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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Hey! Are you a cheat or entertainer? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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RobertBloor
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Mandrake1,

If you listen to Bob's explanation on Ammar's videos I believe he states just that.

The magician is using the Cups to gather a crowd that way he can peddle his goods. The thief, as you say, is just taking advantage of the crowd.

Much as many a young tap dancer on Jackson Square might.

Robert Bloor
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
Dave V
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Quote:
On 2004-02-05 21:06, Chris Berry wrote:
Hustle a hustler?

Isn't that one of the worst things you can do? Maybe I have been affected by stereo-types but don't most of them have a little "insurance" in case that happens?


Chris


I read a story somewhere about someone who thought he'd get the best of the card tosser. He suspected some sort of Mexican Turnover or other card switch so he brought a stapler with him and when asked to choose the card he tacked it to the table. Moments later he found his hand tacked to that same table by the guy's knife.

True or false I don't know, but there's a moral to this tale in there somewhere.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Poindexter
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Sounds like the story of Monte Carlo from Harry Anderson's "Games You Can't Lose" Smile
Dave V
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I have that book... somewhere...

Probably where I read it. Thanks for the reminder.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Oz Fan
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I AM AN ENTERTAINER, NOT A CON MAN.
Blake S.
pasteboardjones
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My avatar matches this discussion.

In the Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584,
the author Reginald Scot mentions cups and balls, and considered the performers to be for the betterment of society.
It seems that if people were getting taken all the time at magic shows, then people would have a mistrustful view of the practice, instead of viewing it as worthwhile.

Ian

*******

Ignore the avatar comment.
I confused my discussion forums.
Paddy
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Quote:
On 2004-03-11 17:32, Oz Fan wrote:
I AM AN ENTERTAINER, NOT A CON MAN.


As a magician I have found that the two words are synonomous (spelling?) We con people (use misdirection) in order to entertain them.

I am proud to be both an entertainer and "con man."

Peter
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

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Police Magician
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I find this topic very interesting from the posts of all involved. As a cop and a magician, who specializes in fraud such as con games and carnival game fraud, I love to read others' comments on it.

First, the quote about Barnum is incorrect. He did not say "there's a sucker born every minute." It was someone else who was suing Barnum and the judge threw the case out as he said you cannot sue someone for fraud if the original is also fraud (see info in The Cardiff Giant).

Second, the 3 Card Monte is illegal when played in the criminal way it is known for. One New York judge dropped the hat on a case with this by saying it was gambling. It is not gambling, nor is it a game of skill.

Third, magicians are not con artists, but con artists use principles of magic to swindle unsuspecting victims. You can say that magicians are "Honest Charlatans" as they are deceiving people, but doing it in an honest manner. In other words, they cheat people honestly, or is it honestly cheating people?

Fourth, yes, the Cups & Balls were used for swindles many decades ago. Just like the Shell & Pea which used a pebble instead of the foam pea that is used today. I have encountered people who use the bottle caps instead of the shell and those who do the 3 Card Monte as well as other scams like the Bank Examiner, Pigeon Drop, Block Hustle, Obituary Hustle, Sweetheart Swindle, and the list goes on and on.

I am glad to see so many write about and reply to this topic. One question some may have is: can I legally do these scams as entertainment and not be arrested? That depends on the elements involved. Check with your local law enforcement agency and make sure they understand what is involved as some cops do not understand principles of magic and the entertainment value. You can show the educational value as well, which may help you gain permission without being arrested.

I do want to close by letting you know about a situation with one of our own. I was teaching a course on con games and did the segment on Change Raising (this is where the suspect fleeches the cashier for several dollars). At lunch, I heard one of the students (a cop) tried it on a cashier and kept the money. Had he done this as an educational aspect from his training, it would have been all right. However, he committed the crime of theft by deception, was arrested and fired with no appeal. Be wary of showing others "how it is done."
Glenn Hester

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Paddy
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PoliceMagician, are you defining the words "con man" as "one who deceives in order to commit a crime? It would seem so. I understood it to mean "one who deceives by making something appear as it is not."

