Sham Shuffle


DURING a card demonstration I have found that nothing convinces a spectator so much as the knowledge that the cards in use are genuinely mixed. On the other hand, constant shuffling, either by performer or spectator can be a boring procedure.

What is required is an occasional gesture, something more than a cut, yet not so elaborate as a riffle or overhead shuffle, to retain the spectator's confidence.

The quest becomes even more difficult when it is desired to use almost the same movements for a false as well as a genuine shuffle.

The nearest I have arrived at a solution to this ideal shuffle was evolved from a sleight shown to me by my friend Jean Carles of Grasse, an accomplished close-up performer, who uses it as a card flourish. But first the principle.

Take the pack in the L.H., backs to palm, riffle half the pack on to the fingers of R.H., as in the preliminaries of a riffle or waterfall shuffle, (It is important to bridge the top half of pack strongly during this move). (Fig. 1.)

Both packets of cards are fanned widely by pressing outwards with the thumbs, and inwards with the fingers with both hands. At this point it will be noted that due to the bridge the cards in the L.H. fan will separate and stand up slightly in the centre of fan and create small gaps.

Extend the L.H, fan forward a little, bring the hands together and sweep the R.H. fan into the centre of the L.H. fan. The cards will slide in easily and smoothly. (Fig. 2.)

The entire pack is allowed to fall and blend together as it is squared. (Fig. 3.) Both fore fingers straighten the cards against the little fingers.

What actually happens is that the R.H. portion (formerly the bottom half of pack) now lies intact in the centre of the pack, and the L.H. portion (former top half of pack) is merely divided by the R.H. portion.

The whole action of the shuffle takes only three or four seconds, but is so disarming that a spectator would swear the cards are well and truly mixed.

With this as a foundation I evolved the following:

1. To retain the top dozen or so cards, execute as stated.

2. To keep Reds and Blacks intact for " Out of this World," etc. Hold pack in L.H., and riffle off all cards of one colour on to fingers of R.H. Fan these in R.H. and immediately fan L.H. cards. Sweep R.H. portion into centre of L.H. fan (be sure all the cards go into one division). Bring cards to position as in Figure 3, but do not square. Grip cards at centre (right thumb on top. fingers underneath) and place the pack face down in L.H. Curl left little finger on top of R.H. packet, which is now in centre of pack, to form a break. Square cards and double cut at break. The cards will be in Red and Black order but the colours are reversed from the previous arrangement.

3. To retain complete order of pack, divide pack as before, sweep R.H. fan into centre of L.H. fan. With pack as in Fig. 3. position, grip it at centre with right thumb on top and fingers underneath and place pack in L.H. As you commence

to square cards press inwards with the left little finger on the projecting inner packet to bring the jogged cards to the left. (Fig. 4. exaggerated).

The pack is now squared at top and bottom with the right fingers and thumb. The left forefinger acts as a " stop" and the pack can be tapped lightly at the top and bottom edges with the right fingers without interfering with the jogged cards (Fig. 5).

Finally, as the left forefinger presses cards into crux of thumb, the inner packst is stripped out and placed on top, as in a casual cut. (Fig. 6.)

As you do this insert tip of left little finger to form a break. Double cut, and the pack will be in its former condition.

" The utmost extent of human knowledge is comparative ignorance."

Andrew Crosse "The Wizard of Ql antock Hills," as he lay dying, 1855.



AFTER shuffling a pack of cards which have been in use, the performer then lays it on the table and asks someone to assist him. The spectator is instructed to remove from his pocket his loose change and select any coin.

Taking the pack the performer asks, for the first time, for the date of the coin. Then without any suspicious moves he proceeds to count out the date by dealing four heaps; if the date is 1948, he places one card in first heap, nine cards in second, four cards in third and eight cards in last heap.

All this, explains the performer, should bring to light something of personal interest to the spectator. So he enquires of him his car number, house number, etc., but shakes his head doubtfully on learning these.

Finally he asks his helper for his telephone number. If say, Central 6792 he says, " That is it!" and turns face up the four heaps to reveal pips on the cards as 6792. Working—

This, as may be guessed, is intended for use as an intimate party stunt.

