Twilight finally made its way to India, where astonishment is their natural state of the universe.



by Lee Siegel "Each of us was asked to perform a trick for the venerable Dr. Opal. Placing a small mirror behind a coin on the table, Shankar Junior began. 'Here is reality,' he said, pointing to the coin before the mirror, and pointing into the mirror, he added, 'and that is illusion. In magic, illusion becomes reality.' He lifted the little hand mirror, and behind it was a real coin in the spot where the reflection of the coin had been seen. He lowered the mirror again to show two real coins and two illusions. Once more, as he lifted the mirror, the reflections became manifest in reality. Then he did the trick in reverse, changing reality back into illusion; the coins disappeared just as they had appeared, until there was only the one coin with which he had started. It was philosophy in gestures, a demonstration of the epistemo-logical axioms of the Vendanta system; emperi-cal existence, the cosmos, is but a reflection in brahman, the substratum of all phenomena, the absolute and only reality; the world has no more substance than the coin in the mirror.

than tne reflection of a city,' says Shankara in f~e V'<<etcacudamani. 'in a looking-glass.' The ph-icscc^er and the child magician both teach that .ve cannot trust our senses to reveal what is real tc <ncr.v the truth Every magic trick reiterates tne metaphysic"

Vcuf T.viignt experience will be a happier one f performed on a soft, coin-friendly surface

PQ^OPt> - One clear-vinyl envelope, one mirror a no 'our half-dollars The vinyl envelope is net essential unless you have a serious fetish. Check the notes for a non-vinyl handling.

i>LT-UP - Place two coins in an easily accessible right-hand pocket. One of your own pockets would probably be best. Insert the mirror and a coin into the envelope. The coin should be heads-up against the mirror's surface Place the setup envelope into a left hand pocket along with the fourth half-dollar.

plrf^E-MANCL -

5TE.P ¿?l\lE_ - Just before introducing the routine, secretly obtain the two half-dollars from your right pocket and conceal them in a right finger-palm. See FIG. 1.

The right hand rests on the table in a relaxed manner (FIG. 2).

Bring the mirror unit out with your left hand so that the coin is concealed beneath the mirror. Your left thumb is on top of the mirror while your fingers press up from below.

* If your fingers cover the coin you can casually flash both sides of the mirror.

Press down with your left thumb so that the mirror squirts out of the envelope about half of an inch to the right as shown in FIG. 3.

Tilt the right end of the mirror onto the table and press down on the exposed upper right corner with your right forefinger. Pull the envelope back to the left on an angle which allows the mirror and its concealed coin to silently slide onto the table (FIG. 4).

hand which places it aside to the right.

ELFFE-CT - An image of the half dollar is slowly seen to appear upon the mirror's surface. The reflection is openly slid off the mirror and visually materialized into a real coin.

PLE-F^E-MANcL - Remove the half-dollar from your left pocket with your left fingers and place it heads-up on the mirror.

Press the forefingers of both hands onto the two outer corners of the mirror - enabling your thumbs to slide under the mirror. See FIG. 5.

as shown in FIG. 6.

As the mirror is levered up, ease its back toward yourself allowing the visible coin to slide off the mirror - positioning itself flat on the table. Care must be taken to prevent the mirror from "talking" as it's pulled back against the concealed coin.

Close your left hand into a fist except for your thumb and forefinger. Place your left forefinger on the visible coin and your left thumb on the coin concealed behind the mirror. Slowly drag the two coins to the left. See FIG. 7.

Use the right end of the mirror to push the two coins (as one unit) to the right - back to their original positions. See FIG. 9.

Along with repositioning the coins, you've subtlety shown both sides of the mirror to be okay Stand the mirror up on edge between the two heads-up coins as shown in FIG 10.

The reflection of your forefinger appears to be your left thumb, so the illusion of having pulled the coin's reflection off the mirror is perfect.

E-FFE-CT - Both half dollars are on the table heads-up. The mirror is held on edge between the two coins. Although one coin is out of view behind the mirror, the reflected image of the visible coin creates the illusion that both coins can be seen - as though the two coins were separated by a transparent pane of glass. The visible coin is openly turned tails-up. Naturally, the coin's reflection turns tails up. Supernaturally, the second half-dollar is also seen to have turned tails up!

PE.I2.FOR.MANJCE. - The mirror is used to push the two coins back to their original positions as follows: Grasp the mirror by its left end with your left fingers, removing the mirror from the right hand (which remains in a relaxed position on the table). Turn the mirror down toward the audience so that the original back side is now visible (FIG. 8).

Move the mirror toward yourself until the back surface of the mirror comes in contact with the rear coin.

As you grasp the right end of the mirror with your right thumb and forefinger, your right thumb secretly presses down on the back edge of the rear coin. See FIG. 11.

In a continuing action, the raised coin is silently pressed flat against the mirror. (The silent part will take some practice.)

As your right thumb and forefinger grasp the mirror (and stand up the rear coin), your left fingers release their hold and openly turn the visible coin tails-up. The left thumb and forefinger then re-grip the left end of the mirror. Slide your right thumb to the right releasing its hold on the coin as shown in FIG. 12.

