Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Hiding In Full View

I was reading David Hoy’s biography the other day - Super Psychic: The Incredible Dr Hoy. David Hoy aka Dr Faust the mentalist and mindreader is known among magicians as the inventor of the Tossed Out Deck effect. It's a great trick and still very much in use, passed down by Faust himself in an earlier book, this one for magicians, called The Bold and Subtle Miracles of Dr Faust.

But I bet few mentalists realise that the secret of the trick was later featured in Hoy's biography. Here is what author John Godwin has to say on page 27.

The whole mystery lay in the way David put his questions. For the entire deck consisted of eight of clubs. By naming two other cards he conveyed the impression that he was using a full deck. And since each participant had only seen one card, they assumed that the other two must have seen different cards.

Fortunately for Dr Hoy he had no further need for such trickery. By the 1970s he had become a full fledged radio psychic, helping callers find lost scissors and contact lenses as well as jobs in the construction industry. I'm not kidding.