The performer displays a packet of ESP testing cards created by a gentlemen named Zenner and used extensively by Dr. J.B. Rhine of Duke University. As the performer continues, he shows that the pack is made up of five designs, a circle, plus sign, three wavy lines, a square and a star. Each design is repeated five times, making a total of 25 ESP cards.
A member of the audience is randomly selected and asked to thoroughly mix the cards. When the participant indicates that the cards are well mixed, the performer repeats, "five ESP designs , repeated five times. Sir, think of a number from one through five. Do you have one? Good. Then while my back is turned please remove as many cards as the number you're thinking of. For example, if you thought of the number "one" then remove one card and place it in your right hand jacket pocket. Is that clear?" When the participant says that it is, the performer turns his back.
As soon as the participant indicates that he has done as requested, the performer asks that the remaining packet of cards be mixed once again. The performer turns and retrieves the packet and explains that he is about to show the participant five of the ESP design cards. Further, if he has placed one card in his pocket he is to remember the first design he is shown. If he placed two cards in his pocket he is to remember the second design, and so on. The performer shows the participant five cards, one at a time. The cards are then returned to the packet which is then cut several times. The performer notes that now, not even the participant has any idea where his mentally selected design is.
The performer removes a number of cards from the top of the face-down packet and hands them to the participant. "Look through these cards and if you see your design, simply think "yes." If you don't see your design card, then think, "no!" but please don't give any visible or audible clue as to whether or not you have seen it.
As soon as the spectator has looked through the cards, the performer asks that he place them in his right hand jacket pocket. The performer removes another batch of cards and hands them to the spectator. Again, the spectator is asked to look through the cards and if he sees the design he has been concentrating upon, he is not to say anything, simply think "yes" or "no!" The spectator is then requested to place the cards in his right hand jacket pocket.
The performer hands the remaining cards to the participant and has him repeat the same procedure. The remaining cards are likewise to be placed in the participant's right hand jacket pocket. The performer emphasizes that the packet was thoroughly mixed by the participant and at no time has he, the performer, seen the face of any of the cards. The performer also points out that at no time has the participant revealed anything about the design he has merely thought of. But, he continues, the reason I had you mentally think yes or no as to whether or not you had seen your design was to make you concentrate more intensely each of the five times you mentally recognized your design.
The performer picks up a sheet of illustration board and writes something on it without allowing anyone to see what he wrote. The participant is now asked to reveal for the first time the ESP design he was concentrating upon. The participant, for example, says, "the square!" The performer turns the board towards the audience and everyone sees that he previously wrote the word, "square."
As the audience applauds, the performer retrieves the packet of ESP design cards and thanks the participant for volunteering.
That's it. The spectator does it all. He mixes the cards. He merely thinks of one of the five designs. He mixes the cards again. He looks at all twenty-five cards before placing them in his pocket. The performer never sees the faces of any of the cards. That's about as clean as it gets.
You will need a 25 card packet of original star back ESP design cards, available from Haines House of Cards in Cincinnatti. Each card can be laminated to ensure years of use.
Each card should be marked on its back in the upper left hand and the lower right hand corners. You'll note that there are four stars (S) in each of the corners. One is a rectangle and the other is a slanted rectangle. The star numbered "1" represents the circle. The star in position "2" represents the plus sign. The star in position "3" represents the three wavy lines and the star in position "4" represents the square. The relationship between the numbers and the designs is easy to remember. The circle is drawn with one line. The plus sign consists of two lines. The three wavy lines consists of three lines. And the square consists of four lines. The star has five points, however the star is not marked. The marking is done, using a fine tip Sharpie marking pen, by drawing a small dot inside the star that corresponds with the design. As shown in the diagram, the fourth star is marked indicating that it is the square.
For the purposes of displaying the ESP design cards to the audience, arrange the packet in a circle, plus sign, wavy lines, square and star order from top to bottom. Place a rubber band around the packet and place it in your right hand jacket pocket.
Simply follow the description of the "effect." After you've displayed the pack of ESP design cards, randomly select a member of the audience to participate in the demonstration. Have the cards mixed as described. After the participant has thought of a number from one to five, and you've turned your back, have the volunteer remove a number of cards that corresponds with the number he is thinking of, and place them in his right hand jacket pocket. You truly have no idea what his number is. Then, have the participant mix the remaining cards. Turn around and retrieve the packet from the volunteer. Explain that you are about to display the top five cards of the packet which the participant has mixed. If he has placed one card in his pocket, he is to remember the design on the first card you show him. If he placed two cards in his pocket, he is to remember the design on the second card that he is shown. Likewise, if he placed three cards in his pocket, he is to remember the design on the third card he sees and so on until five cards have been displayed. You should note that there is no way you could possibly know which design he will remember and to further confuse you, each design is repeated five times so there is no way you can possibly know if he is looking at duplicates or not.
The performer should look away as he displays each of the top five cards. When the fifth card has been shown, the left thumb should push off the top four cards of the packet in his left hand so the overlap one another. The right hand which is holding the five cards just shown to the participant places them on top of the four side jogged cards. As the cards are squared, obtain a little finger break below the nine cards. Once the packet has been squared, perform a double undercut bringing the nine cards to the bottom of the pack. (A description of this move appears at the end of the instructions). It's at this point that you note that there is no way for either you or the volunteer to know the location of any of the designs.
