Susie Cotterall

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 01/21/07 01:52 PM

I just read the following on page 293 of "The Vernon Touch:"
"One of the main reasons I wished to attend this convention was to meet Susie Cotterall. She was the one that appeared on the Johnny Carson Show and completely bamboozled everyone.
Although she misses often, she performs real miracles at times. Personally I seriously doubt that anyone knows exactly how she accomplishes some of her startling effects."

Sounds intriguing to me. Does anyone know anything about her? What kind of act she did?


Postby Guest » 01/21/07 08:02 PM

I think you're talking about Suzie Cottrell.

She made a minor splash as an attractive twenty year old back in the late seventies after she appeared on The Tonight Show and performed a card effect that left Johnny Carson stumped. It would have been pretty unremarkable had she not claimed the feat was a genuine demonstration of paranormal ability.

The act consisted of predicting which card would be selected from among a deck she haphazardly scattered face down on a table. It went something like this: After shuffling the deck, she slid the cards on the table surface with her hands and had several of them pulled out by an audience member who then helped her eliminate some. Her written prediction matched the remaining card. Of course, like any good paranormalist, she augmented her credibility by missing every now and then.

Her dad, convinced of her extraordinary powers, asked CSICOP to test her, which they happily did. Their conclusion? It was simple deception using things like peeks, a Schulien force, and a sizeable arsenal of outs to wrap things up neatly at the end. Despite such chicanery, she bombed. The mutually agreed upon conditions made it difficult for her to attempt any jugglery during the actual testing. Expert magicians who were brought in saw to that. They, more than anyone else, understand the wisdom of Mr. Dooley's admonition to "trust everyone, but cut the cards".

You can read more about it in James Randi's book Flim-Flam!. The whole story is detailed, along with some incriminating screen caps from video footage they shot of her performance.

Postby Guest » 01/21/07 09:23 PM

Thanks for that write-up, Craig.

I had tried googling her, with several different variations on the spelling of her name, but with no success until you provided the correct spelling.
Thanks again!

Postby Guest » 01/21/07 10:09 PM

I was at a skeptics meeting years ago when someone asked Randi about Susie. He borrowed a deck of cards and duplicated her "abilities" with ease. She was doing card tricks, nothing more.

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