He probably isn't aware of how big a part he played in its development, but Jay Marshall planted the seed for this effect during a conversation we had at the S.A.M. Convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan a number of years ago. It all came about when Jay leveled me with a critique of my psychic gambling act. Jay's objection was that the performer wins and the volunteer is left on the losing end of a game of chance, hardly a good entertainment premise. The blow-off of the effect was a Phil Goldstein idea in which the spectator, in lieu of winning a prize, wins a big round of applause from the audience as consolation for his losing effort. As Jay's remarks burned their way into my mind and all the way home, I pondered his thoughtful critique.
Since the drive from Grand Rapids back to New Jersey took us a considerable amount of time, I had plenty of opportunity to seek a solution to the problem. What could I award the spectator in the way of a prize that would take the sting out of not winning? Then it came to me. If I selected a woman as my volunteer, what could create a warmer, fuzzier feeling of affection and gratitude than a plush Teddy Bear? This presentation is the slimmed down version of the effect I created on the long trip home. Believe me, it's a real audience pleaser. Just ask the mentalists who are now using the Teddy Bear as a giveaway. It's a feature in every show that I do; I never leave it out.
The mentalist calls attention to a hundred dollar bill protruding from his breast pocket and states, "In a moment, I will give a member of this audience an opportunity to win the hundred dollars in a simple game of chance. The person I nominate to play the game is this lovely young lady." The performer invites the volunteer to join him on stage.
After asking the young lady her name, the performer removes five jumbo playing cards from his pocket, fanning them so the audience can see them clearly. The performer continues by stating, "The game is played with just six cards. The King of Spades, the Queen of Hearts, the Jack of Spades, the King of Clubs, the Jack of Hearts and the Queen of Diamonds. If I should fail to correctly predict which of these six cards you're about to choose, you'll win one hundred dollars. If I succeed, then you'll receive a small consolation prize. Oh by the way, my prediction is attached
to the hundred dollar bill."
The performer explains that he'll first mix the cards, then begin moving one card at a time from the top of the packet to the bottom until the young lady calls "stop," which she's free to do at any time. When the spectator says "stop," the performer shows the top card of the packet and asks her to call it aloud. For example, it's the Queen of Hearts. Removing the exposed hundred dollar bill from his pocket, the performer states that this is his prediction. He then proceeds to unfold a sheet of paper attached to the hundred dollar bill. He hands it to the young lady and asks her to read aloud what's printed on it. The prediction reads as follows, "I picked the Queen of Hearts, and did it fair and square. so instead of winning the money, I've won a teddy bear." With that, the performer removes an adorable plush teddy bear from a small shopping bag and hands it to the young lady as a consolation prize.
Those of you who have seen me perform this effect over the years will note that I've drastically shortened the routine. The reason? I always thought I worked faster than most mentalists until I saw my videotaped presentation of this effect on Volume 16 of Joe Steven's, Greater Magic Video Library. It didn't take me long to realize that the greatest audience reaction came with the appearance of the toy bear. Therefore, I eliminated much of the superfluous byplay and vastly improved the presentation by shortening the routine. Incidentally, attaching the prediction to a bill in the breast pocket should be credited to Phil Goldstein, a.k.a. Max Maven.
You'll need five of the gaffed jumbo cards (KS, QD, JS, KC and JH) that come with the commercial effect known as "Dr. Jaks' Jumbo Supersonic" which is sold by many magic dealers. You'll also need a genuine jumbo Queen of Hearts to match the faked Queen of Hearts corner indices on the five gaffed cards. This should be obtained from a red backed jumbo Bicycle deck. The back of the genuine QH will not have the glossy finish of the gaffed cards, so it will probably be necessary to cover it with a sheet of clear laminating film and then trim to size.
Prepare your prediction on a sheet of paper that measures 10 3/8" deep x 6 1/8" wide. Glue a $100 bill (or a twenty if this hasn't been a good year) to the top of the reverse side and fold the prediction in thirds so it's hidden behind the bill. You'll also need a plush Teddy Bear and a small shopping bag to hold him out of sight until the climax. Place the six jumbo cards in your inside jacket pocket with the genuine QH facing your body. The faked QH indices should be in the lower right hand corner. If you were to remove and fan the six cards, it'll appear that you're holding six indifferent cards. If you were to close the fan, grasp the cards at the opposite end and fan them, you'd see six Queen of Hearts indices. It's this subtlety that will enable you to cleanly force the predicted card. (Incidentally, when the effect first came on the market, it came with a large wooden stand. I immediately realized that it would be far more effective if I threw away the stand and performed the effect as outlined above.)
Place the folded Bill/Prediction letter in the breast pocket of your jacket and you're ready to go. Oh yes, the bear in the bag should be placed within easy reach. I hang mine on one of the adjusting screws that controls the telescoping base of my table.
