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Sect7et 1\genda

Robert6 Giobbi

illustrations by
Barbara Giobbi-Ebnother

Seattle, Washington
Jason England, Mike Henkel and Newell
Unfried served as beaters for this volume,
flushing out several dozen typos hiding in
the text, so that they might be shot before
they could reach public land. Good read-
ers will wish to add their thanks to those
of the author and publisher.

Copyright © 2010 by Roberto Giobbi and Stephen Minch.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.

Published in the United States by Hermetic Press, Inc., Seattle.

Printed in the United States of America.



6 543 2 1
Preface VII





MAY 132

JUNE 163

JULY 196






Endnotes 393

Index 399
First Things First
I almost didn't write a preface, wanting only to place on the page customarily used for that purpose this
quote by Francis Bacon:

Prefaces are the labor of lost hours and hide the author's vanity beneath false modesty.

He is right-in a sense. In another sense he is not. (He should have liked that, being a philosopher.) I
vividly remember reading my first magic books and wanting so much to know a little more about their
authors, about their motives, about their personal thoughts on the books it had taken them years to
write; but I was disappointed to find very little in this regard.
It issaid everything made by hand carries something of him who made it. This might be true as well for
the author of a book. Ithink it impossible to write something, even a technical text, without putting some
part of oneself into it. The question then becomes: Why should anyone care about the author? One could
easily read this book and appreciate (it would be hoped) its content, without knowing anything in advance
about the book or its author, much as you might enjoy a painting in a museum without foreknowledge of
the artist who did it. If,however, you know something about painting, about the painter's life and philoso-
phy, about the period and culture he lived in, about some of his other paintings, then you will be able to
expand your appreciation into other dimensions. Whether you want to do this is quite another matter. So,
for some readers, that was the preface and you can now proceed to the main body of the book. The others
are cordially invited to stay with me a little longer before attacking the more pragmatic parts of this work.

About the Book

In the introduction to his third volume of that wonderful series of books, the Tarbell Course in Magic,
Dr. Harlan Tarbell writes, I/IfIgive you a dollar and you give me a dollar, we each still have a dollar; but let
me give you an idea and you give me an idea, then we each have two ideas."
This isa typically Western way of expressing what is essentially a beautiful thought; and it concisely,
plainly and perfectly explains what this book is about.
Secret Agenda, whatever its intrinsic value, offers two services. First, it represents a body of knowl-
edge, and everyone can, from this point of view, usefully refer to it. There are ready-made ideas that
you will find of immediate use: tricks, techniques, presentations and words of professional advice; some
lost within the annals of conjuring and unearthed here for your edification, some original and hitherto
unpublished. This is information you will be able to add almost instantly to your active repertoire, or at
least use to expand your conceptual mastery of magic. The latter is quite important, for the sheer plea-
sure of it; but this information might also come in handy at a later date, when problems have to be solved
that require you to have a backpack of knowledge and a toolbox of skills to refer to.
The second service provided by this book is escape. It is an open door to adventure, even if it is not
the most audacious. A work of art is always an adventure. A piece of magic does not escape this rule. I
have therefore included items intended to make you stop and think, to reconsider some of the things
you thought were true, to find out if they still are-or maybe to find they are only half true, which is
worse than being false. Some of the items included may just make you smile as you look at something
you've always known, but from a different viewpoint. Still other things are interesting problems you'll
want to solve for yourself.
If one felt the need to categorize this book, it would most probably fit into the genre of notebooks.
In magic we do not have an overwhelming number of contributions to this branch of literature, but I
wouldn't want to miss them; such as Jacob Daley's Notebooks, The Fred Braue Notebooks and Bruce Cer-
vons Castle Notebooks. Of course, notebooks are also a literary genre. Among my favorites are A Writers
Notebook by W. Somerset Maugham; and maybe best of all, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg's Waste Books.
In his preface, Lichtenberg writes:

The merchants have their waste book; there they record from day to day everything they have bought
and sold, one after the other, without organization. From there the entries are transferred to the journal,
where everything is arranged more systematically; and finally it goes to the ledger, using double entry
in the Italian style of bookkeeping. This practice should be imitated by scholars. First a book in which I
write everything just as I see it or as my thinking guides me. This then can be copied to another, where
subjects are separated and better arranged; and the ledger could then contain the various subjects in a
connected fashion and, from this ensues an elucidation, expressed in an orderly way.*

* A Small-World Note: The double-entry system mentioned by Lichtenberg was invented by the Italian Luca Pad-
oli, who in his 1496 work De Viribus Quantitatis gave us what presently is considered the earliest description of a
card trick!

When I read that, I immediately thought: "Wonderful! Iwant to write a book like that for magicians:'
And here it is.
When I started this work several years ago, I was reminded of a story Dai Vernon told about him-
self. When he was still a child he set himself the challenge ofgathering a dozen tricks, all using a piece of
string. It took him some time-but he eventually assembled more than a hundred! I had a similar experi-
ence when I started thinking of and gathering material for this book. I thought I would never find 365
interesting items. But after several months I had material for almost two years! What you are reading here
is what I think is the best of the lot.
If I had to sum up this book in one sentence, that sentence would be: This is the kind of book Iwould
like to read myself. This is, I fear, a cliche, but it is more meaningful than you might think. The hundreds
of items assembled here were written over several years. When I reread the entire work before sending
it to press, I rediscovered many items I had forgotten since writing them! And I found them of such value
and practicality, I reincorporated them into my repertoire (having used them years ago and somehow
forgotten theml.So I can truthfully say this is a book I would like to read myself.


This has turned out to be quite a large book, in both size and scope. If you look at it with the intention
of reading it in one breath, it would be like looking at the menu of a gourmet restaurant and wanting to
eat every item at one sitting-impossible. But if you were to go to the same restaurant once a week and
each time order a three-course meal, after a year you might easily become the happiest person on earth.
Secret Agenda was conceived to share with you one item per day. I seriously suggest that you adopt this
reading diet. Read just one item each day, perhaps as you're having breakfast at home. (We decline all
responsibility for our friends who are consuming their donut and "commuter coffee" in the car and read-
ing Secret Agenda at the same time.) Or read an item during your lunch break; or (second to) last thing
before you fall asleep. It's nice to make a habit of it. Ifyou find this doesn't work for you, do it anyway you
like. (That must be the Italian in me speaking.)

A Few More Thoughts

One of the greatest challenges an author faces is to condense his knowledge of a highly complex subject
into seemingly simple concepts, so that an interested reader-that's a prerequisite-receives an enjoy-
able and concise synopsis. For to understand something is difficult enough, but to be able to say or write

it succinctly is even more demanding. This is especially true if you are like me, and become fascinated by
the depth and breadth of a topic and want to tell it alI.I certainly did my share of that in my other books,
the Card College and Card College Light series, so here I am attempting something else. I admit I have not
succeeded with every entry, as the complexity of some topics demands that their discussions be longer;
but I hope you will still find them worth your while.
This book may even make you a happier person, through the satisfaction of improving or learning
or even just remembering one thing in your magical life for every day of the coming year. Good things
attract other good things. So reading one good thing each day not only gets you that thing, it also builds
your attitude for doing good things. In a sort of "butterfly effect': it will lead to more good things for you
and for those around you. Excellent, isn't it? Even if this wasn't true, it does have the undeniable advan-
tage that at least one good thing has happened.
Max Maven, a friend and mentor of many years, in a documentary on Dai Vernon called Spirit of
Magic, says, "Nothing he ever did was trivial:' I've tried to make that the guiding principle of this book.
I hope I have succeeded. In those cases where I might not have, I ask your indulgence and hope to be
judged on what I did well and not on what exceeded my reach.

On My Own Account
As you work through Secret Agenda, you will find some entries whose connection with magic isn't
immediately obvious, such as lists of favorite quotes, books and films; things outside the boundaries of
conjuring. Some readers may perceive these items as padding. Nothing could be further from the truth,
as I didn't have to fight with myself over what to put into this book, but rather what to leave out of it.
A car is not just the engine, and magic is not just tricks and techniques. After being involved in magic
for over forty years, twenty-two of them as a full-time professional, I've come to believe the most impor-
tant part in a conjurer's performance is his or her personality. But it isn't easy to pinpoint what constitutes
a personality. Despite this difficulty, I will dare to submit that it has to do with what one believes and with
what one knows and says and does, and the way all this happens. This is one of the reasons I have included
certain items. They are very much a reflection of my personality and are given here to share, but most of all
to inspire my readers-especially those still open to being influenced-to find other interests than magic
and to see how these interests relate to magic; and to become aware of the importance of the interests you
already have. Such characteristics are as much a part of a performing personality as tricks and techniques.
Even more so! And they are quite simply wonderful things, things that uplift the mind and heart.

I must also address the issue of self-referencing, a practice I generally find irritating in works of
others. Therefore, I have given it careful consideration while writing this book. You will find a number of
references to Card College. These have been kept to a bare minimum within the main text. Those that
appear there were felt crucial for a clear understanding of the topic addressed. All other references to
Card College, and to works by other authors, that are not of immediate necessity, yet contribute impor-
tantly to interesting side issues, have been placed in endnotes, where interested readers may pursue
them. These notes also include sources for descriptions of those sleights that were felt likely to be familiar
to many readers of a book of this nature, and therefore needn't be thrust into the main work. They are
given to guide those unfamiliar with these moves and concepts. Citations for Card College in these notes
are numerous, not because I am the author of those books, but because they are a single, and therefore
convenient, source for locating a great deal of the information referenced, and are also books my readers
are likely to have in their libraries.

Last But Not Least

I apologize if you occasionally find that I sound immodest in expressing a thought here and there; but if
one is to achieve all that is demanded in such an ambitious and multifaceted project as this, one must
sometimes regard oneself as greater than reality can support. I can truthfully state this book has items I
would gladly have paid a considerable amount for, if I had been aware of how enormously helpful they
would sooner or later become. I will also tell you, in all humbleness but with the strength of facts to
support me, that to learn many of the items described in Secret Agenda it has taken me years of think-
ing, searching, discussing and sessioning. I've bought and read literally thousands of books; and I have
traveled hundreds of thousands of miles, spent great sums on food, invitations, hotels, conventions and
tuitions of all sorts. This is no exaggeration. You are getting much of that harvested knowledge and expe-
rience in a single book, for the cost of movie tickets and a pizza for two. I take some pride in that; which
has led me to this incautious statement, and the risk of seeming conceited.
Since I've mentioned pride, which Itry to allow in only tiny doses in my life,Iwilltell you Idon't consider
Secret Agenda to be a mere accumulation of tips from a professional It is more a conversation with you, my
reader, whom I hope to gain as a friend. You will discover many of my beliefs, criteria and preferences, and
also a few of my dislikes. You are getting a book that is more personal than anything I've ever published.
I don't intend this to be a pragmatic how-to book. I mean it to reflect my humanistic beliefs and
probably a typical European lifestyle that focuses on the enjoyment of life rather than on a search for

profit and fame. With this I hope to convey the idea that the pursuit of magic is not just an occupation,
but a way of life, an expression of oneself as a part of humanity. I do not wish to preach or to convert,
but simply to convey to you the enthusiasm I have for magic, and to encourage you to respect what
has come before your involvement with it, while you find and assert your own identity in our mutual
art. When you have come that far, don't forget to share your work, knowledge and insights with those
around you whom you feel worthy. Only then will it become a true labor of love. I have learned from
my principle teacher, Juan Tarnariz, who learned in turn from his teacher, Jose Frakson, that what you do
is only worth doing if there is passion and love and sharing involved. Everyone has to do it within the
limitations he has been given by providence, and then has been able to amplify through his own effort.
I hope that by the end of the year, when you have read through these offerings, you will feel I have
succeeded-at least in my way. I have done it with the highest demands on myself and with the deepest
sincerity. I now wish, above all, that you enjoy yourself, and I want to express all my gratitude to you for
allowing me to be your companion for an entire year.
Best Wishes,

January 1- To Separate a Deck at a Specific Point
Ijust read an effect where the twenty-fourth card from the top is marked with a "subtle" pencil dot, so
that the deck can later be divided at this spot and a spectator handed the top twenty-three cards. Here's
a way to solve the same problem with an ordinary deck.
First the impromptu simple version:
Before your performance, place the guarantee card from the deck, or a Joker or any card, face up
and twenty-fourth from the top of the pack.
When you introduce the deck during your show, give it an overhand shuffle, using an injog to retain
the top stock. Next, ribbon spread it face down, and notice that a card is reversed-apparently this hap-
pened during the shuffle.
If you have used the guarantee card or Joker, you remove it from the spread and discard it. If you
have turned another card face up, turn it face down and reinsert it in the spread. In either case, you
manage to leave a bit more back area exposed at the point where the card is removed or reinserted. It is
then an easy matter to obtain a break at this point as you gather the cards and take them face down in
dealing position.'
Alternatively, you may pick up the deck, spread the cards in the handsand turn over the reversed
card. In the process you establish a break below twenty-three cards.
Now the "expert handling":
Again use the injog shuffle to retain the top stock. Spread the deck face down on the table and
notice the face-up card. Gather the deck and spread the cards in your hands until you reach the reversed
card, which you discard or turn face down.
Square the deck, keeping a break under the top twenty-three cards. Convert the break into a step
and fan the cards.' Close the fan, which re-forms the step, and set the deck down as you say something.
Then pick it up again, reestablishing the left little finger's break.
With your right hand, cut off slightly fewer cards than those above the break and set them in front
of someone. On second thought, cut off the remaining cards over the break and add them to the cards
already given to the person: "Oh, perhaps a few more."
Immediately shuffle your packet and ask your helper to do likewise with his. Done in this manner
the subterfuge is totally deceptive, even to the initiated.
January 2-Presentation and Handling for Six Guests in Five Rooms
This is a very old mathematical puzzle. I think I've found a very
good way, using the hands and space, to make it both clear and
deceptive. "Six travelers reached an inn and wanted to stay over-
night, but the landlord had only five unoccupied rooms." Stress
each of these numbers by first holding up your four right fingers
and both thumbs to represent the six travelers, doing so slightly
to your right (in what we will call Space C, C meaning "center").

L left center right
Then hold up all your left fingers and thumb to represent the five rooms,
doing this slightly to your left (Space L,for "left"). "But the landlord was a magi-
cian, and he had an idea. He asked one of the travelers to sit in the bar and have
a drink on the house as he took care of the others." Notice, you say, "asked one
of the travelers" and not "asked the first traveler': You don't wish the spectators
to begin counting yet.
To illustrate the traveler R
in the bar, hold up the four fingers and thumb of your
right hand, plus your left thumb, palms toward the spec-
tators. Then cross your left hand behind your right to put
your left thumb into Space R (for "right") at your far right.
After this drop both hands. Immediately continue
by holding up your left hand in Space Lwith all four fin-
gers and the thumb extended. This space has previously
been associated with the five rooms. "Now the landlord
proceeded to place the travelers into the five rooms."


This information and the change of space create a small positive insertion, which makes the specta-
tors forget the exact state of affairs, so that you can now start the deception.
Close both hands and hold them in loose fists, but keep each hand in its respective space, the right
in R, the left in L.

"Remember that the first traveler is still sitting at the bar; right?" Stretch
out your right thumb, with the hand turned palm toward you. This posi-
tion points the thumb toward Space R.

"$0he took the second one ..." Extend your right forefin-
ger to join your thumb, indicating two, and at the same time
turn your right hand palm toward the spectators. R
Immediately stretch out the thumb of your left hand ::

while holding the left palm toward the spectator, as you did
in the beginning, and continue, "and put him in room num-
ber one."
Straighten out your right middle finger as you say, "The
third one he put..."
Extend your left forefinger: "in room number two."
Stretch out your right ring finger, saying, "Thefourth he put..."
Extend your left middle finger: "in room number three."
Straighten out your right little finger, saying, "Thefifth he put..."
Stretch our your left ring finger: "in the fourth room."
You perform the last deception with your head and gaze. Nod toward Space C initially occupied by
your left thumb: "And then he went to get the sixth .. "
Turn your head to the right and look at Space R: "who was waiting in the bar ..." Turn your head to
Space L:"and put him in room number five." Simultaneously extend your left little finger.
I have done this for people who knew the puzzle, and it fooled them initially. An excellent magic
trick using this principle is Paul Curry's "The Case of the Missing Hat'"

January 3--An Archive for Special Decks
'--<rJ Here's the best way I know to store special decks. It is described in
0:) Leo Behnke's The Conservation of Magic, along with many other
ideas for archiving magic. Take a file card and trim it to the width of
a deck, so that you can slip it between the closed flap and the front
of the card case. Do so and trim off the top of the index card, leaving
about half an inch protruding. This acts as index tab. Write the type
of deck on the left side of the tab (for example, All Jokers), and the
color and brand on the right side (say, red and 505). You can also use
red file cards for red decks and blue file cards for blue decks, or use
any other color-coding system that suits your needs.

This photo shows one of

my drawers where special
decks are stored.


January 4--Spontaneity
Talking about the passing of time, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 500 BeE) observed,
"You cannot step twice into the same river." Adapting this profound thought to the performance of
magic, I would say, "You can never perform the same trick twice:' Although one does the same trick, so
many factors change and keep changing. Each time you do it, there will be another audience, another
situation. You might perform it differently because you are in another mood, or because you have added
or removed some element. Although you are doing the same trick again, and you have stepped into the
river at the same place, the river has changed. I think enjoying or disliking the same trick repeated over a
long period is mainly a question of attitude and insight.
I remember Albert Goshman once telling me, "The amateur does new tricks for the same audience.
The professional does the same tricks for a new audience." This is understandable, but in my opinion
even an amateur will be a better magician if,while changing some of his repertoire, he keeps a stock of
tricks that he continues to refine throughout his life.Ascanio compared the magician and his preserved
repertoire to a gardener who constantly must take care of his plants to keep them alive, as opposed to a
painter who leaves one work and moves on to the next.
I immensely enjoy having done the same tricks over the past fifteen years, and I keep doing them.
From time to time I add a small detail or take away some unnecessary bit, reducing the performance
more and more to what I believe to be its essence, just as a good chef reduces his sauce on its way to what
might be considered perfection. The trick gets better and Igrow along with it. Being aware that we and our
work constantly change, even if the work stays the same, makes what we do look fresh and spontaneous.

January S--Changing Decks
In the May 1969 issue of Genii magazine, AI Portwood asked Dai Vernon how he might justify openly
using more than one deck during a show. Vernon answered, "The few ways of doing it are very closely
guarded ..:' He went on to list them.
* Start with a bridge-size deck, then say, "Perhaps you think I'm taking advantage of these narrow
cards, so /'IIshow that this can be done with wide cards as well."
* If you have been using a Bicycle deck, take out a Bee deck and say, "Now, in most gambling
houses, these are the cards they use."
* "I did this trick the other night for some fellow and he asked me if I could do the same thing with
his daughters deck." Bring out a children's deck made up of pictures or animals.

These were Dai Vernon's solutions. Here are a few of mine.

* New Deck-"Maybe you think this deck has been tampered with or that it is one of those decks
that can be bought in a magic shop, so let me use a fresh one that comes directly from the factory."
Take out a sealed deck, preferably a brand known to the public. Even if unopened, the deck
inside can be gaffed to the hilt. You might give away the deck you've been using, to make clear
it is not a special one. (Let me stress that the examples of patter I give are just that: examples.
They are given to better illustrate the idea I'm trying to convey, but please find your own words.)
* The International Performer-"l'm privileged to travel around the world in my profession. In every
country they use different decks. Here is a selection of some. I would like you to choose one that
looks interesting to you." This premise could justify using a different deck for each trick to cre-
ate an "international card act ".This is also an excellent solution for problems encountered with
spelling tricks originally designed for use in another language. You spell the name of the card in
English, but the wrong card turns up. You then realize the cards are from Fournier. "0f course they
only understand Spanish!" Spell to the card in Spanish-slowly and clearly, so that non-Spanish
speakers can follow-and the correct card turns up. This is a way of creating an emotional hook
for potentially boring spelling tricks. And ifthe selected card is initially on top, and you choose a
foreign spelling that has the same number of letters as the English spelling (say, Das Kreul As in
German, and the Ace of Clubs in English), the card will automatically be shuttled to the correct
position without your having to resort to sleight-of-hand.

r =

* Card Collector-"/ have a hobby." Or perhaps the hobby is your uncle's or someone else's. "/
collect playing cards. At home / have thousands of decks from different times and cultures. Here is
a very unusual one." Put the deck in use aside (maybe in your pocket where it is switched for a
similar deck, stacked or gimmicked for a subsequent trick or routine) and introduce an unusual
deck. If you judge the audience to be bright and attentive, you can relate some bit of history
about playing cards. Keep it short and interesting. This can also function as a positive insertion
and camouflage the "deck switch".
* Advertising Cards-Take out a deck with an advertising back design and explain that you once
performed a very special trick for this company. Proceed to do it. Here is one way you might
frame this: "Last week / did a show for the management of Toyota [the name of the company
advertised on the cards]. As / finished one of my experiments, the CEO stood up and said, 'We
know you are an expert sleight-of-hand artist, so perhaps rather than using your own playing
cards, you can do something with the cards we are giving to our clients.' Well, here are the cards the
gentleman gave me, and here is what / did for them."
* Casino Cards-Buy a used deck from a casino; a deck that has been punched or otherwise
marked to show it has been retired from play. Maybe you can even get a regular deck with the
casino's back design. It is an easy matter to find some kind of presentational link tied to the
casino. Perhaps you've worked there or just visited it; maybe this deck was used in a game that
broke the house, ete.
* Jumbo Index Deck-"Maybe some of you find it difficult to see the indices of these cards." Produce
a deck with jumbo indices. "That's why they make these. f'II use them for my next experiment, so
that no one can say he didn't see everything clearly."
* A Bit of History-As I write, the u.s. Playing Card Company has brought back old styles of the
Bicycle deck in what they call the "Vintage Series". You can buy them individually or in sets.
Arrange some of these decks in chronological order (the years are indicated on the cases) and
demonstrate how magic would be performed in 1890, in 1925, in 1950 ....
* Incomplete Deck-Sign one card (or several) used in an Ambitious Card routine, a Card to Wal-
let, ere, and give it to your helper. Since the deck is now incomplete, discard it and bring out
another. Or give the deck away with the signed card. Then "remember" that you want to show
one more experiment, and produce another deck, as it would be ungracious to ask for the return
of your gift. Better yet, bring out two decks for a trick needing them, such as a Do as I Do effect.

January 6-Sucker Bet
Here is an interesting counter-intuitive bet Lennart Green showed me. It is quite old. "Let's playa game of
dice. We use two dice and you get to roll them. I won't touch them. Here are the rules: Ifyou throw a one or a
two, or both dice come up with ones or twos, or you roll any combination in which a one or a two appears,
you win. In all other cases, when a one or a two doesn't show up, I win. $0 I win with a three, a four, a five
or a six; as long as there is no one and no two. We'll playa hundred dollars a throw, okay?" Would you take
that bet? Why not? You will say, "Because the odds are against me." But how do you know the odds? Did
you calculate them? No, you didn't. As in all bets of this type, the interesting thing is that the victim will
refuse or accept the bet because he thinks he perceives an advantage; but, as happens so often in life, it
turns out just the reverse. Below are all possible outcomes.

Intuitively one thinks the chances are a third (see the first two columns). However, the top two
throws in each of the next four columns also have a one or a two, bringing the total throws with a one
and/or a two to twenty out of thirty-six. This means one would win five out of nine throws. Ifwe assume
we can throw the dice nine times per minute, this would result in the winning of a hundred dollars per
minute, $6000 an hour and $48,000 in an eight-hour workday. Most of us earn half that.

January 7-Versatile Pellet Switch
On the audio tape From the Tip of My Cigar (now available as a CD-ROM), Dai Vernon, while interviewed
by Patrick Page, comments on a switch of a paper pellet (rolled-up cigarette paper) credited to Stewart
Judah. On the table rests a small plate with the pellets lying around it. Someone is asked to point to one.
This is dearly taken, and all the others are swept off the table. The chosen pellet is found to contain a
message, prediction, ete.
Icame up with this solution before I learned Judah's: Hide the force pellet between the right forefin-
ger and middle finger, at the crease of the outer joint (in the manner one palms the pea in the Three-Shell
Game). There it can be naturally covered from all angles by the thumb. Someone points to any pellet on
the table. Clearly pick it up and show it between the tips of the first two fingers and thumb. This chosen
pellet lies directly over the hidden one.
Meanwhile, your left hand picks up the plate. The fact that your left hand is holding the plate justi-
fies using the back of your right hand to sweep all the remaining pellets off the table. In the process you
let the pellet you've just picked up flyaway with the others, and push the hidden pellet up into view in
its place. It simply looks as if you have picked up the chosen pellet and whisked all others off the table.
Drop the pellet onto the little plate and hand it to someone.
Alternatively, you can sweep the pellets away with the back of your left hand, dropping the chosen
pellet from the right fingertips as you move that hand out of the way (rather like a Han Pin Chien maneu-
ver). In the same action you push the palmed pellet into view.
In 2006, during a car ride in Italy, Pat Page explained Judah's handling to my friend Aurelio Paviato.
The force pellet is palmed in the right hand as explained above (as in the Three-Shell Game). Someone
points to any pellet on the table. Immediately, the right hand reaches for the pellet, placing the palmed
pellet directly over the indicated one. You pretend to pick it off the table but you actually leave it there
and push the palmed pellet into view as your left hand sweeps all the other pellets onto the floor. As
mentioned above, the pellets can also be swept away using the back of the right hand, which is holding
the pellet.
Fred Kaps, who was in attendance when the Vernon interview was recorded, is heard saying in the
background, "That's a beautiful idea. It's worth its weight in gold:' I agree.

