A 7wee Card Routine

The following is a marathon of a card trick, with which I generally open a set of card effects. It is fairly ostentatious and complicated, but I feel that the structure and pacing allow for a very engaging routine and a worthwhile investment of time on all sides.

This effect has its origin in Tom Mullica's routine that begins with the selection of four cards and concludes with the double appearance of the cards under the box. This uses three cards, which I find makes for a more pleasing structure to the revelations, and is generally more useful for a close-up setting, where a table may offer two or three spectators (both numbers being ideal for the effect) but less likely four. I find it works well as an opening routine: it is long, relaxed, and has a pleasing symmetry. It is involving for the participants, whereas something like an Oil and Water opening that leaves them only observing is, for me, a little alienating as an opening effect.

The effect runs as follows. The magician is seated with some people at a table. The deck is ribbon spread for the selection of three cards - A, B and C. These are then returned to the deck, which is shuffled if you wish. The deck is placed on the palm of the left hand, and the performer introduces the subject of spirit intervention. Slowly the deck begins to cut itself in the middle - the top half sliding eerily to one side. The performer completes the cut and shows the card selected by the spirits to be selection C. This is placed on the table. The card is very cleanly transformed into each of the other selections by rubbing it against the table. Finally it is rubbed and it vanishes altogether. The selected cards are immediately and cleanly removed from various pockets. The cards are then cut into the deck at positions determined by the spectators. This is done very cleanly and slowly, and the deck may then be shuffled. The magician then begins to deal cards from the top of the deck, instructing person C to stop him at any point. Wherever C says 'Stop,' it happens right on his card. Next, the performer spells to the card B, turning over a card for each letter. Card A is produced as follows: the spectator takes the entire deck (minus the two selections already found), and shuffles it. The performer tells him that he is to name any number and the card will be at that position in the deck. The spectator finishes shuffling and names, say, 17. The magician takes the deck at his fingertips and fairly deals off 16 cards. The last card is placed on the table for the spectator to turn over. It is correct.

Next the magician talks about the old street-game of Three Card Monte. He suggests a game with one of the spectators, but warns him the victim never wins at the game. The spectator is asked to point at the card that he feels is his own. The magician demonstrates some stunning sleight of hand and exchanges the selected card for an indifferent card in the deck. He repeats this demonstration with the second, and then performs the third exchange at full speed, where the card does not appear to touch the deck. All three cards are now exchanged. But when the deck is spread out, the cards are not visible in the deck. This is offered as a further insight into the methods used by con artists to cover their tracks. The magician asks if anyone knows where the cards went. He points out the card case on the table, and the cards can be seen underneath it. He removes them, and offers to repeat the effect. He looks at the case, and they are already there, back under the box. He removes them again, and offers to do it again, and this time appears to be explaining his techniques of distraction. The cards are replaced in the deck at positions chosen by the spectators, and with some amusing by-play and some flourishes, the cards vanish from the deck. The performer spreads them out, and sure enough, they have gone. They do not, however, appear to be under the case, which has been watched very carefully by the spectators. The cards are reassembled, and the magician explains that he has been cheating, by using invisible cards. He spreads them out again, but the entire deck has disappeared. He picks up the box and shakes it: a few cards are heard to be inside. He hands the box to the most astonished spectator, who retrieves the three selected cards from within. Fin.

A few more words about the effect. There are a few things here that will interest the magician, but the bulk of the work is already known to the informed performer. I sincerely hope that no one would be particularly interested in performing this routine verbatim, but I offer it in the hope that it may spark a few ideas. The spectators are supposed to enjoy it as a feast of surprises and sleight-of-hand, and to become increasingly engaged in the process. The trick could be stopped at any point, for it is structured in such a way that each revelation builds from the last. 1 feel that it is pleasingly routined, and allows one to enjoy some rather baroque ornamentation, which might be counter-productive in a shorter routine that would perhaps benefit from simplicity. I have also grown suspicious of the value of brief tricks, whereby a selected card may be transposed to the box, or be found by spelling to it. I have strongly come to feel that these sorts of effects work better if structured into a concatenation of surprises that build Jo a great climax, rather than being offered rather limply on their own. To engage an audience in an effect, I feel it is necessary to take some time with it. And if nothing else, if I only perform one card trick for a group, it is this one, which allows for the impact of a vituosic display and leads to an exhausting climax.

