Circle Force by Ross Tayler and Fraser Parker...
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! Circle Force by Ross Tayler with Fraser Parker
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! ! Circle Force by Ross Tayler with Fraser Parker
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Intuition Publishing 2015
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Copyright 2015 © Ross Tayler and Fraser Parker All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in critical articles.
PDF first published in 2015. Intuition Publishing Badger’s Hollow, Chapel Lane, Mareham-Le-Fen, Lincolnshire, UK
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Foreword by Fraser Parker What you are about to learn in my opinion, is a thing of beauty. It is a card force that is not only very reliable in its application but also extremely deceptive, thanks to the linguistics at play. Ross credits an idea from my first manuscript, True Mysteries as the foundation for this method. However, you would perhaps not recognise this right away. I know this because when Ross showed me his approach over Skype, I was completely fooled by the simplicity of the method. He mentioned he had updated the thinking on it and then proceeded to blow me out of the water by nailing the exact card I had thought of with a seemingly free choice, all done with words and a single card prediction that had been in his top pocket for the entire conversation previously. I knew then that what he had come up with was something relevant, new and exciting, which had to be shared with the magic community. After gently nudging him for the rest of our time on Skype, I finally persuaded him to write out everything he knew about his force and how he had been using it, hence the following work. I am very excited about this method and am pleased he has managed to refine a method of mine that was unfinished when it was originally shared.
I wish I had this as a tool in its current state when I first envisioned a force that allowed someone to change their mind, alas, I had to wait until Ross came along to have this dream made a reality. At such a young age, Ross has impressed me greatly with his thinking; not only with this effect but with other methods we have worked on together. He has the right attitude towards performance and a great natural discernment when it comes to working out what will play for an audience and what is only a pipe dream. So please be assured that this is something that can and does work reliably, most of the time. Fraser Parker January 2015
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Introduction Greetings! Welcome, first of all, to the Circle Force manuscript. These few pages will detail one of my approaches to the psychological forcing of a playing card. There are, of course, many forces of playing cards in the literature – so what’s different about this approach? Firstly, it’s not simply reliant on probability, or the assumption that certain people name certain cards – it’s actually mechanical. Thus it is sufficiently reliable to use in effects above and beyond the simple guessing of a playing card. A further peculiarity with this force is that even if it misses, and every element of chance is against you, the number of cards a spectator can be thinking of remains tiny! Therefore it’s incredibly easy to have outs set up, or fish within the possibilities. Secondly, and amazingly! The spectator actually changes their mind! A card is thought of, and then to prove no cheekiness is taking place, you have the spectator change the card! Yet still you can predict it. This method was inspired by an idea Fraser published as a bonus in his fantastic book, True Mysteries 1. Here the spectator thought of a card, and then changed their mind. By discovering the first card thought of, it was possible for the performer to determine roughly what card the spectator had changed to. This was a really interesting idea to me, and by reverse engineering it, I devised the approach you’re about to learn.
As with any psychological method (or indeed any other method), there’s a chance of failure with this effect. This will most often be due to poor spectator selection, or an awkward delivery of the script. Keep in mind the scripts contained herein were written by me, with my pacing, tonality, vocabulary etc in mind. If you repeat them verbatim, this force will not be so effective. Your spectators will smell a rat when your style of speaking changes – and this small amount of discomfort will be sufficient to put their backs up, limiting the efficacy of these techniques. However, if you practice this and adapt it to your own character, I promise you’ll have a great deal of success with this force! Many thanks to Fraser for encouraging me to release this and providing the platform through which to do it. He’s a great friend, a real gentleman, and an exceptionally talented performer and creator! I have an optimistic premonition that this will not be the last time we have the chance to collaborate. Ross Tayler January 2015
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Basic Effect A card is placed on the table. The participant is asked to think of a playing card, and then change it in their mind. The tabled card is turned over and shown to match their thought. Method Outline The principle upon which this effect relies is that one category of cards i.e. the pictures, is massively more limited than the other category, the numbers. Resultantly, by switching from a number to a picture, the number of possible choices reduces from 40 to 12. Thus, by surreptitiously guiding the spectator to think of a number card at the start of the effect, and then having them change aspects of their card according to your guidance – we can cause them to think of a picture card. This, combined with psychologically prominent choices and a simple colour force, allows us to guide our spectator towards a small number of cards – with one being most prominent: the Jack of Spades. The Script “We’re going to build a card up one piece at a time. First, I’d like you to think of the colour. Now the number. And now the suit. In fact, to make this fairer, change your card entirely. So if you’re thinking of a black card, change to red, a red card – change to black. If you’re thinking of a picture change to a spot, a spot change to a picture. Obviously pictures are the Jack, or Queen/ King, spots are Ace through to ten. And then settle on a suit.”
