Greg Arce Simple Minded
I hope I don’t need to tell you that passing this document around for free is something you SHOULDN’T be doing. If you do then just consider that brain I’m holding to be yours… don’t make me step on it!!! You are allowed to perform all the effects within anywhere, but I keep all marketing rights. COPYRIGHT 2004 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION POINTILISM THINK THAT TUNE AWE-SUM TOTAL PRESENTATIONS IT’S A MATCH & PROHECY PACK TWISTED SISTERS PSI-CON-RUSE A SICK SENSE STP EKUSTORUK YOU ARE HERE SPECIAL THANKS
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INTRODUCTION Sometimes you don’t need a brain-buster… sometimes you can do something that’s easy to perform, fun to watch happen, packed with entertainment and yet… and yet it’s strange enough that it can be classified as mentalism. What follows I believe qualifies in that a category. The mysteries that are contained here are my takes on simplifying certain effects in mentalism and sometimes just constructing routines that are basically there to have fun… for you and your audience. In my own style, I like to mix the incredibly strong & dark stuff with something light that makes people laugh. This is a personal belief, but I feel that if you do strong enough mentalism, especially in the beginning of your sets, then you can bring in something that is closer to mental magic and they will believe that, too. I don’t think the opposite is true. If you start by doing some fluffy effect that clearly is a magic trick cloaked in mentalism then I think they will conclude that everything you are about to do works the same way… it’s all a trick. Now do I think mental magic is a bad thing? No. Do I feel it has its place? Yes. But you have to be careful how you mix mental magic with what is considered true 4
mentalism. Here is how I look at it and it’s based on an expression I once heard: “If you have a barrel of sewage and a barrel of wine and then you pour a drop of wine into the barrel of sewage you get a barrel of sewage. If you put a drop of sewage into the barrel of wine… you get a barrel of sewage.” Now some of you will now think I believe that mental magic is sewage. Far from it. But I do believe that it works in much the same way as the sewage expression. I think an early “drop” of mental magic tends to make your wine feel like it’s all made of the same substance. I think your audience wants to grab onto the easiest solution possible… it eases their frustration when they see something that is clearly unbelievable. And by “frustration” I don’t mean it in the classic sense as if they are bothered to the point of not being entertained… I mean that the brain is always trying to figure out the problems at hand… always trying to fit the puzzle pieces correctly. So if your brain is given an easy solution like, “Oh, I see, this is all magic tricks” then it applies that to everything that comes after it. It has taken that “drop” and placed it into your entertainment “barrel” as it were. And now you wonder, “But aren’t they also wondering or puzzling over your true mentalism?” Well, yes and no. 5
I think that most people, even those a little skeptical of things, can take a little leap of faith that these things might be possible. They always take a bigger leap if they are faced with something that is so amazing they have no other way to look at it. For instance, I do a coin prediction, a key bend and a multiple card revelation early in my set where I’ve clearly not seen any of the cards that anyone has taken. Even those that know the basics of magic are a little taken aback by those effects. They don’t seem to have a reasonable explanation. They just have to be real. I can then go into some fun stuff like my presentation for Twisted Sisters because they believe me now. To them, I am someone doing something that is not a magic trick… it seems impossible. Everything I do from then on is pure wine… even though I might throw in a drop or two of sewage. One more real life example to show you how I feel this rule is applied. Oh, for those that have not seen The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable then you should stop reading from now on and go right to the first effect. I had friends that wondered why the film Unbreakable did not do as well as The Sixth Sense. I think Unbreakable was the sewage of this example. Here’s how: You had a film that was basically based in realism… strange things were happening, but we were not in some alternate universe. 6
Now let’s get to the end of that movie: it turns out the guy’s a superhero. C’mon! Have you ever heard ANYONE say they’ve seen or know of an existing Superhero? No. It is beyond reality. Let’s go to The Sixth Sense: What do you think would have happened at the box office if instead of the kid saying, “I see dead people” he said, “I see gnomes”? You see, both have unbelievable subjects, but one is beyond belief… it is not based on anything that anyone has even heard mentioned in present society. You don’t have a neighbor or a friend that’s ever told you a story of someone he knows who knows someone who once saw a gnome… but I bet you can find some people that say they saw a ghost. Magic and mentalism sort of work that way. I’m sure you would be hard-pressed to find anyone that can tell you he knows of a real guy that can take four coins and make them move magically across a mat, but in no time you can find many that will tell you their personal stories of knowing what their spouses were thinking of. Or how they dreamed something that later happened. Mentalism is seeing dead people… magic is saying you’re a superhero… both have their places, but which one do you think most people find it easier to believe? Okay, so I’ve rambled a bit… sorry. What you are going to get here is light mentalism… less calories, but all the 7
fun. But I know that even though I’m saying it’s light mentalism, I’m sure someone out there is going to take one of these routines and just kill an audience with it. To be honest, I think my AWE-SUM TOTAL did just that when I presented it in my stage show… and I’ve included it here. Some of these effects I was going to originally market, but I decided I didn’t want to sit around getting all the props and gimmicks ready to be packaged. So have fun making them yourselves. Relax and then start to look at some of these effects & presentations that I’ve put in here. Hopefully, you’ll have as much fun as I had with this wine.
THE WHAT: You show a connect-a-dots page and a bunch of cards that have long stringed numbers on them like 24-87-34-2-75-91-25,etc…. you explain that each card has numbers that will a draw different picture. You randomly take out two cards and use the numbers to connect the dots and one picture is a bell and another is a house. You take out another page and hand it to a spectator. You have them take any number card without you looking at it. They walk away and connect the dots while your back is turned. You now take blank card and proceed to draw the exact picture they’ve drawn. THE HOW: You’ve put a bunch of numbers all over one page that can be connected to form just about anything. Make sure the numbers are all over the page and in no particular sequence or order. If you’re still unsure what this would look like then get a Connect-a-dots book and get a general idea of what you are trying to duplicate. Once you’ve made one sheet for yourself, Xerox that sheet so you have multiples of it. Take one of these numbered sheets and draw a couple of pictures then check out what numbers are used to 9
make those pictures. Make up a card for each of those pictures that have the numbers used to make them… those will be your cards that you prove any picture can be painted by the numbers. Mark the back of the two cards that make different pictures from your force picture (more about that in a bit)… mark them so you can easily spot them from a distance. Now make another drawing connecting the dots and make up a card that makes up that picture. Make the same picture about three more times, but each time using a different area of the dot sheet to make it. Each time copy the numbers that were needed to make that picture. You should now have four or five number cards that have different numbers on them yet will make the same picture on the sheet somewhere. For example: numbers 318-67-24-99-56-34-64 & 66-90-34-12-33-31-76-5 & 3067-62-91-41-26-7-15 all make a picture of a HAT, but in different places on that numbered sheet. Now you will make multiples of all those force numbers yet make them look different. Here’s how: if one of your force drawings was made by connecting 18-67-24-99-5634-64 then make another card where the first number is 67 and ends in 18, but all the numbers in between are in the same progression… this will also make the same picture. Then make another one where the card starts 10
with 24, but ends in 67 and all the numbers are in progression in between… this will also make the same picture. You see you will be able to make cards that look like the numbers are different, but yet the same picture can be constructed. Because you made four or so pictures in various areas you will have that many different strings of numbers that can then be changed to other strings by shifting the numbers. You should end up with a packet of thirty or more numbers, but any card chosen will make the same picture somewhere on that sheet.
Display the sheet filled with numbers and hand someone the stack of cards with numbers on them. Have them fan the stack face down and randomly take one card out… actually take one of the marked cards and then draw the picture. Now pull out another card, a marked one, and draw that picture. You’ve proven many pictures can be drawn from the numbers. What’s left in the stack is all force numbers that will draw the same picture. You can now completely walk away and let one spectator pick a card from another spectator then draw that picture and reproduce it.
