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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » I can tell you how you're going to die. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Caleb Strange
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In another thread at the Café people have been discussing how they'd like to die. This reminded me of a short sci-fi story I've read, which goes something like...

Investigator tracks a psychic who is clearly blackmailing his clients. Large sums of money are changing hands, and none of the victims is talking. Eventually, the cop confronts the psychic, who says, 'I will tell you exactly how I am blackmailing my clients, and by the end of this meeting, you too will be paying me a tenth of your salary, every month for life'. Cop says something like, 'Sez you!' But the psychic lets this pass. He then smiles. 'You see Mr Investigator, my abilities are rather specific. Since childhood, I have been able to foresee, with 100% accuracy, the manner and time of other peoples' deaths. I can see, for instance, very clearly, how and when you yourself will die. Now for a while, I couldn't think how I could exploit this gift for financial gain, but at last I arrived at the answer. So, my good friend, for a modest fee, I promise that I will NOT tell you how and when you will die. If you keep up the monthly payments, which you can arrange outside with my secretary, I will CONTINUE to not tell you. However, if you do not pay me, I will immediately tell you the manner and the time, down to the minute, of your demise'.
And the cop put his hand in his pocket, and took out his wallet...

How could we use this story for bizarre work? I don't think I condone bizarrists prognosticating on the time of their audience's deaths. But if, as part of your character, you were weighed down by this awful knowledge, which you kept locked in your heart, I think it could be pretty scary. An idea is forming for a routine, which I'll try and develop over the weekend.

Any other thoughts?

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Scott Xavier
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If you have access to it, check out Charlie Chan @ Treasure Island. Its where I get my name from. Doctor Zodiac black mailed his clients too.
Brett Cantrell
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Caleb,

That's an excellent character developement idea. Imagine how much that would "weigh down" the character and be a defining point. Kind of like the character John Coffey in "The Green Mile." A true curse.

Brett
Caleb Strange
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The 'flu is clogging my brain, so this is as far as I got.

Basically, you're doing a psychometry routine. Amongst your usual readings, you pick up an heirloom, and describe the person who USED to own an object, and hesitantly get the date of their death, month and year, and maybe day of the week. You continue with less specific stuff, then you get the date of death again for another heirloom, and the cause of death too. You are sympathetic, but business like.

Then on one of the last objects, you get hit after hit after hit. Almost in a trance the facts come, then carelessly the dates slip out. And, making a great effort, you say, 'February, a Tuesday, 2012, grey day, car...rain...nothing.' And you slump forward. A laugh will kill you here so pick the right context. The spectator freaks out, and realising what you've done, you apologise, and try to treat it as a joke. Yet the person gets very upset. The situation starts to get awkward, then out of hand. Heckles come, and eventually you lose your composure, and snarl, teeth bared, 'Have you any idea what it's like, knowing what I know? Do you know what it feels like to shake a hand, and see that person rotting in the ground? To look in the eyes of a child and be absolutely certain that it has NO future. So I told her when she would die. Well I'll tell you all something else. February, 2012, a grey Tuesday, that's when I die too. That's when we'll all ******* die! Happy now?'

And, wild eyed, you storm off stage, pausing only to collect your fee(!)

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Seance
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Interesting thread...

There is also an effect that ends on a happier note. It's similar to the above described effect, and is found in Christopher Chelman's book "Capricornian Tales". The title is "Immortal" by Gaeten Bloom.
Necromancer
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Well, it's happened. Somebody's trying to make a buck doing this, in as irresponsible a fashion as possible.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......15&2
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), and contributor to the ebook GOLD: When It HAS To Be Performance GOLD -- all at Penguin.
Caleb Strange
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Neil the positive corollary of this is that, occasionally, a renown seer predicts his/her date of departure. And even more occasionally, when this date nears and they're in perfect health, they've been known to starve themselves, or use other methods to bring about the prophecy.

Again, apart from the obvious ethical issues, I'm disturbed by the theatrical logic of this person's behaviour. Speaking for myself, the last thing I'd want to do, weighed down by such terrible knowledge, would be to publicise my ability. Who really wants to tell people when they're going to die, even for lots of money?

I seem to remember a psychic on a UK talk-show investigation, using a similar tactic to attack a critical member of the audience. A young woman there analysed this psychic, and explained how it could've all been done by cold reading. With steel in her eyes, the psychic smiled, and told the woman to visit a doctor soon. She could 'see' that there was something wrong with her ovaries, something serious, that needed to be removed. Of course, to her supporters, the psychic was graciously offering advice which could've saved the sceptic's life. But I was appalled by this psychological thuggery.

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Allan-F
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Kreskin claims to have predicted the time (and perhaps circumstance?) of his own death, and that the prediction is hidden within the pages of his web site. He has a picture of himself standing on his own grave, with a tombstone saying "Kreskin. Even Now I Know What You Are Thinking".
Allan-F

"What can be thought of or spoken of necessarily IS, since it is possible for it to be, while it is not possible for NOTHING to be." -- Parmenides
Peter Marucci
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Necromancer writes: "Well, it's happened. Somebody's trying to make a buck doing this, in as irresponsible a fashion as possible.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......15&2 "

Good grief, I can't believe that any idiot would do that!

