Al Mann - Al Baker's Manuscript.pdf

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Transcript of Al Mann - Al Baker's Manuscript.pdf




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    (201) 431-2429

    Ai Mann Exclusive

    In 1920 and 1921, Al Baker released some ex-clusive secrets via manuscript. One of these manuscriptswas titled "Al Baker's Mental effects" and also calledAl Baker's Billet Reading Extraordinary.

    Today these manuscripts exist only as collector'sitems, almost forgotten. Many of the Al Baker originalideas and effects have appeared in print many times andunfortunately some of these ideas have been misunderstoodby modern writers.

    In the pages that follow, "Ai Baker's Mental Effects"is reprinted verbatim, with illustrations and commentsunder "Notes" by me.

    Al Baker was known to most of us as a ventriloquist andCircus side show magician who was at his best when enter-taining children, yet that same lovable magician could awean audience with his presentation of Mental Magic. Towatch him perform the spirit handkerchief or his 'deck thatcuts itself:, was a treat never to be forgotten.

    As you read the pages that follow, bear in mind thatthese are Al Baker's own words and that they were writtenin 1920, years before other writers came out with the sameideas.

    Why was this manuscript almost forgotten? Probably be-cause it was written at the time when manuscripts for theMentalist were flooding the market. Those were the yearsof the Vaudeville Mindreader. 'Mindreading' secret manuscripswere everywhere selling for a high price. Some were writtenin pencil or pen while others were illegible carbon copies.Some were worthless while some good. A few were exceptio-nal. Al Baker's Manuscript was 'Extraordinary!' It wasfabulous!

  • 1(201) 431-2429POST OFFICE BOX 144 FREEHOLD. NEW JERSEV 07728

    A number of slips of paper are passed out to thecompany with the request that each write thereon anyquestion they wish and sign their full name. They arerequested to fold them well, when they are gathered up in an en-velope. The performer selects one and holding it up to his foreheadimmediately divines the question and answers it. He opens it,reads it and then passes it out for examination. A second slipis answered in the same way and so on. At any time the perfor-mer may pass out a slip for examination.

    It is the answering of the first question and passing it outfor examination that bewilders those who know the old method ofworking the effect.

    A number of slips of paper about 1%:" X 6" are placed in alarge envelope (document size) (4" X 9%:", white). In the same en-velope is placed a sheet of double carbon paper with the sensativeside outward. This doubled sheet completely fills the envel0r.e.Thus it will be seen that if anyone uses the envelope for a 'pad"for writing, no matter which side is face up, a carbon impressionwill result on the opposite inside of the envelope.

    Come forward with envelope and pass out slips. Before lastslip is given out, moisten the finger tip as if to help slide outthe paper, but in reality to SLIGHTLY moisten the flap. The lastslip is taken out and placed on top of envelope (incidentally)(sealing flap a trifle) and both envelope and paper are handed tospectator. Naturally he uses it for a pad.

    Watch him/her very closely and just as he finishes, say, "Nowfold up your slip so that no one may see it." At the same time,casually take the envelope from him and unseal it. Address the au-dience as follows: "Now, if all have finished writing, fold yourslips in four, using a good crease so that they will not open. Iwill gather them up in this envelope." While you are sayingthis, casually open the envelope, glance inside and read the car-bon copy of the last question, while in the act of inserting thefingers (left hand) to hold it open.

    Gather up the last party"s slip first and place it in the frontportion of envelope. Place all the rest on the other side of thecarbon paper. After returning to your place, bring forth any slipfrom the REAR portion. Hold it up to your forehead and after alittle deliberation, give an answer to the question whose carboncopy you have read. WHILE YOU ARE DOING THIS the left hand, withfingers still in the envelope, palms the one slip in the front por-tion and holds same at back of envelope with the thumb, fingers at





    front. THE RIGHT HAND WITH THE AID OF THE LEFT (which still holdsenvelope) opens out the billet to see if he is correct. He memori-zes the question and folds it up again. Then as an after thought,says to the audience, "Perhaps you would like to see it." Suitingthe action to the words, he takes envelope in right hand and takesthe billet with his left hand and passes it out for examination.

    What he really does is to retain the billet behind the enve-lope with his right thumb and bring forward the other which he hasbeen holding with his left thumb, and whose answer and question hehAS REALLY GIVEN. The exchange is VERY EASY and absolutely indetec-tible. The envelope should be passed in a very casual manner.

    A second billet is selected and the memorized question of thefirst billet selected is answered. The billet is opened as in thefirst case (but is not given out for examination)the question me-morized and given as the answer to the next billet held up. Thisis continued until all have been answered.

    If desired, you may at any time, pass out the billet you havejust read by the same method of exchange. In this case it is neces-sary to have a jar or other object several inches in height, intowhich you place each billet after you have read (7) it. This givesyou the opportunity to apparently place the billet just read, intothe jar with the others that have been read. In reality you retainthe billet in your palm under cover of the jar. It is also necessa-ry to fold up the billets immediately after opening them to "seeif you are correct."

    It should be understood that the slight sealing of the flap ofthe envelope before giving it to the last party is merely by way ofcaution so as to prevent a sudden opening of the envelope by thespectator. if desired, it may be omited.

    I would be very glad to hear of the results you may have inpresenting this excellent effect as also of any possible improve-ments.

    NOTE: Al Baker did receive many replies from the readers andmany improvements were proposed, yet careful study of the aboveroutine will convince the reader that the routine is perfect as itstands. Here follows an analysis: and some recommendations:

    THE BILLETS: These are long strips of paper 1~" by 6". Thesewere the type of billets that were in vogue in 1920. They weremade famous by Bert Reese and also Charles Foster before him.

    Originally these billets were simply torn off the top or





    c on t ,

    bottom margins of a newspaper. This not only portrayed an impromptuaspect to a psychic test but also the paper did not make noise whensecretly opened.

    Please note also that the "Umbrella Move" is not used or men-tioned by Al Baker in this manuscript. Primarilly Al Baker did notknow the Umbrella move at this time and secondarily, the Umbrellamove can not be used with a long strip of paper.

    Dai Vernon infomed me that magician Arthur Findley learned theUmbrella Move from Bert Reese AND THEN gave it to Al Baker.

    In his later writings Al Baker switched to using square billetsand adopted the Umbrella move.

    As the reader can see in the above Al Baker routine, the Umbre-lla move is not necessary and the long strips of paper are exce-llent.



    Fig. 1

    THE ENVELOPES: In order to accomodate the long strips of paperA LONG ENVELOPE must be used, so the business size white letter en-velope is employed. This will serve as an impression gimmick andalso as a writing pad. The natural thing to do when you offer any-one an envelope or a stack of envelopes to serveas a writing pad, is to give the envelopes to himor her address side up, this is the smooth seam-less side AND THE ENVELOPES SHOULD BE UPSIDE DOWN,with the flap on the lower edge as shown in Fig.i.

    This maneuver will place the impression ofthe spectator's question on the bottom-insideof the back seamed panel of the envelope. Andwhen you open the envelope to replace the foldedbillets, the message will appear right side up to your line ofsight. (if the envelope is given to the spectator right side up,the message will end up partly on the inside of the flap which willbe hard to read and also may expose the secret.)

    THE PALM: In the above instructions, Al Baker has the lastbillet placed in the front part of the envelope and later, thisbillet is palmed out and placed on the back of the envelope andheld there by the left thumb. In later writings, he modifiedthis by simply pretending to place the billet inside the envelopebut actually placing it on the outside. The following procee-dure is recommended: The last person to write a question (on theimpression envelope) should be one that is sitting on the front row!This question is collected last. After the person writes his ques-tion, the envelope is retrieved and he is instructed to fold hisquestion. In the mea time the operater goes into the audience to col-lect the other slips of paper and then comes to the first row andcollects that questions last. The slip is apparently placed insidethe envelope but in reality it is placed under the left thumb tip






    c on t ,


    I/~),"-~Fig. 2

    behind the envelope while the other three fingers of the right handgo inside the envelope to create the illussion.

    THE SWITCH: Al Baker's switch of billets in this routine isperfect! Simple and direct and the easiest in execution. And itcan be repeated during the routine. It is a simplified version ofthe Folding Switch. As shown in Fig. 2The left thumb is holding under itthe folded 'impression' billet,while the right hand holds theopened first billet that wasremoved from the envelope andapparently answered. It is openedto verify the question, but in realityto learn the next question in theone-ahead system. You must make sure that the audience sees the openbillet. The open billet is then folded over from right to left BUTIS RETAINED UNDER THE RIGHT THUMB TIP, and at the same time theright hand takes the envelope, while the left hand brings intosight the folded 'impression' billet and passes it out for examina-tion. The illusion is perfect. The audience see you answer a foldedquestion then it is opened and then folded and the left hand passesout the folded billet which contains the same question just read andanswered!

    TO CONTINUE: Transfer the envelope to the left hand again andpass the folded hidden billet behind it from under the right thumbto the left thumb and repeat the same maneuvers.. Al Baker recommends that if or when the billets are not passedout to the audience they should be dropped into some glass bottlewith a high neck so that the billets cannot be retrieved readily.

    No emphasis should be placed on the passing out the billetsinto the audience for verification. This should be done in a quiteand casual manner as though it is of little importance. The awe-some aspect of the presentation needs no other bonus.

  • (201 ) 431-2429POSTOFFICE BOX 144 FREEHOLD .,.EWJERSEY 07728



    (NOTE: In the following effect, AL BAKER tells theMAGIC world how to use the maglcianls thumb-tip gimmick tosWitch a billet! Annemann thought so highly of this techniquethat he used the method and wrote about it several times.

    Unfortunately, Al Baker's and Annemann's instructionswere misunderstood by later writers and the technique has beenerroneously printed. Here ARE Al Baker's original thoughts onit, in his own words)

    Performer has slips passed around. Spectator's write questionsand fold them and are gathered up and placed on a small saucer.Performer is handed one slip at a time - which he holds to hishead and reads and answers the question and the slip is returned.

    Same is repeated with all the rest of the billets!

    THE SECRET: This trick depends upon one move which if prac-ticed for a few hours before a mirror can be done at any place anytime. WHAT YOU NEED: One thumb fake, same as used for the tornand restored strip of paper. The fake must be of the kind that goesdown to the first joint of the thumb and must be flesh color. Theslips should be about 1 X 2~ inches and folded twice. The largerthe person's thumb, the larger the slip. Slip must go in tip easyand be drawn out easily by ball of thumb when wanted. A trial willgive you the size needed.

