Stewart James and Allan Slaight - The Essential Stewart James - Copy
The Essential Stewart James Created by Stewart James Edited by Allan Slaight Illustrated by Joseph Schmidt
Magicana Toronto, Canada
Stewart James: An Appreciation Jamesosophy, Indeed
xi xiii xvi
The Boy's World 1 The Knot of Enchantment 3 A Match for Gravity 5 Murder by Suggestion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Spell of Mystery 11 Ball down 13 . Freedom of the Seize 16 Simplicity Four-Ace Trick 19 Miraskill 22 Face-Up Prediction 24 The Book of the Dead 28 Sefalaljia 31 Sefalaljia Jr 36 The Man in Aberystwyth 38 The Love-Sick Tennis Ball 40 Remembering the Future 43 Further Than That 47 Half and Half 50 The Robot Deck 53 Silkscreen 59 Vocalculate 62 The Prophet's Choice ..................................................•. 64 Go Go Vanisher 67 The Clincher , 71 The Other Place 74 First Class Passage 78 Jamesway Poker Deal 81 Ten Nights in a Cardroom 84 Pokericulum 93 So-Fair Poker Deal 96 The Gobak Card Mystery 98 The Purloined Letters 102 Pocket of Persistence 105 Essay by SJ 108 Ring Leader 111 Falling Card . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 Micawber 116 Baker's Dozen System 119
The Doozer Matchimera Lejun The Gofar Ball The Tenth Variation My Father's House' Card V The AAG Principle Split Second Stranger from Two Worlds Double Boomerang Incantations Oraclew Dollars and (6th) Sense Parent-Thesis The Secret Partner TRY aNother FIELD Ontene Prediction The Dream Goes On A Class by Itself Anger with a "D" Package Deal While at the Talking Table Acknowledgements
121 125 127 131 134 137 139 142 144 147 150 153 156 159 162 167 171 175 180 184 186 189 192 199
Introduction hree large volumes have been issued holding more than 1000 tricks created by Stewart James. Stewart James In Print: The First Fifty Years (1989) was co-edited with the late Howard Lyons and runs to more than 1000 pages. At the time it was released it was the largest magic book ever published. It contains 453 James originations. The James File (2000) was written with the meaningful support of Max Maven. A two• volume set, it exceeds 1700 pages and features another 556 of James' concoctions. (The 122-page index for both publications has more than 15,000 entries.) That incredible assemblage now reposes in the libraries of many magicians who revere James's awesome inventive powers. Eugene Burger wrote: "It is a body of work that is simply staggering." And Peter Duffie wrote: "The JamesFilewith StewartJames In Print is one of the greatest collections of magic that has ever been published. When I look at all three volumes sitting on my shelf, it's incredible to think that this is the work of one man!" This comparatively slender manual targets the reader who may not be aware of the creative prowess of Stewart James, or those who are not prepared to tackle those three rather intimidating tomes. Our objective: To cull what are widely considered to be fifty of his most significant conceptions and present them with interesting commentary. However, achievement was another matter because of the unimaginable task of ousting some 950 tricks from the final list. Stewart himself once wrote in a letter to me: "I am sometimes asked which of the items I have trapped do I consider the best. To a much lesser degree, of course, it must be like asking a parent which child he regards the most highly." And so I turned to a number of magicians who I knew were familiar with the James oeuvre and cherished his brilliance. Each was asked to submit a roster of his fifty favourite James tricks. Obviously not a simple assignment! David Ben wrote: "I must state that this was one of the most difficult tasks I have ever faced in magic. I am quite uncomfortable with reducing a lifetime of achievement down to 50 tricks." The names of those who rose to the call are identified and thanked on the Acknowledgements page. Their comments concerning their particular favourite James creations are incorporated throughout. This book will also present information and interpretations concerning the mind and the life of a true colossus in magic and in the realm of innovation. All of the items herein appeared in either Stewart James In Print or The James File. No circular object is reinvented here: Those who earlier acquired those three volumes will observe that most of the prose within this book replicates that in the earlier publications, except for tightening, tidying and some essential relocation. Ste1vart James /11 Print was written in the first person; The James File in the third. We have attempted to delineate James' remarks - primarily introductions to his creations - from mine by either beginning them with simple quotation marks or by setting them off with the following symbol: -0-.
For the reader embarking on your initial James voyage, I envy you your discoveries.
Prepare for exhilarating encounters. And I trust those mental jolts will be accompanied by the realization that these splendid conceptions are but a smattering of what had leapt from the brain of one man. He departed quietly on November 5, 1996. He was 88. Allan Slaight Toronto
Stewart James: An .Appreciation By
hat the shy genius who lived in the village of Courtright, Ontario, for his eighty• eight years had a portentous influence on magic and the realm of invention is beyond debate. Stewart James has been recognized since the 1930s as a proven creative genius. I was first alerted to his unique conceptions in 1944 or 1945 when I acquired a copy of the Encyclopedia of Card Tricks and therein found Miraskill; in PracticalMental Effects I met up with Half And Half and Sefalaljia. Then barely into my teens, I can still remember the reverence with which I welcomed these discoveries. A bit later came Further Than That. I was hooked. One of the most consequential moments in my life occurred when I opened my first letter from Stewart. As a magic-obsessed teenager living in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, I had somehow summoned the pluck to write to him. That was on August 27, 194 7, one month past my sixteenth birthday. My letter began: "Dear Mr. James: "I know this is a very bold thing to do, but I am writing this in the hope that you would like to correspond with a boy that is absolutely crazy over magic." I then rambled on for several pages, discoursing ingenuously on my interests and plans. That letter concluded: "In closing, Mr. James, I do hope that you will at least try corresponding with me for a while. Since I came here a year or so ago from Galt, Ontario, I haven't come across a single magician. And to me that is a fate worse than death. I live, breath (sic), eat and sleep magic; when school work and magic clash, as you might imagine, magic is always the victor. "One thing, if you do confide a few cherished secrets with me, you need have no worry of it ever leaking out; for two reasons -1, I wouldn't tell it if you didn't want me to - 2, I wouldn't have anyone to tell it to, anyway. So please write me!" I dashed home from school each day and anxiously checked for a response from my idol. It arrived 'on September 18, 1947: "Dear Allan: "I am sure that we are going to be friends and my friends call me Stewart." There followed courteous and well-reasoned responses to my comments and queries. I had written: "What puzzles me is how you come across such unusual principles. Is it by chance or by reading something that brings them to mind?" Stewart wrote: "Maybe the first hundred times you don't succeed. This is important. Retain your notes. Don't throw them away. That is the mistake so many make. Look them over from time to time. You never forget, you only fail to remember and so, quite unknown to you, your sub-conscious has remained working. Sleep is the royal road to the sub-conscious so read your notes XI
before you go to sleep." And thus was launched an exchange of letters that lasted, with sporadic gaps, almost fifty years until Stewart, by now well into his eighties, wished to correspond no more. However, for a few more years until he was hospitalized, we talked regularly by telephone. A letter I sent to Stewart in July 1948, after I had returned to Moose Jaw from a trip to Alberta, epitomizes the value I placed on his "children" - as he called his creations. A shortened version: "Dear Stewart: "When I arrived in Calgary I contacted a magician -Jack Peters, president of the I.B.M. Ring there. He invited me to stay at his house for four or five days. "Right here I can say that the Calgary magicians consider Stewart James a sort of god. Here's why: One Sunday night four other magicians and myself are doing card tricks at one of the fellows' homes. One guy said that he didn't like tricks that were the least bit mathematical, but preferred tricks utilizing a good deal of tricky sleights. The others nodded their heads in agreement. ''Weil, I said nothing but went into my card routine. They seemed to enjoy it and I believe I was working for over two hours before I laid off. Immediately the fellow started talking: "That's the greatest demonstration of sleight of hand I've seen. You must have practised for hours to master that pass; I saw it a couple of times, but it sure is fast." (Incidentally, I never use a pass.) "Now show us some of those Stewart James tricks you said you did." "Before I started, I happened to mention that a good many of your effects were somewhat mathematical. Immediately, they said they wouldn't like your tricks, then. So you should have seen the looks on their faces after I had finished my routine. They were discussing ail the tricks I did, so I asked them what ones they liked. Among tricks they really liked were 'Further Than That' (they just didn't have an idea as to its working); 'Miraskill' (they were certain I'd switched decks); 'Jamesway Poker Deal' (they thought I had an excellent method of stacking and a great false riffle shuffle); 'Queer Quest' (they thought it was very good and couldn't come near the right solution). "You should have seen the look on their faces when I told them the tricks just mentioned were the inventions of Stewart James!" "I suppose I should sign off and let you get back to concocting some more of those uncanny card mysteries of yours." And Stewart did just that for another forty years. From the time he received that 1948 letter, he published or marketed well over 300 items, the majority with cards; most of them and their predecessors were reproduced in Ste,vart James In Print: The First Fifty Years, published in 1989. In addition, his bulging files contained hundreds more of his unpublished effects. Eleven years later, nearly 500 of them made their first appearance in The James File along with some seventy which had seen print before. In excess of 1000 of Stewart's inventions appeared in the two publications.
The probability is remote indeed that another will outstrip ~s inventory, containing so many exemplary originations.
Jamesosophy, Indeed Phil Goldstein
hose who know me are aware of my opinions concerning the dichotomy between Effect and Method. Quality of Effect is all-important; quality of Method is meaningless in the long run, beyond the question of functionality. Paradoxically, however, I believe there exists a profound aesthetic of Method; a self-contained aspect of Methodology which is other than directly connected to functionality, but which is well worth appreciating on its own terms. For this concept I am indebted to Stewart James. More than any other creator of magic, Stewart has taught me, through his vast body of work, to see this special internal beauty within methodology. I was in my early teens when I first encountered James in print, via his series of effects in the New Tops. It would be a couple of years before I would get my hands on a full file of the Jinx, and contact with the vintage James therein; the better part of a decade before I would be able to start tracking down the items in the original Tops, The Sphinx, the pamphlets, etc. I can vividly recall my awe at Stewart's sense of structure. There were many effects of his that thrilled me, purely for their sheer loveliness of construct. The methods were pretty and clever. (Not a few of the routines I read in the New Tops proved all the more intriguing when I discovered I was unable to clearly understand how the hell they worked.) It is important, however, to point out that the Effects were also terrific. Whimsical plots, unexpected twists: great magic. I can remember a lengthy period during the late 1960s when I would not go out of my house without a pack of cards, set to perform Oraclew. . A lame Effect with a wonderful Method is rather useless. A wonderful Effect with a bland Method is quite fine. A wonderful Effect with a wonderful Method is the best of all possible things. The glory of Stewart James's work is that he has somehow managed to reach this third category so very often.
