Page 1

Collected

Worlds of

e?t 'Etmstey

Volume I Written by Stephen Mincfi


The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley Volume I Between these covers a legend of magic comes to life. Alex Elmsley, inventor of the Elmsley count and such classic tricks as "Between Your Palms", "Puncture" and "Point of Departure", has been a figure of mystery for decades. His brilliant inventiveness has been lauded within the inner circles of close-up magic. Respected professionals who witnessed his work years ago still speak of it in awe. But few magicians today are familiar with the large body of exceptional magic this man has originated. This is partly because all but a few of his published creations lie scattered in old and obscure periodicals—and much of his work has remained unpublished. In The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley the magic of this extraordinary inventor is brought together for the first time. Gathered here are the published tricks, along with an equal number of previously unpublished items. Much of this material has been jealously hoarded by the privileged of magic. Some of it has been kept secret from everyone for over thirty years. All of it is innovative, baffling and cunningly entertaining. This volume contains over 110 original Elmsley tricks and sleights, plus a ground-breaking essay by Mr. Elmsley on presentation, psychology and misdirection, which appears here in its entirety for the first time. Welcome to the secret world of Alex Elmsley, creator of some of the most outstanding magic of the twentieth century. Cover design: Shelley Fallon


The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley Volume I


Alex Elmsley


ACKNOWLEDGMENT This work was made possible by the help and generosity of a great many friends and acquaintances. Some of them provided considerable aid while in the midst of demanding and turbulent lives. Gordon Bruce of Glasgow, Scotland, and Milt Kort of Birmingham, Michigan, did immense amounts of research, unearthing scores of articles in old journals and booklets. Jack Avis also must be recognized among my major benefactors. Through his notebooks and correspondence, he is responsible for the preservation of a large portion of the previously unpublished material that appears here. Those who volunteered rare and unpublished Elmsley items and information are Gordon Bruce, Ron Bauer, Bobby Bernard, Dr. Edward Brown, Roy Walton, Richard Kaufman, Jay Marshall, Ray Grismer, Anthony Brahams, David Michael Evans, Roger Klause and Harvey Rosenthal. Magic, Inc. of Chicago kindly granted permission to include in this volume "The Elmsley Torn and Restored Newspaper" and 'The Four Card Trick", for which they hold U.S. manufacturing rights. Likewise, Paul Stone of The Ace Place in London, England graciously consented to the inclusion of 'The Book of Fortunes"; and Supreme Magic of Devon, England, along with Hank Lee's Magic Factory of Boston, Massachusetts, generously allowed 'The Atomic Aces" to be described. Of those who patiently answered and researched countless historical points, foremost is Milt Kort, ably followed by Peter Warlock, Jack Avis, Roy Walton, Francis Haxton and Edward Mario. I also wish to thank my inexhaustible proofreaders, Max Maven, Darwin Ortiz, David Michael Evans and Michael Weber, who saved me from scores of errors and omissions. Finally, of course, my profound thanks go to Alex Elmsley who, despite his avowal to remain uninvolved in the production of this work, returned to magic long enough to correct the text with painstaking care and to comb through his yellowing notes from years past for unpublished items. To all these individuals I owe an incalculable debt of gratitude. Stephen Minch

FIRST EDITION Š Copyright 1991 by Louis Falanga. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without the permission of the publishers. Printed and bound in the United States of America 6 543 2 1


CONTENTS A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER INTRODUCTION

I iii

CHAPTER ONE: Alex Elmsley on the Theory and Practice of Magic The Automatic Producer On Misdirection CHAPTER TWO: Spirited Counts and Revenant Tricks The Four-card Trick (featuring the Elmsley count) Flight to Witch Mountain Shale Fellow Well Met ARebours Elmsley's Ghost Hoftwister Mini-Milton (featuring the five-as-five ghost count) Mixed Marriages Serendipity One Poor Lion The Great Pretender (featuring the everchange count) Twister's Flush Thoughts in Transit (featuring the neverchange count) CHAPTER THREE: Sundry Sleights Break Time Battling the Bulge A Bluff Hand-to-hand Transfer Taking a Break in a Spread Preparing for the Double Lift Fan Shuffle Strategies The Hook-strip Shift Top and Bottom Card Interchanges The Tabled Cover Reverse

1 11 15 19 21 30 34 41 46 49 54 59 61 65 69 77 81 89 91 91 91 93 94 96 99 103 104


The Tabled Top Change Two Novel Slipcuts The Swivel Slip Cut The Undercut Slip The Tipsy Turnover Pass A Polished Push-off A Biddle Displacement The Thumb Palm Addition A Card Fan Production New Techniques for the Rear Palm The Top-card Rear Palm The Misdirection Rear Palm The Tap Replacement The Center-card Rear Palm A One-handed Center Steal Trouser-pocket Loading Technique Variations on Erdnase's First Transformation Transformation with Outjog Erdnase's First Transformation as a Vanish Flying Squad The Misdirection Slide Palm Two Pocket Deck Switches The Climax Pack Switch The Empty-handed Pack Switch CHAPTER FOUR: Minus Fifty-two Puncture! The Nodding Skull The Visual Torn and Restored Newspaper Ring and Paper Clip The Twister: A Puzzle Two Thimble Changes The Elmsley Color-changing Knife Routine The Perpetual Cigarette A Cigarette Vanish A Production of Cigarettes in Holders Magnetic Monte Ring on Silk Physical Medium Sleeve Loading for the Cups and Balls The Elmsley Cups and Balls Routine

107 109 109 110 112 114 116 119 121 124 126 128 129 130 133 135 137 137 140 141 141 143 143 145 147 149 154 157 166 169 172 175 181 185 187 192 195 200 203 205


CHAPTER FIVE: Twisted Classics 1002nd Aces The Atomic Aces Repulsive Aces Double Finders Apprentice Aces Pick of the Litter The Four Blanks Five-card Sam Bare-aced Hofzinser A Minor Triumph All Backs with Aces A Triple Reverse Infinity: Round Trip Chosen Cards Across Invisible Card in Cigarette New Pieces to an Old Puzzle Liar's Club One at a Time Collectors Snap Swap Double Swap Ambitious to the End Ambitious Stranger

211 213 217 229 234 236 238 242 247 253 256 259 267 269 271 274 280 284 288 291 293 296 299

CHAPTER SIX: Down and Dirty Deals 7-16 A Double Prediction Melbourne Australian Self-help Chance and Choice

307 309 311 314 317 319

CHAPTER SEVEN: Welcome Correspondences Returned to the Nest Arith-mate-ic Pother Brownwaves I Shadowed Buried Treasure I The Memphis Matchmaker The Right Place, the Right Time The Book of Fortunes

323 325 328 331 333 337 340 343 345 347


CHAPTER EIGHT: Where It's At Buried Treasure II Hair Cut CalcolateX2 Cross-25 Weight Choosey Rough Tracker Card Hopper Penny Plain The Clock Runs Down Mathematics and Mentalism

353 355 358 361 363 366 368 370 371 374 376 378

CHAPTER NINE: No Gamble Misogynist's Monte The Bridge Builder Just Lucky Aces Up Pierce Arrow Four Flusher A Strange Story

381 383 388 391 395 397 399 401


A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER In case the reader is interested in how a book like this comes about, it's done through countless hours of hard work and determination by an excellent staff. It was in September of 1987 that I received a phone call from Bruce Cervon. He had just spoken to Ron Bauer. Ron mentioned to Bruce that he had an unpublished manuscript on Alex Elmsley's "Dazzle Act". Ron had put this together from an audio tape of Elmsley's 1975 lecture, recorded in Detroit by Milt Kort. These notes had been passed around through the magical underground for years. Ron said that if we could get permission from Mr. Elmsley, he would provide us with copies from which a book could be written. This started the ball rolling. I mentioned this prospect to my friend, Larry Jennings, who knows Elmsley. Dai Vernon, then recovering from an accident, was staying with Larry at the time. They called Mr. Elmsley and terms for a book were agreed on. This was in early October of 1987. For the next seven weeks I checked the mail every day with great anticipation. Finally, on December 23, 1987, the signed contract from Alex Elmsley arrived. What a Christmas present! In January of 1988 I started to think of who on L & L's staff could write this important project. Ron Bauer had recommended Stephen Minch, and this was my choice as well. I feel that Stephen is one of the best writers of magical literature today. In addition, he is a pleasure to work with. When I contacted him, he was quite excited at the prospect of writing a book on Alex Elmsley's magic, and he immediately began to gather material. Larry Jennings had already contacted Gordon Bruce in Scotland, who was a long-standing admirer of Elmsley's work as well as a friend. Mr. Bruce kindly agreed to photocopy his large collection of published Elmsley material and sent it to Stephen. Then, throughout the following year, he posted a series of handwritten letters, detailing various unpublished Elmsley items. Until this time, none of us at L & L had any idea what a wealth of material existed. Richard Kaufman contributed underground photocopies of unpublished Elmsley items, drawn from the notebooks of Jack Avis and Ed Brown. Stephen contacted both of these men, who generously


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supplied more rare Elmsley material and information. Ron Bauer sent a large body of work he had done on the Elmsley lectures of 1959 and 1975. Then Gene Matsuura, who had seen Mr. Elmsley lecture in 1975 at the Magic Cellar in San Francisco, volunteered his extensive notes. Stephen contacted his friend Milt Kort for help in locating further Elmsley material published in various journals and booklets. Milt spent hours researching items and making piles of photocopies. Roy Walton, an old friend of Mr. Elmsley's, volunteered information and unpublished Elmsley tricks he had guarded for years. And Dave Evans located further obscure references in print. Stephen contacted everyone he could think of who might have additional information on Elmsley, and all of them responded with generosity. He then started to piece it all together. A large manuscript was completed in 1989, which was sent to Alex Elmsley. Just when we thought we were finished, Mr. Elmsley searched his files, and that December, another Christmas present arrived: a parcel with thirtythree more unpublished tricks—Mr. Elmsley had sent a bundle of his original notes! Stephen eagerly incorporated this new information into the manuscript. A second parcel from Mr. Elmsley arrived in March of 1990, and after that further shipments appeared regularly, containing corrections and new material for the manuscript. Stephen conscientiously added this information as he received it. At this point the manuscript had grown to more than five hundred single-spaced typescript pages and it became obvious that it would require two large volumes to hold it all. Stephen asked Max Maven, Darwin Ortiz and Michael Weber to proofread the text, which they did, devoting long hours from their busy performing schedules for the task. Milt Kort, Ron Bauer and David Michael Evans were also given copies to check. In the meantime, I contacted Amado Narvaez to do the many illustrations. Stephen then designed the book and laid it out. By now you've figured out that, without Stephen's great effort, Ron Bauer's initial suggestion, and the generous help of many friends and fans of Alex Elmsley, this book would not exist. Thanks to all of you, and any whom I have forgotten to mention, who made this important work a reality. Louis Falanga July 1990


ALEX ELMSLEY: The Man and His Book Alexander Elmsley has become, without the least deliberate effort of his own, both a bit of a legend and an enigma to the world of magic. The average magician of the last few decades knows of him mainly because of the famous false display count that bears his name. Those with a more than passing interest in card magic recognize Alex Elmsley as the inventor of several plots that have achieved the status of modern classics: "Between Your Palms", "Point of Departure" and to a lesser extent "Diamond Cut Diamond". Those magicians, however, who followed the craft avidly in the 1950s, '60s and '70s remember more. They recall a man who devised not just three or four exceptional tricks and sleights, but scores of them. It has long been agreed among those familiar with Alex Elmsley's work that a book on his magic was long overdue. But producing such a book did not interest him. At those times when he was active in the society of magic, there did appear a scant number of his creations in books— the books of acquaintances. He was content to publish the bulk of his work in journals like Abracadabra, The Gen, Pentagram, Ibidem and The Cardiste. His heaviest period of contribution was the early years, from 1949 to 1959. In a little over a decade roughly seventy Elmsley tricks and sleights appeared in print. This burst of creation would represent almost seventy percent of his published output during the next forty years. By the early 1950s, reporters on the British scene were already bestowing glowing adjectives on this clever young man, this fellow Elmsley. When luminaries from the U.S., like Dai Vernon, Paul LePaul and Slydini visited England, a point was made of introducing them to Alex Elmsley; and when they returned to the States, they brought with them stories of a new British lad who did some remarkably original magic. They had been fooled and most of them openly admitted it. For years, both before and after Dai Vernon's first lecture tour of England, he and Mr. Elmsley corresponded, discussing and trading tricks and sleights. The regard the Professor held for the


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THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

Elmsley brand of magic is clearly evidenced in his Inner Secrets of Card Magic series and in the material he chose to teach in his "New Card Magic" course for the Lou Tannen School of Magic in 1962. Of the seven items covered in that course, two were Elmsley inventions: "En Voyage" and "Brainweave" (both appear in Volume II of this collection). On September 21, 1957, at the British Ring Convention in Scarborough, Mr. Elmsley delivered his first magic lecture, titled "Low Cunning". Two years later, at the age of twenty-nine, he brought a revised version of this lecture to the United States, and presented it at the combined I.B.M. and S.A.M. Chicago convention of 1959. He then traveled for the balance of the summer, lecturing in select cities throughout the American Midwest. During this summer he released an exceptional item: 'The Four Card Trick". It was this trick that first introduced the ghost count, a false display that would later become known as the Elmsley count. During his tour of the States, he took the opportunity of visiting with many of his American idols, among whom were Edward Mario, Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller. Shortly after returning home from this tour, Alex Elmsley disappeared from the magic scene. After a decade of concentrated invention there were to follow twelve years of virtual silence in which the brilliant contributions to the journals dwindled to nothing. They would never again achieve the frequency enjoyed in the 1950s. The few scattered items that appeared under his name during the 1960s were remnants from years earlier and reprints of past articles. I can think of no other magical inventor whose material has been more frequently recycled by the periodicals.

From left to right: Arthur Holland, Tommy Vanderschmidt, Ted Danson, Alex Elmsley


INTRODUCTION His absence was clearly felt in many quarters. He seldom showed up at the haunts where he had regularly met with magician friends. Beginning in the late 1940s young Elmsley became a regular fixture about Harry Stanley's Unique Magic Studio. Stanley's studio was located on the third floor of a Soho business building on the corner of Wardour and Brewer, and every Saturday Alex Elmsley would journey there to meet with a group of fellows who shared his avid interest in magic. They gathered for lunch, then strolled over to Stanley's shop, where they sat around for the rest of the afternoon performing magic, talking about magic, but to Stanley's frustration seldom buying magic. This Saturday group was known at various times as the Unique Lounge Lizards and the D.G.s—that is, Dealer's Grave. The members varied from week to week, but among the regulars were Val Andrews, Jack Avis, Bobby Bernard, Ken Brooke, Ted Danson, John Derris (who became Jack Avis' brother-in-law), Robert Harbin, Arthur Holland, John Messenger, Tommy Vanderschmidt and Roy Walton. Thanks to the red witch-hunts instigated by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy in the U.S., a yank film director named Cy Endfield became a member of the group and a close friendship grew between this forced expatriate and Alex Elmsley. Jack Avis smiles when remembering Mr. Elmsley's participation at these weekly meetings. "He would always show up with a new trick he had worked out, and proceeded most often to baffle us all. Most of the time he assumed that we had followed the method, when in fact we were totally in the dark; and he made his subsequent explanations brief so as not to bore us with things he assumed we understood." It was a joy for all of them to participate in the abundant creativity of these gatherings. However, when he returned from his summer tour of the United States, instead of being freshly inspired by the magic and magicians he had seen there, as those who knew him expected, he began to withdraw from the world of magic. He turned up less and less frequently at the lectures and Saturday gatherings, until his friends seldom saw him. What should have been a pinnacle of heady inspiration had instead become a turning point away from magic. This unexpected disenchantment surprised and baffled his colleagues. What had cooled Alex Elmsley's passion for conjuring? Two things contributed to the change. One was the crushing discovery, though he never said as much to anyone, that none of the giants of close-up magic he had met in the States seemed to be able to make a decent living at their art. Their genius went largely unrecognized and unrewarded by the outside world. The ambitions of a young man hoping to make a name for himself with magic had been dashed upon the stoney ground of public indifference. The second factor that drew Alex Elmsley away from magic was simply an active and highly intelligent mind that became fascinated and eventually absorbed by other topics.


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But so far I've addressed only that side of the man that pertains to magic. Let's retreat a bit and fill in some essential information. Alexander Elmsley was born on March 2, 1929, in St. Andrews, Scotland. In 1946 he suffered from acute appendicitis, which took him from school and put him in hospital. During his recovery, to pass the time he developed an interest in juggling. A search for juggling equipment led him one day to Hamley's, London's famous toy store. By accident he discovered the magic counter there, and juggling was soon discarded for the sly art. A boy of sixteen living in a London still healing the wounds of blitzkrieg had precious little money to spend on props. Consequently he turned to sleight-of-hand. His early concern with manipulation is obvious in his first few years of contributions, which contain many clever sleights and flourishes. His interest in fully developed tricks and presentations took several years to mature, but a talent for the creation of plots and presentations rapidly developed and he soon proved to be as perceptive and inventive in these areas as he was in that of methods. After graduating from public school he served the required twoyear term in the British army. Magic became a casual hobby during his duty in the National Service, but quickly grew to a passion shortly after he was released. He entered Eton and Kings College to receive his university training, where he discovered a student association of magic enthusiasts, the Pentacle Club. He became involved with the group and served as its secretary during his stay at Cambridge. When he eventually earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and physics (subjects for which he early showed a natural aptitude), he moved to London and acquired a position with a patent agency. His job was to write accurate scientific and legal descriptions of the many inventions submitted for patenting. Living again in London provided him the opportunity to become deeply involved in magic, which he proceeded to do throughout the 1950s. Besides contributing heavily to the literature of the period, and marketing several tricks of his invention, in 1953 he entered the British Ring competition with an act of billiard ball manipulation. Then, during the 1960s, two subjects supplanted his enthusiasm for magic: science fiction and the budding field of computer technology. This latter interest grew until, in 1965, he was hired by I.C.T., a British computer firm, as an instructor for main-frame system programming and management. He has remained with the company to the present day. As the years passed, Mr. Elmsley withdrew almost completely from the world of conjuring. From 1960 through 1966 he still continued to meet once a month with a group of friends to talk magic. The group included Jack Avis, Francis Haxton, Peter Warlock and Eric de la Mare. The first three men need no introduction to students of magic, but de la Mare is an unfamiliar name to most. Eric de la Mare had worked for many years in Ceylon as an engineer on a tea plantation.


INTRODUCTION

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It was there that he met and spent extended time with Max Malini. Many who were familiar with de la Mare believe he knew and understood Malini's magic better than anyone, and cite as proof a long article that de la Mare authored on Malini for The Magic Circular. After spending years in Ceylon, de la Mare moved to London, where he took an office and worked as a freelance mechanical illustrator for engineering and architectural firms. Over the years he contributed the odd trick to the British journals, but he was never widely recognized in the world of magic outside of those who knew him in London. Among his friends were Roy Walton and Mr. Elmsley, who were roughly thirty years his juniors. They would often meet during the week for lunch. Eric de la Mare deserves special acknowledgement when discussing the magic of Alex Elmsley, as he devised a false count with cards that contributed importantly to the creation of Mr. Elmsley's several false counts, including the ghost and everchange counts. De la Mare never published his count, so it appears in print for the first time in this collection (see p. 232.) Another little-known name that became an important inspiration in Alex Elmsley's magical career was Bill Reid. Bill Reid was a chartered accountant by profession and a close-up enthusiast by inclination, and Mr. Elmsley's senior by some years. At one Monday night club meeting at the Magic Circle, sometime in the mid-1950s, Mr. Reid presented several tricks that relied on advanced faro shuffle methods. At the time, aside from the chapter on faro shuffle work in Hugard and Braue's Expert Card Technique, little had been published on the subject; and most of those who had read this information were more intimidated than enlightened by it. Consequently, many who witnessed Reid's performance were totally baffled by the effects. One in the group who had some understanding of the possibilities offered by the faro shuffle was Alex Elmsley. He had studied Expert Card Technique and experimented with some of the ideas presented there. As soon as it was possible, he approached Bill Reid and expressed a strong interest in the work he had seen. This began an acquaintance that bore exceptionally valuable fruit. Reid's work with the faro weave inspired the younger Elmsley to immerse himself in a study of the shuffle, and the two men met often to explore the magical potential of perfectly interlaced cards. From this collaboration arose a small monograph of one dozen original faro tricks. Each man contributed six items. Jack Avis volunteered to take photos for the text and the manuscript was duly presented to Harry Stanley for publication. This manuscript lay untouched for years on a storeroom shelf at the Unique Magic Studio. Whether Stanley simply forgot it or thought it too esoteric a work to be profitable is unknown. Eventually it was lost. This was the first of a series of misadventures concerning this monograph. When it was eventually discovered that the Elmsley-Reid manuscript had disappeared, Avis one evening got together with Bill Reid to tape record his portion of the material. Their idea was to


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submit it to Peter Warlock's Pentagram. When Mr. Avis mentioned this in correspondence to Karl Fulves, Fulves expressed a strong interest in publishing it in the States. Since Mr. Avis had not yet contacted Peter Warlock about the material, he decided to let Mr. Fulves have it, and posted him the original audiotape. But the ill-fated material seemed destined never to reach print. It was lost again, this time by Mr. Fulves, and to Avis' regret he had not thought to make a copy of the tape. Over the years Mr. Elmsley had since scattered his six items from the manuscript in the pages of Ibidem, The Cardiste and New Pentagram. Bill Reid's half dozen tricks, however, have never been published. Roy Walton believes he may have a copy of the original faro manuscript stored in an inaccessible box somewhere, so there is still hope that one day this material may come to light. Sometime in the late 1960s an old acquaintance of Mr. Elmsley's, John Messenger, approached him with the idea of producing a book of his tricks. Messenger ran a small novelty and magic shop with his father in London, and the publication of a book of Elmsley magic seemed an excellent venture. By this time Mr. Elmsley had withdrawn completely from magic and expressed no interest in authoring a book. However, he was always generous with his material, and when Messenger volunteered to write the book himself, Mr. Elmsley granted him permission, so long as he was not required to arrange the contents or supervise the descriptions. Messenger agreed and immediately called up Jack Avis. For years Mr. Avis had faithfully recorded the tricks and ideas presented by Mr. Elmsley at their Saturday lunches. Each Saturday evening and, if necessary, the following Sunday, Mr. Avis would sit at his desk at home and record as much as he could remember of these creations in a notebook devoted strictly to unpublished Elmsley magic. John Messenger knew of Avis' notes and desired to use them as the basis for his book. Mr. Avis, who had carefully protected these notes for years, called his old friend to confirm his consent to the project. This done, Mr. Avis surrendered his notebook to Messenger. It seemed, though, that a book on the magic of Alex Elmsley was condemned to misfortune. After gathering the material for the book, John Messenger failed to proceed much further on the project. He eventually immigrated to America to pursue a career as an actor, and the book never appeared. By the end of 1969 Jack Avis had grown uncomfortable about the fate of the unpublished Elmsley material he had consigned to Messenger. He learned of instances in which tricks from his notes were being swapped and bartered in the magic underground. This news aroused in him a very real concern that the material might become estranged from its inventor and begin to appear in the literature without due credit. Feeling himself an unwitting contributor to this problem, he took steps toward protecting Mr. Elmsley's


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authorship of the ideas. He made six photocopies of his handwritten notes on Elmsley and sent these to Roy Walton, Edward Mario and four other trusted friends. In doing so he assured that a written record existed of these ideas and their source. Sometime in 1971 something once more stirred Alex Elmsley's interest in magic. The receipt in 1972 of a Creative Fellowship award from the Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood undoubtedly contributed to this resurgence of enthusiasm. He hesitantly relinquished his dissociation from magic and began sending tricks to a few journals. By 1975 he had authored a new lecture that was to become perhaps the most esteemed effort of his magical career. He debuted it in London and Monte Carlo before bringing it to the States for his second tour there. The lecture was divided into three parts. It began with a twenty-minute discussion of psychology, theater and presentational theory as applied to close-up magic. Mr. Elmsley then performed an integrated act of original card magic, employing all the theoretical concepts he had previously discussed. At the end of this segment, by all reports, the audiences of magicians burst into spontaneous and enthusiastic applause. Following his performance there was a brief intermission, after which Mr. Elmsley explained the entire act, revealing not only the secrets of the tricks he had done, but also how he had successfully applied to his magic the theories explained in the first segment. The lecture sold out wherever it was offered. Of those magicians who witnessed it, some of whom are among the most highly regarded in magic today, I have yet to meet one who does not count it among the most exciting and inspiring experiences of his magical life. This, unfortunately, rings of excessive praise, but it is nonetheless true. The fortunate magicians who attended this lecture, drawn by Mr. Elmsley's reputation and perhaps by his mystique as a modern-day Charlier resurrected, report that they were educated, entertained and repeatedly fooled. It was an event not to be missed. Mr. Elmsley's notes for this lecture were more of an outline than an explication of the magic. They were designed only to stimulate the memories of those who attended. Were it not for a rare tape recording of the lecture made by Milt Kort, and copious notes compiled independently by Ron Bauer and Dr. Gene Matsuura, much of this lecture would have been lost. Thanks to the generosity of these men and their high regard for Mr. Elmsley and his work, I was able to reconstruct the lecture performance of 1975 in total. That lecture both prefaces and concludes this long overdue collection of the magic of Alex Elmsley. The introductory segment of theoretical observations opens this volume, and the final chapter of Volume II comprises the complete card act. A curious artifact of Mr. Elmsley's second tour of America was a rumor that began several years later concerning a lost manuscript of original faro material. Some years before, a general agreement had


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been reached with Jay Marshall that, should Mr. Elmsley write a collection of his faro tricks, Magic, Inc. would publish it. Rumor had it that he came to the U.S. in 1975 with the only extant copy of the completed faro manuscript, intending to present it to Mr. Marshall, but that the manuscript had been lost. Various colorful and scandalous stories circulated about its disappearance, one of which even Jay Marshall came to believe. On asking Mr. Elmsley about the contents of this lost manuscript, I discovered that he knew nothing of it. No such work had been written, let alone taken to the States. It is likely that the rumors developed from the loss many years earlier of the Elmsley-Reid faro manuscript. The stories were seemingly substantiated by the underground circulation of copies of the Avis notebooks, which indeed contained a quantity of unpublished faro material and were mistaken for the lost work. All that material appears in Volume II of this collection. Ironically, Mr. Elmsley was working on a book around the time of his second lecture tour. This book, however, concerned various false counts and displays of his invention, and roughly a dozen unpublished tricks that employed them. Most of this material has been assimilated into the first chapter of the present volume, and the balance appears in ensuing chapters. After completing his 1975 lecture tour in the U.S., Mr. Elmsley returned home and, for the second time, disappeared from magic. This trip apparently quenched the flame of renewed interest that had arisen for a short time. A small but superb body of new material fluttered through the pages of select books and journals in the wake of his departure, some of it appearing only recently. This leads us to the subject of historical dating throughout the work at hand. Appended to many of the articles contained in these volumes the reader will find dates. Dates without brackets indicate the first appearance of that item in print. Further information on published articles can be found in the bibliography, which concludes Volume II. Dates that appear in brackets signify dates of notebook entries or letters from which unpublished material was taken. Mr. Elmsley was never concerned about dates in his own notes, so not every unpublished item could be dated in this manner, and for such items no dates are given. Listing the publication dates of many items may in one way be misleading, as these dates often vary greatly with the genuine date of invention. Those items published in the late 1940s and 1950s generally followed the time of their invention fairly closely. However, many items that appeared after this period were actually conceived years, sometimes decades, earlier. One final note on the contents of these volumes: A serious effort has been made to compile as complete a collection of Mr. Elmsley's magic as was possible. Few items have been ignored. Those exceptions include several early articles whose topicality did not successfully weather the winds of time, and a small number of


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collaborative efforts in which Mr. Elmsley's contribution could not be accurately assessed. For those who would explore these minor omissions, their locations can be ferreted from the bibliography. As I write, Alex Elmsley is sixty years old, still teaches computer management and looks after his mother. On rare occasions he turns up to meet an old friend from his magical past; but generally he prefers to pursue other interests than conjuring. We in the craft can but regret our loss and congratulate those fields that have benefitted from his interest and creativity. However, we have little right to feel cheated. While Alex Elmsley was active among us, he made us the gift of a large body of exceptional work, represented at last in this comprehensive collection. Perhaps, in the not too distant future, we can look forward to his visiting us again. Stephen Minch Seattle, 1990


Chapter One:

Alex Elmsley on the Theory and Practice of Magic


ALEX ELMSLEY ON THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF MAGIC1 I think of myself as an inventor, not as a performer. It is possible, I suppose, to invent without performing at all; it is possible to compose music without playing any instrument. But it is a very great handicap, so I feel I must do some performing. I didn't set my standards very high. I tried to attain competence. To be in the first rank of performers, you need not only talent and hard work, you also need luck. But anybody ought to be able to attain competent performance, and that competence is what a lay audience does have the right to demand. So I started thinking about presentation. 4I read Fitzkee2, I read 3 Edward Maurice , I read the lesson in 5Tarbell , I read the chapter in Greater Magic, I read Henning Nelms ; and the total result was that I was frightened and confused. There was so much there, I didn't know what to do or where to start. I retired, wounded from the fray, and decided to think things over again. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't the fault of the books. It was my fault. I was trying to approach the books in the wrong way. As I now perceive them, those books are collections of cures for things that could be wrong with an act or a trick—and a doctor doesn't start with a book of cures and then go hunting a disease. He starts with somebody who has got something wrong with him, he diagnoses the disease and then he looks for the cure. 'The text that follows Is drawn from comments made by Alex Elmsley during his 1975 American lecture tour. The words are his own, and have been only slightly edited for publication. 2 Showmanship for Magicians, 1945, Fitzroy. 3 Showmanship and Presentation, 1946, Goodliffe. 4 Tarbell Course in Magic, Volume 1, 1941, Tannen. 5 Magic and Showmanship, 1969, Dover.


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You will remember Victor Borge's story of his uncle, the doctor, who invented the cure for which there was no known disease—and his wife caught the cure and died of it. I think some magicians have caught Fitzkee and died of it, in the sense that they have read Fitzkee and have been so intimidated that they have given up all hope of applying any showmanship or presentation to their acts. I am not suggesting you not read these books. But, in the beginning, you should read them quickly for general ideas and background. Then take a trick or an entire act, go through it and criticize it. When you find a particular fault, often its solution will be obvious. If it isn't obvious, here the books can be handy. Try to make the criticisms specific and concentrate on one problem at a time. When you approach these books with a particular problem in mind they are far more helpful. If you come with just vagueness in mind, you will reap only vagueness from them. Ideally you should get somebody else to do the criticism for you; preferably somebody whose job is theatrical direction or production. Failing that, find an ordinary human being. Failing a human being, try a magician. As a last resort you have to be able to criticize yourself. This is not easy, but I finally found that self criticism could be boiled down to going through my act and asking myself repeatedly just two questions, two questions that sound trivial, but they seem to hold within themselves practically everything in the way of presentation and showmanship. These questions are: 1) Is something of interest happening all the time? 2) Can the audience appreciate the effect? I am going to expand on these questions and show how they can be applied to an act or to a trick. I shall also try to show you how other things, everything you can think of in the way of presentation, flow from these questions. I shall give examples of how the questions can be applied. I shall also give some of the answers and suggestions that I use myself—but your answers should be your own. When you discover a problem or a fault in your act, the answer to the problem is closely tied to style. This style is your own, not mine nor anyone else's. So my answers may not solve your problems. But I hope to suggest to you a method of finding the faults in your act so that you will know where to aim your efforts. Let's examine our first question: is something of interest happening all the time? Apply this to a trick. Some tricks, like the Ambitious Card, have magic happening constantly. I shall not argue whether magic is interesting. I consider it to be of interest or I wouldn't be involved with it. But there are effects, like four-ace tricks, that are divided into a preparatory phase—when you are setting out the aces and three cards on each—and then the climax.


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The climax is magical, so that is of interest. But there is no good reason a lay audience should have any interest in the preparatory phase. If they have seen you perform in the past they may know your magic is so good it is worth waiting for. But there is nothing intrinsically interesting in putting down four aces and shoving three cards on top of them. You have to make an effort to keep interest somehow during that preparatory phase. One method I use to create interest during periods of preparation is the patter theme or story. Audience participation can also be used to liven up the initial procedures. Or certain elements known to raise interest can be integrated into the procedure. A list of these is given in Chapter Four of Fitzkee's Showmanship for Magicians. But if all else fails, I am a great believer in telling the audience beforehand what the effect will be. Some say this is injurious to misdirection, because it tends to make people look for the method. But it is fairly easy to tell people what you are going to do in such a way that you don't expose the method. You can even tell them what you are going to do in such a way that it will misdirect them from the method. John Ramsay used to do this. Even if telling the audience what you are going to do can sometimes be considered bad to misdirection, I think it is good presentation, for if they are watching somebody do something that seems without rhyme or reason it will be boring. Somebody doing something for a purpose is much more interesting than somebody doing something for no known purpose. You should go through your act or tricks, looking for dead spots or dull spots, those times when nothing of interest is happening. When you look through the pack to remove the aces; when some spectator must count how far down in the pack his card is from the top; these are all points of low interest for most of the audience. Each trick will dictate the solution to the problem; but once you have isolated the problem, there is nearly always something you can do about it. You can speed up slow actions, or you can break lengthy procedures into smaller segments, giving the impression that you are working faster. You can attach the boring procedure to the action or theme of the story being told, to make the one an illustration of the other, thus lending it more interest. You can sometimes have a spectator carry out the procedure while you do something else. You can even develop interesting ways of handling the cards while counting them, etc. Procedures in which a spectator must perform some task, such as counting cards, can create dead spots. Sometimes these periods can be used to relax the audience. But often they are simply points of low interest. They can be remedied by making the spectator's actions visible and, in some way, interesting; or by doing something interesting yourself as the spectator completes his task. Once you recognize the problem, there is usually a way to solve it.


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One problem found in close-up magic is maintaining interest between tricks. Of course, this does not apply to the performance of a single trick; but if you are doing an act, keeping interest between the tricks can be difficult. If you have an audience that will applaud at the end of a trick, this lessens the problem. When an audience applauds they lean back, they relax, but their attention is still on you. But there are working conditions where the spectators do not readily applaud. If they are a small group they often are embarrassed to applaud; or they may be in a restaurant where they don't want to make noise that will disturb other diners. In such circumstances, at the end of a successful trick, they tend instead to comment on it to each other: "Oh, isn't that good!" "Wasn't that great!" "I saw someone on television, but he wasn't as good as you." This response sounds marvelous—but you have lost control of the audience in the meantime. You either have to stop this from happening, or you have to use some technique to regain their attention. This is quite a thorny problem, which I haven't really solved to my own satisfaction. Several techniques that seem to help are these: Always maintain eye contact with the audience, unless it is imperative that you look away. Resume the patter and action just as applause starts to fall. If applause is not forthcoming in the situation, employ relaxed linking patter to hold interest. It has been suggested that the use of interesting props can be a great help in keeping attention between tricks. Another strategy is the use of layouts. There are many card tricks that end with interesting layouts. This can be very effective; but you will lose the audience if it then takes you thirty seconds, with your head down, to pick up the cards. A layout at the end of an act is not a problem. You can get up and walk away from it. However, when a layout occurs in the middle of an act, the method used to pick it up can require as much thought and rehearsal as the trick that produces the layout. If you don't rehearse it you will spoil your next trick. In the interval necessary to gather the cards you can lose the interest of the audience, and then have to regain it. Of course, for a layout to capture and hold interest, it must be seen. The same applies to any cards that are placed on the table. When I am working with a card table, I carry a couple of little braces that I can put under the rear legs so that they are raised about an inch. Even an inch will make a surprising difference in the visibility of the table surface. Rival distractions in the room where you are working can be a distinct problem. If noise, light, movement, or audience discomfort are part of the performing conditions, you must consider how you can increase interest in your magic to compete with these factors. I make an analogy between controlling interest during an act and fishing. At the start of the act you have to hook the fish—catch the


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interest of the audience. Then you have to play the fish. This means not only making the tension of the line tighter, but also relaxing it at the right times. Finally you have to give a last jerk to land the fish. When playing the fish, if you try to keep the tension of the line tight all the time, it will break and the fish will get away. If you try to keep an audience at their highest intensity of interest all the time, they will tire and their interest will diminish. It will wander at the moment they tire, which will quite likely be at an important moment to your effect. Therefore, you must plan points of relaxation, as well as of intensity, in an act of more than two minutes. These points of relaxation are periods when nothing of great importance is happening. An example might be when a spectator is counting cards. This can be a point where you can let the audience relax a bit, while you lean back and chat more informally. If you don't do this, the audience's attention will wander anyway—but at the wrong moment. Magicians should be familiar with techniques for controlling intensity of interest. Points of tension are used to bring the audience to the highest pitch of interest, when you want them to remember something; for example, the climax of a trick. Slydini's technique of misdirection is designed to increase the intensity of interest at the right times. You tighten yourself up, perhaps sit up or lean forward. You act more efficiently. You move or look or talk. Doing only one of these things at a time increases interest. Patter should be rehearsed and edited to avoid irrelevancies and muddled expressions. Actions should come under a similar scrutiny: they should be planned for efficiency, clarity and speed. Fumbling must be omitted. Avoid the use of spectators when intensity is required. Or, failing that, plan and control their use so that they do not become distractions. One common error is to neglect clarity in your instructions to a spectator. Misunderstandings and corrections will destroy a point of tension. To relax tension, you yourself must relax and act more informally. Lean back and smile. Combine casual actions, moving and chatting at the same time, to appear unrehearsed and spontaneous. Use audience participation. Laughter is always a point of relaxation. So is applause. Increasing tension is one of the main techniques for pointing your effects. Relaxing tension is one of the main techniques of misdirection. But neither will work without the other to provide the contrast. I remember listening once to a radio discussion on the topic of boredom. It was remarked that the most common reason for boredom is that somebody feels he has no influence over what is happening at the moment, that he is being left out, that he is ignored. This, I fear, applies to the way many magicians do their acts. They ignore the audience. I have had a bad effect here, I am afraid. There


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is a certain count of mine you may have come across that tends to lead magicians to do their tricks to themselves, paying no attention to their audience whatsoever. There are certain sleights that by their nature are a temptation for personal performance. It needs a definite effort to do moves of this kind in an open way, so you are outgoing and people feel involved. I try to make it a rule always to look at the audience, unless I have a definite reason, a reason I can actually write down, for looking elsewhere. I have had to do this because I have always been more an introvert than an extrovert. While working out new tricks I tend to do them for myself. It has required a great effort on my part to rehearse tricks in a more open and outgoing manner, making the audience feel, I hope, that they are a part of what is happening. This is probably the most important thing of all in keeping interest in an act. It is not a method of getting interest. It is almost a precondition to getting it. One must include the audience in what is going on—and at the very least look at them. One should strive to appear interested in the audience. By ignoring their reactions to you and your magic, you are ignoring them. Be responsive; communicate. Recognize that they are interested in you as a personality, as well as in the magic you do. Make an effort to reveal your character throughout the act, but particularly at the start. We come now to the second question: can the audience appreciate the effect? To begin with, can they all see and hear you without straining. Ideally, I suppose, one should always check one's performing conditions before agreeing to do a show, and refuse the engagement if the conditions are not satisfactory. However, that is not practical. Yet, you can at least be aware of the most likely things that will give you trouble, and take steps against them. For example, when one is seated and doing a card trick, the most common trouble is that people may be able to see you, but they can't without some strain see the surface of the table. I try to arrange each of the tricks so that, at the very least, the climax doesn't take place on the table. The relevant cards are held up, making them visible to everyone. Oddly enough, some of the very people most keen on presentation can lose sight of the effect they are presenting. At one magical society I witnessed a performance of a trick so drowned by the presentation, nobody was aware of what the trick was. It turned into an interesting character sketch, and there was a little magic; but only one person in three could have told you afterwards what it was. If you are going to include magic and you want people to appreciate it, you must be certain they know where and what the magic is. Obviously, simple effects are more easily understood than complex ones. I don't think this is a reason for doing only simple effects. It only means you must take more care when doing the complex ones. I use a test to simplify an effect as much as possible. I first try to describe the effect to myself in one sentence. Then I concentrate on


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emphasizing everything in that sentence and minimizing the rest. If the effect is too complex to summarize in a sentence, I try breaking it into as few sentences as possible, with a single simple climax in each. I then present the trick as a series of phases or climaxes. If all else fails—if there is any doubt in the minds of the spectators about what the effect is—again, I believe in telling them. If you can tell people in a subtle way what the effect is, good. But if subtlety is not practical, simply explain it. It is better to be obvious than to be obscure. One of my regrets is that, when I was on the West Coast of the United States, I missed seeing Francis Carlyle perform. I had always heard that the great strength of his performances with cards was that there was no doubt in anybody's mind about what the effect was and that it was magical. They knew. Do the spectators appreciate that the effect deserves their applause? Usually, when you come to the climax of an effect, there are certain facts that you hope you have established earlier, facts that must be remembered for the climax to be recognized as magical. People won't perceive any magic in the four aces being in this pile, unless they remember the aces were separated beforehand. Therefore, these facts must be clearly made in the earlier phases of the trick. If the trick is complex in effect, a story may be used to tie the facts together and make them memorable to the audience. The important facts should be recapitulated as you approach the climax, so that the audience is reminded of them. This is done for the sake of any in the audience whose attention may have wandered. The recapping can be direct in nature: "You shuffled the cards. You then took any one you liked," etc. Or it can be indirect: "Who shuffled the cards?...And did you have a free choice of any card you liked?..." Once more, it is better to be obvious than to be obscure. Recently I was reading an article by Goodliffe in which he wrote of how fed up he was with magicians who said things like "Here I have five cards." I disagree. The phrase is fine in principle. The only criticism I would make is that the wording used is cliched. Simply showing the five cards without comment can mean too many things. The gesture might seem to indicate that there are five court cards, or two red and three black, or that all five cards face the same direction, or that the chosen card is not among the five, or that the magician has recently cleaned his fingernails. Somehow you must tell the audience—indirectly if possible, but failing that, directly— what it is they are to remember. If you neglect this, they will not remember, and the effect will not be appreciated. Once you have assured that all necessary facts have been stressed and understood by the audience, you must create one final point of tension to signal the approach of the climax. This can be done with


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words, with silence, with a look. But now is the time to do everything possible to concentrate the audience's attention on the proper things. Then reveal the climax, causing the tension to peak and be released through laughter, applause, etc. Often I see a trick that, to me, is terrific. Yet it doesn't get the appreciation from a lay audience I feel it deserves. These tricks are commonly ones with surprising climaxes, such as the color-changing deck. Psychologists tell us a person will see most easily what he expects to see. He will hear what he expects to hear. A surprise climax is unexpected by definition, and therefore needs extra care and preparation to be understood and appreciated. Some surprises are more easily understood and accepted than others. The surprise loads at the end of the Cups and Balls have been automatically foreshadowed by the nature of the trick. The final loads are escalations of similar things that went before. But if you present something too surprising, the spectator feels cheated: "I don't know if that was good or bad—I wasn't watching for that sort of thing." This can easily happen with tricks like the colorchanging deck. You must somehow prepare their minds beforehand for a surprise, so that, when they see it, they are surprised, but some part of them says, "Oh yes, of course." The ideal surprise, to my mind, is one in which the spectators think to themselves halfway through the trick: "Wouldn't it be good if he now did such and such; but no, he couldn't do that. It's impossible." Then you do it. The surprise they anticipate can be the best surprise of all. Double climaxes are another thing that can cause difficulties. Most often the second climax of the pair is a surprise. So many times the magician will emphasize the first climax so heavily, at its fulfillment the spectators relax and their attention wanders. He has to start shouting, "Here, come back," to regain their attention for the second climax. I've seen this happen with Dingle's "Roll-over Aces". Too much emphasis on the first climax spoils the trick. It is much better to dull or kill the first climax. You don't lose the applause—you merely save it for the second climax. It is better to err in this way, I believe, than to overemphasize the first climax. These are some of my answers to questions of presentation. As I said, you should devise your own answers. I think it more important to have a theory of presentation than to have the "right" theory of presentation. If you have your own theories, at any rate all your efforts will pull in the same direction, whereas the magician who has no ideas on presentation has his efforts pulling against each other. It is like chess: it is better to have a bad plan than no plan. Asking these questions of your material once or twice is not enough. They should be asked periodically. I can go over tricks I've


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been over before and still find areas to work on. Asking these questions will identify the points at which you should direct your efforts. I think many magicians make the mistake of trying to do too much at once, with the result that they get discouraged. If you make ten changes at once, and the act then seems a bit worse than it was, you can't tell which of the ten was the bad one. Make just a couple of tentative improvements at a time. Then try the act. It is much easier this way to see whether the change was a genuine improvement or a mistaken one. I have constructed an outline of the points just discussed, designed to help analyze an act for problems and to help discover solutions to them. I've called it...

THE AUTOMATIC PRODUCER 1. Is something of interest happening all the time? 1.1 Many tricks divide into preparation, then climax. Are you keeping interest during the preparation? •Patter theme or story. •Audience participation. •Tell the audience what is going to happen, so that they know the reason for the preparation. •The way you do it—see Fitzkee's list of audience appeals (Showmanship for Magicians, pp. 24-25). 1.2 Are there times when you are doing nothing (i.e., during action by a spectator)? • Either make sure the spectator's action is visible and interesting, • Or do something else yourself in the meantime. 1.3 Are there times when you are doing something dull and perhaps lengthy (e.g., counting cards)? • Speed it up. • Break it up with patter or other actions. • Use patter to add interest. • Modify the way you do it. • Get a spectator to do it, possibly while you do something else.


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THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY 1.4 Is interest held between tricks? • Keep looking at the audience. • Continue patter or action as soon as applause starts to fall. • If the audience is not the applauding type, relaxed linking patter will help. • Rehearse the end-of-trick actions (e.g., picking up a layout of cards). 1.5 Is the interest you create stronger than rival distractions? • Consider the performing conditions: Noise Light Movement Discomfort 1.6 Intensity of interest should both rise and fall during a trick or an act. Do you make it rise and fall on purpose? •The fisherman's analogy: First hook the audience; Then play them, both increasing and relaxing the tension; Finally, land them. •To increase interest: Do only one thing at a time—don't talk and move. Rehearse patter to avoid irrelevancies and muddled expressions. Rehearse actions for efficiency, clarity and speed—avoid fumbling. Avoid the use of spectators, or plan and control their use so that they do not cause distractions (e.g., by misunderstandings). Tighten yourself, sit up, lean forward. •To relax interest (without losing it): Use combined, casual actions—chat and move. Use informal, seemingly impromptu patter. Use relaxed, seemingly impromptu movements. Use spectator participation. Relax yourself, lean back, smile. 1.7 Boredom is caused by feeling left out of the action. Do you shut out the audience at any time?


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•Appear interested in the audience and react to them. • Look at the audience unless you have a definite reason to look elsewhere. •Accept the audience's interest in yourself—reveal your character. • If you have to ignore the audience, make an extra effort to keep their interest by other means. 2. Can everyone appreciate the effect? 2.1 Can everyone see and hear without straining? •Try to check your performing conditions—not always practicable. See 1.5. • Show the trick to the audience, not to yourself. 2.2 Does the audience know what the effect is? • Simplify the effect as much as possible. Try to describe it in one sentence; play up everything in that sentence and play down everything else. • If the effect is complex, try presenting it in a series of phases. • If there is any doubt, tell the audience what the effect is. 2.3 Go through all those facts that the audience must remember to appreciate the climax (e.g., that the aces are separated in different piles). 2.3.1 Are you sure these facts are clearly seen and understood in the first place? • Concentrate interest on the important actions—see 1.6. • Tell the audience what you are going to do, so that they understand the reasons for your actions. • If there is any doubt, tell them which facts you want them to remember. Better to be obvious than unclear. • Recap for the sake of any spectators whose attention may have wandered. 2.3.2 Are you sure these facts are remembered at the climax? • Final recap (may be indirect: "Who shuffled the cards?"). • If many facts must be remembered, an analogy or story may help tie them together. 2.4 Is everyone paying attention at the climax? • Signal, or even say, that the climax is coming.


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THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY • Concentrate attention. Pause, stare. See 1.6. •With a double climax, take care not to lose the audience after the first climax. •A surprise climax needs especially careful presentation. Prepare the climax so that it is easily understood and seems logical. If necessary, telegraph the surprise.


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ON MISDIRECTION I would like to make a few observations on the subject of misdirection. It seems to me that many magicians have a wrong approach to misdirection. They think it is something that has to be brought in as an emergency measure for a move that is too bad to be hidden in any other way. "Hey, look at the elephant!" Or, in the words of Herb Sellers, "Some moves need an elephant." John Ramsay was a master of misdirection. Yet he never used strong misdirection. It almost never went further than the direction of his gaze or how he spoke—very light misdirection. This was all he needed, because he wasn't misdirecting now and then for emergencies. He was misdirecting all the time. This brings into focus several misperceptions many magicians have about misdirection. First, magicians have a tendency to divide moves into those that need misdirection and those that don't. They think of a sleight like the double lift as a move that doesn't require misdirection because a double lift can be done in such a way that it cannot be differentiated from the lifting of a single card. The spectator may sense something funny is going on, but he can't be certain. Magicians classify moves as "clean" in appearance, or "dirty"; but I don't think any move is clean in that sense. You should misdirect not only from something that would otherwise be detected, but also from awkwardness, from anything that might raise suspicion, even from the opportunity to have made a move. The double lift can be taken as an example. Assume you are performing a double lift that requires a get-ready. Human beings don't normally need the strength of both arms to hold a pack of cards. A two-handed grip is a bit unusual. It looks less so if you rest the cards on the table; and if you continue talking while the get-ready is done. After the get-ready you must do the turnover. I prefer to do the turnover first, and then to look down at the deck to draw attention to it. At that time I will comment on the value of the card that has been turned. The turnover itself is done while you are talking to the audience. Everybody sees the turnover from the corner of their eye, but there is no particular concentration of attention placed on it. Therefore, the unnaturalness in the way you turned the card isn't noticed. Then we must recognize that it is not really natural to put a card down by first turning it over on the pack—and then placing it on the


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table. There are subtle ways of getting around this problem. An unsubtle way, which is perfectly serviceable, is to apply misdirection: Point out the identity of the card. Explain that it will change into somebody's chosen card and ask, "This isn't your card? Do you remember the card you chose? Will you keep that card in mind?" During this time you have turned the card over and placed it down. Once again, this is seen from the corner of everybody's eye. They are all quite happy that you have turned the card over and put it down, but your precise movements do not register in their memories because you have distracted their attention at the time the movements are made. The result is that the movements appear much cleaner than they are. Even when there is nothing specific that requires misdirection, you must maintain control of the audience's attention. You cannot steer a ship while it is drifting. You can rattle the tiller all you like and nothing will happen. But once you have steerage-way, a light touch on the tiller will bring her round. It is the same with misdirection. If you lose control of the audience's attention, you will need an elephant to create misdirection. But if you have control all the time, all you need is a glance. There are two varieties of misdirection: direct and indirect. Direct misdirection is the sort applied just at the time a move must be covered. This can be accomplished by controlling the direction of the audience's attention. Johnny Ramsay simply used to look at them to misdirect their gaze. Or one can control the intensity of the audience's attention, as Slydini does when he relaxes and smiles. Indirect misdirection involves things done before and after the move to be covered, not during it. Patter and acting are the main tools used here to mislead the mind. Several common methods of indirect misdirection are these: • Educating the audience to accept and discount some action that, under normal circumstances, would be seen as suspicious. • Providing an excuse for the suspicious action, making it seem unsuspicious. • Planting a red herring to make the audience suspect or watch for one thing while you do something else. Johnny Ramsay was brilliant at this. Your position at the table can have an effect on your presentation and your misdirection. There has been much discussion about the merits of sitting or standing. One point that has been made about the standing position is that, if the people are close to you, there is too great a distance between the table and the face. This can be overcome if you hold your hands up near the chest when performing, as Johnny Ramsay used to do. Otherwise, the audience must shift


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their gaze up and down between the two areas of interest. When they must do that, you lose focus, you lose misdirection and you lose presentation value. Sitting places your face and hands within the same range. However, by sitting you do tend to be less visible; particularly with a large group. I try to compensate for this loss a bit by giving myself a little extra height when I sit. I use a firm cushion about eight inches thick. This allows me to show the cards to the audience more easily without straining my wrists and looking awkward. (See Figure 1, an awkward position caused by being seated too low; and Figure 2, an elevated position that eliminates the awkwardness.) There is more that could be said on these subjects, but I sense you are eager to move on to the tricks. So let's do so.


Chapter Two:

Spirited Counts and Revenant Tricks


It is only fitting that a compilation of the magic ofAlex Elmsley should open with a discussion of the sleight for which he is best known. In 1954 Mr. Elmsley was experimenting with a slow-motion assembly in Trevor V. Hall's Testament of R. W. Hull. The final sequence of this trick involved a false display in which three jacks were shown as four. This display incorporated a subtlety borrowedfroman old trick by Bert Douglas titled "My Ghost Card Trick" (ref The Linking Ring, Vol. 8, No. 9, Nov. 1928, pp. 723-725). In Douglas'plot four cards are placed on a spectator's hand, three are removed, and the fourth transforms into a selected card. Mr. Elmsley liked the Hull trick, but felt the final sequence could be improved on. This then was the stimulus for the invention of a false display that was to become one of the most popular sleights in modern card magic. Showing more humility than many of his brethren, Mr. Elmsley did not attach his name to his invention. Rather, when he released it in 1959, he called it the "ghost count", after the trick that lay at the root of his inspiration. The count appeared within the context of a marketed packet trick titled "The Four-card Trick", which he introduced that year at the combined I.B.M-S.A.M. convention in Chicago. However, Mr. Elmsley recalls that sales were far from overwhelming, and it wasn't until 1960 that the count came to the attention of most magicians. This happened with the publication of Dai Vernon's 'Twisting the Aces" (ref. More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, pp. 5-8). When the popularity of the sleight began to grow it was often called the "four-as-four count", another name used by Mr. Elmsley. Only later did it become commonly known as the "Elmsley count", in honor of its creator. Mr. Elmsley used this count frugally. In this chapter are gathered the only tricks of his invention employing the count that he wishes preserved. Here then is the first published trick based on Mr. Elmsley's ghost count.


THE FOUR-CARD TRICK (Featuring the Elmsley Count) Effect: A packet of four cards is shown backs and fronts. The cards are seen to have blue backs and blank faces. One of the cards changes magically into a joker. Then the audience is asked to keep track of the joker in the packet, but the card eludes them. To make their task easier, the joker is turned face-up in the face-down packet; but when it is next checked, it has changed back to a blank card. The blank card is turned over and all four cards are shown to be face-down. Yet, when the packet is spread, the joker appears again, face-up in the position from which it has just vanished. It is removed from the packet and snapped. This causes the back of the joker to change from blue to red. After this bewildering series of changes, the joker is returned to the packet of blue-backed blank-faced cards and all is left for examination, for the cards are just what they seem. Method: Despite the hundreds of packet tricks released during the past thirty years that rely on the Elmsley count, this original effect is as astonishing as it was in 1954, when Mr. Elmsley invented it. It is also a concise lesson on the versatility of the Elmsley count. Note, as you read the following explanation, that within this one trick Mr. Elmsley cunningly demonstrated the utility of the count for— a) counting four cards as four while hiding one surface; b) displacing cards in the packet while seeming only to reverse their order; and c) effecting the transformation of a reversed card in the packet.

The Elmsley Count Before explaining the trick itself, the Elmsley count must be taught. I will describe the exact technique Mr. Elmsley detailed in his 1959 manuscript. Though many readers may be familiar with the actions of the Elmsley count, it is urged that the following description be studied, as it contains several fine points of handling that are not widely known.


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You will require four cards. Three are blue-backed and blankfaced. The fourth is a red-backed joker. With the packet held facedown, position the joker third from the top. As the cards are counted from hand to hand, the joker will be concealed, yet four cards are seemingly displayed. Hold the face-down packet by its left edge, near center, pinched between the left thumb, above, and fingertips, below. Approach the packet with the palm-up right hand and bring the thumb down onto the top card, contacting it at midpoint near the outer end (Figure 3). The relaxed right fingers pass below the packet and the left fingertips.

Curl the right forefinger comfortably around the outer right corner of the packet and press this corner lightly into the flesh of the finger's middle phalanx. Simultaneously, with the right thumb, pull the top card to the right. One of the difficulties commonly experienced with the Elmsley count is ensuring that only one card moves off the packet when the first card is taken. If the right forefinger is positioned as explained, it acts as a brace to block the lower cards, keeping them squared, while the right thumb pulls just the top card to the right and over the forefinger. Move the right hand to the right, drawing the top card free of the packet and onto the right fingers. (While it was not mentioned in the original description, Mr. Elmsley later made clear in his lectures that he prefers to draw the card forward and rightward, off the front right corner of the packet. He believes that this aids the illusion of the count and is superior to a straight rightward action.) Curl the second, third and fourth fingers slightly under the card, the fingertips contacting its face just inward of the left side (Figure 4). They should not project beyond the edge of the card. However, the forefinger should remain curled around the outer right corner of the card and along the front edge. In this position the forefinger acts as a guide


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for the alignment of the cards during the subsequent actions, and aids in concealing the impending switch of cards. Using the left thumb at the very edge of the packet, push the upper pair of cards, aligned as one, approximately half an inch to the right. Given a light pressure of the thumb and fingers, you will find the two cards are easily moved rightward in register. Any tiny misalignment that might occur can be covered by the larger motion of the hands. Simultaneously bring the right hand back to the left and lower the right thumb onto the back of the next card. As the right hand moves to take the second card, the first card naturally passes close to the ^__.^___^^_^^^^^^^^_^ face °f the packet, perhaps even grazing it. Halt the right hand's leftward motion when the left edge of its card hits the left fingertips. Without an instant's hesitation, straighten the right fingers slightly, thrusting the card between the face of the packet and the left fingertips. The left fingers relax their pressure a bit to allow the card to slip into place. (It will now be understood why the right fingers are curled under the card. This enables them to push it home and at the same time keeps them from obstructing the left edge, which must slip smoothly between the packet and left fingertips.) Leave the first card on the bottom of the packet and clip the top pair of cards, by the outer right corner, between the tip of the right thumb and the base of the right forefinger (Figure 5). Draw the pair to the right and away from the packet. At this point, if you wish, you can extend your right fingers and press their tips lightly to the left edge of the cards, holding the two in a sort of relaxed dealing grip. Thus, as you apparently take the second card onto the first, you actually steal the first card back and come away with the top two cards of the packet. The lower card of the right hand's pair is concealed by this maneuver. Return the right hand to the packet to take the third card onto the two already there. The actions used are indistinguishable from the previous ones, but this time are honest. With the left thumb, push over the top card of the left hand's pair and draw it onto the right hand's cards. Move the right hand away, then bring it back and take the fourth card (actually the first, counted a second time) onto the others. Four cards have been counted, yet the red-backed joker, now on the bottom of the packet, was not seen.


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While the description has been long and detailed, the sleight is not particularly difficult to learn. The actions are quickly mastered, but further practice will be necessary to gain the proper timing and rhythm. There must be no hesitation on the second count, when the steal is executed. The full four-card count should proceed to an even one-two-three-four rhythm, as if counting to music—and the tempo is adagio, not allegro. When Mr. Elmsley published his count, he cited Edward Victor's E-Y-E count and a false count devised by Eric de la Mare (see p. 232) as important sources for elements of the sequence (the block pushoff and the under-the-packet return respectively). Earlier sources exist for these ideas: Charles Jordan and Laurie Ireland for the block push-off, and Ellis Stanyon for the under-the-packet return. It was years later that Mr. Elmsley's friend Francis Haxton unearthed a clearly related sleight by Charles Jordan in a 1919 trick, "The Phantom Aces" (ref. 30 Card Mysteries, pp. 37-38). Mr. Jordan's sleight, now known as the Jordan count, though used originally as a displacement only, also concealed the bottom card of a four-card packet. It's similar handling made it perfectly suited for combination with the Elmsley count, as has been amply demonstrated during the past few decades by Edward Mario and others after him. The description of the Elmsley count given above is faithful to that written by Mr. Elmsley in 1959. It will surprise many that the cards were counted onto the right fingers and eventually ended in a dealing grip, as it is commonly believed that the original method of counting used a fingertip-pinch grip by both hands, as taught in Dai Vernon's "Twisting the Aces". It was Jack Avis, Mr. Elmsley believes, who first suggested this fingertip taking grip. Mr. Avis originally made the change in grips to adapt the Elmsley count to the use of jumbo cards. When using normal cards, Mr. Elmsley has always preferred the right-hand dealing grip, as he believes the fingertip grip often tends to resemble a mixing of the cards between the hands (which, in a sense, it is) rather than a simple reverse count (the desired illusion). It should be noted that Edward Mario, working independently in the United States, published the idea of using a dealing grip (which is assumed by the right hand from the very beginning) with the Ellis Stanyon false count (ref. M.U.M., Vol. 49, No. 7, Dec. 1959, p. 290291), and Mr. Mario recalls that Bill Simon applied this idea in 1957 to "an Alex Elmsley innovation"—i.e., the then unpublished ghost count (ibid.). Mr. Mario believes that Bill Simon knew of only the Avis ghost count variant when he derived this handling. This information should help to clarify certain discussions that have occasionally arisen about who first applied the "deep" or dealing grip take-action to the Elmsley count. With all this said, let's proceed to Mr. Elmsley's trick.


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The Four-card Trick Bring out the packet, face-down, with the joker positioned third from the top. "I'm going to show you a trick with four trick cards. The backs are blue." Give the packet an Elmsley count, displaying four blue backs. The count brings the red-backed joker to the face of the packet. "But the faces are blank." Return the packet to the left hand and spread over the top two cards, letting three blue backs be seen. Take the two spread cards into the right hand and briefly expose their blank faces to the audience. Then slip them under the packet and turn it face-up in the left hand. Perform a second Elmsley count to show four blank faces. "All one, two, three, four faces are blank. That's why they're trick cards." The joker is now at the back of the packet. Take the cards again into left-hand pinch grip. "If I flick the cards like this..." Give the packet a fillip with your right forefinger, "...one of them changes into a joker." Count the cards into the right hand, mimicking the actions of the Elmsley count but counting the cards legitimately. This brings the joker to the face of the packet. Alternatively, you can steal the joker into the right hand and perform a color change to produce it on the face of the packet. "Now I want you to try to follow the joker. It's a sort of three card trick with four trick cards. To begin, I shall put the joker third from the top." Fan the face-up packet in the left hand and place the joker second from the face. Then, beginning at the rear of the fan, touch each card as you count it: "One, two, three." Square the fan and turn the packet face-down in the left hand. Make all your actions slow and deliberate. You want everyone to follow the position of the joker. 'The joker is three from the top. If I count the cards, that reverses their order." Do an Elmsley count. "So where should the joker be now?" Those who are paying attention will say it is second from the top, or perhaps third from the bottom. "No, I'm afraid you weren't following it. It's on the bottom." Turn the cards face-up in the left hand and display the joker on the face of the packet. Fan the packet, further proving your point; then close the fan, procuring a left fourth-finger break under the upper pair of cards. "Look, I'll make it easier for you. I'll turn the joker around." Bring the right hand, palm-down, to the packet and grip the two cards above the break by their inner right corners. Turn the right hand palm-up, revolving the double card end over end and face-down. You should now be holding the double card by its outer right corner. With the left thumb, push over the top card of the left hand's pair, and slip the double card between the two. Square the packet and turn it face-down, taking it into pinch grip for a count.


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Perform another Elmsley count, but with these alterations. After the count of two, when you have taken the face-up joker into the right hand, pull the upper card of the right-hand pair back slightly with the right thumb, letting a narrow portion of the lower card appear at the outer end. This makes it clear that the right hand indeed holds two cards, as it should. However, the portion of the lower card will be perceived by the audience as the white border of the back, when in fact the card is face-up. Draw the third card onto the joker, but injog it roughly one inch. Then take the fourth card on top of all, injogged a half inch farther than the card below it. This creates a vertical spread with all four cards in evidence and the face-up joker prominent among them (Figure 6). "Now you not only know where the joker is, you can see where it is. The joker is the face-up card; one, two, three from the top." Tap each card with your left forefinger as you count it. Slowly square the cards and return them to left-hand pinch grip, ready for an Elmsley count. "How far from the top is the face-up card?" They will answer, 'Three." "That's right," you say, performing the Elmsley count. "One, two, three from the top." The card that appears in the third position, though, is a blank-faced one. The joker is gone again. As you take the face-up blank card into the right hand, outjog it for half its length. Then take the last card on top of it, but in line with the other facedown cards. With the cards still in the right hand, strip the face-up blank from the packet, turn it face-down and slip it under the others. Then take the packet once more into left-hand pinch grip. "If I turn the face-up card face-down, all the cards are face-down..." Do an Elmsley count, showing four blue backs. However, when you count the fourth card, flick it with the left fingers, then slip it under the packet. Thus, the face-up joker remains third from the top. (This small variation in procedure is referred to in certain circles as an "underground Elmsley".) Take the cards into left-hand dealing position as you say, "...except for the joker, which you remember is face-up, three from the top." Fan the cards, exposing the joker. "Do you follow?"


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Extract the joker from the fan and hold it face-up in the right hand. "As a matter of fact, there is one easy way of finding the joker. It is a marked card. It's the only one of the four with a red back." Turn the joker over and display its back. Replace it in the fan, third from the top and, if anyone is interested, let them examine the cards. The packet, by the way, is now reset for the next performance. The reader will have noticed that Mr. Elmsley refers openly to "trick cards" in his presentation. To some it may seem imprudent to suggest such things to the public, even when obviously unusual cards are in use. The existence of trick cards is hardly a revelation to laymen— most people suspect a magician of using them, until proven wrong. When Mr. Elmsley mentions trick cards in this effect, he does so with tongue firmly in cheek, as if he were toying with the audience's gullibility; and should anyone take the bait, they will be all the more bewildered when, at the finish, the cards are handed to them. If you prefer to avoid obviously special cards like blank-facers, this trick can be done with a blue-backed three of a kind, like kings or queens, and a red-backed joker. This does add one discrepancy to the handling: in the first face-up Elmsley count, one king will be seen twice. However, experience has shown that such points are rarely if ever perceived by laymen, and the repetition happens only once, early in the presentation. Mr. Elmsley would like to recognize his friend, Roy Walton, who contributed the idea of changing the face-up card in the packet, along with other suggestions that led to the refinement of this routine. 1959


FLIGHT TO WITCH MOUNTAIN Effect: Here is an early Elmsley treatment of a classic plot. The four queens are removed from the deck and dealt face-down into a row. Three more cards are placed onto each queen. Then, one by one, three queens mysteriously leave their piles to join the fourth. Method: As was mentioned in the introduction to this chapter, in 1954 Mr. Elmsley became intrigued by the novel approach taken in a slow-motion assembly titled "Assembly of the Jacks" (ref. T. H. Hall's Testament of R. W. Hull, pp. 45-51). In most such assemblies, two aces are switched for indifferent cards in the opening layout sequence. This allows the performer to show the last ace in its packet just before it travels to join the others. It also commonly necessitates the secret transference of this ace to the "leader" pile. The assembly in the Hall book offered an attractive alternative: the flight of the third jack (jacks were substituted for aces in this presentation) was accomplished by a cunning bluff. This jack never really left its pile; instead the other three jacks were falsely displayed as four, one being shown twice. Mr. Elmsley liked the idea, but felt the false display at the finish (based on the Edward Victor glide from The Magic of the Hands, pp. 6-7) was somewhat awkward in appearance. His discontent prompted the designing of a thoroughly revised handling and the invention of the Elmsley count. Mr. Elmsley wishes it known that he has never been wholly satisfied with the assembly method he devised; nonetheless, against his better judgment, I've chosen to include it in this collection because of its historical relevance and because of the several worthwhile ideas it contains. Openly remove the four queens from the deck. Square the pack, turn it face-down and take it into left-hand dealing grip. Place the queens face-up on the deck and spread them there, quickly arranging them with the colors paired; i.e., either black-black-red-red or redred-black-black. As you do this, manage to spread over the first two face-down cards of the deck, and form a left fourth-finger break beneath them. Square the queens onto the deck and, with the palm-down righthand, lift away all six cards above the break, fingers at the outer end


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and thumb at the inner. You will now switch the first two queens for the two indifferent cards hidden beneath the packet, using a variant handling of the Braue addition: Let us assume the red queens have been positioned over the black. With your left thumb, draw the uppermost queen from the packet and square onto the deck. Similarly draw the second queen onto the first and, again with left thumb, spread the two queens to the right on the pack, displaying them. Comment, 'The two red queens..." and, using the left edge of the right hand's packet, flip the red queens facedown and square onto the deck. Casually drop the packet onto the deck and immediately spread the two black queens to the right, "...and the black queens." With the right fingertips, flip these two cards face-down onto the pack and thumb over the top four cards. Deal them from left to right into a face-down row. The first two cards dealt are the black queens. The following two cards, which the audience believes to be the red queens, are indifferent cards. The red queens rest atop the deck. Single out one of the spectators and ask that she name a number from one to four. As you make this request and await her answer, use the natural misdirection created to form a left fourth-finger break beneath the top two cards of the pack. Simply push the two cards a bit to the right and catch a break under them as the left fingertips push them square again. If the spectator chooses one or two, count that many cards from the left end of the row. If three or four is named, count from the right end of the row. In any case, you end on one of the black queens. This card is nominated as the leader of the group. Apparently count three cards from the top of the pack and lay them onto this queen. In reality, push over the two cards above the break as one card, and take the next two cards under this, without altering their order. Lay these four cards, roughly squared, onto the chosen queen and push the pile forward, marking it from the other cards in the row. While the right hand is occupied with this task, with the left thumb push over the next two cards of the pack and catch a fourth-finger break beneath them. Again false count four cards as three, and lay this packet onto the second black queen. Then, using actions that simulate those of the false counts, genuinely count off three cards for each of the remaining uncovered cards on the table. The situation at this stage is as follows: The forward "leader" pile consists of two red queens on top, two indifferent cards, and a black queen on the bottom. The other black queen has four indifferent cards over it; and the remaining two piles each consist of four indifferent cards. Now pick up one of the piles without a queen, slip the bottom card from beneath the packet and insert it between the top and second cards. Set this packet down and pick up the other packet lacking a queen. Again transfer the bottom card to the center of the packet.


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Then pick up the third pile of the row, that with a black queen at its face. Draw the queen from the bottom and slip it between the top two cards. However, as you do so, momentarily expose the face of the queen to the audience, lending a convincing touch to the procedure. Return the packet to its place in the row. Once more pick up one of the four-card packets. Make some magical gesture over it, then turn it face-up and, using actions similar in appearance to those of the Elmsley count, count the cards from the left hand into the right, showing that the queen has vanished. Set the face-up packet to one side, casually spreading the cards if you wish, letting it be seen that there are only four indifferent cards. Pick up the leader packet, turn it face-up and false count it as four cards in the following manner: Hold the packet in left-hand pinchgrip and, with the right thumb, draw the first card onto the right fingers. Draw the second card onto the first. Then, with the left thumb, push the top two cards of the packet as one to the right and take this double card onto those in the right hand. This block pushoff is identical to that employed when doing the Elmsley count. Finally take the remaining card from the left hand on top of all. Two queens are seen: one black, one red. Square the cards, turn the packet face-down and set it back in its spot on the table. Pick up the second four-card packet, make a magical gesture over it, then turn it face-up and count it as you did the first, showing the queen has disappeared. Drop these cards onto those of the first pile. Then pick up the leader packet, turn it faceup and again false count it as four cards, using a block push-off as the third card is taken. This displays one black queen and two red ones, with a single indifferent card. Return the packet face-down to its place. Pick up the remaining pile of the row, make a magical gesture over it, then turn it face-up and false count the five cards as four, displaying four indifferent cards. The black queen is hidden behind the third card as a double is pushed off. Square the cards and drop them face-up onto the previous ones. Pick up the leader pile, turn it face-up and perform an Elmsley count. Four queens will be seen, two red and two black. Conclude the trick with some appropriate remark, drop the queen packet onto the others and place all the cards onto the pack. Mr. Elmsley did work out a handling in which all four piles each genuinely contained only four cards. In this version, three queens and one indifferent card make up the leader pile. The indifferent card is managed to the face of the packet. An Elmsley count will then display two queens and two indifferent cards when the first queen is shown to have traveled. An honest count of the packet shows three queens, and another Elmsley count produces four queens. An Elmsley count also accounts for the vanish of the queen in the third pile.


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Despite its several attractions, Mr. Elmsley discarded this handling for the one first described, believing that the display of an indifferent card twice during the first Elmsley count ran a greater risk of detection than using the count once at the end to show four queens. Those who examine the two alternatives will see the wisdom of this decision.


SHALE FELLOW WELL MET Effect: In this fast-paced routine, Edward Mario's Oil and Water is effectively combined with another classic plot, Follow the Leader. Four black cards and four red are alternated with each other. The mixing of the colors is unquestionably fair. Yet when the cards are next displayed, the colors have separated. The cards are openly mixed again, and again they mysteriously segregate. In trying to explain the mechanics behind these strange separations, the performer reveals that each color has a "leader" card, to which all the cards of like color are drawn, as if to a magnet. He sets each leader card face-up before its fellows. He then switches the packets behind the leaders. Yet, when a card from each packet is shown, its color matches the leader resting before it. The packets are switched twice more, to identical effect: the cards insist on conforming to the colors of the presiding leaders. As a final demonstration of this phenomenon, the four red cards are given to a spectator to hold. The performer takes the four black cards. They then exchange the leader cards of the packets, upon which action the other cards immediately transpose to match the newly elected leader of the group. Method: In the early 1950s, when Mr. Elmsley developed his ghost count, cardmen on both sides of the Atlantic were preoccupied with the Oil and Water plot. This interest was reflected in the many methods and variations for the trick that appeared in the pages of Ibidem and other publications. When considering the Oil and Water effect, Mr. Elmsley quickly saw how his ghost count could be applied to the trick. During the late 1950s and continuing through the early 1970s he worked out several routines, improving and refining the sequences over time. The idea of using Dr. Rohnstein's Follow the Leader plot to conclude Oil and Water occurred to him in the 1950s. Around 1969, Jack Avis sent copies of his notes on Mr. Elmsley's magic to a few select acquaintances. These notes contained two versions of the Elmsley Oil and Water routine. As the Avis notes circulated through the magic underground, so did the idea of applying the Elmsley count to Oil and Water. By this time the count had gained wide popularity, and others quite likely had discovered this fortunate combination independently. The idea was well-established by the 1980s, having appeared several times in print. Here, then, is Mr.


