Effect: A spectator shuffles the deck, then thinks of a card. The performer also mixes the cards, then places the deck behind his back for a moment while he reverses a card. He brings the deck forward in a fanned condition and asks the spectator to name the mentally chosen card. One reversed card is discovered in the middle of the fan. When it is removed and turned over, it is seen to be the selected card. It should be noted that the deck is unprepared and may be borrowed.
Method: The principle underlying this impromptu Ultra-mental effect springs from a method devised by Chung Ling Soo (ref. Goldston's Magazine of Magic, Vol. 2. No. 4, July 1915, pp. 111-112). In Mr. Chung's trick, the red cards in a standard pack were alternated with the black cards, and left outjogged very slightly. If you riffled one end of the staggered pack, only red cards could be seen. Riffling the other end displayed only black cards,
Mr. Elmsley became intrigued with the principle upon seeing Bob Bridson demonstrate an improved version of it. Mr. Bridson did not often mix with other magicians. He preferred to devise tricks in seclusion, without the influence of others. However, sometime in the early 1950s, the British I.B.M. held their annual convention in the seaside town of Southport, and Bob Bridson on several evenings dropped in after work to visit. During one of these social appearances he showed Mr. Elmsley how the red cards could be faro-woven Into the blacks and offset widthwise as the halves were pushed into each other. In this configuration the deck could be ribbon spread in one direction to display all red cards, while all black cards appeared If the spread was made in the opposite direction. Mr. Elmsley recalls that the mechanics of the trick were transparent, but his imagination was sparked by the principle. From this interest emerged such creations as "The Fan Prediction" (pp. 29-32) and "Brainweave"; which brings us to the trick Itself.
After a spectator shuffles the deck to his satisfaction, take it back and cut off roughly fifteen to twenty cards. Fan these, faces toward the spectator, and ask that he think of any one of the cards he sees. As you do this, keep chatting with him and focus all attention on the fan of cards. At the same tune drop your other hand, which holds the balance of the deck, to your side. You cannot hide the fact that the mental selection is being made from only a portion of the deck, but by directing attention away from the unused portion, you can minimize the audience's awareness of the situation.
torn packet with the left fourth fingertip, and the same corner of the selection packet with the third fingertip (Figure 219). Then pull downward with these fingers as the third finger pushes the center packet flush.
With the palm-down right hand, grasp the pack from above by the ends, taking over the two breaks with the right thumb. Then double undercut all the cards below the lower break to the top of the pack. This brings the selection bank to the bottom, with a break still held above it.
In an action continuous to the double cutting, reverse the selection bank under the deck, using a half pass. At the completion of the half pass, the left fingers will be at the left side of the pack, in perfect position to grasp it, the fingertips beneath, the thumb above (Figure 220).
(In another approach to this selection procedure, Mr. Elmsley suggests that you fan only the bottom fifteen to twenty cards of the full pack, keeping the balance squared as a block and out of sight behind the fan. As you adjust the fan, pull the card on the face of the block roughly a quarter of an inch to the right, so that it projects a bit. Have the spectator make his mental selection from this display.
When the spectator says that he has thought of a card, close the fan and insert it face-down into the center of the deck. As you do this, form a left fourth-finger break under the selection packet and a third-finger break above it. This is done by angling the packet into the deck until the right inner corner breaks through on the right side. Engage the right inner corner of the bot-
Then close the fan, delivering the jogged car d to the inner end of the deck, and form a break above the injog as you square the cards. You can now execute a half pass to reverse the selection bank beneath the deck. Those who enjoy a mild gamble with odds very much in their favor might try handing the deck to the spectator for the selection to be made. Have him spread through the deck and note one card. You must estimate the general area where the spectator pauses to make his choice. Then, when you retrieve the deck, cut the cards to bring the selection somewhere near the bottom of the pack. Your estimate and cut can be off by quite a few cards, and yet the trick can still proceed successfully.)
With the left hand, rotate the deck ninety degrees in either direction and, with the palm-down right hand, regrip the right end of the cards, fingers on the outer edge, thumb on the inner. Done as a continuous movement, the left hand's turning of the deck provides excellent cover for the half pass action.
You are now in position to perform a faro shuffle. Bring the left hand palm-up under the deck and grasp its left end. Then separate the pack just above the face-up selection bank, taking one or two face-down cards with it for cover. Cut the pack at that point, taking the bottom portion in the left hand and the top portion in the right. Then faro shuffle the smaller portion into the larger. The weave need not be perfect, so long as at least one card from the larger packet lodges between each pair in the smaller one.
With the palm-up left hand, regrip the meshed deck by its sides and turn it ninety degrees clockwise. With the right hand, push the smaller packet into the larger one for roughly two-thirds of its length. Then relax the left fingers' pressure on the sides of the deck and push the smaller packet flush into the larger. However, allow the cards from the larger packet, caught between those of the smaller one, to slide secretly from the inner end of the deck, plunger-fashion (Figures 221 and 222).
With the right hand, grasp the deck by its sides from above, near the inner end, concealing the lnjogged cards. Then take the deck behind your back as you explain, "I am going to reverse one card at random in the pack. No one will know what it is; not even myself."
With both hands now behind you, transfer the face-down deck to the left hand, grasping the outer end between the thumb, on the left side, and the forefinger, on the right corner. Also station the fourth finger at the inner right corner of the projecting cards. If you now press with the thumb on the left side, and maintain a firm pressure with the first and fourth fingers, you can cause the injogged portion to swivel to the left, as shown in Figure 223.
Bring the right hand over the deck and push the angled portion flush with the front of the pack. At the same time, apply firm pressure with the left thumb and forefinger on the front corners. This forces the front end of the pack into reasonable alignment, but maintains the angled condition of the cards at the back left corner (Figure 224).
Now turn the pack end for end in the left hand, keeping it facedown while bringing the angled portion to the right front corner. These adjustments of the cards take only a few moments, in which time you are assumed to be reversing a card.
Behind your back, form a pressure fan in the left hand. Then bring the fanned pack from behind you, directing the face of the fan toward the audience. The results of this fan are surprising. At the back of the fan you will be staring at the indices of the entire selection bank (Figure 225). However, from the front, none of the reversed cards are visible (Figure 226).
As you are bringing the fan into view, ask the spectator to name the card he thought of. You can easily spot his selection among the reversed cards on your side of the fan. However, don't worry if It takes you a few moments to locate the card. As you do so, the audience is naturally busy trying to spot the selection from their side of the fan. With the right hand, grasp the right portion of the fan, up to and including the named card. Spread the fan at that point (Figure 227) and upjog the selection (Figure 228). If you do not let the other cards slip, only this reversed card will be visible in the fan from the audience's side.
With your right hand, strip the upjogged card from the fan, and drop the left hand, turning it palm-down while keeping the face of the fan in view. Then dramatically turn the selection around to reveal its face.
Allow the effect to register. Then insert the card, facing correctly, back into the fan and square the deck. If you are using this trick as a closing item—and it certainly is strong enough to serve in this capacity—simply put the deck away. However, if you wish to continue with other effects, the deck must be somehow straightened, or its condition used to advantage; for you have roughly fifteen to twenty face-up cards in the central portion, alternating with facedown cards. If your faro weave has been a perfect interlace, one trick that can benefit from this configuration of the cards is Edward Mario's "Hummer-Mario" from Ibidem, No. 12 (Dec. 1957, pp. 2-3). (Those desiring to take this path should check Mr. Mario's "3rd Note" on pages 53-54 of his faro Controlled Miracles.) Other suitable tricks can be found as well.
John Thompson, in the early 1960s, came up with an exceptionally shrewd solution to the righting of the reversed cards, which he has kindly permitted me to reveal. Mr. Thompson routines "Brainweave" to precede a Triumph effect in his act. Having concluded the Elmsley trick, he divides the face-down deck near center, cutting at a face-down card. Thus, both halves look as they should, were the cards all face-down. He turns over the bottom half and riffle shuffles the packets together, face-up cards Into face-down, doing so in a manner that conceals the already topsy-turvy condition of the pack. Turning to a spectator, he says, "I've just made quite a mess of the deck—face-up cards hopelessly mixed with face-down cards. If I gave you the deck, how long do you think it would take you to straighten it out?" After the spectator makes a guess he is handed the pack. "Well, let's see. I want you to deal the deck into a pile and turn all the face-up cards face-down when you come to them. Do it as quickly as you can. We'll time you." He does just that, and calls out the time the spectator takes to complete the task.
"Forty-three seconds. Not bad. Now I've been practicing this, and I'm getting pretty fast at it myself Let me show you," He then performs a Triumph effect, righting the cards in supernatural time. This is a brilliant strategy. It solves the clean-up problem of "Brainweave" in a wonderfully sly way: The spectator sorts the cards for you. At the same time, his actions serve to dramatize the impossibility of the next feat you will perform.
Allan Ackerman also uses this strategy. He mentioned to me that he has routined both "Brainweave" and the Triumph effect to preserve a full-deck memorized stack. In doing so he can immediately move into an impressive closing sequence, exploiting the setup, without the need to switch decks. The ruse has taken in many wellposted magicians as well as the public. Those who are interested in utilizing this routining concept will have little trouble working out the details for themselves.
Mr. Elmsley's brilliant method for performing Berg's Ultra-mental effect with an ungimmicked pack has garnered much praise and attention in high places. If the reader desires to study this trick and its principle further, Edward Mario has devoted almost twenty pages to the subject In his Faro Controlled Miracles (pp. 52-71): then there are Dean Moore's "Affinity Unrefuted" in Sharpe's Expert Hocus Pocus
(1961, pp. 86-92), Ted Biet's "Pres'sure' Location" in Apocalypse (Vol. 2, No. 4, April 1979, pp. 181-183), John Bannon's "Cleaved Deck" in his Mirage (1986, pp. 22-26) and "Shake Well Before Using" in Smoke and Mirrors (1991, pp. 26-29). A handling by Dai Vernon can be found in Richard's Atmanac (Vol. 3, Spring 1985, pp. 243-244), and another by the Professor is given on the Vintage Vernon, Volume 4 audio tape. Finally, see "Ackerman's Opener" in Allan Ackerman's Day of Magic Lecture Notes (1992, pp. 1-4) and on his video tape, The Las Vegas Card Expert: the Allan Ackerman Video, Volume 1.
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