progressive anagrams

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Postby Guest » 01/07/05 09:53 PM

Can anyone suggest where I can learn about progressive anagrams and how to construct them, the theory behind them, etc.? Max Maven, on Videomind #3, has an effect utilitzing this concept, and mentions that there is a long history of it...can anyone suggest where I can read up on it?

Thanks!
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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/07/05 10:57 PM

Michael Weber's book "Lifesavers" has an effect based on them.

Alain Nu has a progressive anagram divination of a Zodiac sign (I believe) in one of his sets of notes.

It seems like I saw Jim Krenz do one of the value of a spectator's hidden piece of paper money.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 01/07/05 11:38 PM

The Weber routine is "worth the price of the book" and then some.

A great example of the script covering the flaws of the method.
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Postby Doug Dyment » 01/08/05 09:25 AM

As has already been suggested, there are two aspects to the use of progressive anagrams (this is actually a misnomer; no anagrams are involved in the technique): the construction of the branching tree itself, and the development of a script to hide the mechanics of what is being done.

Although the technique has a long history, there is no good published info on the construction of branching trees. To do so is not particularly difficult; in fact, an inexpensive computer program called Panagram is available from the Underground Collective to do exactly that (a free program by Peter Lipp is also floating around, but Panagram is significantly better). While such programs build branching trees that work, however, they have almost no intelligence that allows them to build trees that are effective in conjunction with a particular script. The latter remains something of an art form.

My own Sign Language is a much-reviewed monograph on the topic of scripting for effects of this type. It discusses the three methods used to camouflage the methodology, and illustrates same with a detailed script for the divination of Zodiac signs. I chose this particular effect (popularly known as "What's Your Sign", after a Ray Grismer offering) as there are many versions in print, but almost none of them is particularly strong script-wise. Many of them (T.A. Waters' "Signse", for example) use particularly poor branching trees as well.

I endorse the previous recommendation of Michael Weber's "Crosswords" effect, by the way. The ever-reliable Mr. Weber has devised an extremely effective plot for this type of effect.

... Doug
... Doug :: Proprietor of The Deceptionary
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Postby Matthew Field » 01/08/05 09:57 AM

A nod here to Stanley Collins, who started thw whole thing.

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Postby Jeff Eline » 01/08/05 01:12 PM

There is an interesting version in Jinx (I thinx) were the words were all from a newspaper (eg: obituary, classified, business, etc...).

This made for a nice impromptu feel where you simply picked up a newspaper and started to pull words for the trick.

This, to me, solved one of the problems I've had with this effect where the words were supplied by the performer and could seemingly arouse suspicion from spectators.

I'll try and find the exact listing in Jinx.
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Postby Guest » 01/08/05 01:21 PM

Peter Lipp at plipp@iaik.tu-graz.ac.at constructed a computer program ( PC ) that puts anagrams together for you, you can email him and perhaps he'll download one to you or send me an email and I'll try to download/upload it to you.. in either case you will want to send Mr. Lipp a thank you note and perhaps some money as a thank you, he gave me permission to pass this along, but ask that I also ask you to send along a thanks and donations, in the form of books,
or similar magically interesting stuff, are appreciated. :-)


Take care
Ken
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Postby Jamie Badman » 01/09/05 04:30 AM

Thanks to Doug for mentioning Panagram - I'm the author of the program and would just like to mention an additional feature that Panagram provides; you can generate multiple progressive anagrams from the same wordset - this helps create a PA specific to your requirements - because, as Doug says, sometimes there's an art to getting the PA exactly right!

Cheers,

Jamie.

Underground Collective - home of Panagram
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Postby Bob Farmer » 01/09/05 08:09 AM

Doug, Ray Grismer did not invent the Zodiac anagram, I did. He marketed the effect without my knowledge or permission.

I have published some information on how to construct a progressive anagram in Hobbes' magazine LABYRINTH. I've tried Jamie's program, but I still like to figure this stuff out the long way.

