HYPNO - MENTAL
Sole survivor of the ill-fated 1929 expedition to
debunk the so-called “Bermuda Triangle”.
Date: June 17th 1929
Location: Cruising aboard the airship SS Britannia, somewhere over the Atlantic ocean.
Having been invited by my friends at the Society for Psychical Research to join them on their expedition to the so-called Devil’s Triangle (centred
around Bermuda, Florida and Puerto Rico), I find myself en route aboard the splendid airship Britannia. Being a professional mind-reader, fake psychic and séance host, my hosts believe I would make an ideal member of their team, the notion being that trained as I am in the art of deception I will be able to see through any half-truths and tricks of the mind employed by the inhabitants of Bermuda in order to perpetuate the myth of their infamous Graveyard of Ships.
However the 5 day journey aboard the airship has been a dreadful bore, and I find myself amusing myself and my hosts with my repertoire of card tricks combined with a mixture of hypnotic techniques and cold reading. These have been very well received, and by combining simple card trickery (no sleights required!) with hypnosis and cold reading, the experience for the spectator has proved to be very powerful indeed. My hosts are now claiming that they believe me to be genuinely psychic and are planning to run all manner of tests on me upon our return to London.
However I have an odd feeling about this little jaunt to Bermuda, and
because of this I have decided to commit my precious routines to paper, just in case. Should you come into possession of this diary, it probably means that something untoward has occurred to me. What it also means is that you have in your hands four wonderful magical routines that would work
brilliantly in any number of social situations - wedding receptions, birthday parties, corporate events, dinner parties, down the Hare & Hounds public house, &c, &c. I believe that they take self-working card trickery to a new level - a level where the spectator is the star of the routine, and where the spectator is shown a glimpse of a world of magical wonder and the endless possibilities of the human mind. However I’m willing to concede that that belief could be a direct result of the steak tartare I had for supper last night.
With regard to the hypnotic element of this book - take care. If you are not experienced in hypnosis I heartily suggest substituting the words “hypnosis” and “trance” with “visualisation technique”. Rather than attempting to put your volunteer into trance, simply ask them to engage in a short visualisation technique. The results will be just as potent, and you won’t be left with any volunteers living out the rest of their lives in Colney Hatch mental institute. Many of my routines utilise a marked deck of cards, and my deck of choice is the Boris Wilde. I have no affiliation with Boris Wilde, but if he wants to show his appreciation of this endorsement by sending me a pack or two of his wonderful cards, I would be only too happy to receive them.
Throughout this book I have placed words spoken by the performer in bold. However anything that I feel needs clarifying during the scripts will be written in italics.
Ah, there’s a knock at the door. The steward has brought me my afternoon cream tea. How delightful. And what’s that on the horizon? A rumble of thunder and a flash of lightning? Looks like the SS Britannia is about to encounter one of the mid-Atlantic’s famous thunder storms…
A DEMONSTRATION OF HYPNOTIC MIND READING.
This routine is a development of an old routine of mine that I called “The Hand of Destiny”, which first saw the light of day in a previous publication of mine called “Reader of Minds”. In the original routine I divined a freely chosen card by reading the palm of the spectator. This new working
dispenses with the palm reading, and instead we will divine the chosen card by placing the spectator in a light hypnotic trance. While the spectator is in the light trance, the creative/imaginative part of her mind will be “fired up” which will make it easier for us to “tune in” and read her mind. Or at least that’s what we’re going to tell her.
The actual working of this routine is simplicity itself, but please don’t let that fool you. This can be an amazingly powerful routine and a real
experience for the spectator (and those watching) who will genuinely believe that something weird and profound has taken place.
All you need to perform this routine is your hypnotic skills and a pack of marked cards that you have practised with so that you can read the markings
What the spectators will see: You will ask a chosen spectator to freely
think of a card. You will then hand a deck of cards to the spectator. She will look through the cards, find her chosen card, and will place that card face down on a table and the remaining cards placed back inside the card box will be placed on top of the chosen card to keep it safe from prying eyes. You will then place your spectator into a light trance that will enable you to connect with her on an intuitive level. Once the trance state is achieved, you will then correctly divine the chosen card without ever having seen or
touched the chosen card.
The secret: You will ask your spectator to freely select a card from a
marked deck. That card will be placed faced down on a table. You will look at the marking on the card and tell the spectator what card she chose. Ah, but as with all good salads the secret is in the dressing.
You approach a table full of party goers and introduce yourself as the mind-reader, magician or whatever. The approach that I normally take is to then ask if anyone at the table feels they are quite intuitive or good at picking up on emotions or can often sense good or bad vibes. This is my approach/angle
- you may well have your own idea of how to present the routine and
yourself as a performer. By asking for someone who is intuitive or good with emotions, you are almost guaranteed getting a female volunteer. This is good because experience has shown me that females tend to make the best
volunteers - they seem to have less of a desire to embarrass you or try to prove to their mates that they’re funnier/smarter/cleverer than you, plus they genuinely are better (in hugely general terms) at buying into the whole hypnotic/mind-reading experience. They usually smell better too.
Remembering that words in bold are spoken by the performer, I think the script for the routine should explain all. However anything that I feel needs clarifying will be written in italics.
