Sunday, March 12, 2006

Straight to the Point
I think it was Bob Ostin who first showed me how effective this trick could be. You've probably even read it. It is described under the title Round and Round and can be found in Chapter Five of The Royal Road to Card Magic, but it seems to have been overlooked by almost everyone.

The original made use of the Glimpse but that is not used in this version. The mechanics of the trick are almost childish but the timing and presentation turn what is really a very obvious ruse into a real baffler.

Begin by having a deck of cards shuffled and then five cards dealt face down onto the table. Ask a spectator to pick them up and mix them. Tell him to make sure that no one sees any of the cards. When he has finished shuffling, ask him to look at the top card of the packet, remember it, and replace it. You can turn aside while he does this. You want to make the most of the impossible conditions under which this location trick takes place.

"Okay, now put the cards behind your back. You're thinking of a card and I now want you to think of a number too. A simple number from 1 to 5. It's a free choice: 1,2,3,4,5. Chose any one of them and think of it. Got that?"

"I'm going to turn away while you do the next bit because I don't want you to think you're giving me any clues as to what is going on. You're thinking of a card. And you're thinking of a number. Now, whatever that number is, I want you to move that many cards from the top of the packet to the bottom. Do you understand?"

Repeat the instruction if he doesn't.

"Do it silently and slowly so that no one here could possibly know whether you're moving five cards or just one. Let me know when you've finished."

The spectator moves his cards and tells you when he has done.

"Okay, I'm still not looking at you. Will you place the cards face down into my hand."

You extend your hand behind you and take the packet of cards. As soon as you have them, turn to face him, keeping the cards behind your back.

"What I'm going to try and do is imagine I'm you. I'm going to try and imagine I'm thinking of a number and thinking of a card. The same card that you're thinking of."

Look him in the eyes and pretend to concentrate. Really you reverse the order of the cards behind your back and then move two cards from the top of the packet to the bottom. It doesn't matter if anyone sees you moving cards around. You're trying to imagine that you are him so it's reasonable that you will be duplicating his actions.

Suddenly, pretend that something is wrong. Something is not quite right. Turn away from him and hand him the packet of cards behind your back. You've still not looked at any of the cards.

"No, sorry, it's just not happening. Take the cards again. Put them behind you're back. Really think of your card……… Okay. That's it. Now think of your number again. And move that many cards from the top of the packet to the bottom. Do it slowly, do it quietly, don't let anyone know how many cards you're moving. Let me know when you've finished."

He tells you he has finished. You turn around but don't quite face him. Instead you extend your right hand and hold it palm up in front of him.

"Good, now take the top card bring it out and hold it face down above my hand. Keep the other cards behind your back."

He brings the top card out and holds it above your hand.

"Don't let me touch the card."

You don't look at the card either while he is doing this. But you do appear to concentrate and finally, say, "No. Throw it on the table. That's not it."

Ask him to take the next card from the top of the packet and hold it face down above your hand. Concentrate again and finish by saying, "No, that's not it either. Throw it on the table."

He takes a third card from the top of the packet and holds it above your hand. If he's followed the procedure correctly, the third card will be his selection. Trust me, it works. It'll always be the third card down in the packet. Finish by saying, "That's it. That's the one. Would you call out the name of the card you are thinking of?"

He does and you turn to face him. "Turn over the card." He'll be amazed to find that it is indeed the one he has been thinking of.

If you want to short cut the trick even further, ask him to think of the number first and then look at the five cards. He then remembers the card lying at his number from the face of the packet. This way he only moves cards from the top to the bottom of the packet once during the routine. It's a strong trick. You never looked at the cards, you never asked him for his thought of number, and you never touched the cards after he took them back. It's almost a miracle!

Final Notes: Want to tell him his thought of number too? All you need do is nail nick or crimp the top card of the packet before you hand it back. When you come to the revelation, have the third card, his selection, placed aside. Make it clear that's the card you are getting psychic vibes from. But just to make sure have the fourth and fifth cards brought out too, one at a time. You don't get any vibes from them so they go onto the table with the others. I should mention that the discards are dealt into a pile.

Now ask him to name his thought of card. He does and you have him turn that third card, the one placed aside, face up. It is his. He thinks the trick is over. That's your chance to glance down at the cards on the table. When you spot the crimped/nicked card, you can work out the thought of number because it will be that number of cards from the top of the packet. Don't forget to factor the third card into your calculations. Have the spectator concentrate on his number and reveal it in your best Dunninger manner.