That is the vital condition, the one they have to appreciate these are the same two halves that they saw burned. The proof their torn edges perfectly match those of the two undestroyed bl^
Tk»» ic irital rnnriitinn thp nnp t.hpv havo fr> _____ .^"Cf.
When I would perform this trick, as I tore the two cards, I delivered the following patter: "Did you ever see one of those old spy mouie8 where the secret agent is given half of a torn dollar bill? later, who, he meets his contact, the contact produces the other half of the bill and they compare them to be sure they match. That way the hero knows that his contact isn't an impostor. This is because any time you tear any piece of paper you create a jagged edge that is as unique as a fingerprint. You could sit ill a room tearing playing cards eight hours a day for ten years and never succeed ill getting two with identical edges."
During this brief patter, which hardly runs longer than it takes to tear the two cards, I drive the key condition home by means of three separate concrete images. First, I invoke an old movie cliche that everyone has witnessed—a scene whose whole point is the validity of the condition you want to stress. Second, I make an analogy to fingerprints, something that is virtually synonymous with uniqueness as a means of identification. Finally, I conjure up the ridiculous image of a person sitting in a room tearing playing cards day after day in an effort to come up with two identical tears. Even as the spectator visualizes this scene, he realizes the futility of such an endeavor. Later, when I match up the two torn halves of each card, the spectator will vividly appreciate that these must really be the same halves he saw destroyed by fire.
The technique of dramatizing through words is very similar to those used by poets. The poet emplovs metaphors, similes, and evocative "»»eery to go beyond communicating with the reader's intellect and reach his emotions. The creative showman will do the same to make
Strong Mogit nectator appreciate the key conditions of an effect in his gut as
*enfl0Bin his brain.
nraciation for. and use of, presentational angles of this kind i* aP,Pthe features that most distinguishes professional performers 0,16 amateurs. When two professional close-up workers have a froD,„n they're more likely to trade the kind of presentational hit« session, de^cribing than new moves or effects, rj I've found it a quick and reliable way of sizing up other vians If I describe to a magician a dramatizing ploy that I know "to Strong and his eyes light up, I know I'm talking to a performer !? instead, he stares at me blankly, or gives me a puzzled look as if ine to figure out just what my point is, I know I'm dealing with a Sbbyist who does most of his performing for other magicians. Once you start thinking in terms of dramatizing conditions many ^eas will occur to you. Opportunities for dramatizing the conditions 'fan effect are limited only by your imagination. This area as much as any indicates why presentation offers as much room for creativity as inventing new moves or effects.
A technique at the other extreme from the dramatization of conditions but which aids in the same ultimate goal is the use of convincers. I first ran across the term "convincers" in the writings of Harry Lorayne. Many people use the word "subtleties" to refer to the same thing, but I prefer the term convincer because it underscores the purpose of the technique, which is to strengthen conviction. Where dramatizing is a big production, convincers are a small touch. Where dramatizing is clearly conscious and deliberate, convincers are off-handed, seemingly uncalculated. That is, in fact, their greatest strength.
Convincers may be divided into two types: accidental convincers and incidental convincers. The distinction is a subtle one worth making for analytical purposes and for helping to understand the dynamics of this technique.
One reason why convincers are stronger if they're not stressed is that ■"any convincers are convincing only because the audience believes they're accidental.
A very subtle use of the accidental co Tama™ in a book test taught in his 3*,!?' is Pro wishes to force the seventh word on pa„ ¿W^ b,.
he tells the spectator to add the dibits £
one word on the page. Since one, zero a„j „ Pa£* »UaiC"«h..> her, she should look at the eighth word.
Naturally, someone in the audience is bou d ? '"fci!4
zero, and six add up to seven, not eight Th Poiot out » saying, "Of course, you are right . . . excuse tJN-
the seventh word." Through a cleverly atafed * U
has convinced the audience that he ¿uSC*^ < the eighth word or, by implication, any other word Another good example of the accidental convin/ bi"*- * German mentalist Pun*. In one effect in hisTokV b a.
