Synchronicity

Two cards, chosen together seemingly by chance, come together again at the end. Synchronicity, not chance, is operating here. An earlier version of this effect was published as "Robin's Riffle" in Karl Fulves' Riffle Shuffle Control (1979).

WORKING

1. Have the deck well-shuffled, then begin dealing into three piles. You're going to let the spectator stop you whenever he likes, but you want to be deep into the deck beforehand. You can speed things up by dealing three cards at a time in the early dealing, then later switch to one-at-a-time. To give some interest to what is a dead time in the trick, after dealing one-at-a-time for a stretch, you can begin to deal in what seems like a random manner, but always making sure each of the three piles has received a card each round.

Once half or more of the deck has been dealt, ask the spectator to say stop wherever they like. When they do, deal just enough more so that each pile has the same number, commenting, "Just to make sure that they're all the same size." Lay the remaining cards aside for the moment.

2. Explain that there is a word for meaningful coincidence: "Synchronicity. We might be thinking of someone and the phone will ring and it will be them on the phone. What makes this synchronicity is if that phone call is meaningful in our lives at that moment." Explain that you'll give them an example using playing cards. You want two people to pick a card in a strange manner that brings two seemingly unrelated cards together. Then you'll see if this was synchronicity or mere coincidence.

Once two people have agreed to try this experiment, pick up two cards from the undealt cards set aside, and hand one to each spectator, saying, "These have no meaning, except for you to use to indicate which piles that we'll use." Ask each of them to drop their card face-down on a different pile. Stress that the two piles chosen will then be used to select cards; the other pile won't be used for this at all.

3. After they've each dropped a card on a pile, set the other pile aside and Riffle Shuffle the two chosen piles together. It's better to shuffle yourself than to depend on getting a decent shuffle from a spectator. Now use RSC to have two cards noted, and control one card to the middle, and one to the bottom of the deck. The person on your right should remember the top card, the one on your left the bottom card.

At the conclusion of RSC, drop the cards onto the third pile, the one that wasn't chosen, then pick them all up. Take the few remaining cards on the table (those that were left over from the deal) and stick them anywhere in the approximate middle of the deck. The only way you can miss here is if you put them too near the top or bottom. Then lay the deck down on the table.

4. "Let's see if synchronicity is at work." Have the spectator on your right cut the deck in half to your right. If the two spectators are a man and woman you can have the other person grab the wrist of the person while they are doing the cutting.

5. Turn the pile on your left (i.e., the bottom half of the deck), face-up. Ask the two spectators to watch the faceup pile and yell when they see their card. You begin slowly dealing cards simultaneously from the face-up and face-down piles, placing each card in front of its pile to form secondary piles (Fig.1). The left spectator (it will always be the spectator on your left) will call stop at some point. Ask if his card is the one you just dealt or the one on the top of the cards to be dealt. In either case, take the card he chose and the face-down card that matches and separate them from the other cards.

Turn to the other spectator. "You haven't seen your card yet? How about here . . . or here . . . or here." As talk you turn up first the face-down cards already dealt, then each of the piles yet to be dealt.

"Let's see, two cards were brought into a seemingly random proximity through a shuffle. Then they were totally separated again from each other. The deck was cut somewhere in the middle and we've then dealt two separate piles. Do you think it's possible?" Turn once more to the spectator on your right, and ask, "What was your card?" Turn over the face-down card to show that it's his card.

"That's synchronicity."

Chapter 21

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