First of all, thank you for volunteering to take part in this little
experiment. Please don’t be worried, you’re perfectly safe! Tell me, have you ever had your mind read? Or being hypnotised before? (Listen to
their answer, be genuinely interested. If they have been hypnotised before, you know they will probably go into trance very easily and you can alter your patter accordingly) Well, don’t worry - I’m not going to hypnotise
you! (Well actually it doesn’t matter whether you are or not - the word
“hypnotise” is out there, and whatever happens next will be explained as hypnotic phenomena by the bar room philosophers) But I am going to
attempt to read your mind, and in order to do this I’m going to put you into a very relaxed state of mind that will hopefully make it a little easier for the mind-reading to take place. This should also be a very enjoyable experience for you, it will be nice and relaxing (this is all true), and the more you buy into this, the more energy and enthusiasm you put into it, the better chance we have of it working - because honestly, this might not work (while this is all lies). But it’s worth a try. Agreed?
(Hopefully the spectator will agree enthusiastically)
But the first thing I need you to do is chose a card, and it is the card that you have chosen that I will be attempting to “tune in to” when we try to do the mind-reading, okay? So I want you to think of a card in your mind. It can be any card, perhaps you’re favourite card or simply the first card that pops into your head. Please don’t chose the ace of Spades as that’s far too common and likewise the queen of Hearts. But any other card is fine. Have you got one in mind? Great. Here are the cards. I want you to look through the pack, find your card and then place it down on the table face down so nobody can see what it is. Its very
important that you don’t let anybody, most importantly me, actually see the card. So once you’ve found it just place it face down on the table. (I
turn away from the spectator while she chooses the card, perhaps asking her to give me a shout when she has found the card and placed it on the table - you will normally be able to hear the card being placed on the table yourself anyway)
Great, well done. And the first thing I’m going to do is put the rest of the cards away in the box so they can’t interfere with the psychic vibes
(usually said with a cheeky grin or a twinkle in the eye), and then I’ll put
the box of cards on top of your card so nobody can peek or cheat or anything silly (sounds fair enough and above board, but in reality this is
your one and only opportunity to spy the mark on the card. You need to be able to read your marked card quickly and easily. The act of placing the card box on top of the card must seem perfectly natural, so you will literally have a split second to spy your mark. Any delay on your part in placing the box down will often give the game away. However when done naturally this simple act will negate any thoughts of the card being marked. It will be remembered that the chosen card was beneath the card box all along so there was no opportunity for you to look at the back of the card even if it was marked!).
Okay, so now it’s time to actually do the mind reading! How are you feeling? Excited? Nervous? Don’t worry, it’ll be fun I promise. So the first thing I need you to do is stand up (get the spectator to stand up) with your feet together. Okay, now in a moment I’m going to shake your hand three times. The first time I shake your hand you may feel your eyes starting to feel a little heavy, the second time I shake your hand you those eyes will start to get heavier and heavier and the third time I
shake your hand your eyes will feel very heavy and you will find them closing by themselves. Okay? Great, so I’ll just take your hand, and shake it once, your eyes feeling quite heavy now, and shake twice, that’s right, eyes getting heavier and heavier, hard to keep them open, and third time now (this is my favourite induction but doubtless you will have
your own. Obviously use whatever induction works best for you), eyes
closing, closing, feeling yourself drifting down and down, all the way down, every word that I say just helping you to drift even further down now, every beat of your heart, every noise in the room, all helping you to go deeper and deeper, and the deeper you go the better you feel, and the better you feel the deeper you go, all the way down, relaxing more and
more now, just listening to my voice, and I want you to imagine that you are walking through a lovely green field on a beautiful summer’s day, perhaps you can feel the grass beneath your feet and the warmth of the sun on your face. Imagine yourself walking through that field, and in the distance you can see a small stream, a small stream just running along, glistening in the sunlight, and I want you to start walking toward the stream. That’s right. Walk towards the stream, listen to my voice, feeling perfectly relaxed, and as you get closer to the stream you notice that there is a small bridge that leads over the stream and into the next field. I want you to walk towards the bridge now, and let me know when you get there. Just nod your head to let me know when you get to the bridge. You’re doing wonderfully. (Hopefully the spectator will buy into
this and will nod her head in agreement at the appropriate times without too much delay. But if it takes a while, don’t sweat it. Let it happen at its own pace. Having to wait a while for the spectator to nod will only add to the air of authenticity surrounding your demonstration of mind-reading. However if you’re having to wait a minute or more, you may need to be a little more forceful and insist that the spectator nods her head, or even just take any slight movement by the spectator as being a nod of agreement. “That’s right - nod your head or wrinkle your nose. Whatever works best for you”!)
Okay, that’s great. Now I want you to start walking over the bridge. One foot at a time, in your own time, no rush, just walk over the bridge. And as you walk over the bridge you notice that you can see me
standing on the other side of the bridge. I’m standing on the other side of the bridge, in the next field, just waiting for you. Can you see me? Nod your head when you can see me. That’s great. You’re doing
wonderfully. When you get to the other side of the bridge, I want you to stand next to me. I’ll be smiling and happy to see you. Just walk over to me, and when you’re standing next to me I want you nod your head so I can see that you’re there. Are you there yet? Just nod your head when you are. Fantastic.
