Test Conditions Design Duplication

In THE BLINDFOLD BOOK, Jeff reproduced several letters he has from Faucett Ross to Paul Fox, and vice-versa. In a letter written during 1938, Ross makes this cogent remark, emphasized in the original: "The tests you present should fool the audience even if they know you had the use of your normal vision. In other words, you could do the act without a blindfold and they'd still wonder how you did it."

In developing the Supernatural Sight routine, I started with the proposition that I wanted to do a routine where I divulged personal objects and chosen playing cards while thoroughly blindfolded. While this is powerful material, the premise throughout is not I can somehow "see supernaturally." Quite the contrary, the blindfold is only an incidental prop used to block my sight; I read the spectators' minds.

Now, suppose during the routine I duplicated a design the president of the company had drawn and sealed in a package before the show? Such a test would convince the audience I am not somehow "peeking" through the blindfold: Any sort of secret sight wouldn't help see into the contents of the secure envelope. And, the fact there's no way I could use sight to divine the contents of the envelope cancels any hint of the methods I use for the earlier tests.

As I mentioned when I began my discussion of pre-show work, there is a wide variety of impression devices sold by magic dealers. Some have absolutely ingenious workings. Most, too, have a price matching the high ingenuity of the method. Now, this stuff just fascinates the typical magic buyer. They go into a shop, the dealer fools them with a design or word duplication, and they pull out their wallets for something they cannot use for any half-smart layman. Let me ask you this: How many of these clever props actually look normal? How many of them can you leave with the spectator whose impression you're stealing?

Sure, other magicians will ooh and aah at the local club meeting over how clever the prop is. But, magicians seem to forget that as magicians, they're well-aware they're being fooled by clever mechanics. What they mentally repress is the spectators will know it too. For, unless all suspicion of an impression is erased in your audience's minds, they have a clue. And, guess what? They are right!

When I do Test Conditions Design Duplication, here's what the spectator remembers I do: I hand the spectator a pad of paper. Then, I turn my back. I ask him to visualize a simple shape or design and draw it on the pad while my back is turned. I then ask him to fold the paper so nothing is visible, then tell me when he is done. Once he's hidden his design, I hand him a sheet of aluminum foil and an envelope. I walk away and turn my back again.

I never touch his paper — he wraps the foil around the paper himself and retains it. He puts the foil-wrapped paper into the envelope, seals it, and retains it while I'm still standing with my back turned. He puts the envelope in one of his pockets. No one else touches it or goes near it. He also keeps the pad, and can examine it forever without finding a thing.

When I do Test Conditions Design Duplication in my show, the spectator will corroborate the stringent conditions under which he drew his design. Yet, I'm able to copy the design exactly.

When I use open pre-show work, I use my IM Pad. The IM Pad is simply a three-by-five-inch, innocent-looking, pad of paper with a cover on it. Inside the cover is a simple and sure impression device. It isn't fancy; it doesn't use electronics or magnets. The IM Pad is a dealer item still on the market, so I can't explain the exact working, but it costs under ten bucks, not hundreds of dollars.

The effect supplied with the IM Pad was one of the earliest mental routines I ever invented. That was more than two decades ago — long before I'd made the earliest prototype of my Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold from an aluminum pie pan in the 1980s! Over the years I've considerably refined my original routine with the IM Pad — I'll be giving you everything as I now do it here.

One quite significant point of the IM Pad outfit seems overlooked: Though the pad itself looks innocent, the outfit includes a duplicate ungimmicked pad matching the impression pad. It's not for "handing out for examination," or overkill. It plays an essential part in creating the effect of utter impossibility.

You'll see how I use it as you follow along. You could use any sort of impression device, but how I handle my pad is so subtle, and has such an aura of fairness, I'll detail it the way I do it.

I have both pads in my inner coat pocket. I also have a manila envelope (the same size envelope I use to hold the prediction in Clip Line Deluxe), with an eight-by-eight-inch piece of aluminum foil, folded twice, within. I carry this in my side coat pocket.

