Magic Fingers

This is one of David's favourite items. He devised it in the 1950's and it is every bit as magical now as it was then. That it has remained unseen for so long is remarkable as it must be one of the most unusual and startlingly visual compere items ever created.

He used it on his Modern Magic television series and if you were watching it at home you would have seen a caption, shown full screen, reading, "Introducing David Berglas." That done, you'd expect the camera to cut to David. It doesn't. Instead, it moves slowly back to reveal that the caption is really a rectangular board, about eighteen inches long and nine inches wide, and that David himself is holding it. "I'm always told that magicians can do very unusual things with their hands," he says. "I'm not sure what they mean but we can try." He deftly flips it over to reveal a velvet-covered surface and the mystery begins.

He raises the board and holds it against his chest with his right hand, fingers splayed. With the left hand, and without any cover whatsoever, he removes his right forefinger and places it at the opposite end of the board where it sticks. Then he takes the right middle finger and does the same. Next, the third finger. Three fingers have been magically separated and now lie twelve inches from the right hand.

Finally he removes his right thumb and hangs it on his lapel. It really is the most extraordinary sight. David looks down at his almost fingerless hand, "I see what they mean. Unusual but not really much use to me."

Slowly he moves his right hand across the board until it meets the separated fingers. Again, without any cover, they magically meld together. David wiggles the fingers of his hand. "Now for the thumb." He removes it from his lapel and sticks it in place at the side of his hand. He wiggles it back and forth then lifts his hand from the board to reveal that it is now fully restored and as good as new. "Ah, that's better!"

Magic Fingers is a powerful compere item that uses one of magic's oldest principles, Black Art. The removable fingers were made of plastic and very realistic. David first performed this routine in the 1950's and used the standard "sixth fingers" used for silk productions. They were worn over his own fingers at the beginning of the routine.

As each plastic finger was removed it was attached to the board, which was covered in black velvet. Small clips under the velvet held the fingers in place. Another clip, concealed on

the lapel, held the plastic thumb in place. Later David used earth magnets in the board and magnetic strips in the fingers rather than the clip arrangement. The magnets proved more reliable than the clips, which tended to loosen with use.

Under the plastic fingers David wore three black velvet half-fingers. These concealed David's real digits against the black surface of the board giving the impression that the fingers had been removed. It was a very effective Black Art illusion even under the scrutiny of the television camera.

The final restoration of the hand was accomplished simply by sliding the hand across the board until the fingers could be inserted once again into the plastic fingers. The thumb was replaced and the hand could be lifted from the board. It's worth noting that the little finger is not removed. Its presence highlights the absence of the other fingers and strengthens the illusion.

Best of all the board is not just some magic prop but serves a useful purpose. On Modern Magic David began with the printed side of the board facing the camera but it could be worked in reverse, beginning with the magic and ending by spinning the board around to reveal the name of the next act emblazoned across 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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