Divination Of Two Mentally Selected Cards

THE LATE EDWARD G. BROWN

IN A PREVIOUS issue of the ' Pentagram ' we have extolled the virtues of, and regretted our somewhat belated sight of P. Howard Lyons' truly remarkable publication Ibidem. In the fourth number there appeared an effect of the late Edward G. Brown's which carried the above rather prosaic title. Though I did not see Edward Brown perform this himself, I did see Trevor Hall use the effect in one of the finest magical lectures I have had the privilege of attending. It does not seem possible that nearly nine years have passed since Edward Brown quietly slipped away from this world. During that long period little of his work has come to light. True, the late Willane published his ' Diminishing Cards * and the 'Thought of Cards Across.' Brown committed little to paper, mainly I think for the reason that he never considered an effect complete. One of his favourite effects, the ' Ring, Glass and Handkerchief,' had many versions. I know that on one occasion when I was visiting him a few years before he died that he showed me quite three variants of the effect. His mind was comparable to Vernon in the attempt to achieve effect with the simplest, but not the easiest means. To Trevor Hall, in the closing stages of his short life, in a series of letters, he gave the details of many of his effects. The publication of those letters could be one of the greatest events in magical history.

In forthcoming issues of the ' Pentagram' we intend publishing a few of Brown's effects. They will include his version of the ' Cups and Balls,' two versions of the ' Ring, Glass and Handkerchief,' his ' Cut and Restored Rope * and a version of ' Follow the Leaders' with unfaked Jumbo Cards. At this moment we will say our thanks to P. Howard Lyons for allowing us to publish the present effect from Ibidem.

The magician announces that he wishes to have some cards mentally chosen. He adds that were he to offer a free choice, it is highly possible that certain cards like the ace of spades or the queen of hearts might be chosen. The cards, therefore, will be selected from a mixed pack.

Two spectators are then asked to think of a number and when he runs the faces of the cards in front of them they are to think of the card that happens to fall at that number. Once again he wants to be fair, and as certain numbers like seven and fourteen are so commonly thought of, the numbers chosen by the spectator should be chosen at random. He will do it in this manner-

Spectator 'A' is asked to shuffle the pack, take' off a small packet of cards and replace the talon on the table. Spectator ' B ' is then given some of A's packet by A. Meanwhile the performer has turned his back to these spectators.

Each assistant counts his packet of cards, remembers the number of cards he holds and places them in his pocket. With a signal that this has been done, the performer turns and faces the assistants. Taking the talon of the pack from the table the performer approaches assistant A. He stresses that he keeps in mind the number of cards in his pocket and further to note the card at that number as the performer shows the cards to him. With the cards held in the left hand and taking the top card with his right hand he holds it in front of the assistant. " If the number you have in mind is 'one,' think of this card." The card is then placed face down upon the table. The next card is taken and shown as *' two " to the spectator and then placed on top of the first card. The process is continued right through the talon of cards. The magician squares up the cards on the table and goes through the same process with assistant B.

Throughout the showing of the cards the performer takes care to look away from the faces of the assistants in order that no help may be obtained by facial hint.

Remarking that now the cards have been noted mentally there is little need to remember the numbers nor keep the packets of cards in their pockets. Therefore he allows assistant B to replace his cards on top of the pack, which is then handed to A so that he too can replace his. The pack is then given a complete cut.

The locating of the cards follows.

Requisites. One pack of cards.

Preparation. Nil.

Presentation. Follow the procedure exactly as it has been described. Whilst you are showing the cards keep count of their number. Subtract this number from fifty-two. The resulting number, which we'll suppose is twenty-nine, will be your key number.

Now after the cards have been mentally selected and B returns his packet to the top of the pack, the top card must be glimpsed. A then places his cards back on top of B's and the pack is given a complete cut.

Taking the pack the magician looks for the card he glimpsed and upon finding it, cuts the pack at that point bringing it to the top of the pack. Remembering the key number 29, the performer subtracts this from fifty--two, which leaves him with the number 23 (assuming that a straight pack with no jokers is used). The card chosen by A will now be the twenty-third card from the top of the pack, and B's twenty-third from the face of the pack.

To the description given in Ibidem, Stewart lames adds a teasing note. He writes:

" I would think it would improve the effect and speed the routine by having an unknown number of cards discarded at the start. I do this by having a number of cards secretly discarded so that I have no idea what the combined total of the cards in talon plus A's and B's is. The method is the same if one glimpses the key card, counts the cards in the deck after the return of A's and B's cards and then subtracts the original number of cards he counted from the resulting number. For example. You counted thirty one cards whilst showing the cards in the talon. After the cards are returned and you have cut the key card to the top, you count as you run through the cards finding that you have forty-two. It means that your key number for finding the respective cards at the top and bottom of the deck is eleven. You now happen to know that the spectator discarded ten cards at the start, but for heaven's sake forget it.

" I have discovered a method in which it is not necessary to know the number of cards discarded, it is not necessary to glimpse the face of any card at any time, it is never necessary to know how many cards are in the talon plus the A packet plus the B packet because no subtracting is necessary at any time. It is still perfectly impromptu."

Well, Stewart has certainly a fine location which one hopes will see the light of day. One which apart from mere acquisitive tendencies, every serious lover of card magic would like to see in published form. Let us hope that we shall not have to wait too long. Stewart, whose talent covers the whole gamut of the magical field, has published too little during the past two years. Always one is anticipating those books which were to follow ' First Call to Cards,' books which contained some ' out of this world ' ideas with objects other than pieces of pasteboard. Again let us hope that the wait is not too long.

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