The volunteer's mentally selected design card is now the 16th card from the top of the packet. If you follow the procedure as outlined, it always will be. Now, as previously described, you're going to remove a few of the cards so the volunteer can look through them to see if his mentally selected design is there. Obviously, since each design is repeated five times, he may be looking at one or several cards bearing his thought of design or none, regardless, he is instructed to think "yes" if he sees his design or "no" if he doesn't. But, he is cautioned to give no clue either audially or physically if he sees his randomly selected design. The first packet of cards you remove and hand to the volunteer should consist of seven (7) cards. When he's finished looking at the cards you gave him, instruct him to place them in his right hand jacket pocket. As he's doing this, push off a packet consisting of eight (8) cards and hand them to the volunteer to view as before. As he is doing this, glance at the upper left hand corner of the top card of the packet in your left hand. Note the identity of the design on this card and remember it. As soon as the spectator has pocketed the cards he just looked at, hand the remaining cards to him to finish as described under the "effect."
"Zenneristic" is an adaptation of my effect, "Power of Suggestion." It is simple, clean, easy to execute and totally baffling to the uninitiated. Each facet of the demonstration is strengthened by the procedure I've devised. Limiting the volunteer to thinking of a number from one through five is linked to your description of the pack itself. Five ESP designs repeated five times is heard moments before you ask the volunteer to think of a number from one through five. The repetition of the word "five" is what cloaks the limitation in a cloud of smoke. The apparent freedom of choice is strengthened by allowing the volunteer to thoroughly mix the cards. The fact that you never actually see the face of any of the
ESP design cards also adds to the bafflement. Finally, by having the volunteer place the balance of the cards in the same pocket he originally placed his secret number of cards almost obliterates that phase of the procedure. He has merely thought of a design. He mixed the cards. He placed the cards in his pocket. To top it off, at no time did you see the faces of the cards. That adds up to one inexplicable mystery.
When performing "Zenneristic" don't rush. Move steadily through each phase with great deliberation. There's nothing to hide. Everything is literally in plain sight. Don't run when you aren't being chased. Be sure to emphasize the fairness of what you are doing. A tip on the push off prior to the double undercut, if it's easier for you (as it is for me) to push over three cards instead of the necessary four...simply take three cards under the five you've shown to the spectator and double undercut them to the bottom of the packet. Then, push off one card just enough to separate it at the inner end about 3/8 of an inch and holding the break, double undercut the single card to the bottom of the packet. It will just appear that you have cut the packet four times instead of two.
Even though this effect is very simple, that's no excuse for not practicing it. In mentalism, presentation is everything. Be sure you understand every aspect of the effect. Write yourself a script and edit, edit, edit. Try to boil it down until every word is right on. Eliminate any superfluous patter and practice what's left until you have it down pat.
Over the years I've created many effects that employ ESP design cards. If you're looking to team this up with something else, try my "Will The Words Match." Harry Lorayne was kind enough to publish it many years ago in Apocalypse to prevent another performer from claiming it as his own in a new book he was writing. All you have to do is change the words spelled to "Will The Signs Match." Talk about a one-two punch, the first is the revelation of a mentally selected ESP design. Then, you remove two sets of the five designs and you're all ready for a second effect that ends with you and four on-stage spectators with your arms upraised, each holding a matching pair of designs. If ever there was a strong applause cut...that's it!
While I was performing and teaching the effect during a lecture in Brussels, Belgium in 1989, someone kindly took a photo of the above scene and sent it to me months later. You could hear the applause just by looking at the picture of those five matching pairs of ESP design cards in five pairs of hands.
For those of you with limited card handling expertise I have included an explanation of Dai Vernon's Double Undercut. Master it. You'll use it often.
The Double Undercut is a useful method for either controlling a specific card to the top of the deck, or for cutting a small packet of cards from the top of the deck to the bottom. While a single cut would, in most cases, accomplish the same thing, the "Double Undercut" has the advantage of being more deceptive due to the fact the deck is quickly cut twice and it is harder for viewers to mentally comprehend how two cuts could accomplish anything specific. Thus, the actions pass as a flourish.
First, a procedure for controlling a chosen card to the top of the deck will be described. Then, the "Double Undercut" is shifting cards from the top of the deck to the bottom will be covered.
For purposes of the first explanation, assume that the spectator has chosen a card and the card has been replaced near the center of the deck with a fourth finger break held above the chosen card.
1. With the right hand arched above the deck, grip the deck with the fight thumb at the inner narrow end of the deck and the fingers at the outer end. The right first finger can be either at the outer end of the deck or curled atop the deck. As the fight hand takes the deck from the left hand, the right thumb picks up the break previously held by the fourth finger of the left hand.
2. With the left hand, cut off half the cards that are below the break. Transfer the small packet of cards to the top of the deck.
3. Then, in similar manner, the left hand cuts off all the cards that remain below the break and transfers them to the top of the deck. The top card of the deck following this second cut will be the spectator's card.
Note that if instead of holding a break above the selected card at the beginning, the break were held below the selected card, it would end up on the bottom of the deck. Should the performer wish to transfer a small quantity of cards from the top of the deck to the bottom, the procedure is similar, but at first does not seem the same. For explanation purposes assume that the intent of the action will be to transfer four cards from the top of the deck to the bottom. To begin, obtain a little finger break under the top four cards of the deck and assume this break with the right thumb as the right hand arches over the deck. Should the performer wish to transfer only one card from top to bottom, he would hold a break beneath only a single card.
Paper Fortune Cookie
The performer displays a pack of playing cards. A rubber band encircles the box. Under the rubber band, a folded sheet of paper is visible. A label on the folded sheet reads as follows: The performer explains that he uses the paper fortune cookies because they're guaranteed never to go stale.
The performer removes the rubber band and hands the folded "Paper Fortune Cookie" to a spectator to hold for safekeeping. Removing the cards from the box, the performer displays the faces, noting the cards are all different from one another, and thoroughly mixed. The performer now asks a spectator, in order to save time, to call out any number between 10 and 20. For example, the spectator calls out the number "12." The performer deals 12 cards face down in a pile on the table. Explaining that he is about to reveal a spectator's future, the performer states that he will use a combination of numerology and a paper fortune cookie to do so. (The performer should be smiling as he says this.)
