Gemstone Gift

A few words on gift magic
Discussing the issue of off-stage magic with a great Los Angeles magician: “I really like to do more magic but isn’t it just plain weird to perform card tricks in a shop while I’m buying new clothes? How do you get away with that?” The question and the need for a coherent answer forced me to analyse quickly how I got away with it and my off-stage magic didn’t seem weird at all. On the contrary it was highly appreciated. I realised that in the course of the years I had developed a whole range of off-stage magic and the large part of it consisted of gifts. Being aware of this I asked myself: Why did I do this? Then the thought struck me that years ago I formulated the ’10 qualities of The Magician’. Just as an exercise to find out who I wanted to be as a magician. Two of them were: “Wherever a Magician is present, events out of the ordinary take place.” and “A Magician makes the invisible tangible and the impossible come true.” Those statements were and are a starting point in creating new magic. A whole philosophy of gifts had sprung from that, on-stage as well as off-stage, commercially as well as in my personal life. So I spend a great deal of time coming up with ways to transfer invisible phenomena such as insights, thoughts and emotions into a tangible form. This train of thought preceeded my answer to my dear friend and colleague, saying: “I use a the next phrase as an opening line (to literally open up my audience and raise their attention): ”I’d like to give you something special or I have this special gift for you, do you have a minute?” This gift could consist of anything you can think of varying from an object to an emotion or a thought they could treasure.

And I gave an example how I always tip the waiter by changing the check into a one, five or ten dollar bill. And because you needs hundreds of mediocre ideas to finally come up with a good one, and hundreds of good ideas to come up with a brilliant one that works for you, I will typically try out anything that comes to my mind. And because the instant stage is there the moment you step out of your house or someone steps in, why not try stuff out everyday? So I told my friend how I walked through the streets of Istanbul between shows and did my Gemstone Gift in a shop. Friends were gathered from the street and within minutes I had to repeat it, take out my deck of cards and did a little show. Next day they drove me around, we drank tea and had a great time. Gift magic will start-up your day-to-day creative work-out and figure out ways to slip in magic whenever you can, get in contact with people and provide them with a tangible ‘fetish’ of a special moment.

The Gemstone Gift: the long version
The Gemstone Gift is an intimate effect. I will describe a long version and a flash version. I perform both of them, sometimes several times a day, anywhere I connect to someone and feel like sharing an uplifting moment with that person.

A gemstone materializes out of thin air.

PREPARATION: Buy some gemstones (could be any kind: amethyst, lapis lazuli, tiger eye, clear crystal. The dark ones work more convincing than for example clear crystal or rose quartz because they’re harder to hide in the eyes of the audience). They shouldn’t be too small. Hide one between the first and second finger (see picture 1). It stays there until you release it, but the gestures you will be making create the illusion of your hands being empty. It might take some guts, but believe me, after a few times you will feel totally comfortable with this.

Instead of a gemstone you could use any small object (a candy for children for example) and adapt the script to your liking,

Magician: “Performing all over the world, I discovered that people communicate in very different ways. To make contact we in the western world will shake hands for example.
[Take spectator’s right hand with your left hand and shake hands. Hold your right hand in a cup so they won’t be able to feel the gemstone.]
But in the East they do it like this.
[Stretch both of your hands, put the palms together before your chest and take a small bow].
It’s called a Namaste. Now in modern psychology there’s another technique that is called ‘mirroring’. The idea is that if you imitate the gestures, tone of voice and words of someone they will recognize themselves and open up. Now imagine there’s a mirror between us.
[Draw a large frame, from head to middle, in the air with both hands, pointing out your first fingers and curling up the rest. Thereby hiding the gemstone.]
[Put out both hands, palm down, a little bit above waist level. See picture 2]

If there was an actual mirror, our middle finger tops would touch each other on the surface.
[Imply that the spectator must stretch out his or her hands in the same way]
And if I would move, my mirror image would move along.
[A little dance of the hands follows to create an intimate atmosphere, at the same time proving your hands empty.
1. Move your left hand to the left and your right hand to the right. hands to the outside: “Mirror my movements, great!”
2. Move them back
3. Move them up
4. Move them down.]

