A while back, in a
One-Man Parade in the Linking Ring magazine, Max Maven offered a
wonderful routine involving those tools of exorcism - bell, book, and
candle. He called it Toll, Tome, and Tallow (which is stretching
alliteration a bit far, even for the Maven!). I loved the routine, the
props, the handling, the works. But it was a bit long for table work and
so I came up with the following. It is completely different from the
Maven's routine; the only similarity is the props - and they are
crucial; the more charismatic the better, because the routine is 99 per
cent presentation and 1 per cent working.
The wizard gives an ancient scroll to a spectator and then puts three
items on the table: a tiny bell, a tiny book, and a tiny candle in a
candlestick. The spectator has an absolutely free choice of any of the
items and yet, after the choice is made, when she unrolls the scroll, it
confirms her choice.
The scroll is about an inch or two wide and three or four inches long, parchment paper, burned on all edges to give the appearance of age. On it is written, in calligraphic-type script, the words: "Ye shall choose the candle."
Giving the scroll to the spectator, you say: "In the 16th century, a wave of witch hysteria swept Europe. In England, seeing a golden opportunity, one Matthew Hopkins set him self up as a self-styled Witchfinder-General. He would go from town to town, village to village, seeking alleged witches and proving them to be just that - or blameless. There were very few who were found to be blameless. "Hopkins used the traditional tools of exorcism in his rituals - a bell, a book - usually the Bible - and a candle. (Put the three items on the table.)
"To our modern minds, such simple things would seem unlikely to have any power. But, to show you the inherent magic in these three items, I would like you to pick up one and give it to me. (If the spectator chooses the candle, ask her to unroll the scroll and read it aloud. The routine is over at this point. If, however, she chooses one of the others, continue:) "Now I would like you to pick up one of the remaining two items . . . (she does so - if it is the candle, continue as follows). . . and hold it yourself.
I will now eliminate the book. So what has happened here? You chose the bell (if that was the first choice) for me, you chose the candle for yourself, and you eliminated the book. Now please unroll the scroll and read it. (She does and it names her choice). (If the spectator chooses, from the two remaining, the piece that is not the candle, continue as follows:) ". . . and give it to me as well.
You may now pick up the
candlestick, since you have eliminated the other two items. Now, unroll
the scroll and read it aloud."
Please do not use a
Christmas bell, a paperback book and a birthday candle. You want to take
the heat off the method and put it on the innocent props. Also, the
wording is important. It must sound to the spectator that she is making
all the decisions.
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|All the material in this lecture is copyrighted with all rights reserved to Peter Marucci, 2002.|