Alexander de Cova- California Lecture 2006

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Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006


Alexander de Cova

California Lecture

2006 Routines, ideas and tricks for the magical performer seeking easy but effective magic

Copyright 2006 by Alexander de Cova and Magikraft Studios, Martin & Susanne Lewis. 19340 Mission Ranch Road, Riverside, CA 92508. Alexander de Cova and Martin Lewis reserve all commercial manufacturing rights to the tricks and apparatus described in these notes. Any transgression of those rights is not nice and will be prosecuted.

Printed in the U.S.A. Design & layout by Alexander de Cova Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006



Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 4 The Premonition Concept ............................................................................................. 5 Tea Time ........................................................................................................................... 9 The Bavarian Beer Game ............................................................................................... 11 Groundhog Day ................................................................................................................ 15 De Cova’s Laws .............................................................................................................. 19 Porous Plastic ................................................................................................................... 22 Rosediction ....................................................................................................................... 25 Stab in the Dark ............................................................................................................. 29 Master Silks ..................................................................................................................... 32 Forte-X .............................................................................................................................. 36 Ring-o-Change ................................................................................................................ 42

Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006


Introduction Allow me to introduce myself. I am born in Bavaria (Munich)and I live in Berlin, Germany at the moment. Magic has been my passion, joy, employment and relief for the past three decades. It enabled me to travel extensively and meet new friends all over the world. This is my very first visit to the USA and I thought it would be a good idea to bring some of my magic with me. Thanks to the patience of my friend Martin Lewis and his wife’s persistence and encouragement, I was offered the opportunity to visit California and present this lecture in the Lewis’ wonderful house. A big thank you goes to Susanne and Martin Lewis for this. You will find that most of my mterial is suitable for the stand-up performer. This is due to the fact that in Europe there aren’t too much opportunities to work restaurants, bars and other close-up situations. We have to deal with small stand-up shows, birthday parties, wedding parties, smaller theatres and cabarets, and the like. Naturally, if you want to survive as a performer, you will have to adapt to this situation and develop suitable material. Above all, the material must be direct and to the point, because the European audiences generally don’t have too much patience with a magician... My material is relatively simple, both in method and presentation. In my magic, I strive for creating routines in the style of the late Ken Brooke, who is one of my magical heroes. Maximum impact with a minimum effort for the performer. Also, my material packs small and I want it to play big. I fancy a visual approach, because I believe magic is an art that has to be seen to be appreciated. Some of my philosophy on magic is stated in my „10 Laws of Magic“ in these lecture notes. Hope you have fun reading them. maybe they will inspire you or make you think. Thank you for attending my lecture and giving me a good time, which you hopefully had as well. I sincerely hope you can use some of my ideas, only then the lecture has fulfilled its initial purpose. Critics, questions and comments can be sent to my email adress [email protected] or to Martin Lewis at [email protected] Alexander de Cova Riverside, CA, March 2006

Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006


The Premonition Concept What a super effect. A freely selected card is missing from a pack of cards that has been in full view all the time! In the course of the years there have been countless variations and solutions to this problem. I personally started with the original version of India’s Eddie Joseph. I found his manuscript on the trick, published by the Supreme Magic Company in England, many years ago and I still stick to the original method. Basically, the trick relies on the use of two packs of cards, which were cleverly arranged, so that any named card would miss, e.g. the deck would consist of only 51 cards, only the named card not being there. Unfortunately, there was a quite complicated calculation involved, and if you did a mistake on this during the performance, the selected card appeared twice in the deck! Also, the calculation distracted the energy and concentration from the performance. The original method also required to have a third deck in a sort of index- fashion being carried on the performer’s body, the parts of it being distributed in various pockets, so that you could produce the missing card from the pocket as a climax to the effect. In the course of the years, I found out that many spectators accused me of stealing the card in some way out of the deck and smuggling it into my pocket, despite the clean handling. For me, in the course of the years the work centered on eliminating these two troubles, and the result of my humble efforts you will find here. Effect: A deck of cards is on the table, along with a sealed envelope. Spectator names any card, another any number from 1 t 52. The spectator removes the pack from its case, takes it face-up into the hand and deals the cards one at a time onto the table. But the card doesn’t appear on the chosen number! Instead, it is seen that the deck consists only of 51 cards—the chosen card missing! The envelope is opened and a folded piece of paper extracted. It is unfolded and read aloud by another spectator. It reads: „Dear Alexander! I knew you would be crazy enough to attempt this experiment this evening. Had you listened to me, this would have happened. I told you long ago that this experiment with the Seven of Hearts would fail if you attempt it at this time in the evening. Your friend XXX“.

Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006


Method: As you can see in this outline, I use a different presentation for Premonition. The effect I am apparently trying to achieve is not the thought card missing, but an „Any Card at Any Number“ type of effect. Before I start the routine, I place the envelope in view, from which I state is was sent to me by that good magic friend. You need two decks of cards that you have to arrange according to the cue sheets shown here. The decks consist of 26 cards, which are duplicated. The cards are determined by a certain calculation in the original Eddie Jospeh method. In performance, once the card was named, you had to do that calculation mentally, to determine which pack, number one or number two, you had to bring forth, to bring the desired effect. As you will notice, from one deck there is missing one the Ace of Spades (very prominent card) and from the other is missing one of the Ace of Hearts, giving you 51 in each deck. One deck is called Deck One, the other one Deck Two.

Deck 1

Deck 2

As said, I eliminated the calculation, by using a very special prompter list. In the appendix you will find another sheets with clock faces printed on. Print this out and cut out one of the circles and stick it to the clock face of an old wristwatch. Alternatively you could consult a watchmaker and really have him replace the original clock face with the cutout circle, giving you a working watch. The working of this prompter list is easy: once the spectator has named his card, you look at the watch. Say he names the Eight of Spades. IF there is the black eight on the clock face, you will have to use deck number one (the same applies to the Eight of Clubs, which is a black seven as Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006


well. Same holds true with the red cards. If he names for example the Two of Hearts (which is a red two), then you will have to use the deck number one. Note that the clock face is designed to give you also the information which deck to use (there is Deck One written on the clock face). The rule is: if you can see the card on the clock face, use deck number one. If you can’t see the card, obviously you will have to use deck number two. That’s all there is to it! To motivate the glance at the watch, I use a presentation idea of Tommy Wonder. I tell the spectators that this experiment can only be done at a certain time in the day. To make sure to hit the correct time spot, I check the watch. I say: „Ok,... wait a few seconds... NOW! Name any card now!“ Spectator does this. Then I point to another spectator: „And you please named any number... now!“ This gives me the opportunity for a second, completely motivated glance. In this moment I know which deck to produce—number one or number two. It is as easy as that, requiring absolutely no mental calculation! The spectator then takes the deck and deals through it face up, the chosen card not appearing. At the finish, everybody can see that the deck consists of only 51 cards with the chosen card missing! How to produce the decks of cards Now we deal with the arrangement of the two decks of cards. In the original method, the two decks were simply in the two outer jacket pockets. Joseph strongly advises to put rubber bands around the decks—an advice I agree on. Then, when knowing the identity of the card, bring forth the required deck. A simple, straightforward solution to it. Or you can use the idea of having a champagne bucket on your table. Inside there is for example a wooden cigar box, encircled with rubber bands, which holds deck number one. Also in the bucket is a little cloth bag, which holds deck number two. At the beginning, you call attention to the bucket and that you will not come near it from then on. After you know which deck must be produced, simply instruct the spectator in this way: „Please go to the champagne bucket over here. Reach in and remove the wooden cigar box. Open it and remove the deck of cards that has been in there all the times.“ In the other case, you instruct him to remove the little cloth bag. The principle is that besides the assisting spectator, no one ever knows there is another object inside the bucket, because you simply don’t mention that fact. Even Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006


the assisting spectator is fooled, because the other object might belong to another of your miracles. A simple emergency solution, that I have used many times and that works well for an audience. The most elegant solution is the special card box I constructed. Basically, this is a two-sided deck-switching box that shows one deck only. Depending on which side you open it, it will produce deck one or two. The photos show the construction and working of this little box. With this, the box can be on the table and you can show it only contains one deck of cards. Then you close it and leave it on the table. Depending what deck has to be produced, you open compartment one or number two. The prediction envelope I use a fairly standard window envelope (which is described in many classics on mentalism, i.e. Corinda’s „13 Steps to Mentalism“) and a nail writer to fill in the name of the card. A proved and practical method. You have ample of time, whilst the spectator is counting the cards and everybody watching him, to fill in with the nail writer (just draw abbreviated symbols, when the Seven of Hearts is named, just draw a 7 and a heart). This is a good trick to practice your nail writing in front of an audience! Well, that is what I developed over the years from the good old Premonition effect. It has always been one of the stronger effects in my repertoire and we all have to thank Eddie Joseph giving this gem to the fraternity. I hope you like and use it!

Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006


Tea Time The reason for describing this routine is above all to introduce you to the concept of the switch involved. It utilizes one of the oldest principles used in magic: black art. In effect, a folded card, bill, billet or in fact any other small flat object like a small medallion or coin can be switched out in an undetectably and visual manner. The best thing is that the switch is really easy to do. The Principle Let me explain a basic switch first along with the principle. You will need a small tea sieve. Take a playing card, fold it into quarters and fix it onto a piece of cardboard. Now using flat black spray-paint, spray the underside of the card black. Place this card into the tea sieve (I prefer to actually glue it there) so that its corners lock into the mesh of the sieve. The unsprayed side of the card should be visible when you hold the tea sieve in the way shown in the photo. What I discovered was that when you turn the tea sieve down, due to the black art principle (and of course when you wear something dark or black), the card can’t be seen anymore! This applies even to when you place the tea sieve onto a dark surface. The Switch For this, you need a duplicate (unprepared) folded card. I assume you are using this in a routine with a signed card (Ambitious card or something else) where you do the Mercury Card Fold to arrive in the position for the switch. By the way: the best and (for me) most convincing Mercury card Fold that really works without detection in real performance, is that of the brilliant Texas Magician Cody Fisher. Check out his handling of the Mercury card Fold (he calls it the „Mercury Sleeve Fold“) on his upcoming DVD produced by Magikraft Studios. It’s really great and in my opinion worth alone for the working performer the price of the whole DVD ! I hold the tea sieve in my left hand and have the folded card in a finger palm position in the right. Both hands are about waist height. Two actions now happen Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006


simultaneously: the left hand turns the tea sieve, and the right hand opens at the same time, letting its palmed card fall onto the table. In unison the illusion of the card coming from the tea sieve is perfect. In one fluent motion the left hand places the tea sieve in a sort of „face-down“ position onto the mat. The pictures show the switch clearly. A little thinking will open your eyes for all the possibilities. To get you started, I would like to describe a little routine, which was born in a late night session with the famous Braco from Berlin (who by the way is very fond of the switch). Braco suggested (naturally) doing something with tea to motivate the tea sieve, so here is what I came up with to answer his challenge. Here is the effect: The performer has a tea glass on the table. On top of the glass rests a tea sieve with a folded slip of paper and a teabag in it. A spectator chosen from a tea menu card one tea brand out of a dozen or so. The performer cleanly pours the contents of the tea sieve onto the table. On the folded slip of paper is written the spectator’s choice of tea! Requirements: The tea sieve, a tea bag, folded slips of colored paper and a tea menu card, which is actually the disguise for a billet index (the indexed billets are in compartments at the back of the teat card). You can make the index as big as possible, but I think 24 different brands of tea are enough. The beauty of this index is that whilst the spectator is looking at the tea menu card, you are naturally looking at the back at the index! A dummy billet which is spray painted at the back is glued into the tea sieve and the tea bag placed on top of it. Thus you are ready for the performance. Performance: Show the tea glass with the tea sieve and its contents. Then take the menu and let a spectator pick his choice. Due to the index behind it is an easy matter to pull the appropriate billet into the finger palm of either hand (it’s easy to learn the switch with both hands, which makes for an easier handling of the index). Once you have the billet ready for the switch, pick up the tea sieve and perform the switch exactly like you did with the card. All done!

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The Bavarian Beer Game Yes - I AM a Bavarian (born in Munich) and I am proud of it. So naturally I centered my presentation around my home country. I don’t consider myself a mentalist, but I have a strong interest in this branch of magic. Consequently, I am what you would call „lousy mentalist performer“. Maybe this is the reason I like this effect, because actually I don’t have to „perform“, the effect more or less performs itself. For me it is just a great, entertaining trick, that gives me the opportunity (not very often, but sometimes), to play my accordion within the presentation (in that case it is not the Bavarian Beer Game, but the old „Ballyhooed bar stunt“, where I can play a few Irish jigs and reels on my instrument). The trick stems from Paul Curry and is (with a slightlydifferent presentation and working of the method) described in his book „Worlds Beyond“. Basically, it is self-working, means: if you have done one simple action, the rest is automatic - you could leave the room! Best you read the Curry book, then you will better understand my changes... In effect you give your audience the chance to win some money (always good). You hand out a prediction envelope beforehand, which you never again touch. Six glasses are on the table, along with cards with names in front of each glass. In one of the glasses you pour beer. A willing helper collects from the others some money: a $20 bill, a $10, a $5 and a $1. YOU give a $100 bill into the pot. The spectator may now freely distribute the bills into the remaining glasses. Once he is satisfied with the distribution, the game starts. Another spectator reads aloud your instructions, and the other spectator acts according to them (glasses are switched, given to you, etc.) The end of the game is this: YOU get all the money, and the spectator ALWAYS gets the beer! For kid shows you might consider using soda pop. The trick is based on a mathematical principle, which I don’t really understand (and I don’t care as long as the trick works). In my eyes the Curry version smelled „moths“, so I changed the presentation, as you will see. Now it looks better to me... Requirements: 6 glasses, beer, the bills (100, 20, 10, 5, 1), a wallet, a jumbo clothes peg and 12 double blank cards. Besides that a printed (or written) letter containing the instructions for the spectator inside an envelope.

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Preparation: On six of the blank cards print the following names: CARLA, HERB, ERIC, BUD, ALICE, and JEFF. Of course you can use other names, if you keep in mind that the names’ LAST letters are the important ones. If you check that, they are: A, B, C, D, E and F (exactly as required in Curry’s trick. The use of these name cards do a lot to make this trick look less „mathy“. Take the other six cards and make a second identical set of these names. The idea is that these cards represent „placeholders“ for the people at the bar in Bavaria. So each glass has a name card in front of it and that says which glass belongs to which of the imaginary persons. At the beginning, one set is well shuffled distributed to the glasses on the table (or better leaned against the glasses for display). The other set is underneath your wallet, in which you keep the $100 bill you will contribute to that game. The second set is facedown underneath the wallet in readiness for a packet switch (more later on this). I hold the whole in place with a jumbo wooden clothes peg (the „Bavarian Theft Protection“), so that I can easily remove it from my performance case without disturbing the setup. The letter with the instructions is given to a spectator. You can use the wording I gave you in the sample letter, or modify it according to your needs, the only thing important is that the actual „moves“ remain the same. Performance: Explain the „beer game“ and pour the beer into one of the glasses (doesn’t matter which one). Collect the name cards and give them someone in the audience for shuffling. Don’t draw undue attention to the name cards yet. Whilst the person is doing that, ask another spectator to collect the bills and bring them forward to you to your table. You will play „against“ this spectator from now on. As soon as he is with you, retrieve the name cards and hold them face down in the right hand. With the left, get the wallet and remove the cloth peg in readiness for the switch. Open the wallet; give out your $100 bill. Instruct the spectator to place the $100 into one of the glasses as well. While he is doing this, close the wallet and put it to the side, thereby executing the switch of the packets. This switch is shown in the photographs.

