Andy Hurst

This is an impossible location where the magician goes out of the way to cancel out the possible ways the trick could be done.

Here's what the audience sees;

"I'm sure you've all seen magicians who have you take a card and then they work out which one it was. Or maybe you've got an uncle who has done the trick with piles of cards and lots of dealing and you've had to politely applaud his ability to do something that works itself mathematically.

And some of you will have come across marked cards and maybe even suspect that a professional like myself would sink so low as to use them. So let's really try to set up a series of impossible circumstances.

First of all will you cut off about half of the deck, and give those a good shuffle. You can riffle them like this if you like (magician demonstrates with other half of the deck) or you can keep it conventional and overhand mix them like this, and even give them a couple of cuts if you like.

When you're happy with that I'll have them back. Actually you mixed those more thoroughly than I mixed mine so you better shuffle up these as well (hands participant the other half of the deck).

So you've shuffled all these cards to eliminate the possibility that I had the deck in some special order. In fact I'll show you the faces and you can confirm they really are well mixed, and that it's a regular deck, there are no duplicates or anything like that - and I'll turn away so I don't see (magician runs through cards face up to the audience so they can see and keeps turned away as he does). But I don't want you or anyone else in the room to know anything about where any of the cards are either because I want to eliminate the possibility that I have a confederate or helper hidden among you. So we'll give it one more quick mix (magician gives the face-down deck a weave shuffle) like this and then we'll put the deck down (magician puts deck on table).

Now usually a magician would run through the deck and have you pick one out. If I was to do that you might say that I somehow made you take a particular card, even though at this stage I have no idea what any card in that deck is. But you might still think I could secretly see one and then make you pick it or some such nonsense and I want to eliminate that chance too. So instead we are going to eliminate a bunch of cards from the top of that deck and arrive at a card that no one can know. And you're going to do that when my back is turned and someone here will make sure I stay looking forward the entire time. But first we need a random number between 1 and 52, actually so we're not here all day let's make it between 1 and 30 or 40, something like that.

In a moment I will turn my back and I want you to eliminate that number of cards, deal them in a pile to one side. Then take the next card and deal that face down on the table. Then I want you to gather all the remaining cards, you can mix them if you like, in fact to totally hide them you can put them back in the card case so I can't see any of them. Then cover the single card you dealt to one side with the card box so I can't see the back of it either."

The magician turns his back and the spectator does exactly this. When all this has been done the magician may turn back around. On the table in front of him is a boxed deck of cards and under that is a random card that not even the spectators know the value of. The box totally covers that card.

"Now I just want to be totally certain before I attempt to divine the randomly selected card that I really have been as fair as possible. You shuffled the deck, you checked it to ensure that there were no duplicate cards and that it had ended up in a totally random order and we even mixed it before, so unless I have the ability to re-order a mixed deck of cards with one shuffle - which I don't, there's no way the deck is stacked. Heck, even if I did have such ability, I would need to know what positions cards fell in before my shuffle and you shuffled the deck too! After all the mixing, you decided on a totally random number and eliminated that many cards getting us to a random spot in the deck and you dealt that card down. You then gathered all the cards and boxed them and covered the selection so that even if the cards were marked - which they're not, that wouldn't help me in the slightest. And best of all - you didn't even glimpse at the card yourself, so I can't even rely on mind reading.

It seems to me I have two choices, one is to merely guess at the card you arrived at, and at odds of 52-1 against, I don't fancy that bet. The other is for me to use my abilities to divine that random card. I promise I won't touch the box, the selection or indeed any of the cards, I do however need to cast a shadow over it with my hand..."

The magician now reveals the card piece by piece. The spectator then picks up the box, and turns over the random card - sure enough the magician was correct.

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