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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » How to force a symbol? (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

dc83
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Hi everyone. I bought a new magic trick called 'breath' basically it's a glass that when you breath on it it reveals a symbol (mine is a cross and a diamond on either side) The trick is to get the spectator to think of a symbol and then have it magically appear on the mirror, but the instructions only say to force the symbol onto the spectator. Is there any way to get the spectator to choose a particular symbol (in this case a cross or a diamond) while making them think it was them who made that decision? (it's more impressive than blowing on the glass and saying look haha) I'm quite new to magic, and have searched online but can't find any techniques relating to symbols. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Doug Trouten
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Theodore Anneman wrote a book titled "202 Methods of Forcing." You can download it as a PDF from lybrary for $2. You'll find a lot of information on this topic there.
It's still magic even if you know how it's done.
Terry Pratchett
dc83
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Great. Thanks for the recommendation Smile
karnak
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What if you tried forcing the required symbol(s) in a manner similar to how the required choice of a particular colored gemstone in a Hot Rod is forced? (Are you familiar with that classic pocket trick? If not, check it out!)

With a Hot Rod, you show a small handheld rod with six gemstones, each of a different color, embedded along its length. You ask the spectator to choose any one of those differently colored gems, and suddenly all six gems change to the chosen color.

Never mind how the color change is accomplished. Without giving too much away (I hope), the choice of gemstone color is not as free as it seems -- it's forced.

In a similar manner, you could easily adapt this "Hot Rod" force method to your "Breath" trick, to good effect.

Show a spectator a selection of six symbols: cross and diamond, of course, and perhaps also a circle, a square, a star, and three wavy parallel lines (all much like the symbols on standard ESP or "Zener" cards -- so look those up, too, to see how these symbols perhaps should look as graphics), all drawn together in a single row on a card or a sheet of paper.

Tell your spectator that he will now "freely" choose one of those six symbols.

Just use the "Hot Rod force" to ensure that either the cross or the diamond (your choice) is always selected.

As I said, if you don't know this forcing method, look into it. Pick up a Hot Rod if you don't already own one (or don't already know the forcing method).
For a supernatural chiller mixing magic (prestidigitation, legerdemain) with Magic (occultism, mysticism), check out my novel MAGIC: AN OCCULT THRILLER at http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Occult-Thriller-Reed-Hall/dp/1453874836
karnak
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Upon reflection, using the "Hot Rod force" is a simple and effective way of getting there. But when the selection is made, both the spectator and the magician know what the chosen symbol is, up front, before it then appears in the glass stone.

That's okay. But it might be even more impressive (more mysterious) if you could come up with a forcing method in which the magician does NOT know (or at least doesn't SEEM to possibly know) which symbol has been chosen, until it appears within the glass stone.

You'd still be forcing it, of course. It just needs to be some sort of force where the spectator doesn't state aloud, or visibly point to, his selection. It should be a silent, purely mental choice on his part (but still a force on your part).

That way, the final reveal of the selection in the glass stone might come off even more strongly, as some sort of purely psychic and genuinely mystical revelation. After all, the spectator never even indicated to you what his "freely chosen" symbol selection was -- and yet it correctly appears before him, right there in that crystal-ball-like glass stone, as you tell him to merely visualize it WITHOUT EVER stating or revealing what it is (as if his own private, purely mental visualization was somehow pulled or projected straight out of his mind, and into the stone!).

So, food for thought. You could start out using the simpler "Hot Rod force" for now, to get going. Later, if you can come up with a force that is even more subtle (such that you do not need to witness the spectator's selection), then you can perhaps evolve your presentation into something that is even more striking.

(Another quick thought: what you described as a diamond, as one of your two possible choices, might in fact be a square [depending on how it appears when you hold or orient the glass stone a certain way, rotating it a bit]. ESP cards come with five symbols -- square [not diamond], cross, circle, star, wavy lines. So, another fairly simple approach might be to just have the spectator choose "any card he likes" from a packet of five such ESP cards [or, for that matter, from a full standard "ESP deck" of 25 such cards]. The necessary force of a card bearing either a cross or a square could then be accomplished by using any of a vast number of card forcing methods, which you can find in abundance by exploring the standard literature of card magic.)
For a supernatural chiller mixing magic (prestidigitation, legerdemain) with Magic (occultism, mysticism), check out my novel MAGIC: AN OCCULT THRILLER at http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Occult-Thriller-Reed-Hall/dp/1453874836
Mr. Woolery
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I would make up a packet of different symbols and use the method I learned at "the European 10/11 F*rce." As long as you know which side of the glass will reveal which symbol, this will be great because the packet of cards can be shown to be all different.

But create a story or presentation around the selection. It makes a huge difference as compared to "give me a number, here's your selection."

Patrick
DaveGripenwaldt
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As Mr. Woolery said, do take as much time on the presentation as you do learning the mechanics. That said you do need to get a force, so here is an option to throw into the mix...having the spectator select the symbol behind his back via the dry marker principle. Feel free to PM me for details.
DavidJComedy
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Dc83, try getting a blank-face deck. Draw as many symbols as you can come up with, including the one you're trying to force. Can also put numbers on the cards, the spec doesn't yet know your purpose. Then use a balducci cut deeper force. It's so simply, fools all laymen, and the addition of the cards I think adds something familiar to your audience, as well as a natural way to obtain a "random" symbol or number. Hope this helps.
David
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karnak
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Or, since the cross and the square that appear in the glass stone (mirror) are both standard ESP card symbols, in keeping with that theme or motif you could just use a standard "full deck" of 25 ESP cards (5 ESP symbols on five cards each) from which to force the desired symbols.
For a supernatural chiller mixing magic (prestidigitation, legerdemain) with Magic (occultism, mysticism), check out my novel MAGIC: AN OCCULT THRILLER at http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Occult-Thriller-Reed-Hall/dp/1453874836
karnak
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By the way, if you (or anyone else) is interested, I've thought of a "no force" method for performing this effect ("Breath").

It still uses a packet of 5 ESP cards, but no force is involved at the outset.

Instead, you (the magician) choose a particular symbol, and set the card bearing its symbol face down upon the table. The spectator then "reads your mind," in that the image he sees in the crystal turns out to match the ESP symbol you selected (but never identified) when the card on the table is turned face up.
For a supernatural chiller mixing magic (prestidigitation, legerdemain) with Magic (occultism, mysticism), check out my novel MAGIC: AN OCCULT THRILLER at http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Occult-Thriller-Reed-Hall/dp/1453874836
DaveGripenwaldt
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I don't have the trick, so I may be unaware of a technical reason this would not work but a similar option to what David mentioned might be this - make up your own "deck" of symbol cards and use a cross cut force, but with a touch that puts the glass square in play.

When the spectator cuts half the deck and places it on the table, place the glass square on top of that half and then place the other half deck on top of that. After some time delay, complete the force as per normal...the "selection" being either under the bottom of the glass or on the bottom of the half deck on top of the glass, depending where it started out. The glass square "marks the place where you cut" and gives it something to do during the procedure.
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