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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Rings, strings & things » » Ghost Key - does it work for you? (13 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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paulalpha
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Ghost key has never really worked for me. I like the effect, but it never seems to get the reaction I was hoping for.

It is likely my presentation, but I suppose it possible that it is a lousy trick, or maybe just a lousy trick for me.

If you like it and use it, what kind of presentation do you use? Are there any Ghost Key DVD/books that you'd recommend?
Bill Hegbli
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Yes, there is a booklet for The Haunted Key published by Fun Inc. Describing different effects with The Haunted Key.

What I have found is that you have to set the mood of your spectators for your presentation. The slower you make the key turn the spookier it seems to be. If any time the key just flips or falls, then it will kill the effect totally. If you can do a trick or two that captures and fools the spectators before the introduction, all the better.

These keys, are what in the early days, every home as had in use in the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's. The actually were of little use to home owners, as they were a master key for every door in the house. even the front and back doors to the home entrances.

How do I know, because I was brought up in such a house. We used Skelton keys. Every door n the house also had a key hole below the knob.

I think the Haunted and Ghost Key effect is wonderful. If you put the time in the presentation. I found it in a magic book, the description was on a paragraph long. I searched for a long time trying to find the right key that would work. Not every Skelton Key will work for this effect. So glad it was brought to the magic community.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
paulalpha
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Quote:
On Apr 24, 2018, Bill Hegbli wrote:
Yes, there is a booklet for The Haunted Key published by Fun Inc. Describing different effects with The Haunted Key.

What I have found is that you have to set the mood of your spectators for your presentation. The slower you make the key turn the spookier it seems to be. If any time the key just flips or falls, then it will kill the effect totally. If you can do a trick or two that captures and fools the spectators before the introduction, all the better.

These keys, are what in the early days, every home as had in use in the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's. The actually were of little use to home owners, as they were a master key for every door in the house. even the front and back doors to the home entrances.

How do I know, because I was brought up in such a house. We used Skelton keys. Every door n the house also had a key hole below the knob.

I think the Haunted and Ghost Key effect is wonderful. If you put the time in the presentation. I found it in a magic book, the description was on a paragraph long. I searched for a long time trying to find the right key that would work. Not every Skelton Key will work for this effect. So glad it was brought to the magic community.


Bill - Thanks you for your suggestions. I think that one of the mistakes I've made is trying to use it as a stand alone trick or an opener. It probably would work better as a middle trick, and using those other tricks to set the mood.

Also I think I will try it in an offhanded way, suggesting that the antique shop that sold it to me said it might be from a haunted house.
jimhlou
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Paula: I never got much out of this. Perhaps my presentation was flawed too. Most people would see it as a puzzle, and then try it themselves. I no longer do it.
Dick Oslund
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Bill has given you the "story" of "skeleton" keys! --Yup! That's "how it was, back then"! I grew up in a home just like that, too.

Once again, it's the PRESENTATION that "makes" the trick! --And, you must set the mood. "OUT OF THIS WORLD", is a great card trick, BUT, it's not a 'fast and flashy card trick", to be done by a table hopper magician!

"OOTW" is IMO, best done in a parlor show, for one person or a very small group. The HAUNTED KEY, is much like OOTW. You need to set the mood! (Hallowe'en is the "perfect night" for the HAUNTED KEY!

As Bill pointed out, the "RIGHT KEY" is absolutely important. I inherited my key from my first mentor, in the early '50s. Stuart Ross had found an "ancient" hotel key. He used it as the magic key in Tarbell's "EGGSTRAORDINARY EGGSPLANATION" (Vol I, page 394). --And, that's how I used it, also, for years. When
Vol.7 was published, I read Jack Tillar's "BLISTER" (Vol VII, page 379). I tried it out, on myself, and, the EFFECT was great! I had used my key from Ross, and, it was the "right key". It helped set the mood! I introduced the key as an interesting "souvenir" that I had picked up in a "Victorian era bed & breakfast", in Massachusetts where the Salem witch trials had occurred. I was tempted to call it the key to my ancient motor home (!) but, that would have made the key, a gag item. (The "handle" end of my key has an "F" stamped in the metal. It was a small bed & breakfast!)

