Theater of the Mind

So much for the choice of the card, new a number must be generated. Pointing to another person the performer instructs, V want you to put'your hands in your pockets like this and extend somefingers on either hand. if you like, you can put your hands behindyour back like this. l\7ou> bring out one hand with some fingers extended like this. He demonstrates the procedure as he gives die instructions, then adds, "Lets be absolutely dear. 7 7je nwnber of fingers extended will be our first number/9 . •

The spectator extends, lets say» three fingers.

The same instructions are repeated ro anodier person, and this tune, two • fingers might be extended. "Look. neve constructed a two-digit number: thirty-two. There are many many possible numbers we could generate with the fingers of two haruls.v

The performer opens and closes his own hands quickly showing a variety of possibilities.

A card and number having been chasen, a woman is invited to the platform. Taking the deck diat lias been in foil view all along, the performer openly and deliberately removes the rubber band.

"The cards are locked in this chamber. They cannot move. "He opens the flap and slowly slides the cards into the spectator's hand. He never touches them himself, llie empty case is casually shaken and set aside.

Standing away from the spectator, the performer asks her to deal the Girds face up. Ilie tension builds as the thirty-second card is approached. When it is turned up it is seen to be the queen of hearts!

The trick can finish at dlis point and the cards given to the spectator as a memento. Bur lets go on.

The performer offers to repeat the test. The cards arc shuffled and replaced on die tabic Once again he enters the audience. "Give me a color, red or black. Black! Good

"AW a black suit: clubs or spades? Clubs! Good Now will you. sir; give me a specific card ace to king "

Tour," might be die reply

'Our card then, is the four of clubs. Ynu* sir, give me any two-digit number."

Twenty-two is called.

"You, sir, can move this up by any number you want. "

"Six," says the man.

"The number is now twenty-eighr. Sir, do you want it to be iweniy-two or nventy-eightin

Karpje Richardson


"Fine! Do we ail agree that there can be no collusion? The selected location is rwenty-eight." " . •

The performer pick* up the deck and deals the cards deliberately. As he approaches the number rwenry-eight he slows down. When he turns up che twenty-eighth card, it is indeed found to be the four of clubs.

The cards may be given away as a memento.

Mh'IHODiThe firvt method will be explained in detail. The one used for the second demonstration will be greatly abbreviated. -

The named card is partially forced in the first stunt. Iliat is, the range of selections is subdy diminished from fifty-two to just two. If you reread the patter, you will see thar even though die selection process >eems fair and open, it aoually uses the principle of the magicians choice to limit the selection to the queen of hearts or the queen of spades.

Going through each stage, the first instruction * lakeyour index finger and press down on either group ofthese invisible cards, set mi quite fair. The spectator has no idea what you are doing. Ifthc "invisible' picture cards are touched, you casually turn the odier hand over and pretend drop the spot cards. The touched cards become the sclcctcd ones. If the supposed spot cards are touched, then you moveon as in the original patter pretending that thespec-tator has pushed the cards too hard, causing them to fall to the floor.

Invite someone else (or the same person, if you wish) to select either the men or the women from the picture cards. One hand has ''invisible" women (queens), die other the "invisible* men (jacks and kings).

If the men arc selected, without missing a beat, pretend to drop them to the floor. If the women are chosen—and they arc, eighty percent of the time—you continue the patter as given above.

Have the spectator separate the four "invisible * queens, holding the two black ones in one hand and the two red ones in the other. Here there is an absolutely free choice of which pair to toss on the floor. Make this apparent to die audience. Look away, even walk some distance from the spectator, instructing, "Take your rime and drop either group. "

Now the spectator is holding two imaginary cards. He pretends to hand you one, then reveals its identity. Again this seems unambiguous. If it iseidier die queen of hearts or spades you declare it to be the selection.

If you are handed an "invisible queen of diamonds or dubs, pretend to drop it to the floor; then, with conviction and confidence, ask the person to name his chosen card, the one he lias retained: the queen of hearts or spades.


We come now to the choice of number. Needless to say, this choice is also much more "restricted than the casual observer would imagine, i have explained the principle of this clever force (originally published by Phil Goldstein) in "An Experiment in Remote Viewing" (p. 238). Instead of fifty-five possible numbers, this finger game actually will produce only ten—with a bit of judicious manipulation. These are 11, 12,31. 32,33, 3-141, 42,43 and 44. And any of these numbers will produce the desired queen.

