Probably the first one to stab a card by estimation was Bert Allerton in which he used a setup deck. I worked out the first impromptu methods one of which was the "Mario Miracle", as submitted for D'Amico's Deviltries but the first method to appear in print was that described in the Spade book. To anyone having experience with either the set-up or impromptu version it becomes evident that if the card happens to fall into 26th or 13th, from the top or bottom, the stab becomes simpler especially if you visualize the pack as consisting of four equal portions of 13 cards each.
Naturally the next step was to get a selected card placed into a position for the stab. Both Russell Barnhardt and myself decided that the 26th position could become too obvious and that any position nearer the 13th would be better. I maintained the use of a key card, as a tip off, to insure success and also to keep from asking for the selected card to be named. Thus if you missed you could always rewrap the pack and try again.
This discussion took place in 1947 but in 1952 I gave Bill Simon a manuscript of Control Effects to peruse among which was an effect, "The Miracle Stab", which made use of a key card plus a very direct method of placing it and the selection into the position needed for the Stab. In 1954 I recorded the same effect but with another method of placing the position of the card.
The present method to be described is entirely different from the others and has a very subtle way of getting the key
card, as well as placing it above the selection at the desired position for the stab. This also utilizes an idea that insures success every time plus a "Stop" idea in connection with the stab.
1. Have the pack thoroughly shuffled by a spectator. On getting it back hold the deck face down in the left hand as for dealing. With the left thumb shove over 3 cards. Take these with the right hand and drop them face down onto the table. Repeat with another 3 cards dropping them onto the tabled cards.
2. As you start to take the very first 3 cards you say, "As I do this you say "Stop" at any time." The cards are taken in three's but it is done rather quickly so it appears as if you are taking an indeterminate number or batches of cards which you drop to the table.
3. As you drop each 3 card packet you keep track of the number as you must eventually get the selection to 20th from the bottom. For the present let us assume the spectator has stopped you when you have 15 cards on the table.
4. At this stage give the spectator a choice of the top card of the ones on the table or the top card of the deck in your left hand. Suppose he takes the top card of the cards still in your hand. Have him note the card, then to drop it face down onto those on the table. This makes the selection 16th from the bottom for the present.
5. As soon as the selected card is dropped onto the tabled cards you continue thumbing over some cards, from the deck, to drop these onto the selection; however, this time you actually do take just any amount or batch of cards. Continue in this manner but as the pack diminishes, the left fingers keep spreading the last few cards to insure the last 4 cards remain in the left hand. These last 4 cards are now used to scoop up the tabled cards. Thus the 4 cards have been added to the bottom of the deck and now the selection is 20th from the bottom,
6. Square the deck as you say, "Your card is somewhere in the pack but it is not near the bottom and not near the top. But you may have an idea as to its position so 111 give it a shuffle to make sure you do not know where it is." During this patter line you have shown a few of the bottom cards and also 7 of the top cards but you remember the 7th card as your key card. Again square up the deck and do a perfect Faro Out-Shuffle. This puts your key card 13th from the top and directly above the selection which is now 14th from the top.
7. Before proceeding with the stab it must be mentioned that a thin blade is best for the stab effect. Allerton used a file which was especially smoothed down on the file surface as well as ground to a fine but dull point. This to prevent actually sticking into and splitting the edge of the card itself. With care the average pocket or pen knife can be used but be careful of the sharp edge.
Using a newspaper is still the best and most convenient wrapping for the pack especially in this method. The actual size does not matter much as long as it is enough to cover the top side of the deck and then drape out along its sides.
8. The pack here is held so that the faces are towards performer. The newspaper is placed over the side of the deck and pressed down firmly so as to form a very sharp outline of the deck. Also the newspaper may cover up the front or left end of the deck but must go only as far as the right end of the deck. See Figure 31.
9. Performer now takes the knife and runs it along the top side of the pack as he says, ' when I do this I want you to say, 'Stop' at any time you wish." By this time you have finished the action and are about to start over. As you do this, again repeat, "Just say, 'Stop' anytime."
Here it is all timing it so that you will arrive at the 13th or quarter of the deck position by the time he says "Stop"; however, it does not make any difference if he stops you before you reach the 13th position. Merely stop right there, then look up and you merely move the knife over to where you want it and the spectator will never know the difference. The knife is now pushed into the deck as shown in Figure 31.