Script Analysis To begin, we must guide the spectator to mentally select 1 of the 20 red spot cards. We do this by having them gradually build the card in their mind – allowing us to first force the colour and then limit the possibilities for values. This is done with the following lines: “We’re going to build a card up one piece at a time. First, I’d like you to think of the colour. Now the number. And now the suit.” Let’s break this down. By telling them we’re going to build the card up, this stops our participant from jumping ahead, and thinking of a card outside of our parameters. We then ask them to think of a colour. This psychologically leads them towards the red cards, as most people don’t consider black a colour. This next stage is sure fire: we always know the spectator is going to end on a picture card, as we don’t give them that option in the instructions. We tell them to think of a number, not a value. Therefore, we can be certain they’ll think of a value between Ace and Ten. Asking them to think of the suit last prevents them from over-thinking the previous instructions. By stacking the three together, the spectator is put under pressure, and less likely to deviate from our path. These instructions are delivered rapidly, and I personally snap after each instruction to add an additional layer of urgency to the proceedings. The spectator is now thinking of one of 20 cards, and it’s clear we couldn’t know.
We now proceed with the second part of the script, to guide our participant to the Jack of Spades. “In fact, to make this fairer, let’s change your card entirely. So if you’re thinking of a black card, change to red, a red card – change to black. If you’re thinking of a picture change to a spot, a spot change to a picture. Obviously pictures are the Jack, or Queen/King, spots are Ace through to ten. And then settle on a suit.” The first part of this script justifies the changing of the card. Justification = Acceptance, and therefore you won’t be questioned on this. Next, we guide them to change from a red card to a black card. As we know what they’re thinking of to start with, we can narrow their choice by labelling their decisions. As they don’t know their first choice was influenced, this truly seems to randomise their selection. Similarly, we control the spectator to change to a picture card. By referring to the number cards as spots, we avoid them noticing the restriction placed upon them earlier (this may seem unimportant, but considering the proximity of the instructions, the entirety of the force being over within 30 seconds or less, I’d rather not take the chance). We now employ an element of Kenton’s ‘The Secret’ methodology to guide the spectator towards the Jack. By having it separated verbally from the Queen and the King, it stands out in the spectators’ minds. We end abruptly on the suit, guiding the spectator towards the psychologically preferred suit, Spades.
The force is now complete. The script is delivered quickly and casually, as if the decision to change is spontaneous. Any sense of process will disrupt the deceptiveness of this method. Fraser’s comments The basic strategy for the ploy from ‘The Secret’ Ross mentions is to say the force card first then mark it out from the other options by pausing slightly then naming both of the other cards together in quick succession. This, coupled with the Jack of Spades being the most psychologically appealing black picture card, makes the odds of hitting this force very good indeed. The suit selected will likely be the Spade, due to psychology: most spectators opt for the suit which is easier to visualise and name (most seem to struggle to recall what the more intricate symbol of a Club is called). I have been using this as a force for over a year now and have only ever had the spectator choose a Club a few times when asked to name one of the black suits, especially when pressured slightly with a snap of the fingers. Naturally, this may change from culture to culture, so you should do what best fits your location and use those psychological likelihoods as your force items. Variant Scripting An alternative means of guiding the spectator to a red spot card would be as follows: “I’d like you to think of a card, nothing too obvious, and lock it in your mind.”