Peter
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

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Police Magician
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Peter, I used the word "Con Artist" which I do define as a criminal who swindles unsuspecting victims for their gain, which is a crime. Noting the several swindles I used as examples in the last post all are on the books as theft by deception. The word "Con" is the shortened term from the word "Confidence." Confidence Crimes, or con games as they are now called, relied on the con artist bringing the victim into their "Confidence" so the victim would trust them enough to hand over money or other valuables. Although magicians do exactly as you stated, "Deceives by making something appear as it is not," there is a difference. Magicians entertain through deception; Con Artists steal through deception. Whatever definition you have about the words "Con Men" is fine with me. I am talking about the language that most of us in law enforcement use regarding flim flam and other swindles, which are crimes. A magician can call themselves "Con Men" as they are using deceptive practices. However, as long as the practice does not violate law, there is nothing wrong with that. When you hear the word "Con" here in the South, people think someone who has served time in prison; hence, "Convict." When they hear of the term "Con Men," many think of the swindler as was shown in the movie "The Flim-Flam Man" with George C. Scott. Understand that this is my opinion only and does not reflect any negativity on those who wish to use this term. I sometimes use the term "Con Artist with a Conscious (spelling) when doing "Mischievious Magic" that shows many con games and carnival game fraud. In fact, I dress like a con artist from the 1940's with penstripe suit, wingtip shoes and fedora. Of course, those attending know that what they will see is for entertainment and educational purposes and no one will lose any money (except what they paid for admission). I hope this clarifies my thoughts on the word and creates no ill feelings among members of this brotherhood. Glenn
Glenn Hester

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Paddy
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Glenn, there were and are no ill feelings from me at all. I just noticed that you appeared to be saying that "con men" are criminals. Which, to you in the law enforcement area, is true. Just asking to increase my knowledge. Sorry if I sounded defensive or argumentative in any way.

Peter
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

http://www.Scho-Lan.com
Police Magician
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Peter, no problem. Sorry that I misunderstood. Sometimes my writing can appear with a message that was not intended. Glad that is resolved. Glenn
Glenn Hester

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whitelephant
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Quote:
On 2004-01-15 11:39, MagiUlysses wrote:
Hustlers take advantage of human greed and the only entertainment is watching the mark's head explode, oh, and watching the hustler led off in handcuffs by the police. I always get a laugh out of that.

I absolutely must disagree. Here in Israel I have seen several groups of men performing cups and balls. First of all I find the magic impressive--and second I think it's fun to watch the three guys work together: 1. with his hands on the cups,
2. standing in front making a big show of winning and losing. 3. standing to the performer's left is another guy who holds the bank ie. he wins more than loses and drops the cash in his wallet.

I believe these fellows are part of an orginized group from the former Soviet Union.

But the part that's really entertaining to me--they ask, "did you see where the ball went?"
"You don't want to ask me what I saw..."
"NO-did you see it?"
"Yeah--I saw everything, I saw the ball on the left side then in your han...."
And then I'm cut off and or escorted away.
"I told you you didn't want to ask me what I saw..."
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!
drink water...
MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations whitelephant,

LOL! I stand corrected! That is entertainment indeed!

Joe in KC

Live a great adventure, make magic happen!
Pokie-Poke
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All con games can be used to perform, and best belong on the street. You would not book a street hustler for a kids b-day party. The easy way to tell the difference is "who's the mark?" If you have one it is a con. I met a monte guy who thought he WAS entertaing people; the biggest trick here was fooling himself into believing it himself.
I like the Harry Anderson "I could have.." bit as it uses all the scams and cons without a mark.

A good show will make more monny, but takes work. Most con men are trying to keep from working.

As for losing $300, in Vegas Smile some marks have it coming!
www.pokie-poke.com
The Adventure cont...
Police Magician
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As a law enforcement officer and instructor, I try to change the mindset of officers regarding victims of con games. Too many members of law enforcement feel that the "mark" got what they deserved for being greedy or was too stupid to realize it was a scam. These two statements are part of the reason so many con artists are never reported and continue to get away with their crimes. My personal opinion is that no one should be taken under false pretenses. Unlike those who will take your money while brandishing a weapon, the con artist does this by smooth talking, a great acting ability and playing the role to fit the scenerio at that time. I love it when magicians show people these scams so they can be aware of them, such as the case of Jamy Ian Swiss years ago in New York when he and others worked on educating the public on the 3 Card Monte on their streets. We, as magicians, can provide a great service to the public by doing this and getting them to understand that they should report any scam they were involved in that made them lose money. I have done this for years and the people do appreciate it as they have given me verbal kudos as well as written ones. Lets show ourselves as "honest charlatans" and expose these crimes for what they are. I will step down off my soapbox now.
Glenn Hester

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Brunswick, Ga. 31521

912-571-8071

www.policemagic.com

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Bill Palmer
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Glenn:

Much as I hate thieves, let's face it, some of the best con games depend entirely upon finding someone who wants to cheat someone else out of something. The pigeon drop is a perfect example. No honest person ever got cheated in a pigeon drop. That's one reason it is very difficult for some people to have any sympathy for a victim of that particular scam.