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The assistant is now allowed to change the positions of the glasses as many times as he wants to. When he is finished, you will place a name card of the shuffled (?) packet in front of each glass. And this is now the important thing: depending on where the spectator places the $100 bill this is the ONLY thing you have to watch for), you start laying out the cards from the LEFT or from the RIGHT side of the row of glasses. Imagine the glasses labeled A, B, C, D, E and F (from the left to the right). Important for you are only the positions A, C and E. If the spectator places the $100 bill into one of these glasses, then you start laying out the cards (face-up) starting at glass A. So glass A gets Carla, glass B gets Herb, glass gets Eric and so on. If the spectator places the $100 bill into one of the glasses B, D or F, then you start laying out the cards in the following manner (starting with the Carla card at glass F): glass F gets Carla, glass E gets Herb, etc. And with this, all your work is done! All that remains is that the spectator holding the „predictions“ reads it aloud and the spectator at the table follows the instructions. In the course of these he will at times be asked to switch the position of the beer glass with a glass at its side. You must inform the spectator beforehand that in case there is a glass at either side of the beer glass, he can make his choice with which to swap freely. Should the beer glass be at the end of the row, then obviously he can switch the beer glass only with the glass next to it. Easy. From your point of view the „presentation“ is finished. You can watch the thing, make some comments, jokes, or you can (like me) play accordion... up to you. The spectator will always finish up with the beer glass (at Bud’s place) and you get all the money! That’s it! Obviously, this is a trick that depends on the things you write additionally into the prediction (lines, gags, jokes, whatever). Just run through the thing and it will be clear what’s it all about. This trick could also be very effective for tradeshow performers presenting new products, for weddings, cruise ship „bingo/magic performers“ and so on... think about it. And here are the instructions that have to appear in the letter (feel free to change the wording, names and dominations of the bills): Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006

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„The following instructions were written BEFORE I actually perform this stunt... so please do the following: 1. Switch the glass with the $5 bill for the glass with the $10 bill. 2. Switch the glass with the $100 bill for the glass with the beer. 3. Give me the JEFF’S glass! 4. Switch the glass with the beer with a glass next to it. 5. Give me CARLA’S glass! 6. Switch the glass with the beer with a glass next to it. 7. Give me HERB’S glass! 8. Switch the glass with the beer with a glass next to it. 9. Give me ALICE’S glass! 10. Give me ERIC’S glass! 11. You keep BUD’S glass along with the contents. CHEERS!

If you think about it, you could have this instructions on a tape (even sent beforehand as a sort of prediction to someone) or, in these times, as an MP3 on an MP3-player... use your imagination. A pity I am really not the performer for stuff like this, but I liked the work on it, the little details and additions, and above all - occasionally I like to do it and play my accordion along the lines...

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Groundhog Day (dedicated with affection to Astrid Gloria and Romany) As a matter of fact I am not very keen on oil-and-water-routines, because usually they lack a surprise finish. Despite that I studied many of them. I stumbled across one of them that finishes with all cards being one color, and also a very good handling, because it uses only nine cards and the Ghost count, so was fairly easy to do. When my favourite german female magician Astrid Gloria visited me in Berlin, she asked me to teach her an oil- and-water-routine, so I taught her my version. She in turn had a very good patter idea, which in turn inspired me to work on the oil-andwater-routine again. I think it was Peter Warlock from England who made the „time machine“ theme popular in magic (i.e. turning back the time). I always liked the plot. This became clearer when I was living in Turin, Italy and went to a cinema to see a movie in order to improve my Italian language. The movie I picked was „Groundhog Day“. After that I visited frequently the UK to help my beloved friend Romany build her stage act. Romany also asked me to help her on a few close-up tricks, and (interestingly enough) she also wanted to learn an oil-and-water-routine! So again I taught her my version. Romany in turn had the idea of using the theatre masks (which she now not uses, because she dispelled with the idea and has something else), which in turn brought me back to my oil-and-water-routine... sometimes the evolution of a routine can be quite interesting... In the end, thanks to my two lovely magic colleagues Astrid and Romany, I succeeded to put „my“ own routine together. I would like to thank both of them for the help they gave me (and of course the super good creative and fun time!). I hope you like my humble attempts, considering that BOTH Astrid and Romany are better and more intense performers than me, both are more charming, and the worst thing: both LOOK much better than me! Effect: A pretty weird combination of an oil-and-water-routine and two silks that are knotted and unknot themselves. Combined with a complicated patter theme, this is what I would call „experimental avant-garde magic“ (with the accent on the experimental). Not stuff for everybody, but at least you can use the two tricks on their own.

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You need: I use a red and yellow 24 inch silk (according to my smilie cards), which represent the „good“ and the „bad“ side in life One clear receptacle (here I use a Acryl Jug, my „Jug of Life“) 9 jumbo cards. These can be red and black (the red for the good and happy things, the black for the sad ones. You will need 3 black cards and 6 red cards. Personally I use jumbo cards with yellow and red smilies painted onto them, representing the good and bad things. Two card stands to perform this for a larger audience for the display of the cards. Preparation: The glass jug and the silks on a side table. On the main table the card stands with the cards. In one stand the four red cards, in the other the black ones. The cards are in this order (from the face to the back): red, red, red, red in one stand, black, black, red, red, black in the other. All faces to the audience. You are ready to go. Presentation: I will for a very good reason NOT describe my patter for this routine. The reason is, I don’t actually HAVE a proper one! Again, Astrid and Romany are far better than me in scripting out their routines (which I very seldom do), because they do HAVE a patter! But I will explain the concept of the presentation, with a little work on your own you will be able to write your script. Basically, the presentation is in two parts: the one being that gag o the groundhog day, e.g. a man living through the same day again and again. This part is for the fact that you repeat the same actions again and again, apparently not noticing that you yourself are already entrapped in this time loop. The other presentational part is that of some people seeing only the good things of a day, the others only the bad things. This applies to the oil-and-water-routine, where good and bad things mix, but then are separated again, and finally all the things change into the good things. And this is also illustrated by the black and white silks that can be seen separated or knotted together. All clear? I start explaining the Groundhog Day principle. I talked about the day being in a time loop and the interesting fact that it would be nice to turn the time back. I state I will do two simple actions, a spectator takes the time I need to do it, and then I will turn the time back to the beginning. Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006

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I show the two silks, knot them together and put them into the jug. Here I do a standard square knot and in the act of placing the silks into the jug, I secretly unk-

not them. The technique I use is shown in the photographs. It is a technique I learnt from one of Lewis Ganson’s excellent books and used in Sympathetic Silk routines. So the silks are untied without the audience’s knowledge. 1st phase oil and water Now to the cards. I pick up the packet with the red cards face up in one hand and with the other, count them one by one back into the card stand, explaining they represent the good things. I pick up the black cards from the other stand and they are counted with the Ghost count as four black cards, the last card going on top. I turn this packet face down and keep it in my right hand. I take the top card and put it into the stand (backs always towards the audience). Then a red card from the other card stand. I put it on top of the black card on the stand. The next card goes from the top of my packet. Then a red card from the other card stand. Now I do a two-card push-off and place the double onto the stand. The next red card from the other card stand onto it. I am left with one card in my hand and one on the other card stand. I have to reverse the order of these two cards—so I turn the card in my hand face-up and pick up the red card from the card stand. The red card is placed on top of the card in my hand, Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006

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both are turned face down and placed into the stand on top of the others. As a result, all the cards are back again in the original order! After „turning back the time“, we arrive in our starting position, which I show. I pick the two silks and show them to be separated (a very strong effect for laymen if done properly). Then I turn to the cards and show them in the same way I did in the beginning—counting off the first four cards singly into the one card stand (four red cards) and then Ghost-counting the other cards in the hand. Last card again goes on top. You will notice we are back in the starting position! From now on everything can be repeated, which is what I do in the second phase. And I start out by doing exactly the same things, using the same words as in the beginning, as if I hadn’t noticed that I am already in the „time loop“. That’s the Groundhog Day theme... 2nd phase oil and water As said, I repeat exactly the 1st phase with the cards and the silks. Only one little thing is different, when showing the four black cards at the end via the Ghost count: the last card goes on the BOTTOM of the packet. For the 3rd phase the procedure varies a little, to produced the surprise climax of the apparently 8 red cards. 3rd phase oil and water Again do the knotting/unknotting sequence with the silks. Four red cards are in the card stand, the other cards in the hand. I take one card from the hand (top) and place into the empty card stand. On top of this another red card. Then one from the hand (top one). Then another red one from the other stand. This leaves three cards in the hand, and two red ones on the other card stand. I do a double push-off, take the double and place it in a fanned condition on front of the single card in my hand. Now I pick up one red card and place it in between the apparently two cards in my hand. The last red card is placed behind the cards in my hand (closest to me). Immediately I perform a Ghost count with these cards (backs to the audience). The last card goes to the top. This sets the cards for the finale. I put the cards back into the stand. I pick up the other cards in the other stand and perform a ghost count with them as well, last card goes on top. This sets this packet. I turn the packet with the faces to the audience, perform a ghost count and replace them in the stand—four red cards! I pick up the cards in the other stand, turn them with the faces towards the audience and perform another Ghost count—four red cards as well!