The reason for performing the effect is given as an opportunity for the magician to 'warm up.' The working is as follows. Firstly, the deck requires a short card, which is a minor piece of surgery that I perform on each deck as it comes to be used for performance. But that is all, and the only reason for doing so is to locate the card quickly, so the purist can assuredly find a different method to aid the locations as required. The effect is introduced as an opportunity for a bit of fun. The deck is spread on the table, with the short card on top. The card box is on the table to the right, perhaps six inches from the edge of the table. Three cards are selected. If there are only two spectators, I have them choose one each, and then as an afterthought I ask them to select a card for me also, although I won't look at it. This, I explain, allows me to play

too, which I assure them is something of a rare treat.

I have the cards returned and controlled to the top using Dai Vernon's Multiple Shift. Card C, from my right, is taken first, and goes near the face of the fan - far to the left. Card B, (either mine or from the person as opposite me as possible) goes to the right of the first, and finally card A (from the spectator to my left) somewhere to the right of that, but not much further than the middle of the deck. The fan can be spread to hide the fact that the cards are being placed in the bottom section of the deck. They are displayed, and then in the action of pushing them flush and cutting the deck, I strip them out to the bottom. To now bring them to the top, 1 ask each spectator his or her name, and in doing so riffle off the bottom three cards and catch a break above them. Then, as I repeat their names altogether, I perform a three-fold cut onto the table, finishing with the three selections on top. This I time with my repeating of the three names, which provides some symmetry, and even some reason for the cut. Whatever method you choose, the cards now reside on the top, A on top, then B, then C.

1 turn to Spectator C and ask him to honestly tell me if he believes in psychic power, astrology, and spirit intervention. If he says 'No,' I pause and stare at him for the moment and then turn to the other spectators and say, "Okay, I shall be using you two quite a lot for these tricks." If he says 'Yes,' I say, "Then I shall be using you quite a lot for these, I hope you don't mind." There is a laugh from the group. During that interchange, I have done the following. I have openly sprung the cards into my left hand, giving them a downward buckle. I then execute a pass somewhere a little below the middle of the deck, and give the new upper section a bend in the opposite direction. The two halves are now really only in contact across the middle, with the three chosen cards on the top of the bottom half.

I tell the spectator to visualise his card, and explain that if the spirits are with us, they will cut to his card. I gently dribble the cards into my left to show that all is fair, then square them and extend my left hand, straightening the palm and fingers. The deck is held low down, so the breaks along the short sides are not clear. By tensing my arm and allowing a vibration to move into my hand, the upper section of the deck will start to move toward the spectator, especially if it is aided by the tiniest tilting of the hand towards him. With a little practice, and if one avoids trying this with an absolutely brand new Bicycle deck, a very eerie impromptu Haunted Deck will leave the spectators rather uneasy. I have attempted to fully replicate the Haunted revelation by turning my hand a little, and catching the face of the bottom card of the top half with my little finger before tilting the deck back again, but this can not, as far as I can see, be done very effectively.

By executing a pass a little below the middle of the deck you have ensured that the top section is just less than a half, which is ideal. More than half will often cause the top packet to split into two, and too few do not provide enough weight to create the steady movement. Should the deck part neatly but in the wrong place, never mind. In that case, you would, in the action of lifting off that top half, reassemble the deck very briefly, and cut at the break. Otherwise, if all has gone according to plan, openly cut the deck by placing the shifted section underneath. The three selections should now reside on top.

As you ask the same spectator if he can still remember his card, prepare for a triple lift. Show the correct card (C), and place the real top card (A) on the table facedown in front of Spectator C. Now turn to Spectator A and ask if his card was similar to C's. As you name C's card at this point, gesture at the card on the table. Whatever his answer, pause for a moment, then pull the tabled card over towards him. Breathe warm air onto the back and front of your right hand {thus showing it empty), and rub the card against the table. Pick it up and display the change with a flourish. I spin it on my index finger before turning it face-up, to heighten the drama a

little and increase the illusion of the change having occurred at that last moment. Show the changed face at shoulder height, and then exploit the reaction to the colour-change by top-changing it for card B, This is placed face down in front of Spectator A. Now repeat the change, but first of all mention how much more difficult it will be to repeat the effect, because everyone will be watching the cards a lot more closely. Nonetheless, rub the card and reveal the final change. At this point I would suggest handing the card to Spectator B for a moment to inspect. Alternatively (and this is probably more efficient), allow her to make the final change herself by rubbing the back of the card. The effect on a lay audience of these changes is very strong, and it is worthwhile allaying any suspicions of gimmicked cards. I also feel that finishing by revealing the middle person's card, presuming that he sits opposite you, is a little more dramatic than finishing this part of the routine turned to someone on your far side. This is a small point, but there we are.

