Jon Racherbaumer

The title of this effect is not facetious. Its handling is based on Brother John Hamman's "Underground Transposition." The trick made an untraceable circuit throughout the underground and was a hit at the Magic Castle. The Hamman trick was eventually published in Kabbala and Mike Close published a fantastic version many years later. A Marlo version appeared in Hex. After reasonable experimentation with many kinds of lay audiences, the effect had only mild impact and was, in those lamentable words, a puzzle. This handling, using many Marlo techniques, was an attempt to "fix" certain deficiencies. After all is said and done, this method is flawed. It almost "makes it," but falls short of being a top-notch method. It is included for your enjoyment and possible use.

Effect: Four Blank cards and four Aces are fairly shown on both sides. The Aces are openly placed on the left side of the table and the Blank card are placed on the right side of the table. One at a time, the ink from each Ace is invisibly transferred to the Blank cards.

Requirements: (1) Three regular Blank-face cards; (2) Four regular Aces: AC-AH-AS-AD; (3) A double-face card that is blank on one side with an Ace of Spades on the other side.

Set-up: These eight cards are arranged from the face in this order: Double-face gaff with the Blank-side showing - Blank card - Blank card - Blank card - AS - AD - AH - AC.

Method: Hold the packet of eight cards face down and squared in your left hand. Say, "I'll show you something interesting with just a few cards. Something you have never seen before!" Spread the cards slowly into a fan, holding the last two as one. (Fig. 1) Your left thumb and forefinger hold the last two cards in perfect alignment at their outer left corners. Seven backs are shown, but do not mention their number.

The fan is then lifted to show the faces of the cards. As it is lifted, your left thumb and forefinger splits or spreads the double-card. The spectator will clearly see four Blank cards and four Aces. Your view is different. (Fig. 2)

Note the position of your left thumb and forefinger. At this point, if necessary, lower the cards to show backs. To do this, your left thumb and forefinger move toward each other in a pinching action during the downward movement. Because of the nature of your finger's grips, the subsequent alignment of the two cards is inevitably sure. This subtlety is by Marlo and is more effective than prior handlings.

Eventually square the cards and turn them face up in your left hand. Deal the cards one-at-a-time face up onto the table, reversing their order in the process. Say, "Four Blank cards and four Aces. No more, no less." Pick up the cards and spread them between your hands. In closing the spread, retain a left pinky break above the bottom three cards.

As your right hand comes over to square the sides and ends of this packet, the break is transferred at the packet's outer right corner. (Fig. 3, an exposed view of the Erdnase break.) This separation was varied slightly by Larry Jennings in an effect called "Look—An Illusion" in Genii (May, 1970), only Larry held the break with his third finger. This kind of break is quite deceptive because the front edge and left long side of the exposed packet are flush and intact, without any flaring cards or a tell-tale separation. Your right pinky maintains the break as though it was going to crimp the bottom card.

Your left hand gets set to peel off cards from the K. B. Move position with your right hand holding the packet from above and by its ends. Your left thumb peels the AC into your left hand. Peel the AH, which is not taken flush onto the AC, but is slightly side-jogged to the right so that both Aces are clearly shown. As soon as this registers, your left thumb pulls the AH to the left and flush with the AC.

The AD is peeled flush onto the AH and AC. This is performed at the same tempo, but a slight suspicion will be aroused because the cards are held flush. After a three-second pause, all three Aces are spread apart with your left thumb. This shows that all three cards are actually there. Finally, the AS is apparently peeled onto the other three Aces. This is when the switch actually takes place. Without changing the tempo of the peeling/counting action, your left thumb contacts the face of the Ace of Spades. Your right second finger simultaneously lifts all the cards above your pinky break and slightly pivots them to the right. The three Aces remain underneath the right-hand cards and are held in place by your third and pinky fingers. (Fig. 4)

The pivoting packet is thrust into the crotch of your left hand. The ball of your first finger and thumb pinch the outer left corner of this packet and carries it to its left as though concluding the count of the Aces. A slight break is maintained to show where the three Aces are below the single blank card. (Fig. 4)

As soon as your left hand moves away, your right first and second fingers move down and hold the packet more securely. This packet is apparently comprised of Blank cards. The next sequence is designed to allay any suspicion concerning the counting of the Aces. As soon as your left hand moves away with its supposed Aces, it flips its cards face down and spreads them to show only four cards. (Fig. 5, a split-action view.)

The right-hand portion should be ignored until later. The right- and left-hand actions do not happen simultaneously. The entire action is done with one hand. Your left thumb merely moves under the packet and simultaneously levers it to spread the cards. Once they are spread, drop them face down to the table on your left. Say, "Note that the Aces consist of the Ace of Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds, and last but not least, the Ace of Spades. Can you remember their order?"

