What the Devil

Devilish Miracle" is a classic effect created by Ed Marlo. Quite a few versions have popped up over the years — it's a great trick, and different cardmen have come up with intricate methods and expanded phases. I decided to go the other way. I have streamlined the handling, putting this effect within the reach of just about anyone, and I feel I have also made the effect more direct. If you are looking for a strong, impromptu card effect that is magical and hardhitting, you could do a lot worse than this one!

Effect: Ken and Twila each select a card and memorize it. These cards are replaced in the deck and the deck is shuffled and cut. You spread over the top five cards of the deck and remark, "Would you be impressed if both of your cards were among these top five?" They respond that they would be, indeed. "I'll show you these five cards one at a time. Let me show you all five and don't tell me if you see your cards until I ask you." You show the faces of the five cards, one at a time, setting each card on the table after you show it. After the fifth card is tabled, you ask, "Did you see your cards?" Ken admits that he did, but Twila states that she did not. "Really?" you ask. "What if I had gone one more card?" You show Twila the next card in the deck, but that one is not her selection either, so you bury it and set the deck aside. Commenting that since you got Ken's card at least, you say you'll do some magic with it. You pick up the tabled packet and spread it face down, showing five cards. Then you snap your fingers and count the packet again, but this time there are only four cards. "Ken, your card has disappeared!" You show the four cards front and back, and ask Ken if his selection is still among them. He confesses that it is not. You admit that the card hasn't actually vanished; it just turned invisible. You pick up the invisible card, turn it face up and insert it in the center of the face down deck. You spread the deck across the table. There in the center of the face down deck is one face up card! Only, it's not Ken's — it's Twila's! You ask Ken to tell you what his card was. You remove Twila's card and turn the spread face up, searching for Ken's card. It isn't in the deck. "Sometimes," you say, "they run back to their friends!" You spread the face down packet. Ken's card is face up at the center!

Method and performance: Shuffle the deck a couple of times and then spread it and let Ken and Twila each remove a card, asking them to memorize their cards and to be careful not to let you see them. We'll say that Ken took the AD and Twila the 2S.

Overhand shuffle about half of the deck into your left hand and extend it toward Twila, asking her to place her card on top. Overhand shuffle the rest of the deck onto this packet, running the first two cards singly, injogging the third, and then shuffling off. Square the deck, getting a left pinky break below the jogged card (photo 1, grossly exaggerated).

Ask Ken to take one last look at his card to be sure he remembers it. Then cut off the cards above the break with your right hand. Extend your left hand and have Ken place his card atop the packet. Overhand shuffle the right-hand cards on top by running four singly, injogging the fifth, and shuffling off. Square up, catching a pinky

Scott F. Guinn

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break under the jogged card. Cut off all the cards above the break, tabling them and then place the remainder of the deck on the tabled portion.

Spread the top five cards and ask if they'd be impressed if both selections were among these five cards. Explain that you will show them each of these cards individually. They are not to tell you what their cards are, or to give you any hint when or if they see them, until after you have shown all five. Then they should only tell you whether their cards were among the five you showed them.

Square the spread, getting a left pinky break below the fifth card. Turn the top card face up on the deck, display it and then turn it face down and deal it onto the table. Repeat with the second card. The third time, do a triple turnover (easy due to the break), which will show the AD (Ken's card - photo 2). Catch a break under the triple when you turn it over, to facilitate turning it back face down after you display it.

Photo 2

Photo 2

Photo 3

Turn the triple face down and then deal the top card onto the first two on the table. Turn the next card face up on the deck and display it. When you are ready to turn it face down, push the face up card to the right over with the left thumb, making sure to push the next two cards over as well (photo 3). Flip the card face down and deal it onto the tabled packet as your left hand gets a break under the top two cards of the deck (which is why you pushed them over!).

Photo 3

Turn over the double and display the indifferent card (photo 4). Flip the double face down.

