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Profile of martinkaplan
Does anyone currently use a magic square in their stand-up shows? If so, what is the ideal audience for such an effect? I do a business card version of the magic square, but I limit it to someone who is having a birthday. Thanks in advance for your input.

Harry Murphy
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I use a Magic Square bit in my stand-up mentalism act. I use a rather large unlined drawing pad and a black felt marker pen for visibility.

In the routine I have someone mentally pick a number, and then write it on a small square of paper, on which I had previously drawn, a mystical pentagram. The paper would then be torn up and burned.

Then I would take the pad of paper and start to randomly write numbers down in a series of rows or columns until I had about 16 numbers written on the page (say four rows of four numbers). At that point I would let any spectator choose a row, column, or diagonal and add them up, they would equal the thought of number! Then I would demonstrate that adding in over a dozen different ways would add to that selected number (sign the sheet and give it as a souvenir!)

This is only one presentation of several I do using the magic square.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
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Profile of leondo

The magic square is a powerful routine for any sized audience. Liz and I use it in our 2 person mentalism act mostly for audience's of about 150 people but we've even performed it to much larger crowds.

From the audience's perspective:

Liz is on stage standing next to a board with 16 squares on it. I go into the audience and have somebody silently select a 2 digit number and write it on the back of my buisness card, unseen by me or anybody else.

Almost immediately, Liz rapidly fills all the squares with numbers. I ask the spec if any of the numbers in the squares are his number. He relunctly replys that his number is not present. I ask him for the first time to reveal his number. We look at his card as he tells the rest of the audience what his number is. His selected number is placed into a circle above the 16 squares.... you know the rest.

You might check Larry Becker's stuff on magic squares. Also, you might be interested in this website:

Ted (Leondo)
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Profile of martinkaplan

Thanks for the link and thanks for describing what sounds like a mind-bending effect with a magic square.

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Profile of Megatherion

The magic square is great for business shows.
I wouldn't use it for a drunken audience.

Yours faithfully

:devilish: Dan Smile
Geoff Williams
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St. Pete Beach, FL
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Paul Daniels has a very nice presentation of the Magic Square on a video (Stevens?). He performs it in front of a studio audience and keeps things moving along briskly. Comes across as a wonderful feat of mental calculation when he does it.
"Saját légpárnás tele van angolnák."

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Scott F. Guinn
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Dexter's "Feature Magic for Mentalists" has a very informative section on the Magic Square for larger audiences.
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Hal Weaver
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Ted (Leondo

Nice Magic Square routine Ted.

Philemon Vanderbeck
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On 2002-03-01 19:44, Megatherion wrote:

I wouldn't use it for a drunken audience.

Hey, if you do it for a drunken audience, you could put ANY numbers you wanted into the squares, and just TELL them that the columns and rows added up to the same number. They might just believe you. (Ever try to add stuff up when you were drunk?)

"Let's see... three plus fourteen plus five plus nine equals thirty, AND six plus ten plus twelve plus one also equals thirty..."

Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Scott Wells
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I have been using the magic square in my parlour shows (15-100 people) for about two years now. I perform Cardiographic earlier in my show then use the drawing pad again later for the Magic Square near the end and before my book test.

I recently bought Doug Dyment's "Mindsights" book which is very good. There is a method for repeating the magic squares with your business card (using the OTL principle) with multiple, apparently random, endings. Great for walk-around, cocktail parties and restaurant work where people might compare their cards. Also, he has some nice idea on forcing a lower number.

Also let me throw in my appreciation to Ted for sharing his great performance idea.

"A magician who isn't working is only fooling himself." - Scott Wells, M.I.M.C. with Gold Star

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Thanks for the "Mindsights" plug!

Let me clarify the comment somewhat. The notion of using OTL with business cards is Roy Johnson's, not mine.

The magic square described in "Mindsights" advances the technique in three very significant ways: (1) the resulting squares are more "magical" than the usual published solutions (adding to the chosen number in more than *two dozen* different and interesting ways), (2) the mathematics are a bit simpler, and (3) the effect can be repeated *almost three dozen* times for the same audience (even the same target number) with no apparent duplication (which makes it workable for walk-around, trade shows, etc.).

All of which, as Richard Busch noted in a review, "takes this incantation into another league"!

... Doug
"Calculated Thoughts" is available at Vanishing Inc. and The Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
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