The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Street Magic » » Where can I learn more on Pickpocketing? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
Symmatrix
View Profile
Special user
553 Posts

Profile of Symmatrix
I love to learn this technique and go deeper in this stuff. Currently I got the book on
"Theaterical Pickpocketing". I bought this book after tons of research that this is the best Pickpocket book to be bought.

For now I would like to know what other places can I learn pickpocketing?

I heard that Europe is a place where great pickpocketers they have. They seem to have a circle of pickpocketers where they exchange ideas and technique.

Is this true? If it is true, how do I get to know these guys. And which part of Europe?

I hope that someone with the great deep knowledge of pickpocketing can guide me through all these.

Thanks for taking the time for reading this thread.

Thanks again

Symmatrix Smile
What We See Is Mainly Depend On What We Look For.
Only Those Who Can See The Invisible Can Do The Impossible.

Symmatrix Magic
Mark Martinez
View Profile
Inner circle
Wisconsin
1280 Posts

Profile of Mark Martinez
You could check out "How to Pick Pockets for Fun and Profit" by Eddie Joseph
Magically,
Mark

Success comes before work only in the dictionary. - Anonymous
Symmatrix
View Profile
Special user
553 Posts

Profile of Symmatrix
But I heard that the book is not as good as the book I had. What I am looking for is some advance tips and technique.

Symmatrix Smile
What We See Is Mainly Depend On What We Look For.
Only Those Who Can See The Invisible Can Do The Impossible.

Symmatrix Magic
kasper777
View Profile
Regular user
144 Posts

Profile of kasper777
Simple, go pick pocket on the streets and you'll learn what not to do, hehe

I was just kidding!
redstreak
View Profile
Inner circle
A.K.A David Kong
1368 Posts

Profile of redstreak
I heard that James Coats is coming out with a DVD on it very soon.
MacGyver
View Profile
Inner circle
St. Louis, MO
1419 Posts

Profile of MacGyver
Just go to Europe and act stupid and try to get a pickpocket to take your stuff, then beg them for help Smile
Harry Murphy
View Profile
Inner circle
Maryland
5369 Posts

Profile of Harry Murphy
And now for a serious response!

There are not a whole lot of resources for learning to pickpockets or learning to perform a pick-pocketing act. Yes, recently there have been several video tapes/DVD’s on lifting watches (the watch steal phase has just about run it’s course!) but watch stealing is not a pickpocket act. It is a stunt that is usually included in the context of an ongoing routine or act.

The Ravel book is one of a very few available (“Theatrical Pick-Pocketing”). It has been out for years (since the late 70’s) and is still a good start point. Is it the best? In this limited field there is, as yet, no best! It is good, it does teach you some technique with many objects.

Other books include the Mark Raffle book. This is almost impossible to find. It was a limited edition back in the 70’s and was expensive back then (if I remember, Mark sold his book with a video tape for $150.00 USD). If you could get your hands on a copy then you would probably have a marginally better product, but only marginally.

Then there is the “Complete Course In Pick Pocketing” by Pierre Jacques, published in 1983. It is another good start point in the literature.

Eddie Joseph put a small booklet out in the 1940’s or so that can still be found. It is very, very basic and has no photos or illustrations. It is dated but does give some insight into pulling a pickpocket act off.

Walt Hudson wrote a small pamphlet called
“Hey that’s my Wallet” that outlined a pseudo pickpocket act that was clever and a good interlude for a longer magic show.

In terns of videos, Stevens Magic does carry a Video Tape of Mark Raffles where he describes and demonstrates a number of Pick- Pocketing stunts. He then gives you a clip of his act (with a killer Cups and Balls trick using flower pots as cups and with 3 live chickens as a final load!). It will give you an idea of some of the stunts that a Pickpocket act is built around.

Then there is a fairly decent little video put out by the International Magicians Society’s Magic Academy course of magic (Volume 44) called “The Art of Pick-Pocketing”. The performer is Remington Scott. It also gives some good ideas and instruction on learning some stunts and building an act.