Follow the presentation as previously outlined until you've fanned and displayed the six indifferent cards in your left hand. As you close the fan of cards, turn them face down with the QH indices away from you, and hold the closed packet in your right hand. Inform the spectator to call "stop" whenever she wishes. Begin to move the cards one at a time from the top of the packet to the bottom.When she calls, "stop," remove her chosen card (the top card of the packet) with your left hand, making sure your left fingers mask the index in the lower left hand corner (as you look at the back of the card). The spectator should only be able to see the QH index in the upper left hand corner of the card and the balance of the card that resembles a legitimate Queen of Hearts. Have her call the name of her selected card aloud. Immediately pocket the six cards and remove the prediction, unfolding it in the process. Hand it to the spectator to read aloud. As she does so, retrieve the shopping bag in readiness to present Mr. Teddy Bear as she finishes reading the punch line of the prediction. Finish as previously outlined under "THE EFFECT."
This effect has become a personal trademark. It never fails to please my audiences. Also, the young lady who's delighted to receive a free teddy bear. If you perform frequently, you can do as I do and buy them in quantity from an Advertising Specialty distributor. Mine come complete with miniature silk-screened tee shirts imprinted, "A Becker Bear."
Those of you who have Volume 16 of Joe Steven's Greater Magic Video Library will instantly appreciate the greater impact and improved entertainment value of the shortened presentation. Incidentally, someone once commented that the spectator receiving a toy bear gets a bigger response than the fact that you've predicted which of the five cards the spectator selected. So what! You're in the entertainment business my friend and that's precisely what this effect does. It royally entertains your audience.
Recently I revised the "Bear Minimum" by combining it with "X-Rated Stuff," described elsewhere in this book. It's a significant improvement. The giveaway of the Teddy Bear is retained, however, the spectator's choice is increased from one in five to one in fifty-two. I call it, "My Favorite Card." Check it out! Read it over and take your pick.
Ted Lesley, one of Germany's leading magician/mentalists told me that my effect, Bear Minimum was one of his favorites (and the inspiration for this effect). When I asked him if he would like to contribute an effect for this book, Ted stated that he could think of nothing more appropriate than his version of the Bear effect. So, we'll simply call it "The Berlin Bears." Ted calls it the "Teddy Bear's Miracle." Whatever you call it, I know that you'll like it. Ted states that it is one of the entertainment hits of his show.
The performer invites a young woman to assist him in a psychic experiment involving a book or magazine. Following the successful completion of the test, the performer states that he would like to present the young woman with a small gift in appreciation of her participation. Displaying a tray on which there are four different colored toy Teddy Bears, the performer asks the volunteer to select a bear in her favorite color, red, yellow, blue or green. For example, the volunteer selects the yellow bear. The performer then removes a red rose from his lapel and placing it between the paws of the plush bear, he thanks the young woman and sends her back to her seat.
Before she leaves the stage, the performer asks her to wait a moment. For the first time, the performer asks the young woman to call out her name. For example, the volunteer states that her name is "Liza." The performer smiles and turns the tray holding the remaining three bears, so the bottom of the tray is facing the audience. To the audience's amazement, a large sheet of paper is attached to the bottom of the tray with colored masking tape. On the paper boldly printed is the following message: "Liza will select the yellow bear!"
Ted has often told me, he dislikes pre-show work intensely. "The Berlin Bears" requires absolutely no pre-show setup. All the information the performer needs is obtained during the performance. Ted states that his good friend, and fellow German mentalist, Toni Forster utilizes Al Mann's excellent "Acidus Plus" to eliminate pre-
show work. Ted uses his own method called "The Informatico Principle," which he will shortly release.
To prepare for the "Teddy Bear's Miracle" you'll need an unprepared clipboard. Ted uses a leatherbound folder that opens like a book. On the right hand side is a spring clip which normally holds a pad of paper. The left hand side usually has a pocket for holding spare papers, etc. It's important that you obtain the proper type, one that will fold back on itself. They usually measure approximately 9" x 12" when closed. Check your local stationary or office supply store.
You'll also need a gimmick. Obtain from a sign shop an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of magnetic rubber sheet. This material is used to make signs which attach to the side of a vehicle. To prepare the gimmick, spray the brown side of the gimmick with 3M Spray Mount and cover it with newspaper. Trim away the excess paper. Cover the other side with a piece of 8 1/2" x 11" white drawing paper. Around the edges of this sheet, create a border using Scotch plastic tape, preferably, black. On the paper, using the same black marking pen you will use in your show, write the following:
Under the spring clip on the right hand side of the leather portfolio, fasten two or three sheets of 8 1/2" w x 11" white paper together using double sided tape. These sheets should also be affixed to the surface of the portfolio to prevent them from falling if the clip is opened. On the top sheet print, in bold letters, a word that you will later force. Finally, under the spring clip, place the plastic gimmick on top of the sheets of paper with your partial message uppermost.
