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1-2-3 CARD IN WALLET - an exercise in misdirection
A few years back I worked out a method for switching small envelopes for use in a close-up mental stunt. The following trick is a by-product which grew out of the routine. I share this information for two reasons. First, I have no idea whether the methods used are original and unknown to the fraternity, and secondly I want the reader to appreciate that I have only modest skill in card manipulation — yet this particular demonstration has baffled some of the best card men in the USA. The effect depends mainly upon the use of psychology to misdirect the spectators attention from the performer at the time of the 'moves'. These moves, they cannot really be called sleights, are done on the 'off-beat' when the spectators minds are occupied following one of their member's carrying out the performer's instructions.
The above prologue is given because if you want to add the effect to your repertoire you must practice watching your audience, in order to get the right 'beat'. Just follow the steps and you will be successful. Do not change anything until you understand what the spectator 'sees'.
Secretly place any card from your own pack, or one stolen from a borrowed pack, face down in your wallet. Do not insert it in one of the partitions, but loose within the wallet. Close the wallet and put it into the right inside coat pocket. If it is one you normally carry in the hip pocket put it in the left hip pocket.
Before you start the demonstration the right hand steals the top card of the pack which is held face downwards in the left hand in the normal dealing position. To effect the steal the left thumb pushes the top card diagonally forwards and to the right as shown in (Fig.l). The base of the right index finger is brought into contact with the right outer corner and the right third finger tip is brought to rest near the outer left corner (Fig.2). The left hand moves away with the pack leaving the top card gripped between the third finger tip on one long side near the upper left corner and the palm of the hand on the other long side. If you now turn your hand with its back towards the spectators it will appear very natural, loose and empty. 782
When stealing the card there should be no furtive movements. No-one is as yet aware what, if anything, is to take place, Just keep talking and do not look at your hands.
The presentation starts as you are seated casually at the table. Give the pack to a spectator on your left and say "Please think of any card — remove it from the pack and place it face upwards onto the table." If he cannot find it ask him to name it. Should it be the one you have stolen produce it from any place you wish and end the trick right there.
If you are not so lucky and he places his thought of card on the table ask if he is satisfied with his choice and continue "Please cut the pack into three piles — make them about even."
You now pick up the face up chosen card with the left hand holding it with the thumb on the back and the index finger on the face. Touch the first pile with the card saying "This is number one." Repeat the action with the other two piles saying "This is number two, and this is number three." The gesture of pointing to the three piles with the chosen card should be a broad one lifting the left hand fairly high after each count. Without saying or doing anything else the spectators are made aware that the card in your left hand is still the chosen one.
"Now I want you to think of a number — either one, two or three." Touch each pile quickly with the chosen card holding it face up. "You are thinking of a number — please point to the pile of that number."
NOW YOU HAVE THEM. All eyes will follow the pointing finger and as you ask the question your hands have come together. You also are watching the pointing finger and NOT your hands. It is now when all attention is focussed on the pile being indicated that the chosen card in the left hand is exchanged for the one in the right hand as follows. The chosen card which is held between the thumb on top and index finger below is taken by the right hand which grips its outer corners between the second finger tip and the thumb crotch. At the same time the other card is clipped between the index and second finger of the left hand where it is held as the hands move apart (Fig.3) completing the change.
Casually drop the card in the left hand on top of the pile chosen and give the spectator the option of moving it to another pile. They will seldom wish to do this, but if they do it will strengthen the effect. Next ask the spectator to put the other two piles on top of the one with the chosen card on top — square up the pack — cut and complete the cut.
"Please watch this hand." The obviously empty left hand removes the wallet from the pocket and using the left thumb flip it open to reveal the face down card within. "Let me see the card you thought of." As they reach for the pack and start to spread it in search for their card bring your right hand over, ostensibly to remove the card from the wallet. Actually,
instead of removing it the right hand releases the card it holds as the left hand closes the wallet trapping the released card (the chosen one) leaving about half of it sticking out of the wallet (Fig.4). Note particularly the misdirection employed. The spectators see a face down card resting in the open wallet and then their attention is directed to the pack as they watch the spectator looking for the card they have been convinced beyond all doubt is in the pack. Even without the misdirection the illusion is so near perfect that the performer's action appear to be exactly the same were he to be really pulling the card they had just seen partially out of the wallet before closing it.
The above takes but a few seconds and the spectator will still be looking for his card so you interrupt him by saying "What was the card you thought of?" When he names it say "Yes - HERE IT IS". Pull the card clear of the wallet and hand it to him. He will immediately start racing through the pack — then he will run through the cards again more slowly and start to worry — Good Luck.
Editorial comment: The methods used in this trick to move the attention of the spectators away from the performer as he performs the secret moves, are excellent examples of how to misdirect an audience by creating a situation in which they are compelled to watch the spectator if they are to follow the sequence of events leading to the climax of the effect. Note the considerable time lapse between the performer picking up the chosen card and making the exchange during which the attention of the spectators has been moved away from the performer to the person who is being asked to think of a number and to point to the pile corresponding to that number. Also the move of apparently removing the card from the wallet is covered by switching the attention of the spectators to the helper searching for the chosen card.
It may seem to be somewhat risky to have a card concealed in the right hand for such a long time at the commencement of the trick but the audience have no reason for suspicion in this respect — their whole attention will be on the person with the pack. There will be no problem with bad angles if the right hand is back uppermost, resting casually on the edge of the table. The success of the trick is almost entirely dependent on the ability of the performer to keep the interest of the spectators away from himself at the time when making the secret moves. Perfect technique, although always desirable, is less important in this routine than misdirection. People only 'see' what they are looking at.
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