You continue. "This can be done with any card," you mention, casually returning the card face down to the top of the deck. Now perform the Rub-a-dub Vanish. There are a few points about this vanish that are worth making. Firstly, because you have already been rubbing the cards, it makes sense to lead into the vanish through this particular technique. Secondly, ensure that a good flash of the right long side of the card appears at the right side of the hand. Thirdly, when the card has apparently been taken, inconspicuously move the deck to your side and out of sight. Fourthly, do not reveal the vanish immediately, but rather pretend to palm the card in the right hand by making some suspicious movement as you rub it, then move the stiff hand away to one side and say, "Look! It's gone! I shall bring it back." This bit of by-play, which may or may not appear to be serious, will convince the spectators that you have the card palmed. Then, as you rub back in the same place, suddenly relax the hand and spread the fingers. "No, it's definitely gone..." This diversion will make it almost impossible for the audience to backtrack and remember the removal of the card from the deck. I allow for the effect to sink in by searching around for the card a little, looking under the close-up mat and so on (which will allay some suspicions).

1 shall offer two methods for producing the cards from the pockets. You must assume a standing position for either. The first is the method I use, but necessitates the sporting of a jacket that not only has a Topit, but also has access from the side pocket into this device. I palm off the top two cards into my right hand as I turn to Spectator A and say, "Hmm, so your card was the [whatever]," and insert my right hand into the left inside of the jacket. I drop the second card and let it fall into the Topit, and then produce Card A from the inside pocket. This is placed face up on the table. I take the deck in my right hand, and showing an empty left hand, reach into my left side pocket and fairly retrieve Card B from the Topit. While 1 do this, my right hand moves to the right outside pocket and pushes the top card off into the pocket as the body turns to the right and attention is focussed on the second selection being removed from the left side. The second selection is placed up on the table to the right of the first, and the deck placed in the left hand. The right is shown empty and removes the final card from the right pocket, then places it face doion on the table to the right of the first two.

Another method is to palm off one card into the right, and to take the deck in the left. Both hands enter the trouser pockets, the left with the deck still held there. The right brings out its card, face-up and at fingertips, and just afterwards the left hand brings out the top card in the same way, at the extended first and second fingers, which it has taken from the deck and allowed to be reversed by the action of removing the deck from the pocket. These cards are placed on the table, face up. The right hand then palms the top card and produces it from the inside pocket.

The first two cards are now on the table, from left to right, face up. The third card, however, is facedown to the right of the others. Look at the back of the card rather insecurely and request that Spectator C reach across at fingertips and turn it over. Try and slow his actions down here by enhancing your display of uncertainty. He turns over the card, showing it to be correct, as you express your delight at your success and sit back down. This will give you ample time to begin the set-up for the return of the three cards.

I am a little confused now at my own mathematics, but the following procedure will, surprisingly, return the three cards exactly where you want them during an exceptionally fair process whereby you riffle through the deck and ask them to call 'Cut.' At each called-for location (no forces), you cut the deck and enter the card at that point. At the conclusion of this brief procedure, card C will be eight from the top, card B will be able to be spelt to from the position of card C, and card A will be directly beneath card B. If you were to try the following with the cards in hand, 1 think you may be surprised at the result.

While the spectator goes to turn over the card just removed from the right pocket, turn the deck face-up in the left hand, and riffle up to the short card. From here, count a further six, and cut or execute the pass with the dcck at this point. Then turn the deck facedown. Now, you are still standing up, and the spectators will be making a series of jokes about the card that has been removed from the trousers. You must act as if the production of the cards was the climax to the trick, and indeed this is a neat little routine in itself. However, after you have turned the deck face down, thumb count the number of cards needed to spell card B, which is facing you on the table, minus one. Continue doing this as you sit down. If need be, you can still be finishing the count as you pick up card C from the right and draw attention to it once more. At the point where the thumb finishes the count, begin a Charlier cut. As the halves reassemble, insert the card between them. In each cut, you will be ordering the deck for the return of the next card, which is actually being placed on the top. Square up the deck, and immediately dribble the cards into the left a couple of times. This is ostensibly to show the fairness of the return, which is a strong point, but it will also provide an anchor for a piece of chicanery after the return of the next card.

