This is a simplified handling of an effect I published in the original Talon magazine. There it was used as a version of the ‘Open Prediction’ but I’ve since found that it’s impressive enough without any of the trappings usually associated with the Paul Curry effect.
A deck of cards is shuffled by a spectator. The performer removes one card and asks the spectator to sign his name on the back. The performer writes a prediction under the spectator’s signature but does not show it as yet. “There is only one prediction,” says the performer, “If I try to change it, you’ll know it’s not the original because your signature won’t be on it. I’d like you to take the prediction, hold it face-up, and stab it somewhere into the middle of the deck. I won’t shuffle the cards. I’ll leave them exactly as you left them.” The spectator inserts the prediction face-up into the face-down deck. The deck is spread and the prediction, and the face-down card next to it, removed. On the back of the prediction the performer has written just three words, “Jack of Spades.” When the other card is turned over it is found to be the Jack of Spades.
The trick is virtually self-working depending on what I like to think is a clever subtlety. You’ll need two identical Jokers in the deck (or you could use a duplicate of any other card) and a quick drying indelible marker pen.
At the start both Jokers are in the deck when the spectator is asked to shuffle the cards. He can shuffle them to his heart’s content. When he’s finished you take the deck back and spread it face-up saying that you will use the Joker for the effect. Spread the cards from right to left, holding them so that the spectators cannot see their faces. When you come to the first Joker (from the face) remember the card that lies immediately behind it. This will be the card you predict. Let’s assume that it is the Jack of Spades. Keep your right fingers on the back of the Jack of Spades and continue spreading until you come to the second Joker. Upjog this Joker.
You will now remove the upjogged Joker and at the same time cut the Jack of Spades and the duplicate Joker to the top of the deck. To do this openly divide the deck in two, splitting it so that the Jack of Spades is at the rear of the right hand portion. The right hand then extracts the outjogged Joker and tosses it face-up to the table. The right hand cards are placed behind the left hand cards to bring the Jack of Spades to the top of the deck. The second card from the top will be the duplicate Joker.
Place the deck face-down on the table and take out the marker pen. Hand it to the spectator and ask him to sign his name or initials on one half of the back of the Joker. You then take the pen and card and write “Jack of Spades” below his signature. Cover the card as you write your prediction so as to hide it from the spectator. And as soon as you have finished turn the Joker face-up on the table.
Recap the events that have taken place. The spectator has shuffled the deck and written his name on the back of the Joker. You have written your prediction on the same card. There is no way you can alter your prediction. The spectator’s own signature is a safeguard against that possibility.
Pick up the deck and hold it face-down and spread slightly between your hands. Ask the spectator to pick up the face-up Joker and insert it, still face-up, somewhere into the middle portion of the deck. Now spread the cards wider so that everyone can clearly see the Joker face-up in the middle of the deck. Divide the spread in two so that the Joker is the top card of the left hand portion. The upper half of the deck is face-down in the right hand. Get a left little finger break under the face-up Joker in preparation for what happens next.
Point out that the spectator could have inserted the Joker anywhere and that the cards are, of course, all different. As you say this you flip the right hand cards face-up onto the left. The whole deck is temporarily squared but you immediately start to spread the cards between the hands again. Spread the cards one by one as you reach the centre of the deck. Keep the left hand cards squared until you spread them and as soon as you reach a Joker stop. Place the right hand cards face-up on the table.
Although you have apparently reached the prediction you have in fact only reached the duplicate Joker. Under this Joker is the face-up Jack of Spades, then the prediction Joker also face-up. You are also holding a break beneath these three cards.
Say, “I’ll take the Joker and the card next to it and place them on the table. No one could have known where you would have placed the Joker in the deck.” Immediately execute a Triple Lift turning the three cards as one onto the left hand packet. Deal off the prediction and the next card, face-down onto the table. Ask the spectator to read out what is written on the back of the Joker. Ask someone else to turn over the face-down card. It will be the Jack of Spades. Prediction fulfilled!
The duplicate Joker is left on top of the left hand packet. If you decided to use a duplicate of another card instead of a Joker then you can palm it off at this point leaving you with a full deck. If your Jokers are of a one-way design then make sure they both face in the same direction during the handling.