Alex Elmsley

ABOUT this time last year there were a series of versions in the Pentagram of a trick called " Take Three." The effect was the transposition of a chosen card from one packet to another. The principle involved was that of forcing a card that was not there. This was done by having three cards touched by spectators. The magician looked at these cards and called out their names, which a spectator wrote down on visiting cards. In fact the magician miscalled one card, naming instead a card which was already reversed in the middle of a packet of cards held by a spectator. The appropriate visiting card was then forced, and the transposition shown to have taken place.

Although I liked the principle, I did not like the business of writing down the names of the cards. Here are two versions of the same effect, and using the same principle, in which only a pack of cards is used.

Routine 1. Before starting, run through the pack and bring to the top two cards of the same colour and value, for example the fives of hearts and diamonds. Slip one card, say the five of diamonds, to the centre of the pack, and keep a break beneath it.

Advance to a first spectator, and ask him to touch a card, as you fan the top half of the pack. When a card is touched do not show it, but just jog it forward for about half its length. Ask a second spectator to touch a card somewhere around the middle of the pack, and force the five of diamonds. Jog this card forward as you did the first. Ask a third spectator to touch a card in the bottom half of the pack, and jog this card forward also. Close up the fanned pack, remove the three jogged cards together and place them on top of the pack, taking a break beneath the second card (the force card) as you do so.

Say, " Three cards have been chosen from the pack," and to illustrate apparently count off the three chosen cards from the top of the pack. In fact, take the first two cards together as one, count the next card on top of the first two and the next card, which is the five of hearts, on top of all. As you gesture with the counted off cards, take a break beneath the top card of the pack, by pushing it forwards slightly with the left thumb and bringing the left little finger beneath its edge. Now return the counted off packet of cards face up to the top of the pack. (I have assumed that like most people you normally hold the pack in your left hand.)

Your left little finger is holding a break beneath the five top cards of the pack. Pick up these cards together with the right hand, fingers at the outer end of the packet and thumb at the inner end. With the left thumb pull the face card of the packet, the five of diamonds, face up onto the top of the pack, naming the cards as you do so. Pull the next card face up onto the five of diamonds and name it, and finally put the three remaining cards held by the right hand, as one, on top of the pack, again naming the card. As these three cards go as one on top of the pack, take a break beneath them with the left little finger.

Turn to any spectator and say, "Will you remember the-of-" (name the card showing on top of the pack). Then take the top three cards as one into the right hand. Display the next card that shows on top of the pack and ask another spectator to remember this card. Then count this card on top (i.e. on the face) of those in the right hand. Display the five of diamonds, and ask a third spectator to remember this card. You will notice that the attention of the audience is being directed all the time towards the hand holding the pack, and away from the multiple lift in the right hand.

Replace the cards in your right hand on top of the face up five of diamonds, square up the pack, and then lift off the top three cards. Since the fourth card is face down, the cards will break naturally beneath the top three face up cards, but if you wish you may riffle the cards off with the left thumb. The third of these three cards is the five of hearts which you have switched for the five of diamonds, while the five of diamonds now reposes face up second from the top of the pack.

Place the three cards in the right hand, still face up, on your table, letting them spread lengthways slightly, but taking care that only the value and not the suit of the five of hearts is seen. Now pass, cut, or shuffle the top quarter of the pack in your hands to the bottom, and place the pack face down on the table.

Pick up the packet of three face up cards, turn them face down, and shuffle them, keeping track, however, of the five of hearts. Lay them face down in a row on the table, with the five of hearts in the middle, and ask a spectator to touch any one of the cards.

If he touches the five of hearts, pick up the other two, turn them face up, and then pick up the five of hearts and place it face down between the others saying, " The chosen card goes reversed in the middle."

If he touches one of the other cards, pick it up, turn it face up, and ask him to touch another card.

If he again does not touch the five, pick up the card he has touched and place it face up on the first card touched. Then pick up the five and place it face down between the two face up cards, saying, " The last card goes reversed in the middle."

If the second card touched is the five, pick it up and place it without comment face down on the face up first card. Turn the last card face up and place it on top of the other cards, saying, " I have assembled the cards as you pointed to them. I want you to watch the card in the middle."

Whatever has happened you now hold the three cards, with the five of hearts face down between the other two face up cards. Spread the cards lengthways until you can see most of the index of the bottom card, but cannot see any of its pips. If you now turn the three cards over, the index, but no pips, of the five of hearts should be visible. (If the bottom face up card is an ace or a court card, you cannot use it in this way to gauge the permissible amount of spread, but must estimate the spread.)

Show the half-hidden red five to the spectator whom you asked to remember the five of diamonds, saying, " The five of diamonds was your card, wasn't it ? " When he assents, ask him to cut off about half the pack which is lying on the table to give you the cut off half, and to place his hand on the remainder (in the middle of which the five of diamonds is reversed).

