0BC1 Blah Blah Blah Hello and welcome to issue 1. I know that the mix of magic and mentalism that you are receiving in this magazine is all excellent, practical material that will put a smile on your face when you read it and a song in your heart when you perform it. If you have any feedback about the magazine, then feel free to e-mail me at: [email protected]
Yoursly yours, ME
CONTENTS OF ISSUE 1:
MEMORISATION – MARK ELSDON…2 THE DIARY OF DELUSION – PETER DUFFIE…6 ROGER’S RISE – ROGER CURZON…9 THE HORNY DEVIL RIDES AGAIN – PAUL INGRAM…11 THE FINAL COUNTDOWN – PAUL HALLAS…13
Entire contents copyright ©2002 by OBC publications. Marketing rights remain the property of the contributors.
Memorisation – Mark Elsdon What Happens? The performer states that he has learnt the technique for memorising a randomly shuffled deck of cards. He opens a brand new deck, (genuinely) shuffles it and proceeds to memorise it. Then as proof, whilst his back is turned, a spectator removes one card that no one else sees and replaces it into a different part of the deck. The performer retrieves the deck and locates the selection, stating that it was the “only one out of place.” The difficulty is now increased as the performer has two spectators remove cards. These cards are not replaced but pocketed by the spectators. Nevertheless, the performer identifies the two missing cards from the ‘memorised’ deck. A final test memory test is proposed. This time, however, the performer claims that he will memorize a spectator’s responses. A spectator says aloud the thirteen values from ace through king, as well as the four suits. He then removes a card from the deck (again whilst the performer’s back is turned) and pockets it. The deck is cased and placed in the spectator’s other pocket. The spectator now calls aloud once again the thirteen values and four suits. The performer claims to have detected subtle differences in the way that the spectator spoke the second time, compared to the speech patterns that he had memorized. This is borne out by the fact that he now names the card in the spectator’s pocket!
The Hype: This three-phase routine initially duplicates something that can legitimately be done through real skill. The current world memory champion Dominic O’Brien can memorise a randomly shuffled deck in about 35 seconds! Of interest is the fact that Dominic is also an amateur magician, and when called upon to perform he will use a borrowed shuffled deck. Then first of all he does a pick-a-card trick and memorizes the deck as he looks through it to find the selection! He is now working with a memorized deck and can go into any of the great material by Aronson, Tamariz, Close et al. In this effect we are using a form of memorised deck, but the deck is not memorised during performance but prior to it. In fact, truth be told, there is nothing to memorise since it is in fact a stacked deck that you already know the secret to: Si Stebbins. For the two of you who don’t know, this is a way of stacking the deck so that each card is three more in value than the one before it and one further on in the suit order Clubs , Hearts, Spades and Diamonds (the old CHaSeD mnemonic). E.g. AC, 4H, 7S, 10D, KC, 3H, 6S, 9D… all the way to the JD. 2
How Does It Happen? The way I often perform the routine is to start with an un-opened, new deck. I then set the deck into Si Stebbins order, using Darwin Ortiz’s ‘Si Stebbins Secret’ from his book ‘Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table.’ However, since it is generally impractical for most performers to use a new deck for every performance, I will describe what I do the rest of the time. Set a deck up in Si Stebbins order, and then perform an anti-faro. This is very easy – all you do is up-jog every other card in the deck. Separate the up-jogged cards and then combine this half with the other half so that the original top card of the deck is still the top card. What you have done is the exact reverse of a faro shuffle. Place the deck into the case and you’re ready. To perform, bring out the deck and spread it face-down on the table and begin to introduce the memorisation premise. Pick up the deck and overhand false-shuffle it while you conclude your introduction. Perform an out-faro shuffle and ask the spectator to cut the deck. Pick it up and briefly flash the faces of the deck so they can see it’s well mixed (ahem!) and spread through it, angling it so that only you can see the faces, as you explain that you are going to memorise it. Just as an aside here, you may be wondering if the routine would be more impressive if I had allowed the spectator to shuffle the deck, and then switched in the Si Stebbins deck. Ignoring the fact that I have never been fooled by a deck switch, no matter who was performing it, the fact is that most spectators have seen the kind of memory stunt you