January 8--Penetrating Rubber Band Gag
Prepare by secretly placing a rubber band around
your right wrist and cover it with your wristwatch
or sleeve. In front of your audience, place a match-
ing second rubber band onto your right little
finger, letting it hang from it. Ask someone to hold
your right middle finger securely, and then ask him
to close his eyes and turn his head away. This is to
assure he doesn't see what is about to happen.
As soon as he complies, use your left hand
to remove the rubber band from your little finger
and put it into your pocket or throw it away. Then
pull the hidden rubber band down from its hiding
place and work it forward over the hand until it is
around your middle finger.
When your subject opens his eyes and looks,
tell him to try to take the rubber band off your fin-
ger. Before he gives up, you might let him in on the
secret. I recommend you do so, especially if there are others present, who will be highly amused at his
efforts. You needn't worry about offending your victim, as he will now have a stunt with which he can
tease his friends.


January 9-Flash Technique

Before you start practicing a sleight, let the entire sequence flash before your mind's eye. And before
rehearsing a complete effect, go through a mental review of the complete presentation. This helps you
to get a sense of the whole before you begin the single actions that constitute the whole. This system also
works when practicing a routine, even an entire program. The world-famous mountain climber Reinhold
Messmer, while talking about how he prepares for his expeditions, said, "Ialways think about the last step
before I undertake the first."


January 10--Logical Trickery
This is based on Note 157 in jacob Daley's Notebooks, "Daley's Great Card Discovery".
Explain that you're going to demonstrate the difference between dexterity and magic. Have a card
selected and control it to the top. Let's say it is the Seven of Spades. Since dexterity has been mentioned,
give the deck a false cut that includes a flourish, keeping the selection on top,"
Explain that, thanks to your skill, the chosen card has come to the top. Do a double lift and display
an indifferent card; say the King of Hearts. You have apparently failed. Serves you right after so much
braggadocio! Turn the double card face down on the deck and deal the top card-the selected Seven of
Spades-face down on the table, seemingly discarding your mistake. Since your dexterity has failed, you
must resort to magic.
Spread the deck face down in your hands and ask the person who took the card to touch anyone
in the spread, but stress that he must use the same hand he used to select his previous card. This will
intrigue the audience.
Show the indifferent card and announce that you will visibly transform it into his selection. This
immediately recalls the image of the Seven of Spades to their minds. Use any color change you do well
to transform the card.' However, it doesn't change as expected. Instead of turning into the selection, it
becomes the King of Hearts, which you tossed aside just a few moments ago-or so it seemed.
"Wait a moment-this is logical magic. If I changed the card into the King of Hearts, which I placed on
the table, logically the King of Hearts can no longer be on the table." Pause.
"So this must be your card." Point to the card on the table, have your helper name his selection, and
then turn it over. It is indeed the Seven of Spades!

Here is an alternative presentation you might like to try. After you have changed the indifferent card
into the King of Hearts, say, "And if this is the King of Hearts, of course here on the table is?..." Everyone
will assume the tabled card must now be the indifferent card just transformed into the King, and some
will say as much. Whereupon you reply, "No, no, this is the card you chose, the Seven of Spades!" Turn the
tabled card face up, first toward yourself, so you can name it, then toward the audience.

With either presentation, this is an exquisite little trick, and it solves the problem of confusion,
which is a constant danger with transposition effects. Try it and you will soon see why it works so well.

January 11-Script
Should one use a script or just improvise with a rough idea of what one wants to say?
I remember that at age eighteen, after I had been into magic for five years, I found I was failing to
make further progress; so I decided to take acting lessons. I found a man who was a professional actor
and director, and I convinced him to give me private lessons-at a fee I could barely afford at the time.
Rather than proceeding with standard acting exercises, he suggested we take an effect from my reper-
toire and use this as a basis for his teaching me the basics of acting. I started by performing the Chinese
Sticks. I remember this first lesson very well. He was extremely considerate, saying that he liked my pre-
sentation very much and would like to discuss it duringthe next few lessons.
Before I left this first lesson he added, "And, oh yes, please bring a copy of your script along next time
for me." I agreed to do so.
While going home, Iscratched my head and wondered, "Ascript? What is he talking about?" I didn't
know what a professional script looked like, but as soon as I was home I took down my aunt's old type-
writer that I'd inherited and started to type out what I usually said when performing the effect.
Suffice it to say, this was an amazing experience. Not only did I notice all the umms and ahhs I
was uttering, but also that in several spots I hadn't the faintest idea of what to say. Instead, each time I
reached these points, I said whatever came into my head. Sometimes it was clever; sometimes stupid.
That was the day I decided to always have a script for any effect in my professional repertoire. And I
have stuck with that practice ever since.

January 12~Remembering
Most performing magicians, sooner or later in their career; have forgotten one or more props needed for
a show. Either the prop was left at home or is simply not in its place when needed during the act. How to
get out of such a situation is not my subject here; rather, let's discuss what methods can be implemented
to avoid either of these things happening in the first place. Here are four methods I have used with excel-
lent results at one time or another.

I have a folder containing the script for each of the effects I use in my repertoire. Each page of the
script is stored in a plastic sleeve. Inside this sleeve is also a file card on which all the props for the effect
are listed. When Iset out to determine the act for a specific performance, I take out all the plastic sleeves
with the script pages and file cards for all the effects planned for the act. This gives me the opportunity
to go over the script before the performance, if there is time. In any case, I have the file card listing all the
props and where they go.

Mentally go through the act, speeding up the actions for convenience. Each time a prop is used,
mentally touch it and picture in your mind's eye the place where it belongs. This helps to pack things at
home and to put them in their correct places at the performance site.

In his Books oj Wonder, Tommy Wonder suggests you know exactly how many props each routine
requires. Then simply count and touch them while setting up.

On any recording device, record what you need and where it must be placed. Include a little back-
ground music, correctly timed to give you long enough to take out the prop, set it up and put it where it
belongs. All you need is a small recording device with earbuds or small loudspeakers. This has an added
benefit: If there are people around, they will stop talking to you and let you concentrate. As a matter of
fact, the only times I have forgotten something was when someone was talking to me while Iwas setting
up. My friend Alfredo Marchese passed on this wonderful tip to me.

January 13-A Delicate Double lift
A fine double lift that everyone seems to have overlooked appears on page 17 of Cliff Green's excel-
lent book, Professional Card Magic. Hold the deck face down in left-hand dealing position, the left little
finger maintaining a break beneath the top two cards.
The right thumb slides over the back of the deck at its
left outer corner as if caressing the top card and trying
to pull it forward by friction alone. Repeat, and on the
third try, use the outer phalanx of your left little finger to
collapse the break and cant the double to the left. This is
the same action used to create a step,"

This causes the outer left corner of the double card

to project beyond the front end of the deck just enough
to be gripped by your right thumb and forefinger, which
then turn the card lengthwise and face up on the deck.

The left little finger retakes a break between the double

and the deck. Turn the double card face down in the same way. ~
If performing an Ambitious Card sequence, after you've dis- )
played the double and turned it down again, remove the top
single card, duplicating the outward motions used for the dou-
ble lift, and insert the card near the center of the deck. Then
show it has risen back to the top, again handling the single card
as you did the double one.
This sleight perfectly suits the last phase of Vernon's "The Trick That Cannot be Reconstructed"?

January 14--Boomerang
'<~ To boomerang a card is a very attractive flourish, and it also creates natural misdirection for the execu-
~ tion of certain maneuvers, among which are:

* Unloading one or more cards in the jacket pocket or trousers pocket

* Loading one or several cards onto the deck
* Stealing a pellet of wax, attached to the end of a thread, and sticking it onto the deck, or some
similar task
* Reversing one or more cards against your leg or the side of your body
* Performing a one-handed shift using the side of your body as an aid
* Switching decks
* Glimpsing a card

January 15--Control Ruse
This is a clever way of controlling a freely named card to a position near the top of the deck while appar-
ently placing the card "invisibly" on the table. Let's assume you wish the card fourth from the top. Have
someone freely name a card; we'll say it is the Seven of Spades. Explain that you are going to place the
card invisibly onto the table. Start spreading the
cards from left hand to right, faces toward yourself,
until you reach the Seven of Spades. Spread over
another three cards and separate the spread with
the Seven of Spades fourth from the rear of the
right hand's portion.

Turn the left hand back up, and touch

the right side of its spread to the tabletop,
as if you were placing a card there; but you
do nothing.

Immediately turn the left hand palm up, bringing the faces of the spread cards into the audience's
view. Flip these cards face down in your left hand, so that they land in dealing position. Then flip the right
hand's cards face down on top of the left's. This brings the Seven of Spades fourth from the top. Flashing
the left hand's face-up cards creates visual misdirection, and you can add to this misdirection by saying
something humorous, such as "You can't see the card? Of course not, it'sface down."
If you conceal the Seven of Spades with another card, you could also bring it to a specific position
near the bottom. Obviously you should use this procedure only once per audience, and you should have
a good effect utilizing it; for example, Card at Chosen Number: Have someone name a number and pre-
tend to throw the invisible card into the deck at precisely that spot.

January 16--Quotes in Presentation and Defense
~ Quotes from famous people, when known to your audience and if used sparingly, can give authority and
0; believability to a presentation.
Quotes are also an excellent counter for a reproach uttered by a spectator during or after a perfor-
mance, as when someone comments that magicians are all frauds (liars, cheaters, etc.). Such remarks
are often thrown at magicians during post-show discussions. When confronted with a statement of this
sort, I've found it a good idea to agree initially with the person, to take the wind out of his sails, and then
strike back by reframing his statement. If,for example, someone were to say, "Ah, all magicians are trying
to do is cheat us," I reply, "You're entirely right." I'll pause two seconds, and then continue, "In an artistic
sense, this is absolutely true. One of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso, used to say,
'All artists are cheaters:" I pause another second, then deliver the punch line: "But he added, 'who help us
recognize the truth." This usually elicits a laugh and ends the matter.
If the person seems to take more than a superficial interest in the idea behind this quote, I'llelabo-
rate. ''All art is artificial-that's where the word comes from-and lies to us in some sense. As Magritte
put it when he explained his painting of a pipe, 'This is not a pipe.' It is an artistic representation of a pipe.
And when an actor in the theater or in the movies plays Hamlet, he is not Hamlet; he is playing the part
of Hamlet. Likewise, in magic, where fantastic realities are interpreted, from a world that exists only in our
imaginations and our dreams, things don't appear, disappear and transform; it only looks that way to our
senses. However, the fact that it is experienced as being real has a similar effect to that when you look at a
painting by van Gogh and say, 'This is a field with sunflowers.' Living a constructed, artificial reality in an
artistic context, such as in a performance, creates the possibility of dissociatingfrom real life while gaining
some kind of insight about your own life. This can be a beautiful and enlightening experience." This, to be
frank, will go over the heads of most, but can be useful to explain the art and science of magic to an intel-
ligent person.
Throughout the year I'llgive you some quotes I particularly like, which can be used to introduce or
fortify your presentations. We'll start tomorrow.

January 17-Top Ten Quotes Related to the Hand
'The hand is the extension of the mind:' (Karl Jaspers)

The Chinese believe that what is made by hand is part of.oneself. Because I do something with my
hands, it carries a piece of my soul in it.

"He who works with his hands is a workman. He who uses his hands and his head is an artisan. He
who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist." (Unknown)

'To be a good magician you need three things: hands, head and smile." (Arturo de Ascanio)

lilt is to the hand, this instrument of all instruments, to which man owes all his skill." (Jean-Eugene
Robert-Houdin, Memoirs)

'The eloquence of the hands. (Yes, the hands speak.)" (Unknown)

"In the hand resides the soul:' (Aristotle)

"Every hand is beautiful that achieves something beautiful." (Unknown)

"A man paints with his brains and not with his hands." (Michelangelo)

"Magicians have God in their heart and the Devil in their hands:' (San Giovanni Bosco)

"One hand washes the other:' (Folk saying)

,:(t Q:..
-: p
%' ~-
January 18--List of Operating Principles in Card Magic
~ This list is an attempt at gathering all the methodological concepts that make card magic work from a
ex; procedural point of view, this being the sum of all principles responsible for protecting the secret of a
trick from the audience,"

1. Arrangements 24. Palms

2. Codes 25. Passes
3. Controls 26. Productions
4. Counts and False Displays 27. Psychological Principles
5. Culling 28. Reverses
6. Cuts 29. Secret Apparatus
7. Deck Switches 30. Secret Counts
8. Estimation 31. Secret Folds
9. False Deals 32. Secret Turnovers
10. The Faro Shuffle 33. Shuffles
11. Flourishes 34. Single-Card Switches
12. Forces 35. Sleeving
13. The Glide 36. Special Cards
14. Glimpses 37. Special Decks
15. Information Gathering Principles 38. Stacking
16. The Key Card 39. Stooges
17. Location Techniques 40. Techniques with Card Cases
18. Marked Cards 41. Transfers
19. Mathematical Principles 42. Transformations
20. Multiple Lifts and Turnovers 43. Turnarounds (End-for-End)
21. Optical Principles 44. Unloading
22. "Out" Strategies 45. Vanishes
23. Packet Switches 46. Varia (Unclassified Odds and Ends)

P 2


* Make sure you have at least one good method within each category.
* Take any specific sleight and see to how many of the above listed categories you can apply it.
As an example of how this might be done see tomorrow's entry, "Lift Shuffle Applications-A
Study in the Polyvalence of a Sleight".
* Take an innocent looking action you use often, such as a swing cut or an all-around square-up,
and see how many of the concepts above you can fit into it. As an example of how to do this see
the entry for December 12: "Applications of the All-Around Square-Up': page 370.
* Create practice routines in which you group several categories.
* Print this list, add your own examples and study it from time to time.

January 19- The Lift Shuffle-A Study in the Polyvalence of a Sleight
~ It is an interesting and useful exercise to look at an individual technique, such as the lift shuffle." and
CD see how many technical problems it can solve. The merit of the lift shuffle is that only a single shuffle is
performed. Here is a list-probably not exhaustive-of technical problems the lift shuffle can resolve.
Control the top stock in one shuJffe-the most obvious application.
Control top and bottom stocks in one shuJffe. Chop off the top portion to retain and lift it behind the
balance of the deck as you continue the shuffle. When you reach the bottom block to be retained, drop
this block behind the left hand's shuffled-off cards, then throw the lifted top block back on top of all.
Force one or several cards. Have the card or cards to be forced on top of the deck. Start an overhand
shuffle by chopping off a small block; then lift it behind the balance during the second shuffle action. At
the same time, look at someone and ask him to call out stop. When he does (watch his lips for perfect
timing), drop the lifted block onto the left hand's shuffled-off cards. Extend them toward him, so that
he may take the top (force) card. Further cards may be forced by repeating or continuing the lift shuffle.
Control a selected card. Start an overhand shuffle and stop after having shuffled off about a third of
the deck. Ask that the selection be replaced on the shuffled-off packet in your left hand. With the back of
your right fingers, briefly glide over the upper side of the packet, from the inner corner to the outer corner,
in a smoothing gesture. (This serves as a positive insertion.) Then immediately shuffle off the right hand's
cards while lifting the entire packet from your left hand behind the cards in your right hand. At the end of
the shuffle throw the lifted block onto the rest, bringing the selection to the top of deck.
Eliminate cards that lie on top of a wanted card. Let's say you have used the overhand shuffle con-
trol" to bring a selection secretly to the fourth position from the top of the deck. Start an overhand
shuffle by running four cards. Lift these as a block behind the balance of the deck as you continue the
shuffle. At the end you simply drop the lifted block of four cards on top.
Invert the order of individual cards on top of the deck. This is a logical extension of the previous appli-
cation. Let's say you have controlled three selected cards in the order three-two-one on top of the deck.
(This is the usual situation with most multiple card controls.) However, you need them in one-two-three
order. Simply run the first three cards individually as you start the shuffle and lift them as you shuffle off.
At the end, drop the lifted triplet on top of the deck.
Invert the order of two groups on top of the deck. Let's assume the four Queens are on top of the
deck, with the four Aces directly below them, and you need the Aces over the Queens. Run the first set,

then the second set; in our example, eight cards total. Lift this block as you shuffle off and drop it on top
at the end of the shuffle. The two sets have been transposed. This can be used for fewer cards or more,
though not too many, or the initial run will be unnaturally long. But even this can be remedied. Assume
two eight-card sets need to be transposed. Spread the cards in your hands in an explanatory gesture and
obtain a little-finger break under the top eight. Now start the shuffle by chopping off the block above the
break in the first shuffle action, run eight cards, lift, shuffle off and drop the sixteen-card packet on top.
Bring a card from the top to a specific number. Let's say you have a card on top that you want to
bring to the seventh position from the top. You can do so with a single lift shuffle. Run seven cards, which
reverses their order, lift them behind the deck as you shuffle oft; and then throw the lifted packet on top.
Key Card Placement. Your key card is on top. Chop off a small packet and lift it in the next shuffle
action. Ask someone to call out stop, and when he does, stop the shuffle. Extend your left hand toward
him and ask that he take the top card of the shuffled-off packet. Have him note his selection. Then con-
tinue the shuffle and ask him once again to call stop. Watch his lips, and as he starts to form the word,
drop the lifted block onto the left hand's cards. Ask him to replace his card on top of these (directly on
top of your key card). Finish by shuffling off the remainder, apparently losing the card.
Cull one or several cards to the bottom of the deck in a single overhand shuffle. Assume two cards are
to be culled, which lie third and seventh from the top. Remember three and four as your key numbers:
The first desired card is three from top, and the next isfour cards further. Run two cards into the left hand
and lift them on the mental count of three, as you run the third card. Smoothly continue the shuffle
by dropping the two lifted cards onto the third card as you run three more cards. As you now run the
fourth card, on the count of four, again lift all cards that have been shuffled oft; a total of six. Continue
the shuffle, dropping the lifted cards in the process on top of the second lifted card, and shuffling off the
rest of the deck on top of them. In this way you can cull several cards at positions known to you, bring-
ing them to the bottom of the deck. This is Ray Grismer's cull, first described in Dai Vernon's Revelations.
False shuffle the entire deck. Execute what appears to be an overhand shuffle, but each time you
chop off a packet, lift each packet consecutively behind the balance. The lifted packets will accumulate
with each lifted one. This procedure is almost impossible to do smoothly, so it is best done in intervals,
which you justify by making a gesture with either hand, interrupting the shuffle. At the same time, look
at the spectators and say something engaging and rneaningful."
Apply this idea of polyvalence to other techniques and you will be surprised how many of them
have more applications than you were aware of.

January 20- Two Jokes
Barbara, my wife, who has more common sense than is allowed in a marriage, suggested I should lighten
this agenda with an occasional humorous interlude. She's right, as always. But obviously it has to relate to
magic. So here is a magical joke; magical because it makes use of duplicates.

Boutros-Boutros Ghali and Yo-YoMah go out for dinner. They ask the waiter, IIHow is the rnahi-
mahi?" IIsO-SO." "Okay then we'll take the cous-cous."

This next one uses the memory, one of the conjurer's most potent tools.

A man says to his doctor, "You must help me. Please: I'm desperate. I have such a bad memory.
I keep forgetting everything and it's an absolute disaster. Please, please, doctor, help me." The
doctor replied, IINow, please calm down. How long have you noticed this?" "What?"


January 21-Details of Handling on the Cover Pass

Today I talked with my good friend Gordon Bruce from Glasgow. We discussed the cover pass, and here
is an excellent detail of handling that will make its execution much
safer and easier.
Shuffle and cut the deck. In the action of squaring it, gain an
Erdnase break under the top card, or under as many cards as you
wish to make the pass beneath. The break can be held by the outer ~\
phalanx of the right little finger, or by the inner phalanx, as favored ~
by Larry Jennings and others.
Holding the deck in right-hand end grip, dribble the cards
until someone calls for you to stop. Stop the dribble as commanded and have the top card of those in
your left hand taken, looked at and replaced on the packet. Apparently slap the right hand's cards on top,
seemingly losing the selection. In reality, catch a left little-finger break between the two portions.
Now lift the deck to elevated dealing position, square the cards, and then lower the deck back to
normal dealing position. During these actions, your right little finger retains its break. While lowering the
deck from elevated to normal position, you are given the ideal moment to adjust the left fingers' posi-
tions to excute the pass.
The pass may now be done anytime you feel it right. Thanks to the natural pressures this grip has
on the cards, the top card beautifully merges with the lower portion as the upper portion is passed to
the bottom.
A good time for any pass is immediately after the portions touch; and in this case, an instant before
you raise the deck to elevated position. This, however, is quite difficult to do. Another strategy, a more
practical one for most of us, is to wait and hold, as Max Malini and John Ramsay did, executing the pass
only when attention has diminished.

January 22-Gestalt Theory for Magic
~ You will occasionally find me using the term Gestalt, a concept much older than the Gestalt psy-
IX) chology movement. The idea of Gestalt may be traced to writings of the philosophers of antiquity,
particularly Aristotle. Its premise is that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Imagine thirty
boards in a pile-nothing more than a heap of lumber. But if you put those boards together in a
certain way, organized with human intelligence and guided by a plan, you could make them into a
bookshelf, a bed or a chest of drawers. Suddenly the whole is more than a collection of boards. It is a
new concept, which forms a Gestalt.
This idea can usefully be applied to magic. The total of the words and actions that make a move-
ment, a trick, a routine, even an act, is more than their sum. It has a Gestalt, which is perceived by the
audience. I believe that if a performer is clear about the Gestalt-what the whole concept is, how it
should look to the audience and how it is experienced-he will be better able to design, construct and
interpret his words and actions.
Take the Elmsley count. In the course of counting four apparent cards from hand to hand, one or
more cards are secretly hidden. This false display-count consists of numerous individual actions, some of
which serve to show, others to conceal. The idea is to hide the covert actions, or to make them appear to
be part of the overt process of displaying the cards. The concealment must be imbedded in the Gestalt
of an innocent-looking display. There are several handlings of the Elmsley count. It is hard to say which
is better. The important thing is to know how the counting action is supposed to be perceived by lay
observers-what its Gestalt is-and then to mimic as closely as possible this handling Gestalt when the
deceptive actions are executed.
Understanding what the Gestalt of a specific technique is, or that of any set of general actions, will
allow for a more convincing interpretation of the individual actions making up the complete action.
Every procedure, sleight or maneuver has a Gestalt, and the performer should be its architect.

January 23-Actus Interruptus
As the term actus interruptus suggests, an action that has been started is suddenly interrupted for a rea-
son apparent to the audience, and then is picked up once more and completed. During the interruption
the necessary sleight is executed and remains psychologically invisible. As an example, assume you want
to steal the bottom card of the deck, using a gambler's cop. With your right hand, take the deck from left-
hand dealing position and begin to hand it to someone: "Please take it in your hand ..."When the person
reaches out to do so, interrupt the action by replacing the deck in left-hand dealing position and turning
your empty right hand palm up in demonstration: "Like this, please, and ten-point-three inches above the
table, over here." As you say this, look at the person and keep looking at him as your right hand once more
takes the deck, and then puts it onto his hand, while your left hand steals the bottom card in gambler's
cop. The humorous comment provides added cover, but any other verbal strategy could serve here, such
as asking a question (what Ascanio called an "obscuring question").
When the right hand initially takes the deck, it is a good idea to gesture unobtrusively with the
palm-up left hand, so that the audience will at least peripherally perceive that it is empty.
The strength of actus interruptus is that it combines with two other powerful principles: "condi-
tioned naturalness" and "in-transit actions': in Ascanian terminology. Starting and interrupting the
action is practically the same as executing it once in an honest context, making the set of movements
familiar to the audience. In the above example the spectators know you simply want to hand the deck
to one of them-the action now has a Gestalt; it is anticipated. When the interrupted action is then
repeated, in respect to its Gestalt, they assume it is the same one seen before. But replacing the deck in
your left hand is also a secondary, in-transit, action. It is obviously necessary to free your right hand, so
that you can show your helper how and where you wish him to hold his hand (the main action). Taking
the deck-at which time the cop occurs-is also an in-transit action, the main action being that of hand-
ing the deck to your helper. Protecting the secret with three layers is like packing a dead rat inside three
boxes-the audience won't be able to smell it.
The procedure has to be used with discretion, and only once or twice for the same audience, as it
would make you appear stupid and unpracticed ifyou repeatedly interrupted and resumed your actions.