Now, in your mind, in your imagination, but not in reality, I want you to lean forward and whisper the name of your card in my ear. That’s right, just see yourself standing next to me by the bridge, and just see yourself leaning forward and whispering the name of the card in my ear. That’s it. Thank you. (I explain this part in great detail because one time I
performed this routine and the spectator actually physically leaned forward and whispered the name of the card to me, much to the amusement of the
crowd that was gathered around us!)
Okay, I’m picking up on something, but first I just need to bring you back into the room. So 1, 2, 3, open your eyes and come back to us here in the room. (I bring the spectator back into the room quickly because I
need the audience to see her reaction when I reveal the card. If she was still in trance her response would be muted or non-existent, so it’s important to get her back into the room so she can hopefully scream and shout “Oh my God! How did you do that!” Fantastic. How do you feel? Okay? That’s
good, but please just keep thinking of your card, almost as though your standing with one foot still in that green field and one foot here in the room. And think of your card…. (But it’s good to try and keep her in some
kind of limbo between trance and full wakefulness).
It’s, it’s the… seven… seven… of… Spades!?
(At this point there will hopefully be screams and shrieks of amazement. I really like to draw out the reveal until the whole audience is practically panting with anticipation. I also like to look like I’m really struggling to divine the card, like I’m trying to see through fog. However don’t get so involved with your character that you forget to remember which card was chosen! That’s happened several times!
Once the excitement has died down, I then make a bit of a show of making sure my spectator is fully back in the room and is completely out of trance and feeling good. This is good housekeeping of course, but it also helps to make you look like the kind, caring, considerate mentalist that you are). You
did fantastically! Thank you so much for that! How are you feeling? Good. Well, look at me. That’s right. Completely back in the room now, completely out of trance, feeling good and refreshed and invigorated. How did you get here tonight? Did you drive? Really? What car did you come in? Okay, well that’s great. Thanks again. (That kind of thing).
This is a nice, easy self-worker that we’re going to dress up in the dark priest-like robes of hypnotic intuition. By the end of the routine, your spectator will seriously believe that by being placed into a mild trance it is possible to access the “intuitive” part of the mind. Lovely.
What the spectators will see: You take a regular pack of cards (they can be
borrowed if required) and fish out the two red aces. You place the two red aces on one side, and ask your volunteer if she believes she is in any way intuitive or psychic? You decide to do a quick test and hold up one or two indifferent cards from the deck. The backs of the card are shown to the volunteer while you focus on the card and try to “send” an image of the card to her. She may correctly divine the card, get close, or totally fail at this task. It doesn’t matter. This was just to see how “psychic” she was at that point in time. You hold up one of the red aces and ask the spectator to concentrate on it. While she concentrates on the ace card, you place her in a light trance that will enable her intuitive abilities to come to the fore. Once the volunteer is in trance, you place the red aces to one side again and tell the volunteer to say “stop” at any point while you deal the pack of cards into a new packet on the table, face down, one card at a time. When the spectator says “stop”, you place one of the red aces into the deck at that point, face up. You repeat the operation for the second red ace. The deck is then examined and it transpires that the volunteer asked you to place the face up red aces into the deck right next to the face down black aces! How did she know where the black aces where? Surely conclusive evidence of the untapped potential of the human mind? Well, maybe, maybe not…
The secret: While testing the volunteer to see how psychic they are before
placing them into trance, you set up the deck so that the volunteer cannot fail the ensuing test.
Let me explain further. It might help to have a pack of cards with you while I explain this. It is actually quite simple but I fear my explanation will be long-winded and ill-conceived. But here goes. Firstly, fairly shuffle the deck and take out the two red aces. Place the two red aces to one side, face up, on a table. Then fairly shuffle the deck again, and imagine yourself talking to a young lady about the power of intuition, stories of mothers lifting cars to rescue trapped children, hearing the phone ring and knowing if it’s good news or bad, etc. Then imagine yourself telling this young lady that you’re
interested in testing her to see how intuitive she is. Look through the deck as though looking for a suitable card to use for this test - the queen of Hearts for instance. As you search the deck for a suitable card, perhaps still chatting amiably with the lady, locate the two black aces. Under cover of running this psychic test, place one black ace at the bottom of the deck and one at the top of the deck. Your pack of cards should now essentially be a sandwich with the black aces acting as the bread, one on the top, one on the bottom.
Imagine yourself feeling smug at the ease at which you set up the deck right under the nose of the volunteer. But more importantly you must actually, genuinely, run the psychic test. This is an integral part of the routine. The genuine nature of the “psychic test” demonstrates to the volunteer that you are not cheating (!), it gives you a chance to break down any barriers between you and gain her trust, and it also gives an opportunity for
something weird to happen every now and again. Imagine that you hold up the queen of Hearts and it is correctly divined by the volunteer. Pretty cool. Let’s try another one. Seven of Spades. She gets that one right too!
Unbelievable. The routine ends there. Think on your feet. If that should happen, and it will happen once in a blue moon if you use this routine a lot, be aware enough and confident enough to end the routine at that point. There’s no need to go any further. Nothing will top that. The volunteer has genuinely done something “weird”. We can ask for no more.
