Paul Curtis Earl Fred Ivan Ray Dave Lenny Gene George Lou Dan Rick Igor Frank Ed Carl Peter

The names on the first nine cards should be turned in one direction while the second nine are turned in the other direction (Figure 89). The top block of nine should also be turned in the opposite direction from the top eleven indifferent cards. Thus, in our example, the upper nine would lie on the left while the lower nine would lie on the right.

The next nine cards (Block L) are also indifferent but all the names should be turned in the opposite direction to the lower nine cards of Block M (the Mirror Stack). In our example this would be to the left.

The next card down in the stack is the Force Card. The name on the back of this card should be the same as that of the spectator for whom you will perform the effect. The name should be turned opposite to Block L (to the right, following our pattern). Remember the value and suit of the card. We'll say it's the Queen of Clubs.

The Talon or balance of the deck (nine cards) should follow. The number of cards in this group is irrelevant but they should all be turned opposite the Force Card (to the left in our sample stack). I have made it a practice to keep the bottom two cards of the deck a matching pair; e.g., A1 and Andy. This facilitates changing the pairs in Block M should you encounter someone with a name used among those cards, say, George.

This Sigma Stack facilitates false shuffling at the start of the effect, which was necessary to comply with the conditions of Dale Dewey's premise (which builds on Fred Lowe's marketed effect, "Christened Reverse" and Dave Campbell's non-rough-and-smooth method, "Fred," published in the Scottish periodical The Thistle, Vol. 21, No. 2, December 1976, page 11, to which "Oscar" and others owe a large debt).

False shuffle the deck while maintaining the integrity of the stack. The upper eleven and lower nine cards can be re-ordered by the shuffle but their number must be maintained. I use the G. W. Hunter False Shuffle (see Greater Magic, 1938, page 167), but almost any qualifying false shuffle would be acceptable. The shuffle is performed as you address the target spectator: "I'll need some assistance for this next melodrama. You, sir, you appear to be an intuitive fellow. Would you be willing to play a role?"

Once you have the spectator's agreement to assist you, square the deck and place it on the table. "A murder has occurred at Pasteboard Towers. I know who the victim is. I'll write the name in the file but we'll keep it a secret." Take the piece of paper and write the name of the Force Card, the Queen of Clubs. Fold the paper and put it aside in plain sight.

"I need you to help me find the corpse, and the killer. This deck of cards will represent the fifty-two story Pasteboard Towers. Cut off a packet of cards, say between ten and twenty, and we'll try to locate the body."

When the spectator cuts off the block of cards, the orientation of the topmost tabled card will tell you whether the cut was within the acceptable range. If not, have the cut re-seated and re-cut. The covering line, if you need it, is "You can't search that much," or "You can't search that little and leave me the rest of the building!" Once an acceptable cut has been made, note the first letter of the top card of the deck. We will assume it is Fred. Explain, "Now we could have you look through every floor of the building but that could take up a lot of time, and the killer might get away. You have the advantage of being a magical detective. Take my word for it—I've done this before—you're a magical detective. Your cut will tell us where the victim can be found. Count your cards."

While the spectator is counting, spread the top cards of the deck and spot Fred's mirror mate, Frank. Form a break above it. Your patter during this activity is "Fred is a suspect but any of these guys could be the killer." Yell, as though to someone far away, "Seal off the building and don't let anyone leave." Continue, "If we find the corpse, perhaps we can find the killer. Counting the cards you cut off will tell us the floor where we can find the body."

As the spectator counts the cards in the cut-off packet, perform a Turnover Pass. This will shift all the cards above your break to the bottom of the deck. Immediately spread the deck fairly neatly and widely, from left to right, face up on the table. Make sure to get a particularly open spread among the top twenty cards.

NOTE: The above description presumes that you will use the standard Hofcinser-Herrmann type Turnover Pass. Of the various versions of this Pass, among the best suited to the purpose are the Daley treatment in Stars of Magic (Series 7, No. 3, 1950, page 112) and the Hugard and Braue treatment, known as the "Invisible Pass" (see Expert Card Technique, 1940, page 37; or The Invisible Pass, 1946). In my opinion, the best version of the Turnover Pass for this effect is the much less known James "Kater" Thompson Pass {The Berg Book, 1983, page 219) but the Daley and Hugard-Braue Passes will work almost as well.