Now turn to Spectator B and request that he call 'Cut' as you riffle through the deck. If you hold the deck quite near him, he will succumb to an overpowering urge to jam his fingers into the deck rather than merely calling out the instruction. Something can be made of this reliable piece of clumsy behaviour on his part if you so wish, but nicely please. Card B is returned as the deck is given a Charlier cut at the appropriate point, but leave the card injogged half an inch or so. As you square the deck, lift the selection and all above it with the right thumb and executing the pass at this point. Selection B is therefore passed to the face. The pass can be covered by turning to Spectator A and dribbling the cards into the left hand as before -except the bottom half is lifted first and dribbles onto the top half, and then the action is repeated fairly with the entire deck.

Card A is returned fairly - Spectator A calls out 'Cut' as the performer riffles down, and the deck is cut and the card returned between the halves. Square them or dribble them: demonstrate that the cards really are lost. As you do this, you may feel that you really have lost that selection, but of course it resides under card B. For this reason, it is worth ensuring that the bottom card of the deck is not flashed as the final Charlier is made. This can be done by changing the angle of the cut slightly to ensure that the bottom half is kept parallel to the table as it comes over.

Now, with the deck face down, cut or pass the deck, bringing the short card to the top. All is now set. if you look through the deck, you should find that card C is eight from the top, card B can be spelt to beneath it, and A is directly beneath that.

A false shuffle could be performed at this point, but I prefer to remind the spectators that the three cards were returned to places that they chose themselves (which is not quite true - Spectator C did not call 'Cut'), and that there was no way that I could have had any control over that process. I stare at the deck blankly for a moment, and then turn to a lady (or Spectator C be she one), and say, "So I thought perhaps you might like to find the first card for me. Watch " You are now going to reveal the first card (C) through the 'psychological stop' procedure, found in Hugard and Braue's Expert Card Technique. For those not familiar with this most splendid ruse, proceed as follows: with the instruction 'Watch,' lean forward and slowly take a card from the top and place it face down on the table. Repeat this deal, spinning each card on the index finger if you can, to keep the lady spectator visually occupied. At the fifth card, say with just a note of irritation in your voice, "Just say stop whenever you like..." as if she has been slowing down the proceedings. Hopefully she will apologise a little, which is a good sign. If your gentle encouragement for her to hurry is too harsh, other spectators will join in with sarcastic references to her being slow. Although this can be funny, albeit barely so, it will ruin the procedure by distracting her attention and relieving her tension. The best you can do is try to ensure that no one else makes these comments, and if they do, to stop the count, and resume when you have her attention again. Immediately deal the sixth card, still deliberately but without any flourishes, then the seventh, rather slowly, and then the eighth. Hopefully she will call out 'Stop' at this point. Obviously, you have some easy leeway: if she stops you on the seventh, you deal it and ask her to take the eighth. If she stops you on the ninth, you can either return it to the deck in the left, or perform a double lift with the tabled packet. Occasionally you will find that someone tries to catch you out, and makes you continue through the deck. This you handle as follows:

The eighth card, if it is dealt, is dropped to an injog position. Further cards are placed roughly in line with the rest - the whole thing should look fairly casual. As soon as the ninth card goes down begin spelling card B to yourself. Whenever she stops you, put down the deck and pick up the tabled packet. Some tension will have built up during the dealing if she has made you deal deep into the deck. Unfortunately this means that all attention would now be on the packet to see which card was reached with the deal. Execute the pass with the packet in squaring it as you look at the lady and ask, "What was your card?" I used to distract attention through a quip at this point directed at the lady if she made me go right through the deck-"You realise I can have you wetting the bed for the rest of your life." If this was my first suggestion that her patience in calling 'Stop' was not what I really wanted, then the tension relief that it caused provided a genuine laugh and a good moment to perform the pass. However, a joke at this point will drop the tension in a way that can only detract from the revelation that follows. You would have to work to re-build the tension to create a strong reaction when the card on top of the packet is revealed to be the correct one. It is better, therefore, to ask a question that heightens the tension, not releases it too early. This may sound an obvious point, but I do feel that the appropriate placement of humorous remarks is vital to the structure of well-engineered magic.

Presuming that you are stopped before the second card is spelt, keep a break between the halves after the pass. Reveal the top card, and then in the wake of the reaction (which will be nothing like as strong as if the psychological stop works), pick up the rest of the deck in your left hand, transferring the packet to the right with the break being kept by the right thumb. Now turn to the second spectator and mention the name of her card and explain that you will spell to it, one card for each letter. In saying this, bring the hands together and drop the cards below the break onto the deck. This resets the deck for the spelling of the next card. Place the packet in the left hand (now only 7 cards) face up on the table, and card C face down to the right.

If you have spelt past the second card, which means that the lady is really heading for a smack, continue as above, executing a pass to bring the selection to the top. However, do not keep the break after the pass. After selection C is shown, place it face down to your right, but keep the packet in the left hand.

Regardless of which situation you are in, when you come now openly to spell to the second card, first make sure that the spectators understand what you are doing. While it may seem a straightforward procedure to the magician familiar with such nonsense, to the uninitiated it will seem strange and a little confusing. I have had spectators stare blankly at me as this card has been produced on the last letter, spectators who have had not the faintest glimmer of an idea of what on Christ's beautiful Earth I was purporting to do. Let us assume that you have spelt past the card in the 'Stop' deal, and you now hold the packet in your left hand. Turn it face up. You can now spell to card B from the face of that pile. When you show the card on the final letter, pause for a reaction and then relax. In relaxing, perform a double lift, taking the selection and the one below it, which, thanks to this system that all made sense to me once, will be selection A. Place these two face down on top of and half-a-card-to-the-right of the face down tabled selection C.

If card B still resides in the main deck, you should now have the deck in the left hand. The seven cards (supposedly the dealt-off pile) are face up a little to your right, and the face down card C is to the right of those. Now, explain the spelling procedure, and start to spell the second selection, dealing a card from the deck and placing it face up on the face up pile of dealt-away cards. The advantage of placing them face up is that if you have lost or added a card somewhere in the procedure, you can keep a look out for the card as you reach the last letters. It can either be produced on the last ietter, or be the next card after it has been spelt, or if one too many has wandered in, you can include a full stop or 'period' to the spelling, which will meet with a laugh from the group. As you come to spell the suit, begin dealing cards with the left hand, pushing each card over and taking it with the forefinger beneath and the second finger above, then extending the fingers to display the card face up between them. This you ostensibly do to show that the cards are really coming from the top of the deck, but it will allow you to execute Lennart Green's Windmill Move at the selected card.

This runs as follows: when you see the selection, which should be revealed at the last letter, you begin to deal it in the same way, but instead of releasing it, you will turn the deck face towards the audience with the short edge parallel to the table, and turn the card at fingertips to also display it face to the audience in this position. Here the lower left corner of the card contacts the upper right corner of the deck, and the corner of the single card will have secretly become tucked under the corner of the top card of the deck. I shall do my best to explain how this move happens, which allows for

a single card to be displayed, and then for another card to be added behind it in the action of swinging it away from the deck.

First, ensure that the deck is deep into the hand, so that as the first and second fingers take the card, they do so at the outer right corner. Indeed, the thumb should lie right across the outer end

of the deck. Push off the top card in the way described, turning it face up by extending the first and second fingertips. In this position, the first lwm- finger is above the second, with the

I flat of the nail gently pressing the card against the lower part of the upper phalanx of the second finger. Both deck and card are parallel to the table. By bringing the fingers a little around each other so that they press side to side, the card can be rotated perpendicular to the deck so that it now faces the audience directly. Allow the bottom of the left long side, near the fingers, to come just in front of the outer right corner of the deck, by allowing the two fingers to tilt their card slightly towards the left. If the deck is not positioned deeply enough in the hand, it may also help if you bevel the deck by pushing the top towards the right and down with the heel of the thumb. The wrist twists inwards, bringing the deck to face the audience, and the card is rotated further to continue to face the same way.

To achieve this, it must use the top right corner of the deck for support. The second finger can come away from the back of the card and join the first finger on the face, now pressing it against the bevelled corner of the deck. The third finger can also contact the face next to the second. Deck and single now face the audience. The left thumb pushes the top card of the deck a little way off, as if beginning a deal. The single card can now be manoeuvred so that its lower left corner slips behind that extended upper right of the top card. The thumb should be at these corners, pressing against them with the ball of the thumb against the corner of the top card. The three fingertips provide support from the front, as well as some cover. The audience reacts to the card's display. Then, in the action of twisting the palm upwards, somewhat on the 'off-beat,' the card is now swung clockwise back onto the deck with the second or third finger of the right hand for a moment, but entering under the top card. The two cards are kept a little separate from the deck, and as the right hand comes over the deck, it squares the two, and immediately rolls them way to the right by diagonally opposite corners; the thumb at the inner left and the third at the outer right. The left fingertips can be used to catch the back of the double and cause it to swivel as the right hand moves with them to the right. This is a gentle flourish, and is done in the moments following the revelation of the card.

Other moves exist to allow a top card to slide under a second, any of which could be performed here. My own 'Velvet Turnover,' described later in the book, would do the job adequately. Mr. Green's method, however, is extremely efficient, allowing the top card to be cleanly taken, and the brief reassembling of the card on the top of the deck barely registering. It is well worth the practice needed to perform The Windmill Move deceptively.

The two cards are held thus in the right hand, which casually gestures as you address Spectator A. You say, "And you can tell me any number, and I shall make the card appear at that position in the deck." As he starts to name a number, stop him, and insist that he shuffles the deck first. Place the double card (selection B with selection A behind it) on-top-of-and-half-a-card-to-the-riglit of the face down selection C on the table. Without worrying about how squarely they have settled, pick up the face-up pile and add them to the main deck, and hand it to Spectator A for shuffling. While he shuffles, have him name a number. I usually restrict it to a maximum of twenty to keep the pace of the effect, but this is by no means necessary. You retrieve the deck at fingertips and repeat the number to yourself, with some concern. "Seventeen. Right. This may not work." Presuming that the double to your right is safely squared, point at the selections and say, "One card stopped at randomly, one spelt to, one at number seventeen " Begin dealing slowly, dealing each card with a snap. The last card, however, is apparently dealt on-top-of-and-half-a-card-to-the-right of selection B, using Amilkar Reiga's 'Open Prediction' sleight from the Secret Sessions / videotape. In fact, the right second finger merely snaps the seventeenth card as the left thumb pulls it back onto the deck, while the right hand pretends to place the card next in the row. Actually, the right thumb brushes against the back of the double and slides the top card of the pair across to the right. The illusion of a third card being placed down is very strong. It is worth referring to the tabled cards before counting, as I have suggested, for this reminds the spectators what the two tabled cards are. Otherwise your sudden dealing of the seventeenth card onto the row may not make immediate sense. As you make the fake deal, ask Spectator C to your right to turn over that seventeenth card, 'so that you cannot be accused of cheating.' As he does this and during the subsequent reaction by the spectators, you prepare yourself for the next stage.

This you do by getting a break under the top three cards. After the spectator has displayed the final selection, reach over and take them with your right, and in the action of squaring them with both hands (the left still holding the deck), exchange the three for the three from the top of the deck, keeping the break. Toss the three indifferent cards onto the table facedown. The right hand returns to the deck and palms the three selections. Casually and as you relax, the right hand moves to the box and drops them behind it, then places the box over them in the classic way. At the same time, the three cards, posing as the selections, are pushed forward with the left fingertips, and all attention is drawn here. You are taking advantage of the 'off-beat' created by the climax to the previous revelations, and the only advice I can give is to do this in the most relaxed manner possible. The climax to the routine comes from Mr. Mullica's effect, as I have said, with an extra kicker to provide a suitable ending to this marathon.

You suggest a game of Three Card Monte, or Find The Lady. If one of the selections was a Queen, then it is suggested that the Queen is found. If there is none, then ask Spectator B to touch his own card. As you say this, you are mixing them wildly. As he reaches, stop his hand and explain that he won't ever win at this game. I say this mainly to avoid the slightly unpleasant situation a spectator is placed in with these sorts of challenges. All three cards are about to be shown to be wrong, which is rather unfair. Had there been a real challenge to a game, it might have been another matter, but here our purposes are to delight. By telling the spectator that he won't win beforehand, he won't invest anything in making his choice, and therefore won't feel a minor pang of humiliation to see that the cards are all indifferent. I don't want to lose a personal connection with my participants, and were I to have him make a choice and then immediately turn to the rest of the audience, continuing with my patter as I reveal them all to be wrong, I would leave him hanging and feeling out of place. It is a huge temptation in magic routines to do this, mainly to get a laugh at someone's expense. Again, I remind myself that I am aiming to create a sense of delight and wonder, and this is quite antithetical to humiliation, however mild.

The other reason for stopping him at this point is to make sure that he doesn't quickly turn over a card. You only want him to touch one, and you reiterate your instruction at this point. Some humour may be extracted from moving his hand across to a different card as you look him in the eye and tell him that he won't win. Generally they will not realise that their hand has been moved until they look back down.