Notice that Fve made several changes to die force here. First, all the numbers with a five in them arc eliminated with die instruction, "Extenda few fingers/ or KtStxk out some fingers. 'Most people don't think of the thumb as a finger, and you dont give them the option. If the first person docs extend all five digits 'which has never happened to me) merely say, "Weregoing u> make a two-digit number under fifty. "The spectator will retract one or more fingers. (Nor have 1 had the second person extend five digits, but it they did, 1 would say, "No thumbs please. M)

I"hc remaining possibilities are compressed forther by reversing the figures, when necessary. For example, a one and a dircc call be interpreted as either diirtccn or thirty-one. You will interpret the numbers as thirty-one. since diirteen is nor in our selection range. Similarly a three and a four can be taken as thirty-four or forty-three. Interestingly, this is the only instance of a number that is viable both ways for this trick. The ambiguity of which figure will be the first in the two-digit number formed allows you to always interpret the choices in a way that suits your purpose.

Why docs this procedure seem so fair: Note, in die patter you tell the first person, "Lets be absolutely dear. The number of fingers extended will be our first number. "Now, what does the "first number mean? If the first person produces a three or a four, the first number becomes the first digit of a two-digit number. If the person extends one or two fingers, you hold up your right hand with the same number of fingers extended and confidently state, ''The first number is two, "naming the number of extended finger*. You rhen address a second person, adding, "Put a number in front of it." I le shows, say. dircc fingers and you say, "Threefingers—a lhref makes the number thirty-two. "If you read this over and picture how it looks to die audience, and if you match your gestures to your words, everything appears very straightforward.

One problem is the number twenty-two. This b the only possible choice that is not acceptable, and if it appears you must talk your way around it. For example, when you see the second two, casually remark, "No twins! Give me another number please. '"This will be a very rare occurrence.

Appear sincere and guileless: if you look as it you really belieye thar the selection method is a fair one, ir will scorn so to die audience. It there'arc anv mathematicians in die crowd, whose suspicions are raised, the second phase of the trick will dispel their doubts, as the choiccs there arc much freer.

Lets now aim to the make-up of the decks. Two decks are needed; one is set to produce the queen of hearts, the second the queen of spades, il you simply wish to perform only the first medicd (which is by far the easiest to learn), you need only set die queens, as i will explain in a moment. If you intend doing the repeat phase, bodi decks must be stacked throughout in the memorized order of your pre;erencc. In addition, die twenty-seventh card must be a corner short, ho thai you can ocatc it by touch. We will return to this at the proper lime.

Most new decks manufactured in the United States, and probably in F.un>pe, come with two iokrrs. You will need rhem. Yiki will also need ail extra matching queen of hearts for one deck and an extra queen of spades for the odier. So each deck will contain fifty-five cards.

Both decks are arranged as follows: Remove and set aside the top two cards of edeh deck; let's say they are the ace of diamonds and seven of dubs. Put the jokers in the deck somewhere around the tenth and thirtieth positions, so that they are widely separated. llie normal queen of hearts (spades in the second deck) is moved to rhirty-second position from the top. and its duplicate is inserted forty-second from the top. (Dont worry about the effcct of this on your memorized stack. One of rhc queens will have been removed by the time you must use the stack, and there will be an opportunity to place die other in its proper position.)

You can now produce the queen at any of the positions permitted by die finger-force we've just discussed.

if rhc number eleven is selected, die spectator is instructed to hold die pack face up and remove eleven cards. The queen will end up staring her in rhc face.

If twelve is the number, do cxactly the same. The queen is the twelfth card.

If thirty-one is die number, have die spectator deal down thirty-one cards from die top of the face-down deck—the next card is the queen. For thirty-two, do die same thing; die queen is found at thar number.

The same procedure follows for forty-one and fort)'-two since the second queen is in this position.

Theater or the Mind

What if thirty-three, thirty-four, fbrty-thrcc or forty-four is called? The queen is two cards away. l"hc solution is to add two cards secredy to the top of the deck. This is accomplished when you remove it from its ease.

With a razor blade or X-acto knife, cut a quarter-inch slit in the hinge at che base of die flap (Figure Next run the blade of a knife berween the glued edges of ihe case to split diem and Open the case out flat; Then stick it is together again, making it aslightly looker fit to accommodate the exua rhick-ncss of the fifty-five card deck without binding. You must be able to slip die deck out of the case easily when die time comes.

Place the extra ace of diamonds and 2 seven of clubs in the case and use a small paper clip to hold them firmly against the rear wall, backs turned toward that wall. The clip passes through die razor slit (Figure 2). I suggest you paint the dip white (typewriter correction fluid is good for this) to help camouflage it. You can also buy white paper clips at some stationary shops.

I prefer to place these two normal cards under the dip, rather than jokers because these cards may be the first counted face up, and jokers here might look suspicious.

Slip the deck into the case, turned in the same direction as the dipped cards. If the clip is removed, these two cards would become the top cards of the deck. Close the Hip and encircle the length of the case with a rubber band (Figure 3, next page). Prepare a second case in the same fashion, placing the second prepared deck in it. Then put the queen-of-hearts cased deck on the table and queen-of-spades cased deck in your left-side coat pocket.

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