The performer takes a red-backed deck of cards and a small envelope from his pocket. He removes a single card from this red pack and places it into the envelope without showing it to the audience. This envelope is left leaning against a glass on the performer's table, in full view.
Someone is handed a blue-backed deck of cards and asked to remove the advertising card and the two jokers (normally present in all decks). These are put aside. Next the spectator shuffles the cards and cuts them. He then places the top card of the pack face down on the table or in his pocket without looking at it.
The performer now picks up his envelope, holding it at the very tips of his fingers, and with the utmost fairness tips out the card inside. It is, for example, the King of Spades. The spectator reveals his randomly chosen card—and it, too, is the King of Spades!
This striking prediction uses a three-way envelope. I have mentioned Annemann's original three-way envelope, but more advanced envelope designs have been devised since Annemann's time. In my opinion, the best envelope of this type is Norman Houghton's, which was originally sold under the name "Kismet" by Micky Hades International4. This envelope allows you to place a card into it during performance, using a natural handling. The naturalness carries through to the later removal of the card from the envelope. A Kismet Envelope can be constructed in less than two minutes and has the added advantage of being immediately reusable.
The drawings of the envelope on the facing page show its construction. It is made from an opaque, end-opening envelope measuring approximately three-and-a-quarter by four-and-three-quarters inches, and has a double partition fashioned from one piece of paper, nine inches long and folded at the bottom into the shape of an uneven V. This folded piece must match the paper stock from which the envelope is made, and is just slightly narrower than the envelope. The partition lying on the flap-side of the envelope is roughly an eighth of an inch shorter than the interior of the envelope; and the partition toward the seam-side of the envelope is a quarter of an inch shorter than its companion.
The partitions divide the envelope into three compartments. Each compartment is capable of holding a playing
'Now Hades Publications. Its owner, Brian Hades, has generously given his permission for me to describe this envelope here, along with several of my applications for it, which first appeared in my booklet, Tite Kismet Connection, also published by the Hades company.
IZIIIJ I 1 i i i i 1 t i I
card, providing you with three "outs". (Six outs are possible, if you were to use three double-faced cards, as Mr. Houghton has done in his original "Kismet" effect.)
The greatest advantage of the Kismet Envelope is the natural handling its construction makes possible when you wish to remove one of the three cards it contains. Please make up one of these envelopes, place a card into each compartment and try this yourself:
With your palm-down left hand, grasp the envelope from above by its opposite long edges, seam-side up and flap opened straight out to the right. The thumb is at the near side, the fingers are at the far side. If you press the thumb and fingers lightly together, the envelope will bow open. As a rule, the two partitions inside will bow apart as well, opening the middle compartment. If you now turn the envelope mouth down, the card from the center compartment will fall out while the other two cards remain in their compartments, pressed against the inside walls of the envelope by the bowed partitions.
To open the top (seam-side) compartment, press lightly down with your left forefinger on center of the envelope, just before the left fingers squeeze the sides. This will curve both paper partitions down against the flap-side of the envelope, and the top compartment will bow open. The cards in the
middle and bottom compartments are trapped in place, and you can safely tip the top card from the envelope.
If you wish to release the card in the bottom (flap-side) compartment, first press the tip of your right second finger on the underside of the envelope, bowing it upward, before squeezing the sides with the left fingers. This forces both partitions to curve upward against the seam-side of the envelope, and the bottom compartment to gape open.
Should you experience any difficulty in opening the desired compartment, you can quickly remedy the problem by inserting your right thumb or forefinger into the envelope and pushing open the compartment required. And if you should find that the center compartment consistently refuses to bow open, separate the two partitions with your fingers, then give the sides of the envelope a sharp squeeze, putting a gentle crimp in each partition. This minor preparation before performance will assure that the center compartment opens properly when required. During performance, of course, you can look into the envelope to make sure that you have opened it to the correct section.
All this is much more difficult to describe than to do. Try it a few times and you will immediately see how simple the operation is.
Now that you understand the Kismet Envelope, let's return to our trick. Before performance, slip a red-backed card into each of the two outer compartments of the envelope. These two cards are duplicates of two ridged force cards contained in the blue-backed pack. These cards should be placed with their backs toward the seam-side of the envelope. The center compartment is left empty.
As you introduce the effect, remove the red-backed duplicate of your third force card from the red deck and, without exposing its face to the audience, openly insert it into the envelope, slipping it into the center compartment. The construction of the envelope makes it possible to do this without fumbling.
Next have a spectator remove the blue-backed deck from its case, then discard the advertising card and jokers. As the he does this, he will automatically observe that the deck appears quite normal. Therefore, no request to examine the pack is necessary.
This deck, of course, contains the three ridged force-cards, which you have placed near the top of the pack, with just a few cards between them. Have the spectator give the pack a couple of riffle shuffles. This disperses your ridged cards in the deck. Without staring at the cards, keep an eye on the shuffling to judge how thorough it is. If your helper releases the cards in large clumps that leave the force cards too close together, you may wish to let him perform a third shuffle before proceeding. Next ask that he give the pack a cut.
You now need only note which of the three force cards the spectator has cut to top of the deck. (Remember the marks?) With this information you can proceed to shake the corresponding card from the envelope. When you are removing the card, make certain that your spectators cannot see inside the envelope.
Psychologically, the trick is very strong, since the performer openly takes a card from the red deck and places it into an envelope. There is no way the spectators can know that this envelope has been previously loaded with two other cards, and this preparation is even further protected by the unsuspicious handling allowed by the Kismet Envelope.
You can present this effect either as a prediction or as an influencing of a spectator's actions. The choice is yours. There is one other presentational option you may wish to consider...
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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.