In numerology, the performer continues, multiple digits must be reduced to a single digit. Placing the remainder of the deck aside, the performer picks up the packet of 12 cards and states, "the number twelve is made up of a 1 and a 2. Add them together and you have a single digit, "3." The performer simultaneously deals 3 cards face down on the table, dealing the third card to one side by itself. Dropping the remaining 9 cards on the two cards just dealt, he places the 11 cards on top of the balance of the deck. The performer asks another spectator to call out a number between 10 and 20.
The same procedure is repeated until a total of five spectators have randomly selected 5 playing cards using numbers between 10 and 20. In fact, the performer should emphasize that the spectators can even choose numbers that have already been called out. The performer states that 47 cards have been eliminated. As he says this, he picks up the balance of the deck and returns them to the card box. Picking up the five face down selected cards, the performer fans them as he displays their faces to the audience. Now, he states, all that remains is to eliminate four of these five randomly selected cards. Holding the packet squared, face down in his left hand...the performer begins to transfer one card at a time from the top to the bottom of the packet. The performer instructs the spectator holding the Paper Fortune Cookie to call stop at any time that he or she wishes.
When the spectator calls stop, the performer turns the top card of the packet face up. For example it is the AD. The performer states that the Ace is "one" so he will duck one card. The performer transfer the AD from the top of the packet to the bottom. Now, the performer turns the top card of the packet face up. It is the QS. The performer states that the Queen is the 12th card in a 13 card suit and since multiple digits must be reduced to one, he adds 1 and 2 which of course means that he will now duck three cards from the top to the bottom of the packet. The top card of the packet is now turned face up and it is the 4C. The performer says that he will now duck 4 cards. Turning the top card of the packet face up, it is the JC. There is but one card remaining face down. The performer states that 4
more cards have been randomly eliminated making a total of 51. The four face up cards are returned to the card box.
The performer asks the spectator to open and read aloud his or her fortune. When the folded sheet of paper is opened, it contains the message printed to the right.
The performer slowly turns over the single face down card on the table. It is the Four of Hearts!
In Karl Fulves publication, The Chronicles, George Sands published an interesting effect entitled, Reverse Bank Nite. It utilized a principle that George introduced in an earlier publication entitled, Lucky "13." Essentially it was a number force using the numbers 12-3-4-5, but in a cyclical order 4-1-3-5-2.
I always liked the principle and over the years developed many presentations using George's clever force. It wasn't until a year ago that I began to concentrate on disguising the principle. This led to a line of thought that centered on layering the principle. In other words adding additional layers of smoke and mirrors. Two effects eventually evolved. One was an effect with a gambling theme using five blank cards, five unprepared envelopes, five different amounts of money and five double digit numbers. The Paper Fortune Cookie was the other.
I did the same thing when I structured the gambling effect, except I used two digit numbers on the five envelopes which when added together (using the numerology ploy) result in the 4-1-3-X-2 order. The X represents the envelope with the smallest denomination of paper currency on the card in that envelope.. Naturally, that's the envelope which the spectator ends up with. The remaining four envelopes contain cards with substantially higher amounts. But, back to the Paper Fortune Cookie.
Photocopy the two pages of artwork (which follow this description) on both sides of bright yellow paper. Fold the paper in half, several times - with the 'fortune' on the inside - until only the small, printed corner section shows.
If you're using Bicycle playing cards with a blue back, color in the white dot in the center of the back design of four of the cards, leaving the 4H unprepared, using a blue, fine line, Sharpie permanent marker. Place the 4C-AD-QS-4H and JC on top of a face down deck of playing cards, but in reverse order...JC-4H-QS-AD-4C. While there are several ways to perform this effect, I'll assume you have absolutely no skill with cards. This first version takes longer to perform, but it's just about as simple as it gets. Place any nine (9) cards on top of the five card stack. Box the deck. Place a rubber band around the belly of the box and slip the Paper Fortune Cookie under the rubber band on the rear of the box.
This version is the same as described under "EFFECT." The procedure outlined forces the 5 card stack, reversing the stack as the cards are placed on the table. They will now be in a 4C, AD, QS, 4H and JC order. Either the performer or the spectator can now take the five cards and being the elimination process. When the ducking procedure is stopped, the performer will know whether or not the card on top of the deck is the 4H due to the mark or no mark in the circle in the center of the back design. Should the card be the 4H, the person ducking the cards is instructed to place the selected (?) top card, face down to one side. The remaining four cards are shown to indicate that anyone of the four could have been selected. They are then discarded with the remainder of the deck. The Fortune Cookie is removed and read aloud. The performer states as he turns the 4H face up that without a doubt, good fortune has smiled upon the spectator who holds the fortune cookie.
In the event the top card is not the 4H when the ducking procedure stops, the top card is turned face up. For example, it's the 4C. The performer states that the deck has signalled that 4 cards be ducked, one at a time from the top of the packet to the bottom. As this is done, the performer notes that the first of four cards has been eliminated. The new top card is now turned face up and it's the JC. The performer notes that in numerology it's a rule that all multiple digits be reduced to a single digit through addition. Since the Jack is the 11th card in a suit, by adding 1+1 the deck has told us to duck two cards. When this has been done, the top card is turned face up. It is the AD.
The performer says that a third card, the AD has been eliminated and it is ducked on the count of one. Finally, the fourth card to be eliminated is turned face up and it is the QS. The five cards are now fanned and it is seen that only one card remains face down. Yep, it is the 4H, which of course, matches the fortune cookie prediction. The cyclic stack used will always force the 4H to be last. Except when it is the top card after the initial ducking procedure is consummated. In this event, the remaining four cards are eliminated and the 4H becomes the selected card.