The Bqy} World
he Bqy'.r World paper had such a substantial effect on my interest in magic and my way of thinking about it that I feel I should start with it. The Bqy'.r World was one of several Sunday School papers I encountered in 1915 when I was quite young, around seven. Father was the superintendent of the Presbyterian Church in Courtright, Ontario, and I looked after the Sunday School papers. There were several of these papers published by the same outfit, two of which were What To Do and the Girl} Companion; each had a magic series. However, it was the Bqy'.r World, published by the David C. Cook Publishing Company in Elgin, Illinois, that attracted me - it had magic in it for most of its early days. I had access, not only to current issues, but to many back issues. My aunts used their attic to store things, and one of the valuables I found there was a pile of the Bqy'.r World. On top was the most recent issue, and going down you traveled many years into the past. At first the magic series was attributed to Howard Thurston. Earlier there had been sporadic items on magic, also attributed to Thurston. For the last year or so, the magic column was written by Professor George Newton Sleight, Ph.D. I recall that he didn't give credit to sources, and so I wrote to him about this; thus started a life-long habit of mine. I recently found a copy of What To Do, dated March 24, 1928, and discovered that Sleight had written the column on 'Magic For Juniors' there as well. He also authored Magicfor Amateurs, published in 1930 by Cook. It is heartbreaking that after my aunts had died, relatives came with pitchforks and shoveled the marvels of the attic out the window into a hay-rack, and burned it all in a field. I first saw the Knot Of Enchantment explained in the Boy': World, about 1915 or 1916, in that Thurston series. No originator was named. I can't date it exactly, but according to my sister Adelena, we moved to the house where I now live in 1917, when I was eight or nine years old. When we were still living in the house where I was born, I knew the Knot Of Enchantment. That house and its neighbour still stand; the verandahs are only a few feet apart. I was not allowed to leave the verandah. I worked Knot Of Enchantment, standing on my verandah, for Warner Meade who was working on his. It is strange that I 1
can recall the day on the verandah so many years ago clearly, but I do not remember the first magic show I presented, the amount I received or the first tricks I performed. The Knot Of Enchantment was an influence on my thinking in magic, and a major cause of my interest in principles, not just tricks. I believe this is a near-perfect deception; it appears impossible, and you accomplish it without cheating. It is honest in that it is really a puzzle and not a trick. Any trick requiring a sleight is not honest. You are telling a lie with your fingers. I should note that I wasn't restricted to our verandah on that occasion because I had misbehaved. It's just that my parents were very strict and for some reason they didn't like me associating with other children. Mother always thought I was a sickly child, and I was seven before they let me go to school; they took me out when I was fifteen, and Father put me to work in his tinsmith shop. I wasn't allowed to play with other children or invite them to our house, and I wasn't permitted to visit their homes. If I had not suffered that isolation, I would not have developed the way I have. Not having companions like other children, I improvised - like a barrel of rocks on the end of a plank so I could seesaw. For things like this I was made the object of ridicule by the other kids. To avoid that, I stayed indoors after school and invented imaginary companions as so many other youngsters have done. When I became interested in magic, I escaped to the world of my imagination and my friends who lived there. We worked out tricks together. When I saved a little money, I sent away to Johnson Smith & Company for the miracles they advertised. When the mail came, Father opened the parcels first and looked at the instructions. He didn't want me doing something he couldn't figure out; I tried to work out something that wasn't the same as the instructions, and then he'd get quite upset with me. But that's how I started creating magic, and when I produced something I liked, it would give me some respect for myself and make and unfriendly world more bearable. The first brainstorm I can recall from a catalogue item concerned a colour-changing ball. It changed from black to red, and I suspected a shell was used. I made a gimmick - a reversible rubber shell - and I was quite proud of it at the time. It clung nicely to a wooden ball from a table croquet set. The ball was yellow; the shell was painted black outside and silver inside. With the shell on, the ball would first be shown black. With a pass of the hand the shell would be palmed and removed, and the ball would be yellow. The shell would be secretly replaced by pressing it against the ball so it turned inside out, and the ball would appear silver. I also had a ball, half yellow and half green, for a quadruple change. About that time, when I was not yet in my teens, I had an idea for a trick with a unique principle that to the best of my knowledge has not been used before or since: a vanishing knot from an unprepared chain. I called it Chain Of Knots, and I gave it to Sid Lorraine for publication in the Linking Ring, but it wasn't used. At any rate, that was when I first experienced the thrill of discovery, and it has had me hooked ever since.
Bqy} World, circa 1915-16
tewart James put more creative might into originating tricks involving ropes and rings than into any other magical genre with the conspicuous exception of his beloved cards. The rope might become chain or ribbon and the ring a block or tube or silk; there was invariably something to be released, entrapped or topologically altered. I count some forty tricks in Stewart James In Print and The James File that fit this definition. Could his remarkable discoveries in this field have been roused by that early episode, just described, when Stewart learned the workings of The Knot Of Enchantment? Although this volume purports to feature the creations of Stewart James, it does seem right that his seminal influence be described here. It will be presented, although modified somewhat, as it was written by Stewart for the first volume in his Encyclopedia Of Rope Tricks trilogy. Volume One was published in 1941. The complete trilogy was anthologized and released in a single volume by Squash Publishing in 2005.
-0This is a feat that the average scientist will say is contrary to the laws of nature and is utterly impossible. The principle on which it is performed is very little understood. The conjurer has a piece of rope at least three-feet long which he allows to be examined. The ends of the rope are then tied to his wrists. Now the performer announces that he will cause a genuine knot to appear on the rope, without disturbing the knots just tied or removing the rope from his wrists. He turns his back to the spectators for a moment. When he faces them again, the knot - a plain, ordinary slipknot - has been tied in the rope. The secret depends upon a clever bit of manipulation of the rope. As soon as his back is turned the magician seizes the centre of the rope in his right hand. He twists the rope once around, forming a loop in the centre of the rope. Holding his left hand before him, palm upward, he now thrusts the loop he has made under the rope around his left wrist. As it emerges on his palm, he passes his left hand completely through the loop.
Reaching to the back of his left hand, he pushes the loop under the rope on the back of the wrist, just as he had done before on the other side. As the loop comes through, it has formed itself into a large knot which can be drawn tight. It will be found to fit exactly in the centre of the rope.
This may sound difficult, but in reality it is very simple, and will be found so after a little experimenting. (Should you wish to produce a simple granny knot, rather than the one illustrated, there is no need to twist the rope before it is slipped under the rope binding the left wrist.)
Unking Ring, September 1926
his was the first Stewart James creation to be published. Sid Lorraine wrote him in 1926: "Just whereabouts is Courtright in Ontario? I have scrutinized many maps in vain. I might find it possible to take a run up for a day within the next month." That was only a small exaggeration. Sid, in those days, had not given up the English habit of long-distance walking, and he walked two hundred miles from Toronto to Courtright to visit Stewart. Sid told him that there was going to be a Canadian trick section in the Unking Ring and Stewart gave him A Match For Gravity to submit. Stewart originally didn't use a match, but a nail. Later, he switched to a match when he found it would work as well, thinking the lighter object made the action more surprising but he reported it didn't seem to make that much difference to the person watching. Stewart used a 2" nail and a china cup. He would sometimes put a cased deck in the cup to make it seem more impossible. He wrote: "To prepare this introduction I have just rigged up the set with a nail and cup and it still puzzles me why it works. Frequently the string is tightly wrapped around the pencil as many as nine times." And he suggested use of this line: "It's hard to tell where the nail is going because it is pointed in one direction and headed in the other." Barrie Richardson, who assisted in the selection of the material in this book, wrote: "I use this. I use a. heavy cup and a borrowed Rolex watch and allow a spectator to release the watch. What a beautiful metaphor for jumping to conclusions! Which will break when the objects hit the floor ... the watch or the cup? Talk about counter-intuitive problems." At the conclusion of the working of A Match For Gravity you'll encounter a variation Stewart preferred.
-0Tie a borrowed watch to one end of a piece of string about one yard long. Tie a wooden match to the other end and rest the string across an ordinary lead pencil extended
horizontally. Hold the pencil in the left hand and the match in the right. Pull on the match ' until the watch is a short distance from the pencil. The performer now asks: ''What will happen if I release my hold on the match?" The natural answer is that the watch will drop to the floor when the match is released but the result is just the opposite. The match winds rapidly and tightly around the pencil causing the watch to remain suspended.
No manipulation is necessary as the stunt is automatic in action. Try it over a bed and see how it works. The only precautions are to hold the right hand, containing the match, slightly lower than the left, and to borrow the watch from a person with a strong heart as it will be a thrilling moment for him until the watch stops. Stewart described his preferred version: "I actually didn't use a match for very long after I had originated this, substituting a match cover with all the matches removed. I also tended to use my set of keys on a key ring instead of the watch. Although this eliminated some of the suspense brought on by the fragile watch and its precarious position, it was more convenient as I always had the keys with me. "The presentation, which I titled A Matchless Challenge, was to explain that the contraption would be suspended over a pencil, and that I would release the match cover. Before the keys hit the floor I would spell M-A-T-C-H-L-E-S-S. I would explain that I had learned this swindle from a soldier who had removed the matches from the cover and substituted a heavy metal washer, the weight of which just offset that of the keys and kept them from falling. However, since I couldn't find a suitable washer, I had just written the
words 'heavy metal washer' inside the empty cover and I showed them that.
The cover was closed, the string hung over the pencil, and as you can see above I had plenty of time to spell the word matchless. This change in presentation, not using a match, is why I was about the last person to discover that over the years the weight of the kitchen match had been reduced severely. Now I can't find one that works.
Murder l?J Suggestion Typewritten instructions, circa 1928
rancis Haxton held a party for Stewart when he visited Great Britain in 1953 to represent the president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians at the British Ring convention in Edinburgh, Scotland. Haxton invited to his home magicians he thought Stewart would like to meet. This gathering had such impact that it became known as "The Surrey Convention." Two of those in attendance were Jack Avis and Peter Warlock. After Stewart's Your Mind Is My Own appeared in the February 1955 Genii (see page 650 in Ste1JJartJames In Prin!), Avis wrote: "Had a laugh at your item in the recent Genii. I like this kind of thing and wish I could get away with that style but I find it a job to remember all that patter. I always remember you laying on the floor to do your card effect at the party at Francis's house with the patter about the stabbing of the dummy." And Warlock wrote in Pentagram for November 1953 after Stewart had returned to Canada: "Stewart James will be missed by all those who had the chance to meet him during his visit to this country. We shall always think of him giving his delightful performance of 'The Trick With The Tailor's Dummy' in the manner of a very lazy conjurer." On a visit to Canada in 1979, Warlock journeyed to Courtright to visit Stewart. He asked if he could have Murder By Suggestion for Ne1JJ Pentagram; Stewart acquiesced, and it appeared in the March 1980 issue. (Its progenitor, Bocca Della Verita, involved dealing the cards into two piles; Stewart wrote up those instructions on August 18, 1928. Later that year, he switched to a Reverse Faro action, devised an accompanying plot, and appended the present title to his quite remarkable discovery.) You will note the trick, as printed in Ne1JJ Pentagram, regrettably does not employ the concept of a supine sorcerer impersonating a tailor's dummy, and there seems no likelihood of a precise reconstruction of that memorable 1953 Surrey presentation at this late date. The brief description Stewart provided in a March 11, 1980 letter to Howard Lyons should further frustrate the reader: "When I did it for Warlock (and the others), I believe the story was about a trick with a clothing store dummy when I tried to purchase a celluloid stove poker, wanted to pay for it with a cheque and had to prove I was really a magician to have it accepted." The same letter outlined the plot for two rather lascivious
versions; he titled one of them 'The Case Of The Model With The Dangerous Figure.' It used a "rolled-up picture of a life-size curvacious cutie" and a "very visible check point to match prediction." Not even the title of the other version will see print in this family volume. From Roy Walton, who also assisted me in the selection process: "Here, Stewart James uses a very clever use of the properties of the Reverse Faro, by adding a single card to an even group so that subsequent Faro-type shuffles always become the 'in' type. As he was experimenting with this around 1928, I guess we can safely say that he was ahead of his time. The term 'genius' may be an understatment." You begin: "For many years, arguments have persisted as to the possibility of controlling a subject, under the influence of hypnosis, to perform an action they would not do when fully conscious." Offer to demonstrate a test you witnessed recently. "The hypnotee was given the command to commit murder. It was just a 'pretend' murder, of course, but he was led to believe it would be real. He was given a supposedly poisoned dagger and sent on his way to locate his victim. To insure the experiment was kept on a light-hearted and fanciful level, the victim was to be the King of Hearts. "This numbered list of sixteen parts of the body will be used for later reference." 1. Neck
2. Back 3. Right Arm 4. Left Arm 5. Right Wrist 6. Left Wrist 7. Right Hand 8. Left Hand 9. Right Shoulder 10. Left Shoulder 11. Right Knee 12. Left Knee 13. Right Ankle 14. Left Ankle 15. Right Foot 16. Left Foot The hypnotist secretly wrote a statement naming where the King was to be stabbed to confirm that his mental suggestion had been obeyed. 'When the subject returned and was brought out of his trance, he remembered nothing he had done during the test. A computer was used to check what had happened. This packet of cards will represent the computer. Quite logically, the card used as the input medium was the King of Hearts."
