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Topic: Going against everything I believe in...
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Sep 21, 2007 11:20AM)
I interviewed with a haunted house yesterday about performing an escape on October 27 (see the All Tied Up section for why this day is significant). We came to an agreement on the escape. Then the organizer asked me if I did any type of walk around magic. I am very limited walk around magic, and that's what I told him. He then asked if I could do some walk arount magic to entertain the crowd that would be waiting to go through the haunted house (www.hauntedweb.com for info on the haunt). Knowing myself the way I do, I said, "sure, not a problem!" Although, once I had a chance to think about it after I left the haunt, I realized that I have maybe two routines that don't need some sort of table, but none of it can be classified as spooky or scary. I've got a little over a month to learn some stuff. I figure with the crowd constantly changing I don't have to learn too much stuff. So, this is going against EVERYTHING I believe in with performing "new" stuff. Would anyone care to give me some advice on items that I could put in my repertoire for this event?

...and yes, I am ready to hear the "tsk...tsk...tsk....you should know better than that!!" :loss:

Message: Posted by: Payne (Sep 21, 2007 11:43AM)
Haunted Key
Hades Finger Chopper
The Old Pin Through Tumb Trick
Matchbox penetration using a stake and vampire theme
Two in the Hand one in the Pocket using rubber eyeballs or little skulls
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Sep 21, 2007 11:53AM)
Walk around and sell autographed photos promoting the Escape. Us a MAGIC Marker.

Take some Cuff around and do some impromptu demonstrations...also Thumb Cuffs.

You are a dazzling red head...they will pay attention no matter what you have.

Working the Line introduce yourself to each section and do what ever...be you.
Message: Posted by: leapinglizards (Sep 21, 2007 12:10PM)
Blood in the palm (Like old ash in the palm.)
Voodoo ash with tarot (or if you have issues with tarot, Monster cards)
Rope through neck with hang man's patter.
Cups and Eye balls. (Or brains)
(Gratuitous plug) Many things in our upcoming book Devil of a Bar & Pub
Needle swallowing (for one group swallow the threaded needles, for the next, pull them out. Use your judgement here.)
Okito Coin box routine( call it withces salve, use an old talisman)
Coin through handkerchief (Same talisman and a shroudy looking "mummy Cloth")
Vanishing ghosts (Slidini paper balls)
Message: Posted by: E. S. Andrews (Sep 21, 2007 12:18PM)
You could always get a white hanky and draw a ghost face on, which could then appear and disappear at you whim using the old magician's secret.

I also agree with Payne that the Haunted Key would be a great addition. It has a good time frame, lends itself to great patter, and (best of all) it is cheap and fits into a pocket quite nicely.
And who doesn't love a good finger chop?
Message: Posted by: kaytracy (Sep 21, 2007 12:44PM)
What about a thumb tie/escape, or something along those lines. It gives a little bit of blend to what you are doing, and other than the pipe cleaners or other twisties,
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Sep 21, 2007 03:08PM)
I think that I'd stay away from small escapes here (thumbcuffs, thumb tie, handcuffs). Your escape is big. Why not hit them with that full force?

For a haunt:

Haunted key (already mentioned) or any other pendulum effect

Out To Lunch with blank index cards. Participant signs both sides, holds between palms held horizontally. Inserted pen into palm sandwich at dip between base of thumb and fleshy rim at other edge of palm. Wait until they feel the pen move (they will). Open hands to reveal spirit message on index card!

Eugene Burger's spirit writing on cigarette papers as in Spirit Theater and on Magical Voyages DVD. Easy! Dramatic!

Okito doll. Boy, this baby kills! Dress it up with a cigar and an invocation.

Trace around your hand on paper. Give a volunteer a stick of incense and tell them to burn one of the fingers on the drawing. Ouch! A small blister appears on that finger on your hand. Tony Andruzzi does this the video Bizarre! Easy!

Open Corinda's [i]Thirteen Steps to Mentalism[/i] to just about any page. Dress up the routine a bit and you are good. A Swami is good for a voodoo effect also. You could draw a picture of the Okito doll on a buiness card, put an X where you expect them to stick the needle, they do, and you show them the prediction. Of course in this case, you drove them to stick the doll where you wanted. There is another method in Eugene Burger's Spirit Theater.

What the heck, assemble five people and do pseudo psychometry. Add cold readings. Repeat as necessary. Read Corinda, maybe Richard Webster's [i]Psychometry From A to Z[/i].

Notice that all of these suggestions are heavy on mentalism, light on cards. Even if you are not ordinarily a mentalist, dressed up with nice props, nothing is as scary as someone else controlling your mind or stealing your thoughts, unless it's spirits. I would go light on rubber spiders, eyeballs, that kind of stuff. There are bins full of that at Walmart. You can be creepier!


Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Sep 21, 2007 03:38PM)
Hay DR... If she is wandering before the big escape... why NOT use thumbcuffs?

I learned from other illusionsts that small tricks can very effectivly be used to prmoth larger ones. AND the added bonus is that you make a personal conection with the audience.... while you hand out your card...

If Margarette does a small escape for the customers AND she also performes a large one - They will remember her as being "That lady that does the escapes" If she mixes it up with magic.... then she will be remembered as "that lady that did some tricks and escaped form that bag(or whatever)

Margarette, What I learned in school, about "Branding" is that you do something well and connect wat you do to the subscriber... the same way... every time. You "Beat your drum" until your message is heard.

If I was hired to do escapes... That's what I would do. The only reason NOT to do escapes (even close up) would be if the spomsor objected.

Example from a related incident.

I work schools... I NEVER tell the principal or teachers, let alone the kids, that I am bringing the Head Chopper. My experiance has been that some liberal over protective parent will object (for whatever reason). yet you just bring the Chopper and perform it in a show and everyone loves the routine.

How does this relate?

You just take the thumbcuffs and perform them without tipping your plan. You are then associated with escapes in your entire image and appeal. You are remembered as an escape artist. Your business card sais "Escape artist" and not mentalist... corect... so be an escape artist.

The advice above pertains to Margarettes situation and could very well vary if her show was around CEO's. In that case the performance of the "One to 100" might be appropriate because your objective would be to worj for them and they would respond to that kind of a trick. for their business model.

If you're a little shy about the thumbcuffs, you could always have them put on behind your back and kill some time presenting it as a comedy escape.... you know what I mean.

I would also take three magic tricks that you are comfortable with. Remember... The audience dosen't know or care if you use gimmicks. I sometimes get better response from a trick deck presentation then fron terrifis sleight of hand when performing for a lay audience. Magicians are the only people who really appreciate you skills.

Any other Qs... pm me


See you at the convention... I'll be the one with the camera screwed into my eye.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Sep 21, 2007 03:40PM)
OK... I can't spell

Sue me
Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Sep 21, 2007 04:46PM)
Ok Paul (Dr Wilson), now I'm waiting for the "Book" or the DVD". (what's keeping you)? ;)
Message: Posted by: ptbeast (Sep 21, 2007 05:15PM)

Other than escapes, I don't know what you have in your repertoire, but I would advise that as much as possible you adapt what you already know to be spooky rather than trying to learn new tricks that are inherently scary (though if you wanted to pick up a Dark Museum, it would kill).

A few things to remember about people waiting in line for a haunted house. First off, they come ready to be scared. Not just wanting to be scared, but ready. They have built up enough anticipation that, for many of them, the slightest startle can make them scream.

As a bizarrist, I am all about a slow creepy scare. This can be done in a haunt line, but it is difficult. You have a very limited amount of time with the group, it is not an intimate surroundings, and the line will be constantly moving. It is easier, and often fits the feel of the haunt better, to startle, gross out, or be over-the-top style dramatic.

Using this approach, it is all about choosing a victim. The rest of the line will be entertained by watching others jump, scream, etc. You have to pick on the vulnerable.

Create a character and find a few effects that fit that character. One or two skits where a monster grabs you and binds you (rope, handcuffs, thumbcuffs, whatever) and is leading you off to your doom, when you magically turn he tables on them, would be great.

I have had good luck with simple effects like the Haunted Key, Pendulum, Okito Doll, The Web (gets great reactions when played well), etc. That said, the best reactions have always been when I could relate an effect to my character and/or to the theme of the haunt itself.

I, don't see a problem with using small escapes for this, as long as you don't feel that it detracts from your main show. In fact, using -- for example -- the vignette that I described above, you could be simply telling people in the line about your show and to make sure they catch it, when the monster grabs you. Outwitting the monster and displaying your escape prowess only enhances the interest in the big show, while providing great line entertainment.

Just brainstorming. You will have to find what works best for you, but hopefully something in this rambling post will help get you thinking.

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Sep 21, 2007 05:59PM)
Dr Wilson I rarely disagree with your wisdom but in this case Thumb Cuffs would be a proper touch to focus attention on the Big Escape. Why? Because in a Haunt Line it is semi controlled chaos and very antsy people...A little Comedy is called for (they get their fill of the spooky stuff) and the big plus is the interaction and participation of the specs...all kinds of stories can be woven around it. So while it might not be the best thing she could do it could only add to her later triumph.

The point is to keep the folks busy in a QUEUE LINE. I'd sell peeks into Box (around my neck) to see a Zibit. This is done at Haunts to good success and a nice pocket full of extra cash. And yes Dave the Dark Museum works well in this situation. :) Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Sep 22, 2007 07:45AM)
There are several problems to solve. The first, you did. You got the job.

The second, is that the owner wants you to entertain the lines, and you want to do the big escape. There are two sets of expectations here, but you can resolve them.

SInce you're doing an escape, it's better not to mix it up with anything that could be overtly called "magic". The underlieing assumption of magic involves the acceptance that what you do, is a trick. With an escape, you want them to think it's a stunt, absolutely real.

Consequently, in choosing your magic, it's a good idea to do things that apparantly work, due to the involvement of the audience, and you're just an innocent bystander.

What defines your job?...You have to go to a lot of people (hopefully) for a very short time. You need only two or three things, all of which can be done in a couple of minutes.

Thumbcuffs or screws are a natural for this. They promote what you're doing later, and define your genre. If you use screws, you have a nice tie-in with a torture theme, appropriate for the situation.

The Andruzzi thing is great for this. You only need a pen and pad of paper. Better yet, use your business card for drawing the hand. You get your name into their hands, along with a reminder of their experience.

Doug's Dark Museum is also a natural, but the way you introduce it is crucial to your performance success in this place.

I'd start with the Museum. Approach your intended victim saying "I know you...well, we haven't really met, but I feel as if I know every thought that goes through your head, do yo believe that's possible...it is". Write down your prediction (on a business card). Intro the Museum, and tell the stories of each prop...etc, your predictions a success!

Now turn to, not the next group in line, but the one just the other side of them. So your total immediate audience has become three groups of people. Do the Andruzzi thing. That way, your card ends up in their hands too.

Then, use the middle group for the thumbscrews.

As a matter of theming and convenience...the Museum is in a bag. Your cards and a pen are in another bag. The thumbscrews are in a bag that's big enough for you to use it as a cover for your hands, should you feel so inclined. And oh gee, business cards just happen to be there too!

Now, the parameters of your performance have been defined. What does this tell us about your character? You carry things in little bags. Does that make you a conjure woman? It's a powerful image, in your part of the country. (Having a couple of little bags of powders, could give you something to do, as an intermediate step between the drawing of the hand, for example, and the appearance of the blister...you're tossing a bit of powder in the air, and ouch, the blister appears.)

You're intense...you have awarenesses that are not of this world...you could also play this, as being totally wifty, but I think intense works better for this. The audience will respond better to the intimacy of an intense focus. A haunted attraction is supposed to be a bit edgy, so you must too.

What kind of movement do you have? Is there a signature-piece move that defines the character? When you're about to make a point, do you cock your head to the side a little, and give an evil eye? (Juxtaposed with a come-along-with-me look, when you want someone to do something.) Do you walk smoothly, limp, drag a leg? With thumbscrews...your story almost demands that you've been placed in them, as a result of your awarenesses, and that you escaped, only to be condemned to re-enact the experience for eternity. What does this say about your hands...how you hold them...how you move them? How do you use your voice, to help define each situation? What's your posture? Straight and defiant? Bent and beaten, but still fighting?

Carrying around a bunch of little bags...being an intense character...how does this define your costuming? Do you want a clean look, or kind of scrufty, or looking as if you've been walking a lot of very dust roads, for a long time?

Food for thought.
Message: Posted by: Rory Raven (Sep 22, 2007 10:15PM)
Gee, this Newman kid is pretty smart. He thinks a lot ....

Message: Posted by: drwilson (Sep 23, 2007 05:58AM)
Not only that, Harley makes the rest of us think. I understand Jay's point about branding. That certainly applies if your sole focus is escapes and you are willing to travel a lot to get gigs. I am something of a forty-miler, so at least locally, the important impression to leave is that people can expect the unusual when Dr. Wilson is around.

What is the essential characteristic of the escape artist? That varies from performer to performer. Some make open claims of great knowledge about lockpicking, and allow the audience to see them defeat locks with paper clips and so forth during performance. Others are more secretive. One common characteristic is that the escape artist cannot be confined. Depending on the escape, the implications are: fearlessness, physical strength and skill, technical knowledge, and to some extent invulnerability. Each of these characteristics can be the basis of an effect used to work the line that fits the Halloween theme.

Physical strength and skill:

Stop your heart - For some audience members, this is the strongest effect that I do in my show.

Feats of strength - Some of the sideshow feats of strength could be used here. I think that I would be pretty impressed to see Margarette rip a deck of cards in half, for example, both because a feat of strength from a woman is unexpected, and because it helps me to resolve my feeling towards card tricks.


Harley's suggested scary handling of thumbscrews fits here.

Andruzzi's voodoo effect implies invulnerability. Think how much worse it would be for them if you were to draw a picture of their hand and burn it!


There is an aspect of fearlessess to several of the suggested effects.

You get the idea...


Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Sep 23, 2007 02:17PM)
Drwilson is more then a 40 miler

He's also a 10 in 1 kind of guy.

Thumb screws probably fit the "bill" better then Tcuffs BUT - - if this is a younger crowd that's possibly drunk or high, make sure to control how hard you let them screw you in. This calls for a strong presence around people who are into gore and blood. The contract calls for entertainment and hopefully not a trip to the hospital.

I have every confidence that Margarette can "pull it off" (yes, pun intended)
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Sep 23, 2007 05:09PM)
OK...we want pictures!!!
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Sep 23, 2007 09:25PM)
Jay didn't mention that he makes an interesting set of thumb-stocks, which would remove the risky combination of drunks and thumbscrews, yet enable you to do essentially the same type of routine.
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Sep 23, 2007 11:04PM)
Greets everyone! I usually take time to respond to things like this sooner, but I've had a major family emergency that isn't quite resolved, yet. I'll be taking in all the responses as time permits, but I thank everyone who has taken the time to give me some wonderful advice!

Message: Posted by: optimystik (Sep 24, 2007 09:06PM)
Hi Margarette,

You are already doing an escape so no need to to "escape" during your walk around...people want to experience something scary or creepy at these events.

Do you do the Invisible Deck?

This can be done over and over and it BLOWS LAY PEOPLE AWAY!

You can use your imagination to come up with a creepy storyline for example a ghost causing the card to to turn face down.

Or...for the best, creepeiest effect....Have the deck inside an old antique jewelry box and explain how this box and it's contents have not been touched since the owner passed away.

Imagine... when they think of and name a card and you open the box and amongst the old jewelry, dried flowers, folded letters and old black & white vintage family photos including a photo of the dearly departed there is a an old deck of cards...you say ..."this deck of cards is the one that Esmerelda used to tell fortunes with, it is just as she left it before she died" .... you remove the old worn deck of cards and reveal the one face down card in the deck is their selection.

They will never forget this...believe me...it wil scare the heck out of them ...if you only do this one effect over and over you will be set for the night.

You can make your own invisble deck, of course, out of a real vintage deck found at an antique store.

If you don't already do this effect then you can learn it in a few weeks of study, ptactice and trehearsal and it will be well worth it.

I promise you that you will be thrilled with the effect you have on your crowd.

Message: Posted by: Margarette (Sep 25, 2007 09:45AM)
On 2007-09-21 12:53, Doug Higley wrote:
Walk around and sell autographed photos promoting the Escape. Us a MAGIC Marker.

One of the things I will be doing is offering pictures with me for sale...kinda like you see at pony rides at the fair...five bucks for a picture of your kid on the pony.

Message: Posted by: Margarette (Sep 25, 2007 09:53AM)
On 2007-09-22 08:45, Harley Newman wrote:

Doug's Dark Museum is also a natural, but the way you introduce it is crucial to your performance success in this place.


Please forgive my ignorance, but what is this effect and what would I have to do to obtain it? Is it something that can be made or is it a commercially available item?

Message: Posted by: Eddie Garland (Sep 25, 2007 10:01AM)
Here ya go Margarette...explore Doug's site....
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Sep 25, 2007 10:04AM)
Go to Doug's website. It's a beautiful prediction, involving a (mummified) ear, toe, and monkeys paw. The man makes sweet props. He's recently come up with some very nice shriveled eyeballs, which can be easily worked into the routine.

BTW, I'm glad to see you in these threads, Margarette. There's a huge similarity between bizarrism and escapes, in the way one needs to work the imaginations of the audience.
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Sep 25, 2007 10:10AM)
On 2007-09-25 10:45, Margarette wrote:

One of the things I will be doing is offering pictures with me for sale...kinda like you see at pony rides at the fair...five bucks for a picture of your kid on the pony.

I did that whaen I was younger, but now the knees and back are gone.
Plus its hard to find Polaroid film.
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Sep 27, 2007 03:03PM)

Careful, Tony .. they shoot horses..
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Sep 27, 2007 03:17PM)
It's off to the glue factory with me.
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Sep 27, 2007 03:47PM)
I must say, Doug's Dark Museum looks awesome! I'll see if I can't sell one of my kids to fund the purchase! I am getting ideas! It should prove to be a fun gig.