Monthly Archives: January 2017
Specific Resonance is my version of the Ambitious Card.
It is, as it is called in Our Magic, an “Effect of Repetition,” in which the same effect—that a card placed in the middle of the deck mysteriously rises to the top of the deck without apparent believable cause—is obtained several times in a row, presumably with increasing believability and apparent fairness in the procedure each time.
There are hundreds of moves to accomplish this same effect, and the most difficult question is how to choose which moves to use, and in what order they should be used.
Also, how do we end a routine of repetition?
Generally, an effect of repetition is a relatively modest effect which by repetition gains strength. This is because the conditions are apparently changed each time in such a way that each possible solution is sought during, and cancelled out by, the next repetition. This is important to understand, because in my opinion effects of repetition will only bear three repetitions without sufficient reason.
The first time, the spectators are not watching particularly closely, but are surprised by the effect. They decide they should watch closer. Now they look to see if the card is really going into the middle.
It does go in the middle, and they wonder if maybe there is something going on with the card reaching the top. Maybe the magician is showing two cards as one or something, but no, the card was not on the top, but then it was—and it was clearly just one card. “I give up,” the spectator thinks.
This is the point at which the spectator “gives up” and admits he doesn’t understand how it happens.
He now wants you to explain it to him or stop and go on to something else. Three times is about the limit in my experience.
Now, in order to get them to watch a fourth time, or a fifth, or possibly even more; the magician has to offer a “come on.” This term comes from the short con. It means that the operator offers a sure thing, or at least to make it easier for the mark somehow. “Look! I’ll bend the corner of the card.”
“Look…I’ll let you keep your finger on the shell the whole time.”
This is similar to “the hook” which gives similar encouragement but is not pointed out by the operator, it is “discovered” by the mark.
“Oh, look! The card is bent! He’s thrown them and it’s still bent! I got him!”
After “I’ll do it, I’ll do it again, and I’ll do it real slow” the magician needs a reason why the spectator should watch again. “Look, I’ll do it face up!”
“Look, I’ll let you do it.” So that is the basic structure of my routine. The moves cancel each other out and the spectator is clueless. When he appears to do everything himself and it still works, it becomes spooky.
At this point they can believe anything, even that the magician has more than one of the chosen cards that sports a signature on it somehow.
That is the only solution left.
The magician promptly makes fun of that by showing the whole deck is full of the chosen card, all with identical signatures. As they jump at straws, the deck is handed out and the chosen card is gone. It is found in the performer’s wallet, inside a sealed envelope. “That’s where I always keep that card so it doesn’t get in trouble.”
Larry Jennings argued with me many times about this ending. He felt that it was “mixing effects” and that has to be wrong. He didn’t like it when I ended the routine with Card on Ceiling.
He admitted that both endings seemed to work really well in my routine, but couldn’t understand why it should. Eventually, we looked it up in “Our Magic” where it stated that the “only” time that effects should or could be mixed is when one effect is an “Effect of Repetition” and the second effect is an “Effect of Surprise.” Larry accepted that as the final word on it and never brought it up again.
In Specific Resonance, we once again see the power of “Calling the Card Face Down” and expressing emotion or information through moves like the Double Lift.
I look for conflict and emotion in every trick. The more opportunity I have to express some sort of emotion, the better I like a routine.
This routine offers a wonderful opportunity for example, when the spectator gets to “do it herself.” If she replaces half the deck on top of the card I have just placed on the other half, her tendency is to square the completed deck of cards.
If she does, I look shocked and surprised and slightly dismayed. “Did I say square them? I don’t think I did…”
This creates an amusing bit of byplay, with emotional interest, but also confirms in the mind of the audience that the actions were always under the control of the spectator. One last point is about the magic moment.
There has to be a point at which the magician invokes the magic power.
This moment can be serious, “As I cast a shadow…” or more playful, “When I tap at a specific resonance, the molecules of the chosen card…” but it must be present or the trick won’t get the reaction it should. Without the lie, magic loses its charm.
The magic gesture or “moment” signals when a change in condition has taken place. This false correlation is very powerful. It influences the spectator’s thinking, and leads him to the conclusion that “nothing could have happened that could possibly explain it.”
But it also triggers the imagination, and invokes all our deepest fears and hopes about the limits of reality.
It is the signal of some kind of “a split between the worlds.”
~ from Creating the Magic Routine by Pop Haydn
See Pop Haydn perform his routine: Specific Resonance