Dai Vernon Frank Garcia

face coin to do Spellbound. This started out as a gag, but it had an unexpected side-effect; magicians who did not know Frank was using a gaffed coin had no idea how the trick was done.

As a result, more serious thought was given to incorporating the gaffed coin into a Spellbound routine, and the following handling is the result. In trying to unravel who contributed what, a standard problem arose; the routine goes back so far that no one could remember precisely who did what. Some of it is Vernon's, and the move of Step 6 is Garcia's. At least one aspect of the handling (Step 14) appeared in Gen magazine. If readers can provide further insight, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Two final notes. Although this version of Spellbound dates back almost 30 years, it is not done at the fingertips as in the Victor original, but rather on the flat palm. The second note is in the form of a problem. Referring to the illustration on the preceding page, you place a square of paper on the left forefinger, then balance a Silver coin on it. Flick the paper away as shown. The coin remains on the fingertip, but it has changed to a Copper. This gives you a flicker-fast version of Spellbound and would make a nice ending to the trick. Ideas?

1. Needed is a half-dollar and a C/S coin. Assume the silver side of the gaffed coin shows the tails side of a half dollar. At the start of "Spellbound For Experts" the C/S coin is finger palmed or purse palmed (also known as the Morritt Grip) in the LH.

It should be noted that in order to save space, moves like the purse palm and other standard coin moves will not be detailed in this article.

2. The Silver is held in the RH as for Spellbound. The coin is held head side up. The LH passes over the Silver. The Silver is thumb-palmed and the C/S coin is taken at the right fingertips. This is the standard first phase of the Vernon routine. The coin has changed from Silver to Copper.

3. The LH moves back over the C/S coin. As the fingers cover the coin, the C/S coin is dropped into the right fingers and the Silver is left at the right fingertips. The coin has changed back to Silver.

4. Show the LH empty. The RH turns palm-down as the Silver is placed between the left fingers. The Silver is now tail side up. The LH holds the Silver coin in position for the next Spellbound change.

5. A subtle exchange of coins is now enacted. This will set up a very clean transformation that will take place in Step 6. The RH passes in front of the Silver. The Silver is allowed to drop to the base of the left fingers. The C/S coin is left in its place at the left fingertips, Silver side showing. When the LH is withdrawn, since the tail side of the Silver coin shows, nothing seems to have happened.

6. Casually show the RH empty.Then pass the RH in front of the left. As you do, the back of the thumb hits the rightmost edge of the C/S coin and revolves it so it is Copper side out. This is a Frank Garcia move. The RH now moves away, showing that the coin has mysteriously changed to Copper.

7. Snap the coin so it is held at the fingertips as in Fig. 1, Copper side outwards.

8. Simultaneously the LH drops to waist level and backclips the C/S coin as the LH curls into a loose fist (the best backclip I know is the Rosenthal technique, fully detailed on pg. 903, back there in Close-Up Folio #3. KF). Snap the right fingers. Open the LH and show that the coin has changed back to Silver.

The audience sees one coin only. The hands are otherwise empty. Magic-wise spectators may begin to suspect the use of a double-face coin, but that suspicion will be quietly demolished.

9. Show the RH empty. As you do, retrieve the backclipped coin so it is inside the LH. Place the Silver coin heads side up on the right palm. At the

same time get the C/S coin into position for a turnover change. The Silver side of this coin is against the fingers .

10. As you turn the coin over,perform the turnover change, (the Rosenthal method is given on pg. 897 and tte Vernon handling on pg. 1019. In my o-pinion the Rosenthal method is the best in print. KF) Deposit the visible S/C coin on the 1st & 2nd fingers. The spectators see the tails side of the coin, and therefore assumes it is the Silver coin whose head-side they just saw.

11. The LH transfers the Silver into thumb-palm position. .The situation at this point is shown in Fig. 2.

12. The LH passes palm-down over the RH. At the same time tHe S/C coin is clipped between the right 2nd and 3rd fingers and pivoted over, Fig. 3. This is another Frank Garcia move. It occurs when the LH is over the RH so that the move is completely concealed

As the LH passes over the RH and is moving toward the right, it contacts the coin after the coin has turned over (roughly the position indicated in Fig. 4) and pushes the coin back to its original position on the right first and second fingers.

13. You remove the LH by drawing it back to the left, revealing that the coin has changed back to Copper. Note that the change occurs on the flat palm-up RH.

14. To repeat, you use a little-known Vernon move from Gen. The C/S coin is clipped between the right 2nd

This pivots the C/S coin to a vertical position. This action occurs when the LH passes over the RH. When the LH is in the position of Fig. 4, the left palm presses down against the C/S coin. This forces the C/S coin down between the fingers, Fig. 6.

This move constitutes a novel and easy way to get a coin into back-clip position.

15. Revolve the LH at the wrist to a vertical position, still keeping the heel of the LH in contact with the right fingers, Fig. 7, as you say, "No, it hasn't changed yet."

The audience cannot see the right palm at this point. You have just lifted the LH slightly as if checking to see if the coin has changed. You pretend to glance at the coin and then remark that it hasn't changed yet. When this has been said, lower the LH over the RH again, but this time do so in such a way that the thumb-clipped Silver will fall from the left thumb-palm position onto the right fingers.

16. Take the LH away to show that the coin has changed back to Silver. Both hands are otherwise empty and you are left with an ungaffed coin that can be used in further tricks.

17. You can use the following clean-up to get rid of the clipped C/S

coin in a natural, easy manner. At this point in the routine the C/S coin is backclipped between the right 2nd and 3rd fingers. As the LH moves over the RH to take the Silver and pocket it, the left 2nd and 3rd fingers move under the hand and clip the C/S coin as shown in Fig. 8.

