6. Billets



"All this involves hard work, considerable practice, a lot of confidence in your own ability and nerve." -
Tony Corinda, 13 Steps to Mentalism, Introduction to Step 6


In the spirit of non-exposure and the purpose of this site, I will assume that you know what a billet is, and I will continue to call it this. I list here various published sources for works on billets - books and DVD's. Along with this, The Centre Tear and related techniques will also fall under this chapter.


13 Steps to Mentalism and Annemann's Practical Mental Effects both have chapters on billets and the switching of billets, but they're both pretty short and not very inspiring. Some of the great routines with billets are included in these books, but personally I've never felt motivated to really learn these routines. Maybe because they're not packaged and presented in sexy MTV editing, magic shop newsletters and demo videos with quasi rock-'n-roll backtracks. But, we all always hear and read that these routines have always been the back-bone, the foundation of real mentalism. I guess (most of us coming from magic and card tricks) we feel that a 'simple' switch of papers cannot really have the impact that they all talk about. I mean, these techniques are so old...
A spectator is asked to think of any geometric shape, ESP symbol or number.You display a stack of post-it notes and proceed to draw a circle on the face.The note pad is handed to the spectator and they are instructed to take the pen and draw the shape or number they are thinking of in the circle while you look away.The pad is then passed to a second spectator who is instructed to remove the drawing from the pad, fold it up tightly and put it in their pocket. Now, according to what the presentational angle is, you are able divine with 100% accuracy whatever has been written. Very smooth... get it here
To start of and really get to grips with billets and their applications, I feel this is the ultimate work to study. For $20-00 you get a 118 page book, with 189 pages of supplements (at the time of writing...). In the SwitchCraft manuscript itself, Mr Bresler describes 13 different techniques for switching and reading billets - ALL of which are described in meticulous detail with photos at every point, making learning these techniques especially easy to study. This is then followed by a barrage of routines and presentational ideas.

The main book (without all the supplements) do not contain many tricks or routines, rather applications for these techniques (and where you can find these routines). Although, the tricks described in the main book are all just as meticulously explained as the switching techniques themselves. One of the best applications is for Annemann's classic "A Question and the Answer", where Mr Bresler takes us down different paths to accomplish this effect. Along with this, there are applications for the switches as 'Outs' or Forces. Also a whole range of direct mind reading applications, close-up. Mr Bresler also describes a aroutine he calls Epic X - a close-up triple-prediction effect, with variations. At the end of the book, he goes over some ideas for Pocket Writing as well, and finishes the book with a list of books and sources for the billet student.

I have to repeat, this book is very well researched, with references almost on every page. Every effect and technique is explained in complete detail. There are even tips on Dual Reality uses and Equivoque. The book would have been great on its own, but then Mr Bresler also included MANY updates and 'Supplements' to the original, and this make it shine even brighter.

The Supplements I received started with what he calls 'The Billet Machine' - billet techniques for mass mind reading. This spans a good 30 pages, just as meticulously explained.
This is followed by 'Billet Proof', a 43 pages treatment on what is known as the 'Annemann Switch', with routines and variations on this technique. This supplement also includes a billet routine by Jeff Anderson - the Pusillanimous Billet Read.
After this, a supplement called 'Silver Billet', explaing Bresler's take on a combination of two effects; A nod to Pocket Watch from Simple and Direct, by Looch, and Bob Cassidy's Pocket Watch Premonition. Also, he describes a handling of another Q&A routine inspired by Milbourne Christopher.
The next supplement is called 'Back from the Dead', a collection of billet reading techniques.
Then, 'Stack Master', a reading method 'from a stack' (you'll have to buy it to find out what this means...), inspired by the works of Marc Paul - plus variations and applications.
'CT's Switch' follows, CT being Christopher Taylor. This is a beautifully deceptive switch, described by both photographs AND video.
'Q4U2' is a write-up of the billet technique and a routine of Roei Zaltsman, one of the mentalists who competed on Phenomenon.
'The Zombie Chicken Read', the final supplement included in my package, is another read handling ("for chickens").

SwitchCraft is one of the best buys I have ever made, and it really suits to demystify billets and their applications. It is also WAY too cheap - $20.00



SwitchCraft is available here.

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  • Another wonderful, albeit more expensive opus on billets, is Stuart Cumberland's package, King of the Billets. Be sure to check it out.

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This is a 4-volume DVD set by Allen Zingg on seemingly everything related to billets and their use.

Volume 1 - Peeks & Center Tears Penguin MagicProShop

Volume 2 - Switchwork Penguin MagicProShop

Volume 3 - Jazz Dancing Penguin MagicProShop

Volume 4 - Q&A with Billets Penguin MagicProShop

You can see the demo video here.