Paul Harris Pointer Anomaly Contest

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/21/09 04:00 PM

The Pointer Anomaly
(An Unexplored Paul Harris Discovery, and a Contest)

Pauls pointer anomaly has been patiently sitting in his weird-wonders-to-develop shoe box but in a moment of weakness PH agreed to let the loyal Genii readers take the first crack at it themselves. And to help motivate the creative juices, Genii is throwing in a free nine-DVD boxed set collectors edition of Pauls True Astonishments for the very best idea of the bunch (or maybe a year subscription to Genii if you already have the set).

First a bit of anomalous history. Paul was working on another effect using the Ace of Spades as a secret pointer. The pointy end of the big Spade was positioned to tell him which way to spread a deck, depending on how a spectator tabled it. Paul would casually turn the pointer Spade face up. If it pointed to the left, hed know to spread the deck from left to right. If it pointed to the right, hed know to spread the deck from right to left. This pointer Spade was a minor but necessary tool to move the effect forward.

And heres where the weird anomaly crept in. Every time Paul turned the pointer card face up, it would point the same way, which was clearly not something the pointer card was supposed to do. At first he thought it was just luck or lack of sleep. But after hitting it 10 times in a row he figured it had to be something else. He checked out the deck handling procedure, finger placements, changed seats with the spectator, etc. And yet the anomaly persisted.

PH then went the next logical step and started with the pointer card face up. From here it worked as expected. The point of the Spade started at one end. He grabbed one end of the card to turn it down and the pointer was now at the other end. But then, when he started with the card face down and turned it face up end for end, it still ended up pointing in the same direction that it started in. No matter which end of the card was turned over, the Spade would end up pointing in the same direction!

Thus was discovered the Pointer Anomaly. It may seem to be an amusing yet minor discovery. But Paul suspects it may give you some pretty serious leverage when used in the right way maybe something on par with the Curry Swindle or maybe not! Thats a question that will only be decided by the Genii think tank.
So to be extra clear on the creative challenge before us, get out an Ace of Spades so you can personally experience the Pointer Anomaly. And if you want to get creative right off the bat you can draw an arrow or any other pointy image on the printed side of a business card instead.

Put the face up Ace of Spades on the table so the pointy end of the big Spade points away from you. Turn the face up card face down by grabbing it at the right long side and flip the card over from right to left (sideways), like turning the page of a book. Remember, the pointy end is still pointing away from you. Now grab the outer end of the card and flip the card face up, turning the card end-over-end so the front end is now toward you. No surprise here, the Spade has been turned so it now points toward you.

Grasp the face-up card by a long side and turn it face down sideways again (still pointing toward you) then grasp the inner end of the card and flip the card end-over-end, openly turning the arrow face up so it now points away from you.
This non-anomalous moment is probably how you would want to begin your routine, by showing your audience the basic pointer system. This is obviously how a turned-around pointer would work. Its something a small child would understand. Its your basic turn something around so it points the other direction moment. This is something so simple and basic to human understanding that it hardly needs to be pointed out. But you should probably point it out as its the crux of the whole deal.
So now turn the pointer Spade face down sideways so it points away from you. Always grab the card by the long side and turn from side to side when turning it face down. This way everyone is clear where the pointy end is pointing. In this case away from you.

Now for the anomaly. When you grasp either end of the card, and turn the card face up end-over-end, the pointer will always point toward you. If you turn the front end of the card toward you, the Spade will point toward you. If you turn the inner end of the card away from you, the Spade will still point toward you. Unless you really pay close attention to the topology of the thing, it doesnt make sense. But as soon as you focus and follow whats going where, you can see where the trap door is.

To take this a tiny step further, use Andrew Gerards idea of marking the back of the card with a pencil dot, or a nail nick, so you can always tell which end the pointers at. You can now spin the face down card on the table and youll always know at which end the pointer lies. This means youll know in advance which way the pointer will point before your spectator turns the card over. So your spectator can now spin the face down card to shuffle the pointer, turn the card face up from either end (so its apparently her complete choice as to which way the pointer points) and youll know before she turns the card over which direction it will be pointing in.

