which uses six.

Under the heading Part IV. Drawing Room Tricks, we give an effect to illustrate this technique.

(13) Stooges

This is no place for an argument about whether or not you should use stooges. All I'm going to say is this. I use them—quite a lot, and I'll list a few of the dodges that come in useful—and if you want to copy them good luck—and if not—suit yourself.

You can classify Stooges into two groups—those who volunteer and those who have no choice. I raiher like the second group as they act normally up to the last minute! This is a simple effect that was taught to me by "Teddy" Love in a lecture some time ago—I believe he credited it to A1 Koran. The effect literally paralyses an audience—it's incredible. You ask for any two people to help and any two come on to the stage. You have three packs of cards and give each person a free choice of one pack. They stand behind you and both are told to open their cases and to remove any card from the pack and put it in their top jacket pocket back outwards. You do the same with a card from your pack. You then take each deck and fan to show that every pack is made up of different cards. Then you turn to the left spectator and say—"and what did you choose" he shows the Four of Clubs—you you turn to the one on the right "and what did you choose", he also chose the Four of Clubs and you then show the one card in your pocket—The Four of Clubs! Alternatively, you show your card first and the spectators show theirs afterwards. The method is very simple. The face card in every pack is a joker which has a gummed label reading "LOOK! Help me to fool the others—take the Four of Clubs and keep this a secret between us— thanks"; the label is stuck over the face of the joker. There are one or two finer points. You glance back to see that both spectators are reading the joker-fake when they take their cards out and, to make it easy for them to find the black Four of Clubs quickly—you put it near the face of-the pack and surround it with all red cards so that it stands out clearly. Finally, you avoid showing the fake-joker when fanning the cards to the audience.

A similar technique has been used by various people including Annfcmann when a pocket watch is handed out to the audience—one spectator gets it and is asked to set it at any time. You have predicted that time. On the face of the watch is a small label reading "Please set the watch to 8.45 and keep this a secret". The label is such that it can be removed easily—and any of the self-adhesive variety will do.

Summary of Technique

It may well be said that no Mental Act is really complete without at least one Prediction. The importance of this type of trick has been stressed in the opening. We have seen that there are many ways and means to produce this type of effect and we have covered a selection of apparatus generally used for this work. Needless to say, there are other methods and pieces of equipment—but the selection I have covered have been chosen as representative of basic technique and there is nothing like sound, time-tested procedure.

Finally, a word or two about presentation. Predictions are not the easiest of effects to work—that is, to work properly. There are three common failings which can quickly reduce the trick to a low level of entertainment. First, the plot—unless it is easy to understand the audience cannot fully appreciate the achievement at the end. It is very easy to slip into a complex, involved preparation that so confuses the audience that they forget what has occurred. You probably know what I mean—it is the sort of effect that goes like this:—

"Take a card, sign your name on it, put it in this envelope which I will now mix with the other six I have here. Now I will number each envelope from one to seven and I will ask you to mix them all so that 1 do not know which one contains your card. Now I would like to draw your attention to that slate which is standing on the table—please remember it is on show all the time. Now we will have another person take a card from this pack which has a different coloured back from the one you used. Will you please take a card and sign your name and then also place it in this envelope. Again I shall mix your envelope with six others and number them so before you mix them. Now both of you have a stack of seven envelopes—and . . . ."

I won't burden you with any more of that nonsense—but that's how it goes—and you should never be guilty of such an offence to Mentalism. Keep the plot clear and if possible—quick. Avoid unnecessary distractions— misdirection is the only excuse for diverting attention.

The second common failing is lack of good timing. Far too many magicians and mentalists do not pay sufficient attention to the tempo of the trick. They will deal to the nearest split second with the running time of their act—but forget that each trick has a running time of its own. More than that—it is not just a matter of how long it takes to do the trick. It is also very important to know at what rate to perform the effect. With every Prediction effect there is always one crucial moment when you are in the best position to end the trick. You do not necessarily end the trick just as soon as you have completed the mechanics—you always end when interest is at its maximum—or, with an element of surprise—just before the audience anticipate the conclusion. It is generally a good policy to increase the tempo towards the end so that the added pace becomes part of the build up to the climax. Remember that varied tempo makes presentation interesting and that never changing rate is like never changing speech—monotonous. No book can really convey a proper understanding of perfect timing—it is a thing which experience alone can teach.