And let's not forget Sam Schwartz's brilliant progressive anagram, "Asrology, The Hidden Force."

A computerized progressiver anagram I invented for David Ben is in his book TRICKS. It has the advantage that the computer does all the work and you don't have to do anything.
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Postby Matthew Field » 01/09/05 09:55 AM

Teri Rogers also had some fine work using the principle.

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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/09/05 10:54 AM

I wrote some code to create PA lists in 92/3 which I mentioned briefly in a post here a couple of years ago. I put together a number of lists at the time, and more recently redid a list of Monopoly properties (I got a _lot_ of flack for that one...)

My code still involved some manual work - but it did the grunt work for you :)

Take care, Ian
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Postby Doug Dyment » 01/10/05 09:49 PM

Bob noted:
... Ray Grismer did not invent the Zodiac anagram, I did.
I didn't claim that he did. There's little doubt, though, that Ray's "What's Your Sign" pamphlet (despite its questionable nascence) popularized the effect by bringing it to the attention of many readers.

... Doug
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Postby Andy Hurst » 01/12/05 07:50 AM

Since this thread has wandered a little from 'how to construct progressive anagrams' and a few star-sign anagrams have been mentioned, I thought I'd bring attention to 'Dream Signs' which is one of the e-books available from Jamie Badmans Magic-Notes site.

It's an interesting read and the concept works really well. I've performed it three times and had 100% success at telling someone their star sign without them actually saying a word. And on the two women I did it for, it resulted in a scream reaction.

There's a little to memorise, but if you're already used to performing this style of magic the memory work will take you an hour or two tops.

Andy.
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Postby Guest » 02/02/05 10:03 AM

For those interested in a clever way to be an effective "Reader" you may want to check out the "LEATH Technique" from the UK.

Aside from being a clever use of the Anagram idea the book has some very solid points of view when it comes to Cold Reading.

Those interested in the book may want to tap Karl Bartoni on the shoulder (DragonSkull web site in the UK and many Bizarre Magick forums)I believe he could point you in the right direction.
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Postby Guest » 02/10/05 09:38 AM

Progressive anagrams are notoriuously difficult to remember and so most rely on the use of a crib. For a mnemonic approach to the plot, check out A gory Slot by Paul ingram in the UK.
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Postby Doug Dyment » 02/11/05 09:47 AM

pointStack claimed:
Progressive anagrams are notoriuously difficult to remember and so most rely on the use of a crib...
I completely disagree with this characterization. Scripts of all kinds are viewed as "difficult" by hobbyists who wish to perform magic without any investment of effort on their own parts. They wish to do so simply by learning a "secret", which will obviate the need for the hard work that is usually associated with the performance of an art. The necessary script for most "progressive anagram" effects can be printed on a single 5x7 page of paper. This requires less memorization than that needed by most of the lowliest, unpaid speaking parts in any amateur play production.

Anyone who uses a crib to perform a "progressive anagram" effect is getting nowhere near the reaction that could be obtained if the script were actually learned. Not to mention tipping the secret by making it blatantly obvious what is going on.

... Doug
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/11/05 11:49 AM

A few years ago Magic Magazine had a progressive anagram trick using the most popular hotels in Las Vegas. (Sorry -- can't remember whose trick it was.)

This made for a great telephone test, because
a) you could just ask someone to imagine going to Las Vegas and staying in any hotel; and
b) you could have the branch sequence sitting right in front of you.

I don't know if the list of hotels is still good -- it seems they throw up a new hotel in Vegas every few months. But the idea of using hotels like this makes for a completely transparent method of forcing people to select a word from your group.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 02/11/05 03:54 PM

That would be Doug Canning's No Tell Hotel from the October 1996 issue.

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Postby Doug Dyment » 02/12/05 09:25 AM

While I don't dispute the value of "branching anagram" effects for use over the telephone (I even mention this in the promotion of my own monograph on the subject), and know from personal experience that they can be effective when used in this fashion, I hasten to add that this is not as effective as doing the effect in person. Doing it over the phone eliminates one's ability to exploit visual signals (in both directions), and although this is only one of the masking techniques used in this type of work, it is a particularly effective one.