The final requirement is a metal tray (plated steel, so the magnetic strips will adhere to same) and four different colored plush Teddy Bears. The tray must be larger than the 8 1/2" w x 11" plastic gimmick. Using double sided carpet tape, fasten the four bears in a row on the tray and cover them with an opaque cloth. On your table, place a folded newspaper. You'll learn why later.
Please fUl-in this card Currently: Place a check mark next to the color you favor and print the word you're thinking of. Thanks!
The color 1 favor □ red □ yellow is checked here: □ blue p j^reen The word is (print): My first natne is:
To obtain the necessary information, prepare a blank 3" x 5" file card as follows:
(this layout is based on the Millard Longman effect, "Acidus Novus," which Al Mann has graciously given me permission to include. The effect is part of Al's treatise entitled "Acidus
Please fill-in this canj Place a check mark you favor and print thinking of, Thankg;
TTlo color I favor is checked here: The word is [print): My first name is:
Plus," If you don't have this important work, write Al Mann, P.O. Box 155, Great Cacapon, WV 25442 for information. I highly recommend it).
As you can see, all the required information is contained in the lower right hand quarter of the card. Per the Longman instructions, the card should be prefolded before the show. First, fold from right to left as shown in the illustration. This fold is made slightly off-center so that a step is formed on the left side.
Next, the card is folded backwards so that the step on the fold remains on the outside and visible. This fold is also off-center so that a second step is formed as in the final illustration. This second step hides the back half of the card. Unfold the card and place on a small clipboard, printed side out.
Randomly select any young woman to assist you. Using any of the well known book tests, i.e., the Hoy version, force a page number and have the volunteer memorize the longest word on the first line on that page. For the benefit of those of you who unfamiliar with the Hoy Test, simply put, you memorize the longest word in the first line on a page in one of the books. Pick a sentence that consists of short, three and four letter words plus one abnormally long word. This will be the force word you write on the page under the gimmick. Using the "magician's choice" you force the volunteer to take the book containing your force word. You retain the other book. To begin, you riffle the pages in the book you're holding and ask the volunteer to call "stop" at any time.
Opening the book at that point, you call aloud the page number and ask the spectator to turn to that page in her book. As she does this, you casually show a nearby member of the audience that you did in fact stop on the page you called out. As soon as the volunteer has reached the page, ask her to "read the first line." Naturally she thinks you mean to read aloud, and begins to do just that. Stop her and apologize that you meant her to read it silently to herself. State that she'll have to select another page. This time, when the volunteer calls "stop," you miscall the page number, substituting the force page. (Note: this subtlety should be credited to Ross Johnson). Ask the young lady to silently read the first line on that page and to memorize one word. Preferably not a short word consisting of three or four letters, but the longest word in the sentence.
To impress the word in her conscious mind, have her print the information on a file card. Naturally you provide her with the "Acidus Novus" card on a clipboard and a
pen. As you hand the clipboard to her, quietly prompt her to fill in all of the required information. Even if someone hears this, they won't think anything of it. When she's finished, have her re-fold the card. Take the folded card and hand her a small manila pay envelope to examine. At this moment, you obtain the peek that tells you three things; the word (which, in this case, you already know), the color she prefers, and her first name.
To access the information, take the folded card (folded corner down and to your left) with the tips of the left hand fingers (assuming the reader is right handed) and pass it to the tips of your right hand fingers. In the process, the right thumb is slipped into the rear-fold of the billet, creating a gap. Using a downward glance enables you to see the exposed lower right hand corner of the card which contains the required information.
The move is done at waist level as the right hand holds the folded card in full sight and the body turns a bit to the left so the message is in position for reading. In Millard Longman's own words, "Watch yourself in the mirror and you'll see nothing unusual when you do the move at waist level." A quick glance will reveal the spectator's favorite color among the four listed, the word she is thinking of (which you forced) and her first name. Take the envlope from the spectator and insert the folded card inside. Have her seal and retain the envelope.
Pick up your clipboard portfolio and open it, folding the cover back on itself so the incomplete prediction is facing you. Don't flash this page. Fill in the young woman's name and her favorite color (the one she checked) completing your boldly printed prediction. The spectator and audience believe you're writing the word she's thinking.
Open the clip and allow the plastic gimmick to drop down free of the clip. Immediately turn the portfolio over (holding the gimmick against the papers under the clip) and place the folio and gimmick flat on top of the folded newspaper in a gesture of finality, saying, "Now I'm committed. Please tell us the word upon which you have been concentrating."
After she announces her word, pick up the portfolio, secretly leaving behind the gimmick. Since the exposed side is covered in newspaper, it blends in with the folded newspaper on which it rests.
Naturally, the word on your portfolio matches the word the spectator is thinking.
Obtain the covered tray from a nearby chair or table and place it down on top of the folded newspaper. Be sure the gimmick and the tray are lined up. The magnetic gimmick will adhere to the bottom of the tray. Remove the cloth and state that as a token of your appreciation, the volunteer can select one of the four Teddy Bears on the tray. "Which one of the four colors do you favor, red, yellow, blue or green?" the performer asks. Be sure to ask it in the same way it was phrased on the "Acidus Novus" card.
