Useful sleights

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks

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no as you have seen, there are tricks throughout this book that a>quire sleight-of-hand, while others call for (and at times require) a wider arsenal of skills from the performer.- Therefore, I will describe some of the sleights most useful when performing with a mnemonic stack. Keep in mind that the higher your technical mastery, the better results you can extract from the stack. Let's begin a technical survey that, I believe, will be useful to all

1. Glimpses

It is obvious that for a good and subtle use of mnemonic stacks, a mastery of several glimpsing techniques is desirable. These allow you to find certain cards, to learn the identity of the card above a selection, or the top or bottom card after a spectator's cut, etc.

I have long believed that the glimpse is an underrated and underused technique in modern card magic and that, after the force, it is one of the best ways to control a selection. But, getting back to the world of Mnemonica, here are some of the most useful glimpses/ As is true with false shuffles, it is advisable to master two or three glimpsing techniques so as not to overuse any one of them. Also, there are glimpses that fulfill different goals.

A. Glimpsing the Bottom Card of the Deck

This turnaround glimpse was described by Ed Mark) in The Multiple Shift (1961, p. 56) and is most useful. With your palm-down right hand, grasp the deck from above, thumb at the inner end and fingers at the outer.

• Here I refer to manipulative skills, since psychological techniques, as well as these of gesture, and of hand, arm and body movement, and mastery of the gaze, the voice and timing, etc., arc always necessary for the performance of strong and fa<onating magic.

t I'll refer you to others in the Bibliography. One source not mentioned then- however, is the work by my good friend from France, Daniel Rhod, who has thoroughly studied glimpses and has devised some very good ones, which he handles with astonishing speed. I recommend his books to you.

Turn your wrist c ock -rotating the deck a hundad-

and-aghty degrees as you place

,1 into your left hand. As you rotate the deck, tilt it forward so that you can glimpse the index, or even the whole face, of the bottom card (Fig. 1). The gesture is almost mechanical as ¡f you were squaring the cards, and is absolutely natural.

Using your left middle finger to bow the bottom card toward you (a glimpse probably originated at the card table) remains a genuine wonder. The middle finger pulls the outer end of the bottom card toward the inner end (as is done with the buckle, but straight back along the length of the deck), bowing it downward against the right thumb, which stops it from springing back at the inner end. The bowing brings the inner index of the card into your view (Fig. 2)

B. Gumpsing the Top Card of the Deck

You can sidejog the top card slightly to the right (no more than a quarter of an inch) and glimpse its comer index as you carry out the actions of the turnaround glimpse described above for glimpsing the bottom card. As soon as you learn its identity, square the with the rest of the deck while the cards are still being rotated !n lWT hands' Dai Vernon also used this method to glimpse the top and

Z T Simultaneous|y (see The Vernon Chronicles,, Volume 2 by Stephen Minch [19881, p. 122).

Another method from the gambler's arsenal consists of buckling the opcrd the left thumb, which rests on the outer left corner of that rests at r ^ l° the ri8hl ^ile the left middle finger, which

-' ne r,Rht ^g^ blocks that edge of the card. At the same time, you

turn the back of the left hand toward the audience, which makes the outer index visible to you from above (f:ig. 3).

C. Glimpsing a Card in th* Middle of the Deck

Charlier's one-handed cut affords a fine opportunity for a glimpse. The flourish itself covers the glimpse (Fig. 4), and when the cut is completed the glimpsed card ends up on the bottom of the deck.

Another particularly useful method is to obtain a little-finger break under the card to be glimpsed and, with the little fingertip, push the upper portion slightly to the left, collapsing the break

C. Glimpsing a Card in th* Middle of the Deck

and creating a step. While this happens, the left hand turns palm down under some logical pretext, such as pointing to something or someone with the outstretched index finger (Fig. 5—the posture is somewhat exaggerated for clarity). This position allows you to glimpse the inner index of the card easily.

