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The Essential

Stewart James

Created by Stewart James

Edited by Allan Slaight

Illustrated by Joseph Schmidt

Magicana

Toronto, Canada

2007
For J oges tj a

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction xi
Stewart James: An Appreciation xiii
Jamesosophy, Indeed xvi

The Boy's World 1


The Knot of Enchantment 3
A Match for Gravity 5
Murder by Suggestion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Spell of Mystery 11
Ball down 13 .
Freedom of the Seize 16
Simplicity Four-Ace Trick 19
Miraskill 22
Face-Up Prediction 24
The Book of the Dead 28
Sefalaljia 31
Sefalaljia Jr 36
The Man in Aberystwyth 38
The Love-Sick Tennis Ball 40
Remembering the Future 43
Further Than That 47
Half and Half 50
The Robot Deck 53
Silkscreen 59
Vocalculate 62
The Prophet's Choice ................................................... 64
Go Go Vanisher 67
The Clincher , 71
The Other Place 74
First Class Passage 78
Jamesway Poker Deal 81
Ten Nights in a Cardroom 84
Pokericulum 93
So-Fair Poker Deal 96
The Gobak Card Mystery 98
The Purloined Letters 102
Pocket of Persistence 105
Essay by SJ 108
Ring Leader 111
Falling Card . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Micawber 116
Baker's Dozen System 119

vu
The Doozer 121
Matchimera 125
Lejun 127
The Gofar Ball 131
The Tenth Variation 134
My Father's House' 137
Card V 139
The AAG Principle 142
Split Second 144
Stranger from Two Worlds : 147
Double Boomerang 150
Incantations 153
Oraclew 156
Dollars and (6th) Sense 159
Parent-Thesis 162
The Secret Partner 167
TRY aNother FIELD 171
Ontene Prediction 175
The Dream Goes On 180
A Class by Itself 184
Anger with a "D" 186
Package Deal 189
While at the Talking Table : 192

Acknowledgements 199

VIII
Introduction

hree large volumes have been issued holding more than 1000 tricks created by

T
Stewart James. Stewart James In Print: The First Fifty Years (1989) was co-edited
with the late Howard Lyons and runs to more than 1000 pages. At the time it
was
released it was the largest magic book ever published. It contains 453 James originations.
The James File (2000) was written with the meaningful support of Max Maven. A
two volume set, it exceeds 1700 pages and features another 556 of James' concoctions.
(The
122-page index for both publications has more than 15,000 entries.)
That incredible assemblage now reposes in the libraries of many magicians who revere
James's awesome inventive powers. Eugene Burger wrote: "It is a body of work that is
simply staggering." And Peter Duffie wrote: "The JamesFilewith StewartJames In Print is one
of the greatest collections of magic that has ever been published. When I look at all three
volumes sitting on my shelf, it's incredible to think that this is the work of one man!"
This comparatively slender manual targets the reader who may not be aware of the
creative prowess of Stewart James, or those who are not prepared to tackle those three
rather intimidating tomes. Our objective: To cull what are widely considered to be fifty of
his most significant conceptions and present them with interesting commentary. However,
achievement was another matter because of the unimaginable task of ousting some 950
tricks from the final list. Stewart himself once wrote in a letter to me: "I am sometimes
asked which of the items I have trapped do I consider the best. To a much lesser degree,
of course, it must be like asking a parent which child he regards the most highly."
And so I turned to a number of magicians who I knew were familiar with the James
oeuvre and cherished his brilliance. Each was asked to submit a roster of his fifty favourite
James tricks. Obviously not a simple assignment! David Ben wrote: "I must state that
this was one of the most difficult tasks I have ever faced in magic. I am quite
uncomfortable with reducing a lifetime of achievement down to 50 tricks." The names of
those who rose to the call are identified and thanked on the Acknowledgements page.
Their comments concerning their particular favourite James creations are incorporated
throughout.
This book will also present information and interpretations concerning the mind and
the life of a true colossus in magic and in the realm of innovation. All of the items
herein appeared in either Stewart James In Print or The James File.
No circular object is reinvented here: Those who earlier acquired those three volumes
will observe that most of the prose within this book replicates that in the earlier
publications, except for tightening, tidying and some essential relocation. Ste1vart James
/11 Print was written in the first person; The James File in the third. We have attempted
to delineate James' remarks - primarily introductions to his creations - from mine
by either beginning them with simple quotation marks or by setting them off with the
following symbol: -0-.
For the reader embarking on your initial James voyage, I envy you your discoveries.
IX
Prepare for exhilarating encounters. And I trust those mental jolts will be accompanied
by the realization that these splendid conceptions are but a smattering of what had leapt
from the brain of one man. He departed quietly on November 5, 1996. He was 88.

Allan Slaight
Toronto

x
Stewart James: An .Appreciation
By Allan
Slaight

T
hat the shy genius who lived in the village of Courtright, Ontario, for his eighty
eight years had a portentous influence on magic and the realm of invention is
beyond debate. Stewart James has been recognized since the 1930s as a proven
creative genius.
I was first alerted to his unique conceptions in 1944 or 1945 when I acquired a copy of
the Encyclopedia of Card Tricks and therein found Miraskill; in PracticalMental Effects I met
up with Half And Half and Sefalaljia. Then barely into my teens, I can still remember the
reverence with which I welcomed these discoveries. A bit later came Further Than That.
I was hooked.
One of the most consequential moments in my life occurred when I opened my first
letter from Stewart.
As a magic-obsessed teenager living in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, I had somehow
summoned the pluck to write to him. That was on August 27, 194 7, one month past
my sixteenth birthday. My letter began:
"Dear Mr. James:
"I know this is a very bold thing to do, but I am writing this in the hope that you would
like to correspond with a boy that is absolutely crazy over magic."
I then rambled on for several pages, discoursing ingenuously on my interests and plans.
That letter concluded:
"In closing, Mr. James, I do hope that you will at least try corresponding with me for
a while. Since I came here a year or so ago from Galt, Ontario, I haven't come across a
single magician. And to me that is a fate worse than death. I live, breath (sic), eat and
sleep magic; when school work and magic clash, as you might imagine, magic is always
the victor.
"One thing, if you do confide a few cherished secrets with me, you need have no worry
of it ever leaking out; for two reasons -1, I wouldn't tell it if you didn't want me to - 2,
I wouldn't have anyone to tell it to, anyway. So please write me!"
I dashed home from school each day and anxiously checked for a response from my
idol. It arrived 'on September 18, 1947:
"Dear Allan:
"I am sure that we are going to be friends and my friends call me Stewart."
There followed courteous and well-reasoned responses to my comments and queries.
I had written: "What puzzles me is how you come across such unusual principles. Is it by
chance or by reading something that brings them to mind?" Stewart wrote: "Maybe the
first hundred times you don't succeed. This is important. Retain your notes. Don't throw
them away. That is the mistake so many make. Look them over from time to time. You
never forget, you only fail to remember and so, quite unknown to you, your sub-conscious
has remained working. Sleep is the royal road to the sub-conscious so read your notes
XI
before you go to sleep."
And thus was launched an exchange of letters that lasted, with sporadic gaps,
almost fifty years until Stewart, by now well into his eighties, wished to correspond no
more. However, for a few more years until he was hospitalized, we talked regularly by
telephone.
A letter I sent to Stewart in July 1948, after I had returned to Moose Jaw from a trip
to Alberta, epitomizes the value I placed on his "children" - as he called his creations.
A shortened version:
"Dear Stewart:
"When I arrived in Calgary I contacted a magician -Jack Peters, president of the
I.B.M. Ring there. He invited me to stay at his house for four or five days.
"Right here I can say that the Calgary magicians consider Stewart James a sort of
god. Here's why: One Sunday night four other magicians and myself are doing card
tricks at one of the fellows' homes. One guy said that he didn't like tricks that were the
least bit mathematical, but preferred tricks utilizing a good deal of tricky sleights. The
others nodded their heads in agreement.
''Weil, I said nothing but went into my card routine. They seemed to enjoy it and
I believe I was working for over two hours before I laid off. Immediately the fellow
started talking: "That's the greatest demonstration of sleight of hand I've seen. You
must have practised for hours to master that pass; I saw it a couple of times, but it sure
is fast." (Incidentally, I never use a pass.) "Now show us some of those Stewart James
tricks you said you did."
"Before I started, I happened to mention that a good many of your effects were
somewhat mathematical. Immediately, they said they wouldn't like your tricks, then. So
you should have seen the looks on their faces after I had finished my routine. They were
discussing ail the tricks I did, so I asked them what ones they liked. Among tricks they
really liked were 'Further Than That' (they just didn't have an idea as to its working);
'Miraskill' (they were certain I'd switched decks); 'Jamesway Poker Deal' (they thought I
had an excellent method of stacking and a great false riffle shuffle); 'Queer Quest' (they
thought it was very good and couldn't come near the right solution).
"You should have seen the look on their faces when I told them the tricks just
mentioned were the inventions of Stewart James!"
"I suppose I should sign off and let you get back to concocting some more of those
uncanny card mysteries of yours."
And Stewart did just that for another forty years.
From the time he received that 1948 letter, he published or marketed well over 300
items, the majority with cards; most of them and their predecessors were reproduced in
Ste,vart James In Print: The First Fifty Years, published in 1989. In addition, his bulging
files contained hundreds more of his unpublished effects. Eleven years later, nearly 500
of them made their first appearance in The James File along with some seventy which had
seen print before. In excess of 1000 of Stewart's inventions appeared in the two
publications.

XII
The probability is remote indeed that another will outstrip ~s inventory, containing so
many exemplary originations.

XIII
Jamesosophy, Indeed
Phil Goldstein

T
hose who know me are aware of my opinions concerning the dichotomy between
Effect and Method. Quality of Effect is all-important; quality of Method is
meaningless in the long run, beyond the question of functionality. Paradoxically,
however, I believe there exists a profound aesthetic of Method; a self-contained aspect
of Methodology which is other than directly connected to functionality, but which is well
worth appreciating on its own terms. For this concept I am indebted to Stewart James.
More than any other creator of magic, Stewart has taught me, through his vast body of
work, to see this special internal beauty within methodology.
I was in my early teens when I first encountered James in print, via his series of effects
in the New Tops. It would be a couple of years before I would get my hands on a full
file of the Jinx, and contact with the vintage James therein; the better part of a decade
before I would be able to start tracking down the items in the original Tops, The Sphinx,
the pamphlets, etc.
I can vividly recall my awe at Stewart's sense of structure. There were many effects of
his that thrilled me, purely for their sheer loveliness of construct.
The methods were pretty and clever. (Not a few of the routines I read in the New Tops
proved all the more intriguing when I discovered I was unable to clearly understand how
the hell they worked.) It is important, however, to point out that the Effects were also
terrific. Whimsical plots, unexpected twists: great magic. I can remember a lengthy period
during the late 1960s when I would not go out of my house without a pack of cards, set
to perform Oraclew. .
A lame Effect with a wonderful Method is rather useless. A wonderful Effect with a
bland Method is quite fine. A wonderful Effect with a wonderful Method is the best of
all possible things. The glory of Stewart James's work is that he has somehow managed to
reach this third category so very often.

XIV
The Bqy} World

T
he Bqy'.r World paper had such a substantial effect on my interest in magic and my
way of thinking about it that I feel I should start with it. The Bqy'.r World was one
of several Sunday School papers I encountered in 1915 when I was quite young,
around seven. Father was the superintendent of the Presbyterian Church in Courtright,
Ontario, and I looked after the Sunday School papers. There were several of these papers
published by the same outfit, two of which were What To Do and the Girl} Companion;
each had a magic series.
However, it was the Bqy'.r World, published by the David C. Cook Publishing Company
in Elgin, Illinois, that attracted me - it had magic in it for most of its early days. I had
access, not only to current issues, but to many back issues. My aunts used their attic to
store things, and one of the valuables I found there was a pile of the Bqy'.r World. On top
was the most recent issue, and going down you traveled many years into the past. At first
the magic series was attributed to Howard Thurston.
Earlier there had been sporadic items on magic, also attributed to Thurston. For the
last year or so, the magic column was written by Professor George Newton Sleight, Ph.D.
I recall that he didn't give credit to sources, and so I wrote to him about this; thus started
a life-long habit of mine. I recently found a copy of What To Do, dated March 24, 1928,
and discovered that Sleight had written the column on 'Magic For Juniors' there as well.
He also authored Magicfor Amateurs, published in 1930 by Cook.
It is heartbreaking that after my aunts had died, relatives came with pitchforks and
shoveled the marvels of the attic out the window into a hay-rack, and burned it all in
a field.
I first saw the Knot Of Enchantment explained in the Boy': World, about 1915 or 1916,
in that Thurston series. No originator was named. I can't date it exactly, but according to
my sister Adelena, we moved to the house where I now live in 1917, when I was eight or
nine years old. When we were still living in the house where I was born, I knew the Knot
Of Enchantment. That house and its neighbour still stand; the verandahs are only a few
feet apart. I was not allowed to leave the verandah. I worked Knot Of Enchantment,
standing on my verandah, for Warner Meade who was working on his. It is strange that I

1
2 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

can recall the day on the verandah so many years ago clearly, but I do not remember the
first magic show I presented, the amount I received or the first tricks I performed.
The Knot Of Enchantment was an influence on my thinking in magic, and a major
cause of my interest in principles, not just tricks. I believe this is a near-perfect deception;
it appears impossible, and you accomplish it without cheating. It is honest in that it is
really a puzzle and not a trick. Any trick requiring a sleight is not honest. You are telling a
lie with your fingers.
I should note that I wasn't restricted to our verandah on that occasion because I had
misbehaved. It's just that my parents were very strict and for some reason they didn't like
me associating with other children. Mother always thought I was a sickly child, and I was
seven before they let me go to school; they took me out when I was fifteen, and Father
put me to work in his tinsmith shop. I wasn't allowed to play with other children or invite
them to our house, and I wasn't permitted to visit their homes. If I had not suffered that
isolation, I would not have developed the way I have.
Not having companions like other children, I improvised - like a barrel of rocks on
the end of a plank so I could seesaw. For things like this I was made the object of ridicule
by the other kids. To avoid that, I stayed indoors after school and invented imaginary
companions as so many other youngsters have done. When I became interested in magic,
I escaped to the world of my imagination and my friends who lived there. We worked out
tricks together.
When I saved a little money, I sent away to Johnson Smith & Company for the miracles
they advertised. When the mail came, Father opened the parcels first and looked at the
instructions. He didn't want me doing something he couldn't figure out; I tried to work
out something that wasn't the same as the instructions, and then he'd get quite upset with
me. But that's how I started creating magic, and when I produced something I liked, it
would give me some respect for myself and make and unfriendly world more bearable.
The first brainstorm I can recall from a catalogue item concerned a colour-changing
ball. It changed from black to red, and I suspected a shell was used. I made a gimmick
- a reversible rubber shell - and I was quite proud of it at the time. It clung nicely to
a wooden ball from a table croquet set. The ball was yellow; the shell was painted black
outside and silver inside. With the shell on, the ball would first be shown black. With a
pass of the hand the shell would be palmed and removed, and the ball would be yellow.
The shell would be secretly replaced by pressing it against the ball so it turned inside
out, and the ball would appear silver. I also had a ball, half yellow and half green, for a
quadruple change.
About that time, when I was not yet in my teens, I had an idea for a trick with a unique
principle that to the best of my knowledge has not been used before or since: a vanishing
knot from an unprepared chain. I called it Chain Of Knots, and I gave it to Sid Lorraine
for publication in the Linking Ring, but it wasn't used. At any rate, that was when I first
experienced the thrill of discovery, and it has had me hooked ever since.
The Knot of Enchantment
Bqy} World, circa 1915-16

S
tewart James put more creative might into originating tricks involving ropes and
rings than into any other magical genre with the conspicuous exception of his
beloved cards. The rope might become chain or ribbon and the ring a block or tube
or silk; there was invariably something to be released, entrapped or topologically altered. I
count some forty tricks in Stewart James In Print and The James File that fit this definition.
Could his remarkable discoveries in this field have been roused by that early episode,
just described, when Stewart learned the workings of The Knot Of Enchantment?
Although this volume purports to feature the creations of Stewart James, it does seem
right that his seminal influence be described here. It will be presented, although modified
somewhat, as it was written by Stewart for the first volume in his Encyclopedia Of Rope
Tricks trilogy. Volume One was published in 1941. The complete trilogy was anthologized
and released in a single volume by Squash Publishing in 2005.

-0-

This is a feat that the average scientist will say is contrary to the laws of nature and is
utterly impossible. The principle on which it is performed is very little understood. The
conjurer has a piece of rope at least three-feet long which he allows to be examined. The
ends of the rope are then tied to his wrists.
Now the performer announces that he will cause a genuine knot to appear on the rope,
without disturbing the knots just tied or removing the rope from his wrists. He turns his
back to the spectators for a moment. When he faces them again, the knot - a plain,
ordinary slipknot - has been tied in the rope.
The secret depends upon a clever bit of manipulation of the rope. As soon as his back
is turned the magician seizes the centre of the rope in his right hand. He twists the rope
once around, forming a loop in the centre of the rope. Holding his left hand before him,
palm upward, he now thrusts the loop he has made under the rope around his left wrist.
As it emerges on his palm, he passes his left hand completely through the loop.

3
4 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

Reaching to the back of his left hand, he pushes the loop under the rope on the back
of the wrist, just as he had done before on the other side. As the loop comes through, it
has formed itself into a large knot which can be drawn tight. It will be found to fit exactly
in the centre of the rope.

This may sound difficult, but in reality it is very simple, and will be found so after
a little experimenting. (Should you wish to produce a simple granny knot, rather than
the one illustrated, there is no need to twist the rope before it is slipped under the rope
binding the left wrist.)
A Matchfar
Graviry
Unking Ring, September 1926

T
his was the first Stewart James creation to be published. Sid Lorraine wrote him in
1926: "Just whereabouts is Courtright in Ontario? I have scrutinized many maps
in vain. I might find it possible to take a run up for a day within the next month."
That was only a small exaggeration.
Sid, in those days, had not given up the English habit of long-distance walking, and he
walked two hundred miles from Toronto to Courtright to visit Stewart.
Sid told him that there was going to be a Canadian trick section in the Unking Ring and
Stewart gave him A Match For Gravity to submit. Stewart originally didn't use a match,
but a nail. Later, he switched to a match when he found it would work as well, thinking
the lighter object made the action more surprising but he reported it didn't seem to make
that much difference to the person watching.
Stewart used a 2" nail and a china cup. He would sometimes put a cased deck in the
cup to make it seem more impossible. He wrote: "To prepare this introduction I have just
rigged up the set with a nail and cup and it still puzzles me why it works. Frequently the
string is tightly wrapped around the pencil as many as nine times." And he suggested use
of this line: "It's hard to tell where the nail is going because it is pointed in one direction
and headed in the other."
Barrie Richardson, who assisted in the selection of the material in this book, wrote: "I
use this. I use a. heavy cup and a borrowed Rolex watch and allow a spectator to release
the watch. What a beautiful metaphor for jumping to conclusions! Which will break when
the objects hit the floor ... the watch or the cup? Talk about counter-intuitive problems."
At the conclusion of the working of A Match For Gravity you'll encounter a variation
Stewart preferred.

-0-

Tie a borrowed watch to one end of a piece of string about one yard long. Tie a
wooden match to the other end and rest the string across an ordinary lead pencil extended

5
6 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

horizontally. Hold the pencil in the left hand and the match in the right. Pull on the match
until the watch is a short distance from the pencil. '
The performer now asks: ''What will happen if I release my hold on the match?" The
natural answer is that the watch will drop to the floor when the match is released but the
result is just the opposite. The match winds rapidly and tightly around the pencil causing
the watch to remain suspended.

No manipulation is necessary as the stunt is automatic in action. Try it over a bed and
see how it works. The only precautions are to hold the right hand, containing the match,
slightly lower than the left, and to borrow the watch from a person with a strong heart as
it will be a thrilling moment for him until the watch stops.
Stewart described his preferred version: "I actually didn't use a match for very long
after I had originated this, substituting a match cover with all the matches removed. I also
tended to use my set of keys on a key ring instead of the watch. Although this eliminated
some of the suspense brought on by the fragile watch and its precarious position, it was
more convenient as I always had the keys with me.
"The presentation, which I titled A Matchless Challenge, was to explain that the
contraption would be suspended over a pencil, and that I would release the match cover.
Before the keys hit the floor I would spell M-A-T-C-H-L-E-S-S. I would explain that I
had learned this swindle from a soldier who had removed the matches from the cover and
substituted a heavy metal washer, the weight of which just offset that of the keys and kept
them from falling. However, since I couldn't find a suitable washer, I had just written the
A MATCH FOR GRAVITY 7

words 'heavy metal washer' inside the empty cover and I showed them that.

0
@

The cover was closed, the string hung over the pencil, and as you can see above I had
plenty of time to spell the word matchless. This change in presentation, not using a match,
is why I was about the last person to discover that over the years the weight of the kitchen
match had been reduced severely. Now I can't find one that works.
Murder l?J Suggestion
Typewritten instructions, circa 1928

F
rancis Haxton held a party for Stewart when he visited Great Britain in 1953 to
represent the president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians at the
British Ring convention in Edinburgh, Scotland. Haxton invited to his home
magicians he thought Stewart would like to meet. This gathering had such impact that it
became known as "The Surrey Convention." Two of those in attendance were Jack Avis
and Peter Warlock. After Stewart's Your Mind Is My Own appeared in the February 1955
Genii (see page 650 in Ste1JJartJames In Prin!), Avis wrote: "Had a laugh at your item in the
recent Genii. I like this kind of thing and wish I could get away with that style but I find it a
job to remember all that patter. I always remember you laying on the floor to do your card
effect at the party at Francis's house with the patter about the stabbing of the dummy."
And Warlock wrote in Pentagram for November 1953 after Stewart had returned to Canada:
"Stewart James will be missed by all those who had the chance to meet him during his visit
to this country. We shall always think of him giving his delightful performance of 'The
Trick With The Tailor's Dummy' in the manner of a very lazy conjurer."
On a visit to Canada in 1979, Warlock journeyed to Courtright to visit Stewart. He
asked if he could have Murder By Suggestion for Ne1JJ Pentagram; Stewart acquiesced,
and it appeared in the March 1980 issue. (Its progenitor, Bocca Della Verita, involved
dealing the cards into two piles; Stewart wrote up those instructions on August 18, 1928.
Later that year, he switched to a Reverse Faro action, devised an accompanying plot, and
appended the present title to his quite remarkable discovery.)
You will note the trick, as printed in Ne1JJ Pentagram, regrettably does not employ
the concept of a supine sorcerer impersonating a tailor's dummy, and there seems no
likelihood of a precise reconstruction of that memorable 1953 Surrey presentation at this
late date. The brief description Stewart provided in a March 11, 1980 letter to Howard
Lyons should further frustrate the reader: "When I did it for Warlock (and the others), I
believe the story was about a trick with a clothing store dummy when I tried to purchase
a celluloid stove poker, wanted to pay for it with a cheque and had to prove I was really a
magician to have it accepted." The same letter outlined the plot for two rather lascivious

8
MURDER BY SUGGESTION 9

versions; he titled one of them 'The Case Of The Model With The Dangerous Figure.' It
used a "rolled-up picture of a life-size curvacious cutie" and a "very visible check point
to match prediction." Not even the title of the other version will see print in this family
volume.
From Roy Walton, who also assisted me in the selection process: "Here, Stewart James
uses a very clever use of the properties of the Reverse Faro, by adding a single card to an
even group so that subsequent Faro-type shuffles always become the 'in' type. As he was
experimenting with this around 1928, I guess we can safely say that he was ahead of his
time. The term 'genius' may be an understatment."
You begin: "For many years, arguments have persisted as to the possibility of
controlling a subject, under the influence of hypnosis, to perform an action they would
not do when fully conscious." Offer to demonstrate a test you witnessed recently.
"The hypnotee was given the command to commit murder. It was just a 'pretend'
murder, of course, but he was led to believe it would be real. He was given a supposedly
poisoned dagger and sent on his way to locate his victim. To insure the experiment was
kept on a light-hearted and fanciful level, the victim was to be the King of Hearts.
"This numbered list of sixteen parts of the body will be used for later reference."

1. Neck
2. Back
3. Right Arm
4. Left Arm
5. Right Wrist
6. Left Wrist
7. Right Hand
8. Left Hand
9. Right Shoulder
10. Left Shoulder
11. Right Knee
12. Left Knee
13. Right Ankle
14. Left Ankle
15. Right Foot
16. Left Foot

The hypnotist secretly wrote a statement naming where the King was to be stabbed to
confirm that his mental suggestion had been obeyed.
'When the subject returned and was brought out of his trance, he remembered
nothing he had done during the test. A computer was used to check what had happened.
This packet of cards will represent the computer. Quite logically, the card used as the
input medium was the King of Hearts."
10 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

A card is inserted anywhere in the "computer" by a spectator. The cards are mixed to
suggest a computer in action, then the cards are spread face up. The total value of the
cards on either side of the King is nine. "Right Shoulder" is opposite #9 on the list. The
hypnotist's statement is opened and read: "Right Shoulder." No other two cards, side by
side, total nine.
The packet consists of twenty-eight cards arranged from top to face in this order and
without regard to suit: 7 5 8 6 A 3 4 2 4 A 3 8 6 5 with this sequence repeated once.
The hypnotee - now out of his trance - is instructed to cut the packet once or
twice, then to insert the king of hearts face down into the face-down cards at any point
desired.

28 26 2', 22 20 18 16 l't 12 10 8 E, 4- 2

,.. ~ ... ,...


... ~
- - -
29 27 as l'l 21
~ 17
IS IS ,, 9 7 S 3 I

Give the cards a Reverse Faro shuffle. This is accomplished by running through the
packet, jogging the alternate cards upward, pulling out the jogged cards and placing them
on the top or the bottom of the packet.
Explain that the hypnotist activated the computer in that manner when he conducted
this demonstration for you. With his permission, you also activated the computer. Repeat
the Reverse Faro shuffle.
Spread the cards face up and direct attention to the total value of the cards on either
side of the king of hearts. It will always be nine; no other two cards, side by side, total
nine. "Right Shoulder" is #9 on the list. By the power of suggestion, the subject was
influenced to insert the dagger where the hypnotist mentally directed!
Spell of Mystery
Marketed by SJ,]11ne 19
29

I
n the Linking. Ring for July 1929, Tom Bowyer gave this a nice review in which he
said, '... the secret will surprise and please you.' In many respects it is a better trick
than Evolution Of A Dream ... the name of the card is selected so fairly, it may be
any card in the deck and you do not know in advance which one. The name of the card
is completely spelled, not half-count, half-spell." (An improved version of Stewart's 1930
trick, Evolution Of A Dream, appears toward the end of this volume.)
"This was the first card trick of mine to go into the world, although by this time
I had given birth to others. I tried to work out tricks using objects I had. Mother was
against magic completely, and although my paternal grandfather had made apparatus for
individual magicians, and so had Father to a much lesser degree, he didn't like me fooling
around wasting my time on magic. So a deck of cards was a natural thing to work with
secretly.
"I supplied Spell Of Mystery to James McKnight, who had an ad in the November
1929 Sphinx. Nick Trost used Spell Of Mystery under the title of Spelling Effect in the
October 1970 New Tops. I told him it had first appeared forty years before, and more
recently in Tops for August 1953. Abbott had also remarketed it in 1936, in a package
called The Big Three.
"When Phil Goldstein put his Spiel Of Mystery into the August 1981 Pentagram, he
said: 'The following is no more than an extension of Stewart James's brilliant Spell Of
Mystery. I should mention that when I contacted Stewart on this matter, he sent me a
variety of unpublished variations he had developed on this effect, each of these being at
least as interesting as the one I am about to describe,'" (They appear beginning on page
1953 of TheJamesFile.)

-0-

A spectator is handed a deck of cards with the request that he cut it at any point. He
then squares the deck and deals the two top cards face up on the table. We will suppose

11
12 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

that the first card dealt off is a three, and the second a club.
The spectator spells THREE OF CLUBS, dealing a card for each letter. Turning over
the last card it proves to be none other than the three of clubs.
Arrange the cards in the familiar Eight Kings order. (It will also work with the Si
Stebbins System, or any other full-deck cyclical periodic stock.)
Of the two cards that the spectator turns up, after the cut, always arrive at the value of
the card to spell from the first card turned over, and the suit from the second card. The
card will spell out automatically if you calculate so that you will always arrive at the twelfth
card down in the deck. This is not difficult.

Examples:
Seven of Hearts - turn over the next card.
Three Diamond - turn over the last card.
Two of Hearts - turn over the next card.

It is quite simple to figure any card. The deck may be apparently shuffled by giving it
a rapid series of overhand cuts.
Bal/down
Handwritten notes, November 10, 1929

ome of Stewart's fabled patter routines and unusual plots appeared in Stewart

S
James In Print and The James File. Other tricks in those volumes were substantially
enhanced in actual performance when he spun around them one of his fanciful
concoctions.
Oftimes, the story that Stewart told to accompany one of his tricks somehow transported
the magic itself to a loftier plane.
I found this commentary, typed but undated, in his files: "Erle Stanley Gardner died
March 11th, 1970. His last book was All Grass Isn't Green. Written under his pseudonym
of A.A. Fair.
"In the first chapter, Gardner has a character say: 'I know that he has a theory that
when you talk about a story you either have a sympathetic or an unsympathetic audience.
lf the audience is unsympathetic it weakens your self-confidence. If the audience is too
sympathetic you are encouraged to talk too much and tell too much.'
"He was talking about a novelist working on a book. Substitute 'trick' for 'story' and
consider how applicable to magic."
One aspect impossible to convey on the page was Stewart's remarkable ability to tell
his story, wild and implausible as it may have been, in a resonant and measured tone
that commanded trust. The onlooker was slowly drawn into the tale and began to find it
believable. The magic therefore became stronger.
Balldown w~s discovered by Howard Lyons after Stewart had turned over to him some
old files when Lyons was preparing Arcane #10, the 1983 edition of the magazine devoted
solely to the originations of Stewart James. Balldown is an ingenious penetration of one
ball through a larger ball, snugly trapped in a tube. Editor Lyons wrote: "The method
is exceedingly clever and uses a new principle - one that bas never been used in an
effect like this before. This is the sort of effect which any magic dealer would have been
delighted to market and I'm sure would have proven to be a popular item ... For the record,
Stewart was kind enough to send me an aging slip of paper containing his drawings for
this effect. The notes are dated November 10th, 1929."
One of those who assisted in the compilation of these effects by preparing a list of

13
14 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

his James favourites was Gabe Fajuri. He wrote: "I must admit that my crude capitalist
sensibilities are what attracted me to Balldown. It's a magic dealer's dream. The effect is
straightforward. The working is sleight free. And best of all, the magic is rock solid."
To the accompaniment of unusual patter about the Baldoon Mysteries, the performer
exhibits a cardboard tube, a wooden ball of such diameter that it just fits inside the tube,
a pencil and a small metal ball.
The pencil is pushed through two holes at the lower end of the tube and the wooden
ball is dropped into it, trapped in place by the pencil. The small metal ball is dropped into
the top of the tube. Holding the tube openly by the sides, the performer gives it a slight
shake. The metal ball immediately penetrates the wooden ball to drop from the lower end
of the tube.

0v

No duplicate metal ball is used and, in fact, the ball can be marked if desired. All
apparatus used is in full view and openly shown at the beginning of the effect.
As noted, the metal ball is ungimmicked. However, the larger wooden ball is prepared
by cutting a slot into it the same diameter as the metal ball. It should be just deep enough
to accommodate the smaller ball so that once it is dropped into the slot, the surface of the
metal ball will be flush with the surface of the wooden ball.

As you begin the effect, the wooden ball is on the table with the hole facing away from
the audience. The other items are beside it. Show the tube and insert the pencil through
the two holes. Display the wooden ball between the thumb and first finger of your right
hand and then drop it into the tube, making sure that the slot is facing up.
The metal ball is shown and dropped into the tube from the top, landing in the slot in
the wooden ball. To cause the apparent penetration of metal through wood, simply shake
the tube slightly. The weight of the metal ball within the slot will cause the wooden ball to
start to turn, as illustrated. The wooden ball will turn over completely, allowing the metal
ball to bypass the pencil and drop into the performer's waiting hand.
Stewart used a patter theme similar to the following to accompany the effect: ''Baldoon
BA LLD OWN 15

is about twenty miles from where I live in Courtright. In the mid-1800s, the John T.
McDonald family there reported a series of confounding occurences that became known
as the Baldoon Mysteries. The family dog was assaulted by a ladle as it was licking out a
porridge pot. The pooch fled to Michigan and could not be coaxed to return to Canada.
There's more.
"A cradle with an infant in it began rocking so hard that three men couldn't stop it.
Fireballs floated through the air. During the Baldoon Mysteries, bullets crashed through
windows with great force, then dropped harmlessly to the floor. McDonald boarded his
windows after the glass was broken when the bullets smashed through, but then witnesses
saw rocks fly from the river, sail through the air and mysteriously penetrate the boards
- landing on the house floor still dripping wet.
''A pyschic teenager advised McDonald that the source of his trouble was a
neighbouring family who coveted some of his land. The teenager told McDonald to make
a bullet of sterling silver for his musket and fire it at an old stray goose that had attached
itself to his flock. He wounded the goose in the wing and, sure enough, the neighbour's
wife immediately suffered a broken arm. Thereafter, it is said, peace reigned at Baldoon.
"With a twist of the imagination, it is easy to think of some members of the McDonald
family making wooden balls from the window boards and selling them as souvenirs, still
possessing the capability to be penetrated without harm. I have one of them here, passed
down through generations of my family. And this metal ball comes from the same
silver that was used to make the bullet McDonald fired at the goose. Now, the Balldoon
Mysteries become the Ball-Down Mystery!"
Freedom ofthe Sieze
Marketed f?y Abbott}, 193 7

F
rom page 120 of Stewart James In Print. "My editors tell me that, up to this point,
this wins the prize in the title competition. I'm glad they are keeping an eye on
them since, for me, coming up with a good name is sometimes almost as much
fun as working out the trick.
"The size of the deck you should use depends on the planned length of your show.
Use the full deck only for a full evening show. If you wish to use fewer cards, say half the
deck, a presentation ploy may be to have the deck cut into two piles. You have the first
chosen card selected from the pile of which you do not know the top card, and placed
face up on top of the other pile. The second, secret, choice is taken from the other pile
as well, and placed face to face as in the description below. This half is now cut and used
to finish the effect."
Tom Bowyer reviewed it in the January 1937 Tops, where he said: "Not very exciting for
lay spectators, but magicians just can't figure it out, as we know by experience." Faucett
Ross had recorded in his notes from the 1935 I.B.M. Convention at Lima, Ohio, that
Stewart performed Freedom Of The Seize there. He noted it was "a subtle one to puzzle
magi."
Max Maven would concur. He wrote me on March 2, 2002: ''When I was preparing
for the 2001 Collectors' convention in Chicago, I knew that I wanted my performance to
include a Stewart James piece, because it would tie in with the biographical documentary
that was to be shown at the event. Obviously, I needed a good piece of magic. (That
didn't narrow it down all that much.) I required something that could be done under stage
conditions. Also, I wanted something that was not well known.
"Freedom Of The Seize satisfied all of those conditions, with the added plus that
(with very minor modifications) it could be done with a borrowed, shuffled deck, making
its impossibility more overt. (One of the problems with doing some of SJ's material for
magicians is that due to the simplicity of procedure, they don't always realize how badly
they've been fooled.)
"The bonus for me, is that the trick has one of my favorite James titles (and according

16
FREEDOM OF THE SIEZE 17

to SJ's introductory comments in Stewart James In Print, yours and Howard's, too).
So, in considering which routine to use, it narrowed down to that one fairly quickly.
The audience response seemed to indicate that I'd made a reasonably good choice." It
goes without saying that this unusual concept was included in Max's list of his favourite
fifty James tricks.
And list submitters Gordon Bean and David Peck also checked in to report that they
use versions of Freedom Of The Seize.

-0-

A deck is shuffled and spread face down on the table. A volunteer selects a card from
any place in the deck, thus exercising his 'Freedom Of The Seize.' He places it face up
on what will become the top of the deck when the cards are assembled. The audience is
requested to remember this card; we will assume that it is the seven of spades. A second
card is also freely chosen, and, without anyone seeing it, is placed face down, face to face
with the first card.
The volunteer squares up the deck and gives it any number of single cuts so that the
positions of the selected cards are lost, but they are not separated. The deck is handed to
you behind your back, and you face the audience.
Explain that although a card has been chosen without anyone seeing it, that particular
card can quickly and easily be located because of the fact that it is marked by having a card
face to face with it. What you are about to perform is a demonstration of the remarkable
degree of sensitivity to which you have developed your sense of touch. In this way you
are able to tell the backs from the faces of the cards, and so it is very little trouble for you
to locate the reversed card. When you find this card, you know that the card facing it is
the card that was selected second. As no one looked at the card, it would be impossible to
discover its identity by mind reading, but feeling it very carefully leads you to believe that
it is the two of diamonds.
All that is necessary is for you to know the top card of the deck before commencing
the trick. Shuffle the cards and spread them on the table without altering its position; in
the example we have used, it would be the two of diamonds. The volunteer selected the
seven of spades and placed it face up on top of the deck. His second, unknown, selection
was then placed above it and face to face with it. He buries them in the deck by giving it
any number of single cuts.
You know the card, the two of diamonds, that is back to back with the seven of spades,
but not the card facing it. You alter their position by the simple expedient of passing
the cards, one at a ti.me, from hand to hand exactly as if you were counting them, and
reversing them in the process. It is not even necessary for you to know which is the top
and which is the bottom of the deck. The top card of the deck becomes the face card,
and no matter where the two of diamonds and seven of spades are in the deck, they will
now be found face to face. When the volunteer removes his seven of spades, and the card
18 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

facing it, he naturally presumes that he selected the two of diamonds the second time.
The small amount of time required to count through the deck is covered by your
explanation, and any motions detected by the audience are explained by your feeling the
cards to find the reversed bookmark.
Simplici,ry Four Ace Trick
More ''Eye Openers" (1933)

W
en Fred Braue conducted his 'Five Favorite Card Tricks' poll in Hugard}Magic
Month!Jduring 1946 and 194 7, a large number of voters went for the four-ace
trick, and this one led that section by one vote. This is a touch surprising as it
reads so badly in print. In addition, nobody seems to have noticed this is really a follow
the-leader trick, until Ed Marlo mentioned it in MarloWithoutTears (1983), in his Barroom
Poker, an interesting five-phase routine with the Simplicity plot. Phil Goldstein offered
two more variations in Barrow!, which appeared in the June 1983 New Tops.
"For my own satisfaction, I wish I could remember when I devised it. I know I had
been using it for what seemed like years when I had a card session at Columbus in 1931
with Ralph W Hull. I showed this to him several times; every time I'd look at him,
he'd look at me, and every time I fooled him. He liked it well enough that he wrote in
December 1932: 'I am writing a booklet on four-ace tricks, giving my routines as I do
them. Would you object should I include the little Four-Ace Trick that you showed me
a year ago.' I told him he could use it, but even after I explained it to him, he missed the
point that had fooled him so completely. The key is the displacement of one card, where
you try to convey the impression that you are not quite sure they understand, and it is an
afterthought to show the ace.
"Hull didn't bring out the collection of ace tricks, but included it in More ''Eye Openers"
where he manhandled the key element. Worse still, when it appeared a few years later in
Greater Magic, they made a move out of it; there should be no flipping of the cards. The
description below is based on that provided by Glenn Gravatt on page 71 of
Enryclopedia Of Self-Working Card Tricks (1936), but I have tried to point up the timing on
this subtle manoeuvre.
"A popular dealer item in 194 7 was Aces High,a sequence of four-ace effects by S.
Leo Horowitz and Dr. Jacob Daley. The first phase was the Simplicity Four-Ace Trick,
although no credit was allocated. This version was devised by Daley, and it required a
bottom deal when the fourth card was being placed on the table. If you try it, then deal
the rest of the cards normally, you'll see that the aces wind up in the first pile dealt. It

19
20 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

seems to me almost sinful to use any sleights at all."

-0-

This has a breath-taking climax and is easy to do. In fact, it is self-working, Lay out
the four aces face up in a row. On each ace deal three indifferent cards face down, so half
of each face-up ace still shows.
Now pick up all the cards with one hand, placing them all face down in the palm of
the other hand, in the following manner: Pick up the ace at one end of the row with your
right hand; turn it over so it is face down on the Aat palm of your left. Place the three
indifferent cards on it face down.
Now state that if you count from the top down "one, two, three, four," the ace will
be the fourth card down. On this packet place another ace face down, then lay three
indifferent cards on it face down, and again emphasize that this ace is four cards down.
Do this with the remaining cards so you hold a packet of sixteen face-down cards in your
left hand.
Deal four cards face down from left to right in a row. Naturally, the first three cards
dealt are indifferent ones, and the fourth card, or the one to the extreme right, is an ace.
Start to deal the fifth card (an indifferent one) on top of the first card dealt, but do not let
it leave your hand. Take it with your right fingers off the packet in your left hand and make
a motion as if to deal it, then stop half way, hesitate, and say: "Every fourth card dealt will
be an ace." With the single card in your right hand tap the first card dealt, then the others,
and say: "Indifferent card, indifferent card, indifferent card - and the ace on the end."

