It IS not certainly known who devised this variation of the combination of long and short cards, but the title, 'Mene-Tekel', was first applied to it by the late W. D. Leroy, the well-known magical dealer of Boston. Like the Svengali pack it consists of twenty-six ordinary cards and twenty-six short cards but instead of the short cards being all of the same suit and value, they also are all different, each short card being of the same suit and value as its neighboring ordinary card so that the pack consists of twenty-six pairs of cards, one short and one ordinary card of the same suit and value in each pair.
To construct such a pack obtain two packs of cards, with the same back patterns, the cards preferably being thin and pliable and not too slippery. Thoroughly shuffle one pack and count off twenty-six cards. Then from the second pack take twenty-six cards of the same denomination as in the first and arrange them in the same order. You will then have two packets of cards exactly similar. From the ends of one set shave off about one-sixteenth of an inch. This may be done with a photoprint trimmer, or, better still, a bookbinder's guillotine if you have access to one. Having thus shortened one set of cards, arrange the whole fifty-two in pairs, the short card being the top card of each pair, and the Mene-Tekel pack is set-up.
To show the cards apparently all different riffle the ends slowly before the audience, the faces of the ordinary cards only will show up. Or, you may hold the pack upright, thumb at the top end, and let the cards fall forward on to the left hand, again showing only the faces of the ordinary cards. The pack may be riffle shuffled without disarranging the cards.
To do this, square up the pack by tapping one end on the table to settle the short cards, then while the pack is on end, divide it about in half so that a short card is on the top of the lower portion. Riffle the two halves one into the other in the usual way, the cards will fall in pairs and the sequence of the prepared pack is not destroyed. The pairs will occupy different positions, but each pair will be intact. In similar fashion the pack can be cut indefinitely with complete cuts without separating the pairs, since the cut will always be made at one of the ordinary cards.
To illustrate the use of the pack for controlling a freely chosen card slowly riffle it and request a spectator to insert his forefinger, or a paper knife, anywhere he pleases and take the card next below his finger or the knife. In every case that card will be a short card and the next card (ordinary card) will be the duplicate of the one chosen. As the spectator takes the card raise the portion in the right hand and separate the hands a little, then casually place the two portions of the pack together but put the cards in the left hand on top of those in the right hand. This departure from the regular way of assembling the pack will never be noticed, however, if it is preferred you may openly cut at the point from which the card was removed. The result is that you now have on the top of the pack the duplicate of the card chosen. The card may then be dealt with in any of the following ways.
1. The spectator, having noted his card, replaces it in any part of the pack which you at once square up very openly. Request him to blow on the top card, name the card he drew, and turn the top card, it is his card. If it is desired to repeat the trick you will have to find the odd one and again bring it on top of its duplicate.
2. The duplicate may be revealed by holding the pack a short distance above the table, secretly push the card a little off the pack sideways, and the action of dropping the pack will cause the card to turn over and appear face up.
3. The card may be forced right out of the pack and passed through the table. To do this, secretly wet the back of your right hand. Show the spectator how you wish him to apply pressure. Put the back of your right hand right on top of the pack and your left hand palm downwards on that. Press down firmly and the top card will adhere to the back of your right hand, which you pass under the table top. The spectator places his hands on the pack in the same way and presses firmly. Have the card named and produce it from under the table.
4. As the spectator notes his card, secretly glimpse the top card. Tell him to concentrate his thoughts on the name of his card and you read his mind in the usual fashion, first getting the color of his card, then the suit and finally the value. By having the card returned to the top the pack will be in order for another demonstration.
5. After the card has been selected and the shift made bringing the duplicate to the top, put the pack in your left outside coat pocket for a moment, thumbing off the top card and leaving it in the pocket. Bring the pack out again under pretense of having forgotten to have the chosen card replaced. Have it pushed into the pack and at once place the pack in your right-hand pocket. Have the card named and order it to pass across into the left pocket, from which you produce it.
6. After the return of the card to the middle, square up the cards very openly, then hold the pack upright in your right hand, face of the bottom card towards the spectators. Order the card to rise and push up the top duplicate card with tips of the first and second fingers. It will appear to rise from the middle of the pack.
Was this article helpful?