effects are often technically easy to do, but demand excellent presentational ability to make them believable to the audience. Thus, it is p-esentatioti that can make almost any trick into a mental or "bizarre" effect. Even props decorated with glitter can be introduced into a mental performance if they can be given some believable identity other than that of a piece of magic apparatus; for example, as some sort of occult apparatus. If you declare the prop to be an "inheritance from a past master of illusion", and perform a strange, wild effect with it, the object will take on a new believability. I will also assert that almost any trick can be presented as "paranormal", if only it is done correctly and logically. Properly performed, tricks with the Bagshawe Force Deck can seem absolute miracles, which leave the impression that the performer can read the spectator's thoughts. Many card readers who advertise as psychics in the newspapers work with normal playing cards. None of their many clients would think of calling them magicians! Here is the faith that moves mountains.

My version of Eddie Joseph's "New Premonition" affords no explanation other than that the performer is endowed with supernormal abilities. The presentation contains so many diabolical mind-traps, neither layman nor well-versed expert will find a logical explanation for it.

Before I explain this presentation, I think a little background will be helpful. More than twenty-five years ago I bought Eddie Joseph's "New Premonition" from Harry Stanley in England.1 The trick came with a large manuscript, containing both the old and "new" versions of this miracle of mental magic.21 have been refining my interpretation of "Premonition" for more than eighteen years. It has long been a part of my standard repertoire for intelligent audiences, and the effect is, with correct presentation, enormous.

I clearly remember my first experiences with Eddie Joseph's "New Premonition". I performed it once many, many years ago for the Magic Circle of Berlin. The effect created a tremendous impression, and the only solution the gentlemen of that group could suggest was that I had used a stooge. I took this

'Rights to this and many Harry Stanley publications are now owned by Supreme Magic Co., Ltd.

2The basis for "Premonition" can be clearly seen in "The Prize Winner" by William H. McCaffrey, an effect marketed by Thayer and later included in Hilliard's Greater Magic (1938), p. 564.1 might mention that there was, around the time of its release, an air of controversy surrounding "Premonition". In 1949, less than a year after Eddie Joseph's manuscript was published by Abbott's Magic Co., George Armstrong, the well-respected editor of Vie Magic Wand, published the almost identical trick under the title George Armstrong's Premonition. Mr. Armstrong contended as forcefully as did Mr. Joseph that the trick was his invention. From the evidence he provides, the situation would appear to be one of parallel invention. Armstrong cited McCaffrey's "Prize Winner" as his inspiration, a thing that, to the best of my knowledge, Eddie Joseph unfortunately never did.

as a great compliment. After having had such flattering success with an audience of magicians, I put the trick into my professional night-club act at the time, but I quickly learned that my initial success was difficult to repeat. My night-club audiences didn't accept the effect. Consequently, I retired it and almost forgot about it.

Then, one day I took a repeat booking for a client in the candy industry, who hired me to perform for a select foreign audience he desired to please. Having been booked by this gentleman for several years in a row, he and many of those he wished me to entertain had seen my act, so he asked me to change my program. Of course I accommodated him. Having recently reconsidered the Premonition effect, I had devised a re-worked version of it, and I decided to use it as the second trick in my show. This particular audience was both intelligent and difficult to please, so you will readily understand my joy when the new presentation earned me my first standing ovation!

After numerous performances of the original Eddie Joseph routine before the public, I decided that it isn't really usable for professional performances, at least not for mine. Over the years I have constantly changed this trick to make it so, and today am confident that it is as close to perfect as I can bring it. In recent years I have been able to effect considerable improvements on the presentation; but one thing has remained unchanged: It is fully appreciated only by an intelligent audience that will give you its full attention. With such a group the impact is extraordinary.


Several years ago my English friend Stanton Carlisle and I wrote a substantial manuscript on this trick, which was earmarked for publication by Supreme Magic. However, the manuscript was lost somewhere in the Supreme offices and never reached press. Since that time I have revised my handling of the effect. It is that revised handling that you are about to read. On the occasion of one of our last telephone conversations, Edwin Hooper, founder of Supreme Magic, gave me permission to describe Eddie Joseph's "New Premonition" method with my personal routine. The following description is rather lengthy, but if you give it the study and practice it deserves, the resultant effect will repay your efforts many, many times over.