I( (

Then, as you look at them, place the pointer card under the deck, and immediately
pick up the fourth card with your now-free right hand and turn it face up, showing it to
be an ace. Stewart commented: "In doing this hundreds of times, I have never been
caught on this move." Apparently you want to convince the audience that the aces are
really in the
SIMPLICITY FOUR-ACE TRICK 21

last pile, and since you have a packet of cards in your left hand, and one card in your right
hand, naturally you have to put the card back so that you will have one hand free to show
the ace.
Now deal the top card of the left hand packet on the first card dealt, the next on the
second and so forth. Continue in this manner until you have dealt out all the cards in four
piles. The audience thinks all four aces are in the last pile. "Of course there are no aces
in this pile," you say, picking up the first pile and tossing it aside, face up. ''And of course
there are no aces in this pile," you continue, picking up the second pile and tossing it aside
face up. The audience is convinced the four aces are where they are supposed to be - in
the fourth and last pile.
Reach under Pile Three and turn up the undermost card (an indifferent one) and place
it face up in front of that pile. "This marks the pile of indifferent cards," you say. Now
turn up the undermost card of Pile Four, which will be the first ace dealt, and say: "This
tells us where the aces are. Now here is a most peculiar thing. To show you what strange
sympathy exists between the aces, if I place the ace in front of the pile of indifferent
cards, and switch the indifferent card over here in front of the aces, see what happens!"
Turn up all the cards and show that the four aces are in Pile Three and Pile Four contains
all indifferent cards.
Miraskil
l
Marketed by SJ, Ju!J 1935

S
hould self-working card tricks be honoured in some future Magic Hall of Fame, it
is certain that Miraskill will be placed in the top ranks. Miraskill was first released by
Stewart as a self-marketed item in 1935. Only one copy was sold.
However, it was subsequently demonstrated to Ted Annemann by Dr. Jacob Daley.
Annemann wrote Stewart, admitting it "fooled the hell out of me," and cajoled him into
letting it appear in Jinx #24 (September 1936). It became one of the most popular tricks
ever to come from the pages of that legendary periodical.
In Jinx #24, Annemann wrote: "I don't know where Mr. James got his title for this
mystery, but anytime anyone can produce such a problem, I'll be the last to argue over what
it is to be called. Certainly no concocted effect has in years been so original in effect upon
the watchers. I have used the problem any number of times since learning it, and I have yet
to find people who aren't amazed at the outcome. I won't go into any reason why it works
because of limits in space, but it does work, and that's about the most important thing ...
try out this masterpiece, and you'll find it to be one of the best mysteries in years."
George Anderson included Miraskill in Magic Digest (1972) and said it was "One of the
greatest card tricks ever invented." In reviewing the first bound volume of reprints of the
Jinx, Peter Warlock called Miraskill " ... one of the most convincing card predictions of
the age."
I first encountered Miraskill as a fourteen-year-old sometime in 1945. It did not seem
to me that it could possibly succeed each time, but after a number of closed-door tests I
realized that it did work infallibly and, I'm sure hazily at the time, I began to understand
the underlying principle. This confession is easier to divulge when I quote from Bob
Farmer's introduction to his Brain To Wallet, a clever trick which appeared in Genii (March
1991 ). That special issue was a tribute to Stewart, and friends and fans contributed an
excellent array of tricks. Farmer wrote: "Since the age of eleven, I have been fascinated
by Miraskill. Having no idea why or how it worked, it seemed to me to be real magic .. It
became my magical solitaire: I'd pass hours doing it over and over again and it never lost
its fascination."

22
MIRASKILL 23

Don't pass this one by! (A full chapter, titled 'Miraschool' and devoted to versions of
Miraskill by Stewart and other magicians, begins on page 1883 of TheJames
File.)

-0-

To prepare: Be sure there is no Joker in your deck, and hide four black cards in a pocket
from which they can be palmed later.
Ask someone to shuffle the cards thoroughly, and also to state whether they wish to
have the red or the black cards. If they say red, for your secret prediction write: "You will
have four more cards than I." If they say black, you write: "I will have four more cards
than you." Fold the slip of paper and place it in full view on the table.
We will assume the volunteer chose the red cards. Instruct him to remove two cards at
a time from the deck and turn them face up while still holding them in his hand. If they
are both red, they go face up to start a pile before him; if they are both black, they go
face up before you; if there is one card of each colour they go in a discard pile. He deals
through the deck in this manner, distributing the cards as directed.

2D
Pl/.

When he has finished, casually pick up the discard pile as if to get it out of the way as
you tell him to count the cards in his red pile, and then to count the cards in your black
pile. While he is thus engaged, it is a simple matter to palm the four black cards from your
pocket and quietly add them to the top of the discard group in your hand.
He then opens the slip and reads your prediction aloud. You are correct. State that,
while he assembles all the cards and shuffles them again, you will make another prediction.
Although it is for effect, ask him which colour he prefers this time, then write: 'We will
both have the same number of cards."
The volunteer goes through the identical procedure a second time and, once more,
your prediction proves to be correct.
Face-Up Prediction
Various sources

S
tewart originated Face-up Prediction in 1939 and performed it often, always with
telling success. However, it was not until 1947 that it seized the attention of the
magic fraternity. Fred Braue had initiated his 'Five-Best Poll' in the December 1946
H11gard} Magic Monthfy. Subscribers were asked to mail in a list of " ... the five card tricks
which you find most popular with your audiences."
Stewart sent in two lists: one consisted of his five favourites among the many he had
created, and the other identified five tricks invented by others. His submission appeared
in the March 194 7 issue and, in ranking his own material, he placed Face-Up Prediction
fourth. The other four he selected all appear in this volume: (1) Simplicity Four-Ace Trick,
(2) Further Than That, (3) Remembering The Future and (5) Jamesway Poker Deal.
Two months after Stewart's choices ran, Braue published Francis Haxton's list.
Haxton put Face-Up Prediction first, then added:" ... this is more than a card trick, it is a
miracle."
On the same day that he received Haxton's contribution, Braue wrote Stewart and
enquired about this "miracle." That was not surprising, because Haxton had written: "The
effect is this and I am holding nothing back. A deck of cards is handed to a spectator to
shuffle. While he is doing this the performer writes a prediction on a slip of paper, folds
it and drops it on the table or gives it to someone to hold. The shuffled deck is now taken
and ribbon spread, face up, on the table. The spectator is now asked to run his forefinger
up and down the ribbon of cards and to bring this finger down on any card. The card thus
selected is discovered to denote the card written on the prediction."
Stewart responded to Braue's query on March 8, 1947: "Face-Up Prediction. Wanted
some super close-up quickie to work on reporters in the interviews I knew would follow
the prediction of the headline a year in advance [see page 211 in Stouar: James In Print].
"I then made what I call a 'trick family tree' which is the quickest way to locate
uncharted ground and this is what I came up with. Magicians that hear of it, seldom
believe it. The most often advanced theory is that it must be a pocket index or a thumb
nail writer, until they realize that the prediction was written before the deck was shuffled

24
FACE-UP PREDICTION 25

and is not touched again by the performer. Some say there can't be any trickery to it - there
must be something used 'like hypnotism.' Hey! This begins to sound like I'm writing an
ad." The method was not explained.
When discussing Face-Up Prediction, Stewart expressed concern that if he revealed
his method it would disappoint those who had followed its mythology over the years. But
his caveat was diminished by the enthusiastic reception of Dai Vernon's The Trick That
Cannot Be Explained, following its appearance in More InnerSecrets Of Card Magic, a
1960 publication written by Lewis Ganson. The 'Great Minds' theorem would seem to
be at play here, because both tricks use the same method.
In fact, Vernon was not the first to publicly reveal the methodology. A Miracle - Maybe,
credited to Joe Berg, was published in 1942 in Martin Gardner's Cut The Cards. Vernon's
effect is identical to Stewart's in that a prediction is made in advance and not touched again
by the performer; Berg's version consisted of a spectator choosing a card and, without
learning its identity, marking it on the back then losing it in the deck by a thorough shuffle.
The cards are ribbon spread face up on the table, the spectator touches or names a card
and discovers he has located his own selection (The reader unfamiliar with the procedure
will appreciate the sneaky wording of the last sentence and of Haxton's description to
Braue, when the details are revealed below.)
Stewart wrote Norm Houghton on October 31, 1962. In reference to Face-Up
Prediction, he stated: "This has been the most important trick in my life and I have an
affection for it shared by no other."
Charles Reynolds, one of the James fans who assisted this project with his list of
favourites, made a telling point: "One of the attributes of a miracle worker as opposed to
a run-of-the-mill magician is the ability to analyze a situation and use what is there (often
taking chances and utilizing 'outs') to produce near miracles. Example of this type of
magician are Uri Geller, Max Malini, Chan Canasta and David Berglas.There is no better
example of the types of 'impossible effects' with which these performers have made their
reputation than Stewart James' Face-Up Prediction. It is not self-working. It requires the
ability to size up a situation and think on your feet and, at its strongest, a little luck can't
hurt. But there are few card effects that are potentially more powerful."

-0-

You predict a card by committing it to writing - its name is not revealed - while
someone shuffles the deck. The cards are then spread in a neat face-up row so every index
can be easily seen. Someone touches a card and, if it is not the one you had forecast, you
count or spell or somehow maneuver affairs so you logically move from the touched card
to the one predicted. It is with good reason that Dai Vernon called this effect The Trick
That Cannot Be Explained; Lewis Gansen devoted more than five pages to it in More
Inner SecretsOf Card Magic.
Stewart often predicted the queen of hearts. After the shuffled deck has been returned
26 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

to you, glimpse the top card and note the face card in the apparent process of squaring
the pack. Either one could be the predicted card and, if this is the case, there is no need
to form a row on the table. In fact, this break occurred when Vernon first demonstrated
the trick for Lewis Ganson in front of Al Koran and Fred Lowe.
Ganson said to Vernon: "You wrote a prediction on a cigarette paper and placed this on
the table. Al Koran shuffled the pack (and made a thorough job of it!). You told him to
turn over the top card - which happened to be the Six of Hearts. You then told him to
turn over the cigarette packet which had been out of your reach since you wrote the
prediction. Al himself read what you had written - 'The Six of Hearts.' It was a
knockout."
If your predicted card is not on top or bottom, bold the deck face up on your upturned
palm and instruct the spectator to cut the cards and complete the cut. Determine the
identity of the cards now on top and bottom. This procedure has allowed you four
chances and, as Gansen wrote: "It's surprising how often this can happen. However, we
are not dependent on chance, and if luck is not with us our actions so far seem to have
little importance, as we have merely displayed the pack, had it cut and displayed it again.''
Having the deck cut while face up is logical, because the cards are now spread in a
face-up row across the table. Martin Gardner made this suggestion in the description of
Joe Berg's A Miracle - Maybe: ''As you arrange the spread, find the (predicted) card and
expose it slightly more than the other cards. Then to throw the spectator off guard, spread
the cards at some other point so that another card is even more exposed. The spectator
is now invited to move his hand back and forth over the row with his forefinger pointing
at the cards, then to place his finger on one. On more occasions than the laws of chance
would indicate, he will touch the card you have predicted.

If any other card is touched, you must quickly devise a fair-seeming method to count
or spell, or somehow logically use the indicated card to reach the predicted card.
Berg's version requires you to force a card which the spectator does not look at. Rather,
he marks it on the back and then shuffles it into the pack which is later spread face up on
the table. (I have performed Berg's trick often since I first found it. I prefer to allow a
free selection, then position a key card above it before the pack is spread face up.)
Gardner wrote: "Remember that in all these cases you have a leeway of three cards.
That is:
FACE-UP PREDICTION 27

"1. You can begin the count (or spelling) on the card which you slid forward, and end
the count on the originally chosen card.
"2. You can begin on the card, finish the count, then take the next one.
"3. You can ignore the card slid forward, beginning your count on the next card, then
after the count take the next card also."
In The Feints and Temps of Harry Riser (1996), Ed Brown explained The Poker Lesson;
part of Riser's gambling demonstration required a process similar to that used in Face-Up
Prediction. Brown wrote: " ... in that detailed instructions are impossible ... you have to use
the circumstances that arise in order to create the effect." The reader can be assured that
this trick can always be brought to a successful conclusion and, invariably, will be one of
the most acclaimed tricks in any routine with cards.
Although it may be daunting when it is first attempted before an audience, as Stewart
once said to me, "You just do it!"
The Book Of The Dead
Marketed by Abbott}, 193 9

S
tewart discovered The Transposed Cards in Walter Gibson's Popular Card Tricks
(1928) and became instantly fascinated with the principle that resided within. This
was his first release to take advantage of the Transposed Cards principle, and he
came up with a dandy. The ads had stressed there was no forcing, calculation, memory
work, alternative conclusions or additional accessories used, and claimed: ''The principle
is so unique that you will amaze yourself."
As used here it isn't applicable to regular playing cards; the pages must have the same
design or wording on each side so each has the same appearance regardless of which side
is up. However, it dearly has great value in card tricks as will be proved further on.
Harlan Tarbell was impressed with it and said: "It completely fooled me. I intend to
feature The Book Of The Dead in all my programs." Although it is a transposition of two
pages in a book, Tarbell planned to make it up for stage use with cardboard tombstones.
For modern use, it may be appropriate to assemble it using the names of rock stars,
prematurely deceased, with the date of death and the title of an outstanding record
of each. The performer should determine how macabre he dare be with a particular
audience.
Two other of Stewart's discoveries employing the Transposed Cards principle appear
later in this volume: The Tenth Variation and Split Second. Both are brilliant inventions.

-0-

Two persons freely make mental selections of names on certain pages of a loose-leaf
book. The magician handles the book briefly and manages to transpose the mentally
selected pages.
At the magician's request, two volunteers step forward to assist him. We will call them
Brown and Jones. Each is given two blank sheets of paper. Brown's are coloured and
Jones's are white.
Each writes a number on one of his slips, any number less than 25. These numbers are

28
THE BOOK OF THE DEAD 29

chosen secretly. Brown writes an odd number and Jones an even number so there can be
no possibility of them using the same number.
A loose-leaf notebook, opening at the top, is on the table. One cover is clearly
identified as the front, possibly by having the manufacturer's name on it, or some other
imprint. The pages, fifty in number, are piled beside it. Each page bears the name of a
different famous person, what he was noted for, and the year he died. Both sides of each
page are identical.

Let us suppose the number written by Brown was 17 and Jones wrote 10. While the
magician's back is turned, they place pages in the notebook equal to the total of the
numbers they have written. In this case there will be twenty-seven pages to be placed in
the notebook. Brown and Jones may select these pages from anywhere in the pile and
mix them about as much as they please before inserting them in the book. As the pages
are lettered with the name on both sides, it is impossible to get them upside down. The
remaining pages are concealed.
At this time, the volunteers note the name of the persons on the pages whose positions
in the book correspond with the numbers they have chosen. Brown may find that the
name written on the page seventeenth from the front cover is William Shakespeare. Jones
might read Victor Hugo's name on the tenth page. Each writes the name he has found on
his remaining slip.
The magician is handed the book and he turns his back for a few brief seconds. Not
a question is asked. Facing his audience again, the magician hands the book to a third
volunteer whom we will designate as Smith.
Brown is requested to hand his numbered slip to Jones for which he receives Jones's
numbered slip in return. Brown opens Jones's slip and announces the number, which you
will recall was 10. Smith counts to page 10 and reads aloud the name thereon, William
Shakespeare, the name Brown had secretly noted at the number on the slip now held
by Jones. This is verified by his reading aloud the name on his second slip which he has
retained.
Jones reads out Brown's number, which was 17. The name at that number is Victor
Hugo, the name secretly noted by Jones at the number on the slip now held by Brown.
30 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

In other words, two freely selected names at mentally chosen positions in the book
have been transposed by the magician without his asking a single question. The selections
may even be made during his absence.
The method could not be more simple. When the magician receives the book, he turns
his back and springs open the binder, then removes all the pages with the exception of the
page farthest from the front cover, the last page. Reversing the pages, just turning them
over, he re-inserts them. That is all.
If you use a side-bound book, you reverse the handful of pages end over end and re
insert them. In this case, the opposite side of each page must be printed upside down.

For example, Brown and Jones selected 17 and 10, respectively, so there are twenty
seven pages in the book. The seventeenth name is William Shakespeare and the tenth
is Victor Hugo. Suppose also that the first name is U. S. Grant and the twenty-sixth is
Aristotle. The twenty-seventh may be Will Rogers.
Turn your twenty-six pages over and re-insert them. The first name is now Aristotle,
the twenty-sixth is U. S. Grant, and the twenty-seventh is still Will Rogers.
The important thing is that Victor Hugo is now in seventeenth position and William
Shakespeare is tenth, just the reverse of the positions noted by your volunteers.
It makes no difference what numbers are selected or the number of pages in the book.
In every case you reverse all the pages in the book with the exception of the last page.
Sefala!Jia
Jinx #69 (December2, 1939)

I
n introducing this Ted Annemann wrote: 'I honestly believe that this one-man
miniature spirit cabinet routine is far beyond, in merit and effectiveness, anything yet
Mr. J ames has
conceived. Certainly the manifestations are out of the ordinary and
managed to use several magical principles in a way not originally intended. The absence
of complicated preparation of the cabinet will be found quite refreshing. The routine
herein should be put into immediate use by many magi.'
"Ted also remarked at the end: 'I want to come in on this again and say that Stewart
has routined this series of effects in a 'sweet' manner. The act opens very strong, gets a
quick surprise with No.2, and settles down with a thought wringer on No.3. The audience
then gets No.4 and No.5 in succession for the finish. It is my hope that readers will try the
routine as given before they start the inevitable changes and improvements. This should
find a good home in many club programs this winter.'
"In the next Jinx Ted wrote: 'Every time we've turned around this week someone has
told us he was building the cabinet for the Sefalaljia routine.'
"My first cabinet was a toy suitcase which had been sold to hold doll clothing. Later,
the box I used was made from an old radio cabinet. I was working towards a fifteen
to-twenty-rninute act, which might have been called The Haunted Radio. I would have
said: 'This explains some of the peculiar reception I have been receiving. I removed the
innards, but the. phenomena have continued. I now suspect it is inhabited by an unseen
and uninvited guest.'
"Eugene Burger and Richard Kaufman issued Spirit Theaterin 1986, and it proved to be
one of the most fascinating volumes in years. Burger complimented Sefalaljia, then went
on to say: 'I remember, as a teenager, the very clever version of this that Don Alan worked
out using a cigar box.' I wish I had seen Don demonstrate his variation.
"Although I have since found out that the routine as a whole had intrigued a number
of people, for years I was aware only that the ring-and-rope element had taken on a life
of its own, spawning variations. That's the phase Ted called 'a thought wringer.' As far
as I know, the first adaptation of the ring section of the routine to appear in print was

31
32 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

appropriately enough published in Jinx #100 (July 1940). L. Vosburgh Lyons wrote in
his Fourth Dimensional Sewing: 'My thought was to take the place of Stewart James's
hook in the cabinet with my thumb, and make the item possible of being done anywhere
at any time.' By this time I had worked up some impromptu variations, but it certainly
hadn't occurred to me to sew the loop on the ribbon. Voz gave me full credit and called
Sefalaljia
'an outstanding hit.'
"I believe the first close-up version into print using a safety pin and handkerchief was
Sefalaljia Jr. which appeared in Phoenix #21 (October 1942). No creator was credited
in the article, although Sefalaljia was mentioned."
Sefalaljia Jr. follows its father. The original routine was worked out by Stewart in the
late 1930s. He received carbon monoxide poisoning when it leaked into his car on a winter
night, and as a result suffered a severe headache. He wrote: "When I reached home, to
take my mind off my cephalalgia, I started to work on the idea ... of magically threading
a ring on a ribbon strung through a cabinet ... but it seemed like a lot of trouble to have a
cabinet for just one trick, so I worked out the rest of it." Sefalaljia is the phonetic spelling
Stewart adopted for cephalalgia, meaning headache.
List provider David Ben wrote: "Few parlour effects can be described as deeply
mysterious. This is one of them. Performed slowly and deliberately, Sefalaljia is guaranteed
to tingle everyone's imagination."

-0-

The performer begins: ''It is the firm belief of many people that the walls of a room
retain the impressions of violent or unusual incidents that have taken place within. People
who last were seen in the best of spirits and apparently with everything for which to live,
have, after spending a portion of a night in a room where somebody once committed
suicide, unknown to them, in turn enacted that tragedy over again in a manner identical
with the first. It is suggested that such individuals were psychic to a high degree and were
influenced by the impressions retained in the walls of that room."
He offers to demonstrate a few experiments that he has been conducting along that
line. He introduces a box which, he claims, was made from material taken from the most
frequented room of a house said to have been occupied for a number of years by a
poltergeist. The front of the box has been replaced by a curtain that may be drawn back
and forth to reveal or conceal the interior. The inside of the box is painted black. The
top of the box is a hinged cover. On top of the box rests a skull and the whole is in full
view on a slender and thin-topped table. Inside the box a red ball reposes inside a
drinking glass. And although it is not normally practical, the spectators may be seated in
a wide circle around the performer.
The ball is carelessly tossed to one end of the box and the glass is placed at the other
end. The curtain is drawn for a few seconds. When the interior of the box is shown again,
the red ball has been tossed back into the glass, apparently by a playful spirit. Any spectator
SEFALALJIA 33

may step forward, remove the glass and ball, and examine both as well as the box.
The inside of the box again is concealed. The top is raised and a handkerchief is tossed
inside. The spectator, who has stood by, opens the curtain, removes the handkerchief and
finds that a knot has been tied in it.
In each end of the box is a hoJe. In the centre of the hinged lid is a screw-hook on the
under side. A length of white cotton tape is folded in half and another spectator places a
safety pin through the tape about an inch from the doubled end. The tape is now threaded
through the box with the ends protruding out of the holes. Someone in the audience
lends his or her finger ring and it is hung onto the hook inside the box which is turned
with the curtain side away from the audience. The playful poltergeist's presence is invoked.
A volunteer comes forward, grasps one end of the tape and draws it from the box. The
borrowed ring actually is threaded on the middle of the tape and held securely in place by
the pin. The ring, still on the tape, is returned to the owner and the volunteer is allowed
to examine the cabinet.
The cabinet is turned with the curtain side to the audience. A cellophane-wrapped
cigar is unwrapped and placed into a glass tumbler. When it is put into the open cabinet,
the ghost is found to be a tobacco addict, for the cigar is seen to smoke furiously.
Lastly, the Lid of the cabinet is raised to accommodate a bottle of milk. A straw is
inserted and as the thirsty spook imbibes a quantity of the lacteal fluid, the performer
states, rather apologetically, that his poltergeistic friend always drinks a lot of milk at
bedtime and that now it will be necessary to cease manifestations. "Even spirits have to
observe union hours," quips the performer as he takes a spiritual-like bow to what we
hope is not ghostly applause.
The box I used was a radio cabinet. Its size was 7" x 7" x 17". After using it for a
long time I found the size just about right. The cabinet may seem long to some, but the
distance between the glass tumbler and the rubber ball, placed at opposite ends, makes a
very good-looking stunt for the opener.
The holes at each end are 1 W' in diameter, The size allows the tape with ring to be
easily pulled through. The screw-hook is #5 size. This is in the exact centre of the lid,
on the inside, in line with the holes in the cabinet's ends. The final bit of cabinet detail,
the only bit of fakery, is a needle-size hole in the lid about 3 W' from one end and at the
centre of the lid. The small hole will never be noticed.
The Ball In The Glass: The red rubber ball is 1 1/2" in diameter and made of sponge
rubber. At the start of this routine there is a skull sitting upon the top of the cabinet. A
thread, about two feet long, is fastened to the skull and runs down through the minute
hole in the cabinet lid. The other end has been threaded through the ball. The ball has
been placed into the glass and when the routine begins the glass and ball are sitting in the
centre.
After the patter about poltergeists and the building of the cabinet, the glass is picked
up and the ball rolled from the glass into the far comer of the box. The glass is placed at
the other end, directly under the tiny bole in the lid, and the curtain is closed.
34 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

~LL I-IOL -+ t
r

ND~
VlW Tl-lRAD
0

At:- this time the performer seems to remember the presence of the skull on top. He
picks it up, relating the fact that it was found beneath the poltergeist-occupied house. In
stepping a bit forward while this is related, the performer causes the thread to be pulled,
the ball inside the cabinet to be raised as far as the lid permits, and the thread to be
pulled through and out of the ball. The result is that the ball falls directly downward into
the glass. The skull is set aside and the performer invites a member of the audience to
investigate the cabinet. He can examine everything to no avail.

The Knotted Handkerchief: The familiar one-hand knot is made for this effect, and is
executed quickly when the handkerchief is thrown into the cabinet through the opened
lid. Psychology here plays an important part for the audience is wondering about the ball's
passage to the glass, while the spectator assisting worries both about that puzzle and his
unexpected appearance before an audience. Therefore a wee bit of stage fright enters into
the situation. The sleight, simple as it is, doesn't warrant inclusion here for it has been
depicted for many years in magical books. (Illustrations have been added.)
SEFALALJIA 35

The Ring On The Tape: After the more or less incidental handkerchief bit, which
has subconsciously impressed your audience that strange powers are at work within the
cabinet's confines, we come to the one effect of which I am rather proud and to which I
claim originality outside of the routine itself. The tape is one half-inch wide and if your
box is of the same dimensions as mine, 40" long. After the tape is threaded through the
box, the borrowed ring is placed onto the hook, and the cabinet is turned curtain side
away from the audience. The performer invokes the invisible prankster by rubbing his
hands, as he says, "inside the confines of the wooden walls." This palaver allows of a
few quick and very practical as well as unique moves.
1. Remove the safety pin and lay it on the bottom of the box.
2. Take the ring off the screw-hook.
3. Loop the centre of the tape and tuck it through the ring.
4. Place the pin through the left side of the loop thus formed and the half of the tape
that runs out through the left, to performer, hole of the box.
5. Enlarge the loop and place it over the screw-hook.

If the left end, to performer, of the tape is now pulled from the box, the ring is
automatically threaded upon the tape and found in the safety-pinned centre.
The Smoked Cigar: The cigar I use is made of wood and was sold as a novelty pencil. I
have hollowed out one end and inserted a piece of felt. This felt has been soaked previously
in very strong liquid ammonia. The cigar is rewrapped in its cellophane wrapper. Before
the performance the glass tumbler, the one used for the opening ball effect, has had put
into it six or eight drops of muriatic acid which was then swished around. The cigar is
unwrapped again and placed into the glass open end downward, and the glass is placed
into the cabinet. Smoke begins the ascent from the glass in clouds.
Drinking The Milk: The reader should have recognised the very clever DeMuth Milk
Bottle trick, used heretofore for a penetration or passe-passe trick, but employed here in
an entirely new atmosphere and dress. The placing of the straw serves to release the vent
disc and make the drinking of the milk action automatic.
S efala!Jia Jr.
The Phoenix, October 1942

T
he principle that has become known as Sefalaljia has had greater influence on
ring-and-rope tricks than any other. And there is little doubt that its astonishing
popularity was spurred as much by the appearance of SefalaljiaJr. in The Phoenix,
without credit to Stewart, as by the original ring-on-tape portion of the cabinet routine
in the Jinx as just described. Editors Bruce Elliott and Walter Gibson knew a fine trick
when they saw one. It would be of interest to determine who first performed for them,
separately it would seem, the close-up item to follow. The description is in their words.
Within the past few months, this baffler among close-up tricks has thrust itself upon
the magical scene. On the table, the magician places a length of string near its center, a
borrowed finger ring and a safety pin. Over the items he lays a handkerchief, but leaves
the ends of the string in full view.
Briefly placing his hands beneath the handkerchief, the magician finally raises one
corner and tells someone to draw the string away. To the spectator's amazement, he finds
the ring genuinely threaded on the string, held to the center by the safety pin, which runs
across the doubled string to form a loop at the center.
Most amazing to the editors of The Phoenix was the fact that they were individually
mystified by this marvel, only to learn that they already knew its secret, which speaks
highly for the effect. Inasmuch as it is an adaptation of a known and published principle,
we feel at liberty to pass it along to our readers.
It is the "Ring on String" effect that formed part of "Sefalaljia," a spirit routine
explained in The Jinx, No. 69, but geared to impromptu presentation. Under the
handkerchief, thrust a loop of string through the ring; then clamp the safety pin over the
two strings at the right, exactly as illustrated.

36
SEFALALJIA JR. 37

Keep your left forefinger in the loop. [Under the handkerchief.] As you start to lift the
handkerchief with your right hand, tell someone to draw the string away, making sure said
person is at your right. The loop keeps increasing as he draws, and the string runs right
through the ring, and follows it out. You can lift the handkerchief as the ring comes into
sight.
The pin keeps the ring fixed at the center, thus insuring the result. At first, people
will think that there is some fake gag with the pin, but after they remove it and find that
the ring is actually on the string - well, we advise that you do the trick and judge for
yourself!
The Man in Aberyst11!Jth

There is always one moment in childhood


when the door opens and lets the future in.
Graham Greene
The Power and the Glory (1940)

S
tewart James could recall not only the date but the exact time when he became
interested in conjuring. It was on his seventh birthday on May 14, 1915, at 2:30 p.m.
A woman who " ... possessed a greater imagination than a memory" told him her
impressions of the Howard Thurston show she had recently attended. Stewart at that time
was saving copies of a Sunday school paper called Bqyj World. He listened in fascination
to the woman's elaborate account of some of Thurston's miracles and then rushed to
his Bqyj World collection and the magic columns it contained. They were attributed to
Howard Thurston. "And," as Stewart said, "that's how it all started."
The home where Stewart resided was in the small community of Courtright, Ontario,
on the St. Clair River across from the United States and not far from Detroit. Stewart's
father built this unusual house in 1917 and named it 'Aberystwyth' after the town in Wales
where Stewart's great grandfather was born. Except for an overseas posting in World War
II, Stewart lived there from 1917 until he was hospitalized in nearby Sarnia in December,
1995. He died in November of the following year.
In September 1945, Stewart returned to Canada from entertaining allied troops in
Europe during the second World War. He held several jobs before signing a legal agreement
with the Canadian government in 1956 to become a mail contractor, delivering the mail
in the Courtright area. For thirty-seven years, Stewart and his mother lived together at
Aberystwyth. (His father died in 1940 and his two sisters left home as soon as they were
of age. Particulars of Stewart's sorrowful upbringing are detailed later in this volume in
the 'Parent-Thesis' chapter.) Each day, he would rush home from his mail route to tend to
his mother, who had been in chronic poor health since the early 1940s. She passed away
in 1972, at the age of ninety-seven. As he said in Stewart James In Print, "She disliked magic,
and often made magicians who visited me feel unwelcome and uncomfortable." (Stewart

38
THE MAN IN ABERSYTWYTH 39

then lived alone at Aberystwyth for another twenty-four years, until he was hospitalized in
1996. He died in November of that year at the age of eighty-eight.)
Yet, despite parental disapproval, many wondrous magical things issued from
Aberystwyth, as will be documented in this compendium.
We conclude this account of a monumental figure in our art with an autobiographical
reflection: ''The interest of some magicians in magic is cursory; mine is profound. They
are interested only in certain magic; I am interested in all magic. They are gregarious;
I am introverted. They look for what they can use; I look for even the tiniest glimmer
of an innovation to titillate my jaded reflex. Most are not like me, and prefer what they
call commercial magic. Others, like me, are attracted to the inspirational - effects that
contain the spark that will ignite their creative nature, that will launch those sundry
peculiar gyrations leading to a new idea. Sometimes an effect will satisfy both kinds; many
times it will not. But all of us acquire pleasure from magic in our fashion. I have been
most fortunate in having good friends who are of one kind or the other."
The Love-Sick Tennis
Baff
Tops, December 1940

T
his is one trick where I started with the effect before I found the right principle.
Years ago, Bob Gysel marketed The Psychic Golf Ball. It was advertised that
an unprepared golf ball would roll across the table at your command. The trick
consisted of a ring of felt on a thread beneath a tablecloth. That method didn't fill me
with wild enthusiasm, and so I began to explore other possibilities. I made a list of the
different types of balls. I made a list of different ways of producing motion.
"Finally I got around to a five-sided box that would move across a rough surface if a
Bunsen burner was alternately turned on and off beneath it. The movement was created
by the box sides expanding and then contracting. I was not successful in working out a
method of applying heat to a metal ball, but a hole punched in the side of a hollow rubber
ball would permit its sides to act much the same as under expansion and contraction. To
produce this action a number of times without approaching the ball became involved.
I then realized that the flat side of the ball permitted motion to be retarded. Gravity is
about the simplest form of motive power I know, and a slanting side to one side of a
container was a logical thought.
''This idea of a ramp may have been suggested by a toy called Radio Rex. It required
a special kennel in which was built an electro-magnetic switch operated by batteries and
a swinging panel that kicked the dog out when voice vibrations operated the switch.
unfortunately it required dry cells, and the kennel could not be examined.
''Winston Freer thought The Love-Sick Tennis Ball was the acme of perfection,
although he preferred to call it The Legend Of The Love-Lorn Lob. In 1941, he spent his
vacation here at Aberystwyth. We did a lot of fooling around with principles. Two of
my models particularly appealed to him. One was a goofy use of The Love-Sick Tennis
Ball. I had found a hat pin with a head that was like a shallow ball shell. I had a rubber ball
that fitted in this shell when impaled on the pin. It was rubber-cemented in place.
Squeezing the ball made a dimple so the pin would lie on a table. With the air back in
the ball and the dimple gone, the pin would rise and rock back and forth like the
weighted-base bob up toys. I had one of those little lead soldiers. Its weight near the
end of the pin would
40
THE LOVE-SICK TENNIS BALL 41

hold the point down. This would be demonstrated, and then it was put in a shallow box
without top or bottom, which represented the fence around the parade ground. A flag
was mounted near the point of the pin. Of course, the effect was that when a kid whistled
the national anthem, the soldier would release the flag so that it would wave back and
forth."

-0-

When this was reprinted in Ste11Jart James In Print, Stewart commented: "I fear that
most modern tennis balls won't work as set out below... you can use a toy football." Nate
K.ranzo, who has had great fun performing this routine, suggests using the large plastic
balls typically found in the play centers at McDonald's restaurants.
A tennis ball and a box are the only properties used. Both may be examined. The
performer places the ball in the box and steps away to as great a distance as he desires. On
making a noise Like a love-sick tennis ball calling to its mate, the ball rolls out of the box
and across the floor toward him. Anyone may now pick up and re-examine both the ball
and the box, but no hairs, threads, wires, magnets, clock-works or gasoline motors will be
found.
The box I used was wood, 3" wide, 3" long and 3 1/2" high. Quarter-inch material was
used. The cover was an inch deep and fitted on either the top or bottom a la the Okito
Coin Box.
The ball is just a hollow tennis ball that has had an air-hole punched into it with a
darning needle. The box is brought forward with the ball inside. The cover is removed and
placed on the bottom of the box. The ball is extracted, bounced off the floor, caught, and
passed for examination along with the box. Take back the box first.

I
or.z
I

-J" -

The cover is left on the bottom. The box is placed on the floor with its mouth away
from the audience.
Pick up the ball and squeeze the air out under cover of placing it in the box. Push it
well to the back of the box where it rests on its flattened side. Step away from the box and
call the ball. You can time it nicely as the ball will not come out until it is fully expanded
to
42 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

A69:XJN
A6
BALL IS
INFlATD
IT exis
our.
normal. The length of time this takes depends on the size of the air-hole you have made
in it. It rolls out when perfectly round because of the slanting surface on which it rests.
A gaily coloured ball is quite attractive and usually has a thinner wall which makes it
easier to work with than the heavier-sided tennis ball.
Remembering the Future
Marketed by SJ, 194142 and 1947

I
t would seem I had another Miraskill situation here: a very popular trick that simply
didn't receive recognition until after a second appearance. I have no recall of whether
I sold a single copy of the 1941-41 version, but it certainly took off when it was
introduced again in 1947.
"I still don't understand why this one works. [Mathematic professor) Paul Montgomery
sent me nine pages to explain it to me; I think he knew."
Martin Gardner presented Stewart's creation in his 'Mathematical Recreations' column
in the July 1958 Scientific American with this introduction: "A large number of self-working
card tricks depend on the properties of digital roots. In my opinion the best is a trick
currently sold in magic shops as a four-page typescript titled 'Rembering The Future.'
It was invented by Stewart James of Courtright, Ontario, a magician who has probably
devised more high-quality mathematical card tricks than anyone who ever lived."
Francis Haxton, who released Remembering The Future for Stewart in England,
decided it would boost sales if he included his stage version, which he had worked up
for the Cotswold Assembly early in 1947. This, together with Stewart's idea of stacking
the top thirty-six cards, was later distributed with the manuscript and is included in the
description below.
Charles Reynolds added a caveat: "In the mathematical card tricks of Stewart James,
arguably the most amazing mind in the history of our art, there is always a danger that
the method will be more astonishing than the effect. Remembering The Future is so
fascinating in its working that it is not immune to this problem. How do you sell it to an
audience? The creative performer has his work cut out for him."
Charles is correct, but I suggest that Stewart's suggested opening commentary takes a
long step in the right direction.

-.0-

Patter Theme: "Time has been compared to a river. Where you are standing represents

43
44 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

the present. The water that has flowed by represents the past, and what has not yet
reached you - the future. Just as a man may swim against the current and see a bit of
driftage before it floats by the point at which he had been standing, some people claim
that they can project their astral body into the future and perceive in advance what will
happen. Many people possess this ability without realizing it."
Effect: The magician removes the nine low cards from a borrowed deck. They are
placed face down on the table and a volunteer selects one. A second volunteer cuts the
remaining cards where he will, counts the number of cards cut, and adds their digits
together in order to arrive at a single digit. The second volunteer's total is the same as the
value of the first volunteer's card.
Method: Remove an ace to nine inclusive from any regular deck of fifty-two playing
cards. The suits of the cards have no bearing on the trick. Freely show that this is what
you actually do. Shift them about in your hands, so that the spectators do not know the
order in which they lie. Deal them face down on the table so they read, from your left
co right: 7 8 9 A 2 3 4 5 6.
The first volunteer touches anyone of the face-down cards. You slide it to the right as
well as all cards that lie to its right. They will vary from eight to none. For example, let us
suppose that the three has been touched. You slide it to the right so that it becomes the
card at the face of a packet of four. The other three cards are the four, five and six.
The volunteer does not know what card he has touched, but it is impressed on him that
the selected card is at the face of the little packet of cards on the table. The cards that are
to the left of the chosen card are assembled and returned to the remainder of the deck.
A second volunteer is now given the rest of the pack which, in this case, numbers
forty-eight cards. He is asked to cut them anywhere he wishes so that he has two piles
of cards on the table. Counting the cards in one pile, he may find that there are twenty
seven. If there are a two and a seven in that pile, they may be placed face up beside it as
a reminder.
The other pile will contain twenty-one cards. If there are a two and an ace in that pile,
they may be placed face up beside it.
State that it is necessary to alter this result to a single digit. Adding 2 and 7 gives 9.
Adding 2 and 1 gives you 3. As there are still two digits, you have to continue further by
adding the 9 and 3 to give 12. Finally add the 1 and 2 and you obtain 3. This is a single
digit, and the value of the first card touched. The packet of cards on the table is turned
over to display this coincidence.
You may find it more natural to spread the nine cards face down on the table in an
overlapping row with the seven on the bottom and the six on top. Then, when one is
touched it is simple to square up this card and all above it and to its right, so it becomes
the bottom card of the small packet.
Regardless of what card is first touched or the number of cards cut in each pile, if you
follow the instructions the card value and the total of the piles are always the same.
Alternate Version:
REMEMBERING THE FUTURE 45

The set-up 7 8 9 A 2 3 4 5 6 is repeated three more times, the suits immaterial. These
are stacked on top of each other and then put on top of the mixed court cards and the
tens to make a fifty-two card deck.
You are now in position to deal cards from the top of the deck, stopping when
instructed by a spectator. The next nine cards are removed without reversing their order
or showing their faces and used in the trick as described. However, you must cut them so
the seven is on top before you deal the nine cards in normal fashion from left to right.
You must also replace the cards originally dealt off, onto the deck. The result is that from
the spectators' viewpoint, nine cards are reached at random, thus further obscuring the
method.
Francis Haxton's Platform Presentation:
"The effect as described in the original version was only suitable for working before
two or three people at a table. I was, however, very impressed with the clever idea, and
I wanted to use it on the platform before large audiences and so devised the following
presentation.
"The cards, reading from the top are stacked 6 5 4 3 2 A 9 8 7, and this stack is
repeated three times. Below them in any order are the tens and face cards. Your other
requirements are a table on which is a card display stand, a slate and a piece of chalk.
''Announce that you are going to predict something that has not yet taken place and
that you require two assistants. Place these assistants each in a chair on either side of the
platform. You now require a number to be selected, and you announce that you will deal
the cards on the table until someone in the audience calls 'stop.'
"This you proceed to do, dealing the cards in an irregular heap on the table. When you
are stopped, this card is placed on the stand, back to the audience. You now approach one
of your assistants with the balance of the deck on your outstretched left hand. I think here
that it is quite reasonable to leave the dealt cards on the table, as they are unevenly dealt,
and the unspoken suggestion is that it would be a waste of time to gather them up.
"The first assistant takes the cards from you and is asked to go over to the other
assistant and invite him or her to cut off a portion of the cards and return to his seat. The
idea of two persons having the packets is to shorten the time taken in counting the cards,
which operation is better reduced to a minimum since it has no entertainment value.
"The performer picks up the slate and chalk, at the same time inviting the assistants to
count their cards. As these totals are announced, you write them on the slate in a single
column, one figure under the other. This saves having to go into an explanation about
each individual adding his totals together, and then maybe you will have to do it again in
the end. The single-column idea is more direct. You merely total the four digits and write
that number on the slate, then reduce it to a single digit if necessary.
''.After this, you turn round the card on the stand and show that the spectator's
prediction was correct.
"For example, someone calls 'stop' after you have dealt eleven cards, and this last card,
a five, is placed with its back to the audience. There will be forty-one cards left in the deck.
46 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

Let us assume this group is cut into two packets of 16 and 25 respectively. When those
four digits are totalled, the result is 14. When those two digits are added together the final
result is 5."
Further Than That
Jinx # 134 (April 1941)

S
hortly after this appeared in the Jinx, Percy Abbott expressed displeasure that I had
released it, and said I should have known that he could have made plenty of sales
with it. I had worked the trick for him, and he didn't like it; he said a buyer felt he
was gypped if he didn't get a gimmick for his money.
"Leslie May liked it well enough. In the April 1965 Budget, reviewing the Tannen reprint
volume of the Jinx #101-151, he said Further Than That ' ... requires a simple stack,
but the effect is tremendous. It is one of the best openers for a card routine I've ever
encountered.' It was marketed as 'Obie' O'Brien's $2.50 Card Trick' around 1971 with
tens instead of aces, a blank-deck finale and no credit. This didn't irritate me terribly, but
an ad for it in the Lin/ei,ng Ring quoted remarks from Dai Vernon, Brother Hamman, Jay
Marshall, Gene Gordon, Karrel Fox, John Braun, and Jim Ryan that suggest they had, in
only thirty years, forgotten the original. So had Al Sharpe when he ran an inferior version
in Expert Card Cot!}11ti11g (1963) and called it Merely A Coincidence. Herb Rungie ha~'t
and gave credit in publishing his Further Than That (Continued) in the October 1980
Magi.gram. Other versions have appeared in print by Eddie Fields, Karl Fulves, Harry
Lorayne, Jon Racherbaumer, J. W Sarles, Mike Skinner, and Cushing Strout."