I would only perform this on a female spectator, and naturally, it is slightly chancier than the original script. That said, this is how it works: Females, by and large, will think of red cards. This is half of the script, and the chanciest element. I find it to be quite reliably the case, however. Guiding the spectator to a spot is done through the line: “Nothing too obvious.” Picture cards are generally perceived as being more “obvious” than number cards, and thus will not be selected. The second phase of the script now proceeds as previously. Room for Error The Worst Case Scenario: Initial colour force may miss – the spectator can still only be thinking of 1 of 12 cards, as they have no option but to think of a number at the start. Second Worst Case: The psychologically prominent suit may not be chosen - the spectator can only be thinking of 1 of 6 cards. Third Worst Case: ‘The Secret’ fails – the spectator can only be thinking of 1 of 3 cards. They will be very close. Final Thoughts on the Force I personally have no preference for either script. The first is slightly more reliable; the second may seem more relaxed. Choose whichever best fits your character and performance context.
If using the second script on a man, you may choose to use the Jack of Hearts as a force card, as he is statistically more likely to be drawn to a black card initially. Fraser’s comments I would be tempted to use the shorter variation outlined above as it suits my bold approach to performance. In my mind, I am going into it with a fifty percent chance of getting either a direct hit on the card or very close and the other fifty percent of the time still getting close with a picture card of the wrong colour. My chances are even greater if I follow my instincts as to which colour my spectator may choose first. I agree with Ross that in my experience most of the time a female spectator will choose a red card first and a male will be more likely to go for a black card. To me this is good enough. I am only warming up with a quick card effect, so a miss here is not a big deal and can be easily brushed off as I go into something else. I may also occasionally place down the Queen of Spades for females or Queen of Hearts for male spectators, so that no matter which picture card they decide on I will be very close to their card and usually only be off by one value (thank you Kenton)! I may even adjust to placing the Queen of Spades in front of a female spectator due to the psychological likelihood of them choosing a Queen, and use a King for a male. I’ll only do this with a compliant spectator, otherwise I will place down the Jack. Of course, if you do not wish to be so bold you can use whatever outs you desire. I may at times place each of the three most likely
choices separately in each one of my pockets and reveal the card the spectator eventually names. Another multiple out I may choose to perform would be to place the King of Spades (or Queen for a female) in my pocket secretly before any mention of an effect has taken place and arrange a deck of cards with the Jack of Spades on top and Queen of Spades on the bottom of the deck. I would then leave the deck in sight on the table and proceed with the effect. This allows me to reveal either prediction as needed. If you are still unsure then instead of placing your prediction face down on the table before you start, you can leave it in the deck and quickly check the colour of their first card before taking out the card of the opposite colour, as your prediction. This questioning is more in line with the original method from True Mysteries and will go by completely unnoticed by your spectator. They will still be impressed you can get anywhere near their final selection, in terms of suit and value. As for the original version of the scripting. The way this is performed by Ross gives him a ninety percent hit rate. If you follow his scripting and say it in your own way you should also be able to get the feel for this in terms of its pacing and delivery and achieve the same results. I may instead say, “Think of a colour... (pause), one from out of the deck” to imply a card with an actual colour of red as opposed to black, which many would consider a non colour, when given the choice in
this way. When addressing the number selection I would disguise this element of the force by saying, “Think of the number of the card...” and adjusting the meaning of the statement by continuing with the words, “or value.” If you snap your fingers after the first part of this statement then your spectator will commit to a number before you seem to offer further choice of the picture cards, after they have already made their decision. This is an idea from Peter Turner to create the illusion of a greater selection field after subtly forcing the spectator to commit to their choice, with a snap of the fingers. I would then leave the suit selection as is. This is just my preferred approach. What is important is how you deliver these lines yourself. Use whatever lines and exact wording work best for you. However, if you do modify the scripting, it is essential you keep in tact the same structure and order in which the lines are given to get this to work. I may also say the following words before getting the spectator to change their mind, “To make this even fairer, when I snap my fingers, you are going to change your mind to a completely different card.” This line allows you to give all of your instructions to the spectator before they change to a different card as well as control when this