A card is inserted anywhere in the "computer" by a spectator. The cards are mixed to suggest a computer in action, then the cards are spread face up. The total value of the cards on either side of the King is nine. "Right Shoulder" is opposite #9 on the list. The hypnotist's statement is opened and read: "Right Shoulder." No other two cards, side by side, total nine. The packet consists of twenty-eight cards arranged from top to face in this order and without regard to suit: 7 5 8 6 A 3 4 2 4 A 3 8 6 5 with this sequence repeated once. The hypnotee - now out of his trance - is instructed to cut the packet once or twice, then to insert the king of hearts face down into the face-down cards at any point desired. 2
28 26 2', 22 20 18 16 l't 12 10 8 E,
... 29 27
IS IS ,, 9 7
Give the cards a Reverse Faro shuffle. This is accomplished by running through the packet, jogging the alternate cards upward, pulling out the jogged cards and placing them on the top or the bottom of the packet. Explain that the hypnotist activated the computer in that manner when he conducted this demonstration for you. With his permission, you also activated the computer. Repeat the Reverse Faro shuffle. Spread the cards face up and direct attention to the total value of the cards on either side of the king of hearts. It will always be nine; no other two cards, side by side, total nine. "Right Shoulder" is #9 on the list. By the power of suggestion, the subject was influenced to insert the dagger where the hypnotist mentally directed!
Spell of Mystery Marketed by SJ,]11ne 19 29
n the Linking. Ring for July 1929, Tom Bowyer gave this a nice review in which he said, '... the secret will surprise and please you.' In many respects it is a better trick than Evolution Of A Dream ... the name of the card is selected so fairly, it may be any card in the deck and you do not know in advance which one. The name of the card is completely spelled, not half-count, half-spell." (An improved version of Stewart's 1930 trick, Evolution Of A Dream, appears toward the end of this volume.) "This was the first card trick of mine to go into the world, although by this time I had given birth to others. I tried to work out tricks using objects I had. Mother was against magic completely, and although my paternal grandfather had made apparatus for individual magicians, and so had Father to a much lesser degree, he didn't like me fooling around wasting my time on magic. So a deck of cards was a natural thing to work with secretly. "I supplied Spell Of Mystery to James McKnight, who had an ad in the November 1929 Sphinx. Nick Trost used Spell Of Mystery under the title of Spelling Effect in the October 1970 New Tops. I told him it had first appeared forty years before, and more recently in Tops for August 1953. Abbott had also remarketed it in 1936, in a package called The Big Three. "When Phil Goldstein put his Spiel Of Mystery into the August 1981 Pentagram, he said: 'The following is no more than an extension of Stewart James's brilliant Spell Of Mystery. I should mention that when I contacted Stewart on this matter, he sent me a variety of unpublished variations he had developed on this effect, each of these being at least as interesting as the one I am about to describe,'" (They appear beginning on page 1953 of TheJamesFile.)
-0A spectator is handed a deck of cards with the request that he cut it at any point. He then squares the deck and deals the two top cards face up on the table. We will suppose 11
that the first card dealt off is a three, and the second a club. The spectator spells THREE OF CLUBS, dealing a card for each letter. Turning over the last card it proves to be none other than the three of clubs. Arrange the cards in the familiar Eight Kings order. (It will also work with the Si Stebbins System, or any other full-deck cyclical periodic stock.) Of the two cards that the spectator turns up, after the cut, always arrive at the value of the card to spell from the first card turned over, and the suit from the second card. The card will spell out automatically if you calculate so that you will always arrive at the twelfth card down in the deck. This is not difficult. Examples: Seven of Hearts - turn over the next card. Three Diamond - turn over the last card. Two of Hearts - turn over the next card. It is quite simple to figure any card. The deck may be apparently shuffled by giving it a rapid series of overhand cuts.
Bal/down Handwritten notes, November 10, 1929 ome of Stewart's fabled patter routines and unusual plots appeared in Stewart James In Print and The James File. Other tricks in those volumes were substantially enhanced in actual performance when he spun around them one of his fanciful concoctions. Oftimes, the story that Stewart told to accompany one of his tricks somehow transported the magic itself to a loftier plane. I found this commentary, typed but undated, in his files: "Erle Stanley Gardner died March 11th, 1970. His last book was All Grass Isn't Green. Written under his pseudonym of A.A. Fair. "In the first chapter, Gardner has a character say: 'I know that he has a theory that when you talk about a story you either have a sympathetic or an unsympathetic audience. lf the audience is unsympathetic it weakens your self-confidence. If the audience is too sympathetic you are encouraged to talk too much and tell too much.' "He was talking about a novelist working on a book. Substitute 'trick' for 'story' and consider how applicable to magic." One aspect impossible to convey on the page was Stewart's remarkable ability to tell his story, wild and implausible as it may have been, in a resonant and measured tone that commanded trust. The onlooker was slowly drawn into the tale and began to find it believable. The magic therefore became stronger. Balldown w~s discovered by Howard Lyons after Stewart had turned over to him some old files when Lyons was preparing Arcane #10, the 1983 edition of the magazine devoted solely to the originations of Stewart James. Balldown is an ingenious penetration of one ball through a larger ball, snugly trapped in a tube. Editor Lyons wrote: "The method is exceedingly clever and uses a new principle - one that bas never been used in an effect like this before. This is the sort of effect which any magic dealer would have been delighted to market and I'm sure would have proven to be a popular item ... For the record, Stewart was kind enough to send me an aging slip of paper containing his drawings for this effect. The notes are dated November 10th, 1929." One of those who assisted in the compilation of these effects by preparing a list of
his James favourites was Gabe Fajuri. He wrote: "I must admit that my crude capitalist sensibilities are what attracted me to Balldown. It's a magic dealer's dream. The effect is straightforward. The working is sleight free. And best of all, the magic is rock solid." To the accompaniment of unusual patter about the Baldoon Mysteries, the performer exhibits a cardboard tube, a wooden ball of such diameter that it just fits inside the tube, a pencil and a small metal ball. The pencil is pushed through two holes at the lower end of the tube and the wooden ball is dropped into it, trapped in place by the pencil. The small metal ball is dropped into the top of the tube. Holding the tube openly by the sides, the performer gives it a slight shake. The metal ball immediately penetrates the wooden ball to drop from the lower end of the tube.
No duplicate metal ball is used and, in fact, the ball can be marked if desired. All apparatus used is in full view and openly shown at the beginning of the effect. As noted, the metal ball is ungimmicked. However, the larger wooden ball is prepared by cutting a slot into it the same diameter as the metal ball. It should be just deep enough to accommodate the smaller ball so that once it is dropped into the slot, the surface of the metal ball will be flush with the surface of the wooden ball.
As you begin the effect, the wooden ball is on the table with the hole facing away from the audience. The other items are beside it. Show the tube and insert the pencil through the two holes. Display the wooden ball between the thumb and first finger of your right hand and then drop it into the tube, making sure that the slot is facing up. The metal ball is shown and dropped into the tube from the top, landing in the slot in the wooden ball. To cause the apparent penetration of metal through wood, simply shake the tube slightly. The weight of the metal ball within the slot will cause the wooden ball to start to turn, as illustrated. The wooden ball will turn over completely, allowing the metal ball to bypass the pencil and drop into the performer's waiting hand. Stewart used a patter theme similar to the following to accompany the effect: ''Baldoon
BA LLD OWN
is about twenty miles from where I live in Courtright. In the mid-1800s, the John T. McDonald family there reported a series of confounding occurences that became known as the Baldoon Mysteries. The family dog was assaulted by a ladle as it was licking out a porridge pot. The pooch fled to Michigan and could not be coaxed to return to Canada. There's more. "A cradle with an infant in it began rocking so hard that three men couldn't stop it. Fireballs floated through the air. During the Baldoon Mysteries, bullets crashed through windows with great force, then dropped harmlessly to the floor. McDonald boarded his windows after the glass was broken when the bullets smashed through, but then witnesses saw rocks fly from the river, sail through the air and mysteriously penetrate the boards - landing on the house floor still dripping wet. ''A pyschic teenager advised McDonald that the source of his trouble was a neighbouring family who coveted some of his land. The teenager told McDonald to make a bullet of sterling silver for his musket and fire it at an old stray goose that had attached itself to his flock. He wounded the goose in the wing and, sure enough, the neighbour's wife immediately suffered a broken arm. Thereafter, it is said, peace reigned at Baldoon. "With a twist of the imagination, it is easy to think of some members of the McDonald family making wooden balls from the window boards and selling them as souvenirs, still possessing the capability to be penetrated without harm. I have one of them here, passed down through generations of my family. And this metal ball comes from the same silver that was used to make the bullet McDonald fired at the goose. Now, the Balldoon Mysteries become the Ball-Down Mystery!"