10. The right hand holds onto the knife and tears the paper by pulling the knife away from yourself. The left hand remains on the left end of the deck but the left fingers open outwards to permit the portion above the knife to be pulled away. This pulling away will expose the card, resting against the knife or file, to yourself before anyone else gets a chance to see it. Should this card be the key card you know the card below it is the selection. You can now complete the tearing or splitting of the paper as you separate the halves of the deck. Ask for the name of the selected card. Turn over the top card of the lower section, those that were below the blade to show you have stabbed to the card.
11. In case the key card doesn't show against the blade pull down the corner of this face card to see if the key card is above it. If it is then the blade is resting on face of selection. In case it should not be here, you know you are off on the estimation; therefore, you can try again. That is why you do not ask for the name of the selection until you are sure you have it. A bit of practice and you will be able to do it every time.
did mention that there is a way I worked out to be successful every time and there is. It depends on a subtle move and being sure to underestimate less than 14 cards. Assume that you have underestimated and have pushed the blade in as far as the table top.
Now with the blade in the pack move the blade to the right at the same time gently sawing the paper for its length to the right only. Now move the blade back to its central position as seen in Figure 32.
13. Now the right thumb riffles the upper right end of the deck as in Figure 33 as you say, "You could have
MIRACLE COINCIDENCE TOSS
stopped at any place in the pack." During this riffling you can spot your key card.
14. As soon as the key card is spotted the tip of the right thumb is wedged into the pack. At this point the tip of the thumb is on the face of the key card. Now the right thumb is moved along until the blade or knife is reached. During this movement the tip of the right thumb maintains the wedge. The right thumb and finger meet at the knife and now, not only do the right fingers grasp the knife but the right thumb is also pressing the wedged cards against the blade.
15. With the tip of the right thumb pressing its cards against the blade the paper is split by pulling forward and away with the right hand. The result is
shown in Figure 34 where you will note that the knife is not actually on the face of the packet but rather several cards behind it.
This Figure 34 is the performer's view; however, as the tear is made the right hand tilts this half downwards at same time letting the lower half of the deck fall flat and face down to the table. This is seen in Figure 35.
16. The right hand retains its position and the knife in place, as in the Figure 35, while the left hand turns the top card of the half now on the table, after first asking for selection to be named. After this the left hand merely removes or takes the knife from the right hand and all is clean. Some may prefer to remove the knife first but retaining the position of the Figure 35 until after the disclosure is much better.
Miracle Coincidence Toss
Effect: A selected card from a blue deck tossed face up into a red deck finds its duplicate mate!
1. Two packs, red and blue, are used. Have a spectator shuffle the blue deck first. On getting it back hold it face down in the left hand as you gesture with the right for the spectator to pick up the red deck and also shuffle it.
2. While the spectator is shuffling his cards, you hold your deck on its sides and do the Estimation Glimpse at the 20th card from the top. Immediately square up the pack and place it face down on the table. All this takes only a few seconds and you know the name of approximately the 20th card in the blue deck. Assume this card is the 7C.
3. Upon getting the red deck, hold it face up, spreading it between both hands and point out how thoroughly the pack has been shuffled. Meantime look for the 7C and then count six cards to the left of it and cut the deck to bring the 7C seventh from top of the deck. Turn the deck face down.
4. This time re-spread the pack face down and as you do, run the seventh card, the 7C, under the spread of cards. You can do this using either the method explained for the Spread Switch (See Chapter 12, Card Switches) or the Cull Palm action. (See Chapter Two, Action Palm)
5. In any case the 7C now rides under the spread of cards as you ask spectator to touch any card. When he touches a card, break the pack at this point taking the touched card beneath the cards held by the right hand. Of course, the actual selected card goes above the 7C so that the 7C becomes the face card of the packet.
6. The right hand moves to the table and the right fingers push out the bottom card of the packet which is presumed to be the card touched but is really the 7C. The 7C is face down on the table. The rest of the red deck is placed aside.
7. Without showing the face of the red back 7C, pick it up in the right hand for the Card Shoot. The left hand positions itself for the Back End
8. As the left thumb riffles the end of the deck the right hand tosses its card into the deck. Flip off and over, those cards above the indicator, face up into the waiting left hand. If the 7C is at the face of this packet you can now show the face of the red backed card for the miracle coincidence. If it is not at the face of the packet, turn over the top card of the tabled half and this should be the card.
9. In the event that you miss the first time merely replace the cards as you look up and say, "Do you know what I'm going to do?" They don't but it gives you a chance to try again. On the very first try, if the 7C does not appear on face of packet, be sure to spread the face cards to see if you perhaps overshot the 7C. This little bit of a clue lets you know whether the Riffle Estimate should be less or more on the second try. Anyway you should conclude this successfully and if you have any kind of address you may fail more than twice and still amaze your audience.
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