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William Draven
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Las Vegas, NV
468 Posts

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I downloaded a copy of Mathieu Bich's Watermark from T11 some time ago, and I've been playing around with the presentation to create a bizarre experience. The effect is pretty strait forward, and packs a powerful visual punch.

So I've performed my variation before a few live audiences ranging from pick up shows in the museum at the Magic Castle, to bar gigs around Los Angeles, and for fellow co-workers. I'm still trying to dial in the effect to get the reactions I'm looking for. So far, the reactions seem fairly hit and miss. It's either stunned silence, or applause. I'm trying to get the average reaction closer to the applause end of it. I'd be glad to accept any thoughts you may have on my handling or presentation.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Watermark effect, a forced card, name, image, or word appears dry on a napkin when you otherwise soak it with water that you freely drip on it while in the spectators hands. The appearance of the card, name, word, or image is very visual, and kind of cool as it slowly comes up into focus.

First the props.
1) A prepared Watermark napkin.
2) Devils Doorway. (A miniature business card sized Ouija board - Out To Lunch method available through the Magic Apple near Los Angeles)
3) Tarot Deck (I use the Robbin Wood deck)
4) Wine glass of water (to which I was seen drinking from all through my set)

Let the fun begin.

I set the effect up by doing some story telling. I ask if the audience believes in ghosts, spirits, ghouls, or demons, and then regale them of a permanent marker that I recovered from a doctors office in an abandoned haunted hospital in down town Los Angeles. (I'm not making this story up. The pen really came from that place.)

I then tell them that spirits have been known to communicate with the living for centuries, and many methods are used to do so. Among the most popular is the Spirit Boards. I introduce the Devils Doorway prop.

I also point out that answers can be divined through other oricals as well such as Tarot cards. To which I introduce my deck of tarot cards wrapped in the delicate Watermark paper, tied with a black ribbon.

I remark that I know there are non-believers out there. That people don't think spirits can REALLY communicate with the living. So I purpose a test. A scientific test, to which a question that we can verify the accuracy to, is asked of the spirits, so we can challenge a response.

I have my mark sign her name to the Devils Doorway card, and I remove it so she may hold onto it. I shuffle the Tarot deck and ask her to select a card. She does. I impress upon the group the importance to remember the card. If it has a name, remember the name. If it has a number or a suit, to remember that. Try to attach some kind of personal image or emotion to the card. Most important.... to not forget it.

I ask the spirits if they are here tonight from the hospital. Did they follow me attached to the marker I removed, unable to move on in the after life? Then beseech the spirits to reply with the answer to my question: "What was the selected card?" I wait for a reply. I instruct the spectator to turn over the pocket sized Ouija board, to which there is a slight gasp.

The little spirit board has now manifested marks under the word "Yes", and the letters "P"- "A" - "E"- "R".

I ponder the meaning to the spirits cryptic answer. I eventually purpose that the reply could be PAPER and the spirits intended the letter P to be used twice. But the only PAPER around is the tissue paper my tarot deck was wrapped in. But the paper is blank! I show it on both sides.

Clearly the spirits need more help to manifest their message. I look around. Water I recount, has been known for centuries to be a conduit between our realities. It's liquid nature allows it to flow fluidly through our worlds. Perhaps if I sanctified the water we could use it to help the spirits bring their message through to us in a more clear manor. I make a cross over the water, and say the blessing "E nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti" and then begin to splash the water onto the tissue paper.

Quickly the letters begin to reveal themselves to spell D...E...V...I...L. The Devil I say. Was that your card?

End routine.

Thoughts? Perhaps I over killed the effect? Perhaps it was watered down? (pardon the pun) I don't know.
Harley Newman
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Inner circle
5112 Posts

Profile of Harley Newman
Stunned silence is a better response than any noise. If you can consistently get an audience to gasp and hold their breath a little, you've accomplished something powerful, that goes beyond their everyday belief systems.

Then comes applause.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain
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Profile of lin
P A E R -> REAPER...

...just sayin'
William Draven
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Elite user
Las Vegas, NV
468 Posts

Profile of William Draven
Ah yes. Could be the death card too. But if it goes that way, then I have little reason to go to the paper for the final reveal.

Interesting note though. It might be usable to create an alternative effect all together.
Tony Chris
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Vancouver, Canada
716 Posts

Profile of Tony Chris
Very Nice William,

Dark and memorable.

I like it!
As magicians we create what onlookers call magic. If they truly believe in what we have created for them to witness then magic is real!!!

- TONY CHRIS, A.K.A. Zany Zack
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