January 24- Tip on Tips
As a student I spent a few months in Paris in the late 1970s to improve my understanding of French.
Of course I spent more time looking up and meeting magicians than going to school. In this way, I met
many of the future stars of French magic, such as Bernard Bilis,Iean-lacques Sanvert and Daniel Rhod, to
mention just a few. The fact that they were French helped a lot toward improving my linguistic abilities.
After school I would often drop into Guy Lore's magic shop (much later called Paris Magic), just a
short walk from my hotel (the worst I have ever stayed in; yet roughly thirty years later it became a four-
star hotell), Guy was the nicest man one could imagine, and he used to perform regularly at a restaurant
just in front of his shop.
On one of those memorable afternoons filled with discussions and performances of magic, he asked
me to cover for him at the restaurant, as he had an out-of-town engagement. I was then about twenty
and had never performed in a restaurant.
On that particular afternoon he gave me a crash-course in restaurant magic, choosing a few tricks
from my own repertoire and teaching me some of the items from his. He had a wonderful and simple
idea for getting tips.
After each performance he left a nice-looking billfold made of imitation leather on the table,
explaining that if the people seated there had enjoyed the show they could leave something. He always
mentioned that this was in no way compulsory. It was entirely at their discretion. He would then wish
everyone at the table a nice evening and leave before they could respond.
He had several of these wallets and would only collect them after the guests had gone.
What an elegant way of handling the tipping situation. I used it only once, because I decided then
and there that I did not wish to depend on tips for my living, and that Iwould work only for a set fee. But
on that particular night every table left something.

January 25--A Force and a Location
Here is a neat exercise in artistic card-handling.
Hold the deck face down in left-hand dealing position. As you gesture with your right hand, use
your left little finger to obtain a break below the top card." Bring your right hand over the deck and
lightly riffle the cards, glimpsing the top one." Let's assume you've sighted the Queen of Diamonds.
Do an overhand shuffle that retains the top card. This might be a lift shuffle, an injog shuffle or
Harry Loraynes status quo shuffle (Rim Shots, p. 91). As both hands square the deck, your left fingers
push the bottom card to the right for about half its width.
Follow the shuffle by giving the deck a swivel or swing cut, without disturbing the side-jogged card.
You'll end up with the deck face down in left-hand dealing position, with a card side-jogged near center.
This condition is hidden by the right hand, which continues to hold the deck in end grip.
Ribbon spread the cards face-down from left to right and ask someone to remove any card, casually
gesturing toward the center of the deck, where there will be a card slightly more exposed than the others
(the glimpsed one), thanks to the side-jogged card above it. Depending on the brand of cards you are
using and their condition, the degree of exposure will vary. In any case, I recommend tapping the cards
with your right hand, which destroys the regularity of the spread. This also effectively camouflages an
excessive exposure of the glimpsed card.
If that card is taken, good! If it isn't, use it as your key card by asking your helper to replace his card
in the spread. He will put it back near the center, and you can eye-count how many cards it lies from your
glimpsed card.
A variation on this idea is to turn the deck face up, end over end, after the side-jog and cut. The left
hand does this while the right remains closely over the deck to conceal the jog. The right hand then rib-
bon spreads the deck from left to right, and flips the spread face down. Despite this casual manipulation
of the cards, the back of the side-jogged card will be more widely exposed in the spread.
As Decremps suggested in 1786, use these types of psychological forces toward the end of your
performance, when everyone, it is hoped, has ceased their resistance and become convinced that you
can do anything.


January 26-Complete Vanish of a Coin
Display a coin at your right fingertips and apparently take it
into your left hand, doing the best false transfer in your power.
With your right hand, slightly pull back your left sleeve,
and under cover of this larger motion imperceptibly move the
coin into finger palm, if it isn't already there. Since the sleeve
is only retracted a bit, enough slack will remain between the
fabric and your arm to sleeve the coin within the following
action, which looks entirely innocent.
Point toward someone sitting or standing at your left,
and while looking at him, ask him to seize your left wrist.
Demonstrate by briefly holding that wrist with your right
hand. In the second this takes, you have sufficient time to
let the coin slide from finger palm into the sleeve, along the
back of your left forearm.
Immediately release your right hand's grip on your
wrist and use it to pull your left sleeve up further. This
causes the fabric to lock the coin in place. (If you wear a
watch on your left wrist, this may complicate the sleeving
of the coin. You can, though, make a virtue from necessity
by simply sticking the coin under the watch. You can later
retrieve it as you make a casual gesture.)
While your wrist is being held, make a magical pass with your right hand, then slowly open your left
fingers, first sliding the left fingertips along the left palm-pausing a second-and only then extending
the fingers completely to show the coin is gone. (This wonderful dramatization of a coin vanish is Dai
Vernon's.) Wait a beat while everyone begins to suspect the coin is in your right hand. Then open it to
show the coin isn't there, either.
Bypulling the sleeve down to its normal position, the coin is released and will roll around your fore-
arm and beneath it within the sleeve. From there it can fall into the left hand or into your pocket as you
reach in to fetch some object.

January 27--Unorthodox Second Deal
Here's a second deal you very likely have never seen. Let's call it the "buckle second deal".

Hold the face-down deck in a modified dealing posi-

tion, with the little finger at the inner end and the forefinger
beside the middle finger at the side.

Begin to deal a few cards normally.

When you want to demonstrate the sec-
ond deal, the left thumb presses the top
card downward, toward the little finger.
This buckles the top card, allowing the
right thumb to enter the gap and pull out
the second card from the top. With very
little practice you will be able to do this
well enough for demonstration purposes.
However, you would be surprised how
deceptive this procedure can be, given
enough practice.
This can be used in so-called gambling exposes. It has the great advantage that after the explanation
of this deal you can comfortably use another second deal technique and be quite safe from detection,
as few will believe that you have exposed the real thing, and may doubt that such a sleight exists at all.

January 28-- Tamariz on the Subject of Magic on TV
Notes taken from a talk by Juan Tamariz, given at the 2006 Escorial Meeting:

* People are most interested in having an interesting, likeable person "in their home". Not nec-
essarily to see the best magic-they enjoy seeing you. The performer must be able to create
empathy with spectators at home.
* Three things are important:
The magician's personality
The trick/effect
The reaction
* It is also very important to be in a good mood before going on, to feel at ease and to express sin-
cere happiness. TV spectators are very experienced in detecting insincerity and obvious falsity.
* How can this be achieved?
* Sleep well before taping, and eat.
* Don't let anybody or anything worry you.
* Don't travel the same day of the taping.
* Sit down as much as possible, to avoid becoming tired before you tape.
* Tell them to advise you five minutes before taping is to begin.
* The fact that times are constantly being shifted is part of the game-don't worry about it and
don't get mad; relax.
* Heat, lights, ete. will affect cards. Use two decks, one for rehearsal, one for performance when
* Techniques can be a problem, because the camera reveals many things a person would other-
wise not see. Know the dangerous angles and protect them.
* Be relaxed, but precise and sure in your technical execution.
* Have a person you can trust at the monitor while you're taping; someone to tell you if anything
flashed or if there were other problems.
* Have a back-up trick with you that always works, in case something goes wrong. If something
does go wrong, immediately use the back-up trick. In the editing process the piece that went
wrong can be cut. Be happy if something goes wrong!

* VIPs are normally bad spectators, because they are worried about how they come across and
will therefore be concerned with their reactions, rather than react spontaneously.
* Ifyou do your own show, don't work with the studio audience usually offered by the producer;
bring your own audience (family and friends).
* When rehearsing, if at all possible, do not show the complete trick. Or show a similar trick. This
assures that the film crew is enthusiastic about your work, but will still be surprised when the
trick is performed during taping.

Frakson gave Tamariz the following piece of advice for magic on TV: Instead of three tricks do only one:
This is more memorable for the audience. Maybe use one icebreaker before, but then do just one trick.

January 29-Bridge Control
This is an elegant way of controlling a selection to the top of
the deck.
As you hold the face-down deck in loose dealing posi-
tion, briefly use both hands to square it. In the process, the
right hand seizes the top four-fifths, approximately, and
moves it forward and back in a squaring action. While the
upper packet is slid outward, the left ring and little fingers
press the inner left edge of the lower packet against the heel
of your left thumb, convexly bridging the inner end of the
packet. This action, smoothly executed, is imperceptible.
Ribbon spread the deck face down and have someone take a card.
As he notes it, gather the spread and swing cut the top half into your left hand. Have the selec-
tion replaced on that portion and drop the right hand's remaining portion on top. Immediately ribbon
spread the cards again.
After an appropriate comment, gather the spread and leave the
squared deck on the table. The selection now rests under the bridged
block and can be dealt with at your discretion.
~ Here's a good procedure: Use some comment or question to
~ direct attention to someone, such as asking if he plays poker. Pick up
~ the deck and place it in your left hand. What happens, however, is
that you cut directly under the bridge, place the cards you've picked up into your left hand, then notice
that you left some on the table and, in another in-transit action, swiftly pick those up and drop them
onto the rest in your left hand. These apparently innocent actions have imperceptibly brought the selec-
tion to the top of the deck.
Bygiving the deck a few riffle shuffles you can take the bridge out of the cards while you retain the
selection on top. You may now use both hands to square the deck, palming the top card in the right
hand. Then give the deck with this same hand to someone for shuffling. Load the card where needed, or
replace it when taking back the deck. This is a very fine management for a control and palm.


January 30--Double Lift Replacement

Then immediately go back to the deck to retake the

card in end grip. In doing so, imperceptibly release the
lower card of the double onto the deck. The left fingers,
which frame the deck, assure that the card falls perfectly
square with the pack. At the same time, look at the person
and make the area around his hand the focus of attention
and your comments.
The management and handling of this technique
provides an excellent example of the actus interruptus
concept we discussed on January 23 (p. 29).

January 31--- The Poor Man's Luxury
'-<-s Rather than write thank you letters or other types of short personal correspondence on my formal
(J:) stationary, I prefer to use postcards that relate to my most beloved instrument, playing cards; and I
write the message with a top-quality fountain pen. In all the years I've been doing this, I have found
hundreds of different, beautiful postcards relating to magic in general and to playing cards in particu-
lar. For very little expense you can have your own postcards printed with any subject you can scan. I
have a service that prints ten cards, scored to be folded in half, that with envelopes and postage cost
around $17 (as of2010).
I always send the postcard inside an envelope-the postage is little or nothing more, it looks
tasteful and it protects the writing from moisture. I prefer nice lined envelopes of handmade paper or
something distinctive.
I also use stamps from some special series with a subject to which I can relate. It doesn't take
that much more time to write such a postcard than it does to type an e-rnail message, but the whole
attitude is different; and it adds a bit more quality in my life.

IIII'I"""IIIIII!!!!I!III!!!III!!I~__ ----O-----~~ _

February l-Give and Take

* Every day learn something new.

* Every day teach someone something new.
* Every day improve something,


February 2- No Hands, Ma
When holding the deck, there is an absent-minded tendency to do something with it, such as riffle it or
square the cards although they are already squared. This creates an impression of over-handling. As a
result of many years of professional experience, I recommend that whenever possible you avoid holding
the deck, and that you place it some distance from you on the table. Not too far away; at a distance that
makes it clear you're not doing anything with it, yet near enough that you can easily reach for it, should
someone make a grab for the cards when that may not be permitted.
It is easy to follow this rule with self-working pieces, but even with those requiring sleight-of-hand
there are several moments in the procedure where the deck can be placed on the table. Try it now. Take
any piece from your card repertoire and see at what moments you can lay the deck on the table, rather
than hold it. I'llgive you three pieces to try:

* "Smiling Mule" in Roy Walton's The Complete Walton, Volume 1 (p. 175)
* Dr.Jacob Daley's "Cavorting Aces" from Stars of Magic (p. 111)
* "Homing Card Plus" from Card College, Volume 2 (p. 288)

It is amazing what a positive difference getting the deck out of your hands makes, and how well
people remember it. Their reaction after a trick will often be "But you didn't even touch the deck."
Well, not much.

February 3-Picking Up the Deck
Yesterday Isuggested getting the deck out of your hands and onto the table whenever possible, to empha-
size non-involvement and fairness. However, when the deck is resting on a hard surface, it isoften a challenge
to pick up the entire pack without fumbling. Here are two ways to overcome this problem gracefully.

* Ifthe table surface is dirty or hard, it is a simple expedient, and a good one, to set the deck cross-
wise on the card case. From there it can be easily picked up.
* Card expert extraordinaire Howard Schwarzman of Balti-
more told me this method of picking up a deck from a hard
surface, which I pass on with his blessing. Transfer the deck
from left-hand dealing position to right-hand end grip and
set it on the table, widely beveling the sides to the right, so
that the top overhangs the bottom.
When you wish to pick up the deck, press your right mid-
dle and ring fingers down on its right upper edge. This tips up
the left side of the deck, thanks to the bevel. Insert your right
thumb under the raised left edge. You can now grip the entire
deck between your thumb, underneath, and fingers, on top.
Pick it up and transfer it to left-hand dealing position.

February 4--Details
Dai Vernon frequently quoted Michelangelo (although he often misattributed it to da Vinci): "Details
make for perfection, but perfection is no detail:' (Or as Michelangelo said it, "La perJezzione e Jatta di
P dettagli,lI) Here are a few more favorite quotes on what is possibly the professional artist's most important
'< characteristic: attention to detail.

"It's in the small details that one recognizes a great artist:' (Unknown)

"God is in the details:' (Gustave Haubert)

"They say the old Persians always consciously made a little mistake when they wove their tapestries,
because they believed that only God should have the privilege of creating something perfect:'
(Persian folk story)

"Little things are big," (Yogi Berra)

"If you cultivate the small things, the big things will take care of themselves:' (Unknown)

"Attention to the whole as well as to the details is a reflection of one's being," (Unknown)

"If you want to achieve great things, you must think deeply about the details:' (Paul Valery)

"A little better is much better:' (me)

February 5--Favorite Criticisms
On the occasion of his visit to Berlin, German composer Max Reger (1873-1916) had received a com-
mand audience with Emperor William and was subsequently invited for lunch. The emperor was known
to compose as well, and offered his works as table music. When he asked his "colleague's" opinion of
his compositions, Reger, who had been listening politely, answered without missing a beat, "If I may be
frank, your Majesty, I have never heard better music from a crowned head:'

This story might have inspired Max Maven, who told me that when asked an opinion of a question-
able performance, he would invariably answer, "I've never seen you that good:'

Greek philosopher Aristotle was less diplomatic when he said to a student, "There are only two
things you could improve: form and content:'

Here are some further criticisms:

"He was the only one to understand me-and he understood me wrong:' (Said to be the last words
of Bertrand Russell about one of his students.)

"Can't act; can't sing; slightly bald; can dance a little:' (Report given at Fred Astaires initial screen
test at Paramount.)

"Unattractive young man with indistinct speaking voice and extremely unfortunate appearance.
P.5.Nonchalant approach, but poor diction and unpleasant manners:' (Report on Tommy Cooper, as
described by John Fisher in Cooper's biography Just Like That!)

February 6-Savoir Vivre


To drink an old Cognac, brandy,

Armagnac or rum, put the glass on
top of another glass that contains
hot water and then turn the glass
slowly for about one minute.


February 7---Geometry Versus Art

Picasso was once asked what he thought was the difference between geometry and art. He took a pencil
and drew a perfect circle on a sheet of paper, but at the very end he made a little slip.
"You see, if I had finished the circle perfectly, it would have been geometry-now it is art:'

February 8- How to Memorize a Serial Number Entertainingly
In some effects it is necessary to write down the serial number of a bill for later identification. This takes
time, usually calls for additional props and therefore is a problem to be identified and solved. Here is my
solution. It is fast, entertaining and uses no props at all.
As I write this, I'm taking a hundred Swiss franc bill from my wallet. We will use its serial number to
give you the basic idea: 04B5769202.
Ideally, you should have a spectator at your side to verify that you are reading the number fairly.
"04-these first numbers indicate the year the bill was printed; so that's 2004, an excellent wine year in
Spain. I see this gentleman is a connoisseur of wines, so please remember 04, an exceptional year for Rioja
and Ribera del Duero.
'}\ letter always comes next. On this bill it is B, as in Birthday. Anybody's birthday today, tomorrow or
in the coming week? Okay, madam, then please remember the letter B, as in Birthday.
"We then have 57. Well, that's five weeks more than a normal year. You, sir;I'm sure will appreciate five
extra weeks in a year. Please remember 57.
"Next comes 69.... Well, you may think what you like.
"Finally 202. Oh, that's an easy one. You can remember it both ways, like Anna or Otto. What do you call
these-have we got any linguists here? A palindrome, right. By the way, do you know who pronounced the first
palindrome? It was Adam in paradise. When he met his wife to be he said to her; 'Madam, I'm Adam.'" Let
the reaction subside. '}\nd she answered with the shortest palindrome-Eve. Anyway, you remember 202."
When you reproduce the bill and have the serial number confirmed, do so at an accelerated speed.
The cues will be strong enough to bring back the mnemonics you've planted. If you are reading out the
number on a billyou've switched in, you can plan the mnemonic cues you willgive. Once you've done this a
bit, you will find the associations pop up easily.Numbers like 17, 18, 19,etc., may be combined with the two
digits that follow them, to form a year, like 1750. An Internet search will provide events for the year, which
can be used as mnemonic cues. There are numbers, too, that may be connected with the event you are
working. Though you may have one longer exception, like the palindrome above, make connections with
concise associations that can be explained smoothly and rapidly, to maintain interest. Some hesitation,
though, is desirable, to make it seem credible that you're coming up with the mnemonics spontaneously.
When faced with very long serial numbers, it will suffice to have the last five digits remembered. This
usually requires three cues, just the right number for a fast-paced performance.

February 9--Simple Single-Card Switch
Here's a relatively easy technique for switching a single card anytime you have the opportunity to use
your lap. The action, as it should be perceived by the spectators, is this: With your right hand you draw a
face-down tabled card toward yourself, turn it over and toss it face up onto the table.
What really happens: You have a card in right-hand clas-
sic palm. The card to be switched out is face down on the table. ~~ , ~,....- ---
Put your right hand over the tabled card, with the heel of the
thumb pressed against its near left corner. The illustration slightly
exposes the palmed card for teaching purposes, but in practice
the card cannot be seen, as it rests against the palm.

Draw the hand toward you and, as it starts to move past

the edge of the table, let the drawn card fall into your lap.
Without a perceptible
pause, shift the right thumb
onto the face of the palmed
card and pull back the fin-
gers, until their tips touch ~
\ ~' ....,.....->lo- __ -
the back of the card near its ,
inner end.
Immediately turn the right hand palm up, bringing the face of the card into view, and throw the
switched-in card face up onto the table.
Study the handling carefully. Begin by doing the hon-
est action, turning a face-down card face up and throwing
it back onto the table. You will notice that the right hand
never comes completely over the edge of the table-that's
important, because it might betray the lapping action to an
astute observer. Understand and remember the Gestalt of
the honest movement; then apply it exactly to the execution
of the sleight.


February 1O~Souvenir Card
This is an idea my dear friend Vanni Bossi told me years ago. The two photos tell the story. You bring out
a card that folds in half, in which you place a signed playing card that played a role in one of the effects
P in your act. Two diagonally opposite slits hold the card securely. Printed underneath is a short poem that
'< relates to magic. It is a very pretty give-away and the nicest way I know to hand out a business card.



Translation: "There is no wand

for he who cannot wonder."

These slits are to receive t e

signed playing card.

Inside of the souvenir card

The funny thing is that, although Vanni had the idea, he hadn't made up the card. A few months
after he told me about it, I showed him the card I had produced, and this motivated him to make up his
own. What a nice way to help each other. Vanni Bossi (1952-2008) was one of the most important and
influential magicians Italy ever had, and a close friend. He is sorely missed.

TE L ++41- (0)61 - 463 08 44
FAX - 462 17 56

Outside of the souvenir card

February ll---Best Hop
This is possibly the best way to nullify a tabled cut for magical purposes. Juan Tamariz showed it to
me in the late 1970s and told me Slydini had taught it to him. Slydini said it came from the toolbox of
crooked gamblers.
Hold the deck in face-down dealing position. With your right hand, grip it by its sides from above
and place it on the table to your right for the cut. The spectator will cut the top portion toward you.
With your right hand grasp the former bottom portion
again by its sides and gently slap it onto the cut-off portion,
but out jogged for about 3/8". Slightly beveling the top packet
inward will help to conceal the step.
Look at someone on your left and make a comment. At
the same time use your right hand to pick up the stepped
deck, but leave a few cards from the bottom on the table, as if
by accident. Take the incomplete deck in its stepped 'condi-
tion into your left hand as if to return it to dealing position.
But before releasing it, you turn your head to the right
and notice the cards lying on the table. Two things now hap-
pen simultaneously. First, you turn your head back to the
left and make a comment. Second, the right hand maintains
~--- its hold on the injogged lower portion and, crossing the
gaze, carries this packet to the tabled cards and sets it on
top. Meanwhile, your left hand has held onto the out jogged
\ top portion.
Without pausing, again two things happen at once. First, you turn your head to the right and make
a comment. Second, the right hand, once more crossing the gaze, brings back all its cards and places
them square onto the left hand's packet. This leaves the complete deck in dealing position, and the cut
has been undone. Look back at the deck and start dealing the cards. The basic mechanics of the tech-
nique are beautifully constructed, but applying the Slydini-Tamariz principle of double-crossing the gaze
makes the deception invisible to the mind, even though the eye follows everything. A great lesson on
human perception lies in this relatively simple sleight.

February 12--Fred Kaps's Force
Ron Wohl tells me Fred Kaps used this force quite a bit. It is blatantly simple, but you might fool yourself
the first time you do it.
The card to be forced is on top of the face-down deck. The deck is in left-hand dealing position.
Turn the deck face up and push a few cards from the face into your right hand. Then drop themface
down onto the table. Repeat this action until someone calls stop.
When he does, look at him and ask, "How many cards do you think we've dealt?" As you look at him
and ask the question, nonchalantly turn the cards remaining in your left hand face down.
If your helper truthfully answers that he doesn't know, press him for a guess. Let's assume he says
Without missing a beat continue, "Okay, if there are twenty-five here, this is the twenty-sixth card.
Please take it and remember it." Hand him the top card of the left hand's packet. It is the force card that
was originally on top of the deck.
I have added a final psychological touch: As soon as the card is handed to your helper, deal a few
more batches from the top of the left hand's face-down packet onto of the tabled pile and say, "And of
course you could have stopped me later, maybe on the twenty-ninth, or the thirty-second or the thirty-sixth ..."

Here's a very subtle way of placing a key card above a selection.
Hold the deck face down in dealing position. Your key card is on top, and may be a glimpsed card
or one you can later locate by touch, such as a corner short, an embossed or a punched card, a card with
'--< a breather crimp, ete.
S; Have someone peek at a card, at which point you catch a break below the selection in the usual
manner. For this application I think it better that you let the person push back a portion of the deck to
take a peek at a card, rather than your riffling through the outer right corners until you're told to stop.
If you don't care for the peek process, you may dribble the cards from the right hand onto the left,
and show the bottom card of the right hand's portion when your helper calls stop. Then dribble the right
hand's cards onto the left's, keeping a break between the two portions.
Whatever approach you choose, it must conclude with the selection above the break, in the approx-
imate center of the deck, while your key card lies on top.
Now comes the subtle aspect. You will give the deck a genuine four-packet cut to the table, and in
doing so place the selection directly onto your key card.
First, with your right hand, cut off half the cards above the break and drop them onto the table.
Next cut off all the cards above the break and drop them onto the tabled portion.
Now cut half the remaining cards onto the tabled pile.
And finally drop the last packet on top of all.
The key card now lies directly below the selection, about three-quarters down in the face-down
deck. You may leave it at that or you may shuffle the cards, making sure the two relevant cards remain
together. This is easily done with an overhand shuffle, but you can also execute a Zarrow shuffle, under-
cutting half the deck to the left and "shuffling" the right hand's portion under a few cover cards.
Depending on the trick, you might follow the shuffle with a brief face-up ribbon spread, quickly
sighting the key card and noting the card next to it. Immediately turn your head and ask your helper if
he can still see his card. Then, as an afterthought, add that he may shuffle the cards himself, if he likes. It
makes no difference, as you now know the card he chose.
Eddie Taytelbaums force in Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets oj Card Magic (Ganson, p. 220) uses the
same cutting principle to achieve a different goal, to excellent results.

p a

February 14--List of Twelve Books to Reread

In alphabetical order:

Entertaining Card Magic (Cy Endfield)

Expert Card Technique (Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue)
Greater Magic (John Northern Hilliard)
Routined Manipulation Finale (Lewis Ganson)
Sonata (Juan Tamariz)
Stars of Magic (various)
The Card Magic of LePaul (Paul LePaul)
The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley (Stephen Minch)
The Dai Vernon Book of Magic (Lewis Ganson)
The Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic (Martin Gardner)
The New Modern Coin Magic (J. B. Bobo)
Thirteen Steps to Mentalism (Tony Corinda)

Ifyou'd like to cheat a little, add to this list: The Tarbell Course in Magic (all eight volumes).