Marketed f?y Abbott}, 193 7
rom page 120 of Stewart James In Print. "My editors tell me that, up to this point, this wins the prize in the title competition. I'm glad they are keeping an eye on them since, for me, coming up with a good name is sometimes almost as much fun as working out the trick. "The size of the deck you should use depends on the planned length of your show. Use the full deck only for a full evening show. If you wish to use fewer cards, say half the deck, a presentation ploy may be to have the deck cut into two piles. You have the first chosen card selected from the pile of which you do not know the top card, and placed face up on top of the other pile. The second, secret, choice is taken from the other pile as well, and placed face to face as in the description below. This half is now cut and used to finish the effect." Tom Bowyer reviewed it in the January 1937 Tops, where he said: "Not very exciting for lay spectators, but magicians just can't figure it out, as we know by experience." Faucett Ross had recorded in his notes from the 1935 I.B.M. Convention at Lima, Ohio, that Stewart performed Freedom Of The Seize there. He noted it was "a subtle one to puzzle magi." Max Maven would concur. He wrote me on March 2, 2002: ''When I was preparing for the 2001 Collectors' convention in Chicago, I knew that I wanted my performance to include a Stewart James piece, because it would tie in with the biographical documentary that was to be shown at the event. Obviously, I needed a good piece of magic. (That didn't narrow it down all that much.) I required something that could be done under stage conditions. Also, I wanted something that was not well known. "Freedom Of The Seize satisfied all of those conditions, with the added plus that (with very minor modifications) it could be done with a borrowed, shuffled deck, making its impossibility more overt. (One of the problems with doing some of SJ's material for magicians is that due to the simplicity of procedure, they don't always realize how badly they've been fooled.) "The bonus for me, is that the trick has one of my favorite James titles (and according
to SJ's introductory comments in Stewart James In Print, yours and Howard's, too). So, in considering which routine to use, it narrowed down to that one fairly quickly. The audience response seemed to indicate that I'd made a reasonably good choice." It goes without saying that this unusual concept was included in Max's list of his favourite fifty James tricks. · And list submitters Gordon Bean and David Peck also checked in to report that they use versions of Freedom Of The Seize.
-0A deck is shuffled and spread face down on the table. A volunteer selects a card from any place in the deck, thus exercising his 'Freedom Of The Seize.' He places it face up on what will become the top of the deck when the cards are assembled. The audience is requested to remember this card; we will assume that it is the seven of spades. A second card is also freely chosen, and, without anyone seeing it, is placed face down, face to face with the first card. The volunteer squares up the deck and gives it any number of single cuts so that the positions of the selected cards are lost, but they are not separated. The deck is handed to you behind your back, and you face the audience. Explain that although a card has been chosen without anyone seeing it, that particular card can quickly and easily be located because of the fact that it is marked by having a card face to face with it. What you are about to perform is a demonstration of the remarkable degree of sensitivity to which you have developed your sense of touch. In this way you are able to tell the backs from the faces of the cards, and so it is very little trouble for you to locate the reversed card. When you find this card, you know that the card facing it is the card that was selected second. As no one looked at the card, it would be impossible to discover its identity by mind reading, but feeling it very carefully leads you to believe that it is the two of diamonds. All that is necessary is for you to know the top card of the deck before commencing the trick. Shuffle the cards and spread them on the table without altering its position; in the example we have used, it would be the two of diamonds. The volunteer selected the seven of spades and placed it face up on top of the deck. His second, unknown, selection was then placed above it and face to face with it. He buries them in the deck by giving it any number of single cuts. You know the card, the two of diamonds, that is back to back with the seven of spades, but not the card facing it. You alter their position by the simple expedient of passing the cards, one at a ti.me, from hand to hand exactly as if you were counting them, and reversing them in the process. It is not even necessary for you to know which is the top and which is the bottom of the deck. The top card of the deck becomes the face card, and no matter where the two of diamonds and seven of spades are in the deck, they will now be found face to face. When the volunteer removes his seven of spades, and the card
facing it, he naturally presumes that he selected the two of diamonds the second time. The small amount of time required to count through the deck is covered by your explanation, and any motions detected by the audience are explained by your feeling the cards to find the reversed bookmark.
Simplici,ry Four Ace Trick More ''Eye Openers" (1933)
en Fred Braue conducted his 'Five Favorite Card Tricks' poll in Hugard}Magic Month!Jduring 1946 and 194 7, a large number of voters went for the four-ace trick, and this one led that section by one vote. This is a touch surprising as it reads so badly in print. In addition, nobody seems to have noticed this is really a follow• the-leader trick, until Ed Marlo mentioned it in MarloWithoutTears (1983), in his Barroom Poker, an interesting five-phase routine with the Simplicity plot. Phil Goldstein offered two more variations in Barrow!, which appeared in the June 1983 New Tops. "For my own satisfaction, I wish I could remember when I devised it. I know I had been using it for what seemed like years when I had a card session at Columbus in 1931 with Ralph W Hull. I showed this to him several times; every time I'd look at him, he'd look at me, and every time I fooled him. He liked it well enough that he wrote in December 1932: 'I am writing a booklet on four-ace tricks, giving my routines as I do them. Would you object should I include the little Four-Ace Trick that you showed me a year ago.' I told him he could use it, but even after I explained it to him, he missed the point that had fooled him so completely. The key is the displacement of one card, where you try to convey the impression that you are not quite sure they understand, and it is an afterthought to show the ace. "Hull didn't bring out the collection of ace tricks, but included it in More ''Eye Openers" where he manhandled the key element. Worse still, when it appeared a few years later in Greater Magic, they made a move out of it; there should be no flipping of the cards. The description below is based on that provided by Glenn Gravatt on page 71 of Enryclopedia Of Self-Working Card Tricks (1936), but I have tried to point up the timing on this subtle manoeuvre. "A popular dealer item in 194 7 was Aces High,a sequence of four-ace effects by S. Leo Horowitz and Dr. Jacob Daley. The first phase was the Simplicity Four-Ace Trick, although no credit was allocated. This version was devised by Daley, and it required a bottom deal when the fourth card was being placed on the table. If you try it, then deal the rest of the cards normally, you'll see that the aces wind up in the first pile dealt. It
seems to me almost sinful to use any sleights at all."
-0This has a breath-taking climax and is easy to do. In fact, it is self-working, Lay out the four aces face up in a row. On each ace deal three indifferent cards face down, so half of each face-up ace still shows. Now pick up all the cards with one hand, placing them all face down in the palm of the other hand, in the following manner: Pick up the ace at one end of the row with your right hand; turn it over so it is face down on the Aat palm of your left. Place the three indifferent cards on it face down. Now state that if you count from the top down "one, two, three, four," the ace will be the fourth card down. On this packet place another ace face down, then lay three indifferent cards on it face down, and again emphasize that this ace is four cards down. Do this with the remaining cards so you hold a packet of sixteen face-down cards in your left hand. Deal four cards face down from left to right in a row. Naturally, the first three cards dealt are indifferent ones, and the fourth card, or the one to the extreme right, is an ace. Start to deal the fifth card (an indifferent one) on top of the first card dealt, but do not let it leave your hand. Take it with your right fingers off the packet in your left hand and make a motion as if to deal it, then stop half way, hesitate, and say: "Every fourth card dealt will be an ace." With the single card in your right hand tap the first card dealt, then the others, and say: "Indifferent card, indifferent card, indifferent card - and the ace on the end."
Then, as you look at them, place the pointer card under the deck, and immediately pick up the fourth card with your now-free right hand and turn it face up, showing it to be an ace. Stewart commented: "In doing this hundreds of times, I have never been caught on this move." Apparently you want to convince the audience that the aces are really in the
last pile, and since you have a packet of cards in your left hand, and one card in your right hand, naturally you have to put the card back so that you will have one hand free to show the ace. Now deal the top card of the left hand packet on the first card dealt, the next on the second and so forth. Continue in this manner until you have dealt out all the cards in four piles. The audience thinks all four aces are in the last pile. "Of course there are no aces in this pile," you say, picking up the first pile and tossing it aside, face up. ''And of course there are no aces in this pile," you continue, picking up the second pile and tossing it aside face up. The audience is convinced the four aces are where they are supposed to be - in the fourth and last pile. Reach under Pile Three and turn up the undermost card (an indifferent one) and place it face up in front of that pile. "This marks the pile of indifferent cards," you say. Now turn up the undermost card of Pile Four, which will be the first ace dealt, and say: "This tells us where the aces are. Now here is a most peculiar thing. To show you what strange sympathy exists between the aces, if I place the ace in front of the pile of indifferent cards, and switch the indifferent card over here in front of the aces, see what happens!" Turn up all the cards and show that the four aces are in Pile Three and Pile Four contains all indifferent cards.
Marketed by SJ, Ju!J 1935
hould self-working card tricks be honoured in some future Magic Hall of Fame, it is certain that Miraskill will be placed in the top ranks. Miraskill was first released by Stewart as a self-marketed item in 1935. Only one copy was sold. However, it was subsequently demonstrated to Ted Annemann by Dr. Jacob Daley. Annemann wrote Stewart, admitting it "fooled the hell out of me," and cajoled him into letting it appear in Jinx #24 (September 1936). It became one of the most popular tricks ever to come from the pages of that legendary periodical. In Jinx #24, Annemann wrote: "I don't know where Mr. James got his title for this mystery, but anytime anyone can produce such a problem, I'll be the last to argue over what it is to be called. Certainly no concocted effect has in years been so original in effect upon the watchers. I have used the problem any number of times since learning it, and I have yet to find people who aren't amazed at the outcome. I won't go into any reason why it works because of limits in space, but it does work, and that's about the most important thing ... try out this masterpiece, and you'll find it to be one of the best mysteries in years." George Anderson included Miraskill in Magic Digest (1972) and said it was "One of the greatest card tricks ever invented." In reviewing the first bound volume of reprints of the Jinx, Peter Warlock called Miraskill " ... one of the most convincing card predictions of the age." I first encountered Miraskill as a fourteen-year-old sometime in 1945. It did not seem to me that it could possibly succeed each time, but after a number of closed-door tests I realized that it did work infallibly and, I'm sure hazily at the time, I began to understand the underlying principle. This confession is easier to divulge when I quote from Bob Farmer's introduction to his Brain To Wallet, a clever trick which appeared in Genii (March 1991 ). That special issue was a tribute to Stewart, and friends and fans contributed an excellent array of tricks. Farmer wrote: "Since the age of eleven, I have been fascinated by Miraskill. Having no idea why or how it worked, it seemed to me to be real magic .. It became my magical solitaire: I'd pass hours doing it over and over again and it never lost its fascination." 22
Don't pass this one by! (A full chapter, titled 'Miraschool' and devoted to versions of Miraskill by Stewart and other magicians, begins on page 1883 of TheJames File.)
-0To prepare: Be sure there is no Joker in your deck, and hide four black cards in a pocket from which they can be palmed later. Ask someone to shuffle the cards thoroughly, and also to state whether they wish to have the red or the black cards. If they say red, for your secret prediction write: "You will have four more cards than I." If they say black, you write: "I will have four more cards than you." Fold the slip of paper and place it in full view on the table. We will assume the volunteer chose the red cards. Instruct him to remove two cards at a time from the deck and turn them face up while still holding them in his hand. If they are both red, they go face up to start a pile before him; if they are both black, they go face up before you; if there is one card of each colour they go in a discard pile. He deals through the deck in this manner, distributing the cards as directed.
When he has finished, casually pick up the discard pile as if to get it out of the way as you tell him to count the cards in his red pile, and then to count the cards in your black pile. While he is thus engaged, it is a simple matter to palm the four black cards from your pocket and quietly add them to the top of the discard group in your hand. He then opens the slip and reads your prediction aloud. You are correct. State that, while he assembles all the cards and shuffles them again, you will make another prediction. Although it is for effect, ask him which colour he prefers this time, then write: 'We will both have the same number of cards." The volunteer goes through the identical procedure a second time and, once more, your prediction proves to be correct.