From there, I led the conversation into haunted houses in the Salem area. (Note, I believe in "conversational patter". It gets the spectators involved.)

The actual "turning" of the key, must be SLOW.

There is an ancient parlor trick, that I learned from my grandfather, when I was about 7 or 8. Grandpa threaded a shoe lace through the hole in the key "handle".
He said if the key was held over the open palm of a person, the key would swing in a "back & forth" pattern, if held over the palm of a boy, and, in a circular pattern, if held over the hand of a girl. (This was "parlor entertainment" in my youth! TV wasn't invented yet, and radios were "scarce", too!)

Both the "Blister" bit, and, the "Sex Detector" bit, were good "lead ins" to the Haunted Key.

I didn't give you my "patter". (Actually, I ad lib much of it, and,encourage the other person or persons, to share "stories" that they may know.

I hope that this will give you a bit of "inspiration" for PRESENTATION!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Bill Hegbli
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Paulalpha, I don't want to sound like I am lecturing, but your last posts is like many others on the Café. From that experience you shared, I take it you did not analyze the key when you got, tried it out, studied the movements and what it responded to your interaction with it.

I bought it and did not perform, it is not good, is the excuse many give. All magic, even beginner magic, need practice, rehearsal, thought, and a presentation.

If you are job hunting, you do not go to company you are dying to work for 1st. You go to as many other job interviews as you can create, as practice for the big one.

Same with magic, you don't your clients you think will hire you, you show total strangers to watch their reactions, and comments, then note them and analyze what could make it better. The saying here fits, is it ready for prime time, fits.

How I know the key is a killer effect, is because I witnessed it myself. Back in the 1970's when Fred Kaps Cork came out, I learned about IT. So I was kind of set up to fooled already, I had not found that trick in book I mentioned earlier.

I told this story on the Café before, but here goes.

I was in the local magic shop, and looking at new products, when a short old gray haired walked in. He was quiet, and pleasant looking. He started to show a youngster at the counter a magic trick. I watched on. He did his versions of some BoBo coin moves from the book, and Cig-thru-quarter, Half dollar in bottle, and the key.

HE was good very good, could not see anything, and I knew all the moves and effects he was doing, and yet, I caught nothing, even the BoBo pinch move. He performed the key, I asked him to do it again, burning his hand for the IT, there was none. After he done it for 3 or 4 times, I was amazed. He had a presentation that I don't remember a word of, as I was so taken by the movement of the key. He bought a cig-thru-quarter and a Half dollar in bottle as I recall, then left.

The owner came up, and I asked WHO WAS THAT GUY? The owner said he was from a little town I never heard of over the state line in Ohio. He comes in often and buy coin tricks and sells them.

He looked like someone you would seen in a bar, jeans, shirt and very friendly. Come to find out, for years he was doing that little sequence, of magic, and just like you read about some famous trick, people would offer him a $100 to teach them the trick. Every read about the famous $100 4 Ace trick in the Lewis Ganson book on Dai Vernon. Same kind of thing.

He used the key at times during the other coin effects, just gesturing with it. Penny to Dollar size penny with "the pinch" was excellent. The kid was a little guy, and could easily see below his hands, kind of eye level. Yet nothing was yelled out. I even stooped over a couple of times, and nothing.

Have never seen him since. Just like the stranger that strolled into town in the movies.

I would say the most enjoyable entertaining magic I have ever seen in my life.

That is what every person longing to be a magician should strive for, perfect entertaining magic that kills. Oh yes, he did the old Color Changing Knives as well. Actually, those are the 1st high profit magic items a magic dealer could sell in those days for good profits. He must have asked about coin magic to know the BoBo moves from the book's 1st few chapters.