Someone thinks of any card in a deck of fifty-two. He then names that card out loud. The performer directs him to a deck of cards resting in a bucket, which the spectator is asked to remove from its case and count through while he looks for his card. To everyone's surprise he discovers that the deck contains only fifty-one cards, and his thought-of card is missing! The performer then produces the missing card from his pocket!

The Principle

Three decks are used: One is in a card index. Each of the other two, which we will call "A" and "B", consist of twenty-five pairs of duplicate cards plus one more card, totaling fifty-one cards per deck. Since each deck contains only twenty-six cards of the fifty-two available in a normal pack, they are constructed so that Deck A contains no card found in Deck B, and vice versa.

When a spectator names a card, the performer, through means of a simple mathematical formula, can figure out which of the two decks does not contain the card. The spectator receives this deck and finds that his card is missing. As this is being determined, the performer has ample time and misdirection to find the named card in his card index, located in his trousers pocket, and transport it to his outer jacket pocket. Later, a second spectator can remove the card from this otherwise empty pocket.

The Special Decks

First we will concern ourselves with the structure of the two fifty-one-card decks. The following table lists the contents of each:

Deck A

Key No. Deck B

Ace of Clubs Four of Clubs Seven of Clubs Eight of Clubs Ten of Clubs Jack of Clubs Ace of Diamonds Three of Diamonds 1 Four of Diamonds 4 Seven of Diamonds 3 Ten of Diamonds 2 Jack of Diamonds 5 King of Diamonds 1 Three of Hearts 2 Four of Hearts Six of Hearts Seven of Hearts Ten of Hearts King of Hearts Two of Spades Three of Spades Six of Spades Nine of Spades Ten of Spades Queen of Spades King of Spades

+ 25 Duplicates less the Ace of Diamonds = 51 cards

Key No.

Two of Clubs Three of Clubs Five of Clubs Six of Clubs Nine of Clubs Queen of Clubs King of Clubs Two of Diamonds Five of Diamonds Six of Diamonds Eight of Diamonds Nine of Diamonds Queen of Diamonds Ace of Hearts Two of Hearts Five of Hearts Eight of Hearts Nine of Hearts Jack of Hearts Queen of Hearts Ace of Spades Four of Spades Five of Spades Seven of Spades Eight of Spades Jack of Spades

+ 25 Duplicates less the Ace of Spades = 51 cards

Each of these decks is assembled as follows. Take one card of each duplicate pair and shuffle these twenty-five cards. Then arrange the twenty-five duplicates in identical order to the shuffled set and sandwich the fifty-first card (that without a duplicate) between the sets. That is, if the first shuffled set of twenty-five cards is ordered A-B-C-D... V-W-X-Y, and the unduplicated single card is Z, your arrangement should run A-B-C-D...V-W-X-Y—Z—A-B-C-D...V-W-X-Y. Arranged in this manner, each card and its duplicate rest twenty-six cards apart in the pack. I would also strongly recommend that you choose an inconspicuous card, like the Seven or Eight of Clubs, to rest on the face of the deck.

The Formula

Now let's discuss the mathematical formula:

First consider the suits to have the following values: Clubs = 1 Diamonds = 2 Hearts = 3 Spades = 5 You can now calculate which of the two prepared packs contains the card named by a spectator. Merely multiply the numerical value of the card by three.

The numerical value of a Jack = (1)1

The numerical value of a Queen = (1)2

The numerical value of a King = (1)3

(The numbers in brackets—those in the "tens"

place—are ignored in our calculations.)

Then to this product add the suit value shown above. Several examples should make this simple process clear: Which deck contains the Nine of Spades? Numerical value times three: 9 x 3 = 27. Add the suit value (Spades = 5): 27 + 5 = 32. Again, we drop the "tens" digit, using only the number in the "units" position: (3)2. This gives us a key number, in this example, 2.

Now take a look at the key numbers of both decks in the table on page 153. Do you notice anything? Yes! Deck A contains only the key numbers from 1 through 5, and Deck B the key numbers 6 through 0. According to this, which deck contains the Nine of Spades? That's right! Deck A.

Which deck contains the King of Hearts?

King = 13. The "tens" digit isn't used, so the value is 3.

Add the value of the suit (Hearts), 3, and our total is 12.

The number in the unit position is 2, so the King of Hearts is also located in Deck A.

Which deck contains the Ace of Spades?

1 x 3 = 3; 3 + 5 = 8. So the Ace of Spades is in Deck B.