-0-

I was quoted in Ibidem #32 (luly 1967): " ... probably one of the most under-rated
tricks of all time ... in my presentations, it is every bit as effective as Out Of This
World."
Stewart's original, as published in 1941, will be followed below by a variation preferred
today which is credited to J.W Sarles. About the Sarles version, Toronto magician David
Peck said, "With a few false shuffles and a false cut or two, it doesn't get much better than
this."
Further Than That received the most votes of any Stewart James conception by those
magicians, identified on the Acknowledgements page, who assisted me in determining
which items would be featured in this work.

47
48 THE
ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

It begins: "Magicians have had to alter the workings of many


of their mysteries to the trend of the times. Illusionists today can
perform miracles never even dreamed of but a decade ago. I
have been asked what a card manipulator can do today that
wasn't possible a few years ago. This is one thing. Will you help
me, sir?
"Old-time magicians would fan the deck of cards for you to
make a selection, but as I
am demonstrating modern, streamlined magic, th.is mystery
goes further than that. Take the deck in your own hands. Name
any number between, say 10 and 20. 17? Very well, count
seventeen cards, one at a time, into a face-down pile on the
table. Put the rest of the deck aside for now.
"Old-time magicians would ask you to take the top card of
those you have dealt off,
but th.is mystery goes further than that. From within your packet
of seventeen cards I am going to have you select just one, and
select it in a way directed entirely by chance. If you wrote 17
you would make a 1 and a 7. Should you add these figures your
total would be 8. So count eight cards face down onto the table,
look at and remember the eighth card, and drop the rest of your
packet on top. And now you may place that bunch of cards
back onto the rest of the deck.
''You probably expect me to search through the deck and
try to pick out the card
you have in mind, but this mystery goes further than that.
Without glancing at the face of a single card I merely hold
the deck to my forehead. Modern day magic methods
immediately inform me that the card you looked at was the ace
of spades. Right?
"But this mystery goes further than that. I spell A-C-E,
dealing a card for each letter.
In th.is next pile I deal cards for each of the letters in S-P-A-D-
E-S. And, on turning over the next card, what do we have? The
ace of spades!
"But this mystery goes further than that. On turning over
the ace pile, we find the other three aces. And, on turning over
the spades pile we find that every card is a spade.
"Further than that, the spades are in correct order: two,
three, four, five, six and seven.
"And this mystery goes even one step further than that. In
case you wonder where the
rest of the spades are, I have merely to flick the deck like this and
deal them off the top in correct order: eight, nine, ten, jack,
queen and king. And I can't go further than that!"
Reading from the top of the deck down, the spades and aces
are stacked simply: 2 3
4 5 6 7 A A A AS 8 9 10 J Q K. A false shuffle and cut helps,
otherwise the trick is self
working. The volunteer has a choice of any number between 10
and 20. The second time you have him count to the total of the
digits in the number named. It's automatic.

+
Q I(
tJ
9

10
2 3 Lt 5 6 7 A P. A A 8
~
a
+ ~ ~ ~
O"T"l-\(R
~
A
C
t
5
A
N
Y
o"'Ds:t ~
~ i
FURTHER THAN THAT 49

Stewart wrote: "I am told that, in these more casual times, a preferred presentation is
to simply cull any six spades or hearts to the bottom of the deck during an impromptu
performance. Then get four aces - or twos or sixes or tens - below them with the card
matching the operative suit as the bottom card. (If you use aces or tens, you can also
position the other four cards of that royal flush below the aces as the bottom cards of all.)
Cut your stock to the top at the appropriate moment and you're all set. By first announcing
the name of the selected card, then spelling it, then revealing the three matching cards and
then the six mixed cards of the correct suit, you have enough occasions to use the "... this
trick goes further than that" business to guarantee unusually strong audience reaction. If
you were able also to prepare for the royal-flush finale, you will have trouble locating a
more effective card trick." (Of course, with a crimped card on the bottom and judicious
use of false shuffles and straight cuts, the effect is greatly enhanced.)
Half And Half
Jinx #134 (April 1941)

I
f you thumb through all the issues of the Jinx, you will rarely find a circumstance in
which Ted Annemann literally demanded that the reader try or use the trick explained.
In 1941 I knew I had a unique idea and a wonderful method when I sent Half And
Half to Ted. I had used this presentation often, and it never failed to impress my audience
and delight me. However, I wasn't expecting this comment from Ted, set up in the middle
of the page so the reader couldn't miss it: 'Attention, all possible readers!! Please do not
let this layout of 'tables' make you grimace. We didn't like it, either, until after the second
reading, when it suddenly became clear and dawned on us that the thing made sense and
was a miracle to the onlookers while being an utterly awful bit of 'stealing' to a performer.
But don't let that stop you from trying it.' I have just re-read the lists I supplied to Ted
in 1941, and it is interesting that every single word works just as well and appears just as
natural and ordinary today. Maybe you should try this one.
"It is gratifying when someone checks in who has used the trick in regular performances.
Allan Slaight reminded me that he had written me some time in the 1950s to inform me
that Half And Half was one of the items he performed regularly, and the single trick that
gave him the biggest thrill because of the unusual method."

-0-

List contributor Paul Hallas said it well: "If most marketed magical effects were half as
good as this one, the world would be a better place. It would be difficult to think of many
tricks simpler in execution that have more impact. The most work you have to do is take
an envelope out of your pocket."
The visible apparatus consists of three dice, an apparently meaningless list of pairs of
letters, two slates and a piece of chalk.
You write something on one slate and place it to one side. No one sees what you have
written. An interested spectator rolls the dice until he is satisfied that they are fair. Then
comes the important throw of the cubes. The total is noted. Let us say that it is 10. The

50
HALF AND HALF 51

spectator locates the pair of letters tenth from the top of the column and proceeds to
write them on the second slate. The letters will be found to be NK
The performer hands the spectator a second list which, when placed beside the first,
reveals the completed list of eighteen words.
The word at the tenth position is PLANK, the last two letters of which the volunteer
has just written on his slate. Your slate now is turned so that its writing side faces the
audience as it is placed beside the spectator's slate. The word is completed. The performer's
slate bears PLA, the first three letters.
0 CRO '-'ID
,c MA<. IC
HT TIGHT
TE w~o T
PE ~OPE
NT
TY 8~u NT
N PAR TY
RA SHONE
NK Z8 RA
IL. PLA NK
vs OEV IL.
H~ FAA Y.S
IN Ur HE
SH SAT IN
c~
0 FR.E SI-I
6T T'W'/ CE
sr
ID YEA
SOL. ID

With three dice, the smallest number that can be thrown is 3 and the largest will be 18.
If an odd number is tossed, you have the volunteer count off that many rows of letters
and note what comes up next. When an even number is thrown, he is directed to count
to that number and note the letters at that number. In either case, only letters at an even
numbered position may be selected.
As 2 cannot be thrown, this narrows the possible selections to 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16
and 18. You have eight separate lists for the groups of three letters. These lists are as
follows:

(4) (6) (8) (10) (12) (14) (16) (18)


C:AO C,llfO CAO C/ltO c,qo CAO c~o
l'1AG
TIG
MAG
TIG "r't""'"
MAC. 1'1AC.
TIG
MA<.
TIG,
/"tlfG
rt6
TIG """o
Jl'.t.A RO WAO AO 1,,,1/ltO WAO
G,lltO
IJAU
~o
l'LA
61't0
B/fV
G1'0
&<tlJ
~o
/!JAIJ. CS/Ito
IJRtJ
c.,tO
MA 8AV
.MA. l'A/IC Pl#~ l'I//IA PAR. p,q~
5HO SHO PLA $HO 5HO 5'10 :sHO
ZELi z1 Z1J ZE.t 21.t 268 28
rHI T>U rHt PLA THI THI rHI THI
OI.V DV DEV D6V /UV Dv 0V DEV

'""""
,<'Jltlf FltA. FJICJII ,-ltA PLA F/ltlf l'AA
UffT .t.1tr LAT LAT LAT LAT .t.AT LAT
SAT .SAT ~AT SAT SAT PLA $AT .SAT
Flt.~ FA.~ FA. FA F/ft FR.
l'/ltE.
TWI TWI rw rwt rw rw, ;-L.A TW
Y~A YEA
""'
Y~A YE.A VEA YEA
YA VE
SOL. SOL. SOL. SOL SOL SOL. 50'- P
52 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

The numbers in brackets are for your personal use and knowledge, and of course
do not appear on the lists. Carry each list in a separate envelope with the number lightly
penciled on the inside of the flap.
In preparing for the presentation, arrange the envelopes in your pockets in a known
order. Those marked 4, 6, and 8 go in your left coat pocket; 10 and 12 are in your inside
coat pocket; and 14, 16, and 18 are in your right coat pocket.
Introduce the list of two-letter combinations, the dice, and the slates. Secretly print
PLA on one slate and place it aside as the volunteer tests the dice. The dice now are rolled,
and the total is taken. In most cases you can total the dice quickly and remove the proper
list from your pocket before the volunteer has announced the result. Suppose the total to
be 11. You have removed the envelope which is secretly marked 12 from your inside coat
pocket, and are holding it. Tell him to count down eleven two-letter combinations, note
the next and write it on his slate. It will be YS. If you don't mind replacing a list, it is likely
more natural to have the spectator cross off the first eleven combinations with a pencil,
and then look at the twelfth.
On handing him your list to place beside his, he finds that the word at that position
is PLAYS. Holding the two slates together, with the writing on both showing, the word
PLAYS is revealed.

Although the word was selected so fairly, to all appearances you must have known what
word it would be. As a matter of fact you don't, as no particular word is forced. Reasoning
further, the list is not exchanged, for half of it is in the volunteer's hands always. The
prediction is not switched, for your written-on slate is never again touched by you. The
prediction is direct with no double meaning.
The Robot Deck
Handwritten notes, undated

I
t is not clear when Stewart worked out the stack which makes possible his legendary
Robot Deck routine. It would appear to have been sometime in the early 1940s,
or even before. He wrote Sid Lorraine on August 15, 1947: "Hope to have the
opportunity of demonstrating the Robot Deck for your opinion. Was so pleased that
Christopher, famous for his quickies, really liked it."
Stewart had attended the I.B.M. convention in Pittsburgh earlier that year. He presented
the Robot Deck sequence to Milbourne Christopher, who wrote in the July 1947 Linking
Ring: "Stewart James showed me his 'Robot Deck.' He has combined half a dozen set-up
pack effects into one smooth routine. This is not on the market, as is his excellent Go
Go handkerchief. Stewart almost bought a Go-Go himself after seeing Magician [Clare]
Cummings vanish four spinning half dollars one at a time by covering them with the
new device." (The Go Go Vanisher, marketed by Harold Sterling in 1947, is described
shortly.)
He wrote Neal Elias on July 25, 1947: "Christopher mentioned my Robot Deck in last
Linking Ring. It is a stack within a stack within a stack within a stack within a stack within
a stack plus a stack.
He wrote Howard Lyons on February 1, 1952: "Robot Deck: I purchased a copy of
the Nikola Card System when it came out in 1927. It was considered the best thing in a
stacked deck by. many - and still is. The Card Encyclopedia devotes 18 pages to it. The
original contained 71 pages. John Snyder was particularly enthusiastic and many a friendly
argument we had concerning same. I liked the advantage of doing several card tricks in
sequence with the one deck but I was not impressed with his card game deals and the
Spelling Bee was very weak inasmuch as a Jack had to be shown quickly as a King.
"Prior to this, T. Page Wright had published his wonderful Card Effects Classified in
the May 1924 Sphinx. It is repeated briefly on page 22 of The Trick Brain. In his article
he stressed that the greatest effect possible was a prediction.
"So, I simply combined Frank Travers' Gambler At Large [from Jinx #39, published
in December 1937] with a version of the Joker Spelling Bee with one of the very best

53
54 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

stacked deck predictions."


I visited Stewart at his home in Courtright in 1974 and he performed the Robot Deck
routine for his highly impressed visitor. He wrote me on August 26, 1983: "Robot routine
as of July 21, 1983. Mental Spell, Straight Poker, Stud Poker, Blackjack, Bridge, Scrambled
Spelling Bee and Remarkable Prophecy. There are 10 floaters so the predicted card may be
changed frequently without otherwise altering the stock except for the card with which it
is exchanged. I first remember the 14-15 stock being advertised by Chicago Magic Co. No
one given credit. Has been rediscovered by several since including Larsen and Wright."
Using his list as a guide, I had little difficulty reconstructing the routine from Stewart's
earlier handwritten sheets - more legible than usual - and the notes I took during my
1974 visit to Courtright.
I enjoyed Gordon Bean's comment: "There's something thrilling about looking at
the apparently innocuous face of the deck in its Robotic form and realizing how much
work is contained therein. Performing the routine seems like unfolding a house out of a
suitcase."
The stack from top to face: 2H 9S 7H 4D SD SS 3H 10H 4H QS 9D 7D AC SS AH
SD 2D SH 3S AD 6S JS JC SH KD SC 6D 6C 3D QD 2C 7C 6H 9C JD 4C AS KB 4S
10D 2S 7S SC 3C QH KS lOC 9H KC 10S JH QC.
Begin by secretly predicting the seven of diamonds on a slip of paper; fold it and place
it in full view. Tell your audience you are attempting to forecast an unusual occurrence
which they will witness later.

1. Mental Spell: After false shuffles or at least false cuts, fan the top five cards, claiming
they represent a hand you might receive in a poker game, and request that a spectator
merely think of one. While this is being done, get a break under the top two cards of the
talon; it could be acquired during the initial fan and removal of the five cards. Return the
quintet to the deck, then double undercut seven cards to the bottom. Repeat this exact
procedure with a second spectator.

Demonstrate how to spell a card for Spectator One. ''Assume you are thinking of the
three of diamonds. I will remove one card for each letter in its name -THREE OF
DIAMONDS. Miraculously, your card will appear on the last letter." Spell as you explain,
THE ROBOT DECK 55

taking each card into the other hand and below its predecessor, then tilt the packet up
when you have finished to show the three of diamonds on the face.

Place these cards on the bottom of the deck. Turn your attention to Spectator Two and
show her the same procedure, this time spelling SEVEN OF SPADES as your example
card. This packet is also placed on the bottom of the talon.

Return to Spectator One, and ask him to name aloud his mentally selected card. Spell
it in the same manner, carefully and at a relatively slow pace, then reveal it on the face of
the spelled group and return these cards to the top of the talon. It is now necessary to
double undercut seven cards to the bottom; this is made easier if you in-jog the seventh
card during your spell.
Move back to Spectator Two. If you wish, you may give her the deck and have her
conduct the spell while you watch that she follows instructions. After the card she thought
of is disclosed on the last letter, the spelled cards are replaced on top of the talon.
Here it is necessary to cut the ace of hearts to the face of the deck. This can be made
easier by crimping it slightly or shorting it before you commence, or you will find it to
be the top card just before you demonstrate the spelling procedure with the three of
diamonds and you can put in the work at that time. However, in later typewritten notes
dated July 21, 1983, Stewart suggested this strategy: "So there will be no suspicion that I
deal cards from the bottom of the deck, I will place an easily remembered card - this ace
of hearts will do nicely - face up on the bottom."

2. Straight Poker: Deal five hands of five cards each for poker, the first four hands face
56 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

down and your hand face up. Explain that nothing can top a royal flush, consisting of the
ace, king, queen, jack and ten of the same suit. Your audience will watch, impressed, as
your hand builds to a royal flush in diamonds.
Retain the talon in your hands, and return the ace of hearts to its normal face-down
position, still at the bottom. ("It was to prove a point, which you have done," Stewart
commented.) Drop two of the royal flush cards face down on top, then double undercut
three cards to the bottom. Return the other three royal flush cards face down on top. It's a
good idea to false cut at this point as you point out that you are splitting up the royal flush
hand. Then the other hands are returned face down in four, three, two and one order. The
first hand dealt should now be on top of the deck.

3. Stud Poker: Tell your audience that, in a game of regular stud poker, a royal flush would
be too much of a good thing and that three of a kind would normally win the pot. This
time you deal only four hands, and if anyone comments on this say that one of the players
dropped out after he saw you give yourself a royal flush. Deal one round face down, and
then - dealing in rotation as usual - two cards face up on each of the four hole cards.
You show a pair of sixes, then turn the hole card face up on top of them: another six.

Place these three cards face down on the talon. Repeat this process with the other
hands in three, two and one order. The best any other player can muster is a pair of
deuces.

4. Blackjack: There should be a false shuffle or at least a false cut at this stage, as you tell
your audience you will deal for blackjack. Four cards are dealt face down, then one face up
on each. Beginning with the first hand, turn each hole card face up on top of its partner.
You win emphatically again.
Return the hands face down to the talon in four-three-two-one order.

5. Bridge: Appear to mix the cards again, then tell your audience that you will deal for
bridge. Deal the first three hands face down and your hand face up. State that you plan
to deal yourself a Grand Slam by giving yourself every spade in the deck. The spectators
watch in fascination as you proceed to honour your commitment.
THE ROBOT DECK 57

Place these thirteen spades aside, squared and face down, without disturbing their
order. Collect the other three hands face down, this time in one-two-three order so the
third hand is on top. These thirty-nine cards are turned face up and dealt singly into two
face-up piles as you separate the red cards from the clubs.

6. Scrambled Spelling Bee: The club pile is turned face down on the table as you pick up
the face-down spade group. Have someone turn the top club face up and place it beside
its face-down packet as they start a new pile. Spell its value by placing one card under the
spade packet for each letter, then show the next card. The first club will be a seven, so
you spell S-E-V-E-N and then reveal the seven of spades. It is placed face down on the
table.

This procedure is repeated for each of the values turned up from the top of the club
packet. That card is then placed face up on the club cards beside the original face-down
dub packet. Each spade, when produced, is placed face down on the pile that began with
the seven of spades. When the five of clubs appears, give your spades group to a spectator
and ask him to try it. The ace of spades will appear; it is placed under the packet as you
take the cards back. Spell the five of spades correctly, then place it face down on top of
the other spelled spades.
The ten, three and king also misspell, and it adds to the fun to hand the spade group
58 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

over to the same spectator to try his luck each time one of those values appears on top of
the club pile. (It is simple to remember the three values which miss, after the five, because
they are the first three which follow the 'Eight' in the Eight Kings stack.) The final card is
the ace of clubs. After the assisting spectator drops it on the face-up club pile, assemble
the two black packets by dropping the club group face down on the face-down spades.
The ace of spades is momentarily placed aside.

7. Prophetic Card Discovery: Turn the red packet face down, and hand the black cards,
also face down, to a spectator. Tell him to stab the ace of spades face up anywhere he
wishes in the black group, then to remove and total the cards on each side of the ace; to
make things appear even fairer, you can tell him he also has the option of removing the
two cards immediately above the face-up ace or the two cards immediately below it.

Direct attention to the secret prediction you made some minutes earlier, and ask that
it be read aloud. Instruct the spectator to count to his total in the face-down red pile.
The predicted seven of diamonds appears at that number. The two cards selected in this
manner must add to either 14 or 15, and the routine has placed the predicted card in
fifteenth position, ready for the usual count to show it either at the actual number or as
the next card.
Silkscreen
Explainedto Allan Slaight, May 25,
1991

S
tewart wrote Milt Kort from "Somewhere in France" on September 15, 1944:
"Floating Handkerchief idea: Have I ever mentioned this effect to you? What 1
finally concocted so intrigued me that I suppose I have done it three or four hundred
times purely for my own amusement. What happens: A handkerchief is borrowed. A knot
is tied in one corner - it can be tied by the owner. Magician holds hank in front of
two-fold screen-well away from the screen itself - and lets go. Hank does not fall. A
solid hoop, examined before and after, is passed over the hank ONCE, from end to end
- on at one end and off at the other, or as many times as you choose. Hank is returned
and screen may be examined as well. There is nothing attached to the hank at any time
-and a common cotton handkerchief works even better than a silk. No body work. And
please!!! - no magnetism."
Stewart also wrote Norm Houghton about his suspension, but this description became
more devious. His February 14, 1962 letter said: "One summer Winston Freer took his
vacation here at Aberystwyth. We did a lot of fooling around with principles. It was at
this time that he got the idea that eventually became his Maxam Rings. Two of my models
particularly appealed to him. One was an off-beat levitation. An object could be borrowed
from a spectator. Performer could walk away and leave it suspended in the air. Unprepared
ring could be taken from spectator, passed over object once and one way only (or any
number of times) and ring immediately returned. Object taken from air and returned
without a clue as nothing attached to it at any time." (The other trick that intrigued Freer
was a variation of Stewart's Love-Sick Tennis Ball, as described earlier in the introduction
to that trick.)
Stewart's method for Silkscreen was explained to me when I visited him in Courtright
in 1991. Max Maven said, "I think this is terrific."
A fairly sturdy two-panel folding screen is used, and the sides to face your spectators
are painted or covered so the background the audience sees conceals the thread setup
required to allow the suspension of the handkerchief The thread is arranged in two
parallel lines, like a railway track, about one-quarter of the way down from the top of

59
60 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

the screen. The distance between the threads is dictated by the type of handkerchief and
size of knot; they must hold the hanky when the knot rests on them, but not be so close
together that they grip the fabric below the knot.

In performance, the screen is folded and lying flat on your table. Open the screen
and stand it upright as you ask to borrow a gentleman's handkerchief. Tie a single knot
in the hanky so the end above the knot is some two or three inches long. Arrange the
handkerchief so it hangs from the centre of the threads, suspended by its knot. This is
done as you are seen to stroke the hanky as if placing it in a trance, and a minute or two
of experimentation will prove how easy it is to accomplish this action naturally. When
you dramatically remove your hands, the handkerchief is seen to be floating in empty
space.

Using a metal ring or wooden hoop, encircle the handkerchief from below and slowly
bring the ring up in slanted position so it first comes between the suspended hanky and the
rear thread. Continue to raise the ring so the rest of it comes between the hanky and the
front thread. The ring's upward journey continues until it has cleared the handkerchief.
SILKSCREEN

61

The hanky may be removed by casually flicking it away from the screen and threads,
or the action with the ring may be conducted again. Finally, toss the handkerchief, still
knotted, back to its owner.
Stewart's description in his 1944 letter to Milt Kort said that the screen could be
examined. This touch would require a special threading system and is really not necessary.
After the handkerchief is returned and the ring placed back on t~e table, the screen can
be picked up and casually shown on both sides before it is folded and placed aside - or
used for other purposes.
Vocafculate
Handwrittennotes, circa 1945

T
he delightful lie-speller plot, in which a chosen card, lost in the pack, is found
even though the spectator is allowed to lie when answering a series of questions,
was introduced by Martin Gardner in Joe Berg's Here} New Magic (1937).
Stewart worked out a number of variations on this theme, but according to a March 13,
1969 letter to Persi Diaconis, ''The thought starter was Jack Vosburgh's The Awful Truth
from More ThanA Trick. Published in 1941."
Stewart and I exchanged comments about the lie detector theme, and it was obvious
he had attacked the problem many years before he and I corresponded about it. He wrote
me on September 25, 1978: "I set myself the following restrictions:
"1. No glimpses. The sense of sight must not be used.
"2. You must be totally unaware of the position of any card of those held by volunteer
at the start of the experiment
"3. Cards to be in volunteer's hands before instructions are given him and you do not
handle any of the cards again until after you have revealed his prevarication.
"4. No delayed action. Immediate revealment.
"Appropriate patter theme would be about a device [that has] the ability to analyze
voice stress patterns and detect if a person is telling a lie or a truth. Some operators who
have worked with this device over a long period of time have acquired this ability without
requiring mechanical means. You have experimented and would like to demonstrate the
results of your practice."
Stewart identified seven tricks that met his own criteria, although at that time he did
not reveal their methods. Much later he made most of them available to me, and that
remarkable series is presented in the 'Lie Spoiler' chapter beginning on page 1681 of The
[ames File. I selected Vocalculate to represent this category.
Max Maven wrote: "As I may have mentioned, I've been working intermittently on
a book of lie/truth material. Stewart's ideas on this appealing concept are wonderful,
and Vocalculate is simply brilliant. Why didn't I think of this? (Why? Because I'm not
Stewart.)"

62
VOCALCULATE 63

Three spectators each take a card after the deck has been mixed. Spectator One is
asked the value of his card, Spectator Two asked the suit, and no question is asked of
Spectator Three. You then return to Spectator One and state that, although you know
the value, if he either lies or tells the truth about the suit of his card, you would have one
chance in four of guessing which action he took. He names a suit, and you either confirm
that he told the truth or tell him he lied. Spectator Two is told that, although you know
the suit of his card, you have only one chance in thirteen of determining if he is honest
or not when he is allowed to lie in naming the value. He names a value and, despite the
higher odds, you are again able to accurately identify whether or not he told the truth.
Turning to Spectator Three, you inform him that you have only one chance in fifty-two
of calling his choice accurately because you did not determine either the correct value or
suit earlier. He is asked to name his card in full and either lie or tell the truth. Once more,
you beat the odds.
Use the Eight Kings or Si Stebbins stack. False shuffle, then ask one of your volunteers
to take them into his hands to conduct one complete cut, so there is no possibility that
you know the position of a single card. The three spectators each remove a card from the
top of the deck, and it is only important that you are sure you know the order in which
they were selected.
Because of the stack employed, in this example we will assume it is the Eight Kings
arrangement, when Spectator One reveals the true value of his card and Spectator Two
names her suit, you will be in possession of the identity of each of their three cards.
Assume the suit order is clubs, hearts, spades and diamonds. In this instance, Spectator
One says he holds a nine and Spectator, Two says she holds a heart. Therefore, Spectator
One's card is the nine of clubs because a club must precede a heart. In turn, Spectator
Two's card must be the five of hearts because a five follows a nine. Spectator Three has
the queen of spades, which comes after the five of hearts in the stack. (If you wisb to
expand beyond the simplicity of the original plot, you can claim additional powers and
correctly identify each card at the appropriate point.)
The Prophet} Choice
Type111ritten instruaions, October 6, 1946

S
tewart wrote Francis Haxton on April 7, 1953 to continue an exchange about Al
Baker's A Card And A Number from page 232 of E11cyclopedia Of Card Tricks. It
originally appeared in Al Baeer': Book One (1933). The effect is strong: A spectator
chooses either of two cased decks and places it in his pocket. Another spectator names
any number from 1 to 52; he then selects a card from the second pack. The duplicate of
that card is found at the chosen number in the pocketed deck.
After descriptions of two of his versions, Stewart's letter to Haxton continued: "In my
notes under the date of October 6th, 1946, I have a trick which at that rime I dubbed The
Prophet's Choice. Performer says he will think of a number. Spectator is to think of any
card. Performer names his number FIRST. S [Spectator] names his card. P [Performer]
removes named card from Deck 2. P deliberately counts to his number in Deck 1. As
he deals the cards face down - they are not marked - he tosses one out face down.
Card at number predicted before S named a card is the card S named! Card at predicted
number in Deck 2 is duplicate of card tossed out from Deck 1 in the dealing. I admit that
is somewhat of an anti-climax but is important to the working."
Prophet's Choice is exceptional, and a choice example of why Stewart James is
venerated for the superiority of so many of his inventions. It is a splendid extension of
Baker's original.
(All FACf OOWN)
~

I

ll J K
S T 6

""

I KING- ACf I KING ACfl


fXTRAJOKfR
~PAOU CWBt

Arrange Deck One so the ace to king of clubs, in order, are followed by the ace to
king of spades and the extra Joker or guarantee card. Arrange the ace to king of hearts,

64
THE PROPHET'S CHOICE 65

followed by the ace to king of diamonds and the other Joker or guarantee card, then place
the two twenty-seven-card packets face to face so the ace of clubs is on top and the ace of
hearts is the bottom card and face up. The two extra cards are face to face in the centre.
Case the cards, remembering their positions.
Stack Deck Two from the top: 2H 9C SS AC JC KS 9D 4S SH 8S 2S 7D 3H AS 8H 2D
JH 4D KC 8D JD 7S QD 4C 8C 4H Extra Joker (or guarantee card) QS SD 9H KD 3D
AH SC 10H 9S 6H QH 7C JS KH 6S QC 3S 10C AD 6C 3C 7H 2C 10D 6D 1 OS Joker.
It is also placed in its case.
To perform, remove Deck Two and false shuffle, then invite a spectator to cut it and
complete the cut; he can do this several times. Ask him to think of any card. Pretend to
concentrate for a moment, then openly write down your prediction - the number 27.
Ask him to name his card. Immediately declare that you have succeeded. Spread through
the cards with the faces to your volunteer, emphasizing that only he can see the cards, and
ask him to remove his card and drop it face up on the table. When he does this, casually
cut the pack at the point where it was removed, then place the deck face down on the table
beside the selection.
We will assume he names the two of spades. Because of your sequential stack, you
immediately know that it is the fifteenth card from the top of the black group in your
kissed Deck One. Therefore, you remove those cards so the red half is face down and
uppermost. As you hold the pack in dealing position, explain that somehow you were able
to visualize his two of spades in your mind before he named it, and that you received a
strong impression that it is lying twenty-seventh from the top. Indicate the number you
wrote on the slip of paper.
During this phase, you mentally subtract the position of the named card in its colour
group, 15, from 27. The result is 12. Therefore, you must deal twelve cards from the
opposite-colour section. State that you will count to the twenty-seventh card, and begin
dealing the cards face down in a pile, counting aloud. When you reach "12" and that card
is on top of the dealt packet, stop the deal and announce that you just received another
strong mental sensation involving that card, indicating the one just dealt. As you remove
it to deal it face down, above the face-down Deck Two and the face-up two of spades, the
talon is placed on the table slightly to your left. However, it is secretly turned over in this
action so the black cards are now on top.
With all attention on the twelfth card, appear momentarily puzzled as if you cannot
explain your sudden impulse. Say that you hope you will be able to explain everything in
a moment.
Pick up the talon and continue the deal aloud with "13," placing cards on the same pile
of dealt cards until you reach "27 ." Put this card face down on top of and overlapping
the two of spades. Emphasize that you predicted the number 27, before your volunteer
identified the card in his mind, because you had an impression that the card he had
mentally selected - the two of spades - was in twenty-seventh position in your deck.
Flip over the card you dealt on his face-up two of spades to reveal its duplicate.
66 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

TWflFTII CARO PlACtO

I---
BlllfIN FRONT

OfCK

Point to the card you had earlier dealt face down above Deck Two and the chosen
card. "I had a strong mental impulse when I reached this card while I was counting to 27,"
you say. "Now I think I know why: Its duplicate will be twenty-seven cards down in your
deck." The volunteer picks up Deck Two, counts to and shows the queen of hearts; you
turn over the tabled card to reveal the other queen of hearts.

I~ etue

BACK,,,~ w
II I
I

~//
Go Go Vanisher
Marketed by Harold Sterling, 1947

F
or a time, Max Andrews had the right to sell this in the United Kingdom; he must
have sold at least one, because I was told about 1956 that Ken DeCourcy had used
it regularly with good effect. Harry Stanley rather quickly put out what he called
Hankey-Pankey, an imitation of Go Go. This, of course, bothered Max, who had paid for
the distribution rights. Roy Hall in Detroit told me he sold one to everybody who used
the egg bag.
"I don't know what material Sterling used. I used generously sized brown work
handkerchiefs. All four edges were sewn together, and a square hole was cut in the centre,
in one side. The size of this hole depended on the object to be used. I usually used it to
vanish a fruit glass. In my view, this device has many possibilities, but magicians invariably
treated it as just another Devil's Hank. The difference between the two might be slight but
I consider the working to be easier and cleaner, and the effect much more magical.
What impressed Sterling was a multiple vanish, plus a full-view vanish that never
appeared in the directions. Go Go was used as a table cover, with the opening up. The
object to be vanished is set on the table in the opening. The corner of Go Go is grasped
in a manner peculiar to describe but simple in operation. In essence, you reach down to
grasp the corner of Go Go between the thumb and fingers, keeping the back of that hand
away from the body of the handkerchief
"Once the corner is grasped you turn your wrist to introduce a half twist into the
corner, using some body movement to avoid an awkward stance. The result is that
when Go Go is flipped from the table, it turns over and hangs naturally with the former
underside now toward the audience. The object is trapped inside Go Go which is replaced
on the table. It lies perfectly flat and smooth because the object hangs in one corner
beyond the rear edge of the table.
"Following the original instructions you will encounter some previously unpublished
ideas and variations."

-0-

67
68 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

Another magician who forwarded a list of his fifty favourite James creations was
Chicago's Gabe Fajuri. He wrote me: ''After reading the description of Go Go Vanisher,
I had a hunch about it, and after laying my hands on one, that hunch was proven correct.
The Go Go is far and away the best version of the Devil's Hank extant. It's the perfect
mixture of magic prop and everyday object, combined with clever design. And more
importantly, the effect it produces is startling and magical."
The handkerchief is double, made by sewing the hems of two identical handkerchiefs
together. There is an opening, which can be square or round, through the centre of one
thickness of cloth.

~u;;cur
/Al ONt;; ff~.!lm!!im!:!~~~~~-
I-IANl>KJ;R-
C#IJ;t=

f
TWO TJ.IICK 1-/A.NC>KJ;RCJ.ltt;;R;,
SEW!,/ toasruee

Action One: To vanish a coin or other small object: Place the coin on the table.
Remove the handkerchief from your pocket and open it out by the two upper corners.
Let it hang vertically in front of you. The opening is toward you and the lower edge of
the handkerchief is about waist-high. Do not have any bright lights shining from behind
you.
Spread the handkerchief flat so that the coin is at the centre and covered. The spectator
grasps the coin through the cloth by the thumb and first finger and raises it about four
inches above the table. As there is only one thickness of cloth over the coin, the spectator
does not feel anything unusual. Snap the handkerchief out of his hand, and the coin will
come safely to rest at one corner between the double thickness of cloth.

Action Two: To vanish a ball or similar object: Place the ball on the table and cover it
as you did the coin. It does not need to be lifted. Simply pull the handkerchief away, and
the ball rolls into concealment.
GO GO VANISHER 69

Action Three: To vanish any unbreakable object that Go Go will conceal: Spread the
handkerchief Aat with the opening next to the table. Lift the edge of the handkerchief
nearest you. Toss the object under. It is seen to leave your hand and heard to land on
the table, but it is not in sight when the handkerchief is pulled away. You tossed it right
through the opening.
Action Four: The same as Two, but the object is placed on the hand of a spectator
instead of on the table. Excellent for the egg bag trick.
Action Five: The same as Two, but the object is placed on the performer's left
hand instead of on the table. In any of these, after the object is covered, grasp the
handkerchief by one comer with the thumb and forefinger. Pull the handkerchief away
smartly. The folds will automatically conceal the opening after the handkerchief is pulled
away. It is surprising how you can vanish one object after another without unloading the
handkerchief.
Stewart provided this additional commentary: "In July, 1949, I made a note of a
presentation using this handling. It is introduced as a juggling stunt, removing the drape
without the glass falling to the floor. Some object is placed into a tumbler. Go Go is large
enough to look like the drape for a small table, and is plain side up on the table. It is placed
so that one corner hangs at the front. Slap the tabletop a couple of times, remove the
drape and slap the bare tabletop. Replace the drape with the opening up. Place the glass
on the opening, lift the rear corner using the twist described in the introduction, flip Go

''~~~ ,,


- -~/,11.,,.
't . '\ .. -
70 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

Go up into the air and the glass is gone. Catch the drape, slap the bare tabletop, replace
the drape plain side up with the corner concealing the glass hanging over the rear. Lift the
table, tilt it toward the audience and slap the top.
''A pretty flourish is to hold a white ball between the thumb and forefinger of the left
hand, with a red ball concealed in the curved fingers. A red Go Go is held by one corner
in the right hand, and the handkerchief is dragged across the white ball, which changes to
red. Your hands are empty except for the red ball. The flick of the handkerchief can be
done quite smartly.
"I also had a comedy bit that was puzzling. Go Go was a table cover. Any object was
used that would not roll, say a die. It goes in Go Go hanging in one corner over the
back edge of the table. Go Go in this case is made double and made of three sections;
the centre one is complete. Each outside piece has a centre hole large enough to take the
die. A duplicate die is placed on the table on top of Go Go. The corners of Go Go are
raised to form a bag. The die that was inside, and hanging in the corner, slides down and
out the
'bottom' hole while the visible one is inside the bag that was formed. The magician carries
the bag to centre stage, at all times looking at the audience. This action leaves a die sitting
on the table. Talking about what he is going to do with the die, the magician reaches in the
bag to remove it, and goes through the business of not being able to find it. The cover is
allowed to fall open and is retained by one corner. The magician looks toward the table,
business of surprised double take - the die is still there.
"The guys who hung around Sterlings were vanishing everything with it. Some of
them took to vanishing balls tossed into the air. Clare Cummings used to set three half
dollars spinning on edge on the table, vanishing each of them, one after another. He'd
take the vanisher with a corner in each hand and whisk away one coin, then rotate it one
quarter and hold those corners to vanish another, and again for the third. In this way the
half-dollars would travel to three different corners of the bag and not talk.
The Clincher
Typewritten instructions, August 23 & 26, 1947

T
he first application of the principle of having a card thought of and then spelled
out was devised by Mr. Finley of New York. It was elaborated upon by Mr.
Vernon and Mr. Horowitz, the first printed version by Jean Hugard appeared
in The Osirian" Thus wrote John Northern Hilliard on page 315 of Greater Magic (1938).
However, when Max Maven was researching Bill Miesel's 'Trouping Around In Magic
With Max Holden'. Parade prior to its publication in the November 1986 Linking Rit~ he
discussed this topic with Dai Vernon who disagreed, and credited Dr. James Elliott with
being the first to use the idea, rather than Arthur Finley.
These references relate to the principle of using a set number of cards, originally six,
whose values spell with increasing numbers of letters. Stewart employed the Mental Spell
idea, as it is often called, in the opening sequence of his Robot Deck routine, described
earlier.
In an August 15, 1947 letter to Sid Lorraine, Stewart wrote: "The Clincher .. .is only a
new combination, or so I fondly hope, of known principles. As many as four thought-of
cards may be spelled without variation in the manner of spelling (one card for each letter),
and cards are shuffled before the spelling by spectators and you are left with an ordinary
deck."
This one is very special. And another magician who forwarded his list of favourite
James tricks, Mark Jensen, agrees. He wrote: "What I like about The Clincher is
that each selected card is spelled in the same way. Add to that the impossibility of
repeatedly spelling to cards that are just thought of, and you have a definite winner."
The order from top to face: 7C SS 8C 9S QC JS 3C SH 9H JH JC 1 OS 4C AH 9C 1
OH SC AS KC 2S QS 8S 7H 3H 6D 3S 2D 3D 9D 8H KS 2H 10C 7D AD KD QD JD
10D
6S 4H 7S 4D AC 6H 4S QH SD 8D 2C JOKER KH 6C.
After false shuffles and cuts, deal two face-up poker hands to Spectator One on your
left and to yourself. When you each have three cards showing, he will have three clubs
and you will have three spades. On the fourth round, Spectator One gets another club but
your chance of getting a spade flush is ruined when you receive a heart. The fifth card

71
72 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

to your opponent is a heart to kill his attempt for a club flush, while your last card is the
jack of hearts which gives you two pair. You modestly point out that you needed a pair of
jacks or better to open. Gather up the cards in the two hands and give them to Spectator
One to shuffle.
Turn to Spectator Two on your right and deal two hands face up, as you tell her this
time you'll play deuces wild. After the fourth round, she has four clubs and you have two
pair, but her last card is another club to complete the flush. It is apparent you need a full
house or better to beat her. Your fifth card is a deuce and you win with aces over tens.
These cards are handed to Spectator Two to shuffle. She is instructed to note and
remember the face card of her packet after the shuffle, then to drop her cards on the
talon. Spectator One does the same thing, then gives the full deck a complete cut. Direct
Spectator Two to remove the Joker, and fan the cards with the faces to her to facilitate this.
Cut the deck where the Joker was removed.

-c::::----
Ask Spectator One for the name of his card, which we will assume is the five of hearts.
Spell it in a face-down pile in the usual fashion: FIVE OF HEARTS. It turns up on the
final letter. Drop his card face down on the talon, leaving the other eleven cards - there
will always be eleven - on the table. Give the talon a false cut as you ask Spectator Two
to reveal her card, then spell it by dealing the cards face down on the tabled pile. Her card
appears on the last letter and it is casually dropped face down on the cards on the table.
False cut the talon again, then hand the top seven cards of this group to Spectator
One with instructions to shuffle them and concentrate on the face card. While he is thus
occupied, lift off the next six cards from the talon without disturbing their order and fan
them before Spectator Two. Request that she merely think of any one without calling its
name.
Spectator One replaces his packet on the talon, then you drop the six cards you hold
on top and false cut once more.
Spectator One names his card and you spell it as before by dealing cards face down
on the pile on the table. Turn over the card on the last letter - it will be the correct one
- and place it face down on top of the tabled packet.
Indicate the top card of the talon you are holding and say, "Does anyone know the suit
THE CLINCHER 73

of this card?" Turn it over and show it to be the seven of diamonds. Drop it face down on
the dealt cards. "It was a diamond, so I'll try to deal the perfect poker hand in diamonds."
Deal a diamond royal flush face up in an overlapping row. Collect these five cards and
drop them face down on the cards on the table.
At this point, quietly place the small talon aside and pick up the large pile on the table.
As you emphasize that Spectator Two has a card in her mind that no one knows, double
undercut or run four cards to the bottom. Ask for the name of her mental choice, and
spell that card in a new face-down pile. It turns up on the final letter! Drop this card face
down on the packet on the table, then place those in your hands on top and move this
group of forty-one aside.
The eleven cards remaining are used for Dai Vernon's Magic Spell from the November
1946 Hugard's Magic Monthfy. (The Vernon trick required ten cards; in the following issue
Fred Braue published a simplified version with eleven cards, and this procedure is used
here.) Without changing their order, spread the eleven cards before one of the other
spectators and ask that a card be mentally chosen.