... Doug
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Postby Guest » 02/16/05 04:30 AM

very intersting thread but.....what is an easy and complete defnition for "progressive anagrams"?
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Postby Jason Wethington » 02/16/05 07:11 AM

The Dollar Bill Anagram is an Aaron Fisher thing from one of Gordon Bean's "Locked Room" articles.
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Postby Guest » 03/01/05 09:10 AM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
A few years ago Magic Magazine had a progressive anagram trick using the most popular hotels in Las Vegas. (Sorry -- can't remember whose trick it was.)

This made for a great telephone test, because
a) you could just ask someone to imagine going to Las Vegas and staying in any hotel; and
b) you could have the branch sequence sitting right in front of you.

I don't know if the list of hotels is still good -- it seems they throw up a new hotel in Vegas every few months. But the idea of using hotels like this makes for a completely transparent method of forcing people to select a word from your group.
I believe it was Genii that had Kennedy's DEAD PRESIDENTS routine, was it not?

This is a fun piece of business I've used numerous times when talking with a client over the phone... it's gotten me some solid work!

BTW... Doug, KUDOS for you post about learning scripts, etc.
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Postby Guest » 03/09/05 11:12 PM

I am quite a fan of Progressive Anagram type tricks. The Underground Collective has an interesting manuscript called Sensory Perception that adds a different twist. Not only is it a powerful effect, but it provides a good method for creating new scripts. http://www.underground-collective.com

Also, Dan Harlan had a version similar to the Weber version called both "34 Across" and "My Word." This was a fantastic effect using an ingeniously gimmicked crossword-puzzle book. I have been trying to find one for several years. If anyone has one they are not using, please let me know!!


On a side note, the creation of the trees from a computer science point of view is an interesting problem algorithmically. I once designed a genetic algorithm that would "evolve" progressive algorithms using a simulated evolutionary style computing environment.

- Seth
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Postby Guest » 03/12/05 09:57 AM

Go to www.DanHarlan.com for his marketed effect based on '37 Across' called "My Word"; it also appears on his DVD "Mentalism Show", which is a part of his 'Dan Harlan's Pack Small Play Big Series' that he put out through L&L.
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Postby Guest » 04/06/05 01:46 PM

Well Mr. Doug... I went to that link you posted for PANAGRAM... Sixty some odd dollars later I have everything but! :eek: Well, I couldn't pass up SENSORY PERCEPTION and HEIRLOOM in that I have some situations on the horizon where either will come in handy.

Pardon my French, but SCREW the idea of the Progressive Anagram! GET SENSORY PERCEPTION ! It's Anagrams on Steroids! :cool:

This is one of those bits of business you wish no one else had access to its so darn good... PRACTICAL!
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Postby Guest » 04/06/05 10:39 PM

I used to do Weber's puzzle anagram from Lifesavers this way: I'm talking to someone over the phone and mention I'm trying to work on something and could they help.

When they decide to help I say, "Let me get a dictionary." Now I pretend I randomly open to various words in the dictionary and tell them to write down the words as I get to them.

They make a list of words and I begin my experiment. I say, "Okay, I want you to look at one of those words... got one... good... now cross it out until you can't see it anymore... have you done that? Good. Now pick another word... do the same thing..."

I keep getting them to cross out random words from their list until they are left with one word so I say, "So you've come to one word that you weren't instinctly drawn to.... that's good. Now stare at the word... in your mind run all the letters over and over until you've spelled out that word at least three times or more... good... I'm seeing the letter..."

And I begin the anagram. What I liked about doing it this way is that it felt impromptu... like an experiment... and by having them completely cover the other words it prevents them from backtracking and checking out the letters in those words.