February 15-Quotes on Astonishment and Wonderment
"Astonishment is the beginning of all wisdom:' (Aristotle)

"Don't accept wonders, look for causes everywhere." (Leonardo da Vinci)

"Man is a king when he dreams, and a beggar when he thinks:' (Johann H6lderlin)

"I hate those people who don't marvel at anything, because I have spent my life marveling about
everything:' (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

"Only when he's astonished does man come close to the gods." (A. Ch. Wilsmann)

"Theater is simply made of dreams come true." (Max Reinhardt)

"Everyday life is only bearable with wonders." (Max Frisch)

"I close my eyes in order to see." (Paul Gauguin)

"Everything you can imagine is real:' (Pablo Picasso)


February 16-Favorite Biographies of Magicians

David Bamberg (Fu-Manchu), J1/usion Show

David Ben, Dai Vernon: A Biography

Charles Bertram, Isn't It Wonderful?

Edwin Dawes, Charles Bertram: The Court Conjurer

Arthur Brandon, Milo & Roger: A Magical Life

Horace Goldin, It's Fun to be Fooled

Karl Johnson, The Magician and the Cardsharp

Stephen Minch, A Life Among Secrets: The Uncommon Life and Adventures of Eddie Fields

Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, Confidences et Revelations (translated into English as Memoirs of


Trixini, Der Magier mit dem blauen Stein: Erlebnisse eines Zauoerkimstlers

Bart Whaley (with Martin Gardner and Jeff Busby), The Man Who Was Erdnase

February 17 ~Favorite Books for the (Not So) Illiterate
The following books are perfect for the DVD generation, as they don't need to be read. Some actually
have no text at all. They will provide ample pleasure and insight merely by looking at them. Ifthis puzzles
you, get the books. You will thank me for having pointed them out to you.

Picasso's One-Liners (Artisan, Workman Publishing Company: New York, 1997). No jokes, but pencil
drawings done with a single line. Ingenious, surprising and incredible. I wish there were more
magic like that.

Istvan Banyai, Zoom (Viking Penguin, 1995) and Re-Zoom (Viking Press, 1995). If you are interested
in knowing what perception is and how we use it to create our own reality-and that of our
spectators, too-you will want to look at these two books (yes, look at, because there is nothing
to read; illustrations only).

Mark Setteducati, The Magic Show (Workman Publishing Company: New York, 1999). Almost noth-
ing to read, but everything is designed to surprise and fool yourself and those to whom you
should give this remarkably original book.

Robert Sabuda, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Little Simon: New York, 2003). This is a wonderful
pop-up book on one of the most magical characters in literature. The last pop-up display alone-
Alice and the Queen of Hearts-is worth several times the price of admission.

Ron Van der Meer, The Architecture Pack (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.: New York, 1997). A pop-up book
with a didactical aspiration. Not only will you learn much about the fascinating subject of archi-
tecture and its history, you will be amazed by the originality and quality of the visuals.

AI Seckel, Masters of Deception-Escher; Dalf & the Artists of Optical J1/usion (Sterling Publishing Co,
Inc.: New York, 2004). This has become a classic of its genre. Here are some of the best works from
Arcimboldo to Whistler. Some of these optical illusions are truly magical. This is the best intro-
duction I know to a fascinating subject.

February 18- Three Favorite Anecdotes
When Ed Marlo died on November 7,1991, his fellow magicians performed the Broken Wand Ceremony
over his grave-with seventeen variations.

When the four-volume set of DVDs by Alex Elmsley were released, a magician was overheard asking
a friend, "Did you see the four Elmsley videos?"
To which came the answer, "Yes,though I didn't see the third; but I saw the first one twice."

A ballerina went to a ballet with her students. During the intermission they asked her, "What did
you think of the dancers, Maestra?" She answered, "They danced well. But you could see that they have
learned it:'

February 19-- Ten Tips on Marketing Yourself
1. Your magic should be better than your marketing.
2. Strive to perform good magic that you like. The "entertainment factor" will then take care of
itself. It doesn't happen the other way round, although many have tried.
3. If you do magic for the love and respect of it, and because you know it is your way to navigate
through life in a manner that makes you grow and connect with the rest of the world, you have
a great edge over those who do it just for the fame, the money and the applause.
4. Be an interesting, fair and honest person, someone people like to talk to and, ideally, would
invite for dinner.
5. Be very knowledgeable and skilled in at least one area other than magic, and bring this into the
conversation when talking with people or when you are invited to dinner.
6. Look for happiness through magic first, and only then for wealth through it.
7. Don't believe everything the books, tapes and DVDs on marketing tell you.
8. Say no when you sense the job is going to be a hassle. This saves wear on your nerves and gives
you time for more important events.
9. Know your strengths and weaknesses, your possibilities and limitations. Accept any job that lies
within these boundaries or might help you expand them. Refuse all other jobs clearly outside
your area of competence.
10. Be able to talk intelligently about magic and life in general before, during and after your
11. Deliver more than your client expects and add an unexpected extra effort.
12. Just because the market and some people reward what one does, this doesn't necessarily mean
it is good. Remember that the gutter press, which journalistically speaking is the most con-
temptible, sells the most copies. Where do you want to position yourself?
13. Read Jerry R. Wilson's Word-oj-Mouth Marketing (John Wiley & Sons: Somerset, NJ, 1991).

February 20-How Did You Do That?
Of all the questions a magician gets asked over a lifetime, the most frequent must be: "How did you do
that?" Fortunately very few expect the performer to respond. Asking the question is simply another way
of expressing one's surprise and astonishment; it is rhetorical. When an answer is expected, our two old
friends can get us out of trouble quickly. (1) "Very well, thank you:' (2) "I've practiced for many years."
The first, albeit hackneyed, responds to the person's genuine curiosity in a humorous way, signaling
that the questioner cannot expect a serious answer. The second meets the question on the same level it
was posed, with a straight and honest, though simplistic, answer.
In discussing the matter with my friend and grand master, Juan Tarnariz, he suggested this approach,
to be used only when the inquirer shows a deeper than usual interest: "When you watch a magic perfor-
mance, there are two possibilities for you as a spectator. Either you are astonished and enjoy the emotion
and insight this brings, or you try to discover how it is done. If you try to discover the secret, there are,
again, two possibilities. Either you succeed, and will be disillusioned, which causes disappointment and
frustration. Or you fail, which causes similar feelings. In either circumstance, when you try to discover
how magic works after a performance, you will end up disappointed and frustrated. It is therefore always
better just to drop your mental defenses and enjoy the emotion and the insight astonishment brings."
This is a very intelligent answer. I also regularly use a short anecdote attributed to Picasso. At one
of his early exhibitions, a journalist asked whether he thought his audience would understand his art.
Picasso answered, "Do you hear that bird singing outside the window?" "Yes,why?" "Do you like the way
he sings?" "I certainly do." "Do you understand what he's saying?" That's a nice metaphor, and it shows
that, especially in the arts, but also in life, it's often enough to like something, without understanding it.
I also use Einstein's quote: "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Magic, like other arts,
offers an aesthetic experience. There is great beauty in having experienced wonder, especially if it hap-
pens in the safe context of a performance. Magic stimulates our imagination and does more for us than
we can explain.


February 21-- Top Seven Maxims of Life
1. "When you see a worthy man, imitate him. When you see an unworthy man, look at yourself'

2. "Good is better than perfect:' (Goethe)

3. "Do what you say you would do." (Unknown)

4. "Festina lente."-"Without haste, but without pause." (Latin proverb)

5. "Do the right things, and do the things right:' (Unknown)

6. lilt's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice:' (Unknown)

7. "Don't let yourself be limited by numbered lists." (Roberto Giobbi)


February 22- Top Ten Quotes Related to Card Magic

"Card magic is a complete show in a single pocket:' (Arturo de Ascanio)

"I stopped gambling with cards when I noticed that I have an advantage." (Rene Lavand)

"I have an excellent relationship with cards, because I live for them and Ilive off them." (Rene Lavand)

"Life is a marked deck and God handles the cards:' (Homero Manzi)

"Cards are the poetry of magic." (Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser)

"Card magic is poetry because it is symbolical, metaphorical:' (Juan Tamariz)

"Be patient and shuffle the cards." (Cervantes)

"Manipulation is poetry for the eye:' (Unknown)

"A deck of cards is an endless book of fairy tales; with it you can tell a story every night, for the rest
of your life:' (Roberto Giobbi)

"Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died."
(Steven Wright)

February 23--Swing Cut at a Break
~.cIc~ ~ PROBLEM: To use a swing cut to cut the deck at a little-finger break. Here are two solutions:
• c" "~,<;;

SOLUTION 1: In Card College, Volume 3, I describe a useful strata-

gem by Rafael Benatar to insert a card into the outer end of the
deck, yet have it surely enter a little-finger break." The same
dynamic can be used to swing cut at a break. Hold the deck in left-
hand dealing position, with the little finger holding a break. Take
the deck into right-hand end grip, grasping the cards above the
break, and then riffle the right thumb gently up their inner end.

In doing this, transfer the break

to the heel of the left thumb.

This position can be

retained until you need to
cut the deck. As soon as
the left thumb relieves its
pressure on the top of the
deck, a gap will open at the
~ ~ outer left corner.
This allows the right forefinger to perform the desired
" action, lifting all the cards above the break for a swing cut.

SOLUTION 2: Once more, you hold the deck in left-hand dealing position, and have a left little-finger
break. With your right hand, take the top packet into end grip. Now, with your left fingers, twist all the
cards below the break as a unit slightly clockwise, just enough for the right forefinger to engage the outer
left corner of the top packet and swing cut it into the left hand, which immediately carries it to the left.
You then audibly drop the former bottom packet on top, completing the cut.

February 24-Control with a Swing Cut at a Break
This innocent-looking cut-and-shuffle sequence imperceptibly and elegantly delivers a selected card to
the bottom of the deck.
With the deck in dealing position, the left little finger holds a break under the card to be controlled.
You will now do a multiple swing cut and in doing so bring the wanted card to the bottom. Start as
described yesterday in "Swing Cut at a Break': cutting the deck at the break and carrying away the top
packet in your left hand.
Immediately follow up with two or three more swing cuts, each time cutting a small group onto the
left hand's packet. The relevant card is now at the bottom of the deck. Smoothly executed, this series of
cuts has the feel of a shuffle.
Without hesitating, go into an overhand shuffle, but keep the bottom card on the bottom. Ifeel the
most efficient way to do this, given this situation, is to extend the left ring finger over the upper side of
the bottom few cards and retain them in the left hand as the other cards are lifted and shuffled off on
top of the retained cards.
Start a second shuffle, shuffling off about three quarters of the cards and throw the rest on top,
injogging this packet.
Let the deck settle into dealing position without disturbing the injog.
With your right hand, cut the injogged packet to the table, and then cut the remainder of the deck
in small packets on top. This returns the selection to the bottom of the deck.
This sequence is practically impossible to follow, even to a trained eye.

February 25-.. Top Quotes Related to Magic
"It is betterfora man to honor his profession than to be honored by it:' (Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin)

"Concentration leads to success, repetition to mastery:' (Unknown)

"Magic shakes people's securities in a pleasant way:' (Unknown)

"A trick is perfect when you cannot take away anything more:' (Unknown)

"Go ahead and work, artist, don't talk. (Goethe)

"Everything that deceives may be said to enchant:' (Plato)

"Wonder is the qualitative distance that God placed between man and truth. It enables man to find
truth." (Theodor Haecker, Journal in the Night)

"Perfection doesn't exist. Only excellence exists:' (Rene Lavand)

"Leave well alone:' (David Devant)

"Magic is very hard to do, especially in front of people." (George Jason, magical humorist)

"Only work can make the traces of work itself disappear:' (Ascanio)

"Watson, you look, but you don't observe:' (Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Watson)

'To be ready is much, to be able to wait is more, but to use the right moment is everything:' (Arthur

"Creating and understanding a trick is a science. Performing it is an art:' (Roberto Giobbi)


February 26- Teschner's Top-Stock Control

My good friend Rainer Teschner is a clever cardician who, unfortunately, isn't well known outside his native
Germany. This detail from him on using the injog shuffle to control a top stock deceives even experts.
Let's assume the four Aces are to be retained on top.
Start a standard injog shuffle, chopping off about a quarter of the deck, injogging the next card and
shuffling off.
Form a break under the injog and shuffle off to the break; but now, instead of dropping the rest on
top, chop off about half of the remaining cards onto those you have just shuffled off.
Finish by meshing the cards left in your right hand into the upper side of the others and push them
flush. This looks very fair, because the last block, where those in the know would expect the stock to be
controlled, is lost in the center of the deck.
This is not just for magicians. Combining two shuffle styles familiar to the public adds to the natural-
ness of your actions and to their deceptiveness.

February 27 ---Marlo's Bluff Cut
Rather than using a multiple transfer cut (double or triple undercut) to shift cards from the top to the
bottom of the deck, a single cut is used.
Hold the deck in left-hand dealing position, with a left little-finger break below the card or cards to
be transferred from top to bottom.
Look at the deck as you riffle your left thumb down the outer left corner and open a gap near center.
Hold this image for two seconds. Then bring your right hand to the deck and apparently grip the released
cards in covered end grip, your middle, ring and little fingers obscuring the outer end from the audience's
sight. In reality your right hand grasps only the card or cards above the break.
Look at the spectators as your left thumb quietly closes the gap and your right hand deftly cuts the
cards above the break to the bottom.
Look back at the deck, lightly squaring it, without exaggerating the action or making a mannerism
of it. It looks as if you have cut the deck once near the middle, when you have really just cut one or a few
cards from top to bottom.
Done correctly, this is very deceptive.

February 28-Another Overhand Shuffle Glimpse
I hit on this way of glimpsing a card as I was practicing over-
hand-shuffle techniques. The procedure allows you, during an
overhand shuffle, to glimpse a card that will eventually end up at
the bottom of the deck.
Just a moment before the right hand grips the deck to start
the shuffle, use your left thumb to push the top card up less than
an inch. As your right hand moves to grasp the deck, the tip of
its forefinger hits the face of the elevated card, behind the index.
In the instant this occurs, the corner is flexed slightly to the left,
allowing you to see the index of the card.
With as little hesitation as possible, grip all the cards below the top one and start an overhand shuf-
fle. This automatically leaves the glimpsed card behind, in the first stroke of the shuffle; and as a result it
becomes the bottom card of the deck.
Immediately follow this shuffle with another, retaining the bottom card. Or better yet, shuffle off
about half the deck and toss the rest on top, causing an injog to form. Let the deck settle into dealing
position, cut at the injog and set all the cut-off cards onto the table. Drop the rest on top. This returns
the sighted card to the bottom."


February 29-Multiple PeekControl *
GOAL:To have several cards peeked at and to control them to the top.

50LUTION:Start by having someone peek at a card (we'll call it 51). Hold a break above it.
Bring the deck to overhand shuffle position, transferring the break to your right thumb.
Begin an overhand shuffle, shuffling to the break in two or three strokes; then run the next card
(51), injog the next and shuffle off.
Form a break under the injog, shuffle to the break and throw the balance on top.
51 is now the top card.
Have another person peek at a card (52). Again obtain a break above it.
Begin an overhand shuffle by first chopping off all the cards above the break.
Run the next card (52), injog the next and shuffle off.
As before, obtain a break below the injog, shuffle off to the break and throw the rest on top.
52 is now on top, and 51 directly beneath it.
Repeat this procedure with a third peeked card (53). The selected cards will be brought to the top
in 53-52-51 order.
Should you want them in 51-52-53 order, you can do so in a single shuffle: Start an overhand
shuffle by running the first three cards. Pick them up behind the deck, between your right ring fin-
ger and thumb (the lift shuffle), as you continue to shuffle off the rest of the cards. When you reach
the three cards you have lifted, throw them on top. They are now in the reversed order desired.

* Happy leap year!


March 1-Teschner's Selection Control

This is an excellent card control for a chosen card that Rainer Teschner once showed me. It appears in
print here for the first time, with his generous permission.
After the deck has been shuffled, take it back and dribble the cards face down into your left hand
until someone calls stop. Show the card at the face of the right hand's packet; then dribble these cards
onto those in your left hand-but catch a break between the packets.
Delay the control by forming a step at the break and placing the deck on the table; then pick it up a
little later. Or you may proceed, if you wish, without this delaying tactic. I---"
Say, "Please deal the cards like this and stop anytime. Don't deal the cards in groups, but individually
like this." Demonstrate by dealing a few cards singly into a pile, then deal a few groups of cards, until you
near the break, and finish by dealing the last few cards above the break individually. The last card dealt
is the selection.
Immediately pick up the dealt cards, put them back on top of the undealt portion and hand the
deck to your helper. If he now deals the cards face-down into your hand, his card will be on the bottom
of those you are holding-a very nice starting position for a stop trick or for producing a card at any
number or....
As you hand him the deck, you may also top palm the card. Ifyou palm the selection in your right
hand, you can let him deal the cards onto your outstretched left palm and, when he stops, put your right
hand flat on top, saying, "Okay, here; that's where you stopped the deal. What was your card?" Move your
right hand away as you ask this, and let your helper turn over the top card himself.


March 2-- The Sliding Double
Here's a double lift that is sure-fire and needs no secret get-ready.

Hold the deck face down in left-hand dealing position.

Put the tip of your right forefinger on the back of the deck
near center, then push down and forward about two inches.
This spreads the top few cards outward.

Now place the tip of your right forefinger on the far end of the top
, ) '-"'~ card, near its left corner.

Push the card inward until

your fingertip hits the next single
card. Immediately pinch the outer
left corners of both cards between )
your right thumb and forefinger,
and turn the double card end over
end, face up on the deck.

Catch a left little-finger break under the double.

To turn the double card face down again, you'll simulate the previous actions, but the handling
differs in several details: Put the right forefinger on the center of the face-up card and seem to push the
card forward. In reality, your right thumb engages the inner end of the double, thanks to the break, and
pushes the double forward (a Cliff Green idea; see his Professional Card Magic, p. 17). As before, the right
hand grips the double card at its outer left corner, and then turns it end over end, face down.

March 3- The Amazing Coincidence
This is the third day ofthe third month, so it makes sense to think about a trick that uses the number
three. Here's a simple one that requires no sleight-of-hand, but is very effective for laymen.
EFFECT:Someone is asked to deal three piles of cards, whereupon the top card of each pile is found
to match in value. Furthermore, this match has been predicted!
METHOD:Have someone shuffle and cut the deck. Take it back, spread it in your hands and, without
letting the audience see their faces, place the four Threes face down on the table in the configuration
of an arrow. "t will place a few cards here on the table. They will show who is going to be the protagonist of GO

this experiment." Deal the cards so that the arrow clearly points at one person at the table. Look at the
individual. This invariably produces a laugh.
Ask your "protagonist" to touch one of the four cards. Place it face down before him. (The previous
laugh will help to make the group forget you took specific cards from the deck, and later many will rnis-
remember that this card was one freely chosen from the pack.) Explain that the card he has chosen is a
prediction. Gather the other three cards and replace them on the deck. Now give the cards a false shuffle
that retains the three Threes on top.
Hand the deck to another person and ask her to deal cards one by one into a face-down pile. The
first three cards of her deal will be Threes. Let her deal another card or two, and then explain that she can
take cards from the center of the deck or even from the bottom, and emphasize that she can shuffle the
cards at any time. After she has dealt about fifteen cards, tell her to stop whenever she wishes. She then
puts the remaining cards aside, as they are no longer needed.
Point to the card chosen earlier as a prediction and have it turned over. "This card will tell us how
many piles to form with your dealt cards." Since it is a Three, she is asked to pick up the dealt pile and redeal
its cards, one by one and from left to right into three face-down piles. Since the three Threes are on the
bottom of the packet she's holding, they will eventually become the top cards of the tabled piles. Empha-
size that if a Nine had been selected, she would deal nine piles, getting a completely different distribution.
Recapitulate what has been done so far, to introduce the necessary positive insertion. This causes
the audience to forget the precise details of how the configuration of the cards was achieved. Be sure
to stress that your two helpers have done everything themselves, and their actions were out of your
control. Slowly turn up the top card of each pile, revealing that they match the prediction card-a truly
amazing coincidence!


March 4-- Top Dozen Einstein Quotes
"I will a little think:'

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

"Knowledge is experience. Anything else is just information:'

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is:'

"It is not necessary to understand life. It is enough to be able to cope with it:'

"It is absolutely possible that there are worlds undreamt of, hidden beneath the perception of
our senses,"

"Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics. I can assure you that mine are still greater:'

"If people would only talk about the things they understand, it would be very quiet in the world."

"Our way of thinking has made us what we are today. But the same way of thinking will not make
us what we would like to be:'

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that
stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer
wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."

March 5--Prop or Instrument
Cards, coins, ropes, silks, cups and balls, all are the properties of conjuring. However, rather than looking
at them as props, mere paraphernalia, try to look at them as instruments, much as a pianist would look
at his piano, or the violinist at his violin.
In a trick like Dai Vernon's "Travelers" the cards are the instrument, while the jacket, the pen used
to sign the cards, and any other necessary accessories are the props. Make a conscious differentiation
between the instrument and the props.
Take a deck of cards, a coin, whatever you do magic with, and think of them as a Steinway or a
Stradivarius as you practice a trick.
Did that feel different?
Cultivate and remember that feeling; and include it in your practice, rehearsals and performances
every time from now on.


March 6--Remember, You Shuffled I
It is often necessary that the participant remembers he has shuffled the deck, as this is almost always an
important point in the mental reconstruction that happens at the end of a trick, and it is necessary to
cause wonderment.
Ascanio defines an effect as the contrast between an initial and a final situation (with no causal
relationship, I might add). The way the initial situation is anchored in the spectator's memory is integral
to the psychological construction of the climax. Tamariz is a master at making his audience remember
they shuffled the cards. You'll find plenty of examples of this in his writings, and in Card College. Here's a
simple illustration.
Hand the deck to someone and ask her to shuffle the cards. Ifshe uses an overhand shuffle, remark,
"Thank you. You've just used a shuffle experts call the overhand shuffle." Whatever her reaction, ask her to
shuffle the cards another way. It is very probable she will now use a riffle shuffle-or if she used a riffle
shuffle before, she will now overhand shuffle the cards. "Okay, they call this a riffle shuffle."
Finallyask her to shuffle the cards yet another way. Ifshe doesn't know one, let someone else do it. Or
just tell her she can give the deck multiple cuts, which also mix the cards. Give the shuffle used its proper
name (for example, the Hindu shuffle); or just make up a funny name: "Oh, that's the shortshank shuffle!"
You may add any "gag shuffle" you know, mixing the deck yourself at the end. You can now remind
the audience anytime that the deck has been shuffled in three distinct ways: what experts call the over-
hand shuffle, the riffle shuffle and, ahem, well, the shortshank shuffle!

March 7 --Remember, You Shuffled II
Here are four more ways to fix in the minds of spectators the memory of the deck having been shuffled.

* The Job-Sharing Shuffle: Hand small packets to several persons and ask them to shuffle their
cards. Then collect the packets.
* The Synchronized Shuffle: Several persons are given packets and are required to shuffle at
exactly the same rhythm.
* The Sing-Sing Shuffle: Have one or more persons sing a song or recite a silly poem while shuffling.
* The Undercover Shuffle: Ask someone to hold the deck under the table and shuffle it there. Or
you can spread a clean handkerchief over his hands as he is shuffling. (This looks, well, amusing.)

In all these shuffles, and others you can easily come up with, explicitly name the shuffle. A funny
name and the action both fix the shuffle in everyone's memory.

March 8-- Top (Non}Sense Quotes
"I have my principles, but if you don't like them, I have others." (Groucho Marx)

"Most people don't know what they're doing. But many do it very well:' (George Carlin)

"Coming home I expected a surprise, but there was none. So I was, of course, very surprised:'
(Ludwig Wittgenstein)

"The great virtue I have is that I can make love three times a day. And the great vice is that I'm a liar:'
(Rene Lavand)

"What can't be, can't be, and moreover it's impossible." (Rafael Gomez Ortega, the bullfighter called
"El Gallo")

"What sounds too good to be true, can't be true:' (Gupta's Law of Creative Anomaly-Ricky Jay in
the film Tomorrow Never Dies)


March 9-Push ..ln

Not long ago, I overhand shuffled my deck, and in the process I accidentally dropped a card. When I
-noticed it, I picked it up and inserted it back into the deck from the inner end. That's interesting, because
we make a point, when doing so many controls, of inserting a displayed card at the outer end of the deck,
so that we can then push it diagonally in and control it in dozens of ways. The only exception to this I'm
aware of is Dai Vernon's depth illusion (aka, tilt) control.
Over the next few days I conducted an experiment. I asked a dozen non-magicians to hold the deck
in dealing position and insert a card handed to them. Almost all of them inserted it from the inner end!
I'm by no means the first to have had this idea, although I haven't found much published on the subject.
The handling I used spontaneously was to contact the top
half of the deck at its left side with my left thumb and raise it to
facilitate the insertion of the card.
If you first hit the inner end with the forward corner of
the card, forcing a few cards to jut from the front of the deck, it
looks like tilt to fellow magicians, and your subsequent handling
may mislead them. It also provides an unspoken motivation for
opening the side of the pack: to make the insertion easier. Here
are some interesting applications, good for all audiences:

* The card at the face of the top packet can be easily glimpsed and becomes a key card.
* The deck can be opened at a crimped card which automatically places the selection next to it.
* As the card is pushed flush into the deck, it is very easy for your right thumb to obtain a break
above or below it. As always in such cases, square the deck in elevated dealing position and then
lower it again to normal dealing position. The break can then be transferred to the heel of the
thumb, to the little finger, ete.
* Leave it sticking out and go directly into other sleights, such as the last maneuvers of the
Erdnase diagonal palm shift."
* By pushing the card into the inner end from the left, you can still make it jog diagonally and
then apply all the familiar techniques, as if you had used a standard diagonal insertion from
the outer end.

March 10---A Humorous Out
Here's an out that can be used when you are challenged to find a thought-of card or one taken and
shuffled back into the deck. It handles the situation in a humorous way, rather than meeting the chal-
lenge head on. (For a solution to the latter, see March 13, "An Emotional Out")
Have the challenger shuffle the deck as he thinks of his card.
Take the deck back and dramatically turn over the top card. Ifit is his, found a sect, collect your first
donation from the fellow who challenged you-and send ten percent of the yearly income to me. (If you
o perform this fifty-two times, statistically you should get at least one hit.)
Ifyou fail, which is usually more realistic, give your challenger a surprised look, as if this were the first
time you've ever missed, and ask for the name of his card. As soon as he tells you, take out a pen, write
the name of his selection over the face of the wrong card and hand it to him as a souvenir.
You might add, "You thought of the wrong card-but I named it correctly."

March 11-0ut and Quickie
Yesterday's entry made me think that the challenge situation could be made into a lovely little perfor-
mance piece-not a huge miracle, but certainly a pleasing moment.
Imagine that you're writing "Ten of Clubs': the name of the thought-of card, on the face of the Three
of Hearts, the wrong card that has been turned up.
Turn the card face down and sail it in front of your challenger. Before he takes it, say, "Wouldn't it be
nice, if this card was really yours?"
Regardless of what he says, let him repeat the name of his card, then wait until he turns over the
card-it is the Ten of Clubs and it has "Ten of Clubs" written across its face.

Nice, isn't it?

Try to come up with your own solution and don't read tomorrow's entry until you do.

March 12-Solution for Out and Quickie
Okay, this solution is no longer an out for a failure, but a planned effect; and a very good one. You need
an extra card; we'll say it's a Ten of Clubs. Write "Ten of Clubs" on its face. Add this secretly to the deck
during performance, or have it there when you begin-in 97.14159% oftricks, its presence in the deck
won't affect anything, and no one will notice it.
When you're ready to do the trick, bring the prepared card to the top and cull the regular Ten of
Clubs above it. For best results, the card under the signed Ten of Clubs should contrast vividly with the
w Ten. Now force the regular Ten of Clubs and have it replaced anywhere in the deck.
Snap your fingers and turn over the top two cards as one, to display the contrasting indifferent card.
Deal with your miss humorously and write 'Ten of Clubs" on its face. Obviously, your writing should
closely match that on the prepared Ten of Clubs.
Turn the double face down and sail the top card out onto the table.
"Wouldn't it be nice, if this card were really your card?" Regardless of the reply, let your helper repeat
the name of his card, then wait until he turns over the one in front of him-it is the Ten of Clubs, with
"Ten of Clubs" written across its face.

If you came up with a better solution, let me know.

March ll-An Emotional Out
You are challenged: "I'm thinking of a card. Can you find it?" I briefly mentioned a solution for this prob-
lem in Card College, Volume 2 (p. 470, "Out with a Location"), which was to respond with Dai Vernon's
trick, "Emotional Reaction"; but I didn't expand on this. Here are a few more thoughts.
Immediately reply, ''OJcourse I can, but I need your emotional commitment." Your challenger doesn't
know what you mean by this, and you take advantage of his momentary confusion (a conversational
trance) to demonstrate what you want him to do. Tell him to shuffle the deck to make sure his card is
completely lost. You then tell him he must spread the cards with their faces toward him, until he reaches
the card he's thinking of, and then he must hold this card to his heart for five seconds. You demonstrate
all this with the cards, and glimpse the top card of the deck in the process. This is your key card.
From here you may follow the original procedure, as taught on page 7 of Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets
oj Card Magic by Lewis Ganson. Pay attention to all the handling details, such as using a low voice to tell
your helper to cut his packet, which places your key card next to his selection. And ask someone else to
shuffle the other packet, into the center of which your challenger will insert the packet containing his
thought-of card. This allows you later to remind both participants that they shuffled the cards.
If you are willing to hazard a very small risk, you can ask the first person to shuffle the assembled
deck once more. To make the risk even smaller, mime an overhand shuffle and, as soon as he starts
the shuffle, say in a firm tone, l'And cut the deck once, please-here." When you say, "once," hold up your
forefinger; and when you say, "here" point to a spot on the table. All of this creates another moment of
conversational trance that makes it easy for you to guide your helper's actions.
Don't neglect to follow the Vernon presentation, which deals with your subject establishing an
emotional connection with his card. You may wish to embellish on Vernon's presentation by asking
the person to imagine his card has human characteristics. Then ask him to attach a person's name to
it, someone he thinks fits its character. When he reveals the person's name to you-George, perhaps-
explain that there is one card you have named George, too. Take the deck, spread to the key card and
place the card to its right face down on the table. Ask for the name of the "thought-of" card and dramati-
cally reveal the card itself on the table. In this fashion you have deftly met the person's challenge, without
making it look like one.
This is also an excellent out when you have lost a card.

March 14- Top Fifteen Humorous Quotes
"The Phoenicians have invented money. But why so little?" (Nestroy)

"Life is beautiful; unfortunately you don't get out of it alive." (Horst Schroth)

"Everything has its price, even death, because it costs your life:' (Scottish proverb)

"In dubio Prosecco."

"Mens sana in campari soda."

"Don't be afraid to attain perfection; you will never reach it." (Salvador Dali)

"Some would rather die than think, and actually they do." (Bertrand Russell)

"Everyone is allowed to think. Many are spared:' (Curt Goetz)

"Fanatics are able to do anything ...but nothing else:' (Unknown)

"Time heals all wounds. Take Napoleon that meanwhile has turned into Cognac." (Alfred Biolek)

"Chefs cover mistakes with sauce, architects with flowers and surgeons with earth:' (Unknown)

"There is less in it than meets the eye:' (A critic about Beckett's Waiting for Codot)

"Modest for lack of opportunity:' (Francois Fricker)

"How do you do, Mr. X, and how do you do your wife?" (Foreigner in America)

"The first to discover that there issomethinggood in every human being was a cannibal:' (Unknown)

March 1 S- The Goldin Pass
When I was in my teens, Dieter Haldimann, a friend and mentor, showed me the sleight I'm about to
describe. He called it "The Goldin Pass". Though the reference is most likely to the illusionist, Horace
Goldin, I have been unable to locate a record of it, nor have Iseen anyone do the precise procedure. After
many years I did discover a sleight named "The Goldin Pass': described by Victor Farelli," but it has no
relation to the sleight Dieter taught me. Here are the simple mechanics of the Goldin pass:
Hold the deck face dealing position, your left little finger holding a break above a selected
card near center.
With your right hand, grasp the packet above the break in end grip and flip it sidewise and face up,
making sure it lands slightly out jogged on the bottom portion. It is perfectly fine if the audience sees the
out jogged configuration of the deck, as the entire procedure will appear to be a simple, unpretentious,
yet neat little flourish cut.
Use your right hand to regrip the combined packets, thumb on top, fingers beneath, and flip the com-
plete deck sidewise and over in your left hand while preserving the jogged configuration of the packets.
Finish by flipping the now injogged face-up packet face down on top of the lower packet. The selec-
tion is now on top.
Done as described, it looks a bit odd, doesn't it? Maybe you would like to come up with a justifica-
tion or context that derails the idea that the procedure is just a conjurer's necessity.

That's your assignment for today!

March 16-Cyclic False Shuffle
For lay audiences, here's one of the easiest, safest and best-looking false shuffles around." First, the Gestalt
of the ordinary shuffle: Hold the deck in position for an overhand shuffle. Undercut about half the cards
and put the bottom side of the right hand's packet against the top side of the left hand's packet. Then,
using a back-and-forth action of the abutting sides, mix the cards by making the sides weave into each
other. This style of shuffling is common in Europe, but it can be seen all over the world in family games.

Here's how the shuffle is made deceptively false: Hold

the deck in position for an overhand shuffle. With your right
hand, undercut about half the deck, but when doing this,
drag the bottom cards of the left hand's portion up for at
least half their width and, with pressure from the left fingers,
fix the raised cards in this position.

Release the right hand's cards onto the left's, but keep
back the bottom few, holding them upjogged for about an
inch above the released portion.

Grasp the upjogged bottom cards of both packets between the
thumb, ring and middle fingers of the right hand and hold them at a
slight angle over the two packets below. Immediately move the right
hand's cards slightly back and forth a few times. This simulates the inter-
lacing of the two packets.

To do this simulation in a convincing and deceptive manner,

practice the genuine shuffle and remember how it looks and feels.
Then integrate this knowledge into your execution of the sleight.
Finish by striking your right hand against the top edge of the deck,
tamping in all the protruding cards.

Do two or three of these false shuffles, but no more. This shuffle results in a single cut of the deck,
and retains the cyclical order of the cards. Therefore, there is no harm in letting someone give the deck
a final cut. This is very important with any type of false shuffle, as it tends to dispel any suspicion of the
fairness of the mixing.
Ifyou want to bring the deck back to its preshuffled order, nullifying the cut, injog the bottom cards
of the upper packet as you apparently weave it into the other packet. Then cut at the injog and repeat
the shuffle. You'll have to adjust the handling a bit when you undercut about half the deck for the second
shuffle, in order to draw the bottom cards of the left hand's portion upward.
Alternatively, put a crimp in the bottom card and finalize the shuffles with a cut to the crimp.

March 17--Give It a Stab
Here's a performance piece with cards I've had in my professional repertoire for years.
While using a normal deck-it may even be borrowed-force the Three of Spades. Ask the person
to hide the card.
Take a second deck from your pocket and show it to contain the
same fifty-two cards as the first one. This is actually a Svengali deck
8- with the Three of Spades as the repeated force card. To show the
cards to be different, use a two-handed fan, letting the outer end of
the cards riffle off your right middle finger as you fan them. This can
look very innocent.
Give the deck a false shuffle (the cyclic false shuffle we learned
yesterday works well here). Follow the shuffle by cutting at the ends,
so that an indifferent card will lie at the bottom.
Wrap the deck in a paper napkin and let a woman hold it between her hands, parallel to the floor.
Hand a man a knife or handsome letter opener and have him stick it through the napkin and into the
side of the deck. Have everything put on the table.
Ask the person who chose a card to reveal it: the Three of Spades. Take the deck from which this
card was taken and spread it face up on the table, or perform a one-handed fan to show all the cards are
different. You don't state this directly, but get the point across by saying, "You have the Three of Spades,
but there are fifty-one other cards you could have chosen."
Carefully and with the utmost fairness, remove the paper napkin from the stabbed deck, then
slowly and very clearly show that the card next to the blade (above or below) is the Three of Spades. A
professional caliber card trick.

March 18--A Mathematical Control
This is a very nice control of a thought-of card. It is based on an ancient mathematical principle, magical
applications of which date back to the fifteenth century,"
Hand the deck to someone for shuffling and cutting. Taking it back, announce that in just a minute

you would like your helper to think of a card. Don't forget to add the stipulation "in just a minute"; other-
wise, she might immediately think of one.
To avoid an obvious card, like the Ace of Spades or the Seven of Hearts, being thought of, suggest ~
the following. Ask your helper to take a few cards from anywhere in the deck; but less than ten, so that
the procedure won't take too long.
Ask her to count the cards privately, while you turn away, and to remember the number. Let's
assume she has taken four. Instruct her to hide these cards on her person or under some nearby object.
Show her the faces of ten cards, one by one, asking that she remember the one that falls at her num-
ber (in our case, this is the fourth card). As you display the cards, drop each one onto the table, forming
a face-down pile. This reverses their order.
Replace the dealt cards on the deck, and then have her replace her cards on top of all. The thought-
of card is now eleventh from the top. The card can be controlled to another position by simply changing
the number of cards shown. So if you want the card sixteenth from the top, show fifteen cards; if twenti-
eth, show nineteen cards. In other words, if you show the person X cards, after reversing them, replacing
them on the deck and having the hidden cards dropped on top of all, the chosen card will be at position
X + 1 from the top.

Tomorrow I'll tell you how to make this interesting but simple principle a lot more convincing by
applying more advanced card handling and psychology.

March 19-A Not So Mathematical Control
Hand out the deck for shuffling and cutting. As this is done, taking no more than twenty seconds,
introduce the subject of numerology, and explain that playing cards and numbers have an affinity. This
catches everyone's attention and is intriguing. More important, it justifies the otherwise strange-looking
procedure of using numbers to arrive at a card.
You also need a trick that makes sense in this context. "The Happy Birthday Card Trick" from Card
§- College, Volume 5 (p. 1157) is an example, as in it there is an inherent logic of associating a card to a nurn-
1--'0 ber, since birthdays consist of numbers.
For this trick the "thought-of" card needs to be brought twenty-first from the top. To do so, use the
"Mathematical Control" explained yesterday, displaying twenty cards and ask your helper to remember
the one that falls on her number, as determined by the cards she has cut off.
Take the tabled packet and apparently insert it into the center of the deck, but push it in diagonally
and obtain a break above it.
Say that you are going to sing the birthday song for her. Start, "Happy ..." but immediately stop and
explain that she deserves it sung with a full deck. So dribble the cards until you reach the break, stop
there and have her replace her cut-off packet on top; then dribble the rest of the cards on top of all-but
catch a break above the returned packet.
Casually double cut to the break and follow up with an injog shuffle, keeping at least the top twenty-
one cards intact on top; or simply do a pass at the break.
You are now ready to sing "Happy Birthday': dealing one card for each syllable and turning up the
selection on the last beat.
This presentation has effectively reframed all procedures that would otherwise have looked mathe-
matical. Such thinking can be applied to all "self-working" principles and isa starting point for artistic magic.
BONUSTHOUGHT:To shorten the counting procedure, ask your helper to cut off "a very small
packet" (it may be as many as ten cards). This can be justified by the fact that there are twelve months.
You then count off ten cards while he notes one, reversing their order, and proceed as explained. Since
the selection ends up eleventh from the top, it can be shuttled to the twenty-first position by doing a
partial slough-off faro shuffle.

March 20--Double lift Substitute
Do a double turnover on the deck, turning the top two cards face up as one, but let them land in an out-
jogged position. After briefly displaying the double, use the same actions to turn it face down, but again
let it settle in an out jogged position.
Immediately tilt up the front end of the deck to flash the face of the out jogged double card. The next
three movements are synchronized. (1) The left forefinger pushes the double backward and square with
the deck. (2) The left hand lowers, bringing the top of the deck into view. (3) The pads of the right middle
and ring fingers contact the back of the top card, near its inner end, and pull the card toward you and
off the near end of the deck. Your right hand grasps the card and inserts it into the inner end of the deck.
That's the first phase that conditions the onlookers to the procedure. Turn up the top card, showing
rhat the buried card has magically returned to the top, and leave it out jogged on the deck, simulating the
same handling used for the double turnovers.
Turn it face down and once more leave it out jogged.
Again tip up the deck to display the face of the out jogged
card. This time, though, just before lowering your left
hand to bring the top of the deck into view, place the pads
of your right middle and ring fingers on the inner end of
the top card, and your right forefinger on the back of the
exposed portion of the card second from the top.

Then pull both cards back as your left forefinger

{t gently helps to push the out jogged card square with
t\ the deck.
Leave the top card behind on the deck as your
right hand continues back, drawing the second card
from the deck. The actions are coordinated to create
an illusion of the right hand taking the out jogged top
card, as it did in the previous sequence. Insert the right hand's indifferent card into the inner end of the
deck, push it flush, and then show it back on top, exactly as you did before.

March 21- Top Ten General Quotes
"Not further, not newer-deeper:' (Ascanio)

"I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them:' (Picasso)

"What you can do is just a drop in the ocean, but it is what gives meaning to your life." (Albert

"History teaches, but has no students." (Antonio Gramsci)

"Some roosters believe the sun rises because of them:' (Theodore Fontane)

"You are mature when you do something although your parents told you to do it:' (Unknown)

"Do something so well that people will pay to see you do it again:' (Walt Disney)

"Notions without terms are blind:' (Immanuel Kant)

"I've never heard of anybody who had any results without study, or achievements without practice:'
(Eihei Dagen)

"The perosn who doesn't make mistakes is unlikely to make anything:' (Paul Arden)

March 22-Fechter's Slide Control
OUR PURPOSE:To bring the top card to the bottom during a shuffle that apparently loses it.

METHOD:Turn the top card of the deck face up (or leave it face down, depending on the application) and
appear, quite obviously, to lose it in the deck, using this procedure:

Holding the deck in right-hand Hindu shuffle

position, draw off roughly the top third into your left
hand. Weave this packet into the outer end of the right-
hand's packet.
Release the right hand's grasp, leaving the tele-
scoped deck in left-hand elevated dealing position.

Lower the outer end of the deck until all the cards above the
~ reversed one slide from the inner packet onto the outer portion.


Immediately grasp the inner packet of the tele~

scoped deck, securing all the interlocked cards between
your right thumb and first two fingers; then draw
everything toward you, letting the loose top packet slip
off the rest and into your left palm.

Put the telescoped packet on top of this small sliding packet and spring the cards square. The face-
up card has imperceptibly been controlled to the bottom. From here it can be easily bottom palmed in
either the left or right hand in the subsequent action of squaring the deck."

March 23--Goodand Better
In Magigram,21 a renowned magic author describes the following control. Have someone peek at a card.
Maintain a break under it, per standard peek control procedure, and do a slip cut, slipping the top card,
which is a known key card, onto the packet beneath the break. Drop the other portion on top. This
places the key card directly below the peeked selection.
By adapting the key-card placement we discussed on February 13 (p. 52) we can achieve the
same result in a better way. Take the shuffled deck back and hold it in peek position. As you explain to
someone that you would like him to call stop when you riffle through the cards, glimpse the bottom
card as your key.
Have a card peeked at and retain a little-finger break above it.
Cut about half the cards above the break to the table; cut at the break and drop the packet on top
of the previous one; cut off about half the remaining cards; and finally drop the last packet on top of all,
reassembling the deck. The key card is now above the selection.
Follow with a brief overhand shuffle that doesn't separate the two cards of interest; which is easily
done, since you know they lie approximately a quarter down in the deck.
What makes the second approach better? Look at the procedure from the point of view of the
spectators. What does a spectator probably think when he sees the action of the slip cut? What does he
think when seeing the multiple cut?
Ifwe look at our sleights from the audience's perspective, we will create more deceptive techniques
and better magic.

March 24-- Ten Favorite little-Known or little-Used Sleights
Taytelbaurns Infallible Force (Oai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic by Lewis Ganson, p. 220)

Back Breaker (The Vernon Chronicles, Volume 3, by Stephen Minch, p. 37)

Jeff Semel's Pirandello False Cut (Versatile Card Magic by Frank Simon, p. 58)

Steve Drauns Fan Glimpse (Secrets Oraunfrom Underground by Richard Kaufman, p. 31)

The Steranko Move (by Jim Steranko, Genii, Vol. 27, No.3, November 1962, p. 127)

Vernon's Add-On of Palmed Cards to a Tabled Packet (see the top illustration and accompanying
text on p. 293 of Card College, Volume 2)

A Useful Acquitment (The Card Magic of LePaul by Paul Lef'aul, p. 67)

Russel Barnhardt's Fan Steal (Marlo in Spades by Edward Marlo, p. 3)

Tamariz's Study of the Mexican Turnover (Sonata by Juan Tamariz, p. 47)

Tarnarizs Perpendicular Control and Applications (Sonata, p.21)

March 25-- Tent Vanish Subtlety
This is a handling of Arthur Finley's tent vanish that you will find useful when working with a deck con-
taining two identical jokers." Get one of these to the top. The second is anywhere in the pack.
Run through the cards and openly move the second Joker from wherever it lies to the face of the
deck. Next place any freely named card over the Joker.
As you square the deck, side slip the other Joker from the rear of the deck into right-hand classic
palm. (A good way of covering this palm is to take a card already in use, such as an Ambitious Card, and
ask someone to place it on the face of the deck, over the Joker there.)

With the Joker palmed, use your right hand to raise

the card on the face of the deck into tent position.

Now apparently take this card into your right palm, but in
reality put the palmed Joker over the raised card and let both
drop onto the face of the deck, where the left finger pads guide
them square.
Move your right hand away from the deck, holding the
hand somewhat cramped, as if awkwardly palming the card.
This is the usual tent-vanish feint. Since the duplicate Joker is
seen on the face of the deck, it further supports the idea that
the raised card is in your right hand.
Blow on the right palm and slowly turn it toward the audience, at the same time opening the fingers
to disclose the vanish.


March 26-Double Undercut Control

The double undercut" is a brilliant, relatively easy and versatile technique. There are, though, good and
bad applications. If you show a card on top, and then apparently lose it with a double undercut, any
intelligent spectator will interpret your actions as your having cut the deck and then recut it, undoing
the first cut.
To make this or any similar situation convincing, you need either to cut only once (see "Marlo's Bluff
Cut" back on February 27, p. 66) or to do a triple or multiple undercut. If,on the other hand, you are
holding a break in the center and double undercut to it, that is acceptable; for even though the spectator
might think you nullified the cut, this wouldn't explain how you got a card from the center to the top.
Nonetheless, the procedure is not free of conceptual inelegance.
After years of trial and error, here is what I believe is the most deceptive way of using the double
undercut for a card control. Overhand shuffle the deck, doing it in the space between you and the spec-
tators where you will perform the next action.
Have a card selected in whatever manner you wish, but the handling must match the style in which
you have the card returned. You could dribble the cards into your left hand and have a card taken when
stop is called; then have it replaced, using the dribble break" as your"means of control. You now hold a
break above the selection (or below it, if you wish to control the card to the bottom).
Wait, relax and say a few things pertinent to the effect as you withdraw from the space in which you
earlier shuffled the cards. "Let's mix the cards a bit to make sure we can't know where your card is."With a
double undercut, bring the card to the top.
Now move back into the space you have previously established as the place where shuffling the
cards occurs, and immediately do an overhand shuffle, during which you may retain the card on top,
deliver it to the bottom, or to any position near the top or bottom.
Ending your series of actions with a shuffle causes your spectators to remember that you simply
shuffled the deck, and makes them forget the preceding cuts. Also, by saying "mix the cards" as you do
the double undercut, the action flows conceptually into the shuffle, and the whole will be perceived and
remembered as mixing and shuffling the cards.
After any control, it is always advisable to glimpse the card, just in case you later lose it, or if some-
one demands to shuffle the cards. (Thankfully, most people are polite and rarely do.) Managed in this
fashion, I believe the double undercut is as good a control as any, and a lot easier and safer than many.

March 27--- The Ten Most Underestimated Tricks
If you want to experience the pleasure of discovering or rediscovering pearls of magic, check out:

1. Dai Vernon's "Mental Card Miracle" (Stars of Magic, p.80)

2. Slydini's "One Coin Routine" (Nathanson's Slydini Encores, p. 35; and Fulvess The Best of Slydini
and More, p.70)

3. "The Vernon Poker Demonstration" (Ganson's Dai Vernon Book of Magic, p.223)

4. "Dai Vernon's "Berg Knot Variation" (Pallbearers Review, Close-Up Folio, No. 7, 1977, p. 993)

5. Eddie Fields's "Miracle Coins to the Pocket" (miscredited to Glenn Harrison in Bobos New Mod-
ern Coin Magic, p. 168)

6. The original version of Dai Vernon's "Travelers" (Stars of Magic, p. 97)

7. "All Backs" (Vernon's routine in Hugard and Braues Expert Card Technique, third ed, p. 459; or
Elmsley's routine in Ganson's Routined Manipulation Finale, p. 193; or Cervons routine in Minch's
Ultra Cervon, p.33)

8. "The Nap Hand Deal" (various)

9. "The Sponge and Bowl Routine" (my routine for Benson's Bowl, Roberto Giobbi Taped Live! At
the 7th British Close-up Magic Symposium, 2001.)

10. "Six-Card Repeat"


March 28-Fan Control

Have the deck shuffled and cut. Then, as you take it back and hold it in dealing position, form a left little-
finger break somewhere near center.

Convert the break into a step and make a two-handed fan." You can
clearly see the step at the inner and outer left corners of the cards. Once
you acquire the knack, the size of the step can be the width of a white
border or less.

Run your right forefinger from left to right along

the crest of the fan until someone calls stop. Pull back
the cards at this point and ask the person to remember
the card exposed.