THINK THAT TUNE After playing around with the idea of POINTILISM, I thought it would be cool to take the basic idea and apply it to a children’s musical instrument I saw at a Toys-RUs one day. I never put it together because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of getting all the pieces, but here is the routine I wanted to do: THE WHAT: A children’s xylophone is displayed… it is the kind that has all the little keys numbered. The performer also shows a bunch of cards with numbers that supposedly coincide with tunes that can be played with the instrument. The performer riffles through some of the cards and has someone stop and play the notes that are visible. Everyone can hear a simple children’s tune… this is done several times to show the diversity of tunes. The performer now makes a prediction on a card and another prediction on the back of the card. He hides both predictions in an envelope that is kept on display at all times. “We are going to play a game of Name That Tune, but I’ve already committed my answers to paper… I can’t change now. Let’s go play Think That Tune!” He riffles once more through the cards and turns away 12
as the spectator takes the card stopped at. The spectator takes the card and starts to play the tune, but the performer stops them before they play a note. “Wait. We need a contestant. Please point to someone.” Someone is randomly picked. “Okay, Sue, you will try to figure out what song is played, but you have to see how many notes it takes you to get it.” The game is played out where the first spectator plays one of the notes first and Sue tries to figure out the song. This goes on until she finally guesses the song. Let’s say in this case it’s Mary Had A Little Lamb and Sue got it in six notes. “Great, Sue! You got it in just six notes. Now let’s see if I got it.” The performer reaches in the envelope and pulls out the card, which reads: “The secret song will be Mary Had A Little Lamb”… the audience starts to applaud, but the performer stops them. “Wait. Let’s see if I would have been better at this game than Sue.” He turns the prediction around and it reads: “I would have gotten the song in 8 notes, but SUE got it in 6… she’s the winner!” The performer can now give a prize to both Sue and the first spectator who chose the song.
THE HOW: Simple method, but I think it can turn into an entertaining sequence… especially if the performer plays up the game show aspects. First, go to any children’s toy store and you can find the little toy xylophones that have numbers on all the keys. These usually come with little songbooks that have numbers that correspond to the keys. Pick a song that is easy to play and understand, but not easy enough that you can get it in a couple of notes. You want it to be a playful game where the second spectator tries to guess what is being played. Now take some 3 by 5 index cards and have them cut in half at your local print shop or copy place. Take half of that stack and have them shave off about a sixteenth of an inch from one side. You’ll have a stack that is slightly shorter than the other stack… you’ve just made a Svengali-type stack of cards. On the longer cards print, or write in, any of the other songs other than the force song. Then on the shorter cards print only the force song. Stacked from the face it should be regular song, force song, regular song, force song, etc. If you riffle the stack with the faces pointed towards the spectator they will only see different songs, but the card that is face down is always the force song. You will also need an envelope… the size is up to you 14
and depends whether you want this for close up, parlor or stage. You also need a card that fits into your envelope. At the back of the envelope you’ve cut out sections that will be over the areas that you will later nail write bits of information. As you can see, you will also need a nailwriter. Use the one that you are the most comfortable with. At the back of card you have written, in the same style as the nailwriter, “I would have gotten the song in __ notes, but ___ got it in __… _he’s the winner!” The spaces shown are where you will later write in the important information. Look carefully, because there should be a space right in front of “he’s”. You don’t know if the first spectator will pick a male or female so you might have to quickly add an “S” there. You should be ready to go and the rest should fall into place. To recap: You bring out the toy xylophone and the stack of cards. You riffle them with the face towards the audience to show different songs. Pick one spectator and have them try playing some of the different songs. Write in your predictions and pretend to write the one in the back of the card… make sure you hide the writing then place it all into the envelope.
Now, riffle the pack and have the spectator stop somewhere, but pick the face down card… it will be the force song. This spectator randomly picks someone to play the game. Get this spectator’s name as soon as you possibly can. In the upcoming game there is plenty of time to joke about your prediction and you can casually write in the second spectator’s name in the correct space as you display the envelope. Let them play the game and play it all for laughs. When it’s done you can reveal the first part of the prediction when you pull it out of the envelope. Hopefully, as the applause starts you can fill in the last two spaces needed in the prediction before you need to turn this around. One more thing: I was also thinking you could extend this game and have three batches of cards that each force a different song. The last batch has a very hard song to get… something that might not even exist, but sounds like it could be a children’s song. Now the last prediction could be something like, “I didn’t win the first two songs, but I knew no one would get my personal favorite LADY BUG DANCE.” I thought that might be a cute way to end the whole thing and have the last prediction look completely different and have no need to nail write anything in it. 16
AWE-SUM TOTAL This is the one certain people were waiting for. In Larry Becker’s extensive ideas his has one called SUM TOTAL STAGE. I always loved that idea and Larry was the first to take a mathematical idea and turn it into a mental stunner, but I wanted something that was just a bit cleaner in the end. I came up with a way of having it all look hands-off as if the performer could not do anything tricky because he did not handle any of the vital pieces. This effect was used in my summer stage show and I had several of the guys come back a few times to see it because they had no idea how it was possible for the total to be correct & different every time and yet it looked like I could not do anything to change what the spectators had chosen moments before. Have fun proving you should be able to win the lottery any time you want. THE WHAT: The performer talks about how certain psychic experiments are attributed to just random chance like ESP symbols are just a one in five chance of getting it right. Even a regular deck of cards consists of only 52 items. 17
But what if we took it up a notch? What if the performer could predict a number in the hundreds of thousands… that would be pretty impressive. The performer shows a small gift bag and has someone look inside and call out what’s in there. They say it has some folded slips of paper and a calculator. The performer has any spectator reach inside and pull out any of the slips, unfold them, and read it out. The slip has a five-digit number written on it. The slip is dropped back into the bag and the bag is left right on the stage for everyone to see. The performer also tells the audience to try and remember the number that was called out because they will hear it again in just a minute… along with the other numbers in the bag. Now the performer steps to a large pad, on an easel, and has the audience call out numbers from 1 through 9… randomly. He says that he will have them construct a number between 100,000 and 200,000 so he puts the number 1 up first to start this six-digit number. The audience calls out digits and a large six-digit number is created. Let’s say this time the number is 154,238. The performer asks if anyone is good at math because they will become the accountant in this effect. As the audience decides, the performer writes a sticky tag that now says ACCOUNTANT. When one spectator is 18
chosen to come up on stage, the performer sticks the ACCOUNTANT tag on the person and hands them the gift bag that has been visible throughout. This spectator is told to remove all the slips in the bag and write all the numbers from the slips on the large pad, then total all the numbers. Even though the spectator does it all himself, and there are no hidden slips in the bag, and every slip that is in the bag is used… the total of all the numbers is exactly the number that the audience just made a few seconds ago… in this case, 154,238. They can even use the calculator in the bag to doublecheck the math and they will find the total is still the predicted number. THE HOW: I’m really proud of this one and was happy to see the startled faces on those that know how the original works. One night, just for fun, as the spectator took the gift bag, I sat in the audience and let two spectators work out the totals themselves. I was nowhere near the process and the prediction number was the same as the total. First, the mathematical oddity that Larry Becker used to come up with this brilliant idea. The simple way that this works is that the slips of papers all have different 19
five-digit numbers, but all those numbers total to 111,111… and you can make different numbers on the slips each night as long as when they are all totaled they will still equal 111,111 – one-hundred-eleven-thousand-one-hundred & eleven. There are four slips in the gift bag that equal that fantastic total. Each night you can make up new slips with new numbers that total 111,111. The slips I made are from 3 by 5 cards that are cut the long way so that they are one and half inches in width and five inches long. You will also need the following: a small gift bag, a small calculator, a clip board, some paperclips, sticky tags (you can get these at most large office supply stores), a marker, a large pad and an easel if needed. On the clipboard, you have several of the sticky tags attached to the clip and some random papers below that. At the lower half of the clipboard, you’ve attached a blank slip that you’ve first prefolded in fourths then opened up. It is attached to the clipboard in the open state by using paperclips at the edges to clip the slip on. On one of the sticky tags, which are on the clipboard, you’ve already written in the word ACCOUNTANT. Take four slips and write in four different numbers so that they equal 111, 111. So one slip could have 21,377, 20
