Nil KOI A, LOUIS
In The Nikola Card System, London (1927) this great English magician describes his mnemonic order, a classic and still serviceable memorization method and several tricks. Although a certain mnemonic deck, or a numbered rosary stack, had been popular since the nineteenth century (see Raynaly in the magazine L'lllusionislc, 1905, and Roter-berg and Hofzinser in this bibliography), the popularity of a stack that needs to be memorized is largely owed to Nikola. His monograph was republished as the last chapter in Hugard's Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (1937). There are many good spelling tricks, locations, predictions, poker, nap, whist and bridge deals, named cards to pocket, divinations of the bottom cards of several packets, and demonstrations of human magnetism, miraculous touch, weighing the cards, telepathy, etc. Excellent.
In the inexhaustible and marvelous magazine The jinx, No. 5, Feb. 1935, he described a highly sophisticated method for "Lie Detector" (p. 19), which I applied to "The Liar" in this book (p. 218).
In his fascinating and scholarly work, The Annotated Erdnase (1991), he provides some facts about the historical evolution of stacked decks in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (p. 213). In Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table (1988), p. 137, there is (aside from some very good tricks that don't require a stack) a rapid way to arrange a deck "by threes" (the Galasso-Stebbins stack), starting from new-deck order and in front of the audience (p. 137).
Ozanam, Jacques desert <4r ni,hiS Rec™^ nthematiques el physiques (1693) he u-t aI:;~:,s r rf,a cark ^ -i!rr (card in egs)-Hc
«rd to an ass is f 8 md 3 systcm to code thc identity °f ** into the egg. °UtS'dt'the room' who introduces the correct card
Mnemonica y 395
In The jinx, Winter 1935-1936 Special, there is a twr nation, "The Psychic Knows" (p. 86). Another trick is "I? di'' "
Again (1933, p 32), written with Oscar Weigle, jr. InGrM Tricks Revisiled
on the bottoms of several cut packets, original with Jack Gordon, and a couple more ideas. PONSIN, J. N.
In his very interesting book, NottvelleMagie blancheMfe (1853-1854» he explains a couple of tricks with a stacked deck. In one of them he resorts to lip reading, as one spectator whispers the name of a card to another The magician then finds, through estimation, the card in question and makes it appear on top of the stacked deck.
Born in Iran, Rezvani lived in Paris where he gained recognition for his ideas and mastery of the craft. In his book Le$ secrets du sorcier (1954), written in collaboration with Jean Metayer, he describes a presentational variation of the notion of stacking the deck by calling for the cards in order (p. 14). He also comments on the idea of using a deck of fifty-two cards, each bearing a different drawing, instead of the usual spots and pictures (p. 66). Each drawing is related to the name of a card, allowing us to stack them accordingly. In La Magie du sorcier (1946), written by Maurice Sardina (and translated into English in 1949 by Dariel Fitzkee as The Magic ojRezvani), he explains "Cards Discovered by Touch" (p. 36): After learning the identities of two selections by glimpsing the respective adjacent cards, the magician leaves the room while the cards are shown to the audience and shuffled into the deck. In another deck, the magician finds duplicates of the selections and puts them into his pocket. When he returns to the room, he puts the shuffled deck into his pocket, next to the two duplicates, and brings these out as if found by touch. Rezvani also describes the following method for stacking the deck in front of the audience: Five cards are forced and returned. The cards are spread face up on the table and picked up rapidly in mnemonic order. On reaching each of the forced cards, the magician identifies it as one of the selections, as well as the person who chose it <p. • ). Rezvani created some formidable effects with marked cards (although T heo-dore DeLand in America had already marketed a stacked and marked dec in 1912, called "The Great Bull Dog Mystery", which learn the identity of a selected card by merely looking at the bac or t card at a distance). See also the entry for Claude Rix below.