are proposing to do performed before. Since they know it is a feat involving purely mental skill, they are not expecting any kind of method to try and fake it. So it is irrelevant who shuffles the deck. The false over-hand and genuine faro shuffle you perform are more than enough to convince anyone that you are working with a shuffled deck. So, having apparently memorised the deck, you now spread it face down on the table. While your back is turned, have a spectator take a card from the spread, remember it and replace it back into the spread. Tell him not to make it obvious where in the spread it came from or went back to. Turn back around and collect up the deck. Spread through it with the faces towards yourself as if checking the order you memorised. You don’t have to run through the Stebbins order; you simply have to see that the cards alternate red and black. If you come to two cards next to one another that are the same colour then either: one of them is the selection or the selection belongs between them. Work out which one it is, by looking at the Stebbins sequence. If one of them is the selection remove it. If the selection belongs between them, find it and remove it. Ask the spectator to name his card. Say that one card was out of order in the spread and turn the card around to reveal his 3
selection. Sometimes I miscall and say that it was the twenty-third card they moved (I’m just estimating and making up a number!) Casually replace the card where it belongs in the setup and spread the cards face down on the table once more. Turn away and invite two spectators to remove a card each from different parts of the spread, remember them and pocket them. Repeat the procedure from the previous paragraph to identify the selections. This time, however, you name the two selections before the spectators remove and show them to the audience. Drop the two selections back on top of the face down deck. Don’t worry about the fact that they’re out of sequence. Explain that the memorised order of the deck doesn’t matter any more, because for a final demonstration you intend to memorise something far more intangible and difficult – someone’s body language and responses. False shuffle the deck as you have the spectator say aloud the thirteen values and four suits. Have him repeat one of the values a couple of times to make it seem more authentic. Next have him take the deck and cut it anywhere he wishes. He takes a sneaky look at the top card and slides it into his pocket. Make a big deal of the fact that no one else saw the card. Retrieve the deck from him and glimpse the bottom card as you put the deck into the case. Have him put the cased deck into his other pocket. The card you glimpsed, of course, keys you to the identity of the card in his pocket – it is the next one in the sequence. The only exception is if the card you looked at keys you to one of the two cards selected in the previous part of the routine – in this case jump forward to the next card in the sequence. Have him repeat his responses and play your ‘ability’ to detect the differences in what he says for all it’s worth. Finally, name the card. If I’m working stand-up I often give the deck a thorough shuffle before I put it into the case. Since this is the only card routine I will do in the set, I will let the spectator keep his selection and the deck as a souvenir, which also reinforces that it is just a regular deck. Due to the shuffle there will later be nothing for him to find. Notice how the routine builds. It starts as an explanation of a memory stunt, with attention focusing first on the cards and then on the performer and his memory. Then imperceptibly the attention shifts so that it is shared between the performer and the spectator. At the end there are no props in view and the climax of the routine is simply about interaction between two people. This, I think, is the essence of strong mentalism. This routine was originally developed for use with corporate clients when I am involved in any kind of training or speaking capacity. It fits in perfectly with my approach to mentalism – that of demonstrating (supposedly) 4
scientifically feasible controls, perceptions and related mental techniques, as opposed to mind reading. It has since become one of two alternative openers in my stand-up mentalism show. For the interested reader the other is Paul Hallas’ ‘The Hunger’. It is worth obtaining a copy of Ortiz’s book and learning the ‘Si Stebbins Secret’ since this routine is a killer with a brand new deck. Obviously I’m not at liberty to disclose it here. Several of Lewis Jones’ books also contain great work on the Si Stebbins stack, including ways to allow a spectator to look through the deck and not see any repeating pattern as well as a way of easily and instantly calculating the position of any card named. Well worth studying.