another slip has 14,120, another has 43,211, and the last one has 32,403 on it. If you total these up you’ll get to our magic number of 111,111… and you can change the numbers every night. Fold all these slips into fourths so the number is to the inside and drop these slips, along with the calculator, into the small gift bag. You’re basically ready to go. Make your little speech about the statistics of knowing things in advance and how you will now work with a very large number. Pick up the gift bag by the little string handles they always have… this is a little subtle reminder that you never touched anything because the little bag dangles as you approach a spectator. Have any spectator reach inside and pluck out one of the slips. Have them read the number on the slip then drop the slip back inside and lay the bag on your stage or table… far from yourself and the rest of the audience. Now go to your pad and say this, “We are going to construct a random number… something in the hundreds of thousands. That’s pretty big. So let’s make sure it’s a big one… at least bigger than a hundred thousand. I’ll start.” You put a 1 on the pad then turn to the audience and say, “Someone give me any other digit… 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 21
8, or 9… c’mon.” Someone calls out 6, let’s say. Write that 6 to the right of your 1 then continue… “Okay, you called out 6 so pick someone you don’t know in the audience… go ahead.” They point to someone and you have that person call out a number, “Give me any digit that’s left…anything but 1 or 6.” They call out 4, let’s say. You write that next to the 6… you continue having spectators pick other spectators and letting them pick from the numbers that were not called out. In the end you might end up with a number like this: 164, 238… that’s your soon to be predicted number. Here comes the sneaky part. Pick up your clipboard and face it towards yourself. Say, “Anyone good at math here?” This usually gets a laugh because they now figure someone will be working with this incredible number. I then continue, “I need to make someone an Accountant.” I start to pretend to write the word Accountant on the tag, but it’s already there. I pretend that I can’t remember how to spell it so I say, “Accountant… that’s with two Cs, right?” As I feign forgetting how to spell, what I’m actually doing is do a very simple math problem… I am removing a 1 from every digit in the large number that the audience made up. 22
So in the case of 164,238 I have subtracted 1 from the last five digits and came up with the number 53,127… that is my new special number. I write that number in on the slip that is paperclipped to the bottom of the clipboard and not ACCOUNTANT as I’ve told the audience. That’s the sneaky part. You are doing some double writing without actually doing it. You are really just writing in one thing, but pretending to write the word Accountant. Let’s back up: No matter what number the audience has created, you will remove 1 from each of the last five digits and create a new number that later, when added to the total in the bag, will make those number total the audience’s number. So if the audience’s number had been 123,946 instead of the one we gave as an example, then when you’ve subtracted 1 from each of the digits, you will be writing on the slip 12,835… this number will now help to bring the total to the correct conclusion. I’m not a math whiz so I hope I’ve explained what’s happening correctly enough that it’s understandable. We are back to the part where you pretend to write ACCOUNTANT, but in fact you write the correct number on the slip that will bring the total up to match the audience’s number. As someone is finally either picked or decides to come up to help, you fold the slip with the 23
number and palm it off. That’s why you first pre-folded the slip then opened it up on the clipboard. The folds allow you to fold it up quickly behind the clipboard as you remove it from under the paperclips. As the person comes up, reach for the bag, but not by the handles, and pick up the bag to hand it to them. As you pick it up your hand is right at the top of the bag so just let the hidden slip fall in the bag. Don’t make a move of this… you’re just picking up the bag to hand it to the spectator. The dirty work is over. The bag now has five slips that total the audience’s number. Unpeel the ACCOUNTANT tag and stick it on the spectator. You can now have a seat. The spectator pulls out all the slips and adds them… he can even use the calculator. Everything will add up to the six-digit number created by the audience moments ago. Remember, the two sneaky things happen when no one is paying attention. You write in the needed number as you casually forget how Accountant is spelled… people in the audience will actually try to help you spell it. And when you pick up the bag it’s a natural thing to just grab it by the top and not use the handles… just let that slip drop in as you pick up the bag.
I did this night after night and no one caught either the sneaky writing or the drop into the bag.
PRESENTATIONS This is an interesting area. I’ve been presenting effects created by others, but I always put my own spin on them. I’ve noticed a lot of the magicians, and even some mentalists, just buy an effect and then proceed to do it simply as written. What’s the fun in that? I love looking at an effect and then trying to figure out how I would do it. What spin could I give it? What unique approach could I give this effect? That to me is fun. Anyway, I’ve had some of my fellow performers tell me I should write up some of my presentations because they might be useful to others. I didn’t think it was a needed thing, but they convinced me. Oh, these are marketed items so I won’t be revealing the inner workings… you must already own these effects. I’ll only give the patter and any specific handlings that I’ve come up with. So here goes:
ANDY LEVISS’ IT’S A MATCH & DAVID REGAL’S PROPHECY PACK
First, let me tell you I love these two items. I was shocked and amazed the first time a dealer presented the Prophecy Pack. And I fell in love with It’s A Match the moment I saw it demonstrated at a dealer’s booth at one convention. Both effects, on their own, are marvelous, but I soon realized the potential in combining the effects into one routine. THE WHAT: I pull out a sandwich bag that contains a deck of cards, a small manila envelope and all the matches. I throw the bag on the table and start to tell my story. "Many years ago I worked on promotional tours. It was ten guys, seven trucks and seven months on the road. Ten guys! Seven months on the road! We got a little crazy.” “Anyway, we started this little bet going and it dealt with collecting things from the various hotels we stayed in. The rules were you had to collect only objects that had the name of the hotel and you had to collect the same type of object in every hotel. So if you started collecting hotel glasses in one hotel then you had to continue collecting glasses.” 27
“Another rule is that at the end up the tour you had to pile all your collections on your bed and the one with the most hotel objects would win. One guy collected ashtrays, another towels... everyone came to my room... I collected maids... Anyway, one of my guys was into matches." I pull out the deck of cards and toss it on the table followed by the envelope. I pull out three of the matchbooks and read them off: "Heaven's Peak? Hmmm, I think that was in Oregon. Hotel De Paris... not the Vegas one. Ray's Roadside Resort... this was fleabag in Ohio, I believe. Anyway, let's see... could you reach in and pull out one matchbook and hold it for awhile." I extend the bag to the nearest spectator and they pull out a matchbook, which they hold closed in their hand. I then toss aside the bag into my doctor's bag that I use to hold my props and pick up the deck of cards. "Now the other thing we did is play a lot of cards. Guys, you know. Some of the guys new I once did magic so they didn’t let me touch the cards. They figured no matter what I did I could be doing something tricky.” As I say that I am displaying the deck in all the various ways you can with the Prophecy Pack. I turn to one spectator, hand them the deck, and say, “Could you shuffle these for me? Please cut a few portions of cards and make four or five piles." I try to 28
use another spectator to cut off the portions. "Would you please touch one pile?" When the pile is selected I push off the top card of that pile. I start collecting the other piles as I turn various top cards from these piles. "Okay, so if you had touched this pile it would be the ten of hearts, or here the king of clubs, or this would be seven of spades." I put the deck away and pick up the envelope that has been sitting on the table. "In this envelope I put the last card of the last card game we played and the last key of the last hotel room we were in." I stare at the crowd and pause. They always anticipate what is going to occur and there is usual a quiet mumbling that starts. "The tension mounts.” I reach into the envelope and pull out one card that is still face down. I then turn the card that the spectator selected. "The eight of diamonds. Hmmm? The last card of the last card game we played." I turn over the card that was in the envelope... it is the eight of diamonds. This usually starts an applause cue, but I stop them. "Wait. You've been holding a pack of matches from one of our stays. Could you look at it and tell me the hotel." The person opens up their fist for the first time and reads out the hotel... let's say The Riverside Inn (are you laughing, Andy?)… I always look a bit puzzled and say, "The Riverside Inn? I don't remember that one... too much drinking, I guess." I pull out the hotel key out of the 29
envelope with the name facing down. "The last key of the last hotel..." I turn the key around. "The Riverside Inn." I usually get a big round of applause and quite a bit of shocked expressions. This combination of effects is sometimes a closer for me when I do a quick set… it’s that strong.
