Expanding Leipzigs Secret

Yes, you could use a marked deck to identify the half-dozen cards the on stage assistant selected. I don't. Why go to all that effort to mark a deck, when you don't need to? Besides, I hold the card far away from me — no matter what the size of the marks, I don't want to bother straining my vision — I wear glasses normally. So, my cards are not marked, but I have a five-by-seven-inch clue I can't miss ... in fact, I can read the cards nearly as well blindfolded, from the backs, as if I were looking at the faces!

I discovered the cheap jumbo decks of cards manufactured in the Orient have a unique characteristic: Though they look perfectly ordinary, if you hold them up with a light projecting on the front, you can see right through them!

This works with several brands offered under varying trade names. For instance, there is the "Crown" brand, which shows a clown riding a unicycle on the case that works well. I believe they're made in Taiwan. Bascom Jones told me it works with a Japanese brand named "Victoria." There's a brand called "Country Club" from Hong Kong that Jeff Busby noted works. There are other no-name versions of indeterminate origin. You can obtain some of these decks in stationery, joke stores, and magic shops. If you can't locate the correct cards locally, contact Jeff.

The reason this works is these cards are about half as thick as a deck of Jumbo Bicycle® cards, or the Piatnik "Rnightsbridge" cards from Austria. The Oriental cards don't have the special carbonized center layer designed to eliminate see-through. I was excited when I discovered this, then began using it with my blindfold. When I told Jeff about it over the telephone, he paused, then said, "Well, it's a great idea with the jumbos and the blindfold, but did you know it was a hush-hush thing that Nate Leipzig used, and is still almost unknown?"

He went on to explain that it was a big secret of part of Leipzig's stage act and does not appear in DAI VERNON'S TRIBUTE TO NATE LEIPZIG. Instead, it was recorded by Victor Farelli, who knew Leipzig intimately just after the turn-of-the-century. Farelli revealed it as the third part of Leipzig's four-part Ubiquitous Cards routine, which appeared in Hugard's Magic Monthly during the early 1950s.

Jeff also mentioned Leipzig used the famous "Steamboat Plaid" brand of cards because of their transparency. He added that Leipzig had sold the secret through his close friend Henry Hardin, the American magic dealer who persuaded him to go on the stage. Hardin sold only the printed instructions, as the Self-Forcing Pack of Cards, for a few dollars — a stiff price in 1907!

So, I can't claim the basic method, though I discovered it on my own, and have used it to fool many magicians. With jumbo cards and the way I use it blindfolded, it is a thoroughly baffling component of my routine. Even magic dealers don't seem to know about this fantastic property of the Oriental jumbos, so please help me out: Don't go into a magic shop asking for a deck of transparent jumbo cards! Just experiment yourself and guard this valuable secret!

Since most stand-up performing venues have a strong front light projecting on the performer, this idea is tailor-made for one of the strongest mental effects you can do.

If you want to present this as a solo effect, here's how you work it: After introducing the jumbo cards, invite a spectator on stage to examine your blindfold. Deliver the lines about the prop outlined in Paroptic Psychometry I. After you're blindfolded, have him mix the cards if he wants to, then look through the deck removing a half-dozen cards. He has a free choice of what cards he removes, and you underscore these can be from anywhere in the deck.

Tell the helper to mix the six cards face-down, so even he doesn't know the order. Have him hand them to you face-down, then return to his seat in the audience. Holding the cards in front of you, remove just one card, and hold it up as you ask the audience to concentrate on it, and project their thoughts to you.

Here's the correct way to do it: Hold the packet in front of you about chest-height and forward. Peel off the face card of the packet with the right hand, move it forward, get the identity, then move your right hand up and to the right. You hold the card up high and off to the right side, as you keep your face toward the audience. You have plenty of time to see the identity of the card shining through to the back, as it passes from the front of the packet and up. Take your time. Don't hurry. It looks very natural to hold the card high. It also puts the "mental distance" between the glimpse and when you pretend to receive the audience's thoughts, dramatically revealing each card.

As a solo test, it's short and sweet. Yet, from the audience's perspective, everything looks as fair as possible.

Don't worry about the assisting spectator or the audience spotting the secret: Because the audience is on the wrong side of the spotlight, and due to the helper either handling the cards face-up or face-down at waist level, there is no danger of exposure. When you start to read the cards, that spectator is back in his seat.

Working it during the Supernatural Sight routine is no problem, if you have the spectator standing to the side, slightly in front of you.

My Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold is absolutely perfect for this test: It can be rigidly examined; there's no gaff to find; it looks substantial and impressive; you can get it on and off quickly; and you have clear straight-ahead vision instantly. However, you may have a method that works for you. If so, I hope you'll try this idea.

Now, before I reveal the nuances of the design duplication I use as a climax to the Supernatural Sight routine, I'd like to chat with you a bit about pre-show work.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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