Try this, cards in hand and you'll quickly understand how it works. To speed things up, you can also begin with the five card stack on top of the deck. Turn the deck face up and riffle shuffle the cards, keeping the top stack intact. I always note that it is easier to appreciate how the cards are being mixed when the spectators can see the faces of the cards. After the final shuffle, I grasp the face up deck with the right fingers and with the left thumb, I riffle the upper left hand corner of the face up deck as I ask the spectator to call stop at any time. When he does, I cut away all the cards below the point where the spectator stopped the riffle and place the face up packet, face down on the table.
I then turn over the remaining cards in my hand and place the face down packet crosswise on top of the tabled talon. This confusing procedure of apparently cutting the deck where indicated by the spectator actually positions the 5 card stack on top of the lower packet. I then show the folded Paper Fortune Cookie, removing it from under the rubber band around the box and read the label. I then place the folded "cookie" in the "cookie jar" as I refer to it, placing the folded packet in the empty card box and close the flap.
This time interval will cause the spectators to completely lose track of the two packets on the table. I then lift the top packet and invite the spectator to take the bottom packet from which he is to deal five randomly selected cards, face down in a pile on the table. Naturally, he deals my 5 card stack, reversing the order as he does so, leaving the cards in the 4C, AD, QS, 4H and JC order. You know the rest of the procedure.
I have found the "Paper Fortune Cookie" to be an excellent attention getter. The handling and the layered cyclical stack neatly disguises the original principle. I also allow the spectator to keep the "Cookie" as a souvenir. Those of you with basic card skills will probably work out your own way of bringing the stack into play, but the routines outlined will cover any amount of card skill from zero to pro, that the performer brings to the table. Enjoy.
In George's version, the five was the force number. If you substitute the five well known ESP symbols; circle, plus sign, three wavy lines, square and star they translate numerically into 1-2-3-4-5. The circle is drawn with one line, the plus sign with two lines, three wavy lines, the four sides of a square and the five points of the star. Stacked in the order of square, circle, wavy lines, star and plus sign (4-1-3-5-2), the star becomes the force symbol. The forcing procedure is similar to Fortune Cookie, however only five cards are used. It eventually dawned on me that there were several ways to go. To begin, since the "5" is the force number, five could be anything. In short, the force is accomplished through a process of elimination with the fifth card, number, etc. being last or...first, in which case the elimination is inferred to represent the remaining four items.
If I'm confusing you, look at it this way. George's cyclical number is 4-1-3-5-2. Since the 5 is the force item, the order could be 4-1-3-9-2. Using this logic and carrying it one step further, in the case of playing cards it's possible to help disguise the principle by making the "5" a "4" which results in a cyclical order of 4-1-3-4-2. Add the suits and you have 4C-AD-3S-4H and 2C. The 1-2-3-4-5 principle is beginning to be layered. Next, I employed the numerology rule that multiple digit numbers must be reduced to to a single digit. So I changed the cyclical order once again to, 4C-AD-QS-4H-JC. Pretty hard to see a 1-2-3-45 order to that arrangement isn't it. Naturally, in a 13 card suit, the Jack is 11, Queen is 12 and King is 13. By converting the QS to 12 and adding the two digits (1+2) we revert to "3", which is what it must be to execute the elimination process. The same holds for the JC. The Jack is 11 and 1+1 equals "2." But the original values of 1 through 5 are no longer obvious. And the repeated "4" is meaningless since the force item can be anything.
The World's Only
Guaranteed Never to go Stale
Voti wîi) enjov â iîfetîrwe e)f <jOO(J foeâitb, happiness
& <jreât prosperity prOvîeJee} tbe Ofte târ<J
Oeit of 52 which yoti hâve râfteîorfliy selected
I've always enjoyed creating various methods for this effect. One of the most notable was a version that used a visible, invisible gimmick.a brass plated paper clip. This version contains several improvements, giving it an incredible double barreled climax..
What the audience sees:
The performer calls attention to a goblet containing a folded slip of paper on his table. He then removes five white cards from his pocket and displays them. Handing a spectator a marking pen, the spectator is asked to write his name across one of the cards. The spectator is then asked to turn the card writing side down and to mix the five cards so that no one knows which card contains his name. The performer turns his back while this is being done. The spectator is then handed five manila coin envelopes and instructed to mix them up. Then, he is told to seal one card in each envelope. Turning, the performer picks up the pen and without showing what he is writing, draws something on each of the envelopes. When he has finished, holding the packet of envelopes writing side down, the performer states that he will move one envelope at a time from the top of the packet to the bottom until the spectator feels an urge to call stop. The performer begins to duck the envelopes until the spectator calls stop. The envelope at that point is turned writing side up and everyone sees for example, a square. The performer explains that a square has four sides, so he proceeds to duck four envelopes, one at a time, from the top of the stack to the bottom. Again, the top envelope is turned writing side up and everyone sees a triangle. The triangle has three sides the performer notes, so we'll duck three envelopes. The performer transfers three envelopes, one at a time, from the top to the bottom of the stack. The top envelope is turned writing side up and everyone sees that it contains a circle. The circle is drawn with one continuous line, the performer states, so we'll duck one envelope, which he does, turning the top envelope writing side up. This envelope contains a plus sign.
At this point, the performer notes that only one envelope remains writing side down. The spectator is asked to remove the folded slip of paper from the glass goblet and to read aloud what is written on it. The spectator reads, "You will freely eliminate four out of five envelopes. The final envelope will have a star drawn on it. And if you ll open the envelope, I believe you'll find the one card out of five that contains your name." The spectator is asked to turn the final envelope writing side up and to call out what is drawn on it. The spectator does so and replies that the lone remaining envelope contains a "star."The spectator opens the "star" envelope and removes the card which does, in fact, contain his name.