But 98% (or something) of the time that won’t happen. Normally you will continue with the routine, so let us continue…
With the deck by now safely set up, a black ace on top of the deck, a black ace at the bottom, you can relax and forget about the cards for a moment. So place the deck down on the table. It is now time to place our volunteer into a light trance, thereby activating the “intuitive part of her mind”.
Get the volunteer to sit with her feet together, hands palm down on the top of the table (no real reason for this, but it looks good and sounds important and we’re getting the volunteer to get into the habit of complying with our instructions). Then you will hold up the ace of Hearts, the back to you and the face towards the volunteer. Ask the volunteer to gaze at the red heart in the centre of the card, to really concentrate on the heart…
That’s right! Just focus your eyes and your mind on the heart in the centre of the card. Imagine yourself being pulled towards the heart,
being drawn irresistibly towards the centre of the card and into the heart so that all you can see if the red colour. Feel yourself being drawn inwards, inwards, towards the heart. Feel the colour red all around you and you go deeper and deeper into the heart. That’s right, deeper and deeper, all the way in. The further in you go, the better you feel , and the better you feel, the further in you go. That’s right! You’re doing
brilliantly! All the way into the heart so that the colour red is all around you. Further and further in. Wonderful.
I’m going to take the card away in a moment and when I do I want you to come back to me in the room here. Okay? (Place the card slowly and
gently down on the table next to the ace of Diamonds). Well done, that was
fantastic. Now I’m going to start dealing these cards (the pack of cards) face down onto the table one by one. When you feel compelled to do so, I want you to tell me to stop. It might be after a few cards, it might be in the middle somewhere, but you will tell me to stop. Okay? When you tell me to stop I will place one of the red aces in, face up, to act as a marker. Okay? You just tell me when to stop.
And so you will begin to place the cards down onto the table in a new pile, face down. You deal the cards off one by one, face down, and you are creating a single pile of face down cards on the table. At some point your volunteer will say “Stop!” You may notice that in my spoken instructions above I tell the volunteer to say stop “after a few cards or in the middle somewhere”. This is an attempt to get the volunteer to say stop sooner rather than later. It doesn’t really matter, but the sooner she stays stop, the sooner the routine can move along. Like I say, it’s not important but it’s just something I do as a kind of audience management thing.
So the cards are being placed by you one by one face down into a new pile on the table. The volunteer says “Stop!” and you will then place one (doesn’t matter which) of the red aces face up on top of the face down pile on the table. You will then place the rest of the cards in your hand on top of the face up red ace. The face up red ace is your first “marker” in the deck. Those of you who are very shrewd will have realised by now that by placing the rest of the cards in your hand on top of the red ace, you have in fact placed one of the black aces on top of the red ace. You know that, but don’t worry - the volunteer won’t.
more red ace so you will go through the same procedure again. You pick the deck up off the table and start to deal the cards onto the table once again. I will point out at this point that the second black ace is now at the bottom of your deck. When the volunteer says “Stop!” for the second time, you place the second red ace on top of the pile on the table, and then place the rest of the deck in your hands on top of the pile on the table thereby once again placing a black ace bang next to the face up red ace.
The hard work is now done. You have a pack of cards in front of you with the two red aces face up. On top of each red ace is a face down black ace. This is going to be the “psychic revelation”, the true demonstration of the power of the mind when placed into a light trance - somehow the volunteer was subconsciously drawn to say “stop” at just the point where the black aces were. The cards were of course face down. She could not consciously have known that the point where she asked for the red aces to be placed was the place also occupied by the black aces, but somehow, deep down, her subconscious knew. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…
The next important thing to do is to bring the volunteer out of trance.
Because we have only gone for a light trance, this can be a very quick wake up procedure - essentially as simple as “1, 2, 3, back in the room, wide awake, feeling wonderful and refreshed”. Or, depending on your volunteer, the crowd that has gathered to watch, and your own inclination, you may wish to do a more thorough wake up procedure.
Once you are happy that your volunteer is okay and has fully emerged from trance, you go for the big reveal. It’s time to ‘big it up’ as I believe the youth of today say.
The first thing to do is go through the face down deck looking for the two face up aces.
Okay, so let’s have a look for the two red aces that we put into the deck face up. There are here somewhere, ah look, there’s the first one. Now I’m going to take out the red ace and I’m also going to take out the card next to it (you’re actually taking out the card on top of the red ace - very
important), okay? So there’s the red ace and there’s the card right next
them down upon the table. Keep the red ace face up and the other card (actually one of the black aces) face down. Then you continue to go through the deck looking for the second red ace and you repeat the procedure. So hopefully you will end up with the two red aces face up on the table, and two face down cards next to them (which we know - but the spectators don’t - are in fact the two black aces).
So, as you know, you could have told me to stop absolutely anywhere in the deck (I riffle (is that the right word? I’m not a card man!) through the
deck and show that all the cards are different, that the deck is in fact simply a genuine deck of cards) so shall we see where in fact you did ask me to
stop? Okay, let’s take a look. The two red aces here, but what are the cards that you put the red aces next to?