After she has revealed her favorite color, remove a rose from your lapel and place it between the paws of the Teddy Bear. Pull the bear free of the tape and hand it to the volunteer as you call for a round of applause. As the volunteer begins to return to her seat, you ask her what her first name is. As soon as she answers, you show the bottom of the tray to the audience making the most out of your astounding prediction.
Ted reports that his audiences absolutely love the effect. Naturally, Ted has structured the above effect to eliminate any pre-show work. For those of you who have no qualms about pre-show setups, you can vastly simplify the above.
Select your victim prior to showtime and ask if she'll assist you in an experiment during your performance. Use the procedure explained under the effect, "Transparen-See," included elsewhere in this volume. The method described will deliver the necessary information that you need. The word, the color and the first name. Then, all you have to do is print your prediction in bold letters on a sheet of posterboard and tape it to the bottom of a tray. Affix the four bears to the tray and cover with a cloth. During your show, state that you approached a member of the audience before the show and gave her a paperback book. You asked her to think of just one word in that book while your back was turned. Ask the young woman to join you on stage.
Have the spectator confirm the fact that she freely selected a word on any page in the book while your back was turned (using Transparen-See you don't have to force a word, you learn it after the spectator has written it on a card, which she retains). Further, you ask her to confirm that she did not at any time tell you her name (that's true, but you did have her write it on the card). You now complete the effect by printing the word you know she's thinking of on a pad and have her call it aloud.
Show what you've written on the pad and take a bow. Now, give her a choice of the four bears. Finish in the same manner as described under Ted's effect. Naturally, it's not as bold or clever as Ted's method, but it's a lot easier.
Ted Lesley is one of my best friends in the world of magic and mentalism. He truly understands and practices what few performers have perfected. The ability to royally entertain an audience. His work is totally commercial and extremely clever. Is it any wonder why the recipient of the Psychic Entertainer's Association 1992 "Mentalist of the Year" award was none other than Ted Lesley.
In the May 8, 1992 issue of "Magick," editor Bascom Jones writing about the Psychic Entertainers Association's 1992 Convention commented, "Ted Lesley received the Dunninger Award, and, then, did an effect with teddy bears that was a show stopper. Dunninger would have loved it." High praise indeed.
The performer displays four black leather memo card holders. Each contains a blank, unlined 3" x 5" white index card. Turning the holders, card side down, the performer proceeds to randomly mix and cut the four holders as he approaches the spectators seated in the first row. Each of four spectators is handed one memo holder and a small pencil. Turning away, the performer returns to the stage and requests each of the four spectators to turn the holders, card side up, and to draw or doodle on the card anything the spectator is capable of drawing.
The performer states that it could be a simple geometric shape, a house, a tree, the sun or moon, flowers, animals, anything the spectator wishes to draw. The spectators are cautioned not to show their drawings to anyone around them, and when finished, they're instructed to turn the holder drawing side down. All this, the performer states, is to be done by the time he (the performer) has counted to "10." The performer turns his back to the spectators and begins to count aloud.
When the performer finishes his count, he turns and asks one of the four spectators to gather the memo holders from the three remaining would-be artists and to mix them thoroughly, drawing sides down . When he has finished doing so, the spectator is requested to return the four memo holders to the performer.
The performer turns the top memo card holder, drawing side up and glancing at what is drawn, exclaims, "WOW, the person who drew this is certainly no Rembrandt. In fact, this is the WOWsiest drawing I've ever seen!"
Displaying the card so the audience can see what has been drawn, everyone laughs at a crudely drawn stick figure. The performer states that despite the perpetrator's obvious lack of artistic ability, the drawing does seem to indicate something about the personality of the individual who drew it. Placing the remaining three holders in a pile on the table, drawing sides down, the performer delivers a brief, but humorous psychological profile concerning the individual he believes is responsible for the drawing he is holding.
Upon finishing, the performer suddenly points to one of the four spectators and states, "This is your handiwork, is it not?" The designated spectator responds that it is indeed his.
The performer removes the card from the holder and returns it to its rightful owner. Picking up a second holder from the table, the performer turns it over and as he looks at what is drawn, exclaims, "Now this is more like it. Obviously the work of a sex maniac" The audience laughs. Once again, the performer unerringly describes the person who drew the picture being displayed and returns the card to a second spectator who admits that the drawing is his.
There are now but two spectators remaining. Picking up the third holder from the table, the performer turns it face up and displays what is drawn on it to the audience. "I want the person who drew this masterpiece to mentally think of the word "Yes!" the performer explains. I also want the person who did not draw this, to picture the word "No!" in his mind, " the performer continues. Studying the two spectators for a moment, the performer removes the drawing from the holder and proceeds to hand it to one of the two remaining spectators. "I believe this belongs to you," the performer states. The spectator acknowledges that it does.