By the way, for those that have it, the envelope and the deck of cards becomes a natural partition for the matches so I can have the ones that I want to call out in the beginning easily accessible yet the bag looks like all the matches are floating around mixed.
JOHN BANNON’S TWISTED SISTERS
This is another of the type of effects that I’ve worked out so that it can actually be a closer in some of my sets. I get three big rounds of applause when doing this effect. I like to use the Jumbo Version and I like to lay the cards out, face down, on the table. THE WHAT: I don't pull the cards out until I do the following. I point dramatically at someone in the crowd, "What do you do for a living?" I listen to what they say and seem to consider their occupation. Sometimes I ask if they have any hobbies or how long have they done that job or is there a job that they really want to do. After that, if it was a male, I'll point to a female on the opposite side of the room from the first person and ask the same question. There is a lot of room for humor depending on the types of jobs called out and other questions I ask. It’s best to pick two individuals that are not part of the same group or connected in any way. Now I kind of mumble to myself as if trying to decide what would be the best way to do my experiment. I reach into my doctor's bag and pull out one set of cards and lay them on the table towards the side nearest one 31
of the spectators. Some times I will look up at that spectator and say, "Hmm... an electrician... let me change this." I then take back the cards and fiddle with them in my bag as if I'm organizing something for the experiment. I then pull out the cards again and lay them down then take the other cards and bring them out and lay them on the side nearest the other spectator. Some times I look at the cards then back at the spectators and say, "I think I got it right, but I'm not a 100% sure... oh, well." One thing for those that know or have this effect: I put the cards that will reveal the red Queens on the side of the table that is furthest away from the female spectator… I put them on the side that is being called the male spectator’s side of the table. Now I get a little dramatic, but in a funny way, "The next experiment is about three things: mind control, teleportation... and penetration." When I say 'penetration' I always get laughs and some dirty snickering so I quickly look at someone and say, "Get your mind out of the gutter... it's penetration of the human soul... two thoughts are going to cross here.” I point to the area between the two piles of cards. “This is the penetration point. Okay, I know these are very large cards but can we pretend they are normal sized?” I nod to the spectators and they agree. “Now can we 32
pretend we have all the queens on the table? Yes?” Once again the spectators agree. “Ladies choice, do you like the red queens or the black queens. Red. Okay, she likes red queens so in just a moment I want you to think of a red queen - either the queen of hearts or queen of diamonds - and I want you to send it to his side, but when you send it I want you to make it spin in space and land face up in his pile... you'll do this all in your mind only.” For those that have the effect you now know why I place the red Queen pile opposite the lady’s side. Most women pick red so it’s easier to go right into having her imagine she will be pulling out a red Queen from her side and sending it. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what you would say if they pick black, but just in case… If they pick black you turn to the male spectator and say, “Okay, she likes black Queens… so in a moment I want you to think of a black Queen… either the Queen of Spades or Clubs… and then you will send it to her side.” In either case, while I say these things I kind of mime them in the air so they get the picture of what will be supposedly happening. Now let’s pretend she still picked a red Queen… which happens most of the time. “Okay, since she is sending you a red queen I want you to send her a black Queen, either the Queen of spades or Queen of clubs, and as you send it you'll also 33
make it turn in space and land face up in his pile. So you're sending him a red Queen, either hearts or diamonds and you are sending her a black Queen, either spades or clubs... this is the penetration point.” I point to the spot again and kind of look a little at the person I first commented about the dirty mind... this gets a laugh. I then look at the two spectators and say, “You'll will send your cards when I snap my fingers... do it now.” I snap my fingers on the table. “Did you do it? Did YOU do it? Good. What did you send to him? Hearts. Cool. And what did you send her? Clubs. Cool. So if you did indeed send hearts then this would look like this...” I spread that pile to show the face up hearts. “And if you sent the clubs then it would look something like that…” I spread the other pile... I don't reorganize or straighten the pile so everything is in the same direction... I don't care about that minor point and no one has ever said anything about it. I usually get applause at this point, but I furiously start to stop it. "Wait! Wait! I also said there was going to be teleportation in this experiment. Where was the teleportation?" I look around the room and wait for an answer then say, "Well, if you had sent this Queen of hearts from 34
this packet to this one then it should have a red back.” I point from one packet to the other then turn over the hearts card and plop it dramatically on the table, but quickly continuing talking. “And if you sent the Queen of clubs from here to here then it would have a blue back.” That card is turned over the same way. I now get another round of applause and I hear 'No way. Impossible. How the h-e-l-l, etc.’ I take the two odd back cards and dump them into my bag as they continue to applaud. Once again I stop the audience, "Wait, wait!! I said this was also about mind control. Where was the mind control?" I point to the two spectators as I say, "You thought you could think of any card and you thought you could think of any card, but I put those cards into your mind... and I was so sure I could do that that I put no other cards on the table." At that moment I turn over all the blank cards and the audience goes a bit wild. I know you guys think I might be kidding or building this up, but I get a great reaction from this effect. Usually, unless I'm going to do my drawing divination sequence, I'll end with this effect because it gets such a strong reaction. An interesting thing about this presentation is I've had 35
regular spectators watch it several times and they keep wondering how I know in advance which card they will pick. I don't play it as a magic trick and they just think I'm guessing in advance which card each person will pick. That's it. Remember, don’t do an Elmsley with the cards… this is not a magic trick… it’s a prediction.
MAX MAVEN’S PSI-CON-RUSE
What a devilish idea from Max… but what else do you expect from him? This was one of those times that my creative juice struck me immediately. I bought the effect at Hollywood Magic, walked it home, and as soon as I opened up the package I knew the presentation I was going to give it. THE WHAT: I show a book on Hypnotism as I make the following speech, “I’m currently studying hypnosis. It’s a great field. I know most people are kind of spooked by it. They feel like I’m going to turn them into a chicken… I’m not… but I can.” I now pinpoint someone in the front row or near me. “Have you ever been hypnotized? No. Good. You’re my kind of subject. Now don’t worry… I won’t turn you into a chicken… but I could if I wanted to.” As I’m saying that statement I’ve pulled out one envelope, 3 by 5 size, from within the book and tossed it on the table. “Here’s what people worry about… they think that I can take immediate control of them… it doesn’t work that way. I need to use subliminal messages that I throw into my speech… something that gets to you without you knowing it. Would you like to try?” 37
I’ve been talking to the room, but directing most of my speech to the selected spectator. I play this very casually and with a humorous touch so there’s a lot of room for laughter… nervous or not. “Let’s see, using hypnosis, I could turn you into a stand up comedian. You don’t do that, do you? No. See, I could make you believe you were one and you would go to the local comedy club and try out.” “Or I could actually make you believe you were the owner of that nightclub and you would start to act and talk differently. Do you believe it? Well, we’ll see.” “Or I could… do you play golf? Not often. Well, I could make you believe that you were the best golfer in the world and you had you own personal golf club and you would hit every ball perfectly.” “Or I could turn back time… I could make you believe that you were a big, gruesome caveman, with your gnarly wooden club, and you would hit your woman on the head and drag her into the cave. Yes, I could do that.” I’ve written these words, but you cannot get the true experience unless you try them. There’s a lot of room for playful banter… especially if you’ve picked a female spectator… now you can joke about turning them into a caveMAN instead of a caveWOMAN. “I’ve done it. In my little speech I’ve put some subtle 38
suggestions that I think will make this next experiment work. Let’s see…” I open the hypnosis book and pull out another envelope… this one contains the PSI-CON-RUSE cards. I make a big deal about where I put them into the book. I constantly look at the spectator and mumble things like, “Nah, this one should go here.” And “I think this one should be switched with this one. Yes.” I keep arranging the cards as if where they end up will be important to the final experiment. When I’ve finished arranging the cards I point the book and cards at the spectator… “I want you to look at the backs of these cards. In just a moment you are going to select one. Mind you, I’ve already put something into my speech that will make you select the right one. So decide carefully.” The spectator usually takes a bit of time because they feel that there might be something to this so they are trying to trick me up. When they finally point to one I say… “This one? Are you sure? Okay, let me show you the other cards.” Now I do the move that is in PSI-CON-RUSE and pull out their card while I turn the book around to show the ones they didn’t select. Then I put back their card into 39
the book and turn everything around so they can see their selected card. “So, you selected… the 4 of Clubs. The 4 of Clubs.” I start to put away all the cards back into the envelope as I act casual… as if that was the expected outcome. Everyone just looks at me with a “So What?” expression. “Oh, you don’t understand. I made you pick the 4 of Clubs. You don’t believe me? Do you remember what I said earlier? I said I could make you a comedian and you would go to the comedy CLUB. And I said you could be the owner of the actual nightCLUB!” Some people are starting to notice a pattern as I keep putting emphasis on the word Club. “And I said I could turn you into a golfer with your favorite CLUB! And finally, I said I could turn you into a caveman who hit his women with his big CLUB! Four clubs. And you picked… the 4 of Clubs.” Right now most of the audience feels that is it and start to applaud and I stop them… I love doing that. I point to the envelope that’s been sitting on the table and say… “That envelope has been there since the beginning. Would you please open it up, take out what’s inside and 40
read it out loud.” They reach for the envelope and I stop them immediately by looking in their eye and saying, “Wait. Not yet.” I then snap my fingers in their face, “Okay, now you can open it.” They open up the envelope and pull out a folded sheet of paper. They usually start to read it to themselves and laugh so I say, “No, read it out loud.” They read, “You no longer are a chicken, but you did pick the four of clubs.” This gets a big laugh and still mystifies them. I really like the charm of this effect and I like the audience interaction I get with it.