Regarding the shell game -- Harold Voit, owner of ZZM told me in 1992 that a group of Turks were running the shell game on people in various parts of Germany. I know they do this, because I have seen them in Berlin, for one thing. Anyway, they were brought to trial. A group from the Magischer Zirkel von Deutschland testified against the con men, demonstating beyond a shadow of a doubt that the game could not be played "on the square." The judge, in his infinite wisdom, asserted that there was still an element of chance involved, so it was not a con game.

What an idiot!

*******

Quote:
On 2004-04-21 03:06, pasteboardjones wrote:

In the Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584,
the author Reginald Scot mentions cups and balls, and considered the performers to be for the betterment of society.
It seems that if people were getting taken all the time at magic shows, then people would have a mistrustful view of the practice, instead of viewing it as worthwhile.

Ian



Can you give me the Booke, Chapter and lines where Scot says this about Cups and balls workers? I believe you are mistaken.

Scot's description of the cups and balls is almost as cryptic as the so-called description of the paddle.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
pasteboardjones
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Sure.The one I am reading is here
http://www.conjuror.com/archives/discoverie/reginald.scot/


Book XIII, Chapter XXIII.

He talks about cups and bowls, and making balls disappear from under hollow candlesticks as well.
"Laie three or four balles before you, and as manie small candle-sticks, bolles, saltsellers, or saltseller covers, which is best" goes on to describe pretending to put it under the bowl etc.
Pretty clear description to me of cups and balls.

And immediately before that he describes the people performing these tricks and actually apologizes for revealing anything that might hamper their work, because they do not "abuse the name of God."
Chapter XXII
"...whose dooing herein are not onlic tollerable, but greatlic commendable..."

It just seemed as I said before that if it were a constant criminal setup, then the praise might not be so forthcoming.
Is it not possible that the cutpurse seen in the Bosch, and in other paintings copied from that theme, might have been working alone, and just happened to be included in the painting?

Ian

*******

Maybe we are reading different versions?
Other non-cryptic cups and balls descriptions from the same chapter include descriptions of:

-a false transfer as you "put" the ball under the bowl
-showing the balls are gone
-loading the balls as the bowls are put back down
-EVEN A FINAL LOAD OF A "great ball" that was switched in
Bill Palmer
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No, I'm have this very edition in my possession. I don't see anything in it about the "betterment of society." In fact, the paragraph after the one you quote states that "the endevor and drift of jugglers is onelie to abuse mens eies and judgements." Does that actually contribute to the betterment of society?

When I say it is cryptic, I mean that he never once calls a cup a cup. He calls them "candlesticks, bolles, saltsellers, or saltseller covers."

Why didn't he call them by name? What was he concealing, other than his real ignorance of the trick, itself.

The same thing is true of The Art of Jugling. If the author had any real knowledge of the work, he concealed it by using the same poor description that Scot used, which he lifted almost directly from Discouerie of Witchcraft.

It wasn't until 1634 that the real work on the cups and balls was written up in Hocus Pocus Junior. There, the writer is obviously well-versed in the trick. He explains how the cups are constructed, the correct materials, the kinds of balls to use and gives complete patter. This is so far beyond what Scot published that it puts it way back in the shade.

And the material in Hocus Pocus Junior is still very valuable to a modern magician. The admonition of how to hold the hand holds true to this day. This is not surprising, since human anatomy hasn't changed a bit since 1634. Well, we may be taller, on average, but that's about it!
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
pasteboardjones
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A final load of a larger item?
Multiple balls appearing and disappearing under multiple hollow containers?
Descriptions of false transfers, loading,
revealing them to be empty, then containing balls again?

Just because the word cups isn't used?
Come on.
That is an exact description of a cups and balls routine used today.
(Which is amazing to me BTW.)
All of the items described are hollow cup-like items.
In fact,the cups and balls is performed today using many different types of hollow cup-like items.
The hindu cups and balls for example;
most people wouldn't call those cups.
Yet we still refer to it as the cups and balls, just as we would have referred to the routine described by Scot had we been around then.

And if he was trying to hide something as you alluded to, or was ignorant of the trick, why would he describe in detail the technique of loading, false transfers, etc. in detail including fingers used?
Calling a cup a cup is the least important part of the trick.


As for the betterment of society comment,
here is a quote from the modern English translation by Neil Alexander:
"The chapters were written with tremendous respect for the art of legerdemain, which it discusses using that very term. Scot emphasizes that he considers such entertainments to be to the betterment of society and its citizens, and not the work of the devil or his allies."

Again,
Scot says that the people doing these works are not only to be tolerated but commended.
That is a positive statement,
and the quote you use to show they are a detrement to society, that their job is to "abuse" men's eyes and judgements,
means to fool them.
That is not a negative statement.
Why are you searching for something not there?
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