- The third common failing is what I always call "The re-cap complex". Unfortunately, most predictions have to go through several stages of preparation. Aware of this, the performer frequently reminds the audience of all the various things that were done so that they may understand at the end—just what was achieved. Sometimes there is no answer to this— recapitulation—it has to be so; but on other occasions it is not necessary. From what 1 have seen I suppose that there are Mentalists who think that recapitulation is part of presentation. In my opinion it is not. It is both boring and frustrating to see a person go through several stages—and then turn round and keep reminding you what he did. Unless it adds to the impact of the effect—or simplifies the understanding of the trick—try and talk about something other than that which everybody knows you have done; it is as well to remember that the audience have nothing better to do than to sit and watch you perform—so you should expect them to know what is happening. If they do not—your trick is due for reconstruction.

The next tw o parts of this Step deal with a selection of Prediction effects. They have been divided into two classes—those suitable for stage and those suitable for drawing room or more intimate gatherings. Most of the tricks have been chosen to illustrate some particular approach or technique for the performance of Predictions. As far as possible I have given credit where it is due, and I am grateful to the many people who have contributed effects and suggestions in this Step.

PART THREE: PREDICTIONS FOR THE STAGE

(1) "A Million to One" by Corinda

If ever a book on mentalism was named appropriately , the Cook & Buckley effort called "Gems of Mental Magic"—was rightly named. The book is indeed full of gems—and it was from an effect called "It's a small world" published in the book—that gave me the original idea of this trick.

The original effect, as an effect—was excellent. However, the method required the use of an assistant and a large globe of the world—w hich could be costly. It was a Prediction. The performer wrote out his prediction in full view, sealed it in an envelope and then had a spectator stick a pin anywhere into the globe. When the name of the nearest town or city was announced—it was shown that the Prediction also gave that name! There's nothing wrong with that for a stage trick!! However, I so much liked the plot that 1 decided to work a little harder to try and simplify the mechanics— and as a result 1 call this variation "A Million to One"—and give my thanks to "Gems of Mental Magic'* for the inspiration.

The Effect. The performer asks for the assistance of a member of the audience who comes on to the stage. He then writes something on a card, which in turn is sealed in an envelope and signed by the spectator. The envelope is then handed to the spectator on the stage—who is told to put it in his pocket and on no account let you (the performer) touch it again.

You now draw attention to a large board upon which is pinned a map. This can be a map of the world—but we prefer to have it a map of England which does away with large areas of sea—see?!

You explain that you have made a Prediction of something that will occur very soon but you do not indicate exactly what it will be. You go on to say that in a moment your assistant, the spectator, will be invited to stick a pin anywhere he likes into the map—but just in case some members of the audience may be a little suspicious—you will blindfold the spectator who will then stick the pin in and arrive at a town or city by pure chance.

You blindfold the spectator—with a genuine blindfold so that he cannot see. You then lead him across the stage and stand him in front of the map. You put a pin in his hand and tell him now to wave his hand round in three big circles and then to jab forward and stick the pin into the board. This lie does. As soon as the pin is pushed into the board you bring out a small pocket torch and light up the surrounding area—at the same time telling the spectator to take off the blindfold and call our loud the nearest town or city to the pin-pointed position. This he does. We will suppose he calls out "Birmingham"

He is told to remove the envelope from his pocket—check his signature— open it himself and read out what you wrote on the card. It reads, " 'It's a Million to One if you do it—but I think you will arrive at Birmingham'— signed Corinda". That is the effect, now for the modus operandi—and be warned—this is mentalism—there's nothing to it, the working is absurdly simple and yet bold. If you are a bit weak hearted—this is not a trick for you I can tell you that!

The Method. You will require as a minimum of apparatus, a map of England size about 3x2 ft., which may be purchased for a few shillings from any good stationers, a board large enough to hold the map and best covered with a sheet of cork to hold the pin in position, a blindfold—and the card and envelope for the prediction. Lastly, you require the means by which the trick is achieved—this gentlemen—is another pin!

