Friday, July 07, 2006


Twenty years ago the late Eric Mason devised an effect called Stigma. It was an original idea involving the number and suit of a named card appearing as blisters on the performer’s fingers.

As similar effects are now coming onto the market I thought you might be interested in Eric’s original, taken from the notes and illustrations he gave me on 1st August 1986. They are only notes, not a full step by step description, but they should be enough to get a good idea of how Eric approached the problem. What a farsighted genius he was.

STIGMA by Eric Mason

To impress with any card called for! Ask the spectator to think of a card and visualise it as a large image and then to mentally compress it down to say approximately a half inch size. Reaching forward to confirm you pluck the image from its moment of time and space – your fingers appear to BURN! Gosh! You say – as your fingers open to show two blisters which represent the thought card, ‘I would have been burnt for this 300 years ago!’ (1).

Make up some gimmicks in airplane ply by cutting or burning out the indices of cards (2). Stick them together in pairs and assemble them as an index with perhaps a magnet added as (3).

Placing (say) pairs together so that only two gimmicks have to be stolen out of an eight section index to render any playing card. You do this by placing two tabs together and squeezing between the second finger and thumb. Raise a fake blister on both fingers allowing the tabs to drop into a finger palm where they remained concealed (1).