You'll need five specially prepared cards. I use No. 3400 Blank Playing Cards. These glossy white cards come 100 to a package and they are available from the Ideal School Supply Company, Oak Lawn, IL 60453. I suggest you write for the name of the nearest store where you can purchase them. You'll also need five manila coin envelopes, a crystal goblet, a 3" x 5" prediction worded as detailed and quarter folded. In addition, you'll need a Sanford overhead projection pen, available at any well stocked office supply store. Finally, a magnetic ring. To make one, obtain two packets of tiny Rare Earth Magnets from your nearest Radio Shack store. The catalog number is 64 -1895. They come two to a package and sell for approximately $1.75. The ring should be one size larger than you'd normally wear. I purchased mine, a beautiful gold Lion's head ring, from Sears. To begin, I painted the two stacked magnets with gold paint. Then, using Super Glue, I glued them together and then to the inside of the shank. Because I purchased the ring a size larger than I needed, the magnets act as a ring guard, making the ring fit nice and snug. I then painted one of the remaining tiny magnets gold and glued it to the outside of the shank, in line with the two magnets on the inside. The magnet is so small, it'll never be noticed, but the magnetic power of the three magnets is easily strong enough to do the job. Naturally you can alternatively purchase a quality magnetic ring from Stevens Magic Emporium in Wichita or Brad Burt's Magic Shop in San Diego if you're adverse to making it up as described.
The cards are prepared as follows. Using spray adhesive, glue three cards together and apply adhesive backed laminating film (also from your local office supply store) to the top and bottom of the glued cards. Trim the film to the edge of the card. Now, make three more triple thickness cards and laminate them also. Obtain one card from the windproof cards which are available in any game or toy store. These playing cards are actually ultra thin steel covered with playing card backs and faces. They're used with a magnetic board to play cards at the beach, without having the cards blow away. Glue the steel card to one of the white cards. Glue a second card over the steel card, sealing it between the two white cards. Laminate this card as previously described.
Place the goblet containing your folded prediction on your table. The marking pen goes in your left hand inside jacket pocket and the five manila coin envelopes on the table. Place the five cards in your right hand jacket pocket with the gaffed card on top.
Follow the routine as previously described. Call attention to the folded slip of paper in the goblet explaining that it will play an important part in the incredible demonstration you are about to attempt. Invite a spectator to participate. State that for the purposes of this demonstration, you're going to use five blank cards. Suiting actions to words, reach into your right hand jacket pocket and remove the packet of five cards, placing them on the table with the gaffed card on top. Remove the marking pen and hand it to the spectator.
Turn away and continue as previously described. When the spectator has finished mixing the five cards, sealing them in the five envelopes...any card in any envelope...turn and retrieve the pen. Ask the spectator to hand you one of the envelopes. Place it, seam side down, on the palm of your left hand over the magnetic ring. If you do not feel any magnetic attraction between the magnetic ring and the card in the envelope, draw a circle on the face of the envelope and place it drawing side down on the table. Ask for the second envelope. If there is no attraction between the card in the envelope and the magnetic ring, draw a plus sign on the face of the envelope and place it drawing side down on the table. As soon as you feel the ring in the envelope being attracted to the magnetic ring, draw a star on that envelope and place it on the table as before. Draw a triangle and a square on the next two envelopes. In other words, you are drawing a circle, a plus sign, a triangle, a square and a star on the five envelopes. Just be sure you don't draw a star until you've discovered which envelope holds the steel core signed card. In addition, as you place each envelope drawing side down on the table, place them in a circle, plus sign, triangle, square and star order. In other words, if one or more are out of order, leave a space and when you come to that design, place it where you left room.
When all five symbols have been drawn, pick up the five envelopes in order. The envelope with the circle should be on top. As you explain that you're going to duck the envelopes, one at a time, from the top of the stack to the bottom...begin to do so. Now tell the spectator that he can stop you at any time that he wishes. When he does, turn over the top envelope and depending on the symbol, transfer that many envelopes from the top to the bottom. (Circle =1, plus sign = 2, triangle = 3, square = 4 and the star = 5). Continue until four envelopes have been turned face up. Spread the envelopes, noting that four of the five envelopes have been randomly eliminated leaving one envelope drawing side down. Have the spectator open and read aloud what is written on the folded prediction in the goblet. Ask the spectator to turn over the one remaining face down envelope and to call aloud the symbol drawn on it. It will always be the star, thanks to an idea by fellow Arizonian, George Sands. The idea of using the five geometric shapes instead of numbers is my variation. Naturally, when the envelope is opened...it contains the spectator's signed card.
By the way, if the spectator initially stops you and the envelope you turn up has the star on it...you're all through. He has freely selected the envelope with a star on it. Toss the other four envelopes aside as being eliminated. Have the prediction read, the card removed and voila, another miracle.
Give this a try. It's well worth the effort involved to assemble the necessary materials. Incidentally, the reason for using a Sanford Overhead Projector Pen is because it enables the spectator to write on the laminated card without the ink smearing. Yet it can still be erased with a damp paper towel after the performance. Obviously. you can also use this for trade shows or a corporate client by having the name of the client's product written on the card. Then, you can quip that the product is a star performer, always head and shoulders above the competition.
This effect is another variation on the principle used to perform "Star Struck" and "The Paper Fortune Cookie." It's an excellent, entertaining and baffling Bank Nite type of effect.
Opening his wallet (actually a pocket secretary) the performer removes and displays 5 blank white cards and 5 white envelopes. Both the envelopes and the cards are examined and mixed by the spectator. The performer picks up one of the cards and writing something on it, places it writing side down on the table. The performer does the same with the remaining four cards. The spectator is instructed to now seal each card in an envelope (any card in any envelope) while the performer's back is turned. When this has been done, the performer proceeds to pick up the envelopes, one at a time, writing a 2-digit number on each. The numbers are 58-10-21-36 and 47. The performer explains that over the years he has determined that certain numbers are luckier than others. In fact, the numbers he has just recorded on the envelopes were the luckiest of all.
