My father never did a False Shuffle — he had the cards arranged sometime before the performance, then picked up the deck when the circumstances were right and did it. Being more sophisticated — and I'm not sure about that — I do a fog Shuffle, then put the deck down.

When you're ready to start, ask the spectator to cut the deck. You point to one of the halves. Have him cut that pile into two halves again. Point to the other pile and have him cut that into two halves. Let me make this clear: You choose the piles the spectator is to cut, but the spectator does the cutting.

During the action, you sometimes tell the spectator to take the top card of a pile, then put it on another pile, or place one pile on top of another. However, what you are really doing is controlling the actions so those vital Aces end up on top of the four final piles. This seems so bold you may think you couldn't possibly get away with it, but the process is convincing.

It fools people because the spectators soon lose track of which pile is which. They think your helper is burying the top cards and thoroughly mixing the deck, but you know exactly what you are doing.

For instance, you could have him cut the cards into some piles, then instruct him to take the top card of a pile he just cut off, and put it on another random pile. This does not affect the arrangement — you're conditioning the spectator to follow your instructions. Now, after more cuts and switches, you have him move the top card of the Ace pile to another pile. Later, you will have him cut that pile in halves yet again, now moving the new top card of the lower half to another pile.

What is important is this: Sometimes you may have as many as seven or eight piles on the table! All you need to do is keep track of where the Aces are throughout the cuts and movements, gradually reducing the number of piles on the table to just four.

It helps the presentation if you assume the attitude you don't care what the spectator does. My father sometimes did this after a few drinks, while partially looking away from the action. I recall him sitting back, a beer in hand, so nonchalantly doing it. The people at the table got the impression he was kidding them. They'd be waiting to see what type of gag ending he was heading for, when the maneuvers were complete. When the helper turned up the Aces, they were stunned!

Though the method is elementary, it needs correct management and presentation to be effective. Play with it for a while, performing it for laymen, not magicians or their spouses. You must do it for "normal" people to get the hang of how it should go. Once you've perfected your own "randomness" you will catch quite astute people, even magicians, off-guard.

What made me want to print this trick in DYNAMIC MYSTERIES is this: Just a few weeks ago I'd finished a show in California. I was jet-lagged ... it was 2:30 in the morning on my East Coast body clock ... all I wanted to do was head to my room and sleep. Then, the host approached me, asking if I would do something for his boss. Worse, he handed me a deck of cards he'd found somewhere. Now, these people had seen my show with the brain-busting effects I normally do with my Breakthrough Card System and Radar Deckl I had to do something equally top-drawer with no stack or gaff. I went immediately to My Father's Favorite. Half-asleep and not seeming to pay attention, I did it for the gathered group. It blew the room away! When it was over, I rose, said "Good night," and walked away, leaving them dumbfounded! It's that good.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

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.

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