So thats the basic thing. In essence you have an extremely fair looking, completely automatic forcing device. It could be used for a living and dead test, a lie detector routine, a moment for Out of this World for a red-black separation, maybe a mini Ouija Board to spell out a word? Thats Pauls Pointer Anomaly challenge: To come up with the coolest, sweetest use for this undeveloped piece of strange.

A few PH ponderings. He suspects that youll want to limit the number of card-turns to about three; at a certain point the anomaly might be discovered by a sharp spectator. You will also be on more solid ground by not revealing the pointer pay-offs until the end. So all the pointer turns happen first, then you reveal your prediction, etc. That way theres no heat on the action. Your spectator is simply turning the pointer to indicate a choice. If you had a magical reveal after each turn, then you may draw too much attention to the procedure.

These are just passing ponderings. None of this is etched in stone. All of this can be true or false, good or bad, brilliant or dopey depending on which way your mind spins.
Good luck to you all. The prize set of True Astonishment has already been put aside, waiting to find its new owner.

Entries to the contest will be accepted until March 1. You may submit your idea in written form, or on videotape or DVD, along with your address, phone number, and e-mail address. Richard Kaufman will be the sole judge and the winner will be notified by March 14. Please send your entries to: Paul's Pointer Anomaly Challenge c/o Genii, 4200 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 106-384, Washington DC 20016, or e-mail them to moobooks@ix.netcom.com.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 01/21/09 06:22 PM

Interesting idea -- I just worked out a sort of 3-card monte with the AS, 5S and 7S. I realize given my position with Genii (CONsigliere) that I'm probably ineligible, however I thought I'd mention the idea here to further the experimentation.

These three cards all have pointer spades in the middle of the card, so the idea would be to show this, then mix the cards up (turning cards around while face down) and deal them in a row face down. The spectator has to bet whether all three cards are pointing the same way (or maybe for each card pointing at him he gets a dollar and for each card pointing at you he loses a dollar).

Since the cards are all marked, you can turn them over to reveal any situation you wish.

Do this twice so the spectator loses, but on the third try, tell him that since he's been so unlucky, this time if ANY of the cards point to you, he wins. On the third try turn over the cards to show all three point to him so he loses.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 01/21/09 06:32 PM

Could you even let the spectator turn over the last card? Since they would be watching how you turn the cards, they will think they had figured it out how to turn the card over to point they way the want to.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/21/09 06:35 PM

Bob's idea would be even easier for the audience to follow if you use three duplicate Ace of Spades.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/21/09 06:47 PM

Along those lines - how about using using five cards and a Hamman count so the false count display gets you ahead and most of the turnovers can be less contrived. ;) Taking it to the extreme perhaps a Flushtration count at the start so you can get a first moveless pointing is in order?
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Reason: ah what the heck - make a packet trick out of it :)
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/21/09 11:20 PM

Next up, let's get some special cards with the Ace printed sideways.

Hey, if six more people contribute to this idea we can split up the DVDs.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/21/09 11:49 PM

Pete- how about mirror imaged? - so it takes a sec to realize that the words etc are reversed. :)
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Postby CraigMitchell » 01/22/09 07:13 AM

Unless I'm doing something wrong - I question how deceptive a move this is ? Someone like to upload a clip to YouTube ?
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Postby Travis » 01/22/09 09:41 AM

I hate to say it (because Paul is one of my heroes) but, like Craig, the mystery of this one eludes me.
It all seemed perfectly logical to me as I went through the procedure, card in hand.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/22/09 09:56 AM

That was the concern motivating my posts about using several cards so you can turn each one around and then over in progressively more fair and deliberate ways after doing the item as published.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/09 10:59 AM

Why in the world would you need a YouTube clip for this?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/22/09 11:33 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Why in the world would you need a YouTube clip for this?


Visual confirmation of non/decepetive process.
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Reason: how old is that elephant under the rug? only asking as mine seems lonly and ...
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/09 11:54 AM

Just put the card on the table in front of you and follow the directions.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/22/09 12:06 PM

Richard,
gripped at what edge and flipped over along which axis and in which direcion.
as a book turning the page foward.
gripped from the far short end levering the card over toward yourself

this kind of thing comes in handy when working with the cards for that Hofzinser trick which you have to show one way or the other depending... sorry forgot what the latest name for it was.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 01/22/09 01:13 PM

I still don't see how the move is deceptive ... looks plainly obvious as to what you are doing.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/09 01:34 PM

... and perhaps it is, as Paul himself says.