happens with a snap of the fingers, ensuring they do not drift off and think of a non-force card too early. The beautiful thing about this method is the fact that it exists in words, which disappear after they have been spoken. This combined with the fact a seeming free choice for the spectator to change their mind is created, along with the use of certain psychological ploys, all come together to create a bold deception which is very hard to back track. This notion of tying up the effect is cemented even further when the following thoughts on reframing are applied to this effect. Reframing It’s often said that most of an effect happens in the minds’ of our participants, after the performance. Therefore, we should always be acutely aware of how they go on to remember an effect. I therefore thought it necessary to include a brief discussion of creating false memories via the reframing, or recapping process. Essentially, this process involves us retelling, to the spectator, how we’d like them to remember an effect. For those who doubt the necessity of efficacy of this technique, here’s an example of just how strong this is, taken from my own performing experience: I was doing an impromptu performance at a friend’s house party, and had taken the time out to bend a coin for a PK routine (if you want an impromptu coin bend, nip outside, slip the coin into a crack in the pavement, and kick it). I went into the routine, switching the coin into the participant’s hand then using suggestion to have him feel it bend. It absolutely blew the guy away. Then the bête noir of the modern
performer struck. A month or so later I bumped into this guy in the pub, and he informed me he’d got bored one day, so found himself searching ‘how to bend a coin by magic’ on YouTube. Of course, it didn’t take him long to find the method. He told me he knew I must have switched the coin, he was right – but here’s where it gets interesting. I responded: “That’s really interesting, and I’ll be honest I know people who do it that way, but think back – did I ever even touch the coin? I couldn’t have switched it.” He thought for a second, then a frustrated grin burst across his face, “Damn it! You didn’t! I thought I had you!” This stuff works. In the context of this force, I’d suggest the following script: “So let’s quickly look at how fair this is! I asked you to think of any card in the deck – that was a totally free choice, wasn’t it? No influence or restriction! And then to make it even fairer I had you change your mind entirely! How many times did you change? Clearly there’s no way I could know to what card you’d change before even you knew!” Note the irritating number of exclamation marks. I find it important to become quite animated at this point, so as to sweep the spectator along in the emotional journey – and shut down their critical faculties. The points we mention multiple times are those we really wish them to remember: • That all of their choices were free.
• That they had total freedom in their decisions. • That they could have changed their mind in any way they wish, possibly multiple times. Essentially, we increasingly exaggerate how impossible the effect was, but using similar wording along the way. Therefore, people accept increasingly incorrect statements as fact. Let’s take the coin switch scenario: 1.
Ooh, no, you take that, I don’t ever want to touch it!
Okay, make sure I stay away from the coin, I don’t want to touch it.
And be sure to see I don’t ever touch it!
Again, I never touch the coin.
Is that really bent?! I never even touched it! Can I touch it now?
See how a statement about my own intentions soon slips into a reality altering statement. Use these techniques both in this routine and in others – I guarantee it will make your magic stronger. Fraser’s comments Reframing in this way is very important. It helps to not only create a false memory but to also get rid of any (in this case true) explanation for how this was made possible; In this case, the use of a force. If you can, you should plant these ideas in the mind of your audience during the effect, so that later on it is easier for them to
create a false memory due to the fact that they now have pieces of scripting they remember which will fall in line with the false story you wish to create. Effects Due to the speed and reliability of this force, it has practical applications beyond a simple card guess. Here I will run through several presentations and effects utilising this method, combined with other psychological ploys to achieve totally hands-of feats of mentalism, mind reading and mystery. Influence A card is placed face down on the table, in an envelope, wallet or even the spectator’s pocket. You speak with the spectator about advertising, hidden messages and subliminal influence. The spectator thinks of a card under the fairest possible conditions, even changing their mind. You are then shown to have influenced their thoughts. This is the simplest application of the force, however there are some nice elements to this presentation that make it effective. Firstly, you’re really doing what you say you’re doing. Even if a spectator where to cotton on to elements of the method (they won’t, but just imagine), you really are using words to influence someone’s thoughts – there’s nothing to uncover. Secondly, on the rare occasion you miss slightly, you’ll always be close. Therefore you can point out that, like advertising, these methods can’t produce precise results – but it’s clear how they can produce results closer than mere probability would permit.