As I been saying on the Café for some time, it is not the trick that fails, it is the person doing it.

I have seen kids not be able to turn a cup upside down, after showing the them the trick several times. The simple beginner Cups and Balls, is hard to learn the moves for many. That is why you have to practice and rehearse.

It ahs been fun, hope you succeed.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Dick Oslund
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I hope that Bill doesn't mind. I am going to offer a very slight modification to his SECOND PARAGRAPH, above.

Bill has been "around a FEW years, and, he has given anyone who reads this thread, an excellent history of the "GHOST KEY", PLUS a very interesting anecdote (just above).

Please refer to his post, just above! In his enthusiasm, he listed four "things" that any performance of a trick, NEEDS. -AND, HE IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!!!!!

IMHO,though, in his enthusiasm, he listed the "four essentials" of performance, in "inverted order".

THOUGHT, and PRESENTATION, must come FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEN, PRACTICE, and, THEN, REHEARSAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THOUGHT COMES >>>FIRST<<< The performer must "think up" a PREMISE. As the late Charlie Miller would always say, "How do you get into it?"

Next, comes the actual PRESENTATION! (the "story") The PRESENTATION must "fit" the PREMISE!

NOW, the performer can PRACTICE the PHYSICAL SKILLS (including HOW he verbally DELIVERS the PRESENTATION.) PRACTICE TO IMPROVE THE SKILL and, the DELIVERY of the LINES (patter).

THEN, REHEARSE the PERFORMANCE!! --"DO" the WHOLE routine, just as one would when performing for spectators. No 'stops' to "adjust" the position of the key, etc.! REHEARSAL IS THE LAST OF THE "FOUR STEPS"! REHEARSAL IMPROVES THE PERFORMANCE!!!

So, PREMISE, PRESENTATION, PRACTICE, AND, REHEARSAL!!!!

I'll repeat what I've been "preaching" (since "forever"):

To add a trick to one's repertoire, there are three necessary steps:

1. Learn how the trick is DONE.

2. Learn how to DO it.

3. Learn how to do it, SO THAT IT ENTERTAINS THE SPECTATOR(S)!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Wravyn
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Mr Oslund, your #3 is probably the most difficult.
Just because we are entertained with what we do, doesn’t necessarily mean it entertains the audience. It is after steps 1&2 that really comes with practice and refining.
Bill Hegbli
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[quote]On Apr 30, 2018, Wravyn wrote:
Just because we are entertained with what we do, doesn’t necessarily mean it entertains the audience.

That is not entirely true, if you really like performing a certain trick or effect, that will bring your inner feelings of enjoyment to the surface, and that shows to your audience. So if you have a "can't wait to show a certain trick, then by all means show it. There are some that I never have tired performing for others.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
paulalpha
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Bill and Dick:

Thank you for all of your valuable ideas. You made many good points.

One of my other hobbies is telling jokes. I memorize the setup, and the punch line. I write the joke down. I repeat it to myself a few time until I know I wont forget stuff.

But I never really know if it is a good joke for me until I've told it a few times to other people. After half a dozen outings I know if the joke is worth adding to my repertoire.

Magic is the same way. I never really know if I should add a trick to my repertoire until I have performed it for several strangers. But the barrier to performing the trick first time is much higher than joke telling. You have to get the sleights down cold, think through a presentation, rehearse it well, and then try it on your first victim.

I think that is why so many here are asking if XYZ is a good trick. They don't want to spend all the time, money and effort perfecting a trick only to learn that the customers reaction to it is luke-warm.

I seem to recall Jay Sankey saying that he doesn't do open spoon bends, because when he tried that his audiences would sometimes laugh. His experience with spoon-bending was much better when it was done under cover in a napkin. So apparently his persona/character was such that his audiences wouldn't allow him to do spoon bending like Yuri Geller does.