But, Craig, you are failing to read anything other than the idea of the card pip.

THINK!

That's the point here. If you think it's obvious, don't just say it--find a way to conceal it.
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Postby El Mystico » 01/22/09 01:45 PM

I used a non-playing-card and reinvented the card compass trick....
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/22/09 03:09 PM

The idea is usually to start with something deceptive and find a presentation or context which maximizes the entertainment value.

Not so sure we should decorate our imp bottles like weebles and call it the narcoleptic weeble trick. Well maybe if it's a weeble parrot and we like the monty python bit.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/09 03:12 PM

Jonathan, sometimes you amaze even me.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 01/22/09 03:29 PM

Okay, after my friend and I played with this for about an hour, we get the following results:

1. The staff at the local Starbucks are convinced we're autistic, or something.

2. If you do the thing in your hands, rather than on the table, you can disguise the nature of the turnover. One can, for instance, show that the Ace points towards the audience, no matter which end it's turned over from, while it sits on his left hand. Ending with the Ace face up, and then turning it face down as it's transferrred to one's right hand allows one to show that the Ace behaves in the opposite fashion in the right hand. One could also put the card into the spectator's hand. This is cute, perhaps enough to make for a business card giveaway.

3. If we're going to make a big thing about which end the card is lifted from , the ends should be distinguishable from the back. (and, perhaps, the long edges should be also) Suppose you've got a packet of cards with backs with a red dot on one end, and a green dot on the other. The faces are shown to be arrows pointing in apparently random directions. The cards are "mixed" and then placed in a grid pattern on the table. Starting at one card, the spectator determines which end or side each card is turned over from, and the resulting arrows strangely mark out a continuous path to the final card, which reveals something of great significance. (i.e. please, not the name of the selected card!)

The third result is the most viable, as I think it's pretty much a re-invention of a Max Maven effect. If, however, it adds anything at all to the Maven effect, then that's pretty good for this little anaomaly.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/22/09 03:41 PM

Taking the full packet trick model on this - a DB card and a DF card would permit you to turn the face down card around, then use a face up card to scoop it up to show it's facing the right way again. To be explicit lest some confuse this for a jest- you have several dupes as per earlier posts a DF and a DB. To start this phase you turn the packet face down and take the top card (the DB) then back face up to right the packet (have the DF at the face). Drop the DB on the packet. DT to show which way it's facing and table again. slowly rotate the tabled card 180. take the DF card and use it to scoop up and turn over the card - can't get too much more fair in appearance than that :D

So far, IMHO the Hofzinser application to a card which you show as the inteded card is the killer app for this sort of thing.

what next?
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Postby Bob Farmer » 01/22/09 03:45 PM

I tried this with Paul Harris and no matter which way he was turned over he was still facing the same way.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/22/09 06:27 PM

Paul turned me over several times, until I didn't know which way was up.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/22/09 06:44 PM

sorry that was intended -
you can find the trick I was remembering in the Hofzinser issue of Genii.
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Postby Geoff Weber » 01/23/09 01:16 PM

Here's an idea I had, mainly to give the routine some context:
Draw "U" magnets onto two blank cards. One of the cards will be the anomaly magnet.

So the basic presentation would relate to the attraction between the two magnets. place the anomaly magnet face up, turn it over from the side edge, and place the second magnet card with the U face the edge that is opposite from the side that the anomaly magnet is currently pointing. Explain that because of the magnetic forces of attraction, the magnets will always end up pointing toward each other when the anomaly magnet is turned face up. (I don't refer to it as the "anomaly magnet" in the course of the presentation, merely for the explaination)...

Phase two: Spin the anomaly magnet, and by way of a pencil dot on the back, note which direction the face down magnet is pointing. Invite them to place the second magnet pointing to either side of the anomaly magnet. If they happen to set it on the opposite side from the direction the anomaly magnet is pointing, allow them to turn over the card by either of the edges as in phase 1. If they happen to place it facing the anomaly magnet, YOU turn it over by the long side edge for the reveal that they are facing each other.