18. The left thumb pulls the Silver into the LH. The Silver is directly over the clipped C/S coin. The LH then pockets both coins.


Regarding the public and private sniping that has gone on between two of the biggest magic dealers for years, Jim Baron was heard commenting, "Isn't there supposed to be honor among thieves?"

The epidemic of small-packet tricks currently afflicting magicians everywhere has moved Fr. Cyprian to label it, "An attack of smallpax."

On the subject of recent hardcover card books selling from $15 to $30, some have remarked "Much a<±j about nothing," or "Remembrance of things past." Richard Klein provides the sharpest observation: "I see where conservation is beginning to catch on in magic. After shelling out almost $70 for three books, I find the authors have taken to recycling garbage."

At least one of these current "blockbusters" contains an interesting Fable of Contents. KF


Newspaper or magazine accounts of psychics who score far better than average on ESP tests might tend to make one believe that the psychics used gimmicks or confederates. Usually the answer is more subtle than that. This article explains how you can score double the average in guessing the identity of symbols on ordinary ESP cards. No gimmicks are used.

The second part of the article is believed to be an original idea which allows you to identify ESP symbols with absolute certainty. The basic idea is mine, but the application to ESP cards was suggested by Martin Gardner.


The standard ESP deck (5 symbols repeated 5 times) is used. Spectator shuffles the deck, cuts it and places it face-down on the table in front of you.

You guess the identity of the top card. The spectator removes the card from the top of the deck, notes its i-dentity and places it aside. The spectator notes on a pad whether your guess is right or wrong.

The test continues with each of the remaining cards. You should, by pure guesswork, get about 20% of the cards correctly identified, but you will, on the average, get 40% correct. Since your score is double the average, clearly supernatural powers are at work.

Remember that you never touch the cards. Spectator shuffles and cuts as many times as he likes. You never see the face of a single card. The deck is just the ordinary ESP deck. There are no gimmicks and no confederates, yet you score double the average.

Method: Any ESP deck you buy is also a one-way deck. The backs are one way. This point is well known in magic circles, but its use in a symbol-guessing test does not seem to be as well known. The concept is not new; it was originally used with ordinary playing cards to double test scores. But its use is well-concealed and never suspected in the context of an ESP experiment.

When you purchase the deck, acquaint yourself with the one-way back design. Remove all the Circles and all the Squares, orient them opposite to the balance of the deck with respect to the one-way backs, then shuffle them into the balance of the deck. This is the only preparation.

To perform, have anyone shuffle and cut the deck. He places the deck on the table before you. Your first guess is a blind since you don't know which way the deck is oriented. (You don't know because the spectator probably turned the deck end for end several times during the shuffles and cuts).

So, guess that the top card is a Square. Have the spectator turn the top card face-up. If it is a Circle or a Square, you know that (for example) the north-pointing cards are either Circles or Squares. If the card is neither a Circle nor a Square, you know that the south-pointing cards are the Circles and Squares.

Let's say the north-pointing cards are Circles or Squares. Then, whenever a north-pointing card turns up on top of the deck, guess either Circle or Square. You will be right half the time, or one out of two.

If a south-pointing card shows up on top of the deck, guess one of the other symbols. You will be right one out of three. Your score, on the average, will be two out of five or 40%. It is on the basis of simple secrets such as this that reputations are made.


In the early 1950's I read an amazing trick of Robert Parrish1s in which a washed slate was used as a reflecting surface. The possibilities were staggering and for days I wandered around trying to devise an application that did not use slates.

Then the thought came to mind that if I applied saliva to the thumbnail, I could create a reflecting surface. This produced the following routine.

While you turn your back any onlooker shuffles any deck. Since your back is turned you have more than sufficient cover to liberally moisten the right thumbnail with saliva.

The deck is handed to you back-out. You take it with your LH. With the RH you remove the face card and take a blind guess as to color. But if you face the light, you will get a reflection of the color of the face card of the deck in your thumbnail. The relative position of the hands is shown in the Schmidt drawing here:

From this point on you can correctly guess the color of every single card until the saliva begins to evaporate. When this happens, just hand the deck out for further shuffling, turn your back and re-moisten the thumbnail.

If the light was bright I could get a fairly clear reflection of some cards. In particular, I could distinguish low-value cards from high-value cards, and could always spot picture cards.

Later the idea was expanded to the Gray-coded deck. After guessing 6 cards from a randomly cut deck, I knew exactly where I was in the stack and could then go on to name values and suits.

This is as far as I took it.But about a year ago, when I described the idea to Martin Gardner, he said it might work with ESP cards. Martin found an ESP deck, and after about one minute of practice, he was reading the symbols one after another. This gives you a perfect follow-up to the first test above.

Check the Walsh suggestion with clear fingernail polish in Phoenix 325, pg. Ill, for another shiner. Am sure there's an earlier reference, but cannot locate it at this writing.


In a letter just received, J. K. Hartman wrote as follows: "Recently I've been working on sleight-free stuff-the idea being not to replace sleight of hand with other solutions, but to evolve tricks in which the addition of sleights would not improve, make more direct or effective, etc."

This brought to mind an idea of some years back, to run a regular column devoted to strictly self-working tricks. Quite a while back Bob Eagle pinpointed the exact problem connected with such a column- what is a self working trick? If it uses the overhand shuffle and you don't know the overhand shuffle, is it self-working from your standpoint? If you have to take the deck out of the case- just that and nothing else- is it self-working? Reader comment would be appreciated.

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