Face-Up Prediction Various sources
tewart originated Face-up Prediction in 1939 and performed it often, always with telling success. However, it was not until 1947 that it seized the attention of the magic fraternity. Fred Braue had initiated his 'Five-Best Poll' in the December 1946 H11gard} Magic Monthfy. Subscribers were asked to mail in a list of " ... the five card tricks which you find most popular with your audiences." Stewart sent in two lists: one consisted of his five favourites among the many he had created, and the other identified five tricks invented by others. His submission appeared in the March 194 7 issue and, in ranking his own material, he placed Face-Up Prediction fourth. The other four he selected all appear in this volume: (1) Simplicity Four-Ace Trick, (2) Further Than That, (3) Remembering The Future and (5) Jamesway Poker Deal. Two months after Stewart's choices ran, Braue published Francis Haxton's list. Haxton put Face-Up Prediction first, then added:" ... this is more than a card trick, it is a miracle." On the same day that he received Haxton's contribution, Braue wrote Stewart and enquired about this "miracle." That was not surprising, because Haxton had written: "The effect is this and I am holding nothing back. A deck of cards is handed to a spectator to shuffle. While he is doing this the performer writes a prediction on a slip of paper, folds it and drops it on the table or gives it to someone to hold. The shuffled deck is now taken and ribbon spread, face up, on the table. The spectator is now asked to run his forefinger up and down the ribbon of cards and to bring this finger down on any card. The card thus selected is discovered to denote the card written on the prediction." Stewart responded to Braue's query on March 8, 1947: "Face-Up Prediction. Wanted some super close-up quickie to work on reporters in the interviews I knew would follow the prediction of the headline a year in advance [see page 211 in Stouar: James In Print]. "I then made what I call a 'trick family tree' which is the quickest way to locate uncharted ground and this is what I came up with. Magicians that hear of it, seldom believe it. The most often advanced theory is that it must be a pocket index or a thumb nail writer, until they realize that the prediction was written before the deck was shuffled
and is not touched again by the performer. Some say there can't be any trickery to it - there must be something used 'like hypnotism.' Hey! This begins to sound like I'm writing an ad." The method was not explained. When discussing Face-Up Prediction, Stewart expressed concern that if he revealed his method it would disappoint those who had followed its mythology over the years. But his caveat was diminished by the enthusiastic reception of Dai Vernon's The Trick That Cannot Be Explained, following its appearance in More InnerSecrets Of Card Magic, a 1960 publication written by Lewis Ganson. The 'Great Minds' theorem would seem to be at play here, because both tricks use the same method. In fact, Vernon was not the first to publicly reveal the methodology. A Miracle - Maybe, credited to Joe Berg, was published in 1942 in Martin Gardner's Cut The Cards. Vernon's effect is identical to Stewart's in that a prediction is made in advance and not touched again by the performer; Berg's version consisted of a spectator choosing a card and, without learning its identity, marking it on the back then losing it in the deck by a thorough shuffle. The cards are ribbon spread face up on the table, the spectator touches or names a card and discovers he has located his own selection (The reader unfamiliar with the procedure will appreciate the sneaky wording of the last sentence and of Haxton's description to Braue, when the details are revealed below.) Stewart wrote Norm Houghton on October 31, 1962. In reference to Face-Up Prediction, he stated: "This has been the most important trick in my life and I have an affection for it shared by no other." Charles Reynolds, one of the James fans who assisted this project with his list of favourites, made a telling point: "One of the attributes of a miracle worker as opposed to a run-of-the-mill magician is the ability to analyze a situation and use what is there (often • taking chances and utilizing 'outs') to produce near miracles. Example of this type of magician are Uri Geller, Max Malini, Chan Canasta and David Berglas.There is no better example of the types of 'impossible effects' with which these performers have made their reputation than Stewart James' Face-Up Prediction. It is not self-working. It requires the ability to size up a situation and think on your feet and, at its strongest, a little luck can't hurt. But there are few card effects that are potentially more powerful."
-0You predict a card by committing it to writing - its name is not revealed - while someone shuffles the deck. The cards are then spread in a neat face-up row so every index can be easily seen. Someone touches a card and, if it is not the one you had forecast, you count or spell or somehow maneuver affairs so you logically move from the touched card to the one predicted. It is with good reason that Dai Vernon called this effect The Trick That Cannot Be Explained; Lewis Gansen devoted more than five pages to it in More
Inner SecretsOf Card Magic. Stewart often predicted the queen of hearts. After the shuffled deck has been returned
to you, glimpse the top card and note the face card in the apparent process of squaring the pack. Either one could be the predicted card and, if this is the case, there is no need to form a row on the table. In fact, this break occurred when Vernon first demonstrated the trick for Lewis Ganson in front of Al Koran and Fred Lowe. Ganson said to Vernon: "You wrote a prediction on a cigarette paper and placed this on the table. Al Koran shuffled the pack (and made a thorough job of it!). You told him to turn over the top card - which happened to be the Six of Hearts. You then told him to turn over the cigarette packet which had been out of your reach since you wrote the prediction. Al himself read what you had written 'The Six of Hearts.' It was a knockout." If your predicted card is not on top or bottom, bold the deck face up on your upturned palm and instruct the spectator to cut the cards and complete the cut. Determine the identity of the cards now on top and bottom. This procedure has allowed you four chances and, as Gansen wrote: "It's surprising how often this can happen. However, we are not dependent on chance, and if luck is not with us our actions so far seem to have little importance, as we have merely displayed the pack, had it cut and displayed it again.'' Having the deck cut while face up is logical, because the cards are now spread in a face-up row across the table. Martin Gardner made this suggestion in the description of Joe Berg's A Miracle - Maybe: ''As you arrange the spread, find the (predicted) card and expose it slightly more than the other cards. Then to throw the spectator off guard, spread the cards at some other point so that another card is even more exposed. The spectator is now invited to move his hand back and forth over the row with his forefinger pointing at the cards, then to place his finger on one. On more occasions than the laws of chance would indicate, he will touch the card you have predicted.
If any other card is touched, you must quickly devise a fair-seeming method to count or spell, or somehow logically use the indicated card to reach the predicted card. Berg's version requires you to force a card which the spectator does not look at. Rather, he marks it on the back and then shuffles it into the pack which is later spread face up on the table. (I have performed Berg's trick often since I first found it. I prefer to allow a free selection, then position a key card above it before the pack is spread face up.) Gardner wrote: "Remember that in all these cases you have a leeway of three cards. That is:
"1. You can begin the count (or spelling) on the card which you slid forward, and end the count on the originally chosen card. "2. You can begin on the card, finish the count, then take the next one. "3. You can ignore the card slid forward, beginning your count on the next card, then after the count take the next card also." In The Feints and Temps of Harry Riser (1996), Ed Brown explained The Poker Lesson; part of Riser's gambling demonstration required a process similar to that used in Face-Up Prediction. Brown wrote: " ... in that detailed instructions are impossible ... you have to use the circumstances that arise in order to create the effect." The reader can be assured that this trick can always be brought to a successful conclusion and, invariably, will be one of the most acclaimed tricks in any routine with cards. Although it may be daunting when it is first attempted before an audience, as Stewart once said to me, "You just do it!"
The Book Of The Dead Marketed by Abbott}, 193 9
tewart discovered The Transposed Cards in Walter Gibson's Popular Card Tricks (1928) and became instantly fascinated with the principle that resided within. This was his first release to take advantage of the Transposed Cards principle, and he
came up with a dandy. The ads had stressed there was no forcing, calculation, memory work, alternative conclusions or additional accessories used, and claimed: ''The principle is so unique that you will amaze yourself." As used here it isn't applicable to regular playing cards; the pages must have the same design or wording on each side so each has the same appearance regardless of which side is up. However, it dearly has great value in card tricks as will be proved further on. Harlan Tarbell was impressed with it and said: "It completely fooled me. I intend to feature The Book Of The Dead in all my programs." Although it is a transposition of two pages in a book, Tarbell planned to make it up for stage use with cardboard tombstones. For modern use, it may be appropriate to assemble it using the names of rock stars, prematurely deceased, with the date of death and the title of an outstanding record of each. The performer should determine how macabre he dare be with a particular audience. Two other of Stewart's discoveries employing the Transposed Cards principle appear later in this volume: The Tenth Variation and Split Second. Both are brilliant inventions.
-0Two persons freely make mental selections of names on certain pages of a loose-leaf book. The magician handles the book briefly and manages to transpose the mentally selected pages. At the magician's request, two volunteers step forward to assist him. We will call them Brown and Jones. Each is given two blank sheets of paper. Brown's are coloured and Jones's are white. Each writes a number on one of his slips, any number less than 25. These numbers are 28
chosen secretly. Brown writes an odd number and Jones an even number so there can be no possibility of them using the same number. A loose-leaf notebook, opening at the top, is on the table. One cover is clearly identified as the front, possibly by having the manufacturer's name on it, or some other imprint. The pages, fifty in number, are piled beside it. Each page bears the name of a different famous person, what he was noted for, and the year he died. Both sides of each page are identical.
Let us suppose the number written by Brown was 17 and Jones wrote 10. While the magician's back is turned, they place pages in the notebook equal to the total of the numbers they have written. In this case there will be twenty-seven pages to be placed in the notebook. Brown and Jones may select these pages from anywhere in the pile and mix them about as much as they please before inserting them in the book. As the pages are lettered with the name on both sides, it is impossible to get them upside down. The remaining pages are concealed. At this time, the volunteers note the name of the persons on the pages whose positions in the book correspond with the numbers they have chosen. Brown may find that the name written on the page seventeenth from the front cover is William Shakespeare. Jones might read Victor Hugo's name on the tenth page. Each writes the name he has found on his remaining slip. The magician is handed the book and he turns his back for a few brief seconds. Not a question is asked. Facing his audience again, the magician hands the book to a third volunteer whom we will designate as Smith. Brown is requested to hand his numbered slip to Jones for which he receives Jones's numbered slip in return. Brown opens Jones's slip and announces the number, which you will recall was 10. Smith counts to page 10 and reads aloud the name thereon, William Shakespeare, the name Brown had secretly noted at the number on the slip now held by Jones. This is verified by his reading aloud the name on his second slip which he has retained. Jones reads out Brown's number, which was 17. The name at that number is Victor Hugo, the name secretly noted by Jones at the number on the slip now held by Brown.
In other words, two freely selected names at mentally chosen positions in the book have been transposed by the magician without his asking a single question. The selections may even be made during his absence. The method could not be more simple. When the magician receives the book, he turns his back and springs open the binder, then removes all the pages with the exception of the page farthest from the front cover, the last page. Reversing the pages, just turning them over, he re-inserts them. That is all. If you use a side-bound book, you reverse the handful of pages end over end and re• insert them. In this case, the opposite side of each page must be printed upside down.
For example, Brown and Jones selected 17 and 10, respectively, so there are twenty• seven pages in the book. The seventeenth name is William Shakespeare and the tenth is Victor Hugo. Suppose also that the first name is U. S. Grant and the twenty-sixth is Aristotle. The twenty-seventh may be Will Rogers. Turn your twenty-six pages over and re-insert them. The first name is now Aristotle, the twenty-sixth is U. S. Grant, and the twenty-seventh is still Will Rogers. The important thing is that Victor Hugo is now in seventeenth position and William Shakespeare is tenth, just the reverse of the positions noted by your volunteers. It makes no difference what numbers are selected or the number of pages in the book. In every case you reverse all the pages in the book with the exception of the last page.
