Cards That Pass In The Night

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks

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This is my version of the famous "Thirty Card Trick" or "The Cards from Pocket to Pocket," which has been so popular with conjurers. Every magician of note has his own angles of working this effect and various sleights which he uses in accomplishing it. I have used many ways in presenting this experiment, but the one that I am going to teach you is my favorite method.

This effect is one of those magical experiments which seem to be performed supernaturally. It permits of fine Showmanship and enables you to impress upon your audience the fact that you are doing Master Magic.


Twelve cards are counted into the performer's left hand by a spectator and twelve cards are counted into his right hand also. Spectator then wraps the right-hand packet of cards in a handkerchief and holds it during performance of effect. The left-hand packet is given to another spectator to hold. Someone in audience is requested to call a number between one and five. Let us assume that number three is called. Performer now says he will cause three cards to pass

from the spectator holding the twelve cards to the spectator holding the packet wrapped in the handkerchief. One card passes. Another card passes. Performer counts packet of cards and finds there are only ten. Magician now pretends to take a third card from packet and to hold its "spirit" in his hand. Spectator then counts the cards and finds there are only nine. Magician now pretends to put the "spirit" card back and then the packet is found to contain ten cards again. The invisible card is removed again and the packet contains nine cards. Performer tosses invisible card to packet in handkerchief. Three cards have now passed. Spectator takes packet from handkerchief and counts cards. He finds that he now holds fifteen cards instead of twelve.


2--A borrowed handkerchief. SECRET AND PATTER:

To Perform:*

Take deck of cards from pocket or borrow a deck and remove cards from case.

Have two gentlemen come up from audience. You stand between the two men. Turn to the one on the left and say,

"Will you, sir, kindly help me with this experiment? I want you to shuffle this deck thoroughly and count twelve cards into my left hand."


As a rule, performers count fifteen cards into each hand or onto the table. The two pockets contain thirty cards. This is where the trick gets the name "Thirty Card Trick.' However, I prefer to use twelve cards in each packet for several reasons. You will understand this when you master the effect.

Give cards to spectator to shuffle.

"Count TWELVE cards into my left hand one at a time and count them loud enough so that all may hear you."

Performer holds out left hand, palm upward, and spectator counts twelve cards out one at a time into his palm. Fig. 1. The cards should be counted backs up. If spectator does not count loud enough, you count with him. You must impress upon your audience the fact that twelve cards are in your hand.

"TWELVE cards."

Hold up packet of twelve cards and fan it out slightly. Fig. 2.

"You are correct, sir — a very good mathematician."

Square up cards again. As you do so, insert first joint of little finger of left hand under top three cards in packet. Your left hand and little finger are in the same position as they were in doing the simplified pass explained in Lesson 9. Fig. 3.

Drop left hand with packet at your side. Hold cards so that audience is not aware of position of little finger, separating top three cards.

To the audience it appears that all you have done is to fan open cards to be sure that spectator was right in his count.

"Now, count TWELVE cards onto the palm of my right hand. Count them one at a time aloud so that there will be no mistake in the number."

Spectator counts twelve cards out onto performer's right hand as he did onto the left hand.

Now square up cards and reverse them so that they face upwards. Hold them between tips of fingers and thumb. Fig. 4.

Hold hands far apart — packet in right hand with faces of cards up; packet in left hand with little finger separating top three cards. Fig. 5.

"Twelve cards in my right hand also. Thank you."

Turn slightly to left toward spectator there. As you do so, take position shown in Figure 6.

Turn your right hand back to audience and bring packet of cards in each hand on a horizontal line with each other.

Say to gentleman on left:

"Have you a handkerchief which we can use?"


The following move teaches you the principle of transferring cards from one packet to another. Study it carefully and practice it until you can perform it perfectly.

Your hands are in this position. Fig. 7. A designates the top three cards on the left hand packet.

As you ask for handkerchief, quickly pass packet in right hand over packet in left hand. Fig.

Your hands are in this position. Fig. 7. A designates the top three cards on the left hand packet.

As you ask for handkerchief, quickly pass packet in right hand over packet in left hand. Fig.

Place your right thumb against the A section (top three cards) of packet in left hand. Your little finger separates these three cards from rest of packet so that it will not be difficult to grasp them with thumb of right hand. The first joints of second and third fingers of right hand bear down on the front end of the three cards. Fig. 9.

Carry these three cards away at bottom of packet in right hand. Bring them up against the rest of packet. Fig. 10.

This whole move is done very quickly. It must appear that you merely passed the right hand past the left as a gesture in asking for the handkerchief. You must not hesitate an instant in bringing away the three cards from left packet. Finish leaves right hand up in front of spectator for a moment. Fig. 11.


"Thank you, that one will do nicely. I will have you wrap the TWELVE cards I hold here in the handkerchief. Wrap them securely so that no cards can get in or out without your knowing it."

Spectator wraps packet of fifteen cards in handkerchief. Fig. 12.

Of course, audience and spectator think that packet contains twelve cards.

"Hold them in your right hand, up about shoulder height, so that the audience can see them. Now, to make sure that the gentleman placed TWELVE cards in my left hand, I will count them again."

Your next move is to prove that the NINE cards which you hold are TWELVE.


Hold the nine cards faces toward you in your left hand, thumb on top of cards. Fig. 13.

Push first card over to right with thumb, grasp it with right hand and remove from packet. As you do this, count aloud. Fig. 14.

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Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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