When meeting with my client on the afternoon of the show, or just before the cocktail hour, I propose a very special "brain-

Duster" test similar to what Dunninger used to do on television. I get the client off to the side alone with me. I make sure there are no tables or other surfaces near where he could rest a piece of writing paper. Then, I take out the gimmicked pad, open it, and tear off the top sheet. I place this on the cover of the pad for support.

I instruct him not to move until I have turned my back, "So there is no way I can see anything." Actually, this prevents him from placing the paper on any other surface but the pad. Now I ask him to draw a design on the paper, saying, "Visualize some simple shape or design in your mind. See it clearly. Then draw it as large as you can on the piece of paper." I ask him to fold the paper so nothing is visible, then tell me when he is done. While he is following what I've told him to do, I remove the envelope and take out the aluminum foil. I have the foil unfolded before I turn around.

When I turn to face him, the helper is surprised to see me holding the shiny piece of foil and envelope. I hand him the foil, instructing him to wrap his paper inside the foil. As I give him the foil, I extend my empty hand for the pad, then take it. I don't even seem to be aware of the pad, or my reaching hand, and I don't look at them. It's an entirely natural action: He's holding the folded paper, and you're passing him the foil. The subtext is you're relieving him of an unimportant object he's holding, so he can take another important object. As you'll see, he gets the pad back and won't even remember it was out of his hands for a moment, he's so preoccupied with following your instructions.

I drop the hand that's holding the pad, taking it out of his consciousness, as I pass him the envelope. I direct him to put the foil-wrapped paper into the envelope, then seal it. Saying I don't want to see any of what he does, I walk away while he follows my instructions, and turn my back. While facing away from him, I casually switch the gaffed pad for the ungimmicked one!

Once he's finished sealing the foil-wrapped packet in the envelope, I turn around. I ask him to put the envelope in one of his pockets, and caution him not to let anyone else touch it.

Then, I look down at the pad in my hand, seem to notice it, then ask him to place the pad in another pocket. That is the set up. You'll see why I take the trouble to switch the pad as I explain the presentation for my routine.

Of course, I retrieve the impression from the gimmicked pad at my leisure before the show, and memorize the design!

If you'll do this as part of a routine other than Supernatural Sight, or as a solo effect, when the point comes in the show where you'll use this, ask the assistant up. Otherwise, have the assistant on stage participating in the first two phases of the Supernatural Sight. When I do the complete routine, by the third phase the assistant is alone on stage with me.

I now explain to the audience we have arranged a special test. I ask the assisting spectator to confirm all the following: He drew a picture on a piece of paper that was ripped out of a pad, so there could be no mark on the next sheet down; he kept the pad and still has it in his pocket; I was standing far away with my back turned, so there is no way I could have seen the drawing; he immediately folded the paper and sealed it in some metal foil; he then sealed that foil package inside a heavy envelope; he placed that envelope straightaway into his pocket and no one has touched it since. I reiterate: "At no time did I ever touch the paper, the foil package, or the sealed envelope. Is that correct?" I have him verify this too.

Look at how the conditions are perceived by both the audience and the assisting spectator! To any of them, there is no way trickery could have entered into this: I was unable to see the drawing and I haven't touched anything since the drawing was done. These are truly "test conditions." Now, no evidence remains, not even in the assisting spectator's memory. What he could describe is exactly what you did — all the more impressive.

While the above dialogue is ongoing, if I'm performing the full Supernatural Sight routine, I am still blindfolded. Now, I ask the assisting spectator to give me the blackboard and chalk. I ask the spectator to concentrate on his design. I duplicate the drawing, and put the slate aside face down.

Only now do I remove the blindfold and Band-Aids®, squinting a bit as if I've had my eyes closed throughout the routine, and the bright light is affecting them. I ask the assistant to tear open the envelope, then show the foil packet to the audience. Next, I ask him to unfold the foil. When he gets to the paper, I ask him to unfold it. Finally, I ask him to hold it up, explaining what the drawing is to those who can't see it.

For the capper, I turn over the blackboard, showing an identical drawing to him, and the audience. You're finished and you're clean. What could be fairer than this?

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.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment