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TELLING TALES “The power of a story repeated” BY


SECOND EDITION - 6/6/07 All material copyrighted by Luke R. Jermay. No material may be used without permission of the copyright holder. This PDF is encrypted with your email address. Please do not pass it along to others, as it will link back to you. It’s also really not very nice. Many thanks Luke.


INTRODUCTION. First let me thank you for buying this manuscript, I greatly appreciate your support and ongoing study of magic and mentalism. We are all students for life and I hope that sharing some of my ideas with you might bring us one step closer to one another. I am sure there is much I can learn from you and hope one day to sit down and hear your thoughts on magic. Now for my thoughts; in days gone by popular magical literature was ripe with books and manuscripts that collected sets of publicity stunts for the performer to use to gain attention in various manners. Normally these were headline predictions and daring stunts. As with many of the traditions of yesteryear these books are now few and far between. Those that are still in print really are only useful as a historical reference rather than a practical guidebook on such material. The times have changed and sadly the stunts the magicians express in these books simply do not work today. As well as this we are faced with the difficult situation of several high profile performers having plastered the television screen and newspapers with crazy over the top life or death style publicity stunts. In this manuscript you will not find methods to gain publicity however what you will find is material that will help tell a story about you and your skills via the newspaper or the Internet. I know many people will not ever be in the situation of having a major newspaper run a profile piece on them (I myself am more than likely among this group) however I along with many other performers have had several small local newspapers run articles on me and my show. The material in this manuscript was created for these occasions. The material is not to be presented in formal performance but rather casually as a way of adding even more weight to what you can do as a mystery worker. The material covered in this manuscript is all about creating a myth. Learning to find the core of a story and feeding it to the person interviewing you. I have found that the moment you give a reporter the killer line or paragraph it will end up in the article these effects basically fulfill that purpose. They are much more interesting in premise than in method but the premise is what ends up in the article and what furthers you and your myth. The material is also carefully constructed to ensure that at no point does it look like you the performer are trying to show case your skills. In the second example “Memorizing Goggle” the reporter is actually roped into asking you to perform the demonstration. In the first example “Big Spender” an effect happens that is so surreal and odd the reporter will simply look awe struck as it plays out right in front of his eyes. This style of construction I think is very important. These routines should not look as if


you are carefully planning them but rather they are something casual you are letting the reporter in on. These things are nothing more than normal to you. The fact that your perspective of normality differs so widely from that of the reporters is one of the main reasons the story will be engaging to the reader. Play up to this and you will soon be creating a myth. This material isn’t intended for formal performance so where and why would you want to perform these items? Well let’s imagine you are performing at a local charity event. The local newspapers are covering this. You suggest that you would like to talk about the charity event and why you are donating your services to it. You perform one of the routines detailed in this manuscript and provide a story to tell for the reporter. You become the focus on the piece, which now serves as great advertising material for you. Now lets imagine you are a college mentalist. All of these routines could be performer for campus newspapers and campus Internet report bulletins. These stories will increase the number of people attending the performance at the school. This material will also work in a corporate newsletter, a school journal, Internet blogs and much more. I would not recommend this material for Television interviews. It is all well and fine to have these stories expressed about you by someone on television however to actually perform any of the material on the television interview lessens the power of the myth that surrounds each item. Some of these items are ready to perform at any time and some require the use of a secret assistant and so fourth. I will offer no apologies for this as in an interview situation you will essentially control the environment – you will suggest where you meet for the interview and you control the surroundings. I think going to the effort of having a friend assist you secretly for the sake of the better story is well worth it. I really hope you find something of interest here and maybe the material inspires you to create some of these style publicity effects of your own. If you do I would love to hear about them! Thanks for you support of my work and your love of magic,

Luke Jermay. Las Vegas, 2007


THE APPROACH: I briefly expressed my feelings that in an interview situation a performer should not seem to be performing but rather seem he is demonstrating his abilities in a more casual and engaging manner during the short introduction to this manuscript. I would like to expand on this here without wishing to insult your intelligence I will keep this brief and I hope you might see this as a quick qualifier for the material that follows. If it is possible for the reporter himself or herself to seemingly suggest a demonstration then all the better. I believe this so strongly that I actually view the performance of these effects as being very closely linked to various scams and cons. You essentially rope in the reporter to the point of their own cursorily becoming the driving force behind the effects. Much like the way a mark is the driving force behind a scam at no point should the performer seemingly be waiting to bust into a prepared speech and effect. I attempt to construct the effects in such a way that the reporter will actually bring up the idea of a demonstration, the other approach I am fond of is for the performer to do something surreal and odd such as paying for lunch with a stack of play money bills without warning of explanation. In these demonstrations the false explanation has to be strong allowing the reporter to “work out” what the performer must have done in order to achieve the effect. Normally I will include some crazy pattern of speech that is seemingly riddled with embedded commands and such that the reporter will lock onto as the false method. A great example of this kind of construction is the work of my friend Derren Brown who is truly a master at creating false explanations in the mind of the audience. The material detailed in this manuscript was created with this in mind. The material also stays true to the environment in which it will play best. One of the great luxuries of an interview is the fact that it happens in a place you can control. Unlike the stage, which offers the astute performer many avenues to exploit the coffee shop, restaurant, bookstore and other such places offer the smart performer a whole host of new avenues to explore and capitalize upon in an interview situation please bear this in mind when reading the descriptions of the effects, I have also added a section explaining the setting in which each effect is intended to be performed. The general pace and performer style changes with each venue and thus the material takes on an entirely new and different feel than that of a formal performance. I like to think of this material in the same way as a card magician might think of jazzing. You as the performer will need to use your judgment and intuition as to the correct moment to move in for the climax of an effect without looking like you are desperately trying to amaze the reporter. This ladies and gentlemen is about become a performer of mystery and building the myth that surrounds you as such and not simple about performing for applause. It’s a different and somewhat scary change the first time you try it however I am sure after a few performances of this style you will enjoy it as much as I do. So with this brief qualification for the material lets jump into my personal favorite in this manuscript called “Big Spender.”


BIG SPENDER. The performer and reporter sit in a restaurant of café in which have been conducting their interview while eating and drinking. Effect: At the conclusion of the interview and the conclusion of the meal the performer reaches for the check. He removes a stack of play money bills from his wallet and counts them out covering the cost of the lunch with them. He then calls the waitress over and hands her the play money bills. Amazingly the waitress accepts the playbills and moments later returns to the table to thank the performer and reporter for visiting the restaurant and finally presents the performer with the change from the check. The performer picks up the change and places a healthy tip on the table for the waitress and exits the restaurant parting ways with the reporter. Comments: This is a great example of creating the story that the reporter wants to tell. It is also the easiest of the items presented in this manuscript as well as being a piece that can be performed alone without any assistance and in theory can be performed at any time. There is no need to reserve this especially for a reporter and indeed it could be used to impress a potential client or even a friend while at dinner. Select the right occasion for this effect and it will truly be a story your spectator will tell over and over again. The premise is what drives this routine. The ability to seemingly influence a person to accept play money in place of real money is so strong a hook for your spectators that they will not be able to help but wish they had this ability themselves. This is what in my opinion makes this sequence a myth-building piece. I hate to have to say this but it is also important that you select a spectator for this piece that is not going to be offended by it. I know this sounds odd however if you examine what you the performer are seemingly doing here you soon realize it boils down to theft and fraud. This is one reason I think it is so strong and evokes feelings of power and the romantic connotations we often see expressed in movies about loveable con men all work in your favor with this routine. However I cannot stress enough the need for restraint and consideration before performing this. Consider what the very nature of this effect is saying about you and what it will be saying to your spectator and indeed if that is the right message to be sending to them.


Method: You will need to collect a stack of play money bills for this routine. I personally use the bills from the popular board game monopoly as I think there is something rather appealing about the use of an item from a Childs board game in this outwardly dangerous effect. If you would prefer not to have to buy an entire board game for the sake of play money bills I would recommend going to a joke shop and buying some there or even creating your own play money bills by sketching on a blank sheet of paper. I HA VE BEEN TO LD THA T IN SO ME TO YS ST ORES IT IS P O SSIBL E TO BUY ‘REPLAC MENT’ PACK S OF PL AY MON EY FO R T H E GA ME MO NO LO PL Y. CH ECK YO UR LOCA L T O Y STO RES T O SEE I F THI S I S T RUE IN YOUR A REA.

The most important thing about the play money itself is that it is obviously different from real bills and visibly so. Hence my preference for monopoly money. Everyone recognizes it as fake money instantly. There is no need to draw any further attention to it. I really do recommend using these play money bills over any other. As well as this you will need some real money too! To prepare for this routine you will suggest to the reporter that you conduct the interview over lunch at a specific restaurant. This venue can be of the reporter choice or yours. You are merely guiding the meeting to take place in a restaurant setting. Search information about whichever restaurant you are attending on the Internet. Essentially you will need to be sure you can guess an amount of money the check will come to for two meals and drinks. I normally place two 100-dollar bills folded in my wallet ready to go. The first folded bill is held to the stack of play money with a small dab of post it note glue. Magician’s wax would also work if you prefer however the post it note glue allows for easy removal later. The second bill is then folded around and into the first attached bill. This is very easy and essentially is just a way of securing the bills together for easy retrieval later. This is no big secret simply attach one bill to the stack of play money and play with different ways of folding the second bill in and around the first until you are happy with the security the folding provides. To successfully perform this effect you will need to have built up some kind of fun relationship with the waitress during the meal itself. Now I would simply suggest being friendly, charming and witty will do this. Waitresses have a hard time. Low pay and rude customers are often all waitress face. If you take a moment to be a nice guy to your server they will remember and they will like you for it. Plus you get a nice warm feeling inside knowing your making their hard day a little easier.


Of course if you happen to be an uncontrollable jerk which sadly 90% of magicians and mentalists seem to be and find it funny to be rude to waitresses then this effect is not for you but based on your good taste in magical literature I am sure your not that kind of person. After you have built up some kind of fun relationship with the waitress and the interview is coming to an end ask for the check. As soon as the check arrives place your hand on it and continue your conversation. Subtly open the check and look at the amount. This is to double check that the amount on the bill is covered including tip leaving you with change to be returned to you, by the amount of money you secretly prepared by folding and attaching to the stack of play money bills. BE A WA RE T HA T O N OCCA SI ON IT I S P O SSIBL E T HAT T H E REPO RTER W OULD HA VE AL REA DY C O VERED T HE C H ECK. IT I S CO MMON LY AD VIC ED IN BUSIN ESS C LA SSES TO A RRI VE BEFO RE YO UR G UEST/CLI EN T A ND P L ACE YOUR C REDIT CA RD WIT H TH E HO ST. THI S IS OF T EN DON E TO C REA TE AN OD D F EELIN G O F T HIN GS BEIN G EA SY AND W ELC O MIN G W H EN YO U A RE WIT H T HE P ERSO N. IT I S AC TUAL L Y TA UGHT MUCH LIK E ANC HO RI NG I S IN NLP TO BUSIN ESS ST UD ENT S. IF THI S H APP EN S SMIL E POLIT L EY A ND T HA NK YO UR H O ST. IF NO T CO N TINUE A S F OL LO W S.

Remove the play money bills with the real money in its folded condition facing toward you. The reporter who is sat opposite you will not see the folded bill attached to the monopoly money but rather simply see a stack of playbills. If the reporter is not sat across from you watch your angels and adjust the your actions accordingly to ensure the real money remains hidden behind the stack of play money bills. Now count the playbills in your hands removing $200 worth of playbills. I normally remove two play $50’s, four play $20’s and two play 10’s. I choose this combination as it affords more cover than simply removing two play $100 bills. You can create a small spread/fan of money to better conceal the real money hidden behind the play money stack. Get the waitresses attention and with a wink point to the folded bills hidden from the sight of your spectator as you say, “this should cover it but I will need change.” Instantly crumple the play money over the real bills and place it either into the bill book handed out with the check or into the waitress’s hand should a bill book not be present. Place the bill book into her hand and smile as she attempts to remove the bill book from you hand state: “You should probably check that’s ok. We will be here waiting. Just bring the change when you have a chance.”


This will essentially tell the waitress to go away and look at the money in the bill book. She will see the folded money and bring you the change needed. Alternative Method/Precautions: Now I am sure some of you might be worried that when she brings the change the waitress will say something about the play money. I personally have never had this happen and if you are a strong performer generally it will not. She will be slightly confused however you will direct the situation and control it. SINC E T H E FI RST REL EASE OF THI S EBO OK TH ERE H A VE BEEN SEVERA L PERFO RMA NC E STO RI ES F RO M P URCH A SERS P UBLI SH ED O N VA RIO US INT ERNET MA GIC DI SSC USSI ON FO RUMS A ND I A M PL EA SED TO REP O RT T HA T N OT A SI NG LE PERSON H A S YET EXP ERI ENC ED A P ROBL EM WI T H THI S. I INC LUD E THI S HERE A S A LITTL E C ON FID ENC E BUILD ER FO R YOUR FI RST A TTEMPT. LIKE MO ST GO OD MEN TALI SM T HI S MO MEN T REQ UIRES BA LL S. YOUR C O URAG E WIL L BE REWA RD ED.

Another option to add some confidence to your performance is to include a small note with the real money that reads: “I am playing a joke on my buddy. Please do not mention the play money” This in much the same way as the famous electric chairs routine this note will encourage the waitress to actually play this up even more. This is your choice. Another option for those who do not wish to hand the play money to the waitress is to switch the play money using either a Himber style wallet or even a sleight of hand switch after you have counted the play money into the bill book. I have played with constructing a generic looking Himber style bill book however I still favor the methods outlines in this manuscript however these options are there should you prefer. The real secret of this effect lies in the way in which you present the false explanation. I have chosen to use scripting as a way of seemingly influencing the waitress to see the play money as real money through apparent embedded commands. Play around with your own script until you feel this is the underlying message in your performance. This false explanation will lift the effect to new heights. I also encourage you to play with other false explanations until you find something that works for you. An Important Point: The only perspective of the effects presented in this manuscript that counts is that of the reporter/client/guest. It is your job to amaze him or her and him or her alone. They are the one that will be writing the story and selling your myth. The waitress will be confused and probably think you are slightly crazy however it does not matter. This


material is not created for a popularity contest but rather as a focused set of effects designed to amaze the reporter and further your apparent skills as a man of mystery. Bite your tongue – smile sweetly at the waitress and think of nothing else but the reporter’s perception. If it really bothers you after you have left the restaurant and bid farewell to the reporter quickly go back inside and thank her for helping you play a joke on your friend. Personally I find this idea sickening however it may make some of you feel better. One final piece of advice when the change comes back in cash makes sure you tip your server well. The tip is really the only thing the waitress cares about and at the end of the day, no matter how quirky or odd you were with your play money if you tip well the waitress will be happy.


TELLING TALES: JIMMY GRIPPO. I live in Las Vegas; before I made the transatlantic move from London to the United States I like many others had heard the legendary stories of Jimmy Grippo and his amazing magic. The fact that I had heard of these amazing demonstrations not only thousands of miles away but many years after they apparently happened is really a testament to Grippo’s ability to create a strong and powerful myth. Many of these stories are so fantastical in nature that I often find myself chuckling and imagining how these myths became know as fact by some many people. I often wonder how Grippo created the myths that followed him. From his ability to make thought of playing cards appear inside locked bank vaults to causing fully grown men to fly across the room with nothing more than a gentle touch to their forehead, producing stacks of money which he gave to his spectators, causing items to vanish and reappear wherever a spectator requested and so much more Grippo created myths wherever he went. I have had the great fortune of speaking with Joey Burton, Jimmy’s only student and also one hell of a good magician in his own right on several occasions and in our conversations more and more amazing stories pop up. Grippo was clearly a man that understood the power of a story retold. It is often in the retelling of what he did that the myth was really borne. The material described in this manuscript is intended in very much the same vein. The myth will build each and every time the story is told. You will be amazed at what you apparently did when someone tells you what he or she has heard. This is partly the reason I suggest not performing these pieces anywhere on tape or recording them in any way that is accessible. In today’s age the only way for the myth to build is through the telling of the story and not through placing a video of the effect on your web site on promotional DVD. The myth exists in the story and the story will grown and change over time. This is not possible if a rock solid documentation exists of what you actually did. Today there are so many instantly accessible means for people to tell their story via the Internet and self-publishing that the myth will build quicker than ever before. Think of Jimmy Grippo and the power he commanded in his seemingly anywhere anytime performances of the most outlandish effects performed in such a way that his audiences felt as if they were truly the only people to ever witness such an effect. Allow your audience to tell tales and in the process create the myth for you. Jimmy understood this and I understand how powerful this is. Maybe if we meet one day I will tell you about some of the Jimmy Grippo stories I have heard. You just wouldn’t believe them. If I wrote them down you would think I was simply telling tales.


GOOGLE GOOGLE. The performer has the reporter join him at a coffee shop. On the table are the performers laptop and a large stack of papers. When the reporter arrives the performer clears these aside and begins the interview. At some point during the interview the performer accidentally knocks some of the papers onto the floor. EFFECT: The reporter helps recover the fallen papers and eventually asks what they are. Each page of paper is a single sheet print out of the first result page for various searches via The performer explains that he is slowly but surely learning to memorize the Internet. With a sly smile he continues: “Well obviously not the whole of the internet that would be far to difficult but I am trying to memories the top ten search results for any single word in the English language. These papers are some of the more tricky ones I am trying to commit to memory. So far I have only got from A to H. It needs some work but it’s getting there.” The reporter will without doubt bite on this statement and question the performer about it. In reply the performer pushes his laptop toward the reporter and continues: “Lets try this. Type in any word as long as it begins with a letter A thru H in the alphabet I should be fine.” The reporter types in a word and searches it on The performer now states the top five results. He then states the lower five results in reverse order. The performer finally has the reporter select one of the results one thru ten and the amazingly states the web site summary and the various other pieces of information attached to the search result. Comments: This routine really is a killer when performed correctly. It makes use of a service that we all use every day more than once. People are very used to using goggle as a search site and also people are very accustomed to seeing laptops and personal computers in coffee shops. There is not a single town around without wireless Internet access in a coffee shop somewhere. If you happen to live in a town without a wireless connection at some coffee shop somewhere I would suggest moving. You will find this routine becomes something of a feature story when performed at the right time. I often use this routine when I am asked during an interview “how do you do


it?” I normally talk about the mix of magic and psychology I make use of and also the various short cuts I use such as memory skills. During this question I will actually say something like: “I am actually working on my biggest memory test yet. I’m not all the way there yet but it is coming along well.” I take this chance to plant the seed for what will follow. I would also like to mention that I have chosen to include two methods for this effect in this manuscript. One makes use of a secret assistant and a wireless earpiece. This is to me the best way of performing this effect however I am fully aware that not everyone has an ear piece nor wishes to use a secret assistant so I have provided an alternative which is also an alternative I have used when faced with someone who has heard the story asking me to test my memory skills with them. The second method is also the method I carry with me pretty much at all times. I carry the prop in bag that contains my laptop. The alternative method makes use of a dictionary and with the minor change in premise from memorizing any word in the English language to memorizing any word in the dictionary. This minor presentational twist now allows you to both introduce the dictionary and make use of all the sneaky possibilities that now open to forcing a specific word or words from the dictionary. The alternative version does require a little memory work from your point however I will provide a way to secretly access a crib sheet during the performance that will allow you to no longer have to worry about memory work. I do however recommend taking the time to actually memorize the ten listings you will use in the effect as it allows for a much better performance. I know you will get just as strong a reaction to the second version that the first. However if you do have access to an earpiece and a secret assistant it truly is the easiest and also the strongest due to the level of detail you can go into and the freedom the spectator has with the selection of any word. With this in mind the most important thing to remember is that with all material that is designed to be re-told in a story from one spectator to another the real magic in these effects lies in the strong and memorable premise. It is the premise that really sells the effect, it is the premise that hooks your spectators and it is ultimalty the strong and focused premise they will repeat to their friends and family and more importantly to their readers if they are a reporter conducting an interview. Method One: The first method exploits the fact that a coffee shop is a natural environment for people to be sitting close to one another as well as the fact that people often work on their laptop.


The method is utterly simple but rather expensive and high tech. The performer is wearing an earpiece. The performer has a secret assistant sitting near by on a second laptop. This assistant simply hears the word selected by the reporter and searches it on their laptop. They then read the results into the transmitter of the earpiece allowing the performer to repeat the results affecting a display of super memory. I have also performer this in a slightly different and all together bolder method in which I simply turn my back on the reporter so I cannot see the results – he then selects his word. With my back to him I type the word into my cell phone Internet browser and simply read the results back to him. This is becoming easier and easier as more cell phones move over to EDGE connections which allow for faster speeds and loading times. If this appeals to you I would recommend the Blackberry 8800 handset. Using the cell phone Goggle search feature can often be useful in performing mentalism. The cell phone method is very fooling however not as elegant as the earpiece method nor the dictionary method. Method Two: This is I suspect the method that most will prefer. To do this method you will need to buy a pocket dictionary and keep it with you. Prepare the dictionary by trimming one of the pages short. You will riffle force the page on the spectator and have them look at the first word on the page. This word of course is your force word. You simply commit the first ten results to memory for the force word on the Goggle search. If you would prefer not to have to use such memory make a small print out of the search results and stick it to the back of the dictionary! Force the word and close up the pages of the dictionary. Now simply state the information staring you in the face reading from the back of the dictionary. Final Notes: Despite the methods for this effect being extremely simple I would encourage you to pay careful attention to the way this effect is set up. I like the accidental exposure of the goggle results causing a conversation to begin. With the second method you can use the same hook by having scribbled notes on a pad, which you accidentally expose to the reporter along with the dictontary. The real work here is in peaking the spectator’s interest and making them ask you about the notes and the goggle results.


GOODBYE. Well there you have it two simple routines that allow you to begin building myths. I really like the premise displayed in each of these effects and I hope you do too. The methods are not nearly as interesting as the premise and this is a good thing in my opinion. The premise is what sells the story in the long run. The effects are very easy to sum up in a single sentence and I am sure if you perform them with conviction and power the story will be told again and again by your spectator. I really hope this has been of interest to you and that you might try one or both of these routines out sometime in a casual setting. If you do happen to perform these for reporters please let me know how it went for you and I would love to see the article when published. I am sure you will enjoy the reactions from these ideas as much as I do and I wish you the best of luck with them. If this material has peeked your interest in this style please keep an eye out for my larger work on this subject currently in the works. Intended as a hardback book with the working title “Whispers” I examine the psychology of building myths combining the teaching of sociologists and anthropologists such as Joseph Campbell and James George Frazer along with case studies of performers who built myths everywhere they went such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Chan Canasta, Annemann and others. The book closes with a set of effects each designed for different venues and with different goals in mind. Fell free to contact me directly about this coming book to be placed on the mailing list to receive updates on its progress. Until next time happy myth building, Luke Jermay.


LUKE JERMAY 5208 Garden Lane Office D Las Vegas, NV, 89119 [email protected]




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