Turn the three cards so that the five is again face down, place them on top of the half pack that has just been given to you, and cut them into the middle. Spread the half pack as you emphasise that the chosen card is face down between two face up cards, and obtain a break beneath the five of hearts. Close up the packet and side slip the five to the top or bottom of the packet. Now order the five of diamonds to fly from the pocket you are holding to the packet beneath the spectator's hand. Spread your packet to show that the card between the face up cards has vanished, and ask the spectator to spread his packet himself, whereupon he will find his five of diamonds reversed.

Note. Instead of using two cards of the same colour and value, the old dodge of using a seven as an eight of the same suit, the index of the seven being hidden by your fingers as you hold it halfway into the pack, or in this case, half-way between the other two chosen cards.

Routine 2. The last routine depended upon forcing a card that was not there. This second routine was developed with the object of giving a free choice of a card that was not there. The object was not achieved, but it was approached. The effect is much the same as that of Routine 1, but instead of three cards being chosen, the magician takes out the Jack, Queen and King of any suit. So, here we go:—

Suppose that you are going to use the Jack, Queen and King of Spades. Before you start, get the Queen and King of the suit of the same colour (in this case Clubs) to the bottom of the pack, the Queen on the bottom and the King above it.

Now run through the pack, taking out the three Spade court cards, and placing each card as you come to it on the face of the pack. Arrange them in order, Jack, Queen, King, with the King at the face of the pack and the Jack on the face of the Queen of Clubs. While arranging the cards (the pack, of course, is face up) get a break below the King of Clubs, so that after the cards have been squared up, you may lift off with the right hand all five court cards. The five cards are held by the right hand from above, thumb at their inner ends, fingers at their outer ends.

With the left hand turn the rest of the pack face down, and take a break beneath the top card with the left little finger. Bring the cards which are face up in the right hand over the pack as though to square them up further, and pick up the card separated from the pack by the break beneath them. You now have six cards in the right hand, though apparently only three. From the top these cards are, the King, Queen and Jack of Spades, the Queen and King of Clubs, and a face down indifferent card.

With the left thumb, pull the King of Spades, still face up, onto the top of the pack. Name it and display it. On top of the King, pull the Queen of Spades, and name and display that card also. Finally, with the right hand, place the remaining four cards as one on top of the Queen. Name and display the Jack of Spades. Now pick off the top three cards, which are the face up Jack of Spades and Queen and King of Clubs, and place them on your table, letting them spread lengthways slightly.

On top of the pack you now have a face down card and then the face up Queen and King of Spades. Cut these three cards to the bottom of the pack. Now begin another cut, at the centre of the pack, by sliding the top half of the pack about an inch to the right. Then with the left fingers at the bottom of the pack, push the lower of the two reversed cards (the King) to the right until it is level with the jogged top half of the pack. Now continue to cut the pack into two halves, the right fingers at the outer end and thumb at the inner end of the top half reaching down to grip the reversed King and bring it to the bottom of the top half. The two half packs are now placed separately on the table.

Ask a spectator to name the King, Queen, or Jack of Spades. Under normal circumstances the Jack is the least likely to be mentioned. The likelihood is decreased here by its being at the face of the face up cards on the table. If, however, it is chosen you must descend to the conjuror's choice and say, " And will you name another? The cards you name are going to act as guardians for the third card, which I shall reverse between them."

When the King or Queen has been reached, either by choice or elimination, you know which of the two half packs on the table has the chosen card reversed at the bottom. Cut that packet towards a spectator, so bringing the chosen card to the middle, and ask the spectator to put his hand on the packet.

Pick up the three court cards and turn them face down. Remove the Club equivalent of whichever card was chosen, and turn the remaining cards face up again, taking care that the Jack of Spades covers the suit of the card behind it. Place the removed card, apparently the chosen card, face down between the two face up cards, and then spread them all lengthwise so that they can be shown without revealing their suits. After showing the cards so, square them up and put them, with the outer cards face up, on top of the remaining half pack which is on the table.

Suppose that the Queen of Spades was chosen. The Queen of Spades will now be in the middle of a half pack which is in the care of a spectator. On top of the other half pack are the Jack of Spades and King of Clubs face up, with the Queen of Clubs face down between them. At the bottom of the half pack is the face up King of Spades.

Cut the half pack, bringing the Jack and King of Spades together. Recap, to the audience that the chosen Queen is reversed between the King and the Jack, and then command the chosen card to jump from packet to packet. Spread your packet carefully, stopping when you come to the reversed Jack and King of Spades and show that the Queen is no longer between them. Take care not to reveal the reversed King of Clubs, which is hidden by the face down Queen of Clubs.

Ask the spectator to spread his packet, so revealing the Queen of Spades, and while he stares at it astounded, take the opportunity to right the reversed King of Clubs in your own packet.

Note. The routine can, of course, be done with other cards than court cards. However, I believe that court cards give the least chance of anyone noticing that the two face up cards in your packet reverse their order at the same time that the card between them vanishes.

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