A couple of years ago, on the “Magic and Illusion Forum”, I outlined my own pickpocket act. It is a well practiced, tight, and entertaining act. Further it incorporates some standard non-pickpocket stunts and at least one magic trick. It is remarkably easy and I think that you could build a larger act/show from it (do a search there for Mumblepeas).

Otherwise, off the top of my head, I cannot think of other resources for you to explore.

I think that you need to understand that a good pickpocket act takes more personality and ability to misdirect than the average manipulation act. This is a hard act to make entertaining.

Any of these resources will give you what you need to learn the odd pickpocket stunt. However, beware it may end you up in jail! Go for the act, not the stunt!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Victor Brisbin
View Profile
Elite user
Washington, DC / NOVA
432 Posts

Profile of Victor Brisbin
Cell up with a "dip" at the county jail. I assume you're asking about theatrical pickpocketing, versus entering a life of petty crime. Mumblepeas listed some great sources. This kind of act is a little like performing stage hypnosis - tough to practice, you have to just do. If you're funny and get good, you're on your way. If you're not, you can die on the stage and people will throw vegetables. I enjoyed watching the late Ricki Dunn several times. All acts in this genre use a combination of shills and skills. Good luck. VB
"It is better to practice a little than talk a lot." - Muso Kokushi
Symmatrix
View Profile
Special user
553 Posts

Profile of Symmatrix
To Harry Murphy:

Thanks a lot pal for the serious response and the review that you wrote. I appreciate and love the write out of what you wrote. If to gives me an idea of what the book is all about.

I got the Ravel book on (“Theatrical Pick-Pocketing”). But most of the pickpocketing technique requires coat or blazzer. Which in Singapore is a humid and hot country and most people do not wear a coat. Somehow this technique is not practical. As most people in Singapore wear jeans and T-shirts. Seldom people wear suits and stuff like that.

I hope that you can find the answer to my problem.

Thanks again Murphy.

To Victor Brisbin:

Yup, Mostly I put this into my act rather than putting than a crime. I love to learn the art of pickpocketing but always afraid to do so in my act. Because I am afraid that I might get caught.

Other than learning the art of pickpocketing as an act. I also love to know the technique and knowledge of it. Just knowledge.

So if I wanted to apply/practice pickpocketing skill how do I do it?

Any advice from those expert pickpocketers or those who perform these act in their show?

Thanks

Symmatrix Smile
What We See Is Mainly Depend On What We Look For.
Only Those Who Can See The Invisible Can Do The Impossible.

Symmatrix Magic
Harry Murphy
View Profile
Inner circle
Maryland
5369 Posts

Profile of Harry Murphy
As Victor has stated this is an act that is about shills and steals! (Man do I love that term!).

Building an act that fits your location (no jackets) is going to be only marginally more difficult.

The stunts you will build on will include:
Eyeglasses (including sun glasses) steal,
Anything in the shirt pocket (very easy and really a warm-up),
Watch steal (difficult but impressive, if you plan to do this act at all, then learn a watch steal. It’s expected!),
Belt steal (which gets a bigger reaction than a watch steal!)
Hip pocket wallet steal (there is a nice bluff wallet steal in the “Complete Course In Pick Pocketing” by Pierre Jacques, I use it almost exclusively for a hip-pocket wallet steal. It is a funny bit and is more bluff than steal).
IF a woman is wearing a scarf around her neck, STEAL IT (a la’ the necktie steal).

Those are the “real” stunts you should focus on learning and building into your act.

Add a couple of magic tricks (I use 20th Century Shorts with a guy, I never do the Bra trick as I feel it to be too cheap and embarrassing for the lady assistant. Guy’s have never been embarrassed by the thong that comes out of their pants)

You could set up a friend in a jacket of some kind (even with a tie) and do the shirt pull as your finale!

These are some ideas to get you thinking.

Good luck! Keep us posted on how it develops for you!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Andrew E. Miller
View Profile
Inner circle
Southern California
1428 Posts

Profile of Andrew E. Miller
The best book on pickpocketing I have ever seen was "The Theatrical Art of Pick-Pocketing" by Jim Ravel. That books has everything from watches to shirts. It is the best out there. They sell it at places like http://www.magicsmith.com and others.

Andrew
If you get bored go to www.a-miller.idz.net and watch some magic.



