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( Article orginally published July 1927 )
The magician spreads a dozen cards in a . fan, and invites a person to center his attention upon one particular card. The cards have been chosen at random, and their backs are toward the magician.
As soon as the spectator has made his choice, the magician looks in his eyes, and immediately names the chosen card.
Method: As soon as the person centers his gaze upon a particular card, the magician calmly bends up the lower corner of the card. This is very easy to do, as the cards are held with both hands, and the thumbs are in back. The left thumb does the bending, and the magician slyly observes the index corner of the chosen card, which is hidden at the back of the fan.
Then he looks in the spectator's eyes, and names the card!
2. Finding a Chosen Card.
A pack of cards is divided into two portions. A spectator selects a card from one half, and places it in the other, which is shuffled. The magician looks through the half of the pack and immediately discovers the chosen card!
Method: In one half of the pack are all the odd cards-ace, three, five, seven, nine, jack, and king. The other half contains the even cards. No one will notice this.
When a card is placed from one section to the other, the magician can immediately discover it when he looks through that portion of the pack.
3. Maltese Crosses.
The magician states that he will play a joke on his audience. He arranges eight cards in two groups so that they form two Maltese crosses. Then he invites a person to choose any four of the cards-one cross or the other; or four cards in a line-or any combination that pleases him. This is done and the four cards are removed.
From the four remaining cards, two are selected; and finally of the two that remain, one is chosen. The final card is turned up, and it proves to be the joker
This is artfully accomplished. The magician knows the position of the joker among the eight cards that are laid face down. If the joker is in the four cards first chosen, the magician removes the other four cards. If it is not in the first four, the magician picks up. the four that are chosen.
He repeats this procedure with the four cards that remain, either leaving or picking up the two that are chosen. When the final choice is made, the magician picks up the card if it is not the joker; but if it is the joker, he removes the extra card, leaving the joker on the table.
When this trick is performed in a nonchalant manner, its effect is very mystifying.
4. A Mysterious Coincidence.
The magician asks that a pack of cards be shuffled. He takes it and shuffles it a little himself. Then he lays the. pack on the table, and writes something on a piece of paper which he gives to a person to hold.
Another person now deals off any number of cards-say eight-one by one, immediately replacing them on the pack.
Then the first person deals off the same number of cards, and turns up the last one. He is told to look at his slip of paper, and it bears the name of the card he has turned up!
After the magician takes the pack to shuffle it, he secretly notes the top card of the pack. Or better, he notes the bottom card, and in shuffling, draws off all the pack from the bottom card and shuffles the cards beneath it, thus bringing the bottom card to the top.*
That is the card whose name he writes on the slip of paper.
When another person deals off some cards one by one, he reverses their order as he lays them faces down on the table. Thus if he deals eight cards, the card the magician has written becomes the eighth card from the top. So when the first spectator deals off the same number of cards, he naturally comes to the card that corresponds to the written message.
* This is a simple form of the "False Shuffle." It is explained with other methods in "Zoo Tricks You Can Do".
5. A Card Through the Plate.
A card is chosen and replaced in the pack. The magician shuffles and cuts the cards. He lays them on the table and exhibits a plate and a hat.
He lays the pack of cards on the plate, which is set upon the hat. Then he says "Pass", and when the pack is examined, the chosen card is gone. The plate is lifted and the card is found in the hat!
When the chosen card is returned to the pack, the magician tilts up the faces of the cards so that the chooser can have a last look at his card. This gives the magician an opportunity to bend up the inner corner of the chosen card with his thumb, as the pack is held fanned, and the chosen card is not entirely in.*
He then shuffles the pack, and when he cuts it, he cuts at the spot in the pack where he sees the bent corner forming a hump. This brings the chosen card to the top of the pack.
There is a dab of soap on the bottom of the plate. After showing the plate the magician shows the hat, and carelessly lets the plate rest on the pack. Thus the plate picks up the chosen card.
In setting the plate on the hat, the chosen card is dislodged, either by the finger or by the brim of the hat, and it falls in the hat. The pack is placed on the plate, and of course the chosen card is missing to be discovered later in the hat.
* This is similar to trick I of this chapter. It is also method of controlling a chosen card. This and other methods are explained in "200 Tricks You Can Do."