.,.
I

-.!

Square the cards, turn them face down, and hand the packet to your volunteer. Instruct
him to transfer one card from the top to the bottom for each letter in the name of his
card. This done, he names his card. Direct him to deal the top card of the packet face. up
on the table. If it is his card the trick ends at this point "with eclat," as Fred Braue said.
Braue continued: "If it is not his card, continue smoothly and without hesitation, as
if by plan, by instructing him to transfer the card now at the top of the remainder of
the packet to the bottom, place the next card face upwards on the table, the next at the
bottom, the next on the table and so on until one card remains in his hand. This will be
the card which he thought of."
The Other
Place

"Tomorrow to fresh woods, and pastures new."


John Milton
'Lycidas' (1638)

A
recognized creative genius, Stewart James was bewitched by the inventive process
itself. Whereas some others with great powers of innovation would appear
simply to acknowledge their gift without directing thought to its source, leaving
it to the academics and scientists to worry about such things, Stewart devoted a great part
of his life to analyzing his superior abilities. His letters are studded with references to how
he was able to "ignite the creative process." Over the years, he formulated systems that
have assisted him in his endless quest for the undiscovered principle or original method
that he could apply to his beloved magic.
Stewart first began using structured methods to assist him to conceptualize when he
was thirteen! I was startled to encounter this information in a letter to Jerry Fulton, dated
February 10, 1941. They had been corresponding about the various basic magic effects
and, after itemizing David Devant's list of seven, Stewart wrote: "[ohn Mulholland claims
that a magician can do only three things. Winston Freer claims there are 17 things and
he has an amazingly elaborate cross-indexed book in which he claims to have listed every
known effect. Freer spent about a week with me not long ago and is one of the truly great
thinkers in magic. Sometimes when I have the opportunity to speak to you personally I
will spin you impossible sounding tales concerning him.
"His method of creation is to go through this big book of his and look for the
tricks under the various effects. Where there are few tricks is the most virgin territory to
discover something new. As early as 1921 I used the Family Tree method which I consider
superior." Stewart was born on May 14, 1908; 'The Family Tree System' may be found on
page 843 of Stewart [ames In Print.
Fulton had asked Stewart for advice on how best to create magic. His reply in 1941: ''I
would suggest that you study psychology, spiritualism and demonology, and puzzles. The
simplest puzzle is far cleverer than the most brilliant trick. You can't cheat to arrive at the

74
THE OTHER PLACE 75

solution of a puzzle. A magician invariably cheats in order to complete a trick."


Although Stewart may have discussed some of his thoughts about creativity when
conversing with magicians prior to the 1940s, I have not located any correspondence
previous to his letter to Fulton that touches on the subject that fascinated him most. A
few years later, there was this comparatively trivial comment in a letter from overseas to
Milt Kort, dated March 24, 1944: 'When the mind has worked a certain way for a long
time it does seem difficult to change it. Even during that period when I decided to give up
magic entirely-ideas would come popping into my head unbidden and it was often quite
a task to drive them away. Have often wished since that I had made a record of them, as
under those circumstances they might have been a little different."
His avowal to Kort that he bad dropped out of magic for a time sent me on a lengthy
search for verification, but nothing of substance was forthcoming. I recalled that I had
once had this suspicion, but it was erased on page 99 of Steiuart James In Print, where he
wrote: "Allan Slaight noticed that my published material was rather sparse between 1930
and 1935 when the next item, Miraskill, was released ... Allan asked if during that period
I had lost interest.
"I had lost interest in writing material up for publication, but I have never lost interest
in finding magical results. In my seclusive life, it was practically the only thing to keep me
going. I tried to make myself the most interesting person I could imagine - to me. My
greatest thrill was to cloud-walk away from this mundane world in the recherche land of
imagination. Discovering something which was new to me was the pinnacle. To write out
a description was plain drudgery."
I was about to put forth the proposition that there may have been a period, while
Stewart was serving in the Canadian Army in World War II, that found him either too
morose or too engaged to attend to his passion. Then I found this commentary in a
February 3, 1953 letter to Haxton: "Bert Fenn is so intensely interested in magic at times
and at other times seems to practically lose all interest. I like him both as a performer and
an individual. So Peter [Warlock] tried to remain away from our cranky art. So did Sid
Lorraine. I have never very seriously attempted to do so, I am afraid, but I have often felt
rather bitterly about the hold it has on me and quite frequently have pondered what life
would have been like if I had not succumbed to this pseudo-narcoticism.
"Perhaps if I had been able to develop the interests of a normal individual I might
have been able to shake the hold." All of this makes Stewart's declaration to Kort that
much more perplexing.
It is my belief that, when he returned to civilian life in Courtright after the war in 1945,
Stewart began to more intently question his incredible aptitude and, indeed, to become
concerned that his talent was somehow coupled with a form of mental illness. Although
it was an anxiety without foundation, I believe there was genuine apprehension underlying
this paragraph in a July 8, 1948 letter to Paul Montgomery: "A new idea has come to
me just this past week. Lloyds of London permit insurance to be taken out on almost
everything. If we mutually agreed to accept the report of a competent psychiatrist and
76 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

he declared that I was sane, I wonder if they would sell me insurance against becoming
insane."
Less than a year later, Stewart wrote Montgomery and for the first time disclosed some
details about "the Board" - his three imaginary companions discussed here in the final
chapter, 'While At The Talking Table.' That part of his letter of February 16, 1949 began:
''Apparently the possibility that I may be an intermittent paranoic is not going to dissuade
you from corresponding."
Although he was not able to adequately depict the scenes he encountered there,
Stewart did believe that, somehow, his mind was able to visit another place. He mentioned
this often in his letters, as in this one to Haxton on March 26, 1957: "Robert Strohm: A
ten-year-old boy who is trying for $256,000 in a quiz show on TV In discussing him, Dr.
G. Cleveland Myers had this to say in part: 'The average child at school and elsewhere
is exposed to more and more general impressions and correspondingly fewer clear and
definite facts and ideas. Surely there is need for him to master more facts with accuracy
and certainty and to acquire a passion for precision.'
"How true he is. And not only children!!! You can imagine what 'elsewhere' brought
to mind."
He wrote on page 223 of StewartJames In Print. "I was never very good at anything, as I
was constantly reminded in the real world, and escapism led me to the land of imagination
where I was King and for the first time felt like a somebody. I was the only Earth person
there, so there was no one to tell me I was clumsy; I invented things on those visits that
pleased me greatly and gave me some respect for myself." That quotation, slightly edited,
had been excerpted from a July 16, 1983 letter to me. It continued: "It was a place about
which I hesitated for a long time about telling anyone for fear that they, too, could find
their way and I would no longer be alone - the only Earth person.
"This probably doesn't make sense to you, but I am trying to explain what pushed me
to produce something I would like, which in turn would give me some respect for myself
and make an unfriendly world more bearable."
And on the same matter years earlier, he wrote me on March 9, 1968: "I have thought
a great deal about writing of the vehicles I have developed for whatever success I have
had in reaching virgin fields. To partially describe them would not be fair to the reader and
particularly myself. To completely describe them could be dangerous."
Elsewhere he wrote: "You must love the problem you are working on - not only the
result desired but, more importantly, Creative Imagination itself and the like-no-other
exhilaration of exploring a world where no other person has ever trod. At the same time,
of course, you must be practical enough to blaze your trail so that you will be able to
return to the land of reality and disappointment. This may be the answer to a question
that has troubled me for years: 'What limits the imagination?' One can project the mind
only so far, and then one must use individual judgment as to when to turn back. There is
a temptation to go just a little farther each time, but there may be a force at work to keep
the thought-cloud from becoming accessible to all but a few. Consider Annemann. And
THE OTHER PLACE 77

what happened to Hummer and Freer."


Going back to 1958, Stewart wrote Haxton on February 3: "There is a point of no
return. One would have to travel mentally beyond that point to reach the ultimate. On the
other hand, once across that boundary and the mind could never return to tell coherently
of the ultimate."
He returned to the subject when he wrote Haxton on February 19, 1965, to expand
on an earlier reference to his Family Tree System: "The family tree method is only one
approach. A fresh approach is frequently conducive to a more refreshing outlook. [I
would use] ANY 'gimmick' - no matter how fantastic - as long as it engenders a
sensation of a partnership with the source of all knowledge. It becomes more than
seeking the solution to a problem. It is the ecstatic feeling of being granted the privilege
of a distant view of a perfect world where only absolutes exist...that is so magnetic in its
attraction that one only dare look at it from afar or one would lose the ability or desire to
retreat to our drab and, in comparison, infinitesimal outland.
"I am consumed with a feeling of guilt with the unimportant specimens I bring back,
whereas if I had displayed the courage to take perhaps only one more step I might have
returned with a trophy of outstanding merit - like how to rid our world of one of
mankind's greatest ills. How does one describe it? How does one describe the flavour of
something totally unlike the flavour of anything anyone else ever tasted?"
First Class Passage
Marketed l!J Sterling, 194
7

F
ather McManus was quite knowledgeable on matters magical. He had been to
Detroit and stopped in my shop on his way through Courtright. I demonstrated
First Class Passage. After he watched it he told me he had purchased it from
Sterling, and accused me of not putting the method I used on the market. Only then did
I learn Sterling wasn't making it the way I had showed him. The rings I used in this trick
were wooden curtain rings, somewhat larger than are commonly encountered today. Mine
were 3" in diameter. One is split as described by Stanley Collins in On'ginal Magical Creations
(1915) in his A New Ropes And Rings Experiment. Collins wrote: "The curtain rings
used in this experiment are of the ordinary wooden variety... one of these is split along the
grain, and this may easily be done by dropping a ring edgewise on a very hard substance."
It appeared more recently as Stanley Collins' New Rope And Rings Release on page 45 of
EncyclopediaOf Rope Tricks, Volume I. It is a beautiful gimmick, and you can't tell it is
faked without actually springing it open.
"I had given Sterling a correctly made outfit, but he couldn't or wouldn't use the proper
materials, and the apparatus was inferior and much less convincing. Sterling not only used
the wrong type of rings, but also spoiled the concealing principle even more by painting
them gold. It is quite unnecessary to conceal the opening with the fingers or the ribbon.
If you have a good ring, you can neither see nor feel the crack. I have, however, left the
'cover-up handling' in the text below in case you have to work with inferior rings. Max
Andrews, who had distribution rights for this in England, sold it with plastic rings which
would be even less satisfactory.
''Part of the principle was slipping a ring out of a knot as published earlier by Edward
Bagshawe in Obstructing The Line, page 22 of More Magical Mysteries (1925), I was quite
pleased with the detoured assumption my procedure invoked in a spectator.
"This was a pet of mine for quite a long time and fooled more than one magician.
U. F. Grant wrote, in Volume 5, Number 3 of his Bulletin, that it was one of the most
baffling ring-and-ribbon-penetrations he had ever seen. Francis Haxton thought it was
' ... excellent, particularly the method for two spectators where there is no concealment
of
78
FIRST CLASS PASSAGE 79

another ring. The appeal to me is that as far as the spectators are concerned they have
examined everything. I am 'tickled to death' to think of the exchange being made after
they have, to all intents and purposes, got the other two rings in their possession."'

-0-

When Bill Goodwin forwarded his list of favourites, he wrote: "I chose this effect
because it is so clever. This is guaranteed to fool."
A ribbon, about six feet long, and three rings are used. There is a slit in one ring. You
can locate the slit by pulling on the ring until the slit opens.
Call two spectators up and hand the man the ribbon and a solid ring. Have him check
the ring, then tie the ribbon around it about 3" from the centre, with a single knot. The
woman is given the other solid ring to examine and tie in the same manner. The two rings
are now approximately 6" apart, and each spectator holds one end of the ribbon.]

Throw a handkerchief over the rings and the centre of the ribbon. Remove the
third ring from your pocket, and if necessary conceal the slit between the thumb and
forefinger.
Put it under the handkerchief, open the slit, and thread it on the ribbon to the right of
the tied rings.
Loosen the knot on the ring to the immediate left of the slit ring. Lift this ring upward
and over the horizontal ribbon. After it is over, drop it through the loop of the knot. The
dotted lines show the new position of the ring in the illustration.

I'~~
J , ,,
..: -,...- - . ...

" ,I
80 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

Now guide the slit ring along the ribbon and through the loop of the knot. Draw the
knot firmly about the slit so that it is concealed by the ribbon. You can feel when it is
right.
Remove the covering cloth and reveal the third ring apparently threaded on the ribbon
between the other two. Naturally it will withstand unlimited examination. The other two
were apparently examined at the beginning.
You can eliminate the handkerchief and use just one spectator by having him hold
both ends of the ribbon in his hands with the centte of the ribbon and the tied rings
hanging down his back. You then step behind the spectator to accomplish the effect.
James1vay Poker Deaf
Marketed by SJ, 1948

I
have always loved to work up stunners with cards, and during my time in England
and Europe I had created some concepts I thought were rather special. I began to
advertise them regularly in the Linking Ring beginning with a full-page ad for the
Jamesway Poker Deal in February 1948.
"It utilized the Jamesway Shuffle, and that required the cards in two packets be
perfectly alternated as in a faro. Some have remarked that they have trouble with the
perfect shuffle. However, it is dead easy with this small group of [twenty-five] cards. I
actually call attention to the fact that the shuffle could not be more perfect if done by a
machine: 'In the usual overhand shuffle the cards are bound to be shifted about in groups,
but after I have shuffled the cards, there will be no card beside the card it was beside
before the shuffle.' This seems to convince them. I also find it relatively easy to split the
group as required.
"Remember you are making a strong point about shuffling the cards, and a rough cut
would mean that there would be a group of undisturbed cards. So you fan the cards and
split them between the twelfth and thirteenth cards. A number of magicians pointed out
that the process can be simplified by knowing the twelfth card from the top. Riffle the
cards and cut at that point. When doing the Jarnesway, count the cards you release from
the twelve-card packet and note the seventh. Complete the shuffle, then cut at that card
to give you the correct division for the next shuffle.
'1 am quite fascinated by the fact that cards keep changing their location, but not
their relative position, and that you can shuffle any number of times, not just a stated
amount as in some Jordan ideas. A number of others seemed to share my delight.
"Neil Elias wrote: 'I was very much amused at the unorthodox use to which you put
the perfect shuffle. Who but Stewart James would have thought to use this shuffle to
retain a stack, when everyone else uses it just to stack cards. You have done Jordan one
better. Whereas he could riffle the cards once or twice without destroying a sequence, you
can shuffle any number of times.'
"I believe the shuffles can be compared in this way: one is used to place cards, and

81
82 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

the other is used to keep from displacing them. The latter is the aim of the usual false
shuffle, but the result is obtained by immobility. By using relationship rather than position,
I added mobility. The cards move, but their relationship does not change; it doesn't matter
how you couple the cars in a train, the contents remain the same.
"In the August 1948 Hugard'sMagicMonth!J Fred Braue wrote: 'For my money, Charles
Jordan never produced a trick with the brilliance and entertainment potential of James's
originations. The Jamesway Poker Deal is another good one.' That comment thrilled me.
And J. G. Thompson, Jr., was complimentary in his 'Focus On Hocus' column in the
March, 1948, LinkingRing. He wrote: 'So many of the Stewart James creations employ
new principles that I am no longer surprised when I read his latest brainchild ... there
is one move which will completely floor laymen and well over 90 per cent of magicians.'
I assume he meant the shuffle!"

-0-

David Ben wrote: "The Jamesway Poker Deal can only be described as stealth magic.
The method flies completely under the radar. You don't have to know why it works, only
that it does work - every time."
The magician deals five hands face down. The hand in front of him is turned over and
revealed as most ordinary. Saying that he will improve on just chance, he riffle shuffles
these twenty-five cards any number of times. The spectator decides where he wants the
winning hand to be dealt. The magician does it.
During a previous trick, slip five cards to the top of the deck - any cards that will
make a good poker hand. Having revealed the chosen card from your previous trick,
return it to the deck and riffle shuffle without disturbing the top stock.
Deal five hands and show them to be of indifferent quality. Pick up the hands in any
order face down. The former five top cards will now be every fifth card from the top of
the twenty-five card packet.
Explain that you are going to give the cards an absolutely perfect riffle shuffle. Slide
off the twelve top cards, without disturbing their order, and place them face down on the
table beside the thirteen remaining face-down cards.
Release the bottom card from the group of thirteen, then the bottom card from the
group of twelve, and continue releasing one card at a time alternately. You will start and
end with a card from the pile of thirteen.

TUIRT~AI CARDS
JAMESWAY POKER DEAL 83

Slowly square the cards and direct attention to the fact that no card is now beside the
card is was beside before the shuffle. Even a machine could not do a better job. Offer to
repeat the shuffle as many times as requested. You will probably have to try this before
you are convinced, but every fifth card from the top of the packet will continue to be
from the hand you set up.
If you dealt the cards around now, you would have the winning hand. By shifting the
proper number of cards from the top to the bottom of the packet, you will readily see
how the high hand may be dealt to any position on the board. The spectator marks his
choice by placing a coin on the table. You are holding the packet face down in the left
hand with the top four cards slightly fanned. By watching the spectator's eyes, you know
where the coin will be dropped and can make any shift that is necessary to be ready to
proceed without delay. Subtract the numerical value of the selected position from 5 to
know the number of cards to shift to the bottom.

The Five-Ace Deal

A
rrange twenty-five cards in the following order from top to face: Joker KH lOH
QH9CAHKS 9D QSKCAS9S 9HJD QCAD JS lODJHJCACKD 10SQD
10C. Place this stock on top of the rest of the cards and you are ready.
In presenting, cut the deck at or below the ten of clubs and riffle shuffle this
approximate half of the deck into the remaining cards. Say that you will use only the high
cards so that all the hands will be of sufficient value to make it interesting. The Joker is
declared wild.
Turn the deck face up and deal the cards in two face-up piles, just as you come to them.
Joker, aces, kings, queens, jacks, tens, and nines go in the packet you use. They will be
reversed from their original order.

ho ~~~~
i~
l
')

-
tq
..,~
-
~
<:# Ol

Jamesway shuffle any number of times and deal five hands. They will be: Three of a
kind, kings; Full house, tens over nines; Full house, queens over jacks; Straight flush, king
high in clubs; Five aces, four aces and the wild Joker. You get that one.
Ten Nights In A
Cardroom
Marketed by SJ, 1948

I
suppose Ten Nights started with the name. It is a takeoff on 'Ten Nights In A
Barroom,' which I thought gave me a nice title. So it needed ten tricks. lo this case,
they are all original and all created for this routine. This is a closely knit routine rather
than a number of tricks. There is a relationship between the tricks, something like the
leaves in a rotor, even in apparent isolated instances. Spectators are prone to consider each
effect as a detached trick, bless them."
From page 423 of Ste1vart [ames In Print. "[My editors and I] had several discussions
- a more honest word would be 'disputes' - concerning the use in some introductions
of various quotes from reviewers or from letters to me. Lyons and Slaight felt strongly
that, by weaving these comments through the introductions to certain tricks, we would
materially assist the reader by pointing out which items had met with contemporary
favour. I felt just as strongly it could make me appear conceited, and I don't think I am.
My editors woo; I hope you understand.
In the June 1948 Linking Ring, J.G. Thompson, Jr,. wrote: 'This gambling routine
is one of the best I have ever read. It will appeal to all magicians, be they old-timers or
neophytes, for some unusual effects are obtained and all are easy to perform.'
''The July 1948 Hugards Magic Month!J was good to me. Fred Braue said: 'A
supersockalalapalooza poker routine.' John Crimmins wrote that for the spectators' ... the
results are out of this world ... ' and continued: 'The routine is ingeniously contrived,
makes use of a setup, a perfect deck switch, and some of the cleverest subtleties we've
run across in a long time. This is definitely reputation building material that any card man
can use to great advantage.'
"George Lafollette said Ten Nights was ' ... the best card routine ever offered to
magicians, and every close-up and Club entertainer should have it. I used it myself last
night in a Private Club, and the audience reaction was terrific. You should have asked ten
dollars for it. It is worth fifty to a Club entertainer.' I charged three dollars, and Fred Braue
pointed out: 'Use it for ten years, and it costs you thirty cents a year.'
84
TEN NIGHTS IN A CARDROOM 85

-0-

A famous card expert has explained to you various subtle bits of chicanery that he
detected on ten different nights in the card room of a notorious gamblingcasino. You are
now going to use that knowledge to demonstrate the almost unbelievable control that is
possible in games that depend, apparently, on chance alone.
1. The deck is shuffled in any manner by a spectator. Without glancing at the face of a
single card, you deal for draw poker. No matter how he draws, you win with aces. This
is not a deck switch.
2. Four spectators each name a number. You count to and toss out cards at those
positions. They are four cards of the same value.
3. After shuffling the deck in any manner, the spectator deals a hand face down. You
name every card before it is dealt. The hand is not switched.
4. The spectator satisfies himself that your pocket is empty. He selects a card, which
is buried in the deck. You cause the card to vanish from the deck and appear in your
pocket. To show how impossible it is to detect, you do it again. He can take the card
from your pocket himself, and there is no duplicate in the deck. No palming.
5. The spectator shuffles a card that he selected back into the deck in any manner. You
locate and remove it without seeing the back or front of any card.
6. You demonstrate, by predicting a card, that control may be exercised over the deck
even though it is cut by anyone.
7. You deal for poker, using the left hand only, and succeed in treating yourself to some
remarkably useful cards.
8. A spectator is holding a prediction that you made before you ever handled the cards.
It tells what cards will be in the hand that you are going to deal yourself next. This
hand will win or lose as the spectator chooses.
9. The spectator names a number. We will suppose that he has selected 8. You deal
eight hands of blackjack, and win on the deal. He can name any number from 2 to 10,
and you will have the only blackjack on the board.
10. You again start dealing for poker, and then decide to work under the most difficult
conditions imaginable. Have them genuinely blindfold you. They shuffle the talon in
any way they please. When the cards are returned you proceed without hesitation.
Needless to say, at the completion of the deal it is revealed that you have given yourself
the winning hand.

Required:
Two decks of playing cards with blue backs
One deck of playing cards with red backs
One elastic band of a size to encircle a cased deck lengthwise
One die
One large cotton or linen handkerchief
86 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

One small pad of writing paper


Two correspondence-size envelopes
One pencil

Preparation:
Deck One, which has a red back, has the Joker reversed at about the centre. It is in its
case which is encircled lengthwise with the elastic band. The deck is face down and the
flap side of the case is at the bottom.
Take eleven cards from Deck Two, which has a blue back, and distribute them as
follows: the king of hearts in your left inside coat pocket, and the jack of spades in your
left top vest pocket. The following are dealt face up on the table commencing with the
king of diamonds: I<D A KC A 7H A 1 OS A 4D. Hold the case containing Deck One,
still with the flap side at the bottom, and slide these nine cards face down under the
elastic at the back. Square them well so they are concealed by the case. Place the
remaining cards from Deck Two in the blue case.
Deck Three, which has a blue back, is stacked. Reading from the top to the face the
cards are in the following order: 8C SH 9S AC 7C 9D 7D QS 3H 10C JC QD QC 10S
lOD Joker 2D 3D 4D SD 6D 7H 8H 9H lOH 6H 4S 2H 2C SC 6S JH KH 2S 4C 6C QH
3S 3C SS AH 8D 7S JD 8S KD AS 4H KS 9C AD KC JS. Discard the case.
The jack of spades is on the face. Place these cards in your right outside coat pocket. It
is as well to have one of the envelopes in this pocket to act as a partition for use later.
The die is in your right trouser pocket.
Remove a page from the pad and write: "I will deal myself a straight flush. It will
consist of the two, three, four, five and six of diamonds." Fold this prediction, seal it in
the other envelope and place it in your left inside coat pocket.
Arrangement
The handkerchief is folded and placed at your nearest right-hand corner of the card
table. Deck One rests on the handkerchief with the nine cards beneath the elastic on the
underside of the case. The soft folds of the handkerchief assist in their concealment.
Deck Two, also cased, rests unevenly on top of Deck One. The pad and pencil are about
the centre of the table.
TEN NIGHTS IN A

CARDROOM 87

Presentation:
Remove Deck Two from its case. Dispose of the case by putting it into your left outside
coat pocket or on the table. Give about a third of the deck to each of three spectators to
shuffle. Remark that this is to make sure that the cards will be well mixed but it effectively
conceals the fact that the deck is not complete.
Return to the table for the pad and pencil. Hand them to a spectator. Say that you will
explain later what you wish him to do.
Take back the cards and hold the assembled deck face down in the left hand. Remove
the sealed prediction from your pocket and give it to a spectator to retain. Pick up Deck
One and rest it on Deck Two as you remove the band from the case.

Th.is leaves the nine cards on top of Deck Two. Immediately twist Deck One at right
angles as you open its case, slide out the cards for about two-thirds of their length, riffle
the ends, slide them back, close the case and once more snap the elastic about it.
As you do this, you explain there is one card reversed in the deck which will become
important later in the demonstration. You are going to place the deck in the possession of
a spectator and the elastic is a gentle reminder that he is not to be tempted to take a peek
at the card that is reversed. Also leave the handkerchief in his custody.
Effect One:
Deal two hands face down, one for a volunteer player and one for yourself. His hand
will consist of two kings and three indifferent cards. Your hand will have the four aces and
an indifferent card. Permit him to draw as many cards as he likes.
If he stands pat, you discard the indifferent card and two aces and draw three new
cards. This leaves you with two aces which are better than his two kings.
If he draws one card, you discard two cards, draw two, and win with three aces.
If he draws two cards, you discard one card, draw one, and win with four aces.
If he draws three cards, the logical play, you stand pat and win with four aces. You also
stand pat and win with four aces if he draws four or five cards.
Effect Two:
Return the cards to the top of the deck so the aces are tenth, eleventh, twelfth and
thirteenth from the top. If the volunteer stood pat, drew one, two, or three cards, there
88 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

will be three cards in the discard. All you need do is return the aces so they are at the face
of the thirteen cards used in play. If four cards were drawn, shift one indifferent card
to the face of the fourteen group, below the aces. If five cards were drawn, shift cwo
indifferent cards to the face of the fifteen group, below the aces.
Ask a spectator to name a number between 10 and 20. Deal off that many cards face
down. We will say, for example, he has chosen 17. Explain: "From these seventeen cards
we will select just one and we will do it by again using the number you have named. 1 and
7 total 8 so I will count down in the packet to the eighth card and place it to one side."
You hold the seventeen cards face down in the left hand. Deal off eight cards one at a
time and face down, place the eighth card to one side, drop the cards from your hand on
the cards on the table and return these combined sixteen cards to the top of the deck.
Have three more numbers between 10 and 20 named and repeat this routine each time.
Tum over the four discarded cards. They will be the aces. A false cut or two will increase
the effect. This clever count system was explained in the Magic Wand by Billy O'Connor.
Effect Three:
The complete deck is shuffled in any manner. The spectator holds the deck face down
and deals the top card face down on your left hand. Just before he deals, ask the man with
the pad to write KING OF HEARTS. Take the card just dealt in your right hand. Keep
the back of the card at all times toward the spectators. Your left hand swings open the left
side of your coat so the inside pocket is plainly seen. Drop the card in your inside pocket
and glimpse it as you do so.

If it is the eight of clubs, that is what you request to be written next. Repeat this move
with a second, third and fourth card.
Stop him when he has dealt the fifth card. As you take it in your right hand you retrieve
the deck in your left. Go to the member of your audience who has written the names of
the five cards you called. As you obtain the paper, you apparently slip the fifth card in the
pocket with the rest. You do not pull the coat open this time and the card, which need
not be glimpsed, actually goes into your upper left vest pocket with the jack of spades you
placed there earlier.
TEN NIGHTS IN A CARDROOM 89

Request the spectator to remove the cards from your coat pocket and show each one
to the audience as you read them off the list. He may double-check.
Effect Four:
After the five cards are removed from the coat pocket, you pull out the lining to show
there are no more. In pushing the lining back in place, it is a simple matter to transfer the
two cards from the vest pocket into the coat pocket. The deck is again genuinely shuffled.
Hold it face down on the left hand. Remove the top card, look at it, call out its name and
place it face down on the table. Do the same with the next card and place it a little to the
right of the first. Regardless of what the next card may be, call it the jack of spades and
place it to the right of the first two. Remove one more card, call it correctly and place it to
the right of the others. You may carelessly permit a glimpse of one or two cards but do
not let your audience suspect that the third card dealt is not actually the one you named.
The spectator with the pad has written the names of the four cards you called.
Remove the die and have it thrown to indicate one of the four face-down cards.
Whatever number comes up, you force the third card from your left. If 2, you count from
the right. If 3, you count from the left. If 6, you count from the right and start over from
the right when counting 5 and 6. If 1, 4, or 5 come up, ask that the die be lifted and the
concealed number, next to the table, be used. It has to be 2, 3 or 6.
This arrangement for forcing a card that isn't there is a combination of ideas by
Charles Jordan and Clement de Lion.
The freely selected (?) card is now thrust in the deck. Do not look at it yourself or
permit anyone else to see it. Turn up the remaining three cards. Their names are stroked
off the list. The man with the pad is asked to name the card that was selected and he will
say it was the jack of spades. Command it to leave the deck and appear in your pocket.
Remove it from your coat pocket and show it.
Drop it back and announce that you will make it pass visibly. Reach in the pocket,
remove the extra card, keep its back to the spectators and bury it in the pack. Agree that
this wasn't much of a trick so you will pass it back into your pocket invisibly. Riffle the
cards in the deck with your thumb and then allow a spectator to remove the jack of spades
from your pocket.
Effect Five:
Have a spectator shuffle the jack of spades and the other three cards back into the
deck. Place the deck in your outside right coat pocket on the other side of the envelope
from the deck that is already there.
You now reach into your pocket and remove the jack of spades from the face of the
stacked deck but apparently from the shuffled cards. Take out the stacked deck, which
appears to be the one you have been using all along, return the jack of spades to its face
and you are ready to go on.
Effect Six:
The spectator gives the deck a single cut any number of times. Take back the deck and
show the face card, then turn the deck face down. Whatever the value of the face card,
90 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

openly deal off that many cards from the face. The cards are dealt one at a time, in a face
down pile and without reversing their order. Jacks have a value of 11, queens 12 and kings
13.

When the first deal is finished, turn over the deck and show the new face card. Turn
the deck face down and deal that number, from the face, face down on the same pile.
Repeat. Eventually the two, three, four, five, or six of diamonds, or the seven, eight, nine,
or ten of hearts will show up on the face of the deck. You know then that your dealing
will conclude with the next count and the last card counted will be the card used. This will
always be the Joker.
As an example, the two of clubs is cut to the face of the deck. It has a value of 2, so
you turn the deck face down and deal two cards one at a time face down in a pile from the
face of the deck. The face card is now the four of spades.

Turn the deck face down and deal off four cards from the bottom on to the same pile.
The new face card is the eight of hearts. This is one of your key cards. Announce that
you have gone far enough to show how several cards must have been controlled in the
cut, if you are successful, and that you will conclude the dealing with the next card to
which you count.
Deal off eight cards, and turn over the top card of the pile on the table and reveal the
Joker. The reversed card in Deck One is looked at, and it is also the Joker.
Effect Seven:
After showing the Joker to which you counted, replace it on the face of the face-down
cards remaining in your left hand. Replace the cards counted off on the table on top of
TEN NIGHTS IN A CARDROOM 91

this packet. The deck is once more complete, and the stack has not been destroyed, merely
cut at the Joker. With the Joker at the face of the deck, you now deal five hands face down
using only your left hand.

Turn your cards face up. You will have the four sixes and an ace high.
Effect Eight:
Explain that you will again deal the cards and this time get a hand you have predicted.
Permit them to decide whether the predicted hand will win or lose. Look at your hand and
you will see that the six of spades and six of hearts are side by side. Reverse the positions
of these two cards and your predicted hand will win.

6WITOI R:J SIT/01,JS"


01=' 5P4l>t;AAID 1-1Al<T
70 WIAI

Leave them ~s they are, and it will lose. In either case, you pick up the five hands, not
necessarily in rotation, and return them to the top of the deck. On dealing them out again,
you will have the five cards written on the sealed prediction.
If it was decided that this hand would lose, the hand immediately to your right, the
fourth hand, will have a ten-high straight flush in hearts.
Effect Nine:
Return these twenty-five cards to the bottom of the deck. Snap the elastic band around
all the cards as you announce you are going to deal a game of blackjack. A spectator
names a number not over 10. If he names 3, 5, 6, 8, or 10, you deal that many hands face
down and will have the only blackjack on the board. (The illustration below indicates six
92 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

hands are dealt.)


In dealing, leave the band on the deck and slide the cards from under it. Be sure to deal
them all face down. If he names 2, 4, 7, or 9, you say: 'We will imagine I have that many
opponents." Proceed to deal three, five, eight, or ten hands.
This is a pickup that will leave the stack intact and yet pass as displaying that there is
only one blackjack. Pick up the top card of the first hand. Place it face up to your right. At
the same time pick up the bottom card with the left hand and place it face up to your left.
Do this with each hand in order, placing all the cards picked up with the left hand in the
left-hand pile and the others in the right-hand pile in the order they are picked up. The last
two cards to be placed on their piles are yours, and they make up the only blackjack.

Place the face-up right-hand pile on the left-hand face-up pile. Turn the packet face
down and replace it on top of the deck.
Effect Ten:
Deal seven face-down hands until each has received four cards. Stop and say you will
complete the deal under the most difficult conditions imaginable. As you are using a
full deck of fifty-three cards, the Joker has been declared wild. You are now genuinely
blindfolded with the handkerchief, and the talon is shuffled by a spectator in any manner.
The cards are now handed to you; the deal is completed, and you always win.
At the time you stop dealing, your hand will contain the three, four, five of hearts, and
the wild Joker. Any card from the shuffled twenty-five will make your hand three of a
kind, a heart flush, a straight, or a straight flush.
The highest anyone else can get is one pair.
Pokericulum
Marketed l?J SJ, 1948

I
n the 1940s, Stewart created and marketed a brilliant series of spectator-options poker
deals in which audience members were allowed a variety of unusually free choices
and, still, the dealer/magician always won. Pokericulum and the one following, So
Fair Poker Deal, are two outstanding examples of this genre.
Of Pokericulum, Peter Warlock remarked in the July 1948 Pentagram-. 'We cannot
think of any poker deal that could be more stunning in its effect." Gene Gordon said it
was the greatest dealing trick ever. Leslie May suggested in his June 1959 column in The
Budget that those who include poker deal demonstrations in their routines should acquire
Pokericulum, and continued: "It really is sensational, there is no other word for it!" Fred
Braue wrote in the October 1948 Hugard's MagicMonth/y that he believed Pokericulum
and So Fair-Poker Deal both had " ... great entertainment possibilities, since you let the
spectators decide which cards you'll deal yourself."
As a semi-professional some fifty years ago, I used Pokericulum for the right groups
- stag functions were ideal - with incredible results. And Peter Duffie, another who
assisted me in choosing the items to be presented here, commented: ''After reading Stewart
JamesIn Print, 'Pokericulum' was one effect I couldn't stop thinking about. It lingered in
my mind for days. Here was a trick, marketed in 1948, yet it obliterated every poker deal
I had read. The impossible freedom of choice offered to each spectator makes this the
ultimate demonstration of its kind."

-0-

After a shuffle and cut, you deal four rounds of cards to the spectators who have
volunteered to play. Stop dealing and suggest that, as you have announced the winning
hand will fall to yourself, they probably suspect the best cards are already in front of you.
You allow anyone at the table to exchange his cards for yours. Every player has the right
to accept or reject this offer.
Deal the final round. State that you will give your opponents a tremendous advantage:

93

......
94 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

If the last card anyone has received is of little value, he may discard it, search through the
talon, and add the card that will increase his hand to its greatest value. Irrespective of what
cards your hand may contain, you will not draw.
Despite the unprecedented opportunities given the other players, you cannot fail to
win. The cards are secretly arranged, reading from the top to face, in the following order:
SH KD 9C 8D QS 3D SC JD 9H 4D QH SD AH lOD AS 6D QC 7D SS QD 9S 2D AC
9D any five cards AD and the rest of the deck.
Turn the deck face up, and hindu shuffle without disturbing your thirty-card stock.

False cut and then single out five spectators as opponents. Deaf the cards one at a time
and face down. The sixth and last hand goes to yourself. Stop dealing when each hand
has received four cards. Say: ''You may think that in some manner I have controlled the
cards so as to give myself the best hand. In order to prove in the most effective manner
that such is not the case, I will exchange my uncompleted hand with any player before I
deaf the final round."
Every player is granted this privilege regardless of any exchange being made by any
other player. Deaf the final card to each band. Say: ''I will give you all an additional and
tremendous advantage. Irrespective of what cards my hand may contain, I will not draw.
If the last card I dealt to you isn't of much value to the cards you hold, I will permit you
to discard it, search through the rest of the deck and pick out the card that will increase
your hand to its greatest value."
You will find that regardless of the hand you are finally left, the ace of diamonds is the
very card you need. Because of the setup that is the card you get. This will make your hand
a royal flush, a diamond flush, or a full house. Even after picking any card from the talon,
the highest possible band any other player can have is three of a kind.
The following easy stacking method is not difficult to remember, the cards are
arranged more quickly and you do not have to carry a written setup.
Remove all the diamonds and the remaining three aces, three fives, three nines and
three queens. Place the ace of diamonds sixth from the top in what remains of the deck.
Arrange the twenty-four cards you hold in six piles of four cards each. It does not matter
in what order these piles are, or the order of the cards in any pile. However, one pile
contains the three, five, seven and nine of diamonds; another has the two, four, six and
eight of diamonds; another has the king, queen, jack and ten of diamonds; another has
three fives and an ace; another has three nines and an ace, and the last has three queens
POKERICULUM 95

and an ace. ,
Assemble the deck by returning one card from Pile One to the top of the talon
containing the ace of diamonds. Follow it with a card from pile Two, a card from Pile
Three, a card from pile Four, a card from pile Five, and a card from pile Six. Now start
back at pile One, returning one card at a time in rotation and continue until your deck is
complete.
So-Fair Poker Deal
Marketedby S], 1948

N
eal Elias thought this was the best of the various "spectator option" effects
that Stewart had created. He wrote him: "The reaction that I have received
upon doing it is out of all proportion to the effort required." Elias had actually
provided the thought starter in a March 30, 1948 letter to Stewart when he wrote: ''A few
days ago a friend suggested an effect that sounded good to me at the time. The performer
shuffles the deck and then mentions that he is going to deal four hands of poker, his own
hand to be the fourth. On each of the five rounds, when he comes to himself he deals
either from the top or the bottom of the deck as indicated by the spectator. Regardless of
the manner in which the cards are dealt, the magician gets the best hand."
Stewart and Elias called this Tops Or Bottoms Poker Deal and both worked on the
problem. Stewart remarked that he was pleased with his solution because of the kicker in
the So-Fair deal where you refuse to use your advantage, and then conclude by winning
more definitively.
Milt Kort said, after working it a couple of times on laymen: "If I had to give up all
of the poker deals but one, this would be it. It is the best thing in its line I have ever
come across." Peter Warlock said in the October 1948 Pentagra,rr. "When we received
Pokericulum we thought that this was the last word in poker deals. This present routine
makes us pause and consider, for here Stewart has devised a form of deal that is stunning
in its effect on card players." Sid Lorraine said it was the most effective poker deal he had
ever used.
And Charles Reynolds wrote: ''The So-Fair Poker Deal is one of Stewart's most
commercial effects. Try it to see how effective it is."

-0-

You deal the cards one at a time for six players. The deuces are wild. Every time it is
your turn to receive a card you hand the five top cards of the deck to a spectator to be
shuffled and one dealt to your hand. The four cards left over are discarded. When the deal

96
SO-FAIR POKER DEAL 97

is completed the cards remaining are apded to the other discarded and shuffled cards.
The hands are turned face up and yours is easily the best on the board.
Refuse to press your advantage and place this hand to one side. A spectator is requested
to cut the shuffled discard and deal you a new hand.
This time you have an even better hand than before.
The deck is arranged in the following order from top to face: Any five cards, four aces,
a nine, any five cards, four kings, a deuce, any five cards, four queens, a deuce, any five
cards, four jacks, a deuce, any five cards, four tens, a deuce, two nines. The nine following
the aces should be marked on the back. A light pencil dot at the upper-left and lower-right
corners will do.
False shuffle and false cut. Deal one card for each of five players. Hand the next five
cards to a spectator. Tell him to mix them face down. Say that this is so he will not be
influenced by knowing the value of any of the cards. He deals one to you.
lo placing the four discarded cards to the side, you locate the nine and cut it to the
bottom. You can do this with the cards face down because of the marking. If it isn't
among the four, you know the spectator has drawn it and you can discard the cards just
as they are.
Every time you deal five cards around you hand the next five to a spectator to shuffle
and deal one to you. From now on, however, you can have him add the shuffled four cards
to the top of those you placed to one side. After the first four, the order of the cards in
each group of four makes no difference.
There will be two cards left after you hand a spectator the last group of five to shuffle
and deal one to you. Wait until he has discarded four cards and then drop these two on
top of all.
If the spectator dealt you a nine from the first five cards, you will have a straight and a
king will be your high card. As there are four aces and only one nine, it is more than likely
that you received an ace. In that case you will still have a straight, but the high card will
be an ace.
After announcing that you will be a sport and not use this hand, the spectator cuts
the discard pile and deals you five new cards. Ask him to cut the remaining group of
"shuffled" cards. They were shuffled as individual groups but not as a complete unit!
This time you will have a full house, four of a kind or five of a kind. Any of these is
better than your first hand.

j
Gobak Card MJstery
Marketed by SJ,
1948

I
devised this when I was in the armed forces on the continent of Europe. [Stewart
was with The Haversacks, a troupe that entertained Canadian forces during World
War II.] I worked on it to take my mind off the position I was in, wrote it up in a
letter and sent it to Francis Haxton. I tried hard to forget the unhappy circumstances of
its birth, and this caused me to more or less consciously shun it. I did not even remember
it when Haxton first worked it on me when I had returned to England, and I was fooled
as to how he knew my card. When he showed me the paper on which I had written it, I
recalled the incidents surrounding its spawning.
''We had had no dry clothing for several days and had missed contact with ration
points for more than two weeks. We were existing on what we could scavenge. It was an
afternoon when we had reached a monastery the Germans had used for a prison camp.
This was a treat after sleeping in the damp fields or slit trenches, and we were considerably
cheered to find our show was going to be put on from the stage of a public hall that had
escaped severe damage in a nearby village. We started out for the hall but were delayed
by being stuck in the mud several times. Then a dispatch rider came and told us to turn
back - the hall and all the soldiers who had arrived early had been wiped out in a daylight
bombing raid.
"I was in a tiny monk's cell with a five-inch-square hole in the wall, high up as a
window. The lad with me was in a blue funk and had the twitches. Originally we each had
one of the cells to ourselves but one of the boys tried suicide and after that we had to stay
in twos. I took out my deck of cards and tried to forget conditions. I think I would have
flipped my lid if it hadn't been for the cards, and it is a wonder that I was able to write
anything that made sense.
"Over the years succeeding, Haxton performed the trick often, and it was a favourite of
his. He wrote me in January 1947: 'I am under the impression that you are not
particularly enamoured with this effect, but to me it is a beautiful routine of a succession
of surprises.
I honestly think it should be put out.' A few weeks later he wrote: 'With due respect and
acknowledgment to the ingenuity of Remembering The Future ... this is a much more
98
GOBAK CARD MYSTERY 99

entertaining effect. It holds-mterest right through the routine. This is one of the few card
effects that can be worked from a platform and interest the whole audience.' He finally
persuaded me to put it together and sell it as a manuscript item; the ad appeared in the
September 1948 Linking Ring.
"It was quite a bit of trouble to boil it down into the form below. The numbering
system, a la Our Magic, cut out quite a bit of repetition. I was rather pleased that, in the
manuscript, I was able to describe The Master Move in fourteen lines; Joe Ovette took
forty-nine lines to say the same thing. You'll find it in Step Two.
"I had originally thought of calling it The Gobi Card Mystery, suggesting a bit of
foreign glamour, but Francis had been calling it Gobak and I decided to stick with that. I
am most pleased to recall that after seeing Francis perform Gobak, Ken Brooke ordered
a dozen, admitting he' ... hadn't a clue.' Ken sold out, and ordered more. In the end he
probably sold more than I managed to retail myself. It was also somewhat reassuring that
Peter Warlock asked, and obtained, permission to reprint it in the September 1975 New
Pentagram.
"In September 1948, Neal Elias wrote me: 'just noticed the ad in the Linking Ring, and
was very much surprised. Here I had been plaguing you about the trick, and you put it out
on the sly. When Kort did it two years ago, it fooled the very hell out of me. I have wanted
this for a long, long time.'
In the November 1948, Linking Ring,]. G. Thompson,Jr. said: 'Not difficult to perform
and has a number of interesting climaxes, which is about all one can expect from a card
trick.' He may well be right."
David Ben commented: "I love the impromptu and personal nature of this routine.
The magic takes place either in the minds of the spectator or in their own hands. It
is a prime example of how Stewart could leverage a simple concept into a series of
tremendous effects."

-0-

The magician removes a number of cards from the deck (1).


Squaring them face down in his left hand, he slowly riffles the end of the packet until
told to stop by a spectator. The spectator notes the card stopped at and the packet is again
squared (2).
The little group of cards is shuffled (3).
The top and bottom cards are shown to the spectator to make sure that the noted card
is not at either position (4).
The Joker is added to the packet (5).
Holding the heap face down in the left hand, the magician deals the cards one at a time
in a face-up pile. He counts as he does so, and the spectator is to note the position of the
card of which he is thinking. There proves to be one card less than there should be and
the missing card is the chosen one (6).
100 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

The cards are handed to the spectator to hold face down in his left hand. He is asked
to concentrate on his card and to try and form a mental picture of same. The magician
names it (7).
The spectator spells his name, shiftinga card from the top to bottom of the packet for
each letter. The one in his hand on the final letter is the chosen card (8).
The explanation uses numbers keyed to the above effect.

1. State that you will require a certain number of cards and have a spectator count them
onto your hand to impress him with the number used. This number is arrived at by
secretly adding 1 to the number of letters in the spectator's name. If you were working
for Ray Massecar, you would ask for twelve cards.
2. The packet is held face down in the left hand. Riffle the corner of the packet with
your left thumb until you are told to stop by the spectator. Lift off the upper half of
the packet. Your right thumb is at the inner end of the upper half and the second and
third fingers are curled around the outer edge. Allow the spectator to see the face card
of the upper half, but the manner in which you are holding the cards is convincing
proof that you do not see it. Replace the upper half on the remainder of the packet.
As you do so, the second and third fingers of the right hand twist the noted card to
the right and away from the face of the upper half. The lower half of the packet enters
between the upper half and the selected card so that it, the card noted by the spectator,
secretly becomes the face card of the packet.
3. The face card of the packet (noted card) is not disturbed. The Hindu Shuffle may be
used or you may prefer to leave it in place during a riffle shuffle.
4. Hold the packet face down in your left hand and execute the glide so that it is actually
the card second from the face that is removed, shown, and replaced on the face. There
is no trickery in showing the top card.
5. Hold the packet vertically and facing you. As you add the Joker to the face of the
packet, the left thumb slides the previous face card just far enough down to glimpse the
index comer of the card behind it. It is the card noted by the spectator. Remember it.

6. Be sure the spectator understands that with the Joker you have thirteen cards in your
hand - in our example. Glide the Joker, deal the cards from the top face up onto the
GOBAK CARD MYSTERY 101

table, and on the count of '11 ,' deal the two projecting cards as one. The one card left
- the Joker -is dealt face up as you call '12.' As the selected card is not seen, it must
be the one that has vanished.
7. Name the card you glimpsed at (5).
8. This happens automatically.
The Purloined Letters
Marketed fry SJ, 1948

L
ettertrickery is as fascinating as mathemagic. I once made an old lady's whole day
brighter by drawing her attention to the fact that the letters in 'Best in prayer' spell
'Presbyterian.'
"Ted Annemann buried code messages in some issues of the Jinx. If you look at
issues #10, 11 and 12 (Iuly-August-September, 1935) and read the initial letter of each
paragraph backward from his signature you will find: 'I Love You,' 'My Tiger Cat' and
'I Luv U.' I first heard about this from Jack Avis in 1954, at which time I remarked that
Ted could be compared to Edgar Allan Poe in that Poe had composed a cryptogrammic
acrostic for Frances Sargeant Osgood in 'To Her Whose Name Is Written Below,' and for
Sarah Anna Lewis in 'An Enigma.'
''Will Dexter authored an interesting article in the February 1973 PentagraJIJ that
revealed two more cryptograms hidden by Annemann in Lies! Lies! Lies! by Henry Christ
in the Jinx Summer Extra(l 935) and in Ted's 'Editrivia' column in #66 (November 11,
1939).
"I sent The Purloined Letters to Winston Freer, who commented that I had a strange
way of thinking, and: 'How you can knock them out like that is more than I can fathom.'
He was wrong. Unlike many of my creations, this one did not flash into my mind, but
I did sit down and work it out at one session. I consider acrostics to be word games,
not puzzles. The whole point is lost if the recipient does not know it is an acrostic. The
cleverness associated with an acrostic is not in reading one, it is in creating one as nearly
perfect as possible. It should be a poem or prose dealing with a single topic, symmetrical
in form and adhering strictly to established rules.
"To the best of my knowledge, this was the first cryptogram to reveal the name of a
card. I had read somewhere that there are many double acrostics, but no triple acrostic. If
not, there is now.''
On December 30, 1948, Stewart wrote Ron Edwards: "In working Purloined Letters,
I have two of the cards to be forced on the face of the deck and the other on top. I force
face card by Hardin's Supreme Force and 'X' the cut.

102
THE PURLOINED LETTERS 103

"Reveal forced car<i,in verse. Say, 'You probably wonder what would have happened if
you had taken another card - perhaps this one immediately above the one you did select.'
Show face card of upper half and reveal in verse.
"'It would still work out if you touched this card that was immediately below.' Show
top card of lower half and reveal it in verse."

-0-

I suggested to Stewart that you could have the card selected before the verse is written.
Have the card revealed, dramatically pretend to concentrate for a moment, then rapidly
write out the memorized poem. The impression left is that you have this uncanny skill to
create an acrostic for any card in the deck. If you adopt this idea, the appearance should
be created via false shuffles that any six cards are dealt face down on the table before one
of them is chosen as described. Naturally, if you use this idea, you would not reveal the
names of the other two cards.
You begin: "In Sartain's Union Magazine for March 1849, there was published a
cryptogrammic acrostic in verse by Edgar Allan Poe. It was written as a valentine for his
sweetheart, Frances Sargent Osgood. If he had been a magician, he would undoubtedly
have presented something like this."
Reproduce this twelve line verse:

.Scan this verse! Please be.sole.ind.


Tell rne:the. secret tha.t yov 1/r,d.
Reveal r/re.deft de.s/gn.
And eve.,.'/ a'1"ffu/ /,r,e.
Even now r>e...-ha_/'Syou'Y-e woncle-r/ng
Hot.V 11,ose clues evade your hlundeYi ng,
Feno! orrdefeaf /
017 word complefe
Ever shall disclose fl,e nex f o,-,e;
Vouc,7 I-he .success of' your wo,..I<done..
I only QSX, SC/Dfracf .some. ve,-h1age
F,nisl, the fa$A - ~.,,d tl)ere's '{ovr m~ssct~e.

Six cards are removed from a deck and placed in a face-down row. A ~pectator names
a number less than 7. The card at that number is turned face up and the name of the card
is revealed by 'purloining letters' from the verse.
You remove the six cards from the deck and place them in a row like this:

---- 11 1 { 1 [ t il l
104 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

If he names 1, 2, or 3 you count from his left and arrive at one of your key cards. If
he names 4, 5, or 6 you count from your left.
The seven of clubs is revealed by taking the first letter in the first line, the second letter
in the second line, and so on, to the twelfth letter in the twelfth line.
The four of spades is revealed by taking the first letter in the last line, the second letter
in the second-last line, and so on, to the twelfth letter in the first line.
The five of hearts is revealed by taking the first letter in each line commencing with
the last line and reading up.
You may prefer to force all three cards and disclose that the names of all of them are
buried in the verse.
Pocket ofPersistence
Typewritten instructions, April 22, 1949 and August 6,
1958

W:
y it took more than fifty years for this commanding demonstration to
move from its hiding place in Stewart's files to its debut in The James File
is impossible to divine.
From a letter to Francis Haxton, April 30, 1949: "You shuffle the deck, hand to a
spectator and he cuts anywhere he pleases, removes card cut to, places it in his right coat
pocket and the deck in his left coat pocket. You may be genuinely blindfolded from the
time you hand him the deck. You do not know the position of a single card and, what
will probably surprise you most, it is not necessary for you to know which is the top and
which is the bottom of the deck.
''You reach in his pocket and remove five cards, one at a time. Ask him to consider
them as a poker hand. Without asking a single question, you name its value.
"Name the value of the hand that it would be necessary for you to have to beat his.
You reach in his pocket, remove five cards and they make up the very hand you named.
"You remove a card and say it is the same colour as the card he has in his right pocket
which he has not named and no one has seen but himself. You next reach in and remove
a card of the same suit. Now you state that you will locate a card of the same value. Not
only the same value but the only other card in the deck of the same value and colour. You
do.
"To conclude, you name a much better poker hand than you have previously produced
- and you quickly produce it."
The stack from top to face: 8D 8C KH KS 3D 3C 1 OH 1 OS 2D 2C 7H 7S 9D 9C SH
SS QD QC 4H 4S AD AC 6H 6S JD JC 8H 8S KD KC 3H 3S 10D 10C 2H 2S 7D 7C
9H
9S SD SC QH QS 4D 4C AH AS 6D 6C JH JS.
Although the deck is eventually concealed in a pocket, the overall impact is much more
forceful if a blindfold is employed. (And obtaining it allows for a simple switch from the
cards in use to the stacked deck.) False shuffle briefly, then place the pack face down on
the table and invite a man wearing a jacket to cut it and complete the cut. After he has
done this satisfactorily, put on the blindfold and ask him to cut the cards again.

105
106 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

''You will agree that now, without my sight, I cannot know the location of a single card.
Please cut them one more time, then take the top card without looking at it and hide it in
your inside coat pocket. Now, empty out your left-side jacket pocket and put the deck in
there. All set? I want to demonstrate for you the remarkable sense of touch developed by
gamblers - and certain magicians! We'll start with a poker hand."
Reach into his side pocket and, one at a time, remove five cards. It doesn't matter which
end of the pack is used! Take out the first three cards, singly, as you encounter them. Then
move the new "top" card to the "bottom" of the deck and remove the next one. Repeat
this action. The cards are placed into a face-out fan in your other hand. (Initially, you will
not know with certainty if the cards you are bringing from his pocket face the audience.
You can quickly ascertain the situation by asking, when the first card is brought into view,
"Can everyone see the card?'')
''I have just produced a poker hand for you. I have given you one pair! Is that correct?"
It will be. (In this example, they will be the 9S, SD, SC, QS and 4C.) Ask the volunteer to
take his cards.
''Now I'm going to give myself a hand and, as a good gambler, I will beat you - but
just barely. I want to make my hand just good enough to win, but not so good that it
creates suspicion. So I want to get two pairs." Return to his pocket, and briskly remove the
top five cards in order, placing them as before into a face-out fan. It is seen that you are
holding a winning two-pair hand. (AH, AS, 6D, 6C and JH in this example.)

(Spectator) ,, ( Performer)

''I'll make it easier for you. Take three of my cards and form the best five-card poker
hand you can from those eight." Hand your volunteer the middle three cards from those
in your possession. Reach back into his pocket, transfer the top three cards to the bottom,
and remove the next one. Do this once more until you are holding four face-out cards. le
will be seen that they are all of the same suit.
"Right now, you're holding two pairs. But if I give myself a flush I'll win the pot!"
Once again, transfer three cards to the bottom and remove the next one. "Sir, will you
name this card." He responds that it is the seven of hearts. "And does it give me the flush
I need? The reply is affirmative. (The flush will consist of the AH, J H, KH, 1 OH and
7H.
POCKET OF PERSISTENCE 107

The spectator will have pairs of fives and sixes and one odd card, likely the ace of spades
in this case.)
'1\.t the beginning, I asked you to remove one card without looking at it and hide it in
your pocket. Take it out now and let me touch it." With some drama, announce that it is
the nine of hearts. "There is only one other card in the deck that has the same colour and
value, the nine of diamonds. Let's see if I can find it!" Pretend to search through the cards
in his pocket, then remove the second card from the top and proudly display it - the nine
of diamonds.
You remember the name of the final card in the flush hand, in this example the seven
of hearts. The spectator's chosen card will be of the same suit, and the next value in the
Eight Kings system. As you remove the blindfold and accept your applause, bring the
talon from his pocket but secretly leave the top two cards behind. Assemble the rest of
the cards. Pretend to weigh and study the talon, then announce that you seem to have
accidentally left two cards in his pocket. Dramatic pause. "I believe they are the seven of
spades and the nine of clubs!" He produces the two missing cards to prove that, once
again, you are correct.
You know the name of the card you brought out that matched his selection. In this
case, you showed the nine of diamonds. For your finale, it is simply a matter of naming
the card preceeding it and the card following it in your stack. As Stewart observed about
this demonstration: "You can't be wrong, no matter which end of the deck you started
with."
Essqy f?y
SJ

The true genius is a mind of large general powers,


accidentally determined to some particular direction.
Sa1!1t1el Johnson
Lives of the English Poets (1779)

his chapter will be built as if this disquisition was written whole by Stewart

T
himself, rather than by another through the sourcing of comments and
observations Stewart had made over many years in various letters. Only integral
editing and
appropriate transitional phrases will be introduced. Stewart is solely responsible for the
intriguing commentary and clarity of language. I now turn things over to Stewart James:
Francis Haxton told me that Peter Warlock had put forth the theory that too much
association with other magicians tended to thwart original thought in magic. For this
reason, he considered magic societies and clubs were not good hunting grounds for the
original thinker. Haxton said, "He considered that the best and most original thinkers in
magic - and he quoted you as an example - were those who worked on their own and
developed their own thoughts, without interference or influence by others. I think this is
true."
I was naturally flattered by Warlock's comment, and there is much to be said for
the theory that association would tend to stunt original thought, but building on the
foundation of others saves infinite time and experiment. My attitude is that the original
thinker - and no matter how original he is, he must have straw for the bricks - will
know all that is humanly possible about what has been done and is being done, and then
will make his dream of what will be done a reality before anyone else. The "has" are
books, the "is" are contemporaries, and the "will" are the little grey cells.
In response to repeated prodding from Peter Warlock, I made an attempt at an outline
map of nine paths to Mecca. It did not seem to register clearly with him, but he quoted
one of my passages in his lecture called 'Some Aspects Of Magical Invention' which he
presented to the Magic Circle in London in May 1949.
I was flattered when Warlock began: "Stewart James, who without any doubt is the
108
ESSAY BY SJ 109

legitimate successor t<1"Chatles T. Jordan, wrote: 'I have nine paths of approach to creative
thinking (magically); the feeling persists that there may be twelve. Supposing, for example,
that you need an opening trick in which a wand is vanished. You are not satisfied with the
effects that are to hand so you seek a new angle. For this I build up ... a family tree of wand
devices plus variations. This, as you will see, is far superior to merely listing the various
wand effects, as with the mere process of extending the tree into many branches you will
automatically strike new and fertile ground."' I think I explained it much better on page
843 of Steuar:[ames in
Print.
About that same time, I had considered writing up other methods I employed to
stimulate thought-action. However, I thought then that if an editor was daring enough
to print them, most readers would consider it a waste of space and others would have a
broad target for shafts of ridicule. The ability to produce a descriptive phrase that forms
an illuminating picture in another's mind is not an accomplishment I possess, although
Howard Lyons and Allan Slaight somehow squeezed some material out of me during the
1980s for the book we did together. ['Interlude - On Creation' on page xxix in Stewart
JamesIn Pdnt.]
Although The Trick Brain by Dariel Fitzkee made little impression on the world of
magic, for me it made interesting reading. I found it stimulating that someone contributed
to the advancement of magic by producing a text book of the basic fundamental methods
in systematic and really quite concise form. I first heard about it when Milt Kort sent me
the prospectus while I was overseas during World War Two. I wrote him from Holland on
December 3, 1944: "The Trick Brain sounds like a must in a working library. Sorry Freer
hadn't beaten Fitzkee to the post but it is probably better written than the erratic Freer
would have produced."
How few and how separated in time and space are what I would call the scientific
students of the magic art - like Maskelyne and Devant, Fitzkee, Freer and Dr. Nicholls
Harley. And one of these days I would like to see a bibliography compiled of the many
contributors of ideas to the world of magic, probably going back to Hofzinser and on
through the eras of Hardin and Jordan, on to Collins and Hull and their associates, and
up to more recent times with its relatively few free thinkers like Freer and Hummer and
Elmsley.
People approach the act of creation in different ways. A friend of mine many years
ago, Reverend Stanley Johnston, had made an unfortunate marriage and life was made
more bearable for him by exploring the process of thought, much as others would have a
hobby. He was firmly convinced that periods of mind productivity ebbed and flowed like
the tide. He kept a notebook in which was recorded the actual time and duration of his
tides. Aside from the possibility that he may have been right, I am sure the psychological
effect of being confident that certain times were when he was at peak proficiency was of
definite assistance to him. But, as I said once to Allan Slaight, it was a negative attitude
that had little appeal; I didn't want to be a passive receptacle waiting for something to drop
from mental space.
110 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

Thomas Edison once championed a theory, and I'm not sure if he was joshing or not,
that the brain cells work in shifts and that is another reason why ideas come more readily
at certain times. That concept has been helpful to me: Just to think that such a thing is
possible helps to overcome depression when a solution evades you; maybe the wrong shift
is on and I will be successful later. Even if you're deceiving yourself, it helps.
What I try to do is think like the Family Tree [page 843 of StewartJamesIn Print.] It saves
a whale of a lot of time and is really the only way one can work fast enough to grasp all
the thoughts when they come tumbling in like a gusher. There is an ease of
accomplishment during the first flush of attaining a new concept that one never seems
able to recapture.
At other times the ideas come slowly, but it is not necessary to wait when a person
uses a system. That is all the more reason for using a systematic table when working on
a problem. It leads the mind to stations of enlightenment which it would never locate
without first ascertaining the maximum number of direction probes. Puzzles always
seemed a criminal waste of time. A person is really doing something if he looks for the
answer to what nobody knows.
I amused myself once by coining a new word - yeles. It is made up of the first two
letters of 'years' and the last three letters of 'miles.' As we now commonly talk about so
many light years, I now on occasion contemplate so many thought yeles.
When I worked for Percy Abbott and be asked for 100 uses for some prop, it was
sometimes difficult to get words to satisfactorily express what one feels. Sometimes I
feel a result rather than think it, and a sensation is a great deal more difficult to describe
than a thought process. And there is just as surely a train of feelings as there is a train of
thought.
So you must try to be aware of how you are thinking as well as what you are thinking.
Like the tourist going along a main avenue does not forget where he is bound but, at the
same time, does not overlook the side streets which may hold greater interest.
There is a saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like that phrase but I do not
completely accept it. With a certain amount of truth I might say that originality is in the
experience of the student. I look at it this way: Pat commits murder. Mike does not know
that Pat has done so. The murder is still an actuality, regardless of Mike's ignorance. If an
idea is old, it is old whether the poorly informed student knows it or not.
You must read and study so that when you go to work the necessary information is
already stored in your thought cloud. You must be able to call up from your stockpile of
knowledge what you require. And your knowledge is never complete; you must always be
prepared to add or change. Absolute certainty is the privilege of the uneducated.
Ring Leader
Handwritten notes, circa 1950

A
s mentioned in the earlier introduction to The Knot Of Enchantment, with the
exclusion of cards, Stewart devoted more of his inventive skills to devising tricks
with ropes and rings and allied materials than to any other magical category.
Some forty appear in StewartJames In Print and TheJames Fife. Ring Leader was introduced
in The James Fife in this manner: "Sometime in the early 1950s, Stewart wrote out this
description of an effect: 'Two rings are passed on to a wand and ends of wand held by
spectator. Rings covered with hank. One ring is red. Other is black. One is chosen by S
[spectator]. Say red. You reach beneath hank and remove red ring. Black ring remains on
wand.
"Rings and wand may be examined as they are nothing more than they appear to be.
Both hands are empty when they go under the hank and contain nothing but the one ring
when they come out. Only two rings used."
Gabe Fajuri wrote: "Stewart's dealer-esque description of Ring Leader combined with
a virtually sleight-free method is what attracted me to the trick. Another wonderful
selling point is the fact that both hands can be shown unmistakably empty before the
ring is removed from the wand."
Ring Leader was uncovered in a cache of Stewart's scribbled notes and is explained
below. However, one from this grouping that has not been found was described in an
August 9, 1949, letter to Winston Freer: ''Yesterday, I developed something that would
sound like a miracle in an ad. Every word in the following is true: A ring is threaded on the
centre of a rope. It is tied in place with any number of single knots. You quickly remove
the ring although the ends are held at all times by spectators. Nothing used but one ring
and one piece of rope. The knots are genuine and may be tied - EVERY ONE - by a
spectator. Both rope and ring are unprepared, before and afterwards. You do not have to
untie and knots in order to remove the ring. The one disappointing note is that the ring is
best removed under cover of a handkerchief.
"It would take pictures to explain this, but basically it is the way the rope is tied
even though the knots are genuine."

111
112 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

The two rings are joined by a fine loop of thread or hair, but with enough separation
so they can be displayed in a natural manner.

Both rings are placed on the wand and slid back and forth "as in Ken Brooke's Ring
Off Wand - L.R. Dec. 1952, p73." (The action consists of holding the wand by placing
the palms at each end, fingers pointing towards your audience.

The wand is now tipped several times from horizontal to vertical position. Then, with
the right hand at the low point, bring the wand to the horizontal position again but, as
you do so, one ring is slipped off the wand. Slide the right hand, which conceals both
rings from view, to the centre of the wand and drape a handkerchief, obtained with the
left hand, over the right hand and its rings. A spectator is then invited to firmly hold both
ends of the wand and you bring your right hand out from under the handkerchief.)
It is suggested that the red ring be slipped off the wand, because that colour will be
named more often. After the handkerchief is placed over the centre of the wand, the red

RING LEADER 113

,,,
ring will hang free and concealed.
Use the usual conjurer's choice technique and ask the spectator who is holding the wand: "Two
rings are on the wand and both ends are tightly held. Which colour do you want - red or black?" If
red, reach under the handkerchief and pull the red ring into view, breaking the thread or hair as you
do so, then hand it to him; if black, perform the same actions, but hold the red ring in one hand and
remove the handkerchief with the other, indicating that you have honoured his request and left the
black ring on the wand he holds.
Faffing Card
Letter to Francis Haxton, September 14, 1951

S
tewart revealed a quite wonderful paper clip idea to Haxton. He wrote: "Here is one
of the first ideas I had on the falling card effect and it is rather interesting because
of its fairness."
Be sure to assemble the simple props required to perform Falling Card; you will be
pleased with the puzzling results. Stewart demonstrated this for me in his Courtright
home in May 1990, using a Waverly #3 bulldog clip. His letter to Haxton said they were
manufactured by "MacNiven and Cameron of Birmingham." It is a common type of clip
and it, or a satisfactory counterpart, may be easily obtained.
When submitting his list of his favourite Stewart James tricks, Peter Duffie wrote:
"Falling Card: I simply love this idea. I wish I had invented it. If I had, I would
have marketed it!"
You require five spring bulldog clips as illustrated. When new, these clips all carry the
same tension. Determine if one of the clips can be recognized from the rest. If not, one
must be marked in some way. Force this clip open until the spring is strained. You will
now find that it will open with less effort than the others, although you may not be able
to detect the difference in the ordinary way. Thread the five clips on a cord or ribbon, the
cord going through both holes at the top of each clip twice.

114
FALLING CARD ll5

Pull on the ends of the cord and your weakened clip will open first. If cards are in the
clips, the weak clip will release its card but the other cards will remain in place unless the
pulling is continued. The location of the clip on the cord has no bearing on the action.
Have the five clips on a tray, and know the position of the weakened clip. Five people
each select one clip. You know who has possession of the important clip and designate
her as Subject X. Ask her to think of any card, remove it from the deck and attach the clip
while your back is turned. Then the four other volunteers each remove a card and attach
their clip. With your gaze still averted, the five clipped cards are mixed about on the tray
while face down. Subject X is now instructed to thread the clips on the cord supplied in
any order. The reason you give for passing the cord through twice is that it is important
to keep the cards evenly distributed along the cord.
You turn around and take one end of the cord. Subject Xis told to hold the other end
to her forehead. Order her to concentrate intently on her card, as you gradually pull the
cord tighter. The card she clipped after only thinking of it in her mind drops to the floor.
The other cards remain on their clips.

Stewart wrote: "You might first name the card which is being thought of by noting
which card bears the marked clip. The falling would then come as an extra surprise
climax."
There can be a Living And Dead Test enacted with this principle, as Stewart pointed
out to Haxton.
Micatuber
Linking .Ri,~ October 19
52

T
his item was suggested by Revealo, a trick with thirteen cards from the Zingone
Recorded Card Tricks issued in 1941 by Victor Records under license from
Magic Record Co., New York, who appeared to have issued it earlier; they had
copyrighted it in 1939. The Divining Pasteboard by S. Leo Horowitz in jinx #105 (Iuly
1940) used four cards; A Self-Working Card Mystery by Anonymous in the February
1945, Conjarors'Magazine ten cards. Think-A-Card by Warren Wiers be in Mental Cases
UVith
Cards (1946) used thirteen cards. Six Of Spades Count Down by Martin Gardner in 12
Tricks With A Borrowed Deck (1940) used seventeen cards.
"The present method may be less convenient than those mentioned above as the
deck must be completely stacked. On the other hand, a card does not have to be noted
in a short spread - any one of the fifty-three cards may be named. No manipulation is
required. No elaborate variation in revealment is required; you merely add or subtract. It
is a prediction instead of just a discovery.
"It makes an attention-getting opener in a card routine, or it may be carried in your
pocket and only used as an out in case something goes wrong with a card trick in your
regular routine.
"This was one of the tricks I included in the [Linking Ring! Parade because I felt that
someone would eventually work it out. As noted above, originators seemed to be striving
for more cards all the time and sooner or later someone would realize that the entire
deck could be used. Even though he was working along the lines of discovery rather than
prediction, I figured Trevor Hall might be getting close with his unpublished thought
card discovery. I thought it would be nice to be first into print. As it turned out I barely
managed that, as a marketed item did appear that included a remarkably similar method,
as well as several sleight-of hand methods.
"I often used Micawber all by itself, with no following tricks to confuse the spectator
and reduce his detailed recollection of what happened. This worked fine; the usual reply
was something like: 'That's easy enough, you just put it there. But how did you know
which card I was going to think of - suppose I had said ace of spades .. .'
u6
MICAWBER 117

"Scotty Lang used this as the final trick he showed his guests before they left for home,
to keep them talking about how impossible it seemed. [Howard] Lyons wrote: 'Micawber
is very good indeed. It does seem strange that no one worked it out before. However,
that's the usual feeling when hearing of a truly ingenious idea. I have been using this
trick almost exclusively for the past couple of weeks and I have never enjoyed working
with cards so much in my life. I almost have to apologize for doing a miracle instead of
the promised card trick. I can see that this trick would wreck any routine which it began.
Definitely a closer or a singleton.' He seemed to like it."
"I named it after the character in Charles Dickens' David Copperfield who says:
'Something will turn up."'

-0-

You display a card case and state that it contains a full deck of fifty-three cards. A
peculiar urge led you to reverse one card and one card only. A strange feeling causes you
to believe that this reversed card is destined to disclose the card that a spectator shall
name. A card is named, and the 'reverser' reveals it as promised.
The deck is arranged from top to face: 6D SD 4D 3D 2D AD 7D AC 2C 3C 4C SC 6C
7C 8C 9C 1 OC JC QC KC AH 2H 3H 4H SH 6H reversed seven of hearts 8H 9H lOH
JH QH KH KS QS JS lOS 9S 8S 7S 6S SS 4S 3S 2S AS Joker KD QD JD IOD 9D 8D.
When the spectator has named a card, remove the deck from its case and spread it face
down from right to left in a long row on the table. The cards will be in the order listed and
the six of diamonds should be at your extreme left. It is evident that the seven of hearts
is the only face-up card in the face-down spread. The method by which this reversed
seven indicates the location of the spectator's freely named card is always quite direct.
These are the rules:

Seven of hearts - it is the reversed card.


Seven of diamonds - it is seventh from the left end of the spread.
The Joker - it is seventh from the right end of the spread.
Black - always add 7 to the value of the card.
Club- count from the left end of the spread.
Spade - count from the right end of the spread.
Red - always subtract 7 from the value, or the value from 7.
Seven or less in value - it is left of the reversed seven.
Eight or more in value -it is right of the reversed seven.
Heart - count from the reversed card.
Diamond - count from the end of the spread.

Examples:
Two of clubs - 2 plus 7 is 9. It is the ninth card from the left end of the spread.
118 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

Jack of spades - 11 plus 7 is 18. It is the eighteenth card from the right end of the
spread.
Three of diamonds - 3 from 7 is 4. It is the fourth card from the left end of the
spread.
Five of hearts - 5 from 7 is 2. It is the second card to the left of the reversed card.
Nine of diamonds - 7 from 9 is 2. It is the second card from the right end of the
spread.
Eight of hearts - 7 from 8 is 1. It is the first card to the right of the reversed card.
You may wish to work away from a table, in which case you need only fan the cards
with backs to the audience. You would then see the card named and the slight amount of
memory work required in the table presentation would be virtually eliminated.
Baker} Dozen System
Handwrittennotes, circa 19 5 3

he origins of that valuable artifice, usually called the 14-15 Force, remain

T
somewhat murky, although Charles T. Jordan was marginally represented at the
Four Full Hands Of Do11Jn-To
beginning. Jordan first advertised his amply titled
The-MinuteMagicalEffectsin The Sphinx for October 1921. One of the twenty tricks in
the booklet was Fate And The Joker. However, Jordan's idea was a substantial remove
from current practice in which any two adjacent cards total either 14 or 15, but it would
appear to be a precursor of the more useful force. In fact, The Fifteenth Card, a clean
prediction requiring the 14-15 set-up, surfaces on page 205 of EncyclopediaOf Card
Tricks. ''After Jordan" appears in brackets after the title.
Stewart's Deck Digit Dial and Devil from Jinx #48 (September 1938) appears on
page 151 of StewartJames In Print. His introduction: "This was my first published
trick to incorporate the 14-15 stock. I discovered this clever idea when it was
advertised by Chicago Magic Company in the late 1920s. No creator was named, but it was
marketed as early as 1922 by S.H. Paine. This useful principle has been rediscovered by
several since, including Larsen and Wright."
Stewart's stellar Robot Deck routine on page 53 also cleverly employs the principle.
Stewart wrote Francis Haxton sometime in 1953: "I have discovered that it is possible
to stack a deck so that every card may be used. One thing that I never liked about the
familiar 14-15 set-up was that a short deck had to be used. And it took me all this time
to realize that it is not necessary. If you are interested, I will line it up for you." (The
reference to a short deck meant that in the usual 14-15 stack, it is not possible to include
two of the aces.) Haxton, as was so often the case, did not subsequently express interest.
Stewart did not return to the subject.
Max Maven wrote: "I am both intrigued and frustrated by SJ's claim to have created
a 14/15 stack that uses all 52 cards. I have, in fact, attempted to solve this in the past,
without success."
Stewart's ingenious solution not only allows a fulJ deck, but it offers one other strength
when compared to the traditional 14-15 Force: It always forces the same number. After I

119
120 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

sent Baker's Dozen System off to Max, he responded: "This is an utterly unfair solution
that is - and you may quote me on this - fucking brilliant."
The complete-deck stack: K K 6 7 5 8 4 9 3 10 2 J A Q Q A J 2 10 3 9 4 8 5 7 6 K K
6 7 5 8 4 9 310 2] A Q QA] 2 10 3 9 4 8 5 7 6.
The colour order of the kings does not matter, but beginning with the third card, a six,
every other card must be red. Therefore, alternate cards beginning with the fourth card, a
seven, will be black. (The six which immediately precedes the two kings in the middle of
the stack will be black; the six which follows those kings will be red.) All fifty-two cards
are used in the stack. The number 13 is always forced.
The volunteer may give the deck any number of single cuts. He holds the deck face
down and deals cards singly and face down into a pile on the table. He stops whenever he
wishes. You emphasize that you cannot know the identity of the top card of the group
in his hand, but that it will be used. He is instructed to deal it face up beside the pile on
the table.
If it is a king, note that is has a value of 13 - the number you want. The deal stops
there. If it is any other card, a second card is used: If the face-up card is red, tell him to
deal the new top card of those in his hand face up beside the first one; if the face-up card
is black, tell him to turn over the top card of the pile on the table. In either case, the red
and the black card, when totalled, will always produce 13.
The Doozer
Linking &n~ October 1953

S
tewart considered this one of the best methods for producing a freely named
card of one colour in a deck of another colour. Not a single trick card or sleight
is required. Editor Eddie Clever wrote in the annual Annemann Parade: "Here is
something to write home about ... the few who will test and use this will have something
off the beaten path and something that really baffles." Clever wrote to Stewart, suggesting
".. .it would really be a humdinger if it could be adapted to larger cards for platform work,
but I've racked the old brain and can't see how it could be done." (Richard Osterlind
solved that challenge in ingenious fashion. His Stage Doozer, using Jumbo cards, appears
on page 1872 of The James File.) Tony Griffith wrote Stewart in 1963 that it was an
"absolute knockout for close-quarter work."
I used this often, and when I described his effect to him in 1983 Stewart said: "It
sounds like a good trick!" He had forgotten it. I mentioned to Stewart that, by slowly
fanning through the cards rather than ribboning the deck on the table, the spectator will
always think of one in the first group and thus you only need a single packet in your
pocket. With that simplified working, maybe you should seriously consider this one.
The reversal of cards is based on Double Reverse by Walter Gibson in Jinx#77 (lanuary
27, 1940). The procedure Stewart suggests below makes a surprising climax possible.
The-difference-between-a-magician-and-a-mentalist theme, which Ted Annemann used,
is appropriate for this routine. The reversed cards show how the magician can control and
reveal selected cards, but the odd-backed card shows that a mentalist would already know
what the card will be before it is named.
Steve Beam, who also compiled a list of his favourite James inventions, was taken with
The Doozer. He wrote: ''While I don't like the term 'commercial' as it is normally applied
to magic, The Doozer meets the definition. For the price of a small set-up, you receive a
Brainwave variant that ends with an ordinary pack and quickly and easily resets."

-0-

121
122 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

A card freely chosen by a spectator and another chosen by the performer mysteriously
reverse themselves in the deck. A card freely named by a spectator has a differently
coloured back to any other card in the deck.
Two decks of cards are required; one is red-backed and the other blue-backed. From
these two decks make up a fifty-two card deck. The top twenty-six cards have blue backs
and the remaining twenty-six cards have red backs. It does not matter what the cards are
in either group but there must not be a duplicate in the completed pack. It is placed in a
card case that does not indicate the cards are red or blue, and carried in your inside coat
pocket.
Reverse an easily remembered card at the face of the remaining twenty-six red-backed
cards and put them into your outside coat pocket on the right side. A piece of cardboard,
to divide the pocket and later keep your two banks of cards separate, will make for
smoother working. An easily remembered card is also reversed on the face of the twenty
six blue-backed cards that were left over when you made up the special deck. They, and
another piece of cardboard, are placed in the outside coat pocket on your left side.
Remove the deck from your inside coat pocket. Take it out of the box so that the
spectators see only the faces of the cards. Spread the deck face up on the table and have a
spectator name any card. Push it out of the spread and leave it face up on the table. You
will know the colour of its back from where it lies in the spread. You could have the ace
of spades at the twenty-sixth position from the top of the deck, serving to indicate where
one colour stops and the other colour starts.
Suppose the spectator names the jack of diamonds which has a red back and is one of
the cards in the bottom half of the deck.

Rl:D -BACkED

i
SLJl>t; SGLECTION
OUT Of: SPREAD

After pushing it out of the spread, slide the twenty-six bottom cards of the deck
together, square them and turn them face down in front of you. These will be the twenty
five remaining red-backed cards topped with one blue-backed card which gives the
impression that they are all blue-backed. (In this case, the blue-backed card will be the ace
of spades.)
Nothing has been said to the contrary and the impression is strengthened as the
twenty-five remaining cards from the spread are pushed together and placed in front of
THE DOOZER 123

the spectator, all blue-backed. Ask him to shuffle this packet as you shuffle yours. You
Hindu Shuffle, with the faces of the cards to the spectators, so that the top blue-backed
card of your group is not disturbed.
Put your packet into your left coat pocket and ask the spectator to put his cards into
bis own pocket. Ask him to reach into his pocket and remove any card from his group
while you do the same with yours. When you put your packet into your pocket, put it on
the opposite side of the cardboard from the packet of blue-backed cards that has rested
there from the beginning.
Remove the. one blue-backed card from the packet you just placed in your pocket, do
not let anyone see its face, and place it face down on the table. The spectator does the
same with the card he selects. You both peek at your cards now. He takes bis packet of
cards from his pocket as you do the same. However, the cards you remove are not the
ones you just placed there but the twenty-six with all blue backs.
Hold your packet as if the cards are all face down, but actually they are all face up
with the exception of the reversed top card. Insert the spectator's card face down, and
without looking at it, in your half. It appears to go in the same way as the other cards but
it is actually reversed. The spectator inserts your card, without looking at it, in his packet.
MA6ICIAN'.5 s~crATOR'5
I-IAU: /../ALI=

ONL'I
WP
\
CARl>

IS bDOWN
/:AC
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0
SPGcrATDR!;
CA/2D

Secretly turn your half over. Take the spectator's half and place yours on it. Or,
you can follow the normal Double Reverse procedure: Take half of the spectator's packet
and place these cards face up and jogged outward below your cards. Place the other half
face up on top of your cards and jogged inward. Recapitulate, then square up the deck.
The spectator names his card and you name yours. The card you name is the one that
was reversed in your packet from the start. Ribbon spread the deck face down. Only two
cards are face up and they are the two cards named. They are turned face down which
shows the backs of all the cards to be blue.
Say that you took a card from another deck and inserted it among the rest of the
cards before you left home, as you had a feeling that someone would name it. The card
fust named and resting face up on the table, where it has not been out of sight for a
single moment, is turned face down. It is red-backed. Put it aside and you are left with a
124 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

MA6/CIAN'S CAl<J)S -
ONLI./ TOP CARD
~ /:"ACE DOW/I.I

complete and unprepared deck of blue-backed cards with which to continue, or permit
the curious to examine.
When the card named is blue-backed, push it out of the spread and leave it to one side
face up. Use the face card of the spread, which is red-backed, to scoop up the remainder
of the deck. Split the deck as the faces of the cards are held toward the spectators. Place
one packet face down in front of yourself. This consists of the twenty-five blue-backed
cards topped by the red-backed card which you employed as a scoop. The ace of spades
would be the face card. The spectator is given the remaining twenty-five red-backed cards
and the routine continues as explained, with the exception that you put your packet into
your outside coat pocket on your right side, so that you can switch for the red-backed
cards.
Io this case you end up with a red-backed deck and the freely named card is blue
backed.
Matchimera
First Cali To Cards, 19 54

M
atchimera is 'match' and 'chimera' rammed together, and designates an
incongruous conception of the imagination by which two cards become their
own equalizers.
"I am rather partial to alternative endings as it compares to an action being perfectly
concealed. The mechanics of a trick are never performed in their entirety at any one
presentation and yet the effect is always complete.
"I consider the combination of principles unique: no card in the spectator's half need
be known, no one-ahead principle, no need to know the number of cards in either half,
no false cutting, no sleights. A genuinely shuffled deck is used, the cutting may be done
by the spectator, and cards are not handled by you afterwards. Nice ad there. I felt rather
good when one of my editors commented that Matchimera is one of the finest of the
deal-and-match tricks."
"Peter Warlock felt this was' ... one of the gems of the collection. A very straightforward
plot with undetectable means."'
RoyWalton was also impressed. He wrote me: "The construction of this trick is wonderful."

