To Lie Or Teix The Truth

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

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Jack Avis devised an excellent trick which will quickly establish your reputation as a card expert. The plot, originally suggested by Martin Gardner, is one where the spectator is asked a series of questions about a chosen card and is encouraged to lie or tell the truth in answer co the questions. The deck has been programmed like a lie detector. It provides the correct answers to his questions, and then it goes on to produce the chosen card!

It is only necessary that you secretly note the bottom card of the deck before the trick begins. This can be done under cover of the excuse that you want to check that the deck contains 52 cards. Simply glimpse the bottom card while you count the cards. The glimpsed card becomes your key card.

Spread the deck face down and have the spectator remove any card. He notes the card, puts the card on top of the deck, then cuts the deck and completes the cut. Take back the deck. Turn it face up, spread it from left to right, find your key card, and note the card just to the right of it. This will be the spectator's chosen card. Cut the deck between the key card and the chosen card. Complete the cut. His card will now be on top.

You're now going to make a series of setting-up moves. While doing this, tell the spectator you are programming the deck to act like a lie detector, and that once programmed it is infallible and will produce the right answer no matter how he tries to trick it with false answers. Once the deck has been programmed you will invite the spectator to assist, and he is to try to beat the lie detector by giving it incorrect information. In other words, he may lie or tell the truth in answer to your questions.

The setting-up process is given here. It will take a bit of practice to get it to the point where it can be done smoothly and quickly. The deck is face up and you have cut the chosen card to the top of the deck. From the face of the deck and working to the left, upjog cards as follows:

One card of the same value as the selected card.

Three indifferent cards.

Two cards of the same suit as the selected card.

Three indifferent cards.

One card of the same color as the selected card.

One indifferent card.

One card of the same color as the selected card.

Two indifferent cards.

As an example, assume the spectator chose the Beginning at the face of the deck and working to the left, upjog a king, then three indifferent cards, then two clubs, then three more indifferent cards, then a black card, then an indifferent card, then two black cards, and finally two indifferent cards.

Retain the deck in the right hand. With the left hand strip out the jogged cards as a unit, and allow them to drop into the left palm. Drop the deck on top of the cards in the left hand, square up the pack and turn it face down.

Ask the spectator if his card was red or black. Remind him that he can lie in answer to this and every other question. The idea is to trick the lie detector. Whatever his answer, spell it out a card at a time, forming a small packet. If for example he answers red, spell "R-E-D," dealing a card for each letter, forming a three-card packet.

The second question has to do with suit. If he said his card was red, now ask if it was hearts or a diamond. If in answer to the first question he said his card was black, now ask if it was clubs or a spade. Spell out his answer, forming a second packet to the right of the first packet.

The third and final question has to do with the value of the chosen card. Ask, "Was the card a court card or did it have spots?" As with each of the other two questions, the spectator may lie or tell the truth when answering. Spell C-O-U-R-T or S-P-O-T-S, whichever he chooses, in answer to the third question, dealing these cards into a third packet to the right of the other two.

Now say, "You've done your best to fool the lie detector. Let's see what the real truth is." Working from left to right, turn up the top card of each packet. Your patter might run like this: "The computerized lie detector indicates that you chose a red card. It was a diamond. It was a court card. In fact this is your chosen card."

If the spectator chose hearts, the selected card will be on top of the deck at the finish. When you get to the line, "In fact this is your chosen card," turn up the top card of the pack. In all other cases the chosen card will be the top card of the third pocket.

The spelling must be done exactly as described above. Master the details of this fine routine and you will have in your possession a truly baffling card trick.

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