David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

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Inquisitive
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David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » December 31st, 2017, 1:57 am

Hello guys,

I've heard that David Alexander used to perform an open prediction effect that appeared perfect-- a borrowed, shuffled deck of cards used, completely untouched by the performer (throughout the entire effect), and a random audience participant chosen to participate. An open prediction is made (the name of a playing card) by the performer. The participant is then asked to deal the cards face up one by one, and to, somewhere along the way, deal one card face down aside, and then to continue dealing the rest of the cards face up. The predicted card never shows up among the face up cards, and at the end the participant or someone else (other than the performer) flips over the one face down card to find that it is the predicted card.

This seems to be, at least by the description of it (which is said to be exactly as I described above), the 'holy grail' of OP effects. I was just wondering if anyone here has seen this effect performed in the past? If so, did it appear as flawless as described above?

Thank you.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Leonard Hevia » December 31st, 2017, 11:43 am

David's method remains unpublished. Thomas Baxter compiled a book with great methods called The Open Prediction Project. You can obtain it at Penguin and Vanishing Inc.

viewtopic.php?t=26593

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » December 31st, 2017, 1:21 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:David's method remains unpublished. Thomas Baxter compiled a book with great methods called The Open Prediction Project. You can obtain it at Penguin and Vanishing Inc.

http://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=26593


I know David's method was never published. I was just wondering if the effect appeared as perfect and flawless as described.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Leonard Hevia » December 31st, 2017, 1:24 pm

Inquisitive wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote:David's method remains unpublished. Thomas Baxter compiled a book with great methods called The Open Prediction Project. You can obtain it at Penguin and Vanishing Inc.

viewtopic.php?t=26593


I know David's method was never published. I was just wondering if the effect appeared as perfect and flawless as described.


The Genii Forum thread link I provided answers your question. Have you read that?

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » December 31st, 2017, 1:29 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:
Inquisitive wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote:David's method remains unpublished. Thomas Baxter compiled a book with great methods called The Open Prediction Project. You can obtain it at Penguin and Vanishing Inc.

http://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=26593


I know David's method was never published. I was just wondering if the effect appeared as perfect and flawless as described.


The Genii Forum thread link I provided answers your question. Have you read that?


I looked over it, yes. David mentioned how 30-40 magicians have seen his effect, several of which post here. But I did not find any further comments by any of them.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Leonard Hevia » December 31st, 2017, 1:33 pm

Inquisitive wrote:I looked over it, yes. David mentioned how 30-40 magicians have seen his effect, several of which post here. But I did not find any further comments by any of them.


You looked it over but you didn't actually read the entire thread. There is a difference between skimming and reading. Here is what Thomas Baxter wrote in that thread:

Yes. Those are Stewart's conditions when describing his effect, 51 Faces North. Stewart had lots of other versions (82!) of The Open Prediction that didn't adhere to those conditions.

By the way, David Alexander is one of the only performers I know of who has a version of The Open Prediction that truly adheres to all of Stewart's conditions for 51 Faces North. It plays EXACTLY as described in the original Paul Curry challenge. No added phases, etc. As far as I know it is unpublished.

- T. Baxter


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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Joe Mckay » December 31st, 2017, 2:52 pm

David Britland wrote an interesting blog post about the 51 Faces North effect. He also points out that one of Stewart James' published methods (method 8 from issue 3 of Ibidem magazine) already meets the criteria for the 51 Faces North effect. Hidden in plain sight - so to speak.

http://cardopolis.blogspot.co.uk/2008/0 ... es-is.html

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » December 31st, 2017, 3:06 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:David Britland wrote an interesting blog post about the 51 Faces North effect. He also points out that one of Stewart James' published methods (method 8 from issue 3 of Ibidem magazine) already meets the criteria for the 51 Faces North effect. Hidden in plain sight - so to speak.

http://cardopolis.blogspot.co.uk/2008/0 ... es-is.html


Speaking of David Britland, he once made a post on his blog where he explained a perfect version of the OP effect as well. Here's the post: http://cardopolis.blogspot.ca/2008/07/d ... north.html

The method, as you can see, involves an instant stooge who is secretly signaled when to stop dealing the cards and to deal one card face down. Of course, from the perspective of everyone else though, the effect appears to be perfect-- borrowed, shuffled deck of cards used, which the performer never handles/touches, spectator deals the cards face up and deals any card face down, etc., etc.

I suppose David Alexander could have also used an instant stooge (in a different way as compared to David Britland, of course) to accomplish the feat in question. We'll never know for sure, though.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 31st, 2017, 6:21 pm

I'm sorry David chose not to publish his method for the effect.

FWIW thanks to TBaxter I got as far as working out what sort of open prediction might play for an audience and took that as motivation to work on my handwriting. The working hypothesis being that something has to lead the audience to report the effect in the first place ;)

Any chance of an update on the ebook with DAlexander's permission/method? That would be an interesting effect to build up in one book as trustees pass on legacy methods.
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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » December 31st, 2017, 6:50 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:I'm sorry David chose not to publish his method for the effect.

FWIW thanks to TBaxter I got as far as working out what sort of open prediction might play for an audience and took that as motivation to work on my handwriting. The working hypothesis being that something has to lead the audience to report the effect in the first place ;)

Any chance of an update on the ebook with DAlexander's permission/method? That would be an interesting effect to build up in one book as trustees pass on legacy methods.


I'm a bit confused by your second paragraph, where you say "FWIW thanks to TBaxter I got as far as working out what sort of open prediction might play for an audience and took that as motivation to work on my handwriting. The working hypothesis being that something has to lead the audience to report the effect in the first place." What exactly did you mean here?

Thanks.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 31st, 2017, 7:42 pm

I've wondered about the trick since first hearing the legend. Tom very kindly sent me a copy of his book. Much good work there. Recommended. Working from audience side back to method I pondered what might lead someone in an audience to imagine the stated conditions - and from there backward to what might make the basic effect memorable or interesting to watch in performance. Presuming the performer wrote something on a scrap of paper and an audience member was game to deal through the pack to leave one card face down... what would make the trick distinct from other predictions, say the Nemo 1500? Is it supposed to play out like the Maugham Samarra story - "The last card in the pack you turn face up to show everyone will be the five of clubs"? How to make that a pleasant thing? So, for me at least it seemed a good idea to make that hand written note something pleasant. The it occurred that it would be fun if two people were involved in the process. One handles the cards. The other decides where to stop or keep dealing or shuffle...

In magic it seems useful to put new wine into old bottles... presentation... okay also coins :D

Any trustees of the Alexander routine have plans the item?

Happy New Year,

JonT
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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » December 31st, 2017, 8:29 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:I've wondered about the trick since first hearing the legend. Tom very kindly sent me a copy of his book. Much good work there. Recommended. Working from audience side back to method I pondered what might lead someone in an audience to imagine the stated conditions - and from there backward to what might make the basic effect memorable or interesting to watch in performance. Presuming the performer wrote something on a scrap of paper and an audience member was game to deal through the pack to leave one card face down... what would make the trick distinct from other predictions, say the Nemo 1500? Is it supposed to play out like the Maugham Samarra story - "The last card in the pack you turn face up to show everyone will be the five of clubs"? How to make that a pleasant thing? So, for me at least it seemed a good idea to make that hand written note something pleasant. The it occurred that it would be fun if two people were involved in the process. One handles the cards. The other decides where to stop or keep dealing or shuffle...

In magic it seems useful to put new wine into old bottles... presentation... okay also coins :D

Any trustees of the Alexander routine have plans the item?

Happy New Year,

JonT


Thanks for the clarification.

Also, as David Alexander tragically passed away 7 years ago, and never published the effect prior to that, it seems that the secret will not be published (unless, of course, if it is independently discovered by someone else, who publishes it). Though, now that I think about it, I suspect that he probably did use an instant stooge (of course, this is just speculation). Britland's effect, which I linked above, meets 17 out of 18 of Stewart's conditions. It only doesn't meet the condition that states that the performer does not know when the spectator will leave a card face down . I suppose with some imagination the last condition can also be met, in which case the 'instant stooge' method allows one to perform Paul Curry's OP effect while meeting *all* 18 of Stewart's conditions.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 1st, 2018, 12:17 pm

It's quite possible David used a stooge or some other method. I don't believe it is possible to perform 51 Faces North and meet all 18 of Stewart's conditions. A borrowed deck and allowing the spec to handle the deck at all times without touching any card puts this in the impossible category. The only exception to this is Stewart's solution published in Penumbra, which doesn't feel clean.

A shimmed card with a T.A. Waters Swopper wallet or gimmicked envelope can get the job done nicely and pretty cleanly.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby erdnasephile » January 1st, 2018, 12:26 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote: The only exception to this is Stewart's solution published in Penumbra, which doesn't feel clean.


IMHO, the Penumbra "solution" demonstrated one of Mr. James' other talents--he was a master of ad copy.

While we are on the subject, I actually thought Todd Lamanske's turn on "Fool Us" was pretty, darn good. (It doesn't meet the 18 either, but I think the only people it would matter to would be magician fans of the plot).

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Joe Mckay » January 1st, 2018, 1:25 pm

It certainly IS possible to meet all 18 of Stewart James' conditions.

Max Maven has such a method. He come up with it whilst jet lagged in a hotel room in Japan. If I remember correctly.

He has not published it. But he did demonstrate it for Allan Slaight. This is all detailed in The James File. Apparently it is not a great trick but it does meet all of Stewart's conditions.

Also - I agree with the comment above. One of Stewart's biggest talents was his ability to write ad copy. It is part of the charm of his approach to magic.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 1st, 2018, 1:45 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:It certainly IS possible to meet all 18 of Stewart James' conditions. Also - I agree with the comment above. One of Stewart's biggest talents was his ability to write ad copy. It is part of the charm of his approach to magic.


You can meet all of Stewart's conditions with the solution published in Penumbra. But it isn't a stand alone effect and the card the spectator sets aside is reached at thru a predetermined number. That aside, no magician can hand a borrowed deck to somebody and know which card they will leave face down will dealing the remainder face up.

Stewart certainly was up there with Ken Brooke and Busby in ad copy.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » January 1st, 2018, 10:45 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:
Joe Mckay wrote:It certainly IS possible to meet all 18 of Stewart James' conditions. Also - I agree with the comment above. One of Stewart's biggest talents was his ability to write ad copy. It is part of the charm of his approach to magic.


You can meet all of Stewart's conditions with the solution published in Penumbra. But it isn't a stand alone effect and the card the spectator sets aside is reached at thru a predetermined number. That aside, no magician can hand a borrowed deck to somebody and know which card they will leave face down will dealing the remainder face up.

Stewart certainly was up there with Ken Brooke and Busby in ad copy.


Thomas Baxter can do this effect without stooges (his is unpublished too). He calls it 'A Dianoetic Rage'. You can find threads about it over on the Magic Cafe, some of which are 10 years old and others which are recent. Here's an example of a recent thread on the effect: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view ... 4&forum=15

The one who started the thread, a mentalist, describes Thomas' effect in detail:

"Here is exactly what happened. There were about seven magicians sitting around a table. We were at Wunderground Magic Shop in Clawson, MI. Tom insisted on a borrowed deck. Several of us offered ours, but Tom asked the shop owner for a brand new, sealed deck. Tom asked me to designate any person to take part. I randomly chose Kasey Logan. Tom insisted on never touching the deck. The shop owner handed Kasey a brand new, sealed deck of cards, still in the cellophane, right off the shelf. TOM DID NOT TOUCH THE DECK EVEN ONCE. He asked to borrow my pad of paper, and openly wrote the name of one card, in full view, and allowed everyone present to see it. Kasey finally got the cards out of the box, which was tossed aside. Tom asked her to remove the jokers and advertising cards. She did so, and then Tom asked her to thoroughly shuffle the deck. She did this. No one else but Kasey had any physical contact with the deck.

Nothing intervened here other than Tom verbally describing the conditions of “51 Faces North”. He then told Kasey to deal cards one by one, face up onto the table, stopping whenever she wished. She dealt several, and stopped. Tom asked her if she was sure, and if she wanted to change we mind. She did, and dealt more cards. Once again, Tom asked her if she was sure, and AGAIN she changed her mind. She kept dealing. Throughout all of this, the predicted card had not appeared.

Trying to be difficult, Kasey eventually stopped dealing at card #50. So she had three cards in her hand. Tom actuallly gave her the option of confinuing if she wanted to. She said no this time. Tom asked her to deal the next card face down onto the pile already dealt, and then to deal the final two on top of that. Every card was seen except for the openly predicted card. The face down card was still visible, as it happened near the end of the deal. Tom told Kasey to turn it over. It was the exact card that Tom openly wrote down.

This is my exact recollection of what happened.

I only wanted to know one thing, so I simply asked Kasey, “Did you just experience the exact same effect as I did?” She answered yes, and I believe her. I wanted to rule out stoogery.

I’m not leaving anything out."

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 1st, 2018, 11:54 pm

Interesting that Baxter supposedly wrote the name of the card down openly, but we are never told the identity of that card. If the identity of the card was openly revealed to all, it should have stayed in memory. How about a nail writer? It's so devious it just might work. You pretend to write down the name of the card on a small slip of paper with a pencil and set it down on the table. As soon as the prediction card is turned over everybody will be looking at it. That provides a brief moment to get the job done.

It doesn't meet the condition of the prediction openly written but it's not a bad solution and fulfills most of the conditions except #8 as well, strictly impromptu, no special tools necessary.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » January 2nd, 2018, 12:05 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:Interesting that Baxter supposedly wrote the name of the card down openly, but we are never told the identity of that card. If the identity of the card was openly revealed to all, it should have stayed in memory. How about a nail writer? It's so devious it just might work. You pretend to write down the name of the card on a small slip of paper with a pencil and set it down on the table. As soon as the prediction card is turned over everybody will be looking at it. That provides a brief moment to get the job done.

It doesn't meet the condition of the prediction openly written but it's not a bad solution and fulfills most of the conditions except #8 as well, strictly impromptu, no special tools necessary.


This is just a misunderstanding it seems to me. What the guy meant was that Thomas wrote the name of a card leaving it in full view so that everyone can visibly see the name of the card written on the paper. So, the name of the card, i.e. the predicted card, was known to the entire audience from the start. This is further supported by others who have also seen the effect, in which case I can point you to the sources if you wish. In fact, in one Magic Cafe thread Thomas himself describes his effect. He says this (to quote him):

"This is exactly how it looks...

A borrowed pack of cards can be used. A random person is chosen to participate. They shuffle the cards as thoroughly as they choose, in any way that they choose. Either before or after the shuffle, as it is a borrowed deck, I have the participant spread the cards on the table while I assure myself that the card that I want to predict is indeed present in the pack.

They shuffle some more.

I write the name of a card (Let's say the 8 of Hearts) on a piece of paper as my prediction and show it to everyone present while the cards are still being shuffled.

I tell the participant to begin dealing cards, face up onto the table, one at a time. I ask everyone present to watch for the predicted card, and if it shows up, they should call a stop to the proceedings. I tell the dealer that he should deal straight through the pack from start to finish, but anywhere along the way, at his own choosing, and for whatever reason he would like, to deal one card face down beside the pile of face up cards, and then to continue dealing the remainder of the pack face up.

He does this, and tension builds as we come down to the last few cards and the prediction card does not show up.

The participant (or anyone present but me) can turn the face down card over. It is the predicted card.

That's exactly how it looks, and I've left nothing out."

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby El Mystico » January 2nd, 2018, 6:16 am

As an aside; while the details of the effect are slightly different, I've found the psychological stop trick to be a powerful trick for an audience. The broad effect - the spectator stops at the right card - is the same. But you don't have to deal through the whole pack. Which is a bit tedious, as well as being fairly pointless. Unless you've got a great angle on building up tension.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Joe Mckay » January 2nd, 2018, 8:09 am

Here are a couple of "outs" in case you miss on the Psychological Stop force. They are taken from a blog I used to write for:

The ASK ALEXANDER archive is an amazing resource. Recently I was using it to find variations on John Bannon’s DISCREPANCY CITY PREDICTION. This is a brilliant idea which will fool you when you first play with it. Along the way – I came across a lovely idea by Norm Houghton. He suggests using the Bannon idea as an ‘out’ for when you try (and mess up!) the Dai Vernon ‘PSYCHOLOGICAL STOP FORCE’. That is a gem of an idea… Here are the details:

When you spread out the cards to remove your predictions, note the 7th card from the top. Say it’s the 4H. Remove and toss on the table, face down, the other three 4s. Arrange them in a packet, 4D on bottom. Start dealing the cards face down from the top of the deck, alowly. When you have dealt five, say casually, “Stop me whenever you like.” Usually, a spectator will say stop on the seventh card. If he does – Miracle!

If not – then deal their card face down on top of the 3 face down ‘prediction’ cards. Now – double lift the top two cards to show a 4. Then turn the packet over and do an Elmsley count. This will show 3 more 4’s along with the face down card. To finish – turnover the face down card to display the final 4.

Voila!

Here is an idea belonging to George B. Anderson. If you miss on Dai Vernon’s ‘Psychological Stop Force’, just keep dealing cards and secretly count how many cards you are off by. When the spectator eventually stops you at a card, you turn it face up. You say you will use this card to help find the spectator’s selection. Hold that card and your deck behind your back. Place the face-up card next to where the selection is. Cut the cards and bring the deck forward. Spread the cards on the table and show that the card next to the face-up card is the selection! A nice out for when you miss on the ‘miracle’ finish…

And finally here is a small tip from Paul Chosse:

Small tip – Jack McMillen mentioned this to Paul Chosse. When doing this trick have the spectator deal the cards. For some reason this was never mentioned in EXPERT CARD TECHNIQUE.
https://doubledeal.wordpress.com/ I posted on the blog under the name CARDMAGIC10.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby erdnasephile » January 2nd, 2018, 8:38 am

El Mystico wrote:As an aside; while the details of the effect are slightly different, I've found the psychological stop trick to be a powerful trick for an audience. The broad effect - the spectator stops at the right card - is the same. But you don't have to deal through the whole pack. Which is a bit tedious, as well as being fairly pointless. Unless you've got a great angle on building up tension.


I agree--which is why I think the Open Prediction often plays better for magicians than laypersons. (James himself had a strategy to deal with this potential theatrical problem. See Penumbra, Issue 1, page 9)

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby El Mystico » January 2nd, 2018, 12:21 pm

Sorry to have taken this off-topic...

Joe; to add to your thoughts:

In The Chronicles, Fulves published a lovely handling by Wurst, involving the spectator dealing the cards.

And Terry Guyatt - a superb magician - showed me a wonderful out, which I don't think has been published; deal the cards face up. Then if they miss the card, move into the Circus Trick.

The combination of these two ideas gave me the confidence to begin to perform this trick. Experience taught me tone of voice and speed. And very quickly I gave up the Circus out; it is a useful 'prop' for learning the trick though.

One additional tip; don't use this as an opener; then the assumption is you just got lucky. But for after you've established you aren't Uncle John, this is one of my favourite effects.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Brad Henderson » January 2nd, 2018, 12:31 pm

i was taught that you ask them to say stop after having dealt the fourth card,
not fifth. and it should be delivered as if
the spectator should have been aware that this was their task and have forgotten it
- "oh, you can say stop whenever you want'. they will let two go by and then stop on the 7th. all card should be dealt deliberately with a little pause after them.

did this for someone two days ago. it's a great ruse

if they go too far (i've never had someone not go far enough, which is why i'm suspect of waiting to speak until the fifth card) then there are many outs. Often you can spell to the card using their name or as it will often be a small packet, one can have them shuffled and can go into an elimination procedure like eugene used to teach.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby performer » January 2nd, 2018, 12:54 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:It's quite possible David used a stooge or some other method.


I don't know anything about this trick and have no particular interest in it. I shall merely say that David Alexander would most certainly not be above using stooges instant or otherwise. In fact I have seen him doing it. He was a pickpocket and most of them use stooges. He certainly did and in fact mention of them is in the book he wrote on pickpocketing.

People who use stooges on a reasonably frequent basis have a tendency to become stooge addicts. This point has been made in Expert Card Technique. On that basis alone I would tend to suspect that option.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Joe Mckay » January 2nd, 2018, 1:26 pm

One of my favourite magician foolers is a version of the Open Prediction that makes clever use of a stooge.

Paul Gordon gave it away for free over here:

http://www.mallofmagic.com/free%20stuff/BTROMF.pdf

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Joe Mckay » January 2nd, 2018, 1:44 pm

Here is Tom Baxter discussing David Alexander's method on The Magic Cafe:

I should also mention that David Alexander, who posts here, has an extraordinary version of his own for 51 Faces North. I've seen it in action, and the odd thing about David's unpublished variation is that the more that one knows about card magic or mentalism, the more impossible his effect becomes to the viewer.

David's OP effect and mine both look exactly the same from the audience point of view.

Borrowed deck of cards. A random audience member chosen to assist.

Performer doesn't touch the cards. Audience participant shuffles.

Performer names a card or writes the name of one on a piece of paper and shows everyone.

The audience participant deals cards face up, one at a time, onto the table. Everyone watches for the predicted card, which doesn't show up.

When the dealer feels compelled to stop (a completely free choice) they do. They then deal the next card face down, to one side, but in full view of the audience.

They then continue dealing through the remainder of the pack, face up, down to the last card and the predicted card has not shown up.

The audience participant turns the sole face down card over. It is the predicted card.

David's method is instantly repeatable. It could be done a dozen times in a row without anyone working out his method.

Mine could be repeated, but I think it's best not to.

And here is David Alexander discussing his unpublished method:
I performed this at one of Docc Hilford's Weerd Weekends in Arizona some years back and it seemed to be what the guys walked away talking about.

I did it at one of Bob Brown's parties at his beach house in Laguna Beach, California just before we all went to see Laguna's Pagent of the Masters. Harry Blackstone, Jr had advised the producers of the Pagent of the Masters on their recreation of several old magic posters and was one of Bob's guests.

Bob asked anyone if they wanted to do something so I did my version of 51 Faces North. Harry pulled me aside and told me seeing that effect was worth the drive from his home in Redlands.

I've done it for several other magicians over the years but it is really something for magicians, not lay audiences. It fulfills all of Stewart James' conditions. I have no plans to publish it.

For me the object of performing for lay audiences is entertainment and getting paid. Few in the audiences I work for care about clever slight of hand or "secrets," most know nothing about our methods.

Lay audiences can be (and should be) astounded by a good handling of a Svengali Deck, an Ultra-Mental Deck or Brainwave, or the simple methodology of MacDonald’s Aces. What entertains amateur magicians is not always the same thing that entertains lay audiences.

As an example: A friend of mine, a full-time close-up entertainer, once made a large tip when a client asked to see his "best" trick. He can do all that riffle shuffle/stacking stuff but decided to do Miko, (the three and a half of Clubs) for the guy. The client was stunned and tipped my friend $200.

I have several friends who squeeze enormous amounts of entertainment out of almost nothing (the force of a card, the switch of a coin) which, to me at least, is admirable as they are giving their audiences what they’re paying for. I try and do the same thing.

If you give the appearance of competence and skill lay audiences think you can do anything you want with a deck of cards so predicting a named card under the “impossible” conditions laid out in 51 Faces North is just as unbelievable and impossible as finding a mentally-selected card reversed in a deck. It takes an audience of magicians to really know how impossible 51 Faces North is.

As Tom observed, the more educated the audience is on magical methods the more this will bother them. I cooked this up to perform just for magicians. For lay audiences it’s just another card trick.

I came up with my version of 51 Faces North almost immediately after reading the description is the big book of Stewart James’ writings. It sort of popped into my head exactly as I perform it. There was no long and involved analysis. It just came to me “fully formed.”

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » January 2nd, 2018, 2:11 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:Here is Tom Baxter discussing David Alexander's method on The Magic Cafe:

I should also mention that David Alexander, who posts here, has an extraordinary version of his own for 51 Faces North. I've seen it in action, and the odd thing about David's unpublished variation is that the more that one knows about card magic or mentalism, the more impossible his effect becomes to the viewer.

David's OP effect and mine both look exactly the same from the audience point of view.

Borrowed deck of cards. A random audience member chosen to assist.

Performer doesn't touch the cards. Audience participant shuffles.

Performer names a card or writes the name of one on a piece of paper and shows everyone.

The audience participant deals cards face up, one at a time, onto the table. Everyone watches for the predicted card, which doesn't show up.

When the dealer feels compelled to stop (a completely free choice) they do. They then deal the next card face down, to one side, but in full view of the audience.

They then continue dealing through the remainder of the pack, face up, down to the last card and the predicted card has not shown up.

The audience participant turns the sole face down card over. It is the predicted card.

David's method is instantly repeatable. It could be done a dozen times in a row without anyone working out his method.

Mine could be repeated, but I think it's best not to.

And here is David Alexander discussing his unpublished method:
I performed this at one of Docc Hilford's Weerd Weekends in Arizona some years back and it seemed to be what the guys walked away talking about.

I did it at one of Bob Brown's parties at his beach house in Laguna Beach, California just before we all went to see Laguna's Pagent of the Masters. Harry Blackstone, Jr had advised the producers of the Pagent of the Masters on their recreation of several old magic posters and was one of Bob's guests.

Bob asked anyone if they wanted to do something so I did my version of 51 Faces North. Harry pulled me aside and told me seeing that effect was worth the drive from his home in Redlands.

I've done it for several other magicians over the years but it is really something for magicians, not lay audiences. It fulfills all of Stewart James' conditions. I have no plans to publish it.

For me the object of performing for lay audiences is entertainment and getting paid. Few in the audiences I work for care about clever slight of hand or "secrets," most know nothing about our methods.

Lay audiences can be (and should be) astounded by a good handling of a Svengali Deck, an Ultra-Mental Deck or Brainwave, or the simple methodology of MacDonald’s Aces. What entertains amateur magicians is not always the same thing that entertains lay audiences.

As an example: A friend of mine, a full-time close-up entertainer, once made a large tip when a client asked to see his "best" trick. He can do all that riffle shuffle/stacking stuff but decided to do Miko, (the three and a half of Clubs) for the guy. The client was stunned and tipped my friend $200.

I have several friends who squeeze enormous amounts of entertainment out of almost nothing (the force of a card, the switch of a coin) which, to me at least, is admirable as they are giving their audiences what they’re paying for. I try and do the same thing.

If you give the appearance of competence and skill lay audiences think you can do anything you want with a deck of cards so predicting a named card under the “impossible” conditions laid out in 51 Faces North is just as unbelievable and impossible as finding a mentally-selected card reversed in a deck. It takes an audience of magicians to really know how impossible 51 Faces North is.

As Tom observed, the more educated the audience is on magical methods the more this will bother them. I cooked this up to perform just for magicians. For lay audiences it’s just another card trick.

I came up with my version of 51 Faces North almost immediately after reading the description is the big book of Stewart James’ writings. It sort of popped into my head exactly as I perform it. There was no long and involved analysis. It just came to me “fully formed.”


I've read this before as well. As Tom describes the effect here, it could very well be done using an instant stooge, where the random audience member who is selected as a participant is not an ordinary stooge but rather is set up on the spot somehow as an instant stooge. David seems to describe his effect as a magician fooler, which would make sense using the instant stooge method, since that very well may fool magicians, especially since its far more devious than using an ordinary stooge-- as the participant can genuinely be randomly selected.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby erdnasephile » January 2nd, 2018, 3:29 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:One of my favourite magician foolers is a version of the Open Prediction that makes clever use of a stooge.

Paul Gordon gave it away for free over here:

http://www.mallofmagic.com/free%20stuff/BTROMF.pdf


If you are going so far as to use a non-instant stooge, why not do this:

1. You make the open prediction.
2. Stooge shuffles cards and controls known card to bottom.
3. Stooge deals cards face up from the top.
4. Stooge deals a face down bottom.
5. Stooge deals rest of cards face up
6. Face down card matches prediction.

No need for counting, etc.

(If you ever see me at a convention, I'll be the stooge for you to impress your significant other. The prediction card will be the Four of Clubs).
Last edited by erdnasephile on January 2nd, 2018, 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 2nd, 2018, 3:32 pm

erdnasephile wrote:... I think the Open Prediction often plays better for magicians than laypersons...

In your experience doing or watching the effect performed - how much better?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » January 2nd, 2018, 6:36 pm

erdnasephile wrote:
Joe Mckay wrote:One of my favourite magician foolers is a version of the Open Prediction that makes clever use of a stooge.

Paul Gordon gave it away for free over here:

http://www.mallofmagic.com/free%20stuff/BTROMF.pdf


If you are going so far as to use a non-instant stooge, why not do this:

1. You make the open prediction.
2. Stooge shuffles cards and controls known card to bottom.
3. Stooge deals cards face up from the top.
4. Stooge deals a face down bottom.
5. Stooge deals rest of cards face up
6. Face down card matches prediction.

No need for counting, etc.

(If you ever see me at a convention, I'll be the stooge for you to impress your significant other. The prediction card will be the Four of Clubs).


I suppose in the case of a regular stooge, to make it look more "clean", you can just tell them beforehand to stop dealing after seeing a specific card (for example, the four of clubs, as in your case). The rundown of the effect would then be as follows:

1. The participant (who is a stooge) shuffles a borrowed pack of cards.

2. You ask the participant to fan out the cards in front of you so you can select your prediction (here you simply note the card after the 'key card' you and the stooge decided upon earlier).

3. Then, you openly name that card as your prediction.

4. The participant deals through the cards face up from the top.

5. The participant deals a card face down (they deal the card after the 'key card' face down).

6. The participant deals rest of cards face up.

7. Face down card matches prediction.

This seems to play out more cleanly.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 2nd, 2018, 7:39 pm

Perhaps this have been tried... short of stooging - but you need a complaint volunteer to deal through the cards. You note the card above your selected/force card and write messages on both sides of the paper. Something like "You will stop dealing cards when you see the five of clubs" on one side of the paper to direct the dealing. And write "You will turn over the only face down card which will be the seven of diamonds" for the prediction on the other side.

Just a fleeting thought this chilly night in NY,

JonT
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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » January 2nd, 2018, 8:10 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Perhaps this have been tried... short of stooging - but you need a complaint volunteer to deal through the cards. You note the card above your selected/force card and write messages on both sides of the paper. Something like "You will stop dealing cards when you see the five of clubs" on one side of the paper to direct the dealing. And write "You will turn over the only face down card which will be the seven of diamonds" for the prediction on the other side.

Just a fleeting thought this chilly night in NY,

JonT


Similar ideas to this have crossed my mind in the past when I was experimenting with using an instant stooge to perform this kind of effect. I would group this method under an 'instant stooge', since the person is being set-up on the spot. This seems to play out better than Britland's instant stooging method (from the blogpost I linked above), where he signals the spectator when to stop dealing by tapping them on the foot. I guess one advantage with this method where you instruct the spectator where to stop dealing by writing on the opposite side of the prediction paper is that you can have your back turned to the spectator as they deal through the cards, whereas with the foot-tapping method you obviously cannot do that. This might add an extra layer of deceptiveness, where you can say, "Now I will turn my back to the spectator as they deal, because I do not want anyone to think that I am influencing the spectator in anyway as to when to stop dealing." This also has the extra advantage of meeting all 18 of Stewart's conditions. Let's look at all the conditions for a moment:

1 Borrowed cards may be used.

2 The deck is ordinary and might even have cards missing. You don't have to know which cards, or how many are missing. You only have to be sure that the card you predict is there.