A SICK SENSE This was at one time going to be something that I would have marketed. I went around town and got the pieces together… boy, I hated doing that! After getting several of the items together I decided I didn’t want to start a production line and it might not be cost effective to sell something that required so many of these props. So I threw out that idea and then just made a prototype for myself. I did it a few times at the Castle, but I found it didn’t fit in with my regular set and now it involved carrying another large item around… you’ll see what I mean. I think this is a very funny routine, or can be, in the right hands. The props themselves are just plain funny to look at. Anyway, read on and decide for yourself if you want to go on a hunt and assemble everything you will need. THE WHAT: The performer brings out a very nice looking, wooden jewelry box. The box is locked and the performing is holding onto a keychain that not only has the key to the box, but a small memo device about the size of a car alarm remote. “I had a very strange uncle who passed away several 42
years ago. He was a collector… but he collected some very strange things. You see, he was also into the occult. For many years he hunted around the planet for what he believed were one of a kind items.” The performer caresses the box. “In his will he left those items in my possession… and they’re inside this box. My uncle collected powers… Yes, powers. He was able to track down a psychic that was known for the gift of healing touch. My uncle kept that power in this box… inside this box is the finger of that psychic.” The performer looks around the room as he mentions the items inside the box… his tone is solemn & mysterious. “He also tracked down one seer who was known for hearing voices from beyond the veil… and inside this box is the ear of that psychic. There was also a young lady who had what some call The Third Eye… yes, that eye lies inside this box.” The performer takes the key and opens the box, but the box faces the performer so no one can see inside. “One mystic would speak in tongues and predict the future this way… his mouth has been collected in this box. Another man of mystery could detect the presence of spirits in a room by simply smelling the air… as you can guess, his nose has found its way into this strange collection.” The performer pauses in a very dramatic way. He looks into the box and begins to pull something out, but stops. 43
“But the pride of my uncle’s collection came when he found that the world’s most powerful psychic had passed away. That man had all the gifts… all of his senses were heightened… he was the superhero of psychics. Inside this box… inside this box is the brain of that psychic.” The performer looks around the room. He stares at the crowd. He reaches into the box and pulls something out as he says, “Here is that brain!” He has pulled out a small wind-up toy that looks like a little human brain with feet. “Hey, what did you expect? My uncle wasn’t crazy… he just collected representations of these senses.” Now the performer removes the other “senses”. There is a little plastic finger, a small plastic mouth, a cartoon eye, a plastic nose, and a plastic ear… all of them are small wind-up toys that have little feet attached to them. The performer winds a few up and lets them walk around the table. “You guys actually thought I had some human body parts in here. It’s not that kind of show. Let’s try a little experiment with these toys. I think I’ve put in some mild suggestions and I believe I already know which one will be chosen. Would you mind helping?” The performer indicates a nearby spectator who is asked to help in this experiment. The performer puts all six of the toys in front of the spectator. 44
“I want you to decide in your mind which one of these representations of the human senses you will keep. Now you might think that because I used the word ‘mind’ in my speech that I’m trying to influence you to pick the brain. It’s possible.” As he talks about each toy, the performer picks up the toy and displays it. “You might think I wanted you to decide on the ‘finger’ because it was the first item I mentioned my uncle put in his collection…” To the spectator, “By the way, you realize there’s no uncle and this all a joke, right? You see that, right?” The performer kind of kiddingly nudges the spectator. “Maybe I just forced you to decide on the ‘eye’ because I said ‘You SEE’? Hmm? Starting to smell a little fishy, huh? Ooops! Maybe that was intended to be a reference to the nose? Who ‘nose’? So did you hear all that? Oh boy, that could be a subtle hint to pick the ‘ear’? And maybe the fact that I keep talking is telling your subconscious mind to pick the ‘mouth’?” The performer has laid all the toys in a line in front of the spectator. He then steps back and behind the box. The keychain and memo device constantly dangle from the performer’s finger as he talks and fiddles with the toys. “So now you must decide… but I’ll tell you how you will do this. You will wind up one toy – any toy – and 45
then send it to me. I will put it back in the box. You will then wind up any other toy and send it to me and I will put that one back in the box. You will do this five times until you have only one ‘sense’ left in front of you… and that will be the one you want to keep for yourself. Choose wisely as to which you will keep because I already know. Go ahead. Pick a toy to get rid of.” The spectator picks up a toy and winds it up. The toy creeps towards the performer who snatches it up and puts it back into the box. The spectator repeats this four more times and finally keeps one toy… let’s say he kept the ‘nose’. “I knew it! Wow, this is getting too easy for me. I’m good!” The performer looks around the room as if he is waiting applause. Suddenly he realizes why no one is amazed by the revelation. “Oh, I forgot, you guys always like proof. It’s a shame you can’t just take my word for it. Oh, well. Will you please look at the inscription on the key?” The performer hands the keychain to the spectator. The spectator looks at the key and inscribed in the key is the word NOSE. “Oh, there’s more. Please hit play on that memo device.” 46
The spectator hits the PLAY button on the memo device and the following message is heard: “I can’t believe you would do that… picking your nose in public! Shame on you!” THE HOW: Well, I’m going to give you two ways of doing this… one is a bit cheaper to do than the other. Let’s first get everything you would need for the more expensive combination. You need to get a little wooden jewelry box… about a foot square. The one I use is actually half-mooned shaped. These boxes usually come with a little skeleton key. You need to make six duplicates. Then take these keys to an inscriber… some key shops do this… and have each sense inscribed into one key. So you will have one key that reads NOSE, another reads EYE, another FINGER, etc. Make sure you put all of them on similar keychains. You need to go to a toy store or to some place that carries wind-up toys and get a finger, nose, eye, mouth, ear & brain. I found these in a store that just sells wind-up toys in a mall. I was able to get those little memo devices at a local Radio Shack and they were on sale at the time so they were about five bucks each… you’ll need six of them. Oh, and they are the type that allows about 12 seconds for a message and only one message at a time. They’re about the size of a car alarm remote control. 47
Also, get a piece of Ace bandage or any other stretchy material… it should be about an inch to two inches in width and run the length of the inside of your box. So if your box is 14 inches in length then get a piece that long of your bandage. And you’ll need a good stapler. Okay, you want to put one remote on each keychain and one key on that same chain. Now look at the key’s inscription because you will put a message onto the device that coincides with the inscription. Here are my messages for each key and its sense:
NOSE keychain: “I can’t believe you would do that… picking your NOSE in public! Shame on you!” FINGER keychain: “I guess you can’t stand that I was right so you had to give me the FINGER!” MOUTH keychain: “I taste victory… because you chose the MOUTH!” EYE keychain: “I spy with my little… yes, you picked the EYE!” EAR keychain: “What? What? I can’t hear you… I was right, you picked the EAR!”
