The Lie Detector Case

Effect: A thought-of card materializes inside the card case. Notice these strong points:

1. The card is genuinely thought of, not touched or peeked; no questions are asked, etc.

2. The magician names the card without looking through the deck. He sees only two cards, neither of which give any trustworthy clues as to the card's identity.

3. The thought-of card is really inside the card box; yet there is no palming, nor duplicates.

Bro. John's patter theme revolves around the story of a lie-detector box which discloses the truth and finally materializes thoughts within itself.

Method: Explain that you wish the audience to all think of a card together, so that their combined thought-power can effect the impossible.

Have someone shuffle the cards and put the deck on the table. He is to think of any number from one to ten. Then, when your back is turned, he is to slowly and silently count off that number of cards one at a time from the deck into a small pile on the table. This pile is then covered with his hand. The audience is to watch his count so that everyone will know the thought-of number without it being spoken.

When this has been done, turn around, pick up the deck and shuffle it casually. Tell them that you will show them ten random cards from the shuffled pack. They are to think of the card that lies at the number they all have in mind. Hold up the top card of the pack, face toward them and away from you. Call out, "One," and drop it face-down to the table. Count, "Two," as you show them the second card and drop it onto the first. Continue in this manner until ten cards have been shown and their order reversed on the table. Explain that the spectators need no longer remember the number, only the card.

This method of choosing a card must be presented as an obvious necessity (not an oddity), providing a logical method for having everyone think of the same card without having it touched, shown or otherwise revealed in a manner that might offer any clues of its identity to the magician.

Pick up the pile of counted cards without looking at them and place them onto the pack. Give the deck a convincing false shuffle that retains the top ten cards intact. As this is done you are pattering about the power of "collective thought," etc.

Ask for the cards under the spectator's hand — again, don't look at them — and add them to the deck. Execute another false shuffle, retaining the top stock. During this entire gathering and shuffling procedure all your attention should be on what you are saying, not what you are doing with the cards. The impression you wish to convey is that the cards mean nothing.

Due to the procedure followed, the thought-of card will now automatically be the eleventh card from the top of the deck.

Hold the deck in your left hand as you pick up the closed card case, flap toward the audience and the half-moon cut-out on top, in your right hand. Explain that the case is a lie-detector box. Place it on top of the deck in the left hand. (By doing this you are setting up a psychological precedent for a move that must be made shortly.) Leave the case there, held under the left thumb and overlapping the deck for about half its width. See Figure 1. It is kept there as you talk about the properties of the box. Then set it back down on the table.

Deal two hands of five cards each face-down onto the table, one to the left, the second to the right. Tell a spectator on your left to pick up the lefthand packet, keep one card and put the remaining four back on the table. You tell him that the card he chooses to keep is to be an indicator of the suit of the thought-of card. However, he is under no obligation to be truthful in his choice of a "suit" card. It may or may not match the suit of the mentally selected card, just as he wishes. In other words, he may lie or tell the truth.

As he makes his choice and all eyes are on him, get a fourth-finger break under the top card of the deck in the left hand. This card is the thought-of card. Pick up the card case once more and place it half overlapping the deck just as you did previously.

Ask a spectator on your right to pick up the righthand packet and choose a card from it as a "value indicator" of the thought-of card. He also is given the option of lying or telling the truth in his choice. He then places the other four cards back onto the table.

It is as the second spectator is making his selection that you use this misdirection to steal the top card of the deck under the card case. The right hand grasps the case from above, fingers at the outer end, thumb at the inner. The deck is brought momentarily flush under the case and the top card is picked up. See Figure 2. Then the left hand casually sets the deck aside to your left. That hand returns to the case and takes it from the right hand into dealing position, the thought-of card hidden below it. See Figure 3.


Ask the spectator on the left for his "suit" card. Put it on top of the card case, half out-jogged and right-jogged, so that you can receive the righthand spectator's card with your right hand. (Notice that all actions are motivated and logical.) Place the righthand card on top of the jogged card in the left hand (see Figure 4) and slide both together under the card case. They go face-down beneath the hidden card and all three are squared with the left hand as the right hand moves the case forward to open the flap. See Figure 5. The case is shown casually empty. All your actions here have been reasonable. Don't invite suspicion by rushing guiltily through them.

Say that you will now put the two cards in the lie-detector box to check them for lies. Lay the card case, flap open, on the table. They must be sure it is empty. Casually show the three cards you are holding as two as follows: grasp the cards from above with the right hand, fingers on the outer ends, thumb on the inner. The left fingers then drag off the bottom card into the left palm, leaving the top two cards squared as one in the right hand. Briefly display the faces of the single and double cards. See Figure 6. All is as it should be, with the thought-of card hidden behind the righthand card.

Place the lefthand card back on the face of the righthand double and put them all into the case, faces toward the half-moon cut-out. Close the case and lift it to your left ear. Rattle it. Then rattle it at the right ear. You explain that you are checking for lies.

Open the box, half-moon cut-out and cards' faces toward you. Take out the foremost card and toss it face-up to your left on the table. This should be the "suit indicator." Remove the next card and toss it face-up to your right. This is the "value indicator." At this point the thought-of card's index will be staring at you from the case. Note it and close the flap. Set the case between the two face-up cards on the table. This makes a nice visual display.

Now, in your most entertaining manner reveal the lies and truths that have been told. End by naming the thought-of card as you have the audience all picture the card in their minds.

Finally, make a magical gesture and produce the card from the case!

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