The Custodial Card

Effect: Someone cuts the deck into three piles and two of these piles are shuffled by members of the audience, while the performer shuffles the third. Each spectator then notes a card in his packet, as does the performer. The deck is reassembled and shuffled. The performer malĂ­es a magical gesture over the pack, then spreads the cards. His selection is found to have turned face-up in the middle. When those cards to each side of it ar e turned up, they are seen to be the two selections made by the spectators.

Method: This is Mr. Ehnsley's embellishment on an Edward Mario trick, "Fourth Fooler", from Mr. Mario's booklet Faro Notes (pp. 52 and 55). It is also related in method to "Buried Treasure I" in VoZ-ume I of this work (pp. 340-342).

Shuffle the pack and manage to learn the twenty-sixth card from the top. Set the deck face-down before someone and ask him to cut it into three face-down piles of roughly equal size. As he does this, note where the top, middle and bottom sections are placed. Tell the spectator to take the bottom section (without identifying it as such) and hand it to anyone he wishes. He then takes the top section for himself. You pick up the remaining (center) section. Ask both spectators to shuffle their packets, as you give your cards a brief mix in demonstration. This shuffle, however, is false, for you must retain your key card (which rests roughly near the center of your packet) in place.

Next tell the two spectators to spread through their cards and remove any one they like. They are to place this card face-down on the table, without letting anyone else see its face. Once more, in demonstration, you fan your packet, face toward you, and remove your remembered key card. As you draw the card from the fan, slightly upjog the card in front of it. Place the key card face-down hi front of you and close the fan, retaining the jog. Then take the packet face-down into left-hand dealing position, with the jog turned toward you. As you square the packet, press down with your right thumb on the injogged card, pushing it flush as you form a left fourth-finger break above it.

Pick up your key card and say to another spectator, "I'll let you see the card I have chosen." bet her see its face. "But I won't let you see where it goes." Put your hands behind your back and slip the key card face-up into the face-down packet, at the break. You can now release the break and bring the packet once more into view.

Tell the first spectator that he can shuffle his packet again, if he wishes. Then have him set it face-down on the table. Ask him to place the other spectator' selection onto the shuffled pile, along with his own card. Invite the second spectator to shuffle his packet once more, if he likes. He then lays the packet onto the first spectator's (original bottom section onto top), burying the selections. When this has been done, you drop your packet on top of all.

Now emphasize that the spectators themselves have returned their selections to the pack, and have shuffled the cards to assure that all is fair. As you stress the difficult conditions under which you are working, pick up the deck and give it one in-faro shuffle. This automatically places your reversed card between the two selections. Ask the spectator to whom you showed your card to name it. Snap your fingers or make some other magical gesture, and ribbon spread the face-down pack to reveal that your card has turned face-up. Then turn over the cards on either side of it, showing them to be the spectators' selections.

Note how, in thfs trick, Mr. Elmsley has cleverly covered the need for working with three packets. Other tricks that utilize a sunken key often suffer from the illogical procedure of having the deck divided into three piles, of which only one or two are used for making selections. Here, Mr. Elmsley creates a use for the third packet, as he makes his own selection from it, while he demonstrates what the spectators are to do with their cards. Thus, the third packet is given a reasonable purpose in the eyes of the audience.

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