Tilt the mirror (using both hands) toward yourself just enough to allow the stood-up coin to silently fall back on the table. Straighten the mirror, then lift it up with your left fingers to reveal that the second coin has mysteriously turned tails-up to match the first coin's reflection.

E-FFE-CT - The mirror is replaced. The two tabled coins are squeezed between your thumb and forefinger. As the mirror is lifted, the two coins visibly melt into one. The reflection of the single remaining coin is then slid off the mirror - reproducing the second coin.

PLR-FtfEMANCL - Your left hand replaces the mirror on edge between the two tails-up coins - the back of the mirror touching the edge of the rear coin. As you grasp the right end of the mirror with your right thumb and forefinger, repeat the technique described in STEP THREE to position the rear coin flat against the mirror (FIGS. 8, 9,10,11). Openly turn the front coin heads up with your left fingers. (The audience will think you're about to repeat the last effect.)

Place your left forefinger on the table against the front edge of the coin and place your left thumb behind the mirror (FIG. 13).

When the fingers are properly positioned, it will appear in the mirror's reflection as if two coins are pressed between the left thumb and forefinger. Since there really is a second coin behind the mirror (held in place by your right thumb), your audience will accept the reflected illusion as reality - leaving them open for the deception that follows.

Slowly squeeze the "two coins" together. As the real coin (the one against your left forefinger) is about to touch the mirror, raise the mirror about half of an inch off the table with your right fingers. Keep the coin behind the mirror trapped by your right thumb (FIG. 14).

It will appear to your audience exactly as if two coins were instantly squeezed into one!

Release the tabled coin with your left fingers, then bring the bottom edge of the mirror (the mirror being held with the right hand) down onto the coin, slightly off center, as shown in FIG. 15.

The "half-coin" combined with the half reflection will appear as a single coin. Grasp the left side of the mirror between your left thumb and forefinger (the mirror now being held with both hands). Slowly drag the mirror off the coin toward yourself. This creates the reflected illusion of the single coin being stretched into two (FIG. 16).

Stop the mirror's movement as soon as its bottom edge clears the coin and is in full contact with the table (FIG. 17).

Slide your right thumb off the coin back onto the right end of the mirror. Tilt the top of the mirror toward yourself the short distance necessary to tip the leaning coin over onto the table. Straighten the mirror - then lift it up with your left hand - causing the coin's reflection to re-materialize on the table. See FIG. 18.

E-[TELCT - For a spectacular finale, the reflected image of the two coins is transformed into two more coins - leaving four genuine half dollars on the table!

PLR-F^E-MANlCL - Your left hand places the upright mirror behind the two coins, pushing the two half dollars against each other (FIG. 19).

These two coins will be reflected in the mirror. creating the illusion of four coins.

Place your right fingers (which have patiently concealed two coins throughout the routine) in front of the mirror. Position your right thumb behind the mirror (FIG. 20)

reflections, into your right hand (FIG. 21).

As the right hand is closed, it slides away to the right disengaging from the mirror. After you've closed your right hand into a fist, lift the mirror up off the table with your left hand. Finish by dramatically dumping the four coins from your right hand onto the table (FIG. 22).

looy'6 tamcy put-po\vn

(Mostly in his own words)

This is Looy's alternate handling for the initial placement of the mirror and its concealed coin onto the table.

PREPARATION - Place one coin in the left side pocket. In a pocket convenient to your right hand, position the case mouth upward; in it are the mirror and one coin, the mirror is between the coin and your body. The head's face of the coin is against the mirror. The remaining two coins are finger-palmed in your right hand.

PLR.FOR.!v|ANlCL - With your left hand reach into the pocket and finger-palm one coin. Apparently not finding anything, withdraw your left hand as you put your right hand into another pocket where it grabs the case by the open end between the forefinger, curled against the outer face, and the thumb on the inner.

Raise up the case for all to see as your right thumb and right forefinger point heavenward. Shake the case, if necessary, so that the coin in the case slides down to rest on the inner part of the forefinger. The cased coin is visible (through the clear vinyl) to your audience.

Bend your right wrist to point the closed end of the case to the left. With fingers in front and thumb behind, all pointing to the right, take the case in your left hand - secretly pressing the finger-palmed coin against the outer side of the case. The coin in the case remains visible just beyond your fingertips.

Lower your left hand to the table, turning it palm up so that both coins are concealed beneath the mirror. The fingers and thumb point forward and diagonally to the right.

With the help of your right forefinger, unload the mirror and coin from the case onto the mat in the manner described in the original directions; it appears that you are only setting down the mirror, but in reality one coin is secretly placed under it. The now-visible coin on your left fingers appears to be the original coin still "inside" the case.

Place this coin with its case on the table, pressing down with your left thumb so the case does not separate from the coin, Draw back the case as though whisking it away from around the coin - and toss the obviously-empty case aside.

