this effect is a treatment of the now classic Card in Matchbox. Generally, i would see no reason to include yet another handling of this idea. (Matt Schul-ien, Eugene Burger and Tony Giorgio have all featured this item and influenced my interpretation.) Nevertheless, I think you will find this version has some interesting features that distinguish it from others. The method is a clear outgrowth of a Peter McDonald routine called "The Gambler's Prediction" from his inspirational book Highly Mediocre Tricks (no date, page 6). I think you'll find that, whether or not you use the piece as written, you'll use elements of it in constructing variations of your own. Here is what the spectator sees:
EFFECT: The magician has a card selected and signed. The spectator then places the card into a packet comprised of approximately half the deck. Tossing a matchbox onto the table, the magician says it contains a prediction. The spectator opens the box and counts the matches within, finding, perhaps, eleven. On counting down eleven cards in the packet the spectator finds his card is not there but in the matchbox from which he took the matches.
REQUIREMENTS: A deck of cards and one duplicate card, lightly pencil-dotted on its corners. You will also need two identical matchboxes, one containing matches—roughly eleven will do but as many as fifteen is reasonable. The other matchbox is empty. I also use a pair of tweezers, which are carried in the left-side jacket pocket.
SET-UP: Place the pencil-dotted card directly above its duplicate, on top of the deck. Place the matchbox that contains the matches on the table. The empty box, with its drawer open, is in your lap.
You are about to have a card selected in what appears to be an extremely fair manner. In fact, the card will be forced. The procedure is an offspring of a Senator Crandall method that originally saw print in Alton Sharpes Expert Card Conjuring (1968, page 77); also see "Hyper-Warp" in this volume, page 92). Spread the cards across the table in a wide but slightly sloppy ribbon. Have a spectator touch the back of a card and draw it forward but not out of the spread. Take pains to assure that the spectator feels satisfied that his choice was completely fair. Allow him to change his mind, etc.
Pick up the spread, leaving the selected card jogged forward as you arrange the deck in your left hand. Get the spectator to state again that the protruding card is the one he wants. Square the deck, forming a fourth-finger break under the top two cards. Swivel the jogged card out of the deck and drop it on top as you say, "That's the one you want? You've got it." Perform a Hit-style Triple Lift as you say, "We'll all look at it together. The [name of card]." (In our example, the card will be the Queen of Hearts.) Have the card signed and allow the ink to dry. Confine the spectator's signature to the central portion of the card. This is most easily accomplished by making the request with the words, "Place just your initials in the very center of the card."
NOTE: A question often arises in situations such as this, when a card is to be signed but the arrangement under it should not be revealed: Should you remove the card to have it signed or have it signed while it remains on the deck. Frankly, each has its drawbacks. If the card is removed, so it can be signed while off the deck, you need to perform a wrist turn, carrying the deck out from under the card while keeping the top of the deck out of sight until the card is returned to it. This can be awkward and constraining. On the other hand, having the card signed while it's on the deck is both risky and a bit too "cozy" to be completely comfortable. As a general rule, it is probably better to take the card off the deck, but when angles are tight or the audience is seated at the table on which I'm working, I feel uncomfortable with keeping the top of the deck out of sight or the deck tabled face up. In such situations, I'm inclined to have the card signed while it's on the deck. It takes a bit of spectator management to make this work. I find that allowing the spectator to hold the deck in his or her own hands makes it less likely the hidden cards will be revealed, though some may consider this choice counter-intuitive. The spectator will not find it odd, if the instruction is given properly. Try saying, "Take your card and sign it on the face.
You'll find it easier if you lean on the deck." This will be accepted as true if the table is covered with a tablecloth, felt or a close-up pad. If those conditions are not present, the instruction may seem more odd, but it will rarely be challenged. For further thoughts on this topic, see the Note on page 8.
2 Turn the triple-card face down and immediately push the top card off the deck to the right for about half its width. At the same time, push the card second from the top over slightly and get a break under it. Square the top card with the card above the break and use your right first finger to push the double card forward as though it were one, out-jogging it. At least it appears that the first finger pushes the card. Actually, it is your right thumb, at the near end of the double card that does the pushing (Figure 237). This is essentially the Cliff Green Double Lift (.Professional Card Magic, 1961, page 17). Remove the double card from the deck and insert it about three-quarters of the way into the center. Turn the deck face up, flashing the face of the duplicate. The fact that the signature is not seen will not arouse suspicion. While the face of the duplicate is exposed to the audience, secretly push the extra, lower card (the non-duplicate) flush, unloading it into the deck.
NOTE: You could deal a Second, allowing you to insert a single card into the deck, but you would then have to get rid of the unwanted top card later in the effect. I don't like the trade-off in this instance, though others may not agree.
3 Change your mind and, turning the deck face down, remove the duplicate card, positioning your right fingers across the face. This will hide what would be the signature as you flash the face of the card and place it face down on the table.