The performer states that he will attempt to prove just how lucky these numbers are. In fact, should the spectator wish to play a simple game of chance, he's guaranteed to win a cash prize. The performer, holding the packet of envelopes number sides down, begins to move one envelope at a time from the top of the packet to the bottom. The spectator is invited to say "stop" at any time that he wishes. When the spectator calls "stop", the performer turns to top envelope, number side up. For example, the number showing on the top envelope is 21. The performer explains that since his lucky number study is rooted in numerology, all multiple digits must be reduced to a single digit by addition.
The performer notes that the number 21 consists of a 2 + 1, added together equals 3, so he ducks three envelopes, one at a time, from the top of the stack to the bottom. The first of the envelopes has been eliminated. Turning over the new top envelope the performer shows that it contains the number 58. Fifty-eight consists of two digits, a 5+8 = 13. Thirteen consists of two digits, a 1+3= 4. The performer proceeds to duck 4 envelopes, one at a time, and turns over the new top envelope bearing the number 47. The performer notes that 4+7= 11 and 1+1=2. The performer ducks two cards and turns up the last envelope to be eliminated, number 10. Fanning the five envelopes, everyone sees that four of the envelopes are number side up and only one envelope remains face down.
The performer exclaims, "Let's see what would have happened if any of these envelopes were left for last." The performer has a spectator open each envelope and place the card contained in each, face down of the table. When the cards are turned over everyone sees that each card is worth $1000. The performer notes that since all of the envelopes contained lucky winning numbers, the contents of the fifth and final envelope is the amount the spectator has won. The spectator does so and discovers that the amount on the remaining card is $1! The performer hands the spectator a brand new $1 bill, calling for a round of applause for the participating spectator.
TO PREPARE AND PERFORM:
The preparation of the cards and envelopes is described in "Star Struck", earlier, and is identical for this routine. The pocket secretary that holds the cards and envelopes has a strong magnet glued inside one of the pockets. When it comes time to write the $1000 amount on each of four cards, the performer, using the pocket secretary as a support, places each card in turn on the side of the wallet which contains the hidden magnet. Naturally the steel shim card will be attracted to the magnet signalling the performer to write the $1 amount on that card. Now, all 5 cards are turned writing side down and the spectator can seal any card in any envelope. When the performer writes the lucky digits on the envelopes, he can refer to the numbers inscribed in gold on the wallet as a prompter. The number 36 goes on the envelope containing the ($1) shim card.
The remaining four numbers are recorded on the non-magnetic envelopes. When the numbers have been recorded, the performer arranges the 5 envelopes in the 58-10-21-3647 order and proceeds with the "elimination" procedure as previously outlined in "Star Struck" or "The Paper Fortune Cookie." Naturally, if the envelope bearing the number 36 is turned over first, that envelope becomes the spectator's wining envelope and the remaining four envelopes are eliminated. If the first envelope turned number side up has any of the other four numbers, the elimination procedure is then followed until only one envelope remains.
This routine is based upon my effect Serial Killer which was released commercially in the late 80's and later appeared in my award winning book, Stunners in 1992. While totally different in effect from its original, this variation has positively retained the killer impact that was an integral part of its predecessor, and then some.
How it looks to the audience: The performer purchases eight $1 bills from members of the audience, exchanging a $2 bill for every $1 bill that he buys. A member of the audience is randomly selected. The performer hands the $1 bills he purchased to the spectator and asks that they be mixed with the lighter sides of the bills face up. The performer instructs the spectator to retain any one of the bills and to return the remaining bills to the performer. As soon as this is done, without looking at them, the performer discards the seven bills in his pocket and turns his back to the spectator as he walks several feet away.
The spectator is now asked to concentrate on the serial number on the bill she has so freely selected. As she does so, the performer hesitatingly begins to the call out the number the spectator is thinking of. "I get the impression you1re concentrating upon the letter 'B', is that correct?", the performer asks. The spectator states that she is. "Please concentrate on the first two digits in the serial number," the performer continues. The performer reminds the audience that just like fingerprints and DNA, there are no two serial numbers alike on American paper currency. "Are you thinking of a 9 and another 9?" the performer inquires. The spectator states that she is. "I'm having a bit of difficulty with the next two digits," the performer exclaims. "Perhaps if you mentally add the third and fourth digits together and concentrate on the total, it may make it easier to discern." She states that she has mentally totalled the two digits.
The performer asks the spectator to call out the total, for example, she responds '7'." The performer states that the total of 7 could be made up of 5 and 2, 4 and 3, 6 and 1 or 7 and 0. Excitedly, the performer asks the spectator if the two digits she's concentrating upon are a 5 and a 2? The spectator confirms that the performer is correct. Now, the spectator is asked to quickly visualize the last four digits and the remaining letter as if they were displayed on a large billboard. Appearing to concentrate intently, the performer exclaims, "Are you thinking of the numbers 2-5-1-9, followed by an 'A'?". The spectator states that the performer is absolutely correct. "What you have all just witnessed is a demonstration of this young ladies1 incredible ability to transmit her thoughts. Give her a tremendous round of applause," the performer exclaims.