It is also very useful to convert a little-finger break, held under the card to be glimpsed, to a heel break, which is maintained by the heel of the left thumb at the inner left corner. Extend your left arm to point to someone, and hold your hand at eye-level while you bend your head low, as if looking into the eyes of a spectator sitting to

, ,fl m (his position, especially if you turn your left wrist slightly out. y0U V r mine the inner end of the deck, it is quite easy to glimpse the inner

\nother method, which fools even the experts, is based on the Tamariz perpendicular control (see p. 359). The card is brought to perpendicular Jition and the left fingers bend it downward, making its index visible f! you from beneath, as shown in Fig. 7. It's a unique method (I think)

a the center MHMHMMMMH

while holding the deck face down in a horizontal position. Once you know the card, release the bend and square the card with the rest of the deck, using the ball of your left thumb to earn* the inner left corner of the card forward during the squaring action). The same glimpse can be done with two cards simultaneously, by bending the turned cards diagonally toward you to expose both indices

D. tvie Chorus-line Multiple Top Glimpse

I devised this glimpse years ago (or learned it—I can no longer remember) and have been using it ever since. Hold the deck face down in left-hand dealing position as you grasp it in right-hand end grip, resting your right forefinger over the outer left corner. Turn the right hand clockwise, bringing the thumb upward and the deck to a vertical position. At the same time, press with your forefinger against the edge of the deck at the corner, causing the top four or five cards to bow. This enables you to glimpse the near indices of those cards as shown in Fig. 8. Fig. 9 shows a view from

the front. For the sake of clarity, in both pictures the ur. k , u L

e. THe Chorus-line Multiple Bottom Gi impse

Long ago 1 also devised this glimpse (Fig. ,0), which I've already described on p. 220.

Many other glimpses are listed in the bibliography. See the entries for Annemann, Canute/ Giobbi, I lugard, Ireland, Mario and Minch, as well as the tricks "Jumbled Divination" (p. 240), "Answering Computer" (p. 220), 'Telescopic Coincidence" (p. 228), 'Total Spell" (p. 182), "Coincidence with Two Decks and Three Cards" (p. 113), "Sense of Touch—and Other Senses" (p. 204), "Double Divination" (p. 239), "Spectator Misses, Magician Hits" (p. 243) and "Exact Ixxration" (p. 145).

2. Finding Cards

Here are some methods for locating a specific card quickly in a mnemonic stack. (For further methods, see Chapter Nine.)

A. With the Charuer One-handed Cut

Do a Charlier cut in the left hand, trying to cut slightly above the card you want. If you are looking, for example, for the K4 (18), try to cut at 13, 14 or 15. During the cut, as we've already discussed, you will see the card that is being sent to the bottom, unless you close your eyes or look away. If you see, for example, the 8* (14), all you need do is double cut another three cards to the bottom to bring the K4 (18) to the top (or four cards if you want it on the bottom).

B. By Estimation

Pull down with the left little finger, creating a break at the estimated position of the desired card (18, for example). Glimpse the card above the break, using one of the methods described earlier in this appendix. If the mnemonic number of that card is higher than 18, use your right thumb to riffle off the required cards, transferring them from the upper to the tower portion. If the number is lower than 18, bevel the deck sharply toward you, enabling the right thumb to engage the necessary »»^J»« from the top of the lower portion and transfer them to t euppe - 0 rathcr than counting with the thumb, I prefer to spa-ad the cards between mv hands and count visually, procuring <. n^aea as I close

.nread In either case you will end up with a break above the card in auction (or below it, as you prefer). A cut or a pass will bring the card to the top or the bottom.


A practical way to find a card is to tilt the deck downward and riffle your right thumb up the inner end, so that you can sec the indices (Fig. 11). Stop at the desired card and bring it to the top via a pass or a double cut. Be careful not to overuse this glimpse.

The riffling can also be done while the deck rests on the table, in riffle shuffle position, with its length parallel to the table edge. The left thumb riffles upward along the edge of the deck closest to you, exposing the indices as seen in Fig. 12. You should have an appropriate motivation for this action.

D. Uakmnsg the Identity of a Selection Without Glimpsing It

At times, it can be very useful not to have to glimpse the key card (the card above the selection). To manage this, all you must do is comer crimp the K* (18) and the K* (35). While spreading the deck in your hands and raving a card freely taken, it's a simple matter to eye-count the number of caras from the point of extraction to one of the two crimped keys (the K* or K¥) o: to the top or bottom card of the deck (the 4* or whichever is * closest, and thus learn the identity of the selection immediately.

tr d *Sn t near &theT of ^ keys or the top or bottom cards of ec* f !r* farthest it can be from the closest of those four is nine cards thn^T ^ COUnt ^ necessary quickly by pushing over two mumof th^r, °f **dosest 11115 ieaves a maxi'

FurtwT tothekey' which are easily eve-counted.

10 3 VCT>' feature of faro shuffles, if you *>

positions • T' ClimPed ^ at I» and 35 will exchange the*

of the r>% \ Shuffle this feature with the knowledge m Mnemonica with each subsequent out-faxo of the

without ftJimpv

eight-shu ffle cycle, continuous divinations can be eifecu-a ing a card and while genuinely shuffling th^ deck ■

If you prefer, instead of crimping these two cards, you could simply obtain a break under each, with your left ring and little fingers, and then spread the cards, in your hands or on the table, leaving a wider space between the keys and the cards directly beneath th™ (F,g. 13). In this way you maintain a visual control of the two Kings (although this is not valid, or ifs very difficult when using the cycle of eight Mnemonkas).

You can also locate cards by making use of the fact that two cards in symmetrical positions rcmain in symmetrical positions (although not the same ones) after any number of faros. This was covered at length in "Royal

3. Shifting the Position of a Card first OBJECTIVE: To Move a Card to a Differf vr Posmo-. Wrruot r altering the rest of the stack

Let's assume the deck is in mnemonic order, from 1 to 52 I usually accomplish this task through the following means:

A. VVrra the Tamariz Perpendicular Control (TPC)

This is an extremely simple method that can be earned out with the faces of the cards in view, or face down if you count them as you spread them from one hand to the other. I suppose you are familiar by now with the TPC. If not, see p. 359. You can secretly transfer a card to any petition For example, you can move the 8* (14) under the 25).


With the deck held face down, and using the example just given, first cut the 5* to the bottom- Next find the W and get a break above it. V/ith your right hand, cut at the break and catch a left little-finger break between the packets as vou complete the cut

Rest your left thumb on the top card. Then, as your right hand extract, all the cards above the break, drawing them to the right the Ieft thumb holds back the top card; in other words, you do a slip cut Drop ther^t hand's cards onto the leftV The stack remains intact except for the 8*, which now lies directly below the 54.

--- HI i k.v» a!«. mrftOorttd thi* kdra o4 C*rd* 1*

• See The Eight Mnenor*a*Z p 151- I hm rr*™*™

and 55 ** keys m "RoyaJ Location-, p 142- ^ H H

t hirn the 8¥ to its proper position in the stack, simply reverse the ' , follows Cut the Q* (the card normally above the 8V in stack Tino ^e bottom. Obtain a break above the 8T cut at the break and ]1. break between the packets, and then do a slip cut. The slip cut on'alvo be done with the deck resting on the table. You can work out the details for yourself.

r With a Double Break and a Double Cut

' I lore is another quick and easy method I came up with. Hold the deck face down! stacked from 1 to 52, and get two breaks, one with the ring finger and the other with the little finger. One break is above the card to be displaced (the 8*, to use our example again) and the second at the point of destination (under the

With your right hand, cut off the packet above the upper break and drop it onto the table. Perform a slip cut at the remaining break, removing all the cards above the break but the top one, which is held in place by the left thumb. Throw the right hand's cards onto the left's and drop the resulting packet onto the tabled pile.

If, instead, you want to transfer the 5i under the 8V, you must previously ait the deck somewhere between these two cards and complete the cut. Then proceed as described.

D. With the Hofzinser Spread Cull

The spread cull is a versatile and highly useful sleight devised by the genius from Vienna, Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser. When using Mnemónica, Hofzinser's spread cull is very useful for moving a card to a certain position, as well as for bringing a specific card to the bottom for the purpose of control, palming, etc. Many applications can be found within the tricks in this book.