In the Winter 1990 issue of Club 71, the British mag. azine, he describes an intelligent version of a Card and a Number using two stacked decks (p. 20). In the Summer issue of 1998 he outlines the explanation of that version again and then adds another version that doesn't require a stack but, instead, employs a subtle method for adding cards at will inside a card case
In collaboration with Hcrvi Pigny, he published a remarkable book in French, titled Claude Rix et ses 52 partenaires (1995). There he tells of his ideas with a mnemonic stack, along with a substantial number of tricks with it, focusing especially on a marked stacked deck. He studies the possibilities of a stack in reverse order and of Rezvani's deck of cards with drawings on their faces. He also discusses faro applications, combinations of a stacked deck with pairs of short and long cards glued at the ends (to allow real shuffles to be done), color separations (among them a very good idea shown to Rix by M. Gau-tluon as early as 1945, half a century before the publication of his book!), combinations of the stacked deck with one or several timepieces, and some effects using an assistant (sometimes introduced as such, and occasionally employed as a stooge). Aside from the good tricks, his presentations are strong and beautiful, and he gives an abundance of tips and suggestions on how to get the most out of a stacked deck. First and foremost, the book showcases a true passion, a deep love, a lifetime devotion to our dear mnemonic deck. 1 heartily recommend it to all who, like Claude (whose work with the Cups and Balls 1 also fervently admire) and myself, feel the sweet disease and suffer from mnemonic itch.
Robert-Houdin, Jean Eugene
I he brilliant French artist, a master of presentation and of magical psychology, describes in his extraordinary Us Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magic (1868—translated into English by Professor Hoffmann in 1878 as The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic), "le Clmpelet or rosary stack (p. 176). On p. 227 is "Us cartes sympathises" ("The Sympathetic Cards"), a coincidence between two selected cards from different ir\|
Mnemonic a 397
decks (one of them stacked, then reseated in its box to appear brand new). Once the selection in the stacked deck is ascertained, the magician opens the other deck, locates the duplicate and forces it with a brilliant method that is now seldom, if at all, used. The explanation includes the psychology underlying the trick and its sleights, as well as that embodied in the summation of the procedure before revealing the climax, and in the final dramatization. This study of the trick is a delight to read and provides a deep insight into magic (quite a common thin, incidentally, in the study of most tricks by this French master)
In The Jinx, No. 5, Feb. 1935, is an idea for "The Lie Detector" (p 19) adding ten stacked cards to a deck shuffled by a spectator. Although this is not a full-deck stack, I mention it in case anyone wants to use it in combination with those by Dalban and Nyquist, cited above.
In his magnificent book Magia delle carle (1935), there are several good tricks for a stacked deck on pp. 350-360 of the enlarged iifth edition. Among them is one in which the position of a selection is ascertained while pretending to count the cards during a spring flourish (p. 356). There is another good effect on p. 358, in which a spectator selects one pile from four that have been covered with a handkerchief. The magician names the cards contained in that pile and opens an envelope that has been in full view the whole time, which contains a prediction of all the selections. Hie envelope actually contains three other envelopes and several lists of cards. The author, with whom I share the day and month of birth, provides abundant and fascinating facts on the various stacking systems.
Born in Hamburg, Germany, he later moved to Chicago, where, in 1897, he published his excellent New Era Card Tricks, which included many ideas from both the United States and Germany. Given the popularity of the stacked deck all over Europe from the sixteenth
. mo nineteenth, it is not surprising that
CCn'7 included sevcra .ricks for a stacked deck RoterlxTg mcluded se ^ ^ ^ ^
i^r^-Tsays it a... This trl^^s tfuHdo<^"ci^''deck switch done behind the magician s Zl Which remains to this day a very good one
"The Demon Envelope" (p. 100) is an exceptional eff(,, in which the names of six freely chosen cards Lded to an assistant hidden behind a curtain) __
appear written on six nested envelopes that are inside a seventh envelope which has been in view from the start. The assistant, who takes care of writing the names of those cards on the envelopes, comes on stage and secretly switches one nest of envelopes for another while handing them to the spectators for them to open. I personally think it's a pity that we don't have many tricks nowadays in which trained assistants perform coordinated actions with the magician to accomplish effects like this.
