Advice on deception from a 19th Century magician

 An illustration of "The Hand of Cagliostro,"
a version of the "Rising Card Trick."

Here's some advice to card magicians from August Roterberg's 1897 book, New Era Card Tricks, one of the first books published exclusively for magicians:
"In order to become a successful conjurer with cards, it is absolutely necessary that the learner should first thoroughly familiarize himself with the various sleights upon which the most effective card tricks are based. It is impossible to devote too much time to the acquirement and practice of these moves, there being practically no limit to the degree of dexterity that can be reached by practice and only by practice.

After the necessary degree of proficiency in the sleights has been acquired, each trick that the beginner intends to perform, must be carefully laid out and clothed, as it were, with a certain speech, technically termed "patter," the object of which is to cause the trick itself to assume, in the minds of the spectators, a plausible appearance.

The performer's manner should be suave, but not over polite, a mistake made by most beginners. Over politeness tends to reduce the performer to a level below that of the spectators; whereas, his object is to convey the impression that he is a being gifted with an inexplicable power."
Of course a card magician must be familiar with the various sleights because they're the building blocks of the completed tricks. For instance, a magician might need to know how to secretly switch one deck of cards for another deck that's been previously prepared with thread so that cards are able to rise out of the deck.

I wonder if Mr. Roterberg's advice applies to any other types of deception. For example, what are the "sleights" that are the building blocks for mortgage fraud?

He says your speech must make what you're doing seem plausible. Obviously you won't be able to cheat someone if they don't believe in what you're doing.

He also says your manner must not be overly polite, because a magician must "convey the impression that he is a being gifted with an inexplicable power." Is there any better description of a financial fraudster who is trying to sell you a bogus investment scheme?

And remember, in all endeavors you'd like to be skilled in, you must practice by doing it over and over again.

August Roterberg at Wikipedia>>
New Era Card Tricks>>

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