Sefala!Jia Jinx #69 (December2, 1939)
n introducing this Ted Annemann wrote: 'I honestly believe that this one-man miniature spirit cabinet routine is far beyond, in merit and effectiveness, anything yet Mr. J ames has conceived. Certainly the manifestations are out of the ordinary and managed to use several magical principles in a way not originally intended. The absence of complicated preparation of the cabinet will be found quite refreshing. The routine herein should be put into immediate use by many magi.' "Ted also remarked at the end: 'I want to come in on this again and say that Stewart has routined this series of effects in a 'sweet' manner. The act opens very strong, gets a quick surprise with No.2, and settles down with a thought wringer on No.3. The audience then gets No.4 and No.5 in succession for the finish. It is my hope that readers will try the routine as given before they start the inevitable changes and improvements. This should find a good home in many club programs this winter.' "In the next Jinx Ted wrote: 'Every time we've turned around this week someone has told us he was building the cabinet for the Sefalaljia routine.' "My first cabinet was a toy suitcase which had been sold to hold doll clothing. Later, the box I used was made from an old radio cabinet. I was working towards a fifteen• to-twenty-rninute act, which might have been called The Haunted Radio. I would have said: 'This explains some of the peculiar reception I have been receiving. I removed the innards, but the. phenomena have continued. I now suspect it is inhabited by an unseen and uninvited guest.' "Eugene Burger and Richard Kaufman issued Spirit Theaterin 1986, and it proved to be one of the most fascinating volumes in years. Burger complimented Sefalaljia, then went on to say: 'I remember, as a teenager, the very clever version of this that Don Alan worked out using a cigar box.' I wish I had seen Don demonstrate his variation. "Although I have since found out that the routine as a whole had intrigued a number of people, for years I was aware only that the ring-and-rope element had taken on a life of its own, spawning variations. That's the phase Ted called 'a thought wringer.' As far as I know, the first adaptation of the ring section of the routine to appear in print was
appropriately enough published in Jinx #100 (July 1940). L. Vosburgh Lyons wrote in his Fourth Dimensional Sewing: 'My thought was to take the place of Stewart James's hook in the cabinet with my thumb, and make the item possible of being done anywhere at any time.' By this time I had worked up some impromptu variations, but it certainly hadn't occurred to me to sew the loop on the ribbon. Voz gave me full credit and called Sefalaljia 'an outstanding hit.' "I believe the first close-up version into print using a safety pin and handkerchief was Sefalaljia Jr. which appeared in Phoenix #21 (October 1942). No creator was credited in the article, although Sefalaljia was mentioned." Sefalaljia Jr. follows its father. The original routine was worked out by Stewart in the late 1930s. He received carbon monoxide poisoning when it leaked into his car on a winter night, and as a result suffered a severe headache. He wrote: "When I reached home, to take my mind off my cephalalgia, I started to work on the idea ... of magically threading a ring on a ribbon strung through a cabinet ... but it seemed like a lot of trouble to have a cabinet for just one trick, so I worked out the rest of it." Sefalaljia is the phonetic spelling Stewart adopted for cephalalgia, meaning headache. List provider David Ben wrote: "Few parlour effects can be described as deeply mysterious. This is one of them. Performed slowly and deliberately, Sefalaljia is guaranteed to tingle everyone's imagination."
-0The performer begins: ''It is the firm belief of many people that the walls of a room retain the impressions of violent or unusual incidents that have taken place within. People who last were seen in the best of spirits and apparently with everything for which to live, have, after spending a portion of a night in a room where somebody once committed suicide, unknown to them, in turn enacted that tragedy over again in a manner identical with the first. It is suggested that such individuals were psychic to a high degree and were influenced by the impressions retained in the walls of that room." He offers to demonstrate a few experiments that he has been conducting along that line. He introduces a box which, he claims, was made from material taken from the most• frequented room of a house said to have been occupied for a number of years by a poltergeist. The front of the box has been replaced by a curtain that may be drawn back and forth to reveal or conceal the interior. The inside of the box is painted black. The top of the box is a hinged cover. On top of the box rests a skull and the whole is in full view on a slender and thin-topped table. Inside the box a red ball reposes inside a drinking glass. And although it is not normally practical, the spectators may be seated in a wide circle around the performer. The ball is carelessly tossed to one end of the box and the glass is placed at the other end. The curtain is drawn for a few seconds. When the interior of the box is shown again, the red ball has been tossed back into the glass, apparently by a playful spirit. Any spectator
may step forward, remove the glass and ball, and examine both as well as the box. The inside of the box again is concealed. The top is raised and a handkerchief is tossed inside. The spectator, who has stood by, opens the curtain, removes the handkerchief and finds that a knot has been tied in it. In each end of the box is a hoJe. In the centre of the hinged lid is a screw-hook on the under side. A length of white cotton tape is folded in half and another spectator places a safety pin through the tape about an inch from the doubled end. The tape is now threaded through the box with the ends protruding out of the holes. Someone in the audience lends his or her finger ring and it is hung onto the hook inside the box which is turned with the curtain side away from the audience. The playful poltergeist's presence is invoked. A volunteer comes forward, grasps one end of the tape and draws it from the box. The borrowed ring actually is threaded on the middle of the tape and held securely in place by the pin. The ring, still on the tape, is returned to the owner and the volunteer is allowed to examine the cabinet. The cabinet is turned with the curtain side to the audience. A cellophane-wrapped cigar is unwrapped and placed into a glass tumbler. When it is put into the open cabinet, the ghost is found to be a tobacco addict, for the cigar is seen to smoke furiously. Lastly, the Lid of the cabinet is raised to accommodate a bottle of milk. A straw is inserted and as the thirsty spook imbibes a quantity of the lacteal fluid, the performer states, rather apologetically, that his poltergeistic friend always drinks a lot of milk at bedtime and that now it will be necessary to cease manifestations. "Even spirits have to observe union hours," quips the performer as he takes a spiritual-like bow to what we hope is not ghostly applause. The box I used was a radio cabinet. Its size was 7" x 7" x 17". After using it for a long time I found the size just about right. The cabinet may seem long to some, but the distance between the glass tumbler and the rubber ball, placed at opposite ends, makes a very good-looking stunt for the opener. The holes at each end are 1 W' in diameter, The size allows the tape with ring to be easily pulled through. The screw-hook is #5 size. This is in the exact centre of the lid, on the inside, in line with the holes in the cabinet's ends. The final bit of cabinet detail, the only bit of fakery, is a needle-size hole in the lid about 3 W' from one end and at the centre of the lid. The small hole will never be noticed. The Ball In The Glass: The red rubber ball is 1 1/2" in diameter and made of sponge rubber. At the start of this routine there is a skull sitting upon the top of the cabinet. A thread, about two feet long, is fastened to the skull and runs down through the minute hole in the cabinet lid. The other end has been threaded through the ball. The ball has been placed into the glass and when the routine begins the glass and ball are sitting in the centre. After the patter about poltergeists and the building of the cabinet, the glass is picked up and the ball rolled from the glass into the far comer of the box. The glass is placed at the other end, directly under the tiny bole in the lid, and the curtain is closed.
At:- this time the performer seems to remember the presence of the skull on top. He picks it up, relating the fact that it was found beneath the poltergeist-occupied house. In stepping a bit forward while this is related, the performer causes the thread to be pulled, the ball inside the cabinet to be raised as far as the lid permits, and the thread to be pulled through and out of the ball. The result is that the ball falls directly downward into the glass. The skull is set aside and the performer invites a member of the audience to investigate the cabinet. He can examine everything to no avail.
The Knotted Handkerchief: The familiar one-hand knot is made for this effect, and is executed quickly when the handkerchief is thrown into the cabinet through the opened lid. Psychology here plays an important part for the audience is wondering about the ball's passage to the glass, while the spectator assisting worries both about that puzzle and his unexpected appearance before an audience. Therefore a wee bit of stage fright enters into the situation. The sleight, simple as it is, doesn't warrant inclusion here for it has been depicted for many years in magical books. (Illustrations have been added.)
The Ring On The Tape: After the more or less incidental handkerchief bit, which has subconsciously impressed your audience that strange powers are at work within the cabinet's confines, we come to the one effect of which I am rather proud and to which I claim originality outside of the routine itself. The tape is one half-inch wide and if your box is of the same dimensions as mine, 40" long. After the tape is threaded through the box, the borrowed ring is placed onto the hook, and the cabinet is turned curtain side away from the audience. The performer invokes the invisible prankster by rubbing his hands, as he says, "inside the confines of the wooden walls." This palaver allows of a few quick and very practical as well as unique moves. 1. Remove the safety pin and lay it on the bottom of the box. 2. Take the ring off the screw-hook. 3. Loop the centre of the tape and tuck it through the ring. 4. Place the pin through the left side of the loop thus formed and the half of the tape that runs out through the left, to performer, hole of the box. 5. Enlarge the loop and place it over the screw-hook.
If the left end, to performer, of the tape is now pulled from the box, the ring is automatically threaded upon the tape and found in the safety-pinned centre. The Smoked Cigar: The cigar I use is made of wood and was sold as a novelty pencil. I have hollowed out one end and inserted a piece of felt. This felt has been soaked previously in very strong liquid ammonia. The cigar is rewrapped in its cellophane wrapper. Before the performance the glass tumbler, the one used for the opening ball effect, has had put into it six or eight drops of muriatic acid which was then swished around. The cigar is unwrapped again and placed into the glass open end downward, and the glass is placed into the cabinet. Smoke begins the ascent from the glass in clouds. Drinking The Milk: The reader should have recognised the very clever DeMuth Milk Bottle trick, used heretofore for a penetration or passe-passe trick, but employed here in an entirely new atmosphere and dress. The placing of the straw serves to release the vent disc and make the drinking of the milk action automatic.
The Phoenix, October 1942
he principle that has become known as Sefalaljia has had greater influence on ring-and-rope tricks than any other. And there is little doubt that its astonishing popularity was spurred as much by the appearance of SefalaljiaJr. in The Phoenix, without credit to Stewart, as by the original ring-on-tape portion of the cabinet routine in the Jinx as just described. Editors Bruce Elliott and Walter Gibson knew a fine trick when they saw one. It would be of interest to determine who first performed for them, separately it would seem, the close-up item to follow. The description is in their words. Within the past few months, this baffler among close-up tricks has thrust itself upon the magical scene. On the table, the magician places a length of string near its center, a borrowed finger ring and a safety pin. Over the items he lays a handkerchief, but leaves the ends of the string in full view. Briefly placing his hands beneath the handkerchief, the magician finally raises one corner and tells someone to draw the string away. To the spectator's amazement, he finds the ring genuinely threaded on the string, held to the center by the safety pin, which runs across the doubled string to form a loop at the center. Most amazing to the editors of The Phoenix was the fact that they were individually mystified by this marvel, only to learn that they already knew its secret, which speaks highly for the effect. Inasmuch as it is an adaptation of a known and published principle, we feel at liberty to pass it along to our readers. It is the "Ring on String" effect that formed part of "Sefalaljia," a spirit routine explained in The Jinx, No. 69, but geared to impromptu presentation. Under the handkerchief, thrust a loop of string through the ring; then clamp the safety pin over the two strings at the right, exactly as illustrated.