The Diary Of Delusion – Peter Duffie What Happens? A diary is given to a spectator to examine and keep hold of. He notices that there is a card written against each day. The performer explains that this is because it’s his ‘Diary of Delusion’ and all will shortly become clear. A second spectator shuffles a deck and cuts to two cards. These are used to decide on a month and a date. The values of the two cards are combined to form a single card. This card is written in the diary at the selected date.
The Hype: According to Stephen Minch (The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, Vol.2), Arthur Carter was the first to create a card prediction in a diary (Magic Wand, June 1953). The more popular “It’s a date” by Ted Danson was published in New Pentagram (March 1970). Any deck is used along with a small pocket diary. There is absolutely no memory work. How Does It Happen? The preparation of the diary is simple. Enter the following cards against the shown dates. 11th January = AD 12th February = 2D 13th March = 3D 14th April = 4D 15th March = 5D 16th June = 6D 17th July = 7D 18th August = 8D 19th September = 9D 20th October = 10D 21st November = JD 22nd December = QD Fill in all the other blank dates with random cards. Do not repeat any of the Diamond cards. 6
Before commencing, remove the 10D from the deck and place it face down beneath the diary. Keep the diary in your breast pocket with the card on the inside and facing you. You will find that you can easily bring out the diary along with the card hidden behind it. Give the deck to a spectator and ask him to shuffle it. Introduce the effect, saying, “Through the ages, playing cards have been used to predict the future. Card reading is still very popular today. So is astrology, the study of birth signs, and their astrological meaning. And so I am going to conduct an experiment in this area.” Hold out your left hand and take back the deck face down into dealing position, as you continue, saying, “We all have dates that have a special meaning to us, the day we were born being the obvious. However, I would like to conduct this experiment using a random date. One that has absolutely no meaning to anyone at this moment in time, because at this moment we don’t know what that date will be.” As you are speaking, take the diary out of your breast pocket along with the concealed 10D and casually place the diary on top of the deck, and then riffle through it as if to show the pages. During this, you leave the Ten of Diamonds on top of the deck. Hand the diary to a spectator, saying, “This is my diary of delusion. It contains only the names of playing cards. These are randomly entered throughout. Have a look through and see that this is the case.” Go back to the spectator who shuffled the deck, and say, “You will now use the playing cards to determine a month, day, and finally the name of a card.” Extend your left hand towards the spectator and ask him to cut off about half the deck, saying, “The card you cut to will indicate the month. Aces are January, through to Tens which are October. As Jacks are eleven, and Queens twelve, these will represent November and December. If you cut to a King, you will need to change it for another card.” When he makes the cut, tell him to turn the packet face up and lay it back on top of the deck. Draw attention to the card that is face up on top. Let us assume that this is the 6C. Say, “Are you quite happy about the cut? You can do it again if you are not. Okay, you have cut to a Six, and that is June.” Turn to the spectator with the diary, and say, “Please open the diary at the month of June.” 7
You now carry out the Lin Searles Turnover Force. Push over the Six and take it in your right hand. The right hand now remains static as the left hand moves away with the deck. The hand moves towards the table, and turns palm down, then immediately spreads the deck across the table. The upper half of the deck is face up, and the lower half is face down. Done correctly, the audience will be oblivious to the fact that you reversed the deck. Your right hand places the Six face up on the table in front of the spread of cards. Continue, saying, “Now we need a day in that month. For this we will use the first face down that you marked with your cut. We will add the value of that card to your first card. That surely will give us a completely random number.” Push out the first face down card from the spread and turn it over. This card is the 10D. Add this to the 6 to give the total of 16. Turn To the spectator with the diary and say, “Please find the 16th in the month of June.” Continue, saying, “Finally we need a random playing card. The two cards you cut to are a Six (Point to the Six spot on the table), and a Diamond (Point to the 10D). So that gives us the Six of Diamonds.” Continue, saying, “We started this experiment with no knowledge. We had no month. We had no date. And, we had no playing card. You shuffled the deck. You cut the deck. You alone controlled the destiny of the cards. Or did the cards control you? Let’s see.” Turn to the spectator with the diary and say, “We arrived at the Six of Diamonds. What have I written against the 16th of June?” He reads out, “The Six of Diamonds.”
