Brainwave Rationale

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Bob Farmer
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Brainwave Rationale

Postby Bob Farmer » September 19th, 2022, 6:22 pm

In the Brainwave deck, the named card is face up and has a different back.

Why is that?

What is the rationale?

What is the effect?

Is it a prediction?

Did the card magically turn over and change color?

Without a clear idea of what the effect is supposed to be, the impact is diminished.

BarryAllen
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby BarryAllen » September 19th, 2022, 6:57 pm

To my way of thinking Bob, the reason that the revealed card has a different colour back is so that it's proof you haven't simply flipped over the chosen card, once stated, by using sleight of hand.

That element to my mind, is what makes a Brainwave Pack much stronger than an Invisible Pack.

Presentation-wise, there are a number of ways to go with it.

If presenting it simply as a magic trick, then in its most basic form, it's a prediction. In fact, even presenting it sometimes with a mentalism slant, it is basically also a prediction effect.

The way I present it (without boring you with finite detail) is that I am going to psychologically force them into deciding upon a particular card; although if preferred, they can attempt to make this as difficult as possible for me throughout.

Starting on colour, then suit, then a whittle down to the value, I use wording so that they feel no matter how hard I am trying to force them down a particular avenue, they have had the upper edge over me and not been swayed throughout - until the climax!

Finally, just a nuance that I have always used. When I reveal the face up card in the spread, I lift off the cards ABOVE the face up selection and just casually flash the face card of this packet; as I turn my hand upward and point at the chosen, reversed card. It's just an added little subliminal convincer that the pack is kosher.

Just something else to add. I have been using a Brainwave Pack for over 40 years. Never ONCE has anyone stated "that's a trick pack of cards" nor requested to examine the pack. Either they are so amazed......or they can't be bothered. Given the reaction(s), I genuinely believe that it's the former.

Ted Annemann, in the 1940's, described the Brainwave Pack as (quote) "probably the finest mental effect known today". 80 years on, it still isn't too shabby, is it.

Bob Farmer
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby Bob Farmer » September 19th, 2022, 7:28 pm

Barry those are excellent comments. I particularly like the flash of the card above.

Jon Elion
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby Jon Elion » September 19th, 2022, 8:01 pm

Let me describe my handling of the Invisible Deck first (done as an opener at a sit-down close-up show). There is an Invisible Deck in its case in my lap. I bring out an empty (and visible!) card box.

The first part of the routine is usually done silently as a mischievous pantomime. For the sake of clarity, I'll write (type?) out the implied dialog, but this part is all done silently. I am acting as if the deck of cards is visible, and all the actions taken are therefore mundane and reasonable.

I remove an invisible deck of cards from a visible box, place the box down near the edge of the table, and mime doing several vigorous overhand shuffles. A spectator is selected to help (selected based on the reactions of the various spectators to the shuffle of the invisible deck). Please give the deck a good shuffle. That was so good, go ahead and give it another shuffle. Awesome! I'll take those back.... I mime fanning out the cards and presenting the spectator with the usual 'pick a card' pose.

Pause for a brief awkward moment after the card is selected as the spectator is puzzled about what to do next. Remember the card. Don't forget it! Mime pointing at your eye, the card, then the side of your head. Remember that card! Go ahead and show everyone else the card, but don't let me see it. I indicate to the spectator that they need to be sure that everyone sees it (pick out one or two spectators on the far edges of the crowd that may not have seen the invisible card and indicate that they need to get a good look too). This byplay gives plenty of opportunity for fun, as well as nice misdirection to do a bold switch of the card boxes (empty box to the lap, box with the Invisible Deck in it to the table).

I mime holding out the fan of cards and indicate that the spectator should replace their selection into the fan. Just before their invisible selection gets to the fan, I pull back the fan with my left hand and hold up my right hand with palm facing the spectator indicating "STOP!" and may even wag a finger at them indicating No, no, no -- turn your card over! I then mime the action for them to imitate of turning their card over, and as soon as this is done, immediately offer the fan of invisible cards to them. As soon as they replace their card in the fan, pull the fan back to you and, handling it gingerly to show that you are not guilty of any funny business, carefully put the invisible cards back in the box (be careful not to flash the visible cards that are now in there). Put the box back on the table.

I sit back in "rest position," wait a beat or two. I speak now for the first time (but not making a big deal of switching from silent to spoken). Let's go over what we've done. I gave the cards a good shuffle. But were you happy with that? NO, you were not! YOU gave them a good shuffle, too. [pause] Several shuffles in fact. Then you picked out any card you wanted and showed it to everyone, then put it back in the pack and we put the pack back in the box. Now, for the first time, please name the card that you selected!

Spectators give a variable response here, some timid and uncertain, some bold and confident. But they always have named a card. If you have spotted another helpful spectator close by, you can glance at them as if to ask Was that really the card she picked? But do so by nodding Yes and inviting them to agree with your nodding.

Open the box and remove a visible deck of cards (first magical moment). Finish the reveal of the Invisible Card in the usual fashion. Now if you stop and think about it, there is only one spectator that knows that you just performed a miracle. The magic moment is NOT the reveal of the card, it is the reaction of the spectator that was helping you. Handled properly, the usual reaction when the "chosen" card is shown reversed in the deck is a screech or a No Way! Focus on that moment as if you and the spectator are the only two people in the room and you are rejoicing in their amazement.

I like to open with this as it gets me in a good mood. I enjoy the silliness of shuffling the invisible cards. I turn it into a piece of entertainment, not a puzzle, and not a challenge for the audience to figure out. It sets a good tone for what is to follow.

It seems to me that this approach would also work well with a Brainwave deck (but perhaps losing a little clarity?). Your mileage may vary.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby MagicbyAlfred » September 19th, 2022, 8:44 pm

I used to present it as a prediction. However, I realized that just makes it about me and how clever I am. Over time, my performing philosophy changed and I wanted it to be at least as much about them as me. So, just as when I perform the ID, it is about mental telepathy, which requires the psychic ability on the part of the sender (i.e., the spectator). It is not only a more intriguing plot than a prediction and an emotional hook for them, but it is gratifying for them to have successfully transmitted their thought to me -- and there is proof. Win-win. That's the way I want to go as a performer.

BTW, Like Barry, in many decades of doing the ID and BW, it is uncanny that not a single person has ever suggested trick cards or asked me if they could examine.
Last edited by MagicbyAlfred on September 19th, 2022, 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BarryAllen
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby BarryAllen » September 19th, 2022, 8:46 pm

Hi Jon.

That's an excellent way of presenting the effect for a magic set. Both creative and original.

Bob - glad that you like the idea of flashing the face card. I've never seen/read anyone else doing it.

Alfred - like yourself, after many years, I've finally moved away from Magic into Mentalism. I too find that having that emotional hook plays better - with UK audiences anyway these days.

Interesting that you've had similar experiences of audiences not doubting its a gaffed pack!

I'm not in any way looking down on Magic - it has been a lifetime of joy. What's more, even now, I don't know of anything that plays as well as a sponge ball routine. I really miss them!

Bob Farmer
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby Bob Farmer » September 20th, 2022, 7:22 am

I have been working on some tweaks for the usual Brainwave deck.

First, I think the Thought Sender presentation a la Eugene Burger is the way to go rather than a prediction (of course the difference is that no Equivoque is necessary).

Second, take the deck apart and with all the cards face down, use a ¼” corner rounder (available at Michaels) to corner round the outer left and inner right corners of every card.

Reassemble the deck.

To see how the card pairs are easily separated, spread over to the middle of the deck and decide on a pair.

Notice that your right forefinger can easily contact the outer right corner of that pair and that it is hidden under the spread.

If the right forefinger lifts up on that corner the cards will separate because the card underneath has had its corner rounded.

Third, and perhaps best, on the blue side of the deck add the following cards on top:


1. A red/blue double backer, blue side up.

2. Two regular blue-backed cards matching any two red-backed cards from the other side.

On the red side of the deck, add the following cards on top:

1. A red/blue double backer, red side up.

2. Two regular red-backed cards matching any two blue-backed cards from the other side.

With this setup, you bring out the deck with the right color side up. Now you take off the top two regular cards and show them and say these cards could have been thought of. Then return those cards to the top and do the revelation.

One more thing: the last four cards just before the double-backer are marked.

Let’s say the named card is right next to the double-backer and the deck is blue side up.

That pair is the very last pair before the double backer and the two face-up, red-backed dummies.

As you spread over to that card, there is a danger that you could expose the two face-up dummies under the double backer.

To avoid that, mark the last four pairs before the double-backer, so as you spread over, when you come to the first marked card, break the spread at that point and tighten up your grip on the packet. This will allow you to spread over to the required pair without exposing the face-up cards. The double backer covers the two face-up dummies and it is the right color.

With the additional 6 cards the deck is 58 cards thick but it will still fit in a card case.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby MagicbyAlfred » September 20th, 2022, 7:41 am

BarryAllen wrote: ...I don't know of anything that plays as well as a sponge ball routine. I really miss them...!


Only the sponge rabbits. But the sponge balls is a proven winner, and require no table. Sometimes when strolling, and there's only time for a couple minutes at each stop, I will open with nothing more than one single phase of the sponge balls -- Ball "placed" in my hand, ball placed in hers. Ball "vanishes from my hand and reappears to join his or hers (hers if you want screams). It's a miracle! Follow that with the Brainwave Deck or the ID, say adieu, and prepare for a religion to be started around you, with t-shirts made bearing your image.

Bob Farmer
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby Bob Farmer » September 22nd, 2022, 2:54 pm

Any thoughts on the tweaks I mention above? I think being able to show cards they did not think of and which are not reversed is an improvement.

katterfelt0
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby katterfelt0 » September 22nd, 2022, 5:59 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:Any thoughts on the tweaks I mention above? I think being able to show cards they did not think of and which are not reversed is an improvement.

Bob,

I thought the tweaks were a very worthy addition. I made a note of them and will incorporate them accordingly.
Effect and method are inextricably linked.

Bob Farmer
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby Bob Farmer » September 22nd, 2022, 7:11 pm

With the Invisible Deck they see the faces of the other cards so the one face-down card is impressive, but with the regular Brainwave they never see the faces of the other cards.

Tarotist
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby Tarotist » September 22nd, 2022, 10:45 pm

I have never performed the Brainwave Deck and probably never will. However, if I ever did I would be torn between two outstanding presentations I have read in two different books. Both are really for a stand up act rather than close up. One is described in the book by Chuck Romano about the work of Paul Rosini and the other is Paul Potassy's version (which is repeated). I like both a lot and would recommend to those who are interested in this trick to check them both out.

Bob Farmer
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby Bob Farmer » September 23rd, 2022, 6:12 am

Another idea: have two decks with 26 cards prepared. Red deck in red box, blue deck in blue box. Card named, remove required deck. Now you can show a whole range of cards before reveal the reversed odd-backed card.

Mark is right about the Rosini presentation: it is wonderful, better than anything I was previously familiar with. See, "The Brainwave Deck," pp.138-140, House of Cards The Life & Magic of Paul Rosini by Chuck Romano, 1999. A fabulous book.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 23rd, 2022, 9:39 am

Are we at a point where we can presume both Brainwave and UltraMental decks are made using Phoenix DoubleDeckers?

Dumb question for the day: does the long/short handling (Svengali) type handling with with rough/smooth pairs? I.e. do they split nicely when dribbled though stick in pairs when spread?

Related question: Does tapering the "short" cards at a corner permit riffle shuffling so that the pairs stay together?

Dave Le Fevre
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby Dave Le Fevre » September 23rd, 2022, 10:23 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Dumb question for the day: does the long/short handling (Svengali) type handling with rough/smooth pairs? I.e. do they split nicely when dribbled though stick in pairs when spread?
Some years ago I acquired a Nudist Deck (blank-backers roughed on the face paired with blank-facers roughed on the back) which was also long/short. It's a well-known proprietary deck, but I cannot offhand remember the name.

When fanned, it shows blank cards on both sides. Yet one can riffle or cut to a non-blank card. Very easy to handle, even for me. So I think that the answer to your question is yes.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby MagicbyAlfred » September 23rd, 2022, 6:03 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:In the Brainwave deck, the named card is face up and has a different back.

Why is that?

What is the rationale?...


I love threads like this that make me think about my magic and prompt me to consider things from the spectators' point of view.

Here's a few more thoughts to add to the mix:

As I mentioned, I like to do the BW deck as a mind-reading (on their part) effect, as opposed to a prediction, where the spectator is as much the star as I am, in that they are successfully able to "psychically" discern the image of the card I am thinking of. I also like to do a fun little thing with them after they name the card. I look astonished and say, "That's incredible, that's exactly the card I was thinking of! You are INCREDIBLE," and then extend my hand as if to congratulate them. They seem to find this quite amusing, but it also works as a nice set up psychologically and presentationally.

Of course, they don't buy the foregoing bit of banter for a second, and they are wondering whether you are genuinely trying to con them, or are just playing with them and it's all joke. Then I say something along the lines of, "You don't believe you're that good, do you? Would I lie to you? Please don't answer that. OK, You want proof, don't you?" This bit of banter makes the denouement that much more delicious and surprising to them. The card appearing face up among all face down is the left hook, but the red (or blue) back is the knock-out punch. I really don't like saying anything such as, "Maybe you thought I turned the card over with sleight of hand." But obviously, if they do happen to be thinking that, any such thoughts are totally dispelled. And needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) the deck should be in full view from start to finish, whether on the table if there is one, or held by a spectator, because, as crazy as it seems, the way laymen think, you could have had multiple decks in your pocket. I have circumvented any discrepancy as to the color of the backs versus the color of the box by keeping the cards in an attractive multi-colored silk bag with a draw-string, and I can discern which side of the bag is which. I find that the bag adds a bit of mystique and intrigue, as well.

One other ting -- oftentimes, I tell them in the beginning that if they are successful they will win a prize. Then when they are "successful," I award them a nice crisp one or two dollar bill.

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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby MagicbyAlfred » September 26th, 2022, 12:38 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:...Mark is right about the Rosini presentation: it is wonderful, better than anything I was previously familiar with. See, "The Brainwave Deck," pp.138-140, House of Cards The Life & Magic of Paul Rosini by Chuck Romano, 1999. A fabulous book.


Found it and ordered it!

$30 brand new hardcover, including free shipping (in the U.S. at least). 320 pages, with a gold-stamped cover. I've seen used copies selling for substantially more. If you're interested, get'em while they're hot. (Seller has 3 left).
https://www.ebay.com/itm/133941460221

*Disclaimer: I haven't received mine yet, but it's supposed to be here on or about September 28th. (I ordered it on September 23d).

Joe Mckay
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Re: Brainwave Rationale

Postby Joe Mckay » September 26th, 2022, 5:27 pm

Steve Bryant has an excellent presentation for Brainwave in The Little Egypt Book of Ghosts.


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