Me 27th Cased

Card Tricks which are dependent upon some mathematical principle are seldom suitable for the larger audience, but they are usually found very entertaining to a more intimate circle or to a few friends gathered around the card table. This is particularly the case where the mathematical principle is so well concealed as to present such an exceedingly baffling problem as in the following effect with a borrowed pack.

Effect.—An assistant shuffles a borrowed pack of cards, cuts it as many times as desired, and deals off 6 cards one at a time into a face down packet on the table. He peeps at and remembers the top card of the remaining packet, i.e., the 27th card, and loses it by cutting that packet as often as he wishes. He then returns the 26 dealt off cards to the top of the bottom packet.

The performer picks up the pack, divides it into four packets which he lays face down on the table, and then re-assembles the pack.

Finally, the assistant again deals off 26 cards from the pack and, after naming the card originally chosen, turns up the next, or 27th, card. Needless to say, this proves to be the selected card.

Challenge.—At this stage I invite mathematically minded readers to think out the problem for themselves. I shall merely add that it is necessary to work with a pack of exactly 52 cards and that, after the cards have been shuffled but before they have been cut, the performer counts the cards to satisfy himself on this score. He does this rapidly with the faces towards him and returns the pack to the table for immediate cutting without necessarily disturbing the order of the cards. No sleight of hand is involved, nor is any complicated memorization required.

Others may proceed direct to the solution, which is as follows :—

Secret and Working.—It is merely necessary, when counting the cards, to note and remember as key cards the bottom card of the pack and the card which is 26th from the top. Even if the spectators should suspect that one or more cards have been noted, the fact that the pack is immediately offered for cutting, and that later the selected card is apparently hopelessly lost by further cutting, goes far to dispel any such suspicion.

When the performer picks up the pack for the second time, he does so with the face of the bottom card towards him. He leafs through the cards from the bottom upwards and mentally counts them until he comes to one of his key cards. Let us also assume that the key cards were the Queen of Clubs and the Three of Diamonds. Let us also assume that he has mentally counted 18 cards from the bottom of the pack before he comes to one or other of these keys (say the Three of Diamonds), as the 19th card from the bottom. He lays these 18 cards face down on the table (Packet A) and continues his count from 19 (the key card), up to 26. These 8 cards, of which the key is the bottom, he lays face down (Packet B) to the left of Packet A. No further counting is required, but he continues to leaf through the remaining cards until he comes to the other key (in this case the Queen of Clubs) and lays down this packet (Packet C), which includes the key as its top card, to the right of Packet A. The final remaining cards (Packet D) are then laid down to the left of Packet B.

The pack is immediately re-assembled by placing Packet C on Packet A, this combined packet on Packet B, and the whole of this on top of Packet D.

The chosen card is now again 27th from the top.

Further Subtleties.

(1) The pack may be counted by the performer with the backs towards him. In this event, and assuming that the cards are counted by thumbing them off one at a time into the right hand, thereby reversing their order, the oportunity is taken to in-jog, by about an inch, the 27th card. This operation can hardly be described as sleight of hand. It consists only of passing this particular card into the right hand so that it protrudes about an inch from the end of the pack nearer the body. By reason of the fact that the order of the cards is reversed during the count, the 27th card becomes the 26th card from the top after completion of the count. The pack is now squared up and dropped face down on the table, the jogged card and the bottom card being glimpsed during the process.

(2) It also adds to the effect if the pack is again offered for cutting after the 26 dealt off cards have been replaced on the top. The performer commences to pick up the pack and, apparently as an afterthought, remarks : " Perhaps you would like to cut the pack again Of course, as he lifts the pack and then drops it back on the table, he has glimpsed the new bottom card. In this case, when he subsequently separates the pack into packets, he first searches for the card which was at the bottom prior to the final cut and treats this as the bottom card of the pack. He shifts the cards below such card to the top of the pack at convenience during the operation of laying down the various packets.

Presentation.—Assuming that the performer counts the cards with the backs towards him and in-jogs the card which becomes 26th from the top, the pack should be deliberately turned face up at the conclusion of the count with some such remark as " You might think that my knowledge of what happens to be the bottom card is of some help to me. Please, therefore, cut the pack ". As the performer points to the bottom card with his right forefinger, his right thumb pushes home the already sighted in-jogged card and he at once drops the pack face down on the table for cutting.

A suggested line of patter is to discourse upon the magic properties of the number 27, which is 3x3x3, and the fact that any card situated at such number in the first instance will sooner or later find its way back to the same position.

Stress should be laid on the fact (?) that the performer does not touch the cards, and it might be thought desirable that he turn his back during the process of dealing, noting the 27th card, etc., according to his instructions. He might also turn his back when cutting the pack into packets and re-assembling it, although it is to be doubted whether this actually improves the effect.

Principle Involved.—The germ of the effect is to be found under the heading of " Superstitious Mentalism " in " Mental Cases with Cards ", by Warren Wiersbe, although the methods of working have been so adapted and simplified as to create something entirely novel.

Mathematicians who are interested will have little difficulty in arriving at " the why and the wherefore ". We shall not, therefore, waste further space in explaining this to those who are not interested.

Inclusion in Routine.—I personally preface this effect with one suggested by Trevor Hall and originated, I believe, by the late Edward Brown,* in which an assistant deals the pack into two piles, discards one and continues similarly until only one card remains. By picking up the first twc discarded piles for the apparent purpose- ' of assuring himself that neither contains a chosen card, the performer is enabled to sight the bottom card of each packet and ultimately to re-assemble the pack in such a manner that he already knows the cards situated 26th and bottom.