In mentalism, the truly great effects often require substantial preparation. Super Serial Killer fits this category admirably, however, you only have to do it once and the results are truly worth it. To begin, you will have to purchase a sheet of 32 uncut one dollar bills from the U.S. Treasury (ask for the mail order department). They are also available through Stamp & Coin dealers, usually at a greater premium than the one tacked on by the Treasury Department. They accept credit cards, check or money orders. The item number is 5000 which consists of 32 $1.00 notes per sheet in a cardboard frame. The cost is $52.00, but since the bills are genuine, your net cost is only $20.00. For telephone orders, call (202) 874-3315. As soon as you have acquired same, examine the serial numbers on the 32 uncut bills. What you are looking for are two rows of four bills whose serial numbers are made up with identical letters and identical first two digits. For example, I use eight bills with the following first letter and first 2-digits: B-9-9. The next digit differs on each of the eight bills. The next five digits should be identical on each bill, 2-7-5-0-7. The second letter is 'A' on all eight bills. As you can see, no matter which of these bills the spectator selects, I can accurately reveal the first letter, the first two digits, and the last five digits and the second letter. Only the third digit is unknown. (You can get 4 sets of 8 bills out of each sheet of 32 bills which makes possible repeat show performances with a different result each time).
If you check the following presentation, even though I feign having a small amount of difficulty I still successfully identify all eight digits and both letters. You'll also need a Himber or preferably, a Shogun hip-pocket style wallet and eight new $2 bills. Place the $2 bills in one side of the wallet and the eight 'special' bills in the other side. All the bills should have their lighter sides face-up. Be sure to 'work' the bills a bit so they look different from one another.
Begin by announcing that you feel like Monte Hall of the old TV show, Let's Make a Deal. State that you are going to buy eight one dollar bills from members of the audience...and you1ll exchange a brand new $2 for every bill you purchase. Ask the audience to remove a $1 bill...in pretty good shape or better...from their pocket or purse and to hold them up in the air. Remove the Himber or Shogun style wallet and opening same, take out the eight $2 bills. Close the wallet and place it under your left armpit. Go into the audience and exchange a $2 bill for every $1 bill you see that's in good to pretty good condition so they won1t look too different from your force bills. When you've purchased eight bills, place them into the empty side of the wallet, close it and hand it to a member of the audience who you instruct to follow you to the platform.
On stage, retrieve the wallet and open it to side number two. Remove the eight force bills and hand them to the spectator, lighter side up, and request that she mix them. Turn away as she does so. Ask the spectator to retain any one of the bills and to hand you the remainder. These you quickly stuff into your pocket without looking at them. Now ask the spectator, who has freely selected the bill, to concentrate on the serial number. With your back turned to the spectator, proceed to correctly identify the first letter and the first two digits. Now have the spectator concentrate on the third and fourth digits. State that you're experiencing a bit of difficulty with the next two digits, however, perhaps it would help if she would mentally add the next two digits together and call out just the total. For example, the spectator states that the total is 7. Naturally, the performer explains, the total could be made up of several different combinations, for example, the total 7 could be made up of several combinations of two digits such as a 4 and 3, 5 and 2, 6 and a 1 or 7 and zero. Asking the spectator to visualize the two digits in his mind, the performer states that he's getting the impression they are, in fact, a 5 and a 2. How do you know? Simple!
Since you know the fourth digit is a 2 on all eight bills, you simply subtract 2 from the spectator1s total of 7 and you know the digits are 5 and 2 (7-2=5). Then quickly have the spectator concentrate on the remaining four digits and reveal them, followed by the second letter. Reveal them in the most dramatic fashion possible and call for a nice round of applause for the spectator. After all, it was her ability to project the serial numbers and letters that made it all possible. This transference of credit from the performer to the audience member is good showmanship and will enhance the performer's image with the audience.
Incidentally, when you're about to ask the spectator to concentrate on the serial number on her freely selected bill, do not forget to note that just like fingerprints and DNA, there are positively no two serial numbers alike on United States paper currency. Just a little something to help emphasize the impossibility of what is about to transpire. However, it's important to remember that the audience is not stupid. If the effect appears to be totally impossible, they'll reason that it probably is and the performer must have used some form of trickery. I'm constantly searching for ways to make it appear that I have somehow empowered assisting spectators to make the experiment work. Or, I offer a credible explanation of the phenomena by crediting NLP or as it is more commonly referred to, body language. Even the power of suggestion as in hypnosis. A partial solution is better than none at all. The audience should definitely have a thread of believability to hang on to. Of all the effects I've created over the last sixty years, this is one that I'm extremely proud of.
NOTE: I subsequently discovered that all sheets are not created equal. In other words, the sheets from which I extracted my sets were anomalies. After ordering additional sheets I discovered that worse case scenario, the sets you extract will be made up of serial numbers that have the same letters, front and back and the first three digits and the last three digits will be the same on each of eight bills. Only the middle two digits will differ from bill to bill. While the sets I have are as described previously, I tackled the problem if only six of the eight digits match. In this case, I'd use the same ploy as outlined, except I would feign a problem with the 4th and 5th digits. To ascertain the identity of each digit would probably require the use of a prompter. Let's say you're going to use the seven or eight bills that share identical digits in positions 1,2,3 and 6,7,8 . For example (I'm looking at a sheet as this is written) there are seven serial numbers whose first, second and third digits are 9-9-4 and the sixth, seventh and eighth digits are 2-6-8. The totals of the middle two digits on each bill are: 5, 9, 4, 8. 12, 7 and 11. Arranging them numerically we have: 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12. Therefore, your prompter would look like this:
4 = 3 +1 • 5 = 4 +1 • 7 = 7 + 0 • 8 = 4 + 4 9 = 1+ 8 • 11 = 8 + 3 • 12 = 5 + 7
Once you have feigned a problem with the fourth and fifth digits, ask the spectator to add the two numbers together and call out the total. For example, the spectator replies, "7." State that for some reason you're still drawing a blank. Obviously the number 7 can be made of 5 + 2, 4 + 3, 6 +1 or...wait a minute, now I know why I was drawing a blank, one of those digits is a 7 and the other is a zero...is that correct? Since you peeked at the prompter you will be right on. Now you can continue to get the last three digits and the letters. You should have no problem getting two or three sets of bills out of each 32 bill sheet. They may vary between 7 or 8 bills, but that won't make any difference. I also recently discovered that the sheets are no longer mailed flat in a cardboard frame, but are mailed rolled in a tube. That means it will be necessary to unroll the sheet before cutting the bills apart and temporarily hold it flat on the cutting board surface. It's recommended that you use Scotch brand double sided tape coated with post-it note adhesive to keep the sheet flat. This type of tape will do the job without damaging or soiling the bills and can be easily removed after the bills have been cut apart.
