I hope I don’t need to tell you that Xeroxing this book and passing it around 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 anywhere, but I keep all marketing rights. COPYRIGHT 2006
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOREWORD INTRODUCTION ACTING TECHNIQUES SHOOTING LINCOLN FO(U)R EYES VOO-DEUX BOMB ROULETTE PINHEAD’S ROULETTE WHAT A CHARADE SWAP STICKY POP SOME STRANGE IDEAS BIZARRE DUPE SUPER SWINDLE STEAL A SYMBOL COLOR WINE-OH! STICKY DUPE MAGIC WORDS – A RANT POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE THE ___ BOOK B’WAVE HEART OR DIAMOND CLUES ROCK/PAPER/SCISSORS ONCE SILLY MAGNET Q & A GIFT BAG PRE-SHOW SUBTLETY HYPNO-MATH MAPQUEST ADD SENSE HALLMARK MEMORY ONE MORE RANT
PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE PAGE
4 7 9 20 28 37 42 45 49 54 57 63 64 66 68 70 72 75 79 84 92 95 96 97 99 101 104 107 111 120 124
And now a word from Millard Longman… I’ve known him for quite a long time… as you will see. For those that don’t know him, well, where have you been! He only created one of the best peek ideas using a business card… ever!!! If you don’t know his Acidus Novus then you should… shame on you! Well, get up and go buy it! Don’t just sit there!!
FOREWORD by Millard Longman
It was a warm evening in the late 1970s and I had arrived early for the magic club meeting. I had been president of the club for a few of months and always arrived early. As I walked into the room I saw him standing by one of the tables playing with some cards. I had seen him many times before, but this time he seemed different. He kept doing the same move with the cards over and over – getting the mechanics down perfectly – the fabulous presentations for this trick would come later. The trick he was working on was The Bizarre Twist by Paul Harris. That trick has remained a favorite of mine ever since. This is one of my fondest memories of Greg Arce. He was a teenager at the time; I was in my mid thirties. In spite of the age difference, Greg and I were very good
friends. We spent many hours together talking and practicing magic, but we also spent much time just laughing together about everything that went on in life around us. Greg was so funny that at times I could barely breathe from the laugher! Greg seems to create both comedic and dramatic presentations with no effort at all – the ideas just pop into his mind as if he was channeling spirits! Hey, maybe that is his secret – he is channeling the greats that came before him! At one of our magic shows, Greg had this birdcage vanish that he made himself; the cage was wrapped entirely in flash paper! He vanished the birds by setting the cage on fire! Of course, Greg had not tried setting the fire in practice due to the high price for that much flash paper – that was a mistake. When he touched it off, the whole stage lit up as though a low yield nuclear device had been triggered! The fireball went up almost ten feet towards the overhead curtains. We all watched in terror – frozen in time – as the world went by in slow motion. Luckily, the building survived and Greg just kept going through his act. Afterwards he told of the fear he felt inside, but none of it showed outside. Even then he was a great actor! Since those early days, Greg moved from southeast Florida to California where he stills lives and works and plays. He wrote, directed, and starred in his own feature film called Den. Den won several critical awards, but is
yet to find a major distributor. Perhaps Greg will release it directly to DVD? So now the teenager that I spent so many happy hours with has become a master magician, mentalist, actor, filmmaker, author, and is still a very funny guy. You are now reading one of his fabulous books and you are in for another fabulous treat. Greg’s essay on acting techniques is essential reading for any performer looking to increase his impact on a live audience! Study this essay often; it will pay big dividends! The rest of the book is filled with routines that will take full advantage of your new acting abilities. Enjoy this book and think about the mind that comes up with this stuff – the fabulous mind of Greg Arce! Millard Longman 5/5/2006
INTRODUCTION Another book? What the hell do I have to say? Apparently, too much. I decided to put some more ideas together… some I used in the past, some I tinkered with and others came from a mix batch of working out other people’s problems. Within, you’ll find some new ideas that, if I were not a lazy bastard, I might have actually marketed some of them. Also, little rants that often ramble, and rumble, in my mind. Of the effects inside, I can tell you that I’m proudest of creating STICKY POP and the Acting Technique essay that first appeared in AM/PM magazine. I want to thank Tom Cutts for allowing me to put it in this book. Well, I hope you find some fun stuff inside and get a different viewpoint on certain effects. I put two handlings for effects that are not mine, but have my touches. I want to thank Max Maven for letting me run by him my touches on his POSITIVE/NEGATIVE routine, based on a Larry Becker idea, and a special thanks to Charles Gauci who gave me his blessing on putting in my handling of his brilliant EYE TO EYE effect.
Also a big thanks to Millard Longman, Banachek, Richard Osterlind, Larry Becker, John Riggs, Paolo Cavalli, Brad Henderson, Tony Blake, Barrie Richardson, Jheff Poncher, Chuck Hickok, Michael Weber, and all the others that let me run stuff by them to see what they thought. And a special thanks to Paolo Cavalli for once again coming up with the brilliant design that became the cover to this book. That’s three in a row for him. One more thing: I went against everyone’s advice and decided not to include illustrations or pictures. I even restricted going into too much detail when describing a basic sleight. Why? Well, I felt that the best mentalists I know are able to figure things out on their own. Nothing is spoon-fed to them. Something deep inside told me that I’d rather foster thinking instead of spoon-feeding exact details. I’m sorry if it bothers some, but I hope I will create some great thinkers that way.
ACTING TECHNIQUES This essay can apply to both a magician and mentalist… as a matter of fact; just about any performer who wants to put some extra thinking into his performances: “A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician.” We’ve all read or heard that one, but how many of us have really put it into use? I have. I performed magic from the age of five until I was in my twenties, but in college I decided to study theater because of that simple statement I heard that was attributed to Robert-Houdin. The crazy thing is I fell in love with theater and gave up the magic... at least, professionally. But over the years I started incorporating many of the techniques I learned in acting within my magic. I found they were especially helpful when I became fixated with mentalism. What were some of these things? Well, how does an actor make certain feelings believable to an audience when, in fact, he is not really having them at the time? How can you really bring on those feelings at a moment’s notice? How can you use physical actions and movements to convey inner emotions? There are many ways to do all these things, but I’ll try and cover some that I’ve used when displaying my “psychic powers.”
Before I begin let me give you my own theories on the performance of mentalism or psychic powers. I believe that you, the performer, must act as if it is real... more so than when doing a card trick. People really believe in such things and if you can come across as the real thing, well, you’re 90% of the way there. So when I do anything that is considered mental magic I apply certain rules. I ask myself, “If this were real, how would this look? Isn’t it more convincing that I don’t get it 100% right? Why would I give them a limited choice to think about if it were true that I can read anything in their mind?” So how do I apply those rules and combine acting? I’ll give you an example: The Thought Transmitter. I love this item. But I don’t want to give someone a limited choice as to what they can imagine. What do I do? I open it up and draw a circle (conveniently in the area I need them to write) and say, “Picture this is the earth and it is spinning.” I then draw lines around the circle to represent the earth spinning... these lines now block out other areas on the pad for them to write on so they can only now write in the circle. I continue, “In a moment I will turn around. I want you to picture yourself being lowered onto the earth, but your eyes are closed. When I snap my fingers you will open your eyes and be somewhere on the planet. You can be anywhere. In a foreign land. Or somewhere you know. Maybe it’s a generic place like a desert. Or you are on something or in something.”
“Maybe you are with someone you know. Or with a stranger. Maybe the first thing you see is an object. It can be anywhere on this earth. In one or two words, print where you landed on the earth and close up the wallet. Ready?” (I snap my fingers) “Quickly write where you went. Have you done so?” When they respond in the positive I turn around and pick up the wallet. I put it away into my top pocket as I say, “Was this place or thing important to you?” In that moment I catch a glimpse... I’m talking about microsecond here. I don’t pause to stare at the wallet. I don’t slow down the path of my arm as it goes for my pocket. I don’t stop if I only saw a vague clue as to what is written there. Why? Here comes the acting. Up until that second I have no idea what is on there. If I catch only a brief glimpse of what’s there then I have to start using my mind to work out details. What did I see? Was it a big word? Was it two words? Was it a place? A name? All these questions that now run through my mind project physically on my face. Without having to work at it, my own face will look like my mind is busy trying to sort information. And shouldn’t that be what would be happening if I had the gift? I love giving myself that type of challenge when I do mentalism. It feels good to struggle for an answer and looks even better from the audience’s point of view. But there’s more. I use an acting technique called “sense
memory” to further enhance this effect and I use it in a kind of backward thinking kind of way. What is sense memory? Actors use this to recall an event in their life so that they can bring up a certain emotion. So if you tried to do a crying scene and it wasn’t working, you would try to think back to a time in your life when you really cried. But you don’t just think about the moment you cried, you try to picture everything that happened just before that moment... try to recall if there was music playing... hear the music... was there a smell in the air... try to bring that odor into your memory... maybe a siren was going by your window at that moment... hear the siren... try to picture all the objects in that room on the day you cried. Here is how it gets weird... as you start to recall all these things you will find something that triggers your tears and most of the time it will be some innocuous item or event, like an ashtray that was in the room, or you were eating stale potato chips at the time. For some reason these weird triggers will start your tears to flow. Somehow your body has attached an emotion to something within that event and it’s not always what you think it will be. So how do I use this with the transmitter? Okay, let’s say the person wrote BOAT as where he was or what he saw. I’m not going to scream out, “You were on a boat! Aha!! Boy, am I good!” I will do it in pieces and give him the impression that I am still going into his mind.
I’ll say, “Go back to the place or thing or person you saw when you opened your eyes. Be there again. Look around. Take more time to gather information. Wait. I get a sense of instability. Like I’m not grounded. I’m moving slightly. I get a sense of rocking. Take a deep breath. Wait. I smell that the air is cleaner, but there is some sort of hint of... I don’t know, like seawater or something. Listen to what is around you. Oh, I hear birds, but not pets... like a squawking. A seagull? I’m getting seagulls. We’re on or near water! There’s some land far away in the distance. Are we on a ship of some kind?” Try that and see the reaction you get. I’ve had people stand there in shock. What they perceive is that I am jumping in and out of their mind just as they sense or see these things. The opposite is what is happening. I make the statement that puts the thought in their mind then they see or hear the picture of what I’ve just given them and then I pretend that I’m getting a mental picture. I am giving them a list of sense memories, but just as they react to them, I call out that I’m getting a new feeling or picture. They become an instant stooge, but yet they are amazed. I hope I made that clear. I try to act in the way a psychic would act if he were getting messages. I create an inner dialogue that causes my body to react in a certain way. Here’s another acting trick: Okay, you’re assignment is to act like you are asleep until another character wakes
you. Well, most beginning actors will just close their eyes and use the tired “snoring bit” to come across as if they are asleep. Try this instead: Close your eyes. Now try to picture the Jack of Hearts. See the card in your mind. Try to see all the detail. Is this a one-eyed Jack? What color are his sleeves? Is this an old card you are holding or one fresh out of the pack? Check to see if it has any marks on it or is crimped in any way... Hey! Wake up! Wake up!! If you do this exercise with your eyes closed you will really look asleep. Your eyes will dart from side to side as you look at your mental Jack of Hearts. This will look like REM sleep. The fact that you are trying to work out details will take your mind to another level and more than likely you will really be startled when the actor calls out your name. Inner dialogue is the key. Asking yourself specific questions. Giving yourself tasks to do mentally will also cause your body to react in certain ways that convey that something real is happening. I’ll quote from myself when a question about faking a mistake during a card trick was posted on The Magic Cafe: You turn over the card that was supposed to be the right card, but it is the wrong card. Stare at the wrong card. Try to remember what you ate for dinner a week ago... trust me, your face will make the right contortions if you try to think about that. Tell yourself internally,
“That’s not the card. It’s supposed to be the card. I wonder what happened?” Try to now remember the name of your first grade teacher. Then try to remember what you ate last night... when you remember think to yourself, “Hey, I know how to fix this problem. I can change this card to the correct one.” I know it sounds silly but this inner dialogue makes you react physically as if what is happening is actually happening. After awhile you won’t need to go through so many steps and you will get use to how your body reacts in that situation so you can recreate it at a moment’s notice without all the steps. Actors will work on a scene for a while and bring up all their emotions and go through all the steps, but then while they are doing the scene they just go into it naturally. By doing the homework first it allows you to bypass it when the time comes. Another method used in acting, which I touched on earlier, is called The Magic If theory. The Magic If is just using a technique of visualization of what would happen if the circumstances you are portraying were real. Actors would say, “If I really did commit this crime how would I react? If I really had to tell my mother that my underage girlfriend is pregnant, how would I tell her?” You can apply that thinking when creating an effect or structuring a routine. Think about how it would look if the magic was real or if you really had the power to move
objects or read minds. Try to see yourself really performing the effects without the help of a tricky double-backer or a nailwriter. When I do my coin bending I always use the idea that I’m not certain what coin will bend or when. I try to put it into their minds by saying, “If it happens I’ve been told that it feels like it’s getting warmer, or colder, or like electricity... one person said it felt like the coins were shifting in their hands. So just relax and concentrate. Just try to feel what is happening in your hand.” When I do that speech and stare intently at their hands, I have a 75% record of getting them to react. They will say they feel something. I had one girl scare me when she screamed as she suddenly experienced something in her hands. I came upon this technique by applying the Magic If theory to my coin bending. Some will ask, “What about the other 25% that don’t react?” Well, I get a major percentage of those individuals to react by staring at their hands then looking up suddenly and saying, “Did you feel that!? I think it’s one of the smaller coins. Did you feel it?” If you repeat this several times you will get a positive answer. One again I combined the Magic If with the transfer of Sense Memory... I’ve given them a reason to feel something and most of the time they will.
