this routine offers a number of handling refinements on Wilber Kattner and Roger Smith's routine "Maxi-Twist" (see Innovative Magic, No. 2, 1976, page 17; and Maxi-Twist II, 1976) but is closer to its better-known predecessor, Derek Dingle's "We'll Twist—If You Insist" (Epilogue, No. 15, July 1972, page 121; and The Compete Works of Derek Dingle, 1982, page 54). It is interesting to note that the Smith routine and the Dingle routine are identical in all significant respects except that the Smith routine uses three variations of the K.S. Spread, while the Dingle routine uses a combination of Elmsley and "straight" Five-as-Four Counts. My routine duplicates the effect sequence of both "Maxi-Twist" and "We'll Twist—If You Insist" but frames everything in a novel pseudo-religious patter. It replaces the ATFUS sequence used in both the other routines with a technique I've named the "Spread ATFUS." It also enhances the Dingle handling by replacing the Overhand Grip, "straight" Five-as-Four Counts with Pinch Grip, "straight" Five-as-Four Counts. This change in technique allows all the counts to appear alike to the spectators, a minor point, perhaps, but one that helps allay suspicion.
EFFECT: Four Aces turn face down one at a time, apparently as a result of twisting the packet. When the packet is twisted twice, the Ace of Spades turns face up again and the remainder of the packet has changed to the Two, Three and Four of Spades.
SET-UP: Arrange the Aces in SHoCkeD order, the Ace of Spades on the face. Place the Two, Three and Four of Spades face down on top of the deck and the Aces on top of all. The stack, from the top down, should be: Ace of Diamonds-Ace of Clubs-Ace of Hearts-Ace of Spades-and the Two, Three and Four of Spades.
1 Your opening patter begins, "Few people today remember, and most history books don't record, that playing cards were once associated with, and heavily involved in, religious ceremonies. I'm not an expert on religious practices but I've been researching this link between playing cards and religious rites. I've discovered what may be an intriguing, very early Dervish ritual. The Dervishes, who are a subsect of the Sufi movement, are of Middle-Eastern origin. They are sometimes known as the Whirling Dervishes. If you're old enough, you may have heard the expression, 'He went through here like a Whirling Dervish.' What most people don't understand is that the practice of Whirling is used to create a mystical, magical state of euphoria. I don't know that it's true, but I'm told that back in the thirteenth century a small band of Sufi Dervishes developed a technique wherein they used cards to represent respected members of their community, and they whirled or spun the cards. Let me show you the ritual and see if we can approximate the result for which they strove."
2 Spread off and secretly form a break under the top seven cards of the deck. Turn over only the top four. Square and lift off the seven cards as though they were four. As you lift the seven-card packet in Overhand Grip, form a left fourth-finger break under the top card of the deck. Peel the Ace of Spades onto the card above the fourth-finger break, forming a third-finger break between the two cards. Pick up the Ace of Spades along with the card above the fourth-finger break, converting the left third-finger break to a right thumb break at the rear. Openly set the Ace of Spades jogged to the left for a quarter of its width relative to the rest of the packet (Figure 72). Peel off the Ace of Hearts and the Ace of Clubs, setting each to the left for a quarter of its width relative to the Ace above it (Figure 73).
The four face-up cards, from face to rear, should appear to be the Ace of Diamonds-Ace of Spades-Ace of Hearts-Ace of Clubs. They are actually, from face to rear, Ace of Diamonds-three hidden cards (face-down Two, Three and Four of Spades)-Ace of Spades-one hidden face-down indifferent card (above which you hold a thumb break)-Ace of Hearts-Ace of Clubs.
Square the spread against the left thumb dropping all the cards below the right thumb's break so they fall square with the top of the deck, and lift off the upper five cards. The audience should believe you have simply shown the four Aces in a spread and squared them. The five cards are, from face to rear, face-up Ace of Diamonds-face-down Two, Three and Four of Spades-face-up Ace of Spades. Set the deck aside.
