I thought the Mental Die effect of determining the number that is showing on the top of the die when placed inside an opaque box without looking at the box began with this item by Milson (yes before Milson-Worth). However, after further research I believe the first version of the effect was Fred Lowe’s Spectral Die (with G. (Gunter) Puchinger). Fred Lowe’s Spectral Die was first advertised in Abra c. 1971 and Milson’s c. 1973. Also I notice that Milson’s instructions, written by Fr. Dermot Brennan, refer to the effect Spectral Control which is is one of the routines advertised by Fred Lowe, but there is no attribution to Lowe.
Based on the dates, it is a reasonable to assume that Fred Lowe and G. Puchinger came up with the idea first and released their version as Spectral Die and then Milson came along and either used the same instructions that Fred Lowe wrote or simply appropriated the details for himself releasing Mental Die as his own about two years later. Because Milson’s instructions describe the exact same routine with the same name from Fred Lowe called Spectral Control this is not a case of independent invention.
This version of Mental Die was sold to me as a Milson item. It came with Milson’s instructions, with Tannen’s stamped at the end. But after consulting with Canadian collector, John M. Talbot, who has a large collection of Mental Die’s we have both agreed that this is unlikely a Milson version. It could be a Tannen’s version (from their Tannen’s Engineered Product division) or an early Paul Diamond version or someone else.
This Mental Die is well made with very fine tolerances, but has no frills and is stripped down to work perfectly every time. It easy to do and comes with an extra effect in the instructions that most people miss called Spectral Control which is a great way of performing the effect with some extra magic instead of simply determining the top number on the die. (Although the Spectral Control presentation was actually created by Fred Lowe and G. Puchinger as discussed above.)
Please contact me if you have more information about this particular version.
Effect: An aluminum box holds a die (solid – about 3/4″). The die just fits the box and cannot be turned over or twisted when inside. The base and lid of the box are made completely of aluminum. A spectator places the die in the box – behind his back, under the table or in any other way to conceal the numbers. The spectator himself does not know the position of the numbers.
The box is placed aside or held by the spectator. THE PERFORMER DOES NOT HAVE TO LOOK AT THE BOX. According to the presentation the performer then reveals the chosen number on the die.
Here’s an example of how to do the reveal:
Spectral Control: In this presentation the die in the box seems to control the spectator’s actions. He secretly places the die in the box as described. From a normal deck, 6 cards are dealt face down in a row. The spectator holds the box over the cards and places it on the back of any of the cards.
He finds he has matched the number of the card to the die in the box! The card next to the one he chose can be turned over to show it is not the same number.
(Notice: Includes: Printed Instructions.)( Post Source: martinsmagic.com - click for details )