4 Table the deck and instruct the spectator to cut off about half, handing you the upper portion. Ask your helper to pick up and shuffle the lower portion, then replace it on the table. As the spectator complies, lap the top card of the packet you hold. It will, of course, be the spectator's signed selection.
NOTE: If you choose to use a Second Deal in Step 2 you will need to lap the card second from the top. This should present no problem—you just deal a One-Handed Second into your lap—but you need to be aware of the requirement.
5 Have the spectator cut some cards left-handed from the tabled packet. Make a big deal of the fact that the cut must be made with the left hand. (It really
doesn't matter but it provides an interesting red herring. Such bits of business can afford opportunities for fun in long exposition phases.) Have the spectator replace the selected card at the point where the deck has been divided and bury it with the cut-off portion. While this card is believed to be the selection, it is actually the duplicate. The spectator may reshuffle the packet and table it.
Draw attention to the matchbox that has been lying on the table, claiming that it contains a prediction. Open the box and dump its contents into the spectator's hand. Have the matches counted as you close the box and place it slightly to your left on the table.
Have the spectator count down a number of cards equal to the number of matches. Watch as the deal is made, to determine if and when the duplicate is dealt. The pencil dot will give it away. As the cards are dealt, fold the selection in your lap. You can use the technique known as the Mercury Card Fold, detailed in Expert Card Technique (1940, page 304), if you don't already have a favorite folding method. (If you use a smaller matchbox, you may wish to use Tommy Wonder's Two-Second Card Fold from The Books of Wonder, Volume I, 1996, page 136.) Insert the folded card into the matchbox in your lap and close the box. By the way, if the duplicate happens to fall at the correct position, you have a miracle of a different order. I'll allow each reader to figure out for himself how to reap the most advantage from this. If it isn't the last card counted, as will usually be the case, proceed to the revelation.
NOTE: I don't like to sit with my hands in my lap for any length of time. For that reason, I have taken to performing the card fold with my arms crossed over my chest, placing my right hand, with which I execute the fold, behind my left bicep. This provides more than ample cover for the fold, which takes mere seconds. This allows me to drop my hands to my lap much more briefly to load, close and palm the box.
As the spectator is completing the count, Front Palm the matchbox in your right hand (Figure 238). Pick up the tabled matchbox with your left hand, taking the box into Spellbound position, at the tips of your left fingers with your thumb above. Your left hand should be tilted back far enough so that, when the matchbox is released, it falls into Finger Palm and cannot be seen by the audience. Switch the matchbox held in the left hand for the one in the right using the Spellbound technique. In other words, move the right fingers, holding the loaded matchbox, in front of the box displayed in
your left hand (Figure 239). Release the box from the left fingers, into left-hand Finger Palm. At the same time, use your right thumb to push the Front Palmed box from the right fingers to the right fingertips (Figure 240). Then place the loaded matchbox on top of the tabled deck.
NOTES: The most difficult part of this switch is handling it casually. Strong Ramsay-style misdirection is called for here. That is to say, look at the left-hand matchbox as the right hand starts toward it, but look up at the spectator and speak as the right hand reaches the left to take the box. As a result of this timing, the spectator will not be looking at the hands at the moment the switch takes place. In other words, while the technique is like a Spellbound-style coin change, the execution is like the Ramsay Vanish. Even though they are not looking at the action, the switch will go unquestioned if you handle it casually, as though it were unimportant. At the moment of the switch, the audience has no reason to think that the matchbox is relevant.
Though I don't use it now—old habits die hard—in the past I have used Tony Giorgio's one-handed switch (published three times in Genii: in Vol. 34, No. 5, January 1970, page 221; in Vol. 58, No. 7, May 1995, page 520; and in Vol. 66, No. 5, May 2003, page 62. The third explanation is the most detailed.). It is an excellent alternative. The Giorgio handling is essentially an old dice switch.
9 Place your left hand into your left-side jacket pocket, leave the empty matchbox behind and remove the tweezers.
10 Use the tweezers to lift off the top card of the tabled packet, with the matchbox on top of it, and isolate the card and matchbox on the table. Pick up all the cards from the spectator's packet and spread them face down between your hands as you remind him that he could have put his card anywhere in the packet and that, because of the shuffle, even he couldn't know where his selected card was—but you knew in advance. Close the spread, forming a break below the pencil-dotted duplicate. Continue, explaining that, before the effect began, you
predicted where the card would be. To prove that these aren't idle words, state that you'll bet that his card is "sitting right there." As you say this, gesture toward the tabled card and the matchbox.
Have the spectator lift the matchbox and look at the card beneath. At the same time, use a Side Steal to secretly extract the duplicate from the packet (see the WJ Side Steal, page 181). The spectator will deny that the tabled card is his selection. Lap the stolen card as you explain that you didn't say it was the card on the table. Spread all of the cards face up on the table, to prove that the chosen one is not present. Have the spectator open the matchbox and remove the folded card, open it and acknowledge that it is his selection, with his signature. Take your applause.
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