I he basic concept of the spread cull is this: As you spread the face-up deck from left hand to right, you rest your left thumb on the face of the card above the one to be controlled. If that card were, say, the 8V (14), the thumb would rest lightly on the 6* (15), as seen in Fig. 14. With your right fingers, contact the back of the 8V and pull the card to the right, disengaging >1 Irom the surrounding cards and sliding it toward the right end of the spread (Fig. 15), You now close the spread, automatically delivering the 8*

Mnemonic a s 335

to the rear of the deck. A wide variety of method* i

»ftt.c.pplicMlon.oi,!,» ,p„ad „1, h ,„ s|ip■,,„„„„„,„„,;

cards, since one ferent portions and gather them under the deck It is also possible to feed the cu led card between t wo others at a specific position BothLll are held at the inner end of the spread and act as stop* or ^ fe*he cards. It 15 also useful to tilt the front of the spread downward sightly to avoid flashing the card as it is culled. A more detailed explanation is given on p. 356.

Let's now see how to use this sleight to bring a card (our beloved 8V) from one position to another (under our equally beloved 5*). I folding the deck face down in your left hand, with the cards running from 1 to 52. obtain a left ring-finger break under the 8¥ and a left little-finger break under the

Spread the cards between your hands and use your left middle and rings fingers to push the 8V to the right and then, with your right fingers, pull it farther rightward and disengage it from the spread All this is concealed under the moving spread. Now slide the 8V leftward under the spread, feed it into the little finger's break, under the 5i and square the cards. The process is very fast.

It is advisable, as you carry out these actions, to talk about something, such as the trick being performed or the difficulty of identifying the cards from their backs.

E. With Dai Vernon's Triumph Shuffle

The incredibly clever shuffle described by Vernon in his trick Iriumph"* can also be used for bringing any card to the top of the deck. Let's say the deck is in mnemonic order and that you need to bring the 8* (29) to the top without disturbing the rest of the stack. Cut exactly above the 8» and draw the lower packet to the right in preparation for a riffle shuffle. If you now riffle both portions together as per Triumph'; but with both packets face down (Fig. 16), the top card of the packet on your right (the 8f) will end up on top while the rest of the stack remains intact. nnrtion

This technique is only valid for culling cards from he c«rfrd of J he deck (approximately from Positions 18 to 35) to the top. For other cards, the sliP<ut procedure explained earlier .s to be preferred.

* See p. 23 In Stars of Magic 0*6), the fin«, sen« ever devoted to ck~»P n»g*.

> combining the center cut of the standard Zarrow shuffle with the movi„ Vanati0n'' develoPcd ^e following interesting method for deck «, r °"e position to '1nother without altering the rest of 0«

top f< « Sa>' ?0lWam t0 brin« one thL> uppermost twenty cards to the

aruu^thejop card of which is the 5* (with no slip cut added). Inscribed bv Frant r„ •

araa 00 P 109 of his Million Dollar Card Sa rds. 1972.

„,, Triumph Shuffle can also be used for bringing any card to any posi. ' . |s deeper than 18 and shallower than 35 in the mnemonic order.

s^piy ,he card lo bc displaced l°the lop and proceed with the Triumph shuffle as explained. F with the Zarrow Shuffle

It Vernon's Triumph shuffle is a masterpiece of card handling, the Harrow shuffle, by my admired friend Herb Zarrow, is no less so (see Fig. 17). With it, and a variation by Zarrow himself lhatJ'll teach shortly, I have devised a very useful way to transport a from one position to another without altering the rest of the stack.

As you know, the Zarrow shuffle consists of the right hand extracting a m central packet while the left thumb keeps a break between the two resulting sections of the left hand's packet. After interlacing the corners of the cards and secretly disengaging them, the right hand's packet is pushed back into the break in the left hand's packet, from which it came.

¿arrow's variation on this shuffle* consists of the right hand extracting a central packet, while the right forefinger, exerting a light pressure on the top card of the deck, pulls it along with the central packet. During the interlace, the top card of the right hand's packet is dropped last. The corners are then secretly disengaged and, as the cards are pushed square, the central packet is introduced into the gap it left and the top card of the right hand's portion is returned to the top of the deck (Figs. 18 and 19). This version affords marvelous cover for the disengagement of the cards, as well as giving an extraordinarily convincing impression of a shuffle.

mni monica / 337

mni monica / 337

other cards are unaltered.

Proceed with the interlace of the /arrow their positions except for the 5*. whirh other cards are unaltered.

If you want to move any card up twenty or higher in the stack (for example, Card 35 to the tenth position), begin by cutting the deck at the appropriate position (in our example, you would bring Card 10 to the lop). Then form a break directly above Card 35 and pull out the center section below this break. Interlace the cards per the Zarrow variation, finishing with Card 35, disengage the corners and push the right hand's packet back into the gap it left, while Card 35 goes to the top of the deck and over Card 10, accomplishing your goal.

To move a card no more than twenty cards lower, cut the card in question to the top and proceed as if you were positioning the top card among the top twenty, as explained two paragraphs above.

Given the fact that moving a card thirty-five places down is equivalent to moving it sixteen up, the displacements described are not really limited to the twenty-card range mentioned. Only two short areas lie beyond the practical reach of this method: moving a card between twenty and thirty places. For such instances it is better that you resort to another of the methods discussed above.

For these purposes, the Zarrow shuffle offers elegance on several levels: Aside from its ability to move a card without disturbing the rest, the whole deck is seen to be thoroughly shuffled, and the combination of the Xanow shuffle and the variation is highly deceptive. c. with ti-ip ^ini sti ai can can tion you wish the card to end up, and then use the side steal to extract the desired card from the deck (Fig. 20) and replace it either on top or on the bottom. The advantage of this technique is that it doesn't impose any positional restrictions. It can be used to bring any card to any position.

econp OBJECTIVE- pretending a Selected Card is Returned to the

^uTl * ardselected while holding the deck somewhat closely spread in hinds. Break the spread at the point from which the card is extracted. Tth*spectators look at the card, reverse the direction of the two half Zc kVyou hold, using your fingers and thumb (Figs. 21 and 22). The card if returned to the apparent center, between the two spreads; but unknown to the audience, it is not the same position. Actually, the card is replaced on top of the original top spread and the packets are brought together bottom spread going on top. The selected card ends up in the center of the deck, but it has been displaced, since the change in the direction of the spreads has subtly transposed the two sections, secretly cutting the cards. The deck is handed to the spectator, with the selected card the onlv one m out of stack position. Let's look at a couple of applications.

Multiple Divination*

The above procedure can be carried out two or three times in a row, to control multiple selections via displacement. That is, someone takes a card and returns it, supposedly to the same position, although it is actually displaced in the stack. Then a second selection and a third are similarly handled, all while you barely look at the cards. You square the deck, cut it and give it a false shuffle. On spreading the cards face up, three are out of place: the selections.

Here is a stronger application that occurred to me. If you carry out the above procedure with three selections, starting with the deck stacked from 1 to 52, yOU don't need to spread the deck face up and * u v 3,1 cards to learn the identities of the chosen ones. Instead, J" ! fK find th* (52) and note the card to its right, which is the £ Se,ecti0^ Let's say it's the 94. Another selection will be at ^^o^y occupied by the 9* in the stack (9). Let's say ilf! Jespuh ** y 8 Be™., 1981, p. 69. Bernat, a two-time F1SM «rtv 1950, m L 1 !eVO*d ^ versed-spread idea used here in the late l"40s or o r0pH -J?"**1 oi J ^><ard placement. He called the principle an

Sometime ^ the 1960s, the very clever Ret Forton or am* up with the same concept '

1° C0n,r0'thcm t0 ™ ^ the deck with Hofzinser's sPr,,d 'cull (p. 356) you can bottom palm them in your left hand and bring them from a left-hand pocket.