-0-

After a spectator has shuffled the deck, the performer removes one card which he
places face down on .his left and two cards which he places face down on his right. The
spectator then cuts the deck into two piles as unequal in number as he desires. He removes
the top card of the lower pile and the performer replaces it with the card he had placed on
his Jeft. The cards cut off are returned on top with the spectator's card on top of all. Let
us say .his card is the queen of hearts. The spectator then gives the deck a single cut, which
he completes, then squares the pack so that the location of any card is unknown.
The deck is now divided into two piles by dealing the cards one at a time alternately and
face down. The top card is removed from .his pile by the spectator, and with it he starts
a new face-up pile a little to the right of the first. The performer does the same with .his

125
126 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

cards. This simultaneous dealing from both piles continues until the coincidence occurs.
When this happens, the performer stops the dealing and reveals the two cards that he
placed aside on his right. Let us say that one is a seven and the other is a club. He states
that he placed these particular cards to one side as a record of his selected card, the seven
of clubs. Oddly enough, although it and the card selected by the spectator were placed in
the deck at widely separated points, they have turned up at the same time in the dealing.
The last card dealt by the performer is the seven of clubs and the last card dealt by the
spectator is his card. Each one has succeeded in dealing his own card at the same time as
the other.
To start, you remove a card and place it to one side on your left. Promptly forget what
it is as this action is for misdirection only. Fan through the deck and remove two cards
which you place on your right. These cards are determined by the suits and values of the
top and bottom cards of the deck, which must be of different suits and values. Let us say
that the top card is the seven of clubs and the bottom card is the two of diamonds. You
would pick out the seven of diamonds and the two of clubs.

The spectator now selects his queen of hearts and it and your dummy card are returned
as described. The single cut shifts the queen of hearts to somewhere in the deck between
the seven of clubs and the two of diamonds.
Take the deck and deal the first face-down card to the spectator, the second to yourself,
third to the spectator and so on until all the cards have been dealt. You both then start
dealing your cards face up simultaneously as explained. When you turn the original top
card, the seven of clubs, face up on your pile, you know that the spectator's card is face
up on his and you stop the deal. Reveal that the two cards placed to one side are the same
suit and value as your card.
But what happens when the former top card is not in your pile? Then it will be in his
and you stop the dealing just the same as when it turns up in front of you. The effect is
just as direct, but with this difference. The next card you would deal is the spectator's card,
the queen of hearts. The next card that the spectator would deal is the two of diamonds.
In this case you assert that the card you selected was the two of diamonds.
You prove it by showing that one of the cards placed to one side is a two and the other a
diamond. Each one has not only succeeded in dealing the other person's card at the same
time as his own, but you announce this fact before the cards are turned over.
Lejun
Linking Ri,~ A11g11st 1954

S
tewart explained that this trick was primarily created to conclude a cards-only
routine. What he sought was something particularly strong and direct for a
closer, without the necessity of switching the deck. It was to employ nothing that
resembled conjuring equipment, and was not to require a volunteer from the audience to
be dismissed at the conclusion.
He wrote: "This is a favourite of mine because it is so direct. If you could actually do
it legitimately, it would employ the same number of moves. In my own, admittedly
biased, opinion I consider it superior to Albaka or Future Deck. It may be performed at
any time during a card act, and you have an ordinary deck before and after. You may
recall that I listed Lejun second only to Further Than That as my favourite, today, of all
my card creations."
Parade editor Eddie Clever called this "superb" and wrote that it was an almost perfect
effect. Bill Goodwin summed it up nicely: "This is one of the cleanest and most direct
stop effects in existence."

-0-

On the performer's table are two tumblers. The one on his right holds a deck of blue
backed cards with the backs of the cards to the audience. The one on the left holds a deck
of red-backed cards with their backs to the audience. The tumblers are possibly a foot
apart. The actual distance will be governed by what will appear well-balanced with the size
of the table top.
Removing the blue-backed deck, the performer replaces one card in the tumbler and
pockets the deck. The face of the card is toward the audience. The red-backed deck
is shuffled and placed face down across the mouth of the tumbler from which it was
removed. A bell is given to a spectator. The performer deals the cards, one at a time, from
the top of the red deck. If the spectator does not want it, he rings the bell. The card is
then dropped face down on the table.

127
128 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

This action is continued until the bell is not rung. On receiving confirmation that the
card about to be dealt is the card that is desired, the performer places it in the tumbler in
front of the blue-backed card. The back of the red-backed card is toward the audience.
The spectator is given one last chance to change his mind, should he be at all undecided
about his choice. When he has evinced his complete satisfaction, the performer places the
remainder of the red-backed deck to one side. He then removes the blue-backed card
from the right-hand tumbler and puts it in the one on the left. The back of the blue
backed card is now toward the audience.

The performer recapitulates what has been done. Particular stress is placed on the
complete freedom granted to the bell ringer, and the fact that the prediction was made
before a bell ringer was nominated. The known predicted card has been prominently
displayed at all times thereafter.
The faces of both cards are now revealed to the audience by giving the tumblers a half
turn. The card selected by the spectator is a duplicate of the one removed in advance by
the performer.
The blue-backed deck contains a double-faced card. One face is the same as the other,
the queen of hearts for example. Place it in the deck just in front of the genuine queen of
hearts. To create the effect described, cut the double-faced card to the face of the deck.
Double lift it and the card behind. They are dropped in the tumbler on your right as one
card with the face toward the audience. During this operation, both sides of the card will
be seen.
The red-backed card is freely selected by the spectator with the bell. This is dropped in
the tumbler on the right, in front of the one already there, with the red back of the card
to the audience.
The blue-backed card only is lifted out and placed in the tumbler on the left with the
back of the card to the audience. When the tumblers are given a half turn, the audience
sees the face of the genuine blue-backed queen of hearts and the face of the double-faced
L EJ UN 129

CJ/OSEN
1?D -BACKED
CAIW

l
BLUE-BACKED
Q~ ATREAll

DOUBLE -l='AC.E"t>
QY IN /:RONT

card in front of the red-backed card. There appear to be just two matching cards which
have been seen back and front.
l>CXl8LE-t:Ac.El:> BLJ.JE
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-t-i-
Stewart wrote: "Usually, where a bell is used in a stop trick, it is only rung at the time
the spectator selects his card. The way I have described has been more effective for
me, but you must decide that for yourself. Actually I prefer a noisemaker much more
than a bell or a whistle - the type of party horn that is sold around New Year's Eve or
Hallowe'en. The repeated blowing and raucous sound creates a bit of amusement. The
construction is light enough that it may be safely tossed to the audience. The spectator
who succeeds in catching it thus becomes your volunteer assistant quickly and easily. Since
he may perform his part without leaving his seat, there is no awkward break in the routine
while you request someone to help and then wait for him to come forward. Leaving your
performing position for the selection of a card is also eliminated. Even the deck may be
rubber-banded and tossed out and back for a shuffle by anyone. However, I feel the action
is faster and smoother without this. The price of the horn is so modest that one need not
trouble to collect it afterward which is a detail of some importance in a concluding effect.
The horn could also bear a bit of personal advertising."
Under certain circumstances the following idea is useful as all the cards are apparently
handled by the audience. Both decks are in their cases, the double-faced queen of hearts
130 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

on the face of the blue-backed deck and the genuine queen of hearts second from the
bottom.
Remove the decks, secretly leaving the bottom two cards of the blue-backed deck in
the case. Do a trick, such as You Do As I Do, which requires two decks. You follow with
a trick or two which requires one deck only, so you use the red pack and replace the blue
backed deck in its case on top of the two cards already there. When you come to Lejun,
remove the blue-backed deck, false cut and remove the two cards at its face as one card
only.
By no means overlook the possibility of the spectator actually stopping you on the
predicted card. Truly you will have performed a miracle and any trick after that would
only be an anti-climax. Place the queen of hearts seventh from the top in the red-backed
deck. This may be done secretly, or quite openly under the pretence of knowing what the
spectator is going to do and placing the card accordingly. If it is done openly, the spectator
is kept in ignorance of its exact location.
'Lou then proceed as in The Psychic Stop on page 330 of Expert Card Technique.If that
method is not successful, Lejun will be.
The Gofar Ball
Magic Mine,
1957

W
inston Freer said this was 'another of those items so typical of your thinking.'
I believe that meant he liked it, but Haxton was more explicit in calling it
a gem, and Jack -Avis thought it would be a favourite of his. Peter Warlock
wrote: 'One of the most mystifying transpositions that can be envisaged.' And John Braun
said: 'One excellent feat is Gofar Ball... the transposition takes place while they watch
every move, too!'
"Sometimes I used three threads with a ball of a different colour on each. One was
freely selected and the other two were pulled from their threads as they were placed
aside. Other times I asked a spectator for his initials and placed them on the ball. At the
conclusion I would permit the spectator to lift the glass and remove the ball to verify his
initials. At the same time, it is apparent the articles are no more than they appear to be."
Gordon Bean wrote: ''I love how the diagrams guide you through the steps the ball
takes in its impossible journey. This method is really no more complicated than many of
SJ's card effects, but in this case it's so gloriously explicit.''

-0-

A ball disappears from a tube and travels invisibly to an inverted tumbler which is
partially concealed by a second tube.
You need a rubber ball which is 2 W' in diameter. Tube Number One is 3 W' in
diameter. Tube Number Two is 3" in diameter. Both are 4" high. The tumbler is perfectly
clear glass without ornamentation. It is 3" in diameter at its mouth and 5 1/2" high. A tray
is needed, preferably of wood and approximately 12" x 18". The inside of the bottom is
covered with felt so that the ball makes no sound when it is dropped. You also need some
fine but strong thread, 17" long. Attach one end of the thread to the extreme bottom of
Number One. Thread the other end through a large needle and push it through the ball.
The easiest way is to push the needle through as far as it will go and pull it the rest of the
way by firmly gripping the point with pliers. Remove the needle and pull the thread back

131
132 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

until the end goes out of sight into the ball.


Set Number One on the tray with the thread at the bottom and on the right side from
your position behind the tray. Pass the ball up through Number Two and out onto the tray.
Number Two is set down beside Number One and to its right. The ball is covered with the
inverted tumbler, which is beside and to the right of Number Two. You are prepared.

AIUM8l:R TRMI.SPARl=NT
7WO TUMBLt;E?

Please follow the instructions by comparing them at the appropriate points to the
illustrations. Note they are from the performer's viewpoint.
"Once upon a time I became interested in the possibility that inanimate objects might
be possessed of feelings just like human beings. Through the years I have collected stacks
of statistics. Most of my nice round figures came from spheres. This is my best pupil
- Eyeball. I just call him that for short. His real name is Arch-i-ball. Ever since he came
to me from Ball-timore, he has been under observation in this crystal prison. It might
have been more appropriate to have kept him on a ball-cony. However, he has been so
happy that he never likes to leave his home for even a short time and his greatest emotion
is nostalgia."
Lift the tumbler away from the ball and set it to one side (A). Drop the ball in Number
Two (B).
"I thought he might be more contented in the privacy of this metal wall, but he
wasn't."
Lift Number Two and place it beside the tumbler (C). Drop the ball in Number One
(D).


THE GOFAR BALL 133

"I wondered if he'd be happier inside this metal wall, but he wasn't."
Push Number Two alongside Number One (E). Pick up Number One, allow a glance
through it and drop it over Number Two (F). Drop the ball into the two tubes (G).

0 ":I --- -
0 .Jft' [\ : 2 I: :
r\M\,
I' '

: I

0, 2 ~----1
"I thought he might be better satisfied with the protection of a double wall, but he
wasn't."
Lift off Number One and place it at the extreme right on the tray, on the other side
of the tumbler (H). Slide Number Two to the extreme left of the tray as if it still covered
the ball(I).
Pick up the tumbler and lower it mouth downward into Number OneO} The ball is
suspended in Number One. The weight of the tumbler will push it off the thread (K).

0121 I
r!1
,I ~
~ t

'
I I
: \

i,i
... '1/J,
"What actually pleased him most was to live in his familiar glass home with the
addition of an opaque wall. As a matter of fact, he likes it so well that he has already
gone from here and is there already."
As you say the last line, lift Number Two and show it definitely empty. Stand it to one
side on the table. Lift Number One and permit it to be seen empty. Drop it over Number
Two (L). The tray may now be carried to a spectator to lift the tumbler and remove the
ball.

0
The Tenth Variation
Letter to FrancisHaxton, February28,
1961

I
n the assessment of several learned magicians, the material in StewartJamesIn Print.
The First Fifty Years and The JamesFile pertaining to The Transposed Cards principle
was particularly satisfying. Those volumes featured eleven inventions by Stewart
which creatively employed the concept outlined by Walter Gibson in his Popuiar Card
Tricks (1928) in the trick he titled The Transposed Cards. Simply put, two cards in play
exchange positions in natural fashion. However, this seemingly naive maneuver, when
exploited, allowed Stewart James and others to stretch those boundaries; based on the
evidence, Stewart pushed the concept farther than anyone else.
The first item he released using the concept behind The Transposed Cards was The
Book Of The Dead, which appeared here earlier. It was first marketed by Abbott's in
1939. And another remarkable version, Split Second, follows shortly.
Stewart wrote:" .. .Ihave not been able to accurately trace [The'Iransposed Cards) back
prior to 1928, although I wrote Francis Haxton in 1954 that the basic principle can be
found in ModernMagic. [To Allow A Person To Th.ink of A Card, And To Make That Card
Appear At Such Number In the Pack As Another Person Shall Name, page 52.] Briefly,
two persons are asked to note cards not too far down in the deck and also to determine
each card's position from the top. The magician asks for the total of the two numbers
that represent the cards' positions. He puts the deck behind his back for a moment and
then lays the deck on the table. Each person names his card and its number from the top.
The cards are shown to have changed places. Assume one spectator noted the fifth card
from the top and the other the twelfth. When the magician is told the total is 17, be simply
reverses the top sixteen cards - one less than the total - and replaces them on the deck.
The card originally in the fifth position is now twelfth and vice versa."
In the 'Sympathetique Techniques' chapter, beginning on page 2367 of TheJames File,
there appears a strong plot for a card trick which apparently originated with Edward
Bagshawe; it was improved by Herman Weber. The mates of three cards reversed in a red
deck are found reversed in a blue deck, then the face-up cards in the red deck are shown to
have blue backs and vice versa. In 1961, Stewart sent forty-seven variations on this theme

134
THE TENTH VARIATION 135

to Francis Haxton! One of them, the Tenth Variation, brilliantly utilizes The Transposed
Cards principle.
Two cards, chosen in a most fair manner and reversed in a red deck, are seen to match
two cards reversed earlier in a blue deck that has been lying in its case on the table. It is
then revealed that the two face-up cards in the red deck have blue backs, while their face
up duplicates in the blue pack have red backs.
To prepare: Reverse the three of diamonds and nine of clubs from a blue deck several
cards apart in the top half of a red deck. The twenty-seventh card from the face of this
pack is, say, the ace of spades. The deck must contain a Joker. The red-backed three of
diamonds and nine of clubs are used to set the blue pack in the identical manner. Both are
face up in their cases on the table.
Spectator One selects either deck with the understanding that whichever he names
is the one he will use. We will assume he chooses red. Pick up the red case, take out the
cards and run through them face up until you come to the ace of spades. Remove it and
all the cards above it so you hold a packet of twenty-seven. Give them to Spectator One,
who shuffles them, then secretly cuts off as many or as few as he wishes and gives either
group to Spectator Two. Suggest that one group be noticeably larger than the other for a
reason which will be obvious in a moment. During this, the talon has been casually placed
face down on the table.
Both volunteers secretly count the cards in their possession and remember their
numbers. Explain that your earlier instruction guaranteed that their numbers will be
different. In this example, Spectator One has seventeen cards and Spectator Two has ten.
These cards are now assembled and placed aside.
Pick up the face-down talon and place it in the hands of Spectator One after he has
placed them behind his back or under the table. The only subterfuge here is that, when the
cards are out of sight, you turn them over so they are face up rather than face down. With
the cards concealed, Spectator One counts down to the seventeenth card, the total only
he knows, and reverses it in that position. It is recommended that you use the discarded
packet to demonstrate the necessary action as you illustrate that the order of the cards is
not to be disturbed.
Take the cards from Spectator One, turning them over so they are face down when
they come into view. Hand the packet to Spectator Two, face down, behind her back or
under the table. Request that she follow the same procedure and reverse the card at the
number she chose. Again, demonstrate with the discarded packet.
In this example, Spectator Two will turn over the card in tenth position, which will be
the same one reversed previously by Spectator One, thus neutralizing it. Suggest she cut
the pack once before bringing it into view, but ask her to peek after the cut and if one
of the cards that was turned face up is on top, to cut the deck again before bringing it
forth.
Take the talon from her and ribbon spread the cards face down on the table. Name the
face-up three of diamonds and nine of clubs and state that, obviously, the two spectators
136 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

could have selected totally different numbers and therefore reversed different cards. And
remind Spectator One that he could have chosen either deck initially.
Pick up the blue case and turn it over as you remove the cards so they are face down.
It's best here to give them one casual cut to centre the two reversed cards. Ribbon spread
the blue deck along the table to show its two face-up cards match those in the red deck.
Then, with as much elan as you can muster, reveal that each of those four cards
belongs in the opposite pack.
}1y Father's House

I want a house that has got over all its troubles;


I don't want to spend the rest of my life
bringing up a young and inexperienced house.
Jerome K Jerome
Th~ and I (1909)

F
rom Gene Gordon's 'Without The Shuffle' column in the October 1954 Genii:
"Enjoyed spending quite a bit of time with Harold and Gloria Sterling and they
were kind enough to drive me up to Courtright, Ontario, to visit that loveable
character ... Stewart James. If you ever wonder why this James boy stays secluded in a small
rustic village, you should visit him some time. In a story-book old mansion, Stewart can
sit on his wide porch, watching the Detroit River flow past [it is actually the St. Clair
River], and do nothing but think up new tricks. Two days out of the summer he did spend
a little time on his tomato patch. Stewart's father made a model of this house out of
tin, gave it to the carpenters and told them to build it, without any scale drawings of
any kind. It has many unique features - to load the sugar bin in the kitchen, you find a
secret panel in Stewart's magic den upstairs and dump the sugar in that. And what a
magic den - a huge room with the walls lined with magic books, complete files of all
magazines and his favorite pieces of apparatus. To keep Stewart living in this kingly
manner, be sure to buy a copy of his latest book, First Call To Cards, which Sterling
publishes."
Stewart discussed the house in which he resided for nearly 80 years in the '.Aberystwyth'
chapter beginning on page 935 of Ste1Part James In Print. ''I have referred earlier to the
home where I now reside and which was constructed by my father in 1917 ... and it is
here where I have created the things which have given me some sort of reputation for
originality. Although from the outside, on the well-travelled road beside the St. Clair River,
Aberystwyth would appear to be a typical brick box-like two-storey house with attic, it is
much more than that on the inside. Earlier, reference was made to some of the ingenious
hidden cupboards and storage areas devised by Father."
It bears reiterating here that Stewart's father, John Wickham James, died in 1940 and,

137
138 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

although he was abnormally strict with his only son and responsible for much of Stewart's
sorrowful early upbringing, doubtless the twenty-seven years Stewart spent by himself at
Aberystwyth caring for his mother also negatively affected him. It is related in the 'Parent
Thesis' chapter further on, how Stewart tended to his exacting, bedridden mother from
the time he returned from the Army in 1945 until her death in 1972 at the age of 97.
Those could not have been cheery times for Stewart and, occasionally, he would be
buffeted by attacks of despair. Although his originating comment has been lost, Stewart
wrote Francis Haxton when he was forty-one years old. This October 23, 1949 response
by Francis Haxton is rather chilling: "I am, however, very cross with you when you start
writing about a last testament that I might write. This is an attitude of mind that I have
suspected has been growing upon you for some little while and is no doubt born, I think,
out of your present environment and mode of living."
After his mother died, Stewart wrote Haxton on September 24, 1972: "I want to stay
on for a while at least. It is not the type of house I would choose if I had my druthers but
it was Father's idea of what a house should be and it has many bittersweet memories.

Ash on an old man's sleeve


Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.
Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story ended.
Dust inbreathed was a house -
The wall, the wainscot and the mouse.
The death of hope and despair,
This is the death of air.

The sombre poem Stewart appended is from T.S. Eliot's 'Little Gidding' in Fo11rQuartets,
published in 1942. He lived alone in Aberystwyth for another twenty-three years.
CardV
Ne111 Tops, December 1961

T
his was the first instalment of my second series for New Tops. My fust series
started in January 1940 ... every twenty years or so, I feel the urge. It resurged
again in 1984 with Series Three of 'Invitation To Mystery.'
"I've been critical of Rusduck [Russell Duck] previously. However, in Cardiste #3
(lune 1957) he posed an interesting problem: 'Does anybody know a system whereby
the arrangement of four cards will designate the suit and value of an unknown fifth
card?' Max Katz was intrigued and contributed an article on the problem's popularity and
development to the Linking Ring for January 1961. He described his own approach which
made use of the fifth card. My solution from New Tops requires the use of only the other
four.
''Allan Slaight became quite entranced with Card V. He tested it a few times and claims
it is the most perplexing of the versions he has encountered.
"He made some suggestions that might be of interest: If the card is in Group Two,
where the suit is named last, call out the identity of the card in the most natural manner
with the 'of' included, 'Two of diamonds' for example. This gives you six chances in
thirteen to employ this most common wording. If the selected card is a king, switch the
procedure with Group Two as I outlined it in New Tops, and call the suit last, but without
the 'of,' 'Three, heart' for example. Call all four cards like that, and your partner knows
the card is a king and can determine the suit as set out below. If the card is in Group
One, rather than saying 'Club, eight,' Allan thinks it's a bit more natural to say 'A club, the
eight."'
Peter Duffie also admired Card V. He wrote: ''As well as a creator of new plots and
concepts, James was a great problem solver, and this is a prime example. The problem of
secretly coding a card over the telephone ... has been tackled by many over the years. But
'Card V' has to be the best solution I have read. It is ingenious, yet uncomplicated, thus
making it a practical performance piece.''

-0-

139
140 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

The spectator freely shuffles a borrowed deck and removes any five cards. He selects
one of the five and telephones your partner. After the suits and values of the other four
cards are named, your partner tells the spectator the name of the selected card.
You and your partner must first decide upon an arrangement of suits. (Stewart used
diamonds, clubs, hearts and spades order, which he remembered by recalling that Dirty
Cards Have Spots.)
Arrange the four cards as described below and, based on this system, call off their suits
and values. The spectator repeats your statements on the telephone.
The position of the highest card signals the suit of the selected card which we will refer
to as Card V. Where there are two cards of the same numerical value, the suit determines
which is the higher card.
Of the three cards that remain, you assign 1 to the lowest card, 2 to the middle card
and 3 to the highest card. Six combinations are possible.
The information as to the value of the selected card is transmitted by considering cards
valued 1 to 6 in Group One. Cards valued 7 to 12 are in Group Two. Your partner will
require a chart:

COMBINATIONS GROUP 1 GROUP2


123 ACE SEVEN
132 1WO EIGHT
213 THREE NINE
231 FOUR TEN
312 FIVE JACK
321 SIX QUEEN

The suit and value of each card is named separately. If the suit is named first, Card V
is from Group One. When the suit is named last, it is from Group Two.
For example, as the spectator repeats what you say, your partner writes it down in
two lines. Assume the spectator has said: "King, diamond; ace, spade; two, diamond; ten,
club."
On checking this arrangement, he would add a third line. The king is the highest-valued
card. It is in the first position, so the suit of Card V must be a diamond. The suits are
named last, so Card V must be in Group Two. The ace, two and ten are arranged in a 1-2-3
combination. Card V must be a seven. The unknown card is the seven of diamonds.

KA210
DSDC
D 123

If the spectator repeats: "Club, eight; heart, five; heart, eight; spade, queen," your
partner would have this:
CARD V 141

CHHS
85 8 Q
213S

The suit indicator is in the fourth position, so Card Vis a spade. Suits are named first;
Card Vis from Group One. The suit determines which of the two eights is the high card.
The combination is 2-1-3, and in Group One that is a three. The unknown card is the
three of spades.
When the value of each of the four cards is named first and "of" is included before
the suit, your partner knows that Card Vis a king. All he has to do is look for the position
of the highest card to determine the suit.
The AAG Principle
New Tops, October 1962

W:
en I sent this to Martin Gardner in 1959 he replied: 'Your AAG principle is a
most delightful and amazing discovery. I have come across nothing similar to
t, but I should add that I am no authority on Fibonacci numbers. Even if it
should turn out that the principle has been discovered before, it doesn't detract from the
beautiful trick you have made out of it.'
"The title is a mnemonic, derived from the numerical letter positions in the alphabet
making it easy to recall the nearly constant total when twenty-four cells are filled in
-117.
''When I first devised AAG, Father said I just added the numbers mentally to 6t
the prediction; Mother said I did it very quickly. It was somewhat more complicated
than that, but how complicated I didn't realize until Jerry Fulton sent me a multi-page
letter, explaining why it worked out this way. Just as when Paul Montgomery 'explained'
Remembering The Future to me, I assume Jerry knows how AAG works. I don't."
Howard Lyons remarked to Stewart in 1980 that he had not been able to come up
with anything else involving the AAG principle. Stewart immediatlely sent him twelve
variations! They appear beginning on page 1259 in The James File.

-0-

Steve Beam wrote: "The AAG Principle (named for the sound made by someone
attempting to simultaneously lift all three of the James books) was worth waiting 1261
pages to discover. Had Stewart married, I don't think he would have been allowed enough
time to discover/ create this masterpiece."
Draw a square of twenty-five blank spaces. Write a prediction and give it to a spectator
to retain. Ask anyone to mentally decide upon a digit. You will do the same. Write your
digit in the upper left-hand comer of the diagram. For the first time, he names his digit
and it is written in the next square to the right. In the completed diagram, 5 has been used
as an example of your digit selection and 4 as the spectator's choice.

142
THE AAG PRINCIPLE 143

The remaining squares are filled in as shown. The 9 in the third square is the total of
the digits in the first two squares. The 4 in the fourth square is obtained by totalling the 4
and 9 in the second and third squares. They add to 13. To get a single digit we add the two
digits in this total to get the 4.
Continue in this manner until all the squares are filled. Each new digit is the total of
the two previous digits when that total is a single digit; the total of both digits when the
original total is more than one digit,

5 4 Cf 4- '+
8 3 2 5 7
3 I '+ 5 Cf
.s
' 5
4- 2.
I
~
7
B s
When the squares are filled, the twenty-five digits are totalled. The total is the same
as you predicted. The five vertical rows may be added, and the results totalled. In our
example from left to right they will be 25, 15, 22, 28 and 32 with a grand total of 122.
An alternative presentation, with no diagram, uses two decks of cards. You make your
prediction, then place a card face up on the table from your deck. The spectator removes
one from his deck and places it beside your card. Continue, using the AAG Principle, until
twenty-five cards are on the table. Their values are totalled and match your prediction.
Two decks are used in case it is necessary to have more than four of one digit, In our
example, 5 was required six times.
Proceed as I have explained for twenty-four stages, and the total will always be 117. In
our example, we started with 5 and that number must repeat in the twenty-fifth place, so
the prediction was 122 (117 + 5). It makes no difference if the spectator should select the
same number as you, but the principle is upset if both starting digits are a multiple of 3.
This is avoided quite simply by not using a 3, 6 or 9 as your starting digit,
Split Second
Ne111 Tops, December 1962

T
he Smith Myth, by Fred Smith and Hen Petsch, first appeared in The Five 0'
Fetsch, which was pub~shed in 1956 by Gene Gordon. Via The Transposed Cards
principle, two spectators both select the same card although they have arrived
at different positions in the pack because each cut off a different number of cards. The
cards are then thoroughly shuffled by one of the spectators and divided into two face
down piles. Each spectator deals cards face up in unison and shouts 'Stop' when he sees
his card. Take it from there. The trick was reprinted in the August 1969 New Pentagramand
in Gene Cordon} Magical Legary (1980).
"Back in 1957, in a letter to Francis Haxton about The Smith Myth, I wrote: 'Smith's
application is interesting but I would prefer to have the fact that the same card is selected
both times to be better concealed.' That led me to the quite wicked idea I evolved for Split
Second.
"John Braun wrote to tell me about a session he had had in early 1970 with Nick Trost
and Frank Starinieri at Denny Flynn's house in Columbus, Ohio. John had performed Hull's
Torn And Restored Card from More ''Eye Openers," causing some wonderment. After this,
Starinieri said: 'Did you fellows ever see the Deck Eliminator trick?' What he did was Split
Second, destroying another of Flynn's decks - the one Braun had not already damaged.
There was some suspicion that Ronald Haines was promoting the two tricks locally, in
the interests of further business in supplying decks. I had encountered Starinieri at Colon
about 1967; he told me that he and Clyde Cairy were doing this trick, which he knew was
mine. John Braun remarked that he felt this trick ranked with Miraskill.
"In 1972 I heard that The Magic Circle in London was putting on an evening to be
called 'Tricks From The Magazines,' and that Francis Haxton would be performing Split
Second. Tricks are like the arrow shot in the air. Glenn Gravatt included it in his 50 More
Modern Card Tricks (1979) as Half Right. In Bill Miesel's magazine, Precursor VIII Qune
1985), Nick Trost pointed out that his Jumbo-Split, in that issue, had been inspired by
Split Second and was the progenitor of his marketed item, Jumbo Two-Way Split. And in
July 1984, Supreme Magic's Magigram, published in England, ran an ad for a trick called

144
SPLIT SECOND 145

Double Vision. Although I have not seen that manuscript, there is little doubt this is Split
Second reincarnated. Although no creator is credited, the ad said: 'Roy Baker introduced
this effect when he was a dealer at one of the Blackpool Conventions. The trick was
universally voted the hit close-up trick of the convention. This wonderful effect formed
part of the lecture of the famous French magician Andre Robert and Roy's Italian
magician friend Roxy."'

-0-

Paul Hallas wrote: "This handling from James disguises the whole procedure by having
the random numbers generated from cards other than those from which the selections are
made. Another example of James' mind leaping sidways to take us a step further."
Divide the deck into three piles. A spectator chooses one. You tear the selected packet
in halves so that each card is separated about equally. Each of two spectators decide on
a number. The numbers chosen remain unknown to you. After thoroughly mixing all the
torn bits of cards they are dealt one at a time. The spectators secretly note the half of a
card which appears at the number of which they are thinking.
The packet of torn cards is now handed to the spectators. First one and then the other
removes the half card that appeared at his number during the deal. The halves are placed
face down on the table. When they are pushed together and turned face up, they are the
two halves of the same card.
Naturally the probability of such a remarkable coincidence happening without
assistance is remote. However, the numbers selected are unknown to you. The shuffle of
the torn pieces is perfectly genuine. The dealing is so fair that one of the spectators may
do it. Any cards may be used. Actually it is preferable to present this trick with a borrowed
deck, particularly if one is not being paid for the entertainment.
A fifty-two card deck is required. The cards are divided so there are seventeen cards in
each of two piles and eighteen in the third. A spectator is asked to select a pile. If it is one
containing seventeen cards, you take it and tear them in halves. He picks up and combines
the cards in the other two piles. If it is the one with eighteen cards, you have him make a
second selection and combine his two piles. The one that is left will have seventeen cards
which you then tear.
At this point you have thirty-four pieces of cards. The spectator has a packet of thirty
five cards. He cuts off a portion, large or small, and gives the remaining cards to the
second spectator. Each counts the number of cards he holds and remembers the total.
For example we will imagine the totals are 22 and 13.
Shuffle your bits of cards, hold them face down and deal them on the table one at a
time face down. Hold each piece so the first spectator can see the face of it. He remembers
the suit and value of the twenty-second half-card dealt.
Repeat the deal for the second spectator. He will remember the suit and value of the
thirteenth half-card dealt.
146 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

-- - ~

It is not necessary for the pieces to be completely dealt through and their entire order
reversed. For more rapid working, any time after a spectator has noted the half-card at his
number, he may tell you after you have dealt a few more to conceal the exact position it
occupied. You drop the remaining torn pieces on the tabled ones and proceed the same
as if the half-cards were dealt individually.
Because of the number aod division of the cards used, the spectators will always note
and remember the same half of the same card. The knowledge of what it is or where it is
will not be required by you. The first spectator for whom you deal may have the higher or
the lower number. The principle works regardless.
Of course, when the spectators sort through and each removes a piece of the
remembered suit and value the halves will match.
If you wish, you can prepare a deck by cutting seventeen cards with symmetrical faces
neatly in half. The cut pieces may be sandwiched between the whole cards; the deck can be
carried in a standard card case. By this means you can do the trick over and over again with
the same cards. No need now to divide the deck into three piles and have one selected.
Start right off by having a spectator take the whole cards and you retain the halves.
Obviously, you wouldn't consider using a line like: "I see this deck has already been cut."
S !rangersFrom Two Worlds
New Tops, April
1963

H
ummer's Mathematical Three Card Monte (1951) was the thought-starter, but in a
rather indirect way. I acquired the Hummer trick, filed it and thought no more
about it. Then Al Koran began getting publicity with it, and had Harry Stanley
market his presentation. I took another look and decided I wanted to eliminate two things
and add a third. I wanted to work without a marker, I wanted to work without ever seeing
the objects, and I wanted to increase the number of objects. There is no limit to the
number of objects that may be used but five, or seven at the most, seem sufficient.
"Ted Annemann wrote in Jinx #49 (October 1938): 'Stewart James gave a sweet reply
to my request about 'what is a rehash?' when it comes to inventing tricks. 'A trick is not a
rehash if its entertainment value is improved, the method of working simplified, or the
mystery deepened.' I hope you agree the following is not a rehash of Hummer's effect.''
''Allan Slaight tells me he became entranced with Strangers From Two Worlds and
used it frequently. His version, Perfected Strangers, appeared in the September 1988 New
Pentagram magazine. All contributions were by Canadians. Allan said in Ne
Pentagram:
'While regularly employing Strangers From Two Worlds in a routine I developed recently,
I discovered a peculiarity which strengthens the brilliant original.' Slaight's wrinkle allows
you to precisely identify each item or card as you instruct that it be discarded. He suggest
you experiment a few times and his method will become apparent.''

-0-

You explain that 'First Impression' is the name of a popular show on television
involving five panelists. Contestants attempt to identify a well-known personality from the
world of entertainment or sports by eliminating the ringers. Five pictures are displayed.
One is of the hidden star. Questions are asked. Each answer is to be the first impression
of the concealed subject. After watching the show several times, you are convinced you
could eliminate all but the guest of the day and do it without asking one question.
For more formal occasions it would be nice to have pictures of celebrities. When it is

147
148 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

presented impromptu, five slips of paper and a pencil are all that will be required.
On each slip a spectator writes the name of a different person he considers famous.
Deciding which one will be the guest, he moves the slips about so the original positions
are changed several times. Finally, as directed by you, all are discarded but one. The slip
left on the table bears the name the spectator selected as the guest.
You may stand with your back to the table, be genuinely blindfolded or have a
committee escort you to another room before the names are written. The actual location
of the selected name is unknown to you as you give the instructions that will isolate it.
To perform, the spectator writes the five names on the five slips and secretly decides
which one will represent the guest. He arranges the slips in a face-up row. You ask the
spectator to note the numerical position of the guest. He may count from either end.
Where it is situated is not revealed to you.
The slips are now rearranged by moves. One move consists of changing the guest slip
once with the slip on either side of it. Whenever the guest slip becomes one of the end
ones, there will only be a slip on one side of it and only one way to move. You must always
exchange the guest slip with another.
The spectator first makes a number of moves that is unknown to you. Initially the
number of moves is always determined by the numerical position the guest slip originally
occupies in the row. When the spectator has finished, you concentrate and ask him to
make another move, and another. You may stop here or ask him to make more moves.
The important point to remember is that you always suggest an even number of moves.
When these new moves are completed, have the spectator discard one slip from each
end of the row. Ask the spectator to make another move with the three remaining slips.
You may end with this switch or have him make several more. This time you must suggest
any odd number of moves.
The spectator again discards one slip from each end of the row. The one slip left bears
the name of the guest
Some examples follow. Let us refer to the guest slip as X. When X is second from
either end, the spectator may consider its numerical position to be 2 or 4. Whichever
number of moves he makes, two or four, X will end second from one end or the other.
Additional even moves will not change this situation but may be added as thought
necessary. Discarding one slip from each end leaves X on the end of a row of three. Any
odd number of moves will leave it in the centre and it is isolated when the end slips are
removed.
Let us consider when X is originally in the centre or at either end. The spectator may
consider its numerical position as 1, 3 or 5. One or five moves from the end position will
place it second from the end. So will three moves if it is in the centre.
Your procedure is always the same: the same number of moves as the position of the
slip; any even number of moves, and discard the two ends; any odd number of moves,
and discard the two ends.
For a 'really big show,' five people stand in a row. A spectator decides which one is 'it'
STRANGERS FROM TWO WORLDS 149

and has them change positions for the moves. Instead of removing slips, the two people
at the ends of the row sit down. It would create something of a sensation if 'it' was the
only one of the five wearing a bullet-proof vest concealed beneath his coat and you fired
a revolver at him to prove how confident you were you were right.
Other variations:
(a) A queen and four spot cards. You Find The Lady.
(b) Five pictures of horses. You pick the winner.
(c) Four pieces of paper and a piece of folding mazuma. You can work Just Chance
without a tray or envelopes.
(d) Find the only key out of five that opens a padlock a la Seven Keys To Baldpate.
(The principlewill work with a row of seven but is hardly worth the extra time
required to reach a climax.)
(e) Living And Dead Test without handling the slips.
(f) Spectator writes the names of five towns. One is where he was born. You pick it
out.
(g) Work it over the telephone. The party at the other end of the line may use any five
objects. You locate the article of which he is thinking.
Double Boomerang
New Tops, December 1964

I
n the April 1962 Hugard'sMagic Month/y, Fred Braue wrote: 'The term 'Boomerang'
seems to have been conferred on the feats by John Wyman Junior, author of The
Magician'sOwn Book, 1857, perhaps because both the trick and the weapon native to
New South Wales perform 'sundry peculiar gyrations.'
"Wyman wrote: 'The term is applied to those arithmetical processes by which you can
divine a number thought of by another. You throw forward the number by means of
addition and multiplication and then, by means of subtraction and division, you bring it
back to the original starting point, making it proceed in a track so circuitous as to evade
the superficial notice of the tyro.' You will see what I worked up employing the principle
in the item which follows, Double Boomerang.
"The principle is old. One method was recorded by Nicomachus who died about the
year 120.
"Double Boomerang is not difficult to present successfully, provided it is shown
to only one or two people at one time. The surface complexity is not there from the
viewpoint of the spectator. All the calculating he has to do is add two numbers together
five times, and multiply by 5. Memory is not involved for the spectator, as the procedure
is explained step by step.
''I thought the development of the boomerang principle to the point where any card
can be thought of and divined, meanwhile predicting another card, deserved a place in
the sun.''

-0-

A sealed envelope is placed where it will be in constant view. A spectator does not
touch the deck but decides in his own mind on two cards. You name one mentally selected
card. The second one is missing from the deck and is found in the sealed envelope.
Prior to presentation, the eight of clubs is removed from the deck and sealed in the
envelope. The top six cards, arranged in order from the top down, are: X 2 9 7 5 2. Have

150
DOUBLE BOOMERANG 151

a pad and pencil handy.


Hold the deck face up. Hindu shuffle without disturbing the top stock. Turn the deck
face down. Double undercut one card from the top to the bottom. Deal the top five cards
in a face-down row from left to right. These five cards have apparently been chosen at
random after shuffling and cutting the deck.
A spectator is asked to secretly think of anyone of the fifty-two cards. For example,
we will say his card is the five of hearts. Have him secretly write the value only of his card
on the pad. He will put down 5. Turn over the first card from the left in the row. It will
be a two. Tell him to multiply the value of his card by 2. Turn over the next card, a nine.
Ask him to add 9. The next card turned over is a seven, again he adds this to his total. He
now multiplies by 5, the value of the fourth card. Next, he adds the suit value of his card:
1 for a diamond, 2 for a club, 3 for a heart and 4 for a spade. In our example, he will add
3. The last card is a two. He adds 2.
At this stage the spectator's calculation will be like this:

The spectator writes 135 only on a page from the pad and hands it to you. This is
all that you see of his entire operation. Mentally subtract 82 and place your answer, 53,
beneath it as illustrated.

0
135

Say that you have received a strange urge to write this particular number. The last digit
is a 3, which is the value of the heart suit. The first digit is a 5, so the number 53 would
represent the five of hearts. You are sure this must be the card of which he is thinking.
When this is acknowledged, stress it would have been quite impossible for you to have
152 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

known in advance the card of which he would think or the number which he would hand
to you. Which makes what you are about to show all the more peculiar. Subtract the freely
thought-of card value from his number.