    THE MOVE TO PRATICE: You place a folded slip in thumb tip andthen insert right thumb. Paper must lay so ball of thumb is righton top of it so if you withdraw the thumb you can withdraw paperalso. If you have thumb tip loaded with a folded slip on rightthumb and another slip is handed to you, you hold out left handflat to receive it. The slip is taken at the fingertips across thefirst joint of the fingers. Not in palm. You bring the two handstogether and as the right thumb gets over slip in left hand, lefthand fingers curl up and right thumb is slid right on top of slipin left hand and right thumb is withdrawn from thumb fake bringingout slip from thumb fake.

    It looks as though you took the slip they handed you withright hand, but the slip they handed you is lying in left handacross the first joints of fingers. The thumb fake is on top of slip

    and the fingers of left hand are curled around fake and slip toconceal them, AND THE THUMB AND FINGERS OF RIGHT HAND AND THE THUMBAND FINGERS OF LEFT HAND ARE HOLDING THE EXCHANGED SLIP!



    This sounds complicated but all blends in one move. No hurry,and magician is of course talking while making change and must notlook at hands.

    The second part is to get slips back in fake. To practiceplace a slip in thumb fake. Take another slip in left hand and gothrough with above moves to exchange slip. When exchange is made,fingers of both hands are holding slip, right hand takes slip andholds it to forehead, and left hand with other slip and fake isrested on left hip.

    After reading question and person says it is his, performerbrings up left hand and lowers right hand from his head and the twohands are used in opening slip which performer reads as if to veri-fy. HE IS READING ONE AHEAD! When he apparently reads aloud the mes-sage on the slip he just opened, he is actually reading from memorythe message on the slip in his left hand.

    He next refolds slip and secretly pushes it right back intothumb fake and in the same move the fingers bring the other slip toview. This slip is held between the fingers and thumb of both handsand the fingers continue folding the slip as if he were giving thefinishing touches to a paper after it is folded.

    You now have only one slip in sight and this can be handedback to writer and your hands are now apparently empty and as youknow what is on the slip in thumb fake, when they hand you the nextslip you only take it with the right hand and hold to head and divinethe thought. Your right hand is obsolutely empty, without the fake,this is the strong part. If you put on a thumb tip you will under-stand in a few trials just what is to be done.

    Performer has a number of slips, anenvelope and thumb tip fake. The thumb tip is in right trouserspocket. Passing out a few slips performer requests spectators towrite a short question or number or name and then to fold the slips.Performer puts balance of slips in his right trouser pocket so thathe can show those that have slips what to do, etc. He next removesa few more slips from his pocket (and puts on his thumb tip) andhands them out. Some of the spectators are finished writing so theperformer picks up the envelope.

    Opening envelope he requests first person to drop his slip inenvelope, and as he does so, performer inserts his thumb in envelopeand withdraws it but leaves thumb fake in envelope open end up andheld in place by pressure of left hand fingers from outside of en-velope.

    Going to second person he takes slip right out of his hand andsays, Please place it in the envelope so." Suiting the action tohis words he places the folded slip apparently into the envelope,but it goes into the thumb fake which is there to receive it andthumb goes right in with it being instantly withdrawn, bringingout fake on thumb and his slip inside it.



    THE BILLET TEST cont. , ..



    Handing envelope to third person, the performer sar.s, "Dropyour slip in the same way and pass it to your neighbor.' Asthe envelope is being handed, performer has reached into his pocketand brought out a few more slips and handed them out.

    While spectators are writing, his right hand goes into trou-sers pocket, removes thumb fake and draws out stolen slip, opensit and brings it out together with three or four more slips. Hand-ding out a blank slip to another person, he says, "Just writeone line and then fold it so." Performer IS APPARENTLY TELLING THEFELLOW HOW TO WRITE AND FOLD HIS SLIP, BUT HE IS READING AND FOLD~ING THE STOLEN SLIP!

    Say the slips says "John Brown." The performer has read andfolded the stolen slip in plain view of the audience! Handing outa couple more slips of the ones he has in hand, he places hand inpocket and puts folded slip back into thumb tip fake and insertshis thumb into it. When he withdraws his hand, both hands lookempty, and he is ready to work!

    A small saucer is on table on platform and behind the edge ofthe saucer is one blank slip folded, this is necessary for the lastslip as you will see later. When all is written, performer asksone of the committee to bring the envelope of slips to the stageand to pur them on the saucer. Performer next requests this per-son to hand him one slip.

    Taking the slip in his right hand,performer holds it to his head. Both hands carelessly shown to con-tain nothing else. Performer divines the message "John Brown!"Opening the slip to check, he a~ain reads "John Brown," (but theslip actually reads 'New York!') (performer is now one-ahead).

    Performer refolds slip USING BOTH HANDS, and at the last foldslip is in the fingers of the left hand, and thumb fake goes on topof slip, and the real 'John Brown' slip is withdrawn and comes toview, and performer continues pressing it with fingers OF BOTHHANDS and at the same time looking around room for the person whowrote 'John Brown!'

    Handing slip to his volunteer assistant, performer asks foranother slip and on being handed it, receives it with his riihthand. Left hand is by left hip with thumb fake and 'New York slipunder it. As second slip is handed to performer, his hand goesright to head HOLDING SLIP AT TIPS OF THE FINGERS and he reads,'New York.' (NOTE: The right hand is seen by the audience to be

    ~mpty , while the left hand is assumed empty.)The slip is opened USING BOTH HANDS and then refolded. On the

    last fold the slip is inserted into the thumb fake and the thumbgoes in behind it and the fake is stolen, leaving the 'New York'slip in full sight. The audience now sees that the left hand isotherwise empty and the slip is passed out to the writer!