Mysteries he opens a billet and reads to thn j '^^e,, > spectator has written on it. When heunfolds th ^ ■t a 180 degree turn before reading tuT^T^-- that the writing was ups.de dow' ^SS^US^ In reality there is no writing on the paper at all T Kt"' previously switched the spectator's bUlet fe a hi P"forjner t he pretends to read from the blank hV ank dumm>'- »hen memory the spectator's wriW whth h 'S aCtUa"J' W subtle touch of revolving the nan^ u Pre™fIy audience's beliefthatit dl ha™™ *
»me other feature As S rh 6 ^ °f drawia* attoti™ "
to allay suspicion in wave that a<fdental ™vincer, this allows „„ « ere performed overtly actuall>' ar"«se suspicion ifthey thetei'ii^'tte a11561"",8 the 3Ce of hearts into the middle«' spectators, "Notice that it's my hands over and say to the declt" As I do this the », h g°,,lg m at Jeast half-way down in the completely inserte'd Lf", rvan sse the of the ace beta it's I Ve previously swiped th , Card isn'' the hearts at ill.
** «« because the bottom °r Ae three °f hearts. It resembles th= top pip is hidden bl°/ P °/tlle threE » hidden in the deck and p<wsbiB off a three a« S6rS as 1 Push the card in.
P°'M he picks up one of twT d° ** ace assembly where at one 76 "" and shows the bottom
„„ „„tuallv a three with the two end pips i „ppar=ntly »»Jf^ J. usually accompanied by a comment curl- "PP Ms fingers? W acQ of heortiJ,. Thl„ u,„d al the spectator, wonder whether the than to convince them it is. They quite really „s"lve8, "If he wants to show me the ace. why
"be coven«8 handling I described before. I'm not turning
»« my hsi"13 w J, ag half-way down in tne ace*.
^oSr^ with Si^ng the face of the ace. it's not qince I'® not C «„aers might happen to be covering part of it. V et gu9pici°us that attention to where I'm inserting the card, the !S> rm t subliminally, that the card really audience ^ "hat's what I mean by an incidental convmcer is the ace of n the two situations described above s o ma xhe contrast bB h hologicolly potent technique.
Why Convincers Work t h™«- What both accidental convincers and incidental » chalU"-etvi, in common is that they're both seemingly '"T^Lal The "unintentional" approach is always best using ""tee s because convincers provide indirect proof that something " If L is overtly presented With the intention of convincing the ^n th 're likely to wonder why, if you really want to convince C of your claim, you don't provide direct proof. However, if they interpret your actions as unintentional, this question doesn t arise. lb skepticism: Another important strength of the unintentional approach is that, if the audience interprets an action as umntentiona or accidental, they will attribute to it a sincerity and honesty that people are understandably reluctant to grant to the actions ot a magician in most cases.
Let me illustrate this by discussing in detail a ploy often used in the Torn and Restored Card." The performer tears a corner off the selected card, secretly switches it for a duplicate corner, and gives it to a spectator. Later when that corner is fitted to the restored card it "proves" that it must be the same card. The torn-corner "receipt" is one of the conditions of the trick, but not a very effective one because it underestimates the audience's intelligence. The concept of switching Comers is not a difficult one for a perceptive layman to hit upon.