Fraser’s comments If using an envelope or wallet there are many possible multiple out methods you can employ, to ensure that you are always seen to hit. I myself, prefer the bold approach of using a single prediction and sometimes only being close. Either approach is fine, in my opinion. Due to the lack of outs needed and thanks to our unique scripting and approach to forcing a playing card this becomes even easier to arrange, for those who wish to have a definite outcome, every time. Psychic Spectator A card is placed face down on the table, in an envelope, wallet or even the spectator’s pocket. You tell the spectator to slip into a negative state of mind, and think of a card. You then encourage them to focus on a time they felt positive or especially intuitive, and now to change their mind entirely. The new card is named, and it is then shown that the spectator is more skilled than they first believed. Again, a very simple application of the force. The shift in spectator state justifies the change of mind. I love this type of presentation, as if the spectator is guessing, it prevents them from being difficult. It’s also far more pleasant and theatrically interesting to apparently give a spectator a skill, or teach them to achieve their potential. The fact that they’re not a real psychic will act as an out if the force misses slightly. Fraser’s comments This is a very interesting notion. It creates an immediate emotional relevance for a simple card plot as well as creating a possible framing to ensure success with the force, itself. I have not
tried this yet but if you were to label the first card's colour selection as reflecting a negative emotion, I would be willing to bet that the spectator would be naturally drawn to black due to its association with negative emotions and vice versa for the positive emotion being associated with the brighter colour of red. The proper labelling and scripting would therefore, ensure the force would work as planned. I will leave it to you to find the best words to use for this. Psychic Spectator, with two cards Two cards are placed face down on the table, in an envelope, wallet or even the spectator’s pocket. You tell the spectator to think of a card. You then instruct them to change their mind entirely. Both cards are named, and the spectator is shown to have guessed them with a startling degree of accuracy. This effect is slightly risky, but the payoff is very strong. Often, you’ll find that the first part of the script will lead spectators to think of the 7 of Hearts. This is a very psychologically appealing card anyway, and with the script structured as it is, the odds of the participant thinking of it are quite in our favour. The Jack and 7 are placed down casually, and we go through the force. When the Jack is named, it is turned over. We then enquire “out of interest” what their first card was. If this was the 7 or close, we reveal it. If not, the card is casually tossed back into the deck without a word. Prop-less Tossed Out Deck Six spectators stand in the audience. The performer instructs each to think of a card, and then change their mind. The performer takes a
moment, then with some struggle names six cards. One at a time, each spectator is then instructed to sit if his or her card was named. All sit down. This is a beautiful effect, which can be utilised close up or on stage. It combines the Circle Force with the ‘Hoy Principle’ and some further scripting to create the illusion of a multiple mind-read with no props, pre-show or fishing. Briefly, the ‘Hoy Principle’ involves forcing a single piece of information upon a group, then apparently reading each of their minds individually by ‘revealing’ several pieces of information, including the force item, and then asking each spectator to confirm that you named their thought. A multiple reality is created, as every spectator believes the other thoughts named where those of their fellow participants. Have six spectators stand from different areas of the audience and perform the force on the group. Once all have cards, go through your process, whatever that may be. Now continue with the following script: “Okay, I’m not certain on all of these, but this is what I’m getting: the 3 of Clubs, the Jack of Spades, the 4 of Hearts, the Queen of Spades, um… there’s also a red picture card. Really send it! Okay no that’s all I’m getting, a red picture card, but we can count that. And finally, the 9 of Diamonds.” Each spectator is now addressed individually. Moving from right to left, point at each of them one by one and instruct them directly, as follows: “If I received your card, please sit down.” The idea of addressing the spectators individually is an excellent one of Wayne Dobson’s. It serves the dual function of building the climax, and
thus creating multiple applause cues, and strengthening the illusion that each spectator was thinking of a different card. Let’s break the script down quickly to show why it’s so reliable! This is the most important section: “Jack of Spades… the Queen of Spades, um… there’s also a red picture card. Really send it! Okay no that’s all I’m getting, a red picture card, but we can count that.” So firstly, you’ll notice that two of the most likely cards are named – the effect is not reliant on ‘The Secret’ element of the method hitting perfectly, as two of the Spade picture cards are included in the script. This increases your odds of hitting. Secondly, you’ll notice that there’s no need at all for the colour force at the start of the effect to hit, as every red picture card is covered by the second part of the script. By saying that “we can count that” – we are telling the spectator to accept their mind as read, thus they will sit down. So what if a spectator or two remains standing? I’ve only had this happen twice. Firstly don’t panic, you’re reading minds; four out of six isn’t bad! But we can actually recover further – remember how earlier we saw that there’s only ever twelve cards the spectator can be thinking of (assuming every psychological aspect of the force misses) if they followed your instructions. We’ve mentioned 8 of these in the above script: all six of the red picture cards, and two of the Spades. We are therefore only fishing for one of four cards! The options are the Jack, Queen and King of Clubs, and the King of Spades. We handle this as follows: “Yes, I said I’d struggled with you, it wasn’t the four of Hearts, was it?! No. Okay, re-focus! This is a Club, yes?”