Time for the big reveal. I find that revealing the two black aces one at a time works very nicely. By the time you turn over the second black ace you should be getting a “No!” type response from either the volunteer or somebody else watching. Having said that, sometimes I go for the bang, crash, wallop ending of turning over the two black aces together. You’ll get a feeling for the kind of crowd you’ve got as to what type of reveal to use. Thinking about it, I tend to use the “one card at a time” reveal for an
audience/group that are slowly getting very freaked out by me, and the two cards at once big finale for an audience/group that are being a bit nonchalant and I want to win them over with a grand gesture. If that makes sense? Although it’s taken a page or two to explain, this is actually a very simple self-working trick. But when dressed up correctly it has the power to
genuinely blow people away. I use this routine a lot, particularly at weddings and corporate events. I enjoy the whole interaction that it affords with your volunteer, the psychic test at the beginning, the trance induction, and then the final reveal. The routine will never be the same twice, so it encourages you to think on your feet and take hold of opportunities for amazement as and when they present themselves. Give it a go and enjoy!
DO AS I DON’T.
Do As I Do is one of the classic self-working card tricks. I’m sure that you
will be more than familiar with its workings, but just in case you’re not, here is a quick summary. Two packs of cards are used. The spectator uses one deck, the magician uses the other. The cards are shuffled, then exchanged,
then shuffled again and exchanged etc. After several shuffles and swapping of decks, both the volunteer and the magician place their respective deck of cards on the table and cut the cards. The card that is cut to is viewed secretly and memorised, then the card is placed back into the deck. The cards are swapped again and both the magician and the spectator look through their deck for their remembered card. These are placed face down on the table, and when turned over it is revealed that the two cards match. The trick utilises the key card principle.
If you would like to know the exact working of the standard Do As I Do, many books on card magic will have full instructions. The one that pops into my mind is The Royal Road the Card Magic. However I’m confident that you will either already know the working of Do As I Do, or will have the information close to hand.
I have used Do As I Do for many years, but (as you can probably imagine) I have enjoyed dressing it up a little to make it seem more than a simple card trick. I used to present the trick as a psychic experiment, whereby the shuffling of the cards and the exchanging of the deck somehow enabled the spectator and myself to establish a “psychic link”, a temporary bond
between us that would manifest itself in the fact that we both freely choose the same card from our respective decks.
As the years have rolled by though, I have noticed that the key card principle is becoming more widely known amongst lay people. As such I have had spectators adding extra shuffles before handing the cards over to me, repeatedly cutting the deck, etc., - all because they knew of the key card principle and suspected that was the technique I would be using. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens sometimes. Luckily for me I always use marked cards. So when danger strikes, I have been able to fall back on spying the mark and locating the correct card that way.
In fact, I soon realised, why bother with the key card at all? If I’m sitting next to or opposite the spectator, it is a simple task to spy the mark on the card and not even go through the rigmarole of swapping decks. The outline and script for my version of Do As I Do assumes we’re using the marked deck technique, however it would be a simple matter to transpose the script and ideas onto the traditional Do As I Do.
script shortly will hopefully explain all ), and then I finish the routine by providing a short reading based on the card chosen. To this end I have given a list of the respective meanings that I use for playing cards, should you wish to use it. We’re not talking deep, intense readings here. This is a 10 minute routine that is upbeat and fun, and the readings are very general but do add a dash more mystery to proceedings. Of course the choice is yours, and you could take the readings as deep as you like. If you are interested in
expanding your knowledge of cold reading, hot reading and all manner of readings I would advise you to purchase a previous book of mine called “Reader of Minds” (I would say that wouldn’t I?!). There are other books on readings on the market too. Or so I’m told.
So, let’s talk about the basic handling for this trick before we get to the script. You will sit next to or opposite your volunteer. It is reasonably
important to chose a volunteer who will be able to shuffle the cards without throwing them all across the room, so you may want to include something alluding to that in your volunteer selection process.
You introduce two packs of cards (marked) and allow the spectator free choice of which deck will be theirs, and which deck will be yours. It doesn’t matter which deck people choose of course, but it gives the impression of fairness. Once you both have a deck of cards in your hands, you begin to shuffle together. Then you put the cards down on the table. You both then cut your respective decks, and pick up the card at the top of the cut. You both secretly look at your card, making sure that neither of you can see the other’s card, then place the card back into the deck and shuffle the deck thoroughly, thus the chosen card is lost within the deck. While your volunteer is looking at their card, your job is to spy the marking on the back and remember which card is theirs. You need to look at your card as though you are remembering it, but obviously your card is of no concern at all so just look at it and
immediately forget it. The important card is your spectators. Once the decks have been thoroughly shuffled, you both stop and search through the decks to find your respective cards. You will actually search through your deck and find the spectator’s card. Both cards are placed face down on the table. When they are turned over they match, thus demonstrating the psychic link that has developed between the two of you. The shuffling of the cards really serves no purpose other than to look and appear significant to the volunteer and other spectators - but that fact means that the shuffling is very important. And so to the script:
First of all I just want to thank you for agreeing to take part in this little experiment. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. You know, playing cards have been used for a long time, centuries, eons even, as a way of not only playing games but also passing on stories and legends, and also diving the future - fortune telling. There are some awful country and western songs about soldiers using a pack of playing cards as a Bible (“Deck of Cards” by Tex
Ritter - see later) and in their hour of need they flick through the deck
and find salvation! Awful songs! And if you were to have a genuine “reading” from perhaps a gypsy or one of the old women in the east end of London, the chances are they would use playing cards rather than tarot cards. In certain circles tarot cards are seen as novelties whereas playing cards are seen as the real deal. (This is all true. I heard a story of
one old girl in the east end of London who was buried with her No. 6 (a popular brand of cigarettes in the UK from the 1940’s - 1970’s) playing cards - she didn’t want anyone else to get their hands on her precious cards even in death!)