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Elmsley's routine, in its most polished form, as he performed it in the early 1970s.

First Phase Remove four black cards and four red from the pack. These can be any cards you wish; however, if you are concerned about repeated cards being noticed during the counts, you will want to choose a mixture of unmemorable mid-range values like fives, sixes, sevens, eights and nines. Make it clear as you remove the cards that there are only four of each color. Set the blacks face-up in one pile and the reds in another. Place the balance of the deck aside. (As Mr. Elmsley performs these preliminaries, he introduces the effect in a comically pompous manner: "In the course of years of research into the properties of playing cards, I have discovered many curious facts. One of these is that cards of the same color attract each other, and so tend to collect together. This I call Elmsley's Law. Let me demonstrate." This introduction amuses the audience while the otherwise uninteresting preparation for the trick is accomplished.) Turn the two piles facedown, pick up either of them and form a fan with it. Then, with your free hand, pick up the top card of the remaining pile and place it outjogged under the bottom card of the fan. Slip the next card of the tabled pile between the third and fourth cards, counting from the top of the fan. This card is also left outjogged, as are the next two. Insert the next card of the pile between the second and third cards of the fan, and the last card of the pile between the first and second cards (Figure 7). As you do this, point out that you are mixing the colors. While in performance it doesn't matter which color lies above the other, for the purpose of explanation, we will assume that the combined packet reads black-red-black-red-black-red-black-red, from top to face. Square the cards, turn the packet face-up and, with the palmdown right hand, grasp it by the ends. While the mixing of the colors was honest and straightforward, you will reassure the spectators of this by displaying the faces of the cards in their alternated condition. This is done with a Kardyro-Biddle count, and during the count the order of the colors is secretly modified:


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With the left thumb, draw off the first card, a red one, from the face of the packet onto the left fingers. Draw the second card, a black one, onto the first. Take the third card onto the previous two, but catch a left fourth-finger break beneath it. As you draw the fourth card into the left hand, steal back the third card, a red one, squarely beneath the right hand's cards. While displaying the cards, emphasize their alternating arrangement by calling the colors as they appear: "Red, black, red, black." Pause briefly here and use the left fingertips to square the cards remaining in the right hand as you comment, 'That makes two red and two black." The squaring of the cards ensures the success of the ensuing deception. Count the next three cards legitimately into the left hand and place the remaining two cards, held as one, onto the face of the packet. As you take this double card, however, step it approximately an eighth of an inch to the right. Eight cards have been seen, with colors alternated as expected. If you check the packet at this point you will find that the colors actually read black-red-red-black-red-black-black-red from face to back. Adjust the packet in the left hand to pinch grip, as if about to do an Elmsley count. Then apparently draw the first four cards singly into the left hand, reversing their order. This, though, is what occurs: Clip the left outer corner of the stepped double card between the right thumb and the base of the right forefinger. Draw the double off the packet and into right-hand dealing grip, keeping it squared. Immediately pull the next card, a red one, onto this. On the count of three, draw the next card onto the right hand's packet, but catch a fine break beneath it, allowing the left edge of the card to lie loosely on the right fingertips. Then, on the count of four, slightly contract the right fingers, mildly bowing the lower three cards, and steal the loose top card back under the left hand's packet as you take a final card onto the right hand's packet. (This method of stealing a card has been purloined from Eric de la Mare's false count [see p. 232].) While the spectators believe that each packet consists of four alternating red and black cards, in reality the one in the left hand contains three black cards with a red card third from the face; and the one in the right hand is composed of three reds with a black card in third position. Lay the right hand's packet face-down onto the table. Then make a magical gesture over the left hand's packet and perform an Elmsley count, showing four black cards. Set the packet face-up on the table and pick up the other group. Turn it face-up and do a second Elmsley count, showing four red cards. At the finish, turn this packet facedown in your left hand and fan it. The first separation is accomplished.


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Second Phase With the right hand, turn the tabled packet face-down. Then remove the top card of this packet and place it several inches forward on the table as you say, "Black." Actually this card is red. Onto it lay the bottom card of the fan in your left hand as you say, "Red." Continue to build the pile by taking cards alternately from the top of the tabled group, then from the bottom of the fan. You can casually flash the faces of the cards as you assemble them, excluding the first card and the last. This is a convincing touch, as the audience sees the colors being mixed. When all eight cards have been placed into one pile, pick them up and deal the top four cards face-down into a fresh pile, reversing their order. Make a magical gesture and turn up the four cards in your hand. Do an Elmsley count, showing that you are holding the four red cards. Set the face-up packet on the table and pick up the second packet. Turn it face-up and perform an Elmsley count to show four black cards. The colors have separated a second time. This phase can be repeated if desired; however, it is perhaps best to avoid excess and possible tedium by proceeding immediately to the next phase.

Third Phase Set down the face-up packet you are holding, placing it to the right of the tabled packet. Offer to show exactly how the cards manage to separate. Lift away the top card of each pile and set these face-up just forward of the piles. Explain that these cards are the leaders, and wherever they go, the other cards will follow. Pick up the lefthand packet and turn it face-down. "Here is the red leader card..." You indicate the face-up red card on the table, "...and its one, two, three followers." Here deal the three cards in your hand into a facedown pile behind the red card, reversing their order. "And behind the black leader card are one, two, three black cards." Pick up the face-up black packet, turn it face-down and deal it into a face-down pile behind the face-up black card. Unknown to the audience, a card of contrasting color now lies at the face of each pile. "But if I switch the two groups..." Do so. "...the cards follow their leaders." Pick up either pile, grasping it in glide position, and expose its face to show a card of matching color to the leader in front of the packet. Turn the packet face-down again and apparently remove the bottom card. However, execute the glide and take the card second from the face. Lay this card face-down, overlapping the leader card. Then deal the remaining two cards into a face-down pile behind the leader. Repeat these actions with the second pile and leader card.


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Exchange the two piles a second time. Pick up one, again holding it in glide position, and expose the face. Once more the card exposed matches the leader card before it. Turn the packet face-down and place the bottom card—that just shown—onto its leader, overlapping the earlier card. For the sake of consistency, mimic the actions of a glide when you do this. Set the remaining card face-down behind the leader group. Repeat these actions with the other packet and leader card. Switch the positions of the last two cards, then snap them faceup to show that they have faithfully conformed to their new leaders. Drop these cards face-down onto their corresponding groups. Then slip each leader card from beneath its pile and drop it face-down on top. Slide one of the piles a few inches forward on the table, toward a spectator; and simultaneously draw the second pile back a few inches, toward yourself, and into alignment with the forward pile.

Fourth Phase While the audience believes that the two piles each contain four cards of the same color, in fact a card of the opposite color rests at the bottom of each. In a moment the face of that card will be shown. Since it contradicts the believed color of its group, the shifting of the piles is done to cause the audience to forget the identities of the cards. This by itself would not necessarily be sufficient to confuse the issue; but with a bit of time misdirection, our goal is accomplished: Ask the spectator to assist you. Pick up the forward pile as you ask her, "Will you hold the..." Here briefly glance at the face of the packet, letting the audience see the card there as well. You do this as though reminding yourself of the color of the cards, "...red cards like this?" Of course, you name the color that is seen. Demonstrate how you wish her to hold the packet, taking it face-down by its ends in the palm-down left hand. When the spectator understands what is expected of her, take the packet into the palm-up right hand and offer it to her. Let her grasp it as you have indicated; then immediately remove the bottom card of the packet, snap it face-up and lay it on the back of her hand. This precaution immobilizes her hand, assuring that she does not expose the faces of the cards she holds. Pick up the other pile by its ends in your palm-down left hand, remove the bottom card and lay it face-up on the back of the hand. Now exchange the two face-up cards on the backs of the hands. Make a magical gesture; then reveal that the cards in the packets have followed the leader cards once again. This time the magic has happened in the spectator's hands, providing an impressive conclusion to an excellent series of mysteries.


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Alternative Final Phase While the Follow the Leader sequences are felt to be the superior finish, Mr. Elmsley did devise another ending for the routine, which may find favor with those who wish to remain faithful to the Oil and Water theme. This alternative final phase is an instant magical remixing of the colors after they have been shown separated. (Such a climax to Oil and Water was first suggested by Edward Mario in Ibidem, No. 8, pp. 164-167.) Return to the second phase of the routine. At the point where the cards are shown to have separated, display the two face-up packets using "underground" Elmsley counts; i.e., place the last card of the count under the packet rather than on its face. In doing this, the hidden odd-colored card in each packet is positioned once more third from the face. After showing four black cards in the second packet, square them into the left hand, forming a left fourth-finger break under the uppermost card. At the same time, tip the outer end of the packet upward slightly, tilting the face of the packet just beyond the audience's line of sight. With the right hand, pick up the tabled cards and square them face-up over the left hand's packet, secretly transferring the card above the break to the back of the upper packet. With the right hand, lift these five cards a bit and openly turn the remaining three cards face-down in the left hand. Immediately revolve the right hand's packet face-down and lay it onto the left hand's cards. "Like colors always attract—but if I give them a shake..." Give the packet a brief but vigorous shake. Then deal the top four cards into a face-up row across the table, revealing alternating colors: blackred-black-red. "...they once more become mixed." Flip over the remaining four cards in your hand and deal them onto the table, adding them to the row. Their colors alternate as well.

The Contrasting Backs Variant The routine just described is done with eight cards from any deck. If, however, there are two decks with contrasting backs available, the entire routine can be performed to excellent effect with the backs of the cards featured rather than the faces. It is visibly more striking to cause different colored backs to segregate and transpose; and the concern (though a minor one) of duplicate faces being observed is eliminated when the backs of the cards are used. Indeed, when two suitable decks are convenient, Mr. Elmsley prefers the contrasting


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backs variant. (The idea of performing Oil and Water with contrasting backs was originally suggested by Edward Mario in Ibidem, No. 15, pp. 14-17.) Take four like values from each deck; e.g., the four aces. Arrange the aces from one pack in matching suit order to the aces of the second pack. For instance, if the aces in, say, the blue pack lie in clubs-hearts-spades-diamonds order, set the aces from the red pack in clubs-hearts-spades-diamonds order. If you now run through the routine with these two packets, reading blue-back for black and red-back for red, and translating face-down for face-up and vice versa, you will find you can perform the same routine with the backs of the cards. You will also notice another pleasing touch: whenever the faces of the packets are displayed, no duplicate suits occur; each four-card packet—even when the backs are inconsistent with what the audience is led to believe—will contain a club, a heart, a spade and a diamond, just as they would if all were fair. This adds a further touch of conviction to the overall effect. The reader is urged to try this odd-backed routine to appreciate fully its visual impact. We proceed now to another red- and blue-backed routine based on the Oil and Water plot.


A REBOURS Effect: In the early 1970s Mr. Elmsley returned once more to the Idea of performing Oil and Water with cards from decks with contrasting backs. Building on his earlier work, he developed a new handling in which the aces from a red-backed deck are repeatedly alternated with those from a blue-backed deck; yet the two sets of aces separate after each mixing in a direct and baffling manner. Techniques from the previous routine are combined with new ideas to produce an economical handling and a strong effect. Method: Openly remove the four aces from each of two decks with different colored backs. For this description, the decks will be assumed to be red- and blue-backed. As you remove the aces from the second pack, without calling attention to it, manage to arrange them in the same suit order as those of the first pack. The particular order of suits is unimportant, but the two packets must be identically sequenced. If this is your first card trick of the performance, you can decrease tiresome setup time in front of an audience by having the aces already arranged as needed on top of or in the two decks. Once you have removed the two sets of aces, place the balance of the cards aside. Only the aces are used. These should lie in two face-up piles on the table.

First Phase Pick up the blue-backed aces in your right hand, and the redbacked aces in your left, taking both packets face-down into dealing position. You can at this point fan both packets and exhibit them fronts and backs. Resquare the cards in dealing position when the display is finished. You will now deal simultaneously with both hands, forming two piles of cards with alternating back colors. Do so by thumbing off the top card of the left-hand packet face-down directly before you, at the same time dealing the top card of the righthand packet about six inches forward of the left hand's card. Switch the positions of the hands and deal the next card from each packet onto the previously dealt cards: a red card onto a blue, and a blue


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onto a red (Figure 8). Trade the positions of the hands again and deal a third card onto each pile; and once more, placing each hand's last card onto the pile beneath. At this point the near pile will read blue-red-blue-red from the top down, and the far pile red-bluered-blue. The alternation of back colors is obvious to everyone. However, as you deal the cards, form the piles neatly. Do not create spreads to display their composition. In a moment you must display the backs, and if all backs were readily visible your motivation for doing so would seem senseless and the display belabored in purpose. Pick up the far pile and spread it face-down between the hands. 'Two red cards and two blue." Close the spread, catching a left fourthfinger break above the bottom card; and with the palm-down right hand take the packet by its ends, transferring the break to the right thumb. With the left hand, pick up the remaining pile from the table and fan it. "And here, two red cards and two blue." Using the right hand to help, square the left hand's cards and, as the right hand's packet passes briefly over the left's, secretly drop the card below the thumb's break square onto the packet below. Since this card, a blue one, matches the top card of the left-hand packet in color, the addition will not be perceived. Drop the right hand's packet neatly onto the table. "But suppose I bring the packets together for just a moment." As you say this, transfer the left hand's packet to the right hand, taking it by its ends from above. Simultaneously, with the tip of your left forefinger, buckle the bottom card of the packet, forming a break for the right thumb at the inner right corner. Then lightly touch the held packet to that on the table, bringing the upper packet square above the lower for an instant. In that time, secretly drop the red-backed bottom card of the right hand's packet neatly onto the tabled cards. Again, the top card of the packet and the freshly added card match in back color, and outwardly nothing seems to have changed. "When I do that, all the blue cards rise to my hand..." Here perform an Elmsley count to display the held packet as four blue-backed cards. The red-backed card, originally third from the top, is hidden by the false display and is brought to the bottom of the packet. Set down this packet and pick up the other.


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"...and all the red cards come together here." Perform a second Elmsley count to show four red backs. When all four cards have been counted into the right hand, flip them face-up there with the aid of the left hand.

Second Phase "I'll do it again. If I do it all face-up you can see there's no cheating." With the palm-down left hand, pick up the blue pile from the table and turn the hand palm-up, bringing the packet into face-up dealing position. "I'll mix the cards again..." Form two piles, one in front of the other, alternating your hands as you deal, just as you did previously; however, this time you are dealing the cards face-up, "...and you can see the colors really are mixed." Casually pick up the top two or three cards of the near pile and turn them face-down, fanning them to show alternating colors. Turn these cards face-up again and replace them on their pile. With the palm-down right hand, pick up the far pile by its ends. "But all I have to do is touch this packet to that..." Innocently touch the held packet lightly to the one on the table, simulating the actions used in the previous phase, but doing nothing furtive, "...and the blue cards all rise." With the palm-down left hand, grip the right hand's packet at its left side and turn the left hand palm-up, rotating the packet face-down and into position for an Elmsley count. Perform the count, showing four blue backs. Set down this packet and pick up the other one. Turn this face-down and perform another Elmsley count to show four red backs. You are automatically in position to repeat the second phase, should you so desire. However, constraint is advised. Mr. Elmsley feels that three separations are sufficient to make one's point entertainingly. Therefore, he avoids the possibility of tedium by proceeding directly to the next phase.

Third Phase Having apparently just counted four red-backed cards into your right hand, flip them face-up there and, with the palm-down left hand, pick up the face-down tabled pile once more. Turn the left hand palm-up as you say, "I'll do it again. I'll show you faces..." Thumb the first card from the face of each packet, right hand in front of left, as you have done in each previous phase, "...and I'll show you the backs." Flip the cards face-down in their respective hands and fan both packets, displaying every back. Maneuver the cards back into dealing position in each hand and switch the hands' positions over the dealt cards. Now perform Vernon's flourish deal with each hand


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simultaneously. That is, thumb over the top card of each packet and curl the forefinger in under the projecting outer corner of the card. Clip this corner between the forefinger, below, and second fingertip, above (Figure 9), and straighten these two fingers, carrying the card off the packet and face-up (Figure 10). Release each of the turned cards onto the tabled card below them; then exchange the hands' positions and repeat the flourish deal. Alternate the hands once more and turn the last cards face-up onto the packets beneath. This method of displaying the cards as they are dealt lends total conviction to the apparent alternation of the backs, while in reality you are again prepared to show the colors separated. Pick up the far pile, touch it to the near one, turn it face-down and perform an Elmsley count to display four blue backs. This time, however, place the fourth card on the bottom of the packet. Set these cards down and pick up the other pile. Turn it face-down and perform another underground Elmsley count, showing four red backs.

Fourth Phase Transfer the held packet from the right hand to the left. "So far I have been mixing the cards and making the colors come together." Here take the top card of the packet into the right hand, displaying the two red backs in casual emphasis of your remark. Replace the card square onto the packet, but catch a left fourth-finger break beneath it. 'This time I'll do the opposite." With the right hand, pick up the tabled blue pile by its ends. Bring the right hand's packet over the left's and, in a brisk casual squaring action, secretly pick up the red-


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backed card above the break, taking it onto the face of the upper packet. Separate the hands and their packets. Now hook the tip of the right forefinger around the left edge of its packet (Figure 11) and pull upward, revolving the cards face-up between the second fingertip and thumb (Figure 12). "Four blue cards." Dig the left thumb under its packet and flip the cards face-up into left-hand dealing position. "Four red cards—but if I bring the packets together, they will mix..." Drop the right hand's cards onto those in the left hand. Make some magical gesture over the combined packet. Then stud deal the top four cards into a face-down row. "...alternating red, blue, red, blue, all the way through." Smoothly flip the remaining four cards face-down in your left hand and deal them onto the row. All eight cards are seen to alternate in color, thus completing a bewildering series of events. You will observe, as you work through the sequence with cards, that each four-card packet contains an ace of each suit at every point in the routine. This is never commented on, but when it is noticed it further buttresses the illusion.


ELMSLEY'S GHOST Effect: While digging through Mr. Elmsley's early notes on his various false counts and displays, we came across a method for Bert Douglas' "Ghost Card Trick". I thought that an application of the ghost count to the trick for which it was named would be of interest. While there is nothing revolutionary in the construction of the method, it is a great improvement over Mr. Douglas' original handling, and the effect is a particularly strong one for laymen. In essence, a card is selected and returned to the pack. The performer then openly removes four of a kind, say the queens. The rest of the deck is put aside. The queens are displayed once more, then one is touched by the person who first chose a card. The remaining queens are thrown face-up onto the table and the chosen queen is snapped smartly, upon which it changes into the initial selection. Method: No setup is required. Have a card freely chosen, noted by the audience and returned to the deck. Control the card to the top in any manner you like. Now turn the face of the pack toward you and allow the back card to spread just enough for you to sight an index. This is the selection. Run quickly through the deck, upjogging any four of a kind that contrasts well with the chosen card. For this description these cards will be the queens. With the right hand, strip the four cards from the pack, and maneuver the deck into facedown dealing position in the left hand. As you do this, push the top card a bit to the right and form a fourth-finger break below it. Square the face-up queens above the deck, secretly picking up the face-down selection below them. Then perform a Braue addition as follows: With the palm-down right hand, grasp the packet of queens (and selection) from above by its ends. Bring the packet over the deck and, with the left thumb, draw the uppermost queen onto the pack, jogging it to the right. Use the right hand's packet to flip this queen face-down and square onto the deck. Repeat this maneuver with the next two queens; then drop the last queen, with the face-down selection hidden beneath it, square onto the pack. Flip the queen face-down and immediately spread off the top four cards into the right hand. Set the rest of the deck aside.


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Addressing the spectator who made the selection, observe, "A moment ago you chose a card. I've just taken the four queens from the pack." This certainly appears to be the case, though you actually hold only three queens; the card second from the top is the selection. "You do remember your card? And it was none of these?" Here you flip the packet face-up and do an Elmsley count, casually displaying the queens again. Place the fourth card counted under the rest. The spectator does not see her card and will say so. "Well, I'll have to try something else then. Please point to one of the queens." Here you flip the packet face-down and spread the cards. The selection again lies second from the top, and is in the most likely position to be chosen by the spectator. Should she follow the desired course, remove the second card from the fan and toss the other three cards, the queens, face-up on the table. Ask the spectator to name her card. Sharply snap the card you hold or make some other magical gesture; then turn the card face-up, showing it to be the selection just called for. What, though, is done if another card than the selection is touched? First, you must manage the touched card to the top of the packet, with the selection directly beneath it. If the top card is chosen, you are automatically in this position. However— If the third cardfromthe top is touched, draw off the top three cards of the fan, reversing their order while bringing the third card to the top. Then square these three cards onto the fourth. And if the bottom card is touched, draw off the top card, then take the next two cards together onto this, without reversing their order, and place the last card on top of all. In every one of these courses of action, the touched card is brought honestly to the top of the packet, and the selection is positioned beneath it. It is now only a matter of switching the top card for the selection. Many methods for accomplishing this are available. A second deal, a double turnover with a K.M. move clean-up, a top change: these are a few that immediately come to mind. Mr. Elmsley uses a form of the Hofzinser top change for the task. Briefly, the sleight is this: As the packet is squared into the left hand, a left fourth-finger break is caught beneath the top two cards. Now, with the right hand, grasp the two cards above the break by their inner right corners, thumb on top, first and second fingertips below. Lift these two cards from the packet, holding them as one and snapping the outer left corner smartly off the left thumb. (This thumb stroking action is commonly attributed to Carmen D'Amico.) Bring the left hand and its packet again square beneath the double card and snap the outer left corner of the double once more off the left thumb; but this time the thumb draws the top card of the double forward, pulling it squarely onto the packet as the left hand moves forward and revolves palm-down at the wrist. The right hand remains stationary, retaining the lower card of the pair, though the right thumb may aid


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in the steal of the top card by lightly pushing forward. When done briskly, this switch of cards is indistinguishable from the earlier snapping action. Once the chosen queen has been switched for the selection, toss the three queens face-up onto the table. Then make a magical gesture with the remaining card and dramatically reveal its face. There are no extra cards, and all four can be examined, should the spectators so desire.


HOFTWISTER Effect: Here Mr. Elmsley has combined Dai Vernon's 'Twisting the Aces" with the plot of a well-known problem by J. N. Hofzinser. The four aces are tossed face-up onto the table and another card is selected from the pack, noted and lost again. The performer explains that the aces will, through the process of elimination, magically identify the suit of the selection. The aces are turned facedown and passed through the performer's closed hand. When they are counted, one is found to have turned face-up. This ace is removed from the packet and its suit eliminated from the running. The packet is again passed through the hand. Another ace turns up. This is placed on the table with the first. The remaining two aces are shown front and back, then passed through the hand. One of these turns face-up and is set aside with the others. Only one ace has not turned over. This, the performer asserts, indicates the suit of the chosen card. The spectator confirms that the suit of her card matches that of the remaining ace. The performer passes that ace through his hand one last time, and it transforms into the actual selection. Method: The simplicity and economy of handling makes this trick both attractive to perform and to watch. A great deal of magic happens in a short time. As was mentioned above, Mr. Elmsley created the effect by combining the Hofzinser ace plot (ref. The Pallbearers Review, Third Folio, Winter 1969, p. 299) with Dai Vernon's "Twisting the Aces" [More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, pp. 5-8). This he did sometime in the latter half of the 1960s. Others, in recent years, have independently developed the idea of combining 'Twisting the Aces" with a card revelation, but none to my knowledge has taken the cunning course about to be taught. Remove the four aces from the pack and toss them casually onto the table, face-up. Next have a card freely selected. Secretly glimpse that card, noting its suit, and control it to the top of the pack. There are many ways of doing this. One straightforward method is to have a card peeked in the pack and catch a fourth-finger break beneath it. Bring it to the bottom with a pass or a double undercut. Position the deck for an overhand shuffle and glimpse the bottom card as the


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shuffle is commenced. Then shuffle the card to the top of the pack. Square the face-down deck, taking it into lefthand dealing position, and form a left fourthfinger break under the top card. With the right hand, pick up two of the aces, leaving the ace with matching suit to the glimpsed selection on the table. Lay the two aces face-up on the deck, with the upper ace aligned with the pack and the lower ace jogged to the right. "I'm going to find your card with the help of the aces." Pick up the remaining pair of aces, with the ace of matching suit resting lowermost and to the right (Figure 13). "It seems probable to me that one of these aces matches the suit of your card." Secretly pull down with the left fourth finger on the corner of the deck, widening the break, and slip the right hand's aces partially into the gap, forming a spread with the aces while secretly introducing the face-down selection between the center pair (Figure 14). Slip the right fingertips under the spread of aces and lift it away from the pack. Set the deck aside and return the left hand to the spread. Square the cards neatly into the left hand and turn them facedown there. This steal and load of the selection into the packet is subtle and deceptive, as a few trials will prove. "I'm going to find the matching ace by elimination. Each ace will turn face-up." In illustration, apparently flip over the top ace. In reality you buckle the bottom card slightly, permitting you to grip the four cards above at their right edge. Then flip over all four as one onto the packet. Immediately push the top ace to the right and flip it facedown again. The face-down card exposed below this ace serves to confirm the honesty of your actions. The order of the packet from the top down is now: face-down ace, face-down selection, face-up ace, face-up ace of matching suit to the selection, face-down ace.


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"But to start, they're all face-down." Perform an Elmsley count to show four face-down cards. The actions of the false display with five cards are identical to those with four. Here one might well use an astute handling touch suggested to Mr. Elmsley by Persi Diaconis: When you find yourself with a packet in left-hand dealing position, and you wish to perform an Elmsley count, as happens in this trick, rather than adjusting the packet to left-hand pinch grip, take it by its right side in right-hand pinch grip and false count the cards from the right hand into the left. This simple course avoids the necessity of shifting grips—which can be somewhat awkward—and lends a more direct and accomplished appearance to your work. After the count, settle the packet into left-hand dealing position and perform a through-the-fist flourish (a maneuver commonly associated with Dai Vernon) in this fashion: Hook the left thumb around the outer left corner of the packet, while closing the left fingers over the cards (Figure 15). Simultaneously rotate the hand palmdown, bringing the heel of the hand toward the audience. Do not yet push the packet through the fist. Instead, as the left hand turns, bring the right hand slightly in front of it, helping to conceal the packet momentarily from the spectators' sight, and to prevent a premature (and possibly ruinous) exposure of the face-down upper

card. Then lightly rub the right fingertips on the back of the left hand in little circles. This is done in the manner of a magical gesture. Only as you make this rubbing motion do you use the left thumb to push the packet forward through the hand and into view (Figure 16). The right hand serves to cover the left thumb's action, making the flourish appear more magical; and the slight delay in completing the maneuver aids in obscuring the discrepancy in position of the top card of the packet, which should logically be face-up. With the right hand, grasp the protruding end of the packet and draw the cards neatly from the fist. Immediately turn the left hand palm-up, opening the fingers, and retake the packet in left-hand pinch grip; or grip the packet in right-hand pinch grip as you draw


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it from the hand. (The application of the through-the-fist flourish to 'Twisting the Aces", as a method of secretly reversing the packet, was first advanced in the United States by Robert Walker in his trick "Fisting the Aces" [ref. Jon Racherbaumer Lecture Notes 1, 1976, pp. 11-12]. However, the same idea had occurred to several British cardmen in the early 1960s, and was being used by Mr. Elmsley and others at that time.) Perform an Elmsley count. The third card appears face-up during the count. Outjog this card as you take it, and place the last card on top, aligned with the packet. For this description, assume the faceup card to be the ace of clubs. Draw the face-up ace from the packet as you comment, "The ace of clubs. Was your card a club? No, of course it wasn't." Set the ace face-up on the table. Adjust the packet onto the left fingers; then perform the through-the-fist flourish a second time. However, since the packet this time begins on the fingers, it is not reversed by the maneuver, as it was previously. Draw the packet from the fist and count the four cards as three in the following manner: Using the same grips and actions employed for the Elmsley count, draw off the top card, then push over the next two cards in a block and take them as a single card onto the first. This reveals the last card as another face-up ace. "Your card wasn't a spade [here you name the ace now showing], was it? I thought not." Set this ace onto tabled one. At this point you hold three cards: a face-down ace is on top, followed by the face-up selection and the face-down ace that matches it. Turn the packet face-up, keeping the cards squared, and take the packet by its ends in the palm-down right hand. With the left fingertips, slide the lower card of the packet leftward. This displays two face-up aces. "So your card must have been a heart or a diamond." Square the cards again and turn the packet face-down. Regrip it in the right hand by its ends and slide the bottom card from beneath the remaining double card, exhibiting two backs. "The fewer cards, the more difficult it becomes." With the left hand, carry the single card away from the double and flick its right edge against the left edge of the double card several times. Then square the single card on top of the double and place the packet into lefthand dealing position. Perform another through-the-fist flourish, this time reversing the packet. Set the packet momentarily back into left-hand dealing grip and, with the palm-down right hand, grasp it by its ends. Then, with the left thumb, draw the top face-down card off the packet, revealing another face-up ace (actually the remaining two aces, held perfectly squared). "And your card wasn't a heart." Lay the face-up double onto the tabled aces. (If you are working with new and slippery cards, there is some danger that the double card might separate as it is dealt onto the aces. In such circumstances, Mr. Elmsley offers this valuable tip:


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When, as described in the previous paragraph, you flick the single card off the double, on the final snap bring the single card upward against the double card with a bit more force. This installs a gentle convex bridge in the single card, and a concave bridge in the double. When the packet is later reversed and the upper card is taken into _ the left hand, the double card in the right hand will consist of two cards carrying opposing bridges, as shown exaggerated in Figure 17. The increased contact of the cards at their long edges makes them much less likely to slip or slide apart when laid on the table.) "From this I deduce that the..." Glance at the face of the card remaining in your hands, without exposing it to the spectators, "...ace of diamonds is the ace that matches your card. By the way, what was the value of your card? The queen of diamonds?" Perform one last through-the-fist flourish with the card left you and dramatically reveal it to be the selection. For another Elmsley treatment of the Hofzinser ace plot, see "Bareaced Hofzinser" on pages 253-255.


MINI-MILTON (Featuring the Five-as-Jive Ghost Count) Effect: The performer removes the ace through five of hearts from the deck, and the ace through five of diamonds. He openly arranges both packets of cards in numerical order and sets the heart packet aside. He next shuffles the diamond packet and has someone pick one of the five cards. This card, say the two of diamonds, is turned faceup and the remaining four cards are laid face-down over it. The performer explains that there is a magical sympathy that links the hearts and the diamonds. To illustrate this he slowly and fairly goes through the two piles, dealing cards in unison from both, and it is seen that the hearts, which have lain untouched since the beginning, have magically rearranged themselves to conform with the random order of the shuffled diamonds. As a final surprise, the two of hearts is found reversed in the heart pile, precisely as its mate, the spectator's selection, lies in the diamond pile. Method: This revision of Herbert Milton's classic premise, "The Sympathetic Clubs", is done without the aid of gimmicks. Mr. Elmsley devised this in the mid-1950s, at which time he used two duplicate royal flushes, taken from decks with contrasting backs. However, in the early 1970s he amended the presentation to allow the trick to be done with cards from just one deck. As stated in the effect, the trick is performed with ten cards, the ace through five of hearts and their mates in diamonds. Remove these cards from the pack and set the balance aside. Then openly arrange the cards of each suit in descending order with the five at the face and the ace at the back. Call attention to the arrangement by picking up the hearts and fanning them as you comment on their sequence. Square the cards and flip them face-down into the right hand. Then grasp the packet by its left edge in left-hand pinch grip. "Remember, the cards are in ace, two, three, four, five order." Here you count the cards into the right hand, reversing their order. However, this action is not nearly so innocent as it appears. You actually execute a fiveas-five ghost count. The five-as-five ghost count is one of a group of


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false displays and counts that Mr. Elmsley developed coevally with the count that bears his name. The five-as-five count, a combination of the four-as-four ghost count (or Elmsley count) and the Eric de la Mare false count, shows the five cards as five but hides one of them. (This false display procedure, with small differences in handling, was independently derived and published in the 1970s and 1980s by diverse innovators, among whom number Karl Fulves, Bruce Cervon, Roger Smith and Larry Jennings.) In the context of the present trick the count is used to displace cards secretly. The details are these: Holding the packet face-down in left-hand pinch grip, lay the right thumb onto the top card and draw it into right-hand dealing grip. "Ace." In the same manner, draw the second card onto the first, but let it lie loosely in the hand, its left edge resting on the tips of the right fingers and slightly separated from the card below it. 'Two." On the count of three, several covert actions are made. First, the left thumb pushes the upper two cards of the three it holds about half an inch to the right. Second, the right fingers contract, slightly bowing the lower card of the right-hand pair and clearing the left edge of the upper card (Figure 18, buckle exaggerated). You may prefer to bow the card mainly with the fourth fingertip, while you ease the other fingers away from the left edge. These actions are executed as the right hand returns to claim the third card of the packet. As the right thumb moves over the packet, the right hand's cards travel naturally beneath the left's, permitting you to thrust the left edge of the second card between the packet and the left fingertips. As you steal this card back under the packet, the right thumb simultaneously clips the sidejogged double card to the card remaining in the right fingers and the right hand moves to the right. Count, 'Three." Complete the count by drawing the two cards in the left hand one at a time into the right. "Four and five." That is the five-as-five ghost count. In this instance, however, one more small thing is done: as you draw off the fourth card, injog it. Though it appears that you have merely reversed the order of the cards while counting them, much more has been accomplished. From the top down the cards now read two-five-three-four-ace. Place the packet into left-hand dealing position and, as you square it, convert the injog to a break under the top two cards. "The five is on top..." Here flip the top two cards face-up as one on the packet, displaying the five, "...and the ace at the face." Turn the packet over neatly to expose the ace. Then slip the face-down five from beneath the packet, turn it face-up and apparently slip it back under the


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others. In reality the left forefinger secretly buckles the lowermost card (the face-down two), allowing you to slip the five between the two and the three. (This method for secretly reversing a card essentially is Dr. Jacob Daley's.) From the face, the cards now read acefour-three-five-two. All are face-up but the two. Square the packet and lay it face-up on the table. In the same movement, pick up the diamond pile from the table. 'These I'm going to shuffle." Casually but rapidly perform the following mixing actions: Slip the top card (the ace) from the top to the bottom of the face-down packet. Then, holding the cards in lefthand dealing position, take the first card into the right hand, the second card under the first, the third on top, the fourth beneath and the fifth on top. (The method of shuffling is a minor variant of an old procedure, which was called "skinning the goat" in the nineteenth century. More recently it is sometimes called a Monge shuffle.) Return the packet to the left hand and deal the top card into the right hand. Take the second card onto the first, the third card beneath these two, the fourth card on top and the fifth beneath. At the finish of these short mixes the cards will lie in three-four-ace-two-five order from top to face. "Will you give me a number between one and five?" Whatever the spectator's reply, you will assure that he gets the two of diamonds. Because you have asked for a number between one and five, the only possible responses are two, three and four. If two is named, turn the packet face-up, spread it and break the spread at the two, carrying away the five and the two in the right hand. Deposit the two face-down on the table and place the five beneath the cards remaining in the left hand. Then square the cards and drop them face-up onto the two. If three is named, transfer three cards, one by one, from the top of the face-down packet to the bottom. Turn up the card now on top— the two—then deal it face-down onto the table. Flip the balance of the packet face-up and drop it squarely onto the two. If four is named, spread over the top four cards, without reversing their order, and indicate the fourth card from the top. Cut the top three cards to the bottom, bringing the fourth card to the top. Turn it over to display the two, then deal the two face-down onto the table. Flip the rest of the cards face-up and drop them neatly onto the two. No matter which of these procedures is used, the diamond cards will be in ace-four-three-five-two order from top to bottom—the identical order to the hearts pile. To conclude the effect, explain that the two groups of cards share a bond of sympathy between them, and whatever is done to one will be reflected in the other. Point out that the top cards of both piles are aces. Neatly lift the aces away, showing that the next two cards also match. Work simultaneously down through the piles, revealing mated cards at each position. Try not to


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spread the piles as you remove cards, thus preserving dramatic tension. When you reach the last cards and the two of hearts is seen to lie face-down, corresponding with the condition of its mate, you should hear a rewarding exclamation of surprise from the audience. This presentation and method are felt to be superior in several ways to those developed in the 1950s. However, the original effect differs in several intriguing details. Therefore, it is explained next.


MIXED MARRIAGES Effect: One royal flush is removed from a red-backed deck, and the duplicate flush from a blue-backed deck. The blue-backed flush is set into ten-to-ace order and given to someone to hold. The redbacked flush is then mixed, after which the spectator chooses one of the five cards. When the spectator examines the blue-backed flush she has been holding, she finds that it has magically rearranged itself to match the order of the shuffled red-backed flush—and when the card she selected is turned over in each flush, it is discovered that the two have transposed: the red-backed selection is now in the blue-backed flush and vice versa. Method: Before performance, exchange the king of spades in a redbacked deck for that in a blue-backed deck. Place these estranged kings near the faces of the packs. With this simple preparation made, case both decks. In performance, remove the red-backed deck from its case and set the case aside. As you talk with the audience, casually spread through the face-down pack, displaying red backs. Stop, of course, before you expose the blue-backed king near the bottom. Square the deck, turn it face-up and spread it again, searching for the five cards of the royal flush in spades. Outjog each of these cards as you come to it, taking care not to expose the back of the king. Then remove the five cards, maneuvering the king to a position second from the face of the group as you strip them from the pack. Set the pack aside. Turn the packet face-down and casually perform the five-as-five ghost count (see pp. 54-55). As you perform this count, comment, "Five red-backed cards." The one blue back is hidden by the false display. Turn the packet face-up and quickly arrange the cards in ace-to-ten order from face to back, letting the audience see the faces as you do this. "Five special cards: a royal flush in spades." Square the packet and set it face-down on the table. Remove the blue-backed deck from its case, lay the case aside and spread the deck face-down to show blue backs. Then turn it face-up and remove the five spade cards of the royal flush. Discard the deck and quickly arrange the cards into ace-to-ten order, the ace at the


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face, the ten at the back. "You see I have arranged the cards in order of value: ten, jack, queen, king, ace. Please remember that order." Square the cards and turn them face-down. Perform a five-as-five ghost count, showing five blue backs, while in time to the count you recite, "Ten, jack, queen, king, and the ace on top..." At the mention of the ace, drop the last card from the left hand onto the right hand's packet. Do not show its face. Instead, square the cards and raise the packet, exposing the face to the audience as you say, "...and ten on the bottom." Set the packet face-up on the table and ask someone to cover these cards with her hand. Though the cards are still thought to be in sequential order, they actually read jack-ace-queen-king-ten from top to face. Pick up the red-backed packet and place it face-up into left-hand dealing grip. "These cards I shall shuffle." Do so by dealing the first card, the ace, into the right hand; then slip the next card beneath the first, the third on top, the fourth beneath and the fifth on top. Transfer the packet back to left-hand dealing grip and repeat the shuffle exactly. Perform a third shuffle, but to this pattern: take the first card into the right hand, the second on top of the first, the third beneath these two, the fourth on top and the fifth beneath. After the third mix, cut the lower two cards of the packet to the face, bringing the ten uppermost. The order of the packet from face to back is now ten-king-queen-ace-jack. You will now force the king. This is done by asking the spectator to name a number between one and five. The possible choices are two, three and four. If two is chosen, count to the second card while holding the packet face-up. Ask that the spectator remember that card. It is the king. Replace the ten on the face of the packet. If three is chosen, flip the cards face-down into left-hand dealing grip. Thumb the top card to the right and take it into the right hand. Raise the right hand, exposing the face of the card to the audience. Lower the right hand and take the second card below the first. Raise the right hand and flash the face of the second card. Lower the right hand and at the same time buckle the bottom card of the left-hand packet. Take the top two cards of the packet as one below the righthand pair. This, apparently, is the third card. Raise the right hand, exposing the face of the king to the audience. Ask that the spectator remember this card. Then replace the right hand's cards onto the single card in the left hand. Iffour is chosen, turn the packet face-down into the left hand and raise that hand, holding the packet vertically, face toward the audience. Count four cards into the right hand, taking each onto the face of the last. Since the backs of the cards are out of the spectators' view, the blue back of the king cannot be seen by them. Ask that the king be remembered and replace the right hand's cards onto the card remaining in the left hand.


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You are now set for the climax of the trick. In a moment you will turn the red-backed packet face-up and reveal that the blue-backed packet has altered its order in sympathy. However, there is one circumstance that needs to be discussed. When the order of the redbacked packet is shown, the king rests second from the face. If two or four was the number chosen, all is well. However, if the selected number was three, there will be an obvious discrepancy in the position of the king as it was last shown (third from the top) and its actual position (fourth from the top). Therefore, if three has been chosen, you must give the packet a brief false shuffle to cover the discrepant position of the king. The easiest false shuffle in these circumstances is an overhand shuffle: With the packet still face-down, run the first two cards and throw the remaining three under them. Repeat this quick mix and the packet is brought back to its original order, with the blue-backed card kept hidden. If it is not already there, place the packet face-up into left-hand dealing position. Explain to the audience that the two royal flushes, though they are from different packs, are linked by a supernatural bond of sympathy. Address the spectator who is covering the bluebacked packet with her hand: "Do you remember the order of the cards you are holding? They were arranged in ten-to-ace sequence. These cards on the other hand have been shuffled. Raise your hand, pick up the packet and hold it as I am holding mine." Now have the spectator deal her cards into a face-up row. As she deals, you deal in unison from your packet, forming a parallel row opposite hers. As the two of you deal out your cards, it is seen that the blue-backed packet has indeed altered its order to match the shuffled cards in the red-backed packet. Now comes the coup due grace: Ask the spectator to recall the card she selected. When she names the king, turn all the cards but the king in your row face-down, and have her do likewise with the cards in her row. "The cards of these royal flushes are in sympathy; but everyone knows that sympathy implies a certain amount of mutual exchange." Dramatically turn the two kings face-down in their rows. "Do you see what I mean?" An historical note: To the best of my knowledge, Herman L. Weber (Namreh) was the first to embellish a sympathetic cards effect with a surprise transposition of face-up cards between two decks. This idea was embodied in his trick, "Sympathetique", marketed in 1927.


SERENDIPITY Effect: Someone goes through the deck and removes three jacks. These jacks are introduced as the "Three Princes of Serendip, who have a knack of making happy discoveries by accident." The performer removes two further cards, the faces of which he neither ^_^^_^_^_^___^_^_^__^_^___ looks at nor shows. He alternates these with the jacks and perches the five-card packet in plain view in his breast pocket (Figure 19). The spectator is next asked to pick two cards from the pack. These are shown to everyone and can be signed by the spectator. The selections are then shuffled back into the deck. The performer now takes the packet of jacks from his pocket and spreads it, displaying the two unknown cards he placed between the jacks. These two cards, though it seems impossible, prove to be the very cards selected by the spectator. Method: Run casually through the face-up pack until you find a jack, preferably a red one, that has no other jacks resting among the next few cards beyond it. (In practice, Mr. Elmsley will use either jacks or kings to play the parts of the princes, adopting the first male court card that fulfills the requirements. For this description, however, jacks will be assumed.) When a suitable jack has been located, form a break some small known number of cards beyond it—say five—and square the spread into your left hand. Then double cut the face-up deck to the break, bringing the jack to a known position close to the top of the pack. Smile at someone as if you have just been struck by an idea. "Why should I do all the work? Will you take out three jacks for me, please?" Hand her the pack, still face-up, and let her find three jacks. Because


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you have ensured that no jack lies beyond the one positioned near the top of the pack, chances are excellent that she will remove the other three, leaving the set jack in place. However, privately observe her actions as you talk with the audience, to ascertain whether the jack is left undisturbed or is removed. As she is busy with her task, you explain to everyone: "These jacks will represent the Three Princes of Serendip. According to an old legend from Ceylon, the Three Princes of Serendip had the knack of making happy discoveries by accident. On one occasion they even found a lost treasure before it was lost—which sounds impossible, but that's my business." When the three jacks have been removed, retrieve the pack and arrange the face-up jacks on the table, with the odd-colored jack at the face of the spread. Turn the deck face-down and hold it in lefthand dealing grip. "First I'll arrange an accident for the Princes...a couple of accidents: two unknown cards." As you say this, spread through the deck and pull out two cards. One of these is an unpremeditated choice, but the other is the fourth jack, which you have set in a known and quickly located position near the top of the pack. First remove the jack from the deck and drop it face-down onto the table. Then drop any other card, removed from someplace lower in the deck, facedown onto the jack. Perform these actions casually, as if any cards might be used, and make it clear by your actions that you are not looking at the faces of the cards. "These cards will stand in for two stray parcels discovered by the Princes during their wanderings." Set the pack aside and pick up the three face-up jacks. Flip them face-down and respread them, forming a fan. Pick up the top card of the tabled pair (the genuinely unknown card you have removed) and slip it between the lower pair of jacks in your hand. Leave this card outjogged for about half its length. Then pick up the second card (the fourth jack) and place it between the upper two jacks, similarly outjogged (Figure 20). "A prince and a parcel, a prince and a parcel, and a prince." Here point to each card in turn, emphasizing the alternating arrangement. Then square the cards, catching a right thumb break above the two lower ones. With the right hand, place the lower end of the packet into your left breast pocket. During this action, secretly release the two cards below the break (the unknown card and one of the


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spectator's jacks), letting them fall unseen into the pocket. Without hesitation, cock the remaining three cards so that they will sit at the top of the pocket in plain view (Figure 19 again). Now pick up the deck and have two cards chosen and noted by everyone. The point of this trick is not the location or divination of these selections, so you can if you wish look at the cards yourself. It greatly furthers the effect when everyone in the audience knows the identities of the cards. The selections may be signed on the faces, if you believe it strengthens the effect. Then lose the chosen cards in the deck, actually controlling them to the top. As you square the deck in your left hand, form a fourth-finger break beneath the top two cards. Now, with your right hand, remove the packet on display in your left pocket. This consists of three jacks, but is believed to contain five cards. Ask the audience, "Do you remember what we have here?" Make strong eye contact as you say this, misdirecting away from your actions. "The Three Princes of Serendip and a couple of accidents." As you say this, bring the hands together to square the right hand's packet over the deck; and, in doing so, steal the two cards above the break onto the face of the packet. Then set the deck aside. "Five cards in all." Here perform a five-as-five ghost count (see pp. 54-55). No attention or importance is given these actions. The count is done in an offhand manner as a casual complement to your words. On finishing the count, immediately fan the packet. "A prince at the bottom, a prince at the top and a prince in the middle." As you name each prince, turn up the corresponding card in the fan. This leaves the two selections sandwiched face-down between the faceup jacks. "But what seems impossible is that the two stray parcels between the princes happen to be your chosen cards!" Conclude by raising the fan to expose its underside to the audience, bringing the faces of the selections into view. We must now return to a question not yet addressed: what is to be done if the spectator, on removing three jacks from the deck, takes your set jack near the top or loses it in the pack? This is unlikely, due to the placement of the card, but if such a circumstance should arise, simply fan the deck, face toward you, and remove the remaining jack, along with any other card, as the "stray parcels". The overall effect is only slightly diminished in such a case. Mr. Elmsley's presentation has been quoted above not just for its amusing qualities, but because it serves a subtle psychological purpose. In constructing a story about three princes, he has cleverly distracted the spectators from considering the fourth jack in the deck. This of course further obscures the method. Should you wish to develop a different presentation, this psychological point should not be overlooked.


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Finally, it was mentioned at the beginning of the method that, if convenient, a red jack or king should be set near the top of the pack. At that time, no reason for this was given. The card you position must later be switched for the jack or king of corresponding color. Mr. Elmsley believes the red suits are less memorable than the black, thus further ensuring that the exchange goes unnoticed. This, then, is the motive behind the preference of a red jack or king.


ONE POOR LION Effect: The performer removes all the aces, kings, queens and jacks from the deck and performs a surprising multiple transposition with these cards. The transposition is made intelligible and entertaining by a moral tale about four lions and their postponed dinner. Method: The effect is indirectly derived from Charles Jordan's "Like Seeks Like", a trick marketed in 1919. (See Charles T. Jordan: Collected Tricks, pp. 87-88; and Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, Hugard revision, p. 344. For more information on this plot, also see "New Pieces to an Old Puzzle", pp. 280-283 in this volume.) Its immediate inspiration was E. G. Brown's "The Military Problem" (ref. T. H. Hall's The Card Magic of Edward G. Brown, pp. 106-114). While the Brown trick provided Mr. Elmsley with his starting point when he tackled the problem in the early 1970s, the presentation and method grew into something wholly different from their sire. Such multiple transposition effects can easily become muddled to an audience when performed without a lucid and interesting presentation. Mr. Elmsley employs an amusing story, which he developed from a cartoon he ran across in an 1875 issue of Punch. The cartoon depicted an adult relating a spiritually uplifting legend to a group of children. The caption read, 'There was one poor tiger that hadn't got a Christian." Bowing to popular mythology, Mr. Elmsley transformed the tigers into lions for his tale, which he carefully constructed to clarify for the audience the action of the multiple transposition, all in an entertaining fashion. The illusion created is so persuasive, you will probably fool yourself if you follow these instructions with cards in hand. Remove all the aces, kings, queens and jacks from the pack and set the balance aside. Group the four cards of each value into a separate pile and alternate the colors of the kings, queens and jacks. The sequence of the suits is not important. Do this sorting and arranging as quickly as you can, while you introduce the effect, and set the four groups of cards face-up on the table. 'This is a story of Ancient Rome, in the days when they used to throw Christians to the lions. Here are four Christian men [lay down


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the kings], four Christian women [lay down the queens] and four Christian children [lay down the jacks]; and these are the lions [indicate the aces].

"Will you shuffle the lions, please?" Hand out the aces for someone to mix. "Good. That exercise must have given them an appetite. Will you now deal the lions face-down into a row. "Now I want you to throw the Christians to the lions. Pick up any packet, turn it face-down and drop it onto any one of the aces...and again...and once more. "Do you know which Christians you have given to which lions? Let's check." For the next sequence of actions you must fit the patter to the situation. We will assume that the first packet holds the ace of clubs and the four queens. With the palm-down right hand, pick up the first packet on your left, holding it by its ends. Turn the hand palm-up to expose the ace on the bottom of the packet. "Here is the ace of clubs—the lion of clubs..." With the palm-down left hand, grasp the face-up packet by it left side, taking it in a fingertip pinch grip. Release the right hand's grasp and revolve the left hand palm-up, turning the packet face-down. "...and the one, two, three, four Christian..." Here you seemingly count the top four cards into the right hand. In reality you perform a five-as-five ghost count (see pp. 54-55), but retain the fifth card in your left hand. Set this last card face-down on the table, where the pile previously rested. This, the audience should believe, is the ace just shown. Flip the right hand's packet face-up into the left hand, keeping the cards reasonably squared to conceal the ace at the back, "...women." As you complete your sentence, thumb over the queen on the face, take it into the right hand, and pause briefly. Then flip the left hand's packet face-down, place the right hand's queen face-down on top of the packet, and drop the four cards onto the previously tabled fifth card, letting the packet overlap the inner end of the card. On paper this sequence may seem somewhat ponderous; however, in practice the actions flow smoothly together and take but a few seconds. Pick up the next pile from the table and expose the ace at the bottom. "The lion of diamonds...and the one, two, three, four Christian...children." We will assume that this pile contains the ace of diamonds and the four jacks. Perform another interrupted five-asfive ghost count with the packet and repeat the subsequent display and displacement sequence just taught. 'The lion of spades...and the one, two, three, four Christians you threw to him were the four Christian men." Display the ace at the bottom of the remaining pile and repeat the actions used with the previous packets, substituting a king for the ace. At this point the row of four cards and the three offset piles lie arranged as shown in Figure 21.


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"And the odd one out was the lion of hearts." Turn over the fourth ace, which has no cards resting on it, and leave it face-up in place. "Now this poor lion didn't have any Christians. But the other lions, being kindly beasts, volunteered to contribute. The lion with the four Christian women gave him one woman." Pick up the first pile, leaving the card thought to be the ace of clubs on the table. Turn the face of the packet toward yourself, as if checking the identity of the cards before you name them. You are holding three queens with an ace positioned third from the face. While keeping the face of the packet tipped toward you, take the cards into left-hand pinch grip, ready for an Elmsley count. Then lower the hands, beginning the count just as the faces of the cards come into the audience's view. The Elmsley count hides the ace while bringing it to the top, and the proper ratio of red and black queens will be displayed. True, the first queen is seen twice, but because the count was begun on a downswing, the repetition will elude even the most neurotic card player. As soon as you've completed the count, flip the packet face-down into your left hand and deal the top card onto the face-up ace of hearts. Drop the balance of the packet squarely onto the card it previously overlapped. 'The lion with the four Christian children gave him a child." Pick up the second pile of four cards and perform the Elmsley count as explained above to show four jacks. Then turn the packet face-down and deal the top card onto the face-up ace pile. "And the lion with the four Christian men gave him a man." Repeat the previous display and dealing sequence with the pile of kings. "This lion had come across Christians before—his cousin had once had a thorn removed from his paw by one—and they all got into a conversation; and during this conversation the Christians happened to mention that they didn't want to be eaten.


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"This surprised the lion, but he offered to see what he could do; and in a very short time it had all been arranged. Here were the four Christian women...here were the four Christian children...here were the four Christian men...and here of course were the four lions." As each group is named, turn up the appropriate pile and spread it on the table, revealing the congregation of each value to its own kind. "And the lions didn't go hungry either. They ate the interfering dogooding lion who had lost them their dinners."


THE GREAT PRETENDER (Featuring the Everchange Count) Effect: The performer removes the four kings from the pack and sets them on the table. Then four persons each choose a card. The four selections are lost back in the deck and one indifferent card is inserted face-down in the middle of the face-up kings. The packet is turned over and the indifferent card is shown again, now face-up. The performer makes a magical gesture and, when the cards are once more displayed, the indifferent card in the center has changed into the first person's selection. Another magical gesture is made and the face-up first selection transforms into the second person's card; and that in turn changes into the third selection. However, when the time comes for the fourth selection to be produced, the face-up card is made to vanish completely from the packet, leaving behind only the four kings. The performer cuts the face-down kings into the center of the deck, snaps his fingers and spreads the pack face-up. The kings are found as expected in the middle of the spread, but there is one card facedown at their center: the fourth and final selection. Method: The effect is a precursor to Karl Fulves' Universal Card plot. It is also the first effect developed by Mr. Elmsley for the everchange count, another of his false counts devised around 1954. If the deck does not already have one, install a mild convex lengthwise bridge in it. Then remove the four kings and lay them face-up in a spread on the table. The order of the suits is immaterial. Spread the face-down pack and have four cards chosen by as many spectators. Then square the deck and set it face-down on the table, apart from the kings. Starting at your left and working rightward, ask the first person to show her card to everyone else in the group. Once she has done this, take it from her, holding it face-down. Turn to the second person and ask that he show his selection to the group. Take his card and slip it under the first as you turn to the third spectator. Have him show his card around before giving it to you. Place this card beneath the previous two and approach the fourth person, asking her to


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display her card. Using the strong natural misdirection of the moment, catch a break below the top card of the three you hold and execute a half pass, turning the lower two cards face-up. For those unfamiliar with this sleight, a brief explanation is offered: Tip the outer end of the packet downward and, with the palm-down right hand, grasp the cards by their ends. With the right fingers together and projecting well over the front edge of the packet, curl the left forefinger underneath and lower the right side of the two cards below the break. Press the forefinger rightward against the face of the lowered cards, forcing their left edge to skate lightly across the face of the card above, until that edge meets the right edge of the horizontal card. At this moment the turning cards rest vertically beneath the top card, and are hidden by that card and the right hand (Figure 22). Complete the reversal of the cards by folding them flat against the face of the top card and square with it (Figure 23). Follow through by casually squaring the left edge of the packet with the left fingertips. Now take the fourth selection and place it face-down on top of the other three. The order of the cards from top to face is fourth-firstthird-second. The top two cards are face-down and the bottom two face-up. With the palm-down right hand, grasp the packet by its ends. With the same hand, pick up the tabled deck by its opposite right corners and set it into left-hand dealing position. As you do so, step the selection packet widely to the right of the deck, keeping deck and


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packet distinctly separate (Figure 24). As soon as the left hand holds the deck, separate the packet from it. You must now shift the right hand's grip on the packet to the outer end: Move the first and fourth fingers to their respective corners of the packet, straddling the end. In this position the fingers can hold

the packet securely while the thumb moves from the inner end of the packet onto the back near the outer end (Figure 25). Now, with the right thumb, swivel the inner end of the top card a bit to the right, angling it. If the lower cards also spread slightly, no harm is done, so long as their reversed condition is not exposed. However, if the thumb exerts only a light pressure, you should be able to move just the top card. If the fourth finger is kept against the right front edge of the packet, it can aid in keeping the lower cards square and also serve as a pivot post (Figure 26).


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With the left thumb, riffle down the outer left corner of the deck and stop about one third from the top, opening a gap for the insertion of the packet. Slip the right inner corner of the packet into the gap, but silently release one card from the left thumb at the same time, letting it hit the angled corner of the fourth selection. As you then move the packet rightward into the deck, this indifferent card is introduced between the top two cards (Figure 27). Slide the packet rightward until it is aligned with the deck; however, leave the packet jogged from the front of the pack for roughly a quarter of an inch. Move the right hand away from the cards and, with the left forefinger, push the packet flush with the deck. As you do so, ease the other fingers' pressure on the side of the pack. Thanks to the plunger principle, the indifferent card that has been secretly introduced into the packet is forced about a quarter of an inch from the inner end of the deck. The deck, of course, should be held at an angle that conceals this injog from the audience. Bring the right hand over the pack to square it and, as you do so, push downward and inward with the right thumb on the jogged card, forming a break above it. Continue to grip the deck by its ends in the right hand, the right thumb rnaintaining the break near the left inner corner. Then, with the left hand, undercut about a third of the pack and place it on top. "I'm going to take any card from the pack." Make a second undercut, this time cutting at the break, but do not complete the cut. Rather, hold the cut third in left-hand dealing grip. The fourth person's card is now at the bottom of the right-hand portion. On top of the left-hand portion is an indifferent card and the first selection, both face-down. Face-up beneath them are the third and second selections, in that order. As far as the audience is concerned, the selections should seem lost in the pack. With the left thumb, push the top card of its packet to the right and, with the left edge of the right-hand packet, flip this card faceup on the left-hand packet. Name the card and ask, "That wasn't one of the chosen cards, was it?" This question and the audience's response give you more than ample time to set up the next sleight, the Merlin tip-over change. Curl the tip of the right second finger in onto the face of the right-hand packet. Then, with the fingertip, pull the bottom card very slightly forward, simultaneously swiveling its inner end rightward, just enough to allow the left inner corner of the card to clear the thumbtip (Figure 28). This maneuver is identical to the first action of the Kelly-Ovette bottom placement. Let the inner end of the card drop slightly away from the packet and again catch it on the tip of the thumb, now with a break formed at the inner end. If you like, the third finger can press inward to straighten the card into alignment with the packet. (This one-handed get-ready for the tip-over change was first described by Hugard and Braue in Expert Card Technique, p. 86.)


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Having verified that the card turned face-up is not one of the selections, flip it face-down, this time executing the tip-over change. That is, in the action of flipping the card down, the right hand's packet passes over the left's, momentarily eclipsing it. At that instant, release the card below the break from the right thumb, square onto the left hand's packet. (Figure 29 is a stop-action pose of the sleight.) Move the right hand away from the left and immediately thumb the top card of the left hand's half face-down onto the table. This is the fourth spectator's selection.

Slip the right hand's packet square under the left's, bringing the stock to the top of the pack. You must now procure a break under the top four cards. By pressing with the left thumb on the outer left corner of the pack, a break will open at the right side, thanks to the opposing bridges between the reversed cards and the balance of the deck. Press the left fourth finger against the edge of the deck to maintain the break at the inner right corner. With the right hand, gather the face-up kings and drop them onto the deck, stepped forward for an inch or more. Immediately fan them to the right. Pick up the face-down tabled card. Insert this card, which is assumed to be the indifferent card displayed a moment before, between the second and third kings (Figure 30).


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With the right hand, square the fan of five cards, holding it above the deck. Then lower the packet onto the pack, stepping it forward for no more than a quarter of an inch. Now grasp all the cards above the break at their inner right corner—right thumb above, forefinger in the break—and neatly flip the nine cards over as a unit on the pack. In this action, shift the block inward about a quarter of an inch. This adjustment brings the kings into alignment with the deck, while it steps the top four cards inward slightly. Without hesitation, lift the four-card block from the deck. The step makes this an easy task. Set the deck onto the table, taking care not to expose the face-up fourth selection, which lies third from the top. The four-card packet, thought by the audience to be the four kings and reversed indifferent card, is in reality, from top to bottom: second selection, third selection, both face-down; then the first selection and indifferent card, both face-up. Ask the spectators, "Do you remember what the reversed card is?" You will now count these four cards as five, displaying the face-up indifferent card apparently in the middle of four face-down cards. Mr. Elmsley's everchange count makes this possible. Grasp the packet at its left side in left-hand pinch grip. The first two takes of the count are identical to those used for the Elmsley count. Bring the palm-up right hand to the packet and, with the right thumb, draw the top card onto the right fingers, into almost a dealing grip (Figure 31). As you move the right hand away from the packet, taking the first card, with the left thumb push the next pair of cards as a unit slightly to the right, in preparation for the second take. In the motion of drawing the second card onto the first, several covert actions are executed: you steal back the first card, the left fingers clipping it to the bottom of the packet; and you simultaneously clip the top two cards of the packet in the fork of the right thumb and carry them away (Figure 32). This brings the face-up indifferent card into view in the left hand. Another bit of deception occurs on the third take. When you bring the right hand back to the packet to claim the third card, with your fingertips buckle the bottom card of the right-hand pair, enabling the left fingers to reclaim the top right-hand card secretly beneath the packet (Figure 33, exposed view). Mr. Elmsley hooks the inner left corner of the buckled card with the tip of the right fourth finger to ensure the success of the steal. The action of the right thumb, as it draws the top card of the lefthand pair onto its packet, conceals this second steal. Care must be taken here not to expose the lower right-hand card (the face-up first selection). If the right forefinger is stretched across the outer end of the packet (Figure 32 again), the card will remain hidden. Another tip here is to push over the left hand's top card about half an inch as the right hand approaches to take it. This further aids in concealing the right hand's lower card as the steal is executed.


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At this point the right hand holds the two face-up cards, and the left hand the two face-down ones. Complete the count by taking the two face-down cards, one after the other, legitimately onto the righthand packet. Admittedly, the most difficult action of this count is the buckling of the right-hand card just before the steal. You will find that in most of Mr. Elmsley's applications of the everchange count there is a reason provided to pause momentarily while displaying the card newly exposed in the left hand. This break in the rhythm of the count furnishes one or two advantageous seconds in which to accomplish the necessary buckling action. Edward Mario, when he does this count, recommends replacing the buckle action with a small sidejog of the right hand's top card. The right thumb, which lies along the right border of the cards, pushes the top card slightly to the left while concealing the right edge of the card beneath (Figure 34). The left edge of the right hand's upper card can then be clipped under the left hand's packet by the left


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fingertips. Some will find this procedure easier than a buckle. It is also less prone to exposure from your extreme left. A full description of the Mario procedure appears in Sticks and Stones, No. 13 (p. 8). Five cards have seemingly been seen: four face-down cards with a face-up indifferent card in the center. Turn to the first spectator and ask her to name her card. On hearing her reply, square the packet and place it on the left fingers. Next perform a through-thefist flourish (see p. 51 for a description of this maneuver). As the packet emerges from the fourth finger's side of the hand, pinch it at the right fingertips and draw it completely from the fist. From the top down, the cards read: third selection, second selection, both facedown; indifferent card, first selection, both face-up. Perform a second everchange count. The face-up indifferent card at center will be seen to have changed to the first selection. Ask the second spectator to name his card. Repeat the through the-fist flourish—however, start with the packet on the left palm rather than on the fingers. While the action of the flourish appears the same, this time the packet is turned over during the maneuver. From top down, the cards now read: indifferent card, first selection, both face-down; third selection, second selection, both face-up. Do a third everchange count. The face-up center card is this time seen to be the second selection. Ask for the name of the third card and perform another through-the-fist flourish, of the non-reversing sort (see p. 52), followed by a fourth everchange count. The face-up card transforms into the third selection. On this count, when taking the fourth and fifth cards into the right hand, injog them a bit, leaving the outer end of the selection exposed. Transfer the packet to the left hand and, as you square it, form a left fourth-finger break under the two injogged cards. While doing this, address the fourth spectator: 'That leaves only your card. What was it?" While you draw attention to the spectator, right the lower two cards of the packet with a half pass. "That's a particularly interesting card. Therefore, I'll find it in a more interesting way. First, I'll invisibly remove the face-up card and throw it into the pack." Make suitable gestures to this effect. "That's all that's needed. See, it's gone." Count the packet legitimately, simulating the actions of the previous counts, to show four face-down cards. If you like, after the count you can spread the cards cleanly between the hands, making it clear that you hold only four. 'Then I'll send the kings in search of the reversed card." Drop the four cards face-down onto the deck and give it a cut. Now pick up the pack, turn it face-up and spread it between the hands until you arrive at the four kings. Spread the kings widely, displaying the facedown card at their center. Do not spread past the fourth king or you will expose the other three selections, which rest below it. All eyes will be drawn to the face-down card. Ask the last spectator to name her selection; then turn up the reversed card and show it to be hers.


TWISTER'S FLUSH Effect: A royal flush is taken from the deck, displayed and turned face-down. The performer makes a magical gesture, twisting the packet end for end, and shows that this has caused the ten to turn face-up in the center. The packet is given another twist and the ten turns magically face-down while the jack turns face-up. Another magical gesture is made and the jack turns down and the queen turns up. Following this the queen rights itself and the king turns face-up. The only card that has yet to perform is the ace. However, being the most valuable card in the packet, it is expected to do something more spectacular than the others. It does. The ace vanishes from the packet completely, leaving only four cards, and flies to the performer's pocket. With an obviously empty hand, he reaches into his pocket and brings out the ace. Method: Mr. Elmsley created this interesting variation in the 1960s, not long after Dai Vernon's 'Twisting the Aces" was published. In this five-card treatment the Elmsley count is replaced by the everchange count as the central sleight. However, the thing of greatest interest is that Mr. Elmsley, at this early date, recognized that the "twisting" plot could benefit from a surprising finish. Though he has left this trick unpublished until now, the idea of having the last card vanish from the packet and appear elsewhere was realized by him roughly a decade before Daryl Martinez conceived the same idea in the U.S. in his excellent trick, 'Twisted Aces" (ref. Paul Harris Reveals Some of His Most Intimate Secrets, pp. 66-69; also Secrets of a "Puerto Rican Gambler", pp. 105-115). Remove a royal flush of any suit from the deck and arrange the cards in ace-king-queen-jack-ten order from back to face. When you have the cards as you want them, lower the hands and, while holding the deck face-down in left-hand dealing grip, spread the flush faceup between the hands and call attention to its make-up: "A trick with a poker player's royal flush." When everyone has noted the identity of the five cards, square them over the pack, catching a left fourth-finger break above the ace, and with the palm-down right hand lift away the four cards above the break. Simultaneously execute a wrist turn with the left hand, angling the top of the deck from the audience's view as the left hand


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drops. This hides the presence of the face-up ace as it is stolen from the packet. Drop the deck into your left jacket pocket and leave it there. "I won't need the rest of the pack—-just the five cards." Turn the packet face-down onto the left fingertips and grasp it in left-hand pinch grip. Then perform a casual everchange count (pp. 74-76), showing the four face-down cards as five. The count also rearranges the cards in the order required for sequential reversals: queen-king-ten-jack from top to face. When you count the last two cards into the right hand, injog them slightly. Transfer the packet from the right hand to left-hand dealing position, maintaining the injog; and bring the right hand palm-down over the packet to square it. In doing so, press down with the tip of the right second finger on the exposed outer end of the two bottom cards and form a break above them. The second finger holds this break for only an instant as you immediately execute a half pass, reversing the bottom pair of cards. One difficulty of the half pass has always been disguising or excusing the left hand's visible shifting of grips as the sleight is completed. Several good cover-actions have been devised over the years, but the cover must fit the context of the handling. Mr. Elmsley has devised the perfect cover-action for this trick: the Vernon twisting flourish from 'Twisting the Aces" (ref. More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, p. 6). As you complete the half pass (see p. 70 for a description of this sleight), bringing the left fingertips to the left edge of the packet, with the right hand move the entire packet deep into the fork of the left thumb. This automatically squares the reversed cards below the upper pair, neatly concluding the sleight. As the packet is settled into left-hand dealing position, stretch the left thumb across the back of the packet, until you can pinch the cards at their right edges, somewhere near center, catching them between the thumb and second fingertip. You now change the right hand's grip: Move the right thumb from the inner end of the packet to the outer left corner, bending the right hand downward at the wrist while you maintain the right fingertips' contact with the front end of the packet. Pinch the left corner between the right thumb, above, and second fingertip, below (Figure 35). This brings you into position to perform the Vernon twisting flourish: With the right hand, pull the left outer corner of the packet to the right. The packet consequently pivots clockwise between the left second finger and thumb, swiveling end for end (Figure 36). When you have rotated the packet one hundred eighty degrees you will be holding it at its left side in left-hand pinch grip. This places the cards into position for the everchange count (just as Dai Vernon intended). "If I twist the cards in this direction, the first card of our flush will turn over." Perform an everchange count, revealing the ten face-up in the middle of the packet. Take the packet again into left-hand dealing position and pinch it between the thumb and second fingertip near center at the right side. Then pinch the inner left corner of the


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packet between the right thumb, above, and second fingertip, below (Figure 37). "If I twist the packet in the opposite direction, it turns the ten down again..." Pull the grasped corner to the right, rotating the packet counterclockwise and end for end. Once more you finish in left-hand pinch grip, ready to count the cards. "...and turns the jack face-up." Perform an everchange count, displaying the jack reversed at center. Square the packet and set it into lefthand dealing position once more. "If I do this..." Perform the through-the-fist flourish, subtly turning the packet over (see p. 51). "...the queen turns up." Do another everchange count to expose the face-up queen at center. "And if I do it with this hand..." With just the right fingers and thumb, adjust the position of the packet in the right hand, shifting it onto the fingers. Then, move deftly into a right-handed through-the-fist flourish. This time do not reverse the packet. As you draw it from the right fist, take the cards directly into left-hand pinch grip, preparing for the final count.


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"...the king turns over." One more everchange count reveals the king face-up in the middle. As with the first count of the trick, injog the last two cards as you count them into the right hand. Take the packet into left-hand dealing position again and, with the right hand, grip the projecting outer ends of the two bottom cards. Quickly even up the ends of the pair and immediately draw the double card forward, revolving it end over end, face-down and square onto the packet. This rights the two face-up cards in a bold but satisfactory manner. No one ever questions the action. As you turn the cards down, misdirect away from the action by looking at the audience and saying, "The fifth card—the ace—is the most difficult. Will you help me by blowing on the cards? Whoa! I think you've done more than your job." Count the cards from left hand to right, simulating the actions of the everchange count, but count honestly. Only four cards are found. Spread the cards between your hands and take the top two into the right hand. Separate the hands and slide the cards of each pair back and forth over one another, proving that the fifth card is not being hidden. Slide the right hand's pair of cards under the left's and flip all four face-up in the left hand. Cleanly deal the cards into a face-up row. 'Ten, jack, queen, king. The ace has vanished. "Do you know what's happened? You've blown the ace all the way to my pocket." With an obviously empty left hand, reach into the jacket pocket and bring forth the ace, taking it from the top of the deck. Display the card, place it with those on the table and conclude.


THOUGHTS IN TRANSIT (Featuring the Neverchange Count) Effect: The plot is Dai Vernon's "Penetration of Thought". Four cards are removed from one deck and their duplicates from another of contrasting back color. These eight cards are displayed and someone is asked to think of one. The four cards from each deck are now separated into two packets and the spectator is asked to name the card he thought of, and to indicate either of the two packets. The moment he does this, the performer causes his mental selection to fly to the chosen packet. That packet is counted: it now contains five cards, one of them an odd-backed stranger. When that card is turned up it proves to be the thought-of selection. Method: Mr. Elmsley was an early confidant to Dai Vernon when Mr. Vernon was working toward an artistic solution to this problem. The Professor's preferred solution was eventually published in The Dai Vernon Book of Magic (pp. 51-58). It was over ten years later, in the early 1970s, that Mr. Elmsley conceived another method for achieving the effect; one in which double cards were never employed, allowing a particularly free handling that was direct and convincing in appearance. While the Elmsley method owes a debt to Mr. Vernon's, it is also unmistakably original in its approach. The method hinges on another Elmsley false count, originally conceived in the 1950s: the neverchange count. The neverchange count is similar to the everchange count in that it represents four cards as five while hiding one. However, at the end of the neverchange count the middle card remains in place and will appear again in the middle if another neverchange count is performed. Since this trick relies heavily on the neverchange count, the count will be taught before we proceed to the full method. (It should be mentioned that Jeff Busby independently contrived an identical count sequence in the early 1970s. [See Epilogue, No. 22, Nov. 1974, p. 6.], as did Karl Fulves. Considering the intense interest focused in the past several decades on this family of false counts and displays, it will surprise few that identical count sequences have been devised by diverse hands.)