BRAIN keychain: “Well, this was a no-brainer… oh, it is… you picked the BRAIN!” Of course, you can make them funny or strange or just to the point. It’s up to you as to what is said for a prediction. Open the little wooden box. Inside the lid you are going to staple the bandage on each end… you’ll end up with a strap going from one side of the lid to the other. Now put one of the memo devices as close to the inside edge of the lid and under the bandage… staple around that memo device. Put another device next to that one, under the bandage, and staple on the other side of that device. You’ll do this with five of the devices. You now have built little pockets that will hold each device and their keychains in place, under the lid. Take a magic marker and write in, on the inside of the lid, NOSE right where that memo device is stored, then FINGER where that device is, etc. You want to be able to open the box and look into the lid and know where each memo device is and what prediction is in the message. Put all the toys in the box and you’re pretty much set to go. You do have one other keychain and memo device that is seen throughout so you should know which sense that one pertains to because it could be the last one left in the routine. I decided to leave the EYE out of the lid because I figured it might be chosen the most… I’m not sure if I was right about that, but it doesn’t matter 49
either way. There is only one move in the entire routine that allows you to switch the visible memo device for the correct one. When you do the routine and you’ve opened up the box, place the ring of the keychain on your pinky. Now the memo device and key will dangle there throughout the routine… always visible… well, not always. Let’s say you’ve decided to put the keychain on your right hand’s pinky. When you take the first ‘sense’ that the spectator chooses to send you, you take it with your right hand and put it into the box. Your hand momentarily dips out of sight with the toy and the keychain. On the next ‘sense’ that’s removed from play, you put it into the box with your left hand. You do this back and forth dipping of hands through the routine. On the fifth ‘sense’ removed you will be back to using your right hand. Now, you might be lucky and the person left the one toy that is already predicted on the keychain that dangles from your pinky. If that is the case then casually let it drop to the table as you pick up the second to last toy. Most of the time that’s not going to happen so this is what you do: You are dipping in again with your right hand and you can already see what toy he has left on the table. As you your hand drops into the box let the keychain slip off your pinky and fall in the box. You can also see, from your markings, which memo device and 50
keychain you need so use the same, now free, pinky to hook that keychain and come out of the box as if nothing has happened. Close the lid and you are ready to end this effect. I promised a cheaper way to do this. Well, you cannot skip buying the little toys because they are too cute and should be used. But you can get away with just buying one memo device and inscribing one key. Pick the one sense you want to force and inscribe that word on the key. Then put the correct message on the memo device that fits the forced toy. You can now force that item using the old stand-by called the PATEO force. For those that don’t know this force, let me give you a rundown of it. PATEO stands for “Point At Two, Eliminate One”. So what happens is the spectator, and the performer, slowly remove objects from a given set until only one is left. When there are an even amount of objects then the spectator is the first to point at two objects and when there is an odd amount the performer points first. In this case, there are six senses so the spectator points first. But there is one more rule. Whenever the performer points to two objects he never points to the force object and when the spectator points to two objects, if the force object is one of them, then the performer always eliminates the other object. In this 51
way the force object is always left for last. Let me give you an example if you decide to force the FINGER: The spectator points to two objects… maybe the FINGER and the NOSE… so the performer says to eliminate the NOSE. Now the performer points to the EYE and the BRAIN… the spectator eliminates the BRAIN. The spectator then points to the EYE and the EAR so the performer eliminates the EAR. The performer then points to the EYE and MOUTH and the spectator eliminates the MOUTH. Finally, the spectator can only point to the EYE and FINGER so the performer eliminates the EYE. We are left with our prediction: FINGER. This is one of those routines that you can just go crazy with and have a great time presenting it.
STP The first time I saw MARTIN LEWIS’ TECHNICOLOR PREDICTION I fell in love with its simplicity and its built-in humor. What I didn’t like was the need for that extra prop… the wooden piece that allows you to make the switch. I wanted to do something a bit cleaner and organic, but keep the same feel. Here’s where it gets weird: I got the idea one night and immediately put the pieces together. I tried it out for the next several days at The Castle. It worked. Then one of the other magicians came up to me and said, “Hey, this is similar to that Max Maven thing he put out.” Oh, no! I went to the Internet and looked it up. Sure enough, Max had put out a similar premise and look to the same effect… it even had a tagline that was almost identical to the one I had just created. What to do? Well, killing Max was out of the question… who could find a silver bullet that fast? So I asked him. Guess what? He said it was different enough that he had no problem with me putting it out. You have to love that widow’s peak performer!
So through the kindness of the Maven, I present my Simple Technicolor Prediction… or STP. THE WHAT: The performer displays three envelopes marked A, B & C. He drops these envelopes onto the table, in front of the spectators. “I’m going to try a little game of suggestion. I want to see if I can guess, in advance, which of these envelopes you will decide on. Will it be envelope A or envelope B or envelope U?” This last call provides a laugh because you have casually dropped the last envelope so that the C is on its side and looks like a U instead. You correct the error by turning the envelope around so the C shows correctly. “Oh, it’s a C… my bad. Well, young lady, decide… maybe I want you to pick the A envelope because it’s the closest to you, or maybe I want you to touch B because it’s dead center… or, maybe that little joke with the letter U was a way of me giving more attention to that envelope. Decide.” Let’s say she picks B. You pick it up and open the envelope and drop a small slip that is inside… nothing else drops out… and the spectators can clearly see that it is empty. “A wise choice. Open up my prediction and see what it says.” 54
She opens up the small slip and reads it out loud. It says, “You will pick Envelope B.” The usual laughs come. “Well, it’s not much of a prediction, but it is correct. You can’t fight me on that. Sir, will you please choose between A & U… uh, C.” The gentleman points to C, let’s say. You open that envelope just as cleanly and pour out the contents. One slip falls out… the envelope is seen empty. “I wait with anticipation for your prediction.” The man opens his slip and it reads, “You will pick Envelope C.” “Well, two for two. Can’t get any better than that. I guess this one is mine.” The performer picks up the remaining envelope, A, and opens it up. He pours out the slip into his hand, but this slip is already slightly different… a bit bigger and there is some writing already visible. The performer shows the inside of that envelope and it too is empty. He opens up the slip and it reads, “The lady will pick the B envelope, the gentleman picks the C envelope and I have the A envelope.” The performer stands there displaying the slip as he gets a round of applause. He notices someone either making a comment or looking suspiciously at his 55
prediction. “Oh, you feel something else is written on the back.” The performer looks at the back of the paper as he says, “What? You don’t trust me? Have I ever lied to you before?” After saying the line above, the performer turns the paper around and that exact comment is printed on the back. Hold for laughs. THE HOW: As I said, this is a very simple take on this particular effect, but it is all self-contained and there are no extra visible parts… maybe a few hidden ones. You need to first make up slips. There will be nine in total. Three of them will long enough that when you fold them they will be about an inch square. The other six will be slightly larger so they look a bit different when they fall out of the envelopes. On the three that are the smallest, you will print the following, in as big of font as possible, “You will pick envelope A.” & “You will pick envelope B.” & “You will pick envelope C.” Each of those slips will be folded down then placed into their named envelopes. The other slips are a bit 56