With that in mind I’d like to show you these two packs of cards. I’d like you to choose one pack and then take the cards out of the box. That’s great. Okay, the first thing we need to do is give our cards a good shuffle. So let’s start now, you shuffle your cards and I’ll shuffle mine. Great, keep shuffling, and as you continue to shuffle I want you to think about all of the things that are going on in your life. Perhaps things are a bit hectic at the moment, perhaps there’s a lot going on in your life, and I want you to imagine that the shuffling of the card is bit like you taking the opportunity to place things in your life back in order. Like you’re tidying things away and putting them back in the drawers where they belong. The shuffling of the cards can be seen a bit like that scene from the Mary Poppins film where she clicks her fingers and the room tidies itself. As you shuffle the cards you feel as though your life is being put in order, tidied up, and that affords you a new sense of control and ownership. Well done.
(As you can imagine - the talk of a hectic life, putting things back in order, and taking control is basic cold reading that will fit with most people. But it works nicely with the idea of shuffling cards and placing the cards in a fresh order).
the cards in half. Fantastic. Now pick up the top card and take a look at it and I’ll do the same. Remember that card. I’ll remember mine. (Don’t
remember your card. Just forget about it. This is the time when you need to spy the mark on the back of your volunteer’s card!) And now place the card
back on top of the pile, complete the card, and we’ll give our cards a good shuffle again so that our cards are lost somewhere within the deck. Fantastic. And just imagine the shuffling is once again placing a sense of order and control into your life. That’s great. It feels good to be in
control again doesn’t it?
Okay, you’ve done very well. Now all I need you to do is look through your cards and find that card that you remembered. Just have a look, find your card, and when you find it place it face down on the table so nobody can see what it is. I’ll have a look through my cards and find my card too. (It usually works best if you can find your card and place it down
on the table before the volunteer, thereby negating the idea that it might be a marked card and all you’re doing is waiting for the volunteer to place her card on the table so you can cheat!)
Great. So let us see how well we did.
Fantastic! Just look at that! But what does it mean? Well, let me tell you…
And so from this point I would give the volunteer a short reading based upon her card. I would also tell her that her card should be her favourite card from now on, and that it will always remind her of the experience she has just enjoyed. It’s just a bit of niceness and flattery really, but it doesn’t hurt to leave the volunteer feeling in a good, upbeat mood - and do try to remember that hopefully the routine you have just performed will be a memory that will stay with your volunteer for many years. Imagine your volunteer, 20 years from now, recounting to her grandchildren how she met a magician once who did some wonderful things and seemed to know everything about her. If that thought doesn’t motivate you, nothing will!
The reading system I use for playing cards is as follows: Hearts = Love, relationships, friendships & family. Clubs = Imagination, ideas, intelligence & adventure. Diamonds = Work & money issues.
Spades = Change. Inner strength.
Then by combining the suit with the following interpretations, adding a touch of creativity and a sprinkling of fairy dust we're on our way to wowing our volunteer!
Ace = New beginnings. Positive starts. (If combined with hearts this could
be a new relationship or the rekindling of an existing one).
2 = Partnerships and plans. 3 = New roads to be travelled.
4 = Health. Red suits = good health. Black suits = look after yourself, be
kind to yourself.
5 = Communication issues and situations that need to be resolved.
6 = People expect too much of you sometimes. Don’t be afraid to stand up
7 = Good luck.
8 = You expect too much of yourself. Other people like you just the way you
9 = Plans reaching fruition.
10 = For male sitter, a young woman coming into your life. For female sitter,
you suffer from those around you not taking you seriously or giving you the kudos you deserve.
Jack = For male sitter, you suffer from those around you not taking you
seriously or giving you the kudos you deserve. For female sitter, a young male is entering your life.
Queen = For male sitter, there is a lot of female energy in your life. Although
that is nice, sometimes you wish they would just let you get on with it! For female sitter, matriarch, carer, nurturer, etc.
King = For male sitter, you are bold, full of ideas etc. For female sitter, you
often feel the victim of tradition and trapped by the expectation of others. You are your own person, and people need to appreciate that.
How you want to present the readings element of this routine is purely down to personal taste. Of course my main piece of advice would be to keep the readings positive and upbeat. However the length and intensity of the
reading is up to you. If you’re working at a wedding reception or a corporate event where there are lots of people and/or tables to get round, you will want to keep the reading quite short and punchy. If however you’re at a dinner party with just six guests you may want to stretch the reading out and it could easily last 10 or even 20 minutes.
One word of advice - if the other guests see you doing a reading for your volunteer, be prepared for a queue to form of other guests who also want a reading! People may no longer be interested in “tricks” - they may all expect you sit down with them and tell them their fortune. Perhaps you ought to pop along and buy “Reader of Minds” after all!