Roger’s Rise – Roger Curzon What Happens? A card is selected and returned to the deck. The performer shakes the deck and one card is now seen to be sticking out from the middle of the deck. The deck is lifted so that it can be seen that the card is the selection. The selection is pushed back in; the deck is lowered and shaken again. The selection is protruding again but is now only a quarter of the way down in the deck. Once again the selection is pushed flush. Finally, following one more shake of the deck the top card of the deck flips face up – it is the selection.
The Hype: This effect, as may be understood from the title, is Roger’s handling of Ray Kosby’s ‘Raise Rise’. It employs a gimmick rather than the advanced technical prowess required to perform the Kosby version. The gimmick used is a loop of elastic thread. This thread is the kind first popularised by David Britland in his ‘Card Kinetics’ manuscript. It is generally available from haberdashery stores under the name ‘Knitting-In Elastic’. Jeff McBride uses the same idea in his ‘Kundalini Rising’ effect. A loop is made that fits snugly around two cards. These are very easy to make. Cut a length of the thread and tightly wrap it twice lengthways around a playing card. Tie the ends as tightly as you can (without snapping the thread, obviously) with a double knot. Squeeze onto the knot the smallest spot of Superglue you can and dab the glue with your fingers. Trim the loose ends off quite close to the knot. Voila! You now have an elastic loop. Actually you will need two of these gimmicks. And four duplicate cards (do you know how difficult ‘Raise Rise’ is?)
How Does It Happen? One loop is (lengthways) around two cards in the middle of the deck and another is around two cards about a quarter of the way down in the deck. Both of these loops have one of the duplicates loaded in them. The third duplicate is on top of the deck. The fourth duplicate is about two thirds of the way down in the deck. It has been ‘breather crimped’ so that when cut to it will remain on the face of the cut off stock, i.e. the crimp has been put into the back of the card. The whole deck is carefully placed into the case until you’re ready to perform. 9
Take the deck from the case, without letting either of the looped cards pop out, and hold it firmly in dealing grip. Riffle force the breather crimped card (this is the easiest part of the trick!) Without removing it, flash the face of the card to the spectator and then drop all the cut-off cards back onto the deck. All this is done keeping a tight grip on the cards to ensure that the duplicates don’t pop out early. Now, with the cards in dealing grip, hold the top quarter of the deck between the first and second fingers and thumb and relax the rest of the hand. The lowermost of the looped cards will slide out. Tip the deck up so that the spectator can see it is his card. Push it back in and use your fore fingertip to hold it in place as you relax the pressure from the second finger and thumb. The higher card will slide out, a little bit faster since it has fewer cards on top of it. Once again raise the deck so the spectator can see it’s his card. Push this card back in and grip the whole deck tightly once more to keep the looped cards in place. Finally, perform John Cornelius’ ‘Spring Set’ to flip the top card of the deck over, revealing in animated fashion that the selection has jumped the final stage, to the top of the deck. Place the deck back in the case. Massage your hand. It will take a little work with the looped cards in hand to get this running smoothly, but even if it takes you an hour, think of the hundreds of hours you’ve saved by learning this instead of ‘Raise Rise’!
The Horny Devil Rides Again – Paul Ingram What Happens? The spectator is asked to touch any card which is turned face-up and found to be a six spot. The performer appears excited and explains that this is his unlucky number. However, when the cards either side of the six are displayed it is found that these are also six spots. “Very unlucky” explains the performer, as this is the sign of the devil. The top card of the deck is turned over to reveal a picture of the performer smiling and looking like a handsome, horny devil!!!