Before you laugh at me—all I ask is that you try what I am about to say. Get a map and stick it on the wall. In the middle stick a pin—just an ordinary 1 in. long pin. Stand five feet away and you will not see the pin—so what chance have the audience got—when they are not even looking for it? That's just how it works. You prepare by sticking a pin into the map— making sure it goes right into some town or city. This place you record in the prediction. When you have the spectator come up keep him at the other end of the stage, away from the board. When he is due to go near the board—YOU BLINDFOLD HIM! He is the only person likely to see the second pin—and somehow I think the blindfold will make that a bit difficult! So you give him another pin—and you stand him right in front of the map with his back to the audience, now they cannot .see through him so until he stands aside they can't see where the pin goes—and he can't see because he's blindfolded. The swindle ends when as he sticks in his pin you quickly bring out the torch with the left hand and shine it on to your pin—for a second the right hand rests on the map as you lean forward to look closely at the position . . . the right hand now pulls his pin OUT of the board and all that remains is to allow the spectator who, by now has disentangled himself from the well-knotted blindfold—to read out the name of the pin-pointed town. As a last word I might add that should the Two Million to One event occur—and the spectator sticks his pin on top of yours you then leave them both there and show how great minds think alike . . .

(2) "Quadruplication" by Corinda

This is a trick for a skilled performer. The methods, there are several, involve a certain amount of skill and work. The effect is well worth the trouble in my opinion—but you judge for yourself.

The Effect. A spectator is asked to go to the table and choose any card from a pack which lies there—ribbon spread face upwards. Just before he goes however, you hand him a small envelope and tell him to stick it in his top jacket pocket. He takes a card. You ask him to replace the others in the case and then to sign his initials on the card he chose. This done, he sticks it back into the pack which he drops into his pocket—the preparation is ended—the presentation begins

"Now sir! Let me see, you did have a free choice of any card? Well before I try any clever stuff I must see if you are a suitable subject. Do you read minds? NO! gracious me—how do you know—look, I'll write something on this slate—now, be honest do you know what it is? No? RIGHT! (You turn the slate round and on it is written a large "No"). You see— you are a mindreader! But then, so am I ... is the card you chose the Nine of Spades? It is?—funny thing that, because it also happens to be the only card 1 took from another pack before I came this evening" (Performer reaches into pocket, removes one card—the Nine of Spades, then turns out the lining to show that otherwise the pocket is empty) "and what is more odd than that is the fact that I gave you a small envelope remember? May I have it—inside here is a card—I would like you to read it out loud ... (it reads) "I've a sneaking suspicion you will select the 9 of S'\ Now that's incredible—but these things do happen don't they? You agree—good—but even then, if it so happened that all those cards were Nine of Spades—it would have been very easy—but let's make sure—you have them in your pocket—can I have them. Look—they are all different—and here we have your nine—and I believe those are your initials on the face? Excellent— well just in case you doubt me you might be interested to know that you happen to have chosen the only card with a black back in this pack— look . . . (performer shows all the backs—only the nine is black) which more or less proves that I knew which card you would choose—don't you agree? You do—I don't blame you!!"

The Method. You will require a pack of black backed cards made up of any ten cards repeated five times. You require a duplicate set of these ten set out in the Body Index System which I describe on Page 95 of this book. You require an ordinary pack of 52 cards with red backs—but the case should be the same as is used for the ten-card set up pack. You require a prediction written on a card set in a window envelope ready for use with a Swami Gimmick, described on Pages 12 and 13 of Step One. A slate and some chalk, a pencil, a table and a chair.

The set up pack is ready spread on the table the case lies beside it. You ask The spectator to choose a card and, as an afterthought remember the envelope so hastily place it in his top jacket pocket, window facing inwards so that it cannot be seen and leave it there. You time it so that you remember the envelope just after he has pulled out his card—so that you may see what he takes as you approach to give him the envelope. You must now play for time, so first get him to place the remaining cards in the case which you take. You ask him to put his initials on his card—and whilst searching in various pockets for a pencil—simply exchange the blue-backed pack for the ordinary red-backed one—which, by the way, is best done slowly and without any fuss. Simply have the pack ready for switching in the left jacket pocket. Reach into various pockets with the right hand and at the same time put the left hand in the left pocket for a moment and exchange the decks. Turn the body to screen this pocket as much as possible and keep talking all the time. Hand the spectator the pencil and tell him to initial his card. Tell him also to sit down—there is no need for him to stand and he has probably paid to sit! Hand him the ordinary pack and have him push his card inside— but keep near him to see that it goes in the right way up—although the trick, is not ruined if it goes in upside down. Tell him to drop the cards in his pocket and begin the spiel leading up to the "No" slate gag. When you write "No"—to make sure they cannot guess go over the same lines several times—as though you were doing a drawing and be absolutely sure you word the question to the spectator very carefully . .. you must get the reply "No"— not "I'm not sure—or 1 haven't got a clue" . . . control your spectator to answer as you want him to answer. This part of the routine gets a laugh which is not easy to get with mental effects—and 1 am indebted to Fogel who first introduced the gag to me—it always works well.