And finally for this routine…
I promised you the lyrics for the song “Deck of Cards”, written and
originally recorded by Tex Ritter in 1948. I apologise now if anyone is sick, feels the urge to scream, or becomes mentally deranged after reading them. But I thought it would be funny.
“During the North African campaign,
a bunch of soldier boys had been on a long hike, and they arrived in a little town called Casino.
The next morning, being Sunday, several of the boys went to church. A sergeant commanded the boys in church,
and after the chaplain had read the prayer, the text was taken up next.
Those of the boys who had a prayer books took them out, but, this one boy had only a deck of cards,
and so he spread them out.
The sergeant saw the cards and said, "Soldier, put away those cards". After the services were over, the soldier was taken prisoner,
and brought before the Provost Marshall.
The Marshall said " Sergeant, why have you brought this man here?" "For playing cards in church Sir."
"And what have you to say for yourself Son?" "Much, Sir," replied the soldier.
The marshall said, " I hope so, for if not,
I shall punish you more than any man was ever punished."
The soldier said, "Sir, I have been on the march for about six days, I have neither Bible nor prayer book, but I hope to satisfy you, Sir, with the purity of my intentions."
"You see sir, when I look at the Ace, it reminds me that there is but one God,
and the deuce, reminds me that the bible is divided into two parts, the old and the new testament.
When I see the trey, I think of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. And when I see the four, I think of the four Evangelists who preached the Gospel. There was Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
And when I see the five, it reminds me of the five wise virgins who trimmed their lamps, there were ten of them,
five were wise and were saved, five were foolish, and were shut out.
When I see the six, it reminds me that in six days, God made this great Heaven and Earth.
When I see the seven, it reminds me that on the seventh day, God rested from His great work.
And when I see the eight, I think of the eight righteous persons God saved when he destroyed this Earth.
There was Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives.
And when I see the nine, I think of the lepers our Saviour cleansed, and nine out of the ten didn't even thank him.
When I see the ten, I think of the ten commandments, God handed down to Moses on a table of stone.
When I see the king, it reminds me that there is but one King of Heaven, God Almighty.
And when I see the Queen, I think of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Who is Queen of Heaven, and the Jack of Knaves is the Devil. When I count the number of spots in a deck of cards,
I find 365, the number of days in a year.
There are 52 cards, the number of weeks in a year. There are four suits, the number of weeks in a month.
There are twelve picture cards, the number of months in a year. There are thirteen tricks, the number of weeks in a quarter. So, you see Sir, my pack of cards serves me as a Bible, an almanac, and a prayer book.
And friends, the story is true, I know, I was that soldier.”
YOU READ MY MIND.
And so to the final routine in this book, and one of my all time favourites. Again it utilises a marked deck (there’s a theme here isn’t there?) and is simple in the extreme. But it blows people away. It really does.
I first read this routine in the little booklet that comes with the Boris Wilde marked deck (my marked deck of choice), so I must give credit there to Boris Wilde (I assume) for being the originator of the routine. However my handling takes things to a higher level, or at least I like to think so.
Let me explain. You take a marked deck and hand half the deck to the volunteer and keep half the deck yourself. You ask the volunteer to secretly chose a card from her half of the deck, memorise it and then place that card face down on the table. You flick through your half of the deck at the same time and do likewise. So we end up with two cards face down on the table. Pick up your card and put it on top of the cards in your hand (all cards face down) and then pick up your volunteer’s card and place that card on top of your card, face down. During this procedure you will have noted the mark on the back of the volunteer’s card and remembered it. You will forget the card that you chose. You do not need to remember it. It will play no further part in this routine. For that reason make sure that no spectators who might have gathered around to watch the proceedings have spied your card over your shoulder. Be sneaky if you need to be and keep the cards close to your chest.
Then you ask the volunteer to place her remaining packet of cards on top of the cards in your hand so that the two chosen cards are now roughly in the middle of the deck. You then ask a third party to shuffle the deck thoroughly so that both of your cards are “lost in the deck forever”.
You then take the shuffled deck and start to deal the cards off one at a time, face down, onto the table. Explain to her that what you are doing right now, she will be doing shortly, so ask her to pay close attention. You explain that you are waiting for a signal, a sign, that will tell you when you have reached the volunteer’s card. Tell her that some people report this sign as being a warm sensation along the arm; others report a tingling sensation in their hand. Still others think to themselves “this is stupid, I’m going to stop now”, and that’s fine because that’s their signal, that’s their trigger to stop. Explain that it won’t be like a bolt of lightning hitting her, it will be very subtle, and
she has to trust herself. Emphasise this - this routine you tell her is, at the end of the day, about trusting your own instincts and beliefs. It’s about learning to trust oneself and free oneself from self-debilitating fears and worries. This routine is about demonstrating the power of self-belief and positive thinking. She can do this!
You may not get the opportunity to make the full speech because at some point, obviously, you are going to come across the volunteer’s card that you will recognise from the mark on its back. I quite like to be talking away when I reach the card because it affords me an opportunity to pretend that I’m not sure which card to go for - the one in the deck, the one on the table, perhaps the one previous? Ooh, which one to go for? I like to use the line, “I’m always talking away when it happens, and then I’m not sure which card to go for!” Reluctantly you make a choice, place the card (still face down) to one side, but emphasise that you’re not at all happy with your choice and that you’ll probably have gotten it wrong. All filthy lies of course. You will know very well that you’ve chosen the right card.
