Visual Retention Change

Edward Marlo

The underlying technique is the By-Pass Technique as featured in the Marlo-Curry change ( Linking Ring - January, 1955). The approach of taking a card or cards from one hand to the hand holding the deck or a packet is interchangable as in "Mechanical Seconds" (M-U-M -November, 1956 and in Seconds - Centers - Bottoms (1960). While the card or cards to be taken can be turned face up, Marlo's approach was to apparently toss the taken card face down. This delays the disclosure of the change. Also the card is cleanly turned over, using either the hand or another card.

Method: Hold the deck in the left-hand dealing position or Mechanic's Grip. Your left pinky holds a break or slight separation at the inner end of the deck. Another card is held by its inner right corner with your right hand. Both the deck and the single card are face down.

Both hands approach each other and your left hand takes the right-hand card and rests it on top of the left side of the deck; however, it slightly by-passes the deck and is kept in this cantilevered position by your left thumb. (Fig. 1, an exposed back-end view.)

Figure 2 shows the spectator's view at this stage. If the spectator is already on your left side, all is well. If he is in front of you, turn slightly to the right and turn your left hand inwards towards your body.

Figure 2 shows the spectator's view at this stage. If the spectator is already on your left side, all is well. If he is in front of you, turn slightly to the right and turn your left hand inwards towards your body.

You then seem to toss or drop the single, cantilevered card face down onto the table. (Fig. 3) This shows the spectator's view. The ostensible action, visually speaking, is that the tossed card is never out of sight and the spectator follows its downward flight from start to finish.

In reality, the cantilevered card is exchanged for the top card of the deck. The secret exchange is shown in the stop-action view of Figure 4. Your left hand does a downward Wrist Turn—a gentle, flicking, natural action, as if to drop the given card cleanly onto the table. During the Wrist Turn, the top card, with the aid of your left thumb, swings downwards and flush with the deck. A fraction of a second sooner (almost simultaneously), the top card of the deck falls or drops out and clears the deck. This action is so illusory that you will deceive yourself. In fact, it is deceptive enough to be performed with the spectator head-on; however, the best illusion is obtained with the spectator on your left.

The visual retention principle has been primarily used by coin workers and other sleight-of-hand performers to vanish an object. To our knowledge, this is the first application of such a principle to card magic. Although it requires some practice to coordinate the nearly simultaneous action of the exchange, the technique is surprisingly easy to do. There is an incidental drawback. You must invent a pretext or excuse for the preliminary action of placing the right-hand card above the deck. For example, your right hand transfers a card to the left-hand cantilevered position in order to pick up or move another object. Your left hand executes the change, apparently dropping the same card onto the table. As your right hand picks up the object and places it on top of the tabled card. The old ruse of picking up a pen for the purpose of signing a card. As long as the ruse is logical, there is no limit to the number an imaginative performer can discover.

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