Mental Boxer

Effect: The performer riffle shuffles the cards in an erratic fashion, mixing face-up cards with face-down. This topsy-turvy mixture is given to someone, who is asked, when the performer turns his back, to cut the deck and deal six random cards into a row.

Meanwhile, the performer brings out six blank-faced cards and lays them face-up into a similar row. He explains that he will try to see through the spectator's eyes. Though he has turned away, he hopes to be able to visualize the same six cards the spectator is regarding.

"Even if I manage to do this, it is impossible for me to discern cards the faces of which you yourself cannot see. Therefore, I only ask that you tell me the location of any face-down cards in your row." When the performer is told this, he turns the corresponding blank cards face-down in his row.

Staring at one end of the row the performer asks the spectator to concentrate on that card. If it is face-down, the spectator turns it over, allowing him to see the face. Astonishingly, the performer does divine the identity of the card. Opening a second deck, he removes that card and lays it over the end card in his blank-faced row.

He asks the spectator to concentrate on another of the cards, and he correctly divines that as well. The corresponding blank card is covered with the proper card from the second pack. He continues in this manner until he has successfully received and named all six cards. Never in the procedure does the performer turn around, and the only information he is given about the six cards is whether they are face-up or face-down. Therefore, it seems that nothing short of telepathy can account for this remarkable discernment.

Method: You will need two complete packs and six blank-faced cards. Both packs are stacked from top to face in the sequence given in the table on the next page:

Eight of Hearts

Queen of Hearts

Five ofSDades

Four of Hearts

Three of Spades

Seven of Diamond?

Ten of Hearts

Seven of Suades

Six of Hearts

King of Spades

Eight of Spades

Four of Clubs

Nine of Diamonds

King of Clubs

Six of Clubs

Eight of Clubs

Six of Diamonds

Nine of Hearts


Three of Clubs

Queen of Diamonds

Three of Diamonds

King of Diamonds

Three of Hearts

Jack of Diamonds

Five of Diamonds

Four of Soades

Two of Diamonds

Queen of Spades

Jen of Diamond

Ten of Clubs.

Four of Diamonds

Jack of Hearts

Ten of Spades

Seven of Clubs

Jack of Spades

Nine of Spades

Jack of Clubs

Ace of Clubs

Queen of Clubs

five of Hearts

Nine of Clubs

Two of Clubs

Seven of Hearts

Eight of Diamonds

Two of Hearts

Ace of Hearts

Ace ofSpades

Six of Spades

Ace of Diamonds

Two of Spades

Five of Clubs

You will notice that twenty-six cards in this arrangement are underlined. These cards must be turned face-up in one of the decks. (All cards in the second deck are left face-down.) When the twenty-six cards are reversed, if the pack has even the slightest bridge in it, you will possess something that more resembles a cardboard concertina than a deck of cards. Press it flat under a book overnight to remove the opposing bends.

Cut this pack between the thirtieth and thirty-first cards—the six of clubs and facing king of hearts—and turn the lower portion over, so that it appears to be face-down. Install a concave bridge In this portion and drop the upper packet onto It. The bridge will allow you to cut neatly between the two packets during performance.

Slip this setup pack into its case. Carry the second stacked deck in a pocket, and the six blank-faced cards in another pocket.

To perform, remove the first deck from its case and hold it facedown. As you introduce the effect, you can casually spread the top four cards and the bottom five without exposing faces. Square the pack and cut it at the bridge. Openly reverse the bottom portion, turning it apparently face-up, and perform one or two false riffle shuffles that retain the entire order of the pack; e.g., Shank shuffles or push-throughs. Take care on the first shuffle that, as you interlace the packets, the true condition of the cards is not exposed. When you are done, the deck should be in the order first stacked, with the face-down eight of hearts on top and the face-up five of clubs on the bottom. Ribbon spread the cards to exhibit their apparently random face-up face-down muddle, then square them and hand the pack to a spectator capable of following instructions.

