(Close Window)
Topic: Orgin of a trick in Scarne's book?
Message: Posted by: marttisiren (Aug 15, 2018 05:49AM)
I am looking for the orgin of one effect in Sacarne’s Magic Tricks -book (number 19 on page 31, Dover publication). It is called Extrasensory Perception, but the name is misleading.
In the effect you put eight or nine or ten small objects on a table. The spectator thinks one of the objects. You will point one object at a time and as you do so, spectator is spelling (in her mind) the name of the object. In the end of the trick you are pointing the right object in the moment when spectator stops spelling. I am not going to write the whole trick here, but I am sure if you know the trick and effect, you do recognize it all ready.
I am looking for the orgin of this trick. As I said, it is in the Scarne’s Magic Trick -book (1951) but I am sure it is much older.
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Oct 21, 2018 11:07PM)
"Choose Your Object" Walter B. Gibson. Published in "The New
Magician's Manual", pg.42 - 1932.

I crafted a wonderfully macabre take on this effect for the bizarre/seance performer revolving around Jack the Ripper after I personally noticed something fantastic that even very knowledgeable "Ripperologists" have missed: each of Jack's victims have names that spell with one letter more than the last! Crazy, right? There is an extra layer of deception in my version as well as the trick is GREATLY enhanced if the objects are uknown. In other words, I use 5 photos - one of each victim. The photos are mixed face-down by a participant. They then allow one of the victim's names to settle into their mind and silently spell it out as I tap the back of the photos with an 1888 (year of the Ripper murders) English Penny. If you want to take it even farther, one could use a dagger to tap the photos but I think that's going just a little too far. The mortuary photos of each of the victims is already grisly enough. ;)

Annie Chapman = 12

Mary Jane Kelly = 13

Mary Ann Nichols = 14

Elizabeth Stride = 15

Catherine Eddowes = 16

I also have a list of the victims names mounted on an aged board for them to choose from and to ensure that they spell correctly after the photos are mixed and scattered face-down around the table. Naturally, the names are not listed in numerical order on this list.

I have used this as an opening piece for a Jack the Ripper seance where we channel one of the victims and it goes over smashingly good.
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Oct 21, 2018 11:43PM)
*forgot to mention:

I published and marketed this effect (along with all the required props) in 2016 under the title [i]Rippers' Choice[/i].

And apologies, I made a typo in my post above due to memory - I double-checked (just to be sure) and The Gibson book was published in 1936, not 1932.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Henry (Oct 22, 2018 01:32AM)
Hello Gentlemen,

I'm not calling Gibson a plagiarist by any means, but the idea is even older. This is the principle of the commercial effect "Tappit" which according to Martin Gardner was released in 1925 by Royal Vale Heath. (See Gardner's [i]Mathematics, Magic and Mystery[/i], (New York City: Dover Publications, Inc., 1956), pp. 102 and 103 for that citation.

I spent some time with the idea a couple decades ago, preparing a helpful table when doing it numerically like Heath. See the second post in this thread:


However, Sudo's excellent presentation centered on Saucy Jack is far more intriguing than either Heath's or Gibson's approach. It does make me shudder to think of using the photo of Mary Kelly in a performance, however! (Side note: I have traveled to Whitechapel three times in my life to "research," once spending the entire day with noted Ripperologist Martin Fido).

And Sudo, that was a brilliant observation of yours concerning the names. It has inspired me to open my mind to other such relations that might be floating about.

Anyway, back to the original question, I believe Heath should be given the credit for originating the idea of successive length words/objects/numbers.

Thomas Henry
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Oct 22, 2018 03:18AM)
Thanks for the compliments Thomas.

And thanks too Thomas, for that info about Heath. I first learned the effect from the book I listed after borrowing it from a library as a very young kid of maybe 10 or 11 years of age. It's odd that even back then I had a very good eye for recognizing intriguing concepts. I liked the idea, but not the implementation. Even more odd, is that the effect lay dormant in the back of my head for over 30 years until I made my discovery about the Rippers victims. But the moment the discovery was made, I knew immediately just what to do with it. I must admit that I'm pretty pleased with myself over that one. :)

As for the Seance effect itself, I always try to make it seem as though it is a ghostly force that is slowly directing my hand over the photos to tap with. It really plays well. Once a victim has let her identity be known, I have a spirit glass suspended from a string and the guests can ask the victim questions, to which, the spirit raps out 'yes' or 'no' answers to. Eventually we lose contact and the seance ends. All in all, it's a lovely bit that is designed to be more 'chilling intrigue' than actual 'scary pee-your-pants spook'. There's a few other little bits in there as well, but that's the basic gist of it. To my mind, I think it is theatrically better to make 'contact' with one of the victims as opposed to the Ripper himself as it allows people to ask questions of the victim in the hopes that they might gain further precious clues regarding the identity of the Ripper. Being fairly well-versed in the Ripper case, I can easily accommodate this aspect of the seance. Personally, my money's on Carl Feigenbaum as the Ripper for an overwhelming number of reasons. ;)

Thanks again for shedding a little more light on the roots of this effect Thomas. I'll have to update my manuscript with this extra bit of info now.
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Oct 22, 2018 04:05AM)
Just read the thread you linked here Thomas. I somehow missed it when it originally appeared, but that's not surprising because I rarely venture down to 'Inner Thoughts' anymore.

Great thread and thanks for the link. I'm happy that this has rekindled your interest in the effect and hope you come up with further relationships that haven't yet been found. Heck, I might even start doing that 'just for fun' myself.