6. An Easy Four Ace Trick.
Everyone has heard of the "Four Ace Trick", and here is an easy way to present this mystery. The four aces are shown in a fan and are rcplaced on the pack. They are then dealt in a row, and three cards are dealt on each ace.
One ace and its three odd cards are chosen. The magician snaps the other piles and throws them on the table. The aces are gone, and they are found in the odd pile-all the aces together.
The first important part of this trick is the method of exhibiting the aces. They are held in a fan-faces toward the audience; but behind the third card from the front are situated three indifferent cards.
That is, the fan might be: ace of spades, ace of hearts, ace of diamonds, three odd cards, and ace of clubs. The three extra cards are eduared up, however, so that they and the ace in front of them appear to be one card.
The four aces are exhibited in this fashion, and are placed on the pack and squared up. Then the top four cards are dealt in a row. They are supposed to be the aces, as each card is dealt face down; but only the first card is an ace.
In moving the cards around a bit, the real ace should be allowed to fall from the pack, accidentally, being immediately picked up, the audience, however, catching a momentary glimpse of its face.
Three cards are dealt on each supposed ace, the first three cards from the top of the pack going on the real ace. Those three cards are the three aces; thus the four aces come together, while each of the other heaps holds four indifferent cards. The four heaps are laid in a row, thus:
Four Ordinary Cards
A spectator is asked to choose a number between one and four. This apparently give him any choice, but it implies that he should say two, or three. If he says "two", the magician counts from the left of the line; if hey says "three", the magician counts from the right, ending his count in either case upon the four ace heap. Should the spectator say "four", the magician replies: "We will use all four heaps. Give me another number".
Should the spectator say "one", the magician replies : "We will choose one heap from the four. Let me have another number". But the original question invariably eliminates one and four.
All that remains is to command the aces to pass, all four being found in the chosen heap. The magician should do this with much pretence, having a spectator place his hand upon the chosen heap, and snapping each of the odd heaps. He should create the impression that he is doing something really marvelous.
7. The Paddle Trick.
The magician shows an ordinary mustard paddle which he lays on the table. A pack of cards is cut, and the paddle is laid between the portions of the pack, after both sides of the paddle have been shown. When the top part of the pack is lifted, a tiny card is seen on the surface of the paddle; and that card corresponds to the bottom card of the upper heapthat is, the card directly above the paddle!
The tiny card, which can easily be made with red or black ink, is affixed to the paddle in the first place. The card that corresponds to it is on the bottom of the pack. The pack is cut; then the paddle is shown apparently on both sides; but in turning the paddle over, it is revolved between the fingers and thumb. Thus one side of the paddle is shown twice. , The magician picks up the lower half of the pack, and places it on the upper, inserting the paddle between. As he does so, he gives the paddle a half turn, bringing the tiny card upward, directly below the card that corresponds to it.
This trick has a very surprising conclusion; it is not difficult to operate, as the paddle turning is very easy-simply an adaptation on an old trick known as the "Jumping Peg Paddle". It is possible to obtain paddles with rounded handles for this trick, and they revolve very easily.
8. Telephone Telepathy.
This is a variation of the "Telephone Trick", simplified and improved.
A person names any card in the pack, and someone is sent to a telephone to call up a mind-reader. When he comes to the phone, he is asked the name of the chosen card, and he names it immediately.
This is done by a code. The old code required fifty-three names, one for each card in the pack.
In the new system, two names are given. The person telephoning is told, for example, to ask for Mr. Edward Arnold. That name means the five of diamonds. Here is the system:
Ace ........ Arthur (A)
Wny first name beginning with A means ace; any beginning with B means two, and so on; thus Alfred, Bob, Channing, Dudley, or any other first name may be given provided that it starts with the proper letter. For the joker, any letter after M.
The suit is told by the last name: a name beginning with A, such as Andrews, means diamonds; a name beginning with B, such as Ball, means clubs; a name beginning with C, such as Cushing, means hearts; while a D name, as Desmond, means spades.
Thus, if someone chooses the eight of hearts, the magician should say: "Go to the telephone and ask for Herbert Carter, when you have called this number. He will tell you the card you have in mind." The king of diamonds would be Max Andrews, and so on. Any name will do for the joker, provided the first name is after M, and the last name is after D, as Willard Watkins.