History – “Laboratory Conditions” - Bob's first commercial effect - was originally released in 1976 by Frank Pazel. Supplied with the effect were two pieces of plexiglas, rubber bands, some aluminum foil and a specially gimmicked pen. Except for the foil, none of the other items were necessary to accomplish the effect, but Frank felt that the effect wouldn’t sell unless it came with props.
The late Ed Mishell gave the effect a very favorable review in Genii magazine – but, then again, Ed gave favorable reviews to just about everything. That, together with the fact that nobody in the magic world at the time had any idea who Bob Cassidy was, resulted in somewhat less than spectacular sales.
A few years later, a modified version of the effect was released to the newly formed Psychic Entertainers Association – this time supplied with a special clear plastic envelope in place of the plexiglas.
Again, the prop wasn’t necessary, but the mindset at the time was that you couldn’t charge a decent price for an effect unless some kind of prop was included.
Here, for the first time, is the effect as Bob originally conceived it. And, like he said, no special props – unless you call cheap aluminum foil a prop – are required. The effect is virtually self-working and is straightforward and completely inexplicable. The conditions under which it is performed seem to completely rule out any form of trickery – hence the title Laboratory Conditions.
Effect - The mentalist draws several designs on business cards – these can be standard ESP symbols or designs suggested by the spectators. Any number of designs can be used, as will be seen. The design cards are handed to a volunteer and are not touched again by the mentalist. While the performer’s back is turned, one of the designs is selected by the volunteer and placed on the center of a piece of aluminum foil as shown in the photograph.
The spectator then wraps the card in the foil, hides the rest of the cards, and tells the performer when he is finished. The performer turns around and, without any false moves whatsoever, picks up the foil package and places it into an envelope which is handed to the volunteer to be sealed.
After emphasizing the impossibility of what he is attempting to do, the mentalist draws a design on the face of the envelope. The envelope is torn open and the card is removed from the foil and shown to the audience. It is the same design drawn by the performer.
The envelope, foil and card can be left with the audience and examined to their hearts delight – no preparation or gimmickry can be found because there isn’t any.
Alternatively, it is possible to allow the spectator to draw a simple design or picture of his choice on a blank business card, which he or she then wraps in the foil.
1st edition 2003; 9 pages
word count: 2004 which is equivalent to 8 standard pages of text
Reviewed by E M
Rating: [3 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Wednesday 09 January, 2008
A straightforward, simple idea, easy to do the mechanics and all done using easily available materials. The selling of the idea is up to you, but then that's kind of the point of mentalism, isn't it? I like this and I'm glad I bought it.