The first part of the script does a few things. Firstly, it implies you knew you’d get this wrong, so you don’t lose any control over the situation. Secondly, by inferring that you thought the four was theirs, you’re cementing the suggestion that each card you named was aimed at a different individual. This beautifully covers the use of the ‘Hoy Principal.’ If the spectator responds that the card was in fact a Club, just guess at the Queen. At worst you’ll be off by one (bare in mind the audience don’t know that you know they’re thinking of a court card – so this will still seem very impressive). If not, we know their card is the King of Spades. If more than one spectator is standing, state that you feel as though a coincidence has occurred, and ask if they’re both thinking of a club. If neither is, both are thinking of the King – have them name their card on 3. If both are, guess that they’re both thinking of the Queen as normal. If one is thinking of a club and the other not, name the Queen first so that if it misses you can end on the strong revelation of the King of Spades. By mentioning the coincidence, we have a chance of creating an additional layer to the effect, so it’s worth the punt. Fraser’s comments This to me is simply beautiful. To the audience having multiple thoughts to deal with, it would appear to be far more difficult, however thanks to the scripting, we cannot really miss. This effect on its own is worth the price of the manuscript. The fact you can still hit the spectator's card or be very close on the very small chance you are left with one or more spectators standing is brilliant and only adds to the effect, in my opinion. Not getting all
of the cards correct right away creates further drama and also prevents this effect from always being too perfect. Being able to state that two spectators are thinking of the same card as a coincidence and to be able to name the exact card they have in mind is also a real bonus effect, which can occur from time to time. The idea of getting the spectator to sit down if you are only close with one of the thoughts is a subtly from Luke Jermay, he uses as part of his devious and brilliant ‘Touching on Hoy’ routine. Pseudo-Berglas A borrowed, shuffled deck is placed on the table well away from the performer. The spectator thinks of a card, and then changes their mind. The new card is named. Another spectator is instructed to give a number between 1 and 52. The performer never touches the deck. Someone deals to the named number, turns the card over, and it is the thought of card. Here is one of my approaches to the ACAAN/Berglas Effect plot. The appeal of this effect as it is generally performed lies almost entirely in it’s shear impossibility. I do believe it’s possible to make it emotionally relevant, contrary to the opinions of many mentalists and magicians, however much of the time it’s impact derives from the fact that it’s statistically improbable (although not quite so improbable as we like our spectators to think). The effect becomes all the more impossible if the deck is never touched by the performer – and this is what I’ve endeavoured to achieve by this handling. I say pseudo-Berglas, as neither the card or the number are truly free choices as the original dictates – however hopefully the effect is viewed in exactly the same manner by the spectator – as both feel free.