First ascertain who will attend, then look up and make a note of a couple of 'phone numbers. Select those with no noughts in them.

During a previous trick run through the pack and injog four cards, to correspond with the 'phone number you intend to use, and cut them to the top of pack. If, as stated, the number is 6792 transpose them to form 9267 with the 9 spot as top card. (Obviously you must injog th:m in reverse order).

When ready, shuffle the cards, but retain the top four cards. Select your particular victim and ask him to bring out his small change. As he prepares to do this you have ample time to thumb count 12 cards from the top of pack, lift them off slightly but retain the top card with left fingers and let it slip into the break. Immediately afterwards slip the next card from the top on to txz previous card just moved. Lay the pack on the table. (The position now is that on top of pack is a 6 spot and under it is a 7 spot, the 11th card is a 2 spot and the 12th card a 9 spot). These moves will go undetected as the attention will be on the spectator at this point.

When the spectator goes to examine his coins, most of which will be of this century, you can suggest, from a distance, of course, that he use " that half crown on the top or that shilling," etc. State you would prefer him to choose a coin with no noughts in the date.

When he is satisfied with his choice, pick up the pack, and give it a couple of false fan shuffles (described elsewhere) which will not disturb the arranged cards.

Prepare to deal 4 heaps in a row. Instruct spectator to call out each figure of the dats separately. Suppose it is 1938, the first figure is always a one so deal one card fairly as first heap, then 9 cards fairly as second heap. For the third heap hold back the top card (a 2 spot) and second deal the whole of the number called (in this case a 3). For the last heap deal 8 cards fairly.

Tell the spectator that you feel there is a personal link involved and enquire his car number, house number, etc., and finally hit on his 'phone number. Repeat the numbers slowly as you turn over the heaps to disclose corresponding numbers on the four cards

After Thoughts

If a coin of the last century is proffered keep a break under the three top cards when dealing the second heap. Then deal the top card followed by the next two cards dealt as one card.

Credit for the novel date count (used for another purpose) goes to Stewart James.

The method can be used to reveal the four aces " lost" in the pack. Similarly for the discovery of a quadruple selection of cards.

If desired to dispense with the second deal the following method may be adopted. If number is 6792 bring cards to top 2967, deuce on top. Slip or double cut top card to bottom of pack. Thumb count 11 cards and slip top card between. Lay pack on table. Proceed with heaps one, two and three, but for last heap shuffle the remaining cards in hand and bring bottom card to top. Finish as in first method.

The first method, however-, is much superior.

" Magic is a wholesome hobby. It provides an outlet for exhibitionists, offers a means of escape for introverts, and encourages good fellowship. But if your talents lie elswhere, if no one other than your mother has commended you on your prowess as a Merlin, dont abuse this delightful form of entertainment."

Robert Lund. Conjurors' Magazine, Vol. 5.



Continued from page 75


Since most Ellis ring routines are designed for close up presentation and the effects possible are, from the layman's point of view, so remarkable, it is only natural that the spectators should wish to satisfy themselves that the ring is a plain ring of steel and nothing more. There are two basic procedures for dealing with this situation.

In this first case the ring, complete with shell, is introduced and the chosen effect performed. Since in most Ellis ring effects the shell is disposed of before the climax of the effect is reached, it is a perfectly safe procedure to offer the ring for examination at that stage. In the second case the ring, complete with shell, is introduced (care being taken to let it be seen that only one ring is in evidence) then the shell is palmed off before giving the ring for examination. On the return of the ring the shell is silently replaced, then the effect in hand can proceed. A variation of the second case is to introduce the ring alone and give it for examination meanwhile secretly obtaining the shell (from a clip, the sleeve or elsewhere) which is then added to the ring on its return.

The above applies mainly to individual effects. In the case of several effects blended to form a routine a combination of both procedures can be used. Thus, assuming that it is desired to perform " Ring on Necktie," followed by " John Howie's Ring on Pencil" (both described later), the first effect could be performed without examination of the ring and at the climax of the effect the shell would be temporarily disposed of (in the sleeve). After a brief examination of the ring by a spectator, the shell would be retrieved, secretly replaced on the ring, and the second effect performed.

With regard to examination of the ring following removal of the shell, individual performers will, no doubt, evolve methods of " palming off " to suit themselves. However, for the sake of completeness, two methods are given here, the first being a direct method, the second incorporating a simple but useful flourish.


This is probably the simplest method of palming off the shell. Take the ring and shell from the pocket so that the shell lies next to the fingers. Better still, show the ring and shell as as one then, keeping the back of the left hand towards the spectators, allow the ring and shell to swivel round so that the shell is next to the fingers. With the ring and shell positioned at tffe roots of the second and third fingers, contract these fingers slightly and turn the left hand palm down over the upturned right hand. The ring alone will fall to the right hand as shown in Fig. 6. A single trial will confirm the simplicity of this procedure.

On the return of the ring it will usually be necessary to replace the shell upon it and this should be done silently and with the minimum of finger movement. The following procedure will be found to be simple and effective. Hold the ring pinched between the right forefinger and thumb, the thumb being towards the floor as shown in Fig. 7. With the shell still held in the left fingerpalm bring the left hand, thumb upwards, in front of the right positioning the shell immediately in front of the ring. Press the ring gently into the shell (an operation that can be absolutely silent) and fold the left fingers inward. When the shell covered ring is flat on the left palm, remove the right hand, turn the left hand, palm towards the spectators, and extend the left fingers to display the ring on the palm as in Fig. 8. The whole action takes but a moment.


In this case start with the shell covered ring on the left hand as in Fig. 8. The hand should be pointing downwards so that the ring is clearly seen. Bend the left second and third fingers upwards and press them firmly into the combined ring and shell as in Fig 9. Raise the left hand keeping it palm upwards and as the forearm approaches the horizontal, unbend the left second and third fingers so as to keep the shell in a vertical plane. It will be found that the shell is automatically carried away from the ring as the left fingers unbend. At the completion of this movement the position should be as in Fig. 10. which shows the view from directly above. Done correctly it should appear that the ring never leaves the spectators' sight. At this stage the hand should, of course, be above the spectators' eye level. I have dubbed this move the " Howie Pick-up Move," since it is a move of general utility and reference will be made to it later in the book.

A throw to the right hand is now executed as follows : Turn slightly to the right and swing

Fig. 6

the left hand in an arc over the upturned right hand letting the solid ring go to the right hand. By the end of the swing the left fingers, other than the forefinger, are bent in to the palm as shown in Fig. 11. Care must be taken to avoid the ring and shell striking each other but this is simply a matter of care and practice. The " flash " of metal all the way over to the right hand makes this switch particularly effective. If desired the shell can be pressed into the classic palm position so as to release all the left fingers but this is not essential.

Now press the right second and third fingers into the ring and raise it in the same way as done by the left fingers earlier. Holding the ring in this position, offer it for examination. On regaining the ring hold it between the right forefinger and thumb as in Fig. 7. and replace the shell (moved in the meantime to the left finger palm position) as described above under the direct palm off.

At this point a ruse due to Dr. F. V. Taylor is worthy of note. In order to free both hands the combined ring and shell may be placed and held in one eye like a monacle. Thus, though the apparatus is not given for examination, this casual handling is such as creates a strong impression that the ring cannot be other than a simple metal ring beyond suspicion.


Most Ellis ring effects are concerned with the passing of the ring on to a rod, ribbon, handkerchief, etc., and a procedure frequently suggested is to thread the ribbon, etc., through the combined ring and shell as a " demonstration." The shell alone is then removed thus enabling a magical penetration to be effected subsequently. This

procedure-, whilst very easy to adopt, is in the author's opinion, one to be avoided.

Everyone lenows the normal way of passing a ring on an article such as a rod or ribbon. Why, therefore, waste time and, by implication, insult the spectators intelligence by putting the ring on only to remove it again immediately? Every

fs Cn, rof move made in a magical effect should have an adequate reason to support its being made and it is felt that the reason for the procedure described above is just not strong enough.