    When all the slips in the saucer are read, performer stillhas one left in the thumb fake. If person calls for that one asdish is empty, performer looks around and discovers the blank oneunder the dish. This is read, exchange is made and all is well.

    If you have a thumb, a thumb fake and a slip of paper, you canlearn more about these moves in one minute than you can by readingabout it, as the moves blend into one.

    NOTE: The reader must agree that the act of doing a full eve-ning mindreading show with nothing more than a magician's thumb tipin your pocket is indeed something to 'conjure' with. So let'stake a good look at the method.

    In Jinx No. 19, last page, Annemann tellsus that he first came across the Al Baker Manuscript in 1924. In1924, Annemann was 17 years of age and primarily intersted in Men-tal card effects. He became intrigued with the "Mind Reading CardTrick" in the manuscript and which he later adopted and modified itby using a stacked-shuffled deck (see Jinx 19). Annemann called itThe Al Baker Three Billet Trick.

    Four years later, 1929, Annemann apparently became interest inbillet work and remembered the AIBaker idea of switching billets bythe aid of the magician's thumb tip. He made a note of it in hisnotebook (see Jinx No.1, page 3, Two Papers and a Spectator).

    Annemann adopted many of the Al Baker ideas and receivedpersonal instructions from Al Baker. Both in Jinx No. 1 and inJinx No.5, A question and and the Answer, p. 20, Annemann givesus his method of switching billets with the thumb tip. But, unfor-tunately, Annemann's instructions were inferior to Al Baker's ori-ginal concept. Annemann received the billet 'in the palm' of hisleft hand instead of 'on the tips of the fingers' as instructedby Al Baker. And unfortunately, neither ~l Baker or Annemann gaveillustrations of how the switch was to be ~ade. All of this gavelaTER READERS THE WRONG SLANT ON THE SWITC0 and erroneous methodswere printed.

    The book, Practical Mental Effects, was compiled from theAnnemann writings in the Jinx and other Annemann publications, twoyears after Annemann died. The effect "A Question And The Answer"appears on pages 17 and 18. The illustrations drawn on page 18describing the method ARE ERRONEOUS. The fact of the matter isthat anyone reading the instructions of how to make the switch, byAnnemann, would no doubt arrive at the same conclusion. One wouldhave to see Annemann perform this test in order to get the correctslant on the moves. Annemann did a superb job of this effect andbaffled many.

    No doubt those who tried doing the test as illustrated in the


    THE BILLET TEST c on t ,


    above mentioned book, discovered that the method was impracti-cal and gave up on it.

    C. L. Boarde, in his monumental work on billets, MainlyMental, Vol. I, thought enough of the idea that he devoted threepages of script to it. and although he added a new vista to theillustrations (the right hand approaching the left hand from a-bove) still the whole concept is erroneous and not at all whatAl Baker decribed in his manuscript.

    But WONDERS NEVER CEASE! The same erroneous handling of theAl Baker concept appears again in print in the year 1980! See thebooklet titled "The Magic Pendulum," by George B. Anderson, page19 in an effect by Bruce Bernstein. Apparently someone out therecan do the routine erroneously and still fool people with it.

    For those readers who prefer to do the test the correct way,here are the correct illustrations appearing in print for the firsttime. Correct me if this is untrue:

    In Fig. 3, the right hand is shownwith thumb fake in place. It is heldabout an inch or two above waist level,in a relaxed and natural pose and may beslightly cupped. The thumb fake is neverseen by the audience as it hides behindthe fingers. A 'dummy' billet is inside thefake and may even stick out about %inch.

    Fig. 3

    The left hand is held about aninch or two below waist level. Itreceived the folded billet fromthe audience and the billet isheld across the ends of the fin-gers. Fig, 4.

    THE SWITCH: The right hand approachesthe left hand from above as the left hand turns

    towards the vertical so that the billet is out ofsight of the audience for a moment.

    The thumb fake is placed over ~_.r-,the billet as the left thumbpinches the fake to holdit. Fig. 5

    Continued on next page.


    THE BILLET TEST c on t , ..




    The final move of the secret switch is seen in Fig. 6.The left thumb is pinching thethumb fake and spectator'sbillet, while the ri?ht handpulls out the 'dummybillet into view. ANDTHE DUMMY BILLET IS HELDBY BOTH HANDS. If thedummy billet is thebillet stolen from theenvelope and the data onit is known, then the Fig. 6performer, places thebillet to his head and divines the thought. The billet is thenopened 'to verify' but actually to read the contents of the nextquestion to be answered! The routine continues as per Al Baker'sinstructions.

    In the above illustrations, the size of the billet has beenexaggerated for clarity. In performing the above sleights, theoperator never looks at his hands. In both Figs. 5 and 6, the handsare held vertically, the backs of the hands showing to the audienceand held at waist level.

    ,)he. ~e.(/iM.~ tZtAd!'ead '7~~elt.'(AI Baker's way of doing it)

    Performer has spectator write the names of three dead personsand one dead person, on slips of paper. Folding the slips, they aredropped into an envelope.

    Performer then names the dead person's name or has it appearon a previously examined slate!

    What you Need: One envelope, 5 slips of paper about 1 by 2~ iinches and a thumb tip fake.

    The slips of paper you tear by laying a ruler on the sheet orstrip of paper and the first one will naturally have a verystraight edge, while the other four will look straight but theedges will be s little bit fuzzy. The straight one is the one tokeep an eye on. You van tear the strips in front of audience ifyou prefer.

    You now ask for a spectator to assist you. The slips and enve-lope are on the table. It does not make any difference how nearaudience is to you, they cannot detect anything. Your thumb tipis in right trouser pocket. Pick up the envelope and ask the per-son assisting you what his name is. Say, "He says his name is JohnEdwards," as you inform the audience that he is to be the medium.





    Push one of the fuzzy edged slips towards the assistant and say,"Will you please write (or print) your name on this slip?" Whilehe is writing watch him closely and count the letters in his name.

    In this case there are eleven. When he has finished writinghis name you ask him to fold it in half, then fold again. Thisleaves a little package less than an inch square. You now say,"I want you to put your name slip into your pocket, as I do notwant it any where near the rest of the papers." After he pocketshis name slip you say, "I want you to take one of those slipsthat is on the tabel." He does so as you are standing away from himbut yet watching which one he takes.

    Suppose he takes the fuzzy edged one, so say to him, "Writedown the name of some person who is living. Some one near to you."Then tell him to fold it and drop it on the table. Ask him to takeanother slip and if he should take another fuzzy edged one, ask himto write the name of another living person, and fold it and drop itupon top of the first one. Ask him to take a third slip and watchhim and say that he takes the straight edge one, and say, "I wantyou to write the name of some friend who has passed away." Ask himto fold it and drop it with the others. Now say, "Take thelast slip and write the name of some living person, and fold anddrop it with the other three."

    All these papers are folded twice, same as the one he holds inhis pocket. You now stand facing him and say,

    "You have written the names of three living persons and onedead on these slips and you also have your own name on a slip inyour pocket. I am going to show you what effect your own name hason the other slips." You are standing with your hands in

    'pockets and while you are talking, your thumb of right hand goesinto thumb tip fake and you bring out your hand with the tip on itand take the envelope. Open flap of envelope, at the same timeleaving thumb fake in envelope mouth up and hold from falling bypressure from fingers of left hand which is holding envelope. Tur-ning to him you say, "I want you to hand me one of those slips."As he hands you one, take hold of it with finger and thumb of righthand and say, "I want you to think of the dead person." This isonly a bluff. While he is thinking, you are looking at the slip hegave you, for the smooth edge. If it happens to be a fuzzy edgedone, place it in the envelope and say, "Please give me anotherone and think of the name of the dead person." If this is a fuzzyedge, place it in the envelope with the number 1 slip and ask himfor another one. Say this time he hands you the smooth edge orthe straight edge one, which is the dead person's name, take itand place it in the envelope but not with the others but inside thethumb fake which is held there by the left fingers from the outsideready to receive it. As the slip goes into thumb fake, let the rightthumb go right in with it and come out carrying the fake on theright thumb with the dead name inside it, under the ball of thumb.






    You now say, "hand me the last one," and you drop that in en-velope with other two and set envelope aside.

    Now the move that everything hinges upon. You sar., "You haveyour own name on a slip in your pocket." He answers 'Yes!" Yousay, "Will you hand your name to me?" He does so. You reach forit with your left hand and as he lays it on your outstretched lefthand (slip is still folded), you reach with your right hand as ifto take it from your left hand, but what you really do is to laythe thumb of right hand on top of folded slip, and at the same timedraw out thumb from fake bringing paper from inside of fake to view.His name slip is now under fake thumb and fake is concealed by thefingers of the left hand which are curled around it, while the pieceof paper having the name of the dead person is now inview being held by the thumb and first finger of left hand andthumb and first finger of right hand!

    Looking at your assistant you say, "Do you know how many let-ters there are in your name?" And as he hesitates you say, "I'llcount them." Opening the paper which he thinks is his own nameyou must use the thumb and first finger of both hands. While do-ing this you look at, not his name, but the name of the dead personand start to count out loud, "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11." Turningto him you say, "You have eleven letters in your name, Mr. Edwards,is that right?" At the same time you refold the paper, place itback in thumb fake and right thumb goes in with it AND THE SLIP WITHHIS NAME IS AGAIN IN SIGHT HELD BY THE THUMB AND FIRST FINGER OFLEFT HAND AND THE THUMB AND FIRST FINGER OF RIGHT HAND! You say,,"You better count them yourself," at the same time dropping the pa-per in his hand. He opens it and verifies your count.

    You now know the dead person's name! and they all think youwere looking at your assistant's name TO GET SOME CLUE FROM IT,which you encourage them to believe. You can now finish by takinga pencil and have your assistatn take one end of it as you writethe dead person's name or you can tell him to say A-B-C-D, etc., tohimself and when he comes to the first letter of the dead name tostop. You then say (suppose the dead name was John Jones), "Youstopped at the 'J ' right?" He answers "Yes!" This is continuedletter for letter until you spell out the name.

    These moves sound complicated but if you put on a thumb tipand follow the moves, you will be surprissed how you can change theslips right in front of their eyes and you only have one piece ofpaper showing at any time, the rest of the hand being empty.

    You can place your hand in pocket and remove the dead name atfinish and bring it out in hand and open envelope and let the threein envelope and the one in hand fallon table so in case they lookthem over they find the four originals .








