Magic Spell

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The following routine is the result of a brainstorming session with Stephen Tucker. To our collective shame we don't know who truly originated the original principle as so many have laid claim to it.


Before I start, let me just say that you can, if you prefer, make up the following cards from regular bridge or poker sized card stock. I prefer to use jumbo sized cards. Although I mention certain cards, ANY values and suits can be used.

Make a jumbo prediction card by gluing say half a queen of hearts (cut widthways) and half a ten of clubs (also cut widthways) onto the face of any other complete red backed jumbo card This gives you a jumbo card (of double thickness) with an unbroken back design and a bizarre face made up of half a queen of hearts and half a ten of clubs. For a more professional finish...have the card laminated or do this yourself by buying an A5 sized self-laminating pouch from your local stationery store. Seal the jumbo prediction card inside then trim round the edges. You also need three blue backed jumbo cards which are cut in half widthways.

In the above example we used a queen of hearts and a ten of clubs to make our laminated prediction card so... the three blue backed cards that you require should be a queen of hearts, a ten of clubs and ANY other card. Later, in this explanation, I'll refer to the three values present as being X, Y and Z. This is because everyone who makes up this routine will probably use a different set of cards.


With the blue backed halves, form two piles of three half cards running in the same order, then place one pile in each of your side pockets. Put the laminated prediction card into another pocket.


"Last night, I was showing someone the famous 3 card trick and I asked them to cut the cards but, as you can see, they took me literally!" Remove the two sets of half cards and table them, faces up, and side by side showing them to be in the same order. "As you can see these are extremely large cards. Well, they're actually normal sized cards but I have very small hands."

Take one set behind your back (or beneath the table if seated) and simply reverse their order by counting them from one hand to the other. Explain that you are mixing them. Once this is done, table them in a face down pile beside the other pile.

Offer to teach them a MAGIC SPELL. Explain that you'll spell the word MAGIC and that you'll do this by moving a card from the top of one of the piles to the bottom for each letter of the word MAGIC.

Ask someone to choose which pile you should start with. They choose one, you pick it up and move one card from the top to the bottom saying, 'M'. Ask if you should put the pile down and continue with the other or stay with the one you're holding. Either way, you move another card from the top to the bottom (of the desired pile) saying, 'A'.

You continue doing this (as directed by the spectator) moving cards from the top to the bottom of whichever pile they choose. They may ask you to spell G-I-C all from the same pile so... you'd move three cards (one at a time) from the top to the bottom saying, 'G-I-C'.

Hopefully, by now you (and your spectator) will understand the procedure. Once you have completed the spelling of the word MAGIC, you table the pile in your hand beside the other, remove the top card from each pile and set them aside together.

Now, you explain, you'll spell the word SPELL. Ask if they can spell the word SPELL (joke). You now repeat the above handling but spell the word S-P-E-L-L.

Once you've done this, table the pile in your hand beside the other, remove the top card from each pile, set them aside together and next to the first pair set aside.

Draw all attention to the two remaining half cards and explain that, because it was a MAGIC SPELL, the two halves are from the same card! Flip them face up to show this (applause cue: 1). Place one half atop the other and table them faces side up.

Next, you explain that it really was a MAGIC SPELL because ... the other two piles also contain identical halves! Flip them face up and show that this is true (applause cue: 2). You now need to pick up each of the three sets of matching halves to form a single face up pile. However, you must do this in a certain way.

Let's assume, for the moment, that the cards present in your set are represented by the letters X, Y and Z. Let's also assume that the face of your laminated prediction shows half an X card and half a Y card. In this case... you would assemble the three tabled face up duos in the order X, X, Y, Y, Z and Z (a Z half being at the face of the assembled packet). Flip the packet face down, spread off three halves and table them before the spectator. Spread the remaining three halves and table them before you.

This time, you explain, you won't use any magic spells but... you may need to use your emergency card. Remove and table your laminated card face down. Continue that you will both choose a half card and... they will match. To be 100% fair, you will choose your half first. Pick up your trio, look at the faces and place to one side the ODD card of the three. In this example you will be holding two Z cards and a Y so... you place the Y card to one side. Ask the spectator NOT TO LOOK AT HIS TRIO but to simply SLIDE one of his halves over to yours. There are only two possibilities here. 1) They select the MATCHING half card to yours. In this case... you have a great effect! (Applause cue: 3)

Return your half card to your pile, their half card to their pile and repeat this phase. Before you do this... you BOTH mix your three half cards but keeping them faces down.

Repeat this phase once more and, again, they MAY choose the same half they chose earlier, in which case, they match AGAIN (applause cue: 4) and the effect is building!

Theoretically this could go on forever (giving you applause cues: 5 to infinity) but... this is highly unlikely! At some stage they will choose one of the other two halves in their pile. When this happens, your half and their half will match the laminated emergency card!

You now end the routine by collecting up the other four half cards, pocketing them and flipping the laminated card face up to prove that you had even predicted this strange outcome (final applause cue).


If you wish to ENSURE that the routine doesn't go on for too long... place your Y half card (the ODD half of your three) aside but FACE UP and ask the spectator to pick up one of their three halves, look at it and decide if they wish to place it with your half. If they don't... they table that half, pick up another, look at it and place it aside with yours. This will ENSURE that the two odd cards set aside are an X and a Y half... matching your laminated prediction!

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