Phase 3: Place both magnets face up, a short distance apart, "For those skeptical that magnetic forces are really at work, perhaps this will convince you" use an IT loop to cause the magnet card to slide across the table until it touches the other magnet.
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Postby Jon Allen » 02/01/09 08:06 AM

I'm also in the camp that can't see the anomaly. With the card facing away from you, whichever way you turn over the card end for end, reversing the direction, it will point towards you. What is being missed here?
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Postby JHostler » 02/01/09 09:15 AM

Presentationally, it would have to be approached like the cross-cut force... an equally obvious bit, but effective when properly managed.
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Postby Jon Allen » 02/01/09 10:18 AM

I can feel the love in the room...
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Postby Zig Zagger » 02/01/09 12:35 PM

Just try it on laymen (if you happen to know some) as a one card monte - and be ASTONISHED about their reaction...
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Postby Stefan Fisher » 02/08/09 10:40 PM

When I turn anything over side for side it stays the same. When I turn anything over end for end it changes. I too do not see an anomaly.
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Postby Scott M. » 02/08/09 10:51 PM

Count me as a Paul Harris fan who also does not see the anomaly. Both turnovers make sense to me.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/08/09 11:23 PM

I just got back from the Magi-Fest in Ohio, where I met a young Israeli magician who had a killer routine with the Pointer Anomaly. Hoping to get it for Genii. If he submits it to the contest there's a chance it could win.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/09/09 01:44 PM

Just got this link from Don England, his submission to the Pointer Anomaly contest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v2DVxrYweI

Make sure you go to his website (www.donengland.com) and see all the great stuff he's currently selling.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 02/10/09 11:07 AM

That Don England clip is fun. Thanks Don.

Anyone adding a visible pip move to the mix on this one? Say the offcenter pip of a seven of diamonds? Or how about a specially printed AS where the center spade is inverted but the text above and below remains?
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Postby Donny Orbit » 03/17/09 05:26 PM

Has the winner been chosen?

DO
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/17/09 07:54 PM

I'm busy shooting 500 photographs this week for the magic book I'm in the process of writing for the public, as well as putting the finishes touches on the May issue of Genii. All by way of saying, no ... not yet. I haven't had time to give fair viewing/reading to all the submissions and want to make sure to do so.
I am amazed at how clever some of the applications are!
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Postby Joe Mckay » 03/18/09 03:50 PM

This is an interesting discovery by Paul, but I cannot think of any uses for it. Do you think there would be a possibility of publishing some of the 'runner ups'? Perhaps you could publish them here?

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/18/09 05:15 PM

The entries came in all forms: as web-movies, on DVD, and in both Word doc and pdf form. It would be nice to get all of them posted in one place on the Genii website. Time is a problem!
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Postby the Larry » 03/19/09 05:39 AM

Haha - now you know why this ended up in a contest rather than a Paul Harris effect. This must be the least magical idea Paul has come up with. I have to add my vote to the growing group of people who can't see any anomaly here. Turning it over from the top or the bottom simply turns over the card. Unless you guys have never turned over things before, this is as clear as day and night. Sorry folks, this is unfortunately the most lame idea I have run across in a long time. Love Paul Harris but this is a lame duck.

I don't even think the theme of the spades turning around is that great a visual effect. In many cases it will simply go unnoticed. When we have effects where red changes into black, face-up into face-down, torn cards get restored then this one is even as effect (regardless of the method) a pretty weak one.
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Postby opie » 03/19/09 07:15 AM

I just re-read this thread and had to chuckle several times at the thought of Paul laughing his butt off as he reads it. Some people do not know that Paul had a few absolutely nutty items in his Astonishment series, probably just for his own entertainment and just as likely to see what sort of reactions he might get with them.

I would have to agree with El Magico, in his January post above, that a Magic Compass routine with perhaps a round playing card would be a good ice breaker at conventions for magicians. The patter line, of course, can be extracted from this thread. I am not sure what the reactions might be from the magicians, but I would think that, when told it was based on a Paul Harris idea, many of the magicians would "oooooohhhhhhhh" and "aaaaahhhhhh".

You gotta love the guy, but he will mess with your mind....

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