    (NOTE: Here is Ai Baker's method of presenting aBrain Busting Mindreading effect before a large audience.The medium on stage instantly answers a question that iswritten on a slip of paper that is held by the writer inthe audience! Ai Baker devoted much thought and time in crea-ting this type of effect,






    leaves basket with slips on a small table in audience, so basketnever leaves their sight. Performer has a chair on stage turnedso that a person's back will be toward audience when seated on it.

    Performer brings out assistant and seats assistant in chairleaving the thumb fake with message in it, with assistant, which isvery easy to do. While performer is tying a cloth over eyes ofassistant, ASSISTANT IS BUSY TAKING SLIP FROM FAKE AND READING IT,then replaces it in fake and holds it so that performer can get itback on his right thumb.

    Assistant is blindfolded but can see down along her nose andcan see her hands in her lap very well! Remember, she has readthe first slip and returned it to the performer while she was be-ing blindfolded. (say the slip read, "Shall I hear from my brother?")To the audience it looks like if nothing has happened as yet.

    Performer now has the known question inside the fake on histhumb. While showing slate unprepared, performer goes into basket,pushes his thumb into little pocket, withdraws thumb and slip,leaving the fake in the pocket and secretly leaving the known ques-tion slip in the basket outside the pocket. In the same move, per-former picks up another slit, places it in thumb fake and insertshis thumb in it and brings out fake on thumb containing the secondmessage AND ALSO PICKS UP THE FIRST KNOWN MESSAGE LYING ALONGSIDETHE POCKET and brings hand out of basket, holding KNOWN message infull view between thumb and fingers of hand. This can all be doneas if performer just reached into basket and brought out a slip!

    Handing the visible slip to someone to hold, Performer picksup slate and (remember assistant already knows mes~age spectatoris holding) walking up to assistant performer places the slate overher head. Assistant reaches hand up and takes slate. Performer'sthumb is on side of slate away from audience. As assistant takesslate she places her hand over the performer's thumb. Performer re-moves his hand leaving the fake behind! Assistant is now in posse-sion of the second question. All she has to do is to open slipwhile slate is in her lap and read and refold the slip and placeit back into fake.

    Performer now requests the spectator to read to himself thequestion on the slip he is holding. The minute he starts to read,assistant on stage is heard to write. Assistant now holds slateabove her head with writing away from audience. Performer reachesfor slate. His hands are empty. BUT as he takes slate from assis-tant his thumb goes right into fake held on back of slate by assis-tant. Performer is now in possesion of slate and the second knownmessage without a single suspicious move! Performer asks spec-tator to read out loud the question on the slip he holds. He reads"Shall I hear from my brother?" Performer just turns slate aroundand there is written, "Yes! You will hear from that person soon."

    Handing slate to someone to clean, performer reaches into bas-ket, goes through same moves, and the show is continued until allquestions are answered. Hands always appear empty.






    I use two slates and a flap. Slates are about 5 by 7 inchesor a triffle smaller. I buy a writing pad the same size as the flapof the slate. I cover one side of the flap by glueing a sheet ofwhite paper over it. I then glue three sheets of pad to top edge offlap so flap is really a pad. I write the figures I am going tohave appear on slate and then lay flap papers-side-down over thefigures on s;ate. I am now set. I pick up two slates, show bothsides and with pad in one hand and the two slates in other, I walkdown into audience. I show slate with fake flap, I make (1) onone side and (2) on the other side and lay it on my pad. Taking se-cond slate which I carelessly left in a spectator's hands whilemarking first slate, I write (3) and (4) on second slate. I pickup slate #1 which leaves flap lying on top of pad, flap really be-comes part of pad. You can tear off sheet from the flap-pad or havesum written on it or any other way that you may have in mind. Thetwo slates are of course put together and when separated, the namesor sum is found inbetween on #1 slate!

    (NOTE: The above was also a favorite of Bob Gysel of Toledo.It has been included here for the sake of completeness as it waspart of the original 1920 manuscript. Magician James S Harto knownas 'Chandra,' improved on the above method by using a flap thatfolds in half. Only half of the flap was covered with sheets froma paper pad. But when the flap is left behind, it is only half thesize of the slate flap! and of course resembles a small pad.)

    (Ai Baker's Method)

    (NOTE: The reader who knows this effect will be amazed inreading the following which shows Ai Baker's original concept inits humble beginnings of what later became a classic. In this ori-ginal presentation the effect is offered as a test of 'Telekinesis'where part of the pack of cards just moves by itself while held ina tray by a spectator. After the initial shock, the audience istreated to the enchanting surprise that the pack has parted at thevery spot where the chosen and signed card is! The effect as itstands here is excellent for the seance. This initial effect waslater improved several times and became spookier with each improve-ment. The pack would cut itself, push the chosen card out and thenreassemble itself. In another version, the pack would push two cardsout. See Ai Baker's Book ONE, his Magic-,l Ways and Means and PetSe c r e t s v)





    This trick is done with a hair (Note: In later versionsAl Baker used a thin black thread.) but the moves I have workedout for it makes it not only easy to perform, but does away withall the worry that usually goes with any trick where a hair is used.Performer hands pack to be shuffled. He then takes pack, spreads itout and has any card selected and returned to pack. Pack is thenlaid on a small tray held by a spectator. Pack is then seen to cutitself AND PROVES TO HAVE DONE SO AT THE SELECTED CARD!

    WHAT YOU NEED: A sewing machine shuttle with bobbin. This canbe secured at any sewing machine repair shop. A long light brownhair about 9 or 10 inches long and a small piece of magician's wax.