Okay, now how do you practice acting frightened or angry or confused or happy? Well, actors work on it all the time. The funny thing we do is to try to step out of ourselves when the real emotions happen. There has been many times in my life where I’ve been convulsed by tears and will walk up to a mirror to see what it looks like. It’s kind of a schizo-type thing to do, but the more you think about how you look in certain situations, the more you will develop this alternate awareness. It becomes second nature to think about what you are doing as you are blatantly telling a lie, or how your face reacts when someone is gossiping about a friend. How could you use this in magic? Try this: You want to see what it really feels like to search for something in your pockets and really not know where you are going to find it? Get a friend, or partner, to hide your extra coin in any of your pockets before you put on the suit. Now go into the routine not knowing where that coin will be. I suggest you videotape yourself while you do this. But you want to make this even more real, tell them to do this when you least expect it... like when you’ve been booked at a real show. Here’s another funny experiment to try: Stand in front of the camera and have your friend or partner, ask you various questions. The range of questions have to be from easy to just plain bizarre. They can ask, “What’s your name? What would you rather it be? What’s your mother’s maiden name? What was her age when you were
born? Who was the first man on the moon? Why do you think they thought the moon was made out of cheese?” Now, of course, you don’t want to know the questions in advance and you should be either setting up your show or practicing it while they toss the questions at you. Go back and look at the tape. You are probably going to see yourself making facial contortions that look silly yet are real. You’ll also notice subtle eye shifts as you ponder information you know and things you’ve never thought about. When you’ve looked at all the possible combinations of expressions and questions, well, then sit down and try to figure out how you can make an inner dialogue that causes you to react those ways. Of course, you want only those things that fit your routine... if you are searching for a lost card in the deck, that you know is in your pocket, you wouldn’t use a question that has an easy answer... you should go for a question like, “Why can’t I remove the tag from my pillow and why is it illegal?” That question will make your face register, “I thought the card was right there? Did I screw up my shuffle?” Sit down. Think about your routines and what inner thoughts you are trying to convey to your audience. Now try to see what questions, or situations, can run through your mind that will make your face and body act in the proper way. It sounds like a lot of work, but when you’ve worked it out several times you will see that you don’t
have to constantly have the inner monologue turned on... it will all come out naturally. I’d love to hear what kinds of actions and speeches you come up with to help certain situations in your magic. Please feel free to write to me at [email protected]
THE WHAT: The performer pulls out three invisible coins and has the spectator select one then toss that coin and see how it lands… heads or tails. The performer has predicted the outcome of that process. THE HOW: Okay, okay, I know… it’s been covered a number of times and many have their own take on this… but I wanted to add a few of my touches and handlings. First, the idea of predicting the outcome of such an experiment was first put out by Larry Becker and then made popular by Max Maven on his videoMind series. It was called Positive/Negative in that series. For those that don’t know, it is merely an equivoque of three coins and a double out to cover the heads or tails sequence. Becker had an envelope to cover the heads or tails portion and Maven used a subtle wording & display on the back of a business card to make it an impromptu effect. I loved the premise and then fell more in love with it when I saw John George’s take on it on his video. It was a great idea on how to solve the final heads or tails outcome. I used it for over two years… and then…
Well, one day I was faced with doing a performance at a cabaret and I really wanted to open one set with the coin prediction, but I knew that I couldn’t use John’s ending because it would not be visible to 99% of the audience. Simple solution: I had a color photo made of a penny. Actually, two photos: one showing the heads side and the other the tails. I had the color copier enlarge the photos so that now I had two giant color photos of a penny on both of its sides. Next, just use a Himber wallet or any such device that can easily have two outs. Now you have a small effect that plays really big… in just about any theater. But let me cover my word-play because some have said that they love the way I use equivoque in this simple sequence. Although, this is a simple effect and over quickly, it will take a bit of doing to explain all the subtle touches… but I’ll try. The basics & my patter: I point to a spectator, rather dramatically, and say, “Young lady, an experiment of the human mind… trust me.” On the table, I then start to push invisible coins towards the spectator, as I call them out, “An invisible penny, invisible dime and an invisible nickel… can you see them?” I wait for an answer and this causes some amusement as the spectator and others stare at the invisible coins on the table. Here are the two possible things that will be said by the spectator, “No, I don’t” or “Yes, I see them”,
and here are my answers to those questions: “You have to start drinking… then you’ll see them” or “Good… so you’ve been drinking.” Both of those answers get a laugh. Now in either case I go over the amount of coins and where they are on the table… the penny is always to my left followed by the other two coins. Why? Well, you’ll see in a moment… “With your right hand pick up one coin… and one coin only.” The spectator does that. I usually ask, “Which coin did you take?” Most of the time they will immediately answer, but some will say, “You tell me” and I either answer with one of Max’s outs for this type of heckling or simply say, “C’mon… just tell us… it’s not that big of a deal.” Okay, here is where the layout of the coins is important. About half the time, when I say, “Pick up a coin with your right hand” the spectator will immediately pick up the penny, which is to his extreme right… my left. When this happens you are done. Simply say, “Take the penny and slap it on the table.” Wait for them to do that then say, “Is it heads or tails?” You’ll find that a lot of people either won’t look down at the invisible coin or not even lift their hands, but they will still call out the outcome. You now have another possibility for a little joke. If they don’t pick their hand up then say, “So you have X-ray eyes? You can see right
through your hands?” And if they don’t look down then say so, “You didn’t even look! You are that sure?” Whatever is called out you then open your wallet or envelope and pull out the right photo and have the person open it. I prefer to use a wallet because I can open it correctly and say, “Would you please take out the one piece of paper that’s in there and open it up and show them.” It plays big when the spectator opens up this large sheet and displays a large color copy of a penny. I then take it back from them and turn the paper around to show the blank side as I say, “And there’s nothing on the back… for you skeptics.” Also, the wording I always use with the unused coins is this: They pick up the penny and I pretend to scoop up the dime & nickel as I say, “So you left the dime & nickel for me… biggest tip of the evening so far.” I then pretend to pocket the invisible coins. Back to the other outcomes: The second most used combination happens when I say, “Pick up one coin with your right hand” and they proceed to pick up one of the silver coins. I then say, “Now with your left hand pick up another coin.” Most of the time they pick up the other silver coin so I say, “Those are your tips for this evening… keep them.” I then pretend to move the penny that’s on the table towards another person as I say, “So she left the penny on the table… could you please pick it up and slap it on
the table? Is it heads or tails?” And now you can use the same lines when this happens. Another funny note: Most of the time the person that has picked up the two invisible coins sits there through the next process and actually is holding up their hands as if they contain the two coins. I usually make a comment about that by saying, “No, put them away… it’s your money now.” So I have found that probably over 90% of time I get those two perfect outcomes with the easy to do equivoque process, but what happens when I don’t… Well, first, I always use a woman for this process and I’ve noticed that has increased my chances of one of those two processes to occur. I’m not sure why, but women seem to either go for the direct route of the penny or go for keeping the two silver coins. I hate to make an observation, but I have noticed that the prettier ladies, and the ones that look like they might be high maintenance, usually go for the two silver coins. Don’t hate me for noticing that, but it is true. Anyway, what if they pick a silver coin first then go for the penny? No problem. Here is the patter: “What coin did you pick up? Ah, the nickel. Now with you left hand pick up another coin. The penny? So you left the dime for me as a tip.” Scoop up the coin that is left and pocket it. Now say, “When I snap my fingers I want you to put one coin back onto the table.” Snap your fingers.
If they put the silver coin back then scoop it up and say, “Another tip… great! So you’ve kept the penny for yourself… slap it on the table…” and go from there. But if they place the penny back on the table and keep the silver coin, I say, “So you’ve kept the dime for yourself… well, that’s your tip for the evening… please keep it.” Now I push the penny that is on the table towards another spectator and have them slap it. Some would say that this is the worst outcome, but I actually like it because of the second layer I add in my speech, which I even do when the person has picked up both silver coins and someone else picks up the penny. I say, as I have them start to open up the prediction, “So she left the penny and you called it heads… and the penny is heads.” Why is that better? Well, it throws in a subtle idea that there was more process that could have gone wrong at any moment. The first spectator might not have left the penny for the second spectator and the second spectator could have called it as tails instead. We know that the outcome was set, but to the regular audience that throws in another way that things could have gone wrong. Believe me, I know because I’ve actually had that said to me right after the effect. So what did I add to this classic routine? Not much… just the large color photo to be seen at a distance and the idea of calling the money tips and having a reason for putting them away. For those that decide to make up the predictions, it’s easier to buy one of those jumbo pennies
and first take a color copy of them then have them blown up further. If you use a real penny they tend to lose a bit of clarity as they are blown up. But you can get someone with a good camera to take an extreme close up of a real penny then blow that up. Another hint: If you are doing a walkaround gig, or some place where people could talk to each other, then make up color predictions of the dime and nickel and switch those in from time to time. You can even make up one of a quarter and change up what you say so you have four coins you can force. And another hint: When I’ve done this for a large audience I’ve used the idea that I’m suspending coins in the air and they are hanging from thin threads. When the person plucks the coins off the “thread” I use the same lines and when they put something back I tell them to hang them back on the thread. As for the head/tails thing, if the penny is still the one left hanging, I tell them to pretend to give the penny a snap and let it spin on the thread until they see it stop. Then they are to call the side that’s facing them. One last thing that Larry Becker said to me, “One thought on the 3 invisible coins. As in your example use a penny, dime and nickel or quarter. One copper and two silver. If the selection by the lady is one of the silver coins, you say, "Just like my wife...always goes for the silver, of course. Might just as well take the other one too." You push the remaining silver coin for the lady to
pick up. Leaves you with the copper. Naturally if she selects the penny, you're home.” Nice. Unfortunately, what once Max made truly impromptu I’ve chosen to take away the impromptu nature of it, but make it something that was visual to a larger audience. A big thanks to Becker for first putting the idea out there and a big hand to Max for popularizing it with his own spin. Also, Max pointed out that he feels my line, after turning the picture around to show it is blank, could be a bit of “running when not chased.” It fits my persona so maybe it might not fit your style so consider Max’s words if you plan to put it into your act. Max suggests just being sure that the blank side is exposed casually has you are unfolding the prediction.
THE WHAT: The performer shows a little box that contains both a half dollar and small plastic ball. He brings up a young lady and a young man. He has the young lady pick either object, but not show the object to anyone. The performer is able to instantly tell her what object she picked. Now the performer and the young lady play a game of hide and seek… she continues to hide her object in either hand and the performer tries to guess which hand… he guesses right every time. After several correct guesses, the performer has the young man pick up the object that was left by the lady and put it openly in either of his hands. The performer makes the stipulation that if he puts it in his right hand then she must put her object in her left and vice-versa. The young man decides openly and the performer has a third spectator open up a prediction that has been in full view and the prediction details not only the outcome of this game, but what object the lady originally picked. THE HOW: For those that have Charles Gauci’s Eye to Eye then you already know how you guess which hand contains the object. You can probably also guess that both objects in that box will work for the guessing game.
First, my compliments to Mr. Gauci for having provided such a well-made gimmick and idea. I was instantly attracted to it when I saw him perform and lecture this effect. As with everything I see, I decided to tweak it a bit and make it a longer premise and routine. The routine I described above is the one I use to open my stage show. I felt that it was a fooler, had me in the midst of the audience already and, at the same time, was a bit intimate. I also liked the fact that later on in the show I could explain that some people thought the routine was just a fifty-fifty shot, but that in reality it was a series of fifty-fifty shots that could have gone wrong at any time. Here’s what you’ll need: Mr. Gauci’s Eye to Eye effect, or any similar ones out there that allow you to know what objects the spectator holds in their closed hands, but I feel Gauci’s is the best out there. Two different objects that have the properties needed to allow you to know what hand holds the object. A small box that will hold both objects in separate sides of the box. And some metal shavings that have been colored to look like small fragments from the box. My box is a small wooden box that has a lid which nests on top. It is a pretty fragile box that I painted red. I filled the box with a yellow sponge that I then carved out two spots to hold the half and the ball… each object is in its own space and inches away from the other object.
When you open the box, the objects look like two rings sitting in a ring box. Directly below the area where the ball sits, I have cut out a hole about the size of a quarter on the bottom of the box. I also carved away a bit of the sponge so that there is just a small wall of sponge directly beneath the ball. I then took some thin sheet metal shavings and painted them red. These shavings look like tiny fragments that might have fallen from the box. When the ball is set in its place, if you put the shavings directly beneath the hole in the box, they will be attracted up and stick to the sponge. If you remove the ball, the shavings will fall down. That’s the secret of knowing what object was picked. Not an original idea from me… it’s been done before to know what objects are pulled out of a box or holder. For the predictions: I have two Himber wallets that each contains two predictions. One wallet contains these predictions – (1st prediction) THE LADY ORIGINALLY CHOSE THE HALF DOLLAR SO THE MAN GOT THE BALL. NOW HE HAS THE BALL IN HIS LEFT HAND AND SHE HAS THE HALF IN HER RIGHT, (2nd prediction) THE LADY ORIGINALLY CHOSE THE HALF DOLLAR SO THE MAN GOT THE BALL. NOW HE HAS THE BALL IN HIS RIGHT HAND AND SHE HAS THE HALF IN HER LEFT. The other wallet has these two predictions: - (1st prediction) THE LADY ORIGINALLY CHOSE THE LITTLE
BALL SO THE MAN GOT THE HALF DOLLAR. NOW HE HAS THE HALF IN HIS LEFT HAND AND SHE HAS THE BALL IN HER RIGHT, (2nd prediction) THE LADY ORIGINALLY CHOSE THE LITTLE BALL SO THE MAN GOT THE HALF DOLLAR. NOW HE HAS THE HALF IN HIS RIGHT HAND AND SHE HAS THE BALL IN HER LEFT. I know that sounds like a mouthful, but it covers all the solutions. I originally wanted to give them the chance to place the objects in the same hand, but that caused me to have too many outs to worry about. This ending is enough and has gotten great reactions when I’ve performed it. Back to the routine: I always try to pick a couple… like a wife & husband, boyfriend & girlfriend, etc. When I bring them up, I put the girl to my right and the guy to my left. In my stage show, I liked to sit at the edge of the stage with them so it looked casual and intimate. I would open the box and display the objects inside to the audience. After that display, I would turn to the lady and say, “In a moment, I want you to pick one of these objects, but I really want you to decide which object you would like before picking it out. Make a strong decision as to which object you want and go for it. Please keep the box turned so no one sees which object you picked… especially me. Tell me when you’ve picked your object.”
I turn away from her so that the audience can see that I cannot see her actions. Some times I turn to the man and have some light banter with him as the lady picks her object. When she calls out that she is done I turn around. At that moment there a times when I already know what she took because she moved the box in her actions and I see the red shavings. If I don’t see them I don’t take it as a positive that she removed the half. To make sure of the decision I pick up the box, without really looking at it, as I place it near the guy and say, “This will be for you… later.” Having done that I can now see which object she took, but I don’t immediately reveal it. Oh, here is something that happened so maybe you can learn from this experience: In one show, while I was turned, I heard the lady pick up the object and close the box… I then heard a brushing sound. I realized she had seen the little pieces and brushed them off the table to clean it off. I think it was an involuntary reaction on her part, but luckily I caught that or I would have been wrong from the start. So listen to everything that is happening around you. Back to the action: Since I now know what object she picked, I can now pull out the appropriate wallet. I always keep the wallet that has her holding the half on my right side. I pull it out and say this, “Oh, and here is a prediction for the end of this little game.” I hand that
wallet to someone in the front row to hold. I then look up at the audience and say the following: “Now some think that I placed those two objects randomly into the box, but that is not so. Those objects reveal a bit about a person’s make up… let me tell you how. If the person picks the ball they tend to go for the fun side of life… not a hundred percent, but a little more than most.” “For instance, a person that picks the ball could be working on some important tax papers one night and suddenly get a call from a friend who has tickets to Gigli 2. The fun person would say, ‘Sure, let’s go out. I’ll take care of this another day.’” “The person that picks the half has more of the business side of life in their system… not a hundred percent… just more than most. That person, if they were working on important papers, might get a call from a friend that says, ‘I just got tickets to Johnny Depps’ new movie, and it’s a private screening, and we can have dinner with him after the show!’ Well, the half person would say, ‘Sounds great, but I really have to get these papers done. Maybe next time.” As soon as I finish that line I turn dramatically towards the lady and say, “So now I have to figure out if you are a fun person or a business person.”