more complicated. On the larger slips you will need to print all of these predictions: “The lady will pick the A envelope, the gentleman picks the B envelope, and I have the C envelope.” “The lady will pick the B envelope, the gentleman picks the A envelope, and I have the C envelope.” “The lady will pick the C envelope, the gentleman picks the B envelope, and I have the A envelope.” “The lady will pick the B envelope, the gentleman picks the C envelope, and I have the A envelope.” “The lady will pick the A envelope, the gentleman will pick the C envelope, and I have the B envelope.” “The lady will pick the C envelope, the gentleman will have the A envelope, and I have the B envelope.” On the back of all those slips you will print the same funny line: “What? You don’t trust me? Have I ever lied to you before?” Okay, now all the slips are done so it’s time to make up the envelopes. You will need six of them and I use the size that is 3 by 5, but you can make them smaller or larger, and change the size of the slips accordingly. 57
You are going to cut three of the envelopes so that they fit into the other uncut envelopes. Each cut envelope is made as follows: Slice off the top of the envelope so you’ve removed the flap. Then slice about 1/16 of an inch or less from each of the long sides of the envelope. You want to take off just enough so that the envelope is now just two pieces held together by the bottom edge. This insert should look like a large three dimensional V shape when you open it up. Jam one of these large Vs into one of the whole envelopes… bottom edge going towards the bottom of the whole envelope. If you’ve cut it just right you will now have an envelope that has four walls to it… two on the outside and two on the inside. Make sure that this inner insert is snug inside the envelope. Also, see if the edge of the inner V, at the top, peeks over the top edge of the full envelope… it should barely be visible… just enough to lightly grab with your nail or finger. If it’s longer than that then remove this V and shave off some more from the top. I’m sure by looking inside you can now see that we have created three areas inside the envelope where you can place three different slips. Now make up the other two whole envelopes the exact same way so you end up with three envelopes that have three partitions inside of them. Mark each envelope with a large letter on the outside: A, B, & C. 58
Now, let’s get back to the slips. There is a pattern as to how they go into each envelope. The slips are actually divided into three sets. Okay, this is how I decided on how to divide each of my envelopes for their various predictions, but you might want to play around with it and decide on another variation. Let’s all hold one envelope the same way so we know what’s going on: Pick up one envelope and pop open the envelope. Hold this envelope in your right hand so that the flap side of the envelope is against your palm and the other side, without the flap, is away from your palm. If you look inside while holding it this way you can count the four walls of the envelope. Let’s call the wall that is furthest to the left and away from your palm as Wall 1, then the wall to the right of that is Wall 2, and further right is Wall 3 and the last wall, which is against our palm and has the flap is Wall 4. In Envelope A, between Wall 4 and Wall 3 drop the slip that reads: “You will pick Envelope A.” In Envelope A, between Wall 3 & Wall 2 drop the slip that reads: “The lady will pick the C envelope, the gentleman picks the B envelope, and I have the A envelope.” In Envelope A, between Wall 2 & Wall 1 drop the slip that reads: “The lady will pick the B envelope, the gentleman picks the C envelope, and I have the A envelope.” 59
In Envelope B, between Wall 4 and Wall 3 drop the slip that reads: “You will pick Envelope B.” In Envelope B, between Wall 3 & Wall 2 drop the slip that reads: “The lady will pick the C envelope, the gentleman picks the A envelope, and I have the B envelope.” In Envelope B, between Wall 2 & Wall 1 drop the slip that reads: “The lady will pick the A envelope, the gentleman picks the C envelope, and I have the B envelope.” In Envelope C, between Wall 4 and Wall 3 drop the slip that reads: “You will pick Envelope C.” In Envelope C, between Wall 3 & Wall 2 drop the slip that reads: “The lady will pick the B envelope, the gentleman picks the A envelope, and I have the C envelope.” In Envelope C, between Wall 2 & Wall 1 drop the slip that reads: “The lady will pick the A envelope, the gentleman picks the B envelope, and I have the C envelope.” So, depending on which area you open, two slips will be wedged between walls and will not fall out or be seen. For example, if the lady first picks Envelope C, you pop open Wall 4 & Wall 3 of that envelope and let the slip 60
fall out… the other two slips remain hidden and wedged in their walls. Here’s a tip: You know that you will be opening up Wall 4 & Wall 3 on at least two of the envelopes in the beginning so bend those walls on each envelope so that they are the easiest to open each time. Now, in this example, the gentleman then picks Envelope A, so pop open that envelope at Wall 4 & Wall 3 and let that slip fall out. You are left with Envelope B. You have plenty of time to get ready because most people are chuckling at the dumb predictions. In this case, you need to get in between Wall 3 & Wall 2 so just dig your nail in that area and separate the walls. You can then pop the envelope and let the slip fall out… the other two slips will be wedged inside. Here’s another tip: To make these walls easier to get to simply cut off just a bit of the back edge of that initial V shape you made so that Wall 3 is a bit shorter than Wall 2. It will be easier to push open these walls because it now works like a very small Svengali deck. Oh, there is kind of a memory thing I did so I could easily remember which wall to get to for the end. I always track what the lady takes first. If you noticed, in each envelope, the lady’s first choice is the earliest in the alphabet between Walls 1 & 2. If the choices are 61
between C & A and she picked C then her choice will fall between Walls 2 & 3, but if she picked A then it’s between Walls 1 & 2… so on and so on for each envelope. Of course, you can come up with any way that you feel comfortable with in order to remember where the correct predictions are situated. Of course, when you get to the end of this effect you will pull out a slip that is slightly larger, and because you have printed the funny line in the back, they will immediately see some writing as you try to open this slip. This is the time to act a little suspicious. You want someone to wonder what’s on the other side. Once again, I’d like to thank Max Maven for allowing me to put into print an effect and ending that is similar to his version.
EKUSTORUK On the subject of Max Maven & envelopes, I will show another effect that relates to both. I really loved Maven’s effect Kurotsuke, which is in is mentalism tapes. It was easy to do and used a devious principle to get to the end. Once again, I wanted to change what was there so I could have a bit more control over the choices, but also put a bit of fun into the presentations. This is what I came up with… I hope you enjoy it. THE WHAT: I display twelve envelopes. I hand out six of the envelopes and tell the spectators to mix them up and randomly take one each, but keep them out of view if possible. Now I speak, "Earlier I wrote six difficult questions about life. I then opened myself to the universe and let the answers flow in. It was a curious experiment. Five of the answers were positive... life-affirming... but one, well, there was one that I'd rather not get back.” “Tonight each of you holds the questions, but one of you is now holding the one I should not have asked. I will try to leave it in your possession... don't worry… it only affects me. Let's start finding the positive Questions." 63
You stare out at the group and suddenly point to one: "Please open up your envelope and read the question within." They open up the envelope and it reads, "Will the project I'm working on succeed?" You take out one of your envelopes from your stack and remove the paper inside and read, "In time it will happen as you want it." You say, "I like that! Now you!" You point to another spectator and they open up their envelope and it reads, "My wife is distant? Should I worry?" You open up another one of your envelopes and it reads, "Love remains. She is yours." You say, "Phew! It's good to know." You keep doing this three more times and always receive a positive answer to the questions. Then you're left with one envelope, and one person, and he has not read his slip. You open the last envelope and read, "He'd kill you if given the chance." You say, "Whoa! Doesn't sound good to me. Maybe I shouldn't have asked. Could you please read the question?" The last person opens up his envelope and it reads, "I have a friend who's changed. Any problems?"