There are many ways to make and hide the prompter. The easiest would be to print the information on a horizontal clear piece of acetate approximately 2" deep x the width of your spiral, top bound pad, using a fine point permanent ink marking pen. Attach the prompter to the spiral binding. This will enable you to boldly write your thoughts on the pad as you call out each digit. So, all you have to do is add a spiral bound pad and pen to the required props. As you begin to reveal the number you hold the pad so only you can see the page. Proceed to record each letter and/or digit on the pad as you receive them. As soon as you've called out both letters and the eight digits, simply rip out the top sheet and hand it out as a souvenir. Hold the pad against your body until you have a chance to close the cover and place it aside.
Sneak Thief Supreme
The performer displays four laminated 3" x 5" cards. Noting that the cards are identical to one another, he points out that one side of each card is blank, the other side contains a listing of the 12 horoscope signs and their respective dates, a blank rectangle to accommodate a spectator's month and date of birth, and a brief paragraph on character analysis. Turning the cards, blank side up, the performer proceeds to randomly mix and cut them as he invites four members of the audience to join him on stage. Each of the four spectators is then handed one of the cards and a marking pen. The performer requests each of the four spectators to turn the cards blank 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 are instructed to turn card over and to print the month and date of their birth in the blank box. All this, the performer states, is to be done by the time he has counted to "10." The performer turns his back to the spectators and begins to slowly count aloud.
When the performer finishes his count, he turns and asks one of the four spectators to gather the cards 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 cards to the performer, drawing sides down.
The performer glances at the birth date side of the top card and after noting that the person whose date of birth is August 13th is a "Leo", the performer proceeds to do a quick personality analysis for those born under the sign of "Leo." He then turns over the top card and after 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 hands the remaining three cards to one of the spectators to hold. He then states that he will attempt a demonstration of non-verbal communication or as it is more commonly referred to, interpreting body language. Each of the four participants is told to answer "no" when asked if the drawing being shown to him or her is theirs. Upon querying the four spectators, the performer notes that one of the spectators was detected as being unable to look the performer in the eye. He suddenly points to one of the four spectators and states..."this is your handiwork, is it not? Tell the truth!" The designated spectator responds that it is indeed his.
The performer pockets the card and asks the person holding the cards to hand him the next card. 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 determines which of the remaining three spectators drew the second picture displayed.
There are now but two spectators remaining. Requesting another card from the spectator holding them, 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 addresses 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, is it not!" The performer proudly points to the lone remaining memo holder, which is laying face down on the assisting spectator's palm. Naturally, the audience laughs at the performer's grandiose gesture and remark because of the absurdity of the situation. 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 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!)
The secret of this effect is something David Hoy would have loved. I first published it many years ago, and even released a commercial version, which employed four leather memo cardholders. 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. However, the effect must be practiced to perfection. Not only the routining, but also the very essence of its modus operandi...timing! For the faint of heart, take courage. The psychological subtleties employed really work!
Four laminated cards. Artwork is included at the end of the explanation. Simply Xerox the art and paste it to a sheet of 80 pound cover stock. Apply laminating film to both sides and cut the cards out using a sharp X-acto knife blade You will also need four black overhead projector pens manufactured by "Sharpie." Also required is a sheet of white cardboard approximately 11" x 14" and a fifth marking pen to duplicate the final spectator's drawing.
The deep, dark secret:
The cards are marked to enable the performer to identify the spectator who drew on that card. The year following the Copyright is different on each card, i.e. 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984. When the cards are initially distributed, card number "1" goes to spectator number one and so on. Since the spectators only get to examine one card, they have no opportunity to notice the discrepancy in the year from card to card.
Begin by picking up the four cards and fan them, printed 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 four spectators. It's a casual thing. No special attention should be called to it. The audience will see that the cards are being mixed.
Holding the stacked cards in your left hand, thumb on top and four fingers underneath, push the bottom card to the right using the four fingers. The right hand takes the bottom card. Now, the left thumb pushes the top card in the left hand to the right where the right fingers take it beneath the card in the right hand.
The left four fingers push the bottom of the two cards in the left hand to the right and deposit this card on top of the two held by the right hand. The fourth card in the left hand is now deposited beneath the three in the right hand. Now, the left thumb pushes the top two cards to the right where the right hand moves them together as one, beneath the remaining two cards. To the audience it should appear that you have briefly mixed the cards and cut the packet. Actually, they are back in their original 1-2-3-4 order.
Hand the top card to the first spectator in the 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 card and finally the fourth. Reach into your pocket and removing the pens, hand one to each spectator. Continue as previously outlined under the "effect" to instruct the four spectators what they are to do next. After the cards have been gathered, mixed and returned to you, have the spectator return to his seat. Position yourself next to your table. It should be to your right.
Now, comes the part you've been waiting for. How to learn what the final spectator has drawn. Please read this part verrry carefully. This is where the timing comes in. Hold the four cards in your left hand, drawing sides down. With your right hand, flip the top card face up and look at what is drawn on it. The packet of four cards should still be parallel with the floor. If the drawing isn't right side up, turn the card 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 cards 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 cards 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 cards so that the drawing you just memorized is once again facing the floor and deposit the four cards 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 cards 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. (You can also choose to hand the packet to one of the four spectators). As the holders are placed do
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