The Talisman


A card is shown and held in the fingers of the left hand. When you touch it with a talisman, the card turns over all by itself, showing that its face has changed. The card is given to a spectator (see other more surprising and original effects at the end of the routine in variations I through V).

— Any strange object that can pass as a magical charm, or any coin, if a talisman is not available.


1. Show the talisman (little statue, a coin, etc.) and talk about its marvellous properties.

2. Have a card chosen and returned to the deck, and control it to the top.

3. Leave the deck close to the left edge of the table, and the talisman a little further to the left, and close to the audience (Fig. 1).


Riffle the long edge of the deck closest to you with your left thumb, from bottom to top, until you have only two cards left to riffle. Press your right index finger firmly on the back of the cards as you do so.

4. Lift both cards with your right hand, and snap the two cards (as one), turning them face up, and place them, neatly squared, in the position shown in figure 2.

Turn your body so that your right side is towards the audience. Although obviously you are seated, you can still turn your body.

5. Carry the cards over to your left hand, which holds them by two diagonally opposed corners (the two corners without the numbers). You can see the position of your left hand in figure 2.

After a pause, so that the audience has time to receive a clear visual impression of the card you are holding, move your hand over to the cards, and seize it (them) by the free corners closest to you, and twist them forward (Fig. 3).

6. When you finish turning them over, separate your left thumb slightly from the corner it is holding, and at the same time with your right second finger, push the bottom card to your right. This card will pivot around the opposite corner (Fig. 4). You immediately touch the corner with your left thumb again.

7. The edge of the bottom card is held lengthwise by your right thumb (Fig. 5). It's a sort of lateral Penkai palm.

8. Your right hand, with the card palmed in this position, moves over to pick up the talisman (Fig. 5). (You must be very careful with the angles when you move your right hand. Be sure that there are no spectators too far to your left).

9. As your right hand passes over the deck, you secretly deposit the palmed card on top, at the same time as you pick up the talisman (Figs. 6 and 7).

10. Bring your right hand back with the charm to touch the card in your left hand, but as if by accident, make it bump into the deck, messing up the cards a little. This will hide the fact that the card you deposited on top is not perfectly squared up with the deck (Fig. 8).

11. Touch the back of your left hand with the talisman, remove it and turn the card over by pushing on the corner that is towards the audience with your right index finger, making it turn to the position in figure 3. The card has changed (magically). You can now present the card to the spectators, and leave it in their hands.

The change is incredible clean.

But if you want to end with an ever more surprising and beatiful effect, here is an unpublished, flourish, created by Sainz de los Terreros.

Card Twirl (Sainz de los Terreros)

First, you must bend the card slightly (convex curve upwards), by pressing the corners held between your left thumb and second finger (Fig. 9).

Then return to the previous position, relaxing the finger pressure (the card will have a slight curve).

Very carefully, bit by bit, continue relaxing the pressure exerted by your finger tips, and you will find that the card rotates all by itself (pivoting on your finger tips) and turns face up. You have to try it a few times to get the «knack». If you relax too much, the card will fall (of course). The revelation is more delicate and magical this way.


With the same exact handling, the effect can be even more magical: the top 2 cards are identical (for example, 2 two of Spades), but you have secretly signed the top card on the face with a broad felt tip pen. The marker acts as the magical charm. Done this way, the effect is: you take a card, show it (the two of Spades), turn it face down, pick up the felt tip pen and pretend to sign the card magically, waving the marker around in the air above the card. When you turn the card over, the signature is really there. Give the card away as a souvenir.

2nd Variation. EXTRA CLEAR

The SUP-1 card has a red back, and the rest of the deck is blue. Perform the effect as above, and it will be clearer and cleaner to the audience.

3nd Variation. EVEN CLEARER

The deck is face up. The top card is a double face (the face that is showing is the two of Spades, and the hidden face is a Jack of Clubs for example). The second card (SUP-2) is the King of Hearts, and SUP-3 is the real Jack of Clubs, from the deck.

Double lift the top two cards, turn them face up and place them in your left hand, ready for the move. Palm and dump the double faced card into the deck. The face of the deck doesn't change because the Jack of Clubs covers the real Jack of Clubs! Turn over the card in your hand— it is the King of Hearts!

Try it with cards in hand (glue two old cards together) to visualize the effect.


Instead of changing the face of the card, it is evident and obvious that you can change the color of the back (from blue to red, for example).

Here is one method.

Secretly add any red backed card to the face of the blue backed deck (which must also have the two Jokers on the face). Place the deck face up on the table, ready for the change. Take the top two cards as one. Turn them face down: a blue back will be seen. Turn them face up again (as one). Execute the change, palming and unloading the card (Joker on Joker — apparently nothing changes) on top of the deck, turn over the card in your hand — it now has a red back!


In the previous variation the blue back of a card from a blue deck changes to a different color (red). In this variation, when you begin, the card you show has a different color back, and then magically, the back changes into the same color as the rest of the deck. But the method is more subtle, and it is 100% deceptive psychologically.

Place a double backed card in SUP-1 (red showing, blue hidden on the other side). The rest of the deck is blue.

Perform a double lift and leave the cards on top of the deck, stick a sticker that has been signed previously by a spectator, on the face of the card that is showing. Carelessly flash the second card (SUP-2 it is blue). Turn the top two cards (as one), face down again. Pause. Show the talisman. Lift off the top two cards as one (with the red back showing). Turn them face up and execute the change, leaving the palmed card on top of the deck (where the blue back of the double backer blends in with the rest of the blue deck).

When you turn the card in your left hand face down again, its back is BLUE! Give the spectators the card and have them remove the sticker.

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