Brownwaves Ii

Effect: Two spectators make mental selections in the following manner: each cuts off a small packet, counts the cards in it and remembers the card that falls at that number in the balance of the pack. The spectators also pocket their packets after counting them, to leave the performer no clue to their numbers.

The remainder of the pack is handed to one of them and she is asked to deal the cards into a face-down pile on the tabic. Suddenly the performer tells her to stop. She turns up the card last dealt and finds it to be her mental selection. The cards are then handed to the second spectator. She also deals the cards face-down until told to stop. When the last card dealt is turned up it is indeed the second selection.

The performer has no knowledge of the selected numbers or the cards, nor does he see the face of a single card until the climax.

Method: This double location revolves on the use of a type of key. However, this key is not a card or cards, but rather a number. The principle is fascinating.

The deck is unprepared, and may be borrowed, but must contain its complement of fifty-two. You also must form a break under the twenty-sixth card from the top. There are several ways one can obtain this break. After the deck has been shuffled, you can question whether it is complete. To check this, count the cards into a facedown pile, jogging the twenty-sixth card as it is dealt. Then pick up the pack and square it, forming a break above the jog. If you wish, you can do one or two casual overhand shuffles as you talk, maintaining a break at center. To do this, shuffle off to the existent break, injog the next card and shuffle off the balance. Then form a fresh break beneath the jog.

If you don't wish to count the cards openly, you can run through the deck to make sure there is no joker. As you do this, secretly count to the twenty-sixth card from the face and downjog it. Then form a break over the jog as you turn the deck face-down and square it. To allay suspicion that you have noted cards while looking through the pack, you can perform one or two overhand shuffles afterward, maintaining the separation as previously explained.

Perhaps the most subtle approach though, and the one Mr, Elmsley prefers, is the faro check: When you receive the shuffled deck back from the spectator, give it a casual faro shuffle as you talk. Then split the deck at center for a second shuffle, interlace the packets in a perfect weave to check the accuracy of the cut, then appar ently change your mind and abandon the shuffle, stripping the halves apart. Put one half onto the other and catch a break between them. (It is interesting to note that Mr. Elmsley devised the faro check in 1956, and suggested it within the context of this trick in November of that year [ref. Pentagram, Vol. 11, No. 2, p. 12], In the United States, Edward Mario Independently arrived at the same idea, which he published in his booklet, The Faro Shuffle [see pp. 11-12] in 1958. Mr. Elmsley was hardly surprised that this procedure had occurred to others: "It was a fairly obvious idea that anyone who worked with faro weaves would likely think of.")

With the break established, hold out the face-down deck and ask someone to cut off a packet of any size she wishes, up to a third of the pack. When she has done so, turn to a second spectator and ask her to do the same, but to try to take a different number of cards (to "make things more interesting"). However, as you turn, casually cut the deck at the break and complete the cut, forming a new break between the transposed packets.

Let the second spectator cut off a packet. Again, this shouldn't exceed seventeen cards. Ask both spectators to count the cards in their packets silently, then to put the packets out of sight in their pockets. You turn aside while they do this, and take the opportu-nity to glance at the remaining packet in you hand. Note the location of the break in the packet. Chances are it will be closer to the bottom than the top. If you find it nearer the top, cut the packet at the break and take a fresh break between the portions as you complete the cut.

Turn back to the spectators and explain that you wish them to note the card that falls randomly at their number in your packet. Display the faces of the cards to them as you count them one by one, and take each new card under the last to preserve the order. Make it clear that you cannot see the faces of the cards yourself. When you reach the break, remember the number of cards you have counted. This number is the key to locate both selections. (Some performers may find it more comfortable to use a step instead of a break when counting. Just convert the break into a fine rightward step of the upper portion, and keep track of it visually while you count the cards.)

Continue to display the cards one by one until you have counted twenty-six. At that point stop and ask if each spectator has a card in mind. Casually place any uncounted cards on top of the packet and square it. If you should find you have fewer than twenty-six cards, casually spread them, form a break under the requisite number of cards to make up the difference, and cut these cards from the top to the bottom of the packet. At this point you may give the packet a false shuffle, retaining its entire order, if you wish.

Earlier you will remember having checked the break in the packet to see whether it lay nearer the bottom or the top. If it was nearer the bottom, hand the packet face-down to the first spectator. If it was nearer the top and you cut the packet to adjust for this, now hand the packet face-down to the second spectator.

Ask the spectator to deal the cards into a face-down pile on the table. While she does this, secretly count to your key number. When you reach it, stop her. Ask her the name of her mental selection. Then have her turn up the last card dealt; that is, the card that fell at your key number. It will be hers.

Pause to let the full effect register. Then have her put her card aside and drop the undealt cards onto the pile. The packet is passed to the other spectator and she is told to deal them face-down until you call stop. Again stop her on the key number. The card resting at that position is the second selection. Have her turn it up and conclude.

One fault with the above procedure is that one must count twenty-six cards while showing them to the spectators for their selection. Since both spectators were instructed to take no more than a third of the pack (seventeen cards), counting to twenty-six seems zealous on your part, if not illogical. Mr. Elmsley suggests that, when the mental selections are being made, the procedure can be shortened as follows: Instead of counting to twenty-six, stop instead at nineteen or twenty and drop the uncounted cards on top of the packet. Then, as you comment on the impossibility of your knowing which of the cards the spectators have thought of, casually spread the packet and form a break under six or seven cards—enough to bring your count to twenty-six. Close the spread and cut the cards above the break to the bottom of the packet. You may now continue. This accelerated handling can be used to equal benefit in "Brownwaves I" [Volume I, pp. 333-336).

Those unhampered by a phobia for crimps will find that, by installing one in the twenty-sixth card from the top and another in the bottom card, the crimps will do the work of breaks while allowing for a freer, more casual handling of the cards throughout the trick. The crimps can be efficiently put in as follows: Corner crimp the bottom card of the deck and do a faro check. Complete the faro check by placing the bottom half on top, centering the crimped card. Corner crimp the card now on the bottom of the pack and you are ready to perform.

The effect created is remarkable. The only thing you need do to locate two mental selections under impressive circumstances is to remember one number. In the next trick Mr. Elmsley goes a step further. Rather than locate the cards physically, they are both divined without a question asked.

November 1956

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