This fact was brought home to me by a story told by my friend Bob
Kohler. He often does the "Bill to Lemon" and alwa signed with a Sharpie pen. (This is a pen with n0Q ^ t, so the signature won't run when it gets soaked with effect involves no duplicate; the signed bill is actuaUy ^ lemon. aded'nto£
One evening when Bob was performing this trick he pocket and found that his Sharpie pen was missing ImifChed >ok tore a corner off the bill and gave it to a spectator for .^St-and continued with the effect. Remember, there was nontl,icatic-either the corner or the bill. The bill in the lemon really wag8,?11 * one he initially borrowed. After the show, several laype0pie and accused Bob of switching the torn corner. Since then h?t* careful to always have a Sharpie pen in his pocket. e s ^
What does all this have to do with convincers? In his excellent b New Look at Some Classic Close-Up, BiU Okal has a great versi the "Torn and Restored Card" that uses the torn corner swj^f Recognizing the problem I've discussed above, he handle* differently. He tears the card and "accidentally" lets one corner L' to the table. He fails to notice this until a spectator calls it to his attention after the other pieces have been vanished. Initially upset by the mistake, Bill eventually brushes the matter off telling the spectator to keep the piece as a souvenir. Later when the restored card is produced minus one corner, the spectator herseli remembers the other piece and, without any prompting, invariably fits it in to discover that it matches.
I don't doubt that, as Bill states, this is a very convincing bit as long as the performer succeeds through his acting in really making the audience believe that the dropped piece was an accident. Thus, a ploy that fails miserably as a condition succeeds brilliantly as an accidental convincer, simply because the audience will attribute to an accident a sincerity they won't attribute to an obviously deliberate action.
No logical scrutiny: Another advantage of the unintentional approach is that very often its effect on an audience is almost subliminal. The spectators barely notice the convincer on a conscious level but register it subconsciously. This is particularly desirable since it achieves conviction on the deepest level. An interesting benefit of this approach is that it bypasses the critical intellect. Consequendy, a subliminal convincer need not even make sense to serve its purpose-Many of the best convincers don't make sense logically, but do make sense psychologically.
IwitSPlVn abn°8t 3ny 0386 where a duplicate is later going to* switched in for one of the "
r tv,e audience , to decrease the_ cha-s, of unique nal convince^ do thi8 by making
^Ung • ^Sngsome imperfection. duplicated or s,<fncorporat^ which you props used in an effect, you can e mploy
^ugh m» * ^tch Which you've carefully duplicated on
A medallion may ^ 8w)tched in later. lf you write something on [he other medaiuo ..accidentally" make a small error that must be anenveloPe. y° gitatc writing over a letter. Or perhaps your pen crossed out or ^ ^^ after the writing. Naturally, you've previously slips and lea ^^ ..mi8take- in the duplicate. In a trick with a incorporatea mfly place a photograph in one side of the wallet.
Hi®ber Wa aph has a crease in it. On the other side of the wallet you ThatadupSate photograph creased in exactly the same way. haVC 3 , rv one of these imperfections is extremely easy to recreate Since ev^Jmber of duplicates, their presence doesn't really prove °n *\?e But because the convincer works subliminally, the "wtor simply won't think to ask himself, "Could he have obtained ^identical photograph and creased it the same way?"
other good example of an illogical convincer is what Tony Raven has christened the virgin state principle. When using a common item that has been prepared in some way, you can discourage suspicion about its gaffed nature by dressing up the item so it looks like it just came from the store.
For example, suppose you're going to use a gaffed envelope. After gaffing it, put it together with a dozen other envelopes and wrap them together with a paper strip, the way they're usually found in stationery stores. Finally, place a price sticker on the strip. All these things subtly say to the audience, "These are ordinary envelopes, just as you might buy in any store." Most importantly, because they say it subliminally, they say it far more convincingly than if you were to include the above sentence in your patter.
An illogical convincer that mentalists use all the time is to incorporate a small error in the course of their accurate predictions or divinations. People seem to feel this proves the psychic must be genuine. If he were using trickery, he would have gotten everything right. It doesn't make sense, but it does convince people.
A classic example of the illogical convincer in a non-magical context ~d £*pi8°de from the ear'y career of the legendary con man, Yellow Kid Weill. At the time, the Kid was working a horse race was pZeLBai?mg the mark's ^dence, he would explain that he
^ new\rfrrmai10un ab°Ut 3 flXed horae race" He wante<* let ^CSkTI ben?flt fr°m this ^formation. Unfortunately.
to anyone Thl i W°U,dn,t reveal the name of the winning horse • me only way around this prohibition would be for the
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