-Andrew
Symmatrix
View Profile
Special user
553 Posts

Profile of Symmatrix
To Harry Murphy:

Thanks again for the guidance. I know working with pickpocketing requires some real guts. What happen that some people are sensitive and do not like this kind of joke. And I get caught, what should I do?

Is there anyother way to practice this art?

Thanks Harry

To: Andrew

Yup I do agree that "The Theatrical Art of Pick-Pocketing" Book is a great one. I do agree. It is a nice book indeed.

Symmatrix Smile
What We See Is Mainly Depend On What We Look For.
Only Those Who Can See The Invisible Can Do The Impossible.

Symmatrix Magic
Franfran
View Profile
New user
Paris!
70 Posts

Profile of Franfran
Hey,

Do you guys know if there is a good video for pickpocketing??? There is a French one but some friends told me that it's not really good...

Thanx!

Franfran Smile
Franfran's magic, the real French Touch!
Welshwizard
View Profile
Loyal user
Wales
292 Posts

Profile of Welshwizard
Go to Leicster Square in London and stand still for 10 seconds.
m@t
View Profile
Loyal user
London, UK www.MatthewLaskey.com
250 Posts

Profile of m@t
I have lived in London for all of my life and am afraid to admit that, yes, London is the pickpocketing capial of the world Smile

Quote:
I heard that Europe is a place where great pickpocketers they have. They seems to have a circle of pickpocketers where they exchange ideas and technique.


I'm not sure if there are such pickpocket groups around, however I do know that most pickpockets work in gangs, these are tightly knitted groups.

I would imagine that they would be very hard to befriend as they are mainly family run groups.

Unfortunately, the modern pickpocket on the street tends to just slash the bottom of your pocket or bag with a flick-knife, and remove the contents, rather then use a non damaging technique, so it would be hard to learn from them.

From my knowledge the hot spots in London are however:

- Central London underground stations.
- Around the West End, Charring Cross
- Leciester Square
- Oxford St.
Harry Murphy
View Profile
Inner circle
Maryland
5369 Posts

Profile of Harry Murphy
Be clear that picking pockets, as an entertainment is very different than picking pockets on the streets. Both have a similar goal. That is to earn a living. However, it is manifestly more difficult to pick a pocket on stage or in performance and get away with it AND make it entertaining at the same time (and if you can’t make it entertaining then you won’t be on stage for long!).

The main technique for both is sensory overload. Pickpocket gangs on the street use a couple of people to block, touch/bump/push/etc, their victim so that the victim cannot tell that they are being robbed. The stage performer does much the same by continually touching/bumping/pushing/etc. their volunteer for the same outcome. The street thief hopes to be invisible to any standing nearby. The entertainer hopes that everyone but the volunteer can see what is going on.

Frankly it is easier to pull a wallet from a coat or trousers pockets in a crowded elevator/bus/train than to pull that same wallet on stage. In my younger days I would often pull a wallet and then pretend to bend down and pick it up and hand it back to the guy I pulled it off of. In all the years of doing that stupid stunt I was never caught! I was just keeping my hand in, so to speak (not a recommended training technique!). Now if I had been a thief, I would probably be a tad richer than I am now.

The best “professional” pickpocket I knew was not an entertainer. She was a thief. I knew her at the end of her career (she was in her 60’s) and was living very comfortably in a nice small apartment in a middle class neighborhood. And she was still dipping away!

She had never been caught in the over 40 years she spent being a thief! I have a couple of miles of interview tapes and several notebooks of hand written notes toward the day I will attempt to write her story.

The “slash and grab” technique mentioned is now being used worldwide by thieves who do not want to take the time to develop the finesse needed to be a master “dip”. It takes almost no skill to cut a backpack or purse open (the targets of choice). Still, it does take some degree of choreography to pull it off unnoticed.

By the way, a close friend of mine was in St. Petersburg (Russia) last year and had her backpack slashed and everything taken! By the time that she noticed the bag was lighter and looked she was well away from the place she was hit! This happened as she was getting on a train. Talk about a hassle!

Franfarn, I mentioned two general videos on the subject above. Presently there are three or four watch stealing videos available on the market.

