Berglas Effect .... WOW...

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Tom Frame » 01/31/08 12:48 PM

Oh my God!! At last, I have witnessed The Berglas Effect, via Marc Paul. It is the greatest effect that I have ever seen! I am kneeling and trembling and drooling in reverent awe....
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Postby John McDonald » 01/31/08 01:10 PM

Then I agree it is the best effect that I have ever seen. I remember when it was shown at Christmas time (maybe Boxing day?) and I assumed it was his marketed effect...now Peter and Richard have confirmed it isn't then that effect is tuly amazing....
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/31/08 01:20 PM

When Berglas did the effect for me, I was only one there, and so named the card, number, and did the dealing. Otherwise it was absolutely the same. Let's torture Marc Paul--I think he'll crack sooner than David.
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Postby Grey Lerner » 01/31/08 01:39 PM

When tricks are soooooo incredibly unbelievable, I often leap to the 'stooge' conclusion.

When that conclusion is wrong...well damn it is an awesome trick! :eek:
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Postby John McDonald » 02/06/08 01:39 PM

I have been playing arounf with Affected by Berglas and watced the clip a few times now. I am indeed wondering if it is Affected by Berglas. Marc's own take on the Berglas Effect plus some pre-show work. If no pre show work was involved then it must be the Berglas effect.
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Postby Reinhard Mueller » 02/10/08 02:28 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
I believe that Marc Paul is using David's real method.
Is there a method? Or was it pure chance?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/10/08 09:01 AM

It's definitely a "method." If it was merely good luck, Berglas wouldn't hit it so often.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 02/10/08 09:55 AM

Method: Before the show starts the mentalist asks one person to think of a number and one of card, write their choices down and keep the notes in their pockets. He tells the participants that during the show he'll ask for ther card abd number.

Using the age-old mentalism trick, he now knows both pieces of information.

When the show is being broadcast, the prior info used because by this time the deck is stacked.

Note in the demo that it is the mentalist who picks the participants and decides who wiull think of a number and who a card.

Or maybe this is all wrong and it's just The Bammo Dekronomicon.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/10/08 10:06 AM

Bob, that's an excellent method. But I've had Berglas do it to me twice and not ask me any questions or do any pre-show work. He just did it!
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Postby Tom Frame » 02/10/08 10:53 AM

Well, damn! After compulsively viewing the clip, I have burst my own bubble of amazement by concluding that it was accomplished by pre-show work. Thus, it was not (methodologically) the Berglas Effect that Richard and Matthew experienced.

I base my conclusion on the anxiety exhibited by both McCutcheon and Parkinson. Their anxiety felt real, not staged.

Here's my interpretation of what occured: Before the taping, Mr. Paul asked Ms. McCutcheon to think of any card, and to remember it for later, during the taping of the show. He probably sold her on the idea by explaining that it would save time during the taping, and it would spare her the anxiety of being "put on the spot" by being asked to spontaneously think of a card.

Marc did similar pre-show work with Parkinson, asking him to think of any number from 1-52. He used the same (comforting) rationale with him.

The tape rolls and Marc explains the premise. Both Parkinson and McCutcheon are anxious. They want to look like "good" participants, and they want Marc to wow the crowed.

When Marc asks McCutcheon to name her card, she is thrown off balance, because the last thing she heard was Marc describing to Parkinson that he is to think of a number. This is the Recency Effect. The last thing McCutcheon remembered involved numbers.

This explains why she replies that "I might have ruined this for you, because it's not a number card." Her anxiety increases, as she misperceives Marc's question. Since her (previously) "thought of" card is a picture card, she worries that she will ruin the effect. She maintains grace under fire and announces her (predetermined)card.

Similarly, when Marc asks Parkinson to "Give me a number between 1 and 52", Parkinson responds, "Give you the number NOW? This suggests that Parkinson has dutifully remembered the number for some time, and is now double-checking that it is the appropriate time for him to reveal it. He does so.

The effect works as planned, though both McCutcheon and Parkinson seem only mildly impressed. I suspect that they were both thankful that the anxiety-provoking ordeal was over.

That is my informed analysis. What do you think?
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Postby Bob Farmer » 02/10/08 12:27 PM

Richard, neither Tom nor I are saying that this is how Berglas does his effect -- he's performing live, one-on-one.

What is interesting is that magicians are fooled because of what they know about the Berglas effect and this blinds them to the simple solution when a similar-looking effect is presented on television.
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Postby Arnie Fuoco » 02/10/08 01:20 PM

Tom,

In your explanation do McCutcheon and Parkinson inform Paul what card and number they will say when the show is on? If they do, then they shouldn't be impressed at all. What do you think?
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Postby Tom Frame » 02/10/08 01:46 PM

Arnie,

I think that I have suffiently described the pre-show work that may have been done to explain both the successful climax of the effect, as well as the rather non-plussed reactions from the people involved. What more are you looking for...?
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/10/08 02:38 PM

Originally posted by Tom Frame:
Well, damn! After compulsively viewing the clip, I have burst my own bubble of amazement by concluding that it was accomplished by pre-show work. Thus, it was not (methodologically) the Berglas Effect that Richard and Matthew experienced.

....

That is my informed analysis. What do you think?
Knowing nothing about the Berglas effect,
and just watching the video, I think you are right...or more right than other (lack of) explanations. My only concern as a performer would be : what if one of the two will forget the number/card (or even worse: change it on purpose)? I think that in order not to forget it (or change it on purpose) one has to be more strongly involved than being told "just in order to save time and spare the anxiety". After all, how difficult is it to think of a card.

The other issue is the interpretation of the 4 boundary conditions. Isn't the pre-show arrangement to be considered as an effective creation of 2 stooges?

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/10/08 03:28 PM

Pre-show work is not at all the same as using stooges. The folks who are "pre-showed" do not know how the effect works--information is gleaned from them, or they are requested to do a certain thing, without any secrets being exposed to them.
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/10/08 03:41 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Pre-show work is not at all the same as using stooges. The folks who are "pre-showed" do not know how the effect works--information is gleaned from them, or they are requested to do a certain thing, without any secrets being exposed to them.
I see. From my point of view I see absolutely no difference whether a stooge is someone who knows or not the work to be done or its secret. Maybe for you magicians it has a specific connotation, but when I read "no stooges" I immediately think that the perfomer has not prearranged anything with another person, which is what the message is supposed to convey anyway. If not this would be a subtle way to cheat, more appropriately, a loophole that would set perfomer's mind at peace.

Interesting point of view here. This would have been very appropriate in the Hooker thread.

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Postby Tom Frame » 02/10/08 03:48 PM

Excellent summation, Richard. Oh how I wish that I were in your (and Matthew's) shoes when David created this extraordinary magic moment for you!!!

The tortures of the knowing and the not-knowing propell us forward, yes??
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Postby Stan Willis » 02/10/08 03:54 PM

What we don't know here is how many effects Marc Paul performed on the show before he did the finale. The effect prior to ACAAN appears to be of an oil and water type of variety.......three red cards and three black cards and the comment from Marc Paul at the end "very, very, very strange" seems to refer to their ability to mix and/or non-mix. So that's one trick before ACAAN. But there had to be one other effect before the oil and water that involved a manila envelope. I say this because at video frame 02:46 Parkinson appears to be handing Marc Paul an envelope. It's almost like Parkinson is clearing the stage of all this mentalist paraphernalia so that Marc Paul can walk off with all the stuff he brought with him . What does this envelope have to do with the ACAAN effect? Perhaps the number that Parkinson was supposed to call out for the ACAAN effect was written somewheres on the envelope so that he wouldn't forget it. Parkinson spent a lot of time looking down at something.
I don't think that anyone outside of David Berglas himself would even attempt to perform the true ACAAN on a National TV Talk Show at that.
When you're dealing with Corporate endorsements for tradeshows and tradefairs throughout England and beyond I don't think you risk making yourself look bad in front of the TV camera.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/10/08 05:16 PM

David Berglas, quite simply, has balls of steel. You really have to admire someone who is willing to go for it so often, particularly when the thing you're going for is not a sure thing. He says that he it would be impossible to explain all the minute details and intuition that go into a performance of Any Card at Any Number and, having seen it, and spoken to him for many hours about so much of what he did in the past, I don't doubt his words.

Carlo, a "stooge" is (to magicians) someone to whom you have exposed the inner workings of a trick in order to achieve a desired end. Saying to someone before a show, "When I ask you for a number, pick 5," is using a stooge. When an illusionist asks for a volunteer from the audience and the person who comes up has his shirt pulled off--that's a stooge. Only a person whose shirt has been put on in a certain bizarre way in advance can have his shirt pulled off--and that's a stooge.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 02/10/08 05:43 PM

If you read the Alain Nu treatise, Any Card ..., he also has balls of steel, performing the trick with a tv deal riding on it.
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Postby DrDanny » 02/10/08 05:46 PM

Richard:
So, lemme get this straight......Parkinson _can't_ be in on the trick since his shirt fits OK? Is that it?

;-)
D
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/10/08 05:50 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Carlo, a "stooge" is (to magicians) someone to whom you have exposed the inner workings of a trick in order to achieve a desired end. Saying to someone before a show, "When I ask you for a number, pick 5," is using a stooge.
So, I am asking, can we call a stooge someone who was not exposed to the inner workings of a trick but yet the person is helping the perfomer
and acting AS IF he had no previous contact with him?

Can we call a stooge someone who's being told
before the show "Pick a number now. You said 5? Good. Pick the same number later."

Are you saying that they two situations are so fundamentally different?


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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/10/08 06:09 PM

Originally posted by Carlo Morpurgo:
Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
[b] "When I ask you for a number, pick 5," is using a stooge.
Can we call a stooge someone who's being told
before the show "Pick a number now. You said 5? Good. Pick the same number later."

Are you saying that the two situations are so fundamentally different?

[/b]
PS: I meant the two situations quoted above.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/10/08 06:31 PM

This is a stooge: "Pick a number now. You said 5? Good. Pick the same number later."
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/10/08 08:12 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
This is a stooge: "Pick a number now. You said 5? Good. Pick the same number later."
Then I guess I am not understanding what Tom wrote earlier:

"Here's my interpretation of what occured: Before the taping, Mr. Paul asked Ms. McCutcheon to think of any card, and to remember it for later, during the taping of the show."

I understood this as Ms. McCutcheon actually telling the card during pre-work, not merely thinking one. I was assuming that this is the kind of pre-work he was referring to.

If this is the case then she was a stooge.

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Postby Arnie Fuoco » 02/10/08 09:04 PM

Then I guess I am not understanding what Tom wrote earlier:
That's also my problem such that I asked for a clarification on earlier. From Tom's explanation it is not clear whether the spectator tells Marc Paul the number he is thinking of, before the show.
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/10/08 10:37 PM

My guess is no stooges.
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Postby Stan Willis » 02/10/08 10:54 PM

Ah,yes!.......Steve, you are absolutely correct I read the same thing too in reference to Alain Nu tipping the scale in his favor for four(4) hours of TV Special work by performing HIS ACAAN for the Learning Channel TV Executives. But is the Alain Nu method the exact same as the David Berglas method? I doubt it as quoted by David Berglas himself "your manuscript is superb, well thought out and the best in-depth look at ACAAN that I have seen".
Richard already described the perfect (Berglas) method posted January 12,'08 under the Genii Forum topic: Looking for a good ACAAN.
1. A memorized deck (I'm speculating at least four(4)memorized deck sequences.)
2. A bridge in the middle of the deck.
3. And balls of steel!
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 02/11/08 02:13 AM

Originally posted by Arnie Fuoco:
Then I guess I am not understanding what Tom wrote earlier:
That's also my problem such that I asked for a clarification on earlier. From Tom's explanation it is not clear whether the spectator tells Marc Paul the number he is thinking of, before the show.
In Marc Paul's "Affected by Berglas", the magician doesn't need to know the card or the number: it's a perfectly practical method. The use of "pre-show" (completely justified in this context: Parkinson's was one of the most prestigious shows on British television) would simply allow the performance to run smoothly and quicker (as both the number and the card have been pre-determined). Tom's description has been the most clear possible of the effect without giving away the details of its workings.
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/11/08 04:49 AM

Originally posted by Marco Pusterla:
In Marc Paul's "Affected by Berglas", the magician doesn't need to know the card [b]or the number: it's a perfectly practical method. The use of "pre-show" (completely justified in this context: Parkinson's was one of the most prestigious shows on British television) would simply allow the performance to run smoothly and quicker (as both the number and the card have been pre-determined). Tom's description has been the most clear possible of the effect without giving away the details of its workings. [/b]
Ok...then I guess that this trick is really composed of two parts, one part we (the public) we see on video, and another part we do not see.

We only see the second part, but for the 2 guests it's only one thing. You can easily make it so that the magician does not need to know the card or the number, the two guests doing all the work and still be totally puzzled later. Certainly this is the kind of involvement they need in order not to mess up the card.

But for me, the idea that later they have to pick the same card and number it's still stooge work, even if indirect. It's simply not fair to the public.

New question: can we call a stooge someone who's been told before the show: "Pick a number, don't tell me. Do this and that with the deck. Later, pick the same number."

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Postby Marco Pusterla » 02/11/08 06:39 AM

Originally posted by Carlo Morpurgo:
New question: can we call a stooge someone who's been told before the show: "Pick a number, don't tell me. Do this and that with the deck. Later, pick the same number."
No, we can't call him/her a stooge, as the spectator doesn't know how the trick works or how their choice may affect the outcome of the trick...
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 02/11/08 08:47 AM

We're getting into framing or scope issues here.

The effect is what the audience sees at the performance.

Conditions... troublesome as it's a vendor term used to excuse deletions of pertinent aspects of the effect.

"The Beglas Effect (X)" ... would that be a trademark, a servicemark or if he's used the term himself - a copyright symbol. Anyway it's supposed to be ACAAN where the audience gets to take the deck and count down according to RK's reports.

On the realistic side, if you can have fifty two decks in reasonable proximity and a formula to recall which is required -then you can get the effect as described. On the more portable and practical side Bob Farmer's Deckronomicon offers a reasonable set of compromises which leave the performer with the most options when it comes time to have the dealing done and still reliably get the effect to complete correctly.
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Postby El Mystico » 02/11/08 08:50 AM

what you call someone is one thing.
But there are two scenarios here. One is where you ask the person to name a card, then ask them to say it again later. the second is where you get them to think of a card before the show, but not to reveal it to you or anyone else.
These two scenarios will have a hugely different impact on that spectator's understanding of the effect.

The trouble with all types of pre-show work is that, once the idea becomes known to the general public, every type of mindreading act is dead, whether it uses pre-show or not.
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/11/08 09:13 AM

Originally posted by Marco Pusterla:
No, we can't call him/her a stooge, as the spectator doesn't know how the trick works or how their choice may affect the outcome of the trick...
Stooge:

1. one who plays a subordinate or compliant role to a principal
2. any underling, assistant, or accomplice.

Now it really does depend on who the primary target is. If the trick is addressed to the two guests then they are not stooges (even though after the initial puzzlement they will do 1+1 quickly).