"We'll count a number of floors equal to the size of your packet." Have him count from the left end of the spread (his right) a number of cards equal to his packet. "Place your finger on the face of the card and draw it out of the spread toward you. Keep your finger on the card. You've found the body, check the file. Read the victim's name aloud." Allow another spectator—or, in a pinch, the assisting one—to open and read the name you wrote before the effect commenced. In a formal performance environment this will probably draw spontaneous applause.

Continue your patter, "I knew who the victim was all along, as you can plainly see, but you found the body." Changing your tone to accusatory, say, "How did you know where the body was? Did you know the victim? I never told you the victim's name. Do you know who the killer is? Where have you been for the last two hours?" Change your tone to one of suspicion: "You do know who the killer is." The spectator will look at you quizzically. "His fingerprints are all over the card. Turn over the card and you'll see the killer's name..."

When the card is turned over, say to the spectator, "And what is your name? [Name], you're under arrest. You're under arrest as an accomplice in a killer demonstration. Thank you!" Hit an applause cue and enjoy the response.

PRESENTATIONAL NOTES: You may be surprised at how well this effect plays, almost regardless of method, when the climax is given the proper dramatic address. While the exposition phase demands a sense of farce, a certain tension should be built when you begin to interrogate the spectator. He will not know where you are going with the interrogation; but he should feel squeezed, as he might if actually being grilled. This will cause him to deny culpability when you accuse him. Depending on your spectator, this can be amusing. I've tried having the spectator give his name first, then revealing the name of the card. This works, but I find that the spectator's reaction is more humorous when the name of the card is revealed first. This can, however, become a moot point if the spectator is known to the other members of the audience. It is better if it seems there is no way you could have known the spectator's name, so it doesn't work as well if you use the guest of honor. You will need to experiment to determine how best to deal with these differences in various circumstances. You should, however, be pleased with the audience response you'll receive in any situation.

ALTERNATES FOR THE PASS Some performers are frightened of using a Pass under performance conditions. (See "The Pass," page 335.) Others find themselves in performance environments where they feel no version of the Pass can be made workable. The following approaches should serve in such instances.

the Tommy tucker Pass Stratagem—Many performers are familiar with the use of the Pass as a false cut. It is not clear to me when or where this idea began. It is almost certainly quite old. This same basic idea was used by Tommy Tucker as a subterfuge to cover the Pass (see Tucker's What Next!, 1936, page 28). His action was simple, direct and effective. Perform a Classic Pass but lift the lower packet upward four to five inches above the original upper packet. It should appear that you have merely lifted off the upper packet. In this case, you could cover this action with the patter line, "You could have cut the deck at any point but you chose a point of your liking, didn't you?" This action would be regarded, under most conditions, as an innocent gesture. It may be just what you need in certain "hostile" performance environments.

A CASUAL Cut—In very informal performance situations or if you can't perform a Pass in any form, you may need an even less demanding approach. You can, in that event, use a casual cut. The "secret" of making this approach work is attitude. If you treat the cut as off-hand and unimportant, it will very likely go unnoticed. If it is noticed, it will be considered, if at all, inconsequential. I don't believe the use of a cut, however casual, is as good as a well-executed Pass, of whatever type, but it may allow some individuals to perform the effect who would otherwise find it technically beyond reach.


As a matter of preference, or for those who perform walk-around or table-hopping, where resetting the elaborate stack of the preferred method would be difficult or impossible, I've developed some alternate methods. Since the cornerstone of the previous method is forcing a card, any of several methods of accomplishing that end will serve. Nevertheless, because of the construction of the effect, some methods will apply better than others. The following are two viable approaches:

ule Fan Force—This method, which can be performed with a full deck of "named" cards, requires only a one-card set-up. The bottom card of the deck must be the card with the spectator's name on its back.

Proceed with the presentation as in the previous method through Step 3, wherein the spectator cuts off a packet of cards. Have the spectator count the cards in the packet, though in this instance the count is a ruse.

Next you will perform any of the many variations of the Fan Force; but instead of having the spectator touch a card, as is traditional, count up from the bottom (or down from the top) of the face-down fan and separate the cards at that point, slipping the bottom card into place to be revealed at the point of division. Finish the effect as instructed in the preferred method. (If you don't know a version of the Fan Force, see Frank Butler's Fan Force in Thompson's Top Secrets of Magic, 1956, page 28; "Fan Force" in Dai Vernon's More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, I960, page 73; or "Fan Prediction #2" in Close-Up Card Mage, 1962, page 168.)