After your left hand drops its cards to the table, your left hand goes over to the right-hand packet and aids in the subsequent spreading action. Your left fingers go underneath the right-hand packet and jogs the bottom double-face card to the right. Your right thumb then slides the upper three cards to the left, keeping them neatly jogged and overlapped. (Fig. 5)

In actual performance, the AS-side of the double-face gaff is not be exposed. The back of your right hand covers it. Your left first and second fingers are extended as your third and pinky fingers curl inwards. With your left palm upwards, the right-hand packet is grasped between your left thumb (on top) and your extended first and second fingers (below) at the spread packet's inner left corner. Make sure that your fingers cover the indices of the uppermost Aces.

Your left hand then tilts these cards upwards, exposing what appears to be four Blank cards. The illusion is good. (Fig. 6) These cards are moved back to their starting position, making sure that your right hand again covers the exposed double-face gaff. When the cards are held from above by your right hand, your left hand comes over and squares their sides. The supposed Blank cards are placed face up to your right. As the Blank (?) cards are shown, say: "Can you remember the order of these cards?" This may or may not evoke a few smiles, depending on your audience.

The Veeser Concept can be used in this routine, but the Aces must be set-up differently. Since that approach has been abandoned, it will not be described. Knowledgeable cardmen can apply the technique and figure out the set-up. Marlo also handled the spreading of the Blank cards differently. Your right hand holds the Blank-packet at its outer end with your right thumb and first/second fingers at the outer left corner. This will be the pivot-point. Your left fingers reversefan the cards from right to left. Once they are fanned, your left fingers grip them at their inner end. As the faces of the cards are lifted towards the spectator, your right hand immediately comes over and straightens the cards. This adjusting action should appear as though you are fanning the cards. In reality, you are aligning so that no indices will show. This Marlo handling appears more natural, but feel free to experiment with both handling and choose the one that feels comfortable. Once the Blank cards are shown, square them. Make sure not to exposes any indices. Table them face up to your right. The face-down Aces(?) are squared, turned face up, and placed to the your left. You are now ready to proceed with the sequential transposition phase.

If you like, say, "Most of you have seen magicians make cards change places with another. Well, I've never been successful at changing or transposing cards, but I've developed a lazy man's technique. I merely move the ink from one card to another. This is easy, efficient, and invisible. Watch how it works."

Your right hand is held flat and covers the supposed face-up Ace-packet. After a couple of seconds, lift and slowly move it to the Blank-packet. Pretend you are actually moving the ink. Eventually spread your right fingers and move your right hand away. Lift the top card of the Blank-packet to reveal the AD underneath. Replace the top card and add, "As you can see, some of the ink has moved!"

Repeat the ink-transferal ritual, then pick up the Blank-packet and perform an Elmsley Count. The AD and AC will show during the count. Because the top card is blank, the fact that it is shown twice is not noticed. The ritual of passing ink is repeated. This time the Blank-packet is shown by performing a legitimate count, simulating the actions of the Elmsley Count. In other words, the cards are shown one at a time, reversing their order in the process. The last card shown (AH) is placed on the bottom of the packet.

The entire packet is turned face down and placed to your right. After the AH has been shown to be in the Blank-packet, the supposed Ace-packet is picked up and shown. The cards are counted one at a time, reversing their order. The last card is placed on the bottom, which puts the Ace of Spades in Elmsley-Count position or third from the top. You are not, however, going to perform an Elmsley Count.

Repeat the ink-transferal ritual. Pick up the Ace-packet (composed of three blank cards and the AS) and turn it face down in your left hand. Say, "The Ace of Spades is the most difficult because it has the most ink! Believe it or not, all these cards are now blank!" Perform the Olram Subtlety. (The New Tops - November, 1965. ) Briefly: Thumb over the top card and take it into your right hand by its inner right corner. The remaining cards in your left hand are raised to your fingertips with your left forefinger curled underneath. Both hands now turn palm down to show the Blank faces of the cards. Turn both hands to turn the cards face down. Let the left-hand cards fall back into a dealing position, then immediately thumb over the top card as both hands drop their cards face down to the table. The remaining two cards are taken one in each hand. The card in the left hand is maneuvered up to your fingertips and held at its inner left corner. Both hands turn palm down to ostensibly show two Blank faces. All the cards in the original Ace-packet are apparently Blank. The ink has been completely removed and transferred to the Blank cards comprising the other packet.

Your right hand immediately spreads the face-down packet on the right, disclosing a face-up AS. This double-face gaff is slid out of the spread with your right forefinger. The remaining three face-down Aces are then turned face up to complete the four-card transposition.

Although it is possible to perform additional Elmsley Counts to "prove" this or that, do not do so. The puzzling aspects of this effect are sufficient. Avoid adding a kicker or trying to top the effect.

All Manufacturing Rights Reserved June 14, 1970

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