At the conclusion, it is a very simple matter to glimpse or crimp the bottom card of the top 26, and so be set with another key card for a subsequent effect of similar character.

♦Note by Editor : For-this purpose the chosen card should be 22 from top of pack—see Secrets for Sale ", by Robert Tothill, in " Jinx Page 500.

Flashback !

W stands for Wingard


The (tojal Drawing Hum:! f.KterMnu, Conjurer it Ventritnqtiiil, Î, BRAOFCmo fiOAO, soumstA


The (tojal Drawing Hum:! f.KterMnu, Conjurer it Ventritnqtiiil, Î, BRAOFCmo fiOAO, soumstA

From the J. B. Findlay Collection

Viciât 3leacacfiyô,

SAe Jùwt JAat 3a Mat

EDITOR'S NOTE: It has often been said that the best way to preserve the exclusiveness of a trick is to publish it. Whilst this isn'1 true, it does seem that time and again pet effects and subtleties are published and few see the real magic in them. Some twenty-six years ago, our friend Victor Peacock published in " I he Magic^Wand " what we still consider to be the fines+ and most natural method for making a false knot. We have seen very few use this method (in passing, we would mention that the late Edward Brown invariably used it) and thought that it was time it was re-published. Some little while back we were showing the method to a small company of well-informed magicians. They had overlooked the method but after seeing the most tiaturcd way i>i which the magician appare>itly tied a knot, they voted it the best method as yet.

The effect is just that a knot is tied in a handkerchief; the knot disappears when the handkerchief is shaken. There are several such knots, that are generally known, but to the knowledge of the writer, none exist that are at all natural. It never seems to be convincing that a simple and ordinary knot has been tied. In trying to get this effect, the writer has discovered the method which is now described and which fulfils this condition.

It has proved a difficult task to describe, especially as it does not lend itself readily to illustration. Consequently, I have resorted to the expedient of showing the various positions the handkerchief takes, by simple lines, and without showing the position of the hands. I rely on the context to do that. The description is necessarily tedious as nothing has been omitted that will help in making it clear. It will be found well worth while to follow the description with a silk in the hand.

When the moves are mastered, practise by tying a genuine knot, and the false knot described, alternately, getting the two as alike as possible.

Method.—Use a fairly long silk handkerchief, and roll as is usual, for easy working. Allow the handkerchief to lay over both hands, the two ends hanging down from the hands (Fig. I.), the hands being about two inches apart and knuckles downwards. The handkerchief should rest on the forks


of the fingers rather than the palms, and the two thumbs should grip the handkerchief, by pressing on top of the handkerchief against the first fingers.

The left hand hanging portion of the handkerchief is thrown over the right hand, the hands turning inwards and slightly downwards, the third and fourth fingers of each hand pressing upon the centre portion of the handkerchief as though endeavouring to pull each side of the centre. The first finger of the left hand is extended at the same time and is curled round (from above) the portion of the original right hand hanging portion of handkerchief, at the point nearest the fingers of the right hand (Fig. II.). (If the fingers of the right hand are extended, this hooking process will be simplified.)

It will be observed that this left finger makes a bight in the original right hand portion of the handkerchief. The object is to tie a false knot round the bight. The right hand is taken away from its position and the original left hand end of the handkerchief is pulled round the bight completely, and up through the loop that is still held by the left hand. The left hand grips a portion of the original right hand end of the handkerchief, the little finger pressing it against the hand. Pull the left forefinger which should still be hooked round a portion of the handkerchief, drawing the bight into the knot that will be formed. When the knot is tightening, withdraw the left forefinger and the knot will be formed (Figs. 3, 4, 5 and 6). A pull at each end will cause the knot to disappear.


In Hugard's "More Card Manipulations No. 2" appeared an excellent description of Paul Curry's " Turnover Change " In good hands it is one of the finest moves possible for changing a card in the process of turning it either face up or face down. Quite a number of good card workers in this country make excellent use of it though there are a number of conjurers who cannot get that necessary smoothness to make this sleight one hundred per cent. To that number the method to be described should be an ideal substitute. The principle behind the sleight is similar to the Curry Turn-over and consists in the changing of the bottom or top card of the pack for one lying on the table. The change is made in the action of turning surh caid face up or face down. At the conclusion of the sleight the card previously on the table becomes the bottom (or top) card of the pack (according to the manner in which the pack was held). Mr. Hickson's method has what in some cases may be an advantage but on some occasions will be a disadvantage, namely that the card previously on the table when retrieved by the hand holding the pack faces in an opposite direction to the remainder of the cards.

Here now is the way it is done. On the table a card has been placed face down and the left hand holds the remainder of the pack thus :

The faces of the cards are towards the palm and the topmost joint of the third finger is inserted betwen the topmost card and the remainder of the pack, the topmost joints of the second and fourth fingers pressing against the ends of the top cards (this is of course similar to the hold in the ' Curry ' sleight). By extending the second, third and fourth fingers, the top card would of course be turned over. (Figure 1)

The card to be changed lies face down on the table and the left hand approaches from the rear thus : (Figure 2)

Now when the left hand is over the top of the lace down card the left hand thumb goes under the rear edge of the face down card whilst the left hand second finger touches the front edge of the card and prevents it sliding forward. The leit hand simulates the turning over of the card but what actually happens is that as the left hand rises slightly the left hand thumb pulls it up against the pack and at the same time the card held in position by the second, third and fourth fingers is released and allowed to fall face up on the table. The left hand moves back and the card previously face down on the table is now face up on top of the pack. Naturally, the pack is held at such an angle that this is not apparent to any onlooker. (Fig. 3)

As with the ' Curry ' change the use of the hand not holding the pack should be engaged in (say) turning over another card.


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