The Reverse Stack


LATE in 1948 the American magazine carried an advertisement of a new effect by Paul Curry—Power of Thought. In common with most card men I tried to discover for myself the method of working. When the manuscript eventually arrived I found I was on the wrong track, but my search had resulted in uncovering a principle which I am sure has not yet been fully exploited. Corresponding with Eddie Joseph, at that time in Bombay, I found that he also had hit on the same method as myself for Power of Thought but neither he nor I could eliminate a snag which continually appeared in our method of working. Eddie used his ideas in a routine he put out called Staggered, which is worth using and those with files of the Indian Digest will find other ideas of his there. My own routines were published in Pentagram as " Result of Thought" and " Clannish." Glenn Gravatt in his Final Selection has a routine similar to " Clannish " under the title of " Super-Divino." There is also a different idea in Ibidem, which is worthy of a closer look.

So much for the principle.

In trying to eliminate the snag already mentioned one automatic mathematical feature came to light. Unfortunately for me, the finest use of this knowledge is in a mental routine. I dislike mentalism, and not wishing to descend the ladder, I pass it on to my poor cousin—the mentalist.


The pack is divided in two. A card selected in one heap has its twin turn up at the identical position in the other heap. The mentalist then makes a prediction. That another set of twins will appear—their names—the position at which they will appear. (You are advised to read " Clannish " in the March, 1957, issue of Pentagram for a more complete description of the first phase of the effect.)


A pack is set jjp in the Si Stebbins or the Hammond Stack.


After the pack has been cut and/or false shuffled it is handed to a spectator who is asked to count off 26 cards. This is done face-down on to the table and thus reverses their order. The 26 cards dealt off are then passed over to a second spectator to hold. The first spectator then places his pile of 26 cards face-down on the table. He makes a simple cut placing the cut-off portion to the right. The top card of the bottom portion is turned face-up and placed, still face-up, on top of the face-down upper portion, the lower portion is then placed face-down on top of the face-up card. The first spectator then lifts his 26 cards. Both spectators now have 26 cards face-down in their hands, but the first spectator has a card freely selected face-up in his pile. Both spectators are then asked to deal cards in unison face-down. When the faceup card is reached the mentalist asks them to pause. The top card of the second spectator's pile is turned over and shown as a twin.

The TWINS are laid aside and are not included in the future calculations. The mentalist maintains that another set of twins have moved themselves into identical position in either pile. He predicts their name and position. The spectators again deal the cards, this time face-up so that they may see there are no other twins at other positions. At the predicted number a pause is made before turning over the predicted twins.

Let's go back and see how the mentalist gains the information he needs to make his prediction. As the cards are being dealt Tjy the two spectators simultaneously face-down into separate piles he counts the number they deal BEFORE they reach the face-up card. (When this face-up card is reached, its twin is also turned face-up and both these cards are set aside. Do NOT include them in the figure you count.)

If the number dealt in each pile is ODD, have the spectators pick up the cards they have just dealt and replace them on top of the cards they are holding. The twins will lie as the centre card in the piles they have just picked up and replaced. The easiest way to calculate the number is to add ONE to the number you have counted and divide by TWO. Using the first set of twins as a starting point you can now calculate ONWARDS in the stack and determine the name of the cards which will turn up in the predicted position, e.g., the number of cards dealt in each heap is 15. The predicted number will be 8. The Twins are black sevens. The predicted cards (in the Stebbins Stack) are Black Fives.

If the number dealt in each pile is EVEN, have the spectators place the cards they hold on top of the cards they have already dealt. SUBTRACT this EVEN number from 26 and divide by TWO. That gives the number for prediction. Again the first set of twins are used as a starting point but this time you calculate BACKWARD in the stack to find the predicted cards, e.g., the number of cards dealt in each pile is 12. Subtracted from 26 gives 14 which divided by 2 gives 7 as the predicted number. The Twins are RED THREES which makes the predicted cards Black Eights.

The remainder of the cards may be quickly dealt if desired to show there are no other twins in position. This is also the reason for dealing the cards face-up in the second part of the effect. Naturally for the same reason the cards must be dealt face-down in the first portion.

Additionally you may wish to name the first set of twins by telepathy. To do so you make a glimpse. The best time to do this is when you ask him to cut the portion he is holding. Take the cards he cuts off. Turn round, hand these to an interested spectator glimpsing the bottom card as you do so. After the card is turned face up it is replaced on those cards held by the interested spectator and the bottom portion is replaced by the first spectator all whilst your back is turned. Due to your glimpse you know the twins as the face-up card is one ahead in the stack you are using.


1. Pack stacked.

3. 26 cards counted off.

4. Remainder cut. Top card of cut on top of upper half face-up, lower half placed on top.

5. Both piles dealt simultaneously.

6. Stop on appearance of face-up card. Twins shown. Twins LAID ASIDE.

Part Two

1. Cards secretly counted in stage 5 above. Odd Number Even Number

2. Put Dealt portion on top of held portion in each pile.

2. Put Held portion on top of Dealt portion, in each pile.

4. Divide by two and predict this number.

5. Calculate ONWARD from twin in part one for predicted card.

Deal off simultaneously and prove both predictions.

3. Add one to number. 3. Subtract from 26.

4. Divide by two and predict this number.

5. Calculate BACKWARD from twin in part one for predicted card.

6. Deal off simultaneously and prove both predictions.

P.S.—Readers of the Linking Ring will notice the similarity between my " Result of Thought" in Pentagram, 1953, and Phantini's " Thought Power " in the Phantini Parade, 1957. I have no doubt that Phantini reached his results independently and hope this article will bring out more routines of the Reverse Stack.

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