Deal the top card (Ken's AD) onto the packet. As you push this card over to deal it, again push the next two as well and get a break under them as you square the deck.

Ask Ken and Twila if the cards they chose were among the five you just showed them. Ken will say yes, Twila, no. Ask Twila, "What if I had gone one card further?" Double turnover the cards above the break onto the deck, showing an indifferent card (photo 5). Twila states that this card is not hers either.

Photo 5

Bring your right hand over the deck in Biddle position. Pick up the face up double as well as the first face down card below the double (this is Twila's selection!), and hold the triple as one in right Biddle grip. The right fingers cover the far end of the triple to hide the thickness. Refer to photo 6.

Photo 6

Turn the left hand palm down, which turns the deck face up, and riffle to the center with the left thumb, holding a break (photo 7). Insert the triple as it is into the break and shove it flush into the deck. You have just secretly reversed Twila's card at the center of the deck! Set the deck face down on the table.

"Well, at least I have one card to work with-let's see if I can do some magic with it!" Pick up the five-card packet and spread it face down to show all five cards. Tell Ken you will attempt to make his card disappear. Snap your fingers and do a buckle count (without reversing the order of the cards) to show only four cards, as follows.

Push over the first card normally with your left thumb and take it in your right hand. Do the same with the second card and take it under the first card in the right hand. As the right hand comes back to the left to take the third card, the left forefinger tip contacts the outer right corner of the face card and squeezes inward, causing the near end of the bottom card to buckle as shown in photo 8. The right fingers go into the break and take the cards above it, as one card, under the other cards in the right hand. The right hand then moves away to the right as it did with the first two cards. Finally, take the last card under the packet.

Photo 7

Get a right thumb break under the top card as you square the packet and take it in right Biddle grip. You are going to secretly reverse the selection in the center of the packet while apparently showing it only contains four cards, by doing a modified, small-packet version of the Braue Reversal.

Photo 9

Bring your palm up left hand under the packet and slide off the face card, revolving it face up on top of the packet (photos 9 & 10).

Repeat with the next card.

Photo 10

Photo 10

Repeat with the next card.

Now remove the two cards below the break in your left hand, turn them face up and spread them, displaying two indifferent cards, as in photo 11. Replace the two cards face up at the bottom of the packet and square the packet. Ken's selection is now face down at the center of the face up packet.

Photo 11

Photo 12

Photo 11

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Do Bro. Hamman's version of the Ascanio Spread. To wit: Hold the packet face up in right Biddle Grip. The thumb is at the inner right corner and the ring finger at the outer right corner of the packet. Bring the extended left fingers under the packet, contacting the back of the bottom card. Draw the packet to the right across the left fingers, allowing the bottom card to come into view, followed by the card above it. Then place the left thumb onto the face of the top card and move the right hand inward, causing the top card to break free of the packet, its outer right corner pivoting on the right ring finger. Immediately move the double in the right hand forward, still beneath the top card, in line with the spread. See photo 12 for the position of the cards at this point.

Square and turn the packet face down and do a face down Ascanio Spread (photo 13). As you do this, ask Ken if his card was one of the four in the packet. Table the packet face down.

Admit that Ken's card didn't actually disappear—it just turned invisible. Pretend to pluck the invisible card off the top of the packet and to turn it face up and insert it into the center of the deck. Ribbon spread the deck, revealing the 2S face up at the center (photo

14). Say, "Look, Ken! Your card really is face up in the middle of the face down deck!" They will be quick to correct you—the 2S was Twila's card, not Ken's! Act confused.

"Well, I found Twila's card. That's good. But then, what the devil happened to Ken's card?" Slide the 2S out of the spread and do a spread turnover. Ask Ken what his card was. "The ace of diamonds? Huh, I don't see it anywhere! What the devil? Oh! Sometimes they run back to their friends!"

Spread the face down packet to reveal the AD face up at the center (photo 15), to end with a bang!

Photo 14
Photo 15

Continue reading here: Lumberjack Stew

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