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Learn Magic Tricks developed by the Great Houndini
Simple, Smart Magic Tricks for Young and Old
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TO DIVINE A CARD THOUGHT OF
Divination of Thought - This is an ambitious and daring experiment. Hold the cards upright, and fanwise, before one of the audience (a lady for choice), and run them rapidly from right to left, or vice versa, in such a manner that only a very small portion of each card, one excepted, is visible. The bottom, or front, card is carefully concealed by the hand, so that it cannot be seen. The cards are run so rapidly across that it is impossible to recognise any of them by the very small portions of them exhibited by you; but one you allow to be very much exposed, and on that one you place a finger, and continue pushing the rest over in a rapid manner.
Whilst thus running the cards across, you ask the lady to kindly think of any one of the cards she sees. As you take good care to show only one card, you may rest assured that that is the one thought of, although it is advisable, on being told that a card has been thought of, to inquire if it were actually seen in the pack. Keeping the finger on the card, turn the pack over, and the make the pass. The card can then be produced after any method the performer pleases, but he should first ask the name of the card (at which he has taken a glance), as there is considerable uncertainty about forcing a card upon a person's notice in this manner.
In the event of the chooser naming a card other than that manipulated by the performer, he must at once look through the pack for it, and first palming it, boldly declare that it is not in the pack, which he will give to be inspected. The card named can then be produced from someone's pocket, &c. The method of passing the cards fanwise from side to side, so as to expose the face of one card only, should be practised in front of a looking-glass until the learner is perfect. Perfection is the only degree in which it is allowed to exhibit conjuring tricks, especially those with cards.
To Cause a Card to Appear in any Position in the Pack Counting either from the Top or from the Bottom - This, a very favourite diversion in card tricks, is capable of being performed in many ways, the best of which are given here. The method of procedure is to bring the card either to the top or the bottom of the pack, after due shuffling, &c., and then to ask one of the audience to name the position in which it is to appear. If you have brought the card to the bottom, then say, "At what number from the bottom shall the card appear?" It will not answer to count it from the top. Suppose the fifth card is decided upon, all you have to do is to slide back (Fig. 39) the bottom card, which is the selected one, and draw away the next card instead. When four have been thus extracted, draw away the card itself, and the trick is done. This is the only method used when the cards are counted from the bottom. In counting from the top proceed as follows:
Method 1: Bring the card to the top and then make the pass in such a manner that the two halves of the pack are facing each other, after the method previously described in dealing with a single card. This will cause nothing but the backs of the cards to be visible at both top and bottom. Hold the pack in the left hand with the thumb turned underneath it, and the fingers curled round the front side. The selected card is at the bottom, and it is required to produce it fifth. (For the sake of simplicity, I will suppose that the card is required in this position in each of the methods given.) Count off, one by one, four cards from the top, and then, whilst affecting to examine the last one, or to recount those taken off "to make sure," thus drawing attention away from the left hand, turn the pack rapidly over. This will bring the chosen card atop, and you have then only to take it off and show it.
The reversion of the pack must be very rapidly and quite noiselessly made, and care must be taken that the cards set evenly at the edges, or the audience will perceive that one half of them are reversed: and although the elucidation of the trick will not of necessity follow, yet it is just as well to avoid the discovery if possible. If the pack be at the same moment handed to one of the company, with a request to have the next card looked at, to see if it be the right one, the action of reversing will be less likely to be remarked.
Method 2: Bring the card to the top, and hold the cards in the left hand as if about to deal them. Do not hold them quite squarely, but let the thumb push off the upper ones in such a manner that each card overhangs slightly the one beneath it. Now commence to take off apparently the top card, but in reality the one immediately beneath it. This is accomplished by exerting more power with the first finger of the right hand than with the thumb thereof, the thumb of the left hand at the same time putting sufficient pressure on to the top card to detain it in its position. The top card is taken off with much ostentation, when it is required for production.
This deception is capable of immense development, if assiduously practised, it being possible to deceive those who actually know what is taking place. If the learner has this method at his command, he need never resort to any other, for he will never be discovered. This practice of dealing the second card in lieu of the first is a common dodge amongst card-sharpers, who are thereby able to retain all the good cards, which they have previously marked, for themselves. I strongly recommend the adoption of this method in preference to all others, but it must be well executed.
Method 3: Bring the card to the top, and count the cards off in regular order one by one. As the first card removed (now the lowest of those dealt off) is the selected one, the fifth will naturally be a wrong card. You appear surprised, and say that you must have made some mistake in the counting. Gather up the five cards, the selected one being at the bottom, replace them on the top of the pack, and ask the chooser of the card to count them off himself. This time, the card will, of course, turn up in its proper place. This is the simplest of all the methods, and is now and then seen through; but not often. On counting the cards off for the first time, they must on no account be turned face upwards. If this were done, it would be at once perceived that the chosen card was on the top in the first instance.
Method 4: Bring the card to the top, and hold the pack in the left hand, in a position similar to that shown at Fig. 38, the little finger being in this instance not curled up behind the cards. Place all four fingers of the right hand well over the top card, almost covering it, and the thumb well under the bottom card. Draw the hand sharply away, bringing with it the bottom card by means of the thumb, which it will be as well to damp a little unperceived. The rapid motion will prevent the audience from noticing what has actually taken place. When the time has arrived for so doing, show the chosen card very slowly indeed, or even ask one of the audience to remove it, to show that it really is in the desired position. In counting off the underneath cards, use a fair amount of rapidity, and be careful not to draw away more than one card at a time. The action of drawing off the cards must be made towards the body, and not outwards.
Method 5: Bring the card to the centre of the pack, keeping the finger upon it, and, when you have counted off four cards, make the pass, thus bringing the card to the top. This method should only be used when some sharp person insists upon looking to see if the card is at the top or bottom of the pack.
After bringing the card to any number from the top or bottom, you can offer to perform the still more surprising feat of causing it to appear at any place indicated by the insertion of a pen or paper knife between two cards. To perform this feat, which, by the way, is a variation of my own, hold the pack as in Fig. 39, face downwards, and, presenting the end to one of the audience, ask to have indicated the place in which the card is to appear. When this is done, hold the bottom portion by the finger and thumb of the left hand, across the cards; and insert the first finger of the right hand, which is, of course, holding the upper portion, into the space made by the instrument of indication, from the front. Ask whether the person is quite sure that the place indicated is the right one, and whether another would not be preferred. This is to show that it really does not matter what position is indicated. On receiving a reply in the affirmative, draw off the top half rapidly, bringing with it, by means of the ends of the fingers, as taught in describing the "slide," the bottom card also, and hold the whole up to the audience.
This maneuvre defies detection, and possesses the advantage of bearing a fair amount of repetition. Before commencing, it as well to show that the card is neither at the top nor the bottom. As it is at the bottom all the time, the slide will have to be brought into play, in order to enable another card to be drawn away from the bottom and exhibited. What lends great finish to the trick is the bringing the first finger over the ends of the upper cards, as by this means the slipped card can be immediately brought close against the others, and not allowed to stand out away from them, which would give the audience the idea that the trick had been clumsily performed, even if it did not afford a clue to the secret of it.