I study her for a bit and make some comments. If she has family or friends in the audience you can hear them snickering or making comments. I suddenly say, “You know, you look like a person that has a lot of fun in life… but I think you decided to be more business like tonight… show them the half.” She reveals the half and I get my first round of applause. I continue by saying, “Now that I know a bit about you let’s play a little game. I want you to take the half behind your back and decide which hand to keep it in. When you’re done, bring back both hands and keep them closed in tight fists. Try not to give me a hint as to which hand contains the half.” She does this and I usually turn away a bit so that no one thinks I’m trying to get a peek at her. When she comes out with both hands, I face her… we both have our sides to the audience, I say to her, “I want you to pretend that you have a tiny voice you can send down your arm and into your hands. This tiny voice will whisper in my ear, ‘It’s in this hand’ or ‘It’s in this hand’, but I really want you to imagine that voice and how it’s sent down your arm, into your hands and then whispers in my ear.” When I say those things to her, I mime with my closed fists and put my fists right next to my ears as if I’m hearing a whisper. These actions allow me not to go near her or touch her hands… she does all the actions I need by pretending to whisper in my ears with her closed fists.
So I usually do the guessing game about three times… not much more than that. Also, as of lately, I tend to use two of the Gauci gimmicks so I know exactly which hand has what… I don’t want to guess as to what I think is happening. Those that have it will know what I mean. Okay, back to the action. I’ve guessed correctly, three times in a row, where the object is hidden and I turn to the guy and say, “You have the final word here. In a moment I want you to decide whether you will put the ball in your right hand or left… but, mind you, whatever you do then the young lady has to do the opposite. So if you put the ball in your left hand then she must put the half in her right or vice-versa. And you will do this out in the open so we can all see what you decide on.” So he decides, let’s say, to put the ball in his right hand and the lady then puts the half in her left. I go over what has happened, including the fact that things would have ended differently if the lady had chosen the ball to begin with. I reach forward and open the wallet that is being held by the spectator. I ask them to pull out the one paper that’s inside and read it out loud. As they read the paper, I point back and forth between the two spectators to show the correct elements within the prediction. So, as they read, “The young lady first chose the half so that means the young man got the ball”, I point from right to left at the proper objects and who is holding them.
For sake of completeness, I always code which side I open the wallet by what the lady is holding in the end and which hand. So, if she has the ball in her right hand then I open the wallet from the right side and so on. Of course, you can figure out which way would be best for you to remember which wallet or envelope to take out in the beginning and which side to open. Also, you could set this as a multiple out premise and have four predictions hidden somewhere and then point out the correct one when it is time. I feel that’s not as strong as having what appears to be a prediction that’s been out for practically the entire routine. This is a brilliant effect by Charles Gauci and I hope I've given you an idea on how to add impact to this effect. And for those that wonder, I titled the effect Fo(u)r Eyes because of the four outs that are needed to do this version of Eye to Eye.
THE WHAT: The performer shows a drawing of a voodoo doll and explains that soon someone will pick how to hurt his victim and exactly what spot on the body will be damaged. The performer writes and draws something on the drawing, without it being seen, and puts the drawing inside an envelope. Now he calls out to spectators to scream out various weapons or tools to hurt or kill someone. He writes each offer on a separate piece of paper and balls each piece up. When several weapons have been called out, he asks one spectator to join him on this ritual. The spectator is asked to randomly pick one of the little balls of paper and his choice will be the weapon used on the voodoo doll. After the weapon has been chosen, but not revealed, the spectator is asked to use one of his hands and touch any part of his body that he feels will be the affected area on the voodoo character. As soon as the spectator touches the body part he thinks will be affected, the performer quickly removes the voodoo character from the envelope and shows that there is an X right on that very area… but also written on the drawing is the word KNIFE.
The spectator opens the paper ball for the first time and reads the word on it… it is KNIFE. THE HOW: I’ve only tweaked this premise a bit. I found that just having a big X on the right spot is not enough. The more information you can have on the final drawing the more it seems impossible that you were able to guess what the spectator would choose. In this effect you are dealing with two principles: drawing the X seconds after you see it and forcing a word that you can cleanly draw in advance. I’ll also detail another method for the X and other information you can have on there to further prove you knew in advance what would be chosen. First, the X… use an envelope that has the back cut out of it so that you can easily nailwrite the X once you see where the spectator places his hand. But there’s a little subtlety you can use here… as you start the routine you hand someone the envelope to hold as you explain a little history of Voodoo. That envelope is complete, but when you take out the voodoo drawing you then put the envelope away as you explain what you are going to try and do. Now when you bring back the envelope again you come out with the other envelope that has no back. A little extra touch is to mar or bend both envelopes in the same spot so that some people, who are very aware, catch that and see it as the same envelope. Don’t go overboard with this… a little deception goes a long way.
That’s the easy way to get the X in the right place… a backless envelope and a Listo nailwriter, but if you want to work at it a bit… You can make it a little more deceptive with a bit more work. Use a thin magnet sheet (the kind used to make refrigerator magnets) and cover that with a picture of the Voodoo character. Also, cut out an X out of sheet metal and paint that black so that it looks like a large X made from a magic marker. The envelope has a light sketch of the voodoo doll on the outside that you use for a demonstration by pointing out the various body parts, but that sketch will allow you to move the metal X into place from the outside of the envelope. You also need a false fingertip, or thumbtip, that has a magnet inside. The magnet should be stronger than the strength of the magnetic sheet that is behind the Voodoo character. In this scenario, another spectator can hold the envelope the entire time and you open it only after the selection of weapons has been made and the body area picked. As with the first, you already know the weapon and you move the X to the proper spot by using the Voodoo guide on the outside and pressing your magnet finger against the X that is inside the envelope. Now that we have how to get the X on the right spot then what about the weapon of choice? A force. You basically pick one of the most common weapons to use
such as knife or gun and write that on the Voodoo character. When you start calling for weapons you start by writing whichever one they first call out then just write all the other papers as your force weapon. Of course, if someone calls out your force weapon first then just stop there and make a big deal about the freedom of choice and do your big reveal. So when the person picks one piece of paper he has a very good chance of picking the force weapon, but if he picks the only one not the force weapon then say, “Okay, one down… keep picking up pieces until we are left with one unknown weapon.” He can only leave the force weapon at the end. Also, there are some subtleties you can use in this force: You can write your force weapon on a few of the papers and do a simple equivoque to those papers. Or write your force weapon on every other paper and mix them up, but keep the force weapon on every other spot in a line of balled up papers… make sure you mark them somehow so you can spot them. Now you can have the person pick up any two papers that are next to each other and do a simple equivoque of those two and still prove that he could have made another choice by opening the other paper. I cannot just end there. I want you to think about how many pieces of information you can have on that drawing before you reveal the X. If you do preshow work then this is the time to get a name of an enemy from someone. If
you know somebody’s name in the audience and they are with another friend then pick the friend and have them make believe they are harming their friend… the one you know the name of and have already written it on the drawing. Force numbers to make a date when the murder occurs; force a color to explain what the victim was wearing the night that the murder took place, etc. The more stuff you can already have on that picture the more it will look like any choice made could have been predicted on that voodoo character. And I’ve mentioned this in the past, if you want to really force a lot of items, in a row, then get Osterlind’s SOS bag. It’s marvelous for this situation. In my stage show, I used that bag to do a similar routine where the voodoo picture prediction had the same weapons chosen and the same colors that were used to clip the papers that had those weapons and the same exact body places the spectator would clip the papers on his own body when the drawing was revealed. That’s absolutely no work for a multiple outcome prediction. And from Max: Annemann had a force of a weapon also… apparently better than mine so look it up and U.F. Grant had developed the magnetic X idea in the 40’s.
THE WHAT: The performer talks about various routines used by others that are full of danger and tonight he wants to join them. He talks up about the inherent dangers in the next routine and how he’s warning those that watch it not to try it at home. Finally, after a serious discussion about what is to happen, he pulls out six cute little cartoon bombs. The bombs are about the size of a ping pong ball and have that cartoon look of a black bomb with a fuse and the word BOMB written right on them. The performer shows that each bomb has a little mousetrap device underneath them that you can load with a cap so that when it is picked up the trap goes off and BOOM!! He loads one of the bombs then mixes them so that no one knows which is which. He then places each tiny bomb on its own paper coaster. He has someone else shuffle the coasters around so that now even the performer does not know which contains the deadly bomb. Slowly the daredevil puts his hand over the bombs and suddenly raises one up by lifting it by its fuse… a loud CLICK is heard, but no BOOM. He does this four more times and finds all the safe bombs. To prove there was danger he lifts the last bomb and BANG!!!
THE HOW: This has got to be the cutest and safest roulette effect to do. I came up with it when I saw these baby bombs sold at the local magic store. I’ve seen them since at other novelty stores so I’m sure you can find them in your town or on the Internet. Essentially, they really look like tiny cartoon bombs… the kind you would have seen the Coyote holding just before it goes off and made him turn to ash. They are black, round, and have a flat bottom those houses the cap device… also known as a bingo device in some stores. When I first bought them I knew I would do a comical roulette routine, but as I worked with them I started finding that it was hard to mark the one I needed to follow without making it obvious. I kept playing around with various spots on the bombs, but nothing worked for me and then it happened… I knew I was going to present this at the Magic Castle and probably place the little bombs on one of the nice felt-covered tables that can be found there. I could tell that when the cap went off it sent out a flash and spark that could burn a spot on the table so I realized that the bombs would have to sit on some sort of holder… like a coaster. As soon as I realized that, I knew that it would be the coaster I was tracking and not the bombs. I bought some crazy looking paper coasters that I could easily mark up and the marks would just blend in.
Now I had a simple routine, but what I didn’t realize is how well it played. My initial thought was that this would be a cute routine and no one would feel it was dangerous… how wrong I was. The first time I did it I heard the cries and whoops of surprise as the unloaded bombs clicked in silence. It seems that even that mousetrap click makes people wince. I guess it’s the expectation of the blast that gets them to back up… sort of like a balloon that’s going to be popped. You can now see how the whole routine plays out. You do a funny, but serious speech about what could happen then bring out the bombs and load one. Mix them up then place the one you’ve kept a track of on your marked coaster. Have a spectator mix the coasters around and then start picking up the little bombs. I have played it up even bigger by blindfolding myself. You are going to be surprised by the reaction you get from such a simple idea and routine.
THE WHAT: You show various paper bags on a table… they could be numbered. You explain that you will crush each bag as they are called out and just leave one standing. The audience picks bags for you to crush, no force, and you crush each. You reach into the last bag and pull out a wicked looking ball that has sharp spikes protruding from it. It would have been very harmful for you to smash that bag. THE HOW: As you can tell, I love the roulette effects. This one requires no forces, preshow, switches or has any real danger to it…unless you are incredibly stupid… you’ll see what I mean by that statement. What you are going to do is make the spike ball. This will probably be the hardest thing to do because it will be something that has to be configured to your own proportions. You see, what you are making is a very dangerous hank ball… the kind that in the past were hollow and used to either vanish objects or produce them by stuffing the objects into the ball. The ball itself should be about the size of a ping pong ball… give or take your hand size… and it can be made out of rubber or wood. I’ve tried both. You
are going to cover that ball with tiny spikes made from various size nails. Whether using rubber or wood, I found it is best to drill out pilot holes that are slight smaller than the thickness of the nail you will drive in. If you don’t do that then as you insert nail after nail, into the wood or rubber ball, it will split and crack open. I’ve also played around with making tiny holes all around the ball then cutting the nails at mid-shaft and gluing those points in the holes. When you are done you should have a tiny looking mace that has all of these spikes running through it. But as you make the spikeball, keep measuring how far the spikes stick out in relation to where the ball will lie on your palm. You see, in the end this ball will be swinging right on your open palm and it should be hidden from sight if someone is looking at the back of your hand. Once you’ve made and measured your cruel ball then place a loop of thin catgut or thread around the base of one of the spikes. The loop should be big enough and long enough that you can hang it over you thumb and the ball should rest in the palm of you hand. Also, you should be able to pull off this loop easily off the ball… preferably with one hand. If you’ve done all this right then you should be able to hold the hand that has the ball so its back is to the audience and nothing can be seen from that side. The loop
hangs over your thumb and allows the ball to hang in front of your palm. Now you see where this is going. You show a number of bags sitting on the table… they should all be sitting on their bottoms with the tops opened fully. Have the ball sitting on the table directly behind one of the bags. Explain what you are going to do and while doing this you can naturally show both hands empty as you gesture. When you are ready to get into smashing the bags just rest one hand on the table behind the bag that has the ball and use your other hand to point inside the bags as you ask them to point or call one bag out. In this action you can steal the ball and have it throughout the rest of the routine as you smash bag after bag. One bag will be left at the end so reach inside of it with the hand that has the ball and then bring it out as if it was in the bag, but hold it delicately at your fingers. To make it look bigger than it is you would want to hold the ball by the tip of the longest spike and use two fingers to pinch that tip. Close the rest of your fingers into a tight fist as you hold the ball so that it looks much larger than you hand. Now you see what my stupid comment was about… only someone who forgets NOT to smash the bags with the hand that has the spike ball will be hurt by this routine.
And to be complete, I soon realized, but never made up one, that you could make up an even larger ball and steal it behind the last bag from either your coat (like a dove steal), or from behind the table. One more thing, if you make the ball strong enough you can toss it at a melon or corkboard and have it impale itself… that makes it look even more dangerous. That’s why it’s best to be able to remove the loop before you take it out of the bag. You wouldn’t want someone to spot the loop as the ball impales itself in the melon.
WHAT A CHARADE
THE WHAT: The performer shows various cards that have pop culture references like: Gilligan' Island, Bruce Willis, The Matrix, Paris Hilton, Survivor, etc. He explains that he loves to play charades and over the years he has developed a certain affinity for certain subjects and these cards represent those particular subjects. He further explains that he is so connected to these subjects that he can even tell when players are lying in the game and he will test that gift tonight. Audience members grab random cards from the pack and begin to play a game of charades with their chosen subjects. Although the performer has told them to completely lie when performing their silent clues, he is able to not only tell when they are lying, but explains how their lies are helping him work out the real answers. The final game can end in one of two ways: the performer draws a similar picture to the subject that has been picked or acts out the correct clues and gets another audience member to pick the secret subject. THE HOW: Okay, once again my favorite method for such things: a stacked set of cards in a known sequence that will allow you to know what each person has picked.