The second stage cashes in on the Body Index System—which in this routine works very well—because should it happen to be one of the cards down the sock—you get a second laugh—and even if not, you still have created quite a stir . . . you reach to the right position and remove the card and show it.

The third stage uses a limited amount of skill. You refer back to the envelope but do so only when you are near enough to reach forward and take it from the spectators pocket. Whilst you explain what it contains (instead of recapping on the fact that he had it before he chose a card!) you use a thumb-writer to write his card by the brief initials like those we gave for the Nine of Spades ... 9 of S. the rest of the prediction has been given already. Having covered the technique of this method in the greatest of detail in Step One, I feel justified in giving you the bare working on this at the moment—1 am sure you will agree that space is saved. Just one important point—you don't want him to say 9 of S—so you lean forward and when he gets to the initials you say "Nine of Spades"—so that it is quickly interpreted in a favourable manner.

The last stage is comparatively easy. You remove the cards from the case and fan them to the spectator holding up the fan to show him the faces. Naturally you will see the backs and will therefore see the odd coloured card very quickly. You pull this up and out and ask him to confirm his initials. Then show the backs. There is very little chance of the spectator noting the duplicate of his card amid 52 others when shown them for an instant. That is the effect—or really what I should call the routine—I hope you will like it.

It is a good effect to illustrate a point mentioned earlier; the plot should be simple and quick—the revelation of the Prediction comes in four stages, but each one is designed to beat the last—so that a mounting interest is formed and a good strong climax awaits you at the end. There is a healthy balance between the four sub-tricks; the comedy gets you off to a good start and the Index card revelation introduces the first signs of what may be called skill. Following this, we step away from cards again for a brief instant (we did so first with the slate) and deal with the written prediction in the envelope. Here you will note the friendly theme is maintained with the wording of the Prediction which although accurate is also light-hearted. There is no necessity for a pompous declaration that reads like the Riot Act. The final revelation can leave no doubt that your trick was a Prediction and to draw the full benefit from the only black-back card in the red-back pack—you must, of course, show the deck to the audience—simply by fanning to disclose the faces and the backs. The last few words of the patter—should be on the lines suggested—to end the routine on the friendly basis that has been maintained throughout. You will use your patter to suit your style, but I would not advise you to make this one of those "show the whites of the eyes and look like a Frankenstein monster" effect—you do not have to present every mental effect with Svengali-type dramatisation and light-heartedness makes a pleasant change.

(3) "De Profundis" by Corinda

From an idea applied by Dunninger, from a title used by Oscar Wilde and by the help of Maurice Fogel—comes this—De Profundis, or "Out of the Depths"

The Effect. A spectator assists in the experiment. They are told to hold one end of a length of rope—perhaps some five feet long. On to the rope is threaded a ring which has a clip attached to hold a crystal clear box. Inside the box is seen an envelope. The performer holds the other end of the rope and slides the crystal box to the middle where it remains suspended in full view of the audience.

The performer now counts out loud from one to ten—and tells the spectator to call stop whenever he feels that he gets a "mental vibration on any number". This is repeated three times—so that a number something like 854—is finally selected. Following this, the performer runs quickly through a list of colours and then names of cities throughout the world—and each time the spectator calls stop. The performer writes the selections on a large slate or small board standing close at hand so that everybody can remember with ease what was chosen. We will suppose that we end with the selection "854—Green— Paris".

The box has been left suspended all the time—the performer now holds his end of the rope up high—causing the box to run down the rope into the spectator's hands. The spectator is told to remove it and open it, take out the envelope and read aloud the contents. Inside is a Prediction which reads, "You will receive mental inspirations to choose the number 854—the colour Green and the city—Paris".

The Method. Again I shall have to ask you to try this out before you laugh at the modus operandi and see for yourself that it really works. You will require a large slate or small blackboard and something to act as a rest. Some chalk (white), five feet of ordinary conjurers' rope, a platelifter (one of those joke things that is made out of a long thin rubber tube with a rubber bulb at each end) a clear plastic or perspex box about 6x4x3 in.—large enough to hold an envelope. A prediction sealed in an envelope.

