Using a pencil for a “Swami” effect, is in my opinion outdated for today’s audiences. To the same conclusion came a fellow mentalist from Switzerland, the late PAUL MAURER. In 1985 he invented a “ball-point thumb writer”. This “Swami Gimmick” was brought to my attention a couple of years ago by a German mentalist, Mr. Ulf Bolling Borodin, who used it long before it was put on the market by the magic dealers.
It’s really easy to construct. You need a “rubber thumb-tip”; a small size refill (approx. 2 inches) for a ball point pen and some children’s putty. The rubber thumb tips have the advantage, that they are flexible and can be cut to perfect size with a pair of scissors.
Now it depends, which kind of “Swami” you like to use. There are TWO possibilities:
- The “Boon-Type-Gimmick”, which has to be constructed like this: Fill some children’s putty into the tip that it covers half of the inside partition under the nail. Put the thumb tip, nail side uppermost on a piece of wood and drive a nail through it in such a manner, that it goes through the putty and emerges on the ball side. Now turn the tip to the “ball” side and push the ink-refill with the non working end first, through the hole that it comes out at the nail side. Obviously, the working end of the refill must be flush with the ball side of the tip. The point of the refill is usually a little bit bigger as the hole you have just made, so it can not slip through it.
With a pair of pliers cut off the other end of the refill approx. 2 mm above the nail of the thumb tip. The putty will make sure, that the that your writer will stay in position. Finally you have to cut the thumb tip to such a size that it can be put on your thumb to stay there securely.
- The “Nail-Writer-Type-Gimmick” which is even easier to construct: Insert the nail into the thumb tip that the point of it is a little bit underneath the nail. Now make a hole at this place as already described. From the refill cut off the refill, that you get a piece of approx. 1/2 inch with the writing point and insert this from the outside through the hole. Now fill children’s putty inside the thumb tip, that if holds the refill piece in place. Cut the thumb tip to the appropriate size for your thumb as already described.
It is a good idea to keep the writer inside a film canister with the lid snapped on, when it is not in use. that makes sure, that it can`t dry out so easily.