Greg
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Postby El Mystico » 04/08/05 08:37 AM

For those interestied in this topic, and with a "robust" sense of humour, there is a version of this based on swear words in the latest issue of The Crimp.....
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Postby Guest » 04/08/05 02:34 PM

Doug looks good I just ordered your sign Language booklet
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Postby Guest » 04/09/05 07:36 AM

Originally posted by bloodyjack:
Doug looks good I just ordered your sign Language booklet
I love SIGN LANGUAGE! It has been exceptionally useful in my work, especially when I do interviews over the telephone...

I deliberately mix three such angagrams however, when I'm working Psychic Fairs or venues where repetition is the norm. I try to hold to Doug's wordage concepts as much as possible but also use the systems found in MMM by Waters. This way I can create a slight dodge in the minds of those who may get together to compare notes later or those watching... the action breaks up the approach and helps prevent folks from picking up on one set formula.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 04/10/05 05:24 AM

My original effect, a portion of which Ray Grismer ripped off, has never been published. It allowed for a cold reading and a divination of the sign without any memorization or crib sheets. In fact, not only did it work automatically, but the performer doesn't even have to know how it works -- there is no mental effort at all.

Try and figure that one out, Ray.
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Postby Guest » 04/14/05 01:55 PM

Can anyone tell me were to obtain the Alain Nu material?
I am researching all the methods I can find with the possibility of incorporating one type or my own creation in a prop I am building.
So far it has 3 tricks incorporated a tarot reading version of the planets force, T.A. Walters Quintesense from MM&M and a version of Steve Minches Fortunes of a wise fool (with his permission) It occurred to me that if the fortune teller could divine there star sign too it would be excellent. I could incorporate a remote so the magicians could input yes or no answers covertly and the script could sound spookily accurate.
You can check out the progress of this prop here
www.bloodyjack.com
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Postby Guest » 04/20/05 11:05 PM

I'm useing the Panagram program and have worked out a list with a depth of 1x6 and have been trying to get to a depth of 1x7 with no luck.

I've never compiled an anagram before and would like to know how difficult it is to get to the 1x7 depth.

Of course the words I'm useing have to fit the routine.
I'd like to get one more on the list and keep the 1x7 depth.
Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Rick
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Postby Guest » 04/28/05 06:14 AM

If you want to study PA, you must buy Doug Dyment's Sign Language. This book is very interesting. Don't do PA if you haven't read Sign Language.

Panagram is a good software. The problem : it's a software, so it doesn't replace human intelligence. It's a good soft to help you, not to entierely create a PA.

PS : sorry for my poor english :(
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Postby Guest » 05/01/05 11:48 PM

Bloodyjack,

I believe the Alain Nu Zodiac effect is in McBride's "Mystery School" book.

Bob
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Postby Guest » 05/06/05 01:24 PM

I have heard that it was also published in one of "The looking glass" magazines. Does anyone know which one there are 4 available on this very web site.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/06/05 01:56 PM

It's in the Summer 1996 issue, but since they are only available as a set of four it's largely irrelevant.

Treat yourself.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 05/06/05 02:13 PM

Thanks for the info Ian
It seems you can still purchase the individual magazines on this site. I assume summer of 96 is number 2 is that correct?
Was it a yearly thing? The last one was winter 1998 I belive
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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/07/05 06:10 AM

Nope - it's number 3 (page 97).

I was unaware that you could get them individually; when I ordered them I had to buy the set (and now I have two of two, if you see what I mean...)

Having said that, were you to buy all four I doubt you would be dissappointed.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 05/09/05 10:37 AM

Broke down and got all 4 and the complete Invocation.
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Postby Jim Snapp » 05/09/05 01:39 PM

Hi;
Just a quick note about a recent show. It was for a end of school year banquet celebrating the retirement of 8 teachers. I used the Lipp program to make a progressive anagram of all the names, and was lucky enough to have them all work. Even better, when I got to the show site, there was a printed program at each seat with a page listing the teachers retiring by name. Couldn't have worked better if I'd planned it myself!!!

Jim
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