3 You do not need privacy with the cards to set something.

4 The deck is never out of sight for a moment.

5 No card or cards are stolen from or added to the deck.

6 Borrowed writing materials may be used.

7 It is described as a prediction at the time of writing. The prediction is the name of a card. It is known to all before the first card is dealt.

8 Strictly impromptu. No time alone to set-up the cards or special tools necessary.

9 No alternative meanings or effect.

10 Nothing but the borrowed articles used.

11 When the spectator stars dealing the performer does not know where the predicted card is. It would not help to know with this method. Nor does the performer know the location in the pack of any other card.

12 The performer never knows when the spectator will leave a card face down until after they have done so.

13 The spectator deals straight through from top to face, the only variation is when he leaves a card face down.

14 It is not a once-in-a-while trick. If the instructions are followed, it cannot fail.

15 The cards are never handled by the performer from first to last, at any time immediately before, during or after the trick.

16 The spectator checks that the face down card is the predicted one.

17 This method could be used by someone for criminal purposes.

18 While part of this method is already used in Magic, it is not a well-known method for use with cards. It could be used for other than cards.

The foot-tapping instant stooging method from Britland's effect seems to meet all of these conditions except for #12. The other instant stooging method in question, where the spectator is told when to stop dealing on the opposite side of the prediction paper, meets this condition provided that the performer turns their back to the spectator during the deal. If the performer faces the spectator and watches them deal, then they will know when the spectator will leave a card face down before they do so (hence violating condition #12), because in this case the performer will see the 'key card' (where the spectator is to stop the deal) once the spectator deals it, which will tell the performer that the next card is where the spectator will deal a card face down. Of course, this is not an issue if the performer turns their back to the spectator through the dealing process, which they can do with this instant stooging method, unlike in Britland's instant stooging method where this is not possible.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 2nd, 2018, 8:23 pm

David Alexander noted: 'It takes an audience of magicians to really know how impossible 51 Faces North is."

This really is an impossible effect without a stooge or some other contrivance like a switch, nail writer, or a gaffed card. One can try it and get lucky if done cleanly but it's a one in 52 shot. Britland's solution from his Cardopolis blog with a selected card isn't bad either.

That was an interesting observation by Mark that some performers can begin to over rely on stooges.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Inquisitive » January 2nd, 2018, 8:45 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:David Alexander noted: 'It takes an audience of magicians to really know how impossible 51 Faces North is."

This really is an impossible effect without a stooge or some other contrivance like a switch, nail writer, or a gaffed card. One can try it and get lucky if done cleanly but it's a one in 52 shot. Britland's solution from his Cardopolis blog with a selected card isn't bad either.

That was an interesting observation by Mark that some performers can begin to over rely on stooges.


Tom's effect does not use a stooge (instant or otherwise), nor does it use a switch or any gaffs/gimmicks, etc. Based on what he says, it also meets all 18 of Stewart's conditions. It also does not, as I mentioned earlier to you, use a nail writer, as the predicted card is known to all before the deal begins. In fact, he has told me through email that his effect can be performed over Skype, where the spectator is handling the cards on their end, while he is simply viewing them through video chat, so there really can be no switch, gaffs/gimmicks, etc., etc. Under these conditions, yes, I am inclined to agree with you that the effect *seems* impossible. However, that said, Tom is a reputed magician/mentalist. Personally, I find it hard to believe that he cooked up a hoax just to play mind games with others lasting over 10 years (as I said, talk about his effect goes as far back as 2007 and as early as 2017 over on the Magic Cafe). Also, given the fact that over the years multiple reputed magicians/mentalists have confirmed that Tom's effect is real, that provides further support for its validity. I would conclude, then, that the effect is possible even though it *seems* to be impossible.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby performer » January 3rd, 2018, 12:50 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:That was an interesting observation by Mark that some performers can begin to over rely on stooges.


Not my theory. I learned it many, many years ago from the presentation section of Expert Card Technique. I have always found this section of the classic book to be the most valuable part of the entire text. You can ignore every trick or sleight in that book but if you study this particular section thoroughly you will get a hundred times your money's worth. I know I have.

It has the best arguments against stooges that I have ever read. I am not against their use entirely but I have always kept in mind what Expert Card Technique said about them and I believe they should be used sparingly. This is one case where you can have too much of a good thing. I have used them for the tie cutting trick and the very, very occasional use of an instant stooge. And I would probably use them for other stuff if I found it powerful enough. But I would try to avoid making a habit of it as it can be a very bad thing.