Symmatrix, practice takes two forms. First you will learn and practice the technique on inanimate objects.

A poor man’s practice dummy can be built easily. You will need a hook in your ceiling. Tie a length of rope from the hook and with a coat/clothing hanger at the other end. The hanger should be shoulder high (average shoulder height). You will tie a couple of length of twine/rope from the bar of the hanger at one end and the belt loops of a pair trousers at the other. So now you have a hanger suspended in the middle of your room with a pair of pants hanging from them (the waist band of the pants should be about where the waist of a person should be). Now hang a shirt from the hanger (it covers the twine holding the pants). You are ready to load the dummy.

Put something in each pocket. Try to put things in the pocket that you will expect to find. Say, a pair of sunglasses and a pen in the breast pocket of the shirt. Perhaps a hip-pocket wallet in one of the trousers pockets. Maybe put a handkerchief in the other hip pocket, some keys and change in the front pockets. You get the idea. Put a belt on the pants so that you can practice getting it too.

Now practice taking all of the stuff out of the pockets without moving the dummy. When you think you are good, fasten a bell to the rope that everything is hanging from. Now do all your moves until you can do it without ringing the bell. Got good at it yet? If so, now you can attach a small bell by each pocket you are going to pick (the so called Ten Bells of old).

To practice stealing watches you can simply roll a towel around the arm of a chair and fasten the watch. This will help you get the technique down.

The second phase of practice (all that was simply phase one!) involves using a person or persons in place of the dummy. Once you feel comfortable with your mechanical technique get a living person to act the dummy role. The idea is for them to simply move like a human (as you push/bump/touch/etc.) as you practice your technique. Don’t worry about them feeling you doing the dirty deed. This is to get the rhythm and technique down.

Finally, you just need to do it. YOU WILL GET CAUGHT from time to time. Don’t worry about it.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Symmatrix
View Profile
Special user
553 Posts

Profile of Symmatrix
Thanks Harry Murphy,

It's great to hear from you again and your review on praticing of Pickpocketing. Wow! from the review, I was so astonished that you knew so much about pickpocketing stuff. The method that you taught here was wonderful, I had never thought of it. Great thinking Harry. I love the idea of the hanger, pants and watch steal stuff. Especially, the bells, then tie bells to each pockets. It seems really hard. But I will give it a try.

Thanks Harry again.

Thanks for the material.

Symmatrix Smile
What We See Is Mainly Depend On What We Look For.
Only Those Who Can See The Invisible Can Do The Impossible.

Symmatrix Magic
Dragona
View Profile
Regular user
New Jersey
159 Posts

Profile of Dragona
I forget what his name is, but there is a guy right here in the U.S. that is so good at pick-pocketing that he will steal the clothes right off your back without you knowing it!!!

Now to business, if you plan on doing this, it is best performed on stage. It can be very entertaining, but make sure that people know that it is just an act.
I have the breath of dragons and the soul of a human.
Symmatrix
View Profile
Special user
553 Posts

Profile of Symmatrix
Nice to see your post here, dragona.

Did you ever see his whole act? After pickpocketing, how did he end his show? Did he end by showing the things that he pick? or he just return the stuff to spectator?

Here is another question that I want to ask,
When after pickpocketing different spectator and you want to end the show. How do you know who's item belongs to whom? What happens if someone come up to stage and claim theirs when the things are not theirs as the right owners not aware that their stuff is gone? How do we deal with this situation?

Thanks
Symmatrix
Smile
What We See Is Mainly Depend On What We Look For.
Only Those Who Can See The Invisible Can Do The Impossible.

Symmatrix Magic
Dragona
View Profile
Regular user
New Jersey
159 Posts

Profile of Dragona
What he did was he picked people out on the street and then gave them tickets to the show. When they arrived he'd talk with them and take things like a mans neck-tie, women's hair barett's, or even just your belt. He would then invite them up on stage and show a video that they could watch on the things he took. They always got a kick out of it and he would return it to them on stage. He has been deemed the world's best pickpocket by many.
I have the breath of dragons and the soul of a human.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Street Magic » » Where can I learn more on Pickpocketing? (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.26 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL