OFFICIAL I.C.O.M PAST LESSON ARCHIVE
This Forum Is Rated PG
Introduction to this forum,
Magic has many facets and tastes. This area may not be for everyone, but then again YOU may not be everyone! This area is devoted to magic on the spooky side. It may deal with dark imagery and SUPERNATURAL themes. Due to overwhelming demand, we have included a forum devoted to this branch of the magical arts that has been coined, “Bizarre Magic”. This is theatre, plain and simple, and was a wildly popular form of magic around the beginning of the 20th century. It is STILL popular among many people as a way to bring more drama to magic.
The “Shadows” segments are a collection of previously unreleased original Bizarre publications that will appear quarterly. The artwork for “Shadows” are original and include a poem to set the mood for the coming months written by Ronald J. Dayton. With an added quote from noted writers.
2nd. quarter 1999
“Shadows” is a publication that will appear, as shadows often do, at different times, and in varying lengths and form. As always, the image cast is dependent upon the amount of light being shed, and its direction. Much like our magic itself, shadows change with movement, Without movement, there is no change.. without light, there is no shadow.
When we were children….shadows and dark places often struck terror in our hearts. fear of the unseen, the unknown, was more than we could comprehend. Why then, as adults, so we still cling to friends, using them as human nightlights against our fears, when they are as afraid to open their eyes as we?
Where has the sun-drenched childhood wonder gone? Why has the thirst for knowledge been quenched by complacency?
You need only look into a child’s eyes to see the inner glow of wonderment. It is a light by innocence, and an insatiable hunger to learn. What a pity then, that as we mature….those eyes have been clouded with cataracts of content.
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson – CIRCLES
” AN EXPERIMENT…BEYOND TAROT “
Ronald J. Dayton
I believe you will find this to be a perfect little interlude during your very next party. Good times…good friends…a little refreshment, and the occult. Who could ask for anything more !?
Seriously however…this is a very nice piece of bizarre magic which will provide an unusual and interesting break from the norm at your next gathering. This works best for a smaller group of friends…say six to ten. It begins with a clever display of fate and fortunes with a Tarot Deck…and leads to additional, more unconventional paths of travel.
I wish I could take credit for everything you are about to read…but I cannot. The fact of the matter is, I have contributed very little. Beyond Tarot was created by a dear friend of mine…Dean A. Montalbano. His interests are extremely diversified…and I would most certainly consult with him for any background I might need concerning knowledge of the occult.
During the course of the evening, the subject of Tarot Decks if casually worked to the forefront of the conversations. There will be a degree of interest shown by those present, all-be-it reluctantly displayed by some. People are curious about the unknown…and even though they know better, they are often prone to drift toward knowledge best left undisturbed. And so it is this evening as they are seated around your dining room table.
You announce that what you would like to attempt is an experiment….a test if you will of the powers of the Tarot. Two identical Tarot Decks are produced…one from each side jacket pocket. One is pushed toward the individual seated opposite you with the request that he fans the cards toward himself, and remove all of the Major Arcana. If he is at all familiar with Tarot Decks, he will know what to do. If not…simply explains that these are the twenty-two cards with no suit of value….the picture cards of the deck if you should choose to view them in that way. They are to be removed one at a time from left to right…tabled face down…with each successive card going on top of the previous tabled card. When all twenty-two cards have been removed…the remaining suit cards are set to one side as they will not be needed in the
Your tabled Major Arcana will consist of: The Moon, The Star, The Tower, The Devil, Temperance, Death, The Sun, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, The Hanged Man, Justice, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Empress, The World, Judgement, The Fool, and The Emperor. The particular order will vary of course.
To quell suspicions of the skeptics within your ranks, both partial decks of twenty-two cards were placed face-up, side by side and the top card of each partial deck flipped face down one to its respective side…showing the randomness of order in a very fair and above-board manner.
One of the decks is returned to the guest as you use the other to demonstrate how the guest’s cards must be dealt with during the experiment…face down, one atop the other. You on the other hand will simultaneously be dealing from a face-up deck so no one can later accuse you of changing any of the cards. Your ( the host’s ) cards are removed from your face up deck and placed into a face-down pile upon the table. At any point during this disregarding process…the guest may say the word ” OUT “. When this is spoken, the next top card on each individual’s deck is tabled to one side. The guest’s cards are tabled face down…the hosts are face up.
After all twenty-two cards have been passed, they are again placed side by side, face-up upon the table. Once again, by simultaneously turning over and tabling each top card of the decks…they are shown to be in entirely different orders.
Now we have reached the conclusion of the experiment. Let us say, for sake of argument, that the guest called the word ” OUT ” five times. His five cards lay face down to one side… your cards are clearly visible in a face-up row. We shall also assume that the five face-up cards are The Wheel of Fortune, The Tower, The Magician, The Hanged Man, and the Fool. It is fair to say, I believe…that even the most skeptical individual person at the gathering would be surprised if there were three out of five random matches between the guest and yourself. That would even be a passing test in any ESP experiment as conducted originally at Duke University using twenty-five symbol cards. In that instance, in a series of four runs of twenty-five trials…twenty matches indicated ‘chance’….28 matches were ‘fair success’…and thirty-two indicated ‘ excellent results’. When you compare the Dr. Rhine experiment with the percentages found in the Tarot experiment…there really is no comparison.
If indeed, the powers of the Tarot Deck go beyond that of pure chance, perhaps they are magical and can chart our destiny?? With each turn of the guest’s tabled cards, anticipation and amazement grew. And in the end…there before them…removed from their very deck lay face-up cards. They were, in perfect order…The Wheel of Fortune, The Tower, The Magician, The Hanged Man, and The Fool! A perfect match to those removed and lying face up in front of the host with each call of ” OUT “.
” I know,” you confide in a somber tone. I was as amazed as you the first few times this happened. Now it has become as uneventful as a morning cup of coffee or my daily commute to work. I am not troubled by it…but…I find I do regret tempting the fates. I’ve discovered that the powers of the Tarot are not the kind to be dabbled in by the mere novice. You see…these ‘powers’ are not natural…not of our realm. When we unleash the Tarot…we open a Pandora’s Box into our midst.
” I was so totally unaware of the dangers when all this began. I hate to burden you with it now. But some things are better brought into the open…gotten off one’s chest.
About three weeks after my experiments and dabbling began…strange things began to happen, here in the house at night. I found lights I know I turned off in the evening, burning brightly the next day. There were sounds. Bumps and thumps I could not explain. Personal items from my nightstand were not where I put them when I awoke.
I thought at first that there was some vagrant who had broken into the basement or crept through an open window, and was hiding in the attic. But I have checked, time and time again. There is no one here. But then…I don’t have an explanation for what I’ve been finding in the bathroom. Come with me…I’ll show you what I mean.”
When you enter the bathroom, the first thing you point to is the waste-basket. it is cluttered with thick dark hair which seems to have been shorn in clumps from someone, or, something. The soap dish is cluttered with filthy nail clippings and the washbasin is soiled with what might be toothpaste. No one can be sure.
” I know you must think I am crazy for keeping these things…or at least for not calling the police. But quite frankly, I’m a little scared. I don’t know what it is we are dealing with here…but if you’ll stand with me, we can settle it once and for all tonight.
I took a chance and did one last reading of the Tarot Deck to see what path I could follow. It told me that there were powers present which would allow me to create the beast or Incubus that threatens me…to bring it at will to flesh and form.
We must combine the hair and nails and whatever has been spat into my sink, place it into a bowl, and mix and grind it well. Once ground to a paste, the tip of this ancient statuette must be dipped into it. If all goes well, the Incubus will appear, and the statuette will symbolically destroy her. We shall see.”
As make-shift tools…a shaving mug is removed from the medicine cabinet along with its sturdy handled brush. A snippet of the hair is first to be dropped into the mug, followed by a pinch of the disgusting nails. Most repulsive of all…a bit of the slimy sludge in the basin of the sink is scooped up using a section the statuette. The statuette is tabled on the vanity for a moment as the handle of the shaving brush is used to grind the components into a paste. That done…the statuette is again picked up and dipped into the demonic mix as you utter a chant of some sort deep and low within your throat.
