The first bizarre magic piece I ever produced was called the Soothsayer’s Talon back in 2002. I picked up an old grouse claw kilt pin in an antique store and it sat in a box for about two years before I figured out what to do with it. The inspiration eventually came when I purchased one of the brilliant “Hand of Cleopatra” effects by Tony Lackner.
The method is not the same as the Hand of Cleo. I subsequently discovered some years later that the method I used was in fact not unique and had already been done by Tenyo in their Eye of the Idol effect. I went on to produce several iterations of the effect with the final version seeing the claw suspended beneath an occult looking glass case.
In my first version the spectator selects an object (a rune, gemstone etc) and the claw turns eerily to point at that object. In the final version, the claw was used on a small ouija board and would answer questions (generally yes/no responses)
The storyline in the final version:
The magician produces a strange glass pentagon places it upon the table.“The object before you is believed to have once belonged to one of the greatest Celtic soothsayers of the 16th Century, one Richard Napier, the warlock of Oxford.”
Napier had a penchant for magick from a very early age, with a particular talent for divination and fortune telling. The magician directs attention to the small claw suspended in the center of the glass cage. “The warlock is said to have endowed powers of divination in the talon of a grouse”
“The magick must take place within the confines of the glass cage. This is to protect all who witness the powers of Napier”The glass cage is set upon the mystical Ouija board on its wooden platform.The spectators are allowed to ask one or two questions. Mysteriously the talon turns of its own accord and points to the yes or no points on the board.“
“The Soothsayer’s talon has spoken. Go in peace now.”