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Hold the four-card packet face-down in left-hand pinch grip. With the right thumb, draw the top card into righthand dealing position. On the count of two, draw the next card from the packet into the right hand while stealing the first card back under the packet. If you experience difficulty in pulling the second card off neatly, hold the right hand's card at an angle of approximately thirty degrees from horizontal and press the outer right corner of the packet to the back of this card, about a quarter of an inch from its outer right corner (Figure 38). Use the back of this card to stop the packet from spreading as you pull the top card away. This is merely an extension of the blocking technique used in the Elmsley count, but here the right hand's card does the work of the right forefinger in blocking the left hand's cards. On the count of three, push over the top two cards of the left-hand packet together and take them as one into the right hand while stealing the right hand's card back under the left-hand packet. This switch of cards is identical to that used in the standard Elmsley count. The counts of four and five are legitimate. Simply draw the last two left-hand cards singly onto the right-hand packet. With this sequence, four cards are counted as five, and the original bottom card of the packet is never seen. At the finish of the count, the original top two cards have exchanged positions, and the bottom two are as they began. That is, if the cards began in one-two-threefour order from top to face, they will be in two-one-three-four order after the count. This is the preferred handling, and the one that will be used for 'Thoughts in Transit". However, if an application should require that the cards end in exactly the order they began, Mr. Elmsley offers this variant, which he calls a "fingertip Hamman count", after the well known false display invented by Brother John Hamman (ref. The Card Magic ofBro. John Hamman S.M., p. 41). Hold the packet in left-hand pinch grip and draw the top card into right-hand dealing position. On the count of two, draw the next card of the packet fairly onto the first. Each hand now contains two cards. On the count of three the contents of the hands are secretly exchanged. Bring the right-hand cards under the left hand's in the usual manner of such counts; but as you do so, press upward with the left fourth-fingertip on the face of the left-hand pair. This bows the inner end of the packet upward slightly.


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Smoothly add the right hand's two cards to the bottom of the packet, pushing them above the first three fingers of the left hand, but below the left fourth finger (Figure 39). You are creating a wedge break, but it will be maintained for only an instant. Immediately push downward with the left fourth finger against the inner left corner of the lower two cards, pressing this pair to the left fingertips. At the same time ease the left fingers' grip on the upper pair and, with the aid of a gentle rightward push of the left thumb, take these two cards into the right hand. All this, of course, should appear as if you are merely drawing the third card of the packet onto those in the right hand. Conclude the sequence by counting the two cards in the left hand as four and five into the right hand. Four cards have been counted as five, one of the four has been hidden, and the cards are in the same order they began. (Edward Mario has published a very similar count procedure, using five cards. See "First Combination Count", Mario's Magazine, Vol. 4, p. 142.) With the neverchange count understood, we can proceed to the trick itself. Only eight cards are required: any four cards from one deck and their duplicates from another deck of contrasting back color. Though the cards used can be of any mixture of values and suits, you should choose cards that offer some order you can easily remember. You needn't recall both suits and values, but you must know the order of one or the other. You might wish to select four values the sequence of which you can remember; or you might chose one card of each suit and arrange them in some familiar order such as clubs-hearts-spades-diamonds (CHaSeD). For the present description, to assure that all is clear, we shall use an obvious sequence of both values and suits: ace of clubs, two of hearts, three of spades and four of diamonds. Remove these four cards from a red-backed deck and their duplicates from a blue-backed deck. Arrange the four red-backed cards from top to face in the order you wish to use. With the set above, this would be ace-two-three-four. Then set the blue-backed cards in reverse order: four-three-two-one. Drop the face-down blue cards onto the face-down red and you are ready to perform.


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The eight-card packet, from top to face, lies in four-three-two-aceace-two-three-four order. This arrangement of the cards can be made openly before the audience, though the procedure should be expedited as much as possible to minimize "dead time" in the presentation. Hold the packet face-up and spread it from the left hand into the right, displaying the cards. Separate the spread at the center and, with your left hand, lay the four blue-backed cards, still faceup, on the table. Exhibit the fronts and backs of the remaining four cards in your right hand. "Here are four cards from a red-backed deck." Turn the spread of cards face-down and square them into the left hand. Within the squaring action, form a heel break beneath the top two cards. That is, with the left thenar hold a small separation between the second and third cards at their inner left corners (Figure 40). Alternatively, you can hold the break with the left fourth fingertip; but the heel break is better protected from view. With the right hand, retrieve the cards from the table and display them on both sides. "And here are the same four cards, taken from a blue-backed deck; different backs so that there can be no doubt which set any of the cards belong to." With the right fingers, square the blue cards and set them face-up onto the left-hand packet, widely stepped off the outer right corner. Hold them there with the left thumb (Figure 41). Addressing someone in the audience, you explain, "I want you to think of one of these cards: the ace of clubs, the two of hearts, the three of spades or the four of diamonds." As you name each card, you take it from the face of the blue packet, turn it face-down and slip it beneath the packet. That, at least, is the illusion created. What you actually do is this: With the palm-down right hand, remove the first card from the face of the blue packet. Turn the right hand palm inward, presenting the face of the card directly to the spectator as you name it. Then turn the right hand palm-up and slip the face-down card neatly beneath the stepped blue packet, but above the red packet. Leave the card approximately square with the face-up blue cards. Take the second blue-backed card in the same manner, display it and slip it beneath the blue packet. Outwardly, you handle the third card just as you have the previous two. However, as you slide the card under the blue packet, slip the inner left corner of the card below the red packet as well. Leave the card slightly misaligned with the blue cards above it, jogging it forward and to the right (Figure 42). This ensures that no part of the card can be seen passing below the red packet, as would happen if the card were positioned otherwise (Figure 43). It is important that the placement of this card look identical to those of the previous two, and that it be as unhesitatingly and smoothly executed. When the card is in position, press firmly upward on the card with the tips of the left fingers to prevent any telltale gapping at the edges.


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Display the fourth card, turn it down and slip it beneath the third card—and consequently below the outer right corner of the red packet. Look up at the spectator and ask, "Did you get one?" Using this question and its answer as misdirection, perform the following actions: Bring the right hand palm-down to the front of the blue packet and grasp the outer left corners of the cards: thumb above, fingers below. Then slide this packet to the left and into alignment with the red packet. However, leave the blue packet stepped widely


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forward (Figure 44). Notice how the right hand's grip conceals the front edge of the packet, and therefore eliminates any visible gapping between the second and third cards where the red packet lies sandwiched. Smoothly shift the right hand's grip, leaving the fingertips at the outer end, but moving the thumb to the inner end of the red packet (Figure 45). Then, in a quick neat squaring action, push the blue packet flush with the red and immediately slide the top two blue cards and the two red ones that rest above the break forward. There should be no hesitation as the right thumb picks up the red-backed pair under the two blue cards. This innocent appearing action has efficiently exchanged two blue cards for two red in each packet. Leave the right hand's packet momentarily stepped widely forward on the left's as you turn the right hand palm-up. Then take the stepped packet into right-hand dealing position. All you have apparently done is square the blue cards and taken them into the right hand. In reality you now hold in your right hand the blue-backed ace and two over their red-backed duplicates, while in your left hand there are the red-backed three and four above their blue-backed doubles. Most of the work is now completed, but your attitude should convince the audience that things are just about to start. The spectator has just finished telling you that he has a card in mind. Still looking at him, ask, "Ready? What card did you think of?" Let him name it. "All right. Now, will you touch either of these packets? Thanks." His selection of a packet will be made to seem meaningful; yet, it is an empty choice. The course of the effect is determined by his choice of card. If he names either the first or second card of your memorized set, you lay down the left hand's packet and work with the apparent blue packet in the right hand. If he names the third or fourth cards of the set, the reverse is true. However, no matter which course is taken, your comments make it seem the actions are contingent on his choice. Should he touch the packet you need, lay down the other one as you say, "Okay, watch this packet carefully then." Here you indicate the packet you still hold. And should he touch the unneeded packet, set it down and say, "The red-backed two of hearts? Okay, watch it carefully." Here you name the card he thought of and the color of the packet he touched. When laying down the unneeded packet, casually set it in front of you at the very edge of the table. Make a dramatic gesture between the two packets, suggesting the magical passage of the chosen card from the tabled packet to that in your hand. Then count the held packet as five cards, showing the center one to be an odd-backed stranger. The count here employed depends on the card named. If the card rests third from the top of the packet, perform a neverchange count. If it lies on the bottom, do an everchange count. In either case, injog the last two cards counted, leaving the outer end of the odd-backed card exposed. Place the


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packet back in the left hand and remove the stranger card, using the Vernon alignment (also called the Christ-Annemann alignment) to conceal the second odd-backed card on the bottom. If you are unfamiliar with this maneuver, it is quickly explained: Bring the right hand palmdown over the packet and place the second fingertip on the exposed back of the odd card. At the same time place the first fingertip on the back of the top card of the packet, and the thumb on the inner edge (Figure 46). Move the right hand outward, sliding the top three cards forward as a unit until the inner end of the stationary bottom card butts against the right thumb (Figure 47, a schematic sketch showing the configuration of the cards). Stop. Then, with the right hand, grasp the outjogged card by its front end and draw it completely from the packet. Dramatically turn it over and toss it face-up onto the table. The audience's reaction to the effect serves as opportune misdirection for cleaning up. Bring the right hand palm-down to the left hand's packet and side slip the bottom card into the right palm. With the card palmed, move the right hand to the tabled packet and add the concealed card onto it as you pull the packet over the table edge to pick it up. Then drop these cards onto the those in the left hand. The blue cards and the reds are now segregated and arranged exactly as they would be, had all your actions been legitimate. In reference to "cleaning up", in this trick and in others, Mr. Elmsley comments: "Magicians, myself included, are often overly worried about cleaning up after a trick. In the right circumstances, ending 'dirty' can be an important and a useful principle of magic. Prepared cards and stacked packs are an example of doing the moves before the trick has started. Similarly, ending 'dirty' means you will do the moves after the trick has finished. There are many times when such courses are the most advantageous."


Chapter Three:

Sundry Sleights


BREAK TIME The break is perhaps the most frequently used tool in sleight-of-hand card magic. It is perceived by most magicians, both professional and amateur, as an elementary and easily mastered technique. This assumption is too often proven false, however, when we watch the work of others. It may not occur to us that our own technique when using breaks is as wanting as that of our self-deluding associates. Here are a few tips—drawn from Mr. Elmsley's experience and recorded in private notes in the 1950s—on gaining and retaining breaks.

Battling the Bulge When it is necessary to shift a left fourth-finger break to the right thumb, while transferring the deck from left hand to right, one often finds that the break is betrayed by a bulge or irregularity at the front end of the pack. Such bulges are caused by pressure of the right thumb at the break. To prevent these telltale ridges, do the following: When the right hand comes over the pack to take it from the left hand, place the right second and third fingers at the right side of the outer end, and lay the right thumb diagonally across the inner end at the right side. By lightly pressing the thumb against the break, you can securely hold the separation. To counteract any bulging at the front of the pack, position the bony ridge of the outer phalanx, near the joint, of either the second or third finger at the depth where the break is held. This hard and slightly protruding part of the fingertip will prevent any undesired beveling of the cards. Also, when taking the deck in this fashion from the left hand, curl the right forefinger on top of the pack and press down firmly to assure that the break does not spread to the left edge of the cards, where it might be observed.

A Bluff Hand-to-hand Transfer Hold the deck face-down in left-hand dealing position, with a break kept by the fourth finger at the inner right corner. With the aid of the right hand, raise the deck to the left fingertips and hold it there,


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suspended above the left palm. As you do this, keep the left fourth finger securely pressed to the break. Without hesitation, rotate the left hand palm rightward, turning the right side of the pack toward the floor. With the deck held on edge, bring the right hand forward and grip the far end of the pack, thumb at the top outer corner, second finger at the bottom outer corner, and forefinger curled onto the back. Then pull rightward with the right thumb, riffling the corners of the cards (Figure 48).

Now change the right hand's grip: using the knuckle of the right forefinger as a pivot point, swing the right thumb inward to the inner end of the pack near the center, and move the right second finger to the outer end, also near center. As you grip the deck by its ends, between the right second finger and thumb, curl the left forefinger onto the face of the deck and relax the left second and third fingers, moving them away from the lower side. Do, though, retain the left fourth finger's pressure at the break. Also shift the left thumb to the upper far corner of the pack. The instant this new position is attained, pull leftward with the left thumb on the corners of the cards, riffling them. Notice that the left fourth finger's contact with the lower corner of the pack is obscured by both hands and the deck, and the deck appears to the audience to be held by the right hand as the left thumb does its riffling (Figure 49, hands tilted to expose the fourth finger's position). Now reverse the actions just described to take the deck back into the left hand and lower it once more into dealing position. The riffling of the cards here is reminiscent of certain proving sequences (most notably by Max Malini and Eddie Fechter) in which the deck is riffled or flexed in various directions to suggest that a break could not be maintained. The most interesting feature of Mr. Elmsley's procedure is that an illusion is created of transferring the deck from hand to hand; even though the left fourth finger never leaves the break. It is a subtle and convincing way of throwing knowledgeable spectators off the scent.


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Taking a Break in a Spread When a card has been returned to the spread deck and the spread is closed, far too often one will see the lower portion of the deck drop away from the upper at the right side as the performer forms a break above the returned card. There are techniques in print that eliminate such damning breaches. Here is one procedure that Mr. Elmsley developed to solve this problem. The ideas employed are common knowledge to card magicians, but are less commonly practiced, or one would not see such exposure of the break in performance. Spread the face-down pack from the left hand to the right for the return of the card. When the spectator inserts his card into the deck, separate the spread at that point, taking all the cards above the chosen one into the right hand. You do this ostensibly to aid the spectator in returning his card. As soon as the spread is divided, position the tip of the right fourth finger on the inner right corner of the lowermost card and, with the finger, pull that card inward for roughly a quarter of an inch. When the returned card has been taken square onto the left-hand spread, lay the right hand's cards over it, positioning the injogged card of this group slightly behind the rest. Then, with the right hand, push the spread closed, and in this action use the right thumb to slide the top few cards inward, masking the injogged card above the selection. Figure 50 gives an exposed sideview of the pack at this point. With the cards roughly squared in the left hand, you can talk and gesture for a few moments, while holding the pack loosely, clearly showing, without saying as much, that no break is being held. Then bring the right hand over the pack and finish squaring cards. In doing so, contact the injogged card near center with the tip of the right thumb, and lightly support that card as the left hand lowers the inner end of the pack just enough for the left fourth finger to catch a break above it. The instant the break is formed, the right thumb pushes the jogged cards square. No gap can be seen, and the handling appears fair and casual.


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Preparing for the Double Lift While there are many excellent and refined methods for performing a double lift, the most widely practiced techniques still require that a break be formed under the top two cards before the sleight itself is executed; and the most common method for forming this break involves bringing the right hand over the deck and using the right thumbtip to raise the inner ends of the two cards. In doing this, many magicians make two errors. The first is implicit in the preceding description: they raise the cards. The second error is that they bow them as they are raised. Both faults are easily observed by the audience, and the maneuver is obvious to many more spectators than we magicians would like to believe. Here are two solutions to these problems, devised by Mr. Elmsley. First Solution: Hold the face-down deck in left-hand dealing grip and bring the palm-down right hand over the pack, fingers at the outer end, thumb at the inner. In a squaring action, bevel the top portion of the deck toward you slightly. This inward bevel assures that the right thumb can catch single edges as the top cards are separated from the deck. At the conclusion of the right hand's squaring action, position the right thumb near the left inner corner of the pack and exert only the lightest of pressures on the end of the top card. Now, while the right thumb supports the inner end of this card, with the left hand gently lower the inner end of the pack away from the top card. The pack is not lowered very far: less than an eighth of an inch; just enough to permit the tip of the right thumb to engage the end of the second card from the top and hold it back as the left hand lowers the inner end of the deck another fraction of an inch (Figure 51). Then tighten the tip of the left fourth finger against the side of the pack, forming a flesh break below the second card, and raise the inner end of the pack below the top two cards as the right hand squares the ends of the cards a final time. Do not fall prey to the temptation of curling the right forefinger onto the deck as you form the break. Doing so is too likely to bow the top cards as the deck drops away, destroying everything we have worked for. Place the forefinger at the front of the pack with the other fingers. The most important idea to be learned from this method of forming a break is that of lowering the deck rather than raising the top cards. The former is invisible to the audience, while the latter is completely exposed. The idea of lowering the pack in this fashion was brought to the attention of most magicians when Edward Mario explained its use in widening a break for the tilt maneuver. This was in 1962 (see Mr. Mario's Tilt, p. 4). Mr. Elmsley had independently discovered the


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same principle a few years earlier, which resulted in the technique just explained. It is surprising that, while Mr. Mario's publication of this valuable idea is almost thirty years past, few magicians have understood its implications for other types of breaks than that used for tilt. It is a valuable asset to any performer who wishes to develop a refined and deceptive manner with cards. Second Solution: If one is too entrenched in his habits to adopt the technique taught above, and wishes to persist in raising the top cards with his right thumb, there is a simple expedient for concealing the maneuver. Hold the deck at the left fingertips, suspended above the left palm, thumb at the left side, fingers at the right. Turn the hand palm rightward, lowering the right side of the deck and bringing the left side uppermost. With the deck held in this vertical position, bring the right hand to it and grasp it by the ends, fingers along the front, thumb at the lower rear corner. As you assume this position, turn a bit to your right. You may now use the right thumb to separate the top two cards at their lower rear corners (Figure 52), after which the left fourth finger takes a break beneath them. The action is completely screened from the audience (unless, of course, you are surrounded). Once the break is secured, you can again face the group fully and adjust the pack to left-hand dealing position.


FAN SHUFFLE STRATEGIES The fan shuffle has long been popular with magicians, because it is reasonably easy to learn, yet looks thorough and impressively skillful. In addition, it disturbs the arrangement of the deck only minimally, for the only change in order is that the bottom half is moved intact to the middle of the top half. Over the years Mr. Elmsley has employed this shuffle in several clever ways. First we will discuss the use of the fan shuffle for controlling a card. It is a quick, efficient and elusive method for bringing a selection to the top of the pack. A key card is employed. Secretly glimpse the bottom card of the deck, either before a selection is made or while it is being noted. Swing cut approximately one third of the pack into the left hand, then another third onto this. Pause to have the selection returned. Then drop the remaining third of the deck (the bottom portion) squarely onto the card, burying it conveniently under the key. Casually dribble or spread the cards to make it clear that no break is being held. Then perform a fan shuffle as follows: Step the top half of the pack forward for at least one half inch. Then rotate the deck ninety degrees clockwise and tip its back toward the audience. Alter your grip on the cards, grasping the lower right corner of the top half between the right thumb and fingers, and the lower left corner of the bottom half between the left thumb and fingers. Each hand is poised for a one-handed fan (Figure 53). Split the halves apart and simultaneously form two one-hand fans, spreading the cards nearest you upward so that the indices of the right hand's fan are visible. Quickly locate your key in this fan. Since it was placed one third down from the top of the pack, it should lie approximately ten cards from the face of the fan.


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Brush the two fans lightly over one another several times, in a showy manner that is something like a stropping action; then run the top edge of the left hand's fan down the face of the right hand's fan, and smoothly insert the upper right corner of the left-hand fan into the right hand's cards, slipping it between the key card and the selection (Figure 54). Continue to slip the left hand's cards into the right's, and drop the hands to the table until the lower edges of both fans rest against it. Now ease the pressure of the thumbs, letting the cards fall square against the table top. From the front an illusion is created of the two fans intricately meshing, when in fact the left hand's fan is simply inserted as a block into the right hand's fan. As the fans fall closed against the table, maintain contact with the left thumb on the face of its fan. This causes the lower cards of the right-hand fan to form a rightward step, as shown in Figure 55. The top card of this stepped block is the selection. With the right hand, firmly grasp the right end of the deck and place the cards face-down into left-hand dealing position, turning the free end inward. Preserve the step as you do this. If you now bring the right hand over the pack to square it, the right thumb can contact the injogged step (Figure 56). Lift upward as you push forward on


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the step, forming a break for the left fourth finger. Immediately after squaring the pack, perform a brisk running cut, removing all the cards above the break in three packets, and dropping each to the table, one atop the other. Complete the series of cuts by dropping the remaining left-hand packet onto the rest. The selection is now on top of the deck. This control sequence is fast, showy and impossible to follow. The fan shuffle is also useful for finding and controlling a known or desired card when its location in the pack is unknown or can only be estimated. In such a case, again take the top portion of the pack into the right hand—removing a bit more than half the cards—and fan both packets. As you perform the initial stropping actions of the shuffle, spot the desired card in the right-hand fan; then insert the left hand's cards behind the card and complete the shuffle, forming a break below the step and cutting the card to the top of the pack. Should you not see the card you seek in the right hand's fan, insert the left hand's cards into the right's, somewhere near the rear of the fan, and square the fans into each other. Then perform a second fan shuffle, taking the top portion—again a bit over half—into the right hand. This portion contains all the cards not seen in the previous shuffle, and the desired card should be found there. Of course, for this technique to be dependable, the cards must be in good condition and fan well, so that all cards in the right-hand fan can be seen. Treating the cards with fanning powder can be a valuable precaution when depending on this method of location. The above technique can also be used to perform a false shuffle that conserves the full order of the pack. Again take the top portion of the pack into the right hand, removing something more than half the cards. Now perform the fan shuffle, inserting the left hand's fan somewhere near the rear of the right hand fan; i.e., near the original top of the pack. As you do this, secretly note the card in the right hand's fan before which the left hand's cards are introduced. Close the fans into each other, forming a step below the left hand's block, as previously explained. Transform this step into a break and cut all the cards above the break into the right hand, in preparation for another fan shuffle. Do a second shuffle, inserting the left hand's cards directly before the card noted in the previous shuffle. This time, as you complete the shuffle, no step or break is necessary. The pack is again in its original order. If flourishes fit your style of performance, these techniques will prove a valuable addition to your repertoire. Mr. Elmsley has also devised ingenious one- and two-selection fan shuffle controls, which rely on faro shuffle principles. See "The Fan and Weave Controls" in Volume II of this work.


THE HOOK-STRIP SHIFT This multiple shift resembles Cardini's (ref. Greater Magic, pp. 546547) in that the shift is done under cover of an overhand shuffle. However, the strip-out action is just the reverse of Cardini's, and is better concealed. Let's assume we wish to control the four aces to the top of the pack from four different locations. Neatly fan the face-down deck in the left hand and insert the aces face-down into the fan at four different positions (Figure 57). Leave them protruding for roughly half their length. Then close the fan into the left hand, the aces still protruding from the deck. Bring the right hand palm-down over the cards and push all four aces simultaneously into the pack, secretly angling them through and out the rear using Erdnase's diagonal palm shift action: With the right fingers lined up on the outer ends of the aces, and with the right thumb on inner left corner of the pack, push the aces into the deck, exerting stronger pressure with the forefinger to force the aces to enter at an angle, the left front corners swinging slightly to the left of the pack (Figure 58). When the right second, third and fourth fingers hit the front end of the deck, continue to push with


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the right forefinger, moving the slightly canted aces through the pack. The forefinger glides over the left edge of the pack, pushing the corners of the aces along, until it nears the midpoint (Figure 59). There it stops. The aces should now project roughly one inch from the inner right corner of the deck. The position of the aces is covered by the right hand, which should remain close to the pack, rather than arched above it, to provide the best cover. Now turn toward your left and, at the same time, tip the deck up onto its right edge, readying it for a face-up overhand shuffle. However, set the deck farther forward on the left hand than usual, and angle it diagonally across the palm, traveling roughly along the heart line. Also lodge it deep in the fork of the left thumb. This positioning permits the left fourth finger to reach up and engage the upper corners of the projecting aces (Figure 60). The right hand, in the meantime, has grasped the deck by its upper corners, thumb at the back, forefinger on the top edge and the other fingers at the front. In this position the hand also continues to hide the anglejogged aces from the audience's view. The right hand now begins the action of the shuffle by lifting the deck straight up, while the left fourth finger, hooked as it is around the aces, holds them back, stripping them from the deck. The right hand then simply shuffles the pack onto the aces in the usual way. As the shuffle is concluded, the aces rest together on top of the deck. If you wish to deliver the aces to the bottom of the deck instead of the top, simply maintain the grip of the left fourth finger on the aces as the deck is shuffled onto them. This forms a break that can be picked up by the right thumb as it regrasps the deck by the ends. Immediately execute a second shuffle, shuffling off to the break and throwing the aces as a block onto the face of the pack. Here is a simple but effective trick that illustrates the utility of this sleight. Insert the aces into the deck and control them to the top with


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the multiple shift procedure just explained. Maintain a left fourthfinger break between the aces and the deck at the conclusion of the shuffle and lower the deck face-up into left-hand dealing grip, left thumb stretched along the left edge of the pack. Now perform the Braue bottom palm (ref. Expert Card Technique, pp. 60-61) as follows: With the palm-down right hand, grasp the deck by its ends, curling the forefinger loosely onto the face of the pack and leaving as much of the face as possible in view. With the right thumb, take over the left fourth finger's break. Now shift the left fourth finger to the inner right corner of the ace packet, then straighten the finger rightward, swiveling the inner end of the aces diagonally from beneath the deck and under the right hand (Figure 61). Swing the right thumb inward, then under the near end of the pack, trapping the aces in an incomplete right-hand classic palm (the fourth fingertip pressed to the outer right corner, the heel of the thumb pressed to inner left corner). The outer left corners of the aces are still caught under the pack. The hands do not separate at this point, as is normally done to complete the palm. Instead, raise the right hand, tipping the deck over sidewise and face-down in the left hand (Figure 62). In this manner the deck is removed from the right hand, permitting the faceup aces to spring fully into the right palm. As the deck falls face-down into the left hand, allow the top portion to spread a bit to the right. With the left thumb, aid the spreading by pushing the top card farther to the right, sidejogging it roughly a quarter of an inch past the cards below it. Move the palm-down right hand partially over the deck to grasp it again by its ends. In this motion flatten the hand slightly and secretly slip the left edge of the palmed aces under the right edge of the top card of the deck. Immediately straighten the left fingers, engage the right edge of the aces with the fingertips, and pull the aces beneath the top card and square with the pack.


102 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Give the cards a cut and make some magical gesture over them. Then spread them, either between the hands or on the table. The aces are seen not only to have assembled at the center of the deck, but to have reversed themselves as well. May 3, 1952


TOP AND BOTTOM CARD INTERCHANGES While the need to transpose the top and bottom cards of the deck in an unobvious manner may not arise that often, there are occasions when a method for achieving this little task would be helpful. Here are two simple yet clever Elmsley solutions to the problem. First Solution: In a relaxed moment, as you are talking and nonchalantly toying with the pack, take the cards into overhand shuffle position. Draw off the top and bottom cards together in a "milking" action, and drop the balance of the pack onto the pair. Again draw off the top and bottom cards, and this time drop the pack beneath them. Milk the top and bottom cards from the pack a third time, and drop the pack onto them. The original top card is now at the face of the deck, and the original bottom card is on top. The three milking actions, when done in quick succession, resemble an indifferent and purposeless shuffle. Second Solution: Again the proper attitude for this sequence is one of casual toying with the cards. Hold the pack face-down in lefthand dealing position. With the right hand, simultaneously draw off the top and bottom cards and insert them together into the center of the pack. As you do this, fan the bottom card of the two a bit to the right; then, as you push the two cards into the deck, let the right inner corner of the lower card jog from the right side of the pack. Immediately pull downward with the tip of the left fourth finger on this protruding corner, and form a break between the buried pair of cards as you push the jogged one square. If you now perform a double undercut, making the second cut at the fourth finger's break, you will find the original top and bottom cards of the pack returned to those positions, but each now rests in the other's place.


THE TABLED COVER REVERSE The tabled cover reverse is a method for secretly reversing the top card of the deck and positioning it second from the top, while apparently turning the card face-down. It is of added interest that the deck rests on the table throughout the execution of the sleight. The reversal is extremely deceptive from the front viewing angle, but vulnerable at the sides. Consequently, the correct conditions for its performance must be chosen. Mr. Elmsley kept this sleight in reserve to baffle fellow magicians when sitting at a table in a cafe, or in other suitable circumstances. Set the deck face-down before you, with a long side nearest you, as if you were about to perform a tabled riffle shuffle. With your left hand, hold the deck steady at its left end, thumb at the inner corner, second finger at the outer corner, and forefinger curled lightly onto the back. Assume a similar grip with the right hand on the right end of the pack, and riffle the right thumb gently up the inner corner, forming a break under the top two cards. Transfer this break to the left thumb at the left inner corner. This get-ready action should be done casually and swiftly as you apparently square the cards. Talk with the audience and pay scant attention to the deck. With a bit of practice, you can tell by touch alone when you have two cards on the thumb. Move the right hand from the deck to gesture or just to relax for a moment. Then bring it back to the right front corner and execute a tabled double turnover: As the right hand approaches the pack, straighten the left thumb, beveling the top of the pack gently forward. Because of the break under the top two cards, they will move together very slightly forward of the cards beneath, creating a narrow step


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(Figure 63; the jog is exaggerated here for clarity). With the tip of the right forefinger, contact the right front edge of these two cards and lift them, until you can pinch their double corner between the right thumb and forefinger (Figure 64). In a continuous action, lift the outer side of the double card, then revolve the double backward and face-up, letting its inner edge skate forward over the top of the deck. Lower the double card face-up and square onto the pack. As you allow it to settle, either catch another left thumb break under it, or create a very narrow forward anglejog at the right front corner of the pack (the left forefinger can pin the double to the deck to prevent the anglejog from shifting). Let the face-up card be noted. You will now apparently turn it facedown in the same fashion it was turned up; but in this action the noted card will be left face-up, second from the top of the pack. Begin the sleight by lifting the outer right corner of the double in the same manner just taught. Raise the outer side of the double card while the inner edge again slides forward over the top of the deck. Straighten the left forefinger outward as the turn begins, to clear a path for the card. When the double reaches an incline of about forty-five degrees, push gently inward with the right thumb, separating the two cards by sliding the upper one inward until its near edge is even with that of the deck (Figure 65). Without the slightest hesitation, continue to lift the lower card and revolve it face-down. As this is done, the known card comes to rest face-up and square on the deck, and the second card is lowered face-down onto it (Figure 66). The hands, at their respective ends of the pack, naturally shield the action of the reversal, making the sleight completely invisible to the viewers in front. Mirror practice, however, is essential to learn how widely the angles can be trusted at either side.


106 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Misdirect away from the pack with your gaze and comments as you execute the reversal. While the sleight, when done properly, is thoroughly deceptive, there is no good reason to focus unremitting attention on the pack as you turn a card face-down. Mr. Elmsley often follows the tabled cover reverse by producing the reversed card with a cut of the pack. The cut is a brisk tabled slip cut, which produces the card face-up on top of the pack as the cut is completed. Though simple, the effect is highly visual and quite surprising. The sleight can of course be put to other, less direct uses. There are, for instance, many tricks that require the secret reversal of a card second from the top of the pack.


THE TABLED TOP CHANGE Mr. Elmsley devised this clever card switch in the 1950s and fooled many of his fellow magicians with it, including Dai Vernon. In more recent years, the ingenious Gene Maze has pursued similar thoughts (see "Tabled V" in Fulves' Packet Switches (Part Five), p. 285, and "R. T. Top Change" in Kaufman's The Gene Maze Card Book, pp. 18-20). However, comparison of the approaches will show that the Elmsley handling offers a wider range of protected angles. The tabled top change is done with only one hand, but otherwise bears a superficial resemblance to the tabled cover reverse. Begin with the squared deck set broadwise and face-down before you on the table. Position the right hand palm-down over the pack and press the tips of the forefinger and thumb lightly but firmly down on the top card near its left end. The thumb should lie about a quarter of an inch forward of the inner edge of the pack, and the forefinger approximately at the center of the left end. With the tip of the second finger, contact the outer edge of the top card, very near the front left corner, and lift it, bowing the card upward along its length and separating the front edge from the pack (Figure 67). As the second finger raises the card, you will find the front left corner becomes clipped almost automatically between the tips of the first and second fingers. Lift the thumb slightly from the deck, allowing the two fingers to draw the card forward. Do so, straightening the two fingers and revolving the top card face-up just forward of the deck (Figure 68). As soon as the card has moved past the thumb, resume the thumb's pressure on top of the pack, steadying it.


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You will now reverse the actions just made and apparently return the top card face-down onto the deck. In reality, however, the card will be positioned second from the top. To accomplish this, with the tip of the forefinger secretly engage the front edge of the card now on top of the pack and raise it a bit, while your thumb keeps the card square with the deck (Figure 69). Then, while maintaining the forefinger's contact with this card, bend the first two fingers inward, revolving the original top card face-down over the deck. You will find that this card is carried automatically under the second card of the pack (Figure 70). The instant the card is square with the deck, release both cards from the tips of the fingers, letting them fall flat on top. The switch is accomplished. While showing the top card of the pack, you have secretly introduced another card above it, all with an efficient action of one hand. The top card may now be removed from the deck and dealt with as circumstance dictates. The displayed card remains on top of the pack. The entire sleight is accomplished strictly by actions of the right hand and wrist. The arm remains stationary from first to last. Angles are obviously a consideration. Though this is a sleight designed for settings in which the audience is seated across from you at the table, the angles are better than might at first be surmised. When done properly, the substitution is imperceptible from the front. The sleight can be concealed from observers on your right side by keeping the heel of the hand low, near the table top. The left side, however, is vulnerable and must be guarded. To ensure that the addition of the card remains hidden from the audience in front, shift the top card slightly to the left as you revolve it face-up. Doing so screens the left end of the second card as it is added above the first. While this action exposes a small portion of the right end of the added card, the fingers can conceal this. When first learning this top change, the actions may seem somewhat mannered or overly refined. However, with practice this self-consciousness will be transformed into a casual naturalness. When the sleight is done smoothly and confidently, the handling appears nonchalant, almost careless—and is entirely deceptive.


TWO NOVEL SLIP CUTS The Swivel Slip Cut Early in his magical career Mr. Elmsley became interested in the slip cut, and particularly the variety that was done in the hands. Being unsatisfied with then existing methods, he set out to develop a slip cut more suited to his style of handling. Nate Leipzig's twirl cut, also called the swivel or the spin cut (ref. Dai Vernon's Tribute to Nate Leipzig, pp. 170-171), was a favored flourish in the Elmsley repertoire; so it was natural that he would consider combining the actions of the swivel cut with a slip cut. The resulting marriage of ideas produced an elegant and practical method. With the palm-down right hand, grasp the deck by its ends from above. The second finger should rest approximately half an inch to the right of the outer left corner of the pack, with the third and fourth fingers lying alongside. The outer phalanx of the thumb rests across the right half of the inner end of the deck; and the tip of the forefinger contacts the top card near the outer left corner. Preparatory to the cut, the right forefinger pushes forward on the top card, forcing it to pivot around the second finger. Move this card only slightly, angling the inner left corner off the pack for less than an eighth of an inch (Figure 71). Now lay the tip of the left forefinger against the left side of the pack, near the outer left corner, and stroke the fingertip inward along the edge in a light squaring action. As the fingertip nears the inner end of the deck, the flesh of the finger contacts the angled top card and barely lifts it at the inner corner. When the fingertip reaches the near end of the pack, press it firmly against the left corner and raise the


110 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY upper half of the deck a bit. Without hesitation, pivot the inner end of the top half to the left and forward, while with the right forefinger you apply gentle pressure to hold back the top card (Figure 72). Continue to pivot the top half of the deck outward and around the right second finger, until this packet has turned a full hundred and eighty degrees. At this point the top portion will be completely disengaged from the deck, and lies trapped between the left forefinger and right second finger, suspended above the left palm (Figure 73). The top card of the deck, which has been held back, falls naturally onto the bottom portion. Release pressure on the ends of the packet, allowing it to drop neatly into the left hand. Then complete the cut by slipping the left hand's packet smoothly over the portion in the right hand. To help disguise the nature of the cut, tip the outer end of the deck downward and turn a bit to your left. If executed in a practiced and spritely manner, this sleight can be most deceptive.

The Undercut Slip While exploring different approaches to the in-the-hands slip cut, Mr. Elmsley developed a second method, which approximates a more conventional manner of cutting the cards. The pack is held in a righthand grip similar to that just explained: The tip of the thumb is centered on the inner end; and the second, third and fourth fingers lie at the outer end. Here, though, the tip of the forefinger is also placed at the outer end of the pack, near the left corner, where it can contact the edge of the top card and pull it up about an eighth of an inch. If, when squaring the pack, you bevel the top a bit forward, the task of lifting only one card will be simplified. As the forefinger raises the left edge of the top card, bring the left hand, palm inward, to the deck. With the inner phalanx of the left forefinger, contact the outer left corner of the top portion of the pack and pivot this portion to the left, around the right thumb (Figure 74). Meanwhile, the right forefinger holds the top card back. If you tip the front end of the deck downward slightly, the lifting of the top card at the left side creates a "tilt-like" illusion, making it appear as if the left hand is cutting away the bottom portion of the pack. The back of the left hand helps to conceal the true situation from anyone on your left. Bring the left thumb down on the outer left corner of the swiveled packet, clipping it in the fork of the thumb. Then separate the halves by simultaneously lowering the right side of the left-hand packet and the left side of the right-hand packet—forming a V with the packets— as the hands move apart (Figure 75). This mild rotation of the hands and packets greatly enhances the illusion of the cut, and should not be overlooked.


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Once the packets are separated, complete the cut by sliding the left hand's packet onto the right's. This slip cut is, if anything, more deceptive than the previous one; and both are superior, in my opinion, to the in-the-hands methods most commonly practiced. Notice how the right forefinger's initial action of raising the top card ensures that no further cards are inadvertently held back by friction, a problem that many magicians experience when performing Dai Vernon's slip cut from Stars of Magic (p. 30). Peter Warlock discovered this technique in the 1950s and shared it with Mr. Elmsley, who then utilized the principle when he devised the two slip cuts just taught.


THE TIPSY TURNOVER PASS What follows is an original approach to the Herrmann turnover pass. Mr. Elmsley has applied an initial levering action to the sleight, which provides excellent cover and promotes the passage of the two packets. A get-ready is required. Instead of forming the usual break between the two halves, the top portion is stepped forward of the bottom portion for about three-eighths of an inch. This can be done surreptitiously as the right hand squares the deck in the left hand, or as the deck is cut and the cut completed.


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Hold the stepped pack in left-hand dealing position, with the forefinger stretched along the front end in a modified mechanic's grip to conceal the step. Rest the left thumb along the left edge of the pack. When ready to execute the pass bring the right hand palm-down over the deck and, with the tip of the right forefinger, strike the outer left corner of the pack (Figure 76), causing the top half to lever up at the inner end (Figure 77). Use the right thumb to brake and control the tipping action, and with the right hand grasp the tilted packet by its ends. Immediately curl the left second, third and fourth fingers in onto the back of the lower packet and arch the hand, causing the packet to tip upright on its right edge (Figure 78). The straightened left forefinger acts as a pivot post here, aiding in the maneuver. The right hand and tipped top half completely screen the motion of the bottom portion (an idea first published by Edward Mario in the context of a half pass; ref. Classical Foursome, pp. 5). The instant the upper edge of the lower packet clears the right edge of the upper packet, press upward with the left thumb on the left side of the upper packet (Figure 79), causing the packet to pivot between the right thumb and second finger to a near vertical position. At this point the two packets should form a V, their lower edges lightly in contact. The pass is completed by turning the left hand palm-down with the pack, while using the left fingers to fold the lower half up against the upper one (Figure 80). As with any pass, attention to angles and precision of action are imperative. However, given some mirror practice, it will be seen that the maneuver is neatly shielded from the audience's view, and that the pass can be executed swiftly, smoothly and imperceptibly.


A POLISHED PUSH-OFF This method of doing a perfect block push-off for a double lift will be discarded out of hand by some readers as a pipe dream. I assure you it is not. Mr. Elmsley was confident enough of its practicality to feature it in his first lecture, and a few select cardmen, such as Gordon Bruce, have long used it in their work. There is a knack to the sleight. If, however, you read the description carefully, you will possess the information required to master this curious technique. Begin by holding the pack face-down in left-hand dealing grip. Plant your left thumb on the outer left corner of the top card and, while exerting a firm downward pressure, push the card to the right in the usual dealing manner. Allow only the top card to move. Firm pressure here is essential. With the palm-down right hand, grip the outer right corner of the top card near its edge and turn it end over end, face-up. Set the faceup card momentarily on the deck, jogged to the right, while you revolve the right hand palm-down, then turn the card over again, in the same fashion, but do not yet replace it on the deck. With the left thumb, push the next card on the deck to the right, using light pressure, and slip the right hand's card beneath it. Gently square the two cards with the pack. Return your left thumb to the outer left corner of the pack. You will again push the top card to the right—but this time with a light to moderate downward pressure. The degree of pressure is crucial here, and only experimentation will teach the proper touch. You will find that, with the correct pressure, the top two cards will move off the pack together, in perfect alignment. More than likely, several cards will spread to the right as the cards are pushed over, but the top pair will remain squared together. Take care that the left fingertips at the right side of the pack do not retard the double card in any way. They should be shifted below the top edge of the deck. When the double is sufficiently rightjogged on the pack, the right hand can lift it away or flip it face-up. No break is necessary to achieve this two-card push-off, and the left thumb lies on the card, not at its very edge as in the usual pushoff technique.


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Why does it work? The initial heavy pressure of the thumb, as it pushes the top card over, burnishes or "polishes" the face of the card at the contacted corner. The card is turned end over end twice, returning it to its original position, before it is slipped under the next card. Because the portion of the card that lies under the left thumb is now smoother than the cards above and below it, less friction is created between it and the card beneath. Thus the cards break at this point and the top two move over in alignment. This push-off is not dependable with a new pack, nor with a worn one. The deck should be handled a bit, broken in, before employing this technique. Once the correct touch has been learned, you can slip the double card under another card and perform a triple-card pushoff as well. Anything past this is unreliable. To prove the utility of the technique, Mr. Elmsley would demonstrate a short Ambitious Card sequence. He first turned over the top card, burnishing it as he did so. After displaying it, he slipped it facedown under the next card and squared the pack. He then pushed over a double, as described, and turned it up to show the card had returned to the top. This double he slipped face-down under the next card. He then did another push-off, this time with three cards. The triple card was turned over to show the card had again apparently risen to the top. The three cards were turned down as one and the top card was buried in the center of the pack. A third push-off was performed, and the double card was turned up to show the card returned to the top. The double was turned face-down on top and the deck placed on someone's palm. Mr. Elmsley then performed a slip cut on the spectator's hand, apparently burying the card again. To conclude, he asked the spectator to turn over the top card himself. When working for magicians, Mr. Elmsley employs an added touch to make it clear that no break is being held before the push-off is executed. After placing the card second from the top, he takes the deck into the right hand, gripping it by its inner right corner, thumb above, fingers beneath. This frees the left hand, which moves from under the pack and taps the top card in either a magical or an indicatory gesture. He then takes the deck once more into left-hand dealing grip and continues with the double push-off. If you work a bit with this, it will surprise you. It is practical and can be extremely deceptive in sequences such as the one described. September 21, 1957


A BIDDLE DISPLACEMENT Here is a method for secretly displacing or exchanging cards in two discrete packets. Mr. Elmsley originally devised it as an alternative procedure to the wedge-break displacement used in Dai Vernon's "Follow the Leader, Jr." (ref. Phoenix, No. 277, pp. 1107-1108). He does not consider this displacement superior to Mr. Vernon's; only easier for him to execute. It is most certainly deceptive. Remove five red cards and five black cards from the deck and put the balance aside. Place the red cards on the face of the packet and hold it face-up in the palm-down right hand, second finger at the outer right corner, thumb at the inner right corner. (See p. 281 for another grip, offering an added benefit in certain circumstances.) With the left thumb, draw the red cards singly from the packet into the palm-up left hand (Figure 81). As you do this, steal two of the red cards beneath the right hand's packet in standard Kardyro-Biddle style. That is, catch a left fourth-finger break under the two cards to be stolen and secretly pick them up beneath the right-hand packet as the next red card is drawn from the face. It should be mentioned that the break can be eliminated as follows, thus simplifying the steal: Draw off the first three red cards into the left hand, each onto the previous. As you return the left hand to the packet to claim the fourth red card, add all three left-hand cards squarely beneath the packet. Without hesitation, draw or


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"milk" the top and bottom cards of the packet off together with the left fingers and thumb (Figure 82). Then peel the fifth red card onto those in the left hand and stop the count. This breakless steal is a refinement of Ron Bauer's, and is very practical. Onlookers will believe you now hold the five red cards in your left hand and the five blacks in your right. In reality, you have three red cards in the left hand; the other two reds lie hidden beneath the righthand packet. Turn the left hand palm-down and set its packet face-down on the table. Turn the now empty left hand palm-up again and count the five black cards into it in this manner: Draw off the first three cards singly, slightly outjogging the third. Take the fourth card onto the third and slip the triple card that remains in the right hand neatly under the left-hand packet. With the right hand, grasp the packet at its far end and turn it end over end face-down in the left hand. Immediately regrasp the packet by its ends in the palm-down right hand, forming a thumb break over the bottom two cards as the right thumb pushes the jogged card flush. All this takes but a few moments while you are saying, "Five red cards...and five black cards. Please don't forget which packet is which." Pick up the tabled packet, taking it face-down into left-hand dealing grip. You will now execute Charlie Miller's handling of the Jack Merlin tip-over change to add the bottom two cards of the right-hand packet onto the left hand's cards. Thumb over the top card of the red packet and, with the left edge of the righthand packet, flip this card face-up (Figure 83). During this action, let the righthand packet eclipse the left for the briefest of moments. Exhibit the face-up card as you say, "These are the red cards..." Then push the card to the right and, with the edge of the right-hand packet, flip the card face-down again. As you do this, again bring the right-hand packet fleetingly over the left-hand cards and this time secretly drop the two black cards below the thumb's break square onto the packet. Immediately continue, "...and these are the black cards." Extend the first two fingers of the left hand and clip the bottom card of the right-hand packet between them (Figure 84). Draw this card away from its packet and turn both hands over, exposing the faces of both packets and the separated card (Figure 85).


118 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

Drop the single black card face-up onto the table and de86 posit the right hand's packet face-down, covering the inner V 9 end of the card. The left hand is still palm-down and the face of its packet is exposed. With the right fingers, draw the card from the face of this packet and lay it face-up to the left of the face-up black card. Then turn the left hand palm-up and table its facedown packet, covering the inner end of the red card (Figure 86). The top two cards of each packet contrast with the face-up "leader" beneath. From this position you can proceed with the Vernon trick. If you desire to do Dai Vernon's twenty-card Follow the Leader handlings (ref. Greater Magic, pp. 578-580, and Select Secrets, pp 14-19), the same displacement procedure can be applied to exchange the top three cards of each ten-card packet. The minor alterations necessary to the handling will be easily comprehended by the interested reader. In fact, the basic procedure can be varied to broaden the utility of the displacement to other effects. Only small modifications are necessary to make possible the exchange of different numbers of cards between packets of various sizes. June 12, 1953


THE THUMB PALM ADDITION This interesting method of secretly adding cards to the top of the deck was one Mr. Elmsley experimented with in the late 1950s. The sleight requires a minor setup. The cards to be added to the top of the pack begin reversed at the bottom. They can be reversed with a half pass, or some other method of secret reversal may be employed. For teaching purposes, let's assume that you wish to add three indifferent cards above the four aces on the deck. Hand the aces out for mixing. While this is done, take the deck face-down into right-hand dealing grip. The three indifferent cards to be added to the aces lie face-up on the bottom of the pack. Form a break above the three cards and cant them to the right, angle] ogging the outer right corners about a quarter of an inch beyond the edge of the pack (Figure 87). Bring the right thumb down on the exposed corner of this packet, concealing the angled cards from view, and hold them securely clipped between the thumb and the base of the forefinger. Use the tip of the forefinger to prevent the outer left corner of the packet from protruding from the front of the deck. With your left hand, receive the shuffled aces from the spectator and drop them face-down onto the deck. You now transfer the deck from the right hand to the left, and in that action you add the indifferent cards onto the aces in this fashion: Bring the palm-up left hand to the right, passing the left fingers below the right fingers, and the left thumb over the deck. Move the deck deep into the fork of the left thumb while separating the right first and second fingers, permitting the outer left corner of the pack to be clipped between the left thumb and the base of the left forefinger (Figure 88).


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Make a small leftward body turn as you tip the right hand palminward and "spill" the deck neatly onto the left palm, letting it slide off the thumb-clipped face-up packet (Figure 89). The deck is kept reasonably squared in the fork of the left thumb. Of course, the body turn must be given some outward motivation; e.g., you might address some comment, question or instruction to a spectator on your left. Move the left hand to the left and back a bit with the deck, while the right hand simultaneously revolves palm-down, with the packet still in thumb clip (Figure 90). Bring the right hand over the deck, in a squaring action, and secretly deposit the clipped cards, now facedown, on top. You have just loaded three indifferent cards onto the aces, and can proceed with any number of ace assemblies in which three of the aces must be switched. Using this same procedure, any small group of cards can be secretly added to a stock. [January 1959]


A CARD FAN PRODUCTION Here is a method of producing fans of cards for the stage manipulator. Mr. Elmsley developed this bare-hand production as an alternative procedure to the standard split fan technique. His goal was the elimination of the troublesome flash often encountered when the fan was dropped and simultaneously a portion of it was again back palmed. (For those unfamiliar with the split fan technique— invented, according to Dai Vernon, by a carnival contortionist named Ardo the Frogman—it can be found in several basic texts. Two good explanations appear in the Tarbell Course in Magic, Volume 2, p. 171, and Edward Mario's Card Fan Productions.) Mr. Elmsley, as a young man, became convinced that a new technique was required on overhearing a layman's description of the card fan productions in another performer's act: "He had a full fan of cards, and he kept shaking them, and cards fell away. But he still had a full fan of cards!" Mr. Elmsley's thinking has, over the years, changed on this matter. "I was overreacting to this person's comment. After all, he was impressed by the effect and thought it magical, even if it was a somewhat different effect than that intended. In retrospect, I think the standard split fan technique is still the better approach when done well." Nonetheless, Mr. Elmsley's method of producing fans has merit, and interspersed with split fans can enhance the overall illusion. His idea was to bring to the front of the hand only those cards needed for the fan of the moment, while leaving the balance of the stock back palmed. The details are these: ^ __ ^ Begin with the packet of cards in back palm; i.e., held at the back of the hand, with the outer corners clipped between the edges of the first and fourth fingers (Figure 91). To aid in describing the sleight, we will assume that the back of the packet lies against the backs of the fingers.


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Bring the tip of the thumb to the tips of the first two fingers, and with it catch the upper edge of the packet. Relax the forefinger and move it back a bit to allow this. Let approximately six cards escape from the thumb, while holding back the rest. Permit the released cards to separate from the packet at the upper edge, but hold them securely with the balance of the packet, pinched between the third and fourth fingers at the lower corner. As soon as the cards have been released, reinstate the forefinger on the upper edge of the packet proper (Figure 92), so that the thumb can move from the packet to the free upper corner of the released stock. Simultaneously, straighten the forefinger, slipping it between the two blocks of cards, until the tip contacts the back of the released portion (Figure 93). Now, if with the thumb you apply a firm pressure on the corner of the released block, you can cause it to flip around the tip of the forefinger and snap into view at the front of the hand, face outward (Figure 94). Immediately move the thumb upward and the forefinger downward, fanning the produced cards (Figure 95). You will discover that, in this fanning action, the fingers automatically straighten, moving the back-palmed packet once more close to the back of the hand. The produced cards, even before they are fanned, act as a screen to hide any possible exposure of the palmed cards. Drop the fan from the hand and let the empty palm be seen. Then repeat the sequence, producing another fan of cards, until the stock has been exhausted.


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As you can see, the stock is split while it is still behind the hand; then only the cards needed for the immediate fan are brought forward. The balance of the stock needn't be repalmed, as it never truly leaves back-palm position. May 1956


NEW TECHNIQUES FOR THE REAR PALM In the latter half of the 1950s Mr. Elmsley, after having read the chapter on the rear palm in Hugard and Braue's Expert Card Technique, became intrigued with this excellent but little used palm, and developed a number of techniques founded on it. This style of palming is particularly enticing, as it allows the fingers to spread and move independently, without exposing the palmed card. Yet, it is seldom employed. Mr. Elmsley believes there are four reasons for this. First, few tricks have ever been published that call for the rear palm. Second, magicians think the rear palm is more difficult than it really is. Third, the methods presented by Hugard and Braue for accomplishing the rear palm are a bit unnatural. And fourth, the rear palm does present some angle problems. In the 1950s and 1960s Mr. Elmsley often performed in "drawing room conditions"; that is, standing, at fairly close range to his audience, and with everyone more or less in front of him. Given such conditions, the rear palm is unquestionably practical. However, in other circumstances, where the audience is less contained and managed, other palming techniques can prove more reliable. Nonetheless, when the setting is right, the rear palm can be a valuable and deceptive tool. In Expert Card Technique the recommended method for setting a card into rear palm is to shift it from a classic palm position to rear palm by closing the fingers, then contracting the muscles of the palm. Mr. Elmsley moves the card into rear palm from a different palming grip. For want of a better name, he calls it simply a finger palm or pinky clip. This style of palming has undoubtedly been experimented with and used by various magicians over the years, and is closely related to what has become known as the master palm. (See Edward Mario's Miracle Card Changes, pp. 14-15, and Russell T. Barnhart's The Master Palm.) The pinky clip is easily understood and mastered. It consists of gripping the card in the right palm by curling the tip of the right fourth finger in to trap the outer right corner of the card in the crease of the outer joint. At the same time the inner left corner


SUNDRY SLEIGHTS 125 of the card is caught on the fleshy heel of the thumb, as is done with the classic palm (Figure 96). In this way, the card is held hidden beneath the hand. (In some of the applications that follow, the card is held merely by the fourth finger, without engaging the inner left corner on the thenar. Circumstance and expediency govern the choice of grips.) Most often, when this palming position is assumed, the other right fingers are curled inward as well. This is indeed the case when shifting the card from pinky clip to rear palm. The tip of the right third finger contacts the underside of the card and pushes inward toward the wrist, until the front end of the card lies along the base of the fingers (Figure 97). The third finger then presses the card into the palm, bowing it upward, and the palmar muscles contract to hold the card in place (Figure 98). The grip, as Hugard and Braue observed, is much like that used to palm a billiard ball. When securing the card into rear palm, do not move the thumb out from the hand and in again. Such a maneuver is unnecessary. The bowing of the card into the palm naturally causes the edges to press into the flesh. A good way to practice is to move the card into rear palm while keeping the tips of the thumb and forefinger together. When the card is palmed, relax the fingers and straighten them. Note that the right side of the card lies parallel with the heel of the hand (the hypothenar). This prevents the inner right corner from protruding beyond the wrist and exposing itself to the audience. Very little finger movement is necessary to shift the card from pinky clip to rear palm. When first learning the maneuver, there will be a tendency for the card to make a clicking sound as it leaves pinky


126 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY clip. This noise can be eliminated by applying light but steady pressure with the third fingertip. When the card is in rear palm, its inner end does lie behind the wrist. Therefore, one must guard against exposing the inner left corner of the card to the audience. This is done by holding the hand at roughly a forty-five degree angle from the horizontal. If you first turn the hand fully palm-down, then tip the thumb's side of the hand upward, stopping before the palm is turned completely toward yourself, you will be in the desired position. The card can still be seen from the left side, but is completely protected at the front and right. Consequently, when using this palm, turn somewhat to your left, correcting for the bad angle if people are present there. If wearing a coat, the coat sleeve provides further cover for the inner end of the palmed card. Think of the forefinger as a border between safe angles and risky ones: to the left of the forefinger the card may be exposed; to the right of the forefinger you are protected. When unoccupied with an overt task, the palming hand should assume a relaxed pose, with the second, third and fourth fingers mildly curled, and the forefinger held a bit straighter. There is a tendency, when holding a card in rear palm, to spread the fingers to an unnatural extent. Keep the fingers loosely together. It is likely that nature has given you gaps between the fingers ample enough to satisfy suspicious spectators that you are not concealing a card in classic palm. Mr. Elmsley points out that more than one card can be rear palmed if the grip on the cards is modified slightly. Instead of depending purely on the friction of skin against card to hold the cards in place, move the thumb inward a bit farther, catching the left edges of the cards in a crease of flesh on the heel of the thumb, and trap the opposite edges against the heel of the palm. This restricts the thumb's movement slightly, but is quite practical.

The Top-card Rear Palm Adapting the above rear-palm technique to standard top palm procedures presents no problems. Hold the deck face-down in lefthand dealing grip and bring the right hand palm-down over it in a squaring action. With all four fingers covering the front of the pack, secretly use the left thumb to push the top card roughly half an inch to the right; and, with the tips of the left second and third fingers, press the card upward into the right palm, where it can be gripped in pinky clip. Then remove the right hand from the deck and shift the card into rear palm. Here, though, is a more unorthodox approach devised by Mr. Elmsley. Grip one end of the face-up pack in the right hand, fingertips on the back, thumb on the face at the lower (non-index) corner (Figure


SUNDRY SLEIGHTS 127 99). Now perform a onehanded fan, moving the thumb upward and outward, and the fingers inward. When the fan is completed, the exposed index of the rear card should lie behind your wrist. Display the fan briefly, then close it in this manner: With the palm-up left hand, grip the fan at its inner corner (that corner nearest the right wrist), fingers beneath, and thumb contacting the face of the card second from the back (Figure 100). With the left fingers, secretly push the lowermost card to the right, swiveling it completely under the right hand, in preparation for palming. Then, with the left thumb and fingers, push the remaining cards forward. As the left hand closes the fan, the left thumb lets the fingers finish the task. This brings the near edge of the pack against the base of the left fingers, while the back card lies hidden beneath the right hand, held by the curled third finger (Figure 101). With the right forefinger, tip the pack face-down into the left hand. Then, as you move the right hand forward to square the pack, with the third finger push the stolen card securely into rear palm and leave it there. Of course, if the deck is held face-down at the start, the same technique can be used to steal the bottom card.


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The Misdirection Rear Palm A problem often experienced when stealing the top card of the deck into rear palm is that of positioning the right hand to receive the card without assuming an unnatural forward hand posture over the pack. Here is a solution in which the palm is executed during the action of pushing another card into the pack. The psychology is borrowed from Edward Mario's misdirection palm in which a card is stolen into classic palm (ref. The Cardician, pp. 55-57). The card you wish to palm must first be controlled to a position second from the top of the pack. Then, while holding the deck in lefthand dealing position, form a fourth-finger break below the top two cards. With your right hand, remove the top card and display it. Motivation for this action must be derived from the trick being performed. For instance, you might be showing that the top card is not a spectator's selection, or you might be pretending to believe that this card is the chosen one. After the card has been exhibited, insert it into the center of the pack and leave it protruding from the front for about three-quarters of its length. Momentarily move the right hand away from the pack to display the outjogged card. Then bring the hand back over the deck, until the right fingertips can contact the outer end of the card to push it flush. The right thumb should lie relaxed at the side of the hand. Now, in the initial action of pushing the protruding card square, lower the right hand momentarily, bringing it near the top of the pack. The instant the right hand assumes this position, use your left fourth finger to lift the top card. Then introduce the tips of the left second and third fingers into the widened break, and press the card up against the right palm. At the same time, press downward with the right edge of the right palm, levering the card up and into the hand (Figure 102, right hand tilted to expose the maneuver). The instant the card is pressed securely to the palm, the right hand rises away from the deck, resuming its former position. Do not at this point try to rear palm the card. Instead, continue to use the left fingertips to press the card upward against the palm. Also, as the cards are raised into place, make a slight leftward body turn, to guard against the vulnerable left angle. By this time, the right fingers should be pushing the outjogged card flush with the pack. As an aid to this action, move the right thumb to the inner left corner of the deck. The action of pushing the card in causes the right palm to contract (Figure 103, right thumb raised to expose the situation). The gripping of the selection in rear palm is therefore almost automatic. As you square the ends of the deck you can adjust the position of the palmed


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card if necessary. In fact, the actual palming of the card can be delayed for a few seconds more while the deck is squared, by allowing the card to skate over the nails of the left fingers before pressing it into the palm. Conclude by moving the right hand away from the deck, clasping the card in rear palm. It should be noted that this procedure can also be used to rear palm more than one card. Simply form a break under the cards you wish to palm from the deck, and proceed as above. 1961

The Tap Replacement Once the card is in rear palm, it is often necessary to replace it secretly on the deck. Methods for accomplishing this can be found in Expert Card Technique (p. 140) and in Ganson's Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic (p. 46). Here is an approach of Mr. Elmsley's that is quick, smooth and indetectable. Hold the face-down deck in left-hand dealing grip, but positioned farther forward and a bit more to the right than is usual. The front end of the pack should project beyond the forefinger. You can, if you like, set the left fourth finger at the inner end of the deck, near the right corner. Bring the right hand to the deck from a position to the right and slightly forward of it. As the right hand sweeps in over the pack from the outer right corner, raise the left thumb slightly from the back of the deck to allow the inner left corner of the rear-palmed card to pass under it (Figure 104). Without pausing, continue to move the right hand inward, until the palmed card is square with the pack and the inner phalanges of the right fingers hit the front edge of the deck. Immediately grasp the pack by the outer end in a straddle grip: right thumb at the left side, right fourth finger at the right side, and the other fingers curled


130 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

around the front end (Figure 105). Then remove the deck from the left hand and tap its inner end on the table, in a squaring action. In this way the replacement is executed invisibly without a hint of hesitation.

The Center-card Rear Palm The application of the pinky clip and rear palm to side steal technique soon occurred to Mr. Elmsley as he explored the possibilities of the rear palm; particularly when given the lead provided by Hugard and Braue on pages 138 and 139 of Expert Card Technique. Once the required card was right] ogged from the center of the pack, using standard side steal procedure, it could then be caught in pinky clip and shifted to rear palm as it was secretly extracted from the pack. Russell T. Barnhart, in his The Master Palm, recognized this as well (see p. 17 of that work). Mr. Elmsley proceeded to add some cunning handling touches to the procedure that are well worth learning. As mentioned, the centercard rear palm can be set up with the actions of the standard side steal. However, Mr. Elmsley often uses a Roy Walton handling of the Simon control (ref. Bill Simon's Effective Card Magic, pp. 93-95) to get into position. The Simon control is exceptionally deceptive, as the card to be stolen is squared into the deck in a fashion that seems to preclude manipulation. Have the card selected and, while it is being noted, square the deck and hold it face-down in left-hand dealing grip. With your right hand, take the selection from the spectator and insert it into the outer end of the deck, somewhere near center. If you like, you can invite the spectator to insert his card anywhere he wishes. In this case, you must exert a subtle pressure with the left thumb on the deck to prevent him from pushing the card flush. Push the card smoothly into the pack, but at the last instant, angle the outer end leftward, forcing the outer left corner of the card to project approximately the width of a border from the left side of the


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pack (Figure 106). Do not attempt to hide this misalignment, but do make it appear unintentional. With the outer corner of the card projecting from the left edge of the pack, shift grips, taking the deck by its ends with your palm-down right hand. Now place the tip of your extended left thumb on the inner left corner of the deck (Figure 107) and slide the thumb forward. This forces the card into the deck without altering the angle at which it rests. The thumb stops when it reaches the outer left corner of the pack (Figure 108). Run the thumbtip back and forth several times along the edge of the deck. This deliberate action seems to push the selection square with the pack, losing it. In reality, the forward action of the thumb has forced the card through the deck at an angle, and caused the inner right corner of the card to protrude from the right edge. The jogged corner is hidden from the audience by the right hand (Figure 108 again). This is in essence the Simon card control. From this point on, the handling is Mr. Elmsley's. In addition to the inner right corner of the card projecting from the pack, the outer right corner has also broken through. It projects slightly from the front of the pack at the precise point where the tip of the right fourth finger rests. Though this front jog is relatively fine, it affords sufficient purchase for the fourth fingertip to swivel the card to the right, using the right thumb, at the inner left corner of the pack, as a pivot post on which the inner left corner of the card is seated.


132 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Swing the card to a rightjogged position, causing it to project roughly half an inch from the outer right corner of the deck. Immediately curl the fourth finger in until its tip contacts the index of the selection (Figure 109, an underview). Simultaneously move the left hand to the inner left corner of the pack and grasp it, thumb above and fingers below. Grip the corner lightly, supporting the weight of the deck on the left fingertips. Too firm a pressure will cause unwanted binding during the next action. With the right fourth fingertip, clip the corner of the jogged card in the crease of the outer joint. Then, while keeping the right hand stationary over the deck, lift the thumb from the inner end of the pack, and move the right forefinger to the left edge of the cards, near the outer left corner (Figure 110). Now use the forefinger to fan the deck. As you make the fan, do not twist the right hand. The right forefinger should constantly point in the same direction. This assures that the pinky-clipped card remains concealed. The action of fanning the cards automatically strips the selection from the pack, and leaves the card hidden in the right hand (Figure 111). Turn the left hand to display the face of the fan, and use this action as misdirection, while you shift the stolen card into rear palm. In fact, you can actually hold the fan in front of the right hand, screening that hand from the audience during the moment it takes to reposition the palmed card.


SUNDRY SLEIGHTS 133 The fan may be closed with the right forefinger, and the deck either set down or handed out for shuffling. You can now deal with the palmed card as circumstances demand. This side steal, from beginning to end, is executed in a few seconds. It is performed as a smooth continuous action, without hesitation or extraneous motion. Use a light touch and a pack that is in good condition; a sticky deck will cause undesirable binding as the card is pushed in and extracted. Practice will soon convince you of the practicality and deceptiveness of this elegant sleight. The reader may wish to compare Mr. Elmsley's side steal method with Russell T. Barnhart's master palm fan steal (ref. The Master Palm, pp. 41-46). The thinking underlying the approaches is exactly the reverse: while Mr. Elmsley steals the card as the fan is formed, Mr. Barnhart makes the steal as the fan is closed. Before leaving the center-card rear palm, it should be mentioned that the same fan-steal technique can be applied to the bottom card of the pack. While holding the deck by its ends in the palm-down right hand, curl the tip of the right fourth finger onto the face of the bottom card at the outer right corner; then, with the fingertip, swivel the inner end of the card to the right. This maneuver is similar to that used in the Kelly-Ovette bottom placement. With a small forward action of the fourth finger, the bottom card can now be pulled outward slightly, and clipped in the crease of the outer joint. You now have the card in pinky clip and can proceed to steal it from the pack as you fan the cards.

A One-handed Center Steal Taking the premise of the above side steal a bit further, Mr. Elmsley devised a one-handed method of extracting the card. It will take some work to master, and it is distinctly easier with bridge-width cards; but it can certainly be done with a poker deck. While he did use this sleight in his youth, Mr. Elmsley now considers it suitable only for impressing fellow magicians. For public performance, other, easier techniques are to be preferred. The one-handed center steal, then, is explained here for the diversion of those who enjoy a manipulative challenge and a friendly round of one-upsmanship among one's colleagues. Begin by secretly jogging the right inner corner of the desired card from the right side of the pack, using either side steal technique or the Simon card control. Then, with the tip of the right fourth finger, swivel the card into a rightjogged position, parallel with the pack, as explained above. Catch the outer right corner of the jogged card in the curl of the right fourth finger. Now, by flattening the hand while pulling upward


134 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY with the fourth finger, you will find you can draw the card rightward, until roughly half its width projects from the pack. At this point the right fingers still cover the outer end of the pack, with the tip of the forefinger resting at the outer left corner (Figure 112, an underview). In a continuing action, pull up with the forefinger on the corner of the deck, and simultaneously straighten the second finger. This causes the deck to pivot to a vertical position, left side uppermost; and in this action the deck is revolved away from the pinky clipped card (Figure 113). As this motion is made, turn slightly to your left to compensate for the bad angle there. Once the knack of pivoting the deck away from the palmed card is acquired, the main problem to be conquered is the noise made by the manipulation. It is natural for the card to make a clicking sound as the outer left corner escapes from the pack. This noise can be eliminated by introducing the tip of the third finger into the break created at the outer right corner as the deck begins to pivot. The fingertip enters the break and contacts the face of the clipped card (Figure 114). Then, by applying a light but steady pressure with this fingertip, the card is pressed against the descending edge of the pack, and the corner is prevented from snapping.


SUNDRY SLEIGHTS 135 Another method of dealing with the noise is to cover it with the sound of tapping the lower edge of the turned pack on the table. Once the card is free, the right hand sets the pack face-down into the left hand. The pinky clipped card can now be loaded onto the deck with a squaring action, or it can be retained in the right hand and shifted to rear palm. Mr. Elmsley mentions that this one-handed technique and the preceding center-card rear palm can be performed with two cards inserted together into the pack. This one-handed side steal, though independently derived, is related to work done by Irv Weiner in the 1950s. Mr. Weiner's onehanded side steal can be found in Daryl's Ambitious Card Omnibus (pp. 81-85).

Trouser-pocket Loading Technique One direction often taken when having palmed a card is to produce it from the pocket. When using the rear palm, Mr. Elmsley recommends the following technique for loading the card into the right trousers pocket: The problem to be solved when reaching into the pocket with a card in rear palm is that the palm of the hand must be turned toward your hip for the hand to enter the pocket—and in doing so, the left edge of the card near the wrist is exposed to the audience. To overcome this problem, just as you begin to turn the hand toward the hip, sweep the right thumb inward toward the palm, and clip the outer left corner of the card between the thumb and the base of the forefinger. Simultaneously release the right side of the card from the heel of the hand (Figure 115). Immediately press the palm of the hand (and the thumb clipped card) lightly to the hip as the hand moves to enter the pocket. Then slip the hand into the pocket and bring out the card at the fingertips. One further consideration must be addressed. If you have a small hand, when the grip on the card is shifted to thumb clip, the released right side of the card may become exposed to observers on your extreme right. Should spectators be positioned there, turn slightly rightward just before moving the card to thumb clip position. The card will then be covered from all angles.


136 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY After developing these rear palm techniques, Mr. Elmsley put them to use in various tricks. These applications will be discussed later in this volume and in Volume II.


VARIATIONS O N ERDNASE'S FIRST TRANSFORMATION In S. W. Erdnase's classic text, The Expert at the Card Table, the author details several color changes with cards (which he more precisely termed transformations). The first of these changes is one in which the second card from the face of the deck is secretly slipped from beneath the first and then over it, as the right hand momentarily covers the face of the pack (ref. The Expert at the Card Table, pp. 151-152). It is a well-known change to magicians, and a fine one, but few seem to perform it. In the 1950s Mr. Elmsley made some excellent stylistic adjustments to the handling of this sleight, ones that I feel sure will stimulate fresh interest in this maneuver. First the color change will be explained, as Mr. Elmsley performs it; then several variant handlings and applications will be taught.

Transformation with Outjog In the original Erdnase color change, the first secret action consisted of pushing the card on the face of the pack forward for approximately an inch, under cover of the open right hand. Mr. Elmsley has made this action an open one: he lets the audience see him push the card at the face forward—not an inch, but for half its length—and the card is then transformed in this outjogged position. The deck is held on edge and face outward in the left hand. The thumb lies on the upper side of the deck, adjacent to the outer index corner; and the tips of the four fingers lie on the lower side of the deck, all gathered near the outer non-index corner. You should be turned a bit to your left, presenting the face of the pack directly to the audience. Bring the right hand to the deck, fingers extended and together, but relaxed. Touch the tips of the second and third fingers to the face of the pack, roughly half an inch inward of the outer end. With those fingertips, gently push the bottom card straight outward for half its length. As the card reaches its destination, the fleshy pads at the base


138 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY of the right fingers should lie directly above the inner end of the card second from the face (Figure 116, performer's view from above). Press the base of the right fingers lightly against the exposed end of the second card and draw the right hand straight back, keeping the fingers parallel with the length of the pack. In this action the second card from the face is secretly slid inward, while being concealed mainly by the right fingers. When you feel the end of the second card clear the end of the first (Figure 117), alter the direction of the right hand, moving it smoothly downward and inward, over the near lower corner of the pack. At the same time, tilt the right hand (with its concealed card) thumb outward, and raise the right fingers away from the pack. In doing so, the concealed card is slid lightly over the lower index corner of the deck (Figure 118). As the hand assumes this position, it appears to relinquish contact with the pack. The fingers are straight and relaxed. Use the corner of the pack to trap the card against the right hand as you continue to move the hand downward, exposing the full face of the pack with the bottom card outjogged on it. You are now in a perfect position to grasp the card in classic palm. Simply contract the right fourth finger slightly, gripping the card to the palm with a light pressure. Then drop the right hand, removing it completely from the pack. Pause only briefly; then bring the right hand upward and forward to cover the outjogged card. Neatly deposit the palmed card over the offset one, using the tips of the left fingers and thumb to assure precise lengthwise alignment. Bend the tips of the right fingers slightly, pushing inward on the outer ends of the two outjogged cards to square them (Figure 119). Then smoothly move the right hand upward while you trail the tips of the fingers lightly over the ends of the double card in a final adjustment. As the right hand rises, the change of the outjogged card is revealed to the audience. The change of the card in its outjogged state is both attractive and deceptive. This handling also allows the right hand to gain some distance from the deck before the change is made, something not done in the original version. The change leaves you in an advantageous position, as you can now exploit the double nature of the changed card to switch it, or to proceed with an Ambitious Card sequence. Merely remove the double card from the face of the pack, flip the deck face-down and turn the double card down on top. When doing a straight color-change sequence, Mr. Elmsley often follows the first change, as described above, with a repeat that employs another variant handling. Assume that you have just changed the five of diamonds to the king of spades. After the change the king lies outjogged on the face of the pack, with the five hidden beneath it. Bring the right hand to the deck and, without obscuring the faces of the cards, neatly push the double card square with the pack. Say to the audience, "The five of diamonds has changed into a


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king. It is not underneath." With the tips of the right second and third fingers, push the king forward again on the deck for half its length, and repeat the steal of the second card from the face (the five of diamonds), as was done in the first change. However, as the right hand slides back, slipping the five from beneath the king, do not move the hand downward toward the lower index corner of the pack. Instead, move it inward and upward, sliding it over the upper nonindex corner until the lower non-index corner of the five rests against that corner of the pack. Halt the right hand with only the corner of the five caught between the tip of the right fourth finger and the corner of the deck (Figure 120). In this position the face of the deck is fully exposed, and the indifferent card lying beneath the outjogged king can be seen. Now move the right hand forward and downward, sliding the concealed five over the faces of the cards until the right fingertips


140 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY can contact the outer end of the king. Push the king inward and square with the pack, at the same time depositing the five neatly over it. Then raise the right hand away from the deck, revealing the surprising second transformation of the card. Notice that, in this handling, the stolen card is at no time palmed—at least, not in the traditional sense.