Turning to the fourth spectator, the performer excitedly exclaims, "And that is your handiwork on the table over there!" The performer proudly points to the lone remaining memo holder which is laying face down on the table. Naturally, the audience laughs at the performer's grandiose gesture and remark because of the absurdity of making a big deal out of revealing something simple by the process of elimination. Ignoring the laughter, the performer states that he will not look at or show what the fourth spectator has drawn. Rather, he explains, he wants the lone remaining spectator to merely picture in his mind whatever he drew on the card earlier.
Picking up a blank sheet of cardboard and a marker, the performer proceeds to study the spectator pensively and then feverishly begins to sketch something out of sight of the audience. When he has finished, the performer asks the fourth spectator to describe his drawing. As the spectator does so, the performer now picks up the face down card holder and turning it towards the audience so they can see what is drawn on it, simultaneously displays the drawing on the piece of cardboard next to it. The audience sees that the two drawings are practically identical! (Applause!)
(Note: the four holders and cards are in themselves, actually not marked. But, what's really important is that unlike most demonstrations of psychometry which lack a suitable climax, "Sneak Thief" enables you not only to present a baffling feat of psychometry, but also to climax the effect in spectacular fashion.) The secret of this effect is something David Hoy would have loved. It's not only sneaky, it's unbelievably bold. Perhaps pure guts is even a better way to describe it. However, nothing good comes easy. "Sneak Thief' must be practiced to perfection. Not only the routining, but the very essence of its modus operandi, Timing! For the faint of heart, take courage. The psychological subtleties employed really work!
Four unprepared black leather memo holders which are available in leather goods and/or luggage stores. These should be the ones with four diagonally cut slots at the four corners. You will also need blank, unlined 3" x 5" file cards, obtainable in any stationery or drug store. Four "golf pencils" or marking pens. Also required is a sheet of white cardboard approximately 11" x 14" and a fifth marking pen to duplicate the final spectator's drawing.
While the holders and the cards are actually not marked, there is a gimmick (what else?). You will need to make up four gaffed file cards as follows: At the top and bottom of each card, using a yellow felt tipped marking pen, print the numbers "1" through "4". In other words, card #1 has the numeral "1" at the center of each short end, approximately 1/8" from the edge of the card. Card #2 has the numeral "2" printed at each end, and so on until all four cards have been numbered. Then, using adhesive backed laminating film obtainable at office supply stores, laminate the front and back of each card and trim. Now, place one card in each holder covering same with a blank, unlined file card. Now, to identify which spectator has drawn which picture, do the following:
1. Pick up any one of the four holders. Hold it with the file card side facing you. The back of the holder will be facing the audience. Your left thumb should be resting centered on the face of the file card approximately one inch from the top of the card. The remaining four fingers are underneath the holder supporting it.
2. Press your left thumb firmly against the face of the card and maintaining the pressure, pull or drag the card downward approximately 1/4", slightly buckling the card as you do so.
3. You will now see a numeral from 1 thru 4, printed in yellow, staring out at you. This gaffed file card positioned under the face card has been laminated to facilitate the sliding action. The numeral is also printed in yellow ink so that it will not be visible through the file card on top of it. The number you see will immediately identify the spectator whose drawing appears on that holder. Since each gaff is numbered at both ends, it doesn't make any difference which way the holder is turned. The telltale number will always be visible when needed. Allow the card to straighten out by gently pushing upward with the left thumb. The secret number is once again out of sight.
4. How you obtain the information as to what the final spectator has drawn will be revealed later on. To set-up, place the sheet of cardboard, the marker and the four memo card holders on your table. The holders should be card sides down and arranged with the #1 holder on top, followed by the #2, #3 and #4. The four golf pencils should be in your right hand jacket pocket. Naturally, the four gaffed cards are each in position beneath the blank, unprepared file card on each holder.
Begin by picking up the four holders and fan them, card sides out, to the audience. Do not disturb their order. Square the holders. Hold them card sides down and as you explain that you will require the assistance of four members of the audience perform the following action which is nothing more than a simple Charlier Shuffle and cut. I do the mixing as I walk towards the spectators in the first row. It's a casual thing; no special attention should be called to it. The audience will see that the holders are being mixed. If you need a refresher on how to perform a Charlier Shuffle, see Appendix I.
Holding the stacked holders in your left hand, thumb on top and four fingers underneath, push the bottom holder to the right using the four fingers. The right hand takes the bottom holder. Now, the left thumb pushes the top holder in the left hand to the right where the right fingers take it beneath the holder in the right hand.
The left four fingers push the bottom holder of the two holders in the left hand to the right and deposit this holder on top of the two held by the right hand.The fourth holder in the left hand is now deposited beneath the three in the right hand. Now, the left thumb pushes the top two holders to the right where the right hand moves them together as one, beneath the remaining two holders. To the audience appears that you have briefly mixed the holders and cut the packet. Actually, they are back in their original 1-2-3-4 order.
While I was marketing "Sneak Thief," the numbers of the gaffed cards were printed in yellow. However, I would be remiss if I didn't point out the change that I eventually made to my set. To begin, I have absolutely no fear about handing out the gaffed file card holders. When I found myself in a poorly lit performing situation, I suddenly realized the yellow numerals would be hard to see. I immediately made up a new set of gaffed cards using black paper and bold white Letraset, rub-down numerals. The construction procedure is identical to the one previously described, but the numbers will stand out like neon signs, even in subdued light. Take your pick, but I now prefer the black and white gaff.
Hand the top holder to any spectator in the first row and moving to his left, hand the next to a second spectator. Continue to move to the second spectator's left and hand out the third holder and finally the fourth. Reach into your pocket and removing the golf pencils, hand one to each spectator. Return to the stage or platform and continue as previously outlined under "THE EFFECT" to instruct the four spectators what they are to do next. After the holders have been gathered, mixed and returned to you, have the spectator return to his seat. Position yourself with your table on your right side.
Now comes the part you've been waiting for: How to learn what the final spectator has drawn. Please read this part very carefully because this is where the timing comes in. Hold the four holders in your left hand, card sides down. With your right hand, flip the top holder face up and look at what is drawn on the card. The packet of four holders should still be parallel with the floor. If the drawing isn't right side up, turn the holder so that it is. As you look at the drawing you state, "Wow, the person who drew this is certainly no Rembrandt! In fact, it's the WOWsiest drawing I 've ever seen!" You say this no matter what is drawn or how it is drawn.
As you say this, the right hand approaches the packet of four holders with the right thumb underneath and the remaining four fingers on top. Turn the entire packet around so that the drawing is facing the audience. Hold the packet of four holders about eye level and allow the audience to see the drawing. Simultaneously, glance at the drawing that will now be facing you and quickly commit it to memory!
Remember, this action takes place as soon as you have delivered the gag line. Immediately turn the packet of four holders so that the drawing you just memorized is once again facing the floor and deposit the four holders in the left hand. As previously described, you indicate that despite the lack of artistic ability, the drawing does give you a clue to the personality and identity of the person who drew it. Take the four holders from above with the right hand (thumb and fingers on the long sides) and casually deposit them as one on the table to your right. As the holders are placed on the table, retain a finger grip on the top face up holder and carry it away as you leave the remaining three holders in a pile, drawing sides down, on the table.
(Note: you have just learned what is drawn on the fourth and final holder. Yes, it is as boldfaced a swindle as has ever been created, but it will fool your audience in the end. Why? Think about it. The glimpse occurs before the audience has any idea what is about to transpire. The fact that you have already looked at what is drawn on the first holder and the laughter from your gag line will immediately disarm them. Obviously, what has been drawn is not a secret. In addition, you will reveal which spectator drew which picture a total of three times before you ever switch gears! By the time you reach the fourth and final holder, the audience will have long ago forgotten that you ever had the opportunity to see what is drawn on it. Believe me, this works! Just one or two trials will make you a believer, but you must practice the routine and perfect the timing that is so essential to every facet of the procedure I have just described.)
Perform the buckle move previously described and spot the secret number, as you hold the holder in your left hand with the drawing facing you. You now know which of the four spectators it belongs to. Allow the secret number to vanish as you begin to describe your impression of the individual who you believe to be the artist. Since you already know which spectator that is, use this knowledge in your personality profile, i.e., whether it was drawn by a man or a woman. Use the object itself to inject some humor and by all means, employ some of the formula cold reading material contained in such books as "Red Hot Cold Reading" and "King of the Cold Readers". Both are outstanding and contain some of the best material available on the subject.
Keep it brief and when you're finished, turn the holder so that the drawing faces you. Quickly buckle the top card and insert your right fingers between the top card and the gaff. Pull the top card towards yourself, freeing it from the slits that hold it in place. With the left hand, immediately place the holder in your inside right hand jacket pocket as you identify and approach the correct spectator. Leave the card with him or her as a souvenir. Pick up a second holder from the table and turning it face up, repeat the same procedure with a second spectator. Be sure to to use the line, "Now this is more like it. Obviously the work of a sex maniac!" This always gets a good laugh.
Continue as described under "THE EFFECT" and identify the third spectator. Note that each time you finish an identification, the holder is ditched in your inside jacket pocket as soon as you have removed the card and handed it out as a souvenir. There is one holder left drawing side down on the table. Glance at it and acting as if you have just performed a minor miracle, proudly announce that it belongs to the lone remaining spectator. Do this tongue-in-cheek and you'll get a good laugh with your pretended pomposity. When the laughter subsides, announce that you will not touch, look at or show what is drawn on the remaining card. Rather, you ask the spectator to picture the drawing in his mind.