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De Cova’s Laws In the past years, I tried hard to follow as much of the advice given in good magic books or graciously given to me by some fellow performers (I am still very thankful for the advice given by them). I don’t want to state that the following „rules“ are general or the ultimate in truth, but maybe they make you think and inspire you. These are rules that developed in my own work and it is these rules that shaped my magical thinking (or did my magical thinking shape these rules?). Most of the times, I act upon these laws, but not always—rules are there to be broken, aren’t they? 1st law—Keep it simple and clear Keep the effect and method as simple as possible. Simple doesn’t mean necessarily easy, the shortest connection between A and B is a straight line—even if that means that a difficult sleight has to be learned. I do so, if this is the simplest solution to a problem. Concerning the effect, the onlooker should be able to more or less describe in one sentence what happened. 2nd law—Read the books In our literature, we have tons of brilliant solutions, tricks, ideas and methods ready for use. Studying the books, especially the history of our art, will broaden your mind and make your magic look fresh and not run-of-the-mill. In fact, in my humble opinion, most of the classics and „old effects“ are still far better in respect of construction, method, built in Mis-direction and plot than most of the newest „inventions“ we have. Better to take a classic, proven effect than boring the audiences with a silly new „invention“. Better for magic, better for you and better for the audience. 3rd law—Don’t focus on one topic in magic alone Nowadays we have far too many „specialists“, all of them showing more or less the same effects. Try to vary, try stage magic, try to put together a little manipulative sequence for stage and I guarantee you will learn a lot more about magic than studying 100 books on the new card moves and these things. Learn stagecraft and acting. Learn about rhythm (learn an instrument!!!).

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4th law—Learn from the musicians When practicing and learning a new routine or technique, study how musicians tackle a new tune. Step by step, in parts. Then when the parts work singly, they slowly put the parts together into the whole tune. Then they practice the whole tune. THEN they bring in their own artistic interpretation. 5th law—Let the magic be magic Too many performers think they have to put all of their personality into the magic, most of the time in form of silly jokes, wrongly placed one-liners and all this kind of stuff. True to a certain degree that magic must be entertaining, but I think that well executed, well thought out magic has its fascination on its own. After all, we are dealing with a craft many thousands of years old. Magic is about unexpected and unexplainable things happening. This alone is fascinating to the observing person. Magic—in my opinion—is definitely not the place for someone who wants to show off. Treat the magic with respect and don’t forget the roots of it. BE a magician, someone who is someone elected to represent an ancient art form. 6th law—Motivate things This is very important for me. Try to motivate everything in your routines—why you pick something up, why you go to the pocket, why you use this or that, and so on. Try to make every move with a motivation that a lay audience can easily understand and which makes sense to them. Many sleights can be covered and many secrets stay hidden with this strategy. 7th law—Keep it visual Magic depends on a great part on the fact that the onlookers have to be able to actually see what is going on in order to understand or appreciate the magical effect. I always try to select and construct my routines in such a way that there is something to see for the audience—even if they are watching the happenings from a distance. 8th law—Stay in the background Maybe a rule that applies only to me and doesn’t appeal too much to others. I like to be a sort of „Master of the Ceremonies“ in this magical concert. I like to put my person back and make place for the magic that happens. Intelligent spectators appreciate the fact that I am actually the one making these miracles happen anyway. I don’t really need to point this out.

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9th law—Don’t believe the dealers Use their catalogues as an inspirational source for effects and methods, if any. Dealer’s language in general is false. Don’t buy every „new item“ or believe them their „without skill, instant big hit success“ phrases—real good magic creeps in „from the backdoor“, real good routines that work for lay audiences never look as sensational on paper or in dealer’s ads. Real good routines are shy, they don’t like to be put into the public, but they like to be discovered and teased, honed and practiced, and above all—they like to be loved! 10th law—Respect the art With that I also mean respect the audience taking the time to watch your art. Never work lines on the expense of the spectators. Let them join to watch miracles, and show dignity and politeness doing that. Live up to making it a point to work hard to place back magic back to where it actually belongs—into the category of performing arts. Be proud of magic. And have the necessary respect for it.

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Porous Plastic First of all, thanks go to Martin Lewis for suggesting the title, my original one (Ultimate Coin Penetration) didn’t seem to be politically correct... This item was created many years ago, when I had the offer to work a morning television spot that dealt with kitchen stuff (very strange), and they told me that the producers needed a very quick, visual magic thing, where the camera would stay focused on the hands. Well, it got me working. At first, I thought an item of Daryl, where a card penetrates visually through a plastic bag (super trick, by the way, check it out!) would be a good solution, but then I somehow hit upon the idea of trying this with other objects, because cards didn’t seem to fit properly into a morning kitchen setting. I liked the plastic bag idea (household item), and then worked the routine with flat cookies and a bag. After arriving at the children’s chocolate coins, I settled on real coins for practical reasons. In the end, the television show (or at least my spot in it) was cancelled, but this routine remained. It’s easy to do (I am a lazy „coin man“), visual and over in about 40 seconds. Good to combine with the „Three Fly“ or other intermediate coin miracles. Effect: Three coins one after the other penetrate a clear zip-lock bag right under the eyes of the spectators in a very visual way. The last coin goes the opposite way and visually penetrates the plastic to finally end up in the locked bag. You need: Just a normal zip-lock bag (from now on referred to as „bag“ and three big coins (I use old American silver dollars). Performance: The bag is lying opened on your working surface, opening towards you. Display the three coins on the palm of the right hand. Turn the hand palm down and throw the coins into the waiting left hand, holding back one of the coins at the right finger tips via the „friction palm“. With the right hand,

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lift at the opening of the bag, so the left hand can enter it. Now follows a shuttle pass. The right hand turns palm up and opens, at the same time the left hand turns and throws its coins including the bag onto the right palm. Due to the transparency a nice illusion is created. The spectators think all the coins are inside the bag, but in reality one is already outside. Wit one casual motion, the right hand throws all onto the table. Now for a little subtlety. Both hands push the bag a little forward on the table. The right forefinger (or the left, depending where the outer coin lands after the throw) contacts the rim of the outer coin through the plastic. Now push and all is as it should be, the three coins moving in unison. At this point I have a spectator cover the coins lightly with his hand. I pull the bag back towards me. The outer coin will remain on the table underneath the spectator’s hand, the two coins in the bag. A pretty penetration effect. I hold the bag in the right hand, whilst the left takes the coin on the table and puts it into the left pocket. In there, I fingerpalm the coin and bring it our again. The bag is now transferred to the left hand and the right enters to grab the two coins. Display them on the outstretched palm. I offered the hand to a spectator, so that he can feel that the coins are INSIDE the bag. Now do the same shuttle pass as before, throwing the coins and bag onto the left hand (retaining one coin in the right hand finger palm. Remove the right hand from the Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006

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bag and with the left, throw everything onto the table as before. The third coin remains in the right fingerpalm. Repeat the penetration sequence as before. With the left hand, pick up the coin on the table and really put it away into the pocket. You are now one coin ahead and ready for the reverse finale. Hold the bag with the right hand and make sure the coin is in one corner of the bag. Enter with the right hand and grab the coin at the rim. Bring up the right hand to waist height. Apparently you will now with the left hand just lift the bag away, in reality you set up the visual „spellbound backwards penetration“ (as I like to call it). The left hand grabs the bag at the corner with the coin, actually covering the coin. It pulls the bag off the right hand, whilst at the same time the right hand pushed its fingerpalmed coin to the fingertips and exits the bag. This will create the illusion that you just took the bag away. The left fingers cover the coin naturally. Hold the bag towards a spectator and let him close the zip-lock. You are ready for a spellbound type sequence. The coin in the right hand is brought in the spellbound position (held at the rim by the fingers and thumb). The left fingers with its bag now cover the coin. The moment the coin is covered, the right hand coin is allowed to drop to the fingerpalm, and the coin in the plastic is taken in the same position. A very nice optical illusion—apparently you just put the plastic onto the coin. Pause a second, grab the bag with the left hand and with the right hand, let go of the coin, which will visually drop into the bag! Now you hand the bag to a spectator for examination. Get rid of the coin in the right hand with an appropriate method (and you know one, don’t you?)

