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Symbol Simon - Phil Goldstein (Max Maven)

by ping jin | post a comment

The Effect: is quite straightforward: the mentalist displays five (or more) cards. On each has been drawn a different geometric shape. The cards are mixed, and randomly dealt out onto the table, face down. The spectator indicates a card - and his choice is genuinely free and uninfluenced. 
This card turns out to be, let’s say, the triangle design. This proves to be the design previously predicted in writing by the performer.

Note that there are no multiples outs involved here, so the prediction can be sealed in any kind of container, and left with a spectator in advance.

The Method: is quite simple, although it will take an evening of preparation. It’s worth the hour to make up the materials, however, for once they are prepared they can be used repeatedly without further work. 

The set of cards is prepared to force the triangle, but in a very deceptive manner. 
You will need several blank-faced cards, a wide tipped marking pen, scissors, and magician’s  wax. 

The suggested designs are triangle, circle, square, diamond, and pentagon. The latter four designs are larger than the triangle, and in fact the triangle will fit inside of any of the other symbols. This is the key to this mystery.

Begin by taking five cards. Draw matching triangles on the face of each card. Now on some extra card stock, draw the other four designs. Carefully cut the other designs. Now take the market and run it around the edge of each of the cut-out designs. Using a small amount of wax, secure each design over a triangle. 

One of the cards will simply bear the triangle; the other four cards will show different symbols. From even a few inches away, these prepared  cards will appear fair - as if the symbol had been drawn directly onto the card. One final piece of preparation: mark the back of the un-prepared triangle card, so that you will be able to locate this card later on. I use scratches made in the corner of the card with a razor blade. Prepare your prediction in any manner you choose (and once again I stress that your possibilities are limitless,so be creative.....) and you’re set to perform Symbol Simon.

Start by displaying the cards freely. Discuss the different designs. Now deal the cards out onto the table in a long row. Mix them up a bit. (A minimum of care will insure that the waxed-on bits of card will not fall off). 

It is suggested that you see to it that the marked card ends up in a position second from an end of the row. This increases the odds that the spectator will indicate the un-gaffed card, and make your work simpler. At any rate, ask the spectator to point to one of the cards. If he does pick the marked card, turn it face up to show a trigangle. Then show the other cards again, remarking that he could have picked any one of them... and have the prediction shown.

Should the spectator point to another card, here’s what you do: Pick up the card and hold it face down in your left hand. Ask if the spectator would like to change his mind. If he says no, you peek at the card you’re holding. What you do is to lift up on the inner end of the card with you right thumb,  while pressing on the center of the card with your index finger. This seemingly innocent action will cause the waxed-on piece to pop off onto your left palm. 

Tip the left hand towards yourself as the right hand picks up the card from the inner end and rotates it towards the spectator. When the card has been turned face up (showing a triangle), let the left hand stretch open. Tap the center of face up card, to emphasize that a triangle was chosen. This action causes the waxed piece to adhere to the back of the card. You can now place the chosen card onto the table, face up, in a most open fingered and casual manner - the gaff is out of sight.

Pick up the other cards, and casually flash the faces of all but the marked one (which bears another triangle) as you comment on the other possible choices. 

Now have the prediction opened. As this happens, you can simply take all of your materials and put them away. Since all of the action has been so deliberate and fair appearing, the audience will have no interest in examining the cards. You might, however, desire to switch the gaffed cards for an ungimmicked set of the symbols, to go into some other effects of the type normally done with standard ESP cards. 
(Reproduced from Mantra, April 1976)

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