If the trick is addressed to the folks watching the show then the two guests ARE stooges, since they have prearranged something with the performer in order to fool other people (regardless whether they are aware of it or not). If this is not the definition magicians use (for their own peace of mind), it's what most people would associate with the word.

For example imagine the following.

As seen live on National TV: Magician asks guest to name a card, (without touching the deck in full view); he says King of clubs. Now he asks him to look at the top card of the deck. It's the King of clubs. Astonishing.

Pre-work: Magician asks the guest to merely think of a card and to place it on top of the deck. And then asks him to name the same card later.

Now, who on earth would not think that the guest is a stooge? And thinking of it, condition 2 that the spectator *freely names* a card is certainly not met.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 02/11/08 09:27 AM

On the other hand - if working for a TV studio audeince you could borrow a deck (so all the cards are in fact theirs) and then get any number - do a long shot for the "name a card" when they speak it (so can dub in voicetrack later for that second) and then let the effect fly.

just a bit of direction, use of an applause sign and that blip of post production if you want to get the name right.

So many ways to get the job done - just have to find the right one for the venue. ;)
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 02/11/08 09:53 AM

Originally posted by El Mystico:
One is where you ask the person to name a card, then ask them to say it again later. the second is where you get them to think of a card before the show, but not to reveal it to you or anyone else.
These two scenarios will have a hugely different impact on that spectator's understanding of the effect.
The second scenario is not compliant with condition 2, since the spectator (i.e. the guest) is instructed to name the card later, and that would not be "free choice".


In the first scenario there could still be a loophole in that the card is freely chosen and named, the first time, prior to the show. This is of course insulting my intelligence as a spectator (=whoever watches the show), since I am assuming that the show starts when I see it, not two hours ago, or last year.

But even then, it seems that if the first scenario occurs then condition 1 will be violated in that the deck is not in full view before the effect starts, which happened before I see it on TV. Unless of course they think of full view to the guests, not us TV viewers.

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Postby Cohiba » 03/13/08 11:40 PM

The effect as shown is impossible (actually, it has a chance of happening 1 in 2704 tries).
Therefore, the posts above are correct - either a stooge was used, or pre-show work. Tom Stone has a very well thought out possibility.

The first video Pete linked to stated the conditions of the Berglas effect, which I do not believe were accurate. The condition stating that the deck is in view the entire time does not match up with what I read about the Berglas effect. In one instance, I remember reading that Berglas did the effect to someone in his car. After the card and number were arrived at, he had the participant open the glove box, pull out a deck, and conclude - the deck was not in sight before the effect began.

Richard - when Berglas did the effect to you, was the deck in sight before the questioning started? If it was, then Berglas had to touch the deck before you did your counting. If Berglas doesn't touch the deck, then the only solution is that he has multiple outs. Or, he is a master of hypnosis, and is causing his spectators to forget that they told him the card and number, or something to that effect.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 03/14/08 08:01 AM

Since when is what you talk about in your patter the same as what you actually do?
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Postby Bob Coyne » 03/14/08 08:42 AM

Cohiba wrote:The effect as shown is impossible (actually, it has a chance of happening 1 in 2704 tries).


Actually, there's a 1 in 52 chance of the named card being at the named number. And by allowing one-off variations and counting from either end of the deck, it goes down to 1 in 13. One way to improve the odds further would be to let the spectator(s) cut the deck, each cut giving roughly a new 1/13 chance of getting the card into position.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/14/08 10:40 AM

The deck was out in the open when he did it for me, though I had not been told where to look at the time. On subsequent visits to David's hoome, I noted that the deck was still in the same position, indicating he has been doing it this way to others.

There is no pre-show work, no stooges are used, and there is no hypnosis. He asks you to name a card, then asks you to name a number, then tells you to pick up the deck and count down to the named number and there's your card!

It's like the Hooker Rising Cards: when someone explains the effect to you, you think the person has been unobservant in some way and that YOU could see something they don't. Not true. It's impossible.
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