Erdnase's First Transformation as a Vanish In this application of the Erdnase color change, a face-up card is vanished from the top of a face-down deck. The outward effect reminds one of the use of the Finley tent vanish in Dai Vernon's "Slow-motion Four Aces" (Stars of Magic, pp. 94-95). However, as will be seen, the actions of the two sleights are quite different. While holding the deck face-down in left-hand dealing position, turn the top card face-up. Now raise the deck to the left fingertips and turn its top toward the audience, moving into position for the Erdnase transformation. There is, though, a small change in the left hand's grip on the pack. The forefinger is placed at the outer end of the deck, and the other three fingers are shifted forward on the lower side of the cards, bringing the tip of the second finger to the bottom outer corner. The position of the thumb at the top outer corner of the pack remains the same. Bring the right hand to the deck and, with the tips of the second and third fingers, openly push the face-up card forward on the pack for half its length. Then, as you move the right hand back, perform the actions of the color change, as taught above, to steal the uppermost face-down card from the deck. Then bring the right hand over the outjogged face-up card and deposit the palmed card onto it. While the right hand still covers the outjogged double card, secretly extend the left forefinger to the far end of the double and push the two cards square with the pack. As you do this, do not move the right hand inward. It is important that it remain stationary. You will find that as the double card is pushed flush, its inner end tends to rise away from the pack. This can be corrected by pressing with the heel of the right hand on the inner end of the double card as it slides into place. The instant the double card is flush with the pack, cramp the right fingers and jut the right thumb out from the hand, in a parody of palming a card. Then move the right hand away from the deck, maintaining this stiff pose. The face-up outjogged card is seen to be gone, and there is a face-down card on top of the deck, all lending credence to your pretense of having palmed the card in the right hand. To effect the vanish, you need only show the right hand empty.


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Flying Squad To illustrate the utility of this vanish, here is a simple trick of Mr. Elmsley's, drawn from notes made in the 1950s. (In June of 1975 Robert Parrish contributed a quite similar trick of his invention to Pallbearers Review, Vol. 10, No. 8, p. 976.) Have a card selected, noted and returned to the pack. Control this card secretly to a position second from the top. Turn the top card face-up on the pack, then apparently palm it as you execute the vanish just explained. While you pretend to hold the card palmed in the right hand, move your left hand and the deck behind your back and, once they are out of sight, perform a one-handed pass (e.g., the Charlier pass). Meanwhile, go through the motions of making the imaginary card in your right hand invisible, and seem to toss it through your body. Bring the left hand forward with the deck and spread the cards, revealing the vanished card face-up in the middle—and above it, facedown, the spectator's selection.

The Misdirection Slide Palm In the previous discussion of the rear palm, Mr. Elmsley's adaptation of Edward Mario's misdirection palm was explained (see pp. 128-129). We will now see how he applied Mario's action palm psychology to Erdnase's first transformation. Hold the pack face-down in left-hand dealing grip as you execute a double turnover to display the apparent top card of the deck. Turn the double card face-down again and move the pack into position for the Erdnase transformation with outjog. With the tips of the right fingers, push the top card forward on the pack for half its length. Then, as the right hand moves inward, execute the actions of the Erdnase transformation, secretly sliding back the card second from the top (that is, the card just displayed face-up). Continue to move _ the right hand inward and downward, until the stolen card lies pressed by the bottom inner corner of the pack to the right palm (refer to Figure 118). Do not remove the right hand from the deck. Instead, curl in the right fingers to grasp the inner end of the pack, thumb at the upper corner, second and third fingers at the lower corner. In doing so, you automatically palm the stolen card in the right hand (Figure 121).


142 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Without hesitation, undercut the bottom half of the deck, the right hand drawing it inward (Figure 122); then slap it onto the top half, sandwiching the outjogged card in the middle. At this point the right hand can drop away from the deck, with the card palmed, while the left forefinger pushes the protruding card flush; or you can bring the right hand over the pack and secretly replace the palmed card on top as the right fingertips push the protruding card into the deck. This is an excellent and especially deceptive method for stealing a card from the pack. All secret actions follow from open ones; therefore, no extraneous movement is created. A few trials will convince the reader of the quality of this sleight.


TWO POCKET DECK SWITCHES The ability to switch decks undetected is an invaluable asset. Astonishing sequences of tricks can be performed by switching the deck in use for another that has been stacked or otherwise prepared. Yet, few magicians take advantage of this tool. Switching decks is generally perceived as a difficult procedure. While there are sleightof-hand switches that require considerable address, there are other long-standing methods for secretly exchanging decks that need little or no dexterity. They do, however, require carefully planned blocking and misdirection. These elements can be quickly formulated, once the performer understands the underlying psychological principles. Over the years Mr. Elmsley has used deck switches to extraordinary effect. His favorite method for switching decks is the pocket switch, in which, simply stated, the hand with the deck goes to the coat pocket, drops off the deck and comes out with another pack. Of course, if one were to do this without convincing motivation and misdirection, it would be a transparent and artless ruse. But with proper presentation, this switch will deceive the best-posted magicians, as Mr. Elmsley has proven time and again. Here, then, are some cunning ploys with which he wigs the bald pocket switch.

The Climax Pack Switch By this strategy the deck is switched in the act of producing two selections from the pockets. In your left coat pocket carry the deck you wish to switch into play, its back lying nearest your body. From the deck in use, have two cards selected, noted and returned. Control these two cards to the top of the pack. Then, while holding the deck face-down in left-hand dealing position, palm one of the selections in the right hand. The instant the card is palmed, adjust the deck from dealing grip to the left fingertips, grasping it at its left side, thumb above, fingers beneath. Now move the right hand from the deck to the right coat pocket. Plunge the hand into the pocket and dramatically bring out the palmed selection at your fingertips.


144 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY At the same time, move your left hand, with the deck, to the left coat pocket, letting the right hand lead and the left hand trail a split second behind in its action. The left hand should reach the left pocket just as the right hand has fully entered the right pocket. As the left hand travels to the pocket, use the left fingers to flip the deck face-up into dealing grip. Then, while all attention is focused on the right hand, place the left hand into the left pocket. Your intention is not to hide the fact that the left hand is going to the pocket, but to make the right hand's actions more important to watch. When the left hand reaches the bottom of its pocket, it releases the deck it holds and claims the waiting deck. The actions of this exchange are similar to those of the standard pocket switch, but with one important modification. As the hand approaches the second pack, it clips the deck it holds deep in the fork of the thumb. This frees the second, third and fourth fingers, which extend away from the back of the deck. The second pack is now clipped between the first and second fingers; that is, the first finger stretches across the back of the pack, and the other fingers contact the face. At this point the decks lie back to back, with the forefinger separating them. The instant you have grasped the second deck securely between the fingers, release the first deck from the fork of the thumb and begin to withdraw the hand from the pocket. But in doing so, use the forefinger to drag the top card of the first deck up and away, pinching it between the forefinger and thumb (Figure 123). As this exchange of decks is made by the left hand, the right hand exits its pocket with the first chosen card. Just as the face of the card comes into view, bring the left hand from its pocket, holding the deck face-down, and the second selection face-up between the forefinger and thumb. The staging of this deck switch holds an important lesson in psychology. Notice how it is made reasonable for the left hand to retain the deck while it goes to the pocket, because the right hand is occupied with a task. Notice how the right hand draws the audience's attention by always preceding the left hand in its actions. Proper timing and attitude are vital to the success of the switch, particularly in regard to the staggered actions of the hands as they go to the pockets. (As an historical aside, Phil Goldstein independently developed the staggered action for the pocket switch in the late 1960s. See his marketed trick "Full Circle", released in 1973.)


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Finally, notice how the production of the chosen cards not only gives a good reason for the hands to enter the pockets, but also provides strong misdirection for the deck switch: the spectators are so involved with the production of the selections, the switch is neither anticipated nor suspected after the fact. To further strengthen the misdirection, exhibit the selections in a dramatic fashion, focusing attention on the production of the cards, while playing down the fact that they came from your pockets. This does leave you with two cards from another deck in play. This circumstance can be handled in several ways. One can simply add the two cards to the second pack and work with fifty-four cards; or during a convenient moment the cards can be palmed from the deck and disposed of; or you can remove two cards from the second pack, and force their duplicates from the first pack, in which case you will be left, after the switch, with a complete deck. It should be appreciated that the action of producing a card from the pocket can serve admirably for the secret disposal of extra or gimmicked cards from the deck. Assume that you have just concluded a trick with a selected card. The selection lies on top of the deck, and the extra card or cards (which have ceased to serve a purpose) rest directly below the selection. Get a left fourth-finger break below the cards you wish to dispose of and, at a point after the climax of the trick, when the audience's attention is relaxed, palm the cards above the break. Now move the right hand to your pocket. Once it is in the pocket, release the palmed cards, then bring the hand from the pocket, holding at your fingertips the card that was nearest the palm. This is the previous selection. Treat this production from the pocket as an incidental fillip: almost a "throwaway". The unexpected flight of the selection to your pocket is a good trick in itself, one that will draw a favorable response; and at the same time it provides perfect cover for the unloading of unwanted cards from the pack. Of course, this strategy can also be employed for loading a card or cards into the pocket for some subsequent trick. Study this concept well, as it is an invaluable one when sequencing tricks in a routine.

The Empty-handed Pack Switch One problem that can arise when doing the standard pocket deck switch is that of hesitation or fumbling in the pocket as the one deck is dropped off and the other grasped. This is not surprising when one considers that fifty-two loose objects are being exchanged for fiftytwo others. Practice can eliminate most lapses of this sort, and proper staging can disguise the rest, as has been adequately demonstrated above. The pocket deck switch about to be explained proposes an entirely different solution to the problem.


146 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Place the deck you wish to switch into play in your left front trousers pocket, and in your right front pocket have some object to be used in the trick you will perform. You must also wear a coat. The switch is accomplished at the point in your presentation when you require the object in your right trousers pocket. At this time the deck you wish to dispose of should rest face-down in your left hand. The switch will be broken into steps for the purposes of teaching, though in performance these steps combine into a smooth and continuous sequence of action. 1) Place your right hand in your right coat pocket, in search of the object. 2) When the right hand hits the bottom of the pocket, make it clear from your expression that you have not found the object you seek, and begin to move the left hand, with deck, to the left coat pocket. 3) Withdraw the right hand from the coat pocket. 4) At this point the left hand should be fully inside the left coat pocket. Deposit the deck there and bring the hand from the pocket just a split second after the right hand comes from its pocket. The left hand is now empty, but hold the fingers cupped, as if still holding the deck, and keep the back of the hand turned toward the audience. At this point the spectators' gaze should be focused on your puzzled expression. 5) Now brush back the sides of your coat, using both hands, and simultaneously thrust the hands into their respective trousers pockets. Look relieved, bring the object from your right pocket and display it. 6) Just a split second behind the right hand's action, bring the left hand from its pocket, holding the second pack. This little pocket search must be acted convincingly and with outward nonchalance. Notice how any reason for fumbling or hesitation has been eliminated by never having both decks in the same pocket. Bringing the left hand empty from the coat pocket may seem overly bold, but it is empty for only a moment, and attention is focused elsewhere. When the right hand brings forth the object from the right trousers pocket, everyone's interest is captured by this new prop. By the time the deck is remembered the switch is safely over. The building of interest created by the introduction of a new prop, and the diminishing of interest caused by putting an object away are strong psychological tools when using the pockets for switches, or for unloading palmed items, or for secretly procuring objects from the pockets. This principle will be discussed in greater detail when we examine another Elmsley deck switch, employed in a trick titled "The Tale of the Old Timer" (see Volume II). Meanwhile, study carefully the two switches above, not only for their utility, but also for the psychological lessons they hold, which have potential for wide application.


Chapter Four:

Minus Fifty-two


Alex Elmsley, wondering if the gimmick is strong enough to hold through the rest of the trick. See 'The Visual Torn and Restored Newspaper", pages 157-165.


PUNCTURE! Effect: The performer brings out a stack of his business cards, still wrapped in the paper band as it came from the printer. He draws one of the cards from the packet and shows it. A hole is seen punched through the card near one long edge (Figure 124). This hole has been reinforced with an adhesive cloth collar, such as stationers sell. The performer touches the hole with the tip of his thumb and drags it over the card from the side to the center, then to the inner end. The card is again displayed, leaving no doubt that the hole has actually been moved and now lies at the end (Figure 125), far from where it began. The card is given to a spectator to ponder and keep.

Method: I have been told that the idea of a portable hole began as a joke during World War I. Infantry soldiers used to dream of a portable fox hole that could be picked up and moved from place to place, eliminating the need for constantly digging fresh holes. To the best of my knowledge, Robert Haskell was the first magician to adopt this joke as a magical plot. His was a clever platform routine consisting of a series of short visual effects. Mr. Elmsley's "Puncture!" was the first close-up effect to incorporate the plot of a moveable hole. Since its original publication, other creative thinkers have expanded on the Elmsley method, or have invented new approaches to create the illusion of a hole that can be shifted on a solid surface. Names


150 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY like Hideo Kato, Michael Powers, Johnny Lindholm, Michael Weber, Tooru Suzuki, Bruce Cervon, David Harkey and Michael Close come to mind. "Puncture" first appeared, through an amusing set of circumstances, in Bruce Elliott's Phoenix magazine. In the summer of 1950 the Elmsley family decided to vacation in New York City. When Alex, then twenty-one years old, saw a chance to break away from his parents for a few hours, he made his way as fast as he could to Lou Tannen's magic shop, then located at 120 West 42nd Street. In those days, the British government restricted its citizens from taking with them more than twenty-five pounds each when traveling abroad. Consequently, the young Elmsley's funds were severely limited; but he had a plan: he hoped to sell the manufacturing rights for a new trick to Lou Tannen, and with the resultant profits he would purchase the magic and books he desired. Tannen's response to this offer, however, proved less enthusiastic than expected. He liked the trick, but thought it unpromising as a marketed item. Lou Tannen was a kind man, and he broke this disappointing news as gently as he could. He recommended that Alex publish the trick in a journal like The Phoenix. Mr. Elmsley agreed, and asked that Tannen relay it to Bruce Elliott. Tannen did so, actually taking time to write a description of the trick from memory. "Puncture" appeared the following October on the front page of The Phoenix. Mr. Elmsley didn't get the new magic he was hoping for, but in return for his trick Bruce Elliott did give him a free subscription to the magazine. In transmitting "Puncture" to Elliott, Lou Tannen unintentionally altered several details. What follows is the original Elmsley method, presentation and handling. You will require a stack of business cards, snugly bound round its width with a band of colored paper (Figure 126). This band is roughly one inch wide. Take two of the business cards and, with a hole punch, make a hole at the center of the left long edge of one card; and another hole at the inner end of the second card. Both cards should be turned the same direction. Stick a cloth reinforcement ring (available at any stationery shop) around the hole on each of these cards (refer to Figures 124 and 125). You must also make a hole feke. This is fabricated from another of the reinforcement rings. Mount the ring to a small disk of the same kind of paper that encircles the stack of business cards. This paper


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disk must be no larger than the outer circumference of the ring (Figure 127). The feke is attached to the end-punched business card in such a manner that it can easily be broken free. Magician's wax of the harder variety will serve the purpose. You do not want a wax that will smear or smudge the card as the feke is dragged over it. A small bit of double-sided tape can also be used; or, if you leave exposed a portion of the gummed back on the reinforcement ring, this adhesive surface can be utilized. Affix the feke to the left side of the endpunched business card, in a position identical to the hole in the side-punched card (Figure 128). Slip the card with the hole at its left side on top of the stack and under the paper band. Turn the card with the hole in its end feke-side down and place it under the stack, lying outside the band. The hole in this card should be positioned at the inner end of the stack. Carry the stack and the loose card in your left coat pocket. One last thing is required. Prepare five or six more business cards with holes and reinforcing rings at their ends, like the card in Figure 125. Bind the cards together with a loop of string, a rubber band or a key ring through the holes. Put this stack of cards in your right coat pocket. When ready to perform, bring the banded stack from the left pocket, with the loose card hidden beneath it. Mention that the printer just delivered your new business card, but some of the cards were accidentally run on punched stock. Hold the stack in your left hand and, with the right hand, pull the top card from beneath the band. Display the hole in the card, showing it on both sides so that there can be no question later that the hole was genuine. Lay the card, hole to the left, square over the stack, where the colored band can be seen through it. Comment on the oddity of the printer's error; then explain that, after thinking about it overnight, you decided to keep the punched cards anyway. As you talk, drop your left hand casually to your side and simultaneously place your right hand into your right pocket. Bring out the small packet there. "I've found that a hole in the cards can be quite handy..." As you say this, display the strung packet and, under cover this misdirection,


152 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

secretly turn over the stack in the left hand, bringing the gimmicked card to the top. Then drop the threaded cards onto the table, and raise the left hand. Before the top of the left hand's stack can be seen by the audience, transfer it to the right hand, grasping it at the inner end, thumb over the end hole and fingers beneath the cards. Briefly display the card on top of the stack; then place the stack once more in left-hand dealing grip, left thumb at the left side. Continue to conceal the end hole with the right thumb, as shown in (Figure 129). "...But a hole at the end is more useful than one at the side." As you say this, move the right thumb forward to the feke at the left side of the card, still hiding the end hole under the length of the thumb (Figure 130). Now visibly slide the feke to the center of the card, then inward until it is over the real hole. "About there is where I would like the hole." Press down firmly with the thumb, as if fixing the hole in place. This action not only enhances the illusion of transporting the hole, but also ensures that the feke will adhere, at least momentarily, to the thumb, thanks to the natural moisture of the skin. Immediately slide the right thumb and the hidden feke back and off the card. As all eyes are drawn to the hole in the end of the card, let the feke fall from the thumb into finger palm (Figure 131), or any other position of concealment. With your right hand, remove the top card, display it and hand it to someone to examine. Then pocket the stack, disposing of the feke at the same time, and go on to something else.


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Rather than letting the feke drop into the fingers, you may wish to try this: As the right thumb drags the feke off the end of the stack of cards, bend your right second finger into the palm and pull the feke off the stack and directly onto the finger's nail. Then straighten the finger again to join the rest. Because of the wax or tape, the feke will adhere to the back of the finger, allowing the hand to be seen empty before it reclaims the stack. The feke can be easily flicked off the nail as the stack is pocketed. With a little thought, one could design the type on one's business card to exploit this effect in some manner: the repositioning of the hole could be given a typographical motivation, or its new position might become the visual punch-line to some sight gag. The effect is a strange one, in any case; and it greatly increases the likelihood that your card will be kept and shown to others. October 6, 1950


THE NODDING SKULL Effect: The performer exhibits a tiny human skull mounted on a simple counterbalance. This he perches on a base made from an innocent cardboard tube. The skull sits suspended on its two thin balance arms (Figure 132). The performer explains that the skull belonged to a midget sorcerer from the seventeenth century, and that it is capable of divining thoughts and answering questions. It then proceeds to do just that, by nodding mysteriously when queried and indicating chosen cards when shown them. There is no connection between the skull and the performer. It and the base can at any time be picked up and examined. It can even be isolated under a clear glass tumbler. Still it nods whenever the performer wishes it. The little skull's motions can provide both amusement and mystery, and there is opportunity for wide variation in presenting this charming novelty. Method: "The Nodding Skull" is one of Mr. Elmsley's earliest tricks. To earn pocket money while he attended Cambridge University, Mr. Elmsley carved about a half dozen of these skulls and sold them for ÂŁ5.00 each, a tidy sum in 1950. Jack Avis and Bobby Bernard were two of the six purchasers. In later years Harry Devano, inspired by this trick, devised a routine with a little cork doll, which he made swing or "dance" as he whistled and waved his arms to the tune. The Devano presentation and handling can be found in Magic Circle Magic (pp. 69-70, 1963). The skull is fashioned from a block of cork. The finished skull measures approximately an inch in height and depth, and a half inch in width. Set into its base is one end of a bar magnet. The opposite end of the magnet has several neat turns of wire solder wrapped around its girth (Figure 133). The purpose of the wire solder is to counterbalance the skull. You must experiment with the amount of solder wrapped around the magnet: it is correct when the skull tips slightly northward when balanced and at rest. To either side of the magnet, at the base of the skull, are glued two small arms (Figure 133 again). The bottom edges of these arms are formed from the keen edge of a razor blade. The pieces of razor blade are clamped into short lengths of tight plastic channel, which can be fashioned from plastic collar stays or the plastic spines used


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to bind small manuscripts. When the construction is completed, the skull and magnet are painted appropriately. The cardboard tube on which the skull is suspended is merely a matchbox cover painted black. A square hole, situated about half an inch from one end of the cover, is cut into the top. This hole should be large enough for the skull to rest in, perched on its balance arms, and to rock freely. A staple or pin of brass or some other non-magnetic metal is fixed to each side of the hole, parallel with the length of the cover (Figure 134). The staples or pins form a smooth and near frictionless surface on which the razor edges of the balance arms can pivot. A large window is also cut into the bottom of the box cover, permitting the inside to be seen empty and free of contrivance. The skull is caused to nod by moving a magnet near it. A small powerful horseshoe magnet is used, in the curve of which is glued a short length of doweling (Figure 135). This is carried in the coat pocket. When you wish the skull to move you stand near it, positioning the magnet in your pocket somewhat behind the


156 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY counterbalance. Then, with your hand in your coat pocket, grasp the dowel between fingers and thumb, and begin to twist it, turning the magnet back and forth to create an alternating wave of magnetism that sets the skull swinging. Although the magnetic field is relatively weak, the principle of resonance is applied to create an increasingly strong swing. The secret lies in timing the turns of the magnet to match the movements of the skull as it begins to rock. A period of roughly one to two seconds works best. To halt the swing, the rolling of the magnet is timed to counter the motions of the skull, creating an opposing magnetic force. On experimentation, it will be discovered that the relative positions of the poles of the horseshoe magnet, as it is held in your pocket, determine how you must manipulate it. Held one way, the skull and magnet will work as just described. Held the opposite way, the reverse actions will start and stop the skull. The necessary rhythm will become almost automatic with a bit of experience. It is surprising how effective such a small magnetic field can be. If the skull is properly constructed and balanced, it can be controlled from as far away as four feet. With the availability today of extremely strong rare-earth magnets, even greater distance may be achieved. Of course, inverting a tumbler over the skull has no effect on its motion, but adds to the outward impossibility of the trick. There are many amusing presentation routes possible. As mentioned earlier, the skull can nod when a chosen card (either regular or Tarot) is shown to it. The most commonsense approach to such an effect is that of the ancient key-card principle. When the selection is replaced, position a known card above it. Here, it is wise to place the key card several cards above the selection, rather than directly over it. This allows you an interval in which to activate the skull. Have a spectator deal the cards into a face-up pile before the skull. When your key card appears, you know you have the span of a known number of cards (three, four or five, as you wish) before the selection is reached. This lead-time is necessary, as it takes a few seconds of twisting the magnet to begin the movement of the skull. The skull can also be made to identify objects. For example, it could serve to indicate the name of the deceased in a Living and Dead Test; or the proper envelope in a Bank Night effect or Pseudopsychometry routine. Having it answer questions, however, by nodding once for no and twice for yes is asking too much, as once the skull begins to swing, it is difficult to exercise precise control over its movements. The opportunities for entertainment, either mysterious or humorous, using this little prop will be obvious and, it is hoped, attractive enough to persuade the reader to construct one. 1950


THE VISUAL TORN AND RESTORED NEWSPAPER Effect: The title efficiently sums up the effect. A newspaper is torn to pieces, then is magically restored. Several good methods exist for achieving this effect, but when Gene Anderson's newspaper tear was prominently performed a few years back by Doug Henning, magicians seemed to lose sight of all others. It is rare to see anything but the Anderson method performed these days. This is to be regretted, as several of the prior methods had advantages well worth considering (not the least of which is Al Koran's, to which the Gene Anderson method owes a considerable debt). When Mr. Elmsley first discussed his method in print, he clearly stated his goal: "In most methods, assuming that they are well performed, the torn pieces are transformed into a neatly folded packet, obviously untorn, which is then unfolded. To me this does not look magical, however magical it may be considered intellectually. It looks as though a folded packet has been substituted for the pieces. Moreover, the unfolding of the packet is an anticlimax. "I believe that, if it is to look as though it is the same paper being restored as was torn, there must be no folded packet seen at any stage. In practice, that means that no folded edges, but only torn edges and the natural edges of the paper must be seen, right up to the moment when the paper is shown unfolded and restored." At that time (1958), only one method met this criticism: Ken Bowell's "Kentare", which was marketed by Harry Stanley. Taking the Bowell method as a starting point, Mr. Elmsley createdtitleone about to be explained. A folded packet is substituted for the torn pieces, but its folded edges are hidden up to the instant of restoration. Method: You will require two duplicate front sections of a newspaper. Remove the inner pages of each section until only the two outside double sheets remain. That is, each duplicate paper should now consist of only eight pages. Find a single page from the extra sheets of the papers, or neatly cut a double page in half. (Ideally, this should be the front page from a third duplicate copy of the paper, but this is not strictly necessary.) Dispose of everything but the single page and the two eight-page sections.


158 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Take the single page and fold it in half widthwise. Then, using your finger for a paperknife, tear the page in two along the fold. The tear should be ragged but reasonably straight. Think of the lower half of the page as Piece One. Fold the upper portion in half lengthwise and, again using your finger, tear along the fold, creating two quarter pages. Call the left-hand quarter Piece Two. (Figure 136 shows how the page has been torn.) Throw the right-hand quarter away. Now lay one of the eight-page sections on the table and open out the front page, exposing pages two and three. Using rubber cement or another glue that dries without wrinkling the paper, apply an "L" of cement at the bottom left corner of page three. This "L" runs up the left side of the page, near the crease, for roughly two-thirds of its height; and horizontally along the bottom of the page for almost half its width. (See Figure 137, in which the glue coated area is shaded.) Close the front page again, and press it smooth along the gluelined area. Then fold this front page in half by carrying the right edge back to the left and creasing it along its length. This crease is not quite at center, as the left edge of the folded page must project slightly beyond the folded spine of the section (Figure 138). Dog-ear the upper right corners of the three remaining sheets, folding them in together against the surface of page three (Figure 138 again). Now fold the top half of the paper down and behind the bottom half, bringing the top and bottom edges even (Figure 139). Apply a continuous line of cement along the bottom edge and both sides of the folded paper, as indicated by the shaded areas in Figure 139. Lay Piece One (the torn half page) over the folded paper (Figure 140), gluing it in place with the torn edge at the top and overlapping the top edge of the paper to hide the folded edge. This overlap should be kept as narrow as possible, while still covering the fold. Fold the paper in half again, this time bringing the left side over the right. This folds the torn half page inside the packet. Twist the folded paper a hundred and eighty degrees, turning the printing into proper reading position. You should now be looking at the top left quarter of page two. Apply a line of cement to all four borders of this quarter page (Figure 141). Affix Piece Two, the torn quarter page, to the folded paper, positioning the two torn edges at the right and bottom (Figure 142). These edges should project very slightly past the corresponding folded edges of the paper, hiding them. Again, make the overlap a narrow one. Double the top half of the paper down and over the bottom half, folding the torn quarter page inside. This brings the top right corner of page three uppermost, with the dog-eared corners lying at the bottom left (Figure 143a). Turn the folded paper over sidewise. This places the torn edges of the inside quarter page at the left side and bottom of the packet. The printing on the upper surface of the packet is in reading position (Figure 143b).


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160 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY We now turn to the second newspaper. Remove the outer sheet and double it both lengthwise and widthwise, until it is folded into sixteenths, making a packet the size of the prepared first paper. Crease the folds and open the sheet out flat again, with pages two and seven up. Apply lines of cement to the left edge and both top and bottom long edges of the prepared packet (Figure 143b again), turn it over sidewise and glue it onto page two of the second paper, positioning it at the lower left quadrant of the upper half of the page (Figure 144). Note that the dog-eared corners of the packet should lie at the bottom left. When you set the packet into place, align the left edge of the open sheet with that of the adjoining surface of the packet. The other edges in the packet can protrude slightly beyond the edge of the open sheet, but the glued left edge must be even. Take the inner sheet of the duplicate paper and fold it into sixteenths, just as you did the outer sheet. Sharpen the creases and unfold the sheet. Lay it right-side up, pages four and five uppermost, on the open outer sheet and fold the left pages of both sheets onto the right pages, closing the paper and bringing the front page into view (Figure 145). This concludes the preparation. Lay the paper on your table, with the packet turned away from the audience. Or you can fold the paper in half again, along its width, and carry it under your arm as you walk out. Here, the packet edge should be positioned at the rear, again away from the audience. To begin the trick, face the audience and grasp the paper by its left edges, at the point where the packet lies hidden, holding the paper with the left hand, front page toward the audience (Figure 146). With your right hand, separate the two rear pages at the left edge and let them drop open, at the same time turning the inside of the unfolded paper toward the audience. This displays pages four and five (Figure 147). The left hand keeps its hold at the place where the packet lies and, if necessary, the left thumb can draw the inner sheet upward slightly, further concealing the edges of the packet. With the right hand, grasp the hanging lower edge of the inner sheet and bring it up to the left hand, closing the sheet. This exposes pages six and seven to the audience. Repeat the action, closing the outer sheet and bringing the back page of the paper into view. Still holding the closed paper by its left side in the left hand, insert the fingers of the right hand into the center fold of both sheets and use the edge of the hand, like an origami karate master, to tear the sheets at the top right corner (Figure 148). The tear should end at a spot roughly even with your left thumb. Open the paper once more at the center and, with your right hand, grasp the right edges of the right pages. Then pull the hands apart, tearing the two sheets down their center creases (Figure 149). You should now have four page-size pieces.


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162 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Lay the right hand's pieces onto the left's. This places the pieces that conceal the packet nearest the audience. This rule will be followed with each tear. Turn your left hand palm-down, rotating the paper a quarter turn clockwise. This brings the packet to the top edge. Transfer the left hand's grip on the packet to the right hand, and shift the left hand a few inches to the left. You are now holding the pages by their upper edges, near the center. Tear the pages in half (Figure 150). If necessary, you can first fold the pages in half and start the tear with the side of your hand, as you did for the first tear. Place the left hand's half pages over the right's, again keeping the packet toward the audience. Then twist the bundle of pieces another quarter turn clockwise. This brings the packet to the upper right corner. Shift the hands to the center of the top edge of the bundle and tear the pieces again in half, making quarter pages. Put the left hand's pieces onto the right's and twist the bundle clockwise another quarter turn. Tear the pieces once more down the middle, making them an eighth of a page each. Place the left hand's pieces over the right's. At this point only one torn piece rests between the audience and the packet, and that piece is glued in place (Figure 151). Its torn edges cover the folded edges of the packet. All the other pieces are stacked together on your side of the bundle. Give the bundle a quarter turn, counterclockwise this time, and grip it in the left hand at the left side. If you check you will find the dog-eared corners of the packet are now at the upper right. The thick folded edge of the packet is downward, making it easy for you to slide your right fingers upward between the packet and the stack of pieces. Do so, and grip the pieces between the right forefinger and thumb. Then shift the pieces as a unit downward about two inches and slightly leftward. This exposes the top of the packet to your view (Figure 152). Insert your right second finger between the dog-eared corners and the corner of the packet behind them. Then pinch the dog-eared pages between the right first and second fingers (Figure 153). Hold the stacked pieces securely between the right forefinger and thumb. If the left hand released the bundle at this point, the folded packet would fall open under its own weight to full-page size. This is essentially what will happen, but the left hand guides and controls the opening of the packet, to prevent the torn pieces from showing as the paper is restored. Relax the left fingers and let the outer portion of the packet open forward and downward. This exposes torn Piece Two to the audience. Tighten the left fingers on the bundle again, to prevent it from opening further. This is the first move of the restoration sequence, and though the edges of the paper can be seen, the hands conceal the thickness of the stack.


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164 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Tip the bundle forward slightly and to the left, as you again release the left hand's grasp. This allows another fold of the packet to open, the outer portion swinging forward and to the left. With the left hand, grasp the outer edge of the swinging portion and finish opening the packet to half-page size. Torn Piece One, upside-down, is now seen by the audience. As you pull the fold open, reverse the forward and leftward tilts just given the packet, bringing it again fully upright. This helps to impede the drop of the bottom half of the packet. Once assuring yourself that everything is in your control, do what you have just prevented: release the left hand's hold and let the packet drop open to full-page size. Give the paper a little shake, if necessary, to speed the opening. Figure 154 shows your view at this point. The opened paper is held between the right first and second fingers by the upper right corner; and the stack of pieces is gripped behind the paper, between the right thumb and first finger. With the left hand, grasp the upper left corner of the doubled over front page the instant the paper falls open. Separating it presents no problem, as it was folded to overlap the spine of the paper. Then move the hands in opposite directions, pulling the restored paper open. As you do this, Piece One forms a pocket with pages two and three at the bottom of the paper. Drop the stack of pieces from the right thumb and forefinger into the pocket (Figure 155) as you begin to turn leftward. Without hesitation, bring the hands together and transfer one page from the right hand to the left. Then separate the hands again, opening the paper to pages four and five. Release the right hand's pages and let the paper hang open from the left hand, as in Figure 147. Turn the paper, showing it front and back; then with the right hand lift the hanging pages one at a time, closing the paper. If you now casually fold the paper in half widthwise, the pieces are locked inside the pocket and the paper can be held in any way or tossed aside without risk of exposure. (The idea of an internal pocket in the paper is, I believe, Al Baker's invention.) With a bit of care, the restored paper can be used for several performances. There is only one piece of the destroyed paper glued to page three. If you have used rubber cement, this piece can be carefully peeled away. Should you recycle the prepared paper in this manner, you will need to purchase several duplicate papers. Choose a paper with a headline that will not be quickly dated. Also, leave the prepared paper unfolded between performances, or it will not fall open as readily during the restoration. The restoration sequence should be neither slow nor hurried. When Mr. Elmsley does it, it consumes approximately five seconds. The speed at which the paper is opened is, of course, a matter of preference. With a bit of practice, one can achieve a "flash" or instantaneous restoration similar to that featured in the Koran and Anderson methods. One advantage the Elmsley method has over those mentioned is that there is no strained folding of the pieces, no


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metal strips or wires, and no delay between the tearing of the paper and its restoration. Everything flows smoothly from first to last. The important thing to aim for is an appearance of torn edges melting away as the paper unfolds. Some years back, at a testimonial dinner given in Goodliffe's honor, Mr. Elmsley performed a special version of his torn and restored paper. He began with a newspaper that had no print—just blank pages. Observing that such a paper was of little interest, he tore it up. "Now, if there had actually been some news in this paper, that would be something else again." As he said this, he unfolded the paper, restored, and at the same time print gradually appeared on all the pages. The method used was essentially the same as that described above, but the trick was done with a blank paper and a normal one. There was one added bit of preparation: a few small scraps of printed news-paper were glued to the blank portions that appeared when the second paper was unfolded, giving an impression of print gradually appearing as the paper was restored. This novel presentation caused quite a stir among the audience at the Goodliffe Testimonial, and is remembered by many to this day. August 1958


RING AND PAPER CLIP Effect: The performer removes his finger ring and holds it in one hand. In the other he holds a common wire paper clip. He throws the ring into the opposite hand, a metallic click is heard and the hand is opened to show the paper clip now linked to the ring. The linking is instantaneous and cannot have been accomplished by normal means, as there is no surreptitious finger motion and the time is too short for covert manipulation. Method: While theocracies will not be built on this stunt, it is a mysterious little effect that has the advantage of being impromptu. You must be wearing a finger ring that can be easily slipped off. You will also require two identical paper clips of the trombone sort. These must be large enough to fit easily onto the band of your ring. Two such clips are certainly no trouble to carry; or you may find them available in many places. Before commencing the trick, secretly slip one of the paper clips onto the band of your ring, on the palm side of the hand. The clip is not linked through the ring at this time, but grips the band between the large and small loops. The ends of these loops should point inward toward the palm (Figure 156). This minor bit of preparation is quickly and easily done; it can, in fact, be accomplished in your pocket with one hand. For this description, it will be assumed you are wearing the ring on the third finger of the left hand. Should the ring be worn on another finger, the small changes necessary in handling will become obvious. You must be seated when performing this—though, with one simple change, standing performance is possible. We will return to this point at the proper time.


MINUS FIFTY-TWO 167 When ready to perform, show the second paper clip at your right fingertips; then transfer it to your left hand, taking it between the thumb and first two fingers. Only half of the clip should be visible above these fingers. Do not give any importance to the passing of the clip from hand to hand. It is done purely to free the right hand, so that you can remove your ring. Grasp the ring by its sides, between your right forefinger and thumb, and pull it from the left finger (Figure 157). Gently press the band of the ring against the inside of the left finger as you pull, forcing the hidden clip to drag against the finger. By retarding its motion, you force the clip to link through the ring. As the ring comes free of the left finger, the clip will hang from it, but is hidden from the spectators by the right fingers (Figure 158). Exhibit the ring without exposing the attached paper clip. This is not difficult; the ring can be held at the very tips of the right fingers while the clip is concealed. As you raise the right hand to display the ring, simultaneously drop the left hand casually to the edge of the table. While attention is focused on the ring, lap the paper clip. Then raise the left hand, pressing the thumb to the fingertips, as if still holding the clip. Hold your hands up before you, about two feet apart, and, as you do so, let the ring sink almost out of sight behind the right fingers. There is a sound psychological reason behind this: if the ring is now held too much in view, its prominence draws unwelcome attention to the fact that no part of the paper clip is visible in the left hand. From as great a distance as you can accurately manage it, forcefully throw the ring from the right hand to the left. The speed of the toss and the largeness of the ring make it impossible to perceive the clip during its flight.


168 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Catch the ring and clip in the left hand. They will naturally click against one another when caught, giving the impression that the ring has hit the left hand's paper clip. In the minds of the spectators, this is interpreted as proof that the two items were separate until the moment of impact. Hold the closed left hand absolutely still for about two seconds. Then slowly open the fingers and reveal the linked ring and clip. Drop them onto the table and, if the spectators desire it, let them be examined. As mentioned earlier, with one minor change this trick can be performed standing. Instead of lapping the left hand's paper clip, sleeve it. January 8, 1955


THE TWISTER (A Puzzle) This stunt, Mr. Elmsley recalls, was the product of a dull afternoon at the office. As the title indicates, this is not a trick but a puzzle. It is a clever topological problem, which can be easily, almost magically, solved by its perpetrator, but is impossible for his victim. Mr. Elmsley suggests this puzzle as a palliative for ruffled egos, when there is in the audience that occasional individual who, no matter how entertainingly the magic is presented, perceives it as an intellectual combat zone in which he or she has been taken unfair advantage of. In such circumstances, one can present this little mystery, then reveal its solution, to relax the vexed individual—all without endangering any magical principles. The only prop needed is a broad rubber band measuring two to three inches in unstretched length. For your own satisfaction and amusement, find one now and follow the moves as they are explained. Hold the band vertically (taut but not stretched) between the palmdown hands, pinched at its top and bottom between the thumbs and forefingers. The right hand pinches the top of the band, with the thumb inside the loop, and the left hand pinches the bottom, with the forefinger in the loop (Figure 159). Now give the band two twists by pushing the right thumb leftward while retracting the right forefinger. The arrows in Figure 159 show the movement of the fingers, and Figure 160 depicts the configuration of the band afterward. Your audience has watched all this. Nothing is hidden. Now ask someone to take the band into his own hands, grasping it exactly as you are, and without disturbing its twisted condition. Where your right finger and thumb hold the top of the


170 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

band, his right finger and thumb grasp it; likewise, he grips the bottom of the band exactly as you have been. In Figure 160, the spectator's hands are shown poised, about to take the band from you. Once the twisted band is in his own hands, the problem is posed: Without twisting the band between his fingers, as you did to install the twists, and without releasing his grip on the band with either hand, he is to remove the twists and make the band straight again. He can twist and turn his hands in any way he wishes; he can even stretch the band and step through it if he thinks that will help him; but he must not let go or shift grips. You may let him struggle with the problem for as long as his patience persists or your conscience permits. Suffice it to say, the problem, as posed, is impossible. Yet, when you take the band back from him, holding it just as he has been, you cause the twists to melt away with one slow simple movement. To do this, hold the twisted band as shown in Figure 160. Now rotate your hands, moving the right hand toward you and down, and the left hand away from you and up. Figure 161 shows the position of the hands at the end of their slow revolution. As the hands trade places, the twists disappear in an almost magical fashion. By reversing your actions, the twists will reappear. The spectator may take back the band again and imitate your movements, but the twists remain. There are no hidden actions. The solution relies purely on topology. Why does it work? Martin Gardner analyzed the topological principle in his Mathematics, Magic and Mystery (p. 94). Though your helper holds the band exactly as you do, because you are facing one another as the band is transferred to him, a subtle left-right change


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occurs in the direction of the twists in relation to your bodies. The band, your hands and your arms form a topological whole, and when the spectator duplicates your untwisting actions, he only twists the band more tightly. In the end, expose the swindle and give the fellow the rubber band so that he can torment his friends. January 8, 1955


TWO THIMBLE CHANGES Here are two methods for effecting a pretty and extremely magical color change of a thimble. You will need two thimbles of contrasting colors. For this explanation they are assumed to be white and red. The starting position for each change is the same: the white thimble is on your right forefinger and the red thimble on your right second finger. The forefinger is extended to display the white thimble. The other fingers are curled into the palm and the hand is held palmdown. Thus the red thimble is hidden from view, and the audience should be unaware of its existence.

First Change Lay the whitecapped right forefinger onto the beach of the open left palm, resting the thimble at the base of the left third and fourth fingers (Figure 162). Display it there for a few moments. Now revolve the left hand palm-down, using the tip of the right forefinger as a pivot point. The left hand, still open, rotates over the right forefinger, and conceals the thimble and the finger to just past the middle joint. The moment the thimble and finger are hidden, bend the right forefinger inward and


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simultaneously straighten the right second finger (Figure 163, left hand made transparent to clarify the position). In a smooth continuous motion, slide the right hand forward about two inches, thrusting the second finger from beneath the left hand and bringing the red thimble into view (Figure 164). Since the left hand covers the right knuckles, it is impossible for the audience to discriminate between your right first and second fingers. All they see is that, with a gentle wave of your hand, the thimble changes color in an instant. To conclude the sleight the thimble is changed from red back to white. To do this, simply reverse the actions just described: draw back the right hand, then revolve the left hand palm-up again, while straightening the right forefinger and curling in the second finger.

Second Change This color change is done with only the right hand. The thimble is given a shake, upon which it visibly changes color. When performing this change, you must turn somewhat to your left. Raise your right hand to about chest level, with the forefinger curled loosely in until the tip of the white thimble rests on the tip of the thumb. The second finger, with the red thimble on it, is curled tightly into the palm, with the third and fourth fingers alongside. However, these fingers should be curled a bit more loosely to ensure that the red thimble cannot be seen by the audience. All that is perceivable is the white thimble on the forefinger (Figure 165). Now give the hand a brisk up and down shake of no more than four to five inches. As you shake the hand—once or several times— on the upward sweep, curl the forefinger and white thimble tightly into the palm, and uncurl the second finger until the red thimble rests on the tip of the thumb (Figure 166). Because of the angle of the hand, the changing of the fingers is not obvious (Figure 167). Additionally, the spectators' eyes are captivated by the color change, which appears to happen in full view.


174 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

Pause a few moments to let the change be appreciated. Then shake the hand again and switch the fingers, bringing the white thimble into view and concealing the red one. After this you may proceed with other thimble tricks. The principle behind both color changes comes from a schoolboys' trick that Mr. Elmsley learned when he was eight years old. Two small pieces of paper were moistened on the tongue, then one was stuck to the nail of each forefinger. The tips of the forefingers were rested on the edge of the school desk and the hands were raised and lowered alternately in time to an old nursery rhyme: Two little birds Sitting on the wall, One named Peter, The other named Paul. Fly away, Peter. Fly away, Paul. Come back, Peter. Come back, Paul. The scraps of paper were made to vanish and appear again by secretly substituting the first and second fingers as the hands were raised and lowered. A variant of this trick is the Jumping Cigar Band, in which a paper band is caused to hop from the finger of one hand to that of the other. This old trick has borne delightful fruit in the color changes above. Both changes are easy to do and baffling to watch. While the second may seem overly bold on the flat page, rest assured, it is entirely deceptive. I recall being totally fooled by it, along with a lecture room full of magicians. Mr. Elmsley opened his first lecture with these two changes and they always garnered exclamations of surprise from his peers. September 21, 1957


THE ELMSLEY COLOR-CHANGING KNIFE ROUTINE Effect: A red pocket knife is displayed and magically caused to turn blue. Just as mysteriously it changes back to red. The performer now admits that he uses a second knife to accomplish this change, and he brings a blue knife from his pocket. The blue knife is put back in the pocket and the red knife is changed slowly and visibly to blue. The knife in the pocket is brought forth again, but it is now red. The performer explains that he was only joking about using two knives, and that only one red knife is really employed. He puts the blue knife away in his pocket. The red knife is caused to turn blue, then red once more, and finally white. With that, the performer lays the knife on the table and goes on to something else. If there are any so inclined—and there usually are—the knife can be examined. Method: For many years this has been one of Mr. Elmsley's favorite close-up effects. Spectator response is always strong. It is a beautifully structured routine, which offers a cunning bare-hand switch for the knives, and some extremely subtle touches. The knives may be any colors you wish, but for this description we will continue in a patriotic vein. You will need one knife that shows red on one side and blue on the other, one matching knife that is white on both sides, and a visible color-changing knife that is blue on one side and half red, half blue on the reverse. The half at the


176 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY hinge-end is red and the opposite end is blue. The join between the two colors should be cut on a diagonal, as shown in Figure 168. (As an historical aside, Mr. Elmsley invented the visible color-changing knife when he was twenty, only to discover that this idea had already occurred to others before him. The originator of the color-changing knife and the split-color knife was Walter Jeans, a man best remembered for the creation of brilliant stage illusions, the most famous of which was 'The Silver Hat", commonly known today as 'The Million Dollar Mystery".) It is assumed that any reader of this book will be acquainted with such a venerable standard as the color-changing knife, and with the methods of its manipulation. Since instructions for the paddle move and the use of the knives come with the knives themselves, any mysteries held by these topics can be quickly solved at a magicians' supply shop. For those who wish to school themselves further on the topic, the following texts are recommended: Merrill's Knife Book, Ascanio's World of Knives and Ganson's Routined Manipulation, Part II (pp. 12-20). Leaving the essentials of this trick to more basic texts, we will concern ourselves here only with Mr. Elmsley's routining. When you begin, have the white knife in your left pocket (either trousers or jacket), the visible color-changing knife in your right pocket and the red-blue knife in your left hand. Show the knife in your hand as red, using the paddle move or some variation of it. Then push it through the fist, causing it to change to blue. Display the blue knife and do another color change, turning it to red again. Explain that the trick is easily done if you have two knives, a red and a blue. Reach into your right pocket and bring out the visible color-changing knife, solid blue side showing. (Knives have been known to turn perversely while in one's pocket. However, if you lay the knife at the bottom of the pocket, with the hinge end forward, you can always tell which side is turned out by the position of the blade. The visible color-changing knife supplies an added tactile clue, as the join on the split side can be felt.) Lay the visible colorchanging knife, blue-side up, across the open left fingers and to the right of the red knife. The knives should be positioned with their hinge ends outward, projecting almost an inch past the left forefinger (Figure 169).


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170

visible color-changing knife on left

Now close the left fingers into a fist, turning both knives over in the action (Figure 170). The outer ends of the knives remain visible, but now it is the red end of the split knife that is seen, and the blue side of the other knife. In turning the knives over, you have subtly switched them; yet, to the spectators, nothing seems to have changed. With the right hand, draw the blue knife from the fist and pocket it. This leaves the visible color-changing knife in the left hand. Bring the right hand, open and palm-up, under the left fist, and clip the outer end of the knife between the right thumb and forefinger (Figure 171). At the same time, raise the hands a bit, concealing the knife momentarily from the spectators' view. Take advantage of this positioning to open the left fingers and relinquish the knife to the right hand. The metal end of the knife is allowed to project beyond the right forefinger; no more than that must be seen. Cover the inner (blue) half of the knife with the right thumb and ask the spectators to name the color of the knife in your hand. When they do, lower the right hand, bringing the knife again into view. It appears to be red, as expected. Now, without relinquishing the knife from the right hand, grasp it by its ends between the left second finger and thumb. Then perform a visible color-change in this manner: Slide the right thumb slowly forward, toward the outer end of the knife. As you do this, the blue end is gradually revealed, giving the illusion that the knife is changing color right before the spectators' eyes. If you like, when you reach approximately the middle of the knife, you can momentarily reverse the thumb's action, moving it back again, as if you had changed your mind. The knife consequently appears to turn back to red. Then move the thumb once more toward the outer end, continuing the change to blue. When the thumb has slid as far forward on the knife as it can without exposing the color join, lower and spread the right third and


178 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY fourth fingers as you simultaneously turn the right hand palm-down. This displays the solidblue underside of the knife. The left hand releases the knife during the right hand's turn, then retakes it by the ends once the blue side is in sight (Figure 172). Slowly slide the right first and second fingers inward along the knife, in a continuation of the thumb's steady action, thus completing the color change. With the left hand, grip the knife by its inner end and do the paddle move, casually displaying both sides. This is a pretty change, and looks truly magical. Reach into your right pocket and bring out the knife there, red side showing, as you explain, "I was just kidding you about using two knives. I really only use the one red knife." As you say this, casually put the visible color-changing knife into your left pocket and, at the same time, palm the white knife there. If you find you cannot do this smoothly and without hesitation, misdirect the spectators' attention from the left hand as you rub the red knife behind the right knee, turning it over and changing it to blue. This should provide more than adequate time to palm the white knife and extract the left hand from the pocket. Rub the blue knife on the left elbow and change it back to red. Now do any effective false transfer, pretending to pass the red knife from the right hand to the left. Please choose one that appears natural, and not one suggesting sleight-of-hand. There are a number of cigarette vanishes that can serve the purpose admirably. Mr. Elmsley finds that the closed-fist vanish from Edward Victor's The Magic of the Hands (pp. 74-75) is perfectly suited to the present needs. The actions are these: Hold the left hand at about waist height and close the fingers into a loose fist around the palmed white knife. Grip the red knife by its extreme end, between the right thumb and second fingertip, while pointing the free end toward the left. Apparently insert the knife into the opening of the left fist, but actually slip it under the bent left thumb and just outside the fingers. Figure 173 shows the spectators' view of this, while Figure 174 is an exposed underview. When all but half an inch of the knife has been pushed under the left hand, press firmly with the right thumb against the end of the knife, while relaxing the second finger. This causes the knife to pivot


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on the middle phalanx of the left thumb and to swing inward (Figure 175). Now press the tip of the right second finger against the end of the knife, just above the right thumbtip (Figure 176), and push this fingertip into the left fist. This forces the knife to snap around the


180 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

left thumb and into the right hand, aligned with the second finger (Figure 177). In the same thrusting action of the finger, contact the right end of the white knife and push it a short distance to the left; just enough to bring the metal tip into view in the curl of the left fourth finger. Withdraw the right second finger from the fist, while bending it slightly, catching the gimmicked knife in cigarette palm; i.e., gripped endwise between the second fingertip and the palm (Figure 178). When these actions are performed slowly, the illusion of the knife entering the left fist is completely convincing. Raise the left fist to your lips and simultaneously drop the right hand to your side. Blow gently on the fist several times. Then raise the right hand to meet the left, while sleeving the knife. The sleeving technique used by Mr. Elmsley is a standard one for sleeving long slender objects: While the right hand hangs at your side, grip the lower end of the knife between the thumb and third fingertip. Straighten these digits slightly, pivoting the opposite end of the knife away from the palm (Figure 179). The second fingertip, which has remained on the end of the knife, now snaps vigorously upward, shooting the knife into the sleeve (Figure 180). Begin to raise the right forearm just at the instant you sleeve the knife. Do not make this a rushed ascent. By the time the knife has reached the end of its flight within the sleeve, the arm should be approaching the horizontal. Continue to raise it, until the right hand is immediately below the left fist. Practice to make the raising of the arm a smooth unhurried action. Grip the protruding metal tip of the white knife, taking it between the right thumb and second finger. Slowly pull it from the left fist and open the fingers, letting the hand be seen empty. This is not done as an overt display; it is a nonchalant action. Casually show the white knife on both sides, performing the paddle move to keep your actions consistent with past ones. Then toss the knife to the table, should anyone wish to examine it. The sleeved knife can be retrieved at any time by lowering the right hand to your side. It is then disposed of as the hand goes to the pocket for something. 1954


THE PERPETUAL CIGARETTE Effect: The plot is the torn and restored cigarette, but with one important addition to the standard effect: the cigarette is lit from start to finish. After the performer tears it in two and then restores it, he continues to smoke it as he performs. In 1954, Mr. Elmsley had the pleasure of performing this trick and three others for Paul LePaul, after which Mr. LePaul commented that he had never been so badly fooled in his life. When Slydini first came to England to lecture, in August 1958, Mr. Elmsley saw him do his masterful version of the torn and restored cigarette. Several days later they met again and Mr. Elmsley demonstrated his own method. Slydini was complimentary, but it wasn't until Mr. Elmsley noticed the master's eyes searching the floor for an extra piece of cigarette that he knew Slydini had been fooled. Given these credentials, I believe the following method will be found especially interesting. Method: The cigarette is gimmicked. You will require a pack of filtered cigarettes—those with tan or cork colored filters are best— and some gummed cigarette papers. Take one of the papers and moisten the gummed edge. Then roll the paper into a tube around the cigarette. When the paper is dry it should form a close-fitting sleeve that slides freely up and down on the cigarette. If the cigarette papers are very thin, you may need to roll a second paper tightly around the first to strengthen it. If the paper tube overlaps the filtered portion of the cigarette, slip off the tube and trim it until its edge lies even with the printed border between tobacco and filter. This border helps to camouflage the edge of the tube. Slip the tube back over the non-filter end of the cigarette, until roughly half of the cigarette extends from the tube. Then tear the cigarette in two near its center (Figure 181). Pinch the torn end of the filtered half a bit, so that it can be easily started into the open _ end of the tube. Then slip it back into the 181 tube, forcing the far end of the tobacco half of the cigarette forward until it is even with the

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THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

opposite end of the tube (Figure 182). Though it isn't necessary, you can neatly glue this end of the cigarette inside the tube. Store the gimmicked cigarette in the cigarette pack or a cigarette case, along with some unprepared cigarettes, in a position where it can be readily recognized and removed. (A tiny pencil or ink dot on the filtered end is helpful.) When ready to perform the trick, remove the gimmicked cigarette from the pack and, while holding it between the right thumb and fingers near the middle, tamp the tobacco end against the left thumbnail. Tamp lightly to avoid kinking the paper tube. Then place the cigarette between your lips and light it. So long as the two halves of the cigarette are adjacent, it will burn and draw normally. (Mr. Elmsley, in his rakish youth, used to place the cigarette in a cigarette holder while smoking it.) Perform some brief trick while smoking—something that is over before the cigarette can burn down more than half an inch or so. Then take the cigarette from your lips, clipping it between the right first and second fingers, at the juncture of the tube and filter. Cast your full attention on the cigarette for a few seconds. Held as it is, nothing irregular can be seen, even under scrutiny. At the same time, casually allow your hands to be seen empty of everything but the cigarette. One thing to beware of here is bright light coming from behind you. This can shine through the cigarette paper, causing a shadow where the halves of the cigarette lie. With the tip of the right thumb, contact the end of the filter (Figure 183) and pivot it inward until the cigarette is caught between the thumb and first two fingers. The backs of the fingers should be toward the audience. The now horizontal cigarette lies parallel with the fingers, lit end pointing to the left (Figure 184). With the left thumb and first two fingers, grasp the center of the cigarette in a similar manner to the right hand, cupping the fingers to avoid burning yourself. The next action is critical to the illusion of tearing the cigarette in half. Behind the screen of the right fingers, bend in the right thumb and place its nail against the filter end of the cigarette (Figure 185). Then secretly push the cigarette straight to the left, until the juncture of tube and filter rests between the left and right fingertips. Immediately regrip the filter end of the cigarette between the right thumb and fingertips (Figure 186). The audience should believe you still hold the cigarette near its center. You must now convincingly feign the tearing of the cigarette in half. What really happens is this: The hands twist sharply in opposite directions, as if tearing the cigarette. They then separate, the right hand holding the cigarette by its filter, while the left hand slides the tube from the cigarette and holds as if it were the other half.


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In the final moment of the tearing action, turn the left fingertips slightly inward, toward yourself, and gently squeeze the open end of the tube out of round—do not however pinch it flat; you do not want to crease the paper. Simultaneously turn the right hand palm-up, letting the frayed end of the cigarette be clearly seen at the right fingertips (Figure 187). If these things are done, and if the hands are kept in slight motion, the end of the tube cannot be told from a genuine torn end. Stare pointedly at the end of the cigarette in the right hand. Then look at the audience, letting your expression say for you, "You can plainly see the cigarette is torn in half." Rotate the right hand counterclockwise until the fingertips are again pointing leftward and the cigarette is held horizontally. At the same time, relax the left fingers' pressure on the tube, allowing the


184 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY end to open again. If necessary, you can roll the tube a bit between the left fingers and thumb to help it open. Then slide the tube back onto the cigarette. The right fingers should now hold the cigarette and tube near their juncture. Bring the left hand away, letting the fingers spread to expose the burning end of the cigarette, and nonchalantly show the hand empty. Then, with the right hand, place the cigarette between your lips and give it one or two deep puffs, showing that it is fully restored and still burning. While you perform, and continue to smoke the cigarette, the evidence is slowly but irrevocably destroyed. Practice these actions until they are smooth and convincing, and you will possess the most impressive cigarette restoration yet invented. c. 1954


A CIGARETTE VANISH Effect: This vanish of a cigarette can be used either as an opening sequence in a cigarette manipulation routine or as an impromptu bit of business. In effect the spectators see you remove a cigarette from its pack, tamp its end on the pack, then go to light it. As the lighter is raised, the cigarette in the other hand is found to have vanished. Aside from the lighter, the hands are otherwise empty. Method: To begin, bring the cigarette pack from your right coat pocket and, with the left fingers, draw a cigarette from it. Hold the pack in the right hand, fingers curled against the left side. The case should be securely held in place between the fingertips on one side and the base of the thumb on the other, its top angled to the right. This grip leaves the right thumb free to move. Hold the cigarette near its upper end, between the tips of the left thumb and second finger. The cigarette should lie across the tips of all four fingers. Tamp the lower end of the cigarette several times on the back of the pack, packing the tobacco in the usual manner (Figure 188). On the final tap, secretly let the cigarette swivel between the left thumb and second fingertip, its lower end sliding inward on the pack, until the cigarette lies flat against it (Figure 189). With the right thumb, clip the cigarette to the pack and raise the outer end of the pack slightly, angling the cigarette just beyond the


186 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY audience's line of sight (Figure 190). While pretending to hold the cigarette behind the left fingertips, move the right hand with the pack and hidden cigarette to the right coat pocket. Deposit the pack and cigarette in the pocket and bring out a lighter, which you have previously placed there. Raise the left hand to your lips, and the right hand close behind it, mimicking the actions of preparing to light a cigarette. Then open the left fingers, revealing the disappearance of the cigarette. Show surprise. Look around for the cigarette, shrug and either reach for another or proceed to something else. This vanish is intended as an incidental but pleasant interlude between other effects. The key to its success is nonchalance. When performed casually, it is most effective. September 21, 1957


A PRODUCTION OF CIGARETTES IN HOLDERS Rather than produce just cigarettes, as is done traditionally by magicians, some years ago Mr. Elmsley desired to produce cigarettes in cigarette holders. The cigarettes and holders measured more than twice the length of the cigarettes alone and seemed impossible to conceal and manipulate. To make such productions possible, Mr. Elmsley adapted a special gimmicked cigarette holder, marketed in the 1950s. He glued a hollow fake cigarette to the holder, and in this way constructed a cigarette-and-holder gimmick that collapsed to a size suitable for palming; yet it could be readily extended to its full length when produced. When he came to the United States in 1959 for his first lecture tour, rather than bring these gimmicks with him, he searched through the dime stores of Chicago for materials from which gimmicks could be constructed. The materials he settled on were paper, plastic drinking straws and the caps from make-up pencils. Here is how the gimmicks are made from these materials: The plastic cap, which will form the mouth of the cigarette holder, is roughly conical in shape and of an inside circumference approximating that of a cigarette. Such caps are often found on eyebrow and theatrical make-up pencils. The drinking straw required must be of the heavier plastic sort, not of the thin-walled variety. Cut it to a length just a bit more than that of a cigarette. Then, with a pencil or pen tip, expand one end of the straw, stretching the lip to create a flange. From stiff paper, fashion a small ring or collar, about a quarter of an inch wide, that fits closely around the straw and slides freely up and down it. However, this collar must be too small to pass over the flanged end of the straw. Cut the tip from the plastic cap at a point that creates a hole in the cap the circumference of the straw (Figure 191). Apply a coat of


188 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY glue around the outer surface of the paper collar and affix the collar permanently inside the cap, (Figure 192). The straw should slide freely through the assembled cap and collar. Slip the straw into the cap until the flanged end lodges against the paper collar. Now fashion a fake cigarette by rolling a piece of stiff white paper into a cigarette-sized tube. Plug one end of the tube with a bit of crumpled red foil, in imitation of a glowing tip, and glue this foil ball permanently in place. The inside diameter of the dummy cigarette should be slightly larger than the flanged end of the straw. Glue the open end of the dummy into the mouth of the pen cap. You should be able to telescope the straw portion of the holder almost completely into the hollow cigarette. About a quarter of an inch of straw must project beyond the tip of the cap when the holder is fully collapsed (Figure 193). If you wish, the straw and cap can be painted, so long as the paint does not retard the smooth opening and closing of the gimmick. Make three of these gimmicked cigarettes and holders. Then construct a matching holder that does not collapse. Place a genuine cigarette into this. You have one more simple item to manufacture: a holdout for the three gimmicks. This is made from a rectangle of stiff cardboard, a safety pin and a rubber band. The cardboard rectangle is roughly half an inch shorter than the length of the collapsed gimmicks and almost an inch wider than their combined diameters. Cut two small wedgeshaped notches on each long side of the card. These notches are positioned about a third of the way in from each end. Install a slight lengthwise bend in the card and tape the fixed stave of a safety pin to the upper long side (Figure 194). Lay the three collapsed gimmicks together and parallel along the length of the card, on the concave side, and fix them to it with a rubber band. Loop the rubber band over the front of the card and catch it through the four notches (Figure 195). Pin the loaded holdout to your shirt, just above your right trousers pocket. You can then steal the gimmicks from the holdout at any time. Simply grip them with the heel of the right hand on the inner (cigarette) ends, and the tips of the second, third and fourth fingers on the outer (holder) ends (Figure 196). Now pull downward. This forces the rubber band from the lower notches of the holdout and releases the gimmicks. To produce the cigarettes in holders, have the three gimmicks in their holdout under your coat, as described above. In the right trousers pocket have a lighter or matches. Position the genuine cigarette in cigarette holder in your left coat pocket, or in a holdout under the edge of the coat, or in some other place where it can be secretly obtained by the left hand.


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Begin the sequence either by bringing the genuine cigarette and holder from your pocket, or by stealing them in the left hand and producing them from the air. Place the cigarette holder in your mouth. Bring the lighter or matches from the right trousers pocket and light the cigarette. As you draw on it and blow a cloud of smoke, replace the lighter (matches) in the trousers pocket and, as the hand comes from the pocket, steal the three gimmicks, palming them in the right hand. Now blow a puff of smoke at the left hand and seem to catch it there. Turn to your left, and in that action bring the hands momentarily together. While screening the left hand behind the right hand, steal the first gimmick, that held between the second finger and the heel of the palm, into the left hand. This can be quickly done. Simply pinch the stem end of the gimmick, catching it between the left forefinger and thumb (Figure 197), and swing the gimmick in toward the left palm, where it can be hidden behind the left hand.


190 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

Smoothly separate the hands, turning the back of the left hand toward the audience to conceal the gimmick. Immediately form the left hand into a fist around the gimmick, simultaneously turning the hand thumb-side down. As a magical gesture, rub the right fingertips in small circles on the back of the left hand. This conceals the motion of the left thumb as you insert it into the fist and push up slowly on the tip of the stem, causing the cigarette to rise into view (Figure 198). Push as much of the cigarette and holder as you can from the left fist. It should be understood that all these actions, from the catching of the smoke in the left hand to the production of the cigarette and holder, are combined to create one smooth flowing motion. With the right hand, grasp the newly produced holder by the cap, taking it between the first and second fingers, and draw it from the left fist, pulling out the stem of the holder (the straw) in the act. This extends the holder to its full length. The appearance of the cigarette and holder from the hand looks quite magical. As you complete the production, draw deeply on the lit cigarette in your mouth and retain a generous quantity of smoke. With your left hand, remove the cigarette and holder from your lips, taking them between the first and second fingers. Then raise the visible gimmick in your right hand to your mouth and pretend to draw on it. Leave the gimmick between your lips and expel some of the smoke you have held back. As attention is focused on this act, transfer the cigarette and holder in the left hand to the right hand, taking them between the first and second fingers. This action puts you in a perfect position to steal the palmed second gimmick into the left hand, very much as you did the first. Produce this gimmick in the manner just described. The cigarette and holder between the right fingers will not seriously hinder the actions. Take the newly produced gimmick between the right second and third fingers, freeing the left hand so that it can remove the previous gimmick from your lips. Then raise the new cigarette in holder to your mouth and leave it there.


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Pretend to draw on the fresh cigarette, then release some of the smoke you have been holding back. This business is again used as mild misdirection, while you place the left hand's gimmick between the right second and third fingers, and steal the third gimmick into the left hand. Produce that gimmick as you have the others, and take it between the right third and fourth fingers. Now take the gimmick from your mouth, holding it between the right thumb and forefinger. Conclude by displaying the four apparently lit cigarettes in holders all in the right hand (Figure 199). This is only a sample routine. Of course, other sequences can be developed with these production cigarettes in holders. The interested manipulator will find them an elegant embellishment to his act. 1959


MAGNETIC MONTE Effect: Three miniature magic wands are exhibited and one is shown to be magnetic. It picks up a safety pin or paper clip while the others do not. The wands are mixed and someone is asked to pick the magnetic one from the three. As in three-card monte, the threeshell game and similar propositions, the spectator never succeeds in choosing the correct wand; yet the performer can find the magnetic wand every time. Method: This is decidedly not a deep mystery. It is one of those puzzling challenges to one's audience, which can be either amusing or frustrating, depending entirely upon the attitude and presentation of the performer. "Magnetic Monte" was one of Mr. Elmsley's earliest inventions and his first trick to be put on the market. Harry Stanley released it when Alexander Elmsley was a young man of nineteen. None of the three wands is magnetic, though all three are fashioned from soft iron, which becomes magnetic for as long as it is in contact with a magnet—and that is the secret. When any one of the three wands is touched to a small bar magnet, palmed in the hand, it becomes the magnetic wand. Three three-inch lengths of iron rod are painted black and white, or are wrapped with black and white tape, to resemble magic wands. The secret magnet should measure about an inch in length, and be of a size that can be easily finger palmed against the center phalanx of the right second finger (Figure 200). Mr. Elmsley suggests that the sides of the magnet be laminated with paper, to deaden any clicking when the wand and magnet meet. If a metal pillbox, like those that throat lozenges come in, is carried in the right coat pocket, it can act as a holdout for the magnet. Simply place the magnet inside the coat, near the bottom of the pocket, letting it cling to the box through the inside lining. By dropping the right hand to the side, in a relaxed posture, you can curl the fingers under the edge of the coat and either pick up or deposit the magnet. The last item you will need is a small steel object that is obviously attracted to a magnet. A safety pin or paper clip will serve nicely. In this description, a safety pin is assumed.


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When ready to perform, toss the three wands and the pin onto the table, letting your hands be seen empty. While, with the left hand you arrange the wands into a row, with the right second finger, palm the magnet. Then, with the right hand, pick up one wand by its near end, not allowing it to contact the magnet, and touch the other end to the pin. The pin of course does not cling to it. Set down this wand and pick up another. This time, let the held end of the wand touch the magnet (Figure 200). Pick up the pin with the wand, proving it to be magnetic. Pull the pin from the wand and set this wand apart from the others. With the right hand, pick up the third wand and show that it does not attract the pin. Lay this wand beside the first. Now pick up all three wands in this fashion: Grasp one of the apparently nonmagnetic wands by its opposite ends between the left thumb and second fingertip. Then pick up the wand identified as magnetic between the left thumb and first fingertip. With the right hand, pick up the remaining wand in a similar grip, between the thumb and forefinger (Figure 201). Now throw the wands one by one onto the table, imitating the tossing actions used for three-card monte. Your actions should be clear enough to allow the spectators to follow the positions of the wands, yet just quick enough to instill a shade of doubt about the


194 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY forthrightness of your motions. The slightly suspicious tinge given the toss provides a red herring, drawing thoughts toward a manipulative solution to the trick and away from a physical explanation. Let someone point out the wand he believes to be magnetic, and show him that it does not attract the pin. Then take up either of the remaining two wands and, while bringing it into contact with the palmed magnet, pick up the pin. The trick now consists of the repetition of this mix and find sequence, in which the spectator always chooses the wrong wand or wands. The trick should be concluded while the puzzle is still amusing. Mr. Elmsley adds a bit of by-play to the challenge by presenting the spectator with a small stack of cards, poker chips or coins in the beginning, with which they bet on each guess. By the end of the trick he has won back the entire advance. This ploy is designed to add to the entertainment value of the presentation while diminishing, it is hoped, the adversarial or challenge aspect implicit in such tricks. The goal is to entertain, not to antagonize, one's audience. Keep the mood light and playful, and "Magnetic Monte" can prove an amusing interlude. c. 1949


RING ON SILK Effect: A silk scarf is displayed and formed into an improvised bag. Into this is dropped a large metal ring (Figure 202). Aside from the scarf and ring, the performer's hands are obviously empty. Without a false move, he grasps two diagonally opposite corners of the gathered scarf and pulls them apart. As the scarf opens between the hands, the ring suddenly appears on its center (Figure 203). The scarf is unquestionably threaded through the ring, having in some strange way penetrated it. The handling of the ring and scarf is meticulously fair throughout the effect, and after the ring is dropped into the scarf, its penetration is almost instantaneous. Method: You will need a Jardine Ellis ring. This is a large, seamless, metal ring with a shell that fits closely over it. Some admirably crafted Ellis rings, of either steel or brass, are available from magicians' supply shops. You will also need an opaque silk handkerchief, from fifteen to eighteen inches square. Magicians' silk is too thin for our purpose, and linen handkerchiefs are too heavy. Instead use a silk handkerchief such as


196 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY those sported in jacket breast pockets. Choose an attractive solid color that contrasts well with the ring. Display the handkerchief and the Ellis ring (nested in its shell), clearly showing your hands otherwise empty. Hold the ring vertically near the bottom of its circumference, shell toward the audience, between the left thumb and forefinger. Then, with the help of the right hand, draw one corner of the handkerchief (corner A) forward between the left first and second fingers (Figure 204). Clip it there, letting the handkerchief hang inside the hand, lying over the second, third and fourth fingers. With your right hand, grasp the bottom corner of the handkerchief (corner D) and raise it inward (Figure 205). In one smooth action, pass this corner through the ring and shell, then between the left first and second fingers (Figure 206). Take care not to drop corner A, already held there. Clip corner D on top of corner A. Move the left third and forth fingers to the near side of the handkerchief. Then, with the right hand, catch the hanging left corner (B) and raise it to the left hand. Draw this corner inward between the left third and fourth fingers and clip it there. Then, with the right hand, grasp the fourth corner (C) and raise it to the left hand. It is important that, when you do this, the two adjacent edges of the handkerchief spread apart, opening to form a bag-like fold (Figure 207). Pinch this corner between the third and fourth fingers, alongside corner B (Figure 208). With a bit of practice, this gathering of the corners can be done quickly and gracefully. To the audience you appear to be merely forming the handkerchief into a pouch, which indeed you are—but it is a pouch of a certain type, as will be seen shortly. With your right hand once more free, apparently take the ring, which has remained displayed throughout, from the left hand. In reality, you take the shell and leave the ring threaded on the corner of the handkerchief. To do this, bring the right fingers in front of the ring to grasp it. Behind the right fingers, ease the pressure of the left thumb and forefinger on the ring, letting it fall toward you and out of the shell (Figure 209). While you hold the shell between the right thumb and fingers, allow the ring to slide down the comer (D) and inside the handkerchief, out of sight (Figure 210). Here, it is wise to move the hands a few inches, to disguise any outward disturbance


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198 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY of the cloth caused by the descending ring. This is readily done if the ring is dropped as you slip the shell from the corner of the handkerchief. Exhibit the disengaged shell in the right hand. Now neatly drop the shell into the pocket of the handkerchief you formed when you raised the last corner; that is, just inside the outermost layer of fabric on the right side (return to Figure 202). Make it clear that the shell does go into the handkerchief, and take care not to let it hit the ring, which is suspended in the bag a few inches above the bottom. It is important that the shell falls to the bottom of the bag, and is not caught in a fold. With the right hand, grasp the shell through the cloth and gently tug it several times, making its form visible and showing that it truly rests at the bottom of the bag. This action also serves a more important purpose: it assures that the shell rests at the center of the handkerchief. Now, with a touch of showmanship, release corners B and C from between the left third and fourth fingers, and let them drop. Bring the right hand up to the held corners of the handkerchief and grasp corner D, gripping it tightly between the right thumb and fingers, about two inches below the tip of the corner. Smoothly separate the hands, stretching out the handkerchief horizontally between them while holding it by corners A and D. Press the right thumb firmly against the cloth and keep the right fingertips pointed upward. Stretch out the handkerchief briskly, but do not snap it open. The shell rests concealed in a trough formed along the taut diagonal of the cloth (Figure 211). You do not want to sling it from its hiding place. (The principle behind this ingenious concealment has been published several times over the years. To my knowledge the earliest appearance—which Milton Kort brought to my attention—is in Will Lindhorst's A Bag of Tricks [p. 60, 1931]. Mr. Lindhorst did not mention the inventor's name, but Dai Vernon believes the vanish, as it is used in Mr. Elmsley's trick, was devised by vaudeville magician, Wallace Galvin.)