"Returning to the ritual, the spinning was intended to cause a respected member of the community, usually one who had been, shall we say, 'behaving badly,' to turn away from the evil temptations of the world." Spin the packet in your hand, end for end, performing Vernon's Twisting Flourish from his "Twisting the Aces" (Dai Vernon's More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, I960, page 6). Continue by saying, "They could tell when the whirling was successful because the card representing the respected community member would change his ways and turn from temptation." Perform an Elmsley Count from right-hand Flexible Count Grip (page 54) into left-hand Dealing Grip but duck the last card, the Ace of Diamonds. It will appear that one Ace has turned face down. Say, "This is rather magical all by itself but very often, because the ritual calls for four cards, it would be performed once for each member of the group."
NOTE: The reason the last card, the Ace of Diamonds, is ducked during the display we've just performed is to address the problem of the same Ace showing up twice, at the start and end of the display. This type of problem is quite common. The problem is often dismissed with, "The audience won't notice." At the same time, great praise is heaped on techniques that produce more subtle differences. We can't have it both ways. Spectators are either observant or they aren't. I proceed under the assumption that they are observant and I endeavor to address, or at least ameliorate, problems of this type wherever possible. It is far safer to assume your audiences are observant, since the price of being wrong is merely that you will have worked harder than was essential. The price of assuming your audiences are not observant, apart from the disregard it reflects, is that you will ruin the illusion you are endeavoring to create and, therefore, the audience's experience. That is far too high a price in my estimation. In this case, the problem is fairly easily ameliorated. I, therefore, do so and recommend that you do likewise. The price will be higher on other occasions.
the Ace of Diamonds (Figure 74), drawing it from beneath the packet and into left-hand Dealing Grip; then continue a "straight" count of four. The last two cards are taken as one under the left-hand packet. Square the packet. "Each time the cards are whirled, another respected member of the community should obtain the strength to forsake the temptations of the physical world."
Repeat the twisting action, then Elmsley Count the packet revealing the third Ace to have turned face down. Apparently only the Ace of Spades remains face up. Your patter is, "I'm sure you can understand the effect the whirling has had: Another community member has turned from sin."
Another twist and Elmsley Count reveals what appears to be all four Aces face down. "All have developed the strength to ignore the pleasures of the flesh; the community is saved."
"One would have to admit that if the performance of a single whirling action can alter the perspective of a powerful individual, it is a ritual worth performing, but those who believe in the ritual are careful not to whirl twice." Twist the packet twice, then count the five cards as four, holding the last two as a single card, to reveal that the Ace of Spades has again turned face up. Place the double card onto the face of the packet. As you perform the count say, "The performance of the double whirl is thought to have the effect of creating a complete metamorphosis. Not merely a turn from evil but a transmogrification."
Lift off the Ace of Spades as you turn over the balance of the packet, using a wrist-turn action that hides the face-up Ace of Diamonds from the audience. The Two of Spades will show on the face of the left-hand packet. Place the Ace of Spades onto the Two and spread over the Two and Three to show the Ace through Four of Spades. The face-down Ace of Diamonds will be hidden beneath the Four. "I'm not sure if I believe in the rituals of the Whirling Dervishes but I have to believe my eyes and I do believe in magic. This holds great promise, for if the cards can change, perhaps, just perhaps, so can we."
Cop off the Ace of Diamonds and drop the four cards onto the table, or drop the five cards onto the deck. You will have to exercise some care in doing the latter, since the two cards under the top card of the deck are two face-up Aces. These can be transferred with a Double Cut to the bottom of the deck and a Half Pass executed to clean up.
NOTE: The patter used with this routine touches on a sensitive subject. Both the Sufi sect and the whirling practice of the Dervishes are real. One should be careful not to cast aspersion on either of the groups or their practices. The patter is interesting to intelligent groups but must be used in fairly quiet environments. It should not be done in bars or other noisy surroundings. Try the effect using these handling and presentational elements. You will find the routine is made stronger by both.
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