These are the reasons that Hugard and Braue advised against it;
1. Audiences can be intelligent animals and they often have a knack of sniffing them out. Sometimes they overact or perhaps the magician gives the game away by his own incompetence. Or perhaps the effect is too impossible that only one solution is possible. A stooge. A sort of too perfect theory and interestingly enough that process seems to be going on in this very thread!
2. People like to gossip and that includes confederates. As time goes by they may well relate to their friends about the time they helped you out. And that is not a good thing! And if you depend on stooges you always have to have them with you and that is not always convenient.
3. As I stated earlier you become a confederate addict. It can be very tempting to succumb to the habit of getting terrific effects using this method and ignoring the negative effects of the addiction. The authors also pointed out that the magician loses some of his self respect. I am not sure I agree with this but here is what they said for what it is worth:
"He is accepting the applause of his audience by false pretenses; he does not merit their approval, he has done nothing and knows it. The consciencs of men is a curious thing; the conjurer who uses a confederate sooner or later finds that the pride in his skill which he must have if he is to be successful has been eaten away by the knowledge that he is not as competent as his fellow craftsman"

Again, my advice on this matter is that if you feel you must use a stooge, do so but do so sparingly.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 3rd, 2018, 1:33 am

Inquisitive wrote:Tom's effect does not use a stooge (instant or otherwise), nor does it use a switch or any gaffs/gimmicks, etc. Based on what he says, it also meets all 18 of Stewart's conditions. It also does not, as I mentioned earlier to you, use a nail writer, as the predicted card is known to all before the deal begins. In fact, he has told me through email that his effect can be performed over Skype, where the spectator is handling the cards on their end, while he is simply viewing them through video chat, so there really can be no switch, gaffs/gimmicks, etc., etc.


If it can be performed over a chat video then the spectator is nudged into turning over the predicted card thru some type of mathematical procedure. Mr. Baxter is clever but has no real magical or psychic powers.

Inquisitive wrote:I am inclined to agree with you that the effect *seems* impossible. However, that said, Tom is a reputed magician/mentalist. Personally, I find it hard to believe that he cooked up a hoax just to play mind games with others lasting over 10 years (as I said, talk about his effect goes as far back as 2007 and as early as 2017 over on the Magic Cafe).


Playing mind games with others is how legendary effects are created: In the minds of the recipients. There certainly is talk on the Magic Cafe, a newbie watering hole. Lots of mindless talk by newbies there who know nothing. They know next to nothing. If they knew that they knew nothing, that would be something. But they don't.

Inquisitive wrote:Also, given the fact that over the years multiple reputed magicians/mentalists have confirmed that Tom's effect is real, that provides further support for its validity. I would conclude, then, that the effect is possible even though it *seems* to be impossible.


Who are those reputable magicians/mentalists who confirmed Tom's effect? Are there quotes by them?

performer wrote:These are the reasons that Hugard and Braue advised against it;
1. Audiences can be intelligent animals and they often have a knack of sniffing them out. Sometimes they overact or perhaps the magician gives the game away by his own incompetence. Or perhaps the effect is too impossible that only one solution is possible. A stooge. A sort of too perfect theory and interestingly enough that process seems to be going on in this very thread!


Exactly Mark!

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 3rd, 2018, 3:42 am

Inquisitive Wrote: "I am inclined to agree with you that the effect *seems* impossible. However, that said, Tom is a reputed magician/mentalist. Personally, I find it hard to believe that he cooked up a hoax just to play mind games with others lasting over 10 years...Also, given the fact that over the years multiple reputed magicians/mentalists have confirmed that Tom's effect is real, that provides further support for its validity. I would conclude, then, that the effect is possible even though it *seems* to be impossible."

Leonard Wrote: "Playing mind games with others is how legendary effects are created: In the minds of the recipients...Who are those reputable magicians/mentalists who confirmed Tom's effect? Are there quotes by them?"

I think Leo has made a valid point here (among others he has made on this thread), and has raised the appropriate questions. I would add that the testimony of reputed magicians and/or mentalists hardly provides solid evidence. If one of them were to be a witness in court, the first thing the opposing attorney would ask: "So, sir, am I correct that, in order to be an effective magician or mentalist, you must be skilled at deceiving people?" Even assuming it could be verifiably shown that there are identifiable "reputed" magician/mentalists who "confirm" that the "effect is real," how could their confirmation be proven real? For they, themselves, may either have been duped, or be in cahoots with the perpetrator.

It seems there are two choices here: (1) An effect which, under the stated conditions, "seems impossible" (by the OP's own admission) is, in fact, impossible; or (2) although the effect seems impossible, it actually is possible because it's alleged creator and his (as yet unknown) supporters, all of whom are reputed magicians or mentalists, say that it is. Even if one were to argue (and, I believe, unconvincingly) that it is improbable that both the creator of the alleged effect and his (again, as yet unidentified) supporters could be misrepresenting the facts, whether intentionally or unintentionally so, logic militates in favor of choice (1). "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" (The Sign of the Four, Arthur Conan Doyle, Chap. 6, p.111)

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby performer » January 3rd, 2018, 9:44 am

I know Thomas Baxter. I may well be wrong but he doesn't seem the stooge type. David Alexander certainly was.

I have no particular interest in this trick and am vague about what the effect is let alone the method. However, it was once pointed out to me by an old friend who is more or less a layman although she knows a tiny bit about magic, that the best way to figure out how a trick is done is to use what she termed "child's logic". In other words figure out what a child would think. In other words the most obvious method. It may be hidden in some way but that is where the secret usually lies.

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Re: David Alexander's 'Holy Grail' Open Prediction

Postby Jack Shalom » January 3rd, 2018, 3:30 pm

Interesting new effect on the Reel Magic site Tuesday Night Tricks section called What in the World.

It doesn't meet all the specifications by a long shot, but it's a pretty interesting take on the Open Prediction with quite a lot of freedom.

Performer puts a prediction card face down on the table.
Spec shuffles cards as much as he wants.
Spec deals face down and stops wherever he wants, free choice.
The magician picks up the specs choice and the prediction card. Both cards are turned over--they are mates.


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