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As you stretch out the handkerchief, the ring around it is brought dramatically into view (Figure 203). There is a knack to drawing the handkerchief open while keeping the shell securely hidden: the wrists dip first downward, then upward—an action that will be discovered with practice. If you have centered the shell in the handkerchief as explained, and dropped corners B and C before stretching out the handkerchief, the shell will lie securely hidden in the trough. Pause to let the effect register. Then bring the two held corners together, letting the handkerchief sag between them, and gather the handkerchief with the ring and shell inside. Conclude by putting everything away in a pocket or close-up case. This is a quick and offbeat trick with a strong visual element and no seeming explanation. Harvey Rosenthal observes that this excellent effect begs for a repetition, and that you are in a position to do so at the finish of the penetration. As you bring the palm-up right hand under the center of the handkerchief, where the ring and shell rest, let them settle onto the right palm. Release the left hand's corners, draping the handkerchief across the right hand. You can now substitute the hidden shell for the ring as you pretend to strip the ring off the handkerchief. Several handlings for magically replacing the ring on the center of the handkerchief are now possible, following well-known patterns laid down for the Ring on Stick and established Ring on Handkerchief variations. From this information the reader should be able to devise a satisfactory handling governed by personal preference. September 21, 1957


PHYSICAL MEDIUM Effect: Someone securely binds the performer's thumbs together with a short length of cord. The performer then reaches over his head, grabs the collar of his jacket and pulls the jacket over his head (Figure 212) until it falls, inside-out, in front of him over his arms and hands (Figure 213). He now freezes in position and withdraws into an intense state of concentration. Suddenly he makes a sharp motion with his arms and the jacket is thrown to the floor (Figure 214). His thumbs are seen to be still firmly tied and the bindings may be checked. The jacket has in some strange way penetrated the solid circle of his arms and bound hands. Method: This is an original feat designed by Mr. Elmsley for performance with the thumb tie trick. It may be used on its own as a sort of mediumistic stunt, or as part of a longer thumb tie routine. Done with the proper sense of theatrics, this little effect can bring gasps from spectators, as it did from many in Mr. Elmsley's lecture audiences when he demonstrated it. Any one of many thumb ties can be used; the method is unimportant, so long as it is convincing and practical. Several excellent methods, including the venerable Ten Ichi tie, can be found in Volume 4 of the Tarbell Course in Magic (pp. 263-285). Mr. Elmsley uses the scissors tie from Max Andrews' Sixteen Thumb Tie Gems (pp. 16-17). There are other ties that permit faster release and re-entry, but since great speed is not a requisite in this trick, and abundant cover is provided by the coat, the scissors tie is most convincing and serves the purpose admirably. This tie is taught below. You need about nineteen inches of stiff cord or twine. Hand the cord to someone and ask that they tightly bind your thumbs together. Hold out your hands, thumbs side by side, and instruct your helper to wind the cord twice around the middle phalanges of the thumbs, finishing with the ends of the cord held above them. Then have him tie several knots, cinching the cord tightly around the thumbs (Figure 215). As he pulls the circles of cord tight, bend the outer phalanges of the thumbs downward and pull the thumbs slightly apart, exerting a firm but subtle outward pressure against the winds.


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Bending the thumbs contracts the muscles of the middle phalanges, making them thicker. This and the outward pulling combine to give you a small but significant bit of slack in the wraps of the cord. Yet, to the person tying you, the cord seems tight and constricting. To release your right thumb from the cord, simply straighten the thumbs and cross the right under the left, forming an X (Figure 216). The thumbs move something like the blades of a scissors. This action further loosens the cord, allowing enough slack for the right thumb to slip free. If the thumb is inserted again into the loops of cord and the actions are reversed, the thumbs appear once more to be bound tightly side by side. Now to the jacket release: The jacket must be unbuttoned before you start the trick. Have your thumbs bound as described. Then reach the bound hands over your head and behind your neck. Hook the thumbs under the jacket collar and pull the jacket up and straight over your head (Figure 212). Let the jacket fall inside-out over the head and onto your arms. Shrug it down onto the forearms (Figure 213) and, hidden by these larger motions, slip the right thumb from the cord. Under cover of the jacket, let the sleeves fall over the hands and off. Minimize as much as possible the motions necessary for the release of the jacket. Do not let it fall to the ground. Instead, hold the jacket draped over the hands and reinsert the right thumb into the cord. The task is accomplished. You need now only build the mystery and drama. Stand stock still and stare at the floor, giving an impression of deep concentration. Hold this pose for fifteen to twenty seconds. Then suddenly toss the jacket off your arms and let it fall to the floor. Clearly exhibit your tied thumbs and have your helper check the bindings. Then either have him cut you loose or continue with other thumb tie feats. 1959


SLEEVE LOADING FOR THE CUPS AND BALLS Cups and Balls routines almost invariably conclude with the production of large balls, fruits or vegetables. These final load items are commonly carried in the rear trousers pockets until required. Most professionals recognize that standard trousers pockets must be enlarged by a tailor to permit the smooth steal of such loads. Another method of concealment, though it has fallen out of fashion for no good reason, is to carry the large loads in holders under the lower edge of the coat, as stage manipulators do billiard balls. This approach eliminates the need to go repeatedly to the pockets during a routine. Mr. Elmsley, in a billiard ball routine he once performed, combined the principle of sleeving with the stealing of balls, and he suggests that the same combination can be singularly effective in the context of the Cups and Balls. While the moves can be executed with either hand, for the purpose of explanation it is assumed that the right hand is performing the load. The object to be loaded—let's say it is a large ball—must be reasonably heavy. Such items as crocheted cork balls are not suitable for this technique. First steal the ball from either pocket or holder as the hand hangs relaxed at your side, and hold it cupped in the curled right fingers. The left hand claims the audience's attention as the steal is made, by lifting one of the cups to reveal the appearance of one or more of the small balls. With the tips of the right second and third fingers, contact the palmed ball and, with minimal motion, roll or walk it up the heel of the hand toward the wrist. The sleeve of the coat hangs naturally open, allowing the ball to enter it, as shown in Figure 217.


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With the ball now started into the sleeve, raise the right hand and forearm to a roughly horizontal position in front of you, and simultaneously squeeze the second and third fingers firmly against the ball, causing it to squirt or shoot into the coat sleeve. The sleeving of the ball is not at all difficult, and the larger action of raising the arm covers any finger motion as the sleeving is done. The combined actions of arm and fingers assure that the ball travels smoothly into the sleeve. Of course, one's coat sleeve must be of a size to accommodate the ball, and the shirt sleeve should be either tight fitting or rolled back to allow an unhindered passage. Your motivation for raising the right forearm is to bring the hands together before you, so that the right hand may relieve the left of its cup. Grasp the cup by its rim, taking it between the right forefinger and thumb (Figure 218), while casually letting the right hand be seen otherwise empty. This is the subtle moment for which we have worked. While attention is certainly not drawn to the right hand, its emptiness registers subconsciously with the lay spectators, and allays magicians' suspicions of a load. With either group, the loading procedure is nicely obfuscated. To introduce the sleeved ball into the cup, simply lower the right forearm sufficiently to cause the ball to roll from the sleeve and into the curled right fingers (Figure 219). Then permit the ball to roll gently into the cup. If the ball is made of rubber or another soft material, talking is not a serious concern. If, however, something like a billiard ball is used, care must be taken when easing the ball into the cup. Alternatively, some covering noise can be made with another of the cups; or you may wish to line the cups with felt, as did many oldtime Cups and Balls workers. With the ball now loaded, the right hand can invert the cup and set it down in the usual way. The other two cups are eventually loaded in a similar manner, while the routine progresses, readying you for the final productions. This use of sleeving is a cunning refinement in cup loading technique, and will be appreciated by performers who aspire to something above the average in their deceptions. November 1953


THE ELMSLEY CUPS AND BALLS ROUTINE Effect: The time-honored set of three metal cups is set on the table, along with a small ball. The ball quickly vanishes from the performer's hand and appears under one of the cups. This feat is repeated. The ball is now caused to penetrate through the solid bottom of a cup, then to multiply into three balls. One ball is placed into each cup, but the three balls magically congregate in the center cup. The cups are then stacked together and inverted. From them issues a stream of salt—enough salt to fill all three cups to overflowing. Method: The major novelty in Mr. Elmsley's version of this classic trick is the copious production of salt at the finish. What is more remarkable about this production is that it is not introduced into the cups during the routine—it is there from the beginning! You will need a standard set of three cups. Also required are three half or three-quarter inch balls (cork or crocheted), a sheet of newspaper and a quantity of salt. A metal tray large enough to perform the routine on is another item you might consider. The tray is used to contain the overflow of salt at the finish and to make the clearing of the performing surface fast and neat. To prepare, set the three cups mouths up and drop a ball into two of them. Fill the third with salt. Performing conditions will dictate how high the cup isfilled.You must judge the height and proximity of your audience, and the distance the spectators can peer down into the cups on the table. Under most circumstances the cup can be safely filled to at least three-quarters height without the salt being seen. With the cups still mouths up, nest them together with the saltfilled one uppermost. Next, open out the sheet of newspaper onto the working surface (table or tray) and pour a quantity of salt onto the quadrant that will rest directly on the table when the paper is refolded. The amount of salt should be enough to more than fill all


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three cups when added to that already in the one cup. Smooth the salt into an even layer on the paper, keeping the outer edges free of it (Figure 220). Then fold the paper back into quarters over the saltladen portion. This paper will be your working surface. Lay the remaining ball onto the center of the newspaper and set the cups, mouths up, in a line behind it, with the salt-filled cup on your right. For ease of learning, the routine will be taught in five phases.

First Phase Draw attention to the ball and pick it up in the right hand. At the same time, with your left hand nest the cups together, picking them up from right to left. Set the ball down again in its spot. With your right hand, take the bottom cup of the stack and set it mouth down on the table, just to the right of the ball. Do not, of course, let the ball inside this cup be seen as the cup is inverted. Set the remaining two cups, mouth up and nested, to the left of the ball. The positions of the cups and visible ball are shown in Figure 221. With the right hand, pick up the ball and pretend to place it into the left hand. Actually execute a false transfer and palm it in the right hand. (It is assumed that the reader of this book has a foundation in the basics of conjuring and will be conversant with the classic methods employed in the Cups and Balls, such as false transfers and palming. If such sleights are unknown to you, they can be found in many general texts. Therefore, a redescription of these techniques is not supplied.) Make a magical gesture over the closed left hand and open it to show the ball has vanished. Then, with the right hand, lift the righthand cup and show the ball under it. Set the cup, mouth up, behind the ball. Pause a moment to let the effect register. Then, with the left hand, pick up the two nested cups and, with the right hand, the third, single cup. Carry the right hand's cup to the stack, secretly drop the palmed ball into the cup, and slip it back onto the bottom of the stack. Thus you have returned to the opening position of the routine. When loading a ball, at this point and hence forward, never look at the cup.

Second Phase With the right hand, pick up the ball and display it. Then set it at the center of the table. Remove the bottom cup of the stack and set it mouth down to the right of the ball and a bit behind it. A second ball lies under this cup. With the right hand, remove the top cup of the nested pair (the salt-filled cup) and place it, mouth up, behind


MINUS FIFTY-TWO 2 0 7 the exposed ball. Then, with the left hand, invert the remaining cup—with ball inside— setting it to the left of the first two. The situation is depicted in Figure 222. Pick up the exposed ball and pretend to place it into the left hand. Really palm it in the right. Open the left hand and show the ball gone. Then, with the left hand, pick up the cup on your left, revealing the ball underneath. Set the cup mouth up behind the ball. With the right hand, pick up the center cup and drop it neatly into the left-hand cup, simultaneously loading the palmed ball into the lower cup. Slide the two stacked cups farther to the left and leave them there. Now pick up the visible ball and perform the Charlie Miller cup and ball move: Close the right hand into a fist and rest it on top of the right-hand cup, thumb uppermost. Set the ball into the curl of the right forefinger and thumb, and grasp the cup with your left hand (Figure 223). Now you do two things in close succession: you open the right fingers just enough to permit the ball to sink swiftly into the fist; and you raise the left and right hands as a unit with the cup, exposing the ball beneath (Figure 224). As you lift the cup, try to nudge the ball, giving it a slight movement on the table. If done correctly, these actions create an


208 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

illusion of the ball almost visibly penetrating the cup. The small movement of the ball as it comes into view is important to the illusion. Timing is essential to the success of this move. The pause between the dropping of the ball into the hand and the raising of the cup is approximately that of the time it would take for the ball to fall from the top of the fist to the table. (For more information on this sleight, see Lewis Ganson's description in The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, pp 188-189.) You now have one ball finger-palmed in the right hand and a cup in the left. Allow the cup to swivel mouth up in the left hand and pass it to the right hand. Secretly drop the palmed ball into the cup as you transfer it. Then, with the left hand, pick up the two stacked cups and nest the third cup under them. You are once more in opening position.

Third Phase With your right hand, remove the bottom cup of the stack and set it mouth up to the right. This cup contains a ball. Grasp the next cup of the stack, again with the right hand, and invert it behind the visible ball. Unknown to the audience, this cup has another ball under it. With the left hand, set the remaining cup (salt-filled) well to the left (Figure 225). Pick up the exposed ball and set it onto the center cup. With the right hand, invert the right-hand cup over the center cup. This adds a second ball between the nested cups.


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Tap the stacked cups and, with the left hand, lift them to expose the ball underneath. Transfer the two cups, still nested, to the right hand, turning them mouth up. Then, with the left hand, invert the lower cup of the pair over the visible ball. This secretly adds the other two balls to it. To demonstrate further how strangely permeable the cups are, pick up the salt-filled cup in your left hand. Briefly show the cup in your right hand empty. Then toss the loaded left hand's cup straight down into right hand's cup. Let the impact knock the right hand's cup from the right fingers and catch this cup in the left hand as the hand sweeps downward. The loaded cup is retained in the right hand. This ancient maneuver, when done casually and unfalteringly, creates a perfect illusion of one cup passing through the other. (Since the publication of Robert-Houdin's Les Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magie in 1868 [p. 334], this incidental effect with the cups has become a standard interlude in Cups and Balls routines.) Here, Mr. Elmsley makes the flourish serve a triple purpose: while creating a surprising illusion of penetration, the actions also secretly exchange the cups while implying their emptiness. Set the salt-filled cup mouth up to the right. Give the audience another quick glimpse of the empty interior of the left hand's cup and set it mouth up to the left. Make a magical gesture over the center cup and lift it, disclosing the three balls.

Fourth Phase Set the raised cup mouth up just behind the three balls. With the right hand, pick up one of the balls and perform a false transfer. With the left hand, pretend to place the ball into the mouth-up right-hand cup. Actually, retain it in the right hand and maneuver the ball into thumb palm. Then, as you reach over the center cup for another ball, secretly drop the palmed ball into the cup. Execute another false transfer, apparently taking the second ball into the left hand. Pretend to drop the ball into the left-hand cup. As you reach with the right hand for the third ball, drop the thumbpalmed ball into the center cup. Display the third ball at the right fingertips while, with the left hand, you pick up the center cup. Set the ball onto the table and cover it with the cup, secretly adding the other two balls to it. Gesture as if invisibly passing the balls in the end cups to the center cup. Then simultaneously pick up the end cups and drop the right hand's cup into the left's. Hold the nested pair in the right hand as, with the left hand, you lift the center cup to disclose the three balls under it. Place the nested pair of cups into the third and pause for the audience's reaction.


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Fifth Phase Adjust the right hand's grip on the three cups as follows: Move the fourth finger to the near side of the bottom cup, catching it between the fourth and third fingers. Also stretch the thumb across the mouth of the top cup in such a way as to leave a narrow channel between the thumb and the inner rim of the cup (Figure 226). Tip the stack of cups over and let the salt cascade from them onto the newspaper. By shifting the thumb you can control the speed of the pour. This surprising production will generate applause as the pour occurs. When all the salt has been poured from the cup, arrange the three cups, mouths up, in a close row on the table (or, if you are using one, the tray), just in front of the newspaper. Then, with both hands, pick up the newspaper and, working from left to right, pour the salt back into the cups. Of course, the salt hidden in the folds of the paper joins that on top, and the combined amount fills the three cups to overflowing—a most impressive finish for the routine. Of course, other substances can replace the salt as a final load. Even liquid or livestock loads are conceivable. A paper coil is another possibility. Study the structure of this routine. The actions are cleverly blocked to give an impression that all three cups are used throughout the trick, though the one is secretly filled with salt. It is an exceedingly well thought out sequence that makes possible an astonishing final production without recourse to the pockets or the lap. Indeed, it should be performed while standing. September 21, 1957


Chapter Five:

Twisted Classics


1002nd ACES Effect: The four aces are removed from the pack and laid out in a row on the table. Someone freely nominates one of the aces and three indifferent cards are dealt onto it. The ace on the bottom of this packet is displayed once more and a magical gesture is made over the other three aces. When these are turned face-up, they are found to be indifferent cards—and all four aces are shown to have gathered in the selected ace pile. The plot is that of a classic ace assembly. However, Mr. Elmsley has streamlined the procedure while adopting a clever idea of Eric de la Mare's, which permits a spectator the free choice of any ace on the table as the leader card. (Mr. de la Mare's original handling, which was Mr. Elmsley's inspiration, appeared in Pentagram, Vol. nd13, No. 5, Feb. 1959, pp. 37-38.) Since its publication in 1957, "1002 Aces" has gained a reputation among cardmen as a noteworthy development in the genre. In fairness, Eric de la Mare's important contribution to the plot should be more widely recognized. Method: The first requirement is that the four aces be switched for indifferent cards as they are laid out on the table. There are many packet switches that will serve the purpose admirably. Mr. Elmsley has used several over the years. One of his preferred techniques is Herb Zarrow's add-on switch: _ Turn the deck face-up and begin to spread it from left hand to right. As you push over the first four cards, grip them in a roughly squared bunch at the right side, between the right thumb (on the face) and forefinger (on the back). Continue to spread cards into the right hand, but use the right second, third and fourth fingers to clasp these beneath the four-card block. Taking the cards in this manner forms a step between the block and the balance of the deck (Figure 227).


2 1 4 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY As you spread through the cards, watch for aces. When an ace is discovered, break the spread at that point, retaining the ace on the face of the left-hand portion, and push the ace under the right thumb, onto the face of the deck. Spread through the pack until you have conveyed all four aces to the face. This sorting is done openly and the aces may be shown to the audience as they are collected. When all four aces have been shifted to the face of the pack, close the spread into the left hand and convert the step into a left fourthfinger break under the eight cards. Bring the right hand palm-down over the pack and lift away the block of cards above the break, holding it by its ends with the fingers hiding the thickness of the outer edge. With the left thumb, flip the pack face-down in the left hand. Then set the right hand's packet square onto the deck, catching another fourth-finger break under the face-up cards. Fan over the top three cards and take the upper pair into the right hand, clearly displaying all four aces. Rejoin the right hand's two aces with the fanned aces on the deck, and immediately grip all four aces, right thumb on top and fingers beneath. As you assume this grip, secretly introduce the tip of the right second finger into the break (Figure 228). Now, without hesitation, draw the fan to the right, taking the four hidden cards with it, until the left edge of the fan touches the left fingertips (Figure 229). Then flip the cards leftward and face-down onto the pack, allowing gravity to close the fan. The instant the eight-card packet lands squarely on the pack, push the top four cards to the right. You wish to give the impression that the aces never fall quite square with the pack as they are turned down. Take special note of the splitting of the aces when displaying them just before the switch. This small handling touch by Mr. Elmsley to the Zarrow add-on sets up the switch and gives the sequence a most casual and innocent appearance. With the right hand, immediately grip the four spread cards and move them forward until their left inner corners can be clipped by the left thumb to the right outer corner of the pack (Figure 230). This sequence of actions, from the flipping down of the cards to the outjogging of the four, should be performed as one smooth movement. Done in this manner, the switch is indetectable. Now deal the four cards into a face-down row on the table. Ask someone to indicate any one of the four. Invite him to change his mind if he likes. As he deliberates on the choice offered, give the pack a quick false shuffle, retaining the aces on top. When a card is finally settled on, say, "On that ace I shall deal three more cards." Do this. As you push over the third card for the right hand, also push the next card slightly to the right and catch a left fourth-finger break under it. This is the fourth ace. With the palm-down right hand, pick up the four-card pile by its ends as you ask, "By the way, do you remember which ace this is?"


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It is unlikely, under the circumstances, that the spectator will even hazard a guess at this. Bring the packet over the deck, ostensibly to square it, and run the tip of the left thumb along the left edge. In this squaring action, move the packet momentarily square with the deck and pick up the card above the break, taking it onto the face of the packet. There should be no faltering or hesitation here. Turn the right hand to display the ace on the face of the packet. Name it and lay the packet face-up on the deck, rightjogging it for half its width. Clip the packet there under the left thumb and, with the right hand, neatly remove the ace from the face of the packet (Figure 231). "Since you chose the ace of hearts [or whatever], it is only fair that you should have it. Please hold out your hand." Place the ace face-down on the extended palm of the spectator. This leaves an indifferent card exposed on the face of the packet— a convincing touch. "I'll also give you the cards shuffled from the pack." Indicate the packet, flip it face-down and square onto the deck;


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then immediately spread the top three cards to the right. Take these three into your right hand and drop them onto the ace held by the spectator. Have him place his other hand over the packet, thus assuring that you cannot tamper with the cards—and that he cannot expose their faces prematurely. "Of the four aces possible, the ace you hold is the one you chose. You could have had any of these three." Here, indicate the three facedown cards of the row. Then drop the deck face-down onto one of these cards. As you pick up the pack with the added card at its face, make some small furtive gesture, creating a suspicion that you have secretly manipulated the pack in some manner. Turn it face-up to display an indifferent card at the bottom. Drop the deck face-down onto another of the tabled cards. This time, as you pick up the pack, forgo the feint. Again show the face of the deck. The second ace seems to have disappeared. Drop the pack onto the remaining tabled card and, with explicitly fair actions, lift it to show the third ace vanished. Conclude by having the spectator discover all four aces between his palms. The psychology built into this method is subtle but persuasive. The display of the leader packet, while understated, is convincing; and in permitting a free choice of the card for the leader, it must seem to the audience that all four aces are on the table. In all, the effect is direct, the handling uncomplicated, and in combination these features create a truly magical result. December 1957


THE ATOMIC ACES Effect: The four aces are removed from the pack, along with four spot cards. The aces and indifferent cards are clearly alternated in one face-down pile. Yet, with no other action, they separate, the aces collecting at the top. The ace of spades and one spot card are then nominated as leaders for their groups. The other three aces are placed face-down behind the ace of spades, and the three indifferent cards behind their leader card. When the packets are switched, the cards magically conform to match the leader cards now before them. This is demonstrated several times. Next the aces are laid out in a row, with the ace of spades above them, and three indifferent cards are dealt onto each. Though there is positively an ace in each packet, three of them cleanly vanish, and are found to have joined the ace of spades as its three accompanying cards. This last effect is repeated under even more rigorous conditions. The ace of spades is this time buried face-up in one half of the pack and this is given to someone to hold. Indifferent cards are again dealt onto the other three aces and, though they are clearly seen in the packets, they vanish completely. When the spectator spreads through his packet he finds the vanished aces face-up with the ace of spades. This concludes the routine, and the pack can be examined, as there is nothing to find. Method: This is a thorough revision of Brother John Hamman's "Final Ace Routine". When Harry Stanley began selling Brother Hamman's routine in England, he made a present of a set to Mr. Elmsley. Thinking highly of the routine, Mr. Elmsley began to explore other possibilities using the fekes and Brother Hamman's ideas. His experimentation resulted in a four-phase routine considerably different from the original. Where Brother Hamman performed an ace assembly four times in succession, each time under more exacting conditions, Mr. Elmsley varied the effect, reserving the assembly for the final phases; and while Brother Hamman's influence is distinctly present in these assembly phases, Mr. Elmsley made major changes in the handling. Additionally, while the Elmsley routine employs feke


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cards quite similar to those used in the Hamman trick, in the end the fekes are secretly retired, leaving the pack clean for examination or for further card work. Mr. Elmsley wrote out a description of his routine and gave it to Harry Stanley for possible publication in The Gen as "a routine with the Hamman Aces". Instead, without consulting Mr. Elmsley, Stanley decided to release the routine as a marketed item: "Alex Elmsley's Atomic Aces". Mr. Elmsley was surprised and embarrassed by this action of Stanley's, and when he eventually met Brother Hamman, he apologized profusely. Brother Hamman, in his characteristically generous fashion, passed the incident off as nothing at all. The routine requires six feke cards. The faces of these cards are prepared by altering one of the indices. Such cards can be fabricated with the dry-transfer card pips available from magic dealers. However, the very cards needed for this routine are specially printed by several companies, and are less expensive than transfer pips. In England, they are currently available from the Supreme Magic Company; and in the U.S., they can be had through Hank Lee's Magic Factory. Three of the fekes are low spot cards, like twos, threes and fours. One is a heart, one a club and one a diamond. One index number on each card is altered to appear as an ace of matching suit to the card. The other three fekes are an ace of hearts, clubs and diamonds, with one index "A" changed to a low number, like a 2, a 3 or a 4. Examples of the six cards are shown in Figure 232. The fekes are further prepared by pencil dotting their backs at one corner. The end marked is that corresponding with the ace index of each card. Also needed is a standard deck that matches the back design of the fekes. Locate the six indifferent cards represented by the fekes and put them aside. They are removed from the pack to avoid the possibility of duplicate cards accidentally appearing during the routine. Also arrange nine low spot cards on top of the pack and remove the four genuine aces. Place the aces of hearts, diamonds and clubs face-up on the bottom of the face-down deck, and set one facedown indifferent card under them. On top of the deck, stack the three spot-card fekes in hearts, diamonds, clubs order from the top down. Arrange all pencil dotted corners at the inner end of the pack. Direct the dotted corners of the ace fekes outward and insert them into the pack as follows: the ace of hearts feke is placed approximately tenth from the top; the ace of diamonds feke roughly twentieth and the ace of clubs feke about thirtieth. Finally, insert the normal ace of spades roughly fortieth from the top. Figure 233 illustrates the setup. Because of the complexity of the initial arrangement, it is impractical to set it up in the middle of an act. The routine must be used as an opening piece, or a deck switch made. For an example of excellent deck switching psychology, study the two switches on pages 143-146 and, in Volume II, 'The Tale of the Old Timer".


TWISTED CLASSICS (232

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spotfekes:

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ace of clubs feke indifferent block ace of spades indifferent block face-up aces of hearts, diamonds and clubs face-down indifferent card

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First Phase: Oil and Water Bring out the pack and check the pencil dot on the top card to assure that the deck is turned with the dotted end nearest you. If it is not, don't turn it around. The problem can be corrected as you turn the deck face-up. If the dot is at the wrong end, turn the deck over lengthwise to bring it face-up. Otherwise, flip it over sidewise. Spread the cards from left hand to right, searching for the aces. Remember that three of the genuine aces lie face-down under the face card of the pack. To keep them hidden, begin your spread by pushing over a block of at least four cards. The first ace you come to will be the ace of spades. Outjog it for approximately two-thirds of its length and continue spreading to the next ace. This will be the ace of clubs feke. Outjog it as you did the spade and spread on to the ace of diamonds feke. Outjog this and the ace of hearts feke as well. The indifferent indices of the three fekes are hidden in the pack, and the handling looks ordinary and casual. Square the spread into your left hand and flip the deck sidewise and face-down there. With your right hand, grip the four outjogged cards and strip them from the pack. Holding the four cards squared, turn them face-up, using just the right thumb and fingers, and adjust your grasp to the inner end of the packet. Then perform a one-handed fan, displaying four aces. Lay the fanned cards face-up on the table. 'The ace of spades is the most powerful of the four, and has a strange magnetic attraction over the other aces. I can demonstrate this if we add four other cards to the aces." Fan the top four cards off the deck and take them into the right hand. Turn the hand over and display four indifferent cards. Three of these, of course, are the spot-card fekes with their ace indices concealed. With the left hand, set the face-down deck aside. Then square the right hand's fan face-down into the left hand. The pencil dots should still be at the inner end of the packet. Count the four cards into a face-down pile on the table, reversing their order. "One, two, three, four; as many cards as there are aces." You now pick up the fan of aces, but in a particular way. Bring the palm-down right hand over the fan and press the fingertips firmly on the faces of the cards. Then dig the right thumb under the near ends to lift them from the table (Figure 234). Bring the left hand palmdown over the fan and push the face-up aces square (Figure 235). Retain the packet in the fork of the left thumb and turn the hand palm-up. This casual action displays the aces until the instant the hand turns over, rotating the packet to a face-down position. You have also subtly turned the cards end for end, bringing the pencil dots nearest you.


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Pick up the tabled pile in the right hand and alternate the cards of the two packets, first thumbing off a card from the right, then a card from the left, a card from the right, and so on. Notice that all the pencil dots are currently at the inner end. A regular indifferent card is at the face of the packet, and the ace of spades is on top. "The aces act like oil in water when they are mixed with common cards. Look!" Take the packet into left-hand dealing grip and count the top four cards into the right hand, reversing their order. The right hand's cards are taken into dealing grip as well; then the grip is altered: Press the right thumb against the right edge of the packet and, using the right fourth finger as a pivot post, swivel the packet counterclockwise, bringing the cards parallel with the length of the fingers. Stretch the right forefinger around to the right side of the packet and grip the cards by their opposite edges, between the first and fourth fingers (Figure 236). With the tips of the second and third fingers, pull down on the outer end of the packet, levering it up at the inner end (Figure 237). Then place the tip of the thumb on the face of the packet, near the lower end (Figure 238). You are now in position to fan the packet, displaying four aces. Don't fan too widely, or the large pips of the two spot-card fekes will be exposed. Lay the


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face-up fan on the table and grasp the left hand's packet by its inner end, right thumb below, fingers above. Turn the right hand palm-up and at the same time fan the packet to show four indifferent cards.

Second Phase: Follow the Leader Bring the palm-down left hand over the right hand's fan and square the cards (Figure 235 again). Then grasp the packet in the left hand and rotate the hand palm-up, turning the cards both facedown and end for end. This positions the pencil dots at the outer end. With the right fingers, draw the normal spot card from the bottom of the packet and turn it face-up. Lay this card to your left on the table and place the rest of the packet face-down behind it. With the palm-down right hand, pick up the fan of aces by their inner ends (Figure 234), and repeat the actions just performed with the first packet. Lay the face-up ace of spades to the right of the faceup indifferent card, and set the face-down packet behind the ace. The dotted ends of this packet are now inward. 'These two cards are indicators or leader cards. If I switch the two piles behind them..." Here suit actions to words, exchanging the two face-down piles, "...the cards no longer match their leaders. But if I wave this spot card over the ace of spades, the power of the ace transforms it into an ace." As you say this, pick up the right-hand packet and place it into left-hand dealing grip. Push over the top card and grasp it by its inner end, right thumb at the left edge, second finger at the right, and forefinger curled lightly onto the back. Wave this card over the ace of spades (Figure 239), then press down with the forefinger and let the right side of the card snap off the second finger. This causes the card to flip face-up, revealing it as the ace of diamonds. It is actually an ace feke, and as you are left holding the card by its inner right corner, the thumb naturally covers the false index (Figure 240). Bend the right second finger inward and with it engage the very corner of the card, just behind the thumb (Figure 241). Press down with the second finger and ease the thumb's pressure, allowing the card to turn inward and face-down (Figure 242). Lay the card onto the ace of spades, letting it overlap just the inner end of the ace. The dot on this face-down card is now at the inner end. Set the two-card packet in the left hand behind the ace of spades, but lay it crosswise, giving it a clockwise quarter turn and bringing the dotted ends to the right. Repeat the same actions with the packet behind the indifferent card, causing the top card to transform into a spot card. When you have laid this card face-down over the face-up indicator, and the


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balance of the packet crosswise behind them, the situation is as shown in Figure 243. Note that the positions of the pencil dots are exactly the reverse of the cards behind the ace. Exchange the two crosswise piles. Then pick up the one on the right and place it into lefthand dealing position, giving it a second quarter turn clockwise to bring the pencil dots to the outer end. Repeat the previous display actions to show that the top card has magically changed to an ace.


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Turn it face-down and lay it in overlapping fashion on the ace pile. Place the remaining card in the left hand crosswise behind these cards, turning its dotted end to the right. Repeat these actions with the left-hand pile to show the top card has conformed to its indifferent leader card. Switch the positions of the final two crosswise cards. With the palm-down right hand, pick up the card now behind the ace pile by its right end, in position to snap it face-up. Wave it over the ace and do just that, showing the fourth ace has followed its kind. Using the same actions as before, turn the card face-down and lay it onto the overlapping ace column. Repeat this sequence of actions with the last left-hand card and lay it with the other spot cards.

Third Phase: The Assembly Slip the face-up spot card from beneath the column of face-down spot-card fekes, turn it face-down and use it to scoop up the other three cards. Lay the four-card packet face-down on the deck, keeping the dotted ends outward. Then slip the ace of spades from beneath its column, turn the card face-down and gather the three face-down ace fekes in the same fashion. The dots on these cards are inward. In the action of scooping up the aces, with the right hand, grasp the packet at its outer end, thumb on the back, fingers on the face. Then turn the hand palm-up and perform a one-handed fan to display the faces of four apparent aces. Since only the indifferent indices on the inner ends need be concealed, the fan can be generously spread. 'This time I will separate the aces more widely still." Close the fan face-down into the palm-up left hand and leave the packet there. In doing so you have positioned the dotted corners at the outer end. Deal the first three cards into a face-down row, from right to left, and lay the fourth card (the ace of spades) face-down in front of the row. Pick up the deck as you explain that you are going to place a few cards onto each ace. Spread off the first three cards (the spot-card fekes) and lay them onto the forward ace of the spades. Do this without counting them or reversing their order. Using identical actions, lay three indifferent cards onto each of the cards in the row. Then nonchalantly draw off the top and bottom cards of the pack and insert them into the middle. No attention is given this action; it is treated as


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a bit of toying with the cards as you talk. The displacement is necessary to remove the bottom cover card from beneath the three reversed aces, in preparation for the final phase. Set the pack aside. With the right hand, pick up the right-end pile of the row and transfer it to left-hand glide position. Curl the tip of the left fourth finger in onto the index corner of the bottom card. "Remember, each of these piles contains an ace..." Rotate the left hand palm-up and briefly display the ace of hearts feke. The fourth fingertip covers the discrepant index number (Figure 244). Turn the hand down again and execute a glide. With the right hand, lay the substituted card face-down and sidewise at the right end of the row. "...and three other cards." Return the right hand to the packet and draw the top card onto the right fingers. Draw the second card onto this, jogged about half an inch to the left; and take the last card, similarly jogged, onto the previous two. This reverses the positions of the cards and forms them into a narrow fan. Rotate the right hand palm-down, turning the face of the fan toward the audience. They see the indices of three indifferent cards. Then lay the face-up fan somewhat over the inner edge of the right-end card. This positions the fan with the exposed indices outward. Repeat this glide and display sequence with the other two piles of the row. The resulting layout is shown in Figure 245. You will now use the same snap-over display employed in the second phase (Figures 239 and 240) to reveal the vanish of the three aces. With


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your right hand, slide the face-down card on the right from beneath its face-up fan and pick it up by the right end. Wave it over the forward pile, then snap it face-up to display an indifferent card. Place this card into the left hand, letting its full face be seen. Then repeat the vanish procedure with each of the remaining two face-down cards in the row. When you have finished, lay the three indifferent cards in your left hand face-down on the deck. Simultaneously, with the palm-down right hand, pick up the face-down forward pile by its inner end, thumb on face, fingers on back. Turn the hand palm-up and fan the packet narrowly to show four aces. Set the fan face-up before the row (Figure 246).

Fourth Phase: The Second Assembly Gather the three fans of spot cards in any order, placing one on another, and turn the cards face-down, end over end, into the left hand. Square the packet and lay it onto the deck. This places the ace fekes at positions one, four and seven from the top of the deck, with their dotted ends outward. With the palm-down right hand, pick up the fan of aces, gripping it at the inner end. Turn the hand palm-up and close the face-down fan into the left hand. Hold the packet in left-hand dealing position,


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dotted ends outward, and immediately deal the first three cards into a row, working from right to left as before. "This time I shall separate the aces more widely still." Snap the ace of spades face-up in your left hand and, with the right hand, cut about half the pack to one side. Lay the face-up ace onto the bottom half of the deck and give this half a cut, sending the ace to the middle. This also places the other three normal aces face-up above the spade. Hand the packet to someone and ask him to guard it. Take the other half of the pack into left-hand dealing position as you say, "Again three cards go onto each ace." This time deal the cards from the deck onto the aces, working in rotation from right to left, as if dealing cards for a game, only backward. This delivers the three ace fekes to the right-end pile. All dotted ends should be pointed outward. Set the balance of the pack to your left. With your right hand, pick up the right-end pile by its inner end and turn its face toward you. This brings the ace indices of the four fekes to the lower end of the cards. With the aid of the left hand, shift the right hand's grip to the lower right corner of the packet and form a narrow fan. The right thumb should cover the ace index of the card on the face (Figure 247). Reach out with the right hand toward the person holding the half deck, and wave the fan of cards face-down over his packet. Then turn your hand over, exposing the faces of four indifferent cards. Let the vanish of the ace register; then turn the fan face-down again and return it to the right end of the row. With the right hand, pick up the center pile and form a fan with it, exactly as you did with the previous pile. Wave the fan face-down over the spectator's half deck and turn the right hand up to display the face of the fan. To drive home the vanish of the ace, this time count the cards from hand to hand, displaying their faces more fully. To do this, lay the face-up fan into the palm-up left hand, but do not release the uppermost card (a spot-card feke); continue to grip it by its inner right corner, covering the ace index with the right thumb. Separate the hands, taking the first card from the fan on the count of "one". On the count of "two", return the right hand to the left and take the next card of the fan onto the feke, letting it now hide the improper index. On "three and four", reverse count the remaining two cards from the left hand onto those in the right. Turn the packet face-down and return it to its position in the row, spreading the cards a bit. With the right hand, pick up the leftend pile by its inner end and form a fan as you have with the previous packets. Wave the fan over the spectator's half deck, then turn the fan face-up to show


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the third ace has vanished. This time, instead of reverse counting the cards, set the fan face-up into the left hand and retain the uppermost card (the spot-card feke) in the right hand, concealing its ace index with the right thumb. With the left fingers, spread the other three cards more widely. Then turn both hands slowly over and back again, clearly displaying fronts and backs of all four cards. With the hands once more palms-up, rotate the feke inward and end over end, until it is face-down, as you did in the second phase (Figures 241-242). Simultaneously turn the left hand's three cards face-down with just the left fingers and thumb. Use the right hand's card to scoop up the fanned right-end pile. Drop all these cards on the center pile and pick up the lot. Drop these onto the three cards in your left hand and lay all twelve onto the free half deck. This gathering pattern neatly delivers all six fekes to the top of the packet. Take the half deck into left-hand dealing position as you now draw all attention to the person holding the other half. Ask him to spread carefully through his cards, looking for the ace of spades. Illustrate what you mean with your own packet: spread the cards from the left hand to the right, and injog the seventh card when you come to it. When he starts to spread through his cards, square yours back into the left hand and press down with the right thumb on the injog, forming a left fourth-finger break beneath the six fekes. When the spectator discovers all four aces face-up in his half, palm the six cards away and pocket them, leaving the deck free of fekes. The misdirection here is so powerful, one's palming ability can be fairly crude and still suffice. Do not, however, rush to the pocket with the palmed cards. Wait for a moment when attention is relaxed, or provide motivation for going to the pocket, by bringing out some article required for the next trick. Alternatively, you could avoid palming entirely by bringing the left hand over the left coat pocket and releasing into it the packet above the break. This is an impressive and tightly routined piece of card magic. The fekes help to create effects that sleight-of-hand could only approximate, at the sacrifice of an exceptionally clean handling. On reading the method in its entirety, it may seem forbidding. None of the sequences, however, is difficult, and if you learn them a phase at a time, you will find you have mastered the whole routine in a quite reasonable period. c. October 1957


REPULSIVE ACES Effect: The four aces are removed from the deck. Two cards are then freely selected, noted and replaced in the pack. The performer now explains that all the cards in the pack have a magnetic field, and the aces, because they are the most important cards, have the strongest charge. The aces are turned end for end on the table. They are then picked up and one corner is touched lightly to the face of the deck. This acts like the identical poles of two magnets, repelling the first selection to the top of the pack. The top card is flipped over to prove this statement. The selection is now inserted into the ace packet, but the repulsive qualities of the cards prove to be too strong, and the chosen card vanishes, leaving just the aces. The aces are again touched to the face of the deck, forcing the second selection to the top. This card is inserted among the aces, but vanishes as completely as did the first. The aces are tossed onto the table and spread out, proving there is no possibility for concealment of other cards. The two vanished selections are then produced from the performer's pocket or elsewhere. Method: Remove the four aces from the pack, clearly display them and set them face-up to one side. Have two other cards freely chosen, noted and returned to the pack. Control these to the top, first selection above second. While holding the deck in left-hand dealing grip, with the right hand flip the packet of aces end over end and facedown on the table, explaining that this reverses the magnetic poles of the cards. Pick up the packet by its ends. "If I touch the pack with the aces, one of the chosen cards will be repulsed by them to the top." Bring one corner of the ace packet into contact with the face of the deck, doing so in a fashion that avoids any hint of sleight-of-hand. Then push the top card of the deck to the right and, using the left edge of the packet, flip the card over and face-up onto the deck. Name the card, look at the first spectator and ask, "Was that yours?" When the card is claimed, use the aces to flip it face-down; then push it once again to the right. Clip the card between the first two fingers of the right hand, catching it at the inner


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right corner, first finger above, second finger below. Then carry the card away (Figure 248) and, with the left hand, set down the deck. Take the packet into left-hand dealing position while retaining the selection between the tips of the right fingers. Now shift your grip on the selection by bending the right first and second fingers inward until the tip of the right thumb can contact the back of the card, just behind the first fingertip. Relax the forefinger as you press the thumb downward, trapping the inner right corner of the card against the second fingertip, and causing the outer end to tip upward until the face of the card is exposed to the audience (Figure 249). This display is brief. With the left thumb, pull down the outer left corner of the bottom card of the packet and insert the selection face-down into the break. Release the break and push the card flush. Adjust the packet to left-hand pinch grip; that is, with the cards held at their left side, thumb on top, fingertips beneath. Then count thefivecards by drawing them one by one, with the right thumb, from the top of the packet into the palm-up right hand. The style of counting is that of the Stanyon, Jordan and Elmsley family of counts, with the right hand taking the cards into dealing grip. This first count is legitimate; all five cards are counted and their order is reversed. The selection now lies second from the top. Flip the packet face-up into the left hand and perform some magical gesture, such as blowing on the cards or snapping them. Then count the five cards as four, hiding the selection, in this manner: Using the same counting style as above, hold the packet at its left edge and draw the first two aces singly into the right hand. As the right hand returns to take the third ace, push lightly with the left thumb at the edge of the packet, moving the upper two cards about half an inch to the right in close alignment. With the right thumb, clip this double card onto the face of the right-hand pair, injogging it about half an inch. Then count the last ace, taking it onto the face of the right-hand packet, aligned with the first two aces.


TWISTED CLASSICS 231 Pause a moment. Then introduce the tip of the left forefinger under the inner left corner of the injogged double card (Figure 250). Lift this corner enough to allow you to grasp the double and the card above it at the left edge. Then move the hands apart and, with the right thumb, slide the right hand's top ace forward, forming a spread resembling the configuration of the left hand's cards (Figure 251). This convincingly shows the four aces a second time. "Just the aces— due to their repulsive natures, your card has decided to vanish." Set the right hand's aces onto those in the left hand and flip the packet face-down. The selection now lies on top of the packet. Square the cards, adjust them once more into left-hand pinch grip, and false count them a second time as four cards, again pushing over a double card on the count of three and injogging it. "Only four cards." Transfer the packet to left-hand dealing position and, as the right hand briefly squares the cards from above, convert the injog into a break above the bottom two cards (the selection and an ace).

Without relinquishing the right hand's hold on the packet, take it from above by the ends. With the freed left hand, pick up the facedown deck. "I'll find the second card in the same way. All I have to do is touch the face of the pack with the aces." Do so, in the same innocent fashion exercised with the production of the first selection. Then push the top card of the deck to the right and, using the edge of the ace packet, flip the card face-up. Look at the second spectator and ask if the card is his. Flip the card face-down again, but as you do, perform Charlie Miller's variant of the Merlin tip-over change to load the bottom pair of cards from the packet onto the deck. That is, in the act of flipping the second selection face-down, let the packet momentarily eclipse the deck, and in that instant, release the two cards below the thumb's break square onto the pack. Move the packet back to the right and immediately push the top card of the deck rightward.


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You are now holding three aces in the right hand. The sidejogged card on the deck is the fourth ace, but is thought by the audience to be the second selection. Clip the inner right corner of this card between the first two fingers of the right hand, as you did with the first selection (Figure 248 again). Set the deck down and slip the jogged card into the packet, employing actions identical to those used earlier—with one exception: you cannot flash the face of the card before inserting it. The packet contains only the four aces. You will now perform the de la Mare false count. This count, invented by Eric de la Mare and taught by him to Mr. Elmsley in the early 1950s, has to my knowledge never been published. It is a variant of the Stanyon count. The outward actions of the count are identical to those previously explained. Hold the squared packet in left-hand pinch grip and draw the top card into right-hand dealing grip, aligning the right fingertips at the left edge of the card. Return the right hand to the packet and pull the second card onto the first. Simultaneously contract the right fingers slightly, bowing the first card concavely along its length. The warp of the card should be a mild one, and the left side of the second card must rest on the right fingertips (Figure 252). It is best to employ only the _-_^-^^^^^—^^^^—-^^^—^. fourth fingertip to bow the card. This reduces any visible separation at the front edges, and permits the other fingers to clear the left edge of the second card when, in a moment, it is stolen back beneath the packet. As the right hand returns to the packet for the third card, the righthand pair naturally moves beneath the packet. This allows you to push the left edge of the second card between the packet and the left fingertips. With the right thumb, draw the third card from the packet and onto the first card, leaving the second card on the face of the packet. This action is simplified if, with the left thumb, you push the third card about half an inch to the right before the right hand reaches the packet. Complete the count by taking the two left-hand cards one after the other onto those in the right hand while counting, "four and five." Turn the packet face-up and make another magical gesture to indicate the vanish of the selection. Then count the four cards honestly, using actions similar in appearance to those employed in the previous counts. This displays the four aces. Emphasize the vanish by dropping each ace onto the table to prove that no cards are being hidden.


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This is a pleasingly efficient sequence. Each vanish is accomplished by a different stratagem, and each has features that neatly contradict the possibility of the other's use. Yet the actions remain outwardly uniform. The two vanished selections rest face-down on top of the deck and can be reproduced in many ways. For instance, they can be brought one at a time from the pocket, using the misdirection rear palm (pp. 128-129). To do this, the deck is picked up and placed face-down in left-hand dealing position. In this action, a left fourth-finger break is formed under the top two cards. The right hand now picks up the four aces and inserts them as a block face-down into the front of the deck. As the right hand then pushes the aces flush with the pack, the two selections are rear palmed. The right hand, with fingers relaxed and slightly spread, travels to the right coat or trousers pocket and produces the cards, one after the other, from there. This was how Mr. Elmsley ended the trick during the first few years he performed it. However, in the late 1950s his thinking on the matter changed and he instead combined "Repulsive Aces" with another trick, "Double Finders", which will be described next. Mr. Elmsley devised "Repulsive Aces" in the mid-1950s. When Lin Searles released his "Cannibal Cards" in the early 1960s, a few cardmen began to search for methods of approaching this effect while avoiding the use of gaffed cards. Roy Walton recognized that "Repulsive Aces" was ready-made for the task. All one had to do was exchange the aces for ravenous kings, better suiting the cannibal presentation. Over the years the Elmsley trick circulated among the inner circles, most often related in the context of the Cannibal Cards plot. In 1976, Karl Fulves, in a well-meaning gesture to establish credit for Mr. Elmsley, published an inaccurate description then current, in which the Elmsley count was employed for the first vanish, and many handling details were lost. It seemingly escaped notice that the Elmsley count was misapplied here, as all four aces were present in the packet, and there was no need to display one twice while hiding another. Indeed, in doing so the display was weakened. The original Elmsley method explained above is clearly the more convincing of the two. Over the years Mr. Elmsley's solution has served as the foundation for many of the modern approaches to the Cannibal Cards plot. It is only right then that the correct handling should finally be made available. It should be noted also that the earlier Elmsley premise of repulsive cards holds a novelty and a humorous charm that have gone little known and unappreciated for far too long.


DOUBLE FINDERS Effect: The aces are removed from the deck and set aside. Two cards are freely selected, noted and shuffled back into the pack. One spectator cuts the deck into four face-down piles, then drops one ace face-up onto each. The performer assembles the piles, burying the face-up aces in the process. He then makes a magical gesture over the pack and ribbon spreads the cards. The aces are seen to have gathered in pairs—two in the upper half, two in the lower—and one face-down card has been trapped between each pair. The sandwiched cards prove to be the two selections. Method: Remove the aces from the pack and lay them to one side. Now have two cards selected. Ask that the two cards be remembered, then have them returned to the deck. Secretly control one of the selections to the top of the pack and the other to the bottom. (If you are seguing this trick with "Repulsive Aces", as Mr. Elmsley does, you are very nearly in the required position at the finish of that effect: the aces are on the table and the two vanished selections, unknown to the audience, lie atop the pack. If one of the selections is shuffled or double cut to the bottom, you are ready to produce them.) Set the deck face-down before one of the spectators and have it cut into four fairly even piles. As the cutting is done, secretly note the positions of the top and bottom packets. Have the second spectator drop an ace face-up onto each packet, in any order he wishes. Stress that the cutting of the cards and the order of the aces has been completely beyond your control. Now pick up the original top quarter of the pack and procure a break below the second card from the top (a selection). With a double undercut, transfer the top two cards to the bottom of the packet. Then drop this packet onto either of the two center piles. If one of these two piles is topped with an ace of matching color to that in the top packet, use it. (This is not crucial to the effect, but it provides a more aesthetically pleasing final display.) Next pick up the original bottom quarter of the pack and perform a double undercut, transferring the bottom card of the packet to the top. Drop this packet onto the two portions already combined.


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Pick up the fourth pile and double cut the ace from the top to the bottom. Then drop this packet onto the rest. Your goal has been accomplished: the aces lie in pairs with a facedown selection sandwiched between each (see Figure 253). Make a ^_^__^^^_^__^^^^^__^ magical gesture, then ribbon spread the pack to reveal the 253 double location. If you have face-up ace been able to match the colors of selection the aces while assembling the face-up ace first two piles, the red aces will have trapped one card, and the black aces the other. face-up ace The trick is a simple one, but selection face-up ace it has an astounding impact on an audience, as a few performances will quickly prove.


APPRENTICE ACES Effect: The performer shuffles the pack, then expertly cuts two aces from it. At this point he offers to teach the secret of this feat to a spectator. The spectator cuts the deck, then names an ace. The card cut to is turned up: it is the ace he specified. The spectator now mixes the deck, spreads it face-down before himself and pushes out a card. This random card turns out to be the fourth and final ace. Method: Secretly cull the four aces to the top of the pack. Give the cards several convincing false shuffles, retaining the aces on top. Produce the first ace; then cut and produce the second. With so many false cuts, ace productions and card revelations to choose from in the literature, if the reader does not already have several favorites, there should be no problem in choosing a few. Therefore, descriptions of these first two productions will be omitted. As you reveal each ace, lay it face-up to your right on the table. Two aces remain on top of the pack. Select some agreeable spectator and say to him, "Would you like to try?" The question should evoke a good-humored response. "It's not as hard as it looks really." Give the deck a quick shuffle, retaining the two aces on top. Then set it in front of him. Ask that he cut the pack into two piles. You now perform the cross-the-cut force: Pick up the bottom half and set it crosswise onto the top half. "We'll mark the spot where you cut for a moment. Before we see how you've done, I want to know, do you think you've cut to an ace?" Let him answer and respond to this accordingly. Then, "Assuming the best, if you have cut to an ace, which one did you find? The ace of clubs and ace of hearts are here, so it can't be one of those." As you name each of the face-up aces on the table, turn it face-down, placing the second ace onto the first. This interval of by-play provides enough time misdirection to assure the success of the force. Lift the crossed upper half of the deck away and place it aside. Take the lower half (the original top portion) into left-hand dealing position and obtain a break under the top two cards. "Which do you think you've cut to then, the spade or the diamond?"


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When the spectator names his choice, execute a double lift and show an ace. If it is the ace named, make the most of it. If not, shrug and say something along the lines of "Well, it is your first time. I'll give you another chance." Drop the double card neatly and face-down onto the previous two aces on the table. Then reassemble the deck and hand it to the spectator. "Give the cards a shuffle." When he has done that, have him spread the deck face-down on the table and push forward any card he likes. Before he can turn it up, remove this card from the spread and drop it face-down onto the ace pile. Then pick up the pile, turn it face-up and spread it as four aces, keeping the last two cards squared as one. Thus the trick is brought to a successful conclusion. Mr. Elmsley deems this piece one of his minor efforts; yet, to my mind, it is an impressive and entertaining turn, thanks in part to the generous success granted the spectator by the performer. Of course, the trick lends itself to technical variation. For instance, other forcing methods can be substituted. The Christ-Balducci cut-deeper force comes immediately to mind as a possibility. With just a small change in procedure, one can also assure that the spectator correctly names the ace every time. To do this you must note the suits of the third and fourth aces and their order when you cull them at the start. Then, when it comes time to show the ace the spectator seemingly cut to, ask him to name it. If he names the ace second from the top of the packet, execute a double lift and continue as explained above. If, however, he names the top ace, do not release your break, but push over only the top card and flip it face-up on the packet. While the audience reacts to the spectator's success, lift the back-to-back double from the packet and drop it onto the pair of face-down aces on the table. Hand the balance of the pack to the spectator to shuffle. While he does this, casually square the ace pile as it lies on the table, pick the face-up ace from the top, turn it facedown and slip it beneath the others. This positions the fourth ace correctly for the final revelation, as already described. In the next trick, the spectator mysteriously locates not two, but all four aces in a shuffled deck. [October 2, 1965]


PICK OF THE LITTER Effect: The deck is shuffled, then slowly spread through with the cards face-down. As the performer runs the deck from hand to hand, spectators are invited to touch cards along the way. Each card indicated is outjogged widely from the deck. When four cards have been chosen, they are stripped from the pack with the utmost fairness and turned face-up, only to find that the spectators have somehow unerringly located the four aces. Method: The plot is classic, but Mr. Elmsley's method allows an outward fairness in the handling of the cards that is totally disarming. Of course the spectators' real choices must be switched for the aces, but the actions employed are so slow and open, there seems no chance for deception. The inspiration for the switch was one by Audley Walsh (ref. "The Audley Walsh Coincidence", The Jinx, No. 21, June 1936, p. 122). Mr. Walsh's sleight was a somewhat awkward variant of Dai Vernon's strip-out addition, which had been published four years previously. The strip-out addition was designed for a natural, casual handling, typical of Mr. Vernon's style. Taking the Walsh variant as a starting point, Mr. Elmsley developed an addition technique designed to be performed with all attention focused on it. There is an almost overly scrupulous fairness to the actions. Before you begin the trick, the aces must be stacked, three on the face of the pack and one on top. Give the deck a casual shuffle or two, retaining the three bottom aces in place while setting six cards over the top ace. This is easily accomplished with either riffle or overhand shuffle techniques. The uppermost ace now lies seventh from the top of the pack. Take the deck face-down into left-hand dealing position and begin to spread the cards slowly into the right hand. As you do so, approach someone and say, "I want three of you to join me in choosing some cards. Let's see...I'll have this one." Here you casually nominate the ace seventh from the top, outjogging it for approximately half its length. Continue to spread through the deck as you say, "Now you touch one a little farther down." Have the spectator touch a card. Outjog


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this card as you did the first. Proceed to have two more cards touched by a second and a third spectator. As each card is touched, outjog it about a quarter of an inch farther than the previous one, forming the four cards into a stepped arrangement. After you have moved the fourth card forward, continue to spread through the few remaining cards of the pack and catch a left fourthfinger break above the bottom three (the aces). To provide motivation for this action comment, "Now, you could have touched any of these." Square the spread back into the left hand and, with the palm-down right hand, grasp the deck by its sides at the inner end. As you take this grip, push with the tip of the left fourth finger on the block of aces, jogging them diagonally at the inner left corner (Figure 254). Immediately press down with the right thumbtip on this jog and form a thumb break above the aces as you take the deck from the left hand and swing the outer end leftward. The break is completely invisible from the front edge of the pack and from the two ends, thanks to the outjogged cards and the position of the right hand. You continue, "But you picked this card..." Bring the palm-up left hand under the cards projecting from the left end of the pack and neatly strip out the lowermost of the four (Figure 255). Once it is free of the deck, let it drop onto the left palm. "...and this card..." Strip out the next card in line and let it fall onto the first, "...and this card..." Repeat these actions, taking the third outjogged card into the left hand, "...and this card." As your left hand moves to take the fourth card, that nearest the top of the pack, the three-card packet on the left palm comes naturally beneath the


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deck (Figure 256). When this happens, neatly release the aces from the right thumb and let them fall squarely onto the packet. Then, without hesitation, strip away the last jogged card and let it drop onto the packet. Immediately press the left thumb down onto the near left corner of the packet, levering the right end of the cards upward and away from the palm. Then cleanly slip the deck squarely under the packet at its raised end. The switch is accomplished. It only remains to deal the top four cards, with as much drama as you can muster, into a face-up row. With just a little extra work, all four cards can be chosen by spectators. To do so, you must force the first card. The forcing technique used here is similar to those exploited in the psychological stop trick and the classic fan force. Timing and attitude are everything, and only practice can teach them. However, the skill is not so difficult to master as might first be thought. As you begin to thumb over the cards, approach the first spectator and say, "Please touch a card, something near the top." By the time you finish this request, you should be pushing over the fifth card. The wording encourages the spectator not to delay and, if your timing and delivery are correct, his finger will land on the seventh card, the ace. "This one? All right." Should you miss the force the trick can still be successfully completed. Outjog the card touched by the spectator, and another two cards selected by others. Square the pack back into the left hand and say, "Now I'm going to try to find a card that will match at least one of your cards. It may match more than one, but the chances are against it." Outjog the ace seventh from the top and complete the effect, revealing the four aces. The entire sequence of stripping the cards from the pack should be done with a slow deliberate fairness. The addition of the aces is indetectable and does not require speed to cover it. Notice that, unlike the Vernon and Walsh additions, the stripped-out cards are placed on top of the pack rather than under it, giving a more open appearance to the maneuver. This excellent sleight can be put to other uses as well. As an example, it can be employed in the opening sequence of an ace assembly. Turn the deck face up and spread through it, slightly injogging the third card from the face. Continue through the deck, outjogging the aces as you come to them. Let the audience see


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the aces as you cull them. Then close the spread into the left hand and flip the deck sidewise and face-down. With the palm-down right hand, grasp the pack by its sides near the inner end, and with the right thumb, push down and in on the injogged card, forming a break above the bottom three indifferent cards. Then perform the Elmsley strip-out addition, as explained above. When the left hand's packet is placed on top of the deck, the audience believes it to be the four aces; but in actuality the cards read ace, X, X, X, ace, ace, ace, from the top down: the typical setup required for most ace assemblies. Other sequences can of course be constructed. In Volume II of this work, a trick titled "Half Way to Heaven" will be taught. This is a minimalist Out-of-This-World effect, accomplished through the use of Mr. Elmsley's strip-out addition. With a little thought, other uses for this excellent addition sequence can be found.


THE FOUR BLANKS Effect: Four playing cards are shown to be blank; that is, backs but no faces. Then faces suddenly appear on the cards: aces. Only the packet of cards is used—the deck is not involved—there are no gimmicked cards (granting that a blank-faced card, though unusual, is not a gimmick) and the cards are examinable at the finish. Method: Mr. Elmsley's inspiration here was Ralph W. Hull's Mental Photography or Nudist Deck, though the idea of changing a packet to blanks or, vice versa, blanks to printed cards dates back at least to the 1500s (ref. Rid's The Art o/Jugling or Legerdemaine, 1612). The present method relies on a clever false display of one card as four. The packet consists of five cards, the four aces and one blankfaced card. These are represented as four blanks. The blank-faced card is shown four times, then palmed from the packet. Now that the bones of the method have been exposed, let's flesh them with the necessary details. Mr. Elmsley employs an original and ingenious sequence to create the illusion of having four blank cards. This sequence relies, at one point, on a double deal. The double deal (a sleight associated with Jack Merlin) is generally viewed by magicians as a formidable maneuver. However, as has been pointed out from its earliest descriptions, it is not that difficult if done from a small packet. When done with a packet of five cards, it comes into the grasp of the average card handler. The double deal is well described in Expert Card Technique (pp. 27-30). However, because it is intrinsic to the Elmsley false display, and because Mr. Elmsley has several points of handling to add to its execution, as it applies to this trick, it will be explained below. Hold the packet face-down in left-hand mechanic's grip, with the inner left corner pressed firmly into the crux of the palm (i.e., at the juncture of the thenar and the heel of the palm). With the left thumb, swing the outer end of the top card about half an inch to the right, using the left inner corner as a pivot point (Figure 257). Bring the right hand to the packet, to take the top card. Place the right thumb on the outer right corner of the card (covering about a


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third of an inch) and extend the right second finger until its tip contacts the outer right corner of the bottom card of the packet. The right forefinger remains straightened in front of this corner, shielding the second finger's position from the audience's sight (Figure 258). With the right second finger, pull the bottom card to the right, until it is aligned with the top card. Again, use the inner left corner of the card as a pivot point. If the cards are sticky, push inward first with the right second fingertip, buckling the card slightly and breaking it free, before swiveling it into position (Figure 259, an exposed view). Use the tips of the right third and fourth fingers, and the tip of the right thumb as guides to square the angled pair as the bottom card is pulled into position. Then pinch the outer right corners of both cards between the right thumb and second finger, and pull the pair straight to the right. As you do this, draw the outer ends of the two cards gently along the tip of the left forefinger, further aligning them (Figure 260). The moment the two cards clear the packet, turn the right hand palm-outward at the wrist, revolving the double card end over end and face-up. In the same action, move the double back and over the packet, and leave the pair gripped, approximately half an inch above the packet, at the tips of the left fingers. The left thumb lies along


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the left side of the double, the second, third and fourth fingers are at the right side, and the forefinger at the outer end (Figure 261). By framing the double card in this manner, the fingers assure that it is perfectly squared. This, then, is the double deal as it is executed for the false display sequence. Some may prefer to use an Erdnase-style bottom deal to maneuver the lower card into position. For this technique the packet is held with the tip of the left second finger at the outer right corner (Figure 262). This finger presses the inner left corner of the packet firmly into the palm, thus creating a firm diagonal grip on the packet, which leaves the other fingers free to move. When the left thumb has swiveled the top card over, as previously described, the tip of the left third finger contacts the face of the bottom card, pulls inward on it, causing it to buckle away from the packet, and the outer right corner to clear the second fingertip (Figure 263). The third finger then straightens to the right, swiveling the bottom card into alignment with the top card. The minor changes in finger pressures necessary to square the double card as it is drawn from the packet will be readily understood by those who adopt this technique. If you employ the details of handling given above, you will find the double deal far less difficult than is commonly assumed. With the double deal action understood, let's proceed to the trick itself. As stated above, you need one blank-faced card, the back of which matches the deck you are using. Either have this card in the deck or secretly add it before you introduce the trick. When ready to perform the effect, run through ^ ^ the pack, faces toward yourself, and cull the blank card to the face, with the four aces behind it. Remove these five cards, without revealing their number, and discard the deck in the right jacket or trousers pocket. As you do this, allow the blank face of the packet to be seen. (If you think it a bit


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odd to suggest that you have four blank-faced cards in your deck, carry the packet separately in your pocket.) Hold the packet face-down in left-hand dealing position and count the cards as four into the right hand, reversing their order and keeping the last two squared as one. The order of the packet from top to face is now: ace, blank, ace, ace, ace. Square the packet back into the left hand, catching a left fourthfinger break below the top two cards in preparation for a block pushoff. Say, 'These four cards are very special. I want you to memorize them." With your left thumb at the outer left corner of the packet, push the top two cards as one to the right, imitating the action used for the double deal. With the right hand, grasp the double card at its outer right corner—thumb on top, second finger beneath—and turn it end over end, face-up. Take it at the left fingertips, holding it about half an inch above the packet (Figure 261). Pause briefly to let the blank card be clearly seen. Then grasp the double card by its far end and turn it, end over end, face-down onto the packet. With the right hand, point to someone and say, "I want you to be responsible for remembering the first card." Immediately thumb over the top card, take it in the right hand and, without exposing its face, slip it under the packet. Using actions consistent in appearance with the previous ones, turn the top card end over end and face-up above the packet. Let everyone see the blank face. Then turn the card face-down on the packet. Point to a second person and say, "You are responsible for remembering the second card." Push the card to the right and slip it to the bottom. Now execute a double deal, as taught above. If you require a moment to prepare for the sleight, this can be gained by saying, "Do you remember the order of the cards so far?" The question should bring at least a strained smile, but does its job in providing you with the brief misdirection you need. After showing the face of the freshly dealt double card, turn the double face-down on the packet and ask a third person to remember it. Transfer the top card to the bottom. Turn up the top card in a manner consistent with the previous actions, and display the blank card a fourth time. Turn the card facedown as you indicate a fourth spectator. "You must remember the fourth card." Move the top card of the packet to the bottom. (N.b., requesting the four spectators to remember the cards is more than just a bit of by-play. It gives a plausible motivation for the manner in which you display the four cards.) Now bring the palm-down right hand over the packet and square the cards. In the process, side slip the bottom card, the blank, into your right hand. If the performing circumstances are correct, Mr.


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Elmsley prefers to use a rear palm here (see pp. 124-128). Take the balance of the packet from the left hand and, with the right fingertips, spread it face-down on the table. "Are you certain you remember the names of these four cards?" The answer to this is not important. With your right hand, reach into your pocket, drop off the palmed blank card and remove the deck. Riffle it at the four cards on the table, as a magical gesture, and ask someone to turn them up. Your efforts should here be rewarded by your audience's reaction of surprise at the appearance of the aces. It was a performance of this trick years ago that won Mr. Elmsley his most treasured compliment. David Solomon had come to London and turned up one afternoon at the old Unique Club. When Mr. Elmsley performed "The Four Blanks" for him, Mr. Solomon commented, "You have such innocent hands." April 1956


FIVE-CARD SAM Effect: This is a humorous and highly entertaining presentation of the Tommy Tucker trick, Six-card Repeat. When Mr. Elmsley devised it in the early 1950s, Six-card Repeat was acquiring among magicians a well-deserved reputation of being hackneyed. As is the fate of so many outstanding tricks, particularly those that are not difficult to perform, every magician wanted to do it, and most did. The only thing wrong with Six-card Repeat was that it suffered from overexposure. This was gravely exacerbated by the average magician's unwillingness to contrive a presentation different from the one everybody else was using, and has used for years. Mr. Elmsley had the wisdom to break from the herd. He clearly recognized the strength of the effect, and the crippling hindrance of its overly familiar presentation. So he adopted a comedy poker theme for the trick—an idea first suggested by P. W. Miller (ref. More Card Manipulations, No. 2, pp. 33-34)—and developed "The Story of Steamboat Sam". This course lent a fresh appeal to the piece, provided several visual gags and concluded with a good punch-line. The patter form he chose was verse (influenced perhaps by Elmer Applegit's "Silas and the Slickers", ibid., pp. 26-29). I am myself no ardent lover of rhyming patter, after having seen so many egregious examples; and I believe this lack of enthusiasm is shared by most American performers. Rhyming patter is more readily welcomed in the United Kingdom, where there is a long tradition of comic recitations in rhyme. The form was common in the old music halls and cabarets. Nevertheless, rhyming patter for magicians is almost invariably an exercise in ruptured meter, nursery-rhyme patterns and abysmally trite content. While neither Mr. Elmsley nor I would hold his work here as an exemplar of fine poetry, it does rise above the level of saccharine corn that is usually offered by magicians. Properly delivered, it is thoroughly entertaining; and Mr. Elmsley points out, it did prevent him from chattering too much. The effect is one of cards comically multiplying, as is expected of Six-Card Repeat. Five cards are used instead of six, to suit the poker theme, and the cards all turn to aces at the finish. Given this information, the action should be easily followed from the story,


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which is delivered to the rhythm of Robert W. Service's 'The Cremation of Sam McGee". This is the story of Steamboat Sam, The ace Mississippi gambling man. He makes his cash while other folk 're Losing theirs, by playing poker. He'd cut the cards when going to play And shuffle the pack 'most every way. He'd make them fly for yards and yards And shuffle the spots right off the cards. And in case he found a better player He always kept a few cards spare. One night, when playing for lots of dough, He cut the cards and shuffled—so! It was in a very low-down dive, And his hand was one-two-three-four-five. He was playing a very suspicious guy For stakes that were extremely high. But when this guy took a swig of beer Sam took two cards and hid them here. But the other feller saw this move, Drew a razor and said, "I disapprove." Said Sam, in order to stay alive, "I've still got one-two-three-four-five." Who now could win no one could say So Sam took two more cards away. The other guy, seeing the move again, Politely asked Sam to explain. Said Sam, in order to stay alive, "I've still got one-two-three-four-five." But now the stakes began to rocket And two more cards went to Sam's pocket. The other guy, now getting mad, Asked Sam how many cards he had. Said Sam, in order to stay alive, "I've still got one-two-three-four-five." The end of the game was now in sight, And the other guy said, most polite: "You double-crosser, though you've cheated, I've got four aces—can you beat it?" Said Sam, as he ran from that low-down dive, "I can—I've one-two-three-four-five!"


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Method: When you begin, you hold the deck in your hands. On top of the deck is one blank-faced card. Also needed is a packet of twelve extra cards. Five of these are aces, which are positioned second, third, fifth, sixth and ninth from the top. The card on the face of the packet is trimmed short. This packet is kept in a pocket or a clip under the coat, where it can be quickly and effortlessly procured. The actions will be described as they are timed to the story: This is the story of Steamboat Sam, The ace Mississippi gambling man. He makes his cash while other folk 're Losing theirs, by playing poker. Nothing is done during these opening couplets. The hands and deck remain at rest. He'd cut the cards when going to play Perform a one-handed or flourish cut, retaining the blank card on top. Or, if you prefer, make the blank a short card which you can quickly locate and cut to the top after the shuffle that follows. And shuffle the pack 'most every way. Perform a flourish shuffle. The blank should be brought to the top now, if it isn't already there. He'd make them fly for yards and yards Either spring the cards from hand to hand in the traditional fashion, or take a card (not the blank one) and scale it into the air, making it boomerang back to you. And shuffle the spots right off the cards. Turn the face of the pack toward the audience and perform a color change, bringing the blank card into view and apparently making the spots disappear from the bottom card. Then form a reverse fan to show the spots are gone from all the cards. Close the fan, turn the deck face-down, side steal the blank card and replace it on top of the pack. Then fan the cards normally and show that the faces have returned. And in case he found a better player With the right hand palm some cards from the pack... He always kept a few cards spare. ...and produce them in a fan from the left elbow. Replace these on the deck, but immediately palm them off again and produce them from behind your right knee. Again replace the cards on the deck and


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produce the twelve extra cards from wherever they are hidden. Place these face-down on the deck as well. One night, when playing for lots of dough, He cut the cards and shuffled—so! Perform a false cut that would alarm the most innocent card player with its artifice, and follow it with an equally blatant false shuffle. Here you are clearly illustrating Sam's crookedness. It was in a very low-down dive, With your right thumb, riffle up the inner end of the deck to the short card and lift off the eleven cards above it. This leaves the short card of the packet behind. This card has served it purpose. Mr. Elmsley adds it with the packet, reasoning that this is more economical in action than cutting a short card to the top of the pack before the extra packet is added to it. However, if you have decided to use a short blank card, the second short card can be eliminated, and the total packet reduced to eleven cards. Set the deck aside and transfer the packet to the left hand. Hold the packet before you, at chest level, with the backs of the cards toward the audience. Though the face of the packet can be displayed at several times during the trick, all counts are done with the backs of the cards visible. In this way the aces are not seen by the audience until the climax. And his hand was one-two-three four-five. In time to the words, false count the packet as five cards. That is, execute either a buckle count or a block push-off on the count of four. As the cards are counted from the left hand to the right, they are fanned and their order is reversed. That is, the second card is taken onto the face of the first, the third card onto the face of the second, the block onto the face of the third, and the last card onto the face of the block. He was playing a very suspicious guy For stakes that were extremely high. But when this guy took a swig of beer Sam took two cards and hid them here. Square the fanned packet into the left hand and cleanly remove two cards from its face. Display these, faces and backs, and drop them into your pocket. The face of the packet can be shown at this time, as an indifferent card is resting there. But the otherfeller saw this move, Drew a razor and said, "I disapprove."


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Note the comical contrast between the "feller's" action and his words, "I disapprove." The slightly upper-class tone of his declaration is incongruous with the overall picture painted of an underworld poker game; and if the line is delivered in a cultured manner, it should bring a laugh. Said Sam, in order to stay alive, "I've still got one-two-three-four-five." False count the packet as five cards, in the same fashion previously used. Who now could win no one could say So Sam took two more cards away. Close the fan back into the left hand and remove two cards from the face of the packet. Display them as before and drop them into your pocket. From this point on the face of the packet cannot be shown, or an ace will be exposed. The other guy, seeing the move again, Politely asked Sam to explain. For this rhyme to work, "again" must be given the British pronunciation—agayne. Said Sam, in order to stay alive, "I've still got one-two-three-jour-five." False count the packet a third time, showing five cards. But now the stakes began to rocket And two more cards went to Sam's pocket. Square the fan into the left hand and remove another two cards. Again show them fronts and backs, then pocket them. The other guy, now getting mad, Asked Sam how many cards he had. Said Sam, in order to stay alive, "I've still got one-two-three-jour-Jive." The count this time is legitimate; but of course the actions should be kept consistent with those of the previous counts. The end of the game was now in sight, And the other guy said, most polite: "You double-crosser, though you've cheated, I've got four aces—can you beat it?" Again, contradictory words are used for comic effect. The words of Sam's opponent fall something short of polite. The fan is squared into the left hand, ready for the final display.


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Said Sam, as he ran from that low-down dive, "I can—I've one-two-three four-Jive!" In time to this last line, take each of the cards one by one into the right hand, turn its face toward the audience, revealing an ace, and toss it to the table. The line, timed to the appearance of the five aces, concludes the trick with a surprise and a strong punch-line. This presentation is pure entertainment, from beginning to end. It is also a fine example of how a creative mind can make something good and original from the most weathered material. June 14, 1952


BARE-ACED HOFZINSER. Effect: The four aces are openly removed from the deck and given to a spectator. A card is selected and returned to the pack, where it is lost. The performer announces that the aces will aid him in divining the identity of the chosen card. One by one he takes the aces from the spectator, until only one remains. The suit of each ace taken is eliminated as a possibility. The spectator admits that the suit of the ace she holds indeed matches the suit of her card. Even more astonishing yet, when this ace is turned up, it is found to have changed into the selection. This is especially perplexing, since the aces were in her possession from the start. Method: On an autumn afternoon in 1965, Mr. Elmsley met, as he was accustomed to on Saturdays, with Jack Avis, Ron Wilson and several other magician friends. They gathered once each week to talk about magic and knock around ideas. On that particular Saturday, Jack Avis showed the group a solution that he had recently worked out for the Hofzinser ace problem. After the session, the men separated until the following Saturday. When they again met, Mr. Elmsley demonstrated an attractively simplified treatment of the Hofzinser plot that he had devised during the interim. While it ignored several of the elements in the Hofzinser premise, and many of the restrictions, it was a strong and straightforward piece of magic, perfectly designed to impress a lay audience. In its construction he had combined plot elements from his "Between Your Palms" (see Vol. II) with Bert Douglas' "Ghost Card Trick" (ref. Linking Ring, Vol. 8, No. 9, Nov. 1928, pp. 723-725). The effect was presented in a spectator's hands, one of the best stages one could desire. The method follows: Begin by upjogging the aces from the pack as you run through it, faces toward yourself. While you do this, note the suit of the card on the face of the deck. Strip the aces from the pack, positioning the ace of matching suit at the top of the packet. Also note the suit of the ace on the face of the packet. Briefly display the four aces face-up, then square them and place the packet face-down on the spectator's extended palm. Have her cover the aces with her other hand to protect them from tampering.


2 5 4 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY You now must force the bottom card of the pack on her (that card the suit of which you previously noted). The Hindu shuffle force can be used here, or the under-the-fan force (ref. Ganson's More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, pp. 73-74). Either is perfectly suited to the circumstances. In the former, the spectator need only call stop during the shuffle to choose a card; and in the latter she only touchs a card, which she can do while maintaining her guard over the aces. Display the selection to everyone, then apparently lose it in the pack. In reality you control it to the top. Then, as you settle the deck into left-hand dealing grip, form a fourth-finger break beneath the top card. Explain that you will determine the identity of her selection through the aid of the aces she holds. First, you will divine the suit. Have her loosen her grip on the aces enough for you to slip the top card from the packet. "Each ace I remove will eliminate one of the suits. For instance, this is the ace of clubs. Therefore, your card was not a club. Correct?" Here, you glance at the face of the ace you hold, but do not expose it to the audience. Miscall the suit, naming the one you know to be on the bottom of the packet. Then lay the ace facedown and square on top of the deck. Reach between the spectator's fingers and slip out the next ace from the top of the packet. "Nor was your card a spade. Right?" Correctly name the suit of the second ace. This time allow a casual fleeting glimpse of its face. Lay the card face-down and square onto the deck. Remove the top card of the two left the spectator, name its suit and permit a glimpse of its face before you place it onto the deck. "And this ace tells me your card wasn't a diamond either. Right?" Immediately lift off the four cards above the break and set the deck aside. The selection is the bottom card of this packet. "We have eliminated three of the suits. The one ace left is the ace of hearts. This tells me that your card must be a heart. That is right, isn't it? Good. You can relax now." When she lifts her hand, casually drop your packet onto the ace she holds (believed to be the ace of hearts, in our example, but actually the ace clubs) and pick up all the cards. "Now the aces will tell me the value of your card. The ace of hearts, the soul-mate to your selection, will do that." Execute a glide and remove the card second from the bottom of the packet (the selection). Deposit it on the spectator's palm. 'The other three aces have done their job, so they can retire." Turn the packet face-up and, while holding the cards by their ends in the right hand, nonchalantly backspread the lower two aces with the left fingers (Figure 264), displaying three aces in all. The fourth ace, the ace of hearts, remains square and hidden behind the uppermost ace. Square the spread and drop the packet face-down onto the deck.


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Take a little peek at the card lying on the spectator's hand. "Your card was a heart—and a six. Is that right? Do you know how the ace tells me what card you chose? It does it by changing into your card!" Snap your fingers over the card on her hand, then turn it up and let the audience respond to this unexpected transformation. Of course, the selection can be signed on the face by the spectator if desired, to eliminate thoughts of duplicates. However, with most audiences, experience has shown this to be an unnecessary encumbrance. The trick can also be performed with a borrowed deck, thus neatly skirting the issue. [October 2, 1965]


A MINOR TRIUMPH Effect: Ten random cards are removed from the deck and one is chosen by a spectator. The card is noted by him and returned to the packet. The packet is given a quick mix, after which the cards are clearly alternated face-up and face-down. The performer then gives the packet a long hard stare and begins to look slightly concerned. "I'm sorry," he says. "Something seems to have gone wrong. These cards are a bit sticky. Do you mind if we start again?" Presuming the audience is a tolerant and sympathetic one, they acquiesce. "I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll try to make you take the very same card again. Would you like one of the face-up cards, or one of the facedown ones?" The spectator states his preference. Let's assume he specifies face-up cards. "Very well. Take any face-up card and that card will infallibly be the card you chose earlier. What was the card you chose?" When the spectator names his card, the packet is spread and held out toward him—and all the cards are seen to have turned magically face-down but one: his. Method: The Self-righting Cards plot dates back at least to 1919 and Charles Jordan. Many solutions, using either a full deck or a packet, have been devised over the years. In 1951, Bill Simon published a fine ten-card method, based on Elmer Biddle's popular steal (ref. Phoenix, No. 224, pp. 894 and 896). In the explanation of the Simon trick, it was mentioned that, with a little thought, the same method could be adapted to segregate red and black cards secretly, or to produce a selection from the righted packet (an embellishment popularized by Dai Vernon with his 'Triumph" effect). In "A Minor Triumph", Mr. Elmsley acted on this suggestion and developed a nicely streamlined handling of the Simon trick, one that capitalizes on the amusing presentation quoted above. Begin by counting any ten cards from the deck. Fan the packet face-down and ask that someone take any card he wishes. Have him remember it and return it to the fan. As he replaces his card, secretly note its position from the top.


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Close the fan and give the cards a brief shuffle, first running single cards until you reach the selection. Pick up the run cards under the packet and continue to shuffle, first pulling off the selection, then shuffling off cards onto it. This brings the selection to the bottom. You will now apparently alternate the cards, face-up and facedown. The illusion is wholly convincing; yet in the end only the selection will lie face-up in the packet. This is accomplished through a clever application of the Kardyro-Biddle steal: With the palm-down right hand, grasp the face-down packet from above by its ends, with the fingers lined up on the far end and the thumb at the inner right corner. With the left thumb, draw the top card off the packet and onto the left palm (Figure 265). Smoothly turn the left hand palm-down and, with the tips of the left fingers, pull the next card from the packet, taking it beneath the first card (Figure 266). Press the left fingertips against the back of the second card, creating a break between the two as the left thumb draws the card square with that above it. Turn the left hand palm-up again and return to the packet for the third card. However, in the act of drawing off the third card, as you move the left hand's pair under the right hand's packet, steal back the face-up card under the packet. Pull the third card square onto the one remaining left-hand card and immediately turn the left hand palm-down again. Take the fourth card under the left hand's packet, just as you did the second, and catch a break as before. Then, when you turn the left hand palm-up and take the fifth card, steal the fourth card back beneath the packet. Repeat this take and steal sequence twice more, at which time you will have apparently alternated nine cards in the left hand. In the right hand you hold a block of five cards: one face-down over four faceup. Turn the left hand palm-down to claim the tenth card, and take the entire block as one card under the packet. Turn the left hand palm-up again, but keep the front end tilted slightly upward, obscuring the top of the packet from the audience. This is done to conceal a discrepancy, as the top card is face-down,


258 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY while logically it should lie face-up. It is quite likely this would go unnoticed; however, by delaying the exposure of the top of the packet a few seconds, the discrepancy is safely diffused. The trick is done. All the cards are face-down but for the selection, which lies face-up fifth from the top. It remains only to reveal this in the playful manner explained under the effect description. If, by the way, the spectator elects to choose a face-down card, simply turn the whole packet over before fanning it. His card then becomes the only face-down card in a face-up packet. April 1956


ALL BACKS WITH ACES Effect: The performer introduces a pack of cards and a story. It seems he lent this pack to a fellow magician, and when it was returned something curious had happened to it: there were no longer any faces on the cards—only backs on both sides. Fortunately, the pack is marked, enabling the performer to tell what the cards are; or so he claims. He shuffles and cuts the pack, showing backs everywhere, and in the process he explains that he is cutting to the aces, a most difficult task. Four double-backed cards are tossed onto the table, with the stated guarantee that these are the aces. Finally the performer waves his hand over the cards, restoring the faces to the whole deck; and, indeed, the four cards on the table do prove to be the aces. At this point the deck is entirely normal and may be used for further tricks. Method: It is not widely known that the inventor of the All Backs plot was Ralph W. Hull. Mr. Hull marketed a trick pack called the NRA Deck in the 1920s. This pack could be shown to be misprinted with backs on both sides, then with faces on both sides. After everyone had enjoyed this printer's anomaly, the proper assortment of faces and backs was magically restored to the cards. In the January 1930 issue of The Sphinx, Jean Hugard advertised his version of the trick, which employed an unprepared pack and added the revelation of a chosen card. Dai Vernon was intrigued by the plot and soon developed his own method for achieving the illusion with a normal pack. However, because the double-backed card was a favorite tool of his, with which he had fooled laymen and magicians alike for years, Mr. Vernon was concerned that openly suggesting the existence of double-backers, even in a whimsical presentation, might endanger the effectiveness of the genuine item. Therefore, he kept his All Backs routine under wraps for ten years, showing it only to Jean Hugard and a few trusted friends. By the late 1940s, the double-backed card had become common knowledge among magicians, and Mr. Vernon finally released his routine to Jean Hugard for publication. It appeared in the June 1949


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issue of Hugard's Magic Monthly (Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 552-553), and a few months later was added to the third edition of Expert Card Technique (pp. 459-464). Over the years it became so popular a trick with magicians and their audiences, it is now recognized as a modern classic of card magic. Shortly after reading the Vernon routine in Expert Card Technique, Mr. Elmsley devised a charming presentation, in which he added a new subplot: the cutting of the aces from the deck while the cards were still double-backed. This secondary plot, rather than confusing the main one as so often happens with plot accretions, adds an extra element of humor and entertainment. Fortunately, Mr. Elmsley has recorded his entire presentation for us. Though inspired by the Vernon routine, Mr. Elmsley's procedure differs greatly from its parent. It relies on one gimmicked card in the pack. This card makes the routine much easier to perform. The gimmick is openly removed from the pack as part of the presentation, in the end leaving fifty-two normal cards for further use. The gimmick is a thick double-backed card, simply made by gluing two cards face to face. Use a flexible adhesive, like rubber cement; one that will not harden and crack when it dries. Do not split the cards. As will be seen, the extra thickness is an important aid. The setup of the deck is uncomplicated: Remove the four aces from the pack and lay them in a face-up pile on the table. Place one indifferent card face-up on the aces and drop the face-down pack onto this five-card pile. Insert the thick double-backer somewhere near the center of the pack and the preparation is complete. The routine is begun with a narrative exposition: "The other day I lent these cards to another conjurer. When I got them back, I had a look through the pack to see in what state he had returned them. The backs seemed to be all right." Here, spread the face-down pack between your hands, keeping the bottom few cards bunched together to conceal the five face-up cards. Casually exhibit the backs of the cards; then square the deck into left-hand dealing position. Riffle the left thumb down the outer left corner of the pack, until you feel the thick card snap past. "But when I looked at the faces— they weren't there." With the right hand, cut off the block of cards above the left thumb's break and turn the hand palm-up. Since the thick doublebacker lies at the bottom of the block, a back is seen where a face is expected. Pause briefly for the audience to appreciate the oddity of the situation. Then bend the left thumb under the lower portion of the deck and flip it over onto the left fingers (Figure 267), taking care not to expose any faces. Again, a back is seen in an unexpected place, this time thanks to the reversed aces. You can, if you wish, let the top few cards of the lower half spread slightly, revealing several backs.


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Turn the right hand palm-down and drop its packet squarely onto the left hand's packet. This positions the double-backed card directly over the aces. With the right hand, turn the deck over and adjust it into left-hand dealing position. At this point the cards are arranged from the top down: roughly eighteen cards face-down, an indifferent card face-up, the four aces face-up, the double-backed card, and the balance of the deck face-up. "I would not have minded his making backs appear where the faces had been..." As you say this, casually spread through the top third of the pack, stopping before you reach face-up cards, "...if only he had had the sense to make faces appear where the backs had been." Square the cards back into the left hand and turn the deck over again. Spread the cards, displaying more backs. When you near the center of the pack, feel for the thick card (there is a five-card leeway beyond it, before face-up cards appear). Stop when you find it and close the spread into the left hand, catching a left fourth-finger break under the thick card. With the right hand, cut off the portion of the pack above the break and turn the hand palm-up, displaying the double-backed card on the bottom of the packet. With the left thumb, flip the lower packet over in the left hand; then revolve the right hand palm-down and return the packet to the deck. However, as you do this, execute the Kelly-Ovette bottom placement to bring the double-backed card to the bottom: Curl the tips of the right second and third fingers over the outer end of their packet, until they contact the underside of the doublebacker. Pull with the third fingertip, causing the inner end of the double-backer to swivel rightward (Figure 268). The thumb should rest near the inner left corner of the packet, where the corner of the swivelled card can clear it easily. The swivelling action tends to lever the inner end of the card automatically downward and away from the packet. Insert the outer right corner of the lower packet between the tilted card and the upper


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packet (Figure 269), and, as you move the two portions square, slide the separated card underneath. Finish by squaring the pack. It is a common temptation, when doing this sleight, to carry the right hand's packet onto the left's with an inward "scooping" motion. Work to eliminate any such action. Instead of sliding the upper packet backward over the lower, strive for a more natural replacement wherein you tilt up the inner end of the upper packet as it moves over the lower one (Figure 270); then release the upper portion from the right thumb and let it fall square onto the lower half. As you execute this sleight, look up at the audience, drawing their attention from the deck, and say, "But no, nobody has any courtesy these days." The deck is now face-down with five face-up cards on the bottom (one indifferent and four aces), and below these lies the double-backed card. "Though for myself, I would not have minded. You see, all these cards are marked—for gambling." Rapidly spread the pack between the hands, showing backs. Close the spread and, with the palm-down right hand, grasp the inner end of the deck in preparation for a Hindu shuffle. Lift the entire pack and briefly expose the double-backed card on the bottom. "I can tell from the back that this card is the four of diamonds." Turn the right hand palm-down again and perform the well-known Hindu shuffle display: Strip a few cards from the top of the deck (Figure 271) and let them fall onto the left palm. Turn the right hand palm-up, again displaying the double-backed card on the bottom (Figure 272). "This is the eight of spades..." Turn the right hand palm-down and strip another small packet from the top, letting it fall onto the first packet. Flash the double-backer again—"...the five of clubs..."—and strip off a third packet. Repeat this procedure as you continue to name cards: "...the queen of hearts, the two of hearts, and so on." While the double-backed card has been shown five times, the mind is tricked into believing it has seen five different backs. To create the strongest illusion with this ruse, the right hand must move with the deck, and the left hand remain anchored in space, serenely taking the packets. Moving the left hand, while keeping the right hand still, greatly weakens the illusion; and moving both hands at once creates visual confusion that diminishes the desired result, rather than enhancing it. You have regulated the size of the packets so far taken to leave roughly half the deck in the right hand. As you say, "...and so on," quickly draw off a few single cards from the top of the right hand's packet onto the left hand's portion. Then turn the right hand palmup and draw the double-backed card from packet to packet. "I'm awfully sorry. That one was face-up." While saying this, with the left thumb, push the double-backed card to the right and use the


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outer end of the right hand's packet to flip it over on the left hand's packet. "But even though I know what all the cards are, it is still a disadvantage to have backs on all the faces; especially when one is trying to do card tricks." Your hands continue to shuffle as you talk: with the right hand still palm-up, pull four more cards (the aces) singly onto the left-hand packet; then turn the right hand palm-down and drop the balance of the deck on top of all. Square the cards, riffle with the left thumb to the thick card and cut it to the bottom. The arrangement from top to bottom is now: the face-down deck, one face-up card, four face-down aces, and the thick double-backer. "For instance, in one of my favorite tricks I shuffle the pack vigorously." With the right hand, lift the right side of the pack, tipping it up into overhand shuffle position. The double-backed card should be nearest the right palm. Rapidly shuffle off all but roughly a dozen cards. Hold the pack low as you shuffle, so faces aren't exposed to those on your extreme right. "I'm sorry. I was shuffling the cards with the faces showing." Throw the right hand's packet under the rest and, while still holding the deck on edge in shuffle position, square the cards. Then, with the right


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hand, lower the pack flat onto the left hand (double-backed card on top), grasp the outer end of the deck and turn it end over end on the left fingers. Bend the fingers upward, tipping the deck into shuffle position once more and begin another rapid mix. While it appears you have turned the deck over once, the combined actions have left the cards in the same position they began: double-backed card nearest the right palm. "I shuffle the cards vigorously..." Shuffle off about half the cards and throw the balance on top. Square the deck and adjust it to lefthand dealing position. "...and then I cut the cards. If I'm lucky I cut to an ace." With the right thumb, riffle up the inner end of the pack until you feel the thick card escape; then lift away all the cards above it. "Yes, you see, the ace of clubs." You now perform the Jack Merlin tip-over change, using the getready described in Expert Card Technique (p. 86). This consists of doing the first action of the Kelly-Ovette bottom placement, but with a minor change to the right hand's grip: the forefinger must be curled onto the back of the packet. The tips of the right second and third fingers contact the face of the packet and swivel the bottom card (an ace) to the right for about a quarter of an inch. When the near left corner of the card clears the right thumb, the inner end of the ace will drop away from the packet. With the middle phalanx of the third finger, press in on the front edge of the angled card, pushing it back into alignment with the packet, but gently forcing it to ride over the extreme tip of the thumb. This forms a break between the card and the packet, which the thumb can now retain. Now thumb over the top card of the left hand's packet, the doublebacker, and use the left edge of the right hand's packet to flip it over. As the right hand's packet briefly eclipses the left's, release the separated card, dropping it squarely onto the double-backer. (For further details on the tip-over change, see pp. 72-73.) "You can see for yourselves—the ace of clubs." Thumb the top card of the left-hand packet onto the table. "Not only that, but my shuffle has brought the four aces together in the middle of the pack: the ace of hearts...the ace of spades...and the ace of diamonds." With each ace named, you repeat the previous sequence, flipping the double-backed card over and loading an ace onto it, through the agency of the tip-over change. The Kelly-style method of forming a break allows you to reset quickly with just one hand. Thumb each face-down ace in turn onto the table. When the fourth ace has been laid down, reassemble the deck by slipping the right hand's packet under the left's. The deck is now facedown, with the double-backed card on top and one reversed card on the bottom.


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"Well, I think this is one of the very best tricks I do." As you advance this notion—one, I might add, that is probably not universally shared at the moment—give the deck a quick and casual overhand shuffle, first drawing off the double-backed card, then shuffling about a dozen cards onto it and throwing the balance underneath. This repositions the double-backer roughly thirteenth from the top and retains the reversed card at the bottom. "But I think you will agree that it would be even more effective if I could do it with cards that had faces, instead of cards like these, which—I'm awfully sorry, I've left the joker in the pack—instead of cards like these, which have nothing but backs wherever you look." In unison with these words, you spread quickly through the top portion of the deck until you feel the thick double-backed card. Extract it from the deck, briefly display both sides of it, claim it is the joker and slip it into a pocket. Then continue to spread through the deck, showing nothing but backs. Stop, of course, before the faceup bottom card is exposed. "Luckily, I remembered a way of dealing with a pack that has become nothing but backs, backs, backs." Square the cards into the left hand and, each time you say "backs", turn the deck end over end; three times in all. This brings the deck face-up, with the reversed card on top. "You simply rub the pack with your hand...and all the faces return." Here, do any color change that deposits a face-up card over the reversed card. Follow this by fanning the pack, while keeping the upper two cards together. The reversed card is thus hidden and nothing is seen but faces. This sudden burst of faces, after such a protracted period of facelessness, is visually startling. Close the fan and, in doing so, catch a break under the upper two cards. "If I take one card and pass it over the cards on the table..." Execute a double lift and, without exposing the underside of the double, wave it over the four cards on the table. While the right hand is busied with this, casually flip the deck face-down in the left hand. Replace the double card on the deck, immediately push over the top card and flip it face-down. "Well, I still think cutting to the aces is a good trick." Turn up the aces on the table and conclude. The deck is ungimmicked, all the cards are face-down and you can proceed in any manner you like. Mr. Elmsley designed this as an opening routine, and logically that is the purpose it best serves. However, should you desire to do the All Backs after having done other effects with the pack, it is possible to set up the cards in front of the audience. Several approaches are possible. Here is one of the simpler ones: Cull the aces to the top of the pack. Then palm the double-backed card from your pocket and add it onto the aces. Get a break under the top six cards and reverse them at center with the Braue reversal.


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That is, grasp the deck from above, maintaining the break with the right thumb. With the left hand, undercut about half the pack, flip it sidewise and face-up, and slip it onto the face-down right-hand half. Immediately undercut all the cards below the break, flip them faceup and place them back under the right hand's half. Now turn the deck face-down in the left hand and, with the right thumb, riffle up the inner end until you feel the double-backed card. Cut the deck and complete the cut, bringing the double-backer to the top and the five face-up cards to the bottom. Finish with a slip cut, transferring the double-backed card to the middle of the deck. With three casual cuts, everything has been set for the All Backs routine. 1954


A TRIPLE REVERSE Here is a method devised by Mr. Elmsley to cause three selections to congregate at the center of the pack, turning face-up as they do so. The crux of the trick is a method of reversing one or more cards, which is both easy and extremely deceptive. It is also capable of application to other tricks. To begin, the bottom card of the deck must be secretly reversed. There are many methods of achieving this, and any basic text on card sleights will offer several. The half pass comes immediately to mind, as do the Braue reversal and the pants-leg reversal (ref. Royal Road to Card Magic, pp. 191-192 and 189-190; also see the penultimate paragraph on the facing page for a description of a Braue reversal variant). Or the reversed card may be one that is left in the pack from a previous trick. Have three cards chosen and control them to the bottom of the deck. Mr. Elmsley uses the Kelly-Ovette bottom placement here (see pp. 261-262). A side steal to the bottom is another option (ref. Tarbell Course in Magic, Volume 3, pp. 183-184). With either sleight, the card is freely chosen by riffling the left thumb down the outer left corner of the deck and stopping at any point the spectator commands. The right hand is brought palm-down over the pack and lifts the upper portion away, turning its face toward the spectator so that the card stopped at can be noted. Then, as the upper portion is replaced on the lower, the selection is maneuvered to the bottom of the deck. This is repeated with two more cards, bringing them to the bottom as well. Square the deck and procure a left fourth-finger break above the reversed card, now fourth from the bottom. You can do this by riffling the inner ends of the cards quietly off the right thumb; but a better procedure is to have a bridge or crimp in the reversed card, allowing a break to be formed quickly without overt manipulation. You will now reverse the three selections as you overhand shuffle the deck. While the action itself is not difficult, timing is important, and deserves as much care and rehearsal as all the other elements of the trick put together. As you begin to position the deck for the shuffle, turn to your right. Within this turn lift all the cards above the break, holding them in


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the right hand in overhand shuffle grip. Simultaneously curl the left fingers under the four-card packet that remains to them, and lever it up into a vertical position, with the reversed card face toward the audience (Figure 273). At this point the body turn is complete and you immediately begin to shuffle the right hand's cards onto those in the left, until the pack is exhausted. In this manner the selections are brought face-down beneath the face-up deck. Follow the shuffle with a second, in which you shuffle off about half the pack, then throw the balance on top. This centralizes the reversed cards. The trick can now be concluded by simply ribbon spreading the deck to reveal the three chosen cards together and faceup in the middle of the pack. In should be understood that, when the reversal is executed, the body turn is not meant to conceal the turned packet from view, but merely the action of turning it. The packet is visible momentarily, just before the right hand begins to shuffle cards onto it. It appears to the audience that the turned packet is the first group of cards dropped for the shuffle. If executed smoothly and timed properly, the reversal is indetectable. A few trials before a mirror will convince you of this. It is a completely deceptive sleight, well worth adding to your repertoire. May 31, 1952


INFINITY: ROUND TRIP Effect: The performer riffles up the pack until a spectator calls stop. The upper portion of the pack is raised and the card at its face is shown. The bottom portion of the deck is turned face-up and the card at its face is also noted. This is appointed as a marker card. The face-down top portion is laid onto the face-up bottom portion, placing the spectator's card face to face with the marker card. The spectator is asked to blow on the pack, after which the face-down top portion is lifted. The marker card is seen on the face of the lower portion, but the spectator's card has vanished from the face of the upper packet. The deck is reassembled face-up, and the spectator is asked to blow on it once more. When the deck is next spread, one card is found reversed at center—the vanished selection has reappeared. Method: This quick trick (devised during the same period as the previous item) is as satisfying to perform as it is bewildering to watch. The satisfaction emanates from the wonderful economy of method, a feature common in Elmsley constructions. One simple sleight accounts for both the vanish and the reversal of the selection. The deck is unprepared and there is no setup, though you may wish to move a prominent card like the ace of spades to the face of the pack when you begin. If you do so, call attention to the card as you position it. Take the pack face-down into left-hand dealing position and, with the right fingertips, riffle up the outer end of the cards until a spectator tells you to stop. Since the selection is an honest one, you can hold up the deck as you riffle, permitting the spectator to see the cards as they go by. When stopped, raise the upper portion of the pack, holding it by its ends in the right hand, and display the card at the face of the packet to everyone. Since this is not a location or divination, you can look at the card as well. Now, with the left thumb, flip the bottom portion of the pack faceup in the left hand, and draw attention to the card on the face of this packet. If you have previously positioned an easily remembered card there, this lessens the mental work required of your audience to appreciate the effect.


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"I shall mark the position of your card by placing it face to face with the ace of spades [or whatever]." Here execute the Kelly-Ovette bottom placement (pp. 261-262) as you lay the right-hand packet face-down onto the face-up left-hand packet. This secretly shuttles the face-down selection beneath the face-up block. Ask the person who chose the card to blow lightly on the deck, this action being a time-honored magical agent. Then lift the face-down upper portion, relying on a light touch and the natural bridge of the cards to cut accurately between the two packets; or neatly spread the cards between the hands until you reach the division. Your card is seen still at the face of the bottom packet; but when you turn the upper packet face-up, the spectator's card has disappeared. Pause for the vanish to register; then slip the face-up top portion under the face-up bottom one. This buries the face-down selection in the middle of the deck. Hold out the pack for the spectator to blow on it a second time. Then spread the cards, either on the table or between the hands, to reveal the reversed card near center—the selection returned.


CHOSEN CARDS ACROSS Effect: Here is another example of a venerable classic given an ingenious touch. Spectators count out two groups often cards. The first ten are wrapped in a handkerchief and held by a member of the audience. Three cards are freely selected and added to the second packet of ten, which is then held by another spectator. Without touching the cards, the performer causes the three selections to travel from the one packet to the other. The spectators themselves confirm that the second packet now contains only ten cards—the selections are gone—and that the wrapped packet holds thirteen: the original ten cards and the three selections! The performer seems to have no contact with the wrapped packet where the cards appear, and no duplicate cards are used. In fact, the selections may be signed by the spectators. Method: We may owe the Cards Across plot as we know it to Robert-Houdin, who, in the description of his "Mene, Tekel, Upharsin" in 1868 (ref. The Secrets of Conjuring andMagic, pp. 207-210), wrote that this was his modification of an older trick that gave it "an entirely new effect". Within the subsequent two decades other magicians enhanced the simple plot of passing anonymous cards from packet to packet by making those cards either mental or physical selections. Mr. Elmsley's method for accomplishing the effect is typically subtle. It has fooled many well-posted magicians. Indeed, Dai Vernon thought highly enough of it to include this trick in many of his lectures. Since its publication almost four decades ago, the stratagem invented by Mr. Elmsley has been used by other fine magicians in fashioning their own versions of Cards Across. Here, then, is the original Elmsley method. With the right hand, palm three cards from the deck and hand the balance to someone, asking that he count ten cards from it onto your extended left palm. Here Mr. Elmsley uses the old tip of occupying the palming hand by grasping the left wrist from below as the counting is done. When the ten cards have been counted, ask if the spectator can loan you a clean handkerchief. If he has one, take it. However, it seems that few men these days carry a handkerchief,


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clean or otherwise. Therefore, keep one of your own convenient, should he not have one. Whatever the situation, your question, his response and the resultant actions provide ample opportunity for you to add the three palmed cards to the packet in your left hand. Suggest that you might check the spectator's count to assure that there is no error. False count the packet of thirteen cards as ten. This can be done with a buckle count, a block push-off or by simply taking the last three cards as one on the count of ten. (The false count can be omitted, but Mr. Elmsley believes that, if this is done, for the sake of consistency and courteousness there then should be no second counting of the next packet to be formed.) Give the packet to the spectator and ask that he wrap it securely in the handkerchief. Hand the remainder of the pack to a second person and ask that he count out ten more cards onto your left palm. When he has done this, check his count also, taking the opportunity as you count to catch a left fourth-finger break under the third card from the top. (If you have decided to eliminate the check counts of both packets, the break can be formed by pinky counting or by casually spreading over the top few cards.) Request that he shuffle what is left of the deck and then set it facedown on the table. As he mixes the cards, comment on his thoroughness. Then, while attention is thus drawn naturally to his actions, with your right hand, palm the top three cards of the packet. With the deck on the table, explain that you wish three persons to take one card each. Reach out with the right hand and ribbon spread the pack, bringing the hand away three cards lighter. Once the selections have been removed from the spread, have them signed on the faces if you wish, then cut the packet in your left hand and have the three selections placed in the center. As they are collected, obtain a break beneath them. Replace the top cards onto the packet, burying the selections, and ask someone to hold out his hand, palm-up. Cut off all the cards above the break and lay them on his palm. Follow these with the balance of the packet. This cuts the cards, transporting the selections to the bottom of the packet. Instruct him to guard the cards well. At this point, your hands should be seen empty. You now go through the motions of making the three selections pass invisibly from packet to packet. Use any bits of by-play that suit you. Then ask the spectator with the second packet to count his cards into a face-down pile on the table. Where he thinks he has thirteen, he finds ten; and in his counting he unwittingly brings the selections to the top of the packet. (Note how the unpleasant consequences of any misunderstanding are neatly avoided: if the spectator should begin dealing the cards face-up instead of face-down, you can correct him before the selections are reached and any harm is done.)


TWISTED CLASSICS 2 7 3 So, ten cards are found and the three selections seem to have vanished under impossible conditions. Immediately turn to the first spectator and ask that he count his cards onto the table. While everyone watches him unwrap the packet and count it, casually pick up the packet just counted, get a break beneath its top three cards (the selections) and palm them into the right hand. Drop the rest of the packet onto the spread deck. When the spectator counts the cards he has so diligently protected, he discovers thirteen. Everything that has occurred so far has been designed to convince the audience that the deed has already been done. They are thrown off balance with the realization that the cards have already crossed, and critical attention is relaxed. It is at this moment of powerful misdirection that you complete the deception. Reach out your right hand and sweep the thirteen-card packet off the table and into your left hand. As you do this, add the palmed selections to the group. Cut the packet to center the selections. Then turn it face-up and run through the cards as you ask each person which card he chose. Of course, if the cards were signed, this won't be necessary. Pull the three cards one by one from the packet and toss them face-up onto the table. The one remaining clue to the method is then destroyed by dropping the balance of the packet face-down onto the deck. One last, perhaps obvious note: rather than cutting the packet openly, you can, if you wish, execute a turnover pass to center the selections. Cards Across has been found an astonishing and entertaining trick by audiences for well over a century. The refinement of having specific selections, rather than unknown cards, travel across complicates the effect slightly; but the increase in mystery more than warrants the embellishment. In Mr. Elmsley's construction, every sleight is thoroughly cloaked by a fabric of misdirection. The psychology he has built into the presentation is equally cunning, and will outwit the most astute. May 17, 1952


INVISIBLE CARD IN CIGARETTE Effect: If ever a magician feels the need to be humbled in his craft, he has only to ask a member of the public to imagine a magical effect that he would view as truly miraculous. This will often yield the most wonderful plots with little or no hope for a method. The next effect strikes me as such a plot; however, Mr. Elmsley has a most practical solution to it. The performer asks someone in the audience who is a smoker to join him before the group. This person is asked to think of any card he likes in a deck of fifty-two, then to locate it in an imaginary deck that the performer hands him, and to seal his invisible card into a very real envelope. Now the performer begs a cigarette from the spectator, giving him one of his own in trade. He hands the spectator a lighter with which to light the envelope. The performer takes the burning envelope and from it lights his borrowed cigarette. He then blows out the flame and holds open what remains of the envelope, announcing that he has caused the spectator's imaginary card to vanish. This, as you might expect, does not impress many. But then the performer makes a face, looks at his cigarette and then at the spectator who gave it to him. He is obviously not pleased with it. He breaks the cigarette open at his fingertips and finds a rolled card inside—the card the spectator named at the start. Method: You will require an index of cigarettes loaded with cards; twenty in all. These are kept in a cigarette case, in a known order. First, let's discuss the method for loading the cigarettes. The easiest way of _ doing this is to roll a cigarette paper tightly around a cigarette, seal it and, when it is dry, slide the cigarette from the paper tube. Take the card you wish to load and


TWISTED CLASSICS 2 7 5 roll it into a tight cylinder. Slip it inside the tube until one end 275 is flush with the end of the tube. Then insert the end of a c 5 cigarette as far as you can into • 2 the open end of the paper tube i 5 and, with a razor blade, neatly V 3 slice it off, even with the end of Z the loaded cigarette, forming a /I 5 tobacco plug (Figure 274). V 3 T The twenty cards you will ¥ I] 2 /I need to load into as many Ir 5 V cigarettes are the ace through five of each suit. When you are finished, arrange the twenty loaded cigarettes in your cigarette case, organizing each suit separately, with the values running ace to five. This makes the location of any of the cards quick and easy. To simplify the location further, place a mark on the elastic that holds the cigarettes in place, signifying the position between the tenth and eleventh cigarettes. You may wish to carry this idea even further, by marking the three divisions between the suits, or, if you don't care about showing the inside of the case, you can paste a cue strip into the lid, running vertically along the hinge, that lists each of the cards (Figure 275). If a cigarette case does not suit you, the loaded cigarettes can be arranged in a known order in a cigarette pack. You can, if you like, build dividers into the pack to form four compartments. If the cigarette case is used, carry it in the inside left breast pocket of your coat. If a pack, place it in your outside right breast pocket. Also, in your left side coat pocket have an unprepared cigarette; and in your right side pocket put an envelope and either a lighter or a book of matches. As we proceed with the explanation, it will be presumed that the cigarette case and lighter are being used. The handling of cigarette pack and matches is so similar, the minor changes necessary will become clear without further description. Begin the presentation by requesting the loan of a cigarette. When several willing smokers identify themselves, chose a person who looks as if he will be a good assistant—and who is brandishing a cigarette reasonably similar in appearance to your own. It is necessary eventually to switch cigarettes; and being unexpectedly faced with a brand rolled in some exotic paper, when yours is wanly white, will make your switch, no matter how expertly executed, less effective. Explain that you won't need his cigarette for a few moments, but that you would appreciate his help on stage now. Seat him comfortably, facing the audience, and as you do so, casually and quietly say to him:

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"In a moment I am going to ask you to think of a card. As it is difficult to identify a card with a lot of pips from a distance, would you mind thinking of a card, say less than a six, for the benefit of the people at the back?" This sounds perfectly reasonable to the spectator; yet it confines his selection to one of the twenty cards you have indexed. Now bring out "an invisible deck of cards" and go through as many of the invisible deck gags as you like: shuffling, cutting, then taking the cards from their case, dropping them, and so on. In Mr. Elmsley's words, "...go through all the comedy cliches." (This comment, by the way, was written in 1955.) Finish by fanning the imaginary pack before the spectator and ask him to think of any card he sees. When he says he has done this, hand him the pack and tell him to find his card and remove it. With your left hand, take the invisible pack back from him and pocket it as you ask him to hold the card up for everyone to see. While your left hand is in the coat pocket, palm the cigarette there and bring the hand out apparently empty. At the same time, with your right hand, bring out the envelope from your right coat pocket. Suggest to your helper that some people in back may not be able to see his card, so he had better call out its name for them. Then hand him the envelope and have him seal the invisible selection in it. Explain, "In a moment, I will make your card vanish from the envelope in a most unusual way; but first, will you have a cigarette?" With your right hand, take the cigarette case from your pocket and transfer it to the left hand, laying it over the cigarette you have palmed there. Under the case, secretly maneuver the cigarette to the left fingertips, positioning it across them and parallel with the length of the case (Figure 276). Open the case and casually remove the cigarette with the necessary card in it. With the right thumb, hold this cigarette in place across your right fingertips. With the left hand, close the case, then pass it to the right hand, switching the cigarettes in the process. The switch consists of nothing more than retaining each hand's cigarette in place as the case is transferred over them. When the transfer is complete, the loaded cigarette is hidden under the case and the unprepared cigarette is held openly in the left hand. Despite its simplicity, this switch is thoroughly deceptive. Furthermore, even those who might anticipate a switch will not expect it so early in the presentation.


TWISTED CLASSICS 277 Hand the normal cigarette to your helper and, with the right fingers, simultaneously adjust the hidden cigarette so that it is completely concealed between the case and the fingers. This allows you to replace the case in your inside left breast pocket without exposing the cigarette as the underside of the case is turned momentarily toward the audience. While the right hand is still hidden by the coat, shift the cigarette into either thumb palm or oblique palm. The choice of palms will depend on which of several cigarette switches you will next execute. There are a number of good switches in the literature, and the reader may already have a favorite. The one Mr. Elmsley uses is given below. For this switch the cigarette must be held in oblique palm; i.e., with the tip of the second finger on one end and the other end pressed lightly to the palm. Ask your helper if you can try one of his cigarettes. Take it from him with your left hand and at the same time reach with your right hand into your right coat pocket for the lighter. Place the borrowed cigarette between your lips and pass the lighter to the left hand. You now find you wish to say something further to your helper; so with your right hand you remove the cigarette from your mouth, taking it at the end that is in your lips. Grip the cigarette between the tips of the right thumb and second finger (Figure 277), keeping it in view. "I told you I would make your card vanish in an unusual way. Will you light the envelope with this lighter, and then light your own cigarette from the envelope?" Replace the borrowed cigarette between your lips as you hand your helper the lighter. When he has the envelope burning, again remove the cigarette from your lips and say, "Can I have my lighter back, please?" This is the moment you make the switch: The borrowed cigarette is held by its end, between the right thumb and second finger (Figure 277 again). Extend the third finger inward, until it contacts the borrowed cigarette, and swivel the cigarette in toward the palm (Figure 278). When the two cigarettes are nearly parallel to one another, press downward with the thumb on the end of the borrowed cigarette, until its opposite end lodges against the palm, just below the end of the loaded cigarette. Continue to press downward with the thumb, easing the outer end of the borrowed cigarette over the tip of the second finger and onto the tip of the third (Figure 279). Then press inward with the third finger on the end of the borrowed cigarette, palming it beside yours.


2 7 8 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

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Now move the thumb to the outer end of the loaded cigarette and curl the first finger in slightly. Roll the end of this cigarette from the second finger onto the first, until you can pinch the cigarette between the first finger and thumb (Figure 280). If you now extend the first finger and thumb, the loaded cigarette will swing out from the palm and is in position to be placed between the lips (Figure 281). However, don't do so quite yet. As your right hand makes the switch, extend your left hand for the lighter. Having received it, place the loaded cigarette between your lips and take the lighter into your right hand. Then return the lighter to your right coat pocket, while also discarding the palmed cigarette. Now take the burning envelope from the helper and light your cigarette. This end, of course, should be the tobacco-filled one. If this end is positioned near the hinge of the cigarette case, and if the switch just explained is used, the correct end of the cigarette will be in position for lighting. If another switch is used, a trial or two will quickly show you the initial placement necessary to arrive at the desired position.


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Blow on the envelope, extinguishing it before it is completely consumed, and show that the invisible card is gone. Then grimace at the taste of the cigarette, make some comment about it if you like, and break it open at the fingertips to produce the chosen card. While this switch may seem complex on paper, the actions are not difficult. Indeed, none of the manipulations in this trick are terribly demanding; but your acting and timing must be well practiced. The effect created is far in excess of the effort needed to master the method. If performing this trick under close-up conditions, where stage cueing is not practicable, Mr. Elmsley suggests a different approach for limiting the range of the spectator's selection of cards: The index in this instance contains only twelve cigarettes, which cover all the court cards in the deck. Ask your helper if he prefers spot cards or court cards? Court cards are almost invariably named. When they are, ask him to think of any court card he likes. If, however, spot cards are named, a magician's choice is invoked. Ask him to hand you all the spot cards, then to fan the cards that remain to him and think of one. This trick was a favorite of Fred Kaps, and he performed it regularly in his cabaret shows. He had a clever phrasing that virtually assured that court cards would be chosen. He would ask, "When you play cards, what kind of cards do you like to get in your hand? High ones or low?...High cards? Like jacks, queens and kings? All right then, think of any high card you see." Mr. Kaps also worked out an exceptionally clever method for indexing the loaded cigarettes and substituting them for the borrowed one. He published his handling in the Dutch magic journal, Triks. The article has recently been translated into English and can be found in Fred Kaps, compiled by Freddie Jelsma (pp. 47-50). It is well worth your attention.


NEW PIECES TO AN OLD PUZZLE Effect: Charles Jordan, in 1919, marketed a multiple assembly trick called "Like Seeks Like". In it, four hats were lined up and the aces and court cards were removed from the deck. Each hat received a jack, queen, king and ace of matching suit. Yet, when the contents of the hats were next exhibited, all the aces had gathered in one, all the jacks in another, and so on. The plot was a fascinating problem, but Mr. Jordan's method was suitable only for platform or stage, as it entailed a rather arduous exercise in back palming. The trick can be found in Charles T. Jordan: Collected Tricks (pp. 87-88), and in Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (p. 344, Hugard revision). In 1932 Dai Vernon, in his Ten Card Problems, published an ingenious method for the Jordan plot, which Faucett Ross titled "The Vernon Card Puzzle". The Vernon method eliminated the hats and back palms, and brought the trick to the close-up table. When, in the April 1947 issue of Genii magazine, Elmer Biddle published his now classic count, which he called 'Transcendent", it made waves throughout the world of card magic. During the early 1930s Tony Kardyro had independently invented the same sleight— with one difference: he employed a break to facilitate the steal of the card, while Mr. Biddle simply picked the card off the face of the packet. The Kardyro handling is the one commonly used today. Edward Mario, Neil Elias and Bert Fenn recognized the potential of this sleight for use with the Card Puzzle plot, and between them they devised approximately forty variant methods. Their favorite was eventually contributed in 1959 to Ibidem 16 (see "Observation Test", pp. 5-8). In 1961 Dai Vernon published his handling of the MarloElias-Fenn method (ref. Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic, pp. 5456; also Early Vernon, pp. 58-60). After reading the Vernon revision, Mr. Elmsley was prompted to devise an alternative Biddle count sequence, which simplified and expedited the action of the trick. He sent his sequence, along with several other original tricks, to Mr. Vernon in the early 1960s, and they were favorably received by the Professor. Here, then, is the Elmsley handling for the Card Puzzle.


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Method: Openly remove all the aces and court cards from the deck and group them in suits, each group running from face to back acejack-queen-king. Stack the four groups in CHaSeD suit order, with the clubs at the bottom and the diamonds on top; i.e., the ace of clubs is at the face of the packet, and the king of diamonds at the back. Once the cards are arranged, spread them briefly between the hands to show separated suits. Then square the face-up cards into left-hand dealing position and, with the palm-down right hand, grip the packet by its ends from above, in preparation for the Kardyro-Biddle steal. Hold the front of the packet tipped well down, and stretch the right fingers across the front edge. This is done to conceal the thickness of the packet while at the same time its face is clearly displayed to the audience. Here I will digress for a moment to pass on a helpful tip offered by Mr. Elmsley, which ensures a neat taking action of the cards: When gripping the packet in the right hand, position the tip of the second finger directly on the outer left corner, and plant the thumb near the center of the inner end. The forefinger is curled in, onto the packet and out of the way. Now, when you begin to draw the uppermost card from the packet, place the left thumb on the card, roughly an inch behind the outer left corner, and pivot that corner of the card free of the right second fingertip. The right thumb acts as a pivot post during this simple operation (Figure 282). You can now draw the card off the packet without disturbing the others. Notice how the tip of the right second finger keeps the rest of the cards perfectly squared, a feature to be desired when stealing and loading cards from the packet. This tip is valuable not only for the execution of the Kardyro-Biddle count, but also for the tip-over change, the Braue addition and other related sleights. We now return to the action of the trick. With the left thumb, draw the ace of clubs from the face of the packet onto the left palm. Lay the ace face-up before you on the table. Then peel the jack, queen and king of clubs, one after the other, into the left hand. Next draw off the ace of hearts, but jog it widely off the front right corner of the left-hand packet (Figure 283). Lay down this ace an inch to the left of the ace of clubs. Draw the jack of hearts onto the left-hand packet, then the queen of hearts—but catch a left fourth-finger break between them. Maintaining an even rhythm to the count actions, take the king of


282

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

hearts onto the queen in the left hand; then take the ace of spades, jogging it on the left-hand packet as you did the ace of hearts. Lay the ace of spades an inch to the left of the ace of hearts. Now, as you draw the jack of spades off the right-hand packet, the first steal is made. You are holding a break below the king and queen of hearts. As you bring the right hand's cards over the left's, pick up the king and queen beneath the packet as you pull the jack of spades into the left hand. When you steal back the king and queen, catch a right thumb break between them and the packet (Figure 284). Draw the queen of spades onto the jack, but hold a left fourthfinger break between them. Then, as you draw the king of spades onto the queen, secretly release the king and queen of hearts from the right thumb, loading them between the king and queen of spades. There are now four cards above the fourth finger's break. Draw the ace of diamonds into a jogged position on the left-hand packet and lay it an inch to the left of the ace of spades. Then pull the jack of diamonds onto the left-hand stock, simultaneously stealing the cards above the break back under the right hand's packet. No thumb break is held above the stolen stock this time. Draw the queen of diamonds onto the left-hand packet, and lay the remaining right-hand cards, as a single king, on top of all. While the description of this count is cumbersome, the sequence itself is not. In practicing it, aim for smoothness and a regular rhythm. Though the thickness of the packets is at variance with purported reality at several points during the count, the manner in which the cards are held and the motion of the hands successfully conceal these discrepancies. To the audience it appears as if you have simply counted the cards from hand to hand, reversing their order while removing the aces. The spectators still believe the court cards are grouped by suits. In reality, the packet reads, from face to back, king of diamonds, king of spades, king of hearts, queen of hearts, queen of spades, queen of diamonds, jack of diamonds, jack of spades, jack of hearts, king of clubs, queen of clubs, jack of clubs. Flip the packet face-down into left-hand dealing position and immediately spread over the top three cards. Take these three into the right hand and briefly display their faces as you say, "The clubs


TWISTED CLASSICS

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are on top, the diamonds on the bottom." As you mention diamonds, flash the king of diamonds on the bottom of the left hand's packet. Everything looks as it should. Lay the three club cards onto the table in a face-down pile behind the ace of clubs. 'The jack, queen and king of clubs go here with the ace of clubs." Deal the next three cards from the top of the packet into the right hand, taking one under the other without reversing their order. 'The jack, queen and king of hearts go with the ace of hearts." Lay the cards in a face-down pile behind the ace of hearts. Deal the next three cards from the packet into the right hand, this time reversing their order by taking one onto the other. "The jack, queen and king of spades go with the ace of spades." Lay these three cards face-down behind the ace of spades. "And the diamonds—jack, queen and king—go with the ace of diamonds." As you say, "And the diamonds," turn the left hand palmdown, flashing the king of diamonds on the face of the packet; then turn the hand palm-up again and briefly spread the cards to show three. Lay these cards behind the ace of diamonds. "The four face-up cards act as leaders for the other cards—so if I exchange the ace of hearts for a jack, the ace of spades for a queen and the ace of diamonds for a king..." As you are saying this, pick up the three face-down club cards at the right end of the row, turn them face-up and fan them. Then, as you name them, exchange the three club cards for the three aces to the left of the ace of clubs. Finish by laying the three aces in your hand face-up onto the ace of clubs, forming an overlapping column. The four face-up club cards now lie in king-queen-jack-ace order from left to right, and the aces rest in club-heart-spade-diamond order from back to face. "...all the other cards follow the new leaders!" Wave your hands impressively over the layout of cards, snap your fingers and turn the three piles face-up, spreading them inward to form columns with the face-up card in front of each. The jacks are found congregated behind the jack, the queens behind the queen, and the kings behind the king. As an added nicety, each group is in clubs-hearts-spades-diamonds sequence.


LIARS' CLUB Effect: A card is freely chosen, noted and lost back in the deck. The performer then runs quickly through the cards, openly culling roughly a dozen. He strips these as a block from the pack and inserts them into the center of the deck. This packet, he explains, is a program which, when loaded into the pack, turns it into a lie detector. The deck is then cut or briefly shuffled to activate it. The person who chose a card is now asked three questions about it—however, he is given the option of lying or truthfully answering each, as caprice and conscience move him. He is asked the color of his card, its suit and its value. For each of his answers the performer deals a face-down pile, spelling the reply with a card for every letter. Then the spectator is asked to cut the remainder of the deck at any point and mark the position of his cut. The performer now reminds everyone of the questions asked and the answers given. As he turns up each pile, a card shows on the face that indicates the truth, despite the spectator's dubious responses. The first pile correctly identifies the color of the selection, the second pile the suit, and the third pile the value. Finally, when the deck is checked, it is found that the spectator has cut it at the very selection itself. Method: The plot is the popular Lie Speller, which has its roots in an effect of Herbert Milton's. In Mr. Milton's trick, the spectator was asked several questions about the identity of his card, and his truthful answers were spelled to arrive at the card itself. In the fourth issue of Annemann's The Jinx (Jan. 1935, p. 15), Vincent Dalban suggested a card problem in which the spectator was allowed to call the names of cards either honestly or dishonestly, at his whim, as he dealt them; yet the magician, with his back turned, could tell him when he was lying. Several solutions to the Dalban problem— submitted by Stuart Robson, Theodore Annemann and others— subsequently appeared in The Jinx. It was Martin Gardner, however, who first applied Dalban's liar premise to the Milton spelling trick (ref. Berg's Here's New Magic, pp. 3-4), thus deriving the now popular Lie Speller. Over the years, many fine solutions to the effect have been published, and several variations on the theme. It was Ron Bauer


TWISTED CLASSICS 2 8 5 who, around 1964, added the charming idea of dealing packets for each answer, and having the packet confirm the truth of the spectator's replies. The original Bauer trick has never been published, but the premise quickly found its way into print. Mr. Elmsley's solution was devised in 1965 and offers a simple, straightforward, yet deceptive method to the Bauer variant. No setup is required. Shuffle the pack or have it shuffled; then have a card freely chosen, noted and returned. Control this card to a position second from the face of the pack. Any number of methods for accomplishing this come to mind, and the reader should, without great difficulty, be able to find one with which he is comfortable. Turn the pack face-up, casually letting the bottom card be seen, but making no mention of it. All you wish here is that it be seen that the selection is not on the face. Tilt the pack up, angling its face out of the audience's view, and begin to spread the cards from left hand to right. As you push over the first card, the face of the selection is exposed to you. Note it and continue to spread until you find a card of matching value, though preferably of contrasting color. Upjog this card for about half its length and continue spreading. Within the next few cards, upjog four more behind the first. These can be any cards you wish. Then spread to a card of the same suit as the selection. Upjog this. Upjog another indifferent card close behind it. Spread until you find another card of matching suit. Upjog it, then two indifferent cards. Finally, upjog any card of the same color as the selection, but preferably of a different suit. Figure 285 shows an example of how cards are set for the four of clubs. Close the spread into the left hand, without disturbing the upjogged cards, and neatly strip them out as a packet. As you do so, with the right thumb, secretly draw the card at the face of the pack upward and onto the face of the upjogged cards (Figure 286).

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THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

Maneuver the pack into face-down dealing position, without exposing the selection now at the face. Explain that the cards you have removed represent a program that will turn the deck into a lie detector. Drop the right hand's packet face-down onto the pack and give the cards a false shuffle, retaining the stock on top and the selection at the bottom. Alternatively, you may wish to insert the right hand's packet facedown into the center of the deck, rather than on top. If this is the case, as you push the packet flush, angle it slightly to the left, forcing the right inner corner to project from the right side of the pack. Pull down with the left fourth finger on this corner of the packet, and form a break above it as you push it square. You must now control this stock to the top of the pack, while retaining the selection on the bottom. Here are two easy methods for managing this: 1) With the right hand, cut off roughly half the cards resting above the break. With the left thumb, open a gap at the outer left corner, below the stock. Then slip the right hand's packet into this gap. Square the packet into the deck and immediately cut off all the cards above the break. Insert this second packet into the center of the deck, somewhere below the stock. The stock is now on top. 2) With the right hand, grip the deck by its right corners in readiness for an overhand shuffle. As you grasp the deck, transfer the left fourth finger's break to the right thumb and keep the pack in a position close to horizontal, to avoid exposure of the face of the selection as you shuffle. Start the shuffle by slipping the top and bottom cards off together; then shuffle off the cards above the break onto this pair. Conclude the shuffle by throwing the balance on top. Everything is now set for spelling. Explain that the cutting or shuffling activates the lie detector. You will now ask the spectator three questions about his card. He can answer truthfully or lie as the whim takes him, and he can change his tactic from question to question as often or as little as he likes. No matter what his decisions, you will follow them faithfully with the cards. "What was the color of your card: red or black?" Deal cards, one for each letter, from the top of the pack into a face-down pile as you spell the answer given. If he has said his card is red, the next question is "What was the suit of your card: hearts or diamonds?" If black was specified, the black suits are named instead. You must remember two simple rules as you deal the second pile: If the spectator answers Spades or Diamonds, spell S-P-A-D-E or D-I-A-M-O-N-D, dropping the final s.


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But when the answer is Clubs or Hearts, you spell C-L-U-B-S or H-E-A-R-T-S. In addition, if Hearts is named, execute a slip cut after the spell, losing the top card of the deck, or deal two cards as one as the spelling is done. "And what is the value of your card?" You can embellish this question by further asking, "Should I spell that or count it?" Do as instructed, forming a third face-down pile. Place the talon before the spectator and ask that he cut it at any point he likes. Take the bottom portion and lay it crosswise over the top portion, preparing for the standard cross-the-cut force. Now return to the three piles. Recall the first question for everyone, and the spectator's answer. Then turn up the first pile, exposing its face. This card will either verify or contradict his answer. Repeat the second question and answer, and the third, turning up the corresponding pile for each, and extracting the maximum amusement from the spectator's dishonesty or truthfulness. With the turning of the third packet, the selection is fully identified, and the spectator is made to admit that the deck is right. Conclude by having him turn up the top portion of the crossed deck to reveal the selection itself at the place he apparently cut. You can, of course, substitute another revelation for the cross-thecut force. It is suggested here for its simplicity and suitability to the trick. Nevertheless, whatever revelation is chosen, the effect is a baffling and an entertaining one, with a method that is easily learned and performed. [December 20, 1965]


ONE AT A TIME COLLECTORS Effect: The four aces are removed from the deck and set aside. Then three free selections are made, noted and returned to the pack. The performer picks up the face-up aces and displays them fronts and backs. He then squares them and spreads the cards again. Each time he does this, one of the selections appears face-up, until all three have been produced, alternating with the face-down aces. Method: Roy Walton's popular "Collectors" was the basis for this slow-motion or progressive variation on the plot. Begin by openly removing the four aces from the pack. Put these aside and have three persons each choose a card, note it and replace it in the pack. Control the three selections to the top in any efficient manner. Mr. Elmsley suggests the Hindu shuffle control (ref. Royal Road to Card Magic, pp. 204-205) as a practical method that is quick to execute and appears fair. Multiple shifts offer the same attributes (see 'The Hookstrip Shift", pp. 99-102). The order of the selections after the control must be known to you, but the presentation may be altered to fit any order produced by the control. For teaching purposes we shall assume the cards to be in reverse order to their selection: the top card is the third person's, the next card the second person's and the third card the first person's. While holding the deck face-down in left-hand dealing grip, spread it casually between your hands as you say, "Your cards are in here somewhere. To find them I need the help of the aces." Square the cards back into the left hand and catch a left fourth-finger break below the top three. With the right hand, pick up the aces from the table, turn them face-up if they are not already so, and fan them. Do not display them long. Instead, square them face-up over the deck and secretly pick up the three face-down selections beneath the packet. Do this smoothly, without lingering over the deck. Hold the ace packet in the right hand, while with the left hand you set the deck aside. Bring the left hand back to the right and settle the packet into dealing grip. Position the left forefinger along the front edge of the packet and tilt the front end down somewhat to conceal the thickness while you clearly display the faces of the cards. Thumb over the


TWISTED CLASSICS 2 8 9 top ace and take it onto the palm-up right hand. Deal the next two aces singly onto the first, reversing their order as you display them. The left hand now holds the last ace—actually four cards—but the manner in which the block is held and the actions of the hands as they deal the cards conceal the thickness. Lay the block onto the other three aces and immediately square the packet. With the palm-down left hand, grasp the packet by its outer end and turn it face-down, end over end, in the right hand. (The left fingers provide cover for the thickness of the packet during the turn.) Then smoothly shift the packet again to left-hand dealing grip. Spread the top two cards, face-down aces, to the right and take them into the right hand. Flash their faces as you say, 'The aces will find your cards." Then slip them face-down under the left hand's packet. The packet from top to face now reads: face-down ace; first selection, second selection and third selection, all face-up; and three more aces, face-down. Turn to the third spectator and ask him to name his card. As you do this and wait for his reply, bring your right hand over the packet in a squaring action and procure a left fourth-finger break under the top three cards. When the spectator names his card, wave your right hand over the packet, then deal the cards into the right hand, producing his card face-up among the aces. To do this, begin by pushing the top three cards over as a block. Take the triple card as a single into right-hand dealing grip. Use the same screening posture, tipping the front end of the cards down and extending the forefinger across the outer edge. However, little attention will be focused on the triple card, as all eyes will be drawn to the face-up selection that appears on top of the lefthand packet. Push this card to the right and take it, outjogged for roughly half its length, onto the right-hand triple, aligned lengthwise with it. While maintaining a regular dealing rhythm, push over the next card from the packet and take it onto the right-hand cards, even with the triple but jogged widely to the left. Notice how the jogging of the two cards above the triple further protects its thick edges. With the left thumb, push the top card of the left-hand pair to the right and briefly turn the hand to display the faces of these aces (Figure 287).


290

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

With the tip of the right forefinger, buckle the bottom card of the triple, breaking the left rear corner away from the cards above. Then apparently slip the left hand's two cards under the right hand's spread, but actually insert them into the break above the bottom card (Figure 288). Again the jogged cards hide the deception. Square the packet and transfer it to left-hand dealing position as you ask the first spectator to name her card. In a fashion similar to that just used, deal the cards from the left hand to the right, reversing their order as you form a spread. Deal the first five cards honestly, outjogging the two selections as they appear. Keep the last two cards squared as one and lay them on top of the spread (Figure 289). This produces the first spectator's selection between the two center aces. Square the packet in the right hand and transfer it to the left. Ask the second spectator to name her card. When she does, don't deal the packet into a spread this time; rather, fan it widely, revealing all three face-up selections at once, alternated with the face-down aces (Figure 290). Exhibit both sides of the fan, showing the aces as well as the selections; then conclude by laying the fan onto the table, chosen cards face-up. Not only is this a pretty bit of magic, exhibiting a fine sense of economy, it is also an exceptional lesson in the deceptive handling of a thick packet: seven cards as four. The trick stands nicely by itself, or it can serve effectively in combination with Roy Walton's "Collectors" or one of the many Collectors variants. November 1974


SNAP SWAP Effect: A free selection from a face-up deck is turned face-down and buried in the pack. A second selection is placed face-down under a spectator's hand. The deck is spread to locate the reversed first selection. Then a magical pass is made over the cards. This results in the transposition of the two selections: the second is now in the deck, and the first under the spectator's hand. The attractiveness of this transposition lies in the casual, straightforward manner in which the cards are handled. No duplicate cards are used, there are no multiple lifts, nor a wasted motion from start to finish. Method: Hold the deck face-up in left-hand dealing position and ask someone to call stop as you riffle your thumb down the outer left corner of the pack. Stop when told and, with the palm-down right hand, neatly lift away the packet above the thumb's break, holding it by the ends. Everyone is asked to remember the card exposed on the face of the left-hand packet. With the left thumb push this card to the right and use the right hand's packet to flip it face-down on the left's. Push the face-down card again to the right and raise the left hand, giving the audience another look at the face of the selection. However, as you push the card over, also push the card beneath it slightly to the right. Then, as you lower the left hand again, pull the selection flush with the packet and, with the left fourth finger, form a break beneath the upper two cards. Set the right hand's packet over the left's and grasp the entire deck by its ends, transferring the break to the right thumb while you maintain a second break between the upper packet and the chosen card. That is, the face-down selection and the faceup card below it are isolated near the center, with a thumb break held above and below them (Figure 291). Immediately perform a double undercut, cutting all the cards beneath the lower break in two blocks to the


292

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

face of the pack. This leaves the selection and its companion under the deck, with a thumb break still held above them. With the left thumb, start to draw single cards from the face of the pack onto the left palm, Biddle count fashion. As you do this, ask a second party to stop you at any card she wishes. Ask that she choose some card that contrasts well with the first selection. When a card is designated, draw it onto the left-hand packet, thumb it to the right and, using the right-hand packet, flip the card face-down. In doing so, execute Charlie Miller's tip-over change handling. That is, as you flip over the selection on the left-hand packet, follow through with the right hand's action by bringing its packet momentarily over the left's. In the instant the right hand's packet eclipses the left's, release the two cards below the break from the right thumb, letting them fall squarely over the selection. When the right hand moves its packet away to the right, a face-down card is seen on the left hand's packet. However, this card is not the second selection, but the first. Thumb this card face-down onto the table. There is a minor discrepancy here, as the face-up card exposed on the face of the lefthand packet is not the same one that rested a moment before beneath the second selection. One could perform a wrist turn as the face-down card is dealt to the table, but the reality of the matter is no one will notice the change of the face-up card. Attention is elsewhere and the card below the second selection is exposed for only an instant as the tip-over change is executed. Have the second spectator place her hand over the card she believes to be hers. With the tip of the right forefinger, lift about half of the right-hand packet at the outer end, as if beginning a swing cut, and neatly slip the left hand's packet into the break (Figure 292); then set the deck face-up on the table and ribbon spread it. A face-down card appears near the center of the spread. The audience believes this card to be the first selection, and the card under the spectator's hand to be the second. Precisely the reverse is true. Make a magical gesture over the cards and turn up the face-down card in the spread to expose the second selection. Then let the spectator turn up the card under her hand to find the first selection. [1960]


DOUBLE SWAP Effect: This next transposition seems a bit convoluted in its description, but in performance the effect is clear and baffling. The performer openly removes the two red aces from the pack. He then invites two members of the audience to choose cards. To ensure that no manipulation is possible, the performer uses the aces like forceps to remove each free selection from the deck. The two chosen cards are placed on the table and the red aces, being no longer needed, are slipped into the top of the performer's breast pocket, where they are left in view. He now cleanly drops the deck onto the selections and commands them to rise from the bottom to the top of the pack. However, when the two top cards are turned up, the red aces are discovered—and when the two cards in the breast pocket are checked, they are found to be the two selections. Method: This surprising double transposition is accomplished through the efficient use of an unusual double lift that has been unjustly ignored by all but a few since its initial publication in this trick. (The one notable exception is Ken Krenzel, who has published several tricks using the forceps double lift.) This double lift is not the invention of Mr. Elmsley. Regrettably, as best I can ascertain, its creator seems to have gone unrecorded. The sleight began circulating among British magicians in the mid-1950s, and this transposition of Mr. Elmsley's was the first published application. It is a relatively easy double lift to master and, while admittedly eccentric, that very eccentricity can be made to vouch for its fairness. Begin the trick by openly removing the red aces from the deck. Display their faces, then hold them face-down and more or less squared in the palm-up right hand, gripped at their inner ends, thumb on top, fingers beneath. Take the deck into left-hand dealing grip and ask someone to call stop as you riffle your thumb down the outer left corner of the cards. Stop when told to and pull down with the thumb, opening a gap in the deck. "You've stopped me at an unknown card. I don't wish even to touch it, so I'll remove it with my two aces." Bend the right hand inward at the wrist, swinging the free ends of the aces toward you and into the


294

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

296

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thumb's break. As you do this, slide the top ace slightly to the right so that it enters the break in advance of the lower ace. Just as the corner of the top ace moves into the break, quietly riffle two cards from the left thumb. Time their release to hit the corner of the top ace but miss the bottom ace. Then, as you slide the aces farther into the deck, introduce the double card between them (Figure 293). Continue to slip the aces into the pack until they are roughly parallel with it and protrude for about half their length from the front end (Figure 294). Then, while holding the deck loosely in the left hand, move the left thumb aside and slide the aces to the left, extracting the double card between them from the pack (Figure 295). In a continuing action, turn the right hand palm-down, exposing the face of the double card to the audience (Figure 296). Because of the absence of friction between the cards, as long as you maintain a moderately firm pressure on the aces, the double card will remain in perfect alignment. A few trials will prove to you how easy this is. If you press firmly with your right thumb on the back of the aces, a slight bow will be imparted to the cards, which helps to prevent separation at the front end of the double. If you keep this end tipped downward—which is natural to the right hand's position—you will create a perfect illusion of a single card caught between the aces.


TWISTED CLASSICS 2 9 5 Name the card in evidence and ask that the spectator remember it. Turn the right hand palm-up, keeping the free end of the double card directed outward, and lay the right hand's cards face-down onto the deck. As you do so, position the aces square with the pack, the double card outjogged between them. Bring the right hand palmdown over the deck and push the double card square with the rest. In almost the same movement, spread the top two cards to the right, giving the impression that the selection is never out of sight. Neatly draw the second card from the pack and lay it face-down on the table. "I shall put your card down here." (Some readers may prefer to replace this square-and-spread sequence with the push-in change, which fits the circumstances nicely.) Deal the top two cards into the right hand, reversing their order. These are believed by the audience to be the red aces. However, only the bottom card is an ace. The card above is the first selection. The second red ace rests on top of the deck and an indifferent card lies on the table. Turn to a second spectator and ask her to stop you on a card. Riffle your left thumb down the corner of the pack and execute another forceps double lift. This time you must take care not to expose the face of the upper card as you display the new double. Handle the second double card just as you did the first, substituting the upper card of the double for the noted selection. Deal this second indifferent card face-down onto the first on the table. "I won't need the aces anymore." Take the top two cards from the deck and, without exposing their faces, sit them conspicuously in the top of your breast pocket. Drop the pack cleanly onto the two tabled cards as you ask, "Do you think it would be possible to make your two cards rise from the bottom to the top of the deck?" Make a magical gesture over the cards. "Rise!" Then pick off the top two cards and look at them. 'That's odd. Your cards didn't rise to the top—my two red aces did!" Turn the faces of the cards toward the audience. Pause briefly to let the situation register. Then neatly take the two cards from your pocket and show them to be the selections. In this trick, a surprising effect is reaped from a very direct handling. Learn it and you will have at your disposal not only a fine bit of magic, but also an excellent new sleight: the forceps double lift. For another good application of this sleight, see "The Biddle with a Fiddle in the Middle" in Volume II. June 1957


AMBITIOUS TO THE END It is unlikely that any magician interested in card magic has not at some time in his study of the subject experimented with and performed an Ambitious Card routine. Mr. Elmsley is no exception. What follows is the final three-phase sequence in a routine he performed in the 1950s. The merits of its construction make it worth recording. At the start of the sequence, the chosen or ambitious card lies second from the top of the pack, a common position in such routines. In addition, the face-down deck should carry a concave bridge across its width. Such a bridge can be installed early in the routine as you do a dovetail shuffle, or spring the deck face-up from hand to hand, or perform a face-up pressure fan. While holding the face-down deck in left-hand dealing position, execute a double turnover to display the chosen card apparently on top of the pack. With the right hand, grasp the pack at its inner end— fingers above, thumb beneath—and turn it face-up, end over end. Adjust the right hand's grip on the pack, grasping it from above by the ends, and execute a side glide. That is, curl the tip of the right third finger around the outer end of the pack and secretly slide the lowermost card (the face-down selection) a quarter of an inch to the right. Then, with the tips of the left fingers, contact the exposed left side of the card above the selection and draw it to the left, removing it from the pack. As this card is also face-down, it will be mistaken for the selection. Insert the card halfway into the center of the pack, then return the deck to left-hand dealing position. Now finish pushing the card home in your fairest manner. Again grasp the inner end of the deck with the palm-down right hand, and turn it end over end. As you do so, tilt the left palm inward to meet the turning deck, and reclaim it in dealing position while the pack is still vertical. The selection lies face-up on the pack, but the top of the deck cannot yet be seen by the audience. Smoothly shift the right hand's grip on the pack, lowering the thumb to the bottom end and, as you continue to turn the deck facedown, top palm the selection. While the left hand helps support the


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deck as you palm the card, the mechanics are basically those of a one-handed top palm. By the time the deck has been lowered to a face-down position, the selection is concealed in the right hand. Let the top of the pack be seen; then wave the right hand over the deck and deposit the palmed card, in the fashion of a color change. This gives the effect of the face-up chosen card visibly rising from the center of the deck to the top. Pause for the effect to be appreciated. Then remove the selection from the top of the deck while you rotate the left hand palm outward, turning the deck vertically onto its right side, back toward the audience. Hold the pack loosely caged in the left fingers, with the thumb on the upper edge. If you now relax the thumb, a break will open near the center of the pack where the reversed indifferent card lies. The opposing bridges in the cards assure this. Slip the selection, face outward, into the break, directly above the reversed card (Figure 297). As you do this, make it clear to the spectators that the card is going genuinely into the middle of the pack. Leave roughly half an inch of the selection protruding from the right end of the pack as you turn the left hand once more palm-up. With the deck again in dealing position, use the right thumb to push the selection flush, but also bear down lightly with the thumb, opening a small break above the card for the left fourth finger. Now do a riffle pass to make the face-up selection appear instantly on top of the pack. Directly below the selection is hidden the faceup indifferent card. Let this second startling appearance of the card register. Then ask a spectator to extend one hand, palm-up. Lay the deck crosswise on his palm; that is, with a long edge nearest you. Now execute a tabled double lift from the spectator's hand. This is again aided by the reversed bridges in the top pair of cards. Just grasp them by their opposite sides, using a light touch, and lift them away from the pack. Snap the double card face-down and replace it on the deck. Tell the spectator to watch very closely. Perform a table-style slip cut on his palm, cutting the top card to the center of the pack. Do not make this maneuver rapidly. It is better that the spectator see the top card slipped to the center than to have him doubt its location. Of course, if you can do the slip cut slowly and deceptively, so much the better.


298 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Gesture magically over the pack; then ask the spectator to turn over the top card. He finds the selection has risen to the top, while he held the cards—and everything can be inspected, should curiosity dictate it. This is a strong sequence of three surprises, which concludes in the spectator's own hands. It is therefore an excellent climax for an Ambitious Card routine. We will now examine a more elaborate Ambitious Card construction, one involving an extra difficulty: the ambitious card has a contrasting back to the deck.


AMBITIOUS STRANGER Effect: The plot is that of the Ambitious Card, but with an interesting complication added: the card that rises time after time to the top of the pack has a contrasting back. Therefore, it is clearly identifiable from both face and back. After this odd-backed card has risen repeatedly to the top, it surprises everyone by changing places with its duplicate from the pack, which was placed in the performer's pocket at the start—and the deck then changes colors to match the odd card. Method: Milt Kort was the first to publish Ambitious Card routines using an odd-backed card. In "Milt Kort's Card Trick" (ref. Psychogizmo, No. 39, August 30, 1964, pp. 5-6, and No. 40, Sept. 5, 1964, p. 7; also Off-color Card Tricks, pp. 41-45) we find him working with an ambitious card, the odd back of which is concealed until the climax of the routine. Three years later Mr. Kort published "Second Banana" (ref. Genii, Vol. 32, No. 4, Dec. 1967, pp. 173-174), in which the odd back of the ambitious card is acknowledged from the start. This odd card rises several times to a position second from the top of the pack and, as a final surprise, it changes into a joker while the balance of the deck turns into duplicates of the ambitious card. In Mr. Elmsley's routine, which he devised independently in the late 1950s, the odd-backed card is made to rise to the top, and all the backs change color at the finish. For the purpose of explanation, we shall assume the deck in use is red backed, and the stranger card is blue. However, in performance it is a problem with color-changing deck effects that the back change is often missed by spectators unless it is somehow emphasized by the presentation. Consequently, Mr. Elmsley observes that it is not enough to use different colored backs of the same design. One should search for highly contrasting designs as well; for instance, a red geometrical pattern and a blue pictorial pattern. For the present trick the faces of the two aces of spades must be a close match. From the red deck, remove the ace of spades and any other card. For this description, we will assume the second card to be the four of diamonds. Discard the four, as you will not need it; and place the ace into your wallet or breast pocket. You will need two blue-backed


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cards as well. These are also the ace of spades and the four of diamonds. Place these two cards onto the red deck, four over ace, and slip the deck into a blue card case. This completes the preparation. The trick will be taught in six phases for ease of learning.

