SNAP, SNAP, CAHOOTS
The scene is the Jolly Aldrin Pub located between Darling Harbour and the Fish Market in Sydney, Australia. It’s an old two story venue having absolutely no class in a city which radiates charm and class. A lighted sign having never seen paint nor soap and water, alerts all that the place never closes. It’s four in the morning and the joint is rocking. The top floor is reserved for those wishing to shoot a game of pool, and the action is heavy. Rod iron tables and chairs fill the sidewalk on the outside. Inside there is a square 360 degree bar having four or five bartenders working at break neck speed. Two walls are lined with slot machines blinking colored lights and cranking out, or taking in, clinking coins. All stools at the bar are taken while other rowdy customers crowd in waiting for service at the bar. In one corner there are five or six punkers with spiked colored hair, and what appears to be real spikes hanging from holes in their ears, lips, nose, and I’m not sure I want to know where else. Another wall is filled with bawdy factory workers from the late shift. Another wall has a gathering of business men properly attired in suites and ties. Considering their attire and the time of night/morning, they seem a bit out of place. The outside tables are filled with a motley group enjoying a repast of what appears to be some sort of pastry filled with a meat pie. All customers seem to be enjoying the abundant flow of booze. Everyone is talking, no – more like yelling, yet few can be heard as the music seems to dominate. Walking from one point in the place to another is impossible. You have to weave, twist, duck, and turn, in order to work your way through the odd assortment of customers. Keep in mind, this is 4 AM. It’s loud, it’s dark, it’s a bit dingy, and it looks as if it could turn explosive at the drop of a pin. Yet everyone is having just plain old fashioned fun. You feel welcome within minutes.
You get the picture. On the surface it would appear that anyone with common sense would avoid such a spot simply for safety reasons. I said the joint lacked class, but that’s not entirely true. It’s loaded with class all it’s own, for this is an Australian pub, and one of the oldest and most famous. As I described the setting I intentionally omitted the happenings in one corner. Let’s take a look now.
Two Dutch backpackers are winning free drinks with a scam related to magic. The Dutch backpackers are Wim Hoogerwoerd and Jake van der Graff. It goes like this- Wim asks one of the customers to whisper the name of a famous person in his ear, Wim turns to Jake and says, “Every time I snap my fingers you must pay attention. Listen closely.” With that he snaps his fingers three times, “Snap, Snap, Snap.”
He then says, “Very good indeed. I will now snap my fingers two more times.” Which he does, “Snap, Snap.”
He then says, “Say the name immediately after I snap my fingers one more time.” He follows with a final “Snap.”
Jake proudly states the famous person to be Elvis Presley. The pack packers win another round.
Nigel Wood, one of the customers having to spring for the round, says, “Hey, do that for me mite.” (For those not fluent in how to speak Australian, me mite translates to my mate.) He summons his mate, Mick Stavrou, a rough and tumble arm wrestling cowboy from a cattle station in the Out Back. The process is repeated with another famous name, and again Wim and Jake enjoy a pint of lager, this time at the expense of Mick.
So what’s going on, and why does it relate to magic? The scam is called SNAP, SNAP, CAHOOTS. Or just SNAPS for short, and it’s not restricted to the Jolly Aldrin Pub in Sydney. I recently heard of it being done in some of the bars in San Diego. It’s tie to magic stems from the fact that we have a very basic two person mental system being used. I think it’s unique that a mental system is being used to bilk others into buying free drinks.
When I related this story to Jon Racherbaumer he quickly discussed it with our friend Eddie Fields who is among the best of the best with two person systems. Eddie replied that he could do it several different ways, but keep in mind he’s an expert in this area. What I have described is quite basic and can be learned in a matter of minutes. Of course the finger snapping has nothing to do with it. That action is simply a red herring. As Jon pointed out in our discussion, the finger snaps, as used here, certainly point up the enduring quality of a red herring. My guess is the two tourists from the Netherlands have no knowledge of mentalism , magic nor red herrings.
Spinning this yarn has allowed me the opportunity to play the Snaps game on you, the reader. Those who get it, and wish to register in, please don’t spoil it for other readers by giving the secret. Simply post a message saying, “I got it.”
Meanwhile, I am in the mood for a free drink, “Snap, Snap, Snap.”