Alex Elmsley

THE METHOD of having a card chosen wherein a spectator cuts off some cards, counts them to arrive at a number, and then remembers the card at that number in the rest of the pack, has always been very popular with mathematically minded magicians, if not with their audiences. Edward Brown took this further by doing it to two spectators at one and the same time. By kicking the idea around a bit, I have found two versions, working on slightly different principles from Brown's.

Brownwave No. 1.

This is a card discovery of the type which has been called an "interrelation" discovery, the reason being that the magician does not know where either of the chosen cards may be, but he does know that there is a certain relation between the positions of the cards. By doing various things with the pack this relation can be changed to suit the magician. The commonest revelation used in this type of location is to divide the pack into two packets and to show that the two chosen cards are the same distance down, one in each packet. By correct presentation the magician can give the impression that he knows the positions of both cards, instead of neither.


You must start with a full pack of cards. Hand them out to be shuffled, and ask two spectators each to take some of the cards. Suggest a third of the pack or less each, and particularly ask them to cut off different sized packets, as you do not want to risk them both having the same number of cards. The remainder of the pack is returned to you.

Ask both spectators to count their cards secretly, and to remember the number they arrive at. Then show cards from the top of the packet you hold one at a time to the spectators, asking them each to remember the card that he sees at his number. Do not alter the order of the cards in counting.

When you have counted out twenty-six cards, ask the spectators if they have seen their cards, which they should have. Then cut your packet at this point. If, however, you have less than twenty-six cards, you must cut sufficient cards from the top of the packet to the bottom to make the count up to twenty-six.

Now ask one of the spectators to take both their packets, and to shuffle them together. Cut your packet as exactly in half as you can manage, and have the spectators' cards replaced in the middle of your packet.

Mathematics being what they are you must now take the bottom card of the pack and push it into the middle or the trick will not work out.

At this stage you may if you wish, false shuffle, or pass the time in any other way to which you may feel inclined. Then divide the pack in two by counting out twenty-six cards onto the table, reversing their order. The two chosen cards are now the same distance down in each half of the pack, and you may reveal them as you think fit. One possibility is as follows.

When you are counting off and reversing twenty-six cards, do so with the pack face up, taking the cards from the face, and ask the spectators to watch for their cards. On reaching twenty-six, ask if either of the cards has been seen. One spectator will say, "yes." Hand him the counted off cards, and hand the other spectator the remaining cards.

Now have both spectators deal cards in time with each other from the tops of their packets, but while one spectator is to deal his cards face down, the other is to deal his cards face up, and is to shout " stop " when he sees his chosen card. When he shouts "stop," ask the first spectator to name his card, and then to turn over the card at which he was stopped. Climax.

Brownwave No. 2

In this routine the magician really does find both cards. It involves an interesting principle, for although it is a key card type trick, no key cards are used. Instead, all the work is done by holding a break. If, however, you dislike breaks, you will find that the routine can easily be adapted to the use of two crimped cards, one at the bottom of the pack, and one the twenty-sixth card in the pack.


As in the last trick, you must use a full pack. Also, when you start, you must have a little finger break right in the middle of the pack, i.e., beneath the twenty-sixth card. You may get this break by any means which appeal to you. Thus, while toying with the cards you may cut the pack for a perfect weave, check the accuracy of the cut by starting the weave, and then apparently change your mind about shuffling and reassemble the pack with a break between the halves.

Be this as it may, you have a break in the middle of the pack. Ask a first spectator to cut off some cards—you may suggest a third of the pack or less. This done, look around for a second spectator to assist you, and while looking around, cut your cards at the break. When completing the cut do not square up straightaway but first take a new break between the cut packets.

Ask the second spectator also to cut off some cards, and you may again suggest a third or less. Anyway, you must finish with more cards than either of the spectators.

Now ask both spectators to count their cards secretly, and then to put them into their pockets. While they are counting, hold your own cards so that you can see the break. It will probably be nearer to the bottom than to the top of your packet. If, however, it is nearer the top, again cut at the break and take up a new break between the cut packets.

Explain to the spectators that you are going to show them cards one at a time, and that each is to remember the card lying at his number. Start showing cards from the top of the packet you hold, without reversing their order. Count yourself as you show the cards, and when you come to the break, remember the number of cards above it. This is your key number which is going to locate both the chosen cards. Drop the break, and carry on counting. When you come up to twenty-six, ask if both spectators have seen their cards, and then cut the cards at this point, i.e. put the twenty six cards counted off back beneath the remaining cards. As in the last trick, if there are less than twenty-six cards, cut or shuffle sufficient cards from the top to the bottom to make the count up to twenty-six.

Now you are all ready to finish and you may throw in a false shuffle. Remember when you looked to see whether your break was nearer the top or bottom of the packet ? If all was well then, you are going to discover the first spectator's card first. If the break was nearer the top, and you had to cut your cards, you are going to discover the second spectator's card first.

Hand your cards to the appropriate spectator and ask him to deal them down onto the table. Count the cards to yourself, and call " stop " as he is holding the card at the position corresponding to your key number. This is his card. After he has been given a moment or two to recover from his astonishment, ask him to retain his chosen card, to drop his remaining cards on top of the dealt cards, and then to pass these cards to the other spectator. The other spectator is also to deal cards onto the table, and his card is discovered in the same manner, by calling " stop " when you reach the key number. Ecstatic cries from the audience of " Mmm," " Seen it," " I'm afraid I must go now." Collapse of magician from brain fatigue. Magician's wife calls on the editor of the Pentagram with a horse whip. Escape of editor, standing on top of a train making predictions. He is knocked off by a low bridge and dies muttering "problems." As many wills are found as there are hopeful legatees possessing Dr. Jaks knives. Civil war. End of civilisation as we know it.


In No. 1; instead of cutting the cards you are showing the spectators at twenty-six, and subsequently placing a card from the bottom into the middle, you may cut at twenty-five, and place a card from the top into the middle, for example with a slip cut.

In both routines instead of counting right up to twenty-six (or twenty-five if you are using the suggestion in Note 1) when it is obvious that both spectators have seen their cards quite early on, you may stop the count earlier and cut. Then spread the cards while saying that you cannot know where either of the chosen cards are, and mark off sufficient cards from the top to make your count up to twenty-six (or -five as the case may be), square up, and cut these cards to the bottom.

In No. 2 you may find it simpler while showing the cards, instead of holding a little finger break, to jog all the cards above the break about one tenth of an inch to the right, and to keep an eye on the jog while counting.

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