A noise is heard, muffled, somewhere in the distance. Another room perhaps…something is stirring. The lights begin to flicker and dim as the intensity of your chant increases. Then, without warning…there is a horrific scream. The door in the room directly across the hall swings open with a hellish fury, and there, framed in the blackness of the room stands a hideous looking temptress of the night. Her eyes are dark and empty. Her face is twisted and contorted as animal screeches fill the air.
The guests are in shock. The lights flicker one more time as you step slightly forward and wave the statuette into the air. Your foe howls in pain… As her hands pull briefly aside…the cloth is seen stained with deep red blood. She grabs her chest again, then stumbles back just a bit into the darkness as a huge flash fills the doorway. At that very moment…the lights go out completely.
Your petrified guests stand frozen in their spot, unable to move. There is a mixture of nervous laughs and crying in the room. You plead with them to be calm. After a long thirty seconds or so, the lights come on full once again. You peer across the hall to find the door is once again closed…and wisps of smoke are gradually clearing from the space.
It is you who first approaches the door…grabs the knob and gives it a cautious turn…but it is locked. As you turn to face your bewildered guests once again…the door you just checked slowly opens part way. In time…when courage is at its peak…you and several friends turn on the light and enter the room. It is empty but for the exception of a blood-stained throw rug near the door, and a small clump of thick black hair.
All will be in a bit of shock. It is time for the night to end. As the guests depart, you thank them for their help and pledge solemnly never to tempt the fates again.
—————————— AN EXPLANATION OF EVENTS:
The Matching of Random Cards: Although the two Tarot Decks appear to be shown clearly in random order…things of magical nature are not always as they seem. They are in fact…in identical order at the start…identical REVERSED order that is! Prior to the removal of the twenty-two Major Arcana cards…the top card of each full deck matches the bottom card of the other…the card second from the top matches the card second from the bottom and so forth through the entire deck. When the two decks are placed side by side, face-up, and simultaneously shown by turning the top card of each deck over and tabling it to its respective side face down… the cards appear to be well mixed and each deck totally different.
The spectator ( guest ) is given one of the decks face down as you use the other to demonstrate how he is to disregard his cards in the phase to follow. You hold your deck face down and deal them off one at a time face down on to the table as you explain the process. What you are doing, in reality, is secretly reversing the order of the deck you hold into the exact same order as the cards you have just given to your guest. Your flow of chatter continues throughout as you explain the way in which the guest will be allowed to randomly call ” OUT ” at any point to indicate that is where each of you is to table a random selection. You explain as well that his/her cards should always be tabled face down…and yours will be tabled face up to prevent any trickery.
It is at this point that the Major Arcana cards are removed from left to right and tabled face down to one side of your respective decks. The remaining cards are put well to the side since it is only the packet of twenty-two Major Arcana pasteboards we are working within the experiment.
The dealing now begins. Each card you deal from the top of your deck is dealt face-up…one atop the other. As a card is called ‘out’ by the guest, you place yours on the table face up as the spectator tables theirs face down. You both then return to your dealing piles and repeat the removal process at the discretion of the guest’s call of ‘out’.
When all is done…your deck will be in exactly the same order you started with…but the guests ( since they were dealing face down one atop the other ) will now be reversed. You are free to turn both decks face up, and once again prove the cards are well mixed and in random order. However…the remarkable part of this entire sequence of events is this…because the cards were in the same order as you dealt them off…the face down and face up disregards removed at each call of ‘out’, will match EXACTLY !!
The Incubus: The first show of proof of the Tarot is given in the demonstration at the dining room table. It is here that the groundwork for the remainder of the evening is laid. It is your tone and your conviction that will sell the totality of the effect. The events which follow in the bathroom and the adjoining room are basically pure theater.
The statuette can be virtually anything that looks a little eerie, from a spooky child’s toy, to something found in a nic-nac shop. Keep your eye out for things that can work in the context of the routine. Remember, the idea here is to produce something that looks like an ancient artifact of sorts.
The hair may be purchased at any craft store were doll supplies and wigs are available. The nails and clippings are bits and pieces cut from a lady’s press-on nail kit found at most variety stores. The bit of grunge in your basin may well be some of the toy store variety slime and goo so popular these days mixed with a bit of toothpaste. As an alternative mix…use toothpaste, a bit of egg white, and some green or yellow food coloring.
The lighting must be controlled via a remote dimmer switch via your female accomplice in the adjoining room. She is of course…there from the start. Any variety of Halloween makeup and wigs will provide the grotesque look she sports. The screams and howls may be pre-recorded and played on demand for the best effect.
The bright flash just prior to her disappearance is simply a Fism-Flash hidden in the darkness of the room…positioned just in front of the Incubus. And finally, the blood which pours from her chest is simply a blood blatter filled with fake blood, and broken on cue as she grasps for her chest.
Moments later, it is she who unlocks the door just prior to her secret exit from the room. No one will be in a hurry to approach, believe me…so there is ample time for her to leave. The stained rug and hair were there from the start. The Fism-Flash makes a silent departure with your accomplice.
One of the oddest things about this presentation it seems to me is the fact that the demonic female form never really vanishes at all. The door simply closes in front of her. But the later inspection of the room reveals absolutely nothing. ( She of course has left by a predetermined route…be it a door to yet another room and then to the outside…or possibly, in a window in a one-story dwelling.) It is ‘implied’ that she has vanished into thin air. And although that is not what the guest have seen…it is what they will remember. The blood-stained throw rug and a clump of hair are all that remain.
The premise of the nails and hair were Deans originally. I have generated the touches of the Incubus and her flight. I hope you have enjoyed the premise…and that you will find a way to present it which pleases and entertains both you and your guests.
Ronald J. Dayton
Slate Writing or Spirit Slates have been employed by both mediums and magicians for many decades past. Spirit Mediums would present the slates as actual physical proof of having made contact with the world beyond. Messages would appear in an eerie manner…written on slates previously shown to be blank The usual method employed two wooden frame slates, which were very common in earlier days…being used by students to write their lessons in school. The slates were shown in a convincing manner on each side, then stacked together. Often, the joined slates were held, resting in the lap of the person attempting to contact a deceased loved one. The medium would then go into a trance…and while in this state, supposedly cross-over to the other side…and contact, and actually become the intermediate for the deceased soul. Eventually, the medium came out of their trance-like state…and when the slates were separated, a message to the paying customer was written on the slate. The impression created was that it was a direct contact from the departed relative/ friend.
These spirit mediums were frauds and crooks…bilking innocent people out of their money. Often, when the parties involved were fully convinced and deceived into believing what was taking place was really real….the sessions would go on for months and sometimes even years. Entire life savings would exchange hands in time…going from the believed individual, to the con artist.
Magicians on the other hand later presented these slate effects in pseudo spiritualistic presentations. It was obvious to all involved that the displays of spiritualism were purely entertainment…and were not claimed to be genuine. Magicians perform the slates as pure theater…and their audiences accept it in this light.
But what are the Spirit Slates…and what principles are employed in their working? Simplicity is the key to their success. Simplicity, and very subtle and calculated handling. Much of their impact is due to psychology…and the power of suggestion. It is important to create an atmosphere for the slates. Theatrics, lighting, music, and carefully prepared dialog are important factors as well. The spectators must be guided into a way of thinking, a mindset, if you will, which, will help to suspend disbelief and logic for a while. You must play on their weaknesses…and find the Achile’s Heel steeped in myths and even fears of the After Life and the spirit world beyond. The questions of our own mortality which live in the dark recesses of our minds. And when you have succeeded…the strength of the presentation will belie the very ordinary and even bold method used.
The slates, as has been mentioned earlier, are nothing more than that in their most basic form. Two wood frame slates. The writing surface is recessed evenly within the frame of each. But the diabolically clever gimmick to work the magic is nothing more than a piece of sturdy cardboard stock, cut to fit within the framework and lay against one side of the slate…but loose enough to fall out if the slate is tipped over. This cardboard has been painted flat black on both sides. It is also wise to spray each side with a clear flat sealer, available in the art
supply and craft stores.
The medium or magician writes whatever message they want to appear on one surface of the slate prior to the presentation. The black cardboard insert is then placed over the writing. When the slates are held properly, one in each hand, they may be shown very casually on both sides. Everything seems to be fair. The unprepared slate is placed atop the flap covered side of the gimmicked slate. In the act of placing the two squared up slates on a table, or on the spectator’s lap…the the slates are turned over. The flap piece falls into the recess of the bottom slate. When the top slate is eventually lifted…the writing is revealed!