If the spectator is not to find the card he has just named, obviously he must be given the deck that is missing his card. The mental calculation just explained tells you which deck contains the card. So you must give the spectator the other deck. In other words, if your calculations tell you that the named card lies in Deck B, the spectator is given Deck A.


1) Wrap a rubber band once in each direction around Deck A. Then put the bound deck into a white envelope and seal it.

2) Similarly bind Deck B and place it into a red coin-purse. This purse should have a

snap clasp. At one time I used a zippered purse, but the zipper occasionally jammed or caused an awkward pause as the spectator operated it. A snap clasp, on the other hand, is trouble free.

3) The sealed envelope and coin purse are placed into a champagne pail, which must be clearly visible to the audience. I set the pail on a chair.

4) The normal third deck of cards must first be arranged in two card-indexes. These are carried in the left- and right-front trousers pockets.

Until recently I have avoided the use of card indexes, because I found them too bulky for trousers pockets, at least of the modern cut. However, I now offer a solution to this problem that completely satisfies my needs: First separate the cards into their four suits. Stack the separate red suits in ascending order from the face of the packet back; that is, the Ace lies on the face, followed by the Two, Three, King. Next set the separated black suits in descending order from the face: King, Queen, Jack, Ace.

Wrap a rubber band tightly around the bottom end of each of these four packets. Now place the heart packet with the spade packet, hearts in front of spades; and the diamond packet with the club, diamonds in front of clubs. Bind each of these combined packets together using another rubber band around the already banded ends. The tension of this last rubber band causes the two packets of our improvised card index to separate in the middle, forming a break that is easy to find by touch.

Place the heart-spade packet in your right-front trousers pocket; and the diamond-club packet in your left-front pocket. The faces of the cards in both indexes should be

it is possible to find any of the fifty-two cards very quickly and with absolute certainty.

Before I explain my presentation for "Premonition", a few notes about stage setting should be mentioned. This effect can be performed for audiences of as many as five hundred, if a platform or riser is available. If there is a dance floor in front of the riser, perform from the dance floor instead.

You must have a small, undraped table convenient on stage, and a microphone. If it is a standing mic, have it installed in front of the table. A table microphone can be used as well, but it must be of the best quality. This microphone will be used by the assisting spectator. You will also need a mic, and I recommend that every mentalist or magician use a wireless microphone wherever possible, as this permits the greatest freedom of movement.

Finally, your lighting conditions must be good. For work in front of a large audience, it is essential to have one or two floodlights. Why am I so adamant about such things as microphones and lights? During the most crucial portion of this presentation you are relying on the reactions of the spectator on stage to put over the effect. The entire audience must be able to hear this person as he counts the cards, and see his facial reactions when he finds his card missing. Without good sound and lights, these vital elements will be severely diminished and the overall effect will suffer greatly. The spontaneous and immediate reactions of the spectator provide a large portion of the impact and entertainment. For that reason I urge you, if you can't arrange for proper lighting and microphones, forgo this trick and do something else. It simply cannot have its proper effect, and to do it under such crippling circumstances would be a shame.


"Ladies and gentlemen, not only dexterity, but psychology as well plays a great role in our art. Some of you may even associate the following experiment with parapsychological procedures.

"At this point in such a procedure, a magician would say, 'Take a card.' However, in a few minutes I will ask that some lady or gentleman merely think of a card! But before I do this, just one more thing: Pay attention to the champagne pail over there, which I have not touched up to this point, and which I will not touch throughout the following demonstration."

You now approach some gentleman, someone who has made it clear during the show that he is skeptical. As you walk over near him, say:

"Sir, you look like a very critical person who will not allow himself to be easily influenced. Will you verify that we have never met before, nor have we discussed anything previously. Is that correct?" The spectator confirms this.

"I also assume that you are familiar with a standard deck of playing cards. Such decks contain fifty-two cards and two Jokers. The Jokers will not come into play during our experiment, because there are twice as many of them. So completely forget the Jokers.

"In a few moments I am going to ask you to think of a card quickly. Wait until I say, 'Now.' I would request that you do not think of one of the Aces, as they are too obvious and our intelligent companions would think this experiment was too easy or would explain it away as coincidence. Make it difficult for me, for my sake—very difficult.

"Please, sir, look at me for a moment and think of a card right now! So the audience can follow along, name your card loudly and clearly!"

The spectator names, say, the Four of Spades.