The Conjurer's Prediction" (p. 155) also utilizes a backstage assistant. After three cards are thought of, the magician pretends to divine them and write their names on three slips of paper, which he lays on a side table. The spectators take the three thought-of cards out of the deck without letting the magician see the faces. Then the magician secretly switches that deck (tossing it into a servante) for another with forty-nine cards, which are then counted. The assistant enters the stage, bringing a small box for the magician, and gets hold of the deck in the servante. Backstage, he quickly notes which three cards are missing from the deck, aided by the stack. He then writes their names on three slips. The spectators have put their selections inside the box, which is a flap card-box. The assistant comes in with a glass and the magician puts the deck into it, secretly adding three cards he has loaded from his jacket. With the glass, the assistant also passes the magician the three slips filled out backstage. The card box is opened and the three cards are seen to have vanished. The cards of the deck are counted and there are fifty-two. The selections appear to have traveled from the box to the deck. The three slips on the table are switched for those written by the assistant and are then read to show that everything matches.
"Grande Clairvoyance Mysterieuse" (p. 167) is a good coincidence ettect already a classic at the time-in which a spectator freely selects a card from a marked deck and the magician, through estimation and eventual adjustment, passes the same card to the top of his stacked deck, e shows the card, which is seen to match the spectator's. Roterberg
CXplainS tWO method* *at eliminate the stacked deck. In these the
magician sets a card on the table before the spectator b„t »k via a Mexican turnover. T'but ^witchcs it
«The Spirit Envelope" (p. 173) is another magnificent effectively a stacked deck and a backstage assistant can IT^ h<W envelope hangs in full view (the side facing away from I ? covered with black satin). Three cards are selected ..,th V , from the stacked deck, and the magician verbally codes tK' * the hidden assistant, who writes their names on a sheet of pi he puts inside a duplicate envelope (also covered with black saT' H side). He puts the envelope black-side up on a black tray, which he brin« to the stage and sets on a chair without calling attention to it Meanwhile, the magician sums up the perceived situation for the audience (I think it a good idea to bring a large pair of scissors or an attractive letter-opener out on the tray, which is then handed to the magician to justify the tray and the assistant's presence.) The magician now takes the suspended envelope and lays it onto the tray (black-side down). He turns over the two envelopes as one (double-lift fashion) and leaves them on the tray. Later he lifts just the upper envelope, leaving the other behind (black-side up and concealed by black art on the tray). The envelope is opened, the sheet of paper taken out and the prediction seen to be entirely correct.
in "Mnemonics Applied to Cards" (p. 177) Roterberg describes the classic method of assigning letters to numbers to make up words that are associated to the cards and their stack numbers. He mentions the possibility of using this system to memorize the thirty-two cards of the deck in front of an audience, as a memory stunt. I think it better used to remember a stack; that is to say, a mnemonic deck. Once the magician has memorized the cards, the spectators lay them facedown in four rows of eight cards each. They are then instructed to take the first card and place it, for example, in the fourth position in the second row, and to take the card that was there and put it in the third position in the fourth row, and so on. Once these rearrangements are finished, the cards arc-turned over and found to be in order. This is easy and appealing if you use a previously memorized stack, and very difficult if a random order is memorized on the spot.
In "Mystic Divination" (p. 191) the magician, with his back turned, asks the spectators to divide the deck into four piles and wrap one of them in a handkerchief. He turns to the audience and puts the wrapped packet into the pocket of a spectator (glimpsing the bottom card through the transparent fabric). Later, he glimpses the top card of the packet following the selected one and, with that, knows all the cards contained in the wrapf* packet. He writes the names of those cards on a blackboard, and when t Packet is brought out, all the names and cards are seen to match.
Soo his idea of "A Strange Coincidence" in this book (p. 69). In the Circular Of the /Vuela Mdgica de Madrid (1993), contributed a study on ,he memorized deck and card indexes (p. 34). Of special interest is the trick "Carta al hilsillo" ("Card to Pocket"), where the magician pockets a card that a spectator has signed on its back. He then asks the spectator to name inv [,<ml He quickly locates this card in his mnemonic stack, palms it off and brings it to his pocket, where he aligns it with the signed card. Since the latter has been treated with wax on its face, the cards stick together as thev arc brought out to show that the signed card is the very one named.
Stebbins, Si (William Henry Coffrin)
In a rare booklet titled Card Tricks and the Way They are Performed (late nineteenth or early twentieth century)/ the author explains the classic system of a mathematically arranged deck, where three is added to the value of each consecutive card. I own a twelve-page edition (with no date or place of publication), in which he explains several effects and claims to have invented the system. (See, however, the works of Galasso, 1593, Cardoso, 1612, and others during the three intervening centuries.) Darwin Ortiz and others quote slightly different titles and date the booklet 1898, New York; or, according to Hjalmar, Boston. In 1935 there appeared Si Stebbins' Legacy to the Magicians, in which he describes the system of adding four to the value of each card. The various tricks in both booklets are clear, direct, mysterious/ powerful and worthy of a professional. No wonder Si Stebbins managed, through good presentation of those effects, to popularize this system in America.
In The litix/ No. 15, Dec. 1935, p. 76, is his "Diabolical Influence", in which the magician, while in another room, predicts and divines several events and cards in a truly incredible fashion.
In the British magazine Pentagram, Vol. 12, No. 8, May 1958, is a description of what he calls "The Allerton Masterpiece" (p. 57)
Tamariz, Juan sub!S ^ aUlh°r °f lhiS W°rk had Piously written something on the ' ,nCSe wnUn&s describe the ideas that gave birth, step by step, to
Mnemonica, as well as some of the tricks contained J published two other stacks, which contained other pr!" 'hlS He als" siderably inferior in their structure and features to the 'P' bl" ',rt'con* All this can be found in the Circular of the Escuelr/iu^Mnemonica February, March and April issues of 1980) and in tf (,he
Mnemdnica, written for the VI Jornadas dc ¿rt^^n*'' ^
by a spectator matches one reversed by the magician (see my version with the half stack, "The Miracle" (p. 226), and another with the "Multeffect Cards" in my book U baraja mulliefecto de Val Evans (1980). The latter has appeared in English, titled "Mental Blockbuster Prediction", in Pabular, Vol. 7, No, 3, March-April 1982, p. 1006, where it was described by my sorely missed friend, Fred Robinson). See also Madden, Richard F., above.
The Professor (who, 1 think, used the Ireland stack) described a couple of versions of the effect of divining, in succession, several selected cards that spectators had put into their pockets. He used the method of bringing the cards following each selection in the stack to the top, and then transferring those keys to another deck, from which he later took the duplicates of the selections. He would also --—sm^h divine who had each card. See p. 71 of Dai Venous Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic (1961) by Lewis Ganson. For a magnificent version of this trick, by Clayton Brown, see the Hugard entry above.
In the excellent American magazine Plioenix, No. 270, Dec. 12, Vhl, edited by Bruce Elliott, is "Audley's Best" (p. 1078), which uses a mnemonic deck with edge marks on every fifth card. This combination enables the magician to demonstrate his expertise at card weighing ana instantaneous card counting. He next controls and stacks a s ra.g . does a couple of subtle Ambitious Card effects, follows with a version Magician Makes Good and concludes with the marvelous classic, card Poker Deal".
Wright, T. Pace PS 4
Sec Larson, William, above.
In The l inking Ring, Vol. 33, No. 8, Oct. 1953, is "Touch of Psychometry" (p. 79).
II. SLEIGHTS AND INFORMatioNj.
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