Keep your left forefinger in the loop. [Under the handkerchief.] As you start to lift the handkerchief with your right hand, tell someone to draw the string away, making sure said person is at your right. The loop keeps increasing as he draws, and the string runs right through the ring, and follows it out. You can lift the handkerchief as the ring comes into sight. The pin keeps the ring fixed at the center, thus insuring the result. At first, people will think that there is some fake gag with the pin, but after they remove it and find that the ring is actually on the string - well, we advise that you do the trick and judge for yourself!
The Man in Aberyst11!Jth There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. Graham Greene The Power and the Glory (1940)
tewart James could recall not only the date but the exact time when he became interested in conjuring. It was on his seventh birthday on May 14, 1915, at 2:30 p.m. A woman who " ... possessed a greater imagination than a memory" told him her impressions of the Howard Thurston show she had recently attended. Stewart at that time was saving copies of a Sunday school paper called Bqyj World. He listened in fascination to the woman's elaborate account of some of Thurston's miracles and then rushed to his Bqyj World collection and the magic columns it contained. They were attributed to Howard Thurston. "And," as Stewart said, "that's how it all started." The home where Stewart resided was in the small community of Courtright, Ontario, on the St. Clair River across from the United States and not far from Detroit. Stewart's father built this unusual house in 1917 and named it 'Aberystwyth' after the town in Wales where Stewart's great grandfather was born. Except for an overseas posting in World War II, Stewart lived there from 1917 until he was hospitalized in nearby Sarnia in December, 1995. He died in November of the following year. In September 1945, Stewart returned to Canada from entertaining allied troops in Europe during the second World War. He held several jobs before signing a legal agreement with the Canadian government in 1956 to become a mail contractor, delivering the mail in the Courtright area. For thirty-seven years, Stewart and his mother lived together at Aberystwyth. (His father died in 1940 and his two sisters left home as soon as they were of age. Particulars of Stewart's sorrowful upbringing are detailed later in this volume in the 'Parent-Thesis' chapter.) Each day, he would rush home from his mail route to tend to his mother, who had been in chronic poor health since the early 1940s. She passed away in 1972, at the age of ninety-seven. As he said in Stewart James In Print, "She disliked magic, and often made magicians who visited me feel unwelcome and uncomfortable." (Stewart
then lived alone at Aberystwyth for another twenty-four years, until he was hospitalized in 1996. He died in November of that year at the age of eighty-eight.) Yet, despite parental disapproval, many wondrous magical things issued from Aberystwyth, as will be documented in this compendium. We conclude this account of a monumental figure in our art with an autobiographical reflection: ''The interest of some magicians in magic is cursory; mine is profound. They are interested only in certain magic; I am interested in all magic. They are gregarious; I am introverted. They look for what they can use; I look for even the tiniest glimmer of an innovation to titillate my jaded reflex. Most are not like me, and prefer what they call commercial magic. Others, like me, are attracted to the inspirational - effects that contain the spark that will ignite their creative nature, that will launch those sundry peculiar gyrations leading to a new idea. Sometimes an effect will satisfy both kinds; many times it will not. But all of us acquire pleasure from magic in our fashion. I have been most fortunate in having good friends who are of one kind or the other."
The Love-Sick Baff
Tops, December 1940
his is one trick where I started with the effect before I found the right principle. Years ago, Bob Gysel marketed The Psychic Golf Ball. It was advertised that an unprepared golf ball would roll across the table at your command. The trick consisted of a ring of felt on a thread beneath a tablecloth. That method didn't fill me with wild enthusiasm, and so I began to explore other possibilities. I made a list of the different types of balls. I made a list of different ways of producing motion. "Finally I got around to a five-sided box that would move across a rough surface if a Bunsen burner was alternately turned on and off beneath it. The movement was created by the box sides expanding and then contracting. I was not successful in working out a method of applying heat to a metal ball, but a hole punched in the side of a hollow rubber ball would permit its sides to act much the same as under expansion and contraction. To produce this action a number of times without approaching the ball became involved. I then realized that the flat side of the ball permitted motion to be retarded. Gravity is about the simplest form of motive power I know, and a slanting side to one side of a container was a logical thought. ''This idea of a ramp may have been suggested by a toy called Radio Rex. It required a special kennel in which was built an electro-magnetic switch operated by batteries and a swinging panel that kicked the dog out when voice vibrations operated the switch. unfortunately it required dry cells, and the kennel could not be examined. ''Winston Freer thought The Love-Sick Tennis Ball was the acme of perfection, although he preferred to call it The Legend Of The Love-Lorn Lob. In 1941, he spent his vacation here at Aberystwyth. We did a lot of fooling around with principles. Two of my models particularly appealed to him. One was a goofy use of The Love-Sick Tennis Ball. I had found a hat pin with a head that was like a shallow ball shell. I had a rubber ball that fitted in this shell when impaled on the pin. It was rubber-cemented in place. Squeezing the ball made a dimple so the pin would lie on a table. With the air back in the ball and the dimple gone, the pin would rise and rock back and forth like the weighted-base bob• up toys. I had one of those little lead soldiers. Its weight near the end of the pin would
hold the point down. This would be demonstrated, and then it was put in a shallow box without top or bottom, which represented the fence around the parade ground. A flag was mounted near the point of the pin. Of course, the effect was that when a kid whistled the national anthem, the soldier would release the flag so that it would wave back and forth."
-0When this was reprinted in Ste11Jart James In Print, Stewart commented: "I fear that most modern tennis balls won't work as set out below... you can use a toy football." Nate K.ranzo, who has had great fun performing this routine, suggests using the large plastic balls typically found in the play centers at McDonald's restaurants. A tennis ball and a box are the only properties used. Both may be examined. The performer places the ball in the box and steps away to as great a distance as he desires. On making a noise Like a love-sick tennis ball calling to its mate, the ball rolls out of the box and across the floor toward him. Anyone may now pick up and re-examine both the ball and the box, but no hairs, threads, wires, magnets, clock-works or gasoline motors will be found. The box I used was wood, 3" wide, 3" long and 3 1/2" high. Quarter-inch material was used. The cover was an inch deep and fitted on either the top or bottom a la the Okito Coin Box. The ball is just a hollow tennis ball that has had an air-hole punched into it with a darning needle. The box is brought forward with the ball inside. The cover is removed and placed on the bottom of the box. The ball is extracted, bounced off the floor, caught, and passed for examination along with the box. Take back the box first.
-J" The cover is left on the bottom. The box is placed on the floor with its mouth away from the audience. Pick up the ball and squeeze the air out under cover of placing it in the box. Push it well to the back of the box where it rests on its flattened side. Step away from the box and call the ball. You can time it nicely as the ball will not come out until it is fully expanded to
BALL IS INFlAT£D IT
normal. The length of time this takes depends on the size of the air-hole you have made in it. It rolls out when perfectly round because of the slanting surface on which it rests. A gaily coloured ball is quite attractive and usually has a thinner wall which makes it easier to work with than the heavier-sided tennis ball.
Remembering the Future Marketed by SJ, 194142 and 1947
would seem I had another Miraskill situation here: a very popular trick that simply didn't receive recognition until after a second appearance. I have no recall of whether I sold a single copy of the 1941-41 version, but it certainly took off when it was introduced again in 1947. "I still don't understand why this one works. [Mathematic professor) Paul Montgomery sent me nine pages to explain it to me; I think he knew." Martin Gardner presented Stewart's creation in his 'Mathematical Recreations' column in the July 1958 Scientific American with this introduction: "A large number of self-working card tricks depend on the properties of digital roots. In my opinion the best is a trick currently sold in magic shops as a four-page typescript titled 'Rembering The Future.' It was invented by Stewart James of Courtright, Ontario, a magician who has probably devised more high-quality mathematical card tricks than anyone who ever lived." Francis Haxton, who released Remembering The Future for Stewart in England, decided it would boost sales if he included his stage version, which he had worked up for the Cotswold Assembly early in 1947. This, together with Stewart's idea of stacking the top thirty-six cards, was later distributed with the manuscript and is included in the description below. Charles Reynolds added a caveat: "In the mathematical card tricks of Stewart James, arguably the most amazing mind in the history of our art, there is always a danger that the method will be more astonishing than the effect. Remembering The Future is so fascinating in its working that it is not immune to this problem. How do you sell it to an audience? The creative performer has his work cut out for him." Charles is correct, but I suggest that Stewart's suggested opening commentary takes a long step in the right direction. t
-.0Patter Theme: "Time has been compared to a river. Where you are standing represents
the present. The water that has flowed by represents the past, and what has not yet reached you - the future. Just as a man may swim against the current and see a bit of driftage before it floats by the point at which he had been standing, some people claim that they can project their astral body into the future and perceive in advance what will happen. Many people possess this ability without realizing it." Effect: The magician removes the nine low cards from a borrowed deck. They are placed face down on the table and a volunteer selects one. A second volunteer cuts the remaining cards where he will, counts the number of cards cut, and adds their digits together in order to arrive at a single digit. The second volunteer's total is the same as the value of the first volunteer's card. Method: Remove an ace to nine inclusive from any regular deck of fifty-two playing cards. The suits of the cards have no bearing on the trick. Freely show that this is what you actually do. Shift them about in your hands, so that the spectators do not know the order in which they lie. Deal them face down on the table so they read, from your left co right: 7 8 9 A 2 3 4 5 6. The first volunteer touches anyone of the face-down cards. You slide it to the right as well as all cards that lie to its right. They will vary from eight to none. For example, let us suppose that the three has been touched. You slide it to the right so that it becomes the card at the face of a packet of four. The other three cards are the four, five and six. The volunteer does not know what card he has touched, but it is impressed on him that the selected card is at the face of the little packet of cards on the table. The cards that are to the left of the chosen card are assembled and returned to the remainder of the deck. A second volunteer is now given the rest of the pack which, in this case, numbers forty-eight cards. He is asked to cut them anywhere he wishes so that he has two piles of cards on the table. Counting the cards in one pile, he may find that there are twenty• seven. If there are a two and a seven in that pile, they may be placed face up beside it as a reminder. The other pile will contain twenty-one cards. If there are a two and an ace in that pile, they may be placed face up beside it. State that it is necessary to alter this result to a single digit. Adding 2 and 7 gives 9. Adding 2 and 1 gives you 3. As there are still two digits, you have to continue further by adding the 9 and 3 to give 12. Finally add the 1 and 2 and you obtain 3. This is a single digit, and the value of the first card touched. The packet of cards on the table is turned over to display this coincidence. You may find it more natural to spread the nine cards face down on the table in an overlapping row with the seven on the bottom and the six on top. Then, when one is touched it is simple to square up this card and all above it and to its right, so it becomes the bottom card of the small packet. Regardless of what card is first touched or the number of cards cut in each pile, if you follow the instructions the card value and the total of the piles are always the same. Alternate Version:
The set-up 7 8 9 A 2 3 4 5 6 is repeated three more times, the suits immaterial. These are stacked on top of each other and then put on top of the mixed court cards and the tens to make a fifty-two card deck. You are now in position to deal cards from the top of the deck, stopping when instructed by a spectator. The next nine cards are removed without reversing their order or showing their faces and used in the trick as described. However, you must cut them so the seven is on top before you deal the nine cards in normal fashion from left to right. You must also replace the cards originally dealt off, onto the deck. The result is that from the spectators' viewpoint, nine cards are reached at random, thus further obscuring the method. Francis Haxton's Platform Presentation: "The effect as described in the original version was only suitable for working before two or three people at a table. I was, however, very impressed with the clever idea, and I wanted to use it on the platform before large audiences and so devised the following presentation. "The cards, reading from the top are stacked 6 5 4 3 2 A 9 8 7, and this stack is repeated three times. Below them in any order are the tens and face cards. Your other requirements are a table on which is a card display stand, a slate and a piece of chalk. ''Announce that you are going to predict something that has not yet taken place and that you require two assistants. Place these assistants each in a chair on either side of the platform. You now require a number to be selected, and you announce that you will deal the cards on the table until someone in the audience calls 'stop.' "This you proceed to do, dealing the cards in an irregular heap on the table. When you are stopped, this card is placed on the stand, back to the audience. You now approach one of your assistants with the balance of the deck on your outstretched left hand. I think here that it is quite reasonable to leave the dealt cards on the table, as they are unevenly dealt, and the unspoken suggestion is that it would be a waste of time to gather them up. "The first assistant takes the cards from you and is asked to go over to the other assistant and invite him or her to cut off a portion of the cards and return to his seat. The idea of two persons having the packets is to shorten the time taken in counting the cards, which operation is better reduced to a minimum since it has no entertainment value. "The performer picks up the slate and chalk, at the same time inviting the assistants to count their cards. As these totals are announced, you write them on the slate in a single column, one figure under the other. This saves having to go into an explanation about each individual adding his totals together, and then maybe you will have to do it again in the end. The single-column idea is more direct. You merely total the four digits and write that number on the slate, then reduce it to a single digit if necessary. ''.After this, you turn round the card on the stand and show that the spectator's prediction was correct. "For example, someone calls 'stop' after you have dealt eleven cards, and this last card, a five, is placed with its back to the audience. There will be forty-one cards left in the deck.