So when a trick doesn't work, instead of blaming the trick first, I should blame it on my presentation, my patter, my audience selection, my trick order etc. In the hands of a master that trick might be a very good trick.
Dick Oslund
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Paul...

I just spent a half hour, writing up some "answers" and comments about comedy, humor, jokes, gags, situation comedy, etc. I punched the 'submit reply" key, and, realized that the wifi, in the apartment building had "ceased existence".

I had a nice hot shower, and the wifi has "come back"!

"The flag is up"! --which in the circus, means that breakfast is being served in the cook house. I'm going to take my insulin, and, go eat!

I'll try to get back here ASAP, and, try again!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
John Oaks
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Quote:
On May 1, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:

I just spent a half hour, writing up some "answers" and comments about comedy, humor, jokes, gags, situation comedy, etc. I punched the 'submit reply" key, and, realized that the wifi, in the apartment building had "ceased existence".


With sketchy wifi I will often highlight and copy what I have written. Then hit send or whatever. If it gets lost I then at least have it saved and can paste what I had written. To try again or into wordpad.

Hope this helps.
Have a Magical Day!
------

I really didn't know how to explain it.
So I told them the truth, and they fell for it!
paulalpha
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Dick:

I am waiting with baited breath for your response. They're usually illuminating and enlightening.
paulalpha
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[quote]On Apr 30, 2018, Bill Hegbli wrote:
Quote:
On Apr 30, 2018, Wravyn wrote:
Just because we are entertained with what we do, doesn’t necessarily mean it entertains the audience.

That is not entirely true, if you really like performing a certain trick or effect, that will bring your inner feelings of enjoyment to the surface, and that shows to your audience. So if you have a "can't wait to show a certain trick, then by all means show it. There are some that I never have tired performing for others.


Bill: I'm curious (as I'm sure others are), what might those tricks be?
Bill Hegbli
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Paulalpha, they are the ones you love and cherish, get excellent reactions from spectators, and you enjoy performing. Same thing I said before.

It makes me question, you said you can't tell if a trick is good or not, then why in the world did you buy it?
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Dougini
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Yes! Ghost Key WORKS for me! But...I do not present it as a "trick". By that, I mean, I do not go, "Here! Look-a THIS!" Plop! No. I have several stories I tell. By the time the key turns over in my hand...whites of the eyes ARE visible! Smile

Doug
Dougini
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At 2:08 into this, Riana pulls it off! Her performances seem to scare the daylights out of the cast. It's really all in HOW you present it...:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_etsAX53Ys

Doug
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On May 1, 2018, John Oaks wrote:
Quote:
On May 1, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:

I just spent a half hour, writing up some "answers" and comments about comedy, humor, jokes, gags, situation comedy, etc. I punched the 'submit reply" key, and, realized that the wifi, in the apartment building had "ceased existence".


With sketchy wifi I will often highlight and copy what I have written. Then hit send or whatever. If it gets lost I then at least have it saved and can paste what I had written. To try again or into wordpad.

Hope this helps.


Good thinking! I'll try to find someone, who can show this 86 year old octogenarian, "how to do dat!)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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Those last two posts of yours, above, make the DIFFERENCE, DOUG! --Thanks for sharing!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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[quote]On May 1, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:
Paul...

I just spent a half hour, writing up some "answers" and comments about comedy, humor, jokes, gags, situation comedy, etc. I punched the 'submit reply" key, and, realized that the wifi, in the apartment building had "ceased existence".

I had a nice hot shower, and the wifi has "come back"!

"The flag is up"! --which in the circus, means that breakfast is being served in the cook house. I'm going to take my insulin, and, go eat!


I need to have a few undisturbed minutes to devote JUST to this. I've been extremely busy.

I'll be in touch with Gigi Jensen, soon, to discuss a couple of days visit, this summer. As soon as details are set, I'll PM you.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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