    HOW TO ARRANGE: You remove the bobbin from the shuttle andtie one end of hair around the roller and then wind the balance ofthe hair around the roller until all but about two inches is left.To this end of the hair place a small pill of wax. Replace bobbinback in shuttle and place shuttle in right hand vest pocket leavingend of hair with pellet of wax hanging out of pocket. The pocketis sewn across the bottom so that it is real shallow so shuttle willnot be drawn down too deep. Hair and wax hanging outside of vestpocket can be easilly reached and yet is in no danger of being bro-ken at any time during the evening while performing other tricks.

    TO PERFORM: Pack is handed to someone to shuffle. While thisis being done, performer gets hold of pellet of wax and secures itunder the nail of first finger of right hand, and extends arm slow-ly which causes hair to unwind.

    On pack being handed back to him, performer takes it with hisleft hand and passes pack to right hand; fingers and wax go underpack and thumb on top. While asking if pack has been well shuffled,performer sticks wax to bottom of pack, then removes a card fromtop of pack and places it on the bottom of pack. This causes thetwo bottom cards to be waxed together, the wax in between the two.

    Opening the cards like a fan, he asks that a card be chosen.Bottom of cards can be shown carelessly as nothing can be seen

    when one card has been selected and spectator is noting the card.Performer closes pack and cuts pack by drawing toward him the

    lower half of pack and replacing it on top of pack leaving his lit-tle finger in between. When person has noted card drawn, performercuts pack at break and says, "Put your card right in the center ofthe pack." Spectator does as requested and performer places balanceof packon top of selected card.

    The position of the pack is now: Selected card in middle of thepack. The two waxed cards on top of selected card. and balance ofpack on top of waxed cards.

    Pack is now laid on a small tray held by spectator. Performermoves his body away slowly and the two waxed cards and all cards ontop of them are drawn away causing pack to cut itself. The selec-ted card will be on top half of pack that is left after cut.







    Performer picks up the h~lf of pack that cut itself and show-ing the bottom card says, "Is that your card?" on being answered"No!", he asks spectator to turn over top card on other half ofpack and as he starts to do so, magician palms off with righthand, the two bottom cards of pack he has in his hands and placesthis hand with waxed cards and hair into his pocket and at thesame time laying balance of pack on the tray. This is all donewhile person is turning over card on other pack which he finds tobe the one selected. As everything is now out of way, pack can beexamined and found to be free from all trickery.

    Before buying a bobbin and shuttle, try this trick out in thisway: Tie a hair to your vest button. Place a small pellet of waxon the end of the hair. then go through the moves with a pack ofcards as described and see how well it works, I never use the twowaxed cards twice. I usually remove hair and throw the two cardsaway so always have a clean pack to work with.

    For stage use, lay pack on top of an inverted goblet and ano-ther goblet alongside of it. Pack will cut itself and one half ofpack will be on each goblet. You show card selected is at cut andbreak hair. You need not palm off any cards when doing it on stage.

    "J?l'I//d, ~tad,j,IA." eL~d ~4t ~/t :(AI Baker's) (Effect with my pack)

    (NOTE: Al Baker's deck of cards was simply a deck that con-tained a wide card, the Ace of Spades. He used this deck to create

    .some fabulous effects like the Two Souls, Counting Tricks, etc.What follows is the card trick that impressed Annemann and of whichhe wrote about in Jinx No. 19, calling it Al Baker's Three BilletTrick. The strong point about using a wide card is that you neverhave to look for a key card. It can be found by touch.)

    Perf~rmer has three cards noted by spectators while holdingpack in their own hands; they each write down on a small piece ofpaper the name of their cards and fold slips which are then placedinto a hat. Performer then divines the names while holding foldedslips to his head.

    EXPLANATION: Performer hands pack to be shuffled. When pack isreturned to him, he holds it face up and while explaining what heis going to do, strips wide card (Ace of Spades) to bottom of pack.He is announcing that he is going to have three cards selected inan unusual way, as no cards are going to be drawn, and persons whoselect cards are going to hold pack in their own hands!

    Going to first person, he tells him he wants him to hold packin his left hand and to draw a lot of cards from the center of the





    pack and to note bottom card of those drawn out, and to place thelot drawn out back on top of the pack and to cut the cards. Per-former suits action to words by pulling a bunch of cards from cen-ter of pack, , noting bottom card of those drawn and placing cardson top of pack. The performer repeats the action several times sothat the spectator knows what he is to do. When spectator understandswhat is to be done, performer gives the pack another shuffle andbrings the Ace of Spades, the wide card to top of deck, and handspack to spectator.

    Spectator pulls a buch of cards from center of deck, notes thebottom card of the bunch pulled out and places the bunch on top ofthe deck. His noted card goes on top of the wide Ace of Spades.You then ask him to cut the pack and remember the card he looked at.

    Performer takes pack and goes to second person and says,to him,"I want xou to just take the pack in your hands and just peek

    at a card so.' Performer just opens the pack a little and peeks ata card to show him what to do.

    What really happens is: Performer is holding pack in left handwith bottom of pack facing audience. When performer opens pack toshow what he wants done, he places his right thumb right on top ofedge of wide card and by bending the card with pressure of thethumb and fingers of the right hand, the deck will part and the per-former opens deck a little. When he peeks he sees the card thefirst person looked at, the card on top of the wide Ace of Spades.Say it is the nine of spades. This is all you have to remember!