The set up is simple. The Jack of Spades in the 36th position in the deck. I normally accomplish this by cutting the Jack to the face of the deck, then casually shuffling 16 cards from top to bottom. The deck needn’t be touched after this. Perform the Circle Force and have the card named. Half the work is done. Now to force the number 36 - I’ve developed a technique I call the Ruler Force to do this every time. This is included here as a bonus, however at this point any method of getting a card to a number without touching the deck will work. This could even be combined with Fraser’s approach to the ‘Berglas Effect’ presented in True Mysteries 1, those of you who own the book will see how killer this would be. The Ruler Force This is a prop-less timing force I’ve developed after several years of playing with the dribble forcing of playing cards. Both forces are entirely based around proper pacing, and being assertive with your spectator. I make direct eye contact with the spectator, and ask them to visualise a scale in the air between 1 and 52. I mark this scale out with my hands, being sure to draw the scale left to right from the participant’s perspective. Precise labelling and direct commands are key for this force to be effective. I now begin sliding my right hand from right to left along the “scale” and instruct the spectator to call stop. By watching the participant closely, one can predict precisely when they are going to say stop, and adjust the
pace of the right hand movement accordingly. Most frequently, the spectator will have you stop just over 3/5 of the way along the scale. This is where you must be really assertive. Stop at that point and address the spectator: “There. You’re sure? That must be what, 35… 36? Yes. And that was a free choice, you don’t want to change. You’re happy with 36.” This is a series of questions, but they’re said as statements. In reality, after the spectator’s called stop, they don’t get a chance to speak until they’re nodding and agreeing with your assessment. Only when you know they’re not going to change do you step off them and ask if they felt the choice was free. Nodding your head whilst making these statements and keeping solid eye contact is a very effective way of increasing your spectator’s compliance. A small amount of experimentation will allow you to find your own pace with this very bold force, and calibrate precisely how much pressure you need to put on your spectator, and when you can begin relieving it. Once the card and number have been named – simply take a few moments to recap the effect (take the time to create a false memory of how free everything was), before having a spectator pick up the deck and deal to 36 for the revelation. When playing with the number force early on, it’s possible that the spectator will decide they want to change the number slightly. They can’t move that far away, so don’t panic (they, after all, apparently decided their own restrictions by calling stop where they did). It’s a simple matter to casually move a few cards from top to bottom or visa versa in the -24-
action of handing the deck to a third spectator to count. With practice, this won’t be necessary. There you have it, a totally hands-off ACAAN! Fraser’s comments I would personally just place the force card on top of the deck and then use a Andrew Gerard idea of using a reverse count to create the illusion the spectator dealt down to the force card. The correct way to do this is taught on the True Astonishments box set, for those who want to use this option. If you hit the card directly, you can then either reveal it as the top card of the deck or go into a pseudo any card at any number. I have also used an idea I first saw my friend Peter Turner use to get the spectator to deal down to the correct number of cards. This method requires placing the force card seventeen cards down in the deck and then using a timing force to get down to the exact card. You simply have the spectator slowly deal cards one at a time face down then when they have dealt thirteen cards, say the following words to them in a casual manner, “just stop wherever you want”. They will usually go three more beats and deal three more cards face down before stopping. You can then have them turn over the next card left on top of the deck or if they go one card extra just get them to turn over the card they just dealt onto the pile of cards on the table. This way you get two chances at hitting the force number. If you stack the 3 force card outs on top of the deck, from the start, in the following order: Jack of Spades, Queen of Spades and King of Spades, then depending on which card they name, it is a simple matter to change the position of your timing -25-
force to hit the correct card. If they were to name the Queen of Spades for example, you would simply adjust when you tell them to stop dealing, in this case, telling them to stop after they have dealt the fourteenth card, one extra to the original placement of the force, the thirteenth card. Therefore, with a simple adjustment you can cover all of the most likely possible outs. If you miss the card force with either method you can simply ask what card they thought of and then set up either method by looking through the cards face up and casually cutting the card they name to the correct position in the deck, to create the outcome of either effect. Notes on Missing and Final Thoughts It is possible that occasionally, due to poor delivery, participant selection, or simply some spectators being total arses – someone will have intentionally or otherwise diverted from our path. In all incidences, the best solution is to brush it off as nothing. Blaming the buffoon will only make matters worse, and if their mistake was unintentional, you risk alienating a potentially shining participant (especially as following their mistake, meeker spectators will often be especially eager to please – and become putty in your Machiavellian hands). Real mentalism is hard – this should be clear to your audience, so if your attitude is correct, they’ll forgive something as little as missing a playing card. Of course, if one is proficient with the basics of sleight of hand, many of the effects herein could be rectified with a simple top change, double lift, palm etc, should you be so inclined. I’ll leave this up to you, and your decision should be dependant on your character, presentation and performance circumstances.