Let us assume this group is cut into two packets of 16 and 25 respectively. When those four digits are totalled, the result is 14. When those two digits are added together the final result is 5."
Further Than That Jinx # 134 (April 1941)
hortly after this appeared in the Jinx, Percy Abbott expressed displeasure that I had released it, and said I should have known that he could have made plenty of sales with it. I had worked the trick for him, and he didn't like it; he said a buyer felt he was gypped if he didn't get a gimmick for his money. "Leslie May liked it well enough. In the April 1965 Budget, reviewing the Tannen reprint volume of the Jinx #101-151, he said Further Than That ' ... requires a simple stack, but the effect is tremendous. It is one of the best openers for a card routine I've ever encountered.' It was marketed as 'Obie' O'Brien's $2.50 Card Trick' around 1971 with tens instead of aces, a blank-deck finale and no credit. This didn't irritate me terribly, but an ad for it in the Lin/ei,ng Ring quoted remarks from Dai Vernon, Brother Hamman, Jay Marshall, Gene Gordon, Karrel Fox, John Braun, and Jim Ryan that suggest they had, in only thirty years, forgotten the original. So had Al Sharpe when he ran an inferior version in Expert Card Cot!}11ti11g (1963) and called it Merely A Coincidence. Herb Rungie ha~'t and gave credit in publishing his Further Than That (Continued) in the October 1980 Magi.gram. Other versions have appeared in print by Eddie Fields, Karl Fulves, Harry Lorayne, Jon Racherbaumer, J. W Sarles, Mike Skinner, and Cushing Strout."
-0I was quoted in Ibidem #32 (luly 1967): " ... probably one of the most under-rated tricks of all time ... in my presentations, it is every bit as effective as Out Of This World." Stewart's original, as published in 1941, will be followed below by a variation preferred today which is credited to J.W Sarles. About the Sarles version, Toronto magician David Peck said, "With a few false shuffles and a false cut or two, it doesn't get much better than this." Further Than That received the most votes of any Stewart James conception by those magicians, identified on the Acknowledgements page, who assisted me in determining which items would be featured in this work.
STEWART JAMES It begins: "Magicians have had to alter the workings of many of their mysteries to the trend of the times. Illusionists today can perform miracles never even dreamed of but a decade ago. I have been asked what a card manipulator can do today that wasn't possible a few years ago. This is one thing. Will you help me, sir? "Old-time magicians would fan the deck of cards for you to make a selection, but as I am demonstrating modern, streamlined magic, th.is mystery goes further than that. Take the deck in your own hands. Name any number between, say 10 and 20. 17? Very well, count seventeen cards, one at a time, into a face-down pile on the table. Put the rest of the deck aside for now. "Old-time magicians would ask you to take the top card of those you have dealt off, but th.is mystery goes further than that. From within your packet of seventeen cards I am going to have you select just one, and select it in a way directed entirely by chance. If you wrote 17 you would make a 1 and a 7. Should you add these figures your total would be 8. So count eight cards face down onto the table, look at and remember the eighth card, and drop the rest of your packet on top. And now you may place that bunch of cards back onto the rest of the deck. ''You probably expect me to search through the deck and try to pick out the card you have in mind, but this mystery goes further than that. Without glancing at the face of a single card I merely hold the deck to my forehead. Modern day magic methods immediately inform me that the card you looked at was the ace of spades. Right? "But this mystery goes further than that. I spell A-C-E, dealing a card for each letter. In th.is next pile I deal cards for each of the letters in S-P-A-D-E-S. And, on turning over the next card, what do we have? The ace of spades! "But this mystery goes further than that. On turning over the ace pile, we find the other three aces. And, on turning over the spades pile we find that every card is a spade.
"Further than that, the spades are in correct order: two, three, four, five, six and seven. "And this mystery goes even one step further than that. In case you wonder where the rest of the spades are, I have merely to flick the deck like this and deal them off the top in correct order: eight, nine, ten, jack, queen and king. And I can't go further than that!" Reading from the top of the deck down, the spades and aces are stacked simply: 2 3 4 5 6 7 A A A AS 8 9 10 J Q K. A false shuffle and cut helps, otherwise the trick is self• working. The volunteer has a choice of any number between 10 and 20. The second time you have him count to the total of the digits in the number named. It's automatic.
2 3 Lt 5 6 7 A P. ~ ~ + ~
A C t 5
A N Y
Stewart wrote: "I am told that, in these more casual times, a preferred presentation is to simply cull any six spades or hearts to the bottom of the deck during an impromptu performance. Then get four aces - or twos or sixes or tens - below them with the card matching the operative suit as the bottom card. (If you use aces or tens, you can also position the other four cards of that royal flush below the aces as the bottom cards of all.) Cut your stock to the top at the appropriate moment and you're all set. By first announcing the name of the selected card, then spelling it, then revealing the three matching cards and then the six mixed cards of the correct suit, you have enough occasions to use the "... this trick goes further than that" business to guarantee unusually strong audience reaction. If you were able also to prepare for the royal-flush finale, you will have trouble locating a more effective card trick." (Of course, with a crimped card on the bottom and judicious use of false shuffles and straight cuts, the effect is greatly enhanced.)
Half And Half Jinx #134 (April 1941)
f you thumb through all the issues of the Jinx, you will rarely find a circumstance in which Ted Annemann literally demanded that the reader try or use the trick explained. In 1941 I knew I had a unique idea and a wonderful method when I sent Half And Half to Ted. I had used this presentation often, and it never failed to impress my audience and delight me. However, I wasn't expecting this comment from Ted, set up in the middle of the page so the reader couldn't miss it: 'Attention, all possible readers!! Please do not let this layout of 'tables' make you grimace. We didn't like it, either, until after the second reading, when it suddenly became clear and dawned on us that the thing made sense and was a miracle to the onlookers while being an utterly awful bit of 'stealing' to a performer. But don't let that stop you from trying it.' I have just re-read the lists I supplied to Ted in 1941, and it is interesting that every single word works just as well and appears just as natural and ordinary today. Maybe you should try this one. "It is gratifying when someone checks in who has used the trick in regular performances. Allan Slaight reminded me that he had written me some time in the 1950s to inform me that Half And Half was one of the items he performed regularly, and the single trick that gave him the biggest thrill because of the unusual method."
-0List contributor Paul Hallas said it well: "If most marketed magical effects were half as good as this one, the world would be a better place. It would be difficult to think of many tricks simpler in execution that have more impact. The most work you have to do is take an envelope out of your pocket." The visible apparatus consists of three dice, an apparently meaningless list of pairs of letters, two slates and a piece of chalk. You write something on one slate and place it to one side. No one sees what you have written. An interested spectator rolls the dice until he is satisfied that they are fair. Then comes the important throw of the cubes. The total is noted. Let us say that it is 10. The
spectator locates the pair of letters tenth from the top of the column and proceeds to write them on the second slate. The letters will be found to be NK The performer hands the spectator a second list which, when placed beside the first, reveals the completed list of eighteen words. The word at the tenth position is PLANK, the last two letters of which the volunteer has just written on his slate. Your slate now is turned so that its writing side faces the audience as it is placed beside the spectator's slate. The word is completed. The performer's slate bears PLA, the first three letters. 0
CRO '-'ID MAt; SGLECTION OUT Of: SPREAD
After pushing it out of the spread, slide the twenty-six bottom cards of the deck together, square them and turn them face down in front of you. These will be the twenty• five remaining red-backed cards topped with one blue-backed card which gives the impression that they are all blue-backed. (In this case, the blue-backed card will be the ace of spades.) Nothing has been said to the contrary and the impression is strengthened as the twenty-five remaining cards from the spread are pushed together and placed in front of
the spectator, all blue-backed. Ask him to shuffle this packet as you shuffle yours. You Hindu Shuffle, with the faces of the cards to the spectators, so that the top blue-backed card of your group is not disturbed. Put your packet into your left coat pocket and ask the spectator to put his cards into bis own pocket. Ask him to reach into his pocket and remove any card from his group while you do the same with yours. When you put your packet into your pocket, put it on the opposite side of the cardboard from the packet of blue-backed cards that has rested there from the beginning. Remove the. one blue-backed card from the packet you just placed in your pocket, do not let anyone see its face, and place it face down on the table. The spectator does the same with the card he selects. You both peek at your cards now. He takes bis packet of cards from his pocket as you do the same. However, the cards you remove are not the ones you just placed there but the twenty-six with all blue backs. Hold your packet as if the cards are all face down, but actually they are all face up with the exception of the reversed top card. Insert the spectator's card face down, and without looking at it, in your half. It appears to go in the same way as the other cards but it is actually reversed. The spectator inserts your card, without looking at it, in his packet. MA6ICIAN'.5 I-IAU:
\ ONL'I CARl> WP IS bDOWN
Secretly turn your half over. Take the spectator's half and place yours on it. Or, you can follow the normal Double Reverse procedure: Take half of the spectator's packet and place these cards face up and jogged outward below your cards. Place the other half face up on top of your cards and jogged inward. Recapitulate, then square up the deck. The spectator names his card and you name yours. The card you name is the one that was reversed in your packet from the start. Ribbon spread the deck face down. Only two cards are face up and they are the two cards named. They are turned face down which shows the backs of all the cards to be blue. Say that you took a card from another deck and inserted it among the rest of the cards before you left home, as you had a feeling that someone would name it. The card fust named and resting face up on the table, where it has not been out of sight for a single moment, is turned face down. It is red-backed. Put it aside and you are left with a