The Accidental Diary

This uses the sixteen-card "Unicycle Stack" and combines it with George Sands' "One to Eight" principle. Here, the stack is used as a random number generator to create a date. The date has already been predicted in advance in a diary, while the entry for that date contains an unexpected prediction.

It should be pointed out that only 80% of the stack's potential is exploited here. But it's the closest we could get to attaining a full commercial routine.

According to Stephen Minch (The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, Vol.2) Arthur Carter was the first to create a card prediction in a diary (The Magic Wand, June 1953). The more popular "It's a Date" by Ted Danson was published in New Pentagram seventeen years later, March 1970.


You need a pocket diary. Against the 16th of July write the Jack of Diamonds. Leave the rest of the diary blank, or you can fill it with random cards, excluding the Jack of Diamonds. Place the diary in your pocket.

Set the top seventeen cards of the deck as follows—only the Jack of Diamonds needs to be a specific suit:


1. Bring out the diary and place it on the table in front of a spectator.

2. Bring out the deck and give it a Jog Shuffle retaining the top stock. Hold the deck face-down in dealing position and invite a spectator to lift off a section—turn it face-up, then replace it. Now ask him to cut again, but "cut deeper this time to further randomize the cut," you tell him. Again he turns the packet over before replacing it. This is, of course, the Balducci Cut-deeper Force.

Spread off all the face-up cards and place them face-down to the bottom. Now push off seventeen cards from the top, without appearing to count, and place the deck aside. Turn the packet face-up and show the mixture of values, saying, "These look like a good mixture of values, which is good because it's only the values we're concerned with."Then notice the court card, which you remove and toss face-down to one side, saying, "We don't want court cards, just number cards." Leave the Jack of Diamonds lying there and completely ignore it until the end.

2. Explain that you want a spectator to deal the cards into four piles. Demonstrate this by dealing four piles, dealing rotationally left to right each time. Now gather the piles up again right to left—placing 4 on 3 on 2 on 1.

Give the packet to a spectator and have him deal four piles. Once he's done that, say, "You can stop right there, or you can gather then up and deal again." If he decides to deal again, reach forward and gather the piles together in the same way you did previously—four on three on two on one.

Continue this procedure until the spectator is finally happy with the four piles he has dealt.

3. Now ask him to turn over the top card of each pile, leaving it face-up on top. These might be a Three, a Two, a Six and an Ace (Fig .1). Point out that these four cards give a total that no-one could possibly have anticipated. "However," you say, "let's make this even more impossible. Please turn over any one of the piles."This changes the top card of that pile to a new

value. "Now turn another pile." This creates a further change to the lineup.

4. Finally ask him to add together the values of the four cards now showing. The total will always be sixteen. Point out that this will represent the day. Ask him to add together the two digits (1 + 6 — 7) to arrive at the month—July.

Ask the spectator to pick up the diary and open it at the sixteenth of July. He now reads out what is written there. There's no chance of any error because there's nothing else written in the diary! So he reads out, "The Jack of Diamonds."

At this point everyone will be puzzled, then you look over at the card you tossed aside. A spectator turns it over revealing it to be the Jack of Diamonds!

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