Pick up the card selected, still not showing it, and explain that the con artist will secretly exchange the card. Fan the deck in the

(eft hand, and pretend to perform at slow speed an exchange of the selected card for one in the deck. This I do by inserting one short end of the card into the fan barely beyond the white border, and then quickly flicking it over. Place the indifferent card face up on the table, and then repeat the fake exchange with the second. It is important to the nature of this routine that this look like a genuine, but staggeringly deft exchange. The third you offer to perform at 'full speed.' Here I merely pick up the card and spin it horizontally on my forefinger, allowing it to just move close to the fanned deck for an instant. The third card is thus displayed as an indifferent one. You continue by saying that the con-artist will also make sure that no one can see the three cards in the deck, just to cover himself should anyone grab the deck from him. As you say this, ribbon-spread the cards face up, and show that the selections have vanished. As you gather them up, ask if anyone noticed where the selections went. You reassemble the deck, explaining that they are under the card-box to your right. Keep a break under the cards as you return them to the top, and immediately palm them in the right hand as the spectators look at the card box. As in Mr. Mullica's routine, the left hand removes the box and cards, and tosses the latter face up in the centre, as the right once again drops the next three cards behind the box and replaces the box on top. I find that much extra mileage can be got from allowing one of the cards to flip face down as you throw the three in the table. This keeps the spectators' eyes glued to the centre of things, missing the reload. Pick up the three cards and reassemble the deck, keeping the break again, and mention that a good con artist knows all the secrets of misdirection. Then point out the three cards under the box again. The reaction to their second appearance is very strong. The right palms the three selections from the deck, the left lifts the box, and the right then drags the three off the table, adding its own three in the process. They are placed on the deck, and immediately the right hand deals the top three selections onto the table, face up.

During the aftermath of this double-revelation, you will load the three selections into the box, while replacing three indifferent cards on the table. This is done as follows. Hold a break under the top three cards of the deck again, and retrieve the three cards from the table, as if the routine were over. Square them against the deck and exchange them as before, placing three indifferent cards on the table as you lean back and relax. Hold the break under the three selections. The right hand picks up the case, which should be held with the hand above, and the side with the crescent-shaped notch facing down. The lid remains closed. The left hand points its forefinger, still holding the deck, and pushes the three indifferent tabled cards forward, as if one were offering them for inspection. This may seem bold, but nobody has ever picked them up in my years of performing this routine (and we like bold, don't we?). The right hand moves in front of the body with the box, and tilts it onto the same plane as the deck. As the deck comes back, the three cards are fed directly into the box. The lid is closed, but it will push in a little as the cards slide in beneath it. With this action you sit back too, and place the box back to your right in its previous position, but turning the lid so that it faces you, hiding the opening. Paul C.ertner has a similar approach to getting a card into a box in Steel and Silver.

"I shouldn't show you how that's done," you say rather coyly, "but I'll give you a fair chance to catch me. I'll get them back under the box when you're not looking." As you say this, lift the box in your right hand, thumb at the left long side, third finger at the right long side, and the fourth finger at the inner short side, ensuring that the cards do not fall out as you swing the case up to flash the other side of the box at the audience, apparently to demonstrate the

point on the table where the cards will soon be. I then like to use the following ruse for the return of the three indifferent cards, 1 have each spectator call 'Stop' as 1 dribble the cards on to the table. At each point I insert a card, but when the final spectator calls 'Stop' I drop all the remaining cards and place it on top. There is usually some laughter at this point, and I ask, "Oh, did you spot that?" turn the deck over and comment on the face card as being my favourite. "Fine, you cynics, I'll cut the deck to lose that last one in the middle." I then do a convincing tabled false cut, which consists of picking up the deck as if for a Faro shuffle, with thumb and third fingers holding the deck at opposite short ends. The right hand shifts the bottom half of the deck forward while the left keeps the top half still. The bottom half is swung up maybe five inches as soon as it clears the top half, which drops slightly. The right hand's half is then placed down on the table, and the remaining half in the left is placed in top. "Are we happy now?" I ask. Someone says, "Yes." Very few will have noticed that the same face card shows, so I now point it out to them, and repeat the false cut a few times to show that nothing is happening. The attention of the spectators will be increased manifold by this direct challenge to their senses, and I amplify this further by demonstrating a 'real' cut by means of comparison that is just as false as its precursor. This second cut may or may not be an original ploy on my part, I'm not sure, but it's no more than an adapted pass. It looks, however, very disturbing when performed face up. I hold the deck in the left hand and say, "In a real cut, the top half is taken and placed under the bottom half." As I do this, first allowing the spectators to note the same face card, I apparently lift off the top half, but actually bring up the bottom half by means of a pass. The idea of a false cut using the pass is an idea described by Richard Kaufman on his Pass Video. The move is performed immensely quickly, and then the apparent top half is swung round and down to the right and replaced under the half in the left. The action is one of slightly exaggerating the cut procedure. Performed face down, this is an unusually convincing cut. Face up, the action is as convincing, but the face card seems to penetrate through the top half as it is apparently removed. This can be repeated as an illustration of a 'fair' cut, and will deeply bewilder the spectators. They are seeing you apparently fairly cut the deck, yet at the same time the face card is not shifting.