Keep looking them right in the eye. The intensity can be played with. Sometimes you want to create a pretty intense moment, at other times you want to be playful. Make a remark: “Have you done this before?” Most of the time they will say no, but are in fact doing it very good. “You’re doing great!”.
[Now move your left hand from the horizontal plane into the vertical plane. (see picture 3) This will cause the other person’s right hand to do the same. Your left and their right hand are now in upright position, palms fully touching each other. They will understand the movement at this point, but it takes a moment to sink in. Keep looking them in the eye and nod a little assuring that they’re on the right track. Follow immediately with your (‘dirty’) right hand and their left hand. Both your hands and theirs are in upright position as if doing a clapping-game. The gemstone is hidden from all angles now, and they’re cooperating to do that!

Lower your hands bringing them back into the horizontal plane. You’re back in the position you started in. The middle fingers touch on the surface of the imaginary mirror.]
Keep eye-contact and say: “While this mirroring technique is a beautiful way to open yourself and the other up you could go one step further. Because to create a soul-to-soul contact you need to go through the mirror.”
[At the word ‘through’ lower both your hands half an inch and push them under their hands. (position check: the back of your hands are touching the palm of their hands). Slowly move your hands to the middle, keeping your left hand two or three inches below your right hand. If you do this careful enough they will follow you.]
Say: “And if you find the courage to do that we will create not only new thoughts and positive feelings but also…materialize anything we want.”
[Leave your hands two or three inches apart during the first part of this sentence. When you arrive at “and also” let them have a clear look at your empty hand. Bring your right hand down and blow softly on the back of their left palm. Gently release the gemstone. They should feel no movement. When the weather is dry this causes no trouble, if it’s more humid it will take some beats longer. Just gently squeeze it and it will fall into your left hand. In the unlikely case it won’t let go, your thumb will be able to help you out. Open up your hands and they will be surprised by the stone that seems to have materialized just instants ago. Take it with your right hand and put it in their, still open, right hand. Close their right hand around it.]
“It’s a good luck stone. It’s yours to keep.”

Enjoy the reactions at this point. They will vary according to how you delivered the act. A smile, a little scream, silence and even people being genuinely touched. Over the years I have heard so many reactions of people I met up later who will tell me that they still have the stone, or it came at a moment they really needed some energy and have experienced this as an uplifting moment. If I’m in a theatre I will do it for people who are working backstage (engineers, box office, etc.), when talking to a CEO to prepare for a corporate show I will do it for his secretary.

You could take any small object and treat it the same way and work out a script around that. If there are more people watching, say: “To experience this the best way and watch the reaction you should probably gather right behind me.”

Of course there’s not always time to do this extensive version. Below you’ll find the Flash version.

Flash Version
EFFECT: A gemstone materializes
PREPARATION: Hide a small gemstone in a thumbtip and load it on your right thumb.
SCRIPT: “I’d like to give you a small present. Please hold out your hand.”
[I instruct them by holding my left hand up and take my bracelet, which is an excellent way to hide the thumb tip and put it on their stretched hand saying:]
“It will materialize in here.”
[I touch the palm of their hand with my left first finger.]
“Don’t be scared if you feel something…!”
[Show your hands empty by theatrically stretching them out and puling back your sleeves. Then, as if compressing the air in between the hands, put them together. At this point your right thumb moves in between your hands. You start squeezing. In this motion you work the thumbtip off of your thumb. Exaggerate the squeezing as if it takes a lot of effort. Feel how the gemstone is pulled out of the thumbtip by gravitation. Then bring your hands right above the outstretched hand of the spectator and slowly let the stone drop out of your hands. At the moment of surprise I take a moment or three to let them realise what just happened. They, and the people standing around, will look into my bracelet. This is the moment where I secure the thumbtip on my right thumb, take my bracelet. Without a bracelet it works fine too.]

You will develop your own scripts and most likely your own brand of gifts by thinking of other object you can treat in the same way. Many magicians were fooled by this because they don’t relate a thumbtip with a gemstone. At the airport in Glasgow I was sitting wearing my Superman T-shirt which provoked a lot of reactions in a group of teenage girls. I could see them pointing, took a clear crystal gemstone and walked towards them: “You don’t believe it’s really me, do you? I might be a bit bald, but I still got my strength. Hold out your hand! I will take some air and compress it so quick it materializes before your very eyes!” After the surprise I walked away, satisfied, not expecting to see them anymore. But, as it turned out, they were on the same plane to Amsterdam…I’m still thinking what a proper answer would have been to their question why I did not simply fly over.

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