In another thread, IceRaven asks about the need for standards in magic; after reading that, I don't think there is any doubt!
Alchemist
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As a psychic entertainer, I've often had people ask if I can see how someone will die. I have found that the best way to deal with the question is to not answer it directly. This is usually taken as a yes, and serves to increase the mystery about me. Like the story Caleb posted, no one really wants to know how/when they will die. The mere idea that someone can have this information can be both compelling and frightening.

Alchemist
WR
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"I know when I am going to die...My birth certificate has an expiration date on it."
-Steven Wright
"Tell Em WR sent Ya."
David Numen
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There's a presentation in one of the early issues of Invocation. It uses a death certificate, and has the spectator decide the date of death.

Just thinking aloud: that old faithful standby of mentalism "Confabulation" could be adjusted to have your prediction of a death match audience details.

How about predicting the death of a Soap show character, rather than a real person?

Regards,

David.
teejay
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Quote:
hand. Heckles come, and eventually you lose your composure, and snarl, teeth bared, 'Have you any idea what it's like, knowing what I know? Do you know what it feels like to shake a hand, and see that person rotting in the ground? To look in the eyes of a child and be absolutely certain that it has NO future. So I told her when she would die. Well I'll tell you all something else. February, 2012, a grey Tuesday, that's when I die too. That's when we'll all ******* die! Happy now?'

And, wild eyed, you storm off stage, pausing only to collect your fee(!)

Regards,

Caleb Strange.

I'd love to see this.
Were you at the Billinge Magic Meet?
I wonder if you know of any Magic Groups
in the area between Manchester and Liverpool that 'support' Mentalism and/or Bizarre magic?
Smile
Almost Amazing Doug
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Quote:
On 2003-01-11 06:51, Caleb Strange wrote:
...And the cop put his hand in his pocket, and took out his wallet...



How about, "And the cop put his hand in his pocket and took out his...

...gun."

You could add a very interesting plot twist with that!

Doug
pob14
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Smile

I know I'm stupid, so I'll just go ahead and ask:

Why would people pay NOT to know the date/time/place of their death?

If you knew that, you could do the bit from the old George Carlin routine: spend ten minutes spinning the most outrageous lies imaginable, and finish with:
"May God strike me dead if every word isn't true!" <thud> Smile

Personally I would go on the most amazing binge known to mankind for about a month before. Run up every credit card.

That would be cool.
POB
cogliostro
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POB,

Actually, you're onto something here. Life without consequences could have a certain appeal.

- Rob
Caleb Strange
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POB, you're not stupid. That's a good point, and going out on a sublime gag <thud> is a great idea!

However, I'm not sure that most people would go on what we Brits call a 'Bender', and whoop it up hedonistically. Or do that parchute jump they've been threatening to do for the last ten years. Or finish that novel. Or seek out that estranged son, and effect a reconciliation. Or modify their behaviour much at all in the long run.

Let's face it. We're all under a death sentence. Time is short. There will be no reprieve. That should be motivation enough. Yet most of us potter on in our humdrum way, and barely notice the ruts getting deeper and deeper.

Maybe the original story would be more interesting if someone offered the date and the details of your death as a service? Sure, it'd be a gamble, but imagine knowing you've got another sixty years. And if your demise is imminent, then it's a chance to tick things off the wish-list, and say goodbye.

So imagine, then, this gifted psychic, liberating people from the dark fear of the unknown. The seekers come, and they learn the truth, and it is like a great burden has been lifted from them.

Or, it should be. But it's not. Because the psychic, all though he grows rich beyond the dreams of software magnates, cannot help but notice that all this new information makes very little difference to people's individual lives. Oh, initially they spout schemes, and dream dreams, and one or two might even dash off and seize life, or a bottle, or even a nubile body with determined gusto. But very soon, nearly all of them settle down, and bumble absent-mindedly on.

Maybe that's a more interesting and truthful story. After all, I can't tell you when you're going to die. But I can tell you, and myself for that matter, that death IS certain. That out there, even now, spin the atoms of our final breath. And chances are, they are scented of regret.

We WILL die. When where and how are just details.

With deepest condolences,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
pob14
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I do like that, Caleb.

My brother told me many years ago, "Working for other people sucks." (Okay, I wish he had been more poetic about it, but he wasn't.)

Less than six months later he dropped dead in the parking lot, walking into the work he evidently hated so much. He was 38.

And here I go through life, acting as if I have time.

(Not so funny this time, I know. Sorry. I'll do better next time.)

POB
POB
The Feegee Mermaid
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http://www.deathclock.com

Just before you meet with someone you know type their info into the death clock, remember the date and next time you see them shake their hand, fall into a "trance" and write down the date on a peice of paper via "Automatic writting", sign it and put the date that you wrote it. Tell them to hold onto the paper and if they do die on that date (I have no idea of the sites acuracy) someone will find the paper and freak out.

:)
Feegee.
gaddy
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Only one billion one hundred fifty five million eight hundred ninety six thousand seven hundred forty one seconds to go- and then the party REALLY starts!
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
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