    Second person takes pack, peeks at a card as requested and packis handed to third person who is requested to cut cards and justnote card at cut and then to shuffle the pack. Performer now handseach a slip of paper and asks each to write down his card on theslip and then fold the slip. Performer then gathers up the threefolded slips and drops them into a hat. (NOTE: A man's hat is used,the type that has a crease throguh center of crown.)

    The first slip~ is placed in one side of crease in hat whilethe other two slips are placed on the other side of crease. Hat isplaced on table and performer stands behind hat. Reaching into hatperformer brings out one of the two slips laying together. Themessage on these slir.s is unknown. He holds slip to head and says,"The nine of Spades.' The first person will say that is correct.

    Performer opens slip and reads aloud, nine of spades. But theslip really has on it, say, four of Clubs. After reading it, perfor-mer folds slip up again and lays it on the table back of hat, andreaches into hat and brings out the other slip of the two that weretogether, contents unknown, and holding it to head he says, "Thefour of Clubs." When this is acknowledged to be correct, performeropens slip as if to verify and reads aloud, "The four of Clubs."But this slip may say, "Ten of Hearts."

    NOW FOR SOME MISDIRECTION!; Performer refolds slip and appa-rentlt places it on the table behind hat but actually palms it andthen reaches into hat and brings out THE SAME SLIP which he placesto his head but fails to divine the message. So he gets the writerof slip to hold it to his (writer's) head, then performer takeshold of writer's wrist and says, "The Ten of Hearts." Asking that





    the slip be opened, upon writer doing so, it is found to be correct!The first slip with "The Nine of Spades," is still in the hat,

    and has not been touched during the whole operation. Performerpicks up hat and carelessly turns it upside down and slip falls ontable with other one laying there.

    (AME readers will recognize the above as a valueble routinethat can be applied to books, words and questions. If the readeruses cards, he need not use a wide card. Any 'key' card will dolike a short or corner-short card, thick card etc. Al Baker consi-dered the wide card as the best of key cards, since the deck can becut instantly without the need of riffling the pack. A hat neednot be used either as it is considered nnhygenic these days. Anyreceptacle will do. Once the above routine has been mastered, thereader can progress to the Bert Reese routine where nothing isforced. A billet switch is done at the beginning, a dummy billetis left in its place, marked.)

    NOTE: The strong point about Ai Baker's Manuscript is thefabulous idea of entertaining a huge audience with a $2. thumb tipfake. A stage magician would find this - naive. He would ratherentertain his audience with a $10,000. illussion.

    Why a thumb tip? Only a well versed magician could have thoughtof it. At the turn of the century, magicians knew nil about billetswitching. Yet they admired the mediums and billet workers likeBert Reese and naturally wanted to duplicate their feats. So Ai Ba-'ker came out with the perfect answer. Simple, mechanical and in-detectable. If the reader uses the thumb tip gimmick as detailedhere, he can not but succeed and baffle any audience.

    In the proper use of the thumb tip fake, Mentalists can learnfrom magicians. Just watch a magician as he presents the torn andrestored strip of paper. In the hands of a pro, this is a work ofart! The moves used in the torn and restored paper strip are al-most identical to the moves proposed by Al Baker for switchingbillets except that the Mentalist does not make a show of it anddoes the moves without looking at his hands or calling attentionto it.

    Ai Baker's Billet Reading Extraordinary, the first effect inthe manuscript is, due to its simplicity, a work of art also. Takea good look at it and don't pass it up.





    In 1941, one year before Annemann died, Al Baker copyrightedhis excellent book, "AI Baker's Magical Ways and Means."

    The L & 0 test appears on page 132 under the title of "TheQuick and The Dead." In the first sentence, Al Baker states,

    "-I shall reveal for the first time the secret and correctmethod for my pellet switch."

    From the above we can see that apparently Al Baker had for-gotten that 21 years before, he had given a minute descriptionof his pellet switch! We can also see that apparently Al Bakerwas annoyed by reading incorrect accounts of his pet effect.

    Annemann had written about the Al Baker Thumb-Tip billetswitch several times in Jinx No.1, 4 and 5, and in every casethe incorrect details had been given.

    On page 3 of Jinx No.1, Annemann gives credit to Al Baker asthe originator of the Thumb Tip switch and states that it doesaway with sleight of hand.

    In the effect 'The Quick and The Dead' Al Baker uses afinger tip instead of a thumb tip. The reader should experimentwith both kind of tips. The thumb tip, however, makes for theperfect switch. Al Baker uses it in his torn and restored paperstrip which is shown on page 127 of Magical Ways and Means.

    May 5th, 1984 at the 40th Annual Banquet, Allentown Societyof Magicians, Northampton, Pa. Met a young magician, Don Gundy,who confided that he was giving seances at the haunted housecalled, "Dr. Doudley's House" in Reading, Pa. He asked if I knewanything about billet switching. He said he was using the thumb-

    'tip-switch and he showed me how. I said, "You learned thatfrom Practical Mental Effects." "That's right" he said. I thentold him it was the wrong way and I showed him the correct wayfor which he was most happy.

    The above is one of several reasons why this manuscript hasbeen rewritten. It is hoped that readers can see the value of Al

    Baker's correct handling of the thumb-tip switch. Another reasonhas already been stated and that~s that the manuscript isfabulous and should not be forgotten.

    In the meantime, be sure to stop by Dr. Doudley's HauntedHouse whenever you are in Reading.