NOTE: When the upper portion of the fan, with the force card added to its face, has been separated from the balance of the fan, reveal the face of the force card and have the spectator slide the card off the face of the packet by placing a finger on the card. If this procedure is not followed, you will lose the logic of the patter line, "His fingerprints are all over the card." This line is amusing and helps to punctuate the climax. It should not be sacrificed unnecessarily.

I He riffle Force—-This method departs from the original premise and procedures. Rather than having a packet cut off by the spectator and the count guiding you to the location of the corpse (force card) a Riffle Force is used to create the appearance that the spectator has located the body directly. Hiding the name on the back of the card can be managed by revealing the bottom card of the upper packet. You can then preserve the fingerprint line by following the procedure described under ThE Fan FORCE. Both this and the Fan Force approach are decidedly more direct, but not as "logical" in terms of the presentation. Sometimes directness is not the best approach from a presentational perspective. This touches on aspects of Rick Johnsson's Too Perfect Theory, which I won't explore here. I believe the Riffle Force to be an acceptable approach in this context, because one can make presentational allusions to an elevator going down through the building and the spectator controlling the floor on which it stops. This same presentational device can be used with the Fan Force. Unfortunately, both methods require that the deck remain in the performer's hands. It would be better were it not so. However, I can think of no way to make a technique such as the Cross-Cut Force, which would keep the deck out of the hands, acceptable. It is not that the technique would be unsuccessful as a means of accomplishing the end (a force), but that it would be likely to make the effect less involving for the audience and, therefore, less entertaining. The notion that a method can be too direct and that a more intricate procedure can add interest to an effect is, to my knowledge, unexplored territory in magic's literature. Future explorations might prove intellectually stimulating, but not today.

PREMISE VARIATIONS Aside from the considerations already discussed, involving the needs of walk-around or table-hopping performers, and those of technique, there may be times when one would like to perform this effect but one lacks the necessary deck. For such "impromptu" situations, I developed the following variations of the premise. The common denominator in each of these is that only the corpse (force card) has a name written on its back. That name, of course, is the spectator's. It should be reasonably apparent that some of the previously discussed methods could be modified to work, but the three methods that follow are, I believe, better suited to such occasions.

BOTTOM Deal—Though this treatment of the premise eliminates the use of the full deck of names, it maintains most of the other presentational elements.

Begin with the force card on the bottom of deck. Have the spectator cut off and count a packet. Count down in the deck, bottom dealing in the underhand stud-style on the last card so that it appears that the card at the counted number was the force card. The back of the card should not be seen as it is dealt. Conclude as per the original method.

the Fake-Take Dribble Force—This variation in the premise, in addition to requiring only one card with writing on its back, modifies the procedure by eliminating the counting to the corpse after the cut.

Begin by secretly taking the force card face down into left-hand Gamblers Cop. Instead of having the spectator cut off a packet, dribble the deck to the table, under the presentational guise of looking through the floors, until the spectator calls "Stop." Simply add the Gambler's Copped card to the bottom of the right-hand packet as you pretend to remove the bottom card (Fake-Take). This can be done without flashing its back. Continue as per the original effect.

NOTE: A variation might be to use my standard handling of the Dribble Force (fundamentally a Mario idea). As I have not yet published Dribble Drivel: Notes on the Dribble Force at this time you might employ the Lorayne Pass substitute (see "Lorayne's Invisible Pass Routine," page 116 of Quantum Leaps, 1979), which employs ideas of Ed Mario's ("Dribble Replacement," page 57 of Side Steal, 1957).

ThE Slip-Back Move—Here a steal by Charles Jordan (see his "Unknown Leaper" in Fulves' Charles T. Jordan: Collected Tricks, 1975, page 51) is transformed into a force. While this treatment alters the look of the count-down portion of the effect it maintains all the important premise elements.

Begin with the force card palmed in your right hand. Have a packet cut off and counted as you add the palmed card onto the remainder of the tabled deck while picking it up. Keep the backs of the cards tilted toward you and out of view of the audience. Take a double card from the top of the deck as though it were one card, holding it in right-hand Pinch Grip. Continue to count cards off the top of the deck and into the right hand, taking each card onto the face of the right-hand cards, with the faces turned toward the audience. When you reach the number equal to the size of the cut-off packet minus two, approach the deck with the right-hand packet and take the top card onto the face as you have the others. At the same time, your left thumb contacts the top card of the right-hand packet, at the back of the group. Slide this rear card back onto the deck as you take the penultimate card (Figure 90). Thus, when you count the next card it will be the force card. Have that card slid off the face of the right-hand packet by the spectator. Finish as per the original method.

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