Acer on Vernon

Discuss the tricks and sleights which appear in Genii.

Postby Lisa Cousins » 07/16/02 10:39 AM

I really enjoyed David Acer's highly entertaining report on his experiments with the Five Card Mental Force. I also learned something new about myself: I fall into Category #1 ("those who have tried Vernon's 'Five Card Mental Force'") - I just never knew it until yesterday.

My sister's boyfriend did this trick for me when we were young teens. His presentation was terrible. We were at the pool, and he laid out five cards on our beach towel, and asked me to mentally select one. I chose the Four of Hearts. He said "What did you pick?"

"The Four of Hearts."

"I knew it!"

"I'm sorry?"

"I knew you'd pick the Four of Hearts!"

"Oh, brother!"

"No, no - it's a psychological fact! People will pick the Four of Hearts!"

Now, I knew my sister's boyfriend very well. Those were the days when the actual boyfriend and girlfriend scarcely had the nerve to look each other in the face, and go-betweens in the form of friends and siblings were continuously employed. I was the go-between for my sister and her boyfriend, and I probably knew him better than she did. He was a very honest and trustworthy person, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Still, I wanted to confirm this supposed psychological fact for myself.

I tried the force on one person. They chose the Four of Hearts. This puts me into Category #1 of the subset: "Those who have pulled it off."

I am amazed to learn now that this had something to do with Dai Vernon. I figured the kid had gotten it from one of the "pop psychology" sources that were so in vogue in those years.

In all, very enlightening. In thanks, I attempted to write an appreciatory verse for David, but I rhymed his name with the line "never replace her," and I hear this is a mistake, rhyme-wise, and to change it now would completely skew the meaning of the poem.
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Postby mrgoat » 07/17/02 01:49 AM

Originally posted by Lisa Cousins:

SNIP
I attempted to write an appreciatory verse for David, but I rhymed his name with the line "never replace her," and I hear this is a mistake, rhyme-wise, and to change it now would completely skew the meaning of the poem.
Some alternatives for you:

As a person, there's none baser

He uses double facers

He used to grace her (with his presence)

When walking, he was a pacer

Or indeed a racer

And he liked Eric Mason*

*This is a pararhyme and would have to be said with a cheeky knowing grin!

:)
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 07/17/02 04:22 AM

Still, you're in their hands and should have some kind of an out. You might wwant to check "Vernon Mental Force Handling" in "Marlo Without Tears", p. 47. In any case the principle at work here is that IF people have the chance to think, they'll pick the one card that seems to be inconspicuous and part of the bulk. It's actually by elimination, as all the other cards seem to have a trap for them to fall into. In a different trick of Larry Jennings (actually his version of Blackstone's favorite trick) (see The Cardwright, first trick in the book), you ask a spectator for a number between 10 and 20. Larry Jennings says laymen go for 16 and magicians go for 12. After trying this out with reasonable success, I began to wonder why. Here is what I think. What might happen in the laymen's head: "well, he said between. 11 is no good and neither is 19 (the ends). 15 is breaking it exactly in half and 17 is too typical (though maybe not for this kind of question). Well, 16 is kinda lost in the middle." For magicians: the reasoning is a bit similar but a magician knows the trick is gonna work somehow and wouldn't want to waste your (and his own) time. Since you have previously stated that you will show them how you would count that number of cards, they'll settle for the lowest randomish-looking number.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/02 08:52 AM

mrgoats alternatives are, unfortunately, as useless as Lisa's original line, seeing as how David Acer's name is pronounced ack-er not ace-er. So you would need something like:

Spread on a Ritz cracker

Foam ding-dong attacker

Cheerleader for the Packers

Collector's Workshop product shellacer

or something along those lines.

Tangentially related: Roadkillers (Acer and Sanders) is THE most entertaining magic video. If you perform nothing from this tape you will still have gotten your money's worth simply from David's (performance only) version of Cards From Rectum.
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Postby mrgoat » 07/17/02 09:01 AM

Originally posted by spiral-stares:
mrgoats alternatives are, unfortunately, as useless as Lisa's original line, seeing as how David Acer's name is pronounced ack-er not ace-er. So you would need something like:

Spread on a Ritz cracker

Foam ding-dong attacker

Cheerleader for the Packers

Collector's Workshop product shellacer

or something along those lines.

Tangentially related: Roadkillers (Acer and Sanders) is THE most entertaining magic video. If you perform nothing from this tape you will still have gotten your money's worth simply from David's (performance only) version of Cards From Rectum.
Poo. I didn't realise.

OK then. here we go:

Oh David Acer David Acer
I bet you have used some doublebacker
And are a secret computer hacker
Not a freeway car jacker
Hair so smooth from the laquer
His duck it is a quacker
And his constitution goes wobbly after strawberry daiquir (ees)

Apologies to all involved.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/02 09:00 PM

For those who would like a friendly and fun reminder of how to correctly pronounce David's name, check out the game that Andi Gladwin and I have featured at the bottom of our website at http://www.asquaredproductions.com .

It may take a bit to load, because I don't think Andi ever got a chance to tweak some things to speed it up, but it shouldn't take too long, and it's worth the wait, IMHO :o)

--Andy (who feels obligated to remind everybody that said game is meant in pure fun and jest, and also has a few more as yet unfinished games up his and Andi's sleeve ;o)
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Postby Lisa Cousins » 07/18/02 09:57 AM

Thanks for the tip, Andy. I tried the game and got a score of 20 out of 100. Which is an odd coincidence, because I also tried the Mental Force on everybody who dared to cross my threshold yesterday (five persons), and my success rate was IDENTICAL to my Acer-Whacker score.

Thank heavens for David's comic "out" - it sure has come in handy!
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Postby Andi » 07/19/02 03:08 AM

Originally posted by Lisa Cousins:
I tried the game and got a score of 20 out of 100. Which is an odd coincidence, because I also tried the Mental Force on everybody who dared to cross my threshold yesterday (five persons), and my success rate was IDENTICAL to my Acer-Whacker score.
Lisa...

That happens with everyone - it is programmed that way. Its a secret feature that I put in the game so that people can be sure of the chance of them getting Vernon's Mental Force correct. If you score highly, you'll have a very high chance of getting it spot on every time.

Strangely though, most people seem to hit at around 20% ;)

--Andi
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Postby Matthew Field » 07/19/02 06:56 AM

Lisa -- Just a note to say how much I enjoyed your post of actual experiences with the Vernon trick.

These anecdotes help all of us in our selection of material and performing style.

Matt Field
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Postby Guest » 07/19/02 07:11 AM

I must say that I am very disappointed in this thread. Anyone that knows Dave Acer will understand why I was disappointed when I read the title "Acer on Vernon" and this was NOT what I expected..... :p

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
http://www.mindguy.com

(Sorry Dave but I just couldn't resist)
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Postby Steve Bryant » 07/19/02 09:40 PM

In the new Jack Avis/Lewis Jones book, Ahead of the Pack, there is a section called "Outs for Vernon's Mental Force" in which four approaches are covered. I particularly like one of them, but its title would give it away (number 2 if you have the book).
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 07/22/02 01:56 PM

Concerning Vernon's Five Card Mental Force - When I first read this effect in Early Vernon, I thought the patter seemed very suspect. I am refering to where, after laying out the five cards, you say, "For example, here's the ace, a conspicuous card, that occupies the central position. For that reason you may think of it, but again you may not. Prehaps you may think I had some motive for placing just one black card among the five - this might influence your choice, but on the other hand, it may not ... " This line of patter, seemed to me, to be detrimental to a successful outcome. Years later, I saw Gary Ouellette demonstrate this effect on one of the Revelation videos, and found Vernon's comments to be enlightening. In reference to the patter, he admonishes Ouellette (who is reciting verbatim, from the text of Early Vernon) - "You never do that. If you say that, your doing their thinking for them. Don't do that! It won't work if you do that." He was quite emphatic about this. Another point he made was that there should always be a wager on the outcome. "The only way it works, is when you bet, or say, whoever loses has to buy drinks for the crowd." Now, as Vernon pointed out, the fellow really wants to beat you, and will mentally run through the process of elimination suggested by the above patter (in his own head), and under these conditions, the effect will most often prove successful.
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 07/22/02 02:17 PM

Very interesting, Brad. Brilliant. Interesting to note that if you're betting you can afford to lose! (well, depending how much). For a more formal performance, any out must be the type where you convert it into another trick and a failure is not acknowledged (well, like most outs). In this case there is also the possibility to rely on an averaged response from the audience as a whole (i.e. calling a card aloud all at the same time).
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Postby Guest » 07/22/02 05:36 PM

There is a section on Vernon's Five Card Mental Force (with outs) in Jack Dean's "The Equivoque Choice". Well worth the reading of it if you are interested in the effect. I am also amazed at the number of people not aware that it is in "Early Vernon" (from the $20 manuscript) and is fully printed with patter there plus his full explaination.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
http://www.mindguy.com
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 07/23/02 02:43 PM

Vernon said that before the publication of The Twenty Dollar Manuscript, he would often bet $20 on the successful outcome of this effect. I don't doubt that he made an overall net profit! A wager assures that the victim - uh, I mean spectator - will really want to succeed, and this determination to win is what ultimately causes his downfall. But in addition to this, the wager also influences how the spectator views the outcome. If there is no bet involved, the spectator can shrug it off, as mabey just a lucky guess. But with $20 on the line it becomes a different story. The magician must somehow have either known in advance what card the spectator was going to select, or even more creepy, must have been able to control his mind in such a way as to make him choose the four of hearts. But a mere lucky guess is now out of the question, as nobody would be foolish enough to give even money on a one in five shot! Overall, I would say that the best situation for using The Five Card Mental Force, would be simply as a bar bet. In that circumstance, the only out you would need to concern yourself with, is the money you'd be out if you lose! :confused:
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 07/23/02 10:54 PM

I think people may have missed a worthwhile point that David was trying to make.

"Or maybe this speaks to a larger issue,specifically that, with the advent of television and the internet, out brains are wired differently then they were 70 years ago. If that's the case, I wonder howmuch of themagic we now consider "classis" is simply obsolete."

I believe this to be a true statement. Of course this does not suggest all classics are obsolete, but there may be room for doubting some of them.

Our audience today is in many ways less naive, more wary of scams and trickery. This is not just in magic, but in their everyday life. People read the fine print and the ingredients on the box, much more then they ever did. I think there internal radar clicks on much quicker when the magician starts to talk about why they should or shouldn't pick a particular card.

This lack of naivete(sic), carries into all forms of magic. The sawing of a women in half as originally presented would probably not fly today. After all the glitter of Copperfield and Siegfried & Roy, the original presentations of many stage effects might bore the modern audience to death.

Magic, music, any art form, consistantly adapts to the changes in society. This is called the cutting edge. "Casablanca" will always be a classic, but there are those that will not watch in black & white.
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Postby Lisa Cousins » 07/24/02 12:33 AM

I'm glad you brought this up, Larry. I've given some thought to that element of David's lame excuse - er, scientific theory - explaining the failure of the effect.

I love the classics. This is a lively, busy time for magic, and the current display of ingenuity is well appreciated. Strive and thrive. But working with the classics connects the magician to the heart of magic and how it has been expressed for decades and centuries. With this connection, a magician can share not just a magic trick, but the on-going, everlasting dream of magic.

But then, I don't watch television, except for the Simpsons, so my brain hasn't been re-wired, except for the Simpsons part of it, and maybe my testimony is just proof of David's point.
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Postby Guest » 07/25/02 12:06 AM

Originally posted by Larry Horowitz:
I think people may have missed a worthwhile point that David was trying to make.

"Or maybe this speaks to a larger issue,specifically that, with the advent of television and the internet, out brains are wired differently then they were 70 years ago. If that's the case, I wonder howmuch of themagic we now consider "classis" is simply obsolete."

I believe this to be a true statement. Of course this does not suggest all classics are obsolete, but there may be room for doubting some of them.

Our audience today is in many ways less naive, more wary of scams and trickery. This is not just in magic, but in their everyday life.
I agree. I saw THE PHILADELPHIA STORY the other day and was appalled and rather bored, I must confess. When I first read Bobo and Royal Road, I was amazed at how dated the material was, not just because we no longer wear cuffs and carry hats, but because of the patter, timing, and standards of personal interplay.

However, some tricks will always work because they're based on our basic human wiring. I believe the "Stop 7" is one of those tricks. I can't recall where the trick is from--probably EXPERT CARD TECHNIQUE or ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CARD TRICKS--but it works like a charm 80% of the time for me. I love that trick.

{If you'll recall, it's the one where you start dealing cards faceup on the table and, after the fourth card is dealt, you glance up with impatience and say, "You can say stop whenever you want." They usually say stop immediately, and by that time, you're on card number seven. You turn it over and it's the only blue-backed card in the deck. As I recall, there's one out in the writeup, and I use another out.]

For me, this is one of those most fascinating tricks in magic! And it never ages because it's based on the reactions of the human organism, not on things that change with time.
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 07/25/02 12:42 AM

That's the Psychological Force and it's in ECT. For extra security, you can have the person hold out his/her two hands, arms outstreched under any pretense (i.e. "to make sure it's in the center of energy of this group"). After dealing a card or two, make a remark or two to everyone. Ascanio's handling was to look at the person in the eye and say: "You..." and started dealing. Anyway, the explanation in ECT is wonderful. I have recently started doing it with 9 cards instead of 7, as it seems to suit the ploy described better. I deal 2 cards, say something and then do the 7 version starting from there. It might look more like a really random card, that is really down into the deck and, of course, the tiring factor increases.
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Postby Matthew Field » 07/25/02 06:53 AM

My favorite in this category is Marlo's "Ace of Spades" trick.

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Postby Guest » 07/25/02 12:40 PM

Is Vernon's Five Card Mental Force really a "classic?" I suspect that David is on to something by questioning whether his audiences are different from Vernon's. And I think they are.

And I think Vernon was engaging in a devilishly delightful two-pronged con with this trick.

Vernon was so attuned to how MAGICIANS think that this force was easy for him when performing it one-on-one for a magician, especially with money or drinks on the line. But I don't really believe it was reliable enough to use with a lay audience.

So what are the two prongs of the con? First, Vernon does a trick that works virtually all the time for him (and, in the process, conning fellow magicians out of the wager); and, second, he has it published, conning magicians into thinking it will work for them.

The "real work" here is using magician thinking against magicians.

0pus
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Postby Ryan Matney » 07/26/02 12:35 PM

Matthew,
Please forgive my ignorance, but what is the effect of Marlo's "ace of spades" trick?
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Postby Guest » 07/26/02 01:03 PM

Both in the Article and in the original write up the performance one where you tell them that they have unrestricted choice ansd so dont think I am trying to influence you etc...

But in the Vermon Revelation tapes Vol 7. Vernon castigates Ammar and the guys for doing it the way it was writen up and says "it should be made as a bet! you have to bet $20 " and he also points out that you should not give them any of the logic. such as this is only black etc.

Any one experimented with this? I wonder if this would change the 30% success ratio we see in the article?

Just wondering--

Bolivar J. Bueno
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Postby Matthew Field » 07/27/02 08:18 AM

Originally posted by Ryan Matney:
Matthew,
Please forgive my ignorance, but what is the effect of Marlo's "ace of spades" trick?
Marlo has lots o' versions of the trick where he deals down through the deck and has the spekky say "Stop," and it's always on the Ace of Spades. He does it again and again, saying, "And that's the Ace of Spades trick!"

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