Pentagram

An independent monthly bulletin for all who want good magic

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The 1-2-4-8 Principle.—In one of the earliest numbers of the Pentagram, its indefatigable editor published an effect which he called " The Thread in the Maze." Briefly, it was a method of giving information as to the name of a selected card over the telephone, by calling out the names of seven other'cards in a certain order. A Joker was used as a " stop " card to indicate the break between the cards giving information as to value, and those giving information as to suit.

The basis of the method was what I know as the " 1-2-4-8 Principle " by means of which any number from 1 to 13 can be indicated by combinations of three or less of these four numbers.

Two things occurred to me at the time ; first the information can be given with much fewer than seven cards, and secondly I did not like the idea of using the Joker as a " stop " card. Additionally I could see that the necessity for calling out the cards in any particular order could be avoided.

As the Pentagram is essentially a magazine for students, some readers may be interested in a closer examination of the subject.

The number of cards necessary would be diminished at once if only one card is used to indicate the suit. Thus, if an Ace, Two, Four, and Eight are used in combination to indicate value, any one of three cards higher than Eight can be used to indicate the suit. (In the " Thread in the Maze " two cards were used to indicate the suit but they had to be in a certain order.) Let us assume that any 9 represents a Spade, any 10 a Diamond, any Jack a Club, and when no suit card is given, i.e., when cards of value 8 or lower only are used, we will know it to be a Heart.

We can now find that the number of cards required to give indication of any card in the pack is as follows. In every case it will be one less if the suit is Hearts.

WESTERN I 2 4 8—continued from page 6y

1 card for an Ace—The 9, io, or Jack is all that is % needed. If it should be the Ace of Hearts, no card at all is required and the assistant can ask quite freely over the 'phone and get the right reply.

4 cards for a Jack—The 8, 2, Ace and the suit card.

4 cards for a King—The 8, 4, Ace and the suit card.

From this we get the following:—

0 cards of 7 required to represent ... 1 card.

1 cards of 7 required to represent ... 6 cards.

It will, therefore, be seen that although 7 cards are necessary from which to make the selection of the particular cards which will code the information, in the great bulk of cases, the selected card can be indicated by 3 cards or less, and never more than 4. Moreover these cards can be mixed up and called out in any order, as the card representing the suit is outside the range of the cards which give the value total.

Applying this we can proceed as follows :—

Commence as in " The Thread in the Maze " version with a pre-arranged pack from which a card is selected and consequently known. The seven cards in a known order can be in the pocket. After the card has been selected, the pack can be given back for thorough shuffling, while the performer talks about his psychic friend at the other end of the telephone. Select the right cards from the pocket and palm them. Get the spectator to cut the shuffled pack, pick up the bottom half adding the palmed cards, and deal off as though they come from the bottom half. Say " I don't want to see these cards at which you cut—but take them and call them out in any order to my psychic friend " —or words to that effect. And the answer will be easy at the other end.

There is one point at which, however, some disguise is necessary. An Ace represents an Ace, and a 2 represents a 2, and so on, although it is not so obvious when several cards are totalled. There are many ways in which this can be overcome. The whole thing could be reversed, for example, so that ap Ace is represented by a King, a 2 by a Queen, 33 a Jack, and so on. Another way would be to subtract 3 pips from the card and code three pips lower accordingly, going to King, Queen and Jack for 3, 2 and Ace. The adjustment could easily be made at the other end: but perhaps the simplest of all would be to take the first seven cards of your pre-arranged pack and let them represent respectively 1, 2, 4, 8, Spade, Diamond and Club.

CLIMAX PREDICTION — continued from bage 70

a stage further, he now takes the pack and quickly runs through it, showing that the selected card is no longer there. He then asks the spectator to turn over the card that was used to cover the paper, and which has been lying in full view the whole time. This turns out to be the missing selected card !

All you need to know :—If you have not got it already, the secret is simplicity itself. All you require is a duplicate of a card to be forced, and the ability to palm a card off under the easiest conditions possible. Commence with the two duplicates on top of the pack. Give the cards a shuffle, keeping these in place. A riffle is the easiest. Now make your prediction, and cover with the top card—one of the duplicates—leaving the other on top, in a good position for controlling for almost any force you may favour, as long as it is convincing. Having had the card ' selected,' let it be returned to the centre of the pack and hold the break. Do not make the pass yet. All eyes are on the cards and you will have a much better opportunity when you ask the spectator to read the prediction. Having done that, once again do not be impatient, but leave the card on top, and remarking that the card should be somewhere near the centre, turn them face up and rapidly run them through, keeping the chosen one covered. Now, when you request the helper to turn over the card on the table, you can palm off the duplicate, having all the cover you could wish for. Casually drop the pack on the table (in case they wish to look for duplicates, although I have never had this happen except with magicians). Your hand goes naturally to your pocket at the completion of the trick, and your pack is complete to carry on with another effect if necessary.

Nothing very clever Irm afraid, but it is easier than it may sound, and quite effective I can assure you.

Stele* Wxvdack't

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