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Rosediction This experiment is the result of my never-ending attempts to create a strong effect with the simplest means possible. Basically, it is a very charming and elegant mental effect, where you predict the total of an imaginary restaurant visit with an imaginary date... It uses a thumb tip (one of my all-tie favorite gimmicks in magic) and a very interesting approach to the so-called „double writing“. Again, this packs very small and plays big (even for stage). You need: A rose (can be a real one to be handed out) Some price tags Some 6 by 3 inches file cards A rubber band An Exacto knife A sharpie pen And of course... the thumbtips Preparation: Take the price tags and cut of a small strip on the sides, to make them narrow enough to fit into the thumb tip. Then cut a slit in the cutout where the thread is. Remove the thread of one tag, this is the one to be used with the writing pad. On the other price tag is written some scribbles that resemble a written price. But this is in reality only „dummy writing“ (see photos). Bind the thread to the head of the rose. The rose is ready for use now. The „writing pad“ Take about 20 of the file cards. Take one of them and write a date of the month you perform onto it as shown in the photo. This will allowed for an easy double writing sequence

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later. Now take the Exacto knife and cut a slit along the first black backslash. This will allow to fix the second price tag onto the pad and ensure an easy removal. The photos show the setup. Put this card on top of the other file cards, snap the rubber band around it and you are ready to go. By the way, the rose in my case sits in an attractive vase on my table. The price tag can be seen by the spectators, and also that there is something written onto it. But I don’t put any attention to it yet. It just sits there. Performance: Take the pad and the marker. In picking up the pad, also pick up the thumbtip in the position shown in the photograph. I discovered this is the most comfortable way to naturally hold this arrangement in place and ensure a secure writing without exposing the thumb tip. Start to tell the story of you and the lady spectator being in an imaginary restaurant out this month (or, again, invent your own story...). Ask her to remember what she dined, drunk, etc. depending on your story. Hold the pad and marker as seen in the photograph. Ask her to make a decision on the total of the bill (can be anything). Say she says $24.95. Now write this in BIG letters onto the upper part (above the rubber band) onto the pad. Now comes a wonderful subtlety to show the pad ordinary: grab the pad as shown in the photo, the second and third fingers being slightly apart and covering the price tag. In this condition, you can lift the pad for a moment, turn it writing side towards the audience, so that they can see you have just written what she said. A very convincing display. Put the pad back into the right hand. Now comes the crucial point, because you have to write this amount of $24.95 onto the price tag, which later will be switched via the thumb tip against the visible price tag attached to the rose. Believe me, it took me sleepless nights to arrive at this ruse, but it’s really easy—and I am proud of this finesse. Ask the lady on which day of this month the date was. Says she says it was the 14th. Now pretend to write the date onto the pad in the lower part of the pad. In reality

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you just write the number 14 in the date space to the left of the price tag (which you left blank for that reason), and then continue to write the total of the bill onto the price tag! It is that easy! A closer inspection will reveal that the amount of figure basically is the same as if you really were to write the date. That means also the pencil movements are more or less the same, and they happen in the supposed area on the pad. It appears as it should be. Put away the marker onto the table. You are ready to load the price tag into the thumb tip under cover of the actions of turning the pad with the writing side towards the audience. The photos make this very clear. The left thumb pushes down onto the pad. This will—due to the diagonal slit—free it from its fix point. Continue to shove it directly into the thumb tip. Continue the movements as shown in the photos, so that the thumb enters behind the pad. This is now turned to the audience—again all is as it should be, you have just written the date onto the pad. The pad can now be leaned against a glass or the vase (I prefer the vase) or—if your are in the same adventurous mood as I am in sometimes—give the pad to a spectator to hold! This is disarming, and hardly any spectator will discover the little slit. Ask the lady whether she remembers the rose seller coming in. And that you bought a rose for her. And so on... Ask her if she remembers the price of the rose...(probably not). Now you are ready for the switch. The thumb tip is on the left thumb, with the price tag with the total written on it in it. Pick p the rose with the left hand at the stem. The leaves will effectively hide the thumb tip (see photos). Hold the rose horizontally, so that the price tag dangles down. Now the right hand grabs the price tag as shown in the photo, and the left hand lets go of the rose, so that the rose is dangling from the right hand. At this moment, the price tag is hidden by the right fingers. The left hand approaches the right, apparently to tear off the tag from the thread. The left thumb rests the thumb tip directly onto the price tag and moves down, taking the tag in the tip with it. It really looks as if you are tearing off the price tag.

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Hand this immediately to the lady and have her read aloud the price tag—BINGO! The clean up The left hand picks up the rose, the right hand pulls down, which frees the dummy price tag. Hand the lady the rose, with the right hand grab the marker and put it into your pocket, thereby ditching the dummy price tag and the thumb tip. The routine is finished and you end clean!

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Stab in the Dark Two years ago on one of my visits to London graham Reed of the Magic Circle treasurer fame presented me with a beautiful golden knife with a very thin blade, which almost screamed being used in a card stab routine. London always reminds me of the great British magical history and tradition; so it was only close to think of the late Al Koran and his brilliant „Encore Card Stab“ from his book professional presentations. As a matter of fact, this is the first thing I wanted to perform with the beautiful knife. But then my brains started working and the result is here... Effect: The performer stabs to the mate card of a freely chosen card with a knife. The deck is on the table and the actual stab is done UNDER a handkerchief, which has been thrown over the deck before! You need: A normal deck of cards, a handkerchief about 18 Inches Square and a table knife or a decorative dagger. That’s all. Preparation: A stacked deck is involved. I call it a „reversed hay stack“. To get into it, take the pack and put all the twin cards onto the table, pair wise. Collect the pairs in any given order (it doesn’t matter). Then perform an „anti-faro“, that means you run through the deck and upjog every second card. Strip out the upjogged cards and replace them under or above the lower cards. This way or the other, you will arrive at a setup in which the mates are laying 26 cards apart, which is what you want. This is a cyclic order, and a single complete cut won’t disturb the order. The Routine: Bring out the cards and false shuffle the deck. You can spread them face-up onto the table with no fear, because the setup is very hard to discover (which I discovered in the course of the time when performing for magicians, especially in these „memorized“ days...) Turn the deck face down and instruct the spectator (whilst you turn away) to give the deck as many complete cuts. At one time he is to take the top card and—without looking at it or showing it to anybody else—to place

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it into the card box. Turn around when he is finished doing this. The situation, you explain, is that there is a card of unknown identity in the box. Your task is to find it out. For this, you state, you will run through the remainder of the deck and quickly make a mathematical calculation, in order to arrive at the value of the chosen card. So, take the deck face-up in the hand and start spreading trough it. Of course, the thing with the calculation is only blabla, in reality at this moment you are just interested in the face card of the deck. Spread through the deck until about midway until you spot the mate of the face card of the deck. The card directly above this card is the mate of the card in the card box! That way you know the identity of this card! And I actually make an effect out of this. I say: „After this quick run through I can surely say the card in the box is the (name the mate)“ Whilst saying this, you injog this card and put the deck in this injogged position onto the table (face-up). This will be the preparation for getting the stab done right later. Say: „More difficult than finding the chosen card, is to find the twin card. And to do it blindfolded. But not with the blindfold on me, but with the blindfold on the deck...“ (I would like to thank Martin Lewis for this wonderful line here) Take the handkerchief and spread it onto the table. Take the deck, turn it face down and square it up, thereby getting a break above the mate card that was injogged. Grab the deck in Biddle position, transferring the break to the thumb. With the other hand, lift a corner of the silk and then put the deck under the silk’s center. The moment the deck is laid down onto the table, cut the cards above the break about 1,5 cm to the side. The upper half is side jogged and marks the spot where the knife has to enter. Remove both hands from under the hank. A very clean and (for magicians) puzzling situation now, because apparently you have no control over the cards. Take the knife in one hand and lift a corner of the hank with the other. Go under

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the hank with the knife and immediately put the knife onto the deck, fixing everything for the moment. Leave the knife where it is. The other hand now grasps the deck at the outer corners (or better: grasps the out corners of the sidejogged top-half) through the fabric. Pressing down on these corners, creating a sort of tension onto to deck. If you now move the knife to the side, the top half will sort of spring up, creating a gap, into which the knife can enter securely and without you having to look and feel. Also you will hear an audible click when the side of the top half clears the knife. A look at the photographs should make everything clear. The moment you hear the click, shove the knife into the other direction, squaring the deck at the same time. Remove both hands from knife and cards Lift the handkerchief and the spectators will see the deck with the knife plunged into it. Lift all the cards above the knife and put them aside. Put the card directly underneath the knife to the front. Take the card from the card box and place it directly beneath the card on the table. Turn both cards to show you have correctly found the mate! Finis!