Although the method is easy, this is not an easy routine to pull off… you need not only acting skills, but also improv skills. You will need to be thinking on your feet because just about anything is possible. Let me give you some scenarios: Someone cuts into your stack and they take the next five cards. You peek at the bottom card of the stack and know that they have The Matrix, Paris Hilton, Gilligan’s Island, Bruce Willis and Survivor. Now you have to think… you know who has what, but what will make the best ending? How can you create the best ending and the best sequence with what you now know. Here’s my thinking process on that one: I would go for ending with The Matrix or Gilligan’s Island because they have the smallest range of reference to perform. And what I mean by that is if you pick Bruce Willis, well, someone might go with describing his job, or his look, or just one of his movies… that’s too much information to be specific with. The same holds true with Paris Hilton and I think Survivor is too vague to get a strong ending. In this case I would probably stick with The Matrix because it is a more recent pop culture icon and some would struggle on trying to figure out how to describe Gilligan’s Island. Now that decision has to come quickly and you already have to be thinking, once you’ve made it, how you will be using it to end with… will it be a drawing dupe, another spectator figures it out from your actions, or maybe you stand back to back with the person who has
chosen it and you both start to act it out and the audience sees you doing the same movements even though you can’t see each other. Many possibilities. This is the kind of stuff I love… improv mentalism. Now back to the action: You explain the rules and tell your spectators that they will play a game of charades using their secret subject, but they are to lie as much as they want and in every step of the way. They can even lie when first given you a clue as to what type of subject it is such as making the symbol for “it’s a movie” when, in fact, they have a TV show or person. Let’s start with the person that picked Bruce Willis. The spectator makes the gesture that “it’s a book” and you look at him for a moment and say, “Interesting. You are saying it’s a book, but the way you opened the book was a kind of weird. There was a kind of false gesture to it. I’m thinking that this is probably a person by the way you stood straight at the end of your gesture, but I could be wrong and it might be a TV show… but I know it’s not a book. Go on.” The spectator can now either tell the truth about it or lie, or just keep going. Let’s say they don’t say a word, but just keep going and decide to tell the truth a bit. They try to recreate a scene from one of Willis’ movies… it also could be funny to the audience just watching the person try and act out clues. There’s a lot of natural inherent humor to this whole routine.
So, the spectator does his act and you look at it and you say, “Hmm. I feel some truth in that one. Now I’m sure it’s not a book, but I’m puzzled because I get the weird feeling that this could be about some famous person, but I can’t tell whether this person is famous for a TV show or a movie… there’s something odd about this one. Give me another clue.” The spectator decides to lie a bit an starts acting like a monkey… you stop him suddenly and say, “Great clue!! It’s a lie, but you don’t know how much you gave away.” You pick up a board or pad and write something quickly. The spectator is told to say what his subject was and you turn the pad around to show you’ve written “Bruce Willis”. I’m sure some of you will see that I threw in that interesting idea that I would be mentally confused by Bruce Willis because he was known for TV and movies. And I know some would say to mention it at the end. I say, “Don’t.” Let some of the audience experience that themselves. Don’t push your powers on them… let them discover it themselves. Now you got one, let’s move onto Gilligan’s Island. The spectator chooses to lie throughout. It’s your skills that should shine here. Picking on certain gestures or movements and playing them up to be “tells” that give away his lying skills. I can’t really go too much into it here because it would be a book onto itself if I were to
describe all the variations that could happen. Anything is possible and you should be prepared for it. I wish I could go into all the permutations of this routine, but that would be impossible as any combination could come out and you would need to adjust what direction you then take. Also, to further complicate matters, you could just have them all write their own subjects then either get a peek, steal it via an impression device or billet switch… now you would be into some serious fun because as you get the information you would have to start processing, mentally, which one would be given out first and how you were going to end it. Talk about working with out a net… please no Beach Blanket Bingo puns. And I’ve mentioned Osterlind’s SOS bag before, but here is another place where it would work. Picture the audience entering your theater and being ask to write suggestions for the game then dropping them into the bag. Later you force known subjects for your game from the same bag and everyone one thinks that it is someone else’s subject being taken from the bag. Sorry, I couldn’t go into this as much as some would like, but I would prefer to see what happens when others take this idea and run with it. You’ll have to come up with your own list and mnemonics to remember it. I’m very curious to see and read the spin that others put on this idea.
THE WHAT: You take out your wallet and say that you had a premonition of a particular card and you placed that card in your wallet. You open your wallet and take out the one card that is seen in there… it is face down so it is still a mystery card. You take out a deck of cards and you shuffle them a bit and then spread them face down on the table. You ask one spectator to simply push out any card from the spread and push it towards you. The spectator pulls out one card and hands it to you so that it stays face down the entire time. You take that card and put it into your wallet to replace the card that was just there. For the first time you turn the mystery card around… it is the 3 of Clubs. You have the spectator deal the cards face up and count them as he is dealing, but he is to stop when he gets to the 3 of Clubs. He does this and ends up counting 51 cards and never sees a 3 of Clubs. You say, “I guess the premonition was right”, and you put the mystery 3 of Clubs into the pack. You then open the wallet to check and, sure enough, it was the other 3 of Clubs the spectator gave you.
THE HOW: My friend, Federico Luduena, is in love with the Premonition effect and has researched various combinations and ideas. I decided to throw my hat in the ring… maybe it’s not a very impressive hat, but it gets the job done. As some have already deduced, the wallet is any switching wallet like a Himber one, and you have two 3 of Clubs inside both compartments of the wallet. The deck is tricked up in a simple manner: take out the 3 of Clubs and put in one duplicate of any other card. I suggest making it a card that won’t stand out like a 2 of diamonds or 5 of Spades. You are ready to go. Take out the wallet and tell your story. Open the wallet, either side is fine, but remember which side you just opened. Take out one of the 3 of Clubs and put it face down. Shuffle the deck, but don’t go crazy and do remember where you put the two duplicate cards in the deck. You don’t want to shuffle in a way that when the spectator deals through he suddenly sees two 5 of Spades near each other. The spectator will pull out any card, it doesn’t matter which one, and gives it to you. Place that card in the empty compartment in the wallet and close it up. Have the spectator deal the cards face up and count. He will now count 51 cards and see no 3 of Clubs. Turn over the mystery card and you’re done. Further prove that it was the right premonition by opening the other side of the wallet and displaying the other 3 of Clubs.
The reset is simple: Take out the card the spectator gave you from the wallet and replace that with the 3 of Clubs that is now in the deck. You are ready to go again. And be sure to check where the two duplicate cards in the deck lie so they are never close to each other in the deck. By the way, SWAP comes from: Switching Wallet And Premonition.
THE WHAT: A large, inflated balloon is shown. The performer shakes it a bit and something is heard rattling inside. Now he displays a deck of cards and says that the entire audience will get rid of all the cards… but one. With no verbal force, the performer removes cards from the deck. So, if the audience calls out for all the reds to be removed, the performer tosses those away. Now he asks which blacks are to go: Spades or Clubs. The audience decides on Clubs so all thirteen of those cards are tossed out. Next the audience decides on either throwing out all the cards from ace to seven or eight through king. This process goes on until one card is left. For example, the audience, through its actions, has decided that the 8 of Spades remained. The performer picks up the balloon and shakes it again so that someone in the front row can hear something inside. He places the chosen card on a stand so that it can be seen. Now he takes a large needle and pops the balloon. A card falls out and gently floats down. He asks for someone to pick up the card that was in the balloon and show it. It is the 8 of Spades.
THE HOW: I’m pretty proud of this idea and method. Think about it. No force. No indexes on your person. Any card called for is seen to come out of that balloon. Well, there is an index, but it is visible throughout the routine and allows for any card called for to be in that balloon… at least, it appears that way. Here is what I found: If you take the thin cards, like those used for card manipulation or certain trick decks on the market, you can rough & smooth two decks together and it will appear to be one deck… roughly… pun intended. From stage it easy to hide the thickness by just always facing the cards towards the audience and never showing the edge. But you will find that once you get rid of half the deck that what is left is pretty close to what would be there if it was just 26 cards. In fixing your deck you will be putting them in pairs so that the ace of diamonds has the ace of diamonds behind it and the two of diamonds has the two of diamonds behind it and so on. And you really want to coat the cards well so that there’s no chance of them spreading by accident. Set up that deck so that all the cards are in order and all the reds are on one side and the blacks on the other side.
Now for the balloon: Use opaque balloons… the best are ones that say they have the pearl finish. I use an eleveninch round that is called Pearl Onyx Black. They blow up big and are pretty much opaque unless there’s a strong light behind them. Before you blow one up, cut a large piece from another balloon and drop it inside the one you will blow up. This is the old idea, from U.F. Grant, of having something bounce around inside that will later blend in with all the other pieces. Finally, the secret ingredient, buy one of the tacky glues that you can find in art supply stores. The one I use is called Aleene’s Tack-it, but you can find others at your stores. They usually are in white or brown bottles that squeeze out the substance at the top. When it comes out it looks a bit like Elmer’s glue, but dries pretty clear and is more tacky than sticky… therefore, the name, I guess. When you prepare your balloon, find a spot on one of its sides, about midway between the knot and the other end, and spread a bit of the tacky substance so that it covers a silver dollar-sized area. Let it dry. It will stay tacky for a long time. You are ready. Show the balloon around or just have it sitting on display somewhere. Take out your cards and fan them and go through the process of removing all the cards that they call out. Have some place to dump those cards like a hat or other container.
Eventually, you will be left with one card… actually two. I’ll describe my handling. I hold the remaining card in one hand by holding it at the extreme fingertips and my forefinger pushes it from behind so that it bows out a little. You are holding it in a kind of Biddle grip at the edge of your thumb and other fingers. Now pick up the balloon with your free hand and shake it next to someone so they can hear something rattling inside. Once you’ve done that back up to place the card down and pick up whatever pin you will use to pop the balloon. In that same action, the hand holding the card crosses behind the balloon and pushes the card on the tacky spot. In that very quick moment, the face card of the double will stick and you will be left holding the duplicate that was on the back of that card. This action happens so fast that it really just looks as if nothing has happened. Continue the path that the hand holding the card is going in and place the card on a visible holder as you pick up your pin. It should look like your hand just crossed behind the balloon to reach the table and place the card there. It’s over before you know it. You can display the balloon casually as long as you don’t let it rotate to the side that has a card sticking to it. Pop the balloon and that card will float down as if it was inside. What more could you ask?
Several ideas: If you want to do a bit of equivoque then the initial deck will be slightly smaller so you only have the reds duplicated and just equivoque the black cards out of the picture early on. From that point, all your actions will be the same. So, if they call out reds at first you say, “So we will keep the reds and throw out the black cards. What cards should we keep next? The diamonds. Okay, let’s throw out the hearts and keep the diamonds…” You see how it will still look fair this way. And something I like to throw in from time to time: a bonus prediction. You can say as the last card was left, “You’ve all picked the 4 of Diamonds to keep, but I’m curious… if this were your deck of cards where would the 4 of diamonds lie… third from the top, eleventh, fortysecond? Call out any number from one to fifty-two.” The audience calls out or decides on 34, let’s say. You pop the balloon and the 4 of diamonds falls out, but also a small folded paper. You have the audience pick up the card that fell out and show it as you pick up the paper and unfold it. Inside the paper it shows the number 34 written on it. A little addition, but easy to do. In this case the noise inside the balloon is actually that folded paper they will soon see, but it has nothing written it. You wear a nail writer and when you unfold the paper you simply write the number that has been called out by the audience.
And if you want to make that idea go a bit deeper, what if you tell the audience to pick any member from their group and that person picks up the card that falls and his name is Harry and he names the number? Now the little folded card reads, “Everybody seems to like Harry. I know I do because he picked my favorite number… 34.” You can see where you would just have a folded card that has all that information except for the two spots to nail-write in a name and number. And let’s not forget those that love preshow or forcing items. What if you know a lot about one person and force that person to be the one to pick up the card? Now the card can read, “Harry loves to travel. Hey, how was your trip to Hawaii last summer? And he loves his pet, Spooky, but who wouldn’t love a cute Pug. And now… well, I don’t LOVE Harry, but I like him a lot for naming the 6 of Clubs and calling out the number 28.” A very big deal out of a simple balloon idea. From Max: “It's worth noting that there is a name for the gaffed deck you described (albeit it's usually made using cards of normal thickness): It is a roughed MeneTekel Deck. The original deck, invented by Burling Hull, used long/short to keep the pairs together, but the ‘Mene Tekel’ title bestowed by W. D. LeRoy has come to define any deck that consists of pairs of duplicates.”
SOME STRANGE IDEAS This one is going to push the envelope. Oh, boy. I’ve taken two ideas from the master of modern close-up: Paul Harris. I started playing with some card ideas that the genius, Paul, put out and realized you could tweak them for mentalism. When I first mentioned what I was working on, Paul wrote back to say, “That is very close to the last use I could imagine for those effects. I can’t wait to see what you’ve cooked up.” And when I sent him the specifics, he said, “Very cool.” A “very cool” from Paul is worth hundreds of other praises. I blushed just seeing those words on my computer screen. I know many of you will think I’ve gone absolutely insane by using some card magic to get a drawing dupe, but I can’t help it. I am insane. Anyway, my only promise to Paul was that I wouldn’t go into the exact moves that are in his original effect so I’ll have to ask you to go into his Art of Astonishment series or his DVDs to get the correct moves. So here’s the first effect inspired by Paul’s weird mind:
BIZARRE DUPE THE WHAT: You take out a stack of your business cards and give one to a spectator. He is asked to draw a picture on the back of that card. When he is done, you take back the card and sandwich it between two other cards then place that stack on the table. You explain a bit about transmitting thoughts and how you want him to try and send all the various lines and images that make up his drawing. You then take the other two cards back and begin to draw what you believe is a representation of his drawing. When done you put your drawing down and use the last card to turnover his drawing that has been lying on the table. The two drawings match. THE HOW: For those that know Bizarre Twist and Cros Twist then you can start your engines now. Just add one Mexican Turnover move at the end and you’re done. Like I said in the beginning, I won’t be able to give you all the exact moves in this routine, but if you learn the original Bizarre Twist and then move onto the one-handed Cros Twist, you’ll know how to accomplish this routine. For those that know the two routines, you’ll see that when you do the “twist” what appears to be his drawing
in the middle of the two cards is actually the other card and his drawing is now the bottommost card. Pick up the bottom and top card and start to try and get his drawing… you are staring right at it because he believes the card that is still on the table is his drawing. Draw on the blank back of the other card and place that near him. Now take the last card, his card, and scoop up the card on the table to turn it over and switch it via the Mexican Turnover move. To briefly describe the Mexican Turnover: In your right hand you have his card and you swing down and use it to turn the card that is on the table by scooping it by the right side and turning it over. What happens in that action is your right thumb holds onto the card, that is already on the table, as you continue your right to left sweep and your right forefinger turns the card that was originally in your hand over while your right thumb and forefinger continue holding onto the card that was on the table. In that action you have switched the tabled card for the one in your hand, which was the one that had his drawing. By the way, this routine will not work on some business cards because they tend to stick too much and won’t let you do the “twist” properly. I’ve noticed that cheaper cards work best unless the lettering is raised. And then one day I realized, just use double blank playing cards and you can do the move exactly as needed and with no problems.