You end by saying, "You can keep that one. He's no friend of mine." THE HOW: You are going to be making six double walled envelopes. Your envelopes are made similar to the ones you made for STP, but you’ve cut the V shape so only one side remains. This one piece will now be the wall you put inside of an envelope. Make up six envelopes that have one wall in the middle to divide the envelope into two partitions. Now you have to come up with six questions that could have one bad answer and one good one. You will place a good and a bad answer for each question in your envelopes. The spectators get regular envelopes that each contain one question… each of those questions will have a good or bad answer in one of your envelopes. You don’t need to mark the envelopes that are given out into the audience because you will be hearing the question and you know which of your envelopes are connected to that question. How do you know? Well, you are the only one holding your envelopes so mark them in the back to key you into the appropriate question. And the marks don’t have to be subtle; they can be full-blown phrases like “answer to
wife question.” No one else can see that side but you so why try to stress your eyes? Now as for the questions, you can come up with your own, but you should have some funny answers when they hit on the last one… the one that you explain was the bad one. Here are some examples of questions and answers: 1.)
“Will the project I'm working on succeed?" Good answer: "In time it will happen as you want it." Bad answer: “About as good a New Coke did.”
"My wife is distant? Should I worry?" Good answer: “Love remains. She is yours.” Bad answer: “Right now the distance is 10 miles… she’s on a train headed out of town.”
“My sixteen year old daughter’s boyfriend seems a bit weird. Anything I should worry about?” Good answer: “No. He might act strange, but he has high morals.” Bad answer: “Strange? He’s only strange if you consider Manson or Dahmer strange.”
“Should I start a new diet?” Good answer: “It’s the right time now and this one will work.” Bad answer: “A diet isn’t going to do it. Try liposuction and getting your mouth wired shut… for about four years!” 66
“I think my neighbor has some sort of grudge against me. Am I right?” Good answer: “No. This man is a bit moody, but it’s not about you.” Bad answer: “Have you noticed the large hole he’s dug up in the back yard? It’s about your size. What do you think?”
“I have a friend who’s changed. Should I worry?” Good answer: “Expect a surprise party… that’s why he’s been acting weird lately.” Bad answer: “He’d kill you if he had the chance.”
You see you can have a lot of fun with this especially if you make up some weird questions and some even weirder answers. I guess I should mention why I called this routine Ekustoruk… well, it’s Kurotsuke backwards and I figured that’s what was going on within the routine.
YOU ARE HERE This is another idea that I was going to market. Some even told me I should wait on it and still market the idea. Who knows? I might still do that at a future date. Like many other mentalists, I’ve used the old idea of giving a spectator a dried up pen or marker and letting them make a supposed mark on a book or page and later predicting the word that was marked. Of course, he didn’t mark a thing and you had that mark there already for him to find later. What if you could display a map cleanly and give a spectator a plastic dot to stick anywhere on that map, and yet, you’ve predicted where he will place the dot? And you don’t switch maps, or remove the dot he has placed on the map. And you can be far away from the action as he himself places the dot on that map. If you could do that then you already know how YOU ARE HERE works… I’m assuming you haven’t been told… yet. THE WHAT: The performer displays a laminated map that is of the three-dimensional kind… the land masses and areas have a 3-D quality to them. He brings up a spectator and hands that spectator a plastic black dot… about the size of a quarter. The 68
performer shows that you can stick the dot anywhere on the map to show the kind of You Are Here symbol you see on most maps in malls and other locations. You tell the entire audience that you will now try a form of remote viewing. The spectator will take the map behind is back and randomly place the dot anywhere. You hand the map to the spectator so that it is held behind his back. You hand him the dot and tell him to reach behind and when you say “GO” he is to just stick that dot anywhere. Now you walk away to the other side of the stage and pick up a pad and marker. You yell, “Go!” The spectator sticks the dot on the map… no one can see where that dot ended up. You stand quietly for a while then begin to write. You place the pad down or hand it to another spectator to hold for later. You walk over to the first spectator and have him bring the map around. Both of you spot the dot… nothing is changed. You tell the spectator to slowly remove the dot, but look below it as he is removing it to see where he hit on the map. The spectator says things like, “It’s on a hill and it also covers a park named Griffith Park and there’s a bit of a highway in the area, too.” 69
You turn to the second spectator, who holds the pad, and ask him to read what you wrote. He reads something like this, “I’m getting a name… starts with G and ends in T-H… something to do with a park, I think… and there’s a highway somewhere around here… I think I see a hill from this spot.” And you take your applause. THE HOW: You’re going to make a very cool gimmick. I once told the idea to Gordon Bean when I was working on it and he had never heard of something being used this way. Here’s what you need: Get a laminated map that has a lot of color, and shapes… the busier the pattern, the better. I like the 3-D maps that are sold to tourists because they work really well with the gimmick. Here’s the gimmick: Go to an office supply store and look for anything that uses black, thin plastic and clear, thin plastic. You can find this material on book covers and folders and various other items in a stationery store. You will need very little of these two substances so don’t guy buy yards and yards of it. You will be cutting out two small circles from each material… about the size of a quarter. Make up a few of each just in case you loose them.
Cover one side of each quarter-sized piece with double stick tape. You want to have it cover one side completely. Then using your fingers kind of dab at the sticky surface so that it’s a bit less sticky then the side stuck to the plastic. You’ve made your gimmicks and I’m sure you’re way ahead of me. On the map that you will use place one of the black dots near one corner and edge… someplace where your hand will naturally hide it as it holds the map. When you are ready to begin, stick one of the clear dots on your palm… on one of the flattest areas you can find. Put the other black dot on the back of the laminated map. That side is usually all white so it should stand out. Okay, bring up the spectator and talk about the experiment. Show the laminated map from behind and point to the large dot. Unpeel that dot to show everyone what it is then give it to the spectator to hold. Turn the map around and show the various places… one of your hands should naturally be hiding the black dot that is already stuck on the map. Have the spectator place the dot in various areas and then talk about those areas. Have the spectator do this a few more times to show him what is happening whenever you place the dot on the map. Now, have the spectator take the map behind 71
himself as you take the black dot. You demonstrate by reaching behind him how he is to stick the dot anywhere. When you demonstrate take a look at the actual place you’ve just covered with the dot. That will be your target place that you will write up in a moment. Now, unpeel the other black dot that you’ve been hiding on one of the edges and bring it around and hand it to the spectator. You tell him in a moment he will stick that dot somewhere, but then you realize he should not even know which direction he his holding the map. You take the dot back and tell him to turn the map around, 360 degrees, a few times so that he doesn’t know which direction is north, south, east or west. When he’s finished turning the map, have him hold it against his back with one hand again then reach behind him and supposedly give him the black dot to stick. Actually, stick the black dot on your palm and remove the clear one. Give him the clear dot, which will feel exactly the same to him. Walk away from him and have him stick the dot anywhere. Begin to write your prediction. It’s better to not be right on the money when you do this… a few details go a long way.
When you’re done, hand the pad to another spectator and walk over to the first spectator as you have him bring the map around. It is really easy to see the black dot from a distance, as you spot it, draw all attention to it by saying, “Here it is. Can you see it?” It is really difficult to spot the clear dot even when you are looking for it, but the black dot catches everyone’s attention immediately. Also, the spectator is in a bad position to see it because the map is held vertically and he is kind of looking down at it. If you are worried at all then just walk over as fast as you can so that you get there just as he turns the map around. Everyone will see the black dot, but you can start looking for the clear one, and if you find it, use your other hand to hide it as you steady the map to show the dot. Believe me, you don’t have to worry so much because the clear dot blends in pretty well. Oh, try to get a clear plastic that is not too shiny or too dull… it should just blend in with the laminated surface. There you are, but you can make it up different ways. You could cut out a little X and use that instead of a dot. And although I haven’t tried this on my own, I’m sure you could get away with using a magazine that contains a lot of pictures and has a glossy finish to it. 73
SPECIAL THANKS I’m sure this list will seldom change as I tend to deal with the same people all the time so to Luis, David, Michael, Shoot, Lincoln, Federico, Tony, Jeff, Millard, Brad, Paolo, Gordon, Patrick, Wendy, Valerie, Jamie, James, Max, Larry, Banachek, Kevin, Nabil, and everyone else I hang out with or share ideas with… Thanks.