It was that genius of subtle magic, A1 Baker, who, in the early 1920s, first advanced the idea of using the Thumb Tip for a secret switch of a billet, or one bill for another. The method perfected by Mike Kozlowski for using the same device to openly transform one bill to another was published more than two decades ago in his HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL SWITCH book.
Kozlowski fooled just about everyone with his original handling. It rapidly became a modern classic — I doubt there's a close-up magician alive who isn't familiar with Kozlowski's effect. However, if you don't know it, briefly it's this: While you continuously show your hands empty, you fold a borrowed one-dollar bill, change it to a hundred-dollar bill, then back to the borrowed one.
I won't be discussing the mechanics of the transformation here. During the 20 years since Mike Kozlowski published the original, several performers have made their reputations with variations released on tape and in books, notably Michael Ammar, Roger Klausc, and Kevin King. Any of these methods is fine; just give them the practice they deserve. However, one point to keep in mind is this: Some of the ultra-precise handlings that require both bills be in the open together, masquerading as a single bill, do not work convincingly with foreign banknotes. The inventors of these methods seem to have forgotten that America is one of the few countries where bills are uniform size and color. The visual illusion of these versions depends mainly on this factor. Elsewhere (even in Canada), the different denomination notes are very unlike.
I'm not saying I don't use the Hundred-Dollar Bill Switch with bills — I do. Later in this chapter I'll give you the complete details of the routine I used successfully in my restaurant work. However, I think magicians have limited their thinking strictly to transformations of one bill into another. For instance, why not use size as well as category of object when making the change?
Here's an example: I load my Thumb Tip with a Kleenex® tissue. (I pull the tissue apart and use just one-ply.) It gets a huge laugh when I change someone's hundred-dollar bill into a piece of "toilet tissue"! When you hand the spectator the tissue and begin to walk away as though it is the end of the trick, you'll get a bigger laugh still. Then, you reproduce the bill from your wallet, a woman's purse, or anywhere else.
The point is, even a large audience can see a change of this type and it looks quite magical. I worked a party for Chinese New Year. To suit the trick to the occasion, I changed the bill into a large piece of red tissue with Chinese ideographs. With some thought you can come up with many variations to suit what is essentially a close-up trick to larger venues.
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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.