Odd Or Even

EDMUND ROWLAND

THE working of this little item depends on two things. First of all on the fact (too obvious for most people to notice), that a rectangular card can be turned over in two dif ferent ways (either from side to side or from top to bottom) and that the effect of turning it over in both ways in succession is merely the same as turning it around or upside down. And secondly on the fact that when a number like 608 which is even is turned around or upside down it becomes a number like 809 which is odd.

Prepare six rectangular cards like those which are illustrated below. Each of these has a three-figure number printed on one side only. The backs are blank or, if the cards are made from blank-faced playing cards, they can carry some sort of " reversible " design.

To get them in the correct order for the trick, arrange them face-up in a straight line on the table with the third card from the left showing the number 608. Then gather them up on top of one another from left to right and turn the whole packet over FROM SIDE TO SIDE.

In performing the trick, deal them face-down on the table in front of a spectator. Explain to him that each card bears a number on the other side. Some of these are odd and the rest, of course, are even. Both of you are going to choose just one card each and the two numbers on these will be added together. This will produce either an odd or an even total. Ask him which he would like it to be.

Then point out that you had better be allowed to choose yours first because it would be easy for you to choose a number which would produce the kind of total he wants if he chose his number first (for you probably know the position of each of the numbers and would, therefore, be able to tell whether he had chosen an odd one or an even one).

Yet, when each of you has chosen a card, you turn both of them over to show that the total of the two freely chosen numbers is the kind for which he asked.

To produce this result, the card you choose for yourself must always be the one bearing the numbers 608 or 809 (which is the third from the left you will remember), and you must always turn the spectator's over first (to see if his number is odd or even), and you must always turn it over FROM SIDE TO SIDE.

Then, if he wants the total to be odd and has chosen an odd number, you turn your card over FROM SIDE TO SIDE as well (to get an odd total of 243 + 608, 185 + 608 or 597 + 608). On the other hand, if he wants the total to be odd but has chosen an even number, you turn your own card over FROM TOP TO BOTTOM instead (to get an odd total of 314 + 809 or 732 + 809).

Similarly, if he wants the total to be even and has chosen an even number, you turn both cards over FROM SIDE TO SIDE (to get an even total of 314 + 608 or 732 + 608), but, if he has chosen an odd number, you turn your own card over FROM TOP TO BOTTOM to get an even total of 243 + 809, 185 + 809 or 597 + 809).

In other words, if his chosen number is the same as the total he is wanting (that is, both odd or both even), you turn both cards over FROM SIDE TO SIDE. If it is no the same (that is, one odd and one even), you turn his card over FROM SIDE TO SIDE. If it is not the same (that is, one FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.

Apart from the slight trouble of remembering this simple rule, the trick more or less works itself.

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