If I tell you what happens first, you will understand more about the simple making of the apparatus. It is a force. Inside the rope is the platelifter and you each hold an end. When you call over the numbers from one to ten, if you want to force say number five, as you reach that number you squeeze hard at your end and the spectator immediately reacts—more often than not with a jump! Oddly enough, they do not always associate the "vibration" with the rope—and even if they do, they don't know why and the audience have no idea that anything like it is happening.

To make the platelifter rope, buy the best quality platelifter you can get, and an extra length of fine rubber tubing. Take one bulb off and push the tubing through the rope and then replace the bulb. You will now find that the bulb can be drawn back into the rope (fray it out a bit to loosen) and although this restricts the full expansion of the bulb—it still acts enough to give a decent "pulse" when the other end is pressed. You will appreciate that the rope can be coiled in a natural manner and the rubber tubing bends with the rope—making everything look as it should be. The very tips of the rope may be bound with white cotton and a little paste to stick them neatly.

The crystal box is an easy matter. From Woolworths for two or three shillings you can buy a neat food container which is a box made in clear plastic. Fix a clip to the top so that it may be hung from the ring you thread on the rope. Tie the box with the Prediction inside—with a neat bow of red ribbon. The lightweight box will not obstruct the air-passage of the rubber tubing—a heavy box may do so.

The final details are these. When the spectator comes up to assist stand him so that all the audience can see the suspended box. Have the slate on a stand nearby so that you can write on it without letting go of your end of the rope. Lastly, be quite sure that you "control" the spectator. You frame the instructions to him in a very careful manner—you make it quite clear that he must not guess—he is to wait until he "receives" some distinctive impulse, if he gets nothing to say nothing and if he really feels a "reaction"— to call stop immediately, and do be sure that you give the spectator the "receiving" end of the platelifter rope—otherwise he might be telling you what to do!

If you feel inclined, you may switch the rope whilst attention is on the opening of the box and envelope—and end by throwing the rope into the audience, I don't think it is really necessary.

We shall use this effect to illustrate the application of the carbon envelope technique which was described on page 98 of this book.

The Effect. The Mentalist is frequently confronted with the question "if you are so clever—why don't you predict the winner of the Derby horse race —and make yourself a fortune?" A good question deserves a good answer and this effect serves to prove why or why not.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, for many years I have applied the simple laws of para-psychology to demonstrate that it is, to some extent, possible to predict the future. It is natural therefore that I am constantly asked, Why don't I win the pools and make a fortune? Now I appeal to your good sense of judgment—do you think I wouldn't do that if I could? Of course I would—and by predicting say the Treble Chance pool correctly, you know as well as I do that I would acquire something like £75,000—and I'm not ashamed to say that it would come in handy!

No, I'm afraid the matter is more complicated than it seems. To make a proper Prediction it is essential that I work with a sensitive person, a suitable subject. You cannot get results with anybody, you must have the right person who is mentally attuned to similar wavelengths—like identical twins. Lm going to try a simple experiment but I must have the right subject so I will try out a test first of all. I have written a number on this slate, when I point to you will you call out the first number to enter your head please ? (The performer points to two or three people until any one calls out "7"—whereupon he turns the slate round and shows it bears a large figure 7) Thank you sir, you seem to be in harmony with me—now we will try something really astounding. Keep your seat please, I have here an ordinary football coupon and 1 would like you to call out eight different numbers between one and fifty which just about covers all the teams 1 have here for the Treble Chance Pool—I will fill in an "O" to indicate your selection—ready?" (He calls out eight numbers which you write in on the coupon).

Good—now please take this coupon and hold it for a moment. I would like to draw your attention now to the envelope which most of you may have noticed clipped on my slate. That envelope contains another coupon and last night 1 filled in what I thought would be a winning line for the Treble Chance Pool—I would like you madam to take this coupon and to check our results. You sir—call out your first number—13?Good, and what is my first number— 13 ? That's luck! Now what is your next number sir ? 26? And what is mine Madam? 26! That was coincidence! The next? 27? And mine? 27! That is extraordinary! The next—31—and mine? 31—that's incredible! The next 33? And Mine—33! That's fabulous! Next? 39 and mine please? 39! That's phenomenal—next? 44—and mine 44! That's impossible! And the last? 49 and mine 49! That's a miracle !!

Each time the gentleman calls out a number—the lady calls out the same, this is repeated eight times and the exclamations from you increase in surprise. You go:—(1) Luck! (2) Coincidence! (3) Extraordinary! (4) Incredible! (5) Fabulous! (6) Phenomenal! (7) Impossible! (8) A Miracle!