"Sir, I will now ask you three times if you would like to keep this card or think of another! So, would you like to stay with the Four of Spades or choose another card?"

"I'll keep the Four."

"Do you really want the Four of Spades, or another one?"

"The Four."

"Do you actually want the Four of Spades, or would you like to change your mind?"

"I want the Four."

These three questions give you time to make your mental calculations.

In this instance the calculations are:

The card value is Four. 4x3 = (1)2. Add the value of the suit, a Spade being Five. 2 + 5 = (1)7. So the Four of Spades lies in Deck B. The spectator must then receive Deck A (in the sealed white envelope), which does not contain the mentally selected card.

You continue:

"May I now ask, sir, if you would stand and walk over to the champagne pail, which you will verify I have not touched.3 A sealed envelope is in it. Would you please open the envelope and tell us what you find?"

'This reemphasis of your obvious lack of contact with the pail is important. I always make this point two or three times during the presentation. Don't overlook it. Stressing your distance from the pail adds significantly to the drama of the effect.

The spectator does so and answers, "A deck of cards."

By the way, it makes absolutely no difference if the spectator changes his card as you ask him your three questions. On the contrary, it dramatically increases the effect. However, you must go through the necessary calculations each time he changes his mind. In these circumstances, take advantage of the time used by the spectator to walk over to the champagne pail to make your final calculations. Simply wait until the spectator arrives at the pail before instructing him to remove either the envelope or the purse.

"Would you now be so kind as to go over to the table there and remove the rubber band from the deck? Now please count every card, one at a time, one on top of one anothei,face up, on the table. As you count each card, please do so out loud. When you come to the card you thought of, hold it up so that the audience will be able to see it clearly."

On the table, you can have the bottom half of a clear plastic card box, into which the spectator can be directed to deal the cards while he is counting. This keeps everything neat and in control.

While the spectator is counting through the pack, you have more than sufficient time to find the Four of Spades in your card index and palm it out of the pocket. As a safety measure, rest your hand momentarily in front of your stomach and glimpse the face of the palmed card. Having ascertained that you have the right one, move your hand casually to the top of the empty side-pocket of your jacket and let the palmed card drop unnoticed into it.

The counting of the cards out loud by the spectator builds a tremendous amount of suspense, particularly since the spectators are waiting for the mentally selected card, which the assistant has been instructed to hold up. My experience has been that by the time the twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth card is counted, most members of the audience will begin to laugh and giggle, having anticipated that the spectator's card will be missing from the pack. As the rest of the cards are counted, that anticipation and amazement grows, culminating in the realization that the deck the assistant is using has only fifty-one cards instead of fifty-two, and that, indeed, his mental selection is missing! As I've previously mentioned, there must be a microphone near the table, so that the audience can easily follow the spectator's counting.

Obviously you have no chance to alter the outcome, since you are in the audience the entire time. At this point the assisting spectator alone is the audience's center of interest.

The real climax of the trick is still to come. After the spectator has concluded his counting on the stage, you approach another spectator and ask him to reach into your jacket pocket. Tell him to pull out whatever object he finds there. The spectator's hand comes out of the pocket holding a single card, which he then shows to the entire audience. In our example, this would be the Four of Spades!

An intelligent audience will only be able to draw one conclusion from all that has happened: You must have removed the card from the deck before the performance began! This conclusion is further supported by the fact that you take the single card from the spectator in the audience and give it to the assistant on stage, as you make the following request:

"Please place the Four of Spades that you thought of back into the deck, so that it will be complete again!"

If you have "colleagues" in the audience, you can switch the prepared deck for a normal one and present it to the assisting spectator as a memento. This will rock your confreres in their seats!

Some readers may be concerned that your helper might say something about the purse or envelope left behind in the pail.

I have never had a problem with this, but a solution is easily had. Simply place a couple of small objects, like a pencil and a felt-tip marker, in the pail with the purse and envelope. You may or may not use these items during your performance, but their presence in the pail makes it look like a convenient receptacle for your incidental props, and the unused purse or envelope becomes one of these.

This is a presentation that must be thoroughly rehearsed, as it requires showmanship and perfect timing. Should you desire to perform it, I strongly recommend that you take my script as a framework only, building on it and altering it until it fits you. The effect rises or falls on the strength of your personality. It took many years before I could perform it successfully. Therefore, I recommend that each mentalist who would perform this, approach it with total sincerity and dedication; for only then will you achieve the success you seek.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment