Vanishing eleven and placement

JULY 20, 1992 FINAL

IT WOULD be very easy to skip right over this item, thinking, "The Vanishing Eleven again?" If you do, someone is going to fool you with it. Remember, I warned you.

There's not much point in recounting the history of the "Vanishing Eleven." Most cardicians know Ed Mario contributed it to Ibidem, No. 24 in December 1961 (page 9; page 535 in the book edition). The idea of interest here is a concept Fulves called the Nine-Principle Location. The description of this principle appeared in Epilogue, No. 24, July 1975, page 223, as part of an effect titled "Carlyle's Ghost." There it is ascribed to Mike Skinner. Mike, however, did not make claim to it. It has been suggested through other sources that the core idea is Alex Elmsley's. It is clear that the underlying principle is the well-known Casting-Out-Nines procedure. The typical application forces a card in the ninth position. The earliest reference to this Force I'm aware of appears in Billy O'Connor's "After the Four-Ace Trick" in the June-September 1935 issue of The Magic Wand (Vol. XXTV, No. 166, page 85). In any event, the application to which it is tasked is novel. I thank Noel Coughlin for calling my attention to the Skinner treatment.

||§ Beginning with a fifty-two-card deck, have a spectator give it a shuffle. Ask him jiff next to cut the deck roughly in half. You must estimate the cut-off portion to be between nineteen and twenty-nine cards. If this portion is greater or smaller, '■X'g have the spectator cut again until the cut-off portion is in range.

Explain that you will turn your back. While you are turned away, the spectator is to count the cut-off packet. Having done that he is to add the digits of the counted total, and add them again if necessary, until a single digit results. He is then to look at the card that occupies that position from the top of the cut-off packet, leaving the card in place. To finish the procedure he is to drop the other packet on top, burying the selection.

When you turn again to face the audience, take the deck and, with a Double Undercut, shift three cards from the top to the bottom. Believe it or not, the spectators selection is now twenty-second from the face. State that you can know only one thing with certainty: The card he is thinking of was at a position smaller than eleventh from the top before it was buried and lost. (This is not true, as it must be within nine cards of the point where the deck was cut, not eleven, and you know precisely where that card is, but this is far from apparent.) You will therefore show them eleven-card groups. Explain to the spectator that he is not to tell you when he sees his card but that you will ask him from time to time if he has seen it yet. This he should answer truthfully.

Turn the deck face up in your right hand and take it into what I call "Deep Overhand Grip" but is commonly and incorrectly called "Biddle Grip." In other words, you hold the deck in Overhand Grip with the second fingertip extending below the bottom edge of the deck (Figure 91). Draw eleven cards into the left hand, one at a time. Every second or third card, pause long enough to square the left-hand packet without using your right hand. On the count of six, use your right forefinger to tap the back end cards (Figure 92).

When the eleventh card has been counted, ask if the spectator has seen his card. He should say, "No." Drop the deck onto the left-hand cards. Square the deck and return it to Deep Overhand Grip.

You'll now draw another eleven cards off the face of the deck into the left hand. After the third card is taken, square them with the left hand alone. After the sixth card, use the right forefinger to square the left-hand packet. Again square the cards with the left fingers alone after the ninth card is drawn off. Take the

tenth card fairly. As the left hand cards pass under the deck to facilitate drawing the eleventh card off the face, grip the ten cards against the bottom of the deck, stealing them, in Biddle fashion. Draw the eleventh card alone into the left hand. There should be no break in rhythm as this steal and final take are made.

Without haste, ask the spectator, "Did you see your card?" The spectator will say, "Yes." Place the deck aside or in your pocket, making sure to keep the left hand away from your body as you do so.

When the right hand returns, simulate the squaring action with your forefinger you've conditioned the audience to seeing. Next, with your right hand, retake the packet from above. Simulate a fingertip square-up as you ask, "Would you be impressed if I could make your card vanish from this packet?" The spectator should respond affirmatively. Continue, "What was the name of your card?" When the spectator names it, wondering how you're going to deal with the knowledge, let your face register surprise but say, "If that would impress you, this ought to knock you out!" Pause briefly. "Hold out your hands." Look directly at your hands and say, "How 'bout I make the packet vanish and just leave your card?" Handle the card as one sometimes does a double: Snap it, turn it end for end, etc.; then drop it into the spectator's hands.

Jaws should drop if you're performing for lay people. Magicians will say, "That's a nice touch." That will mean they haven't read this book and you caught them with the placement technique. Try it; it works!

PART TWO

TECHNIQUES

Section One