Impossible Voodoo Ash trick

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kennethcmerrill, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. I was just re-watching some of Blaine's material today for some inspiration, and I had completely forgotten about his take on the Voodoo Ash effect.

    The particular performance I'm talking about can be found at roughly 56:30 at this URL:

    There are a few things to note about the performance:
    -There are NO CUTS in the footage from the beginning of the effect to the end. So we are seeing the ENTIRE performance; we're not missing out on any moves or anything.
    -The girl writes the name down really far away, and she leaves the pad on the ground when she returns with the name. So, p***** r****** or the use of an i******** p** seem out of the question.
    -He rolls up his sleeve and starts beating his arm with the burning paper almost instantly after lighting it, which (to me) rules out the possibility of putting the name on his arm after the piece of paper is in hand. In other words, it seems that he HAD to have known the name before he lit the paper on fire.
    -Serefina is an incredibly rare name; a force or "educated" guess seems really unlikely.

    Could anyone point me to any sources that might cover a possible method for this?

    And before that one, inevitable person jumps on me for trying to be a Blaine "clone," asking me why I want to know the method and why I don't just perform my own material instead of his, hear me out:
    Why do you read Erdnase, Corinda, Anneman, Ammar, Harris, etc.? Why don't you perform your own material instead of trying to be a Lorayne "clone"? Dissuading someone from trying to learn a method is SO hypocritical. We learn methods so we can assimilate them into our own effects and routines. We are ALL copying other people's methods. Whether or not it's David Blaine really makes no difference, so get off the high horse.

    And yes, I know there are very popular methods for doing "practically" the same effect, but I'm interested in this particular method because it allows you to know what someone is writing or going to write so quickly, allowing for some pretty intense work while they do it.

  2. Hate to break it to you but he has to have knowledge of the name well ahead of time or else you are missing a part of the presentation. There is no other explanation. So what would be the options?

    The biggest explanation is that someone within the group already knew the answer/name and tipped it well in advance of the routine so David had time to set his arm. . . similarly, a member of David's staff could have done the pre-show, which was not seen in the presentation.

    There are some expensive Imp systems on the market that would allow David to gain the information well in advance, giving him time to pre-set without any connection between him and a secret helper when it comes to group perspective.

    As a rule, what you see in these TV & Video presentations are void of all the stuff that takes place prior to the event itself; this is exactly what happens with a live show in that the public is not aware of any pre-show footwork that takes place and so you are able to deliver the "impossible".

    Ruling out possible methods is something a good performer will force you to do so as to prevent you from back-tracking the effect and figuring out how to replicate it. But think about an effect based on what you know about it and what MUST happen and chances are that you'll be on the right track even though it may not seem such at first glance.
  3. Thanks for your thoughts, Craig! I really really appreciate it.

    I thought it was conceivable that with some major misdirection he could use something like the Ash Pen Pro rather than the more "traditional" method for the arm--allowing him to do the "prep" mid-effect rather than before. But you're probably right that he must know the name well ahead of time; the Ash Pen idea may be possible, but his presentation makes it unlikely.

    I'll have to look into some of those imp systems you're referring to. And you're definitely right about the pre-show work. Because the majority of David's work is possible without pre-show, I typically assume that there was none and try to understand what's going on with that assumption. I'm also new to mentalism, and so I am still learning the boundaries of what's possible with mentalism techniques. Pre-show work would be the first answer I would give for this kind of effect, but I wasn't sure if there is a technique I just don't know about.

    Thank you again for taking the time to respond!
  4. Understand "Pre-Show" actions can take place weeks and even months ahead of a particular program. I have a technique that allows me to glean information on guests attending a private function, for example, in which I know facts about patrons up to 3 months in advance. This is not an approach most will use but it serves as an example when it comes to the level some of us will stoop to, in order to create miracles.

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