The Invisible Deck Routine

EFFECT: A spectator is given an invisible deck to shuffle and he then selects one invisible card. This invisible card is placed into an examined and initialled visible envelope. Holding up this real envelope, the magician asks the spectator to repeat the name of his card. He then reaches inside the envelope and pulls out a VISIBLE card which is the same as that named by the spectator.

COMMENTS: One of the features of Alan Shaxon's lecture is his version of the Invisible Deck in which an invisible card is placed into a small envelope which is in turn dropped into a larger envelope. The freely named card is actually found moments later inside this nest of envelopes. Although I liked the idea of having the invisible card materialise inside an envelope, I felt that the use of two envelopes, although necessary for the method, was not logical in terms of presentation. So I set about devising my own version which not only did away with the envelope-within-envelope idea, but also allowed me to have the named card appear inside an envelope which had been examined and signed by a spectator! The preparation takes some time, so if you prefer not to have to do it yourself, you can buy this routine complete and ready to work from Mark Leveridge Magic. See our current Catalogue, price list or web site.

REQUIREMENTS: 1. About 80 small manila envelopes. Mine measure about 7cm x 12cm and have a flap opening at one end. Fig. 86. 2. A full pack of cards including the Joker. 3. Some paper glue, a pair of scissors, a small knife and a pencil. 4. Four rubber bands. 5. A pen.


With the knife slit the bottom of 53 of the envelopes. Fig. 87. Then cut a small square shape section from the address side of each one. Fig. 88.

Shaxon Flap

Next, put a line of glue across the inside of the envelopes about 1cm from the top opening. Fig. 89. This effectively seals off the inside of the envelope from the normal top opening.

Slip one card into each of your faked envelopes. The cards are inserted by pushing them up through the slit bases of the envelopes and when an envelope is held address side down, the card inside should be FACE UP. Fig. 90.

Because of the sealing off of the top of the envelope, the card can only be pushed so far inside and thanks to your square shaped cut-out in the address side, part of the card back should still

Fig. 89

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be visible. If it is not, enlarge the cut-out until it is! Fig. 91.

With the pencil, write the name of the card inside in small letters at the bottom left hand corner of the flap side of each envelope. Fig. 92. This makes sorting the envelopes out much easier and it also gives you a quick visual check during the presentation of the trick of whether you have got the correct envelope needed to reveal the spectator's chosen card!

Fig. 92

SET-UP: Arrange all the envelopes in four piles, so that the cards inside the envelopes are all of the same suit and run in numerical sequence from Ace at the top to King at the bottom. The sides with the cut-outs are underneath and the flap sides are on top. Put the envelope with the Joker on the bottom of the Clubs pile.

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Put one unprepared envelope on top of each of the four stacks and put a rubber band round each pile. The remaining envelopes are your spares. You will need one new one after each performance.

Place the four stacks of envelopes into your case in an order known to you. I use the CHaSeD (Clubs, Hearts, Spades, Diamonds) order. It is possible to carry a stack in each of four different pockets as the stacks are not very bulky, but obviously having them in a case is much better. Have the pen to hand.

PRESENTATION: Bring out the invisible pack of cards and have them shuffled by a spectator. You can have the usual fun here of pretending the spectator is shuffling the deck without taking it out of the box first or that he has dropped some cards etc.

Have the spectator then fan the deck, remove any card and hold it up for everyone to see! Just to ensure that those at the back know the name of the card, ask the spectator to call aloud its value. Let us assume that he has chosen the 5S. Ask the spectator to place the invisible pack down but to keep hold of his invisible selection. Reach into your case and bring out the envelope stack which contains the suit of Spades.

Quickly remove the rubber band and discard it. Spread the envelopes slightly to the right and hold in the left hand. With the right hand remove the top unfaked envelope and hand it to the spectator to examine.

Bring out the pen and give this to him as well. Tell him to initial the flap of the envelope and slip his invisible card inside. This is so that he will not lose his card, because if he was to put it down somewhere, no one would be able to find it again!

As he is doing this, you use your left thumb to thumb count down the left edges of the envelopes until you come to the fifth one (the one containing the 5S). Casually cut the pile of envelopes at this point sending the 5S envelope to the bottom of the pile. Hold the pile now squared in the left hand. Fig. 93.

If you now glance down at the top envelope in the stack and locate the place where you wrote the card names in pencil, you should see written on the top envelope the 6S i.e. the next one in the sequence. If so, you know you have the correct envelope at the bottom of the pile. If not, then cut to adjust accordingly.

Take the initialled envelope back from the spectator and display it to all, placing it back on top of the envelope pile in the left hand. The freed right hand can then take back the pen and place it away. This gives you the logic for placing the envelope back on the pile for a moment.

Recap on what has happened so far. As you do so, bring the right hand palm down to the rear short end of the envelope stack. The fingers rest on the top of the initialled envelope, the thumb goes underneath and rests on the exposed back of the card which is secretly inside the bottom envelope. (5S)

Slide off the top envelope back towards you, using the right thumb to slip the card out of its envelope pocket and behind the initialled envelope where it remains hidden from view. Drop the rest of the envelopes back into your case.

Transfer the envelope and card to the left hand. The envelope is held with the flap side facing the audience, the flap itself pointing to the right. Fig. 94.

With the right fingers open the envelope flap. Ask for the name of the card again. The fingers then reach into the envelope, the thumb going on the outside and the left and right hands pull smartly in opposite directions. The right thumb pulls the card across to the right so that it ends up in the right hand and the illusion of it coming out of the envelope is perfect.

As the envelope is unfaked it can be given back to the spectator as a souvenir, and if you are publicity minded, you can have your publicity sticker on the address side so that he can remember who you were!

To re-set all you have to do is slip the 5S back into its envelope, cut the pile so that the Ace is back on top, add a fresh ordinary envelope to the top of the whole pile and put the band back around the lot.

Fig. 94

Fig. 94

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  • franca
    What is a shaxon flap?
    3 years ago

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