Finish by drawing a good representation of the picture you noted early on. When you're done, place the marker aside and have the spectator describe what he drew. As he does so, pick up the face down holder and show it to the audience. Hold your drawing along side and allow the audience to see that you have in fact, duplicated the spectator's picture. Hand the large drawing to the spectator as a souvenir and take a bow. You have just completed one of the most baffling and entertaining psychometry effects ever conceived. I hope that you enjoy using it often.
Don't write and ask what happens if someone wants to examine the holders.
Remember, they're in the spectator's hands during the entire first part of the routine. If there was anything suspicious about the holders, the audience will reason that you would never hand them out so freely. Also, I cut out and insert a stiff piece of illustration board inside each pocket to stiffen the holder. I find that they handle better. Incidentally, the stiffeners should be cut to fit entirely inside the pockets.
I also altered my presentation to compensate for the lack of a table. Most of my performing is done in stand-up situations. Therefore, after I get my peek while showing the first drawing, I immediately ask a spectator to step forward and stand to my left. Instead of placing the three holders on a table, I have the spectator hold them, drawing sides down, on his outstretched hand. In time, I found that this was even better than dropping them on a table. The fact the spectator is holding them seems to totally rule out any excess handling of the holders by the performer. To top it off, the holders are in full view of the audience throughout instead of sitting on the table.
I have performed "Sneak Thief' repeatedly for both lay audiences as well as groups of magicians. The duplication of the final spectator's drawing is a real shocker and leaves you in a natural applause position as you display the drawings in either hand. I think it's a professional mentalist's dream. I hope you'll share my enthusiasm.
I was returning to Phoenix on a Delta flight, chugging along at 36,000 feet, when lightning struck. Why not use the "Sneak Thief" concept to accomplish a dynamite mental card effect? It only took a few seconds more and the whole thing came together. I think you're going to like it a lot. I know that I'll perform it this way from now on.
A pack of playing cards is shown to consist of 52 separate and distinct personalities. No two are alike. In other words, it's an ordinary deck of cards. The pack is shuffled and then distributed among four spectators who are requested to quickly mix their respective packets. The first spectator is then asked to spread his cards and confirm that it is made up of an assortment of different values and suits. He replies in the affirmative. He is then instructed to mentally select and remember any Diamond card in his hand. Then, he is asked to hand his packet of cards to the second spectator who adds them to the packet he has received.
The second spectator is asked to shuffle his combined packet and to mentally select any Club card in his hand. The second spectator is then asked to hand his cards to the third spectator who adds them to the portion of the deck he previously was handed. After shuffling this combined packet of cards, the third spectator is asked to spread the cards and to mentally select and remember any Heart card in his packet. Finally, the third spectator is told to hand his packet of cards to the fourth spectator who after combining it with his packet, now holds the entire pack of 52 cards. The fourth spectator is requested to mentally select and remember any Spade card in the deck.
The pack of cards is now discarded as the performer distributes four memo card holders and pencils, one to each of the four spectators. The performer explains that after he has turned away, the four spectators are to jot down on their memo card, the value of their mentally selected card, but not the suit. When the four spectators have done this, one of them is asked to collect and mix the four memo card holders, writing side down. When he has completed this task, the performer turns and retrieves the four holders.
Turning one face up, the performer announces that it is, for example, an Ace, but more important, even though it is not noted on the card, it is the Ace of Hearts and is the card thought of by spectator #3. The third spectator acknowledges that the wonder worker is correct. The performer flips over a second holder and after showing that it contains, for example, the number Eight, he states that it does in fact, represent the Eight of Spades and further, it was mentally selected by spectator #4. The fourth spectator confirms that the performer is absolutely correct.
The performer starts to reach for the third face down memo holder, but stops as he explains that he is having a problem visualizing whatever is written on this card. He pushes it aside exposing the fourth face down memo holder. The performer steps back and states that he will not even touch the face down holder, instead he will attempt to mentally determine both the value and suit written on the card.
After a moment, he points to the second spectator and states that the card definitely belongs to him. In fact, it is the Nine of Clubs. The second spectator confirms that the performer is 100% correct. The performer addresses the first spectator and states that obviously the remaining holder must belong to him. Stating that he is still experiencing some difficulty, the performer asks the spectator to give him a small hint. "Is it a BIG card or a SMALL one?" the performer asks. The spectator replies that it is a big one. The performer whips out a giant playing card from beneath his coat with its back to the audience. "Is it this big?" the performer asks. Before he can answer, the performer continues,"What card are you concentrating upon?" The spectator states that he is thinking of the King of Diamonds. "I thought you might," the performer replies. With that, he turns the jumbo card around. It is the King of Diamonds.
If you can visualize yourself standing there with the giant card in one hand and both hands upraised, you can just as easily hear the resounding round of applause this effect will generate.
