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by Simon J. Lea


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Image-Grabber by Simon J. Lea

The impression pad you do not need to open after the spectator has closed it.

These are instructions on how to create your own pads, however you do not need any great DIY skills to construct it. This ebook contains

  • Fully illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to turn a regular notepad into an Image-Grabber
  • Instructions on how to use the Image-Grabber
  • Fully illustrated step-by-step instructions for secretly switching the notepad (method can be used for decks of cards)
  • Telephonic Test: A spectator writes a private letter. You call a third person who has never been physically in the room. He is able to reply to her letter over the phone, without apparently having ever read it. The explanation? Using the ability to remote view, this person managed to read the letter over the shoulder of the spectator as they wrote it!
  • Discussion
How difficult is the Image-Grabber to (a) use (b) construct?
The Image-Grabber is very easy to use. Due to the nature of the prop, the heat is completely off you when it comes to reading the impression. The construction is quite easy. Simon is by no means a DIY expert himself, so if he can do it, 99% of the population should have no problems at all putting the Image-Grabber together!

How does the Image-Grabber differ from other impression pads?
The difference is that the Image-Grabber is the only impression pad that can be closed by the spectator and does not need to be re-opened to read the impression. The pads can be used as regular pads and converted to Image-Grabbers in moments (as long as you are prepared in advance). On top of this, because of the way the pads are constructed they can be given away to specs after the effect if you so desire.

Can the Image-Grabber be used real time?
Yes. This is pretty much the point of the Image-Grabber.

Can the Image-Grabber be given to spectators to inspect after the effect?
Included in the ebook are details on how to construct a very simple, yet very effective, switching device. This gives you the option of switching the Image-Grabber for an identical notepad almost instantly. This pad can obviously be inspected. The Image-Grabber can also be 'deactivated' during a second effect. That is, you perform an effect with the Image-Grabber and then, during a second effect with the notepad, get rid of the evidence. The pad can be now be fully inspected. The notepad can be 'cleaned' quickly and easily. This being so, it can be given away (strange souvenir) at the end of an effect.

How expensive will the Image-Grabber be to use?
Probably around 50 cents a performance.

The Image-Grabber came about because Simon wanted to avoid all suggestion that at some point during the performance of an effect, he had seen any kind of impression of whatever the spectator wrote on the pad. The fact that images can be impressed onto the next page, or couple of pages, of a notepad is reasonably well known. It has been used as a device in various films even hilariously so such as in the Coen Brother's film The Big Lebowski. It is also something that we have all come across when using notepads for non-magical purposes. If you press too hard an impression of your writing will appear on the page(s) beneath. This being so, it is to be expected that an intelligent spectator will suggest that you managed to see an impression of whatever they wrote on the page beneath theirs.

Merely getting away with it at the time is not good enough in magic. It is infinitely possible to get away with all sorts of bold and outrageous moves during a performance and to hide these from the audience with your presentational expertise. However, your reputation depends on more than the apparent miracles of your performance. Your glory will be short-lived if the doubters in the audience manage to get their hooks in. An effect doesn't need to be explained to be destroyed, only a possible method need be suggested. It is with this in mind that Simon set out to remove the suggestion that the performer sees an impression of what the spectator writes. Essentially, Simon wanted to eliminate the notepad as a potential suspect.

Obviously, the best way to do this would be to not take back the notepad at all. However, there is no way you can get an impression of whatever your spectator has written without taking the notepad back. There has been discussion in mentalist circles on the justification for taking back a billet once a spectator has written on it. Simon doesn't think this is much of a problem at all. However, it is much less of a problem when it comes to a notepad. The only value a scrap of paper has depends on what is written on it. A piece of paper with an autograph or a phone number written on it is worth significantly more than an old shopping list. So the fact that you'd want the billet back, in a billet effect, suggests that that particular piece of paper has some value. Since the value of a piece of paper is determined by what is written on it, the reason you want the billet back must be because you want what is written on it. The mentalist must therefore give a reason to the spectator(s) why the billet is taken back and there have been many excellent reasons suggested by various authors. As I mentioned above, I don't think that there is much of a problem in taking a billet back but whatever problem there is for billets there is little or none for notepads. As we have seen, a single piece of paper is worth only what is written on it, a notepad on the other hand, is worth – the price of a notepad! Since the pad is yours, it is perfectly natural for you to take it back once the spectator has used it.

So you have the notepad back and it is still under suspicion. Your spectator, having written in the pad, has just left three impressions of whatever they wrote. The first one is on the piece of paper they wrote on. This has been ripped from the notepad and is currently in a ball in their hand. The second impression will be on the next page of the notepad. It will be faint but it will be there. If you opened the pad now and took a look inside, you'd be able to see what they wrote. The third impression is on your *****. You are now under the most heat. If you are using the Switching ***** you can just pop the notepad into your pocket and the heat will cool off considerably.

Intelligent spectators think that you must need to look inside the notepad to get a glimpse at what they wrote. They have no other options open as to how else you'd be able to know. As long as the notepad stays shut and/or out of sight they are baffled. Once the effect is over and the audience is alone to discuss what they've seen, no doubter can suggest that you used any kind of impression to know what was written.

If you have read this booklet in order then you know Simon's solution of how to read the impression without opening the notepad.

The Image-Grabber is the result of an experiment in taking the heat off an impression device. Effects achieved with impression devices are some of the strongest in mentalism. It is therefore natural for your audience to suspect the only tool on the table. This is especially true if you are not a professional performer. Friends, family, work colleagues, and so on, will be highly suspicious of your magical abilities. After you have eliminated the notepad as a likely suspect, what other explanation can your audience find to explain away your miracles?

1st edition 2007; 12 pages
word count: 5081 which is equivalent to 20 standard pages of text