Pick up the visible coin and set it heads-up on the mirror. Proceed with the original "Twilight" handling.

pjJootNotl - Here's the no-vinyl handling: Bring out the naked mirror with a coin concealed beneath it in your left fingers while your other fingers place a visible coin on top. Your left thumb presses down on this coin as you turn the mirror over, where the concealed coin (apparently the other coin) is dumped onto the table...thus showing both sides of the mirror to be otherwise coinless. Your right fingers pick up the dumped coin and openly place it back on top of the mirror, which is then set onto the table. The visible top coin is given credit for any noises the concealed coin may choose to make.

ETIOLOGICAL TW/lLI^LlT - After the basic sequence comment that you have to be careful how you handle the mirror because it will duplicate anything that gets too close and then you notice the tip of your little finger which supports the mirror is reflected so it looks like a small ball of flesh. You try to move your finger but it seems to be stuck. You ask for some help by having someone hold their hand under the mirror. She blows on the biological ball causing it to drop off the mirror down to the concerned hand below. You quickly grab your missing body part and stick it back onto your pinky where it belongs. You start to put the mirror away in your pants pocket, but then you're not exactly sure if that's a good idea.

MLTJJOP - Form a finger-tip size ball out of some flesh-tone clay or silly putty and put it into your left pants pocket. When you go to your pocket to put the coins away, finger-palm the pinky-ball. Position the mirror so it's long edge rests on your left fingertips (concealing the ball) while your left thumb rests on the top edge to hold the mirror in position. The tip of your left little finger should extend past the mirror just enough so that it blends with the reflection to create a bio-ball. Point out the odd object, then pretend your little finger is stuck.

Get someone to hold a hand under the mirror, then have her blow on the reflection. As she blows, pop your little fingertip out of sight behind the mirror while letting the ball drop onto her hand. Table the mirror then immediately pick up the finger ball with your right fingers and pretend to place it into your left hand Your right hand pockets the mirror along with the concealed ball as your left fingers apparently mush the ball back onto your fingertip. Give it a tug to make sure your finger is secure, then offer to let your spectator play with it.

You can use this premise to create an endless variety of mutant objects. This is an area of high weirdness. Handle with care.

INSPIRATION - At the 1977 Ramsey Reunion, David Roth introduced his Sleeve routine...which included a wonderful little moment where David puts a coin flat against a mirror then slides it off to create a second coin. Tayari Casel then showed me his enhanced version of David's idea by visibly plucking a coin's reflection off a mirror. I then workshopped the idea with Tayari to put together the extended Twilight sequence. Doug Henning then performed it on a TV special which inspired Tenyo to put out a self-working molded-plastic version (which is embarrassingly good). Daniel Cros couldn't take the humiliation of hanging around someone who'd been upstaged by a piece of plastic so he went home and put together his "Super Twilight" (next) non-plastic shell-coin version. This all left David Roth laughing up his sleeve because he had just cut a deal with Tenyo to go into the self-working molded-plastic coin business.

• I made up that last thing about David for no good reason.

• My favorite single tool for unleashing the moment in a woman used to bounce around between Las Vegas Leaper and Galaxy (see Index) but both have recently been upstaged by a marketed item of mine called "Twilight Angels." At first look this seems to be a mild little novelty. You use the Twilight mirror principle and a specially printed playing card to cause one of the printed angels to vanish from one end of the card then reappear next to its angel buddy at the other end. It's just a double lift and some simple handling of the mirror.

So what's the big deal? When you focus attention on the printed angels, and the myths surrounding them, and a woman's natural interest and sensitivity toward angelic imagery, you've created an extremely powerful emotional hook. Then when the Twilight mirror shines one of the imprisoned angels back into "pure light' and the two angels are reunited, you get a very high moment of pure astonishment thats supercharged by the evocative angel ima-gry This all resonates in a very deep way when performed with a compassionate intent. Tom Waters did this for a woman at a trade show who later came back and warned him, 'Never do that angel thing for any woman that you dont want to sleep with."

The message beyond this effect and beyond Toms social life ¡s to be aware of the emotional content of the images you use when unleashing the moment Depending upon who you re performing for and how you've positioned their mmd. the imagery can be per-cieved as neutral or deeply charged in a positive way or deeply charged in a negative way. I once saw a guy in a restaurant push a needle through a balloon for a pregnant woman. The morn-to-be was visibly shaken. A focused piece of strange can be used as an entertaining, theraputic, tool to unleash the moment or as a cattle prod that shuts people down.

The "effect" is simply what people see. The effect of the effect is their internal reaction to what they see. This resonating experience is where the real action's at. The effect of the effect depends on the imagery you evoke and what you value and where you put the focus and how you nudge the emotional landscape. You can create a full blown theatrical presentation or an organic conversational just-hanging-around space or anything in between.

It's all still about unleashing the moment of astonishment...but the way you massage the paradigm before it's popped deeply affects the quality and depth of the experience.

The cops just showed up and they're yelling at me to put down my megaphone, get out of the street and move onto the next effect. Good idea.

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