A further reason for avoiding the "demonstration " procedure is that it forewarns the spectators as to the effect you are about to perform. A much better and more surprising effect is achieved if the penetration of the article by the ring is carried out without any previous contact between them. This desirable result can usually be obtained by careful routining of the preliminary moves—practical examples will be found in the effects described in Parts 2 and 3 of this book.

(To be continued)


"First Call to Cards'» by Stewart James (Published by Harold Sterling of Michigan, U.S.A. price two dollars. English representative Francis Haxton, St. Anthony's Nonsuch Walk, Cheam, Surrey).

Those who have had the pleasure of seeing the author of this book work the effects detailed therein, will, we know waste no time in purchasing a copy.

Altogether there are twelve effects with a pack or packs of cards none of which call for digital skill or faked accessories. They are as follow :—

" Mike and Ike," "the first item is a story trick based on a most ingenious principle that allows the magician to locate four cards under seemingly impossible conditions. A second version of the plot make use of contrasting backed packs.

" Seven Wonders" the next item is a card puzzle that to us seems a bit too complicated in plot. At the same time the means employed to bring about the desired end cannot but arouse admiration.

"The Name is the Same," is a version of a Do as I Do-," credit being given by the author to ourselves for the inspiration. Stewart's method keeps to the effect (namely that the spectator and magician produce a similar card by spelling out each other's names), and achieved with far less physical effort.

" Matchimera " is one of the gems of the collection. Performer and spectator each select and replace a card in the pack which later is halved. On the halves being dealt both spectator's and performer's card turn up at the same spot. A very straightforward plot with undetectable means.

" The Deckspert" which follows is also very straightforward. The plot is that the performer like a good card sharper can estimate the cut. Here again the means are so simple and out of all proportion to the effect.

"The Flight of the Spelling Bee." On a blank card the performer has a drawing of a " Spelling " Bee. A tap on the back of the pack and a chosen card can be spelled out. The spectator chooses a card and the performer taking the " Bee " card shows him how to spell out the name of a card a letter at a time. The spectator fails, thereupon taking the pack the performer mentions that the spectator didn't tap the pack with the " Bee." Doing this the spectator's card is then successfully dealt.

"A Girl's Best Friend" is a fine item for closing a location routine, where one card is yet to be disclosed. It takes the form of a story in which after several cards in a mixed order have been spelt out in proper order, the card to be located is left in the performers hand.

" Dateaser," is a very nice way of revealing a chosen card. The performer places on the table besides the cards-, a slip of paper bearing the dates on which the trick was previouly performed. A card having been selected and it is shown that the five dates have a hidden meaning for by substituting letters for the numbers they represent the name of the chosen card is spelled out.

"Double Time in Spiritland," is a definite improvement on Jordan's " Spirit, Mathematician " and at the table would make a very nice item for use with miniature cards.

" The Square Deal " and " Coloracle " have a certain similarity. In fact the latter is really a combination of " Double Time in Spiritland " and " The Square Deal." It is a mathematical prediction of the first order plus the fact that procedure is very much off the beaten path.

" Improsonic " the final item is a version of the " Supersonic " plot but using no faked cards and at the same time allowing the spectator the free choice of a number.

Looking through the twenty-eight pages which make up this book, we realise that Stewart James is a comrade in spirit to Jordan and Hummer. We know that when you get your copy of this very finely produced publication, which with its offset typeset gives a nostalgic whiff of the great Jinx, you will find at least one effect which you will use and keep on using, and just as I blessed the day when I first saw 'Stewart's " Miraskill" in the Jinx, so you will have cause to be thankful for this little book, for here is such stuff that magic dreams are made on. It is a delight to the magical connoisseur.

" Effects with the Riffle Count." by Mark Weston. Published by the author at 5, Deakin Street, Lower Ince, Wigan, Lanes. Price 4/-.

Mr. Weston has taken a sleight and used it as a means for achieving a great number of magical effects. Many of these could be achieved by other means, but undoubtedly the point Mr. Weston wishes to bring home is the catholic way in which the riffle count can be used. We know that those who have based their card technique on Merlin's "And a Deck of Cards" have already realised the potentialities of this useful sleight. The author of the present manuscript takes it to the uttermost stage.

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