THIRD OBJECTIVE: To EXCHANGE THE Posn ionsof Two Cards WrTHOl t altering the rest of the deck

To switch, for example, the Q4 and the 8f so that each ends up in the other s position, while the other cards remain in place (aside from the deck being cut), I use the following methods.

a. With Multiple Cuts

With the deck face down, cut one of the cards in question to the top, for example the 8^. Obtain a little-finger break above the other card involved (the Qf).

With your left thumb, push the top card of the deck slightly to the right and cut it to the table. Cut at the break and drop the cut-off packet onto the tabled card. Cut another single card onto the tabled pile and drop the talon on top. That makes four continuous cuts: a card, a packet, a card and a packet.

This method is a variation of one devised by my dear and admired friend Ariston, from Argentina, which goes as follows.

B. With an Overhand Shuffle (Ariston)

Proceed as above, to the point at which you have a break above the Q*. Transfer the face-down deck to your right hand, which is almost palm down, and revolve the deck to overhand-shuffle position while your right thumb maintains the break at the inner end. With your left thumb, run the top card, throw the packet above the break on top of the single card, run another single card and pretend to mix the remaining packet into the left hand's cards, actually placing it on top. This is accomplished with theTabe butt-shuffle described on p. 342. Tlie advantage of this method is that it looks like a shuffle. . , .

This method (another Ariston idea) may also be used for franrfemng a card to a desia-d position. To accomplish that, cut the K* 04), ,0 the top. Get a break a, .he destmahon^-yund^r *

5* (25). Run the top card, drop all the false butt-shuffle to place the rt-mairung block of cards on top-

up under the 5*


rni ittTH OB1BGT1VE: TO GATHER SEVERAL CARDS THAT ARE SCATTERED imoiVHOr. THB DECK WHILE KEEPING CONTROL OVBk THE ORDER, Wi ilCH ENABLES YOU TO RBASSEMBIi 11«» stack a {Jsine Mario's Lcssinout Shuffle, based on peeling cards singly and, at ' times, the top and bottom cards together, you can search for and find desired cards."

Follow this with deck in hand. With the deck stacked from 1 to 52, hold it face down in your right hand, in overhand shuffle position. Say three cards are named: the 6*, the 8V and the 8* (6,14 and 22). Run five cards (one less than 6, the mnemonic number of the first card named) and throw the rest on top. Start another shuffle by running the new top card (the 6*) while mentally counting six, and continue running single cards until your count reaches thirteen (one less than 14, the mnemonic number of the second card); in other words, run eight cards. Throw the rest on top. Begin a third shuffle by "milking off" the top and bottom cards together as you count fourteen, and continue to run single cards until you reach twenty-one (one less than 22, the mnemonic number of the third card). Throw the balance on top. You now have Card 22 on top and 6 and 14 on the bottom. Finish the trick as you like, with a revelation, a palm, etc.

To reassemble everything, hold the deck face up in your right hand, put the 8* at the rear and the 84 on the face. With the deck still face up, run single cards from the 8* until you've drawn off Card 21 (one less than 22) and throw the balance on top. You have run eight cards. Add the 64 to the face of the deck, run cards until you've drawn off Card 13 (one less than 14) and throw the balance on top. Finally, run five cards, until you see Card 52, and throw the balance on top. The formula to remember is: run 8,8 and 5, which is the reverse sequence you used for gathering the three cards. The deck is now back in order. If you have followed along with cards in hand you'll realize how simple this is. (If not, it will all seem a mess, or worse.)

B. 1 hrough Hofzinser's spread cull (p. 356), it is possible to gather several cards beneath the deck. It is important to note that the procedure may be carried out with the cards held face up or face down, since the memorized stack enables us to ascertain the identity of any card by its position, without having to look at its face. This procedure, done face own, .s totally deceptive. Incidentally, everything becomes much easier if you count the face-down cards in groups of three, rather than singly. fc r

'% "Lcssinout Systems" in Ed Mario's Drc* D^/o,, (1942), p. 14.

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The Illustrated Key To The Tarot

The Illustrated Key To The Tarot

The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.

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