Explain that, when you turn your back, you want him to cut the deck into two piles, at any place he likes, and complete the cut. He is then to deal the top six cards he has cut to, arranging them from left to right in a row. They are to be dealt as they lie, whether faceup or face-down. While he is completing this task, bring out your six blank-faced cards and arrange them in a face-up row before you on another table.

"1 am going to use these blank cards as a model of yours. I cannot see your cards, but by concentrating on these blank faces, I hope to be able to view your cards as if through your eyes. Even if I manage to do this, it is impossible for me to discern cards the faces of which you yourself cannot see. Therefore, I only ask that you tell me the location of any face-down cards in your row. Working from left to right, let me know if any of the cards are now face-down." As the spectator specifies the positions of his face-down cards, turn the corresponding blank cards down in your row,

"Fine. Now I want you to visualize the faces of the cards you can see. Concentrate on them for me. That's excellent. I can sense them lying on the table. The wood contrasts nicely with the faces of the cards. The first card I get an impression of is the one on the right end."

You proceed to identify that card, first by color, then suit and value. How? The face-up face-down arrangement of the six cards before you constitutes a Gray code that identifies the right-end card of the spectator's row. It is calculated as follows:

If the six cards before you are thought of as A, B, C, D, E and F, reading from left to right, assign a value of...

The four cards take on these values only if they rest face-down. Totaling the numbers for the face-down cards furnishes the value of the card on the right end of the spectator's row. The rules are these:

1) If the total is 0, 5, 10 or 15—that is, a multiple of five—the card is a king;

2) If the total is 1. 2, 3 or 4, the card will be of the same value;

3) If the total falls between 5 and 10, subtract one to arrive at the value of the card; and

4) If the total is above 10, subtract two to arrive at the value (11= Jack, and 12 = queen).

We have so far ignored the two center cards, C and D, These identify the suit of the spectator's right-end card.

If C is and D is the suit is UP UP CLUBS



If you think of UP as 0 and DOWN as 1, C and D form the binary numbers 0 through 3, and the suits follow CHaSeD order.

Here are several examples of how the value and suit of a card is calculated. Assume that the row reads UP-DOWN-DOWN-UP-DOWN-UP. B and E are therefore face-down.

Six falls between 5 and 10, so we subtract 1. 6-1=5.

C is down and D up. Down-up = spades. Therefore, the spectator's card is the five of spades.

Another: DOWN-UP-DOWN-DOWN-DOWN-DOWN. A. E and F are all down. A+E + F= 8 + 2+l = ll. 11 is over 10, so we subtract 2. 11-2 = 9.

C and D are both down. Down-down = diamonds. The spectator's card is the nine of diamonds.

Once you have calculated the card, name it, dramatically developing its image. If it lies face-down in his row, have the spectator first turn it up.

Now bring the second pack out of your pocket and spread quickly through it, locating the card Just named. Remove this card from the pack and lay it face-up onto the right-end blank card. As you do so, glimpse one of the five cards that lie beyond the removed card in the pack; that is, a card nearer the top. These five are the other cards in the spectator's row, arranged in the precise order in which his cards lie. Square the pack and divine the card just glimpsed. When the spectator confirms it, remove that card and sight another. Continue in this manner until you have identified all six cards. Whenever possible, divine the face-up cards first, then name the face-down ones. This is a more dramatic mode of revelation.

The calculation procedure is simple and requires little memory work. The arrangement of the cards makes your task easy, and it is incredible that you can deduce the identities of six cards with no more information than their face-up and face-down positions.

This trick is Mr. Elmsley's refinement of Kai l Fulves' "ESP in Gray" (Notesjrom Underground, pp. 55-58). Mr. Fulves in turn was inspired by Roy Walton's "Abacus Card Trick" (Faro and Riffle Technique, pp. 69-71). The interested reader also will want to check a later revision by Mr. Fulves, "Auto Abacus" in Curioser (sic), pages 46-50.

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