SUPER SWINDLE STEAL Ah, the alliteration of it. So this effect was based on another of Paul’s ideas that originally was put out separately in a small booklet. In that miracle manuscript, Paul gives you a way of making a signed card vanish from between two other cards and end up in the deck. It was a fantastic idea… and now how to apply it to stealing info. THE WHAT: You have a stack of business cards and you hand one to a spectator. You tell him to write some personal information. When he is done, you take back his card and place it between two other of your business cards. You fold the three-card packet into a little bundle and hand it to the spectator. You tell him to light the packet on fire and stare into the flames. He is to see his private information floating up from the smoke. You stare in the air as if you are watching something appear within the smoke. You pick up your packet of business cards and pull one out and write something on it. The spectator is asked to call out what he wrote. You show the back of your business card and you’ve gotten the same information.
THE HOW: Okay, another one I can’t describe exactly, but it’s worth your time to check up this effect. The switch for the spectatator’s card is imperceptible and he always thinks that his packet contains all three cards. It’s a bit knacky to do with business cards, but it is possible. Of course, you could always use blank faced Bicycle cards and do the moves and routine exactly as Paul describes, but now do it to steal valuable information from the spectator. Sorry I couldn’t give you more detail, but your hunt for these routines will lead you to treasure. Oops, while playing around with this some more I realized that you could remove Paul’s tricky gimmick made up with the cards and simply have another card just sandwiched between the top two… that middle card facing the other way. To further push the subtlety, if you know the spectator’s name in advance then write the initials on the card that is sandwiched between the two top cards. When you first hand one business card to the spectator you ask his name, as if you don’t know it, then write his initials on the same spot as the other card. Now when you push his card, fourth from the top of the stack, as you pull back the top card they will see the initials and all is right in the world.
A SYMBOL COLOR THE WHAT: A simple routine to start a show. You walk out on stage and decide you want to try a simple experiment that deals with influencing choices. You show five Jumbo ESP cards and have someone stop you as you deal through them… the chosen ESP card is laid to the side. Now you bring out a small clear bag that contains small folded slips. You have someone in the audience pull out a few slips, open them and read what they say. Each slip has one word… the name of a color such as, red, blue, green, etc. You have that spectator fold the slips back and throw them back into the bag. The first spectator, who picked the ESP card, now reaches into the bag and pulls out a slip, but doesn’t open it yet. The performer turns the ESP card around for the first time and it’s the circle. The spectator opens his slip and it reads YELLOW. The performer looks around and smiles… he waits for applause and gets none. Suddenly he realizes and says, “Oh, I see, you don’t get it. It’s a yellow circle. Would you reach under you seat and pull out the envelope that’s taped there.” The spectator does find an envelope taped there and brings it out. He is told to now reach inside and pull out
what’s in the envelope. It is an extra-Jumbo ESP card… and it is a Yellow Circle symbol. THE HOW: Okay, not the most devastating effect, but it’s cute enough to start most shows and I’ve gotten some mileage from it. For most you can see how this all works. The ESP cards are roughed and smoothed so that behind each symbol there is a force symbol. Anywhere the spectator stops you’ll be able to show that he picked the force symbol by separating the roughed & smoothed pairs apart. The bag is a clear forcing bag so one side has all different slips with colors and the other side has slips all that read the same: YELLOW. Also, I use the ESP cards that come in extra-Jumbo for the prediction. These cards are about 7 inches by 11 and the symbols are in color. You now can piece together what happens. The prediction card is taped under the seat and now you force the proper ESP card with the rough and smoothed set and then force the right color from the bag. I think what makes this work as an opener for me is the casual way I act when both things have been chosen. I act surprised that no one is making a big deal about what just happened. Then I suddenly realize that they haven’t seen the final prediction. It’s a fun, quick opener. It’s not going to change the world of mentalism, but it’s a nice thing to have if you are trying to figure out how to open a show in a light manner.
WINE-OH! THE WHAT: The performer walks on stage and points to several paper bags that are sitting on a table. The bags all sit opened and with the openings pointed towards the ceiling. “Inside one of these bags is something I always need to start my shows. I hope you can pick it out for me. Please, we need to start eliminating bags… would you point to one bag that you’d like to get rid of?” The performer has a spectator point to one of the bags. Whatever bag is randomly picked the performer smashes it flat. He continues to do this until all but one bag remains. He picks up that bag, delicately, and reaches inside and pulls out a full wine glass. He holds up the glass and says, “A toast to you all for making the right choices and now on with the show.” The performer raises the glass high then drinks from it. THE HOW: I love magic and I’ve often wondered why you can’t use the same methods and ploys used in magic, but in the world of mentalism. This thinking produced this routine. What is on that table are simple paper bags… as many as you like… but you cut out the back from the lower
half of each bag. Each bag now has a small cutout window at its backside. The full wine glass is not in any bag… it’s hidden comfortably in your jacket in a holder or simply wedged between you and your pants. The glass, of course, is sealed by either wrapping a balloon around the mouth of it, or sealing it up with Saran wrap and some rubber bands. You can go to your local magic stores and find many production glasses and items that are meant for producing full glasses of liquids from various items. So, the spectators can have you smash any bag and you then pick up the last bag and reach inside and pull out the wine glass by reaching into the bag then out the back and into your jacket. Inside the bag you push up on the glass cover so that the glass comes out looking as if it would have been a big mess if you had hit that bag. Some pointers: There is a bit of acting that needs to go on here. Remember, supposedly the bag contains a filled glass so you would handle the bag delicately as to not spill the contents as you pick it up. Also, to help the look, tape the largest metal washer you can get your hands on to the inside bottom of each bag. The washer will give the bag the right look and movement when picked up. An empty bag tends to float a bit when handled and picked up and you don’t want that look.
I did not want to give this up. And I actually have another version of this that I’ve only taught to a few, but when I was researching for the book I was told by Banachek that my other presentation is similar to something that Basil Horowitz had already done. I didn’t know it at the time so I won’t give away that idea, but the smart ones will be able to figure it out from this method. THE WHAT: You bring out a small stack of your business cards and small pay envelope. You have the spectator draw a picture on the back of one of your business cards then he cuts his card into the stack of cards and drops all of them into the envelope. Now you start to think. You pick up a pad and draw something. You tear the sheet off the pad and place it face down on the table. You dump out the cards from the envelope and find the card that has the drawing. It is found that the drawing you just did is very similar to the one the spectator did on our card. THE HOW: Here goes. All you need is: a stack of your cards, a pay envelope or something a bit larger… and, get ready, some sticky glue or double stick tape. I seem to like making things sticky.
On the back of the envelope you put a dab of sticky glue or a small dot of double stick tape. That’s it. You are ready to capture a drawing. You bring out a stack of your cards and have the spectator pick one. Then you tell him to draw something on the back of the card as you turn around. You’ve left the other cards in a stack on the table. When the spectator says he is done you turn around and have him place his card, drawing down, on the stack of cards. Now you bring out the envelope and place it on the stack as you talk a bit about what most people will draw when asked to draw something. As you talk, you point to the hidden stack and press you finger down on the envelope… this will make the topmost card stick to the envelope. Pick up the envelope and tell the spectator to cut the stack of cards so that his card is in the middle of the stack. Of course, his card is now in the back of the envelope and you are staring at it. When he cuts the stack you open the envelope for him and have him dump the stack of cards inside… you hold the envelope open, but have the side that has the stuck card facing towards the table. Pick up a pad and start to draw. Toss the face down drawing towards the spectator. Now to clean up: open the envelope and shake out the cards, but at the same time use your forefinger to peel off and push out the hidden
card so it falls with the others into pile. Have him look for his card and then turn it around to match the drawings. Here’s a hint on my other presentation that uses the same method: in that presentation I only use cards and there is no envelope. Hint, Hint. And finally, Banachek reminded me that Max Maven had put a similar idea in Magick called Cue Stick. I believe he was using the idea of sticking the next card so you can see what card the person selected in a stack. Also, when researching, I found a similar idea in Mainly Mental by C.L. Boarde, but he uses an envelope and some wax to switch a billet for a dummy billet.
MAGIC WONDER – A RANT
No, the title is not about the “wonder of magic”, but I how I often wonder why a lot a magicians, and mentalists, think the way they do. I started a bit of this rant in my first e-book called DEEP THOUGHT, but time has not changed anything… it actually has gotten worse. We are in a field that deals with creativity and a unique take on entertainment yet many settle for NOT being creative and for NOT bothering to be unique. I started seeing this time and time again over the years, but the ability to instantly post your ideas on the Internet gave me more to think about. I found myself constantly asking the readers, on many forums, why they followed the pack. Why do they jump at the latest TV magic effect? Why are they trying to be like everyone else? I just don’t get it. There is one case that drives home that point every time: Cyril. Cyril is a friend and one of the best magicians I know. He was a secret to most of the magic community outside of Japan. But then the secret got out.
Some got mad at me for wanting to keep him a secret, but I defended my point by saying that once other magicians saw his stuff they would try to copy it. And it happened and will continue to happen. Instead of watching Cyril’s effects and thinking, “Wow! Look at all the new ways and presentations this guy has! Maybe if I sat down, and put some thought into it, I could come up with something fresh, new and innovative.” But that never seems to happen. It’s always, “Where can I buy that?”, “Does anyone know if that’s for sale?”, “I need to be doing that effect!” And it always happens when those effects appear on TV. You would think that someone, hopefully most, would start realizing that each time they see something new from Cyril that they had never thought of doing but now saw that it was possible, and that it’s likely there are more things out there like that, that maybe they could create new things, too… if THEY would only take the time to discover them on their own. It really baffles me to see a sheep mentality. I guess it’s worse because I’m so close to the Castle and see great magicians on any given night. But I’m not talking about famous magicians… I see those, too… I’m talking about young & old magicians that think creatively. They hunger to be original and come up with new ways.
The group I know consists of many amateurs, hobbyists, semi-professionals, and others, you will probably never see on TV, or in a magazine, or even have their own shows… YET… these guys toil away in the library looking for just the right combination of moves that could enhance their acts. Work on every detail. Constantly try to stand out from the crowd. I have to sit back and ask, “Why are THEY different from most of what I see on the Internet?” I don’t know… but I want to know. Think of how great magic would be if everyone thought like Cyril. If every guy, and gal, in magic sat down and tried to be different. Tried to think outside the box. Wow! Now that would be wonderful. If you are reading this, can you do me a favor? Please take some time to think on how you would do things if you really had power. Think how you would even structure or change some of the routines within these pages. Please help to stop this community of “I gotta have that” and “Does anyone know how he did that?”, and let’s change it to a community of “How can I make MY act better?”, “How can I be the best ME there is in magic?” That’s my magic dream. Seeing a world full of people that want to be original, unique and be the best they can be. If you thought about this approach with something like acting you would see my point. Would you want to keep going to the movies if every other actor you saw modeled themselves after a handful of very famous
actors? Would you be happy plucking down your money if every actor was trying to look and sound like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Julianne Moore, Morgan Freeman, ad nauseum, ad infinitum? I know I like diversity… don’t you think your audiences deserve it? I once said such things in one of the magic forums and was immediately attacked for such thoughts. One answer to my question was, “What about cover bands? They are just doing other people’s music? They work all the time.” Fine… so I guess you just want to be a cover band? You don’t want to be as out there as Marilyn Manson? You don’t want to be a great creator of songs like Billy Joel? You don’t want to have a legendary stage show like KISS? You don’t want to have the singing chops of an Aretha Franklin? You don’t want to change the face of music like The Beatles. Nope. You want to be a cover band. So be a cover magician. I guess that’s just fine for a lot of people, but not for me, and thankfully, not for a lot of guys I know in the world of magic. I just wish that there were less cover magicians and more Bach magicians… more Benny Goodman magicians… more Beach Boys magicians… more… oh, what the hell! Some will never get it and the ones that don’t seem to get it hate me for pointing it out. For those that do get it, thank you for letting me see a small part of my dream come true.
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE
THE WHAT: You tell the story of once having a personal assistant that had some weird powers. He was able to organize your mess in such a way that it appeared to be of a psychic nature. He was especially adept at sorting your mail. You show a large stack of postcards and two envelopes. You explain that sometimes you would have many letters to send out and a lot that were coming in and you would just pile them up and lose track of which one went where. With the assistance of a spectator, you try to demonstrate your weird personal assistant’s powers. You give the two envelopes to the spectator and tell him to deal through the stack of postcards and stop anywhere he wants. He does this and you have him drop an envelope on that spot to mark it. Now you have him repeat the process and stop again. That spot is marked with the other envelope. Both areas of the stack are spread out and the envelopes and the postcards next to them are taken out. When you turn over the postcards, they have addresses to friends and family, but both are different from each other. When you turn the envelopes over you find that
the envelopes are addressed to the correct place and people that are on the back of the postcards. What’s even stranger than having found the correct matches is the fact that all the other postcards have nothing written on the other side and the spectator not only picked the correct ones, but the ones that matched their envelopes. THE HOW: I know many are already ahead of me. This effect is merely a presentation using techniques that are out there, but it plays big and packs small… the goal of most performers. What you need: 20 or more different postcards… the more you have the better it will look. Two envelopes that you would use to send the postcards. And a marker, or a pen. That’s it. Pick two postcards that you want to force. On one, write a short note to some friend and even make mention of where you are staying at the time. On the other one, write a note to some family member and make some comment about where they just moved to. Now on the two envelopes: On one of them, on the address side, write the name of your friend you put on one postcard and make up a phony address to him or her. Then write you name in the upper left corner, where it’s coming from, and put some vacation spot where it’s coming from…
like Hawaii. That information should match what you wrote as a short note on the postcard. The second envelope will have what appears to be your real address where it’s coming from and then the name of the family member and the address of where you mentioned they moved to in the note. Are you getting the picture? Make sure you can distinguish each envelope. You could easily have them be two different colors as it won’t matter in the routine. Now for the postcard set up. Stack the postcards so that the picture sides are face up and the writing side is face down. All but two postcards are blank. On the bottom of the stack put one of your written in postcards and on the top of the stack put the other written in postcard. Remember which is which. You are ready to go. The force that you are going to do is attributed to Karl Fulves and was used in one of his Gemini Twins routine. What is simply happening is that you are forcing the top and bottom postcards of the stack. Plain and simple. So tell your story and hand the stack of postcards to the spectator. You can even shuffle them a bit as long as you maintain the top and bottom cards. Hand the spectator the envelope that matches the postcard that is at the bottom of the stack. He will deal down postcards
and stop anytime. When he does that have him place the envelope at that spot then place all the postcards he has left in his hand on the stack that is now on the table… the one that now has an envelope sitting on it. If you do this yourself you will see that what is happening is that you are simply putting the bottom postcard on top of the envelope that sits there and, by dealing, you have just moved the top postcard to the bottom of the stack. You are now ready to force that card. Have the spectator deal again until he wants to stop. Have him put the last envelope on top of the spot he stopped at then he is to drop the stack in his hand on top of that. You have just forced the two postcards you need to force. Spread the pile of postcards and point out the two areas that have an envelope in them. Slide out each envelope and the postcard that is directly on top of them. Those will be your forced postcards. Have them turn the postcards around and the envelopes and they will see that the information matches. For the big ending, have them turn over all the other postcards to find that the rest are blank. To spice it up: If you have some preshow information on the spectator, or any information at all like a name, then you can add a bit more to the effect.