The impact of the effect can be doubled…a message appearing on each of the slates, by simply writing one message in chalk on surface of one slate…and another message on one side of the cardboard flap. The two messages are put face to face, leaving only the other black side of the flap visible against the slate. The stacking and tipping are executed as before. This time, when the slates are parted…a mysterious ghost message is found on each slate.
Care must of course be executed when working with the free-falling flap style slates. For that reason, magicians devised what is known as Locking Slates. These slates have built-in devices within the frames that will lock and hold the flap or flaps in place.
Some style slates have hinged half flaps which may or may not also lock. These flaps drop down along the length of the slate. The slates usually have white lines, much like the ones on lined writing paper, to conceal the point at which the flap is hinged in the center. It also makes it logically easier to list various words or numbers printed on the slate. These slates are used for mathematical effects in most instances.
To think that slates are no longer viable in magic today is a huge mistake. I have a copy of a presentation of magic by a dear friend, now deceased…Frank Olkowski. Frank was an old-time performer of the highest caliber. He was part of a group that became affectionately known to me as ” The Trio.” Three long time friends on the east coast, who befriended me for a good number of years. Sadly, all are gone now. Frank Olkowski, Jack Steck, and Joe Van Hart. They were to me, both supportive, and inspirational. Writing this article on slates reminded me of Franks’s routine. I am fortunate enough to have it on video. It is a perfect example of how strong the slates can be when properly presented. To this day…I can only have theories on what Frank did to accomplish it. I’m thinking it is a series of multiple flap slates…but, I can’t be sure because of how flawlessly he handled them. I smile to think of it.
The premise of Frank’s handling was so simple that that is where it’s strength lies. He used two slates, and a piece of white chalk. He talked a bit about the chalk and the fact that it was white. then he said, ” You know…this calk can also write in colors !” With that, he printed the word ‘white ‘ on one side of one slate. Turning the slate over, he wrote ‘ blue’. Stacking the slates, he wrote the color ‘red’…and turning the slates one last time, he printed the word ‘ green.’ After a moment, the audience fully realized that they have been ‘had’. All of the colors were written in white. Frank then turned the slate stack face forward once again to show the word ‘ white ‘ printed in white chalk. Now is when the real magic began! he said words to the effect of; ” If this were not just plain white chalk…but magic chalk instead… ( pause ), perhaps the words would really have been written in color!” Saying that he pivoted the back slate to the side and facing front. The word ‘ green ‘ was now written in green chalk…and turning the two slates around, one in each hand, the words ‘red’ and ‘blue’ were written in bright red chalk and beautiful ‘blue’ chalk as well.
I have long thought that the flaps could be eliminated if someone made a slate or pair of slates which worked on a Sand Frame principle. I have seen in recent years, smaller pocket size slates which were self-contained…and would produce the desired message which was under your control at all times. I do not know how they work…and couldn’t tell you if I did. But the very fact that they are available may mean you might be able to acquire one if you so desire.
The fact that slates are not as commonplace today as they once were does not mean that the principles employed cannot be adapted to slate-like articles such as memo boards that use dry erase making pens. Office supply houses are an incredible place to browse. Although the writing surfaces pens with which to write are a far cry from the more ancient slates and chalk… the construction of each is very similar. A thinking performer might just find a way to make it work. How marvelous to have a note board or memo board which is so wildly accepted by people…and use them as a tool to create seemingly impossible effects!!
If you make a concerted effort to dig into the rich history of slate magic…you may find many novel and interesting ploys other than flaps. The way a message is written on a slate has some- times been used as the key to deception. Careful arrangement of equally carefully spaced letters which were painted on the slate with flat white paint…then combined with other letters to fill in the blanks…printed in chalk would create logical sentences or messages which secretly hid the presence of a number total or card value. Erasing the message while it faced away from the audience meant you were erasing only the letters written in chalk. When the slate was turned toward the audience…the hidden total or chosen card was revealed.
One clever marketed effect, still available from Abbott’s Magic Co., is the Pig That Turned ‘Round. It is a mechanical slate, with a funny visual finale’.
I have used a slate for an effect called Calculated Risk. In my version, a series of genuine three-digit numbers were printed on the slate. Each of two spectators were then allowed to total the columns both horizontally and vertically as a system of checks and balances to ensure everything was on the level. At the conclusion of the effect, they were to announce their totals. Each was different. They were then asked to subtract one total from the other, and remember the difference. A prediction envelope, which was in plain view on the table from the start was now opened, and the prediction inside was read aloud. It told the difference between the two numbers. the spectators then announced what their difference was…and the numbers matched perfectly.
The whole secret to this effect was nothing more than the use of a
series of several three-digit numbers…each digit of which could be inverted or turned upside down to create a new three-digit number. The tricky part was to find combinations that totaled the same when added horizontally and then vertically…but had a noticeable difference when only the three-digit columns were totaled vertically. By some miracle, while I was toying with the basic idea, I managed to find the right combination the very first try. Talk about dumb luck! <G>
So in closing, I would like to say that I hope this has created some degree of interest for you in slate work. I have not, of course, been able to touch on every phase of this little corner of magic…but its history is so rich, it simply wouldn’t be right to allow it to be forgotten. Please do not allow yourself to be drawn into thinking that just because slates are no longer relevant to society for the most part, that the principles used decades ago are no longer relevant either. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Look to the modern equivalents to slates for inspiration. Discover how to make the changes. Work to make it work for you. There are pages upon pages of ideas and time-honored methods at your disposal. The only thing you have to do is to make the effort to find them. A nice place to start is once again, the Tarbell Course In Magic. One well-honed and routined effect could well be your secret to success. If you doubt me…take a look, someone’s written it on your memo board.
MADNESS IN WHITECHAPEL
Ronald J. Dayton
A Lesson In The Framing of Bizarre Magic Theatre
What a gala night of wonder. Uninvited neighbors will peep out from behind closed window blinds in total disbelief as your guests arrive dressed in the period style of London’s 1800’s. Although their modern-day carriages are powered by high octane horses…their spirit is that of the wealthy upper class.
The food, the table settings, music and decor reflect the pains you have gone through to make this a special event indeed. You have spared no expense. And as the Bizarre drifts advancing hours…your friends are as yet unaware of the brutally gruesome lesson you have so lovingly prepared.
After the games and dance and songs…After the meat pies and plum, puddings have been washed down by warm red wines, the assembled throng of humanity quiet to a low buzz of anticipation as you tap your empty goblet with your fork to focus their attention. That goal achieved…you make an announcement for one and all.
“Kind sirs and gentle ladies…you have gladdened my heart with your attendance this night. We are, as you know…in another time and place. And if you should be so inclined…I have prepared a bit of nonsense for your entertainment, and edification. Join me now, won’t you dear friends, as we retire to another room…deeper into this evolving world of fantasy we have created.
Your guests file out in orderly fashion, following your lead. The new room they enter has been emptied of its usual furnishings…and has been transformed into a mini-theater of sorts. The atmosphere is a bit unnerving. The far back of the room is lined with rows of chairs at which the guests are seated. Directly in front of them, a fog-like haze drifts mere inches off the floor. The framework of a large closed door stands like some isolated remnant of a long-dead theatrical set. To either side, a flickering English gas lamp burns, They are basically the only illumination in the room, save the strange glow of amber light filtering up from beneath the flowing gray mist at your feet.
Your narrative begins with a serious, almost ominous tone.
“My duties as host this evening permit me the luxury of designating tasks to others. I will simply convey thoughts and facts…weaving a tale of macabre and sinister events. Two esteemed and valued cohorts will match the imagery to action. I fear what you see may not be pleasing to your sensibilities. The graphic nature may be a bit too much. I trust, forewarned…you still thirst to know of what I speak.
The location is a dreary, disease-riddled section of London’s East End, Autumn of 1888. Fog and darkness blanket the narrow back streets and alleyways like a black veil of impending evil. It is not safe for anyone to venture out…but of necessity, some have no option. This district of the city, known at Whitechapel is a seething slop bucket of poverty, infirmity, and death. Driven by survival alone.
The heavy door in the stylized framework slowly begins to open. There, framed against a background of blackness stands the figure of a lady. She is shabbily dressed. A battered hat, a flattened disc of faded perry winkle rests precariously atop her head. Gnatty strands of unkempt, brittle hair hang adoringly to her shoulders.
A soot smudged collar assumed once to be white but now almost tallow in color encircles her neck. A burgundy knit shawl caresses her shoulders…as if a tablecloth for some banquet only desperate men would attend. Her hands are tucked within a simple muff for warmth. It is the only comfort she is likely to find this night.
A simple dress hangs down to them to bathe in the cesspool of filthy and runoff on the Whitechapel cobblestone streets. The dress conceals badly worn shoes, and torn stockings rolled down to her knees. Nothing however can conceal the gaunt, almost surreal chalk-like mask of make-up that identifies her trade. The gaudy patches of rouge and smears of lipstick. The nagging cough that warns of something else.
Somewhere in the shadows…there is a man who beckons her. It is August 31st, 1888…as Mary Ann Nicols is approached for the very last time.
She will not be the only victim of this twisted beast. Monsters need not come to us from hades. They are here among us, wrapped in the flesh of man. Our ability to inflict pain and suffering upon our fellow human beings is well documented. Who can know the madness that fuels their corrupt needs? Who can know the horror of the moment?
Fears grew to a fever pitch in Whitechapel as the frequency and brutality of the attacks increased. The body count grew from August 31st on through most of the year. Annie Chapman, Sept 8th…Elizabeth Stride, Sept. 30th along with Cathrine Eddowes on the very same date. Mary Jane Kelly was the last of the confirmed victims…being taken on Nov. 9th, 1888. She was almost unrecognizable…
Unknown to most are thirteen additional souls suspected of falling prey to this monster. A woman known only as ” Fairy Fay ” may have been the very first…Dec. 26th, 1887. A woman named Annie Milkwood was murdered on Feb. 25th of 88, Ada Wilson on March 28th, Emma Smith, April 3rd, Martha Tabram, Aug. 7th, Annie Farmer, Nov. 20th…Rose Mylette, Dec. 20th. Then moving to the following year we discover Elizabeth Jackson, June of 89, Alice McKenzie in July. the killer seemingly took a break of sorts, with the next body being that of Frances Coles, Feb. 13th, 1891, and Carrie Brown on April 24th. Oct. 3rd of 1888 and Sept. 10th of 1889 also resulted in two additional nameless victims…each missing their head at the time of their discovery.
Eighteen prospective suspects were revealed and examined during these brutal years. Each thought to be the butcher of Whitechapel. None were ever proven. None convicted of the atrocities. But to this day…one name lives on in infamy. You know it well. The name is Jack the Ripper. “
With these words…the sound of echoing, approaching footsteps are heard in the distance. A figure emerges slowly from the shadows. He appears to be a man of means. Formal dress and half cape. Gold tipped ebony walking stick…quality shoes and finely crafted gloves. The crowning touch is the stately top hat with a smart white satin band. Quite eloquent from head to toe. Just the sort of man Mary Ann Nicols has hoped to come along. That was her wish. ( Pause ) Be careful what you wish for.
The dapper figure moves in calculated increments…like a black jackel…looking for the weakness. He draws near and whispers something in her ear. She turns her back to him as if responding to some request. He nervously taps the tip of his cane against the street. Mary is frozen in place…fearful of doing anything which might chase him away. He seems after all…a gentleman indeed.
“This is about as much as I can publish of this routine. What follows after this brilliant introductory story is a series of original macabre magical effects built around the dark deeds of Jack the Ripper. So graphic was the subject matter that I have opted to leave the rest of the routine out.
I do, however, want you to take the above as a superior lesson in how to “Frame” an effect. It is entirely possible for the student to write similar scripts in the effort to engross an audience and give them a magical “experience” rather than just a simple magic puzzle that is merely presented for them to figure out.
I was once quoted as saying that Spirit/Bizarre magic was “The Final Frontier” of the conjuring arts. I still believe that to be true. Because only in this area can you actually suspend disbelief, and for a very brief moment (perhaps longer) you can make an audience accept the existence of magic.”