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Master Silks Routine I have always liked the classic sympathetic silk effect. The trick you are going to read has been in development for many years, actually I lost the number of variations, „improvements“ and „twists“ I gave it. The version here is the version I stuck to for quite some time now, and I don’t think I am going to change it (but who knows...) In the Tarbell Course there is a description of Al Baker’s version, which uses only four silks. Check the Tarbell Course for this trick, so that you have a good idea of the principle involved. What I liked about this version is the way the apparently two single silks become knotted. Here is my newest version of this effect, which does away with the normal bucket and uses a big glass (!) for the silks that magically untie. Also, I improved the gimmick that is responsible for the effect. Now I use only one (!) additional silk for the effect! I can honestly state that this is a much easier version that is more deceptive and clear than my former versions. It has fooled some of the best brains in magic. It’s a commercial effect and very strong. Effect: The performer shows four single silks on the table or a tableau. He takes two silks and knots them together. Even the spectator can tie the knot! Without touching the knot the silks are placed in a big glass or transparent champagne bucket. The other two single silks are taken from the table and handed to a spectator. Without any moves of any kind the silks in the glass are taken out one by one—the knots have vanished and the silks are single! The spectator who holds the other two silks unfolds them only to find out that these are now securely tied with a knot! Requirements: For this you will need 4 silks in one color, about 18 inches Square. Also a single smaller silk, about 9 inch square. This must be the same color and texture as the other silks. Further needed is a very big glass or a decorative glass bowl. In emergencies you

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can also use a champagne bucket, but I prefer the glass bowl for visibility. Also, some restaurants and hotels have clear champagne buckets, which are also good. You needed a sort of tableau. Actually, you could use any one, I most of the time use an old wooden tableau. But you are not restricted to this, once you understand the workings of this effect, you will see that a close-up pad of sufficient size can also be used. In emergencies I used a folded tablecloth. Anything under which you can hide the knots under which lies flat on the table can be used. A folded Newspaper will do as well. In the photos, a semi-transparent mat is used to show the workings. Preparation: The trick actually is in two parts. One is to vanish the knots in the silks and the other to produce the knot in the other silks. For the vanish a very simple principle is put into use: the principle of the extra corner. That means that you actually have an extra corner (the 9 inch silk) that you knot together with the single unprepared silk. Because of the fact that the extra piece is only loosely rolled into the second silk, it will separate from it. Thus the unknotting is achieved. The photos show you everything. The second part is the secret knotting of the silks. Here I use Al Baker’s method, which is described in the Tarbell course, as mentioned before. Instead of having a specially built table with a slit in the front of the table drape, I use the tableau or the close-up mat, which enables me to work the effect on any table. Preparation: Knot together two of the unprepared silks (I use a slip knot so that it is easier later to unknot them). Then comes the preparation of the extra little silk with a normal silk. This is shown in detail in the photographs. The silks are laid on the tableau as indicated in the photographs. The trick is ready.

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Performance: 1. Display the four (apparently single) silks on the tableau. Take the silk with the extra silk and the normal silk and tie them together. Here you actually tie the corner of the extra silk to the single silk. Put these two silks into the glass goblet as shown. Be careful to make sure that the spectators see that you don’t touch the knot! 2. Pick off the other two (knotted) silks as shown and remove them from the tableau. Bunch them together and give this bundle to a spectator to hold. 3. Make your magic passes and pretend to invisibly take the knot from the silks in the glass towards the silks the spectator is holding. 4. Go to the glass and pick up a corner of the silk nearest the audience that is outside the glass. Pull gently on this corner upward as you slowly and deliberately lift the silk out of the glass. The gimmick will separate from the silk it was rolled into (which remains in the glass for the moment). Due to the fact that it is knotted to the other silk, it will be lifted out of the glass behind this silk. When the silk is outside the glass, just grab the silk and gimmick in the middle. Due to the fact that gimmick and silk are the same texture and color, the audience will not notice the gimmick. Then, slowly, also lift the other (unprepared) silk out of the glass - the knots have vanished! Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006

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5. Have the spectator stand-up and unroll the silks he has been holding - the knot has reappeared!

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Forte-X This is one of the routines I have held back for a long time from other magicians, because I wanted to keep it exclusively for myself. The title may be a little bit irritating, but nevertheless, I was inspired by the Italian word forte, which means strong–and this is exactly what this routine IS. Basically, this is a multiple prediction of three (or two, or four) ABSOLUTELY FREELY selected playing cards. The whole structure of the routine is very clear and direct, and there are more merits to it, one of them being this routine needs absolutely NO replacements and after the finish is setup for the next performance, meaning it is perfect for restaurant, tradeshow and party work. Also, this routine can be performed at the close-up table or for up to about 100 spectators in a stage/tradeshow situation. I wasn’t aware of it, but recently I could trace back the basic origins of this effect: it is the trick „Touch“ which was invented by that brilliant Paul Curry (despite the fact that my handling was inspired in Germany by a dealer’s effect with a similar effect, but using a very strange stand to display the cards). I hope you like my additions and „improvements“. But now on with the routine... Effect: You bring out a couple of blank cards. Now you cleanly write three predictions and put these three cards onto the table. Next you show a red backed pack of cards. The cards are spread face-up on the table. Three spectators are invited to each freely push one card out of the spread. There is absolutely no force involved and all 52 cards are present! Without any false moves you turn around your three predictions cards—you have successfully predicted all three chosen cards! A bit of history: The basic idea of this effect stems from an old dealer’s effect with gimmicked cards. I never really liked the method used to accomplish the effect, because of the unnatural and unmotivated display stand used. WHAT I liked however was the free choice of the selections and the clever way the predictions were made... so I started to think and experiment, to get rid of the bulky (and unnatural) display stand for the cards, as well as of the complicated setup (and the very difficult to obtain

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gimmicked cards). The result of my enterprises is a very practical routine, and the props can be easily obtained. Also, there are quite a few fine psychological points built into the presentation, which make the effect so strong. Requirements: First of all, obtain a deck of blank-backed cards. Remove the two jokers and discard them. Take a regular joker from a red Bicycle deck of cards and add it to the blank backers. Also you will need a regular red Bicycle card case to house the cards. Now for the preparation. With the felt tip pen you are later going to use in your performance, write the names of the corresponding cards onto the blank back, for example, on the blank back of the two of hearts write Two of Hearts, on the back of the five of spades write Five of Spades and so on, until you have written out the names of all the cards in the deck. Important: don’t write numbers or signs for the suits and values, write out the names of the cards in letters! This will be important later. The setup of the deck is simple: just shuffle the cards so they end up in a random order, place the joker on the back of the deck and place the deck into the card case. That’s all. The next things you need are the prediction cards. These cards are actually red blank faced cards: blank on one side, red back on the other. You will need five or six of them. Additionally you need a card that is blank on both sides. On the side of this card scribble something (with the same felt tip pen you will use in the performance) that more or less resembles the written names of the cards in the deck. But make sure this is not really legible (you use an old technique of mentalism, a dummy prediction). I personally use one of the little leather wallets to keep these cards in for the performance. You can get them from many dealers, they are used to store small packet tricks. The order of this packet is (from the face to the back): double blank card, then the 5 or 6 red blank facers, red side up. Put this packet into the wallet and you are set to go. Performance: The presentation basically is divided into three parts: the making of the prediction, the selection of the cards and finally the revelation of the predictions to be correct.