If you time the forefinger's motion correctly, you can force the stepped card. Should you fail in this,
it's an easy matter to eye-count how many cards the selection lies from the stepped card. It will be only a
few cards to the left or right of the step. Remember this position in relationship to the step.
Close the fan from right to left and delay the control by placing the deck onto the table for a moment.
When you pick it up again, the step will still be there. Either cut to it or do a pass. The selection is now at
the position remembered from the top or the bottom and can easily be brought to any spot required.
An extension of this idea is to glimpse the card at the step and use it as a key card. Now you can
genuinely square the deck after closing the fan, and even give it a short overhand shuffle, or have some-
one else do this with little risk of the cards separating.

March 29-Benefits of Practicing Magic
We need no particular reason to do what we enjoy doing, and what feels good and brings satisfaction;
but if you have ever wondered what the benefits of practicing magic as a hobby or profession might be,
~ $""#~ ': Iff ~ ~
here is a (certainly incomplete) list:

Q ,1"'t'

, ,C:; * It stimulates creativity in a playful environment.

* It arouses curiosity as the basis for knowledge.
* It improves problem-solving skills.
* It requires multi-tasking skills.
* It encourages inter-personal communication and social interaction. Dai Vernon used to say, "In
magic you get insight into how people think by the way they react. Character comes out when
people watch magic:'
* It establishes self-confidence.
* It develops fine motor skills.
* It trains you to look at a situation from the other's point of view.
* It activates various brain functions.
* It leads to achievements, such as mastering a sleight and coming up with a presentation, that
create true personal satisfaction and build character.
* It develops lateral-thinking skills.
* It trains interdisciplinary thinking by getting one in touch with other important disciplines, such
as theater, film, history, psychology, communication, philosophy, the natural sciences, math-
ematics and much more.
* It is an excellent way to attain uniqueness.
* It teaches conceptual thinking; that is, that each action and word is part of a larger idea, and
vice versa.
* It provides the ability to stand in front of small and large groups of people and give a talk.
* It teaches how to cope with the fear and pressures of success.
* It leads to receiving applause as a reward for a performance, an experience uncommon in other
human endeavors.

* It trains the mind in general, keeping it fit and preventing it from aging.
* It can be picked up at any point in life and at any age, since many good tricks require commu-
nicative and interpretative skills, intelligence and psychological know-how, rather than difficult
* Simple magic can be appreciated across language and cultural barriers (which cannot be said of
most comedy, film and theater; unless translated).
* You meet people from all walks of life (young-old, male-female, rich-poor, rough-refined, uned-
ucated-academic) who have one passion in common.
* It stimulates intuition.
* It trains logical thinking.
* It teaches you how to transform abstract instructions from written lessons into actions, and it
automatically stimulates personal interpretation.
* It teaches you how to cope with unexpected situations, how to recover from mistakes and how
to handle difficult people.
* It teaches you how to follow rules and how to break them, how to organize your emotions and
to discipline your thoughts and ideas.
* It allows you to strive regularly to your limits-and to overcome them.
* The world of play in general, and the world of magic in particular, are a reflection of the real
world. The better you can play, the better your chances to succeed effortlessly and deftly in the
real world.
* It refines the senses and teaches an appreciation of other crafts and arts.
* It ideally balances rationality, intuition and creativity, all equally required when conceiving,
practicing and performing; which in turn stimulate different and important cerebral areas.
* It is an ideal, playful and motivating means of developing all the above mentioned characteris-
tics on a daily basis.
* Mastering difficult tricks and sleights gives special pleasure and happiness. Dai Vernon main-
tained that to achieve anything is a great pleasure.
* It has the attraction of practicing a nonconformist hobby.
* It is a way to define yourself.
* It is an original means of self-expression.


March 30---Cover for the Top Change
This is a cover for the classic top change and is very effective if used only once in a performance. It seems
to be obvious and has been mentioned previously in the literature, but I've never seen a detailed write-
up. So here's how to do it correctly.
Display the face of the card in your right hand and, as you do, feign a very weak cough. This will
begin to draw the audience's attention up to your face. As you lightly cough, turn the card face down,
parallel to the floor, and simultaneously turn your head politely aside to your right. Let your body natu-
rally follow this movement, making a small turn. This brings the deck in left-hand dealing position beside
the right hand's card.
Cough a second time and immediately execute the top change as you raise your left hand and put
the back of the hand over your mouth to cover a third and final cough. Synchronized with this action
your head turns a bit further to the right, but you maintain your body's position.
Look at the audience as you turn fully to the front and let your left hand drop back to its original
position. Make a one-word apology, resume the action you intended with the right hand's card before
the cough interrupted you and explain that you "swallowed the wrong way".
This cover can also be managed with only a single light cough.

March 31--After the Break
Here's a bit of expert card handling you may use whenever you want to
delay the use of a break.
With the deck in face-down dealing position and with your left little
finger holding a break, grasp all the cards above the break in right-hand end
grip and dribble them back onto the left-hand portion, letting the first few
cards fall injogged. To achieve this subtly, hold the right hand's packet at a
slight angle before beginning the dribble.
As soon as all the right hand's cards have been released, use that hand
to grip the unsquared deck at its sides and dribble all the cards onto the
table. Seeing this done makes the audience assume you also dribbled the
complete deck the first time, when you held it by its ends.
Now comes a little convincer. With your right hand, grasp the deck at its sides and lightly slap it on
the table a little forward of its former position. The deck can now rest there, delaying the control.
When you're ready to gain control of the card again, use your right hand to pick up the deck by its
sides and place it into left-hand dealing position.
Give the deck a little forward shake, making it butt against the pad of the left forefinger. This restores
the injog.
As you raise the deck to elevated dealing position, push in and lift with your right thumb on the
lowest of the injogged cards, obtaining a break that you transfer to your left little finger when you lower
the deck back to normal dealing position. You have your break as before and can proceed, according to
the requirements of your trick.

Aprill-An Essential library
Illusion Show by David Bamberg; Memoirs oj Robert-Houdin by Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin

The Expert at the Card Table by S. W. Erdnase (or better yet, Revelation by Dai Vernon);). N. HoJzin-
ser's Card Conjuring by Ottokar Fischer; Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets oj Card Magic series (four books)
by Lewis Ganson; Card College, Volumes 7-5 and the Card College Light Series (three books) by yours
truly; Greater Magic by John Northern Hilliard; Expert Card Technique by Hugard and Braue

Stars oj Magic; The Dai Vernon Book oj Magic and The Art oJ Close-up Magic (two volumes) by Lewis
Ganson; The Magic oj Michael Ammar by Michael Ammar

Introduction to Coin Magic by Shigeo Futagawa; The New Modern Coin Magic by J. B. Bobo; Coin-
Magic and David Roth's Expert Coin Magic by Richard Kaufman

Encyclopedic Dictionary oj Magic and Who's Who in Magic by Bart Whaley


The Tarbell Course in Magic (eight volumes) by Harlan Tarbell (Volume 7 by Harry Lorayne)

Annemann: The Life and Times oj a Legend by Max Abrams; Thirteen Steps to Mentalism by Tony
Corinda; Mind, Myth & Magick by T. A. Waters
The Magic oj Ascanio (four volumes) by Arturo de Ascanio; anything by Juan Tamariz; Showmanship
Jor Magicians and Magic by Misdirection by Dariel Fitzkee; Card College, Volume 2, by me again; Magic
and Showmanship by Henning Nelms; Strong Magic and Designing Miracles by Darwin Ortiz

Some of these texts are available as e-books at


April 2-Controlled Control

This control brings a chosen card, which is replaced during an overhand shuffle, to a desired position
from the bottom.
Let's assume we want to control the selection to the seventh position from the bottom. To keep the
nature of the selection process as similar as possible to that of the replacement, start an overhand shuffle
and ask someone to call stop whenever she likes.
Stop the shuffle when she commands it and ask her to take the last card shuffled off-the top card
of those in your left hand. As soon as she has done that, finish the shuffle.
While your helper is looking at the card and showing it around, start another overhand shuffle, shuf-
fling off about half the deck; then injog a card, mentally counting "one': run five more (counting "two,
three, four, five, six") and stop the shuffle. As a rule, simply count one number less than the position to
which you want to bring the card.

Invite your helper to replace her card on top of those in your left hand. As soon as she has done this,
cleanly shuffle off the right hand's remaining cards.
Undercut below the injog and shuffle off. The selection is now seventh from the bottom of the deck.


Aprill-A Red-Black False Riffle Shuffle
On page 44 of The Expert at the Card Table you'll find the "Combination Riffleand Cuts': a technique used
to control either a top or bottom stock during a series of riffle shuffles and running cuts." It occurred
to me that if you consider half the deck as a bottom stock, almost the same dynamics can be applied
to keep a deck with its colors separated intact. That is, the position and order of the bottom stock is
retained, while the top stock is mixed, but this mixing doesn't affect the separation of the colors, or of
any other two categories (odd and even, half a memorized deck, etc.).
Let's assume the black cards are on top, and the red on bottom. Start a running cut, cutting less than
half the deck (most of the black cards) onto the table and setting the balance on top.
With your right fingers, square the cards, but maintain a left thumb break between the cards just
run and the rest of the deck.
Undercut the run cards to the right and do a Zarrow shuffle, slipping the right portion (all black
cards) into the few black cards left on top of the left-hand portion. Square.
Cut slightly less than half the deck from the top to the right and start a riffle shuffle by dropping
the cards from the right portion first. Finish the shuffle with the release of the last few cards from the
left portion.
Now do Dai Vernon's Triumph shuffle." But instead of stripping out the cards and putting them on
top, use a running cut action.
If you combine the three elements just described (running cut-Zarrow shuffle-Triumph shuffle
with subsequent running cut), you have one of the most deceptive red-black shuffles I know. This will
fool even an expert who catches your false shuffles, since the honest running cuts will throw him off.

April4--Self ..Criticism

Imagine that in five days a renowned magician is going

to look at your performance and discuss it with you.

What would you change now?

You will be amazed if you accept the challenge of this

little exercise. But you must throughout the process
believe the visit is really happening.

April 5--0ut of Proportion
Place seven coins, ranging from a silver dollar to a penny in a row. Duplicate sized coins are allowed, but
you need as many sizes as you can manage. If you don't live in the USA, substitute your own coinage.
Nearly every country has five to seven coins of different sizes. Here are seven such Swiss coins.

Ask someone, "Which of these coins, if stood on edge, matches the height of all the other coins when
they are stacked up?" Make sure to explain this dearly but briefly, illustrating your meaning by standing
one of the larger coins on edge and then pantomiming piling the other coins up to form an imaginary pile
much higher than that really achievable. These actions and your words will normally cause your victim to
choose a coin that is far too large. Try it yourself before you read further.
It's quite amazing, but the correct solution is the smallest coin. The
mind's eye is incredibly inaccurate when it comes to comparing hori-
zontal and vertical distances-and other things too, but that's another
story, a long one.
A practical suggestion Ron Wohl gave me, is to put the necessary coins into a small purse, so that
you have all the coins you need whenever you want to present this deceptive puzzle. This avoids your
having to look for the proper coins or having to ask for them. In this purse you can carry a few more coins
or props for other puzzles and tricks, making it a "multipurpose puzzle purse".

April6--Si Stebbins/Galasso
The most popular full-deck stack in history is also the oldest (if you discount new-deck order). Com-
monly called the Si Stebbins stack, it was recorded as early as 1593 by Horatio Galasso.
Shortcuts have been suggested to arrange a deck in Si Stebbins-Galasso order. All those I know
require that you separate the cards first into the four suits and arrange each of these into numeric order,
or that you start from new-deck order and use either a gathering procedure or two faro shuffles .
In my opinion, it is just as fast to take a randomly shuffled deck, spread it widely on the table, pick
out one card after another, in the desired sequence, and place them into a face-up pile. Not only does this
allow you to repeat the order as you create it-which
in a few weeks-it
is especially useful if you haven't used the system
also permits you to practice the important skill of spotting a card quickly in a shuffled
deck, a technique you'll find useful in many circumstances.
By the way, instead of adding increments of three, use increments of four. This works just the same

and throws off all those familiar with the best-known form of the arrangement.

iJ 26-My Epitaph


April 8-- Triumph for Okito

Here's a pretty alternative for the final righting sequence used in Dai Vernon's 'Triumph';" I saw it done
many years ago in Madrid by Gabriel Moreno, a great card virtuoso.
The situation after the Triumph shuffle is this: On top of the deck there is one face-down card (the
selection); below that is about half the deck face up; then about half the deck face down.
Due to the natural bridge, it's an easy matter to obtain a break between the back-to-hack portions
in the approximate center of the deck.
As you grasp the deck in right-hand end grip, push the
top portion about the width of a white border to the right,
and curl the outer phalanx of the right little finger until its pad
touches the underside of the upper packet (which is a back).
You will now drop the deck into your left hand, which you
hold about eight inches below the right hand, and in doing so
you will apply the turnover principle used in Okito Box work to Step exaggerated
make the top portion flip over. To make this happen, release the for clarity in
lower portion a fraction of a second before you drop the upper an underview

one. This tiny delay creates the required space for the upper packet to flip over as it trips around your right
little finger and performs a half revolution before landing an instant later on the lower portion.
Correctly done, the revolution can't be seen. Of course, it helps when the deck looks the same after
it has been dropped as it did before.
Ifyou now spread the cards, they are all face down except for the selection near the middle.
Instead of side-jogging the top portion, you may also hold an Erdnase break between the portions.
The right little finger will still cause the desired revolution.


April 9--Upside"Oown Lady
This is a relatively well-known optical illusion, discovered by Peter Thompson, a scientist who special-
izes in the study of vision. The little story that I use to accompany it was provided by my dear friend
Roy Heath, and is included with his permission. It adds the little touch needed to make it a worthwhile
conversation piece and ice-breaker.
((Last week I had an engagement where I worked with a gorgeous lady trapeze artist. When she per-
formed, I kept looking up at her and thought she was an amazing beauty. Don't you think so?" Show a
photograph of a smiling face turned upside down. "However, when she came down I was infor a surprise!"
Turn the photograph end for end and the smiling face turns ugly.

You can make such a novel photo for yourself with Photoshop by simply taking any suitable photo-
graph and turning eyes and mouth upside down in place; or simply photocopy the photo on this page.

April 1O--Critique and Reviews
The famous German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki once commented, "When you write about other
people you cannot help also writing about yourself."
Without a sincere love for magic there is no criticism.
The legendary British dramatist George Bernard Shaw refused many requests for him to write book
reviews. In one instance, though, he tells us that circumstances forced him into doing one. Since he didn't
particularly like the work, he wrote: "The book is good and original. However, the good part is not origi-
nal, and the original part is not good." When I related this quote to a close friend, he said he knew of a few
magic books this review would fit perfectly.

April ll--Cards and Coins-and a Plot
Whenever you use a trick with cards and coins, try this prologue: "With many card games you can win
money-or lose it. Whichever happens, one thing is certain: Cards attract money-and vice versa. Let me
demonstrate how far this can go."
With these simple words you can introduce practically any trick using cards and coins, such as a coin
assembly. Just three sentences can create a plot or a theme. Both are essential elements of any artistic
performance. Even if you use no further verbal narrative, the performance has been set to a higher level
and now transcends a mere demonstration of skill, which is what, unfortunately, most performances
never rise above.
Telling a story can be nice, if you have a good one and know how to tell it; but most of us don't, so
let's leave this to professional storytellers. However, anyone can say something intelligent and fitting to
start and to end. (A simple comment to close the circle could be: 'Take itfrom me-never play cards for
money.") All that is necessary now is to have an excellent trick done well. That's more originality than one
usually sees these days.


April 12--Psychological Meaning of Magic for a Spectator

German psychologist Lutz Muller believes that people like to attend magic performances because:

"I assume that magic appeals to and stimulates a specific part of these people, which they have
excluded from their conscious, rational and down-to-earth life. In a magic performance they are allowed
to surrender once again to the creative child inside themselves, to the miraculous, the supernatural, the
surreal, without being accused of being irrational. Here they can dream within an undisturbed environ-
ment their dream after unrestricted power, the immediate and easy satisfaction of their needs and the
confident solution of any kind of problem, obtained with the help of secret knowledge and magical
incantations. Not only are the fantasies of greatness satisfied that lie dormant within most adults, but
also the need for transboundary irrationality and transpersonality,
experience of a piece of magic the spectator encounters
maybe even religiousness. With the
the inconceivable, that which is beyond the

boundaries of his knowledge and understanding:'
(From Lutz Muller's Para, Psi und Pseudo, Germany, 1980, p. 135.)

Aprilll-Complex Conjuring
In the fractal you see below (also called a Mandelbrot set, after its creator; French mathematician Benoit
Mandelbrot), the design of the whole is repeated in the partial, which in its turn consists of other partials
that repeat the whole, and so on, ad infinitum. Long before Mandelbrot created fractals as a basis for chaos
theory, the Chinese seemed to have known this, as they said, "In every small world, there is a big world."
I look at magic as a faceted diamond, every facet having a connection to a discipline of life. Magic
has a rich history and fascinating biographies. It relates to all arts, but especially to surrealism, theater and
film. It contains presentation and communication, science and mathematics, psychology and philoso-
phy, creation and interpretation.
Since magic needs to deceive the way we think, every subject in which the thinking of man is stud-
ied and expressed connects to magic-you name it and you'll find it in magic.
I believe that if you study and understand magic thoroughly, or anyone subject of life for that mat-
ter; you will also be able to understand disciplines you haven't studied; sometimes better than those who
claim to understand them. And the study of subjects outside magic will lead to more insights into magic.

April 14--Structure and Chaos
Structures are chaotic, and chaos is structured. Free flowing, creative thinking is not opposed to struc-
tured, orderly, scientific thinking. They go hand in hand.
When I try to put down thoughts or even an entire discipline, such as categorizing all the tricks in
card magic, I start to become creative. And when I think and practice in an apparently unorganized way,
I'm reminded that everything somehow fits into an existing framework.
It is very similar to writing down what you think. As you write, the thinking process is stimulated
and encouraged in a disciplined and focused way. As you write, new thoughts form and make what
you're trying to write clearer.
Structure and chaos can intertwine. Are these the two sides of the creative medal?

April 15--What Is a Good Trick?
"There are no bad tricks, just bad performers."

Although this belief has been repeated many times over many decades in written and spoken form, I
disagree. There are lots of bad tricks, nowadays more than ever before.
A good way to know a good trick is to apply what Tamariz calls "the criterion of Carlyle": The spec-
tator must be able to tell what the magician did-usually in one or two sentences. "He made her float
in the air; and then she disappeared:' "He made four coins penetrate a solid table top." "The card I had
previously signed suddenly vanished and reappeared in an envelope inside his wallet:'
It is improbable you'll ever hear a layperson say, "He shuffled and cut the deck in some fancy ways,
and each time a King appeared. Then the four Kings transformed into four Aces that had been set aside.
After having three cards chosen and shuffled back into the deck, the Aces were put in next and caught
the three selections between them. The Aces turned out to have red backs while the deck was blue, but
then the deck changed to rainbow backs, and when he showed the rest of the cards all the faces had van-
ished and were blank. To top this, he surprised us by making a coin appear under each Ace and explained
that no one wanted to play cards with him, but he didn't care, since he had already got the money. What
a great punch line."

April 16--Commerce Versus Art
Commerce is about taking. You take more money, more market shares, more work, more customers,
more frequent turnover, more profit, more power, ete.
Art is about giving and communicating with an audience, experiencing something unique with them.
The artist shares passion, emotions and ideas. He invites the spectators to join him in his "life workshop"
and shares his work with them.
I don't believe artistic entertainment is primarily about making people forget their daily worries, as
I've heard and read so often, especially from professional magicians. While it may very well do that, it is
more about seducing spectators to immerge fully into the conjurer's fantastic world, to experience pre-
tended miracles as if they were true.
The experience may be dramatic or humorous, depending on the performer's style and taste, and
it provides the audience with a new way to access their emotions and their mental universes, to live a
dream; but in a much more realistic way than when they read a novel or watch a movie or see a play,
because things appear to happen in a real way rather than as make-believe. Then they are gently con-
ducted back to their everyday existence, but are enriched with emotions and ideas that might allow
them to face life more creatively. They may even approach an occasional problem with more confidence.
Ifall this is done by an inspired, skilled and communicative magician, the audience will be captivated
and fascinated.

April 17=-On Taking Notes
I highly recommend that you immediately write down good ideas; otherwise, they are quickly forgotten.
I make it a point of carrying a small, flexible notebook with me, one that fits in a shirt or shorts pocket.
At home I transfer the notes as soon as possible to larger notebooks.
In my experience I've found it advisable to make as detailed a note as possible in the first place.
What seems very clear at the instant of conception will not be so a few days later.
All this said, we should note more of our own thoughts than those of others, and believe in them
. and act accordingly.

April 18--Magic and Gambling
A question every performing magician hears sooner or later is if he gambles. Here's what past master
Jimmy Grippo answered:
"I don't play with strangers or in casinos because, if I win, people think I did it with trickery. If I lose,
those who just saw me perform miracles before their eyes all of a sudden decide I can't be so very good
after all if I can't win gambling. Therefore, I can't afford to lose and I can't afford to win:' 30

April 19-Mnemonics at the Gym
With this method you will be able to train your body as well as your mind-at least that part of your
mind that deals with your memorized deck.
Most physical exercises need to be done in three sets of fifteen, totaling forty-five repetitions.
Rather than counting three times to fifteen, recite the mnemonic order of your memorized deck. For
the first set, you recite the first fifteen cards of the arrangement. For the second set you recite Cards 16
to 30; and for the third set, Cards 31 to 45. As you relax, recite the remaining seven cards. Then repeat
for the next set.

April20-Advice from the Masters

Strive each time when learning a difficult sleight
to do it a little better.*

* Dr. Elliott to Dai Vernon (recorded in Genii, Vol. 50, No. 10, Apri1198~ p. 707)

April 21---Dai Vernon at the Magic Castle
InDecember of 2002, Johnny Thompson told me about this act that Dai Vernon performed at the Magic
Castle-one of many, I assume.

"Chinese Classic" using one odd coin (The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, p. 41)
"Winged Silver" (Select Secrets, p. 27)
"Expansion of Texture" (The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, p. 108) followed by a copper-silver transposi-
tion in the hand of a spectator (as shown in his lectures)
"Leipzig's Opener" aka Matching the Cards" (Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card Magic, p. 22)

The Ambitious Card, using the Ace of Spades, which had been the prediction card in the previous trick
(see Dai Vernon's exquisite and highly intelligent "Ambitious Card" routine in Stars of Magic, p.76)
"Color-Changing Pack': after having performed a deck switch (Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card
Magic, p. 25)

April 1989


April 22-A Frivolous Stack

For those among my readers who are still looking for a good stack to use in card work and have not yet
been able to make up their minds, here's an order with the associated mnemonic cues that might moti-
vate you to start practicing:

Eight (8) Kings (King) Threatened (3, 10) To (2) Save (7)
Five (5) Young (Jack) Ladies (Queen)
For (4) a (Ace) Sixty (6) Nine (9).

April 23-How Real is Reality?
A photographer once criticized Picasso: "With your paintings one can hardly see what they are about.
The faces are square and the parts of the body are out of line. I, as a photographer, on the other hand,
photograph everything exactly as it is:'
Picasso asked the photographer if he had a photograph with him, whereupon the photographer
proudly showed Picasso the picture of his wife. "This is my wife, and she appears exactly as she is."
Picasso looked at it pensively, and then said, "She's rather small, isn't she:'

April 24-Make it Shorter
Sometimes-an interview, a television appearance, a trade show, etc.-it will be necessary to make the
presentation of a trick shorter. Rather than speaking and acting faster, try to analyze what the effect is,
and then reduce its presentation to the essential features. This approach can make any trick a better one .


April 25~Juan Tamariz and His Teachers
In one of our many conversations, Juan Tamariz told me about his four teachers and what he learned
from them:
JUANANT6N: Magic is communication.
ARTURODEASCANIOy NAVAZ:Magic is a deep and complex art based on specific laws.
jost FRAKSON:Magic is to transmit love, to live passion.
DAIVERNON:Magic is also a science, which needs to be continually explored. You will only become
good if you devote your life to it.

April 26-My Epitaph

April 27 =-Thcughts on Del Ray
Unfortunately, I never saw Del Ray perform live. But I can vividly remember, when visiting Max Maven
in Hollywood in the early 1980s, his showing me a videotape of Del Ray performing. Here is one of the
effects I saw him do, and at that time I had no idea how he did it.

An audience member shuffled and cut the deck. Another was asked to name a poker hand,
and he chose a full house. A third person decided how many hands were to be dealt and to
which player the winning hand should go. Del Ray dealt the deck just as it was given to him-
and sure enough, just as had been asked, the fourth player in a six-handed game got a full
house, Aces over Kings.