And then hand the cards to your volunteer. It’s time for her to go through the same motions that you’ve just been through. Your volunteer will often need some encouragement. She may protest that she can’t do it, how on earth is she supposed to know when she’s reached you card? Encourage her, tell her she can do it, tell her to trust herself, to believe that she can do it. This is the perfect opportunity for a spot of cold reading: “You may in the past have
taken the easy option because you lacked self-belief. You may in the past have taken the path of least resistance simply because it was the easier option. What I’m asking you to do now is do something that is, yes, very difficult. But for a moment just believe that you can do this. Prove to yourself that you can have a bit of faith in yourself, that you are capable of achieving things that may appear at first to be impossible.”
Sufficiently buoyed by your pep talk, the volunteer begins to place the cards down on the table. She may do this very tentatively, or she may just decide to “go for it”. Eventually she will stop at a card and put it to one side, next to the card that you selected earlier. Occasionally I have had volunteers need to go through the deck twice or even three times before they settle on a card. While at first this may add to the drama, if it continues for too long it will get boring and you will need to engage in a touch of audience management and ask her to make a decision.
The reveal is two fold. Firstly you will see how well you did (and remember to continue acting like you may have messed this up). Ask the volunteer to say out loud the name of her card. Then turn the card chosen by you over. You did it! You got the right card! Hopefully there will be some gasps of amazement from the assembled spectators. I will say something along the lines of, “But we kind of thought that might happen. We kind of thought that I might get your card - after all, that’s what I’m paid to do. The real magic though would be if you managed to get my card. Wouldn’t that just be amazing?”
And so we approach the big moment. How well did your volunteer do? Did she stop successfully at your card. During all this high drama you will have spied the mark on the back of the card chosen by the volunteer. You are going to say that this was your card. So you see, it really doesn’t matter which card your spectator chooses, it’s always going to be right.
I announce out loud which card I chose (IE the name of the card actually laying face down on the table). Often it will be a Court card or an ace, and if so I will say something like, “I actually chose my favourite card because I wanted you to know that this isn’t some silly trick. I wanted to choose a card that you would know was a special card to me, so I chose the queen of
Hearts (or whatever).”
Then ask the volunteer how confident she’s feeling on a scale of one to ten? Did she feel any kind of sign at all? If so, what was the sign? Be interested in her answer. Is she confident? If not, why not? If she is very confident, tell her that that’s brilliant, perhaps she can take that confidence out into her every day life from now on?
And then recap. Name your card out loud again (perhaps taking the opportunity to quickly spy the mark to make doubly sure you read it correctly first time), and then ask your volunteer to turn the card over. Gasps. Shrieks. Applause. Tears. Laughter. Hugs. World peace.
I love this routine. It genuinely has the power to move people because at the end of the day it isn’t about the trick and it isn’t about you, the performer. It’s all about your volunteer, her sense of self-confidence and her sense of self-belief. I hope I’m not making this sound too grand, but the reaction from someone who at the beginning of the routine was embarrassed and shy, didn’t want to start dealing the cards down on the table because they didn’t
believe they could possibly find your card using their intuition, can be
amazing. It would be too much, of course, to expect that someone who at the start of the routine was a shy, retiring wall-flower might, by the end of the routine, become a self-confident go-getter who resolves there and then to change their lives and achieve all the things they never believed they were worthy of achieving. But if it leaves them with a moment of happiness and wonder, and hints to them that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it, then I’m more than happy.
I’ve performed this routine many times, and there’s no feeling better than leaving the table and being able to hear friends asking the volunteer, “How did you do that?” and the volunteer replying, “I don’t know! I just did it!” Marvellous!
And so we reach the end of our epic little adventure together. The airship is approaching it’s mooring point on the sunny island of Bermuda. The mid-Atlantic storm is behind us. It’s time to alight and question the inhabitants of this small outpost of the British Empire about this silly superstition they’ve got about the so-called “Devil’s Triangle” and the “Ship’s Graveyard”. I’ll bid you adieu for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride, and I hope I have given you some food for thought. As always, you are more than welcome to use the routines herein verbatim, or, perhaps even better, please feel free to mix them up with your own style and come up with something new and exciting.
I think that the whole point of this book is to point out that being a magician is not all about having the fancy moves and the knuckle busting sleights. The real secret of being a magician is to be an entertainer, to take your spectators on a journey where they are the stars (not you), where their lives are
important and what happens in their lives will affect the outcome of the routine. Make it personal and they’ll love you for it.
With regards to the hypnotism, be safe with it. If you aren’t confident, simply ask your volunteer to do a “visualisation technique” instead and run the routine in exactly the same way, but merely omit the words “hypnotism” or “trance”. Rather than saying, “I need to put you into a light trance so you can access the intuitive part of your mind”, say, “I need you to do a little visualisation technique so you can access the intuitive part of mind”. It will work just as well, and sounds just as weird. Be safe and look after them. Thanks for reading and hope to speak soon.
aboard the airship SS Britannia 17th June 1929