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Part 1: The Predictions Take out the little wallet, open it and remove the prediction cards. Hold the cards face down and casually spread a few cards to let the audience see the blue backs. Square the cards and turn the packet, so that the white blank card is showing. You hold the cards in a dealing position in the left hand (if you write with the right hand, left-handed magicians reverse the sides). With the right hand reach into your pocket and remove the pen. Uncap it and hold it ready in the right hand to write down the predictions. Now you approach a spectator on your left. Ask him to free his mind (or any other thing that fits your presentation). At this moment, you must secretly reverse the blank-faced card, so that the side with the writing is showing. I don’t make a big move out of this, I just let my hands come together, thumb off the top card a little and turn it over with the hand holding the pen, when I approach the spectator. I keep the now visible writing towards my body. PLEASE — don’t make a big move out of this, in the minds of the spectators you are just holding a few blank-faced cards. Also, the secret move is hidden by a slight body turn. Now pretend to get your impressions and scribble them onto the card. In reality naturally you don’t scribble anything, you just pretend to write something onto the face card. Now you talk a little bit to the spectator, and in that course you flash the writing side just to him (and the spectators around him. Also, this must be subtle and NOT a big or EMPHASIZED move! It is the casualness in you actions that make this deceptive—the object is just to let the spectators casually see that you have written something onto the card. Again, turn the packet towards you. You now apparently take the face card and put it down onto the table, but in reality you execute a sort of glide move and remove the second card from the face of the packet. This is very easy and well covered. Naturally, if you are able to do that, you could also do a sort of second deal. In any case, you end up with the prediction card (spectators think it is the card you just wrote on) — the red back is facing you. Put this card down onto the table, being careful not to flash the red side. Approach a second spectator in front of you and repeat the whole procedure exactly as with the first spectator. Repeat this with a third spectator on your right. You now have three predictions cards (blank facers with the blank side up) lying on the table. Replace the rest of the cards back into the wallet (being either careful not to flash the writing side of the double-blank, or—as I prefer for the later reset— simply secretly reverse the double-blank card again after writing the prediction for

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the third spectator. Put the closed wallet onto the table to the side. Part 2: The Selection of the Cards It is now time to introduce the red deck of cards and have the spectators make their selections. So take the deck and remove it from the case, thereby showing the back of the regular joker, suggesting to the audience you have a normal pack of cards. Place the card case to the side. The next objection is to convince the spectators that the deck is normal and red backed. I do this by a fairly well known Hindu-shuffle procedure, which you surely know from various color changing deck routines. So I hold the deck face up in my hand and Hindu shuffle it, from time to time casually turning the other hand, to show the back of the joker. This must NOT be overdone, you are not proving anything, just showing the faces of the cards to the spectators and letting flash the backs of the cards. Finally, shuffle the cards face-up (don’t worry about the joker now), cut them and place them (face-up) onto the table. Ribbon-spread the cards in a long spread on the table. Talk about the three spectators to freely select a card. Then, apparently notice the presence of the joker, remove it from the deck (This card can’t be used...) and place it face down onto the card case, thereby flashing its red back. For the spectators everything is normal, you just showed a red-backed deck of cards, shuffled it and spread it face-up on the table. Have each of the three spectators step forward and push freely one card of the spread towards you. Stress the freedom of the selections, that they can change their mind, etc. Finally, there are three face-up selections lying on the table. Pick up the three prediction cards with the right hand and hold them in front of your chest between the first and second finger of the right hand. The blank sides are facing the audience, be careful not to flash the red backs! Part 3: The Switch Now it is time for a critical phase of the routine—you are going to switch the two packet of cards. But this is not very difficult, just follow me with cards in the hand and you will see how simple all is... With the left hand, pick up the three selections from the table (always being careful not to flash the backside of the cards!). Hold them against your chest, the faces of the cards towards the audience. These cards are held between the thumb and first finger of the left hand. So the audience sees you holding both card packets. You will now switch the position of both packets in the action of turning down the hands. This move is similar to the Arial Change in Expert Card Technique with the only difference that the change is done when the hands move DOWNWARDS.

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In a gesture to emphasis the freedom of the selections and that the spectators could have chosen ANY cards from the spread, you bend down towards the table. Both hands also come down in direction of the table. They describe a more or less circular movement, in which they meet for a brief second. In this moment, the two packets of cards are exchanged between the fingers. This is no problem because of the position of the fingers. So the first and second finger of the LEFT hand take the packet of the right hand, and the thumb and first finger of the RIGHT hand take the left packet. Immediately the left hand gestures with its three cards along the spread of cards on the table (the red backs of the three cards are now showing) and puts these cards onto the table. The cards in the right hand are now with the handwritten prediction sides up. You can now show these cards to the spectators and have them verify that your predictions are correct! Correctly done, this switch is absolutely impossible to see. It all happens on the downward movement of the body towards the table. The natural movements cover all and everything looks like it should look like. Basically, the routine is done... but... Part 4: The Reset Let’s recap the situation: The three prediction cards are on the table, red back side up. The cards are spread face-up and the three handwritten prediction cards are also on the table. The effect is finished in the eyes of the spectators, so they won’t pay too much attention to the now following actions, which set-up the packet and everything for the next performance: First take the prediction cards squared into the left hand, fingers underneath, thumb on top (always be careful not to flash the other sides!) at the lower left corner. With these cards you will now apparently turn the three chosen cards faceup, but in reality you switch the two packets with a Mexican Turnover Move (the only difference being that the move is done with two 3-card-packets instead of two single cards). After the finish of the Mexican Turnover there are the three selections face-up on the table and three prediction cards (the handwritten predictions) in your hand. Replace the prediction cards into the wallet underneath the cards, which are inside (again being careful not to flash the red sides of the cards), which resets the wallet. To reset the deck, simply assemble all the cards face-up, place the joker at the back and put the cards into the card case. The deck is set again for the next performance. Put the wallet and the deck into your pockets and you are set for the next performance.

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Last remarks: Please don’t underestimate this routine. It has served me very well for quite a long time now. The effect is straightforward and staggering (also for magicians). Important is to keep everything in a natural way, and to not make any moves. I have spent a great deal of time in smoothing out the handling, and believe me, I tried hard and many venues. On of the really nice features of this trick is that it resets with little or no effort on your side and also that you don’t have to replace anything—despite the fact that you pretend to write down three predictions! This is one of the points why this routine is a working horse for a working performer. Above all, there are absolutely no difficult sleights. This is the practical result of my researches, trials and errors. With the right (thoughtful) presentation and in the hands of the right performer, this can be a VERY strong piece of magic.

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Ring-o-change The routine you are going to conquer is one of the most practical I have ever found in my life. I have been doing it for many years now under varying circumstances. It has always served me well, and when many of my other miracles have been forgotten by the audience, it was this trick „with the rings“ they talked about. It is rely strong, commercial magic for the professional performer, it packs really small and plays really big, and I think if you don’t get anything else out of these lecture notes, this one alone will reward you for the money paid... Important note: remember that I am left-handed, so you will have to switch right and left... The history Many years ago the German magician JORO (real name Bruno Hennig, the inventor of the famous „dancing cork“ and the” signed folded card to anything“ concept) tipped his routine to me. In his effect, two borrowed fingerings from two spectator changed places. The effect is absolutely impossible, and it is a very interesting concept concerning the effect. Sophisticated, so to say. I immediately liked the effect and began working it. JORO’s method, although very ingenious, soon proved to be impractical for me. He used a very special (but ingenious) little pocket in his trousers to ditch one of the rings during performance. This posed two problems for me: first you had to have this little pocket in ALL the trousers you used to perform. Second, his vanish of the ring wasn’t as clear for a bigger audience as I wished (he used the old method with the handkerchief and the sewn in fake ring). The problem is, when you work with an audience of about 100 people upwards, all these effects with borrowed rings are very strong, but the audience can’t see the rings! So, consequently, the effects happen more or less in the minds of the audience, which is fine, but I wanted a more visual approach to it, that made the vanish of this little small object more visible. I bean experimenting with all different things (glasses, envelopes and so on) until I hit upon the best solution so far: the old devil’s hank. Of course, I had to modify it, because the routine demands you to get into possession of the borrowed ring in full view of the audience. Here is my solution.

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What you need: A square ring box with a cheap golden wedding style ring A little attractive cloth- or leather bag the ring box fits in easily A magic wand (Martin Lewis made a very nice one for me in Acrylic material, thank you so much, Martin!) A slightly modified devils handkerchief. I made mine of of black silk (the usual magician’s silk we use all the time). The modification consists of making some little stitches in the center of the silk, thereby fixing the inner secret compartment, so that it cannot move around. The photo shows where the stitches should be made. As a matter of fact, any standard devil’s hank can be modified in this way in a matter of minutes. I prefer the black one instead, because it doesn’t look tricky. The reason for this preparation will be apparent later. That completes all the props! As I said, this is very commercial material, in fact, everything can be carried on the performer’s person... The routine: I will give a rough outline of the patter theme I use. Of course, you should adapt it to your own style, or better, invent your own presentation. „Magicians are known to take the laws of physics and turn them upside down. I would like to do so as well. First of all I will explain the law, which is very easy to understand. The law is this: One object, that is unique, cannot be at the same time in two different places in the room. That’s obvious, I know, but I am going to prove to you that it IS indeed possible for an object to be in two different places at the same time. Before, I would like to point out that I will give out this little bag to the lady here BEFORE I start getting something back from her.“ Approach a lady on your far left side that has a suitable ring (wedding ring, etc, but not too fancy ring). I put the bag’s string onto the end of the magic wand, so all the audience can clearly see me handing the bag to the lady. I ask her to guard the bag well and make sure that I don’t come near to it. „In return, I now need some object, from which we all know for sure it exists guaranteed only one time in this room ... and that is your ring! Would you please take it off and lend it to me for a moment. I don’t even want to touch it, just throw it into this bag here...“ Whilst she is taking off the ring, I take out the handkerchief and fold it into

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quarters as seen in the photos. I open the secret pocket and let her drop her ring into it. This is what I said before—the visual vanish of the ring. So far I never touched or came near the ring. For a layperson this is a very clean, convincing and impossible handling. After she dropped in the ring, I let her feel the bottom of the bag and confirm that her ring is inside. „One question: do you know where your ring is at the moment? (She will say it’s in the handkerchief, of course). Ok, you all remember the physical law that an object cannot be at the same time in two different places. I gave you this bag before I got the ring. I will prove that the ring has been from the beginning in a completely different location...“ Saying this I let spread out the handkerchief as shown, so that everybody can appreciate the ring is no longer in the hank. Forge about what other magicians say about the old devil’s hank, my experience has shown me that this is for a layperson a great surprise. I continue immediately with my patter. „Would please open the little bag, take out the contents and hold it high up, so that everybody can see what it is? (She does so and holds up the ring box) Aha... what a surprise, it is a ring box. Now please, open the little box and tell us all in a loud voice what’s inside? (She does so and says „a ring“) And would you now confirm in a loud voice, that this is exactly the ring you gave me, your ring? IS this your ring?“ At this point she says „no“, of course, which usually (because of the build up, results in a big laugh. PLEASE: at this point, do NOT make any of the silly jokes

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(„Are you sure? You like disturbing my work? Etc.) I just stand, look puzzled and PAUSE. This is very strong, the situation alone makes all the „comedy“, no need to blame anyone. What is more important are the moves you have done to unload the original ring from the devils handkerchief in front of the audience, while everybody’s attention is on the lady taking out and opening the ring box. This is hard to describe but not difficult at all. The attention is directed away from the hank after the vanish, because you put the focus on the lady with the bag. Everybody expects her ring to appear somehow in the bag, which is a natural assumption after the build up. So rest assured, people won’t focus on you. Here is what I do. After I spread out the hank (see the photos) I let go of the corner with (in my case right hand, so that the silk is held only by the corner of one hand. It is the corner with the secret compartment. The ring has to be exactly in the middle of the bag, and to make sure this is the case, I stroke the silk casually with the other hand as shown. This is a natural action and also proof that the silk is empty. Now I start to casually folding the silk together, thereby secretly unloading the ring into my hands. The photos will make everything crystal clear. The silk is hanging from the tips of my fingers. The right fingers grasp the hank at the side of the middle where the secret pocket ends. Let go with the left hand so the corner drops down. Move the left hand down to the center (where the ring is) and stretch the silk a little bit. This results in a sort of tunnel, in which the ring will slide. Also, now you will understand the reason for fixing the secret compartment bag... Now reverse the position of the hands. The ring will slide down the tunnel and land directly in the cupped right fingers! The left hand passes its part of the silk into the right, and at this moment the ring is secretly dropped into the LEFT and (I confess, I really like this secret transfers of an object under the cover of a natural action, in this case the folding up of the silk!) The right hand then takes hold of the silk and lets it flutter carelessly onto the table. A this point, I have seen many magician’s eyebrows go up...

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Well, the ring is now under your control, on with the routine. The right hand picks up the magic wand. „Well, by now we have at least proven that an object actually can’t be in two different places at the same time... (Correctly delivered, this line gives another laugh). But, I digressed. What I really wanted to do is to prove that magicians can turn the laws of physics upside down and in order to do this, I will have to have an object, from which we all know it is unique and exists only one time in this room ... your ring! (Usually another laugh)“ Saying these words, I turn to a lady on my RIGHT. Also, whilst saying these words, I secretly thread the ring onto the end of the magic wand (a well known move from used in the classic Ring on Stick routine, see the photos). I approach the lady on my right, the left hand holding the magic wand and hiding the ring. I ask her to remove the ring and thread it onto the free end of the stick. Now comes a very simple switch of the rings on the stick, partly covered by a line and partly by a body turn. I say to the lady: „Thank you for your ring—you really have trust in me! One question: Do you recognize your ring, when you see it later? You know, we had some troubles with this a moment before over there...“ Delivering these lines, you turn your attention to the first lady on the left and look to her with a smile. At the same time, your body turns and the RIGHT hand goes directly onto the visible ring and grabs the end of the wand, whilst the left hand lets go and make a gesture in direction of the first lady. This is a very bold switch, but through the use of the situation and the lines it is covered. Now go to the lady on the left. Hold the wand with the ring in front of her. „You see, I just borrowed a ring from the lady over there. Could you please take a close look at it? (Give her time to do that) do you recognize that ring? (She will say it is indeed her ring) Yes? Is it your ring? Thank you!“ At this point there will be silence, and then applause. The effect is just impossible! Give them some time to let this effect register, then continue. At this point I casually take the wand with my left hand and put it back into my right inner jacket pocket. This leaves the ring in the right hand in Alexander de Cova — California Lecture 2006

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readiness for a really diabolical trick action that is to follow with the ring box. This is JORO’s move, and he deserves a constant place in the Hall of Fame for this contribution to magic. Talk to the lady on the left: „That leaves us only with one question: If the ring in the ring box wasn’t your ring...“ Stretch out your left hand in readiness to receive the ring box from her (she will understand and hand it to you) and place it into the right hand, directly onto the ring there (see photos). Apparently you will now open the lid and remove the ring with the left hand, but what you actually do is to lift the whole box. The right hand fixes the two font corners of the box at the sides. With the left hand, you lift the back end up (the whole box). From the front it will look like you lifted the lid and opened the box. Reach into (?) the box with the left hand, remove the ring and with the left fingers, „shut“ the ring box whilst approaching the lady on the right. Put the ring box casually into your pocket. „Would you please take a close look at the ring that came from the box? Is that your ring? Yes? Then we have actually proven that an object has been, at the same time, in two different places in the room!“ FINIS Before I forget: Even if you don’t want to use this routine (a shame), then you will surely see the potential of the handling of the borrowed ring with the hank and the retrieval of the object in full view. This can be use in many other routines (Ring in Box, and so on) as well und this handling is my major contribution. Please practice this routine well and treat it with the necessary respect, it is really a strong piece of magic.

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