135"
-53
82

The last digit is a 2, the value of the club suit. The first digit is 8 and the number 82
represents the eight of clubs. Ribbon spread the deck face up for the spectator to check
the cards if he desires, and remove the eight of clubs from the sealed envelope.
Double Boomerang permits the spectator to think of any card. Some methods will
work up to and including nines only. You need only give the jack, queen and king the
values of 11, 12 and 13 respectively. For the queen of spades, the calculation would look
like this:

Secretly subtracting 82 from 206 leaves 124. The last digit reveals the card is a spade.
The digits ahead of it stand for the queen. You know the thought-of card must be the
queen of spades.
You can change the result, using a different card in the envelope every time you
perform. For example, arrange the top six cards: X 2 A 5 5 3. The card to be placed in
the sealed envelope would be the three of hearts. You would secretly subtract 33 from the
number he hands you to discover his thought-of card.
Incantations
Handwritten notes, circa 1964

A
n ad for Marconick's Inca Ring in the November 1964 issue of The Gen intrigued
Francis Haxton. Stewart reported to him that it married an ancient mathematical
force, most often used today in versions of the Clock Effect, to Dr. Jaks's In The
Ring from Phoenix#125 (May 1947).
Stewart's letter to Haxton continued: "Lay-outs are so closely associated with kid
magic that John Braun once had a satire on them in The Sphinx. Who hasn't run into the
individual who only knows one or two tricks and it is either a dealing trick like The Three
Piles or a lay-out such as Adding The Pips, Royal Assembly, Clock or Ten-Card Circle,
The 'Q' or Comet, United Pairs, Mysterious Rows, 16-Card Square Divination or the 20
or 36-card English versions of the Latin 20-Card Trick.
''A dozen times or more, in widely separated locations, I have had to watch one that
must be just about the world's worst. The happy imbecile arranges the entire deck in four
face-down rows. Someone names a card and the show-off tells you its position in which
row. I have been shown this thing by more soldiers than I remember, a hitchhiker, a school
boy, a truck driver, a waitress, a jeweler, an IBM member at Fort Wayne, etc. The last one
that attempted tO show it to me had served time inJackson Penitentiary and got it from
one of the convicts. No one has a name for it, but I am sure I haven't seen the last of
it."
Sometime after the Inca Ring ad appeared in The Gen, Stewart scribbled some ideas
and variations on one-and-a-half pages of foolscap. They all had to do with the card
force, not the Jaks ring concept. Four merit inclusion here, and some keen thinking is
evident.
For readers not familiar with this force, which Stephen Minch has been able to trace back
about a hundred years, Max Maven explains it: "The force card is positioned 21st from the
top of the pack. The spectator cuts off a small packet (less than 21), which is counted in
private. The performer deals 20 cards from the top of the talon into a face-down,
overlapping row. The spectator is asked to name the random number just counted; this
done, the performer counts to that position in the tabled row, counting from the top card of
the spread (i.e., the
20th card dealt). The card thus arrived at will be the desired force card."

153
154 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

First Incantation

U
se a marked deck with a known card, in this example the king of spades, in
twenty-first position. Ask two spectators to assist, and instruct them to each cut
off a small packet of less than ten cards from the top of the face-down deck,
then to secretly count their cards.
Deal off twenty cards from left to right in an overlapping row. State that you will write
a prediction for Spectator One (although in reality it will be for Spectator Two), and jot
down the name of the king of spades on a slip of paper which is folded and placed on the
table, preferably in a glass. Spectator One counts to her number, counting from the right
end of the spread, and this card is either pulled part-way out of the row, or a ring or a coin
is placed on it. As this is done, read the marks on the back of this card.
Now write a second prediction, supposedly for Spectator Two, but write the name of
the card just noted. This slip is folded and placed with the first one. Spectator Two counts
to his number, starting the count with the card following the one chosen by Spectator One
and moving to the left. The card he gets will be the king of spades.

Have the spectators remove and reveal their selected cards. While they are doing this
casually switch the two predictions, then have them opened to prove that Y<?U are correct.
Although a few seconds of additional dealing time is required, you may prefer to place the
force card thirty-one cards down and deal three cards in the row. The spectators must still
be restricted to cutting off less than ten cards, but the additional cards on the table make
the two predictions appear more impressive.

Second Incantation

T
he effect is the same - but both predictions are written in advance! Stewart's
full description of the method: "One-kind force deck with one different card as
forcer."
The one-kind forcing deck has a different card in the twenty-first position. The procedure
with the two spectators is identical; Spectator One will select a duplicate force card, and
Spectator Two will get the odd card. (If you deal twenty cards, you can safely have about a
dozen assorted cards at the face of the pack to be flashed at the appropriate moment.)
INCANTATIONS 155

Third Incantation

A
lthough Stewart's shorthand specified a Stebbins stack, you can use any set-up as
long as mates are twenty-six cards apart.
After your false shuffle, a spectator cuts the deck anywhere and completes
the cut He pockets the top card, then cuts off less than half of the pack and secretly
counts these cards as you deal an overlapping row of twenty-five. This time, the card at
the spectator's number will be of the same colour and value as the unknown card in his
pocket that he chose himself.

Fottrlh Incantation

S
tewart placed three stars after this variation, indicating it was his favourite of the
lot. Instead of setting mates twenty-six cards apart, thoroughly shuffle your deck.
Then write the name of the twenty-seventh card on the face of the top card and
the name of the top card on the face of the twenty-seventh card. Now place the top card
on the bottom of the pack and repeat this process with the new top and twenty-seventh
cards. Carry on until all cards have the name of their 'handwritten mate' on their faces.
Follow the directions for Incantation Number Three. When the spectator looks at the
card he has selected from the spread, it will bear the name of another card - the card in
his pocket! And the card he initially chose and concealed will, somehow, bear the name of
the card he apparently freely selected from the long line of cards on the table.

I'm sure some readers will be preparing this one.


Ora clew
New Tops, January 1967

S
ome of the things I have published were worked out as the articles were written; I
have to experiment with an idea while it is hot and malleable, otherwise it becomes
set and finished. This one is an example of developing a burgeoning concept to a
final form which pleases me.
"Since I had sent it along some time before it appeared in the January 1967 New Tops,
I had forgotten all about this trick. The editor of Ibidem [Howard Lyons] said in issue #32
(luly 1967) that Oraclew ' ... should turn out to be one of the standard card tricks to use
when entertainment and mystery are both intended, rather than just the latter.' Slaight
wrote me in February 1968: 'I agree with Lyons: Oraclew is outstanding.' I am pleased
with Oraclew, and pleased that Phil Goldstein said: 'I can remember a lengthy period
during the late 1960s when I would not go out of my house without a pack of cards set
to perform Oraclew.'"

-0-

Stewart added: "This title is, of course, an Oracle Clew (or 'clue' on this side of the
ocean)."
The deck is handed to a volunteer and you never touch it again until the routine is
concluded. But he thinks of a number and you discover what it is. You predict the card
that will be at that position before he thinks of his number. He freely selects a card and
you perform a form of remote control so it is the last card when he spells out his name
by dealing one card for each letter.
In preparation, remove the queen of hearts and seal it in an envelope. Print QUEEN
OF HEARTS on a blank-faced card with a matching back design. Use a felt-nib pen and
print as large as possible. We will call it our Prediction Card. Place it on top of the deck.
Arrange ten cards in numerical order from ace to ten, ace at the face of the packet.
Place them on top of the Prediction Card.
Each volunteer's name will require its own particular treatment. There must be at least

156
ORACLEW 157

ten letters in the name. Suppose you are going to present this for Stephen Minch - a
twelve-letter name. At this point your stock of cards totals eleven. Shift any two cards to
the top of the deck to position the Prediction Card thirteenth from the top. This number
will vary: It is determined by using the number of letters in your volunteer's name plus 1.
(If an eleven-letter name, you would therefore shift one card to the top. If ten, no card is
moved. My wife's name is Emmanuelle Gattuso, so seven cards would be added to bring
the Prediction Card to eighteenth position.) In the case here, remember the number 13.
To perform, place the deck and sealed envelope on the table. Step back and direct the
volunteer in what be is to do. He cuts the deck in two face-down piles. He thinks of a
number between 1 and 10; say he thinks of 7. Picking up what was the bottom half of the
deck, he secretly removes seven cards. The talon is assembled by replacing the portion cut
off, the original top half, back on top.
Looking over the seven cards in his hand, he selects one and places it on top of the
talon, say the ace of dubs. He then completes the deck by placing his six cards on top.
He may shuffle them first if he wishes.
At this point you may stress you do not know the number of which he is thinking, the
name of his card or its position. Quite truthfully, you do not know the location of any
card.
He deals the cards from the top of the deck one at a time face down on the table. You
secretly count as he does so. Stop him when he deals the thirteenth card. It is placed to
one side face down without either of you seeing it. The value of this card will always be
the same as the number which he mentally selected, in this case 7. Obviously, you
always deal the same number as the original position of the Prediction Card.
He next counts on to the number of which he is thinking. In our example it is 7 so he
deals seven cards more, one at a time, on the cards already dealt.
This seventh card is placed by the first isolated card without its face being seen. This
will be the Prediction Card.
The talon is assembled by placing the dealt packet on top of the larger packet. He then
158

THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

deals one card for each letter as he spells his name, in our example STEPHEN MINCH.
The card on the final letter, the twelfth card, is placed face down beside the first two. It
will be his card, in our example the ace of clubs.
Have him name his number and then turn over the first card. You stopped his dealing
on a card of that value. Have him name his card and then turn over the appropriate card to
reveal it. And it was at the number in the deck which he freely selected and he alone knew.
Ask him to open the envelope and reveal the prediction within. Instead of a message, he
will be surprised to find the queen of hearts from the deck he has been using. Wh.en the
last card is turned over, the name of the sealed card is disclosed.
Dollars and
(61h)Sense
Un/ejng Ring, October 1971

T
his was Stewart's addition to The Miracle Divination, which may be found starting
on page 128 of Greater Magic. He wrote in Stewart James In Print: "I first became
interested in this in 1922 when I saw exceptionally clear, illustrated instructions
in a collection of conjuring effects titled Ea.ry Magic. No author was named. The articles
used were an apple, an egg and an orange. The counters were oyster crackers or nuts. The
key words were in Latin and, of course, the A, E and O were in a different order in each
of the words. I have a letter from S. B. Blodgett dated June 25, 1926, in which he asks for
the effect of this divination. I must have sent him the method as well, according to a later
letter from him, and I'm glad I did because he obviously experimented with the principle.
His wonderful The Problem Of The Four Aces appears on page 136 of Greater Magic.
"M. S. Mahendra claimed the basic mathematical principle made possible the greatest
impromptu bit of magic in the whole realm of mystery. Abbott's marketed Mahendra's
version of this in 1937 as He Can't Read My Mind, and many other versions turned up
before and after that. Nobody seems to have given any thought to presenting it as a
prediction. I altered the props to wooden bullets and three toy soldiers. There was an
identification tag attached to each soldier bearing his name. The names, were Harry, Henry
and Horace, but I thought of them as 'Arry, 'Enry and 'Orace. It would be fun to work out
six appropriate English words using A, E and O (or three other appropriate letters) so each
word has something to do with the military. Maybe after this book is finished.
"For impromptu performances I used all money and created my own key words. By
an additional dodge, it was no longer necessary to have the remaining coins left in view
on the table. This was accomplished by using another old trick told again in Greater Magic
on page 157 as A Matter Of Debit And Credit. These two principles blend together most
naturally but I do not remember reading or hearing of anyone else combining them. It
has been truly said that just a little addition may be all the difference between a good trick
and a great trick.
''In the August 1963 Genii there was a version by Glenn Gravatt, Pocket Money. He
started out by saying he had streamlined the principle used, but it required two lists - one

159
160 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

for the volunteer and one for the performer to use for a peek. In less than an hour I had
arrived at the six-word key used below; it eliminates both lists and makes it absolutely
impromptu and more direct. I worked it on Ray Massecar, who had read the Gravatt item,
but my method had him completely mystified.
"I believe my word key is more concise and less subject to error than any recorded
previous to that time. I was pleased to have an impromptu and one-man method which
did not require the remaining counters to be left in view, a first as far as I know.
''As noted below, the directions include the words" ...and enough to. make YOU
twelve." This important point was messed up when this was printed in the Linking Ring.
Whenever I had seen performers do this bit of business as an individual trick, they had
always added the counters to their own pile to make the final total. It may seem like a
small thing, but it is much more effective to make the final total with the spectator's coins
as I explain in the following article. If you use fifteen counters, the wordingwill always be
the same as shown below.
"I was afraid most readers would simply look at this and never finish reading it,
thinking it was just the same old thing over again. However, there are other features, such
as the spectator not having to be restricted to take "less than so many" as is done when
presented as an isolated match trick. You know the most coins they can possibly have is
seven. Before the spectator tells you how many coins he actually has, but after you have
made your statement, you can say: 'I thought at first you had four coins but I know now
my first guess was wrong.' You can say this because you know he could never have four
corns.
"The two principles interlock and complement each other beautifully. I am pleased my
editors think this is one of the finest items in this book."

-0-

Paul Hallas commented: "It always makes you sit up and take notice when principles
you have been familiar with for years are suddenly seen combined into something much
cleaner in method."
Several coins and a one, a five and a ten-dollar bill are laid on the table. You leave the
room, and each of three different people places one of the bills in his pocket. You return
and give one coin to one person, two to another and three to a third. Stating you will
again leave the room, request the three people to take more coins during your absence.
The person with the one dollar is to take just as many coins as you gave him. The person
concealing the five dollars is to take twice as many as were given him. The person holding
the ten dollars is to take four times the number given him. The number of coins taken is
to be in addition to those they already hold.
A fourth person takes the coins remaining on the table. He conceals them in his
cupped hands. You return and reveal the number of coins held by the fourth man and
name which person has the one dollar, the five dollars and the ten dollars.
DOLLARS AND (6th) SENSE 161

You need three bills of the denominations mentioned; twenty-four one-cent pieces
in one pocket; fifteen one-cent pieces in another pocket; the word key committed to
memory.
The word key: When 0, F and T appear in the words, they stand for One, Five and
Ten.

1. Offer
2. Fool
3. Otter
5. Fatty
6. Tool
7. Taffy

There are only six combinations possible with the coins left over. Suppose three
remain. The third word will be the key word. The first letter in Otter is 0, so the first
person has the one dollar. He is the assistant to whom you gave the one cent. The only
double letter in the word is T. T represents ten. The two letters indicate the second person,
the person to whom you gave two cents and ten will be the value of the bill he has. The
third person must have the five.
The routine: Place the three bills and the twenty-four cent pieces on the table. Proceed
just as explained in the effect above. When the volunteers have completed their secret
activity, you take the fifteen coins from your pocket and tell the fourth assistant: "I have
as many coins as you, three more and enough to make you twelve. How many do you
have?"
As an example, he has six coins. Have him count them on the table while you count
the same number from your handful of coins. Place three more to one side, and count.the
rest from his number up to 12.
You have not only apparently divined the number of coins the assistant was concealing
but you now have all the information you require to reveal the location of the bills. In our
example, you have learned there were six coins left over. The word for six is Tool. The
first person has the ten, the second person has the one and the third person must have
the five.
If you are working with one person, have him use three of his pockets. Instead of
leaving the room, you may turn your back while the bills and coins are being concealed.
Parent-Thesis

The family - that dear octopus from whose


tentacles we never quite escape.
Dodie Smith
Dear Octopus (1938)

S
tewart's father, John Wickham James, was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1877. He
passed away on April 1, 1940. (He left substantial debt and, unknown to Stewart
and his mother, his insurance had lapsed.) Mr. James was highly creative. However,
at least in Stewart's case, he was also strict, cold and repeatedly mean. Stewart's mother
was born Annie Laurie Stewart in Courtright in 1875. She died on August 16, 1972. She,
too, often treated Stewart miserably.
He wrote on page 2 of StewartJames In Print. "Mother always thought I was a sickly
child, and I was seven before they let me go to school; they took me out when I was
fifteen and Father put me to work in his tinsmithing shop. I wasn't allowed to play with
other children or invite them to our house, and I wasn't permitted to visit their homes."
(In a perverse way, I am in mind of a Jesuit maxim: "Give me a child for the first seven
years, and you may do what you like with him afterwards.")
Interestingly, Stewart had become interested in magic on his seventh birthday. On that
day, May 14, 1915, "a dear old lady who possessed a better imagination than a memory"
described the Howard Thurston show to him. From page 2 of Stewart James In Print.
"When I saved a little money, I sent away to Johnson Smith & Company for the miracles
they advertised. When the mail came, Father opened the parcels first and looked at the
instructions. He didn't want me doing something he couldn't figure out; I tried to work
out something that wasn't the same as the instructions, and then he'd get quite upset with
me. But that's how I started creating magic, and when I produced something I liked, it
would give me some respect for myself and make an unfriendly world more bearable."
Two years after his father's death, Stewart was inducted into the Canadian Army on
August 18, 1942. As reported earlier, he served overseas in World War II and spent most
of his time with The Haversacks entertainment unit, presenting his magic for Canadian

162
PARENT-THESIS 163

soldiers in Great Britain and Europe. From page 979 of Stewart James In Print. "I wrote
John Braun in March 1972: 'I was rushed back [to Courtright] on a torpedo boat shortly
after the end of World War Two. Mother was in very poor health and it was the opinion
of the doctors at the clinic that she could pass away any minute. She recovered reasonably
well and I have been nurse, cook, etc. ever since."' (As detailed earlier, from the time of
her illness in 1945, Mrs. James was bed-ridden for most of the remainder of her long life.
For those twenty-seven arduous and thankless years, Stewart looked after his mother by
himself.)
Francis Haxton journeyed to Courtright to visit his friend in September 1960. After
he returned to England, Stewart wrote him: "I can never e>..'J)ress how much your second
trip to Aberystwyth has meant to me. Certainly this second visit was more comfortable
for both of us. Mother said, 'Anyone that isn't any more trouble than he is can come back
again any time and stay as long as he likes.' That may not sound too cordial, but from her
it is amazing."
In a May 21, 1966, letter to Haxton, Stewart finished describing an effect he had
conceived, then concluded: "Sorry about the mistakes. I am very tired. I sometimes
wonder what it would be like to live one's own life, to complete an experiment to its
uninterrupted conclusion, to have unbroken rest and a home."
Stewart's two older sisters, Jean and Adelena, also dispirited by their parental
relationships, had both left home and moved to the United States as soon as they came
of age. Stewart wrote Haxton on July 6, 1967: "Don't intend to get to Colon this year..
.I booked reservations last year when I was there, but conditions here have forced me
to cancel. Mother will never consider anyone staying with her for those few days except
one of my sisters. Jean only did it once about three years ago. Jean couldn't put up with her
for more than three or four days and actually left before I got back. Adelena is always
packed and sitting on the verandah. When Mother was in the hospital for so long and
actually moved to the terminal ward as it was not expected she would ever live to leave
it, every day she kept telling the nurses her daughters were coming to see her. One nurse
asked me in all seriousness if they were coming from Scotland. I didn't intend to get on
this subject. Let us go on to the other world of Stewart James."
In 1968, as he was assembling material for Encyclopedia Of R.ope Tricks VolumeII,
Stewart asked me to obtain approval from Howard Lyons to include a trick from Ibidem.
He wrote me on April 23, 1968: ''Thanks for speaking to Lyons for me. Was on the point
of substituting something else when he phoned me. Threatened to drive over and bring
you with him. I would be pleased to see you both but quite frankly I am embarrassed and
uneasy. There is just my mother and me. She is nearly 94. In poor health and requiring
a great deal of attention which might repeatedly break up our sessions. She has always
hated magic. I have had magicians visit me and vow they would never come back. I am the
world's worst housekeeper. Added to this, I can't see what there is here that would warrant
you making such a trip. I seldom if ever do a trick, my collection is very small, I seldom see
any of the boys except when I am able to slip away for a Colon Get-Together so I am not
164 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

up on the latest and I certainly would never receive passing marks as a conversationalist
anyway. I fear you have built up an image of me that doesn't exist. I believe it is only fair
that you know these things before you embark on something that more than likely would
be thoroughly disappointing. I have warned you and now I will get on to something I
would much rather talk about."
His discomfort made clear, Lyons and I honoured his wishes and did not make the trip
to Courtright in 1968. The first time I visited Stewart at his home in Courtright was in
1973, after his mother had passed on. As he greeted me at Aberystwyth, I felt as if I was
entering a shrine. As I expected, the negative comments he made about himself in the
preceding paragraph proved completely without foundation.
Later in 1968, Stewart did attend Abbott's Get-Together. He wrote Persi Diaconis on
September 5: "I got to Colon. Went over on the Tuesday and back Sunday morning. My
mother is 93 and has been a bed patient for years and she insists no one look after her but
my sister or I. This doesn't read badly except that I haven't seen my sister for more than
a few hours in 20 years. I have been fortunate in securing a job where I am not normally
away from the house for more than a couple of hours. The rest of the time it is virtually
impossible to leave the house for more than a few minutes. This year my brother-in
law wanted to be in Canada during the time I wanted to be in Colon so I got a break.
Otherwise, it wouldn't have been worth the effort. Some nights I am up with mother all
night long when she is having problems. There have actually been weeks when I never got
to bed but catnapped in a chair and walked around half alive.
"The above paragraph is not written as a complaint about my lot in life. It was written
as a glimpse at circumstances which tend to make my correspondence erratic."
Diaconis arranged to visit Stewart in Courtright the following year. Stewart wrote him
on May 29, 1969: "So! You had a sample of one of my patient's louder voices. I have
heard her roar when Ethel Merman would be hard put to surpass her.
"She kept me on the jump until a few days ago when she began to ease off to normal.
Part of it was the problems we had getting her back to her regular medicine timetable, and
some of it was her lack of judgment of time. She keeps harping away about how badly
I
'neglected' her all those 'weeks' while 'that fellow' was here. And yet, during one of her
infrequent mellow moods, she asked when 'that nice young man' was coming back again.
"I am so pleased we had those few days. You can better understand a lot which would
be virtually impossible to convey in a letter. I do appreciate greatly your tolerance of a
terribly jealous patient and a testy old man."
Returning to page 979 in Ste1vart JamesIn Print: "Mother was taken to hospital in Sarnia
in a coma on July 6, 1972, but made quite a remarkable recovery and was mentally alert
when her doctor, whom I had known all my life and who was aware of the amount of
time I had dedicated to caring for her, asked me if it wasn't about time for 'that magic
thing' I went to each year. He was referring to Abbott's annual affair at Colon, Michigan
and he advised me to get away for this break before he had me for a patient as well ...
[On August 16th in Colon] I was up and shaved and waiting for Ray [Massecar] to come
PARENT-THESIS 165

to breakfast ... A messenger came to the door and I was informed Mother was dead.
[She] was 97 when she passed away." Stewart wrote to Ray Massecar to thank him for his
condolence. He added: "The house and household belongings are left to me if it doesn't
have to be sold to meet the stated amounts in the bequests. Everything in the house has to
be appraised regardless of it belonging to her or to me. I have been working early and late
on this ever since and sometimes I think it isn't worth the effort and feel like chucking the
whole works and going gypsy. You have a small idea of how cluttered this place is. I have
actually used field glasses to try and make out what is in some corners of the rooms."
On May 30, 1990, I journeyed to Courtright in advance of the annual Stewart James
Get Together to spend some time with Stewart and to borrow more letters and files to
assist me in the preparation of The James File. Surprisingly, he began to discuss his
loveless childhood and his parents.
He told me that his father showed him absolutely no affection. When he was taken out
of school at the age of fifteen and made to work in his father's tinsmithing shop, Stewart
received no money but only his room and board. He said: "At the tin shop, Father was
a great one to say 'Do this,' but he'd never show me how to do it. It was so familiar to
him that he couldn't understand why I couldn't do it. He always called me 'stupid' and 'a
fool."'
Despite a strong tradition among Scots that Christmas was a major occasion in their
lives, Mr. and Mrs. James did not allow a Christmas tree in their house for Stewart and his
sisters. He said: "Father taught Sunday School for almost forty years until he died in 1940.
He'd arrange a Christmas tree for the Sunday School class, but not for his own family."
Although his Father purchased an inexpensive gift for everyone in this class, including
Stewart, the James family did not exchange presents in their home at Christmas.
Stewart disclosed to me that when he was a youngster his mother would set the table
for dinner in such a way that his parents and two sisters would each receive a set of good
quality dishes and cutlery. Although they owned a number of similar sets, Stewart was
given inferior, cheaper plates and utensils.
That evening, when I took him for dinner at a local restaurant, he began to reminisce
again about the loneliness and the lack of warmth and affection he had endured. He said:
"They never, ever kissed me - or each other." Stewart could only recall his mother kissing
him twice, and on both occasions it was because " .. .it was socially appropriate." One time
was when he departed for World War II and she took him to the train station. Stewart said:
''All up and down the platform you could see mothers and wives and girlfriends kissing
the soldiers, so she looked around and then kissed me on the cheek."
Then he began to sob uncontrollably and we had to leave the restaurant. It was the
only time I had seen Stewart in a truly melancholy condition. He was in excellent form
the next day when the magicians began arriving for the 'Stewart James Get-Together,' an
intimate magic convention staged each year in his honour.
Two years later at the same affair, in 1992, Stephen Minch was the guest of honour.
This distinction included a one-on-one visit with Stewart at his fabled Aberystwyth.
166 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

After I sent Minch a draft of this chapter, he responded on May 27, 1996, reporting on
his conversation with Stewart. The most urbane author in magic wrote: ''Among these
reminiscences were two that you don't mention. Since these two anecdotes have stuck
vividly in my mind over the intervening years, you might consider adding them to your
article.
"The first concerns the 'artwork' that decorated the James home during most of
Stewart's life, up to the death of his mother. The only pictures to relieve the Puritan
gloom cast by the walls in his house, he told me, were black-and-white photos taken at
family wakes of various deceased relatives lying in their coffins. The image does much to
set the sense of gothic or Dickensian misery that filled Stewart's childhood and much of
his life. Shortly after his mother's demise he replaced all these morbid photographs with
the inexpensive color prints that hang there now, which he picked up at some grocery
store special.
''The second story relates another example of his father's remarkable cruelty. Stewart
told me that, as a child, certain low tones caused him actual physical pain: a deep cramping
or aching in his guts that caused him to double over and writhe on the floor. As punishment
for some minor offense, his father would send him to his upstairs bedroom (I can't recall
if he locked him in), then would tune in a radio station downstairs that played religious
music featuring low organ chords, which was turned up to carry clearly throughout the
house, and which he knew painfully tormented his son, lying helpless above."
I reminded Minch that, under those circumstances, Stewart did not remain helpless for
long. The reader is referred to page 53 in Stewart James In
Print.
The Secret Partner
Typewritten instructions, February 14, 19 79

I
n early 1979, I sent Stewart my Aces Loaded, a gambling demonstration that later
appeared in Apocafypse (August 1980). Although I was rather proud of it at the time,
Stewart said that he didn't particularly care for my method. He wrote me on May 22,
1979: "Cannot recall anything similar to your 'Aces Loaded' ... this theme prompted me to
experiment, which led to the discovery of a - to me at least - fascinating permutation.
Working title - Secret Partner. So far I have only shown it to Ray [Massecar] but he
stayed awake through all of it."
In 1979, Blanche and Francis Haxton and Ann and Peter Warlock journeyed from
England to Toronto and then on to visit Stewart at his home in Courtright, some 200
miles distant, for the annual Stewart James Get-Together. On July 21, 1979, Stewart wrote
to Haxton after his return to England: ''What you refer to is what I call The Secret Partner.
During the Get-Together, we went up.to Ray's room at the hotel and I showed it to Lyons
and Slaight. They were the only ones I had intended to work it for, but I got carried away
and showed it to you in an attempt to get through to you what I meant by secret actions
versus confusing or obvious actions.
"I am particularly pleased with the unique dual principle embodied in The Secret
Partner. It was Slaight who told me of this quite new innovation in an effect (as far as I
was concerned) and I didn't care for his solution. I value Lyons' opinion highly. He has a
keen analytical ~d. He phoned me a few days later and talked at length enthusiastically
about the apparent impossibility of this principle always being 100% accurate.
''Another angle to The Secret Partner effect. Knowledge of card-playing rules is not
necessary. It might even be classified as a Four Ace Trick. Dealing the aces, after a mixing,
where you want plus a sequence of five cards all of the same suit will register regardless.
The sad part is, surprising as the discovery may be, once it is known it can be done - a
competent card man can work it out. It is the type of trick the originator should not even
let be known exists."
Roy Walton observed: ''A fine routine with an excellent patter story. On top of this, Mr.
James has used the unique characteristics of a Faro-type shuffle in that cards at two factors,

167
168 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

when multiplied together to give an odd quantity (in this case 5 X 5), remain in these
positions in spite of any number of the appropriate shuffles. In a word - 'brilliant."'
This remarkable demonstration demands an interesting story line. Fortunately, Stewart
had developed one and used it when he demonstrated The Secret Partner to Howard
Lyons, Ray Massecar and me. He included it in the instructions, and it will be presented
below, with the necessary actions in parentheses as required.
Stack the top ten cards: AS KS QS JS 10S AD SD AC AH SH.
"In 1886, two gamblers met at the Onyx Casino in New Orleans. One was a young
man known as Chips and the other was Cameo Kirby, a professional for many years.
Chips had set up a game for that evening with two rich plantation owners and another
gambler he despised known as Fingers Logan. Cameo agreed to be the fifth man in the
game and to act as his secret partner in return for a share of their winnings. The game
was to be straight poker, without either draws or wild cards. Sometime during the evening,
when there was a particularly large pot and it was Cameo's deal, Chips would give him a
signal and Cameo was to control the cards so Chips would get the aces. He wanted to take
the two marks for all they had and settle a grudge with Fingers Logan. It was decided that
Chips would sit so he was the second player on Cameo's left."
(As you begin your story, false shuffle and false cut, then begin to deal out five hands
of poker, employing what Stewart ~alls the Slide-Under Deal. Deal the hands face down.
The second card to each hand is slid under the first, the third is slid under the second, and
so on. If the deck is bowed slightly upward and the outer left corner of the card being
dealt is slipped under the long edge of the bottom card of the hand, the Slide-Under Deal
can be done quickly and efficiently.)

I I-
I--

"One of the plantation owners insisted that only the Slide-Under Deal be allowed. It
is used by gamblers in many serious games to maintain control of the card being dealt
until it is face down on the table. The Slide-Under Deal precludes any possibility of a card
accidentally turning face up in the dealing, as often happens if the cards are merely tossed
on the table. Cameo Kirby didn't get much of a hand."
(Show the cards in your hand to be mediocre, turn them face down and collect the
THE SECRET PARTNER 169

hands in any order.)


''At one stage, when the pot was incredibly large, it became Cameo's turn to deal and
Chips fl.ashed him the signal to deal him the aces. Just then the other plantation owner
insisted that Cameo shuffle by using the Mississippi Mix. There was a gambling ship
on the Mississippi called the Shenandoah, owned and operated by a woman they called
Careful Kate. Many gamblers had learned how to control the cards with the traditional
methods of shuffling, and so it was a strict rule at her games that only a Mississippi Mix be
used, because every single card goes to a new position and the dealer's hands never touch
each other. Another rule with the Mississippi Mix was that another player could decide
how many times the dealer was to shuffle. How many do you want?"
(Holding the packet of twenty-five cards in dealing position in your left hand, rapidly
pass twelve cards to your right hand without reversing their order. Now deal the cards
into a single face-down pile on the table, beginning with the top card in the left hand, by
thumbing cards from each group alternately. The last card will also come from the left
hand.

\Vhen finished, square up the cards, return them to left-hand dealing position and ask
a spectator how many times he wants you to shuffle. Repeat the same action as requested.
Normally they will ask for only one or two more shuffles. Deal out five hands again, using
the Slide-Under process.)
"Chips was devastated when Cameo was instructed to use the Mississippi Mix, because
like most gamblers he thought it was impossible for the dealer to beat it. You'll recall that
Chips would be the second player when Cameo dealt, and imagine his surprise and delight
when he looked at his hand and found he had three of the aces and a pair of fives - a
full house. That's a terrific hand in straight poker, and naturally Chips thought that Cameo
Kirby had missed when trying to control the fourth ace. Chips counted off every last
dollar he had and threw all his money on that huge pot.
"Fingers Logan held the third hand, and to his amazement Fingers called him! Cameo
had promised to deal Chips the aces, but he hadn't promised all the aces. It developed
that Fingers Logan was Cameo's regular secret partner, so he gave him the fourth ace
- the ace of spades - along with the king, queen, jack and ten. A unbeatable royal flush!
Fingers raked in the pot, and later he split it with Cameo. Cameo never had liked Chips!"
170 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

(Thanks to the peculiarities of this Jarnesway Shuffle in reverse, the second hand will
always contain the aces and fives, regardless of the number of shuffles. The royal flush
moves around the table, depending on how many times the cards undergo the Mississippi
Mix. One shuffle places them in the fourth hand, two in the third hand, three in the
dealer's hand, and four in the first hand. Then the cycle begins again, so a fifth shuffle
would put them in the fourth hand. In the example above, there had been two shuffles.
Use that plot unless the royal flush falls to your hand. Should that occur, adjust your patter
accordingly. Pick it up at " ... and threw all his money on that huge pot.")
"To his amazement, his secret partner called him! Cameo had promised to deal Chips
the aces, but he hadn't promised all the aces. Cameo had double-crossed him, and gave
that last ace - the ace of spades - to himself, along with the king, queen, jack and ten.
An unbeatable royal flush! Cameo raked in the entire pot. He never had liked Chips!"
TRY aNother FIEW
Letter to Allan S loight, December 8, 19 79

I
t has oft-times not been clear exactly what it took to set off Stewart James's interest
in a certain problem or challenge, but sometimes there is a trail. This strong item
him in 1979. The
evolved because of a version of a Cy Endfield trick I had sent
Famous Magazine Test appeared in Endfield's Entertaining Card Magic, Part 1 (1955) and
used what my correspondent in Courtright referred to in Ste1vartJames In Print as the "up
the-ladder'' principle; it is a sequential stack in which the cards run in numerical order
from high to low, or in the opposite direction.
He wrote: "The first time I encountered a sequential stack was on page 104 of Modern
Magic [1876] in the trick Professor Hoffmann called A Row Of Cards Being Placed Face
Downwards On The Table, To Indicate, By Turning Up One Of Them, How Many Of
Such Cards Have During Your Absence Been Transferred From One End Of The Row
To The Other. It would seem to me if they announced the name of each miracle in those
days, they filled some time but sacrificed the element of surprise.
"I belong to a group that was going co have a Christmas party and each of us was to
do something. Although it was cancelled, with a change or two I was going to use your
routine [Tri End.field]. I liked the Annemann theme idea you added. I know Endfield did
not approve of this as a prediction, but that is how I decided to use it In that way I could
keep an eye on the proceedings to see the volunteer did just what was necessary."
To clarify that paragraph, I quote from the introduction I wrote for Tri-Endfield as
it appeared in New Pentagram in October 1979: "Nearly 25 years ago, Dr. Jaks considered
it his best publicity stunt. It was originated by Cy Endfield and published in 1955 in his
Entertaining Card Magic as 'The Famous Magazine Test.' The mentalist revealed a word
in a book or magazine in dean fashion. Bue almost a half century ago, Ted Annemann
presented 'Telepathy Plus' (Complete One Man Mental and Psychic Rnu-tine) and said: 'I
recommend a patter theme about the only three ways that one can express himself
in writing ... either by letters, by figures, or by lines in the form of pictures.' Endfield's
magazine test may be expanded to allow a triple disclosure of a number, a word and a
drawing."

171
172 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

I then explained how to determine a word in a book or magazine, the date of a


spectator's hidden coin and a playing card, all chosen by what appeared to be very fair
procedures. (Iustification for using a card to represent "lines in the form of pictures"
came from this sentence: "Playing cards are at least 700 years old and were originally the
property of only the very rich because each card was carefully painted or drawn by hand.")
As he stated above, Stewart shifted the effect to that of a triple prediction.
I have performed his version often, using Stewart's patter theme and regular cards
with the reasoning just explained, and I can attest that its impact is remarkable. And
Mark Jensen wrote: "TRY aNother FIELD has to be my favorite prediction effect. The
Professor Cuttle presentation is a lot of fun to perform, and the procedures you use are
extremely straightforward, logical and fair. The audience doesn't stand a chance with this
one."
Stewart possessed an unusual deck of cards which had been produced by the Grand
Trunk Railway system: On their faces, the cards bore fifty-two scenes of places then on
Grand Trunk routes from the Atlantic Ocean to the head of the Great Lakes. This special
pack played an important role in the trick to follow; it is assumed it would be unavailable
today, but there are other picture decks which can be used, ranging from the mundane to
the naughty.
The procedure will be described as if Stewart's Grand Trunk cards are in use: Stack
them to force the number 33 and the jack of diamonds by placing nineteen mixed cards
above a sequential stack running from king down to ace and with the force card following
that run in thirty-third position. It is the jack of diamonds, depicting the town of Kingston,
Ontario on its face. You also require a dictionary; note the first word on page 33.
On three blank file cards print respectively: NUMBER, PICTURE and WORD. On
the opposite side of the first, write '33.' Using Stewart's scenery deck in this example,
'Kingston, Ontario' is written on the second. The word from the dictionary is written
on the third. Seal the file cards in one envelope and place it, the cased deck of cards
and the dictionary in a cardboard box. Wrap the box, add the necessary stamps and mail it
to yourself. Have any letter which you have recently received in its opened envelope in
your jacket pocket.
Stewart's introductory patter: "l have received a Letter and a parcel from Professor S.
Cuttle of the College of Ardnox, an authority on the science of probability assessment.
He has devised a Random Association Test and is conducting experiments for statistical
data to prove the efficacy of his system. This test is based on the assumption that nothing
happens to anyone which is not associated in some way with a previous incident - no
matter how trivial - in which the individual has also been involved. For the purpose of
this test, Professor Cuttle has sent me a box of articles to be used and a letter describing
how this is to be done."
Proceed by requesting a spectator to remove any coin from her purse or wallet.
(Throughout this routine you remove the bogus letter from the envelope and intermittently
refer to it as you present your instructions.) Introduce Annemann's theme that the only
TRY aNother FIELD 173

three ways that thoughts can be expressed in writing are with numbers, pictures and
words. Have someone open the wrapped parcel and retain the envelope, while you accept
the deck and dictionary. Remove the cards and reveal that each has a different scene on
its face as you fan through them to show that they are randomly mixed. The stack is in
the last part of the deck and there is certainly no need to display more than sixteen or
seventeen cards as you show the unusual faces.
Instruct the spectator to total the digits of the date on her coin and announce the
number to the audience. Emphasize that this total is the first link in a chain of occurrences
and that it could not possibly have been known to you in advance. Have her deal that
number of cards face down on the table and call out the value of the card at that position.
It is probably best to also use a large writing pad, and write the date total at the top and
the value of the card beneath. Draw a line below these numbers and write in the total of
33. (It will always be 33.) Now tell the spectator to count on in the deck to a number equal
to the card value and show the face of the card in that position. It will depict a scene of
Kingston, and this name is written below the numbers.
Point out to your audience that a date selected at random led to a card in the deck
which could have carried any value from 1 up to 13. The number 33 could not have been
known in advance and the second link in the chain, the value of the card, led to a scene
of Kingston, Ontario, that also could not have been determined earlier. The third link,
the total of 33, is now used to generate a word in the dictionary and you request that
the spectator identify the first word on page 33. Once again, you stress the truly random
manner in which the word was selected to prevent prior knowledge, and write it on the
pad.
Referring again to your letter, conclude by hav:ing the envelope opened, as you tell your
audience that Professor Cuttle had claimed that he could accurately predict the outcome
of his Random Association Test through the emerging science of probability assessment.
Show the file cards in order, always exposing first the category on the front then the
accurate prediction on the reverse side, as the spectator displays the matching items you
jotted on the pad.
174 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART

JAMES

Obviously, if you are nervous about spouting instructions from non-existent copy you
can type or write them out and place that sheet in the appropriate envelope.
The stack explained above was rearranged to accommodate dates from the twentieth
century as well as from the twenty-first. Things become a bit more natural if the date on
the coin precedes the year 2000. If the proffered coin bears a date of 2000 or higher, split
the four digits in half. Write down '20' and then the remaining two digits beneath. Total
these numbers. The value of the card then follows, as illustrated for the year 2002.
One out which can be used in the next few years is to claim that you don't want to
make things too easy for Professor Cuttle and therefore you would prefer to work with a
coin "from the last century."
Ontene Prediction
Handumttennotes, circaJune
1983

S
tewart wrote Howard Lyons on June 28, 1983: ''The Ontene (fen-In-one)
Prediction: It is actually several principles that blend as beautifully as a poem.
Didn't mention them in our phone conversations because they intruded since then.
Don't recall when I was as elated over a discovery as I have been with Ontene."
No information was provided in that letter, but I subsequently came across a
handwritten and undated page with the same title. No method was provided, just an
intriguing plot. Stewart wrote: "Our latest offspring has pleased us with its perfectly
harmonious development. A dealer might define it thusly: 'With a recently discovered
principle, innate in every 52-card deck, the following never-before-achieved effect is easily
accomplished. A prediction is placed in the custody of a spectator and is never touched
again by the magician. The cards are handed to a volunteer and are never again touched
by the magician.
"'Volunteer cuts the cards as many times as he desires and then deals them face down.
Only sixteen cards are required. Performer has volunteer place them in a face-down 4 x 4
square. Volunteer freely selects a row of four cards - horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
Ten possibilities.
"'Volunteer totals the values of the four cards. Spectator announces the prediction he
is holding. They match. (No substitution of cards or
prediction.)
"'Points of interest: No ambiguous prediction - you could whisper what the total
will be. Any standard 52-card deck. Not a single card is secretly prepared. You never
know what 16 cards he will use or the name or numerical position of any card in the square
... no glimpse or key card of any kind. No move of any kind as you never touch the
cards.'"
A second page dated July 19, 1983 later came to light, precisely explaining the stack.
As July 19 is my birthday, I deemed this the perfect gift until I realized I couldn't make the
trick work. However, on May 9, 1996, I flew to Sarnia, a larger community near Stewart's
village of Courtright, to visit him in hospital with Ray Massecar. He would turn eighty
eight in five days. Stewart had entered the hospital some five months earlier, never to
return to Aberystwyth, the home about which he had such ambivalent emotions. He did

175
176 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

not recognize Ray or me and insisted his mother had joined us in the room.
Later, after that discomforting call, Ray and I journeyed to Courtright and Aberystwyth.
A year or so previously, Stewart had wisely given Ray power of attorney over his affairs
and had later requested that he remove from the house any papers or items that Massecar
thought should be preserved. As Aberystwyth now stood isolated, brooding and empty,
it could have served as a magnet for local rowdies who might set it afire or trash it. For
this reason, Ray had been diligently conveying cartons consisting primarily of Stewart's
correspondence, notes and his beloved collection of magic books and magazines to his
own home. As I assisted him in this bleak task, the correct method for Ontene Prediction
came to light; it was now attended by a fanciful story.
Stewart died in that same hospital bed six months after our visit.