Iwas speechless. Here is what Iwrote in my notebook afterward: "Make it lookas ifyou could do anything
at any time. Don't simply take out a prop, start, do the trick, and then put it away. Make it just 'happen'.
Make it look as if one thing leads to the other. Give choices to the spectators during the performance:
magic according to the situation. This is also a good way to communicate and to involve spectators. Pro-
voke situations by strategies of verbal and body language, where the spectator has to react in a certain
way predetermined by you:'

April 28--Dealing Procedure in Gambling Demonstrations
Let's say you have to deal five hands of five cards each.
You can do this by sailing the cards, but that takes a high degree of precision. Or you can deal them
directly in front of the (usually imagi nary) players.
The larger a mat or performing surface you use, the nicer it looks. However, the distance you have
to move your hands to reach the point where the cards are placed loses precious seconds; and dealing
twenty-five cards is very time-consuming.
To save time, deal the hands close to each other, right in front of you, at the center of the table. Once
all the hands have been completed, slide them in front of each imagined player. This takes just a few sec-
onds and can be covered by a brief comment. (This tip comes from David Malek, on his excellent DVD
Cheating at Texas Hold'em-Essentials, and is included with his kind permission.)

April 29--Defining Magic
How would you define magic, in the sense of theatrical conjuring? Before reading further, try to formu-
late your own concise definition. Afterward, read this list of definitions by some famous magicians:
"Magic is the art of entertaining by the performance of feats which appear to be contrary to natural
laws." (Jean Hugard)
"Magic consists in creating, by misdirection of the senses, the mental impression of supernatural
agency at work." (John Nevil Maskelyne)
"Magic is the illusion which is created when a series of natural movements apparently causes an
unnatural, or magical, result:' (Jean Hugard)
"Conjuring, legerdemain and prestidigitation are the accomplishment of the seemingly impossible
by natural means:' (Paul Curry in Magician's Magic, 1965, p. 11.)
"A magician is one who provides entertainment through mystification, doing so in a light, good-
natured, and impish way:' (Jon Racherbaumer in his Lecture Notes 1, 1976, p. 1.)
"The art that purports to control or forecast effects or forces by invoking the supernatural. The
exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for entertainment:' (Howard Hamburg in Limited Edition,
2009, p. 1]
"Magic isthe aesthetic exploration of mystery." (Max Maven in the documentary An Honest Deceiver)
"Magic is a love affair in Wonderland:' (Lennart Green)
"The theatrical linking of a cause with an effect that has no basis in physical reality, but that-in our
hearts-ought to." (Teller)
"Magic is the art of transformation:' (Jeff McBride)
"Magic is the art of making the impossible logical:' "Magic is the logic of the impossible:' (Jean-
Jacques Sanvert)
"Magic expresses the magician's interior world by means of a language. It transmits in an uncon-
scious way the realization of the impossible desires of humanity:' (Juan Tamariz)
"Magic is the art of affecting changes in consciousness at will."(Unknown)
"Magic is about our deep desire to transform the everyday into something fantastic:' (Jeff McBride)
Short version for the dictionary: "Conjuring is the theatrical art of wonder:' (Roberto Giobbi)
Expanded version: "Conjuring isthe theatrical art of wonder obtained through complex means using
natural science, psychology, drama, specific principles and digital dexterity." (Roberto Giobbi)

April 30--Better Magic-Better Magician


One doesn't become a better magician because

one knows a better trick or more tricks than
someone else, but because one has understood
and interpreted a trick better than someone else.

May l--My Birthday-A Biographical Bit
"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in." So wrote Gra-
ham Green in The Power and the Glory in 1940.
Having been at the time of this writing (2010) involved in magic for over forty years and a professional
magician, author and lecturer for more than twenty of those, this moment is still very clear in my memory:
I was a lad of fourteen, a bit withdrawn and shy. Consequently, I had a great interest in books. Iwent to the
public library once a week to feed my literary hunger, which was mainly for crime stories and adventure fic-
tion. A few of my favorite authors were Karl May, Astrid Lindgren, Fennimore Cooper, Robert L.Stevenson.
Ialso had an interest in the sciences, which fascinated me but which I never really understood. Iwas
never able, for instance, to build a transistor radio, something smart boys of my age could do. Nor could I

• understand why words could travel in waves through the air. Early on, though, Ideveloped a strong desire
to understand the system and terminology behind any activity.
Sports were another interest, and I,taught myself table tennis and martial arts, among others. Right
next to sports on the library shelves was the games section, and there the door swung open on magic,
my future. I took a book off the shelf titled Grosse Zauberschule (The Great School of Magic).
The front page showed a hand holding four red and blue billiard balls.
And lighting struck-with such unprecedented force, it changed my life. From then to now is a
long story, which lone day might tell. In their original German editions, my Card College books are called
Grosse Kartenschule (The Great School of Cards), from which you will recognize the implied homage.
Looking back, I now recognize that conjuring offered a perfect balance between fiction and science,
the two subjects Iwas so interested in during my youth and still am; and that might be one of the reasons
it so appealed to me.
As a curiosity, I will mention that the author of Grosse Zauoerschuie, Werner Waldmann, was
expelled from the Magischer Zirkel von Deutschland (the Magic Circle of Germany) for having exposed
magic secrets in a book for the public. I'm glad he did, though, or today I might be a priest, a piano player,
a psychiatrist or....

May 2-- Tilt to the Hilt
Here's a good use of Dai Vernon's depth illusion (aka tilt) in the context of an Ambitious Card effect and
using a ploy published in August Roterberg's 1897 classic text, New Era Card Tricks, and found in many
modern beginners' books.
Have the Eight of Diamonds and Six of Clubs on top of the deck. Once you understand the principle,
you may proceed from a shuffled deck.
Spread the cards with their faces toward you and upjog the Eight of Clubs and the Six of Diamonds:
the same values as the two top cards, but with the suits reversed. Show these two cards for about two
seconds: 'f\n Eight and a Six, clubs and diamonds"
Look up and say, "They are very special. Do you know why?/I The question will cause a bit of confusion
and acts as interference in the audience's immediate short-term memory.
"Because, if you put them in the center of the deck, you merely have to snap your fingers and they come
back to the top" Do precisely what you say, closely simulating the actions used when executing tilt. Then
turn the Eight of Diamonds and Six of Clubs face up on the deck and leave them there.
Immediately offer to repeat the feat, leaving no time for your audience to discuss any discrepancy.
The clarity of the second phase will retroactively reframe the first phase and cancel doubt, should there
be any.
"The Eight and the Six, diamonds and clubs back on top"
Push the Eight of Diamonds off the deck and into your right hand, and turn it face down. In this act,
your left thumb also pushes the Six of Clubs slightly to the right and immediately pulls it back while your
left little finger obtains a break beneath it. Let this break open along the inner end of the deck, creating
a tilt gap.
Apparently insert the Eight of Diamonds face down into the center of the deck, but actually slide it
under the tilted face-up Six of Clubs. Square the cards.
Repeat with the Six of Clubs, inserting it under the tilted Eight of Diamonds. Show the two cards
back on top."

May 3--Another Card Production
Although this is just a minor variation on a well-known production, it offers a welcome change, espe-
cially in a series of productions.
The card to be produced-let's assume it is an Ace-is on the bottom of the deck. The right hand
holds the deck face down in end grip.
Place the tip of your left forefinger on the inner left
corner of the deck and start to pivot out a central block,
swinging it clockwise around the outer phalanx of your
right middle finger. Point out that you are cutting a packet
from the center, as this will add to the conviction that the

• card about to be produced comes from the center of the

deck. The tip of your left thumb should touch the face of
the bottom Ace near its inner left index corner.

Continue the left hand's movement, but simultane-

ously drag the Ace with it.

Continue the swiveling movement, pressing

slightly upward with the left thumb. This will result
in the Ace popping over and being trapped face up
between the left thumb and the left-hand packet.
Move the left hand forward and deal the Ace face up onto the table. Replace the left hand's cards
on top of the right's, which preserves the bottom stock, if there is one.

ay 4-Four Ace Production
Here's an elegant and easy way to produce the four Aces.

Each hand holds half the deck in end grip, while

the Aces lie on the top and bottom of each packet. Both
hands perform a side glide motion, drawing the bottom
Aces to the sides (related to the action of the Ovette-Kelly
Master Move).

Rest the little finger of each hand on the

back of its respective bottom Ace. Straighten
the middle, ring and little fingers of both hands
and the Aces will appear face up, clipped
between the little fingers, on the back, and the
middle and ring fingers on the face.

Drop the Aces and the packets onto the table.

As the hands leave the packets, they pick up their
respective top cards and snap them simultane-
ously face up.

This is not only pretty, it also ends with a loud double-snap, giving it an effective extra feature: a
sharp sound.

May S--One ..Liners
There is a collection of Picasso drawings that he called one-liners. These are drawings where he placed
the tip of the pencil on a sheet of paper and started drawing without ever lifting the pencil tip. What
a lovely idea, and what beautiful drawings. You can find a nice selection of these in Picasso's One-Liners
(Workman Publishing Company: New York, 1997). My favorite is the rooster on page 48.
Is there a way to use this idea in magic? Perhaps, after having shown a sample and explained the
idea, you perform a short sequence using one single movement of the hands, or both?
Or maybe you perform something accompanied by one long sentence?



May 6-Lapping Elmsley

The dynamics of the Elmsley count are perfectly suited to lapping a card. Doing the count from dealing
grip," you position the hands and cards near the table edge. Keep the right hand motionless while you
move the left hand minimally, diagonally left and forward, then in reverse.
The easiest application is to have four face-down cards and to count them as four into your left
hand, using the outward actions of the Elmsley count, but without doing the secret exchange. Start by
peeling the first card into your left hand; then, as this hand comes back to take the next card, propel the
first card directly into your lap as the left thumb peels off and displays the second card. The left forefinger
doesn't need to snap the card into the lap, since the speed of the left hand moving backward, and the
relatively sudden stop made to receive the next card and reverse directions provides enough force to
send the card to its destination.
Continue without interrupting the rhythm by taking the third card, and then the fourth. The card
originally on top of the packet has been lapped. As always, you use your gaze as added misdirection, by
looking at the cards and hands on the count of one, raising your head and looking at the spectators on
the count of two, then lowering your gaze again for the remaining two counts.
Lapping the second card or the third from the packet during the counting is almost as easy. Simply
use your left thumb to "deal" the respective card into the lap an instant before you peel off the next card
and the left hand moves forward again.
You can also lap the penultimate card during a regular four-card Elmsley Count by dealing it into
your lap as you move to take the fourth card. This combines the lapping of a card with the concealment
of the card originally third from the top of the packet.
And when false countinga five-card packet as four cards (doinga double push-off on the third take),
you can conceal the card fourth from the top while you lap the first, the second or the next-to-last card.

May 7--Magic of the Hands
Claim you have eleven fingers and offer to prove it. Hold your right hand palm up and count with your
extended left forefinger, tapping your right thumb, forefinger; middle finger; ring finger and little finger
as you count, "One, two, three, Jour, five."
Smoothly turn the open right hand palm down as you turn your left hand palm up, its fingers closed
into a loose fist and the thumb extended.
Touch the right little finger to the left thumb, counting, "Six."Without either pausing or haste, close
the fingers of your right hand into a fist, leaving only the right forefinger straight, and with it once again
tap your left thumb: "Seven." You have just counted your left thumb twice."
Smoothly follow up by straightening out one left finger after the other and tap them with your
outstretched right forefinger: "Eight, nine, ten and eleven!"
Ifthe counting is done smoothly and without the slightest interruption, this little-known finger stunt
will fool practically everyone. Follow it up with the two stunts explained tomorrow and you'll have a
lovely impromptu routine suitable for both children and adults, perfect for those times when you are
asked to perform, but don't feel like it. "! can't perJorm tonight. [ have eleven fingers. But one always Jails
off at the end oj the month, so maybe next time."

~ ..

May 8-More and Further Magic of the Hands

Right after the stunt taught yesterday, say, "Let's double check." Hold your right hand palm up, all fingers
extended, and count with your straightened left forefinger, tapping first the thumb, then the forefinger,
the middle finger and ring finger, counting aloud, "One, two, three.jour"
When you come to the little finger, use your left forefinger to bend it into the palm. "We'll come to
this one later." Ifyou do this while keeping the rhythm, it seems as if you have counted five.
Keep your right hand palm up, with the little finger curled in and the others extended, as you
smoothly continue the count by turning your left hand palm up and extend first its thumb, then its
forefinger, its middle finger, ring finger and little finger, one after the other: "Six, seven, eight, nine, ten."
Immediately say, "And we come back to this one ..." Extend the right little finger. "Eleven!"
Follow this with the best-known stunt of this type, where you count backward, 'Ten, nine, eight,
seven, six ..." tapping the extended right fingers with your left forefinger.
Pause for a beat, then straighten all your left fingers at once, saying, "and five are eleven!"

May 9---Writer's Motivation \
I'm often asked how I achieved the discipline to write Card College.


-I ".
The graph shows days on the x-axis
and the number of words in increments of
10,000 on the y-axis,
/ .J,

o~ 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Days

Example: If on the first day I wrote 5000 words, the graph would go from a to 5000. If on the next
day I wrote 2500 words, the graph would climb to an accumulated 7500 words. If one day I didn't write
anything, the graph would stay on the same horizontal line.
The secret is to use a cumulative graph rather than an absolute graph. Whereas an absolute graph
would go up and down, psychologically discouraging you, the cumulative graph rises and never falls,
always showing the result of your work in a positive and encouraging way. This constant rise in the graph
motivated me from the very start to make it rise a little further every day.
With Microsoft Word's "Word Count" function, it is easy to count words in an instant and to write
the result at the bottom of the document. Every day this figure is updated, and the result made visible
on the graph.
Such a graph can be adapted to many uses and is one of the greatest motivational aids I've ever

May 1o~ Writer's Motivation II
The most difficult thing in doing any task is getting started. This is as true for those who habitually pro-
crastinate as it is for the most efficient person. Here is a remarkable technique that will help practically
everyone do what he would like to do when for some reason he can't get started.
Set an egg timer to a certain number of minutes, say ten. Make a mental deal with yourself that
when you push the start button you will work on whatever goal you have, but that you must do this for
only ten minutes. As soon as the timer goes off, you can stop and go back to what you were doing before,
or just do nothing.
Sometimes you will do just that, which is fine. At least you've worked productively on your goal for
ten minutes. However, more often than not you will find that, as soon as the alarm sounds, you'll hit the
off button saying, "Shut up, I've got work to do:' And you go on and on and on. It is one of the very few
techniques in life that really works practically all the time for almost everyone.
For some readers, this piece of advice alone will be worth the proverbial price of our year together.


May ll--Ultimate Magic of the Hands
This is my favorite stunt using just the hands.

Interlock the fingers of your hands, with your right fingers curled
over the back of your left hand, your left fingers extended and the back of
your left hand turned up.

Explain that you have fingernails on both sides of your hands, and
turn the clasped hands at the wrist to bring the back of your right hand
into view. Simultaneously curl your left fingers closed and extend your
right fingers. The movement of the fingers must start and stop at the
same time the hands begin and finish their turning. This looks great. Do

\ it a few times, back and forth, showing "all fingernails".

Then stop and shake the hands sideways-and within this move-
ment curl in the extended fingers of one hand and straighten out those
of the other. Suddenly all your fingernails disappear.
As before, turn the hands at the wrists several times, curling in and
straightening out the fingers simultaneously to show only the pads of
the fingers on both sides. Eventually separate your hands and say, "With
hands like that I can't do a thing."
This is a very nice bit for small children, but is also useful when an
adult asks you to do a trick at a time you aren't in the mood, yet you
wish to accommodate him with something more than just giving him
your business card.

May 12-- The Card Expert
The accomplished card expert should have at least one solution for each of the following plots:
Acrobatic Jacks (or another foursome) Memory with Cards
(Any) Card at (Any) Number Multiple Card Discoveries
All Backs Mystery Card
Card Through Handkerchief Nudist Deck
Ambitious Card Oil and Water
Card to Wallet Open Prediction
Between Your Palms Out of This World
Cards Across Reading the Cards of Any Deck
Brainwave Remember and Forget
Cards to Pocket or Up the Sleeve Reversed Card Routine
Call to the Colors Rising Cards
Collectors Six-Card Repeat
Cannibal Cards Soldier's Prayer Book
Color-Changing Deck Spectator Does Magic
Cutting the Aces Spectator Cuts to the Aces
Do as I Do Spellers
Danbury Delusion (Partagas Sell) Stabbed Card
Everywhere and Nowhere Stop Trick
Fingerprint Card Trick Sympathetic Cards
Folded Card to Box or other location Telephone Card Trick
Follow the Leader Ten-Card Poker Deal
Four Ace Assembly The Trick That Cannot be Explained
Four Ace Production Think of a Card
Gambling Demonstration Three-Card Monte
General Card/Universal Card Torn and Restored Card
Homing Card (to pocket) Travelers
Hotel Trick Triumph
Lie Detector Twisting the Aces
Cutting Any Number of Cards Vanishing Deck
Matching the Cards (Magician Makes Good) WildCard

May 13-- Top Palm Subtlety and Quickie
The selection is on top of the deck. Do a double turnover and name the card that comes into view; for
instance, "The King of Diamonds!"
On being told this isn't the selection, you reply with an old gag that is still good, even if you know it:
"t didn't say this is your card. /just said it is the King of Diamonds."
The audience's reaction to this creates excellent misdirection to turn the double card face down and
top palm the selection within a casual squaring action.
Drop your right hand to your side or to the table edge as, with your left hand, you set down the deck
and turn the top card face up on top, confirming that all is as it should be.
"But one thing is sure-your card is between the King of Diamonds and the bottom card." Again with
your left hand, briefly pick up the deck and flash its bottom card. Return the deck to the table and turn
the King face down.
"i'm going to use only one hand to find your card, which is between the top and the bottom
When everyone expects you to produce the card with your left hand, use your right hand to pro-
duce its card from your pocket or somewhere else.
"! mean this hand!"

May 14-Qualities of Excellence
In an interview appearing in Tony Binarelli's magazine Qui Magia, former FISM World Champion Denis
Moroso (FISM Grand Prix in Geneva, 1952) said that the successful magician would require the follow-
ing qualities:

A good all-around education, knowledge of various languages, eloquence, perfect diction,

correct breathing, proper use of language, knowledge of individual and collective psychol-
ogy, passion for one's work, love of the audience, good physical appearance, responsiveness,
sense of proportion, digital dexterity, sense of humor, effective mimicry, good memory, inte-
rior calmness, a feeling of ease, expressivity, elegance, humility, inventiveness, naturalness,
intelligence, rationality, likeability, ability to improvise, communicativeness, temperament,
intuition, imagination, sincerity, steadiness, positive attitude, patience, kindness, a good smile,
originality, style, personality!

We all have some work to do, haven't we?

May 1 S--Corner Switch for a Bill
Tuck the corner to be switched in into a thumb tip and stow this in an easily accessible place, such as the
coin pocket in the right outside pocket of your jacket or in your right-front trousers pocket.
Ask to borrow a banknote, explaining that you could use yours, but that it will be more interesting
to have one from them. As an accompanying gesture, slip both hands briefly into your pockets, as if in
search of the money; and while there, finger palm the thumb tip.

Take the proffered bill and start

to tear off a fairly large corner-there
is really no reason to tear off small
corners-but stop before it becomes
entirely detached. With your right hand,
grip the bill by the torn corner; with the
thumb tip now on your thumb.

Hold the bill out toward its owner and ask him to finish tearing off the corner. As he complies, pull-
ing on the bill, deliver a humorous line, such as: "You are witnesses-he tore up his own bill!/J
Use the laugh and the subsequent second of relaxation to reach out with your left hand, retrieve the
bill and casually bring your hands together; putting the corner and the thumb tip for an instant behind
the bill,where the left hand holds the lot while you extract the corner from the thumb tip and hand it to
its owner. "Iget the bill. You get the corner-as a receipt"
It is an easy matter to slip the thumb tip back onto your right thumb as the right hand takes the bill.
You can now get rid of the tip and the corner at any convenient time, for instance, as you reach for an
envelope in which to put the bill.
NOTE: This switch can also be done without the thumb tip, with little change to the basic procedure!

May 16--0n Shoes
When I was a young man I had the privilege of presenting a gala for magicians in Switzerland. All went
well. After the show Luis Marino, an inspired and successful amateur magician, approached and con-
gratulated me. Then he said there were three things he would like to tell me.

1. Women are incredibly picky about shoes. To gain their approval, and that of others, you should
wear well-made shoes. If you can afford them, get hand-sewn, welted, Italian shoes, and use them
only for performances. Don't walk around in the streets with them, and pack a polishing cloth in
the case where you carry the shoes.
2. Use a broad, black, felt-tipped marker to blacken the front edge of the shoe sole, which tends to
wear quickly. If you look down from above, you can't notice it, but when you stand on a stage,
many in the front rows will see the worn "white line".
3. Always use shoes with shoelaces, not slip-oris. You don't want the trouser's cuffs to catch the
tongues of the shoes, as this doesn't look good.

I've followed his advice to this day. He also told me to wear suspenders rather than a belt, as they
make the trousers hang better and keep the creases straight. Ididn't follow this advice, but I'm convinced
he was right.

May 17 -Idea for a Close-up Act
Fred Kaps used a black Malini-style Egg Bag as a container for the props (instruments!) he used in his
performance. People were allowed to reach into the bag, take out one item-perhaps a deck of cards or
a coin purse-and Kaps would use this for one or two tricks.
Each time he had something removed from the bag, he would have a different person make the
selection. In this way, he involved them from the beginning of each trick; and the process gave the whole
act an appearance of spontaneity.
Near the end of the act, the final spectator would find nothing left in the bag. Kaps would then
reach into it, after having shown his hand unmistakably empty, and say, "Oh, you missed the egg!" The egg,
having been hidden inside the secret pocket of the bag all along, was produced. Kaps would then go into

• his Egg Bag routine, an appropriately strong piece to close the act.
As far as I know, this routining concept has not previously been published. I hope someone will be
able to use it or develop something further from it. I think it is a beautiful idea.

May 18-Magic for Theater
Writing about Stanislavski and his system, Jean Benedetti wrote:

Theater is a moral instrument whose function is to civilize, to increase sensitivity, to

heighten perception and, in terms perhaps now unfashionable to us, to enable the
mind and uplift the spirit.

Simply substitute magic for theater. Now you have a challenge ....

May 19--Replies to Journalists
All too often journalists ask silly or provocative questions. Here are three replies:

* "What is it you really want to know?"

* "Would you really like to ask something; or rather, don't you want to say something? Then just

say it and I'll respond:'

* "Try to ask your question differentlv" (or "Why don't you ask your question differently?")


The first aspect of creation is to

get the unconscious to work.

The second is, once it starts, to

leave it alone.

May 21-Holmes and Magic
One of the best-known quotes from Sherlock Holmes is:"When all contingencies fail, whatever remains,
however improbable, must be the truth."
I'm afraid this is how some of our spectators will think when confronted with one of our miracles-
and they may sometimes be right.
Holmes also said to Dr. Watson, "Watson, you look, but you don't observe:'
Sherlock Holmes would probably have been a good magician. At least he seemed to understand a
lot about the way people perceive, think and construct their realities. We as magicians should strive to
gain the same understanding.

May 22-Clarity
Anatole France (1844-1924), the French poet, journalist and novelist, talking about language, wrote:
"The first quality language must have is clarity; the second is clarity; the third is once again clarity."
Ifyou're not sure what this means, look at the following utterance by Boris Pocus on his 2004 DVD
Extremely Mental: "There really is two minds ...There are ...There is...There are ...Whatever. I know what I'm
talking about, and now you do, too."34
Vernon seemed to be in complete agreement with France when the Professor uttered, "Confusion
is not magic."

May 23--Magic and Music
Years ago, walking through the beautiful city of Baden-Baden in Germany, I saw an ad for a concert of
Anne-Sophie Mutter. Let me describe it to you. Imagine you are looking at a double page. On the left side
is a large photograph of a Stradivarius violin, with just its name written beneath it.
On the right side, the first line reads "Anne-Sophie Mutter". Underneath there are two columns.
One lists the pieces that will be played, the other their composers.
Nowhere on the poster is there a photograph of Mutter, not even a tiny one. Nor is there any other
text stating how good, how beautiful or how famous she is;or how many awards she has received; or the
prestigious concert halls in which she has played or the crowned heads for whom she has performed. No.
Below her name, in large type, there are only the composers and their works that she would be play-
ing for that particular concert. Period.
Someday, in the far, far future, it might be nice to look at a similar playbill-of a magician-with all
the implications this has.


24-Five Readers Over My Shoulder

c I vrote Card College I imagined five people watching over my shoulder, guiding me.
e first was the total newcomer, to whom everything had to be explained in simple and under-
dable terms.
The second was the teacher, who made sure lied the student gently along a path of more complex-
, without creating frustration and while providing encouragement.
The third was the academic card expert, aware of cutting-edge technique and the many variations.
The fourth was the professional performer, who loves card magic in all its facets, but who is particu-
arly concerned about techniques, effects, presentations and theories applied to magic of the highest
caliber that must be performed daily in various circumstances.
The fifth was the historian, who wanted me to show that everything stands in a larger historical and
cultural context, and that I recognize those who have built the ediface from which we work and try to
build higher. This resulted in introductions to almost every technique and trick, and in final notes and an
extensive bibliography; elements not found in the great central textbooks of the past: The Expert at the
Card Table, The Royal Road to Card Magic, Expert Card Technique.
Even ifyou never write a book or an essay, or give a lecture, Ithink you might still benefit from apply-
ing this metaphor when studying a technique or a trick by asking, Who are the people looking over my
shoulder here?

