It was the other Richard Osterlind — my father, Richard Osterlind Sr. — who first interested me in magic. He had no teachers or training and, as far as I know, never read a magic book. My father only did a half-dozen tricks, yet his presentation was so powerful he destroyed people who saw him perform.
Even today I remember a Retention of Vision Coin Vanish with a quarter he fooled me with when I was just a five-year-old. He used the reflection of his wedding ring so you could see a flash of the coin in his hand when it really wasn't there.
Dad taught me his favorite card trick a few years later — the first trick I learned. I'll always be grateful for the way he encouraged me after that: During the mid-1950s, he often took me to the Klein Memorial Auditorium in nearby Bridgeport, Connecticut, where I saw many top magicians. After he determined my interest was sincere, he began taking me on weekly visits to the local novelty store to buy magic. By the time I was 10, I was doing what most youngsters seriously involved in magic do — working birthday parties.
Now, 45 years beyond learning my first trick, I still do it! Reflecting back, I think my father chose his tricks well. He never did the usual card tricks most laymen attempt, like the 21 Card Trick! I have no idea where he discovered this trick; if someone showed it to him, or he read it somewhere.
It's not a new trick. In fact, it's a very old trick, but there are subtle differences in what you'll read here, from what's been published before. Plus, I'll give you the details on exactly how I get into it, and another mind-blowing card effect I always use in my close-up performances.
Tracing it back, the inventor seems to be the wealthy Los Angeles banker, amateur cardman, and magical politician, Caryl
Fleming. It appeared with credit to Fleming as the Four-Ace Merry Mix Up in W.F. "Rufus" Steele's 1935 third book, CARD TRICKS THAT ARE EASY TO LEARN, EASY TO DO A few months later, it was printed without credit in abbreviated form in Glenn Gravatt's 1936 self-published tome, THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SELF-WORKING CARD TRICKS When Gravatt's book was edited by Jean Hugard for formal publication in 1937 as THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CARD TRICKS, credit was again missing. Then, it popped up without provenance in books for the public, like Paul Clive's 1946 CARD TRICKS WITHOUT SKILL and Wilfrid Jonson's 1952 CARD TRICKS, reprinted in the U.S. by Dover. But oddly, for the last four decades, it seems to have gone missing in most popular for-the-public books.
Consequently, though it's old, the method is little-known today, and despite the directness of the method, it completely devastates people. After you read it, you may still disbelieve me. So, rather than taking my word for it, here's what Wilfrid Jonson, an expert British cardman, wrote in his book:
"We can remember, many years ago, seeing a well-known professional magician do this trick to a gathering of experts in the Magic Circle Club Room, and completely deceive all of them. And we can remember, also, their looks of blank astonishment when the simple secret was revealed to them."
What makes this trick so wonderful is how it is presented. EFFECT
You put the deck on the table in front of a spectator who is instructed to cut the deck into several piles. Then, you direct him to move cards around haphazardly, sometimes moving cards from one pile to another, other times gathering piles on top of another. The process continues without you once touching the cards.
Finally, when the deck seems thoroughly mixed, you ask if it would be incredible if you could name the top cards of the piles on the table ... by this time there are four. You then request the spectator turn over the top cards. One-by-one, the four Aces appear!
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Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.