The Hype: I you have access to a computer and a scanner or digital camera you can have some real fun with this. Use the digital camera or scan a picture of yourself into the computer. You will manipulate this picture using a piece of software called Kai’s Power Goo. If you are a charter subscriber to ‘OBC’ you will have received a free disc containing a version of this program. The program will run on any version of Windows. (Sorry, Mac users – time to upgrade to a PC?!). This software allows you to liquefy any part of an image in a controlled, user-friendly way. Simply open up a photo of yourself in the Goo program and use the ‘nudge’ tool to pull some devil’s horns from the top of your head! Re-size the picture to that of a playing card and after printing it out, cut it to size and glue it to a blank-faced laying card. You now have yourself a handsome, horny devil! If you don’t have any facilities for the above, simply Place this card on top of the deck and on top of it any three sixes with the odd colour six being the middle of the three.
How Does It Happen? Introduce the deck and perform a false shuffle if you like. Double undercut the top card to the bottom of the deck and then slip-cut the new top card to the centre holding a break beneath it. Force this card onto the spectator by performing Gary Ouellet’s ‘Touch Force’ technique (originally published in ‘Genii’ and the later in his ‘Close-Up Illusions’ book). When performing this technique, half of the deck is raised to display the face card for the spectator to memorise. Do not replace this half onto the bottom half. Instead, use the second finger of the other hand to side-jog the selection slightly along its length. A variation of the Bill Simon turnover move is now performed. 11
With the top half of the deck held in the left-hand biddle-grip and the selection side-jogged to the right, turn the hand palm down and inwards so that you are viewing the face of the cards. Move the face-up packet beneath the facedown packet held by the left-hand. Use the first finger of the lefthand, which is holding the bottom half of the deck, to hold the side-jogged selection in place while the right hand packet is turned facedown and placed beneath the left-hand packet. The deck is now squared leaving the selection out-jogged and face-up at the front, centre of the deck. This sequence has placed the other two sixes either side of the face-up six spot. Spread to the face-up six and place it and the two cards either side of it to the table. Break the spread beneath the lower six spot to do this and as the deck is re-squared be sure to place the bottom half to the top of the deck. This places the devil picture card on top of the deck. Turn over the two-facedown cards to reveal the three six spots and remark upon the unlucky situation. Next, turn over the devil card to bring the effect to a humorous conclusion.
The Final Countdown – Paul Hallas What Happens? A Piatnik number deck is introduced and shuffled by a spectator. Four spectators freely choose a card each, remember it and return it to the deck. The deck is shuffled. The performer asks if any of them picked the blank card, if so it means they are randomly eliminated from the test. None says he did. The performer says he will use it to record something relevant and removes it from the deck. He writes something on it and gives it to a spectator. Picking up a notepad he asks each spectator in turn to call out the number they picked. These are written down and totalled in full view of the audience. The performer calls out the total. He now asks the spectator with the blank card to read out what he wrote on it. It is the same number!
The Hype: The number cards are freely selected from a regular Piatnik number deck. They are not switched. When they are replaced they are not controlled. The numbers are written in full view of the entire audience and they are the actual numbers the spectators picked. The prediction card is written before the selections are shown. Once the prediction is given to a spectator it remains with him until he turns it over. If any of the spectators see you do the effect again, they will see different numbers and a different total. No marked cards, no rough-and-smooth, no long-and short.
How Does It Happen? As soon as the selections are made, you turn your back while the spectators look at them, apparently to preclude your getting a glimpse of them. Actually you turn your back in order to switch the number deck for a 48-card blank faced deck. Obviously it must have a matching back design. The selections are freely replaced and the deck genuinely shuffled. You now look through the deck, of course only four cards have numbers on them. You simply add them as you run through. Remove the blank card next to the last number card you see. Remember this is apparently the only blank card in the deck. Write the total of the numbers you have just seen on the blank card and hand it to a spectator who covers it with his hand without looking at it. Case the deck and put it away in your pocket, removing the notepad at the same time. Ask the spectators for their numbers and write them on the blank card, in full view of everyone. Total them up and read out the total. Ask the spectator with the blank card to read out what you wrote – it matches. 13