-0-

The working and method will be given first and the story-line will follow. Without
concern as to suits, twelve cards are stacked from the top: A 3 5 2 4 6 Q 10 8 KJ 9. This
order is repeated three times. The remaining sevens are inserted anywhere through the
pack.
You predict 28 by removing the sevens without showing them and placing them aside
and face down; they total 28.
The forty-eight-card talon is placed face down on the table and a spectator is instructed
to cut the cards and complete the cut. He can do this more than once if he chooses. He
is then asked to deal the cards into three face-down piles by dealing them singly and in
rotation. (In the story which follows, the narrator deals the cards.) There will be sixteen
cards in each group.
The spectator is next directed to select anyone of the three piles. He may cut these
cards and complete the cut if he wishes. The cards are now dealt into a 4 x 4 square by the
spectator (or by the performer if the narrative is being followed) in normal order from left
to right and from top to bottom:

1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 11
13 14 15 16

As the story unfolds, the narrator changes the order of most of the cards:

1 2 3 4
8 7 6 5
10 9 12 11
15 16 13 14
ONTENE PREDICTION 177

It is easier to demonstrate the new order and to grasp the necessary changes by using
the first four letters of the alphabet:

A B c D
D c B A
B A D c
c D A B

Depending on the original cut of the deck and which pile was subsequently selected,
the cards could be in this order although they will be face down:

3 4 10 J
J 10 4 3
4 3 J 10
10 J 4 3

The four cards selected by the spectator in anyone of ten ways by selecting a
horizontal, vertical or diagonal row will total 281
However, Stewart's accompanying plot made it logical to allow fourteen, rather than
ten, choices. The additional options can best be explained by repeating the top square:

1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12
I3 14 15 16

The spectator can also choose the cards at the four corners: 1 4 13 16; the four cards
in the smaller centre square: 6 7 10 11; the four cards in positions 2 31415; the four cards
in positions 5 9 8 12. (These were Stewart's examples. Another system is to provide the
extra choices by indicating the four smaller squares in the comers: 1 2 5 6; 3 4 7 8; 9 10
13
14 or 11 12 IS 16.)
Stewart's tale: "Cameo Kirby, a professional card player, was sitting on a bench in
Central Park one afternoon. He had just finished reading a newspaper and was idly
shuffling a deck of cards. A portly gentleman came along and sat on the same bench. A
man passing on a path near them waved at Kirby and said, 'Hi! Cameo.'
''The portly gentleman turned to Kirby and said, 'So you have a nickname too. My first
name is Herbert but I am often called the Fiery Particle. I see you have a deck of cards.
Did you know there is a story that a deck of cards was once used for a prayer book and
almanac?'
"Cameo explained that it had been published some 300 years ago and reprinted many
times since. Then he said, 'I know you! I just saw your picture and read about you in the
178 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

paper. You often sit in a park. Not this one in New York but Regent Park in London. Your
home faces the park. Since your wife passed away in 1927, you have been very much a
world traveller as a self-appointed diplomat. You are Herbert George Wells, the author of
many books. You would probably be interested to know that a deck of cards may also be
used as a sort of history book.'
'Wells certainly wanted to hear more about this. He said that he had recently been a
guest of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had told him that he had no idea that Abraham
Lincoln had been an accomplished wrestler, as early as seventeen years of age, until he
read it in Wells's The Outline Of History.
'Wells then asked Cameo what the cards could tell about Lincoln. Cameo said Lincoln
had been president for four years. He removed four cards to represent those four years
and placed them aside." (Without revealing them, the sevens are dealt face down in a row
on the table.)
"Wells was then invited to give the deck a single cut- just as I will ask you now. Then
Cameo dealt the cards in three piles. He explained that with four cards removed this left
forty-eight cards, which would result in sixteen cards in each pile. Sixteen because Lincoln
became president in 1861 and the digits in 1861 total 16.
"Will you now choose which pile we will use, just as Wells did. Cameo then dealt those
cards in a face-down four-by-four square. Lincoln had such a reputation for honesty that
he also had a nickname: Honest Abe. We often speak of an honest man as being 'on the
square,' so there could be no better symbol for him than a square - and a square made
up of sixteen cards, the same number of cards as the number of letters in 'President
Lincoln.'
"There were many changes while Lincoln was president." (Shift the cards as explained
above.)
"The figure 7 occurred many times in his lifetime. He was born in the county of
Hardin in Kentucky. There are 7 plus 7 letters in 'Hardin, Kentucky.' And he was born on
February 12th. February is the second month of the year and if we add 2 to 12 we again
have a double 7 -14." (Turn two of the sevens face up.)
"Lincoln was shot in April, the fourth month, just as we have four cards. And on the
14th. Another double 71" (furn the remaining two sevens face up, then touch each in turn
as you continue.)
"There are seven letters in 'Abraham.' There are seven letters in 'Lincoln.' He became
president in his fifty-second year and 5 plus 2 is 7. He was the sixteenth president of the
United States and 1 plus 6 is 7.
"[ust as he was president for four years, I would ask you to select four cards from this
square. Because there are fourteen letters in 'Abraham Lincoln' you may choose your four
cards in any one of fourteen ways. You may place this pen on any one of the four rows,
any one of the four columns, either of the two diagonals, or you may indicate anyone
of these four smaller squares - each consists of four cards.'' (Leave the pen where it is
placed, or separate the four cards from one of the corners from the others.)
ONTENE PREDICTION 179

''Years ago a large dummy clock outside a shop always meant that timepieces were
for sale or could be repaired. These fake clocks were always set at 8:20. Most people, if
they thought about it at all, likely imagined the hands were so positioned to afford a clear
view of the face of the clock. In truth, it represented the time in the Ford Theater when
Llncoln was shot. In the account I read it states that it was twenty minutes after eight, or
8:20. And 8 and 20, when added, become 28 - the same total as these four sevens and,
remarkably, the total of the values of the four cards you selected so freely."
The Dream Goes
On
Letterto HowardLyons, March 15,
1984

S
ometime in the late 1920s, Stewart created one of his most copied tricks, Evolution
Of A Dream. It was marketed in 1929 in Great Britain and in 1930 in North
America. In the October 1930 U11kingRing, after a brief description of the effect,
Tom Bowyer wrote: "His price of $1.00 is not undue recompense for the sleep he must
have missed while figuring this one out." And Ralph W Hull wrote Stewart on November
11, 1930: "This is a masterpiece in the card spelling line. I have tried out all of them, and
to my mind this is the most practical."
The Evolution Of A Dream introduced the count-spell principle to magic and
achieved immediate and rightful prominence as one of the finest of the think-of-a-card
species. Any volunteer is handed a full deck of cards and is asked to think of one. He deals
the cards according to the selected one's suit and value, and the last card dealt is the one
chosen. The volunteer has the deck in his possession before he has divulged what his card
is; the performer does not touch it again.
Evolution Of A Dream gradually slipped out of the mainstream. In 1943 it was
essentially reinvented by Fred Mosteller and published as Bravo! It was the cover item of
Phoenix #49 in December of that year. Editor Bruce Elliott was obviously unfamiliar with
Stewart's earlier creation and assigned the principle to Mosteller while proclaiming, "If
this idea does not revolutionize the basic concept of spelling tricks and put them in the
realm of pure impossibility, we had better go back to tic-tac-toe."
In 1946, Vivian St. John released the same idea as The Mighty Atom; two years later
Hen Fetsch marketed it as Magic Spell; ten years after that Rusduck published Nudeck
Speller in Cardiste#2 (May 1957); eleven years further on Roy Walton's Helensburg Speller
appeared in PallbearersReview (Winter, 1968). Fourteen years slipped by and then
Miracle Mental Spell saw print in The Complete Works Of Derek Dingle (1982). None of
them credited the original. Finally, Doug Edward's version, Swell Spell, appeared in
Apocafypse Qanuary 1988) where editor Harry Lorayne apportioned credit to Mosteller but
added: "I have been told that Stewart James also had something to do with the concept."
Stewart wrote in StewartJames In Print. ''Although I liked handing the deck out to the
180
THE DREAM GOES ON 181

spectator before he named the card, I always worried about spelling from the bottom,
with the temptation for the spectator to take a look and spot the obvious arrangement. I
later developed The Dream Goes On which overcomes this problem." Max Maven called
it "diabolical." It will be followed by another fine offshoot, I'll Tell You My Dream.
The Dream Goes On employs the tactic of keeping a faced deck in its case until a card
has been named. Max was informed by Dai Vernon that Vernon was the first to use this
ruse, sometime around 1930, and subsequently wrote: "I'm not sure that it's particularly
worthwhile to record this information in the context of Stewart's application, but it might
merit mention if only to point out how pleasing his alternate gambit with a pack in a
handkerchief-covered glass is, at least to me."
Based on pages in his 6.les, I am of the opinion that, while working with Howard Lyons
and me in 1984 on the introduction to Evolution Of A Dream for StewartJames In
Print, Stewart returned to the count-spell premise and devised the two clever versions
appearing below.
I concur with Gordon Bean, who wrote: "I like how the consistency of the count-spell
procedure - as opposed to the usual spelling effect discrepancies - makes possible
the dual-deck strategy, and how the 'Merlin' patter keeps the effect clear in amusing
fashion."
The performer places two decks of cards, still in their cases, on a table. He states he has
placed one particular black card in a certain position in one deck and a red card, similarly,
in the second deck. As he is going to ask two members of the audience to each select a
card by having them choose different colours, there will be no possibility of them thinking
of the same card. Spectator One is asked to think of any black card, and Spectator Two
thinks of any red card.
Spectator One names his card. The performer removes the first deck from its case and
immediately deals the cards in accordance with its suit and value. All cards are dealt from
the top, and the last one is the freely named black card. Spectator Two then names her red
card, and the performer produces it in the same manner from the second deck.
To prepare: Take Deck One and place five red cards face up on the table. Deal the
clubs face up on top in numerical order beginning with the ace and concluding with the
king. In a second pile, deal six red cards face up, and then the spades from ace to king
face up on them. Divide the remaining fifteen red cards into two about-equal packets and
place one face up on each of the piles. Then place the two piles face to face and case the
deck so you know which black suit is uppermost.
Take Deck Two, place eight black cards face up on the table and the diamonds from
ace up to king face up on top of them. Repeat this procedure with six black cards and the
hearts. There will be twelve black cards remaining, and they are divided into two packets
and placed face up on the two piles which, in turn, are assembled face to face. Case Deck
Two so you can locate either red suit.
It is naturally important that you can immediately identify the deck required, and one
easy route is to set the red cards in a red pack then place it in the proper case; the blacks
182 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

are thought of in connection with the blue deck and case.


Tell your audience that you wanted to show them something really special, and you
were still thinking about this challenge when you fell asleep last night. Sometime before
morning, you dreamt that the famous magician, Merlin, appeared before you and taught
you what you are about to show them. Merlin told you this is what he would have
performed if card magic had been popular in his day.
Two spectators are asked to assist. To eliminate even the slightest possibility of them
both thinking of the same card, Spectator One is asked to mentally choose any black
card and Spectator Two thinks of any red card. Hold Deck One in your hand and start
to open the flap as you ask Spectator One to name his card. Assume he calls out, "The
six of clubs." Remove the cards so the club suit is uppermost. "The value of the card is
a six." Deal six cards face down in a pile on the table. "And it is one of the clubs." Spell
C-L-U-B-S on the same pile, placing the last card to one side where it remains constantly
in view. A tumbler of correct size makes an excellent repository; the identity of the card
is not revealed at this time.
Deck Two is handled in an identical manner when that spectator names her red card.
Count the value of the card. Spell the suit, again ending with an 'S.' Place the final card,
unseen, aside with the first one.
Stress how freely the two cards were selected, then show that they were placed long in
advance at the proper positions to answer to their names, thanks to Merlin.

I fl Tell Yo,, My Dream


Handwritten notes, Febmary 1984

A
rrange the cards as described for Deck Two in The Dream Goes On. Place the
cards without their case in a suitable rumbler so any diamond may be count
spelled by removing the cards one at a time from the side of the deck facing the
audience. Cover the cards and glass with a handkerchief or silk. Have a writing pad small
enough to be held comfortably. On it is printed the suits and values:
THE DREAM GOES

ON 183

You may begin with the Merlin patter outlined in The Dream Goes On. Carry on
by saying that, to preclude the possibility that you previously arranged with someone to
secretly help you by naming one particular card, you will employ the assistance of several
people. They may be selected by tossing out a ping-pong ball: the person catching it
becomes the first assistant, then he tosses it to a second person, and so on.
The first spectator is asked to name red or black. Let us assume he chooses black.
Draw a line on your pad through CLUBS and SPADES. Point at the second assistant.
''This leaves the red cards. Which suit shall we eliminate?" Suppose he says "Diamonds."
Draw a line through DIAMONDS and circle HEARTS.
You then point to the values on the sheet and say that there are thirteen hearts. Ask
the third spectator if you should eliminate the odd or even values. If he says you are to
get rid of the even cards, draw a stroke through the 2-4-6-8-10 and Q. Explain that there
are now seven odd-valued cards remaining, and ask the fourth assistant which four you
are to eliminate. Cross them off as you point to the three values remaining and ask the
fifth person to eliminate two of them. They, too, are stroked out and only one value is
now untouched. Circle it, we will assume it is the 9, and make it clear to your audience that
through the process of elimination, five spectators have freely chosen the nine of hearts.
Pick up the covered glass in your left hand, fingers at the front and thumb at the back,
and move it to the left on the table. The tumbler automatically makes a half turn - your
thumb is now at the front- and the hearts cards are ready for Stewart's count-spell when
the hanky is removed.

They are taken from the front of the glass, their backs to the audience, and dropped
face down on the table until the final card is reached and proudly displayed.
If the first assistant had named red you would stroke out the two black suits, and
from then on always ask the question ''Which shall we use?" It matters not which colour
is named at the beginning; all subsequent questions are consistent and in character. If
the card to be used in the count-spell is one of the diamonds, you need not pick up the
tumbler. Just remove the handkerchief Of course, the deletion process may be concluded
much more quickly if you wish, but the involvement of five audience members makes the
entire business appear to be unusually fair.
A ClassBy
Itself
1984 Epoptica Yearbook

A
s a young man, Stewart evidenced strong interest in tricks of a mental or spirit
nature; he published or marked twenty of them by the time he was twenty-four.
None used playing cards.
In reference to Ste1vart James In Print, Bascom Jones, then editor and published of
the primary journal of mentalism, .Magick, wrote me on December 27, 1989: "What an
outstanding book! It is a veritable library of workable magic and mental effects ... Of
course, I am familiar with his work, but I was dumbfounded to see how much GREAT
mentalism he contributed to the world. Magicians will think of him as a magician, but
forever more, I shall think of him as a mentalist!"
Stewart's creative assault on George Orwell's 1984 is thoroughly documented in The
James Filein the chapter entitled 'Dedicated To Eric Blair.' (In late 1983, I had sent him a
card trick involving 1984. As the year 1984 approached, Stewart began to study the Orwell
book. Over the next few months he concocted sixty-seven effects using 19841)
And his splendid book test, A Class By Itself, would seem to have launched his
inventive spree involving Orwell's classic.
Richard Kaufman, in the July-August 1984 edition of Richard'sAlmanac, called A Class
By Itself "quite possibly the best book test ever to see print."
In this effect, a sealed envelope is handed to a volunteer to retain as a prediction.
The volunteer now selects five cards from a Lexicon deck and totals the numbers in the
corners of the cards. The total gives the spectator a page to turn to in George Orwell's
1984. The spectator is asked to note the last word on the page, then to open the envelope.
It contains a slip of paper on which is printed the selected word.
For the second climax, it is shown that the five cards selected at the beginning bear
letters that also spell the chosen word!
The deck is used for the British game of Lexicon. Each card represents a letter of
the alphabet and it has a number, the same number, in each of its corners. You force five
card with the letters C, L, A, Sand S. The numbers on these five cars are 8, 8, 10, 8 and 8
- totalling 42.

184
A CLASS BY ITSELF 185

The force Stewart suggested is the Flip-Flop Force from Larry Becker's Mentalism For
Magician.; (1981). The five cards are initially on top of the deck, which is then turned face
up and hindu shuffled. A spectator is told to select a marker card that everyone can see by
instructing you when to stop. When the command is given, indicate the uppermost card
of the left-hand group, use the right-hand packet to flip it face down in place, then drop
the right-hand cards face up on top of it.

Turn the deck face down and place it on the table. The spectator is then asked to fan
through the cards and remove the first five face-down cards below the face-up marker. (in
the original Epoptica write-up, I was quoted as recommending the force employed in The
Yogi Book Test, from Annemann's Practical Mental Effects (1944). The same trick
appeared as The Demon-Yogi-Goblin Book Test in jinx #2 (November 1934)
The edition of 1984 used by Stewart is published by Penguin and has the identification
ISBN 0-1400-0972-8 on the spine. The last word on page 42 is "class" - the word you
predict in the envelope. The effect appears to have been completed when the word in
the envelope is revealed, then you have an additional climax when the lettered cards are
arranged to also show the selected word, CLASS.
As Stewart wrote: "The idea that interested me in inventing this effect was that the
word, by chance was located on a page, correctly numbered by chance, to match the total
of the numbers on the five cards which, also by chance, had letters to spell the word. If
I was prone to embellish my pearls of wisdom with a sophisticated crevice, I would say
'Class' could be, with absolute veracity, christened as the last word in a Book Test."
Anger With A 'D'
utter to Allan Slaight, December 12,
1984
Phone conversation 1vith Allan Slaight, December20,
1984

F
rom Richard Lederer's book CrazyEnglish(1989): "An anagramis the rearrangement
of the letters in a word or phrase. For more than twenty centuries lovers of word
play have found a challenging and amusing exercise of the mind in changing
around the letters of anagrammatical words."
Stewart mentioned the Anagram Principle in an April 2, 1986, letter to Phil Goldstein:
"I have tried to find the first use I made of this principle in a trick. It was a prediction
using a poem about a dog. I was still in school so it would at least be 1922 or before.
The anagram was used differently from anything I can recall in print and could be used
without the poem." Sadly, he was unable to provide additional information.
I had sent Stewart a then-unpublished item of mine requiring a deck of Lexicon cards
and a Scrabble dictionary, which I had titled Otwone Prediction. He wrote: "Orwone
Prediction and your terse note, just received. This is the most interesting to me of all the
items you have concocted. I do not recall where letters from a card have been used in this
manner previously. I have discontinued fingering Cora long enough to bow low in your
direction."
'Cora' was Stewart's sturdy typewriter, a Corona he acquired sometime in the 1920s. (I
still marvel when I envision those thousands and thousands of words in letters and tricks,
all typed by Stewart using only the first finger of his right hand.)
Otwone Prediction was published in the March 1991 Genii. This superb issue was
dedicated to Stewart; it was organized and edited by Max Maven. It featured two of
Stewart's previously unpublished tricks as well as Jamesian material from some of his
devotees. In his introduction, Max wrote in part: "This special issue of Genii is a tribute
to a shy genius whose solitary explorations have produced a wealth of material which he
has generously shared with the magic community over the past six-and-a-half decades."
Stewart's 1984 letter to me continued: "Rigonally was also interested and this pleased
me mightily; he has been sulking because I have been able to spend so little time with him.
We had this thought The effect would be better if both predictions were definitive instead
186
ANGER WITH A 'D' 187

of one merely being implied. Since you have been thinking along this line, something we
hit on may interest you. I am telling Cora before I forget." His original two-anagram
variant of Anger With A 'D' was enclosed. However, it was not the version presented
below as I discovered when I telephoned Stewart on several matters following receipt of
his letter. He informed me that he had altered the plot and also added a third anagram,
providing details on the phone.
Two cased decks and a dictionary are introduced. Slipped into the dictionary is a sealed
envelope, one end protruding.
A spectator has a free choice of either pack. You shuffle those cards, then request her
to name any number between 1 and 25. You count off cards to the number chosen and
remove three cards at that position. These three cards are placed in a face-up row in high
to-low order, but if a face card or ten appears it is replaced by another card until three,
single-digit cards are on the table. Assume they are a seven, six and ace. They total 14.
The other regular deck is removed its case and, in the above example, the
from
fourteenth card is removed and placed in a conspicuous position without its identity
being revealed.
The envelope is taken from the dictionary, and the instructions 'OPEN CONTENTS .. .'
are seen prominently printed on the outside. The spectator opens the envelope, and finds
a strip of paper on which is printed' ... THEN TEAR.' This strip is torn so the letters are
each represented by a separate piece. They are rearranged and spell TEN HEART. The
selected card is shown to be the ten of hearts.
The spectator is now asked to turn to page 761 - the numbers of the three cards
initially chosen. The three digits are again added, then reduced to a single digit (J + 6 + 1
= 14. 1 + 4 = 5). The fifth word on page 761 is THREATEN, a word you form by again
rearranging the lettered pieces.

OPEN
CONTENTS .. jT14EN TEAR\

Stack the top twenty-four cards of both decks. An 'X' represents any card and 'F' a
face card: X X 7 A 6 F F X 7 A 6 F F 1 OH 7 A 6 F F X 7 A 6 F
You require the edition of ll7ebster} New SchoolAnd Office Dictionary in which 'threaten'
is the fifth word on page 761. (Alternatively, search out another dictionary or book where
188 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

the location of that word will produce the desired result when different force cards are
used to assign the required page and reach the word.) Prepare the slip of paper and the
envelope as described, being sure to use heavy and bold lettering, and place the envelope
between the pages of the dictionary so the printing on the outside does not show.
It is now simply a matter of forcing a seven, six and ace and following the routine as
outlined above. You will note the ten of hearts is fourteenth from the top of both decks,
so it matters not which deck is used for the initial count. Stewart suggests using what he
calls his Cycloidal Force; he has created a number of variations. Commence by asking the
spectator to name any number between 1 and 25, and it is recommended you false shuffle
and false cut as you give your directions. 'We will count to your number and remove three
cards at that position, but if we come across a ten or a face card we'll take another card.
I need three, single digits."
Rather than outline the counting procedure for each possible number, it is
recommended you experiment for only a few minutes with the stack. Then, the technique
to reach the three cards will become obvious. If you remember that the necessary cards
are at positions 3-4-5, 9-10-11, 15-16-17 and 21-22-23, everything falls into place. If the
spectator names 4, 10, 16 or 22 - a difference of 6 separates these numbers - it is best
to count the cards slowly and carefully by spreading them from hand to hand without
reversing their order. "You picked the number 10, so we will count to that card and also
take the card on each side of it." If she names 3, 9, 15 or 21, count the cards into a face
down pile calling the numbers aloud until the card at the number chosen is on top of the
pile, then remove the top three cards of the pile.
Should the spectator choose any other number, count that many cards into a pile. All
you must recall here is that if she names a number where a face card reposes, you turn
cards up in the talon until you get three single-digit cards. If she names 2, 8, 14 or 20
- again, a difference of six in each case - you turn up the top three cards of the talon.
Package Deaf
Handwntten notes, undated

T
his item is produced from an undated, two-page handwritten sheet. Package
Deal is remarkable. It is possible that Stewart created this on a bus when he
was returning to Courtright from a Jim Nabors concert in Toledo, Ohio, in
March 1988. On page 473 of Ste1JJa1t James !11 Print, in the section titled 'Magic Of The
Famous,' he mentioned this trip and the fact that The Surprise Three-Pyle Card Trick was
formuJated at that time. The bottom of the second page of the Package Deal instructions
would indicate this. However, it appears that the handwriting is somewhat different, and
my copy shows a different colour of ink. And so the other theory is that Stewart devised
this many years earlier, pulled it out sometime along the way, and realized it could be
applied to the 'Surprise' angle. He originally titled it Remarkable Card Stab but appended
"Package Deal" in brackets; that title is ideal for the original version.
David Peck commented: ''Very unique. A Leipzig card stab feel without the knife."
I now quote the awesomely knowledgeable Max Maven from The James File.
"Now, regarding Package Deal, you inquire as to whether [Norman] Gilbreath or [Gene]
Finnell might have come up with this. To my knowledge no one has devised exactly this
idea, but there is a reason why it seems co be familiar: What Stewart has done here is to
reinvent the Gilbreath Principle! I find this particularly fascinating, as I've always
wondered why Stewart never explored this idea.
"I realize that. at first glance Package Deal does not seem to be Gilbreathian, so let me
explain why it is. You know the basic idea of the Principle: assume two packets in rosary
stack running in opposite order (e.g., ABCDABCDABCD and DCBADCBADCBA). If
these are riffle shuffled together, every set of cards of the same number as the original
rosary set (in the above example, four) will contain a complete set, although no longer
necessarily in order (in the above example, then, after the shuffle every four-card group
wouJd contain an A, B, C and D).
"One way of getting to the necessary pre-shuffle situation is to begin with a rosary
chained in one direction, then to deal some of the cards singly from the top of the pack
into a pile. The dealt pile is riffle shuffled into the talon, and the results will adhere to the

189
190 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

Gilbreath rule.
"This is precisely what Stewart has done in Package Deal, except that he's come up
with the unusual notion that the dealt pile consists of only one card. When that single card
is inserted into the talon, it is the equivalent of riffle shuffling two piles where one pile is
a single card. Get it
"Thus, the fact that the trick will work with two or three cards is not particularly
fascinating (as you say in the write-up of the trick); rather, what's truly fascinating is the
idea that the Principle can be applied to the single-card situation, and made into a dandy
trick at that."
I trust the reader needs no more evidence as to why Max Maven became such an
important and admired collaborator in the preparation of The [ames File.
Show a packet of cards wrapped in a paper napkin and secured with Scotch Tape.
You hold one other card in your hand; we will assume it is a three-spot. Explain that the
three, along with nineteen cards in the package, comprise the twenty cards necessary to
make up four straights, and that you removed the three-spot from its position in one
of the straights before you wrapped up the rest. Stress that if just one card is out of
place it will ruin the set-up and change every straight into something else.
A spectator holds the packet and inserts the three through the paper and into the cards
anywhere he chooses. He may wish to have the three face up to serve as a double check.
He then rips away the paper without disturbing the order of the cards, and separates them
into four hands. (The cards are removed in groups of five, and not dealt in rotation.) Each
and every hand is a straight! You have apparently controlled him to replace the three at
exactly the same spot that it had held before.
The order of the cards in the packet: 4 5 A 2 3 4 5 A 2 3 4 5 A 2 3 4 5 A 2. The three
can be inserted anywhere, even slipped on top or bottom, and four straights will always
result.

.
, ,
:=..
3 Cf :
A

1, 1 ,.1 ~1A 2 ....


' :

'V

.,., ~'l
l \ \ \ I

This naturally makes a wonderful test with Rhine cards. Stack the twenty-five design
cards in exact rotation and remove the top or bottom card to use for the stab. Each group
of five will consist of the five different symbols.
Stewart's notes contained a variation: This principle works equally well if more than
one card is employed as the hold-out. With the Rhine cards stacked in rotation, you could
PACKAGE DEAL 191

commence with a Charlier False Haymow Shuffle (as illustrated) and then have a spectator
cut the cards.

Remove the top three cards, and wrap the remainder in a paper napkin or piece of
newspaper. Have the middle card of the three inserted first. The top card is now placed
anywhere below it, and the last card stabbed anywhere above it.
Each group of five will still be made up of the five different designs. This will also
succeed with two cards, as long as the first card of the pair goes below its partner. (If the
reader will refer to the third paragraph of Max Maven's letter to me as quoted above, it will
be clear that Stewart had come across the same concept although his approach differed
somewhat.)
Stewart's invariably cryptic notes then said: "Or use SURPRISE repeated three times.
Volunteer chooses any letter. Cut at that point. V [Volunteer] inserts card anywhere.
Three piles dealt. Cards in each pile spell SURPRISE. The sort of trick Gomer Pyle 0im
Nabors) would do. Or set cards U R P RI S E S U RP RI S E S U RP RI S E S. Say, 'I
have a card for you.' Give him the top 'U' card. Surprise Three-Pyle Trick."
WhileAt The Talking Table

GLENDOWER: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.


HOTSPUR: Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will
they come when you call for them?
William Shakespeare
Henry IV (1597)

G
eorge Santayana wrote in The Life OJ Reason: "In the thick of active life,
there is more need to stimulate fancy than to control it." Stewart James was
somehow assigned a special gift and discovered early in his life that he had
unusual puissance. He could activate his imagination and solve problems in a manner
he kept secret for many years because he was too embarrassed to discuss his techniques
with anyone. This is a sensitive chapter for me to write, but The James File would not be
complete without this account of Stewart's extraordinary endowment.
Although he may earlier have divulged this intelligence to someone in conversation, he
did not choose his favourite form of communication, the written word, in which to bare
himself until he was in his early forties, and then he picked a mathematics professor as
his confidant. Stewart wrote Paul Montgomery on February 16, 1949: "I have hesitated
speaking of this before because I have been afraid of your reaction but I will rest easier
when you know - regardless of how you take it."
As detailed previously, when Stewart was in the early grades his strict parents would
not allow him to have other children visit him at his house after school, or play with them
at their homes. His letter to Montgomery continued: "Not having companions like other
children, I improvised. Like a barrel of rocks on the other end of a plank so I could
see-saw. For things like that I was made the object of ridicule. To avoid that, I invented
imaginary companions. Children often do this, I am sure, but mine persisted to this day
and my communion with them has been increasingly satisfactory.
"You may say that I have never grown up mentally, that I am crazy, I actually am touched
with the Great All, it is a delusion or I have simply created a mode of concentration that
has proven useful.

192
WHILE AT THE TALKING TABLE 193

"This will probably sound like a lot of superstitious humbug but when I sit down at
my Talking Table I know when I am in harmony and just which Deepsters are present. I
have three that constitute a sort of Board and I call them Rigonally, Paxton and Kardova.
"There is an old saying that goes something like this: 'Reading maketh a full man,
writing maketh an exact man, and conversation a ready man.' Well, I am not a 'ready man'
but at the Talking Table I sometimes get ideas with the startling suddenness of a sentry's
flashlight beam.
"For instance, I am quite confident that from the time I told the Board that I wanted
until the time I had the doggerel at the top of page 38 could not have been more than two
or three minutes. [Stewart was referring to an acrostic he had earlier sent Montgomery.]
Sometimes ideas come so quickly that I chalk them right on the table top because it is
never repeated and if you do not get it the first time it is often a long and painful ordeal
to fill in the details by trial and error.
"You would think that through this contact I would be most prolific but sometimes
long periods of time pass without a response .. .Ican only be sure of receiving information
once, that I could be absolutely sure that I could not possibly have known before and been
carrying around in my subconscious with out remembering.
"Whatever this assistance is from the unknown, I think 1 would be foolish not to use it.
Like we would be if we didn't use electricity. I realize there is a danger in more ways than
one. I could eventually fail to differentiate between this world and the Great All. And the
Deepsters have no conscience. They are jealous of one another. That accounts for the
break in style after the first two versus of 'Because I am Away'. I was absoring Rimore's
impression rays when the Board displaced him.'' (It would appear that "Rimore" was a
name Stewart had originally assigned to Rigonally. Here, he accidently substituted the
older name. Because I Am Away - another acrostic - may be found in the introduction
to the 'Linguistricks' chapter.)
Sometime in 1955, Steward and Howard Lyons had discussed "The Deepsters" in
person or on the telephone. The second item of correspondence I have located on this
subject followed that conversation, but this time the comments were directed to Stewart.
Lyons wrote him on July 18, 1955: "You say you 'feel a result'. I was positive you did.
Your description of factor, cardoni and fact-something or other led me to believe that you
have managed a very difficult thing: you can evade the 'censor' that subdues the
subconscious mind when the conscious is operating.
"I am sure you can see how your three friends manage to fool your subconscious
into giving up what it has been working on all this time. Most psychologists say that the
subconscious mind is smarter (less inhibited) and has access more readily to memory than
the waking-mind.
"Boy, I'm getting lost. But I still think you have a beautiful set of mental gimmicks and
I just wish I could discipline myself to use something similar."
Lyons followed up on August 3, 1955: "I like So Nero and I enjoyed your trains of
thought. I have a feeling that your subconscious mind is freely available to you at all times
....

194 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

- I say this because of your remarkably rapid analysis, your


considerable immediate memory and your practical use of puns.
"It is symptomatic of the subconscious intervening when
pun-relationships are evidenced. I envy you."' Lyons received no
response to his comments. (So Nero appears on page 704 of
Stewart James In Print.
Stewart gradually described that the creative assistance he
received from his Deepsters should not be a taboo subject with
certain individuals he respected. He briefly discussed them with
Rick Johnsson at the 1971 Abbott's Get-Together, then wrote
him on September 8, 1971: "To explain further about my
'Three Men Who Never Were' that bobbed u pin our
conversation at Colon. I have named them Rigonally, Khardova
[the 'h' had been added] and Fax.ton. I don't know whether you
noticed but when I began talking of them I started to stutter.
This has happened several times on those occasions when I have
been careless enough to attempt to discuss them. It is rather
curious as I have never been troubled with any type of speech
impairment."
Stewart's letter went on to discuss "the time I got the publicity
in 1938/39 for predicting the war headline a year in advance. (This
is quite a story which involves Finsler's Comet.) [See page 211 in
Steuar: James In Print.] I was annoyed at a couple of reporters and,
in reply to their repeated demands that I tell them how knew, I
thought I would fluff them off with a tall story. I said that all
thoughts rose like heat waves and formed a cloud above the earth.
By practice, one could project their astral body to the cloud and
pick out whatever thought they wanted. Like a woman goes to a
rag bag and picks out the material desired. With some variations
of his own, th.is 'explanation' was published and I was suppose
to have read the mind of Hitler.
"I am happy I didn't tell him about my Three Companions
Who Never Were as I have bad the thought I might lose contact
with them if they were the subject of a published article."
That Stewart was worried he might "lose contact" was
manifest in his correspondence. In a December 10, 1960 letter
to Francis Haxton, he expressed concern about Alex Elmsley,
saying:" ... I can understand if he feels he has lost his productive
power (mentally speaking). To fear that one has dried up can be a
terrifying experience."
I wrote to Stewart to compliment him for the ingenuity he
displayed in The Prince, The King and The Wizard, which
appeared in the 'Linguistricks' chapter; he replied on April 28,
1938: "got a real charge out of this paragraph. Greatly appreciate
your opinion that my innovative ability has not completely
degenerated. There are times when we have fears of drying up or
losing contact."
While visiting Stewart in Courtright in September 1975, I was
flattered that he allowed a detailed conversation about his three
imaginary associates. He explained that Rigonally became a
"mental playmate" even before Stewart became interested in
magic at the age of seven. They created plays and stories together.
(The early name was Origioali.)
Years passed with only Rigonally visiting him from time to
time and then, much later,
Khardova and Paxton suddenly appeared at the same time
although Stewart could not
WHILE AT THE TALKING TABLE 195

recall the occasion or time period.


For reasons he did not comprehend, Stewart could only conjure up his three
companions if the four of them, in bis visualization, sat around a square of some
description. Prodded, he stated that size did not matter because all this was occurring
in his mind; the square could be a handkerchief or a table, but it had to be a square and
not a rectangle. They always sat in the same positions, with Rigonally directly across from
Stewart, Khardova on his left and Paxton on his right.
Much later, in 1990, when he passed on to me more notes and files so I could commence
work on The James File, I found some scribblings which assisted me in the preparation of
the earlier chapter, "The Game of Twenty-One.' They indicated that Khardova provided
expertise with cards, Rigonally supplied the imagination, and Paxton was responsible
for various facts, as they worked together devising tricks. Surprisingly, Stewart had also
written: "Sometimes Figgerhead Smith -gambler and mathematician." (This four figure
was mentioned only one other time in the letters I have read.)
Returning to my 1975 visit with Stewart, he said the actual mien of The Three
Companions Who Never Were was difficult to determine. He did not have a clear vision
of their looks, no feeling for height or weight or the colour of hair or eyes. It seemed to
him that they possibly all wore cowls, somewhat like monks' attire, and that they dressed
identically. Asked if he ever spoke aloud during those sessions, Stewart responded in the
negative and added that it did not matter in the least if his eyes were open or closed. He
said that he always had to terminate their meetings.
Stewart divulged to me that it had concerned him for years that he was not using his
gift to "do something for mankind like find a cure for a disease, as an example." He said
that any time he strove to move their psychomancy away from the creation of magic, a
cloud would invariably appear, just over Rigonally's right shoulder. Although the three
spectres did not depart there was no use continuing that session - "They had put up a
wall."
Stewart ended this riveting discussion by conjecturing for several minutes about the
Deepsters, pondering whether this was all just a technique to enter his own subconscious
- as Howard Lyons believed - or whether there was really more to it than that, as I
was coming to believe. He seemed at peace with himself and acted with total rationality,
simply putting forth the premise that he somehow had happened on a system that worked
for him as a stimulus to creativity, one that he had been using for many years with great
success. He wondered if others, not necessarily magicians, did any form of incentive work
by communicating with imaginary persons but were ashamed to admit it. He emphasized
that, certainly in 1975, he did not want me to relate the details of his Arcanum to others,
afraid as he said that be would be considered "flaky".
It is assured that his three illusory comrades had a major influence on some of his real
world activities. For instance, during our long conversation he mentioned that the chief
reason why he had never considered moving from the gloomy home which held so many
unhappy recollections was because he was fearful that his friends would refuse to sit with
196 THE ESSENTIAL STEWART JAMES

him around the Talking Table in any other residence.


As a few more years passed, Stewart became more relaxed about his secret and,
although he refused then to grant Howard Lyons and me permission to provide the
details of the Deepsters in Stewart James in Print, he was highly pleased when we suggested
that book be dedicated to them. And indeed it was - and to Howard.
As Stewart assisted Lyons and me by providing invaluable research and commentary
for his book, he grumbled that he was spending too much time on that project and not
nearly enough with his three associates. He wrote on page 99 of Stewart James In Print:
"While working on this book has been a most stimulating experience, I am not taking
enough time to pursue ideas that intrude. I want to return to that land of imagination
before I am away too long and not able to find my way back. I would like to find another
Miraskill." Somewhere between 1982 and 1989, the time required to produce Stemar:
James
!11 Print, he lost all contact with Faxton and K.hardova. To my knowledge, they never
returned to visit him.
When I began working on TheJames File in January 1990, Stewart willingly turned
over additional files and correspondence to me. However, he was emphatic that he would
not, this time, respond to my queries and spend long hours searching for a source or a
fact. He said, ''I want to spend more time with Rigonally or I'm afraid that I might lose
contact with him, too." When I visited him in September 1990, we talked about Rigonally.
Stewart said he was now having increasing problems communicating with him. The
last of his spectral trio left him some time in 1992.

-0-

Canadian author Margaret Atwood found the story of Stewart James compelling. She
wrote me on May 29, 1996: "Many thanks for sending The James File material.
Astounding, fascinating, sad too.
"Re: the subject of creativity - here is the only book I recommend to creative writing
students." She had sent The Gift: Imagi11atio11 and the Erotic Lifeof Properry f?y Le,vis Hyde, first
published in 1979.
Hyde wrote: "The task of setting free one's gift was a recognized labor in the ancient
world. The Romans called a person's tutelary spirit his genius. In Greece it was called a
daemon. Ancient authors tell us that Socrates, for example, had a daemon who would
speak up when he was about to do something that did not accord with his true nature. It
was believed each man had his idios daemon, his personal spirit which could be cultivated
and developed."
Stewart, never one to follow the crowd, would seem to have had three.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would be remiss if I did not thank those who played such an important role in the creation of
StewartJamesIn Print and TheJamesFile: Gordon Bean, David Ben, Becky & Rob Dimon, Bob
Farmer, Bill Goodwin, Pat Lyons, Barbara MacLennan, Ray Massecar, Stephen Minch, Tom
Ransom, the late Joseph Schmidt, Wycliffe Smith & Cara Scime, Carolyn Thomas, and Patrick
Watson.

I would also like to thank those who pored through 2,700 pages of Stewart's creations and distilled
the work down to The EssentialStewartJaT1Jer. Gordon Bean, David Ben, Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri,
Bob Farmer, Aaron Fisher, Bill Goodwin, Paul Hallas, Mark Jensen, Nate Kranzo, Max Maven,
Stephen Minch, David Peck, Charles Reynolds, Barrie Richardson, Roy Walton, and Michael
Weber.

Also, to Jennifer Harrison for mining the material from the archives of Standard Broadcasting;
to Julie Eng for her tireless efforts in assembling the text, and organizing and digitizing Joseph
Schmidt's illustrations; to Suleyman Fattah for forging two of the Schmidt illustrations that had
gone astray (you will have to figure out which ones); to Michael Claxton, Joe Culpepper and
Wendy Brear for adding their two cents; and to Gabe Fajuri for the layout and wonderful cover.

To David Ben and Magicana for driving this project to completion.

To Max Maven and the late P. Howard Lyons, whose contributions to the publication and
preservation of the James' oeuvre extend beyond the imagination.

And finally, to Stewart.

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