The Method. You must first prepare a carbon-envelope (see page 98) and' next insert a football coupon carefully folded so that the Treble Chance Pool is uppermost to the carbon paper—which, incidentally, should be jet black. Before the envelope is sealed it is essential to line up another coupon on the outside—so that both Treble Chance Pools lie directly in line. The easiest way to do this is to make three pin holes on the inner coupon and then by holding the envelope up to the light you will be able to see through the pin holes and line up on the light. When it is set exactly right, put a paper clip at the top to hold them dead in line.

You also require a hard pencil, a slate with a bulldog clip holding a dummy envelope clipped to one side and the number seven chalked on the other side. A card table or chair and another coupon. The last one does not have to match the other two—it is not examined.

You begin with the opening address and whilst you are talking you casually take the unprepared coupon from your pocket and show it in your hands— then put it away when it comes to picking up the slate for the number test. When the test is completed you remove the prepared coupon from the pocket. Now if you have made it correctly, the envelope, being smaller than the coupon, cannot be seen as it is hidden behind the coupon. . You look for a rest—pick up the slate again and lay the coupon out fiat on the chalked side . . . this means that the audience see the dummy envelope on the other side all the time, and that you can show the coupon resting on the slate—the carbon envelope now being hidden below. As you fill in the numbers—from time to time you wave the slate to show the coupon in the writing position—everything looks perfectly normal. When it comes to the last number, fill that in and then prepare for a simple switch of envelopes. The

fake coupon is lifted with the right hand for a moment and the left arm drops to the side with the slate. Talking continuously, the performer turns the slate round and brings it back resting the coupon this time over the dummy-envelope. He turns the slate to show the coupon side to the audience and whilst telling them about the envelope clipped on the slate—reaches under the coupon and pulls out the carbon envelope. Immediately the slate is turned back and placed on the chair or table—with the dummy still clipped in position—but the other hand removes the coupon and hands it to the gentleman.

You now go over to a lady seated near the front, show the envelope both sides under pretext of having trouble to unseal it—open it and remove the coupon. Hand this to the lady, screw up the envelope and drop it into your pocket and all is set for the eight-point finale.

(5) "Astronomical" by Corinda

The Effect. An envelope is handed to one of four spectators who have come along to help you. The spectator is told that it contains a prediction and that he should keep it in his possession from now on—and let no one touch it. You stand in the middle with two spectators seated on either side of you. You hand a card to the first, and tell him to jot down a row of five figures. You then take it back and hand it to the next who does the same and likewise with the third. When the third person has finished, you tell him to add another row of five—"just for luck". The last person (the fourth) is asked to add the total of the rows and to write it below. He is then told to take out the envelope and open it—inside he finds another envelope, this one he opens only to discover another inside that. When the third and last envelope is opened a £1 note is removed and written on it is a message saying:—"The number of this note will be the same as the total of your figures—please check". It is.

The Method. This is a very easy Prediction to perform and mostly it is a matter of presentation, the only work being a simple switch. The effect illustrates how a switch can be smooth and trouble-free and how we can utilise a Nest of Envelopes to build up the effect.

You will no doubt know of the classic force where several people write down rows of figures and the last person adds up the total—you of course switch the sheet for a set of prearranged figures before he adds, so that your total is declared. On many occasions when I have seen this method in use, the performer has gone down into the audience to collect the four rows of figures. 1 think it is much better to work on the stage all the time—if you can, and with this force—you can. Seat the four spectators two on either side of you—and don't have them too close to each other or one may see what the other writes.

1 am going to suggest that you use a simple non-mechanical way to exchange the papers. However, there are some very good mechanical ways of doing this and if you want you can use them instead.

Purchase a sixpenny packet of ordinary postcards (size about x in.). Take five of these and trim off about an eighth of an inch from the ends. (Not the sides). Add to these one unfaked card so that now you have one long card and five shorts. Stack them with the long card second from the top. Now each card is plain on one side and has "Post Card" printed on the other side. The top two, face "Post Card" side downwards, the bottom four face "Post Card" side upwards.

Take a One Pound Note and copy out the serial number—the six numbers that follow the serial letters are used. You must now work out four sets of figures that add to this number. This is quickly done—simply divide the serial number by four and write the answer out four times; now to conceal the similarity between the four figures, subtract a few hundreds and units for one group and add them to another. This will increase one set and decrease the other without altering the final total. Should there be any remainder after the initial division by four—you may add it to any of the four figures. When you have settled for four figures that will add to the same number as the serial number of the note—take the second (long) card from the stack and write them there. You place them in a column of four and each row is written in a different handwriting excepting the third and fourth—which are the same handwriting. When you have done this, replace the card in the stack with the numbers face upwards, covered from view by the top short card. Put the cards thus prepared into your jacket pocket and have a pencil in one pocket ready for use.

Now go back to the £1 note. Write a prediction on the note which reads "The number of this note will be the same as the total of your figures". Fold the note and put it in a small envelope and seal. Put that envelope inside a slightly larger one and seal again—and finally put the second inside a third and seal again. You are all set to perform.

You will remember you have two spectators seated on either side of you. Start by handing the sealed "envelope" to the last spectator on your right (No. 4). Then remove the cards and pencil from your pocket and explain that you want each person to think of any five numbers at random and to write them in a row on the card. You hand the TOP (short) card—blank side upwards to spectator No. 1 seated on your left. He writes five figures— immediately you take the card and pencil and hand to No. 2 the other person on your left and tell him to write his row of five BELOW as though to make it a sum. Next you hand the card to No. 3 and he writes a row of five— but when he has done, as though you had an afterthought—tell him to "add another row of five, just for luck". This done you take back the card and start to explain that the last person must nowr add the total—but halfway through your explanation you turn back to No. 3 and say "By the way, did you sign the card?" Look straight at him as you say this and he will look straight at you. In that fraction of time you turn over his card and offer it to be signed—but what really happens is this.

The top card on the stack in your hands is their card bearing the proper numbers. The next card is your force card. Whilst talking you square up the cards and when it comes to turning the card to be signed on the "Post Card" side—you double lift. This is made very easy because the second down is a long card, so by gripping it by the short ends you can double lift and turn without looking. As soon as the card is turned, you pass it to No. 3 who writes his name on the back. You then tell him to pass it himself to No. 4 to be added. The card that No. 3 signs is really the back of your force card—but he cannot tell as it is upside down! What has taken ten minutes to describe—takes ten seconds to do. The switch is remarkably convincing and the last person No. 4 hasn't got a chance. He is handed the card by another spectator—not you, he has no idea what numbers were written by the others and the card he holds bears the signature of No. 3. Lastly, he opens the envelopes himself and he checks the £1 note. That is all there is to it.

(6) "The Mentalist's Four Ace Trick"—Corinda-Tremaine

The Effect. One, the stage is a card table, standing on which are four drinking tumblers and two packs of cards. A spectator takes part. The Mentalist explains that he will attempt an experiment to demonstrate "sympathetic relationship between two minds". He stands at one side of the table, the spectator stands opposite. He picks up one of the packs, removes them from the case and shows that his pack has red backs—and that they are all different. He looks intently at the spectator and then moves four cards placing one in each of the tumblers with the backs facing the audience. He next removes the other cards from their case and spreads them face down on the table. The spectator is now invited to push out ANY four cards, and this done—he is told to show that the backs of his pack are all black and that the cards are all different. He is then told take his four cards which lie face down on the table and drop one into each tumbler.

Reaching into the first glass, the mentalist removes the two cards and shows that they are both the Ace of Diamonds. He takes them out, holds one in each hand to show the red back and the blue back first—and then dramatically turns them round. As soon as they have been shown, he hands them immediately to the spectator for examination. From the next glass he takes the Ace of Clubs and the Ace of Clubs . . . from the third, the Ace of Hearts matched by an Ace of Hearts and finally the Ace of Spades, with the duplicate from the fourth glass. That is the effect.

The Method. Take two packs of cards, one with red backs and one with blue backs. From the blue-backed pack remove the Four Aces and stack them Diamonds, Clubs, Hearts and Spades. The Diamond on top. Put these four cards down the right side of your right foot—by tucking them into the shoe—the trouser turn-up may be allowed to cover them until you are ready.

Have the audience on your left, the table in front of you and the spectator standing opposite. Have four ordinary glasses standing in a row along the back of the table (audience viewpoint). Have both packs in their cases on the table and you are ready to perform.

