Monday, January 07, 2008

From the feedback I've been getting it appears that quite a few of you are having Reversed Svengali decks made up to try out The Bogus Effect.

The ever curious Shiv Duggal asked why use a Reverse Svengali when a regular Svengali would do. There are several reasons why I think the Reverse Svengali is better. The first is that it allows the deck to be spread face-up and shown to be made up of different cards. There's no need to spread it face-down and flip it over, which is what you'd do with a regular Svengali deck. That's if you can find the appropriate surface on which to make this maneuver. And in any case to me the spread and turnover feels like a flourish and I don't think that slick moves have any part in ACAAN. You want it to look like a mental feat not a card trick.

The second reason is that I prefer that the spectator cut the deck, look at the card and replace the cut portion. It requires less handling on his part than cutting the deck, looking at the top card and then cutting the deck again to lose it. Using a Reverse Svengali makes the selection process look more impossible. The card remains exactly where he found it. And you can even afford to turn away from the spectator as he 'thinks' of his card.

Having persuaded you to get yourself a Reverse Svengali let me show you how its configuration can alter a trick. The trick in question is Max Maven's Sventalism which is described on page 316 of Jim Steinmeyer's The Conjuring Anthology. It's two-person telepathy effect but you could modify it for one person if you wished.

A spectator freely selects three cards from a deck. She gives one to the spectator on her right, another to the spectator on her left and keeps one for herself. All this is done under the fairest conditions and while the magician's assistant is out of the room. The deck is put away. The cards are hidden in the spectators' pockets.

The magician's assistant now enters the room. The magician says nothing and doesn't even need to be there. Nevertheless, under what appear to be impossible conditions, the assistant can correctly reveal the identity of each selected card.

This is a slight tweak of Max Maven's clever method but the use of a Reverse Svengali allows three cards to be selected as opposed to the two in Max's routine.

The secret is simple. On the back of each force card in the deck is marked the identities of the indifferent cards that are either side of it. The Ted Lesley marking material is ideal for this.

Begin the routine by giving the deck a false shuffle. This must be a full deck false shuffle. If that is not in your repertoire then just give it some regular cuts. Cutting the deck makes no difference to the arrangement.

With your assistant out of the room you hand the deck to a spectator and ask her to cut it several times. When she has finished ask her to give the top card to the person on her right and the next card to the person on her left. She takes the third card for herself and you take the deck from her and drop it straight in your pocket without even attempting to glance at it. Ask everyone to look at their cards and then either hide them behind their body or hide them in a pocket. At this point you can leave the room out of one door and your assistant can come in from the other, if that is possible. The idea being that you never meet.

The assistant goes along the row of spectators and pretends to pick up the vibes. The man that was to the left of the assisting spectator has the force card in his pocket. Your assistant psychically divines it and then asks the spectator to produce the card. On taking it back from him your assistant can now read the marks on the back and divine the names of the cards the other two spectators are holding. And that's pretty much that. You come back into room when you hear the applause. Alternatively leave your assistant to face the music if she's screwed up.

If all the indifferent short cards in your Reverse Svengali are arranged in a stack, for instance Eight Kings, then you only need mark the identity of one card on the back of the force cards. You can figure out the identity of the third card from the stack.