Before you put it out, write a letter in both envelopes that gives some details about the specific spectator. Let’s say you know the spectator’s name is Bill, age 42, married and he is now wearing a brown suit & a tie that has a sun logo on it. One letter would read: “You should be getting this letter soon. My new assistant, Bill, is pretty good at his job. I know he’s 42, but he looks much younger. So young I can’t believe he’s married.” The second letter would read, “Oh, I forgot to tell you some more about Bill. He’s a snappy dresser. Right now as he’s reading this he’s wearing a smart brown suit and a really cool tie with this Sun logo on it.” Think of the look and reaction on the spectator’s face as he reads that out loud. It’s like a mini-confab routine without too much work.
THE ___ BOOK
THE WHAT: Four paperback books are tossed out into the audience. They can even pick them up from you before the show and read through them. You display a weird looking book that is about the size of a scrapbook, but has some exotic symbol on its cover. You explain that someone gave you this book as an experiment. It is said that encrypted within the pages are symbols and formulas that allow you to do a bit of remote viewing. You know riffle through the scrapbook and it is seen that all the pages are blank, but they seem to have a weird textured look to them. You walk up close to some spectators to further show that the blank pages are numbered, but that is all that is printed there. You point out the texture on the pages and say that it is where the formulas lie… hard to see, but yet there. They work like the Magic Eye books, or so you say. The experiment begins. A spectator that has one of the four books stands. You tell him to call out any page number in the book and open to that number. You open to the same page number in your blank book. You show a nearby spectator that blank page and ask if he can sense anything when he looks at that page… he does not.
Now you look at the page closer and start to fixate your eyes on certain spots as if that is the process of seeing the formulas. You ask the person that opened his book to start reading, to himself, from the top and keep reading until you ask him to stop. The spectator starts to read. Seconds pass. You suddenly call STOP!! You now start reading word for word what they have read. You call out certain words or passages that he must have read. At times you flash your book to other spectators and all they see are blank pages. This demonstration can continue endlessly and you can then move to the other three books, which are different, and call out information from there. Pictures, words, names, actually anything in the other books, can be called out even though you are constantly showing that you are reading from a blank book. THE HOW: Just another thing that I was going to market, but I just don’t have the time to make up a bunch to sell. Now you can make up one for yourself, but I do keep the marketing rights. What you are making up is a large Svengali deck, or Coloring Book. The blank book consists of every other page being blank and every other page having photocopies of the pages from the real books. Do you see how it works?
First, get four paperback books. They should have different covers and even different sizes. Try to find small books that don’t go too much over 200 pages. Also, get two of each book you are going to use. To make the scrapbook: What you want to get is the type of paper that would go into a scrapbook. Try to get some type of paper that has a strange texture or feel to it or both. Some parchment papers meet this demand. Oh, and you don’t need to get paper that will fit four pages from paperback books because you can reduce the copies of those pages at a Kinko’s, or some such place. More about that later. Now comes the most time consuming part, but once you are done you will be able to perform with those four books at any time. You are going to take apart each of the duplicate books so that all the pages are free of the binding. Take page one from each book and place it on one of the scrapbook pages. Do all the pages fit nicely on that page or are they a bit too big. Don’t worry if they are. To fix the “large” problem you will need to take all the pages from the duplicate books and make copies of each page on one sheet, but that sheet should include all four pages from the paperback books that are the same. So page one of each book goes on one sheet that is copied, page two of each book goes on another copied sheet, and so on.
This is the time where you can reduce the four pages so that they fit nicely on one page of the scrapbook. It’s best if you make them small enough so they don’t touch any edge of the scrapbook’s page. The larger the border left on the scrapbook page the better. So, if you are seeing where I’m going with this, you will make pages that contain four pages each from the paperback books. If you have four books that each contain 200 pages then you will end up with two hundred pages copied that each contain a copy of each book’s page. When putting it together make sure you are consistent as to what page of the paperback goes where on the copied page. Let’s say you’ve put book one’s first page on the upper left corner, book two’s first page on the upper right corner, book three’s first page on the lower left corner, and book four’s first page on the lower right of the first scrapbook page then keep that consistent format going with all the other pages. In the end you will be left with a number of pages that total the amount of pages in your paperback books and those pages have either been glued onto the scrapbook pages or Xeroxed onto them if you copy shop can handle the scrapbook page size. Now more work: You are going to number the pages that will become your scrapbook, but they will be numbered in a specific way. Page One will be blank, but on the other side it will also be numbered as Page One
and that side will have the four copies of the first page of the four paperback books. Phew! Page Two will be numbered and that page will have the copies of page two of the four paperback books and the other side of that page will be blank, but numbered Page Two. Page Three will be numbered, but blank and on its backside it will be numbered Page Three and have the copies of page three of the four Paperback books. Page Four is numbered and has the copy of page four from all the books and the back of page four is blank, but numbered Page Four. I hope you are starting to see the pattern because I can’t go on explaining it. Every other page will be blank and numbered while all the other pages will be numbered, but have copies of the paperback books’ pages. That’s a mouthful! When you’ve finished all that work, and you’ve come out of your coma, you will need to do one more thing… actually two. First, take out every other page from you stack of gimmicked scrapbook pages and take them to your copy place. Please keep them in order or you might go crazy later. Have them cut off about an eighth of an inch from the long side of all the pages. You might want to experiment a bit with the size of the book you are making because some will require a bit more cut off and some less. Essentially, if you’ve done everything right, or if I’ve explained it correctly, when you now put those cut pages
back in order with the uncut scrapbook pages, you will have a giant Svengali deck or Coloring book. When you riffle the pages one way only blanks will be seen and they will be numbered. Now riffle the other way and you will see copies of all the pages from the paperback books and they will also be numbered… and they actually correspond to the pages in the books. A hint: Make the page numbers in the scrapbook pretty big so you can easily see and spot the page you need to go to. There is one more step: You need to bind all those scrapbook pages. You can buy a scrapbook that will hold them tight, or hole punch all the pages and put them in a binder, or get your copy place to bind them for you. If you do the latter be sure to explain that you want all the pages to be flush on the side that does not show the page number… the one closes to the binding… or else they’ll turn you Svengali book into a real book. If you’ve followed along, and have gotten a blood transfusion, you will now have a book that is an index for all four paperback books. Any page called for from the paperback books can be easily located in your scrapbook… and the funny thing about it is that the audience actually sees you locating the right pages. You even tell them you are doing so. Show off the scrapbook and talk about the hidden symbols. Riffle through the pages to show them all blank and numbered. Have one of the spectators, that are holding one of the books, stand. He is to call out any page
number and go to it in his book. You find that number page in your scrapbook (a blank one) and show it around. Have the spectator start to read his book and as you back up to read your book, turn one more page and you will see the pages he is staring at. Of course, you have made some pattern on your copied pages that you can remember like: The green covered book is at the lower left, and the blue book is upper right, or whatever you need to find the appropriate page on that scrapbook page… it could be as easy as using books that have the title on every page so you just locate the right title that is being held up by the spectator. If you pick specific books, you can do drawing dupes by maybe using a book that is all photos, or use one book that lots of numbers and call those out. Your imagination should run wild with this method. Oh, I’ve had this idea for quite awhile and a few months back I was shown another book test that uses a similar method, but in a different way. I don’t want to mention which particular book test, but those that have it will know what I mean. Two hints: Because you can easily flip between pages, you can constantly roam around and accidentally let some other spectator look over your shoulder and have them see a blank page then as you move away flip to the right page. It helps if you use scrapbooks that have larger covers to hide the pages as they flip.
Also, if you are really sneaky, make up two scrapbooks: one is faked and the other just contains blank numbered pages. Switch that book out at some time and leave it around for someone to check. All they’ll find is a blank book and left with a puzzling question.
B’WAVE HEART, OR DIAMOND
THE WHAT: My presentation for B’Wave. I’m not going to give the specifics of how the cards are made, but most know, although I will give my presentation of this amazing Max Maven effect. My wording has people believing they could have thought of any card. For those that don’t know this effect, four cards are displayed face down and the spectator is told they are the four Queens. They decide on one of the Queens and you show that you had a prediction by having that Queen be the only one face up in the pile, and it has a different colored back, and all the other cards are blank. THE HOW: Well, not exactly. Get the effect so you can get the specially made cards that do most of the work for you. My contribution will be what you say so that the spectator is lead down a path that, he believes, gave him any choice of card to pick. Here is what I say and do: "Do you mind trying an experiment of the imagination?
Good.” (The cards are on the table) “Can you imagine I have a full pack of cards on the table? Good. Now can you imagine I reach into that pack of cards and pull out all the queens? Yes. Good.” (Remember, don't say four queens and keep mentioning pack of cards or full deck of cards) “Now I put two queens back into the pack. Did you imagine I put the blacks or the reds? Great. We think alike! Now I take one of the red queens and turn it face up in that pack of cards. Did you imagine I turned over the queen of hearts or the queen of diamonds? Great. I knew you had a great imagination. Imagine that... we started with a full pack of cards then imagined the queens then we imagined one queen... the queen of diamonds. Look. I knew you would imagine ONE CARD and ONE CARD ONLY so I put one card face up in the pack and it too is the queen of diamonds.” (Spread to display.) “And I knew you would imagine this one queen from the pack so I pulled it out of a different pack. (Show different backed card) “And I was so sure you would imagine only one card from a full pack that I didn't bother to have other cards.” (Turn over to show the blanks.) The key is to mention that he had a full choice of any cards and to minimize the amount of times you mention how many cards are in play. In fact, if you noticed, when I go to the blanks I don't say, "and the other three are blanks", but say, "and the
other cards are blank" or "and I didn't bother to pull out any other cards." And, of course, you understand that depending on what queens they first say you put back then you will use the original idea of still using equivoque to get it down to the red queens. So if they first say you removed the black queens, you say, “Good so the black queens are no longer in the pack of cards… just the red queens. Now I’m going to turn one of the remaining queens around. Which one? The hearts or diamonds?” I've heard the reaction from many afterwards and they believe they could have thought of any card. Treat it like pure mentalism and you will get that reaction.
SOME IDEAS: Well, here are a few things that don’t fit into complete routine ideas. It’s a bunch of stuff that can help you out or give you some springboards for other effects or routines. There should be one or two that someone can put to good use. CLUES I’ve noticed a lot of the guys in mentalism have gotten ideas to do effects that use the CLUE game and its look. Some of these routines are funny and quite entertaining so I’ve been working on my own method for it. In the meantime, I was trying to find unique ways to show the final prediction. I have several ways, but I find this one to be the funniest and most interesting. Use if you’d like. The performer plays a short game of CLUE with the spectators and points out that his final prediction is in a small bag that sits on the table. In the end of this particular game the outcome is: Colonel Mustard, with a rope and in the Billiard Room. The performer opens the bag and slowly starts to pull out a ROPE that is inside. As the rope comes out, it is seen to be in a noose that is tied to a MUSTARD jar that
hangs from it. The performer opens the jar and pulls out a BILLIARD ball from inside.
ROCK/PAPER/SCISSORS ONCE A few of my fellow mentalists also started working with the premise of this simple game. Most want to be able to win at it every time. I’m sure it’s possible, but I came up with a way to always win the first time. See what you think. The performer states that he always wins the first round of Rock/Paper/Scissors and he will show this feat. He puts his hand behind his back and says, “I have my prediction ready so whenever someone decides to play then let’s go, but I promise I will win the first time with my prediction.” A game is played and on the first attempt the performer wins. Here’s how: Take a small piece of paper and write the word SCISSORS on it then crumple up the paper so the word is on the inside. Have this little ball somewhere on you where you can easily get access to it. Start the game by saying that you always win the first round with the prediction you keep behind your back. Put
your hand behind you back and steal out the paper ball and keep it in your closed fist. Now play the game… once. As soon as you are told to bring out your hand, come out in a closed fist. If the person has Scissors showing you say, “I have Rock and that always beats Scissors.” If they have Rock then open you hand to display the paper and say, “My prediction is always Paper and paper always beats Rock.” If they have Paper showing then open you hand and start to unfold the paper as you say, “I always write one word as a prediction: Scissors. And, you know, Scissors always beats Paper.” Cute, but gets the job done.
SILLY MAGNET When I did my stage show I performed certain things that those in the know realized needed a magnet to work… yet they couldn’t figure out where I hid the magnet. Here is the secret: Silly Putty. I had a strong magnet hidden in a glob of Silly Putty. That glob was somewhere I could easily put my hand on and it would stick to my palm.
Now, with the blob attached, I could turn to one side as I spoke and pointed, and everyone could clearly see my palm empty and my other hand opened naturally. I would do my psychic stuff then move to the other side. But as I did that I would put my hands in Prayer position and look as if I was concentrating. As I walked to the other side, in this meditative stance, I would press the putty to the other palm. Now I could stand in that direction and they would see the other palm empty. Since I wore short sleeves, no jewelry or watch and no visible false finger, it was confusing to many as to where the magnet could be. Now you know. Oh, and when I sent the manuscript to Richard Osterlind he had this to say on this particular idea: “I really like the Silly Putty idea. Just for the record, years ago I came up with a gimmick that I believe I gave to Bascom for Magick. At the time you could get the Leggs pantyhose in a silver egg. I cut out a piece to use a shiner and filled up the back with Silly Putty. Now you could stick the gimmick to your hand to use as a shiner.” Richard’s idea is still very useful and one I’m going to play with.