First Phase Remove the deck from its case and set the case aside. Lay the deck face-down on the table and bring out your wallet. Take the oddbacked ace of spades from the wallet and put the wallet away. (If you carry the ace in your breast pocket, simply take it from there.) "I am going to do a trick with a special ace of spades." Saying this, drop the ace face-down next to the deck, letting its contrasting back be seen. Pick up the pack and perform a face-up overhand shuffle as follows: draw off the top card (the four of diamonds) and one or more cards from the face together; then shuffle off the balance, throwing a small block of cards onto the face of the pack to finish. This shuffle retains the blue-backed four on top of the deck, and places the bluebacked ace somewhere near the face. "There must be a blue-backed ace of spades somewhere." Spread through the face-up pack until you come to the ace of spades. Drop it face-down near the red-backed ace and square the deck, forming a left fourth-finger break under the card at the face. "In fact, both of these aces will play a part." With the right hand, pick up the aces, red over blue, and drop them casually face-up onto the face of the pack. Display them there for a moment, then square them and, with the right hand, grasp all three cards that rest above the break. With the left fingers, smoothly turn the balance of the deck face-down without exposing the card now at its face. This prevents the possibility of anyone noticing that the card has changed. Then drop the right hand's three cards face-up onto the face-down pack, catching a fourth-finger break beneath them. These three cards are, in order from the top down, red-backed ace, blue-backed ace and a red-backed indifferent card. The face-down card directly below them is the blue-backed four of diamonds. Thumb over the top ace, then do a block push-off of the next two cards, forming a spread of two face-up aces. Take the upper ace into your right hand and use it to flip the double card face-down onto the deck. This double card appears to be the red-backed ace. "But to start, I shall need only the red ace." Without exposing its back, slip the right hand's ace—the real red-backed ace—into the left inner breast pocket of your jacket, or into the right trousers pocket. This leaves a red-backed indifferent card on top of the pack, under which is the blue-backed ace, the blue-backed four and the rest of the red-backed deck, all face-down. While this has taken some time


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to explain, these introductory actions consume only a few moments in performance. The first bit of magic is now about to occur. Take the top red-backed card, believed to be the ace, and insert it neatly into the center of the pack. Do not expose the red backs of other cards as you do this. Push the card flush. Then steal any redbacked card from the deck and perform a color change on top of the pack. Any one of a number of color changes can be used here. Mr. Elmsley is partial to Malini's, which can be found in Stars of Magic (pp. 154-155). As the right hand passes over the deck, the red-backed card appears on top of the pack. "The red ace has risen to the top, through the many intervening cards." To emphasize your words, spread over the top two cards only, letting the two blue backs below the redbacked card be seen. Then, as you square the two cards back onto the deck, catch a break below them, in preparation for a double lift. Lift the two cards as one and show the face of the ace. "I'll show you that again."

Second Phase Return the double card face-down onto the deck. Take the top card and slip it into the middle of the pack. Make it clear that the card is going flush into the center. Then, with the right hand, grasp the deck by its ends from above and quickly execute two small actions: with the left thumb, push the top card of the deck to the right for no more than a quarter of an inch; and simultaneously do a pull-down or a buckle to form a break for the right thumb above the bottom card of the pack. "If I tap the top of the pack—the red ace drops down through the cards and out the bottom." With your left forefinger, give the top of the deck a light tap. Then quickly position the left hand several inches beneath the deck and release the bottom card, letting it fall face-down onto the left palm. Slip the left hand's card on top of the pack and immediately transfer the pack to left-hand dealing position. In this action, form a break under the sidejogged ace as you push it flush. Perform a double lift and show the face of the ace as you say, "I'll show you that again, more slowly."

Third Phase Raise the left hand, bringing the deck to a vertical position, face toward the audience. With the right hand, insert the double card into the middle of the pack, letting it be seen that the ace really goes into the center.


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Lower the hands and deck, bringing the backs once more into view. You will now perform a minor variation of an Ambitious Card sequence by Fred Braue, based on the push-in change. As the hands are lowered, push the lower card of the double inward slightly with the right fingers. Then, in a continuing action, with the tip of the left forefinger engage the outer end of the lower card (Figure 298) and push it flush with the pack, leaving the upper card of the pair still protruding. But the left forefinger does not stop when the card is flush. Continue to push inward until you have injogged that card and all those below it for about an inch (Figure 299). Care must be taken here to keep the injogged portion of the deck reasonably squared, so that no red backs can be seen. Bring the palm-down right hand to the inner end of the pack and grasp the injogged block by its opposite sides. "I'll cut a few more cards to the top." Strip the injogged block from beneath the deck and slap it square on top. As you make this cut, tilt the outer end of the pack downward somewhat, to disguise the fact that you have cut the entire lower half of the deck from beneath the outjogged card. "That puts the ace even farther from the top." Push the outjogged card flush and turn the pack face-up in the left hand. With the right hand, grasp the deck by its ends from above and execute another pull-down or buckle to create a break above the lowermost card (the ace) for the right thumb. "But if I tap the face of the pack, the ace falls out the back." Tap the face of the pack and catch the ace in your left hand, using the same actions taught in the previous phase. Slip the ace onto the face of the deck. You now have the blue-backed ace at the face of the pack and the blue-backed four somewhere near center.


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Fourth Phase Fan the face-up pack and spot the four of diamonds. Take the ace of spades from the face of the fan and insert it one card behind the four; that is, one card should lie between the ace and the four. Close the fan and push the ace square, forming a left fourth-finger break beneath it. "I'll cut the pack a bit this time, losing the ace." Double cut the ace to the back of the deck. "It isn't at the bottom..." Spread a few cards from the face of the deck, showing the ace is not there. Square them again, "...nor at the top." Turn the deck facedown, exposing the bluebacked card on top. Bring the palm-down right hand to the rear of the pack and lift the inner ends of the top two cards, in preparation for a double lift. Grip the double card between the right thumb, at the face, and fingers, on the back. Then lift it away from the deck and turn the hand palm-up, exposing the face of the indifferent card (Figure 300). Now perform Dai Vernon's paintbrush color change: Turn the right hand palmdown, rest the free end of the double card on the inner end of the deck (Figure 301), and slide the double forward, until its end hits the tip of the left forefinger, which rests at the outer end of the deck (Figure 302). Immediately draw the double card back, brushing the outer end lightly over the top of the deck. Repeat the forward


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and back brushing action several times. Then, when the double card has moved flush with the outer end of the pack, push the lower card of the pair forward, using the right thumb, and release this card flat onto the pack. Simultaneously draw the upper card back. The top card of the deck seems to transform visibly into a red-backed card. "It's back again." Thumb the red-backed card to the right, exposing the blue-backed card below it. Slip the right hand's card under the red-backed one (Figure 303) and square the deck, catching a left fourth-finger break under the top two cards. Immediately perform a double lift to show the ace, apparently on top. Return the double card face-down onto the pack as you say, "I'll show you how it's done."

Fifth Phase "You see me put the red ace in the middle." Remove the top redbacked card and push it into the center. Let about an inch of the card protrude from the front of the pack. "But what you don't see is that I very quickly cut the pack, bringing it back to the top." Cut the pack at the projecting card, simultaneously using the left forefinger to push the card square with the packet below it. This is done to conceal the red back of the packet. Complete the cut, taking the two blue-backed cards (ace over four) to the center, and hold a left fourth-finger break between the halves. Then, with the tip of the right thumb, lift the ace to the face of the upper half and reform the break between the two blue-backed cards. (Alternatively, you can right] og the top card slightly before you cut, and form the fourth finger's break under the jog.) You have seemingly just cut the ace to the top of the pack, in an explanatory gesture. Now reverse the cut, taking the apparent ace back to the center of the deck. Cut at the break to do this, bringing the blue-backed ace to the face of the deck and the blue-backed four to the top. 'This is what it looks like in practice." Give the left hand and deck a little shake. "Did you see that?" Turn the pack face-up in the left hand to reveal the ace at the bottom.


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Sixth Phase Take the ace into the right hand and turn the left hand palm-down, revolving the deck face-down. Insert the face-up ace into the center of the pack and push it flush. Then turn the left hand palm-up again. With the right hand, grasp the deck by its ends from above and side slip the lowermost card, the four of diamonds, into right-hand classic palm, as if preparing for a color change. "If I reverse the ace, it immediately changes places with the one in my pocket." With your right hand, reach into the pocket containing the red-backed ace. Leave the palmed four behind and bring the ace from the pocket. Display both sides of the ace and drop it onto the table. "And the blue ace which was in my pocket is here in the pack." Ribbon spread the deck face-up and remove the face-down blue-backed ace. Display it and lay it with its twin. "I started with a red ace in a blue-backed pack; but, as the ace is now blue, it follows that the remainder of the pack must be red!" Domino the spread face-down to reveal the changed backs—and conclude. If you replace the red-backed ace in the deck and put the bluebacked ace away, you have a fifty-one card pack with which you can continue to perform. If you must have all fifty-two cards, use a bluebacked joker in place of the four of diamonds. When it is palmed from the pack at the finish it will not be missed. For three other clever approaches to the color-changing deck effect, see "A Strange Story" (pp. 401-404) and, in Volume II, 'The Red and the Blue" and 'The Shy Chameleon". January 1972


Chapter Six:

Down and Dirty Deals


7-16 Effect: While a spectator shuffles the deck, the performer explains, "I'm going to introduce you to a game on which a lot of money is lost and won in Australia. It's called 'Seven-Sixteen', because in Australia the gambling houses open at seven-fifteen and it takes a minute to pour the drinks. [Australian performers will want to locate this game in some exotic and distant location, like Hoboken.] "Essentially, it is a game of matching cards. The cards have their usual values, ace high, and the order of the suits is as in bridge. But to avoid any possibility of cheating, they go through rather an unusual procedure. "A lot of side bets are made on this game. I shall ask two of you to play, and I shall make a side bet. Here is my stake..." The performer takes out a bill of respectable value, "...and on it I shall write my bet." This is done. The bill is then folded and handed to one of the players. "As I always win, I'm not going to ask you to put down any money against me." The deck is handed to the other player. "So that the dealer can't cheat, the player has a free call of the number of cards he wants dealt; anything between seven and sixteen. Will you call the number, please." This is addressed to the player with the prediction. When he names a number, the performer says to the dealer, "Please deal him that many cards—face-down, and no dealing off the bottom....Now deal yourself the same number of cards. "Next you must both discard cards until you have only one left; but to avoid any cheating, you must use what is called 'The Australian Shuffle'. Will you each move the top card of your hand to the bottom. Discard the next card. Move the next one to the bottom, discard the next, and carry on until you each have only one card left. "Now comes the moment of truth. Will you each show your remaining card." The dealer turns up the ace of spades, while the other player displays a lesser card. "The dealer wins! Congratulations. And will you read everyone my bet." The spectator reads from the performer's bill, "The dealer wins with the ace of spades." The performer shrugs and admits, "Yes, that's how I paid for my passage home."


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Method: This is next best to self-working. It is also a fine example of how a simple effect can be built into an entertaining mystery through clever presentation. When the spectator finishes shuffling the deck, retrieve it from him and briefly spread it face-up between your hands, ostensibly to show the thorough mixture of the cards. As you do this, spot the ace of spades, count fifteen cards past it and break the spread at that point as you gesture and talk. Then reunite the two portions, transposing them, and close the spread. In other words, in the guise of a nonchalant gesture, cut the pack, bringing the ace of spades sixteen cards from the top. That is the whole of the trickery. Write your prediction, have one spectator name a number between seven and sixteen, and have the other spectator deal that number of cards to his opponent, then to himself. If they now perform an under-down deal, the dealer will be left with the ace of spades and your prediction will prove unbelievably accurate. The "sixteenth-card principle" on which this method is founded is most intriguing. "A Double Prediction", immediately following, is another trick that employs it. Those interested in further applications are advised to locate a copy of Tom Craven's 16th Card Book (1982), which is devoted to tricks using this principle. March 1958


A DOUBLE PREDICTION Effect: The performer writes a prediction and sets it message-side down on the table. He then asks someone merely to think of one of a number of cards shown from a shuffled deck. It is explained that whatever card the spectator thinks of will in turn influence the selection of a second random card. Cards are dealt into a face-down pile as the spectator silently spells the name of his mental selection, one card for each letter. When he reaches the end of the name he tells the performer to stop. The performer now writes a second prediction and sets it with the first. He then counts out a second pile of cards for another person to use. That pile consists of the same number of cards as the pile determined by the first spectator's mental choice—obviously a number beyond the control of the performer. Each spectator is asked to pick up the pile before him and to eliminate cards until only one is left. This they do. The two predictions are given to them. The second spectator is asked to read his prediction aloud, then turn over the card that remains to him. The card and prediction match. The first spectator is asked to name the card he only thought of, then to read his prediction slip and turn over the card he holds. The prediction accurately names his mental selection and the card is found to be that very selection. Method: Careful readers will scent the one-ahead principle, but will most likely be puzzled about the means of learning the identity of the mentally selected card, and the method by which the second selection is forced. The modus operandi is delightfully subtle. The discovery and the force hinge on Mr. Elmsley's sixteenth-card principle (introduced in the preceding trick) coupled with a simple spelling setup. A six-card arrangement is required on top of the deck. From the top down the cards read: queen of diamonds, four of diamonds, eight of spades, king of hearts, two of spades and six of clubs. If you examine this list you will find that each card spells with one less letter than the one preceding it, starting with fifteen letters and dwindling to ten. You must also know the identity of the card sixteenth from the top of the pack. For this explanation we will assume this to be the queen of hearts.


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Begin with a casual false shuffle that leaves the top sixteen cards of the pack undisturbed. Set the deck down and pick up a slip of paper and a pen. Select someone in the group who looks like he can follow instructions, and gaze intently at him. Then jot down, 'The second card chosen will be the queen of hearts." Set the slip writingside down on the center of the table. The queen of hearts, of course, is the card you know lies sixteenth from the top of the pack. Lift the top six cards from the deck, fan their faces toward the spectator and ask him to think of any card he sees. When he has one in mind, close the fan and drop it back onto the deck. Explain to the spectator that you want him to aid in the random selection of a card for a second person. To do this he must mentally spell the name of the card he is thinking of, not telling anyone its identity but stopping you when you have dealt the same number of cards as there are letters in the name. Name any card that is not among the seven you have stacked, and spell it aloud for him so that he knows precisely what is expected of him. Then pick up the deck and deal cards into a face-down pile in front of the spectator, silently counting them, until he tells you to stop. By knowing the number of cards dealt, you now know which of the six cards he has mentally chosen, as each spells with a different number of letters: 10 = six of clubs 13 = eight of spades 11 = two of spades 14 = four of diamonds 12 = king of hearts 15 = queen of diamonds Set down the talon and pick up the pen and a second slip of paper. Write, 'The card thought of will be the..." and fill in the name of the selection. Set this slip beside the first and pick up the dealt pile. Without altering the order of the cards, quickly count them, as though you didn't know how many were there. Announce the number and set the packet before the spectator again. Turn to a second person and ask if he will participate. Pick up the deck and deal a face-down pile before him of the same size as the first pile. Point out that the number of cards was determined by the first person's mental selection and is obviously beyond your control. Ask each person to pick up the pile of cards before him and eliminate them one by one with an under-down deal. It may be helpful to demonstrate the procedure with the portion of the deck you hold, to make everything clear. As they are occupied with their dealing, push the appropriate prediction in front of each of them. That the first prediction is given to the second spectator and the second prediction to the first is a minor detail that is covered by an abundance of misdirection. At the end of the dealing, each spectator will be left holding the proper cards and the effect is pursued to its proper finish.


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On reviewing this trick thirty-nine years after its initial publication, Mr. Elmsley remarks, "Perhaps I have lost my faith in human nature—but I don't think nowadays I would trust the spectator to spell correctly." This is a sad comment on the current state of education, but it is a fact that must be considered when doing any trick the success of which requires a spectator to spell a card silently and accurately. Choose your helper carefully. July 1951


MELBOURNE Effect: Someone shuffles the deck and thinks of a number between seven and sixteen. The performer spreads the cards before the spectator's eyes, counting sixteen aloud. The spectator is asked to remember the card that lies at her number. The performer turns his head as this is done, to prevent him from seeing the cards or the spectator's face, should she unwittingly betray something through her expression. Once a card has been noted, the pack is cut and shuffled as a precaution. Now the spectator, for the first time, announces the number she selected. She is given exactly that many cards from the top of the pack and asked to eliminate all but one through the process of an Australian shuffle. When she holds only one card she is asked to name the card she is thinking of. She is then told to turn over the card in her hand. It is hers. Method: The deck can be genuinely shuffled, as there is no arrangement to the cards. Ask someone to think of a number between seven and sixteen. With the deck in left-hand dealing grip, hold it with its face toward the spectator and count sixteen cards from the top into the right hand, gripping each with the fingers at the upper end and the thumb at the lower. Take each card onto the face of the last, without reversing their order, and catch a thumb break between the seventh and eighth cards. (Alternatively, you can take the cards into a right-hand pinch grip and dowryog the eighth card. A break can be formed above it later, when the packet is returned to the deck.) Let the spectator see the face of each card as it is counted, so that she can memorize the one that rests at her number. Turn your head from her as she does this. When sixteen cards have been counted, ask her if she has one in mind. Then place the right hand's packet face-down on the deck and double cut the top seven cards to the bottom. This brings the actual selection stock to the top. Follow the cuts with an out-faro. Neither the faro cut nor the shuffle need be perfect for this trick, so long as the top eight cards of the pack are properly interwoven. In fact, Mr. Elmsley purposely


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performs an imperfect shuffle and lets it be observed. This tends to throw knowledgeable observers off the scent. Ask the spectator to tell everyone what number she chose. Slowly and fairly count that many cards from the top of the deck, without reversing their order, and hand them to her. Explain how an underdown deal is performed, ducking the top card, dealing the next, and so on, until only one card remains. Mr. Elmsley openly calls the procedure an Australian shuffle. The name is mildly humorous to those not familiar with it, and it lends interest to the operation. Nothing more need be done. The faro shuffle has placed the selection to turn up last when the packet is given an under-down deal. Have the spectator name her card and turn over the one that remains in her hand. If the spectator should think of the number fifteen, take care not to expose the bottom of the packet as you hand the cards to her. The fifteenth card is restored to fifteenth position by the shuffle and lies at the face of the packet. Mr. Elmsley recognizes that restricting the choice of a number to a range between seven and sixteen seems somewhat artificial. Asking for a number between seven and seventeen seems slightly less so, and that is what he does. On the off chance that the sixteenth card is thought of, it will rest seventeenth from the top of the deck after the shuffle. Therefore, on hearing sixteen announced, you can count that many cards into a face-down pile on the table. The selection now lies on top of the talon. Turn up the dealt pile and spread it, asking if the spectator sees her card. She will not; but while everyone is distracted, palm the selection from the deck. Then spread the balance of the pack face-up across the table and ask her to point to her card. She cannot. Do not make her search for it. After a short pause produce it from your pocket and conclude. Here is another handling that offers several appealing touches. When showing the sixteen cards for selection, downjog the eighth card roughly a quarter of an inch. When all sixteen have been displayed, lay them back onto the deck and, as the palm-down right hand squares the pack from above, press down with the right thumb on the inner right corner of the injogged card, crimping it as you push it flush (Figure 304). Now perform a faro shuffle; it makes no difference if it is an outor an in-weave. Square the cards and cut at the crimp, sending it to


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the bottom of the pack. Ask the spectator her number and hand her that many cards from the top of the deck, preserving their order as you count them off. Have the spectator perform a down-under (n.b., not under-down) deal and she will be left holding her mental selection. June 12, 1953 A few years after having invented "Melbourne", Mr. Elmsley discovered a method for achieving this effect while eliminating the faro shuffle. This made the trick literally self-working. Again have someone think of a number between seven and sixteen. Count fifteen cards from the deck, displaying their faces to the spectator so that she can remember the card at her mentally selected number. As you do this, however, deal the cards one by one into a face-down pile on the table. This reverses their order. When all fifteen have been dealt in this manner, pick them up and drop them back onto the deck. Now do a false shuffle or cut that reserves the top stock of fifteen cards. This shuffle isn't necessary to the working of the trick, but without it the method can be too easily reconstructed. Hand the face-down deck to the spectator and say, "Do you still remember your number? We will use that number again. Will you please deal down the same number of cards that you thought of into a face-down pile." In doing this the spectator reverses the order of the dealt cards. If she now performs an under-down shuffle with the counted packet, she will be left holding the thought-of card. This method will appeal to those who don't include among their skills the faro shuffle. Yet, given a choice between the two procedures, the faro method will be the more confounding to a sophisticated audience, and its secret is unquestionably more difficult to fathom.


AUSTRALIAN SELF-HELP Effect: Someone is asked to shuffle the deck. He is then told to make a small pile of cards by dealing as many as he wishes. After doing so, he puts the deck aside and picks up the dealt pile. The performer points out that, since the spectator has shuffled and dealt as he wished, the top card of the packet is a random one, the identity of which no one could know. The spectator is asked to peek at this card and remember it. "Have you ever heard of the Australian shuffle?" the performer asks. "It is known as the down-under shuffle. But before you start the shuffle, please lose your card by spelling Australian shuffle, while you transfer a card for each letter from the top of your packet to the bottom." The spectator does this. "You are now ready to do the Australian shuffle; down and under. Deal the top card down onto the table; place the next card under the packet; deal the next card down, the next under, and so on until you are left with just one card." The spectator whittles down the packet, as instructed, until he holds one last card. The performer asks him to name his selection...and turn over the card he holds. They are one and the same. The deck may be borrowed, the procedure is always the same, and the performer never touches the cards. Method: This is certainly not the most profound mystery in Mr. Elmsley's oeuvre, but it has a certain charm and does amuse and puzzle people. The only part of the procedure not disclosed in the effect description is the limit necessary to the size of the packet. It must contain from eight to sixteen cards. The spectator is allowed to deal as many as he wishes—up to a point. You can simply ask that he deal something between seven and seventeen cards. Or you can handle the dealing more subtly, by exercising psychological control: Tell the spectator to begin dealing cards into a face-down pile. When he has dealt four or five, nonchalantly mention, "We only need a small pile to work with." As he deals the seventh card, say, "Stop anytime you like." If you treat the procedure casually, as if his dealing is of no great consequence, the average person will deal a few more cards and quit, stopping well within the eight to sixteen range


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required. It is mainly a matter of attitude on your part, and a bit of timing. Managing the spectator's actions within a nine-card range is not difficult. Should he deal too many, have him cut off a few cards and hand them to you, thus arriving at a random card on top of the packet; or have him deal a second packet, "one a bit smaller to work with, drawn from the very center of the mixed pack." With a packet of the specified size, if he looks at the top card, loses it by spelling "A-U-S-T-R-A-L-I-A-N S-H-U-F-F-L-E", then performs a down-under deal, he will automatically be left holding his selection. By transferring seventeen cards from the top to the bottom of the packet, his card is positioned for the deal. You may, if you like, substitute another phrase or name for Australian shuffle. So long as it spells with seventeen letters, the trick will work. The important points to stress in your presentation are that the spectator shuffles the deck, deals as many cards as he likes, and that you never touch the cards. Given these conditions, the trick, though simple, can be quite puzzling. October 1975


CHANCE AND CHOICE Effect: From a shuffled deck the performer deals a pile of eleven face-down cards. Handing this to someone, he explains, "We will use these few cards to conduct an experiment in both chance and choice. First, we will give chance its turn. Please take the top card and put it on the bottom of the packet. Now deal the next card face-down onto the table. Put the next card under the packet, and discard the next one. Keep ducking and discarding until you have only two cards left. "We now come to choice—yours. I want you to look at and remember either of the two cards you hold. Place that card on top of the discard pile...and slip the one you didn't choose underneath the pile. Now give the pile to someone else." This ritual of chance and choice is repeated with two other persons, each of whom remembers one of two cards randomly derived. When all three have made selections, the packet is wrapped in a handkerchief or is hidden in an envelope to leave the performer no physical evidence. Nevertheless, he is able, without a question asked, to name all three cards. Method: This trick was developed while mulling over Hofzinser's "Remember and Forget" plot. Mr. Elmsley describes his creation as: "Three cards are thought of under conditions that need to be excused by great ingenuity of patter. These cards are then divined by the magician." Though Mr. Elmsley's "chance and choice" pretext is indeed an ingenious one, there is no disguising that the method of selection is unusual and a bit cumbersome. For that reason the trick is probably best suited for the puzzlement of fellow magicians and card trick enthusiasts. To such knowledgeable groups, the effect is certainly a perplexing one. To its credit, the trick is also sleightless and impromptu. It is formulated on a principle discovered in the Australian deal. All that you must do is remember four cards. These cards are those found at positions one, four, five and six from the top of the pack. If your memory cannot be trusted with this task, cull into position four cards that you have previously memorized.


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Give the deck a false shuffle, retaining the top six cards in place. Then deal eleven cards into a face-down pile, reversing their order. Have each of three spectators go through the actions described above; i.e., perform an under-down deal, look at one of the last two cards, place it on top of the pile, and the other card on the bottom. The mechanics of the under-down deal guarantee that the card not chosen by the last spectator will be offered to the next, paired with a fresh card from the memorized set. Only these four cards come up for possible selection, and the card rejected by the third spectator will have been unchosen by the previous two as well. Therefore, by learning this bottom card, you can name the remaining three, assured that they are the selections. However, assuming the last spectator has not conveniently exposed the unwanted card to you, how do you gain knowledge of the bottom card without arousing suspicion. Since everyone knows that the third person's selection lies on top of the pile, if you were to pick up the cards to glimpse the bottom one, it would be natural to speculate that you have somehow sighted the top card. Several ruses can be used to good purpose here. One is to wrap the packet in a handkerchief, making it clear that you do not peek at any of the cards as you do this. With the face of the packet against the center of the handkerchief, it is an easy matter to glimpse the bottom card through the fabric as you twist the cloth around the packet. An envelope can be used in place of the handkerchief. If this envelope is made of anything but the heaviest paper, the face of the bottom card, when pressed to the envelope, can be seen through it. If you arrange it that the four known cards are of different suits, the glimpse can be eliminated. Use four cards in Si Stebbins sequence, such as the ace of clubs, four of hearts, seven of spades and ten of diamonds. After the selections have been made you can, with the smallest bit of fishing, quickly discover which card each spectator is thinking of and reveal it in an assured manner. Start by stating that someone is thinking of a club. If one of the spectators admits to this, you can immediately name the value. If no one thought of a club, recognize your error. "It is clearer now. It isn't a club, but a spade." Since the club was not chosen, one of the three selections has to be the spade, and the other two the heart and diamond. Using this system, you need never falter more than once in your divination of the three cards. To disguise the method further, rather than counting the eleven cards from the pack, you can simply cut a packet from the deck. To do this, bridge the eleven-card packet at its inner end before setting it on the deck. Then give the pack a false shuffle, retaining the top stock, and casually cut off the cards above the bridge. Since, with this procedure, the cards are not reversed when dealt, the four known cards must be positioned sixth, seventh, eighth and eleventh from the top. The balance of the procedure remains unchanged.


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With small changes, more or fewer cards than eleven can be used for this trick. Eleven was settled on above because it offers the most convenient positioning of the four cards for sighting and memorization when performing with a genuinely shuffled pack. Mr. Elmsley has also performed this trick with a packet of eleven design cards, choosing for the four memorized designs ones that had easy mnemonic links to the numbers one through four. See "Divinasign" in Volume II for examples of such designs. Also see "Autoprediction" (ibid.) for a handling of this principle that uses a straight dealing procedure in place of the down-under deal. September 1958


Chapter Seven:

Welcome Correspondences


In 1947 Paul Curry released a manuscript titled Power of Thought, which contained an exceptionally baffling coincidence effect. Mr. Curry cited Tom Bowyer's "The Frequent Miracle" (ref. The Sphinx, Vol. 39, No. 3, May 1940, p. 67) as his inspiration. The "Power of Thought" premise has fascinated many magicians over the years, including Alex Elmsley. Mr. Elmsley has returned time and again to the plot, always attacking it from afresh angle in method or presentation. This chapter collects nine of his treatments, each with elements that make it worth consideration. We begin with a two-deck presentation of "Power of Thought", continue with several one-deck approaches, then examine some variations on the theme before concluding with a wonderfully entertaining and astonishing trick called 'The Book of Fortunes".

RETURNED TO THE NEST Effect: The performer sets two decks on the table and has someone choose either of them for immediate use. The spectator is handed that deck and asked to cut off a small packet. Then, while the performer turns away, the spectator silently counts the number of cards he has cut off and counts down that number from the top of the deck. He notes the card resting at his number, then returns the cut-off packet to the deck. The performer now rejoins the proceedings. He picks up the deck from which the selection has been made and gives the cards a quick shuffle, to assure that the selection is lost. Meanwhile, the spectator picks up the second deck, which has sat untouched on the table. He is asked to deal the top card of this deck face-up onto the table. The performer does likewise, turning up his top card, and observes that the two dealt cards do not match. Performer and spectator turn up the next two cards; again no match is found. They continue to deal in this fashion, and the spectator is asked, when he sees his card, to announce the fact and stop dealing. When he does turn up the chosen card, and the performer turns over the card at the corresponding position in his pack, it is found to be the duplicate to the selection—and this is the only pair of duplicates that coincide between the two decks.


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Method: This simple and extremely straightforward approach to the Power of Thought premise relies on a simple stack and one faro shuffle (which need not be perfect). Both decks are arranged in the same order. The particular sequence of the cards is unimportant, so long as that sequence is shared by both packs. You might wish to consider employing some useful stack with which you can do other effects, as the order of the second deck is left undisturbed at the end of this trick. Set both stacked decks on the table, after giving each, if you desire, a brief false shuffle. Have someone choose either deck for his use. Ask that he cut a small packet from the top of this deck, something less than half the cards. Now turn away as he silently counts the number of cards he has taken. Some motivation should be provided for this procedure. Therefore, suggest that he count the cards silently but openly, letting the other members of the group know his number without your learning it. Tell him to set these cards aside, then to pick up the balance of the deck and quietly count down to the number he has chosen. Have him note the card at that position, while leaving it in place, after which he is to drop the deck onto the cut-off packet and square the cards. When he has done this, turn back to him, retrieve the deck and give it one in-faro shuffle. As promised, the shuffle need not be perfect. Accurate interlacing is only necessary in the top portion of the packets. Imperfections in the weave below the selected card will not affect the outcome. In fact, even the cut for the shuffle can be imprecise, so long as the top packet is the larger of the two. As you perform the shuffle, have the spectator pick up the second pack of cards and hold it face-down in readiness for dealing. Instruct him to deal the top card face-up onto the table. Follow him by dealing the top card of your deck face-up beside his. Point out that the two cards do not match. Explain that you wish him to deal through his deck, card by card, until he arrives at his selection. You will deal from your deck in unison, and the audience is to watch for any chance matches of the cards. When dealing your cards, take each from the deck but then delay in turning it up until the spectator has turned over his card. In this way you can instill a bit of drama when he comes to his card and you turn over its duplicate in your deck. This will be the only match between the two packs, which can be quickly proven by ribbon spreading the remaining cards of both packs side by side. The faro shuffle does all the work. The underlying principle is easy to understand. Let's say the spectator cuts ten cards from his pack, then notes the card tenth from the top of the remaining cards. This card originally rested twentieth from the top of the deck, and its duplicate in the second pack still resides at that position. When the spectator returns the cut-off packet to the bottom of the deck, the selection is left at position ten. The in-faro moves the selection from


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tenth to twentieth from the top, doubling its position previous to the shuffle; i.e., returning it to its original position in the opening stack. The selection is now back where it began, but the position of every other card in the deck has been changed by the shuffle. Consequently, the selection is the only card in a corresponding position with its duplicate in the undisturbed second pack. The children's game of snap is probably familiar to many readers. In this game, two decks are dealt out simultaneously, until a match turns up. The first player to yell, "Snap," wins the matching cards. Mr. Elmsley suggests that, if your spectator is familiar with snap, the game provides an excellent presentational basis for any Power of Thought effect.


ARITH-MATE-IC Effect: The pack is shuffled and set before a spectator, who is asked to cut off a small packet. The performer reaches out and casually cuts the remainder of the deck into two piles as he asks the spectator to count the number of cards she has taken. That number, it is explained, will be used as a prediction for a coincidence. When the number has been announced by the spectator, the performer begins to deal cards face-up in unison from the two tabled piles. As the cards are turned up, it is seen that they are randomly paired, as one would expect; no two cards share both value and color. However, when the pair that rests at the spectator's chosen number is turned up, the cards are found to be a perfect match. This pair is, in fact, the only such match that appears, either before or after in the dealing. It is either extraordinary coincidence or something more at work here. Method: An ingenious full-deck stack makes this trick nearly automatic in working. First remove seventeen cards of mixed values and suits from the pack. The only restriction on the choice of these cards is that there be no pairs of mates among the seventeen: no two cards in the group can share matching value and color. The seventeen cards need be in no particular order. Now remove the seventeen mates to these cards and stack them in an order identical to the first seventeen cards. That is, if the first pile of seventeen is in A-B-C-D-E...Q order, arrange the second pile also in A-B-C-D-E...Q order. Eighteen cards remain unused. Take these and alternate them with the cards of the first pile, starting with an indifferent card on top. The order of the pile now reads X-A-X-B-X-C-X-D-X-E-X...Q-X, where X denotes an indifferent card. Crimp the bottom card of this stack downward, or bridge the packet, so that you can later cut off all thirty-four cards without hesitation. With all cards face-down, drop the alternated stack onto the remaining seventeen-card pile of mates. While it took some time to explain the arrangement, its preparation is reasonably fast and simple.


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When ready to perform, bring out the deck and, if you can execute a credible false shuffle and cut, do so as you comment, "It's surprising how often coincidences happen; and some of these coincidences would be very useful if only we knew in advance that they were going to happen. Would you like to be able to predict a coincidence? Then I'll try an experiment." Set the deck face-down before someone who has responded to your question. "You are going to choose a number, and that number will be your prediction. The number should be random, so will you just cut some cards from the pack and count how many you have taken? Don't take too many, or there won't be enough left for what I want to show you— something between one and about a third of the pack. Now, before you count, would you like to take one or two more, or put one or two back?" The packet she takes will be the top portion of the alternated stock. She can cut off anything from one to seventeen cards, though something toward the middle of this range is preferred. Your instructions should prevent her from cutting too deeply, but if she should do so, ask her to think of a small number and return that many cards to the pack. "Before you go any further, I'm going to cut the remaining cards into two packets." Reach out and divide the balance of the pack into two face-down piles, cutting casually at the crimp or bridge. The remainder of the alternated stock is in one pile, and the seventeen mates are in the other. "Now will you count your cards?" Have her announce the result to the group. Say that eleven cards have been taken. "Eleven. All right. Now, on top the these two packets we have the two of diamonds and the six of hearts." Here you turn up the top card of each tabled packet, naming it, and lay the two cards face-up in front of the packets. "It would have been a coincidence if these cards had matched in value and color—the two red twos or the two red sixes. "Your prediction number was eleven. If you have succeeded, the coincidence will take place on the eleventh cards. Let's see. These cards, the two and the six, were on top, so they are number one." Turn up the top cards of the two face-down piles simultaneously, counting aloud as you lay each pair of cards onto the face-up packets. When you reach the spectator's number, pause dramatically, then turn up the two cards to show a set of mates. You can continue to turn up subsequent pairs, displaying that no further matches occur. It would take considerable study to discover the subtle arrangement of the pack that makes possible this curious coincidence; and, if your false shuffling has been convincing, thoughts of arrangements should not occur to your audiences. Mr. Elmsley invented this trick in the late 1950s. A short time later, when computer dating bureaux became popular, he devised a


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presentation for the trick using computer punch cards. These cards bore the names of well-known lovers like Adam and Eve, Napoleon and Josephine, Romeo and Juliet, Robin Hood and Maid Marion, as well as currently famous couples. Such matching tricks as the one just explained and several that follow become particularly entertaining when performed with this special pack of computer cards. Computer cards are now a thing of the past, but many people remember them; and today such cards would make quaint and intriguing props. On the other hand, little is lost if some other card stock is used, such as file cards. With this computer-card deck, Mr. Elmsley also performed a version of "Out of This World", another Paul Curry plot, in which he had a spectator seemingly sort the sexes without looking at the names on the cards. His method for this can be found in Volume II of this work, under the title of "It's a Small World".


POTHER Effect: A shuffled pack is set before someone and he is instructed to cut off at least half the cards. He then thinks of a small number, say between four and thirteen, and moves that many cards from the top to the bottom of the packet. The performer turns his back as this is done, permitting the spectator to communicate silently to everyone else in the room the number he has chosen. When the cards have been transferred, the spectator quietly counts down to the card at his chosen number and notes it. The performer turns to face the spectator once this has been accomplished, takes the packet from him, shuffles it and hands it back to the spectator. He then picks up the unused portion of the deck, which has sat on the table throughout the proceedings. Both performer and spectator now deal cards face-up in unison. When the spectator sees his card, he announces the fact. The performer then turns over the card he is holding—it is the mate to the selection. These two cards prove to be the only match in the entire deck. Method: This is another approach to the one-deck "Power of Thought" premise. The method is based on Mr. Elmsley's Penelope principle, of which much more will be said in the chapter on the faro shuffle in Volume II. The cards must be set into a simple stack. Take any twenty-six cards, in any order, making sure as you choose them that no pairs of mates are present in the group. Then stack the remaining half deck to match the random order of the first half. Reassemble the deck by placing either half on the other. Each card in the deck now lies twenty-six cards away from its mate, and the deck can be given any number of straight cuts without disturbing the arrangement. You may give the deck a false shuffle as you begin the trick, or simply perform a series of simple cuts. Set the deck face-down before someone and have him cut the deck once or several times. Then ask that he cut the pack roughly in half. As the piles lie side by side on the table, you should be able to determine by sight which portion is the smaller of the two. Set a finger ring or some small amulet onto the smaller portion. If the piles are equal, or too close to judge which is the greater, set the marker on either of them. The only thing you


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must be certain of is that there are from seventeen to twenty-seven cards in the pile under the marker. As you place the marker, state, "I will isolate this group. These are the cards that will discover the card you have yet to choose." After making this mysterious declaration, have the spectator pick up the remaining pile and think of a number between four and thirteen. Turn your back as he transfers that number of cards, either singly or as a group, from the top to the bottom of the deck. Once these cards have been transferred, have him count down to his number and note the card that lies at that position from the top of his packet. When this has been done and the cards have been replaced, burying the noted card, turn back to him and take the packet. As you talk to him, give the packet first a brief overhand shuffle, then a faro. In the overhand shuffle, hold the packet face outward and run thirteen cards from the face to the top. Then give the packet one out-faro shuffle—i.e., the bottom card of the packet remains the bottom card—starting the weave at the bottom. Square the packet and hand it back to the spectator. Now remove the marker from the tabled portion of the pack, and pick up these cards, handling them in a manner that clearly exhibits an absence of manipulation. Explain that you will deal your cards face-up in unison with him. Ask him to watch for his chosen card as he deals. When he sees it, he is to say so and stop dealing. You now each deal cards from your face-down packets into separate face-up piles on the table. As you deal, delay turning your card face-up until the spectator has done so. Once it is clear that the card he has turned up is not his selection, snap yours over and lay it down. When he arrives at his card and stops dealing, pause and confirm that this card is indeed his. Then explain that every card in the deck has one other card for a mate, one card that matches it in both color and value. "For instance," you observe, "the one card in the deck that is a mate to your six of hearts is..." At this point snap over the card you are holding, "...the six of diamonds!" Drop the card onto his and conclude.


BROWNWAVES I Effect: A pack, which may be borrowed, is shuffled by a spectator, who then cuts a small packet of cards from it. The deck is handed to another person, who does the same. Both spectators quietly count their cards, taking care to keep the numbers secret from the performer. The performer takes the balance of the pack and shows its cards one by one to the spectators, asking that they each note the card that rests at their number. He counts through enough cards to assure that their numbers have been reached, but does not look at the faces of the cards himself. The spectators now shuffle their packets together and bury them in the center of the performer's packet. He then gives the deck a mix and deals half the cards into a face-up pile. As the pile is formed, the spectators are asked to watch for their mental selections. At the finish, one of them admits he saw his card. He is given that half and the second spectator is given the other. Both are now told to deal through their cards in unison, one dealing his cards face-up, the other face-down. When the one spectator turns up his selection he is to say so and both are to stop dealing. The second spectator now names her mental selection, then turns up the last card dealt. It proves to be the very card she was thinking of. Particularly note that the performer at no time knows either spectator's number or card or its position in the pack. Method: It was Edward Mario, I believe, who first suggested a onedeck variant of "Power of Thought" in which two selections were used in place of mates (see The New Phoenix, No. 329, Aug. 1955, p. 126). However, it was a baffling two-card location, invented in 1947 by Edward G. Brown, the British past master of card magic, that inspired Mr. Elmsley's work on an old mathematical principle. Mr. Brown's trick expanded the utility of the parent principle, permitting two cards to be found. At the same time he cleverly scripted the procedure to disguise its mathematical foundation, which was rather obvious in the original. (See Ibidem, No. 4, Nov. 1955, pp. 5-6, for an approximate reconstruction of this trick by Lyons, Ransom, Houghton and James; and The Card Magic of Edward G. Brown, pp. 74-79, for the authoritative explanation.)


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The Brown trick suffered, at least by today's standards, from a lengthy selection process in which cards had to be dealt through twice. Mr. Elmsley discovered a way to eliminate this repeated dealing, thus accelerating the action. It was this work that led him to develop the trick about to be explained and several others (see "Brownwaves II" and "Brownwaves III" in Volume II of this work). The method relies on a mathematical principle that produces what have been termed "inter-relational discoveries". About this sort of procedure, Mr. Elmsley comments, 'The method of having a card chosen wherein a spectator cuts off some cards, counts them to arrive at a number, and then remembers the card at that number in the rest of the pack, has always been very popular with mathematically minded magicians, if not with their audiences." This sardonic assessment, while cautionary, does a disservice to a select number of such effects that rise above the level of tedious puzzles and are genuinely astonishing. Mr. Elmsley's contributions to this genre are certainly among these exceptions. Granted, this is not the type of trick for fast-moving formal performance; but for more relaxed gatherings of intelligent people, such effects can have tremendous impact. As stated above, the deck may be borrowed, as it is completely unprepared. The only restriction is that it contain fifty-two cards. Have the deck shuffled and ask two persons to cut off small packets: "Take no more than a third of the pack each, leaving about half the cards for me, and try to take different amounts." This last instruction is important, although you do not want to emphasize it unduly. Should the cards cut off by the spectators be equal or nearly equal in number, the trick can fail. If you see such is the case, let the spectators see that you are looking at their packets. "Oh, you may think that I have estimated the sizes. Look, I'll turn my back...and will you, Sheila, give some of your cards to Richard. Now there is no way for me to know how many cards each of you have." This neatly rectifies the situation. "Will you each now silently count your cards and remember the number you have. I will turn away while you do this [if you have not already done so], as I don't want any clue." When they have finished, turn back to them and pick up the balance of the pack, which should contain roughly twenty-six cards. "I will show you some cards from those you have left me. I will not look at them, but I want you to remember the card that falls on your number. I'll show them to you both at once and I'll show you enough cards to assure that I've reached your number. Please say nothing to give me a hint, but commit your card to memory." Take the top card from your packet and present its face to the spectators, counting it as "one". Take the next card under the first and show it, counting "two". Continue to show the cards in this manner; that is, without reversing their order. Stop when you have shown twenty-five and ask, "Have each of you a card in mind?" They


WELCOME CORRESPONDENCES 335 will have. Take any remaining uncounted cards, slip them on top of the twenty-five counted and square the packet. If the packet falls slightly short of twenty-five, you must transfer enough cards from the top to the bottom of the packet to make up the difference. To do this, simply spread the cards between your hands and get a break below the requisite number as you comment, "Each of you is now thinking of one of these cards, one that no one but you can possibly know." Close the spread and casually cut the cards above the break to the bottom of the packet. Have one spectator add the other's packet to his and give the cards a brief mix. As he finishes this task, split your packet as near center as you can estimate and sandwich the spectators' cards between the two portions. At this point you can give the pack a quick false shuffle if you desire. Whether you shuffle or not, do execute a slip cut, slipping the top card to somewhere near the center of the deck. This displacement is necessary to set the selections properly for location. Point out that, as yet, you have not seen the face of a single card. Nor could you possibly know the card each spectator has in mind. Turn the deck face-up and quickly deal twenty-six cards from its face into a face-up pile, reversing their order as they are dealt. This is the final adjustment necessary to place the selections at the same depth in each half of the pack. As you deal, look away from the cards yourself and instruct both spectators to watch for their card, but to say nothing. When you have dealt the full twenty-six, ask if either of the selections was seen. One spectator will say yes. Hand him that packet, face-down. Turning to the second spectator, say, "Yours then must be in this half." Present the remaining half face-down to her. "I want you both to deal through your packets in unison. You," indicating the spectator who saw his card, "deal your cards face-up, and stop when you turn up the card you are thinking of. And you," indicating the other person, "deal along with him, matching him card for card, but deal yours face-down." Both do as you have told them. When the one spectator stops on his selection, ask the other to name hers. Then have her turn up the last card dealt. It will be the second selection. Minor variations in handling are possible. If, when the selections are made, you count and show twenty-six cards, rather than twentyfive, it is the bottom card of the reassembled deck that must be shifted to the middle. This is best accomplished by turning the deck faceup to execute a slip cut. Also, you need not turn the deck face-up to divide it in half. You can instead count twenty-six cards from the top of the face-down deck, reversing their order. This too positions the selections correctly. However, in doing this one sacrifices any possible interest for the spectators in the dealing procedure.


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The handlings just described are those originally published in 1956. Sometime after this, Mr. Elmsley discovered a simple way to accelerate the final procedure of dividing the deck between the two spectators, and this is indisputably the superior course of action. Rather than dealing twenty-six cards from the face, merely cut the deck as close to center as you can manage, without making this a studied action. Then turn the bottom half face-up and hand it to one spectator. Give the other person the face-down top half. Tell them to deal cards simultaneously, one person face-up, the other face-down. Both are to watch the face-up cards and call stop if their selection appears. The balance of the trick proceeds unchanged. Keep in mind that you must imply throughout the presentation that, while the conditions are designed to make the feat impossible by normal means, you are nonetheless in full control of the outcome. November 1956


SHADOWED Effect: The deck is honestly shuffled, then cut by a spectator into three piles. She takes up the center pile of the three, looks at the top card, then cuts the packet, losing the card. Those familiar with the key card principle will recognize that the performer cannot know either top or bottom cards of the packet, for it was cut from the center of the deck by the spectator. The performer takes the packet and fans it face-up, displaying the mix of cards. The fan is closed and the packet buried between the remaining two piles on the table. The performer then fans the assembled deck briefly toward himself and names a card, which he asks everyone to remember as his selection. The spectator is allowed to cut the deck and complete the cut, further losing her card. The performer hands half of the pack to her and retains the other half. The spectator is asked to deal her cards face-down in unison with the performer, who deals his face-up. The spectator watches for her selection in the face-up cards and, should it appear, she is to call stop. The performer does the same, should his card appear first. Performer and spectator deal through their cards until one or the other's card appears. Then the face-down card dealt simultaneously by the spectator is turned over. It is the other selection. Method: The method depends on a sunken key. This extremely subtle principle was invented by Oscar Weigle, Jr. (ref. "Automatic Location", Genii, Vol. 2, No. 11, July 1938, p. 390). Mr. Weigle's inspiration was in turn triggered by an idea of William Larsen, Sr. and T. Page Wright's ("Adding the Pips", Genii, Vol. 2, No. 7, March 1938, pp. 235 and 241), in which the card twenty-sixth from the top of the pack was used to determine the sizes of two packets cut from the deck. However, through Mr. Weigle's insight the twenty-sixth card was transformed into a "remote" or "sunken" locator for two free selections. This progressive idea circulated quickly through the inner card circles of the time, and was varied by some sterling thinkers including Bruce Elliott, Charlie Miller, Jack McMillen, Al Koran, Toni Koynini, Geoffrey Scalbert, Frederick M. Shields and Bascom Jones, Jr. It is


338 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY a sorry mystery why Mr. Weigle's part in the creation of this principle went unmentioned by anyone, even by Hugard and Braue when, less than two years after the Weigle location appeared in Genii, they published a minor variation of it in Expert Card Technique. In the trick now under discussion, Mr. Elmsley makes cunning use of a sunken key. The deck is in no particular arrangement, and therefore may be shuffled beforehand by a spectator or yourself—but you must secretly learn the identity of the twenty-seventh card from the top. This can be accomplished during a previous effect (an idea first suggested by Hugard and Braue in Expert Card Technique, pp. 397-398) or with a faro check and glimpse. Set the deck before a spectator and ask that she cut it into three approximately equal piles. Guide the pattern of cutting, if necessary, so that the center portion of the pack lies between the top and bottom piles. In most instances, no guidance will be needed. Keep track of the positions of the various portions. Your key lies in the center pile. Point out that the center pile has been cut randomly from the middle of the deck and that you cannot know the cards it contains. This of course includes the top card of the pile, since the spectator herself cut the packets as she wished. Have her look at the top card and show it to those around her. Then instruct her to replace the selection on top of the packet and to give the cards a straight cut. Take the packet from her, turn it face-up and fan it. "Your card is one of these, but it is impossible for me to know what it might be." As you fan the packet and deliver this line, quickly locate the position of your key. Most of the time it will lie very near the top or bottom of the packet, and is easily found. Note its position from the top or bottom—whichever is the closer—and immediately close the fan. The entire fanning and display of the packet is treated nonchalantly and consumes only a few moments. Drop the center portion face-down onto the original top pile. Then pick up the bottom pile and drop it onto the others, burying the center pile once more in the center. Pick up the deck and fan it faces toward yourself. Note the card that lies at a position in the pack corresponding to the position of your key card. That is, if your key was found third from the bottom of the center packet, you will note the card third from the bottom of the deck. This card is precisely twenty-six away from the spectator's. Name the card aloud, explaining that this will be your selection. Close the fan and set the deck face-down on the table. Invite the spectator to give the cards one or more straight cuts. Then take back the pack and divide it at center. This cut must be exact, so a faro check is advisable. Offer either half to the spectator. Now have her deal her cards into a face-down pile, while you match her, card for card, dealing yours face-up. Both of you watch the faceup cards as they appear, and call stop when either her card or yours


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turns up. When the corresponding face-down card of the spectator's pile is revealed, it will be the second selection. For a related, though altogether different, approach to this plot, which also makes use of a sunken key, compare Howard Schwarzman's "Two-gether" in Harry Lorayne's Close-up Card Magic (pp. 116-119).


BURIED TREASURE I Effect: The deck is handed to someone and he is asked to cut it and complete the cut, one or several times, until he is satisfied that the top card is a random one, determined only by his actions. At this point he is told to cut the deck roughly in half and to hand either portion to a friend. The top cards of both halves have obviously been arrived at through the unrestricted actions of the spectator. Each person now peeks at the top card of his half, commits it to memory, then loses the card by cutting it into his packet. The performer takes each packet briefly from its owner, runs through the cards and gives the packet a cut before returning it. Then the spectators are asked to deal their cards face-up in unison; and, when either of them sees his selection, he is to stop dealing and call it out. They deal through the cards, until both suddenly stop and cry out together. Though the cards have been handled in a manner to ensure that the performer cannot know either selection or its location, he has somehow arranged their concurrent appearance. Method: The extremely subtle principle that underlies this coincidence effect is that of the "relative key". The relative key is an ingenious extension of Oscar Weigle's sunken key principle. The pack must be complete: fifty-two cards. You will need to know the identity of the bottom card of the deck and the card twenty-sixth from the top. Those who do the faro shuffle will have no difficulty with this: just do a faro check. If the faro shuffle is not one of your skills, there are other options. You can use the familiar ruse of spreading through the deck, looking for jokers, and secretly count to the twentyseventh card from the face in the process. Or you can glimpse the top card and overhand shuffle it into position. The twenty-sixth card can also be noted during a previous trick, a trick you have chosen to accommodate the dealing or counting of twenty-six cards within its presentation. Once you know the two cards, hand the deck to someone and ask that he give it any number of straight cuts, until he is sure the top card is one you could not possibly know. Have him cut the deck approximately in half and present either half to another person. Each


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now peeks at the top card of his half, remembers it, then loses the card by cutting the packet several times. Take either of the halves and spread quickly through it, faces toward you, silently counting the cards to yourself and watching for either of the key cards. When you have ascertained the number of cards in the packet, casually cut the key card to the top and set the packet face-down in front of the spectator. Take the second spectator's half and rapidly run through it, searching for the second key card. Cut this to the top. Then adjust its position as follows: If the first packet contains more than twenty-six cards, subtract 26 from that number. Whatever the remainder, cut that many cards from the bottom of the packet to the top; e.g., if the packet contains twenty-eight cards, subtract 26 from 28, leaving 2, and cut two cards from the bottom to the top. If the first packet contains fewer than twenty-six cards, subtract that number from 26. Then cut a number of cards equal to the remainder from the top to the bottom of the packet. If you like, you can combine operations by cutting the key to the position required by your calculation with the first cut, thus eliminating the need for a second one. The cuts you have made place the two selections at corresponding positions from the top in their packets. If the spectators now deal in unison and call out their cards when they are turned face-up, their exclamations will be simultaneous. This trick appealed so much to Martin Gardner, he included it in his 1956 book, Mathematics, Magic and Mystery (pp. 25-26). When republishing it, he appended a presentational tip from Dai Vernon that added a touch of suspense at the finish, while linking the magic more closely with the performer. Mr. Vernon suggested that the two piles be set side by side in front of the performer, and that he himself deal the cards simultaneously, one face-up, the other face-down. When either spectator sees his card turned up in the one pile, he is to call out. Then the corresponding card in the face-down pile is dramatically turned up, showing it to be the second selection. On rare occasions it is possible you might discover both key cards residing in one pile. In such a circumstance, most often you will find one card between them. This card is one of the selections. If there are several cards between the keys, a little judicious pumping will quickly isolate the selection from the group. Thus, one card is identified. Regrettably, the selection in the other packet has been lost. However, there is a method of saving face. Having found the one selection, cut it to the top. Then, ask the spectator to whom the lost selection belongs to take up his packet and deal cards one by one in a face-up pile, while you follow him, dealing cards from your packet, just behind his. He is also instructed to call out "Stop!" when his card appears. You turn up a card from your packet after each of his,


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second dealing to retain the known selection on top. When he announces the arrival of his card, ask the other spectator to name his selection; then turn it up with a snap and conclude. Notice how Mr. Elmsley's use of relative keys allows the pack to be cut any number of times by a spectator before the selections are made. This is something that the sunken key principle does not permit. Another improvement over the common application of the sunken key is that only two packets are formed during the trick. In most procedures relying on the sunken key, three packets are formed and selections are made from only two of them. This small illogicality has been neatly eliminated by the use of relative keys. February 1953


THE MEMPHIS MATCHMAKER Effect: Once again, two free selections are made from a shuffled deck. The chosen cards are shuffled back into the deck and one of the spectators cuts the cards roughly in half. The performer takes one half and gives it a quick shuffle as he explains what is required. The two spectators who chose cards are each asked to take a packet and deal through it in unison, and each is to call stop when his selection appears. When they do this, they find themselves announcing the appearances of their cards simultaneously. Method: This method returns once more to the properties of the faro shuffle for its success. No arrangement of the cards is necessary, so the deck may be fairly shuffled beforehand. Spread the cards facedown between your hands for a selection to be made. As you do this, spread off seventeen cards, without betraying your counting, and form a break or an injog at this point. Have the spectator note the chosen card, then have him return it to the pack below the seventeen cards you have secretly counted. The easiest way to accomplish this replacement is to split the spread at the break or jog, then casually reach out and trap the selection between the two portions. Square the deck with obvious fairness, making it clear that no breaks or jogs are in use. However, you know that the selection is eighteenth from the top of the pack. (Note the clever strategy of using a break or jog before one is expected by a shrewd observer. This ploy, though far from new, still bewilders some very knowledgeable persons.) Give the deck one out-faro shuffle. This sends the selection to a position thirty-fifth from the top. Spread the pack for a second spectator to make a selection, and again form a break or an injog at the seventeenth card from the top. Spread only the top two thirds of the pack to avoid the possibility of having the first selection chosen again. Have the second selection noted and returned to eighteenth position. Give the deck another outfaro (which simply transposes the two selections at the eighteenth and thirty-fifth positions) or perform a false shuffle that keeps the two chosen cards in place. Set the deck before the spectator whose card lies thirty-fifth from the top, and ask that he cut the pack roughly in half. Hold out your


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hand to receive the top portion. He may actually cut within a range of eighteen to thirty-five, though you do not mention this. If he cuts anywhere near center, remaining within the acceptable range is no problem. Have him take up the bottom half of the pack. Point out that there is no way you can know the position of any cards in the portion he holds; nor for that matter in the portion he gave to you. As you say this, give your half deck an in-faro, starting the weave at the bottom. This last stipulation is important, as inweaving from the top with an odd number of cards will throw off the desired positioning of the selection by one. Complete the shuffle and hand this packet to the second spectator. Both selections now lie at corresponding positions in the packets, and will come up together when the spectators deal in unison.


THE RIGHT PLACE, THE RIGHT TIME Effect: The plot once more is "Power of Thought" performed with two selections. However, a further complication, borrowed from the trick "Arith-mate-ic" (pp. 328-330), is appended. The deck is divided between two spectators and each shuffles his half. One half is then put aside. The spectator holding the remaining half cuts off a small portion and places it in his pocket. He then cuts the remaining cards into two unequal packets and presents one to his partner. Both spectators count their cards silently while the performer turns his back. When each has determined how many cards he holds, the performer picks up the unused half of the pack and deals through it, asking that one spectator remember the card that rests at his number from the top. He then deals through the cards again while the second spectator notes the card that lies at his number from the face of the packet. When both have thought of cards, they add their two small packets to the rest of the deck. The performer gives the cards one shuffle and cuts the packet into two piles. One pile is turned face-up, the other is left face-down. The first spectator is now reminded that he still has a packet of cards in his pocket. He is asked to bring it out and count the number of cards aloud for everyone. That number of cards is dealt simultaneously from both tabled piles, and at the end of the count one of the mental selections appears on each of the piles: a double coincidence. Method: First ask for the assistance of two spectators who you judge can follow instructions. Shuffle the pack, then cut it at center (using a faro check) and hand one half to each spectator. Do this in a manner suggesting that your cut is approximate. Nonetheless, the cut must be precise: each packet must hold twenty-six cards. Have each spectator shuffle his half. Then have one of the halves set aside. Ask the spectator who still holds cards to cut off a small


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packet from his half and slip this packet into a pocket. We will call him Spectator A. Have him cut his remaining cards into two unequal packets and present one to his accomplice, Spectator B. Turn your back and have each spectator silently count the cards in his packet and remember the number. When they have done this, turn back to them and pick up the second half of the pack from the table. Turn to Spectator A and explain that as you deal through the cards he is to remember the card that appears at his number. Deal cards from the top of the packet into a face-up pile on the table, counting them aloud. After counting about fifteen cards, stop and ask if he has thought of a card yet. Turn the balance of the packet face-up and drop it onto the dealt cards. Pick up the entire pile and address Spectator B. Explain that you wish him also to remember the card at his number. Deal the cards from the face of the packet, turning each face-down as you form a pile on the table. Notice that in both runs through the packet the cards are dealt in a manner that does not reverse their order. After dealing off enough cards to ensure that the second spectator has made his selection, flip the balance of the packet face-down and drop it onto the dealt cards. Ask for Spectator B's packet and drop it onto the tabled half. In the same action, pick up all of these cards and drop them onto Spectator A's packet. At this point you don't know what the selections are, or where they lie, but you do know that one rests a corresponding distance from the top of the packet as the other rests from the face. Cut the packet at center and perform an in-faro shuffle (i.e., the original top and bottom cards become the cards second from the top and bottom). If you find you have an odd number of cards, make the top section the smaller one and straddle-weave it into the bottom section. Square the packet and, if it contains an even number of cards, cut it casually near center (this need not be exact). If the packet contains an odd number of cards, execute a slip cut to divide the packet, displacing the top card to the top of the bottom portion. In either case, turn the bottom portion face-up and set the two packets side by side on the table. Now have Spectator A bring the packet of cards from his pocket and count them aloud. Count this same number of cards simultaneously from each tabled pile. The thought-of selections will appear as the next cards in the piles, one face-up, the other face-down.


THE BOOK OF FORTUNES Effect: The performer brings out two packs of cards and a small fortunetelling book. Laying one of the packs and the book aside, he cuts the remaining deck into two portions and hands one of these to a spectator. They both shuffle their cards as the performer explains: "Fortunetelling used to be a matter of instinct and luck; but these days we have made it an exact science. We have both shuffled the deck. That establishes a sympathy between the cards, your subconscious mind and mine. But now I must tune the pack to your conscious character. To do this I shall have to ask you some character-revealing questions, and record your answers with the cards. "First, do you like yogurt? No? If you had said yes, I would have placed these cards in a pile on the table; but as you said no, I won't." The indicated cards are replaced on the pack. "Please remember, everyone, that he doesn't like yogurt. "Next, do you sing in the shower? Yes? That's very significant, you know, singing in the shower. As you said yes, these cards go on the table. "Now—have you stopped beating your wife? No prevarication please; answer yes or no. Yes? I'm very glad to hear it. These cards go on the table. "Last question: Do you think this trick is going to work? You can be completely frank. I won't be offended. No? Oh. I see. But as you said no, no cards go on the table. "The next step in telling your fortune is to find your lucky number. For this, I want you to deal through the cards we have been using, and at the same time I shall deal through this special fortunetelling pack which, so far, has not been touched." The performer picks up the second deck of cards. "If some card comes out at the same number in both packs, that will be your lucky number." The performer and spectator count cards in unison until a pair of matching cards appears, "...twenty, twenty-one, the king of clubs in both packs. Obviously twenty-one is your lucky number." The performer now hands the fortunetelling book to another spectator and


348 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY asks that he turn to page twenty-one, as twenty-one is the first person's lucky number. When the spectator locates this page, he is asked to read aloud what he finds there: "You may still be a success in life. Napoleon didn't like yogurt either. But again like you, he did sing in the shower. So perhaps you also will meet your Waterloo. You do not get enough exercise. This may be because you have stopped beating your wife. Your lucky card is the king of clubs—but you were unlucky when you said this trick wouldn't work!" Method: Aside from an easy false shuffle, this humorous and genuinely amazing trick requires no manipulation. The secret lies in the two decks of cards, which are stacked, and the special Book of Fortunes. First, the decks: Only sixteen cards in each deck are arranged. These cards, in Deck One, from the top down, are... AD-KH-1OH-10C-3H-9C-KC-9H-2S-8H^JH-7H-6H-3S-5H-KS Place any ten cards on top of this stack and the remaining twentysix cards, in any order, beneath it. The sixteen-card stock occupies positions eleven through twenty-six from the top of the pack. The arrangement of Deck Two is closely related to that of Deck One, but there are two important differences: First, the same sixteen cards stacked in Deck One are similarly arranged in Deck Two—but their order is reversed; i.e., the king of spades is uppermost, the ace of diamonds lowermost. Second, eleven cards are placed above this stock, and twenty-five below it. Again, these cards can be in any order. Now we come to The Book of Fortunes. Mr. Elmsley's book contains forty-five numbered pages, each devoted to one fortune for that number. Only the fortunes for numbers twelve through twenty-seven will come up during performance. The fortunes for the surrounding numbers are there to fill out the book but are never read aloud. Therefore, while they should resemble the others in format, they can contain any information. Each of the fortunes on pages twelve through twenty-seven name one of the sixteen sequenced cards in the two stacked decks. This card is identified as the spectator's lucky card. Along with the name of a card, amusing references are also made to the spectator's answers to the four questions put to him. Those questions, it will be remembered, are... 1) Do you like yogurt? 2) Do you sing in the shower? 3) Have you stopped beating your wife? 4) Do you think this trick is going to work?


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You are not restricted to these questions, and can substitute others of your own, if you like. (Questions 1 through 3 above have been appropriated from a signature presentation of Dr. Stanley Jaks.) The only requirement is that each question can be satisfied by a simple yes or no answer. Here are several examples of Mr. Elmsley's fortunes: For the number 17— You don't like yogurt, but this doesn't matter unless you want to go to yogurt parties. You are against censorship, as is shown by the words of the songs you sing in the shower. You believe in keeping up your family traditions, so you have not stopped beating your wife. Your lucky card is the jack of hearts. P.S. You took a chance in saying this trick would work. For the number 20— You are remarkably well preserved for your age, probably because you like yogurt. Yogurt, moreover, soothes the throat, thus improving the quality of your singing in the shower. Since your wife started to join you in bathroom duets, you have stopped beating her. Your lucky card is the nine of hearts. P.S. You didn't think this trick was going to work, did you? For the number 27— Twenty-seven is three times nine; which, by the science of numbers, proves that you don't like yogurt. You are a merciful person, so you don't sing in the shower. Your friends all envy you because you have not stopped beating your wife. Your lucky card is the ace of diamonds. If you are right, this trick hasn't worked. Each of Mr. Elmsley's fortunes is entirely different. This, though, is not necessary. You can devise a suitable statement to cover the yes response, and another to cover the no response for each of the four questions: eight statements total. These eight statements can then be used exclusively to construct each of the sixteen fortunes, the requirements of which will be given in a moment. This does make the fortunes repetitive, but only one is read aloud, so repetition is not an important concern. The specific answers and cards governed by each number are given in the following table:


350

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY Page 9st. l 9st. 2 gst. 3 9st. 4 Card 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO

YES YES NO NO YES YES NO NO YES YES NO NO YES YES NO NO

YES YES YES YES NO NO NO NO YES YES YES YES NO NO NO NO

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

NO

KS 5H 3S 6H 7H

JH 8H 2S 9H KC 9C 3H

IOC 10H

KH AD

You can buy a small blank-paged book or a pocket ring-bound notebook at a stationers, and write in the page numbers and fortunes. However, Mr. Elmsley has marketed this trick through Ken Brooke, and his Book of Fortunes can still be purchased for a reasonable price from The Ace Place in Liverpool. They supply a typeset paperbound booklet of vest-pocket size that is convenient to carry and has fortyfive different fortunes, all amusing. Unless one enjoys this sort of work, or wishes to customize the questions and answers for a particular purpose, purchasing the manufactured booklet is the most convenient course. With the deck stacks and the construction of the book understood, it remains only to fill in the handling details. When you begin the presentation, set the book and Deck Two to one side, but within the audience's view. Spread Deck One face-up, displaying its apparently random order. As you close the face-up spread, form a break above the king of spades (which is twenty-seventh from the face) and divide the pack at that point. Hand the unstacked half to a spectator for mixing. As he shuffles these cards, you shuffle yours; but in a special fashion. Turn the packet face-down and overhand shuffle it by running the top ten cards and throwing the remaining sixteen on top.


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Retrieve the spectator's half and drop it face-down onto your own. Then apparently shuffle the entire pack. Only the top half is mixed, though. Shuffle cards off until you near the center. Then throw the balance under the shuffled cards. This preserves your stock in the bottom half. The next step is to "fine tune" the pack. This is done by asking the spectator your four questions. With each of his responses, repeat his answer and make some little comment about it, to fix it in everyone's mind. "Do you like yogurt?" As you ask this first question, push off the top two cards of the pack, without reversing their order. Hold them in the opposite hand until the spectator has answered your question. If he answers yes, drop the two cards to the table; if no, replace them on the deck. "Do you sing in the shower?" For this question, push off four cards. If the answer is yes, drop them onto the tabled pile (if one has been formed); if no, replace them on the deck. "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Push off eight cards this time and place them either on the tabled pile or back on the deck, as the spectator's answer dictates. "Do you think this trick is going to work?" This question gets sixteen cards, which are handled exactly like the previous ones. Note that the cards are always pushed off without their order being reversed; and that, with each question, the number of cards doubles: 2-4-8-16. This progression is easily remembered. When the four questions have been answered, drop the balance of the pack you hold onto the tabled cards, square them all and slide the deck in front of the spectator. Pick up the second pack for yourself and ask your subject to deal his cards into a face-up pile, working in unison with you. Count the cards aloud as you deal, and when two matching cards appear, stop. These duplicates will match the lucky card named on the page corresponding to the number at which you have stopped. The other information on that page conforms with the spectator's four answers. Hand the book to a second spectator—try to choose someone with a good clear voice, who is easily seen by everyone—and have him read for the group the fortune on the page indicated. The result should be mixed laughter and astonishment. May 1973


Chapter Eight:

Where It's At


BURIED TREASURE II Effect: This is an impossible seeming location of a selection, in which the performer does not touch the deck from first to last. The pack is handed to someone with the request that she give it any number of straight cuts she desires. After this, she cuts the deck into three face-down packets on the table and peeks at the top card of the center packet. She then buries her card by dropping both of the other packets onto it. To this point the performer has been denied the sight of a single card face. Now the spectator deals the cards into a face-up pile. Suddenly the performer calls stop—and the very next card turned up is found to be the chosen one. Method: This is another effect made possible through the cunning use of relative keys (see "Buried Treasure I", pp. 340-342). Here, four key cards are necessary. You must know the thirteenth, twenty-sixth, thirty-ninth and fifty-second cards from the top of the pack. These must be memorized in order, from the bottom up. You can either position four easily remembered cards in the deck before the trick is performed, or you can memorize the necessary four cards as you spread through the pack. The latter is not difficult if you have mastered a mnemonic system like Nikola's (ref. Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, Chapter XX). With the four known cards in place, give the pack a casual false shuffle. While this shuffle must retain the even separation of the four key cards, the mixing can result in a simple cut of the cards. If you don't do such a shuffle, you can give the pack a series of quick cuts as you talk. Hand the deck to someone and invite her to give it as many simple cuts as she likes. After this she sets the deck face-down on the table and cuts it into three packets. Watch as she does this, noting the positions of the top and bottom portions. Have her peek at the top card of the center packet, then drop the bottom packet onto it, burying the card. On top of this she places the third packet (originally the top portion) and carefully squares the deck. You now have her pick up the pack and deal the cards from the top into a face-up pile on the table. As she does this, silently count


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the cards dealt and watch for a key card. When you spot one, note the number at which it falls, subtract this from thirteen and remember the remainder as you watch for the succeeding key card in the original sequence. Another of the key cards is likely to appear before the desired key. Ignore it. When the proper key card appears, count again silently, beginning with the next card, until you reach the number you have remembered. Tell the spectator to stop dealing at this point and ask her to name her card. Then have her turn over the next card of the deck. It will be the selection. An example will demonstrate how the system works. Assume that the four key cards, from the face to the top, read ace, two, three and four, all hearts. When the spectator begins to deal, you count until the first key appears. Let us say this key is the two, and it falls ninth in the deal. 1 3 - 9 = 4. The next key card in the sequence was the three of hearts. Watch for this card. When the three is turned up, count four cards past it and stop the deal. The next card is the selection. The keys are always widely separated, allowing abundant time for the simple calculation to be made. However, if any manner of mental calculation during performance freezes your blood, it can easily be avoided. Instead of subtracting from thirteen when the first key card appears, merely halt your mental count until you see the next key in the original sequence. Then resume the count, stopping the deal at thirteen. Mr. Elmsley on occasion has used a variant selection handling that some may prefer. After the spectator has cut the cards to her satisfaction, ask her to cut off anything up to a third of the pack and to peek at the card cut to: that card on the face of the removed packet. Once she has noted this card, have her use her free hand to lift roughly half the cards remaining on the table. Ask her to place the first packet, that with her chosen card at the bottom, onto the tabled portion. She is then to drop the other packet on top, sandwiching the first packet between the two. This obviously loses her selection. Let her square the deck to leave you no clue. All this may be done while you turn away, if you judge the person reliable in carrying out the instructions. If you take this course, it is prudent to demonstrate the desired actions with the cards before she cuts the pack. If you have any doubt about the spectator's ability to understand the procedure, watch over her actions. Little in effect is lost by doing so, and much may be gained if a mistake is avoided. This new handling causes one small change in the counting procedure: when the second key appears, resume your silent count on the second key, rather than on the card following it. There is one special case, a fortunate one, that can be exploited on occasion, when using this second selection procedure (regrettably, it does not hold for the first). That case occurs when the first key card turned up lies thirteenth from the top. This indicates that


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the spectator has chosen one of the keys—the next key card of the sequence. And this card will rest thirteen cards beyond the next key in the original sequence. That is, if the first key lies thirteenth from the top and is the two of hearts, the spectator's card is the three of hearts, and it will be found thirteen cards past the four of hearts. In such a situation, you can not only stop the spectator on her card, you can also name it before she turns it up. One final note: If the first selection procedure (but not the second) is employed, the trick can be accomplished with only two keys, reducing the memorization required and simplifying the initial setup of the cards. This, however, is balanced by a small loss in the freedom with which the spectator may initially cut the pack. Position two known cards thirteen apart (that is, with twelve cards between them) in the center portion of the pack. The spectator may now cut the pack once, near center (between the two keys), and complete the cut. The method remains otherwise unchanged. Mr. Elmsley's friends, Roy Walton and Jack Avis, have published worthwhile variations on "Buried Treasure II". In "Dead Easy Location" [Pallbearers Review, Vol. 2, No. 4, Feb. 1967, pp. 79 and 81) Mr. Walton demonstrates how the spectator can be allowed a free choice of a card from any of the three piles he forms; and in Jack Avis' "An Ace Location" (ibid. Vol. 3, No. 7, May 1968, pp. 180 and 178) the performer is able to stop the deal on the selection even though the spectator deals the cards face-down. Both approaches are worth the reader's attention. February 1953


HAIR CUT Effect: Here is another approach to a card location in which the selection is made with the pack in the spectator's hands. The deck is given to him and he is asked to cut the cards at any place he likes, peek at the bottom card of the lifted portion, then replace the packet square on the deck, losing the noted card. The performer takes back the deck, fans it and, after a short period of deliberation, removes one card. The spectator is asked to name the card he peeked at. The performer then reveals that the card he has removed is none other than the selection. Method: The mechanism employed for locating the card is intriguingly offbeat. Mr. Elmsley devised this method in the 1950s, after coming across a book test published some years back in The Sphinx. The secret of this test consisted of a short curled hair, one end of which was affixed to the book near the spine. When the book was opened, then closed, the free end of the hair became trapped between the chosen pages. This allowed the performer later to locate the correct page and word. (I have been so far unsuccessful in locating this test in The Sphinx. It can, however, be found in C. L. Boarde's Mainly Mental, Vol. 2, pp. 113-114. Regrettably, the originator of the method has also eluded me.) Though Mr. Elmsley was unaware of it, the idea of using a hair for a card location had also been published many years ago. The illustrator of the old Seven Circles Magazine, Hanna, contributed "Hanna's Card Discovery" to the January 1932 issue (Vol. II, No. 4, p. 9). Hanna used a bit of magician's wax to attach a hair to one thumbnail. Holding the face-down deck in this hand, he asked someone to cut off a portion and look at the card cut to. When the packet was replaced on the deck, the performer made sure the hair was trapped under it, marking the location of the selection. Bob Hummer devised a similar idea, which can be found under the title "Impossible Location" on page 24 of Karl Fulves' Bob Hummer's Collected Secrets. Mr. Elmsley's treatment of the principle offers the advantage of permitting the selection to be made with the pack in the spectator's hands.


