Mailbag #11

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Question regarding “In Search of Lost Time.” You briefly mention this presentation could be used to perform color changing knives. I’ve always loved them and own the nice set by Dan and Dave but always felt a little too self conscious about bringing them out. I have a few ideas on how to use your suggestion but was wondering if you might elaborate on how you’d apply it, if you’re so inclined. —AG

Sure. In Search of Lost Time is a presentation that can be applied to 100s of tricks. It’s not just an Invisible Deck presentation as I wrote it up. I will explain how you would do it with the original stooge version and then you can extrapolate and figure out the other variations.

You have your stooge and your spectator.

You “hypnotize” the stooge. In your hypnosis you say that when you say a certain word he will perceive that the black knife has changed to white.

You wake him from his hypnosis and invoke the word that will cause him to—supposedly—see the knife as a different color. He pretends he’s really seeing it. But in reality nothing has changed. To your actual spectator it should seem as if he has been hypnotized to see the knife a different.

Now you ask her if she would like to try. You count her down: 3, 2, 1. Then you immediately count up: 2, 3. You are now going to imply that she’s been “under” for some period of time.

“How do you feel? Okay? A little groggy? You were a good subject.” Etc.

“Katy, what color is this knife?” She says black.

“Okay, but now if I say the word sailboat… now what color is the knife?”

You say a random word. The implication is that this is the word you implanted in her mind during the hypnosis which she has no recollection of. But as you say this out of place word, the knife she’s looking at changes from black to white.

You can then remove the hypnotic suggestion and the knife goes back to its original color. After a switch, you set the knife down.

The other non-stooge versions would be accomplished along similar lines as indicated in the original post.

[Regarding the Theory of Mind post.]

I wonder if a funny closing line would be that they passed the Autism test but failed the Alzheimer's test?

The idea being that their short term memory is totally screwed up. —JM

Yup, that's good. (Although it may hit a little too close to home for some people.)

Your post today reminded me of an effect I did recently when someone asked me what kind of magic I do.

"I'm just starting to be able to make little things disappear" I said. "Find me a tiny rock" I said.

Meanwhile, I was on the ground "looking" for a good tiny rock, but secretly picking up a piece of clear broken glass I saw on the ground.

When they found one that was the right size and shape (approximate to the shard of glass), I asked them to put it on the palm of my hand, closed it and said "Invisigo" I opened my hand, saw the "transparent rock" and threw it to the ground apologizing for my not-quite ready effect. —SR

I like it. I would approach it a little differently. I'd make the rock "vanish" and open my hand with the glass in it, but make no comment on it. The subtext here is I want it to seem like I'm just hoping they don't see the glass. As if the “method” of the trick is to turn the rock to glass and then pray they don’t notice it.

What I want is for them to briefly think, "Hey, he didn't make the rock vanish. He just made it clear in hopes I wouldn't see it in his hand!" Before they realize that too is impossible.

The following isn’t a question, so it doesn’t require a response. But it was one of my favorite emails recently.

I was rewatching Matilda and there's a part at the end where Lavender is holding on to a bar and Matilda tells her to let go and floats her to the ground. When she reaches the ground she says, "I didn't know I could do that." Matilda responds, "No, it was I who neurolinguistically programmed you to reach your potential."

No wait, she said, "Pretty good, huh?"

I think it really captures your philosophy well in ten seconds. —CDB