The Circus Trick

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This is a good effect which you may perform after you have forced a card by above method.


After spectator has looked at Forced Card, tell him to place it with other cards in his hand and shuffle it in well. Then give him rest of deck, telling him to place all the cards together and shuffle them. Then take deck.

"This is a circus trick, in days gone by performed by the fakers who used to follow the circus. This was one of the old standbys like Three Card Monte and the old Shell Game. The object is to find your card by a mental process. Now, I shall deal the cards, face up and one at a time, on the table. As your card is turned up, I want you to say, 'Stop!' mentally. The moment you think -- Stop -- I shall tell you your card. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the card on first impression. If I fail, say nothing. Do not help me. Make no noise or motion besides a mental Stop."

Hold deck in left hand, backs of cards up. Turn over top card and place it on table, face up. Continue to do this, placing one card on top of the other, until you come to selected card. Do not stop here but continue to deal off three or four more cards on table, allowing part of selected card to show from under others.

Take hold of top card on deck and remove it half way but do not expose face. Then say to spectator:

"Would you be willing to wager that the NEXT card I turn over will NOT be your card? Personally, I have a hunch it is. I might say at this stage that there are no two cards in the deck alike."

Draw attention to the card half way off the deck. Spectator thinks you are referring to that card. He knows that selected card is on the table, so he probably says that the next card you turn over will not be his card.

"This is a circus trick, and I would not wager with you because you would be sure to lose. When a person bets that the next card turned over will not be his card, performer reaches down and turns over the selected card which is already on the table."

As you say this, reach down and turn over the selected card on the table. "Was that your card? That's a warning to you to be careful how you bet."

The Riffle Force -


Spectator is asked to think of any card in the deck as cards are riffled. Spectator is forced to think of certain card.


This force requires what is known in Magic as a SHORT CARD. You prepare it this way: Trim off with a pair of sharp scissors a small edge from one end of a card from 1/32 to 1/16 of an inch. Trim the corners down, rounding them to look like those of ordinary card.

Figure 10.

This Short Card looks like any other card. The difference is so slight that even keen eyes would not notice it. When this is mixed into the deck, it can readily be located by riffling top of cards with the thumb. The moment this short card slips by thumb, there is a snap and a little hesitation in the riffling.

Suppose you want to force the Ace of Hearts. Place the Short Card in front of the Ace and place both cards about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way back from front of deck.

Figure 11.

Hold deck in left hand and riffle top edge with right thumb. Do this fast so that eyes of spectator will not have a chance to concentrate on any one card. When your thumb reaches short card, this card snaps forward and exposes the Ace of Hearts a little longer than any of the other cards. Spectator concentrates on this card and selects it. Rest of cards are riffled through rapidly.

Figure 12.

Spectator thinks he has freely selected the card, but he really had no chance to see any card long enough to remember but the forced card. Experience will teach you just how fast to riffle the cards and how long to hesitate on the forced one. This hesitation must not be noticeable but just long enough to get the result.

Say to spectator:

"I am going to riffle the cards, and as I do so, I want you to THINK of any one of the cards as they pass by. I want you to make a deep mental impression of one card and remember, it. Choose any card except the bottom one. Do not select one in advance, but select ONE of the cards as they riffle by."

Riffle the cards and force the desired one. You may then proceed with experiment for which you forced the card.

You keep backs of cards toward yourself. You need not see faces of cards. If you find it easier, you may riffle with first finger.

Figure 13.

Riffle Force with Unprepared Cards -TO PERFORM:

This riffle force is done with unprepared cards and no Short Card. In this case, keep faces of cards turned so that you can see them. Tell spectator to remember a card as you riffle. Start riffling cards rapidly, then about one-third way back in the deck, hesitate a moment and allow a card at this point to be shown longer. Then continue riffling fast. Remember card at which you hesitated.

Now look through cards and get selected card to top of deck. Lift the two top cards as ONE and show face of second.

"This, I believe, is the card you thought of. No?"

Replace the two cards on deck. Then remove top card, back up.

"What was your card?"

Spectator names card. Turn top card over and show it.

"That's what I thought!"


If you fail to locate card the first time, show spectator card in your hand and say:

"Did you notice something peculiar? Is this the card I first showed you? No. It has changed. Look at it closely."

Give him the first card you selected. Hurriedly look through the deck for the second selected card and get this to top of deck.

"Strange, it isn't even in the deck." Take card back from spectator.

"Are you sure you thought of the Seven of Diamonds?" -(or whatever selected card happens to be.)

As you say this, do the card change, placing this card on bottom of deck, and take top card which is selected card.

"I do not understand it."

Then turn card over and show it to be selected one. "Well, it happened to be your card, after all."

Forcing One of Four Cards on Table -EFFECT:

Four cards are laid down on table in a row. Through various methods, Magician can force any one of the cards.


Place four cards down in this manner, backs up. Figure 14.

1- Free Choice Force -If you place card which you want forced in position C and have it a little nearer spectator than other cards, it is a psychological fact that he will select C in most cases.

If this force fails, you can easily remedy the situation. If spectator touches D, say, "I should have told you to select any two of the cards."

If he touches C this time, keep C and D and say you will discard the other two.

If he touches either of the other two cards, keep that one with C and discard the other two.

Now with two cards left, ask spectator to select either one. If he chooses C, discard the other one. If he chooses the other card, merely discard it with the others and retain C.

No matter what spectator chooses, he really has no choice in the matter. You use whichever card you want anyway.

2 - Force by Naming Number -A convenient force for row of four cards. Suppose you want to force C. Ask spectator to name number BETWEEN one and four. This limits the choice to two or three. Audience rarely notices how limited the choice is, however.

If spectator chooses two, start counting at right end of cards toward left. Take C as the second card. If he says three, count from left end of cards, which makes C the third card.

Figure 18.

A die has six sides, numbered with one to six dots. Figure 15.

You desire to force B or C; let us say, C. Have spectator throw die on table to select number for card. If it lights with one or four up, ask him to throw it again to prove that it is not loaded. You want two, three, five, or six to come up.

If two ones or two fours come up in succession, spectator is more than willing to throw die again to see whether it is loaded or not. If four is thrown first and then a one, or vice versa, you say four and one are five and you will take the card at number five.

This is the way you select the card:

If two is thrown, count from right side. Figure 16.

If three is thrown, count from left side. Figure 17.

If one or four are thrown, you ask for another throw.

If five (or four and then one) is thrown, you count from the left and back one to the right.

Figure 18.

If six is thrown, begin counting at left end, double count last card and then count back one to left.

Figure 19.

Forcing One of Four Cards by Using Deck -EFFECT:

With four cards on table, performer takes rest of pack and mysteriously produces from it an ace, two, three, or four-spot to coincide with number of card to be selected from table. This is a double force in which you force a card from the deck according to the card which you want forced from the table.


Use any method for forcing these cards which you prefer from among those taught you in this lesson.

Slip of Paper Force -TO PERFORM:

Take four small slips of paper. Tell audience you will write number 1, 2, 3, and 4 on each respectively. In reality, you write same number on each slip -- the number of card you want forced. If you want fourth card forced, write number 4 on each slip, etc.

Do not let anyone see what you have written. Fold each slip immediately after numbering it and throw on table. Have a slip selected by spectator and called out. Immediately crush the other slips and place them in your pocket.

If you wish to use right or left counting, you may write number 1 on two slips and number 4 on two and count according to number chosen. The same applies if you desire two or three chosen. Always pocket the three remaining slips.

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