Pear in a Bottle

When someone asks David to do a trick at a party he never says, "I'm sorry I didn't bring anything with me." That's not the way he works. What is there for a magician to bring? Does he confess to leaving his thumbtip or some other special apparatus at home? David believes that magic works best when it's done on the spur of the moment with any props that are to hand. Some of David's favourite party stunts are designed to give the impression that he can do magic with just about anything, anywhere. And not just party tricks either. Real magic that will be remembered for years.

One party stunt that is often recalled involves no elaborate props. Having been pressed to "do something" by his friends David asks to borrow an empty milk bottle and some string. Someone ties the string around the milk bottle while David opens the windows of the apartment. Then he takes the bottle and dangles it outside the window. They are on the third floor so he has to let out the string and lower the milk bottle until it clinks against the ground.

"Almost there," says David and hands the string to someone else in the room. "Now pull the string until the bottle is about four feet off the ground. Fine, now tie it off." They tie the string to a piece of furniture and leave the bottle hanging outside. The window remains open.

David asks another volunteer to take half a dozen pieces of fruit from a fruit bowl and arrange them in a line on the table. Then they chose just one, a pear. They examine it, making a particular note of its appearance.

"Now watch closely because I am expert in sleight of hand." David takes the pear, tosses it from one hand to the other and then makes it disappear. He reproduces it from inside his pocket. "Watch closely," he executes another series of sleights and feints, vanishing and reproducing the pear in quick succession.

"Is it in my hand or in my pocket?" They guess and someone guesses right. They're catching onto him now. David laughs it off, "This time I am going to make it really vanish. Watch!" Unexpectedly he throws the pear out through the open window. "I'm sure you didn't see that go." The gag gets a big laugh. This is a party, people are enjoying themselves.

"Wait a minute," says David. "Will you please slowly pull on the string." They haul in the string and they hear the bottle clinking against the wall as it is dragged back into the room. There's a cry of surprise when they see the bottle. There, inside, is the pear. It's the same pear, no doubt about that, the person who chose it remembers the markings. But the most amazing thing of all is that the pear is much wider than the neck of the bottle. No matter how much they try they can't shake it free. An impromptu miracle!

Revelations: As David says, "The impossible I do immediately, miracles take a little longer." While the stunt has all the hallmarks of being impromptu it has in fact been carefully thought out and prepared beforehand.

When David first moved into his North London home he had nearly sixty fruit trees in its garden. Some of them were pear trees. He knew of an old stunt in which fruit is grown inside a bottle and set about trying it. He chose pears because of their shape. It seemed more impossible to find a pear in a bottle rather than an orange or an apple.

He attached half a dozen milk bottles to tree branches, those that bore flowers, tied them in place and waited. The glass of the bottle was transparent and allowed the sun to shine through. The flowers turned to fruit and when the branch was cut David had a crop of bottled pears. Using a scalpel he trimmed the branch further until a normal length stalk was the only part of the tree still attached to the pear. From the same tree he would select pears that matched those now contained in the bottles and store them away in sets for subsequent use. As you will gather there was a limited amount of time in which David could use this effect before the pears began to deteriorate.

David never worked this feat at home, the impact would be lost. Ideally he would perform it in hotel rooms, when performing at private parties or at an apartment.

At an opportune moment, before the party had begun, David hung his bottled pear from a length of string and secured it to the windowsill. The bottle and string brought out by the host during the performance were in fact David's. He'd handed them to the host on arriving

with the instructions that if he did a trick perhaps they'd be good enough to produce them. The matching pear had been added to the host's fruitbowl.

During the routine David had tied the "borrowed" bottle to the string and then lowered it outside the window. As soon as everyone had heard the bottle clink against the ground he released the string. Secretly he untied the second string, the one with the bottled pear on the end, and drew that into the room. It was given to someone to hold or tied to a piece of furniture.

David forced the pear, a duplicate of the one in the bottle, from the fruit basket using a little smooth talk and his own handling of the Magicians Choice. At the end of the sleight of hand sequence he threw the pear out of the window letting the audience believe, for a time, that it was just a joke. They got a shock when they hauled up the bottle and found what they thought was the same pear inside.

Because he's a purist, he often had a friend go outside and collect two things: the empty bottle and a squashed pear. That way there was no evidence lying around.

The bottled pear was sometimes used as the finale to an entire impromptu seeming routine with a borrowed basket of fruit. Cherries or grapes made ideal objects for a two-in-the-hand-one-in-the-pocket routine. Sometimes David even used Johnny Ramsay's cup and ball routine with empty ice-cream tubs. Larger pieces of fruit such as tangerines made an appearance in the finale but the real finish came when a previously vanished object, such as a watch, made its reappearance under the last cup.

A prepared orange was added to the basket and later peeled to reveal an apple inside which in turn contained a signed and previously vanished Treasury note. And the old stunt of slicing a banana while still in its skin became something far more mysterious. A volunteer called out a small number, usually 3, 4, 5 or 6 and David used an "invisible dagger" to make magical cuts on the chosen banana. When the banana was peeled it was seen to have been sliced into the chosen number of pieces.

David had prepared two bananas using the usual needle and thread method. But he had prepared them while still attached to the bunch and this is what made the routine so strong. One banana had been divided into four sections and the other divided into six sections.

If 3 or 4 were called David broke off the appropriate banana and then made "three" cuts or sliced it into "four" sections. The emphasis being placed on either the number of cuts or the number of sections to accommodate the spectator's choice. If 5 or 6 were called David used the other banana and made "five" cuts or divided it into "six" sections.

Either way this still left one prepared banana fixed to the bunch but David had a unique way of disposing of it. What's more the method didn't require any elaborate subterfuges or sleight of hand. As a number was being chosen David tore off the second prepared banana and peeled it so that just the top was exposed. Then, and you won't find a better finish anywhere, he boldly ate the evidence!

Synchro Time

Most of the routines in this book are from David's professional repertoire. They have been used before paying audiences over many years and worked and practised until they have become well-honed pieces of entertainment. Synchro Time isn't one of those pieces.

It is though extremely clever and it has so intrigued magicians that it deserved a place here. David has never used it professionally but he devised and demonstrated it for some of his lectures and it has always baffled.

David starts by showing two large toy clocks, the kind that children use to practise their time-telling abilities. They are little more than free moving hands attached to a numbered dial. He hands one of the clocks to a volunteer and asks him to turn it over and look at the back. There he will find many different drawings of clock faces each showing a different time. He is asked to think of one.

"Have you thought of a time?" asks David. The volunteer says he has. "Well, don't show me but set the hands of your clock to the time you are thinking of." David turns his back as he does this. And while the volunteer sets the hands of his clock the audience can see that David is doing the same with his.

"What time did you think of?" The volunteer calls out the time. "Show it to the audience." David holds out his clock so that it faces the audience. So does the volunteer. They both show exactly the same time!

Revelations: Synchro Time is a versatile device and all sorts of presentations can be developed using themes like coincidence, telepathy or prediction. It can also be used in conjunction with other items to build a more complex routine.

Both clocks appear to be identical but they are not. The clock given to the volunteer is completely ordinary save for the chart that is fixed to the back. The chart appears to show pictures of twenty-four clocks all showing various times but in reality there are only nine different times. Each clock has its time noted on a label below it but nine of them are cleverly disguised duplicates. For example, 15.55 and 3.55 appear at first sight to be two different times but in fact they are actually the same.

So the first part of the method is that the volunteer doesn't have quite the choice he thinks he has. And when he selects a time he is actually choosing one of the times printed under the clocks.

The second part of the method depends upon the gimmicked nature of the performer's clock. It enables him to set the hands at the chosen time almost instantly and without it being obvious to the audience.

The secret is that every time noted on the chart involves the hands being apart exactly the same distance and the performer's clock has its hands glued together at an angle. If you move one hand, you move the other. This means that if David sets just the hour hand on his clock, the other will find its way to the correct minute automatically.

To do this he holds the gimmicked clock with fingers towards the audience and thumb nearest the body. The clock is facing him with the number twelve uppermost. Unknown to the audience his thumb is resting against the hour hand. When the volunteer calls out his chosen time David immediately turns towards the audience. As he does he rotates the clock between his hands in one swift movement, keeping his thumb on the hour hand. He brings the chosen hour uppermost against the hour hand and this automatically places the minute hand at the correct position.

He turns the clock to face the audience holding it so the number twelve is on top. The volunteer will automatically do the same. Both clocks now show the same time. The impression given is that David showed the face of his clock before the volunteer showed his.

Setting the clock to the correct time is not difficult and it can be done extremely quickly. The secret is to rotate the clock not the hands. That's what makes it so deceptive. One simple manoeuvre and a very subtle idea that is capable of many variations. Try it.

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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