The aim here is to increase the tension in the audience by having them pay more and more intense attention to the cards, so that the final revelation of the cards in the box will come as an extremely powerful one. If all has gone well, one spectator will have her eyes glued to the box and will be doing everything not to look away. This can be a splendid source of humour as you apparently do your best to distract her. The business with the false cut is to have them become mesmerised with the idea of not missing a thing. You are about to build this to breaking point, and then provide a very strong climax.

Finally, cut the deck fairly, and give it a one-handed shuffle in the left hand, about shoulder height and slightly to your left. This is a good time for flourishes. Square up the deck in front of you with both hands, and say, "You see, 1 must misdirect your attention," as you lateral palm the top card in the right hand. The left returns to the shoulder position and performs a Charlier cut as you say, "As you watch up here, you don't see what's going on down here." With the words, "Down here," waggle the palmed card at fingertips low down in front of you. Apparently replace the card in the deck, but strip it straight back out in a lateral palm again. This is achieved by placing the card a little way into the front of the squared deck, then bringing the right third finger across the front of the card in readiness for the palm. The card is pushed in from the outer left comer with that fingertip, which pushes the inner right comer through the right hand side of the deck. The third finger maintains a grip on the left corner of the card, which is pulled out to the right as the body turns a little to the left to cover the angle of sight.

Repeat the Charlier cut in the left, though you should do it a little lower this time, but still off to the left. If you hold it in exactly the same position, it may remind the spectators to look at the right hand. Immediately produce the card a second time at the right fingertips, and say something like, "So I'm sure you'll watch carefully." Place the deck on the table off to your left, and lift off half of the deck with the left hand, and apparently replace the card on the bottom half, but actually snapping it into a lateral palm in the manner of Mr. Green. Replace the top half defiantly, as if you are making a point of finally inserting the card properly. But as the left hand squares the deck, produce it a third time in the right as you say, "Of course you've all had a bit to drink..." and then place it in there for good. "Back under the box, here we go..." you say with some enthusiasm, and then pick up the deck and perform a series of flashy nonsenses as you say, "There's one... there's two and there's, oh..." Look at the box a little disappointedly as you note that they're not where they should be. "I missed!" you exclaim, and look back at the deck. "Hmmm ... they're not here," you say, as you ribbon spread the deck face up. "Well, I'll tell you - I've been cheating," you continue, gathering up the cards for a moment. With your eyes on the spectators you casually and fluidly lap the deck, saying, "I've been using special cards, that you can't see " As soon as the cards have been released, your hands move forward with the imaginary deck and mime the spread again. The cards have vanished. The reaction to this will be staggering, given that they were trying to watch your hands for minutiae of deception. Maintaining the tension through voice and physiology, pick up the box and open the lid. Hold it out to a spectator in front of you and have him remove the three cards and show everybody.

It will be noted that much of the misdirection comes from exploiting the 'off-beat.' Most of the moves are very bold. On occasion I have had the cards appear under the spectator's drinks as a climax, one beneath each. However, this tends to shorten the lifetime of the cards considerably, and was not as reliable an idea as I had hoped. I was entertained when one chap absent-mindedly lifted his glass for me to place the card there, yet had no recollection of this a minute later and was staggered by the appearance of his card. The notion of a selected card appearing under an object on the table is credited to Heba Haba Al, the famous Chicago magician.

Because it is essentially a display of (at least apparent) skill, I find it useful in the position I have mentioned as an opening routine, for it is a light-hearted but impressive piece of entertainment that will allow you to take your audience down some darker paths later if you choose. It is visually and emotionally engaging, I believe, and as such, provides a dazzling 'warm-up' to more serious pieces. I hope that the reader is able to glean something from it.

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