Do It By Numbers


DESPITE the fact that mathematics obviously enter into the scheme of things, I thought "Sans Facon" by James Esler, which appeared in last month's (September) issue of " The Pentagram," a delightful little impromptu effect, and lost no time in putting it into use.

In this connection, I am sure Mr. Esler will not mind my adding a couple of little ideas to his cunning application, as I think they aid to (1) conceal the principle slightly, and (2) to "build up" the effect.

Firstly I wanted to avoid the giving of a specific number by the performer for subtraction, so I arranged my deck of cards as follows, on top, reading downwards five cards from Ace to Five (per Mr. Esler) and on bottom a SIX (my predicted figure being FOUR).

At commencement of effect, I produce deck, shuffle, keeping top stock and bottom card in position, then ask spectator to cut and use the old dodge of " X-ing " the cut for future reference; I immediately start the mathematical part of the business, which helps spectator forget about the cutting business, I proceed as per last month's article, but after having the figures multiplied by five, I say, " Now let's have a reduction this time, and leave the amount to chance." I then ask spectator to lift up the upper portion of the cut and note VALUE of card facing him, adding, for misdirection that if it is a court card-, we'll consider it as " ten " to save complications, naturally it will be the SIX, and all is ready for the denouement.

My second addition is the wording of the prediction in such a manner that the majority of the audience will leave with the impression that you actually foretold the volunteer's mentally chosen figure. This may sound exaggerated, but those readers conversant with a similar bit of bluff in connection with the "Brain-wave" deck, as described by Bob Nelson on page 19 of " The Linking Ring " for January, 1942, will know that such procedure is sound and effective, especially when the prediction is read aloud by a third party.

My prediction is already in a sealed envelope and is worded as follows:—

" I predict that the answer to your problem will consist of two figures: The FIRST will be YOUR MENTAL CHOICE and the SECOND will be my PRE-DETERMINED THOUGHT of 4. (FOUR)."

Despite the above, I think the effect can still be classified as impromptu, the deck can be borrowed and arranged in a second or two, and as for the prediction, I typed it with several carbon copies, and thus had sufficient for several quite otherwise unarranged demonstrations.

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