Pick up the Red cards, remove from case and fan faces to audience and spectator—show also the red backs. With apparent indecision, select four cards. First the Ace of Diamonds—which you place in the glass nearest the spectator (No. 1) do not show it, simply put it in the glass back outwards. The next card (Ace of Clubs) goes into No. 2, the glass next to No. 1. The third (Ace of Hearts) into No. 3 and the last (Ace of Spades) into the glass nearest you. Return your cards to the case and put the case down so that it just overlaps the edge of the table on the side nearest to the audience.

Pick up the red-backed pack, do not show them—but spread them in a row, face down, in front of the spectator. Tell him to push out any four cards. When this is done pick them up with the left hand, one at a time, counting aloud "one, two, three, four". Each time the left picks up a card—it is dropped face down on to the right palm. As soon as you have them all together in the right hand you turn to the spectator and say, "Now just to satisfy yourself and the audience that you had a perfectly free choice—would you kindly examine the rest of the pack and show the fronts and backs to the audience". He picks up the pack to examine them—whilst he does so, you lean forward on the table and "accidentally"knock the red-backed case to the floor. The left thumb catches it as you lean forward—a natural motion. You immediately stoop to pick up the deck and as you bend down the left hand picks up the case—but the right hand, containing his four cards goes to the right foot. Here you quickly drop his four cards sideways into your turn-up and pull out the four aces from the shoe! You stand upright again, casually drop the four aces face down IN A PILE in front of the spectator (who is busy showing the cards to the audience) and wait. When he is ready— point to the four Aces and say "now please put one card in each glass". As you do this you point very slowly and clearly to No. 1 (first), No. 2 (second), No. 3 (third), and No. 4 (last). His cards are in a pile—so naturally he takes the top one first—which because they are stacked is the Ace of Diamonds—this one he must put in glass No. 1 and he will do so if you have handled the instructions carefully. Watch him to see that he does as is required—and should he try to put the wrong card in the wrong glass—push the right glass forward. I have done this trick many times and so far I have never had the spectator do anything wrong. You could of course pass the glasses to him one at a time—but the effect is not the same—consider it: You removed four cards and you alone knew what they were. He chooses any four cards—they happen to be the same. Then he appears to have put the same cards in the same glasses—and there are no duplicate aces* left in his pack—and he examines the cards at the end and you have a pretty good trick. (*Note.—If performed close-up—somebody may wish to examine his pack).

(7) Novel Adaption of the "Card in Balloon" by Corinda

The Effect. An opening trick; the performer walks on holding an inflated " balloon which is on a small stand. He points to one person in the audience and calls "Give me ONE number"—then to another—and another. "6-3-5 —six hundred and thirty five has been chosen—how strange—" He pulls a pin from his lapel and bursts the balloon. Inside is seen a card standing at the top of the frame. The audience see a big query drawn on the card. He walks forward and invites somebody to take the card and turn it over— it reads "6—3—5" •

The Method. This I feel, is an excusable use of weird apparatus and to my mind is indeed a novel application of a conjuring prop. You require one of those self-working Card-in-Balloon appliances and it must be the type that has a tray at the base designed to hold a pack of cards. This is a pretty standard model these days and they are not hard to get. You draw a big question mark on a plain white card—which should be the same size as an ordinary playing card

—so that it will fit the loading mechanism. You turn the card upside down and load it into the tray—clipping the edge into the clamp ready to fire. You inflate a balloon and place it in the frame at the top. You have a Swami Gimmick on the right thumb and hold the apparatus in the right hand.

The construction of the apparatus is such that you have a ready-made platform to hold the card in a perfect writing position. Moreover, the hand is completely screened from view making it a very easy matter for you to write their numbers on the card before you burst the balloon.

When it comes to the "Bang"—we avoid the magical presentation—where the balloon appears to burst automatically—and take a pin from the lapel and with one deliberate swipe appear to jab it into the balloon. However— timed along with this action you release the "fire" mechanism of the Card-in-balloon—which really bursts the balloon—and at the same time, transports the card to the top of the frame. To be on the safe side, put your finger over the point of the pin from the lapel so that it cannot burst the balloon before the trigger goes off . . .

One detail. The "writing position" is such that the apparatus must be held back to front from the "Firing position". Having written—walk forward transferring the apparatus from one hand to another and turning it round as you do so. Hold it high when firing and the card cannot be seen in the tray—the apparatus looks like a stand designed to hold a balloon.

Since the trick will take no more than fifteen seconds to perform from start to finish—it makes a good, quick opening number—that goes off with a bang!

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

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

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