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The secret is a curled hair, approximately two inches long, one end of which is imbedded in the side of a card (Mr. Elmsley uses a joker, which afterward may be openly discarded from the pack with little or no explanation necessary). A blond hair is best, as it is less likely to be seen. Tie a knot in the hair, then trim the ends, making the hair about two inches in length, with the knot at one end. Take an X-acto knife or razor blade and carefully separate the layers of pasteboard at one side of the card, near the index, approximately three-quarters of an inch in from the corner. This separation need not be large: less than a quarter of an inch long and more shallow than a border-width (Figure 305). Squeeze a tiny drop of glue between the separated layers and with a pin point tease the knotted end of the hair into the slit. This procedure requires a steady hand, but is not difficult. The hair should lie at a perpendicular angle to the side of the card. Press the card flat until the glue is dry. When the glue is set, use your thumbnail to curl the hair upward over the back of the card, much as you would use a scissors blade to curl ribbon. Position this card three or four from the bottom of the deck, with the hair arranged at the left side and curled over the top of the pack (Figure 306). This finishes the preparation. To perform the location, hold the deck in left-hand dealing grip, with the hair on the left, nearest the inner end of the pack. Explain to the spectator that you want him to take the pack in his own hands, cut off any number of cards and look at the card on the face of the cut-off packet. Demonstrate the desired actions by lifting roughly five cards from the deck, glancing at the face of the packet, then replacing it on the deck. This traps the hair beneath the top few cards, concealing it. When Mr. Elmsley does this, he performs a bluff pass, first running his left thumb down the corner of the pack to about center, then cutting off only a few cards while releasing the thumb's break. The right fingers, at the front of the removed packet hide its thickness as the bottom card is briefly exposed. Then the packet is replaced. (For a fuller description of the bluff pass, see the Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 3, pp. 181-183.) The bluff pass is not crucial to the effect; it merely conceals from the audience the unusually small


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packet you have removed, and makes clear to the assisting spectator that he is to cut into the center of the pack. If you cannot execute the bluff pass convincingly, simply remove the small packet openly; little is sacrificed by doing so. Hand the spectator the squared pack in such a way that he holds it with the hair at the end farthest from him. Coach him verbally through the actions of cutting the pack, noting the card cut to, and replacing the packet. Retrieve the deck from him and turn it face toward you. The hair should now be positioned at your left, near the upper end. Fan the pack narrowly, so as not to dislodge the hair, and spot the point where the end of the hair lies trapped in the deck. The card immediately behind it is the selection. Remove this card from the pack and conclude the location with as much drama as you can muster. The action of removing the selection normally frees the hair from the deck, resetting it should you wish to repeat the feat. If the free end of the hair remains trapped in the pack, it can be pulled out as you casually square the cards. To do this, tip the pack up on one side, face toward the right, the hair at the top edge. Then, with a squaring action, hook the hair with the tip of the right forefinger, pull it free and arrange it over the top of the deck. There is a chance of failure in this trick, if the spectator makes some unorthodox movement with the cards; but the likelihood is small. Only once in the many times Mr. Elmsley performed the location was the hair noticed by the spectator as he cut the pack. In that instance, its presence was thought only an accident, and no serious harm was done.


CALCOLATE X 2 Effect: In this trick the performer's difficulties seem to be compounded: two selections are made with the pack out of his hands and control. The deck is shuffled and cut, then set before a spectator, who cuts off a packet. A second spectator is also invited to cut off a packet. Both note the cards they have cut to, and return the packets to the deck. One of them then cuts the pack and completes the cut. All this is done without the performer touching the cards. He now picks up the deck, runs quickly through it and, without a question, removes two cards. These prove to be the two selections. Method: In August of 1958 Jack Avis published a cunning card location designed to fool magicians and knowledgeable spectators. He called it "Calcolate" (ref. The Gen, Vol. 14, No. 4, p. 116). Mr. Elmsley has taken his friend's location one step further: while "Calcolate" was designed to find a single selection, in the Elmsley variation, two cards are discovered. Three key cards are required: you must know the identities of the top and bottom cards of the pack, and the card resting twentyseventh from the top. One method of noting these three cards is to glimpse the top card of the deck, perform a faro check and transpose the top and bottom halves as you reassemble the pack after the stripout. This sets the glimpsed card twenty-seventh from the top. While the deck is still tipped on edge from the faro check, it is an easy matter to sight the new top and bottom cards, giving you the three keys you need. If, however, recalling three random cards presents a problem, you can arrange three easily remembered cards in the three positions before performance or while doing another trick. The top card is thought of as Key Number One, the center card as Key Number Two, and the bottom card as Key Number Three. Open with a false shuffle and cut, retaining the three keys in place. Then set the deck face-down before someone and ask that he cut off about a third of the pack. Have a second spectator cut off another third; that is, roughly half the remaining cards. The sizes of the packets can vary, but between the two spectators, they must cut off


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at least twenty-seven cards, placing the second key card somewhere in the second spectator's packet. Ask each spectator to note the card he cut to, which lies on the face of his packet. Then have the first spectator replace his packet onto the tabled bottom packet. Instruct the second spectator to place his packet onto the deck as well and to give the pack a straight cut, further losing the chosen cards. Finding the second spectator's card is an easy matter. He has just laid his selection onto your first key card. Pick up the pack and run through it, faces toward yourself, until you locate Key Number Three. Cut the pack, bringing this card back to the face of the deck. Then spread through the cards again, working from face to top, until you find Key Number One. The card directly behind this key is the second selection. Upjog it and continue to spread through the deck, searching for Key Number Two. When you find it, start counting silently, thinking of the second key card as the first card of the count. When you reach the top card of the deck, interrupt your count and return to Key Number One, which lies just before the upjogged selection. Now spreading backward, toward the face of the pack, resume your count, starting with the card infrontof Key Number One, and continuing until you reach twenty-six. The twenty-sixth card of the count is the first spectator's selection. Upjog it and close the spread. Then reveal your success by disclosing the two cards in as effective a fashion as possible. If you find reverse spreading while you count toward the face of the deck to be awkward, try this alternative: After cutting Key Number Three to the face of the pack, spread through the deck until you locate Key Number One. Upjog the card behind this (the second selection) and continue spreading toward the back of the pack. However, count silently, beginning with the first card beyond the upjogged selection, and finishing on Key Number Two. Include this key card in your count. Now square the deck and begin spreading cards again from the face—and as you spread, resume your count. Stop when you have reached twenty-six. This is the first person's selection. Upjog it and conclude. By combining elements of this double location with his fan shuffle control (pp. 96-98) Mr. Elmsley eventually evolved a clever method for controlling two cards. This control is explained in Volume II under the title 'The Fan and Weave Double Control".


CROSS-25 Effect: Once more two selections are made with the deck in the spectators' possession. Here the performer locates the cards in a quite dramatic fashion. The conditions are forbidding: The deck is shuffled, then split between two spectators. While the performer turns his back, each spectator mixes his cards and selects one at random. They then reassemble the deck and return it to the performer. He divides the pack into five piles, then shows each pile briefly, asking the spectators if they see their selections. When the pile containing each card has been identified, the performer places the two piles into separate pockets. Then, without another question, he thrusts his hands into the pockets and removes a card from each. These two cards, as the reader should expect, turn out to be the two selections. Method: In the 1970s Mr. Elmsley conceived the idea of combining an extremely old principle with a more recent one by John P. Hamilton. The elder principle is today frequently called "matrixing". At least as far back as the eighteenth century it was applied to a group of twenty-five cards to determine which card of a five-card packet belonged to one of several spectators. Mr. Hamilton's brilliant contribution is the subterfuge known as the free-cut principle (named and ingeniously exploited by Gene Finnell; Mr. Hamilton's marketed effect, "Eyes of the Gods", originally released in 1948, can be found in Pallbearers Review, Vol. 5, No. 10, Aug. 1970). This combination of old and new ideas yielded the puzzling double location just described. (See "Double-Cross" in Volume II for another trick based on the melding of these principles.) The trick requires a fifty-card pack, though the audience is not apprised of this. Either palm away any two cards from the deck and pocket them, or leave two cards behind in the card case when you first remove the deck. Shuffle the cards; or, if pacing allows it, have someone else shuffle them. Then divide the deck into two face-down piles of twenty-five cards each. There is no need for subtlety here. Simply push off groups


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of cards as you silently count them, and drop them into a pile on the table. When you reach twenty-five, drop the remainder of the pack beside the tabled pile, casually saying, "I think that's about half." Hand each half deck to a spectator. Turn away as you give the spectators instructions for choosing cards. "Will you both please shuffle the cards you hold, making sure they are well mixed....Are you finished? Good. Then hold your cards face-down in your left hand, and cut off some cards in your right hand—a few or a lot; it doesn't matter. Now look at the face of the packet you've cut off and remember the card there. "Now Alfred, will you drop the cards in your right hand onto those Oscar is holding in his left hand; and Oscar, will you drop the cards in your right hand onto those that Alfred is holding. Finally Alfred— may I call you Bosie?—will you let Oscar drop his half pack onto yours....Even up the cards and give them to me." You now turn around to accept the pack. At this point it is obvious that you can have no idea what cards where looked at or where they lie in the deck. Yet, you do know two things: first, that Alfred's card rests in the lower half of the pack, and Oscar's in the upper half; and second, that the two selections, thanks to Mr. Hamilton's free-cut principle, lie exactly twenty-five cards apart. Give the deck a false shuffle, conserving its order. Then assume a doubtful look. "I find that using the whole pack for this trick is a bit awkward. Let me split it into more manageable packets." Begin to deal the cards intofiveface-down piles, dealing in rotation as if for a game of cards. As you deal, increase your speed and show some impatience by the time you've dealt the fifth round. Twenty-five cards are now on the table and twenty-five remain to be dealt. Mutter to yourself, "It doesn't really matter," and finish distributing the cards by pushing them off in groups of five. Don't alter the order of the cards as you take them. Drop a five-card group onto each of the five piles, again working from left to right, until each pile contains ten cards. "Yes, this will be much less awkward." Pick up the first pile, that on your left, and fan it with the faces toward the spectators. "Do either of you see your cards in this group? Just answer yes or no." If the first spectator, Alfred in our example, says that he sees his card, close the fan and place the packet, face inward, into your left jacket pocket. If the second spectator, Oscar, sees his card, place the packet, face outward, into your right jacket pocket. If neither sees his card, set the packet aside, face-down. Pick up the second pile and repeat the procedure, until both spectator's have seen their cards and you have a packet in each pocket. As you do this, you must remember the positions of the piles containing the chosen cards. For the purpose of explanation, assume that Alfred has seen his card in the third packet, and Oscar noted his in the fifth. You are now prepared to find both selections. The means of doing so may seem slightly confusing at first, but the system is quite straightforward.


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You know that, since the top five cards of each packet came from Alfred's half of the deck, his card must be one of those five in the packet he identified. Conversely, Oscar's card must be among the bottom five in his packet. The precise location of each card is given you by the position of the opposite spectator's packet. That is, if Alfred saw his card in the third packet, Oscar's selection will rest third from the face of Oscar's packet; and if Oscar saw his card in the Jifth packet, Alfred's selection lies Jifth from the top of Alfred's packet. It is now only a matter of counting to the proper cards and bringing them from the pockets. Mr. Elmsley finds it easiest to count from the outer sides of the packets, moving inward. Consequently, he sets the first spectator's packet back outward in the left pocket, and the second spectator's packet face outward in the right pocket, to facilitate the counting. If, however, you find another placement simplifies the counting for you, adjust the packets appropriately. One final contingency must be discussed. It is possible that both spectator's will see their cards in the same packet. In such a case, fan over the top five cards of the packet, without altering their order, and place these in the left pocket. The bottom five cards go in the right pocket. The original position of this packet in the dealt row governs the locations of both selections. If it was the second pile from the left, the first spectator's card will lie secondfrom the top, and the second spectator's card secondfrom the face. All that remains is to bring the correct cards simultaneously from the pockets and disclose them in a dramatic fashion.


WEIGHT Effect: Here is another entertaining location, devised by Mr. Elmsley in the 1950s. Roughly a quarter of the shuffled pack is used for this trick. These cards are divided into two piles. Someone is asked to pick up either pile, shuffle it and note the top card. He then shuffles the other pile, drops it onto the first and gives the cards a cut. The spectator now deals the cards onto the performer's hands, forming two piles. The performer carefully weighs each pile on his palms, then throws one away. The spectator deals the remaining cards into two piles. Again the performer weighs each pile, then discards one. This procedure is repeated until only two cards are left. One is placed on each hand, they are weighed and one is tossed aside. The spectator now names his chosen card and the performer snaps over the only card he has not eliminated—the selection. Method: A key card is used for this location, but it is used in a most unusual way. This key can be any card that can be identified by its back. Mr. Elmsley most often uses a card that has been pencil dotted on two diagonally opposite corners. A nailnicked card can serve just as well, making the trick impromptu and possible with a borrowed deck. Secretly position the marked card second from the top of the pack. Shuffle the cards, retaining the marked key in position, then toss two seven-card packets from the center of the deck face-down onto the table. Do this casually, without drawing attention to the number of cards in the packets. This need not be done quickly, but it must be done with apparent indifference. Still holding the balance of the deck, turn away from the tabled cards and ask of someone, "Please pick up either pile and shuffle it. Now look at the top card. Will you remember it? Now put that packet down and pick up the other. Shuffle it too... and drop it on top of your chosen card. Have you done all that? Fine. Pick up the cards and square them." As all this is being done, you too have a task. You must obtain a left fourth-finger break under the top two cards of the talon; that is, under the key card. There is abundant opportunity to do so. If you


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are working impromptu, you can also use this time to create a key by nailnicking a card. Now face the spectator once more and take his cards into your palm-down right hand, holding them by the ends. Run your left thumb and fingertips idly back and forth along the sides of the packet, squaring it—and in this action secretly load the two cards above the break onto the bottom of the packet. As you do this, look straight at the spectator and ask, "Oh, did you cut them?" Since you didn't tell him to, it is hoped he has not. "Well, will you do that now?" Hand him back the packet, which now contains sixteen cards. The bottom card is your key. As the spectator cuts the packet, place the deck aside, freeing your hands. Extend them palms-up and say, "Now deal the cards into two piles on my hands, as if your were playing cards." It makes no difference into which hand he deals the first card. Your only concern is to determine which pile holds the key card. You needn't watch every card dealt. Indeed, it is better that you do not. It is more subtle to observe only the cards placed in one hand. You will either see the key in this group, or you won't. Either way, its location is now known to you. When he has finished dealing, make a show of seeming to weigh the two piles in your hands. After a bit of by-play, toss the packet lacking the key face-down onto the table. "I don't think your card is among these." Hand the spectator the remaining packet and ask that he deal it into your hands, again dividing the cards. Once more watch for the key. Pretend to weigh the piles, then discard the packet without the key. Hand back the remaining four cards and repeat the procedure twice more. By the fourth deal, you will have one card in each hand: the key and one other. Weigh the two, then toss aside the key card. "What was your card? The eight of spades? Yes, that's right, the eight of spades it is!" As this is pronounced, snap over the last card and display the selection.


CHOOSEY Effect: A card is freely chosen from the pack, noted and returned to the middle. The performer gives the cards a shuffle, then takes the deck behind his back and removes a packet. The person who selected a card is given this packet and told to hold it behind his back while he extracts one card from it, any card he desires. One of two outcomes is now possible: a) the helper finds that he has removed his own card from the packet, or b) the value of the card he has removed locates the selection in the packet. In either case, the result is thoroughly bewildering. Method: A twelve-card setup is required. Place the four nines on top of the pack, and the four sevens and four eights on the face. The sevens and eights are in no special order and can be mixed. Spread the pack between the hands for a selection to be made. Keep the top and bottom cards bunched together to discourage their being drawn. When the spectator has removed a card, close the spread and give the deck a casual cut, transporting the nines to the center. Catch a left fourth-finger break above the nines as you complete the cut. After the card has been noted by the spectator and the audience, casually spread the pack and split it at the break for the return of the selection. This places it over the nines. As you close the spread into the left hand, form a break under the nines. Then bring the setup to the bottom of the deck with either a double undercut or a pass. Give the deck a brief shuffle, retaining the bottom quarter intact; e.g., shuffle off roughly two-thirds of the cards, injog the next and throw the balance on top; form a break above the injog, undercut the cards below the break and shuffle them onto the remainder. Now take the deck behind your back, explaining that you will extract a random group of cards. Actually, turn the pack face-up and quickly count off thirteen cards from the face, without reversing their order. Turn this packet face-down and bring it into view. Hand it to the spectator and instruct him to hold it behind his back while he removes any card from it. He can take the card from the top, the middle or from the bottom—wherever he wishes. Have him bring the card out and show it to everyone. Your chances are better than one in thirteen that he will have found his own card


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(people tend to avoid the top and bottom cards). If so, make the most of it. For those times, however, when good fortune fails to intercede, the card he produces will neatly locate the selection in the packet. The card drawn can be one of only three values: a seven, an eight or a nine. If it is a seven, have the spectator count seven cards from the top of the packet and turn up the next. If it is an eight, have him count off eight cards and turn up the eighth. And if it is a nine, have him count off nine cards and turn up the ninth. In all three cases, the card arrived at will be the selection. The selection originally rests ninth from the top of the packet. All four nines lie below the selection. Therefore, if one of these is drawn, the selection still rests ninth from the top. If a seven or an eight is drawn, it must come from above the selection, and consequently the selection is now eighth from the top. Should you have to repeat the trick for the same group, another numerical setup can be used. Place the four sixes on top of the pack and five mixed fours and fives on the face. When you separate the packet from the deck behind your back, take ten cards rather than thirteen. Then, if the spectator produces a five or six, have him turn up the card at that number from the top of the packet. If he draws a four, have him count off four cards and turn up the next. Here is one last alternative setup: Cull all eight fours and fives to the top of the deck in any order, and the four threes to the bottom of the pack. Spread the deck for a selection to be drawn and, as you close the spread, catch a left fourth-finger break above the four threes at the bottom. After the spectator has noted his card, perform a swing cut and have the selection placed onto the top portion. Set the bottom portion onto the selection, retaining the break above the threes. Then double cut to the break. This brings the stock—threes, fours, fives and selection—to the top. Follow this with a brief false shuffle that retains the top stock. Now, behind your back, remove the top thirteen cards and present these to the spectator. If the spectator pulls a three from the packet, have him count off three cards and turn up the next one. If he removes a four, have him count off four cards and turn up the next. And if he brings forth a five, have him count off five cards and turn up the fifth. September 1957


ROUGH TRACKER Here is an idea for a new type of locator card that promises to do for the overhand shuffle what the floating key card does for the riffle. The locator card is first edge marked, then roughed on its face. This card, placed over a selection, will reliably cling to it through an average or even a zealous overhand shuffle performed by a spectator. If the pack is reasonably fresh, the locator card will stay with the card below it without the back of that card being roughed. A simple but effective example of the value of this locator can be seen in the following: Cut the locator to the bottom of the deck and hand the cards to someone. Invite him to remove a card from anywhere in the pack, remember it, lay it on top of the deck and cut the pack to bury it. He is then invited to give the deck a thorough overhand shuffling before returning it to you. Such circumstances fulfill most people's idea of a location done under stringent test conditions. Yet, when the deck is retrieved after the shuffle, a glance at its edge allows you to know immediately where the selection lies. It can then be cut to the top or bottom of the pack, or the marked edge can serve as a guide for stabbing to the card, as in Dr. Ben Braude's method (ref. Phoenix, No. 293, Nov. 13, 1953, p. 1173). If the locator is corner-shorted as well, the selection can be located and cut to the top of the pack without reference to the edges. The freedom this locator card allows in handling and shuffling by the spectator makes it well worth the small effort of preparing and carrying it with your deck.


CARD HOPPER Effect: A card is chosen, noted and returned to the pack. The performer shuffles the cards, then asks the person who chose one, "Will you give me a number, something less than a dozen?" Whatever the spectator's choice, she is instructed to deal that many cards from the deck into a face-down row. For this explanation, assume the number is seven. "Here I have a little frog." A small charm of a frog is set on the table, near the row of cards. "Your number was seven, so I want you to make the frog hop seven times. By a hop I mean moving the frog from the card it is sitting on to the next card, either left or right. You can change the direction of the hops as often as you like. When you've done that seven times, we will take away the card the frog has finished on and replace him on the card to its left. We'll keep this up until only one card remains. Which end would you like the frog to start from?" The frog is set on the end card indicated and the spectator hops the frog over the cards, changing directions as often as she wishes, until all the cards but one have been eliminated. She is then asked to name the card she chose in the beginning. The card the frog is sitting on is then turned up, revealing it to be her selection. Method: This is a deceptive method for forcing a card, based on Martin Gardner's parity principle. When the spectator moves as prescribed, no matter how many cards are in the row, the card remaining at the finish will be the first card originally dealt. The force is based on a concealed mathematical principle. It is accomplished as follows: Begin by having a card chosen, noted and returned to the pack. Control this card to the top. Offer the spectator a selection of numbers from one to twelve. Higher numbers can be used, but anything above twelve makes the procedure tedious. The lower numbers obviously make for a less interesting game, and this might be mentioned should anyone choose them. However, most spectators sense this intuitively and opt for something in the medium to high range.


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When the spectator makes her decision, hand her the pack and ask that she deal that many cards into a face-down row. As she deals, secretly note on which end of the row she places the selection. Bring out some small object to use as a marker and set it on the table near the row of cards. Mr. Elmsley uses a small metal charm of a frog, to give the presentation some character. An occult amulet can lend an air of mystery to the proceedings. However, a match, a coin, an ashtray, or any other item can be used. The procedure varies slightly, depending on whether the spectator chooses an odd number or an even one. If she chooses an odd number, the number also becomes the limit of her movement in each round of hops; e.g., if she chose five, with each round she must take five jumps. If she chooses an even number, the number of jumps must still be odd. This different handling of odd and even number choices is not, of course, explained to the spectator. However, some justification is necessary for moving from an even number to an odd one: "Through your haphazard movements of the little frog we will eliminate all these cards but one. Since you chose to use six cards, it will take five rounds to eliminate five of the cards. Therefore, you may move your marker five times during each turn." It isn't impeccable logic, perhaps, but it has the ring of reason if delivered with authority. Or you might say, "You have just freely chosen an even number. Now I want you to choose an odd one, something smaller than your first number." Next we must consider the starting position of the frog. With an odd number of cards in the row, the procedure will work if the frog starts on any card resting in an odd-numbered position. Therefore, you can offer the spectator the choice of either end of the row as a starting point. If the number of cards in the row is even, Mr. Elmsley prefers to set the frog on the chosen card, offering the spectator no choice of position. However, the spectator can be asked to name any number up to and including the number of cards in the row. If the number named is odd, count to it beginning at the chosen card. If the number named is even, start the count at the opposite end. Hop the frog along the row as you count. Explain that the frog can jump to any card neighboring the one he sits on, and that the spectator can change the direction of the hops as often as she wishes within each round. When all is understood, let her take her first turn. When she has completed the prescribed number of hops, remove the card under the frog and turn it face-up as you put it aside. As the card is eliminated from the row, have the spectator shift the frog to the nearest card to the left, if the selection lies at the left end; or the nearest card to the right, if the selection is at the right end.


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As each card is removed, it is best to adjust the remaining cards in the row to close the gap. This not only makes the spectator's subsequent movements of the frog less confusing, but also helps disguise the fact that the original end card becomes the final one. Let her move again and proceed to remove cards until there is but one left: the selection. If the moves are made as prescribed, it is impossible for her to finish on any other card. Mr. Elmsley presents this as a novel location of a selection. However, it will be clear that the principle can be used as a force, or to achieve the prediction of a card. Of course, you are not limited to playing cards. The force can be performed with ESP design cards or Tarot cards. Even small objects can be used (in which case an inverted tumbler is substituted for the marker). Jack Avis suggests that, if forcing a card, you could mark the target card on the back, then give out the packet for shuffling at the start. When receiving the mixed cards back, you would then simply spread them casually as you talk, spot the force card, take a break above it as you squared the cards, and cut the card to the top before forming a row. This little touch provides a sense of added fairness to a procedure that appears to give the spectator unquestionable freedom of action.


PENNY PLAIN Effect: Someone is handed a deck of cards and asked to shuffle it. He is then told to deal two equal piles of face-down cards of any size he desires. He need not know how many cards he has dealt, but he makes certain that the performer, whose back is turned, can have no clue to the number. The helper picks up either pile, gives it a brief mix and peeks at the top card. He then takes any number of cards he wishes from the second pile, mixes them and drops them onto the first, burying the selection. He pockets the remainder of the second pile and hands the first pile to the performer behind his back. Only now does the performer turn to face the spectator. He explains that, behind his back and without a scrap of information about the number of cards dealt or the depth the card was buried, he will specially position the selection in the packet for a surprising revelation. He does a bit of card shifting behind his back, then lays the packet face-down on the table. The spectator is asked to bring the balance of the second pile from his pocket and deal cards from both packets in unison, until the smaller one is exhausted. He does this and turns up the last card taken from the large packet—the card lying at the same depth as the number of cards in the small one. This card is found to be the selection. The astounding thing about this location is that the performer genuinely does not know the identity of the selection, its location in the packet, or the number of cards in play. Yet he can quickly and unerringly position the chosen card to coincide perfectly with the number of cards in the hidden packet. Method: As with the previous trick, the secret is mathematical. The action is exactly as described above. All that is missing are the particulars of the manipulation done behind the performer's back. These are quite simple. Holding the packet face-down in one hand, take the top card into the other. Onto this card slip the bottom card of the packet. Onto these two deal the new top card of the packet; then the bottom card, then the top, and so on until the packet is


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exhausted. This uncomplicated rearrangement of the cards automatically positions the selection at a depth equal to the number of cards hidden in the spectator's pocket. As long as the spectator forms piles identical in size and then follows your instructions, a successful outcome is guaranteed. The mathematical basis on which this trick relies is related to Penelope's principle, a faro shuffle procedure that will be explained in Volume II. The Penny in "Penny Plain" is simply an affectionate diminutive for the more mature Penelope still to be met. September 21, 1957


THE CLOCK RUNS DOWN Effect: The performer explains, "I expect you know that a pack of cards can be used as a calendar. There are fifty-two cards and there are fifty-two weeks in the year; four suits in the pack, four seasons in the year; twelve court cards in the pack, twelve months in the year. But you may not know that a pack of cards can be used as a clock— not a very fancy clock, I grant you, but it can be used as a kind of clock. First I want you to shuffle the cards." The pack is handed to someone for that purpose. "That's winding the clock up. No need to overdo it. It should be wound by now. Now we must set the clock to the right hour. Pick the hour you would like to set it to, from one o'clock to twelve o'clock, and to set it just take that number of cards off the pack and put them into your pocket. I'll turn away as you do this. I don't want to know the hour you have set. Let me know when you are done." The spectator performs this task. When she has finished, the performer keeps his back to her. "Now this may come as a surprise to you, but that clock you're holding in your hand is a pack of cards; so I'll make it do a card trick. I'm going to ask you to think of a card, and we'll use the number from one to twelve you have already thought of. Hold the pack face-down and look at the card at that number from the top of the pack. Don't move its position; leave it where it is, look at it and remember it, in case you ever see it again. "Have you done that? Good. Even up the pack and keep it facedown." The performer now turns to face the spectator. "Now I must find that card. To do that, we've got to let the clock run down. Unfortunately, that takes twelve hours and, while you seem a very patient person, I doubt you're that patient. But I've discovered a way of speeding up time. It's a magic spell. All you have to do is spell the hours. If I may have the deck, I'll teach it to you. Ready? O-N-E." As the performer spells the hour, he moves a card for each letter from the top to the bottom of the pack. "We've just spelt the hour for one o'clock. Now we'll do it again for two o'clock. T-W-O. T-H-R-E-E. That's three o'clock, afternoon. Perhaps we could take a short nap. No time. We must spell four. F-O-U-R. Now five o'clock. F-I-V-E. S-I-X. Supper time. S-E-V-E-N. Too late for dessert, though. E-I-G-H-T. N-I-N-E. T-E-N. Ten o'clock. Getting late now. E-L-E-V-E-N. Eleven o'clock;


WHERE IT'S AT 377 and T-W-E-L-V-E. Twelve o'clock, midnight, the witching hour, the hour of truth. "Do you still remember that card you looked at twelve hours ago? If you do, name it out loud so that everyone may know it. Good. We can now expect a call from the neighbors: 'Quiet down over there! Don't you know it's twelve o'clock!'" The performer turns over the top card of the deck and shows it to be the thought-of selection. Method: There is little here to explain, as the trick is automatic in its working. Mr. Elmsley's initial inspiration came from a selection of counting and spelling effects which he discovered as a boy in an old book by W. H. Cremer titled Magic No Mystery. The presentation idea of winding the clock is Jon Racherbaumer's; and the underlying method is a variant of Edward Mario's automatic placement (ref. The New Phoenix, No. 329, Aug. 1955, p. 126), which in turn is a cunning application of the mathematical principle behind an old counting location. The only requirements are a full deck of fifty-two cards and a clear set of instructions, which Mr. Elmsley has provided above. If you try this, you will find that the chosen card is always brought to the top of the pack when you spell the numbers one through twelve. The spelling procedure can be hastened a bit by transferring the cards for each number in a group, rather than card by card from top to bottom. That is, for the number one, push off three cards together—O-N-E—and move them to the bottom of the pack as a bunch. Three more cards are moved together as you spell T-W-O. Five cards are transferred to spell three, and so on. Since the trick is entirely self-working, the spectator can do the spelling of the hours, keeping the deck out of your hands from start to finish. However, for the sake of pacing, Mr. Elmsley prefers to do the spelling himself. This is obviously not a formal performance piece. It is a party trick, or a trick for the telephone, or possibly a trick for someone who implores you to teach them a little magic. One lesson it teaches all of us is that of how to make a potentially tedious dealing trick entertaining through clever presentation. Some years ago, after having learned this trick from Mr. Elmsley, David Solomon added a nice touch. On taking back the deck, after the selection has been made, secretly crimp the bottom card. Now spell through the hours. When you are done, the selection will be on top—and the crimped card will be at a position from the bottom equal to the mentally chosen hour. You can now secretly count from the bottom of the pack up to the crimped card, then reveal the number; or you can palm away the crimped card and all the cards below it, and produce them from your pocket as you say, "Before we started, I placed a small number of cards in my pocket. Here they are. How many cards did you place in your pocket? Me too!" 1980


MATHEMATICS AND MENTALISM Effect: The performer offers to show everyone how a card merely thought of can be found through the application of mathematics. From a shuffled deck he deals a pile of sixteen face-down cards. "We will use only part of the deck, to speed things up. I will not look at the faces of the cards at any time; but I will show them to you. There are sixteen cards, so I want you to think of any number from one to sixteen. Then, as I show you the cards, remember the card that falls on your number. Since no one knows that number but you, you will also be the only person who knows the card you are thinking of." The performer does exactly as promised. "You now have a card in mind. I do not want you to tell me what it is or where it is. Yet, I will discover it through a mathematical sorting process. I will stagger the cards up and down like this. As I do so I will let you see their faces. Again, I will not look at them. When I am done, all I want you to tell me is whether your card is in the upper group or the lower." When this has been accomplished, the performer strips the two packets apart and puts one onto the other, squaring the cards. This sorting procedure is done four times in all. "That is the mathematical process. No matter what card you think of, it is always brought to the top. Tell everyone which card you chose....Look, here it is. It always works. "That is a mathematical card trick. However, if I were a mind reader, I wouldn't have to go through all the sorting. I would just know. Let me show you what I mean. Do you remember your number? Good. I'll show you the cards once more. Remember the card that falls on your number." When the spectator has made her choice, the performer hands her the packet and asks that she mix it. With the cards in her hands, the performer then proceeds to name the mentally chosen card. Method: Here is another clever presentation for a mathematically based trick. Though you take every opportunity to make it clear that you know none of the cards, in fact you must know one: the top card of the packet.


WHERE IT'S AT 379 Have the deck shuffled. Then deal sixteen cards into a face-down pile. Glimpse the last card as you deal it, or do a top-card glimpse as you pick up and square the packet. Methods for glimpsing a card can be found in many basic card texts. You can also sight the bottom card of the deck after it has been shuffled, bring this card to the top with a double cut or an overhand shuffle, then count the top sixteen cards from the pack without reversing their order. Have the spectator think of a number from one to sixteen. Show her the cards, one by one, without reversing their order, and have her remember the card at her number. You will now sort the packet into two groups, using a procedure commonly called a reverse faro: Raise the packet, exposing the faces of the cards to the spectator. Then upjog the top card. Downjog the next, upjog the third (Figure 307), and so on, until the cards have all been staggered alternately up and down. As this is done, have the spectator observe into which group her card falls. Ask her if her card lies in the upper portion or the lower. Strip the two packets apart and place the one containing her card on top of the other. Do four reverse faros in all, each time placing the portion with the selection on top. This automatically brings the chosen card to the top of the packet. Have the spectator tell everyone the name of her card. Then turn up the top card to show the mathematical trick has succeeded. However, the reverse faros have accomplished something more than just transport the selection to the top. They have also brought the original top card—the card you glimpsed in the beginning—to a position from the top of the packet equal to the selected number. This is particularly intriguing because you don't have to know the spectator's number to achieve this end. It happens automatically. Ask the spectator if she remembers her number. Assuming she does, ask her to note the card resting at that spot as you show her the cards once more. Then hand her the packet and have her mix it. All that remains is to reveal the card in your most impressive manner. This direct and impossible seeming divination should be quite a surprise following the laborious location just performed. The only time the effectiveness of this trick can be diminished is if the spectator chooses the number one. In this circumstance, she would


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think of the same card twice, the one you glimpsed. Fortunately, the likelihood of someone choosing one is nearly nonexistent. However, should it ever occur, there are several courses one can take. You will know immediately if such is the case, when the spectator names her card. If it is the same card you have sighted, you can simply go into some other location or divination, abandoning the planned effect. Or you can glimpse the bottom card of the packet while attention is relaxed after the location. Shuffle this to the top. Then ask the spectator to think of a different number, and repeat the location to show that the mathematical procedure works every time. You can then proceed to the intended conclusion. Perhaps the easiest answer to this problem, though, is one suggested by Darwin Ortiz: When asking the spectator to think of a number, say, "Think of any number up to sixteen—but don't think of one. It's too easy." September 1958


Chapter Nine.

No Gamble


MISOGYNIST'S MONTE Effect: The performer explains how he was once taken in by a three-card-monte man. The two black queens and an odd card are removed from the pack, and an odd twist on the old game of Find the Lady is demonstrated: in this variation, the goal is not to find a lady. The indifferent card is inserted between the two queens and the cards are shifted around in an easily followed manner. Yet, when the performer makes the logical choice in picking out the odd card, he finds a queen instead. The game is repeated, and this time, as the story goes, the gambler gives the performer two chances not to find a queen. He makes the two most likely choices, but finds a queen each time. On the third round, the gambler offers the performer three chances to find the odd card. This has all the earmarks of a sure thing. But when the top card is shown, it is a queen; and when the bottom card is shown, it is a queen; and the center card—well, it has vanished completely, leaving only the two queens, which can be thoroughly inspected. Method: This trick is the result of a search in the 1950s for a nofeke solution to "Point of Departure" (a classic Elmsley trick that is taught in Volume II of this work). As will be seen, the method relies heavily on ideas borrowed from "Repulsive Aces" (pp. 229-233). No preparation is required. Run through the deck and toss the two black queens face-up onto the table. As you do this, you might want to cut a red jack or king to a position third from the top of the pack. This last action is not strictly necessary. It merely assures that a card of striking contrast is used for the final phase of the trick. Do, however, make certain that no red queens lie among the top three cards.

First Phase Take the pack face-down into left-hand dealing grip and, with your right hand, pick up the two queens. 'The other day I met a man with a new version of the three-card trick. Instead of using two odd cards


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and one queen to play Find the Lady, he used two queens and one odd card, and I had to find the card that wasn't a lady. I'll show you." As you say this, display the black queens, then square them facedown and grasp them in the palm-down right hand by their ends. With the left thumb, push over the top card of the pack; then use the left side of the queens to flip this card face-up on the deck. Name the card. "We'll use that as the odd card." Push the card to the right again, and flip it face-down on the deck. In flipping the card up and down, imitate the actions used for the tip-over change. Though the actions are entirely honest now, the tip-over change will be used in the third phase of the trick, and you desire both uniformity and familiarity of action when the sleight is executed. Once more push the top card of the pack to the right, then clip it by its inner right corner between the tips of the right first finger, above, and second finger, below (Figure 308). The two queens are meanwhile held securely between the right thumb, at one end, and the third finger at the other. With the left hand, set the deck onto the table. After this, transfer the two face-down queens to left-hand dealing position, while retaining the indifferent card between the fingers. You now shift the right hand's grip on its card: lay the thumb onto the inner right corner, just behind the forefinger; then move the forefinger beneath the card and alongside the second finger. "The man took the odd card and put it in the middle, between the queens." Cock the right hand inward at the wrist, swinging the outer end of the card toward you. Without spreading the two queens, insert the near right corner of the indifferent card between them (Figure 309). Using the left forefinger to buckle the lower queen slightly at the outer end aids in the insertion. Push the card inward for about half its length and leave it there, outjogged between the queens.


NO GAMBLE 385 Turn the left hand palm-down to display the odd card. Then turn the hand palm-up again and, with the right fingertips, tap the odd card flush. With the right hand, turn the packet end over end and face-up in the left hand. Immediately rotate the left hand palm-down, bringing the packet into face-down glide position. "Then he counted the cards: one, two, three..." On the count of one you draw the bottom card from the packet and place it on top. As this first card is pushed square, perform the initial action of the glide, using the left fingertips to pull back the new bottom card. Without hesitation, draw the middle card from the packet, as if it were the bottom card, and transfer it to the top. This is done to the count of two. On three, move the bottom card to the top fairly. With the right hand, grasp the right end of the cards and hold the packet stationary while you turn the left hand palm-up and take the face-down packet into dealing grip. "...and he asked me, 'Where is the card that isn't a lady?' "'In the middle,' I guessed. "'No,' he said. That's a lady.'" Fan the three cards and remove the center one. Show it to be a queen; then replace it between the other two cards. '"Your card is on top. That's no lady.'" Turn up the top card, showing it to be the indifferent one, then lay it aside.

Second Phase "He offered to do it again—this time with the ten of clubs—and he put the odd card between the queens." While you say this, transfer the two face-down queens to the right hand, holding them by their ends from above; and with the left hand pick up the deck, taking it into face-down dealing position. Push over the top card of the pack and use the queens to flip it face-up. As the face of the card comes into view, name it. Then flip it face-down again on the deck and repeat the actions employed in the first phase to set down the deck and insert the new card between the queens. This time, however, do not turn the left hand palm-down to display the odd card between the queens. Instead, push it neatly flush, then with the right hand turn the packet face-up in the left hand. A queen is seen on the face, validating the fairness of your actions. Now turn the left hand palmdown, bringing the packet into glide position. "He counted the cards: one, two, three." Transfer cards from bottom to top, as you did before, but execute the glide as the first card is taken. The second and third cards are honestly handled. "Til give you two chances this time,' he said. 'Where is the card that isn't a lady?' It should be in the middle, I thought, but it's probably on top. So I guessed top and middle. 'No,' he said. 'It's not


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on top, and it's not in the middle. It's on the bottom. You can't keep away from the ladies, can you!'" Here show one queen on top, the second queen at center and finally the odd card on the bottom. Set the odd card aside with the first one.

Third Phase "He offered to do it again, this time with the jack of diamonds— that's an easy card to follow—and he put the odd card between the queens." Synchronized with these words are the following actions: The two queens are squared face-down in the left hand, then grasped by the right hand from above by their ends. As the right hand claims the queens, form a fine thumb break between them. With the left hand, pick up the deck and push over the top card. Use the queens to flip this card face-up on the pack. Name the card, then flip it face-down again—but as you do so, perform the tip-over change, secretly dropping the bottom queen square onto the deck as the right hand's packet moves momentarily over it. This is the moment you have been preparing for throughout the trick. (For further details on the tip-over change, see p. 73.) Push the top card (a queen) to the right on the deck, and clip it between the tips of the right first and second fingers, as you have done with the previous indifferent cards. Set down the deck and take the single-card "packet" into left-hand dealing position, forefinger curled under the outer end. Then pretend to insert the card held at the right fingertips between the two queens believed to be in your left hand. Actually, the card is slipped under the left hand's card and held in place by the curled left forefinger while the right hand shifts position to push the card flush. You must convincingly act the part of inserting the card between the queens. You have just performed the genuine action twice, while keeping the queens squared. Take these actions as your model for the false insertion, making it no easier, nor more difficult. "...and he counted the cards: one, two, three." No glide is required this time as the cards are transferred from bottom to top, but take pains to keep the actions uniform with the previous ones. '"It's the last round,' he said, 'so I'll give you three chances this time. Where is the card that isn't a lady?' "I couldn't lose, I thought, and I guessed, 'It's on top, or it's on the bottom, or it's in the middle.' "'No,' he said. 'It's not on top.'" Take the top card into the right hand and turn it face-up there, holding the hand away from the packet. This is calculated to draw attention away from the single card in the left hand. With the right hand, turn the queen face-down and replace it on the left hand's card. Immediately grasp the packet by its ends from above and lift it to expose the face of the bottom queen.


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"'And it's not on the bottom. And it's surely not in the middle.'" As you deliver the latter line, take one card into each hand and display the two queens, fronts and backs, letting there be no doubt that the indifferent card is gone. "And that's why I'm working my way home doing card tricks."


THE BRIDGE BUILDER Effect: The performer asks for the loan of a deck and has it shuffled before he touches it. He runs through the cards, claiming as he does so that he is memorizing their order. He then turns the pack face-down and gives it a shuffle that smacks of some concealed calculation. He now deals four bridge hands while he explains, "In bridge a rough way of judging how much a bridge hand is worth is to count one point for each jack, two for each queen, three for each king and four for each ace. The jacks, queens, kings and aces in the whole pack add up to forty points; so on average each hand gets ten points. Fifteen points would be above average, five points would be below. Let's see how I've done." He picks up his hand of cards and removes all the honor cards it contains, counting them as they are laid down. The final sum is far higher than average. "But of course in bridge you play with a partner." He now picks up his imaginary partner's hand and counts the honor cards it holds. When done, it is seen that he has dealt all or nearly all the honors to himself and his partner, leaving the other two players no hope of winning. Method: In the late 1970s, while rereading Mario in Spades, Mr. Elmsley became interested in a plot titled "Poker Prediction" (pp. 2021). In this trick Mr. Mario employed punched cards and second deals to achieve his effect. Mr. Elmsley's mind, however, took the germ of an idea in that trick and from it developed the bridge demonstration you have just read. The method of stacking he devised is sleightless and easy to perform. Despite that, the effect it creates is wonderfully impressive and perfectly understandable, even to those unfamiliar with bridge. Further to its credit, it can be done with a borrowed deck and no preparation. As an introduction to the feat, borrow a deck if possible and have it shuffled. Then take it from the spectator as you explain, "If we had been playing with these cards for an hour or two, I could have marked them. We haven't time for that; so instead I'll memorize them." Giving this pretense, turn the deck face toward you and run quickly through it, outwardly pretending to memorize the cards as they go by. It is during this swift and seemingly innocent run through the deck that you manage to stack the honor cards for the deal.


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Holding the pack in your left hand, thumb over the first card, preparing to take it into the right hand. This action exposes to you the index of the card second from the face of the deck. As you run through the cards, you must think of them as pairs. The simple principle employed is to maneuver the honor cards (jacks, queens, kings and aces) into even positions from the top of the pack. This is done as follows: If the foremost card of the pair on the face of the deck is an honor card, push off two cards from the face as a unit and take them together into the right hand. If, however, the second card from the face is an honor card, take the first card into the right hand, then the second card onto that, reversing their positions. If neither of the cards is an honor card, you can take the two either singly or as a pair, though dealing pairs is the better procedure, as it speeds the process. Mr. Elmsley adds the following tip: As you work through the deck, hold the cards in a plane approximately horizontal with the level of the spectators' eyes. In doing this, the audience can observe only the front ends of the cards. This makes your actions less noticeable as you push over single or double cards, as required. Continue to arrange pairs of cards in this manner until you have gone through the deck. Do not hurry through the cards as you stack them. Instead, strive for a steady, moderate rhythm. The entire procedure takes twenty to twenty-five seconds in Mr. Elmsley's hands. It may not be possible to position every honor card to fall to your hand and your partner's. Occasionally, both cards of a pair will be honors, in which case one will be lost. In going through the deck, over fifty percent of the time you will lose no more than one or two honors. The odds against losing five or more are over forty to one. You will certainly be able to conscript the majority of the desired cards, and that will more than suffice. "I haven't memorized the whole pack, but I've remembered enough to know what I should do now." Turn the deck face-down and give it a false shuffle that retains the honor cards at even positions. This need be nothing elaborate, as you wish to give the impression that you are stacking the cards as you shuffle. Perhaps the simplest procedure is to perform a series of short overhand shuffles, rapidly running any odd number of single cards and throwing the balance beneath them. As you shuffle, assume a half-lidded look of deep concentration and mutter to yourself: "Forty-seven, eighteen, thirty..." or some other profound sounding gibberish. Your work, but for the presentation, is now completed. Deal the cards into four face-down piles as you comment, "I'm going to deal four bridge hands. Do you play bridge? It doesn't matter. A rough way of judging how much a bridge hand is worth is to count one point for each jack, two for each queen, three for each king and four for each ace. The jacks, queens, kings and aces in the whole pack


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add up to forty points, so on average each hand gets ten points. Fifteen points would be above average, five points would be below. Let's see how I've done." This explanation serves a dual purpose: it makes clear the premise of the demonstration to everyone, even those unfamiliar with bridge; and it fills the time necessary to deal out the deck, which would be a rather dull task to watch in silence. Pick up your hand of cards (the fourth hand dealt) and fan it faces toward yourself. One by one, draw the honor cards from the fan and lay them into a face-up row on the table. Start with the lower honors and work up to the higher ones, counting the points as you lay down each card. "One, two, four, six, nine, thirteen, seventeen. That's above average. "But of course in bridge you play with a partner. It's no use having an above average hand if his is below average. What matters is how much you have together. Seventeen so far." Lay aside any cards left in your hand and pick up your partner's hand (the second hand dealt). Draw the honors cards from it and lay them into the face-up row on the table as you count. "Eighteen, twenty-one, twenty-four, twenty-seven, thirty-one, and four makes thirty-five. Thirty-five points out of a possible forty, or thirteen of all sixteen honors. That will do well enough, I think." One presentational touch that Mr. Elmsley recommends is to find someone in the audience with a second hand or stop-watch function on their wrist watch. Have this person time you as you run through the deck, apparently memorizing it. Have him say, "Go," when you are to start, and then call off the time every five seconds. This byplay instills extra interest in the procedure and adds a touch of drama. Two final notes: 1) When borrowing a deck, one can't always be certain of receiving a complete one. Fortunately, for this demonstration it doesn't matter if the deck is short a card or two, since the stack is built from the top down. 2) If the pack comes from a fellow magician, have him shuffle the cards particularly well. Magicians often keep aces and court cards together at the top or bottom of the pack. If they are still together when you stack the deck, you could lose as many as eight honors. This demonstration is extremely impressive to an audience, and the method is exquisite in its simplicity. Surely, nothing further is necessary to recommend it.


JUST LUCKY Effect: About this item Mr. Elmsley comments: "A long time back I spent an evening with Ricky Jay at Cy Endfield's house. Ricky impressed me enormously with his ability at culling. It seemed that he would look at my pack casually—to see what British cards were like, he said—and then, somehow, he guided the conversation so that twenty minutes later someone would suggest he do a trick, which he then did with my pack, which he had already stacked. "I very rarely have the ability to do that style of impromptu performing. I have to plan and rehearse. This ace stack was my attempt to emulate Ricky's skill." Succinctly put, this is a method for culling the aces, then stacking them with only three tabled riffle shuffles for a four-hand deal. Two qualities that make Mr. Elmsley's stacking system particularly noteworthy are: 1) the top card of the pack is always buried during the shuffle; and 2) each shuffle is identical in pattern, making your actions easy to remember and allowing you to develop speed through familiarity. The ability to hold back varying numbers of cards on command as you shuffle requires considerable practice; yet, when given a constant number of cards, like three or four, the skill can be attained in a surprisingly short time. Besides this valuable stacking system, "Just Lucky" offers an excellent presentation for an impromptu stacking exhibition, one in which what could be a rather dry demonstration is transformed into an impressive and surprising feat. It is designed specifically for those times when one is asked to do something with an unfamiliar deck. Method: When the request is put to you, feign some reluctance to perform. Tentatively pick up the deck and fan the cards idly, faces toward you. "Well, I don't know. Professional gamblers nearly always work with a new pack, and a brand with properties they know. These cards are strange to me." As you mouth these weak excuses, spot an ace and catch a break behind it as you close the fan. Then casually cut the ace to the top and lay the deck aside. "You know, when you get a strange pack, you find the weirdest things. Too many cards, or too few; cards stuck together with chewing


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gum; cards with love notes written on them. If it is a magician's pack, there may be joke cards in it. If it's a gambler's pack they may already be arranged in some special order. By the way, are these cards arranged, or are they in no special order? Can I take it that it's a shuffled pack?" This opening strategy is designed to achieve two purposes: it creates an interval of distraction during which the audience is led to forget that you have already handled the pack; and it manipulates the owner of the cards into stating that the pack is shuffled, a statement that will be exploited shortly. "Okay, I'll take a chance and trust my luck. But if you don't mind, I'll use my lucky card." As you say this, pick up the deck and begin to spread it face-up from the left hand into the right, this time giving the cards your full attention. As soon as you come to the first ace, split the spread behind it, taking the ace and all the cards above it into the right hand. Turn the right hand palm-down, bringing the backs of the cards into view. "These aren't marked cards, are they? Once I was given a pack of marked cards and the gang I was with was doing my tricks before I was." Turn the right hand palm-up again and continue your search through the deck—however, this time spread the left hand's cards onto those in the right hand, and spread the cards widely, keeping the hands separated enough to ensure that the left and right fingers do not overlap beneath the spread. When you spot the next ace, contact its right edge with the tips of your right second and third fingers and contract those fingers, pulling the ace under the right hand's cards to join the ace already there (Figure 310). The left thumb can aid in the culling action by resting on the left side of the card above the ace in the spread, steadying it as the ace is withdrawn from the spread and pulled beneath the right-hand stock. This is the Hofzinser spread pass. Without a pause, continue to look for your lucky card, spreading the left hand's cards into the right hand and feeding them above the initial block (Figure 311). Stop when you find the next ace. Break the spread above the ace and, with the left thumb, deal it face-up onto the table. "That's my lucky card: the ace of spades." Here you name the ace on the table. As you make this announcement, assemble the deck by placing the right hand's cards onto those in the left. Square the deck into the left hand, but form a left fourth-finger break below the right hand's cards; that is, below the two culled aces. The third ace lies at the back of the pack. Now perform a casual cut, executing Mario's pull-down move: With the right hand, grasp the pack by its ends from above, transferring the break to the right thumb. This frees the left fourth finger, which then pulls down the lowermost card of the pack at the inner right corner. Now cut the deck at the break, taking the upper portion in


NO GAMBLE 393 the right hand and slipping it secretly above the pulled-down ace (Figure 312). Square the cards. The three aces are now together at the back of the deck. Set the pack face-down on the table. Pick up your lucky ace and drop it face-down on top of the deck, investing in this action an air of importance. All four aces are now on top. "Watch me carefully now. I'm going to try a gambler's false shuffle. This is a shuffle with an unknown pack, and an unknown number of cards—and an unknown quantity of chewing gum." Position the deck with a long edge toward you, in preparation for a tabled riffle shuffle. With the right hand, undercut the bottom block of cards to the right, taking a few less than twenty-six. ^ ^ _ ^ _ ^ ^ ^ _ _ ^ ^ ^ _ ^ _ ^ _ _ ^ Start to riffle the packets into each other, releasing cards faster from the right thumb than from the left. The difference in speed should be such that, when the right thumb has released all but four of its cards, the left thumb should still retain at least sixteen. Hold back the last four cards on the right thumb and release all but three of the left-hand's cards. Let three of the right thumb's indifferent cards fall onto the ace just dropped, then release the remaining three aces from the left thumb, and drop the last indifferent card from the right thumb on top. The configuration of the cards is shown in Figure 313. Push the packets into each other and square the deck. With this first shuffle you have introduced three cards between the third and fourth aces, and laid one card over the top ace. If you repeat the shuffle twice, the aces will lie at


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THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY

positions four, eight, twelve and sixteen from the top, ready to fall to the dealer in a fourhand game. (Darwin Ortiz informs me that Frank Thompson some years ago recorded a quite similar stacking procedure in his private notes.) Immediately follow the shuffling with a false cut that preserves the top stock of sixteen cards; then with another cut send that stock to the center of the deck and hold a break above it. Do this cutting rapidly, treating it as part of the last shuffle. Now pause and stare at the deck. Then, as Dai Vernon would say, cut the cards with deliberation, cutting at the break and carrying the top portion forward toward the person who loaned you the pack. Complete the cut. Address that person: "I've shuffled and cut, so you should deal. Will you deal four hands, please." Stop the deal after four cards have been dealt to each hand, and sweep aside all the hands but that before the dealer. Square these cards neatly on the table. "Do you remember my lucky card? The ace of spades?" Turn over the hand of cards on the table, keeping them squared as you expose the ace of spades at the face of the pile. "But remember: You gave me a pack I had never seen before, a strange pack, and it was a shuffled pack—right?" As he has earlier said that the pack was a shuffled one, he can hardly contradict himself now. The thought has been planted and here it bears fruit. "Well, this is why I call it my lucky card." Put a single fingertip on the face of the ace of spades, then spread the cards sidewise, revealing all four aces.


ACES UP Effect: The performer shuffles the deck and deals four poker hands. On turning up his hand, he finds four aces. Explaining that he stacked the aces as he shuffled, he offers to demonstrate how this can be done for any number of hands. He gathers the dealt cards and shows there are no extra aces. He then asks how many hands will be in the game. Given this information, he faro shuffles the packet and deals the number of hands requested. When his hand is checked, he again is found to possess all the aces. There is no false dealing. The aces are genuinely stacked for any number of hands through the sole agency of faro shuffles. It will be clear that this exercise is designed to enthrall faro enthusiasts rather than to entertain the more discriminating public. Method: Cull the four aces to the top of the deck and perform two in-faro shuffles. Deal four poker hands and turn up yours to expose the aces. Put the balance of the pack aside. From this point forth, you will work only with the twenty dealt cards. Gather the sixteen indifferent cards and spread them face-up between the hands to show there are only four aces in play. As you do this, silently count to the ninth card from the face. Close the spread into the left hand and form a fourth-finger break under the ninth card. Ask how many hands your audience would like dealt. Given only the twenty cards, the range possible runs from two to five hands. The procedures for stacking the aces for two hands or four will be obvious to anyone with some knowledge of the faro shuffle; but they are included here, for those unfamiliar with them. Stacking the aces for three or five hands becomes more interesting. For a two-hand deal, release the break. It will not be needed. Place the aces on the face of the packet, catch a left fourth-finger break below them and double cut them to the back of the packet. Then turn the cards face-down and perform one in-faro. This sets the aces to fall to you. For a three-hand deal, lay the aces on the face of the packet and double cut to the fourth finger's break. This places nine


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cards behind the aces. Turn the packet face-down and give it four out-faros. For a four-hand deal, perform the same actions employed for two hands, but give the packet two in-faros. For a five-hand deal, release the break and turn the packet face-down. Drop the aces face-down onto it, catch a break beneath them and double cut them to the face of the packet. Then perform four in-faros. That is the system. If you have chosen your audience wisely, they will likely ask you to repeat the demonstration, stacking the aces for a different number of hands. Of course, you can accommodate them. February 1958


PIERCE ARROW Effect: The performer hands some sporting soul a packet of twelve cards and proposes a simple bet. "I will wager a dollar. Will you please hold this for us and keep track of the bets?" He gives the dollar bill and a piece of paper to a third party. "Here is how the game is played. You have twelve cards there. I want you to name any number from one to twelve. Six? All right. Now deal the cards into two face-down piles, and when you reach the sixth card turn it face-up; then continue dealing the cards face-down. Good. Now put the first pile, this one, onto the second. 'That is the procedure. Now for the game. You will do what you have just done, exactly. You chose the number six. As you deal through the cards again, if the card that falls sixth is face-up, you win my dollar. That's the end of the game. But if it is face-down, I win that round and you must turn the card face-up. To make it interesting, I will give you odds of one hundred to one. If you win, you take my dollar. If I win, you pay me a pennyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and we play another round for double the stakes: that's two pennies. You can see that with each round your chances of winning become better and better, as you have more face-up cards to hit. You hazard a few pennies; you stand to gain my dollar. Is it a bet?" Few persons will turn down such a congenial wager. The spectator deals the cards and finds the sixth card is face-down. He turns it faceup and the score-keeper records that he owes the performer a penny. The second round is dealt. The performer wins again. The round is worth two pennies this time. In all, eleven rounds are played, until all twelve cards have been turned face-upâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and the spectator loses every one, with his wager doubling on each round. When the scorekeeper adds up the losses, they total $20.47 (It + 2<t + 4<t + 8* + 16<t + 32<t + 644 + $1.28 + $2.56 + $5.12 + $10.24 = $20.47). The performer, being a thoroughly good fellow, retrieves his dollar and waves payment of the bet until the spectator's lottery number comes up. Method: Around 1860, Charles Sanders Pierce devised a two-part card trick based on cyclic arithmetic. He eventually published it in a four-volume work. Tom Ransom discovered it there and, christening


3 9 8 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY it "the world's most complicated card trick", he sent it to P. Howard Lyons. Mr. Lyons, with a combined sense of amusement and of admiration for the curious, republished it in Ibidem, No. 4 (Nov. 1955, pp. 10-12). What probably caught his interest was a pair of intriguing mathematical principles, buried within a convoluted card puzzle. Charles Pierce's puzzle caught Mr. Elmsley's eye as well. In experimenting with it he came up with two applications far more mysterious than the original. One of these, the humorous betting swindle described above, is based on the mathematical principle underlying the first phase of Mr. Pierce's trick. ('Through Darkest Pierce", the Elmsley trick based on Pierce's second principle, appears in Volume II of this work.) Pierce's first principle is this: The packet functions as a chain along which each card moves as they are dealt. Each card must occupy every position in the chain before it can return to any of the previously occupied positions. Thus, no matter what number the spectator chooses, the face-up cards that have occupied that position in the chain cannot return to it until all twelve cards have passed through that position. Therefore, the performer must win all eleven rounds. Only two rules are observed: 1) On each round, the spectator must turn up the card that falls at his number; and 2) the first pile (i.e., the pile containing the first card dealt) must always be placed onto the second pile for the next round. It is best to guide the spectator verbally through the initial deal, rather than to explain the entire procedure first. The actions are more easily understood this way. Of course, your bet of $1.00 is arbitrary. $1.00 is suggested here, as it is tempting, but not so large that it draws suspicion, resulting in caution. Do place your bet before the spectator chooses a number. Otherwise, it might be thought you have waited to see if he would pick a number favorable to your winning. In convivial company this betting stunt can generate a lot of fun. March 1958


FOUR FLUSHER Effect: The performer offers a demonstration of expert card stacking. He openly places the four possible royal flushes onto the deck and shuffles them into it. He then deals four hands of poker. When he turns up his hand it contains one of the royal flushes. He shuffles the deck and deals another four hands. His hand is again found to contain a royal flush. The shuffling and dealing are repeated twice more, and each time the performer receives a royal flush, until at last all four flushes have fallen to him. The dealing is honest. The four flushes are genuinely stacked into position through a succession of shuffles. Method: This is Mr. Elmsley's efficient handling of an Edward Mario trick, "Royal Flush Control" (ref. Ibidem, No. 8, pp. 29-30). Mr. Mario, after each round was dealt, returned all four hands to the deck for the next shuffle and deal. Mr. Elmsley observed that, if each royal flush was left on the table after it was dealt, the stacking procedure could be simplified. Doing so in no way diminishes the impact of the demonstration. To the contrary, the cumulative display of the royal flushes embellishes the feat. Here is the Elmsley shuffling system: Remove the four royal flushes from the deck and lay them out on the table. (In Mr. Mario's original presentation, this demonstration was the final phase of a routine called "Mexican Solitaire" [ibid.]. In the previous phase the four royal flushes were left on the table. The routine is worth your attention.) Gather two of the flushes and drop them face-down onto the deck. Perform an overhand shuffle, keeping the pair of flushes intact and adding three cards above them; i.e., undercut about half the pack, run three cards onto the flushes, injog the fourth card and shuffle off; form a break under the injog, shuffle off to the break and throw the balance on top. Gather the second pair of flushes and drop them face-down onto the deck. Then perform two perfect in-faro shuffles. Deal four five-card poker hands and turn up your cards. They will consist of one of the royal flushes. Set this flush to one side and gather the other three hands without showing their faces. In gathering them, pick up the third hand under the other two. This hand consists of another royal flush. Drop the talon onto these cards and


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give the deck a false shuffle that retains its entire order. This can be any of a variety of false riffle or dovetail shuffles; or an overhand shuffle such as that of G. W. Hunter: Undercut about half the pack, run six cards, injog the seventh and throw the balance on top; form a break above the injog, undercut at the break, run seven cards and throw the balance on top. Deal four five-card hands and show that yours again contains a royal flush. Set this with the first flush and gather the other three hands. This time, place the third hand onto the other two and drop these fifteen cards onto the deck. There is now an intact royal flush on top of the pack and another at the face. Perform two more perfect in-faros with the forty-two card deck. Deal four five-card hands and turn up yours to disclose the third royal flush. Place this with the previous two and gather the remaining three hands in any order. Add these to the bottom of the talon and false shuffle, keeping the top nineteen cards intact and adding one card above them; e.g., undercut less than half of the diminished pack, run one card, injog the next and shuffle off; form a break under the injog, shuffle off to the break and throw the balance on top. Deal four five-card hands and show that you have dealt the fourth royal flush to yourself. While the mixture of shuffling methodsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;overhand, faro, riffleâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; would be inconsistent in many tricks, here the practice can be excused, as the demonstration is a blatant exhibition of skill. Your ability to stack each royal flush while controlling the other flushes for future rounds is unquestionably impressive, and a difficult problem for other cardmen to reconstruct. September 1957


A STRANGE STORY Effect: The performer offers to tell a story of a very strange poker game he once participated in. His opponent was so certain of his abilities, he boasted that he could win the game with all his cards face-up. The game is re-enacted by dealing two poker hands, one to the arrogant opponent, face-up, and one to the performer, face-down. As the face-up cards collect on the table, it is seen that his opponent has received a royal flush in spades. The performer now turns up his own hand. It proves to be a second royal flushâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in spades! This is, of course, an impossibility in an honest game, and the performer immediately accused the scoundrel of cheating. The evidence seems damning, for when the fellow's cards are turned down they are found now to have blue backs, while the deck is obviously red. But the rogue quickly turned the accusation back on the dealer, demanding to see the backs of his cards. The performer turns his cards face-down, confidently showing their red backs. But when the deck is next spread, it is seen to have changed to blue, putting the performer at a grave disadvantage, as will be seen as the story is unfolded below in full. Method: There has always been one stumbling block in the presentation of color-changing deck routines: how does one ensure that the audience notices the color of the pack without telegraphing the coming change and spoiling the surprise? This trick solves the problem in an ingenious and entertaining manner. You will need one blue-backed deck, six red-backed cards and a red card case. The red-backed cards consist of a royal flush in spades and one indifferent card. From the blue-backed deck remove the royal flush in spades and stack this, alternating it with the red-backed cards, from the top down as follows: ten of spades (red) king of spades (red) ten of spades (blue) king of spades (blue) ace of spades (red) jack of spades (red) ace of spades (blue) jack of spades (blue) indifferent card (red) queen of spades (red) queen of spades (blue)


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Place this setup on top of the deck. Then discard six blue-backed cards to compensate for the added reds, and slip the deck into the red card case. This completes the preparation. When ready to perform, bring out the deck and remove it from the case. Set the case on the table, to one side but near the area where you will be dealing your poker hand. Take the deck into left-hand dealing position and introduce your tale: "Let me tell you a strange story of a two-handed poker game I was in once. The other player was so sure of himself, he said he would play with all his cards face-up on the table, and I didn't have to show him any of mine. So I dealt his hand face-up and mine face-down." Here you deal two poker hands, using a "necktie" second to deal the first card face-up to your imaginary opponent. That is, tilt the outer end of the deck upward slightly, as you move to deal the first card, tipping the top momentarily beyond the audience's line of sight. Execute a second deal in this position, gripping the card second from the top by its outer right corner, right thumb on top, second finger beneath. In a continuing action, turn the right hand palm outward, swinging the card to a face-up position (Figure 314), and place it before you on the table. This handling conceals the blue backs of your opponent's cards. As this first card, the ten of spades, is laid down, lower the left hand, bringing the back of the deck once more into view. Legitimately deal the next card face-down to yourself and continue to deal four more cards to each hand, performing necktie seconds for each card dealt to the face-up hand. While the mention of second dealing leaves many magicians despondent, here is one trick that accommodates a mediocre second deal. The deck must be tipped up for the seconds, to conceal the blue backsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and in this position a multitude of sins can be hidden, making the second deal little more demanding a skill than the glide. In addition, there is no reason for the audience to suspect false dealing at this point in the trick, unless you fumble. Throughout the dealing of the ten cards, red backs are constantly in evidence, and everything looks as it should. As your opponent's cards are turned up, the ten is seen first, then the jack, then the queen, and so on, delaying the audience's anticipation of a royal flush, for dramatic reasons, until the third card is revealed. Of course, if you think a more random sequencing of the five cards is better, the setup can be easily altered to provide one.


NO GAMBLE 403 The work at this point is very nearly ended. "When I saw that he had a royal flush in spades, I was rather annoyed." With your right hand turn the cards in the your hand faceup, one at a time. "After all, I had gone to a lot of trouble to deal that same royal flush to myself." The disclosure of a duplicate royal flush should bring a chuckle from the audience. As you turn up the cards, rest your left hand in a relaxed posture at the near edge of the table, with the red back of the deck in sight. This back belongs to the indifferent red-backed card of your setup. "Then I looked at the backs of his cards. Sure enough, they were blueV With your right hand, turn down the opponent's face-up cards, exposing the blue backs for the first time. This color change is quite unexpected. The nearby red card case, left purposely within the immediate circle of action, furnishes further visual reinforcement for the color change of the poker hand. "So I accused him of cheating and pulled out my pistol. But just as I was about to shoot him, he grabbed my cards and accused me of cheating. 'Look at the backs,' he demanded. "'What do you mean? All my cards are red,' I said." Quickly scoop up your hand and throw it face-down on the table, exposing the red backs. With your right forefinger, point at the backs and push the cards around a bit, focusing everyone's attention on them. At the same time, roll the left hand inward a bit, turning the top of the deck away from the audience, and secretly thumb off the top card into your lap. The misdirection for this slight movement is more than adequate. '"Now take a look at the deck,' he saidâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and I had to admit he was right. All the cards were blue!" Move your left hand forward with the pack and widely ribbon spread the cards face-down, dramatically revealing that the pack has changed from red backs to blue. "I had been cheating, and I'd never even noticed. So he shot me!" Subtlety and presentation create the illusion of a color-changing deck in this trick. Since the color changes come as complete surprises, repeated displays of backs are not necessary to convince the audience of something that is never questioned. However, some will feel the trick should be prefaced with a shuffle of the cards. When Mr. Elmsley performs this trick for magicians, he does add an initial shuffle, to disarm the initiated. A face-up Hindu shuffle, commonly employed in color-changing deck routines, is obviously out of place in a poker presentation. Therefore, he uses the faro shuffle in an extremely cunning manner. The setup of the cards must be altered if this shuffle is used. The red-backed ten of spades is placed on top of the blue-backed deck, and the blue-backed royal flush is stacked directly under this card, in ten-jack-queen-king-ace order. The other four red-backed cards of the flush, running in jack-queen-king-ace order, are placed at


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positions twenty-seven through thirty from the top of the pack; and the red-backed indifferent card is set directly below them. Thus the deck reads from the top down: red-backed ten; blue-backed ten, jack, queen, king and ace; twenty blue-backed cards; red-backed jack, queen, king, ace and indifferent card; twenty-one blue-backed cards. When opening the presentation, remove the stacked deck from its case and prepare to give the cards a faro shuffle. Divide the deck near center, purposely cutting into the red-backed center bank. Separate the packets and begin the weave. Red backs are seen on both portions. Frown, as you do when you find your faro cut has proven inaccurate, and strip the woven corners apart. Place the top portion over the bottom one and drop the surplus red-backed cards from the face of the upper half, adjusting the cut. (The spade card at the face of the upper portion serves as a key, telling you exactly how many cards must be dropped.) Divide the deck again and perform an off-center out-faro, weaving the packets together while retaining the original top and bottom pairs of cards at the top and face; i.e., the red-backed jack of spades atop the lower half becomes the third card from the top when the weave is completed. Don't spring the interlaced halves together, as is customary. This could expose blue backs. Instead, simply push the cards square. While this ruse will unquestionably take in a lay audience, its real worth is evidenced when performing for fellow magicians familiar with the actions of the faro shuffle. If the shuffle is performed with a convincing ingenuousness, I can assure you none of your associates will anticipate a color-changing deck. With or without the shuffle, this is a wonderfully surprising and entertaining trick, with a sly economy of method that contributes importantly to its effectiveness. To conclude this explanation, and this first volume, here, in Mr. Elmsley's words, is one last insight. The subject is that of sleight management and sound invention procedure: "How do tricks get invented? As tradition has it, ideally you start with an effect; then you apply your knowledge of techniques to devise a method. The result, alas, is often horrible. "The best tricks, it seems to me, are a union of effect and method: the method procures the effect, but the effect provides the cover for the method. And invention can start at either end. "My second deal is poor. I think that every trick in which I use this sleight has been born from the consideration of what plot will concentrate attention on the cards on the table, and away from the pack in my hand? So, in all these tricks the cards are dealt face-up; and with some plot to interest the audience in the values of the cards being dealt. This example demonstrates, I think, the benefits that can be had from a sound union of effect and method." [c. 1964]


Photo by Michael Caplan Stephen Minch is the author of more than twenty-five books on sleight-of-hand and mentalism which, besides his own creations, include the magic of Dai Vernon, Daryl, Martin Nash, Ken Krenzel, Larry Jennings, Bruce Cervon, Bro. John Hamman and many others. Among his works are the Nash card trilogy, The Book of Thoth, Mind & Matter, Mind Novas, Eyeless in Gaza, three volumes in the New York Magic Symposium series, The Vernon Chronicles, Daryl's Ambitious Card Omnibus, Spectacle and Ken Krenzel's Close-up Impact. Mr. Minch lives and writes in a dry place in Seattle. Amado "Sonny" Narvaez has devoted the past twenty-seven years to performing both stand-up and close-up magic. He has illustrated magic books for five publishing houses, and is currently writing and illustrating a manuscript of his own material.


THE VERNON CHRONICLES, Vol. 1—by Stephen Minch. Our best seller! Contains over 50 wonderful items: knowledge gathered and guarded by the Professor over a span of seventy years. Hardbound, 272 pages, 251 illustrations by Tom Gagnon, full-color dust jacket—$35.00. THE VERNON CHRONICLES, Vol. 2—by Stephen Minch. Magic for every taste! Over 50 more Vernon tricks and routines. Hardbound, 280 pages, 170 illustrations by Tom Gagnon, full-color dust jacket—$39.95. THE VERNON CHRONICLES, Vol. 3—by Stephen Minch. Another generous selection of superb magic from the Professor. Hardbound, 272 pages, 210 illustrations by Tom Gagnon, full-color dust jacket—$39.95. THE CLASSIC MAGIC OF LARRY JENNINGS—by Mike Maxwell. A true classic of magical literature. Over 85 magical gems from one of magic's top close-up performers and creators. Hardbound, 288 pages, illustrated by Tom Gagnon—$39.95. LARRY JENNINGS' THE CARDWRIGHT—by Mike Maxwell. 48 new Jennings gems to impress and baffle your audiences. Hardbound, 216 pages, photo-illustrated—$35.00. SPECTACLE—by Stephen Minch. Add spectacle to your performances with these 29 professional tricks and routines contributed by 25 of the world's finest magicians. Magic and mentalism for every taste. The best collection to appear in years. Hardbound, 168 pages, 139 illustrations by Sandra Kort—$30.00. ULTRA CERVON— by Bruce Cervon and Stephen Minch. Almost all of Bruce Cervon's current working material is in this book, including his Free-turn Pass, a revolutionary new sleight. Hardbound, 186 pages, over 260 photos by Jim Patton—$35.00. IMPOSSIBILIA—by John Bannon. A new look at close-up magic from a new magical star. This book has become a surprise best-seller, thanks to John Bannon's brand of powerful and practical magic. Hardbound, 160 pages, fully illustrated—$2,9.50. CARDFIXES—by Jon Racherbawner. Contains items requiring no skill, some skill and exceptional skill. Over 50 tricks to fascinate and amaze. Hardbound, over 200 pages, 156 photos—$35.00. MINT, Volume 1—by Edward Mario. A valuable reference work your library should not be without! 53 Mario masterpieces—tricks and sleights that have become legends. Hardbound, 382 pages, illustrated by Amado Narvaez—$39.95. THE COMMERCIAL MAGIC OF J.C. WAGNER—by Mike Maxwell. 37 audience-tested routines by one of the U.S.'s most successful bar magicians. Softbound, 176 pages—$19.95.

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Collected works vol 1  

Collected works vol 1  

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