Equally, one could simply move into a different effect if the force misses. Let’s say we’re set to perform Pseudo-Berglas, with the Jack of Spades in the 36th position; and the force misses entirely – the universe is against you. The spectator names the 4 of Hearts. Just improvise! The Jack could serve as a key card, allowing you to quickly shift the 4 to the correct position before performing the Ruler Force. Or you could simply locate the 4 and use it for a stop-trick. Or really think: based on the process we’ve taken them through – where must they have started? On a black picture card of course! Why not ask what their first card was, give yourself another chance to hit! Or use an invisible deck as an out. Whatever you do, just remember to stay relaxed. You own the performance space. Only you know where you’re going. Only you know your process. There’s nothing to call you on. Ultimately, when performing any effect there’s a chance of missing. Key cards get forgotten, breaks bet dropped, swami lead snaps, spectators write above the impression device or miss-fold the billet; the list goes on! As mentalists we needn’t worry about this, and as magicians we have the tools to jazz around it. This effect is reliable, and this effect is powerful. Learn it, use it, and create some real miracles for your spectators. Fraser’s Final Thoughts I will give you some final thoughts on missing. Some of you reading this will be unhappy that this is not a one hundred percent method for psychologically forcing a playing card. I personally, do not mind the fact that this works more often than not, around nine times out of ten. To me this effect falls into the ten percent I allow myself to fail in my performances. I feel having a slight chance of failure only adds to the believability of my performances when I
occasionally miss. In fact, if I get a succession of hits during a set I will usually add in at least one near miss or failure anyway, to breed credibility into my act. The good news is that with this method you will very often have a way of hitting the exact card someone is merely thinking of even after they have had a free choice to change their mind, or you will be seen to be very close. The percentage of potential success to failure far outweighs my fear of failure. Luckily for those wishing to be less bold in their approach there are many different systems available for multiple outs from special envelopes to wallets. One simple solution would be to place three of the black force cards (the Jack, Queen and King of Spades) in your left pocket and three of the red force cards (the Jack, Queen and King of Hearts) in your right pocket and pulling out whichever one you need as your prediction, after the spectator has named their card. Now you can only ever be slightly off on the suit, which will be a very rare occurrence if you follow the script as we suggest. I believe what makes our approach unique is the fact the method allows for a seeming free choice for the spectator to change their mind. The fact that the force happens earlier in the script to get them to a card that is, in itself, a seeming free choice, as well as the fact it is discarded early on, means that it is completely forgotten. This in turn, makes what you do very deceptive and the effect outwardly very fair. As with all psychological forces of this nature, if it fails, simply move on to something else and use the card they thought of as ‘the’ selection for another effect. -28-
Thanks and Credits Again, many thanks should be extended to Fraser for providing the original inspiration for this method of forcing a playing card. There are many other forces in the literature, here’s a very brief list of these – as well as some excellent forces on psychological forcing as a broader subject, all of which you should investigate: Derren Brown has a force of the Jack of Spades in his excellent book ‘Pure Effect,’ as well as in his fabulous ‘Devil’s Picturebook' tapes. Both of these sources contain an array of other mental card forces – these works are seriously worthy of study. Docc Hilford has an interesting force of the 6 of Clubs, which I first saw published in ‘Psychological Subtleties 3.’ This book contains several other methods of psychologically influencing spectators to think of certain cards. The ‘Psychological Subtleties’ series is essential for anyone wishing to look into the subject of psychological forcing. Peter Turner has some excellent work of forcing playing cards and other pieces of information in his various works. Specifically, I’d suggest looking into his DVD sets ‘Jinxed,’ ‘Devil in Disguise’ and his ‘Penguin LIVE Lecture.’ Ben Seward has some great thoughts on both forcing and fishing for cards in his fantastic ‘Cog’ manuscript. These techniques are exceptionally difficult, but well worth the practice.
There are doubtless others – but these are the sources that occurred to me first. Study all of these works, and you’ll have an excellent set of tools to work with.
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