Modern Crystal Gazing

An ingenious yet simple method of working which appeals to many. EFFECT:

Performer passes out blank cards, envelopes, and pencils to audience. Spectators write any question they desire answered or numbers on coins or bills, telephone numbers, addresses, etc. on the cards. They then seal the cards into the envelopes. Envelopes are collected and placed in a glass bowl on table in center of stage. Magician takes a crystal ball and gazes into it. Then he begins to read off questions and answers them. He names numbers written, etc.


1 -- Blank cards, size of ordinary visiting cards, about 2 x 3-1/2 inches.

2 -- Manila pay envelopes, large enough to hold the cards and opaque enough so that writing on cards will not show through.

3 -- Pencils, fairly soft lead.

4 -- A crystal ball with small pedestal.

5 -- A special book for question reading.

6 -- A special collection basket.

10 -- Other accessories according to requirements of the Act you are presenting.


Cards and Envelopes:

You must prepare duplicate cards and envelopes for those which you pass out to audience. If you pass out three dozen cards to audience, take another three dozen, seal them into as many envelopes, and place in the sides of the specially prepared collection basket. If you prefer, you may use just sealed envelopes without cards.

Special Collection Basket:

To the audience this basket looks like a decorated basket. It is in reality, however, a cleverly constructed piece of apparatus used for exchanging envelopes placed in it by audience for duplicates prepared by performer, Figure 1.

The basket has a false bottom of two pieces, each being spring-hinged to the sides about one-half inch up from real bottom of basket, Figure 2.

Each part of false bottom swings up against the sides of basket and is held in place by catches just under the handle of basket, which is across the middle of it, Figure 3.

When handle is dropped down, catches hold parts of false bottom up against sides of basket, Figure 4.

When handle is raised, catches are released and parts of false bottom fall into place, Figure 5.

This basket is usually made of reed and lined with satin to make it decorative and to conceal the mechanism. The basket which I use is made by an expert and is like the one described above. It is much better to have it built by an expert than to try to construct it yourself. This basket is much better than the usual "spirit basket" as there is more room in it for concealing questions. You will find this basket very valuable to you for it has many uses. The School is glad to supply you with this basket at a very reasonable rate.

To prepare for your performance, divide the duplicate envelopes. Place one-half of them on one side of false bottom and other half on other side. Swing two sides of false bottom up and secure with catches by lowering handle. In the real bottom drop same number of cards and envelopes and pencils, ready to be passed out to audience, Figure 6.

Crystal Ball:

The crystal ball is just a round glass ball and not the expensive kind. It is used merely for effect and has no magic properties so the quality of it does not matter. You merely lead spectators to believe that you see visions in the crystal, and it also serves to MISDIRECT attention of audience, Figure 7.

The crystal has been associated with clairvoyants and psychics for many years. Many people study crystal gazing seriously, hoping to reach the stage where they can see visions and foretell future events in the crystal. If anyone has ever seen mental pictures or future events in a crystal, it is because he stretched his imagination and not because he actually saw them. I hope you will never take the crystal seriously. It is merely an accessory to give suitable atmosphere to your work.

Mystic Book:

This book looks like an ordinary book, on which you place pedestal with crystal ball, Figure 8. It is prepared, however, in this way:

Take book of fair size--about 5-1/4 x 7-1/2 x 1-1/4 inches. With sharp knife, cut away part of the book as shown in Figure 9.

Do not cut the first two and last two pages in the book. Cut a few pages at a time until you have cut them all.

Close book. Turn prepared side away from audience and they will never suspect the book of being prepared, Figure 10.

The space in the book is for concealing cards which spectators have

written. As you pretend to gaze into the crystal on the book, you slip out the cards a little and read them. STAGING THE ACT:

The Act may be presented from many angles. It may be given Hindu, Chinese, Persian, Egyptian, or Modern dress. Decide on the manner in which you want to present it, and have your settings and costume bear out the part you are playing. If Hindu, use a Hindu costume and have your stage settings of Hindu design. Sometimes the burning of incense helps to create suggestive atmosphere. If you make the act Modern, wear dress, tuxedo, afternoon, or business suit. The cutaway coat and striped trousers make a dressy set.

To Perform:

Have collection basket ready with cards and envelopes and pencils on table. Crystal ball and mystic book are offstage.

Here is a suggestion for your introductory speech, which you should vary to fit in with your style of presentation:

"Ladies and Gentlemen: Down through the ages men have been interested in Mind Reading and the foretelling of events through mental power. As a result, an amazing number of clairvoyants, fortune tellers, spirit mediums, astrologers, mind readers, psychics, and what not, have arisen, claiming supernatural power.

Science has established, however, that those things which seem to have a supernatural aspect are merely natural phenomena. What at one time appeared to be superhuman is now recognized as merely mental development. Modern research has brought about astonishing revelations with regard to human mental power. It has shown that we all possess similar mental powers but that these powers vary greatly in development. Some by inheritance and development are strong in the artistic, others in the mechanical, others have peculiarly strong development of mental powers.

"The discovery of the radio has awakened startling realizations. You sit in the privacy of your home, and by the mere turning of a knob, you bring in music and programs from cities hundreds of miles distant. It seems hardly possible, yet it is so. Imagine the effect if several hundred years ago you could have introduced a modern radio, or even a phonograph for that matter! The people would have believed that you had supernatural power and brought the voices and music from some distant planet. They would have believed that they heard spirit voices or the singing of angels.

"Now that we understand the wonders of the radio, which is just a piece of mechanical construction, we stop to think of the even greater wonders which might be accomplished by the human mind when it is properly attuned. We have all had odd mental experiences. The phone rings and we instinctively feel that it is Aunt Mary calling, and, sure enough, we answer and it is Aunt Mary. We get a mental 'hunch' of something which is going to happen. This is an example of being mentally attuned.

"These things have interested me for some time, and I have experimented with mental reactions. Some of these experiments I want to present to you this evening, not as a fortune teller or clairvoyant, but just a regular human being dealing with scientific and impressionistic problems. I have found many interesting things about your mind and my mind, and if you will follow carefully what I say, we can uncover some interesting phenomena. My success depends on your willingness to help. Some people try to do the opposite from what you tell them so as to trick the performer. This is the same as telling these people to turn to Number 50 on their radio and they will hear New York and having them turn to Number 80 instead. Of course, they can't get New York because they didn't follow instructions, and then they say, 'There! I knew you couldn't get New York!' There is nothing magical in radio messages, nor is there anything magical in mental messages. You must follow the law to get results.

"The first thing necessary is for you to concentrate. So many things run through our minds that to keep our minds on one certain subject seems almost impossible sometimes. For this reason, I am going to have you write your mental message. The process of writing impresses the message on the mind. Many times writing is not necessary when a person has developed great powers of concentration and is in a quiet place. In an audience, however, writing proves to be the most effective way of concentrating. I will pass out cards, envelopes, and pencils. On the card write your message distinctly and carefully to impress it on your mind. Then seal the card in the envelope.

"Now, as to what you should write. Perhaps you would like to ask a question - perhaps some problem is bothering you. But remember, no foolish questions - for they have foolish answers. Perhaps you would like to write the date of one of your coins, the number of a bill, your telephone number, the name of your watch, the name of a great event and when it happened, - or if you like, you may draw a simple picture or design like a circle, a square, a triangle, or such. At the bottom of the card write your name - then seal the card well in the envelope."

Take up the basket and pass out cards, envelopes, and pencils. Distribute them over the house. Give a card, an envelope, and a pencil to a person. As you move about audience, keep up a running talk about what spectators can write or draw and about sealing cards in envelopes, etc.

After sufficient time is allowed for writing, collect the envelopes in the basket and the pencils in your hand.

As you go back to stage, raise handle of basket. This causes false bottom to fall into place, covering spectators' envelopes and exposing your duplicates. Be careful that no one can see into basket. Walk over to table on which is standing a glass bowl. Pour out envelopes from basket into glass bowl, holding opening of basket toward audience to show that basket is really being emptied. Casually place basket offstage.

Assistant helping you takes the basket offstage, opens the false bottom, and pours envelopes with cards out on table. With sharp scissors, he quickly cuts open ends of envelopes and takes out a dozen or so cards - the number depending on the length of your act.

Assistant arranges these cards, with writing uppermost, in a little pile and places them in left side of mystic book. He places this book and the crystal and pedestal in a handy place for you offstage.

Figure 11.

After you place basket offstage, there is a wait while assistant prepares cards. I suggest the following to fill in the time:

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