Q & A GIFT BAG I’ve been toying with several ways of doing a Q & A. I love some of the ideas that are out there, but I’ve yet to find one that completely suits me… but I’m weird that way. I’m not saying that all the other ideas that have been written up or marketed by others are bad in any way… as matter of fact, some of them are brilliant… I just keep running into things I want to do and all the rules are not met by some of these ideas. Actually, the one I’m going to describe doesn’t exactly meet my rules completely, but it has been fun to play with and I hope someone find a good home for it. You show a gift bag and tell everyone to pull out his or her business cards. You have them write some personal stuff on the back of their cards and even tell them to write in some more stuff in any blank spaces on the front of their cards. You walk around and have everyone drop his or her cards in the gift bag. Walking up to your performance area, you shake the bag to mix the cards, and you reach inside and pull out one card that you immediately crumble up and start to get vibes from. You call out all sorts of information from the owner of this card and even have him verify the information.
You continue to pull out card after card, crumble them up, and start spouting facts you should not know. Okay, like most Q & A’s this requires a one ahead technique, but you can be several cards ahead before you even pull out the first card. Your gift bag has been tricked up, but it a really easy way. Get some Post-It Note glue, which usually comes in a glue stick, and coat the inside top area of the bag. You will be coating the first couple of inches from the top of the bag and only on one side. What this allows you to do is, when you reach in the bag to mix up the cards, you randomly pick up some cards and stick them to that portion of the bag. Now you’ll find that when you hold the bag in such a way that it is obvious you can’t look down inside of it that, in fact, you can actually take a good look at the cards that you’ve stuck to that upper surface. Some will be face down and others face up, but it doesn’t matter. That’s why you had them write information on both sides of their cards. Also, the face up ones will already give you information because of what is printed on them: phone numbers, emails, addresses, names, etc. As you see, it’s a simple matter to just peek at the cards that are stuck there and use that information for your one ahead. When you’ve used up those stuck cards
then reach inside to mix the cards further, but peel those off and give them a good half fold then stick other cards up on the surface. When you reach inside to get other cards, feel for the folded ones and pull those out… you are now disposing of cards that you actually called out earlier. It is possible to continue this process for a while, but don’t go crazy and try to do all the cards. If you want to end pretty clean you can keep one card stuck that has a lot of information on it, peek & remember as much as possible then reach in the bag and pretend to pull that card out and really pull it out. Give it to some nearby spectator and turn away. Have them look at the card and then start to call out information from it. This would work best as an ending if that card has a logo on it so you can do a drawing dupe. Also, play around with various size gift bags. Some are too small and your hand tends to knock off the cards that are already there. You want to have enough room to do your dirty work in the bag.
PRESHOW SUBTLETY For those that have read some of my stuff on several forums, well, you know I really don’t like preshow effects… unless I can state to the audience exactly what
happened when I met the person before the show and that person can agree to everything I say. Here is how I get around that… I’m sure there’s nothing new under the sun here, but for the sake of completeness I’d like to mention how I do it. First, I meet with the person to ask for some help on an experiment I will try later. I have a few manila envelopes of different sizes and a few blank cards and a marker. I ask the person to think of a famous person in history and write it on the card as I turn around so that I can’t see. When they are done I ask them to make sure the card is facedown. I turn around and slip the card into the envelope and start to hand it to them. Suddenly I realize that I didn’t have them sign the card. I pull the card out and hand it to them again and the marker. I tell them to sign it on the back. When I hear that they have signed it, I hand them the envelope, without turning around, and ask them to seal the card inside and keep it until the show. And I leave. At the time of the show I can now say the following, “I had you think of any person in history… no limit… and you did. You then wrote that person’s name down and sealed it yourself in an envelope and you kept everything with you. I was nowhere near you when you did this.” And they agree to everything. And they actually
keep everything. I’ve actually seen people inspecting the card and envelope for some clue as to how it was possible to get that information. You have to be aware that there are people who will check out everything. Can you guess when I got it? It was during the supposed goof up of not having him sign. I actually have several envelopes and the one I first put his card in has no back. As I start to hand him the envelope I see very easily what he has drawn or written. I feign the mistake and take out the card and hand it to him. As he signs the card I move very far away then hand them the envelope without turning… the real envelope with a back. They seal it and now remember I was never near them and that it was all locked up inside.
And now back to the regular routines.
HYPNO-MATH I created this idea for my good friend, James Song, who is a brilliant hypnotist and performer. It’s an idea that can be used when you are trying to create the impression that you can cause false memories or even change memories in a spectator’s mind. THE WHAT: You show a very simple puzzle that is made of four pieces. You put it together and the picture is a simple math equation: 10 plus 5 equals. The answer is not there, but you ask the participant to think of the answer. Now you turn the puzzle around so they see the back of the pieces and you take it apart. You have them put it together while the back is showing. It's only four pieces so it's easy to do, but you tell them this is part of the induction whereby you use this physical process to slightly jog their memory. When they've put the puzzle together you ask them to tell you the answer to the equation on the other side. They will say 15 and you say, "Sorry. It's 2." They look confused and you tell them you changed a bit of their memory about what was on the other side. You turn it around and the equation now reads 10 divided by 5 equals. THE HOW: The pieces are laminated and the equation is always the symbol that stands for divided by, which is suppose to be the dash with the dots over and under it. With an erasable marker you connect the dots with a line
so it looks like a plus sign (+) and as you turn the pieces around you rub off the line and it will now change the equation. You don’t have to make it in a puzzle form, but I feel that adds to the mystery, as if that little test of putting it together is how you can play with his memory. By the way, a variation of this idea would be to have the equation: 10 + 5 =, and the vertical post of the plus sign is erasable. Now, as you turn the equation around, and wipe that post off, it will read as: 10 – 5 =. You can now play around with the wording of the answers being either 15 or 5. Why is that approach better? Well, now you can show the audience the process. Imagine first flashing the card to the spectator and it reads as 10 + 5 =, then you turn it to the audience and secretly wipe the post as you turn it. They will now see the equation: 10 – 5 equals, and think that is what the spectator also saw. This what you say, to the spectator, “You can imagine this simple equation floating in your mind. Yes? Good. There are various numbers there, including the numbers that you will add to the answer… like a five and a one. Yes?” (He will answer correctly and now the answer he has in his mind works correctly with a five and a one, but the audience believes you are just talking about the equation.) “I want you to see the equation fading out… it fades out like a movie picture… you actually forget what
is written there… you can’t even figure out the answer. See the equation fading out in your mind.” As you say this to the spectator, you signal to the audience to watch what will happen now. You put a vertical stroke on the minus sign and turn it into a plus sign. Then you write in a large 5 in the answer column. To the spectator, “I want you to see the equation slowly coming back into view. It’s as if you have never seen it before… PLUS it looks weird to you… PLUS it makes you struggle to come up with this easy answer… PLUS you almost want to add a ONE to the answer…” (You add a visible ONE to the answer so that now it shows correctly as fifteen.) “… but you are not sure. You struggle to answer and then it all ADDS up. It’s a simple answer so you call it out. What is the answer to that simple equation you see floating in your mind?” Of course, the spectator will answer fifteen and it will look like you made him remember the equation incorrectly and that you subtly put in other information into his thoughts. Always put an extra inflection when you hit the capitalized words in the speech above.
I’ve been on a remote viewing craze. All my thoughts seem to center on trying to turn just about any routine into some sort of remote viewing angle. This is the first that got me fixated, but in the future you’ll see some more ideas built around this idea. THE WHAT: The performer gives a brief description of remote viewing experiments. He explains that, for some reason, he has more ability in that field when it comes to maps so he wants to test himself. He has collected small tour guide maps of various places from around the world… even the moon. He mixes the stack of maps then has three individuals take three maps randomly and not show them to anyone. The first two spectators are told to look at the map that they picked, but the third spectator is told to keep the map’s information a secret… even to himself. Three envelopes are also handed out and each spectator is told to put his map in an envelope. The envelopes are mixed. The performer tells the first spectator to just imagine they are traveling to the place that is shown on his map. The performer places his hand over the envelopes then over to the first spectator then says, “I’m getting a cold
feeling from you. Also, I don’t see much… it’s like the entire mind picture is covered in white paint… Hmm? I think your map is here.” The performer picks up one envelope and hands it to the first spectator. The spectator is told to open the envelope and check the contents. It is his map and it is to Alaska. Cold & white definitely describe that map. The second spectator is told to think of his map. The performer starts to get impressions. He calls out various thoughts as he gets them, “This is a foreign land. Also cold, I feel. Are we in Denmark? And I feel this is the map.” The performer points to another envelope and the map is taken out and it is Denmark. With one envelope left, the performer says, “Well, now let’s do a double-blind test. No one knows what particular map lies inside that envelope. Let me try something.” The performer holds the envelope in his hands. He struggles to receive information. He grabs a notepad and starts to draw and write. He finishes his drawing and places the pad down. The last spectator is told to open his envelope and pull out the map inside. He does and it shows the China Wall. The performer turns his picture around and it is a very similar drawing to the picture on that map.
THE HOW: For those that have been seeing my postings on several sites, you’ll know that I truly love Osterlind’s ODDS routine. It keeps me thinking constantly. This routine can be done using the basis of that system… or any other type of system that uses a stack of some sort. The stack of maps is put in a known order… alphabetical or otherwise. If you have a good memory system then you can link each map to the next. What you will do is do a false shuffle, like the Charlier, to the stack so that you don’t disturb the order. The spectators cut the stack and take the next three maps. When you put the stack away you merely glance at the bottom most map and now you know what each spectator will be looking at. The envelopes are marked so you know which envelope goes with each spectator. It is very easy to look through the Internet and find many cities and places that you can find maps to. Here is one list I made: Alaska Boise, Idaho Chicago Denmark Egypt Glasgow, Scotland Hawaii India
Jerusalem Kyoto, Japan London Moon Norway New Orleans (I remember this as Orleans for “O”) Paris Australia (I remember the “Q” in Queensland) Rio Staten Island Texas Uruguay Venice White House China Wall (I remember the “X” in Xian, China) Russia (I remember the “Y” in Yakutsk, Russia) New Zealand (Forget the New and think Zealand Of course, you can make up any list that you can remember or that gives you lots of varying details. And for those that know how to make a teleport envelope, the last envelope can be a teleport envelope that forces a very complicated map with lots of detail. As a matter of fact, if you want to be really sneaky, you can have all three envelopes be teleport envelopes and then have each spectator load their freely chosen maps and open them up as you come to each spectator. With that idea you can really have specific maps for each step of the experiment and have the routine get progressively harder.
ADD SENSE Here’s another remote viewing presentation. I’ve always loved the newspaper routines in mentalism where you tear up a sheet of newspaper, someone picks one of the pieces, and you are able to tell them what’s on that piece. This is my take on it. The ad would read: No force. No stooging. You are nowhere near the person as they pick up a newspaper and tear it up themselves then keep a piece… you immediately can start to call out what they see on that piece. It is a normal paper and you can use a different paper every night. Interested? Read on. THE WHAT: The performer gives a short explanation on the theory of remote viewing. He says that he will try a demonstration, but does not guarantee the success. He shows a stack of newspapers on a table. He has a spectator stand next to that table as the performer walks away and turns his back to the spectator… and he never turns around again. He gives the spectator sets of instructions. As he gives the instructions he mimes the spectator’s actions that are happening behind him. First, he tells the spectator to pick up the first newspaper on the stack and decide if he wants it or not.
If the spectator does not want it then he is to drop that paper on the floor. If that paper was not chosen then he is to pick up the next newspaper on the stack and decide if he wants that one… if not then he drops it. This is repeated until he decides on a newspaper. As the actions happen, the performer is miming the same actions without turning around to look at the spectator. Okay, the spectator finally decides on one paper. The instructions continue. The spectator is told to open the paper, as if he is about to read it, then decide if he wants that first page or not. If not he is to pull that page out and drop it to the floor. He continues this until he comes to a page he wants. When he decides on a page he drops the rest of the paper and keeps that one page. Once again, the performer is miming those actions, too. The instructions continue. The spectator is told to tear the paper in half then decide whether he wants to drop the right half or the left half. He chooses and drops, let’s say, the left half. The performer mimes the action. Now the spectator is told to tear that half sheet in half and decide whether to drop the left or right half. For this example he drops the right. The instructions are given to have the spectator turn this long half he has left in a one-eighty degree clockwise fashion then tear that piece in half. Once again he decides which half to drop and which to keep.
Because of the random actions, the spectator now has a postcard-sized piece of newspaper. He is told to look that piece over and try to glide his eyes over the words, pictures and symbols that could be on that sheet. For the first time the performer picks up a pad and starts to write. The performer says, “Is there a really long word anywhere in the center of that piece?” The spectator says YES and the performer says, “Would you stare at that word. Look at each letter… slowly… one at a time.” The spectator looks over the word and the performer starts to write a word. He writes the word and shows it to the audience… they see he has written the word “Customized”. The performer says, “What word are you looking at?” Sure enough it is “customized”. The performer keeps asking the spectator to look over the paper and just hone in on images and symbols. The performer starts to draw. Now he asks the spectator to call out what he has seen. The spectator says that there’s a car with a beautiful woman sitting on it and there’s a tiger lying in front of the car. The performer turns his drawing around and it contains the same basic images. This demonstration can continue with the performer getting words, images, numbers, etc. Interested?
THE HOW: When I first started working on this idea I sent it around to those that know better than me. Most said that they had never seen the principle used this way. It’s based on the old newspaper prediction used by Corinda, Koran and others, but in the reverse way… kind of. For those that have never seen or heard of the old newspaper thing then here is the basic principle: You are tearing the paper into squares, but you are forcing a certain square so that when the spectator counts down to his chosen number he hits the force square. I don’t want to get into the math, but you can look up Mind, Myth & Magic or 13 Steps or other various mentalism sources. What I did is reverse the procedure and keep track of ALL the squares as the spectator is tearing. I’ve made a crib sheet of all the squares and that lies on my pad. When I say I’m remote viewing and miming the spectator’s actions, well, I’m really doing that so that I can keep track of what piece he lands on. Let me break this down a bit so you can work it out for yourself. First, I only use tabloid size papers because the normal size papers give you too many pieces to keep track of, but it is possible to do if you want to put in the work. I started folding papers and numbering the squares and found that it was an easy pattern and you could make up an easy cue sheet that would be on your clipboard or pad.
