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Number Tricks - Magic Tricks

( Article orginally published July 1927 )

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This chapter is a short one, dealing with some interesting experiments in numbers. All that is needed is a pencil and paper. The figures will do the rest.

These tricks are well suited to the beginner in magic, as they require no skill whatever.

1. Totalling Twenty.

Tell a person to write down five odd figures in a column and add them up to total twenty.

As twenty is an even number, people who try it will soon give it up. But the magician can do it!

Here is the method: Put down 13, 5, 1, and 1. Add these numbers and the total will be 20. But there are only four odd numbers. That is true, but there are five odd figures: 1, 3, 5, 1, and 1.

The conditions of the trick call for five odd figures, which most people take to mean five odd numbers.

2. Telling the Total.

Let a person write down a row of six figures. Then write something on a piece of paper and lay it aside.

Another person writes six figures beneath the first row. Then you write a number of six figures. Another person obliges with a number of six figures, and you do the same. When the sum is added, a total is reached. Your paper is unfolded, and there is the answer!

Method: Note the first number written. Add to it 2,000,000, and subtract 2. That is what you write on the piece of paper. Just put down 2 less than the number written, and put a figure 2 in front of it!

When the second number is written, you write your number. Just add enough to each number in the second row to make each figure total 9.

When the fourth row is written, you write the fifth, and make the fourth row total 9 for every figure. That will bring your, answer.

Example: A person writes 347,628. On your paper write 2,347,626.
Now the addition may appear like this:
First row............... 347,628
Second row............. 312,799
Your row............. 687,200
Fourth row............. 810,204
Your row............. 189,795
Total............. 2,347,626

3. Nine Figures.

Write something on a piece of paper and lay it aside.

Then write the figures: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Tell a person to cross out a figure. Then you eliminate figures by having them crossed out. When only one is left, open the paper and there will be the figure!

Method: On the paper write 5. Most persons will cross out 5. If they do so, open the paper and show that the number on it is 5!

If they cross out another number state th you have eliminated one figure, leaving tv+ groups of four.

Ask that four figures be chosen. If 5 is among them, have the other four crossed out. If 5 is not among them, cross them out.

Then have two figures chosen. Repeat if 5 is there, have the others crossed out. If not, cross out the chosen figures.

Ask that one of the two remaining figures be selected. If 5 is picked, cross out the other. If not, cross out the chosen figure.

It is a case of a certain elimination to the figure 5, a ruse that is never detected.

4. The Grand Total.

Let a person write down the year of his birth and then the year of his marriage, or his first year of school.

Then he must write his age at the end of the present year, and to it the number of years he has been married, or the number of years since he began school.

In the meantime you have written a total on a paper and put it in an envelope. The total of the person's figures will be the same as the total you wrote.

Here is the reason: The sum will always be twice the number of the present year.

Thus, if the trick is done in 1928:
Year of Birth............... 1900
Year of marriage ........... 1925
Age ....................... 28
Years since marriage......... 3
Total .................... 38,56
The number 3856 is two times 19281

5. Cross Them Out.

Write the following numbers in a line 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

The object is to cross out three groups of numbers, starting from the end of the linf and the last number of each group must b odd. This sounds impossible, as the last group must end with 10! But it can be done.

Method: Start from the right end. Thus your first group crossed out can end in 7 the second in 3, and the third in 1.