Fate Chance And Science

Fate, chance and science combine to make two spectators choose the same card.

There is no set-up, just a deck of cards. This effect exploits two mathematical principles: The Principle of Nine, and an elimination principle based on binary numbers, discovered by Karl Fulves, and published in Pallbearer's Review, p. 374, as "Oracle."


1. Tell a spectator that you want him to arrive at a card by a combination of Fate and Chance. Ask a spectator to shuffle a deck of cards, then cut it roughly in half. Have him discard either half and keep the other, then cut the half he kept into two piles and again discard either one.

So far, we're dealing with chance. Fifty-two cards shuffled into random positions, cut into two piles and one chosen. Cut again and one chosen. So far, chance rules. Now fate enters the picture in the guise of numerology.

2. Have him count his cards silently onto the table. Let's say he has fourteen cards. Explain how in numerology one adds the digits in order to arrive at a single digit. Ask him to do that. He'll get five in our example. Then have him deal that many cards on the table, look at the last card dealt, and remember it. He drops the remaining cards on top and hands them to you. His card will now be tenth from the top.

3. Turn to another spectator and tell him that you want him to find a card as well, but by a scientific procedure. As you're talking, casually Double Cut two cards from top to bottom, bringing the chosen to card to the eighth position, then hand him the packet.

Note: In order for this to work, the pile must not contain more than fifteen cards. If you think it might have too many, drop it on top of the other quarter deck before you Double Cut the two cards to the bottom. Have the second spectator cut off "about half or maybe a few less."

Tell him that he'll progressively eliminate half the cards until he arrives at a single one. Have him injog the first card, outjog the second, and so forth (Fig.1).

When he's completed the procedure, he discards the injogged cards.

He continues this process until he's down to a single card. At that point, you turn to the first spectator and say, "You used a combination of Fate and Chance to choose a card." Turn to the second spectator. "You used Science to find your card. Wouldn't it be interesting if Fate, Chance, and Science conspired to give you both the same card?"

When he turns over his card, it is in fact the same card that the first spectator picked.

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