You've taken a duplicate paper and marked a large 1, 2, 3 and 4 on each double-page. These numbers mark the four quadrants that will later be torn in the routine. The numbers are marked so that the One is at the upper left of every page, the Two is at the lower left, the Three at the upper right and the Four at the lower right. This same pattern is drawn on both the left sheet and right sheet of the open paper. The only patterns that happen if you tell the spectator to drop either the left or right torn piece each time is as follows: Left-Left-Left or Right-Left-Left Left-Left-Right or Right-Left-Right Left-Right-Left or Right-Right-Left Left-Right-Right or Right-Right-Right Oh, on the last piece he tears there is a long rectangle so you have him turn that piece counter-clockwise 90 degrees before that tear and then have him drop either left or right. And you see from above, the pattern that starts with Left always is the left side of the original double-page and the one that starts with Right is the right hand side of the double-page. Those are the only possible outcomes when working with a sheet of newspaper. So when you are miming his pattern you really are following along and keeping track of what rectangle he ends up with. When you pick up your clipboard you look down at your cue sheet and track
the correct page to the pattern and start writing the words or images that you have on the cue sheet. I did also work this out if you have him continue to tear into smaller pieces, but then you have 16 patterns and it's harder to track and also a much longer cue sheet to hide. I figured the tearing process is long enough with the eight patterns and still looks like he has a lot of random choices. So, beforehand, you have torn up one duplicate newspaper or marked the quadrants then wrote crib sheets on each quadrant. It would be something like this: 4LLL = conversation, impossible; girl on swing, blue dress, lollipop; ph: 800-7323467/LLR = classification, monetary, bankruptcy; parrot in cage, small boy with book bag; add: 1453 S.W. 10 St. Topeka, Kansas This list would go on to cover all the quadrants. I’ve just picked what stood out the most to me when I looked over a certain piece and made a notation on my sheet. As I track the tearing all I have to think is Left-Right-Right and then look at my sheet. And the way I made the list is to find the longest word in the middle… or two or three of them. If more than one word is there then you might have to do a little pumping to find what word they looked at like, “I think I see a Y at the end is that correct?” If they say NO then I know that in my LLR list the word is “classification”.
In my list the second thing I put are any details in the pictures that might be on that piece of paper and that is followed by any numbers on those pieces. You can add more stuff if you’d like to your cheat sheet because only you will see it. Oh, and the number that is in front of the LLL, in this case 4, tells me the page number they stopped at. So if I’m tracking them as they drop the page when they stop on the fourth page then I know I will look at my 4LLL line in my sheet or crib notes. Some hints: You can make it look like they have several papers to choose from by having duplicates of the same paper, but changing the front page on all but one. Now they can only pick the paper you’ve made a crib sheet for and when they start the process of picking a page you let them drop the first page to practice what they are to do and now all the pages fit your crib sheet. Also, fold all the papers with sharp creases so that it is easy for the spectator to tear them in precise rectangles. And to increase the ease of the tears you can buy what are called serrated tracing wheels and then run them up and down the lines that you have made by the folds. This will cut tiny holes in the lines and make it even easier to cut along those lines. It’s actually not that necessary to do all the work on getting them to tear pages properly if you stick to the information that is at the center of each rectangle. If
you stick with that information then no matter how badly the tear then the information will still be there. And finally, I’ve been trying my memory skills and it is possible to work without a crib sheet and just use memory techniques to memorize various bits of info from the torn pieces. This is going to really sound crazy, but to those that use memory techniques you will see how it works. I’ve given each piece of paper its mnemonic tag: LLL = Licking Lollipops LLR = Licking Laser LRL = Licking Reel LRR = Licking Razor
RLL = Rolling Lollipops RLR = Rolling Laser RRL = Rolling Reel RRR = Rolling Razor
The mental pictures tell me which piece I’ve tracked and then connected to the information. Plus I add the number in the beginning using the standard mnemonics list. So, 3LLL with a crib sheet that has “Airport; kid on bike; blue carrots in a bowl; a girl waving from a balloon” becomes a picture in my head of Tree (3) licking a giant lollipop at an airport and a plane suddenly drops all the kids that are on bikes and as they hit the ground the become these giant bowls of blue carrots and the carrots jump out of the bowl and start smacking this girl that waving from a balloon that flies high above the ground.” I know, I know, it sounds very weird… but can you now
remember it? Probably and that’s the secret to memorizing things. Make the pictures weird. I don’t do numbers when I try it this way because I’m still not that proficient with numbers yet so I’d rather just give myself more information about each piece of paper. Well, I hope I’ve made this clear enough because it’s kind of a weird concept to grasp, but once you do you’ll be able to do some outstanding remote viewing.
HALLMARK MEMORY I came up with this routine for my friend, Anthony Blake. Tony is a great mentalist and an amazing Internet marketing guru. If you want to know how to make money via then internet then get Tony to work for you. Tony wanted to do a routine that had the feel of Derren’s Reminiscence so I came up with this idea. Tony has given me permission to now give the idea to others. THE WHAT: A spectator is brought up and is told that soon they will relive a memorable moment from the past. You bring out a series of greeting cards and explain that they’ve now made a card for every occasion. You further say that it’s amazing how much of life’s little experiences are now covered by these cards. You show a handful of cards and open a couple to read them. The ones you read say things like, “Sorry about ____ I didn’t mean to do it.” You then say, “Funny, they even leave a blank space so you can fill in what you were actually sorry for… they think of everything.” You turn to the spectator and say, “In just a moment I want you to randomly pick a card then have a seat over there and read it. I want you to follow along with the card and write in things that would be appropriate if you
were sending that card. Please pick one for yourself.” The spectator picks a greeting card and walks away to read and write. As the spectator works on his card, the performer tells a story about memories and how vivid they can be when you actually try and recall them. After the story, the spectator is told to focus on what they have written and what kind of card they got. The performer begins to say things like, “I feel that your memory has to do with a birthday… Yes… So you’ve picked a card that has to do with birthdays? Yes. And you’ve also added some personal information that wasn’t on the card? Yes. Let’s see if I can get more…. It is about a birthday, but it is one that you missed… you somehow forgot the date of the birthday… you lost the directions to that birthday that you are thinking of? Yes. And this birthday was awhile back… years ago… I sense that you were 16 when this happened. Yes? Okay, and it was a male friend that was having the birthday? Yes. And his name was…. Tom. Am I right? Good. Oh, you were going to bring a present, but since you didn’t make it you decided to send it… it was a signed glove from his favorite hero: Muhammed Ali… Is all of that right? Do all those things relate to what you wrote in the card? Yes. Thank you.” THE HOW: You force that birthday card which is about missing a birthday. The story you tell is in that card already, but there are spots for her to write in like: “If
you are a male reading this card then the birthday you missed was Mary’s, but if you are a female you missed Tom’s birthday… please write Male or Female in this box…” and there’s a box for them to fill in. All the other pieces of information are choices that she must make on the card that have two outcomes, but one is for male and another is for a female. Using this you can use the dual reality that she has written that info in the card herself. Also, if you know things about her like her age or name or both, in advance, then you can have cards made up that have other choices like “If your name starts with a P then print the name Mary, if it starts with a B then print the name Carla…”, this way you can say things like, “You chose to give yourself a new name instead of putting in your own… correct? Think of the name you chose to write… Hmm, was it Lynn? Yes.” Now if you know her age in advance you write instructions that say, “This is a card about a memory so subtract 15 years from your present age and that is the age you tried to attend this party. Also, five years from your present age you will choose to meet up with the birthday person so put that age here___” Now you can say, “I see this party took place when you were younger… in your teens? Yes. I think you were about 14 or 15… am I correct? Oh, and apparently this bothered you that you never made it up to him. You even wondered
if at a certain age you would accidentally meet up with him… think of that age that you would want to meet up with this friend. Hmm? Are you thinking that by age 35 or so you might catch up to him?” As you see, you can write up various bits of instructions that you later use to show that you are tapping into the spectator’s mind. If you know where she lives then use that info to write something about the State that the event took place. Any information you know in advance about the spectator can be used to stage a dual reality event here, but if you don’t have that at your disposal then you can merely use the fact that you know the person you will choose is a Female so use that to force them to check certain boxes on the card that only concern a Female… then throw back that information at them. This is an open-ended routine that has no limitations. It is up to you to supply what will be written on the card and then how you will later predict that information.
ONE MORE RANT
I have to get this off my chest. For the past few years I’ve seen this trend on the magic boards where people seem to think that their opinion is as valid as someone who has worked professionally for decades. These people constantly come on to say that just because they are new to magic or mentalism doesn’t mean there opinion is any less worthy than some of the working pros. I hate to tell them, but it isn’t as valid. It is an opinion and you are all definitely entitled to them, but they do not hold as much weight or truth than an opinion coming from someone who has done hundreds upon hundreds of shows and has worked out all the kinks in their presentations. I see and read people attacking Maven, Osterlind, Becker, Sankey, etc, and I can’t believe it sometimes. Most think that because they’ve now read 13 Steps, own a nailwriter, and have done a couple of shows to some friends, that they are on par with some of the working pros that have been doing it a lot longer than some of these guys have been existing on the planet. Look, it’s a free country and you are entitled to your opinion, but that doesn’t mean that your opinion is worth anything… just that you are entitled to have one. Let me give you an example: You start getting a weird pain in
your big toe. Over the following weeks the pain gets worse and then the toe starts getting black. Which opinion will you take: The one from your best friend that says he owns a set of Dr. Scholl’s Odor-eaters and once cured his own athlete’s foot or do you listen to a foot doctor that went through ten years of schooling and has been specializing in feet for over three decades? Hmmm? I wonder. In the magic forums it seems a lot of people turn to their friends’ opinions and not the experts. Oh, well, at least they have nine more toes after that. And that’s just my opinion.
FEAR OF NUMBER TWO I kept hemming and hawing about putting this out somewhere and mostly because of its similarities to Scott Alexander’s effect SHATTERED. A little history: I was working on using the same gimmicks that Scott uses for the same exact effect a year or so before I even heard Scott had the same idea. My routine was a bit different and I actually like Scott’s handling and presentation. While working with the idea I came across another way of using it with another prop and that prop ended up creating a routine that was more similar to Scott’s than the first one. It’s crazy, I know. Anyway, I had put together the basis for this routine before I actually knew Scott’s exact routine. Once I heard his routine I realized this one was too similar to put out and not hurt his sales. So, I’m only going to give this out to the few people that order LOST IN THOUGHT during the presale period. I will not put this anywhere else for quite some time… if ever. I know a lot of this doesn’t make sense, but it will once you read the routine.
THE WHAT: The performer talks about a dangerous object that he keeps with him at all times. Apparently, this is something to be feared. Finally, he displays the
object: It’s a number two pencil. Although the pencil looks harmless, the performer shows how it can become a lethal weapon. He sharpens the pencil to a fine point and impales it into a tomato. He pulls the sharp object out of the tomato then props it, point up, onto a coaster that has half sponge ball that will hold the pencil. Now the performer covers the coaster with a large white Styrofoam cup. He then brings out five other cups that are covering other coasters. Those coasters, the performer states, are safe because they do not have the sharp pencil beneath them. A spectator shuffles the coasters around until no one is sure which coaster is the dangerous one. The performer stands behind the coasters and raises his hand over one of them. He suddenly smashes his hand down on the cup and flattens it. It is a safe cup. He throws the mess away into a basket. Again he smashes a cup then again and again. Four cups have been safely smashed. He is down to a fifty-fifty choice. He puts both hands over the cups so that each hand covers one cup. He now asks the audience to decide which cup to smash. They decide and the performer instantly smashes it. It is the safe cup. He lifts the last cup and there is the sharp pencil. Another lead free day.
THE HOW: Okay, for those that know or have SHATTERED you can see why I was hesitant to put this out. But you might be asking, “Wait, wait. Pencils are still dangerous. How is this a safe roulette?” Well, yes, regular pencils are extremely dangerous to smash your hand onto… especially in the sharpened condition. But rubber pencils are very safe. Rubber pencils? Yes, at most novelty shops or magic stores you can buy rubber pencils for about two or three dollars and from the shortest of distances they appear to be just regular sharpened pencils. Now you know how this works. You’re going to need six of these rubber pencils. First, my stands are made by attaching these little balls made out of sponge that I found at a 99-cent store. It’s not the kind of sponge ball used in magic. These balls look like tiny basketballs and it’s a thicker and stronger sponge center. I bought three of these balls and cut them in half. I glue each half ball to the center of a coaster so that the flat cut edge of the ball is glued onto the coaster. I then slice into the top of the ball and spread it out a bit so that the pencil, eraser side, can be wedged into it and stands propped up. So you make up six of these coasters with the half balls. You set up five of the coasters so that they each
have a rubber pencil wedged, point up, into the half-ball. Cover these coasters with over-sized Styrofoam cups. You’ll also need a sharpener… electric one is best, but a good manual one will work and you need a real pencil. Try to get a very generic yellow pencil that either has little or no writing on it. The rubber pencils have no writing on them so you want to match it as much as possible. Also, get a large tomato and a cloth to wipe the pencil off; and a wastebasket to toss everything into. I think you might be getting ahead of me and already know where this is going. I played around with a lot of ways of switching the pencils, but finally got around to the easiest and most deceptive… I think, anyway. In the tomato, drill a pilot hole with the real pencil by pushing it in a bit further than half way then taking it out. Now put the rubber pencil in that hole and push it a bit further in. You should be able to hold and display the tomato from practically all angles and be able to hide what little of the pencil projects from it. You are ready to start the routine. The tomato sits on your table with the rubber pencil pointing out the back. Now take out the real pencil and sharpen it. To show how sharp it really is you plunge it into the tomato. You want to get it so that it is within an inch or so of the area that has the rubber pencil. Show the pencil eraser
protruding out of the tomato then reach for the cloth that you will use to wipe the pencil. As you reach for the cloth you will rotate the tomato somewhat so that the rubber pencil is now exposed and your hand hides the real pencil. Pull out the rubber pencil and wipe it as you place the tomato down so that the pencil is facing away from the audience. You can then dispose of the tomato by dropping it in the wastebasket. You continue by wedging the rubber pencil into the half ball. Be careful how you hold and press on the pencil as you don’t want to give away its special properties. You can use your hands to hide the action as you press it into the half ball. Okay, so you are ready. You cover the pencil with the Styrofoam cup and then bring out the other cups. Have someone mix them and then just start smashing. Some hints: When you smash the cups you want to come straight down, but then sort of push back at an angle towards yourself. This is to insure that the pencil bends backwards and not forwards where it can accidentally poke out the front of the smashed cup. Immediately drop the whole mess into the basket. The rubber pencils are not that well made so it’s best to go to a hardware store and find either metal tubing or hard plastic tubing that you can fit the pencils into. Keeping them in the tubes guarantees that they will maintain their straight edge better and longer.
Also, although I’ve never done this, you can switch out the rubber pencil at the end for the regular one by doing the same tomato switch. This time you plunge the rubber pencil into the pre-made hole then pull out the real pencil and hand it to them. Or you can switch out the rubber pencil at the end by jokingly wiping off blood from a past performance and having a real pencil in the cloth. You pretend to wipe the pencil then bring out the real one as you crush the cloth and drop it into the basket. One more thing that I hate to give away: When playing around with this I realized that since I am the one deciding which cup to smash that I could mark a few of the cups and have them actually be free of any pencil. That way I could actually show them as empty by lifting the cup up instead of smashing it. Soon after coming up with that idea I saw Alain Nu perform SHATTERED on his TV show and he had the same premise of having one bag be free of any bottle. So there you go.