Naturally, since you're already well versed in the handling of the original "Sneak Thief" routine, you'll need only a few missing details to understand the working of this dynamite mental card effect. To begin, take any 11 cards from a deck, making sure they consist of an approximately equal mixture of Hearts, Clubs and Spades. Now, add the King of Diamonds or whatever diamond card you have in jumbo size, and a miniature Two of Diamonds (Playtime or any other brand).
To perform this effect, it will be necessary to mark one of the four holders on its back. (I use white dots rubbed down from Letraset dry transfer lettering sheets, available at your local art supply store). Place a teeny white dot in the upper left and lower right hand corners on the back of the #1 memo holder. This is the holder that will be handed to the first spectator.
Pencil dot the upper left and lower right hand corners of the top card of the deck. Place the special thirteen card stack consisting of any eleven Heart, Club and Spade cards plus the King and Two of Diamonds on top of the pencil dotted card (insert the KD somewhere near the middle of the packet and the 2D a few cards to either the left of right of the KD).
Pin the jumbo King of Diamonds under your jacket. I use a magnetic money clip (available in better department stores or luggage shops) with a large safety pin attached. The clip is attached to my shirt, just below the collar so the bottom of the jumbo card is accessible when my right hand reaches up under my jacket. The card is then inserted into the clip where it is held securely in place by the magnets. However, it is easily released when pulled downward. Place the miniature Two of Diamonds in your left hand jacket pocket.
To begin, false shuffle the deck leaving the top thirteen cards in place. A simple riffle shuffle will suffice. Spread the cards from hand to hand so the audience can see that the cards are perfectly normal and well mixed. Approach the first spectator and run the cards, face down, from hand to hand until you spot the dotted card. Cut off all the cards above the pencil dotted card and hand them face down to the first spectator.
Continue running the cards from hand to hand, stopping after approximately twelve or thirteen cards, and hand those cards to the second spectator. The number of cards does not have to be precise. Do the same with the remaining two spectators. At this point, each spectator holds approximately one quarter of the pack. Have them mix their respective packet of cards.
As previously described, ask the first spectator if his packet of cards consists of an assortment of values and suits. Naturally he will respond in the affirmative. The audience takes this to mean that he holds a varied assortment of values and all suits. Naturally, since you instruct him to think of any Diamond card in his hand, he can only think of the King of Diamonds or the Two of Diamonds.
Ask him to hand his packet to the second spectator who is instructed to shuffle both packets of cards together and to think of any Club card among the cards he holds. Have the second spectator hand his cards to the third spectator who is asked to shuffle the packet and to mentally select any Heart card. Finally, the third spectator hands his cards to the fourth spectator who now shuffles the entire pack, subsequently mentally selecting any Spade card. You have just diabolically forced the mental selection of the King of Diamonds or the Two of Diamonds.
Continue as previously outlined under "THE EFFECT" and have the values only printed on each card. The holders are then collected and mixed, writing side down, and then handed to you. At this point, casually fan the holders until you spot the location of the holder with the white dot. Unless it's already second from the bottom, cut the holders bringing it to that position. Carry on with the procedure as detailed for "Sneak Thief," turning the top holder face up and obtaining your peek of the value written on the bottom card of the stack as you display the face of the top holder to the audience. I simply call attention to the value they are looking at as I ask the spectator who selected it to picture the entire card in his mind.
Placing the packet of four holders on the table, I come away with the top holder and proceed to identify the value, suit and the person who mentally selected that card, getting the information from the secret prompter card. I pick up the second holder and repeat the procedure with a second spectator.
There are two face down holders on the table. The top holder will be the white dotted King of Diamonds or the Two of Diamonds. Push it aside as described, feigning trouble getting a mental impression. Wave your hand over the now exposed bottom holder and proceed to reveal the value and suit without ever picking up or looking at the writing on the card. Pick up the holder and show the card to the audience so they can see that you are correct.
Point out that the final holder obviously belongs to the final spectator. You feign trouble once again and ask for a small hint. "Is your card a big one or a small one?" you ask. If the spectator states that his card is a big one, reach under your jacket and remove the jumbo card. Hold it with the back of the card facing the audience as you state, "This big?" Before the spectator can answer, ask him to reveal the identity of his mentally selected card. When he responds, show the face of the jumbo King of Diamonds. If the spectator states that his card is a small one, reach into your left hand jacket pocket and remove the miniature card with its back to the audience as you state, "This small?". Before the spectator can answer, ask him to call out the identity of his mentally selected card. When he responds, turn the small card towards the audience revealing the Two of Diamonds. Believe me, the climax is strong either way and you'll get a good hand.
I love this routine. It takes the "Sneak Thief' concept one step beyond. It enables you to correctly reveal the contents of two face down holders instead of just one. More important, the jumbo or miniature card kicker is a sure fire applause generator.
You can also perform "Sneak Thief" using the unique marking principle in the effect entitled, "What Goes Around," located elsewhere in this volume.
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.