May 25--Stage Fright
Stage fright is a necessary form of stress that helps us to be at our best when we need to access the com-
plexity of our resources within a fraction of a second. To be "nervous" before a performance is absolutely
normal. Without the proper amount of adrenalin you won't be any good. When you stop having "but-
terflies in your stomach" something is wrong. The secret is to have enough positive energy to allow for
optimum performance, but to get rid of all negative energy that keeps us from performing at our peak.
Here are a few suggestions."

* Physically practice longer and more often.

* Script your performance pieces. Know what you must do and say and why.
* Rehearse mentally, going through your tricks in your mind.
* Have a "disaster script" for your tricks, so that you know what to do if something goes wrong.
* Don't take yourself too seriously. Even if you completely fail, it's nothing compared to the trag-
edies of life-war, famine, torture, rape, cancer, death-millions of people go through every day.
What importance then can your failure in doing a card trick have?
* Perform because you love magic and the audience-and less because of ego. Do it with dedica-
tion, passion and energy, not just for fame, applause and money.
* Create a ritual. If you perform part-time, if possible take the day off and devote it to setting up
the props, eating properly, relaxing, rehearsing and going through the tricks mentally. Read the
script once more. Take your time. Be there early. Stand where you are going to perform and
imagine the situation. Go through the opening and parts of your performance in your mind.
This will physically and mentally warm you up. Before the show, take a little walk, and then do a
few vocal and breathing exercises. The more successful performances you accumulate, the more
this ritual will become an anchor that triggers excellence.

26--- op ..Stoc Control with Riffle Shuffle
9 1 I saw Dai Vernon deliver a wonderful lecture in Munich. Among the many things he demon-
srrareo vas a riffle-shuffle top-stock control. Just as he was about to explain it, someone interrupted him
a question, and he never got back to the explanation. Twenty years later, looking at a video record
of e lecture, I was able to deduce the workings, which I offer here.
Let's assume we have all the Aces on top of the deck, and we want to maintain their order and posi-
ion in the course of what looks like three ordinary riffle shuffles; and during each shuffle, the top cards
of the deck are visibly buried. You may want to turn the Aces face up on the deck until you understand
the mechanics of the shuffle.
With the first shuffle, add three indifferent cards over the Aces. To make the shuffles look the same
and to comply with table shuffle rules, always undercut to the left.
To begin the second shuffle, undercut a bit less than half the deck. Start a regular riffle interlace
until about half the cards in each packet have been released. Drop all but the top three cards from the
right-hand packet and smoothly continue the shuffle, distributing these three cards into the remaining
approximate half of the left-hand portion.
If you now look at the cards, you will notice a fairly large gap on the left side of the interlaced con-
figuration. The top four cards of the block forming the gap will be the Aces. As you push the packets
together, it is an easy matter to obtain a left thumb break above this block: Simply push up lightly with
the thumb into the gap.
For the third and last shuffle, which should look like the previous two, again undercut to the left,
doing so at the break, and as you make the weave, drop the final few cards (at least four) of the left-hand
packet last. This places the Aces back on top.
This is an elegant shuffle sequence, much easier and safer than the Stevens control, and it accom-
plishes the same task with a near identical shuffling Gestalt.


-- -
May 27 ---The Art of Magic
Not everyone who paints is an artist, but painting is considered an art, regardless of there being just
one artist in a thousand people who paint. This could be applied to magic as well. But why is magic not
perceived as an art? I'm more and more convinced it is due to the fact that most people in magic don't
consider it an art. If we who populate the world of magic don't consider it an art, how can we expect
those outside it to do so?
I see at least three other handicaps.

1. Most magicians want to please, to entertain and to make audiences laugh. An artist's work may
certainly please and amuse, but this is not his primary goal. As long as entertainment is considered
by its practitioners to be the main goal, magic won't be recognized as an art form.
2. Magic is often performed in venues where art is usually not expected or is not traditionally dis-
played, such as night clubs, circuses and revue shows. This obviously doesn't mean it's not art.
Picasso's dove would still be art, even if hung in a Las Vegas showroom. But it certainly makes it
more difficult to be recognized as art by the intelligentsia outside of magic.
3. When the mass media report on other arts, they usually show the best and interview those able
to speak eloquently about what they do. This is not always the case with magic. Television will
often choose acts that are visually suitable for their medium, while missing out on a lot of intel-
ligent magic. This creates deficient criteria and leaves a bad taste with viewers who do not know
what good magic is.

May 28--Reindeer Puzzle
Here is an original matchstick puzzle that was sent to me by Pekka Gunst in Finland in response to my
column on puzzles in Genii.36 He has kindly given me permission to share it.

PREMISE:The scene represents the bullet of a hunter (individual match on the right) about to hit
an elk. PROBLEM:Move one single match to make the elk avoid the bullet and save his life. You are not
allowed to touch or move the bullet. You'll have to use a bit of lateral thinking, but you'll see that the
solution is legitimate."

May 29- Torn and Restored Card
In my opinion the simplest and most straightforward way to do the Torn and Restored Card, and yet
retain all the necessary magical qualities, is given in Robert Parrish's An Evening with Charlie Miller,38 a
wonderful little book. You can do it as Charles Miller did, using a top change and the Loewy top palm-
or you can try the following method.
Dribble the cards into your left hand until someone calls stop. Set the undribbled portion to your
right, then do a double lift from the left hand's packet to show the apparent selection.
Leave the double face up on the packet and have its owner sign its face.
Turn the double card face down and take the top card into your the right hand, with the back turned
toward the audience. While you keep the balance of the left hand's packet in deep dealing position, use
both hands to tear the card into quarters, and lay the pieces face down in front of you on the table.
Transfer the left hand's packet to right-hand end grip and set it onto the remainder of the deck at
your right. In doing. this, execute a one-handed top palm of the chosen card.
Next use your right hand to sweep the pile of torn pieces apparently into your left hand, which
seems to receive them just behind the edge of the table. In reality, let the pieces fall straight into your
lap. Bring your hands together, gently rub palm against palm, and then widely open the right fingers to
reveal a card. Let the "restored" and signed card fall to the table while letting both hands be seen empty.
This is a delightful trick.

May 30-Sillicisms
Here are some quotes from spoken and written tradition in magic, some of which have been perpetu-
ated for ages, and which I find, well, "irritating".

"Control (or force) the card using your favorite method:'

"The audience has to be entertained:'
"You have to sell a trick:' (Meaning you have to stage it, give it a presentation.)
"There are no bad tricks, just bad magicians:'
"You can devote all your energy to the presentation!"
"There are no bad audiences, only bad magicians."
'f\us der Praxis,jiir die Praxis." (A German expression meaning "From practical experience, for practi-
cal performance")
"This sleight is a powerful weapon in the magician's arsenal (sometimes: armory):' o
"A conjurer is an actor playing the role of a magician:'
"I do table-hopping."
"This isn't commercial:'

May 31--Repetition
What we call the "classics" of magic distinguish themselves from other tricks by several features. One of
these is that a classic almost always repeats the same effect or series of effects: the Cups and Balls, Egg
Bag, Linking Rings, Cut and Restored Rope, Miser's Dream, Card or Coin Assemblies and Cards to Pocket
are examples that come immediately to mind. The dramatic structure of these tricks is based largely on
repetition. What are the advantages of repetition, what are the possible drawbacks and how might the
latter be resolved?
In the first demonstration of the effect, the plot is established, the instruments and props are intro-
duced and the audience begins to get an idea of the performer's persona. The effect not only astonishes,
it also surprises the audience. That's an excellent and necessary function, and it usually leads to the spec-
tators saying or thinking, IICan you do that again?" The first repetition of the effect satisfies this curiosity
and results in a reaction like 'That's incredible!" For this repetition we should either change the method
or have a method that is so fortified, even an intelligent person can't penetrate its secret. Care should
also be taken not to make the repetition look like a belittling challenge to the spectators' intelligence, as
antagonistic feelings are detrimental to the effect and to rapport. (A well presented challenge, however,
is a strong emotional hook in the hands of a capable performer.) This first repetition establishes the
effect and confirms that the performer really has the power to do it (in a theatrical sense). If the routine
requires a further repetition, it is necessary to add something, such as a conflict or a challenge. Just doing
it a third time-a second repetition-adds nothing to the effect, and risks a decline in interest.
Consider the opening sequence of Dai Vernon's Cups and Balls routine, where three balls vanish one
after another, and are then shown to have reappeared under the cups. The first ball is vanished by appar-
ently transferring it from the right hand to the left, and then showing the left hand empty. The second ball is
vanished in the same way, satisfying the curiosity aroused by the first vanish. The third ball is again handled
in the same way; however, when the spectators expect that the ball is gone, the left hand is opened and the
ball is shown still to be there. Now the spectators are puzzled and wonder how the magician is going to van-
ish it this time. The performer executes a little flourish with the wand (the wand-spin vanish) and the ball
is seen to have mysteriously disappeared. Then the balls are shown to have reappeared, each under its cup.
This is a perfect staging of the concept of repetition. Tricks like "Cutting the Aces': "Ambitious Card':
'Travelers" and 115 low-Motion Aces': all by Dai Vernon and all in Stars of Magic, have a similar dramatic
structure and interpretation of repetition.


June 1-Wishes
Iasked a friend, if he had three wishes what they would be?
He answered: wisdom, intelligence and knowledge. With these all other material things he could wish
for would soon be his.
But what if someone had only one wish? What would this person wish for?
My wish would be to have the ability to do magic. Not just a wishing ring or a magic wand that ful-
fills all wishes, but the ability to do magic. This is like having an infinite number of wishes at my disposal,
because I could make any dream come true at any time.
As magical artists we can't really do magic, but as makers offantastic fiction we are theatrically trans-
forming humanity's highest dream into reality. That's a profound thing, and it would help our respect for -
and practical interpretation of magic tricks if we remained always aware of it.
Nonetheless, conjuring at its heart is not just about fulfilling unfulfilled wishes (pragmatism is not
art). It is about creating the emotion of wonder and astonishment (unique features to magic) that arises
from witnessing and living (live rather than on TV) a wish come true (the deepest human longing), to do
it in a beautiful way (aesthetics), to do it in a creative and personal way (originality) and to do it together
with an audience, in an act of communion (communication and love).

June 2- Transformation
This is an embellishment on Edward Marlo's ATFUS,combined with an attractive visual effect in which
the four Aces change into a royal flush. This sequence looks very clean and effective on television and film.
PREPARATION: From the face of the deck down are the King, Queen, Jack and Ten of Spades, followed
by two identical Jokers and the rest of the deck.
PROCEDURE: Spread the deck with its face toward you, saying that you are looking for the Aces.
Move each to the face as you come to it. The Ace of Spades must be placed in front of the King of Spades.
When you're done, briefly spread the cards toward yourself, as if making sure you've found all the
Aces. As you close the spread, obtain a left little-finger break below eight cards (the Aces and the other
four cards of the royal flush in spades). Take them into covered end grip, which conceals the thickness of
the outer end of the packet while exposing as much of the Ace on the face as possible, as you point to
the Joker on the face of the deck.
Pick up a left little-finger flesh break under the Joker, without flashing the other Joker beneath it.
This is best done with a pinky count, or with Harvey Rosenthal's one-handed method for forming a
break: Your left thumb presses firmly on the face of the Joker in a direction slightly forward and to the
left. Meanwhile, the left forefinger, at the outer end, stops the Joker from moving forward. This causes the
Joker to buckle slightly and rise at its right side and inner end, forming a break for the little finger.
With your left thumb, draw three Aces, one by one,
onto the deck. However, as you peel off the first Ace,
steal a Joker beneath the right hand's cards and hold a
fine V-break above it. The left edges of the packet must
be perfectly squared, with no separation visible.
Appear to pick up the three peeled-off Aces under
the right hand's last Ace, but in reality drop the Joker
from the bottom of the right hand's packet onto the
face of the deck, covering the Aces there. It looks as if
you have taken the four Aces into your right hand, but
really you have the five cards of the royal flush, with the Ace of Spades in sight on the face. You can now
immediately show that the four Aces have changed into a royal flush; or you may delay the transforma-
tion, depending on the intended presentation.

Assume the worst: You turn up a card and it is seen not to be the chosen one-and you are now hope-
lessly lost.
This won't happen many times (we trust), but it can. Don't feel too bad about it. It's only a card
trick. Ask what the selected card really was. Then take out a marker and in big letters write the name of
this card across the face of the wrong card (see March 10, 11, 12 and 13; pp. 78-81). Give the card to the
person who chose one. With luck he will find this amusing.
You can go a step further by pretending that this card is now the chosen one: "This card is now very
special, as you may appreciate, and it will do very special things." This gives you a nice lead-in to an Ambi-
tious Card routine with this "signed" card. In the course of its performance you will have opportunities
to look for and control the real selection. At the end of the routine the card becomes so ambitious, it
wants its identity back, so you change the signed wrong card into the true selection. Ifyou don't think it
too confusing, eventually find the "signed" card in your wallet or in the card case. Hand both cards as a
souvenir to your helper, or better stilt give him the entire deck."



June 4--Draw Advantage
This was told to me in August 2007 by Ron Wohl at
the 31 Faces North gathering in Toronto.
When you attend a trade show where you are
asked to put your business card into a container from
which one will be drawn to establish the winner of a
prize, place a Mexican Joe crimp into your card before
throwing it in with the rest.
This type of crimp prevents your business card
from sticking to others, giving it a better chance to be
drawn, if the drawing is done by hand."

June 5-Formal Minimalism

The less conspicuous and flashy the means

are by which you make visible the unreal and
impossible, the more they will believe (in an
artistic sense) that you can perform magic
(in a theatrical sense).

June 6--Neurolinguistic Programming (NlP)
Magic teaches us that most people think linearly when they try to explain what we do. The vast majority
looks for one solution and fails to recognize the complexity and the interconnectivity of principles. They
like things to be yes or no, black or white, true or false. They are always looking for the ultimate answer.
That, in my opinion, is not how things work. I believe there will never be an ultimate answer. There
are only answers that are true and that work some of the time for some people in some situations; but
nothing will ever replace personal responsibility. Such either/or thinking leads to a tendency to be abso-
lutely for or absolutely against something.
NLP is one of those things. When it first appeared, it was hailed as the ultimate answer by some,
while others put immense energy into proving it was entirely bogus.
I think it very fortunate that I have never believed in absolutes, despite having had a traditional
Italian Catholic upbringing, which is anything but liberal and tolerant. I've always had an instinctive skep-
ticism toward political, religious and moral "certainties".
I'm not writing this to dissuade you from your beliefs, or to push you toward any particular philoso-
phy.l'm simply expressing my opinion, which pleads for common sense and tolerance. It is not necessary
to convert oneself into a New Age believer, a Scientologist, an NLP disciple or anything else; but I think
it is a good idea to look into beliefs a little more deeply, without necessarily becoming involved in them.
After all, these schools of thought have been created to solve problems for certain people who think in a
certain way and live under certain circumstances at a certain time in a certain place. It is highly unlikely
all this will apply to the rest of us, but these systems of thought must include a few things that might
work for many of us in many situations.
To me, such dispassionate inspection is a way to add tools to my tool box of life. As the great psy-
chologist Abraham Maslow observed, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every
problem as a nail:' The more tools you have, the better you can manage in life and with your audiences.
I can't say NLP has invented anything particularly new, but it has the merit of having made some
connections previously thought to be complicated into easily understood concepts, and has given those
concepts intuitive names (reframing, timeline, spacial and verbal anchoring, ete.) that make it easier to
talk about these things, even with those unfamiliar with them. This, to me, is an excellent achievement
and all I'm interested in.

---------------------------- ----------------------------------------

June 7-Anecdote
The French comic actor Louis de Funes, at a time before he had achieved wide fame, was once invited for
dinner at the house of Baron de Rothschild, a member of the very famous banking family and owner of
the even more famous Chateau Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux.
After dinner the Baron said, "My dear Funes, you, who are such a funny man, why don't you tell us a
funny little story?" Whereupon de Funes answered without missing a beat, "My dear Baron, you, who are
such a rich man, why don't you write us all a little check!"

You might consider using this anecdote when you are asked to do magic and aren't in the mood.
When you find yourself in this situation, simply reply, "Oh, this reminds me of an amusing anecdote. The
famous French comic actor Louis de Funes was invited to dinner at Baron de Rothschild's house ..:'

June 8--Fred Kaps's Birthday
While I never met Fred Kaps, I have studied his work extensively and had the good fortune to talk with
some of his best friends. In my opinion, he was one of the most inspired magic performers who ever lived.
Kaps used the "Hofzinser" top change a lot." He liked to hold the card by its inner right corner
between his right extended forefinger on the back and the middle finger on the face. In his left hand he held
the deck in dealing position, with the little finger maintaining a break below the top card.

Using his left thumb, he stroked the

back of the right hand's card twice, moving
from its center to its outer left corner. As he
did this, his right hand remained motionless
and kept the card parallel to the floor, while
his left hand briefly turned inward and palm
down before it returned to stroke the card
again. Understand this Gestalt of movement
fully before proceeding.
On the third stroke he pushed up with
his left ring finger to open the break widely,
and pressed down with his left forefinger on
the outer end near the right corner, so that no
visible gap could open at the front. His right
middle finger entered the break and pressed
up lightly against the face of the separated top
card, as his left thumb pressed down on the
right hand's card.

As he performed the third stroke,
with precisely the same Gestalt as before,
his left thumb carried the right hand's
card with it, letting it perfectly coalesce
with the top of the deck-and his right
hand retained the card that was on top
of the deck.

The grip on this card was exactly that used with the card just switched out and now on top of the
deck. The fact that only the left hand moved and the right hand and its card remained still at all times
resulted in a very convincing retention of vision.
He immediately followed up with one more stroke, this time of the exchanged card. The sequence,
innocent-innocent-change-innocent, covered the move. He also applied the dynamics of the gaze,
looking at his hands during the two innocent strokes, looking up as the switch was made, then looking
back down on the last innocent stroke.
Kaps's handling was shown to me by Ascanio, who did it masterfully. The sleight can also be done
with the right hand holding several cards, such as the four Aces. In this case, the top Ace is stolen onto
the deck, and the top card of the deck is added under the packet.

June 9-Jardine Ellis lectures
Jardine Ellis, best known today for the Jardine Ellis Ring, was booked by the Magic Circle of London
to give one of his rare lectures. The members had to pay an entry fee, something quite unusual, as it
was considered an honor to lecture for the Magic Circle (and still is). After Jardine Ellis performed and
explained his first trick, everyone was enthusiastic. Whereupon Ellisasked the magicians, "Do you think
that trick alone was worth the price of admission?"
When everyone agreed, he packed his things and left, and was never seen again at the Magic Circle.
(Told to me by Max Maven, October 1996.)

June 1O~A Short Routine with Sponges
Here is a very nice sequence with sponge balls that uses an extremely practical handling for stand-up or
walk-around performance. All you need are three sponge balls and a purse frame. A sponge is hidden
under the left lapel of your jacket, and one is stuck between the jacket and your right shoulder. The third
ball is in your left, outer jacket-pocket, and the purse frame in the right, outer jacket-pocket.
Ask the group if anyone there has seen a "Las Vegas Purse"? While they are considering their reply,
reach with both hands into your pockets and bring forth the purse frame, doing so a second before your
left hand exits its pocket with the sponge ball hidden in finger palm.
Hand the purse frame to someone, asking that she "take out everything inside." When she's unsuc-
cessful, retrieve it and produce the sponge ball from it.
Put the purse frame back into your right-hand pocket. Then vanish the ball, apparently placing it
into your left hand, then showing it has gone. Tugging back the left sleeve is an effective cover for your
right hand while it palms the ball. Then, with the same hand, pull open the right side of your jacket (pro-
viding more excellent cover for the palmed ball), and with your left hand produce the sponge ball that
lies waiting on your right shoulder. ~
Bring your hands together and apparently split the ball you've just produced, letting the palmed ball
come into view. Ifthere is a table, instead of "splitting" the ball, use your right forefinger to saw it in two.
Ask your helper which ball she prefers. Tuck this ball under your left lapel, next to the hidden ball,
but leave it protruding. Meanwhile you comment that you will keep the other ball in your hand. With
your right hand, honestly place it into your left hand and close the left fingers around it.
With your empty right hand, take the visible sponge ball, secretly adding to it the hidden ball from
under the lapel, and place both balls as one into your helper's hand.
Open your left hand to show the ball still there. Either take it at the right fingertips and do a false
transfer back to your left hand, or leave it there and steal it from beneath the wrist. Then show that your
ball has vanished and has reappeared in your helper's hand. Climax!
Put all three balls into your left-hand pocket. Resetting takes two or three seconds, during a con-
venient moment, such as when you walk from one group to another. Put your left hand into its pocket
and finger palm two of the balls. Then reach to your right shoulder; under your jacket, and leave one ball
there. Next, adjust your left lapel and leave the remaining ball behind it. Even should someone be watch-
ing you, it will look as if you briefly scratched your right shoulder; and then adjusted your jacket.

June ll--Flash Production of a Sponge Ball
Hold a sponge ball tightly squeezed hidden between you left thumb and first two fingers.
With your right hand, pick up a little piece of flash paper, flash cotton or flash string and transfer it
to the left fingertips.
Ignite the flash material and immediately open your left fingers enough to let the sponge ball
instantly expand and appear magically at the fingertips.
If you don't want to use flash products, you may simply hold your left hand palm up, with the left
fingertips pointed toward the audience, and then snap your right fingers. Simultaneously separate the
left fingers, letting the compressed ball expand and make an instantaneous appearance.
In either case, to make this production look its best, it is important that you keep the left hand
absolutely still and positioned within the same space.

June 12--Subtleties for Sponge Ball Magic
When you apparently place one sponge ball into someone's hand but really deposit two, try this.
Begin with one sponge finger palmed in your right hand, and the second displayed at the right fin-
gertips. Extend your open left hand in demonstration as you say to your female helper, "Please hold your
hand like this." Transfer the visible ball to your left hand, and then, with your right hand, gently grasp her
forearm, just behind the wrist. (If she is wearing long sleeves, it's more polite to hold her arm at the sleeve
rather than contacting her skin.)
Drop the left hand's ball from a little height onto her palm. The ball will bounce offher palm and fall
to the table. Immediately use your left hand to pick up the ball and transfer it to your right hand, which
adds its hidden ball and places both, squeezed together, into her hand: "Please close your hand tightly." (If
the ball rolls to your right, you may pick it up directly with your right hand, eliminating the transfer. Use
whichever hand feels the most natural to you.) Notice how every main action isjustified by a secondary
in-transit action, and how the deceptions are imbedded in the in-transit actions.
If you do a multiple-phase sponge-ball routine,
don't use the same person twice to help in the same type
of effect, as her previous experience will have taught her
how one, two or three balls feel.
Hold your hand palm down when you place the
two balls into the helper's hand. This positions the balls
one atop the other.
If you hold your hand palm toward you, the balls
will lie side by side, and she can more easily feel that there
are two.
Rather than using super-soft sponge balls, which
expand slowly, tear out the insides of normal sponge
balls to make them a little more compressible. They will
still expand quickly when the helper opens her hand,
which improves the effect.
Yellow balls usually show up better than red ones.

June 13--Dead Heat
Artanis (Sinatra spelled backward) was a famous card cheat. A record of him titled "Artanis" Explains the
Bottom Deal was released many years ago. It is an interesting piece of history and can be purchased as an
e-book with an audio track from Artanis is also remembered for the Artanis false cut.
One day, at age sixty, Artanis was sitting in a bar in Philadelphia when he was challenged by a young
man of twenty to race him around the block. They made a bet, started the race and Artanis won.
Sitting down again at the bar, Artanis proceeded to have a heart attack that ended his life.
(Told to me by Ron Wohl.)

June 14- Vernon Meets Daley
This isan efficient combination ofa Monte effect by Dai Vernon and an ace cutting effect by Dr.Jacob Daley.
It makes a nice opening sequence that concludes with the production of four cards of matching value.
Secretly manage to the top of the deck four of a kind-let's use the Queens-in cuaseo order.
Force one of the four Queens, preferably using a classic force, which is easy, since you have a range
of four with which to succeed. Remember which Queen has been taken.
As the card is being noted, bring the remaining three Queens to the top of the deck.
You will now cut the deck into four piles, and in the process deliver a Queen to the bottom of three
of these: Obtain a left little-finger break under the top Queen and, as your right hand grasps the deck in
end grip, transfer the break to your right thumb. In one smooth continuation of this motion, use your left
hand to undercut about a fourth of the deck to the top. With your right hand, immediately cut off all the
cards above the break and set them face down on the table. Repeat this sequence twice, forming three

piles, each with a Queen on the bottom. (If you managed the three Queens to the bottom of the deck,
you could do. three bottom slip cuts, which would streamline the handling by avoiding the breaks and
double cutting. However, I prefer the double-cut handling, as I've found bottom slip cuts very difficult to
do deceptively, especially with a full deck.)
You are left with about a quarter of the deck, on the bottom of which you place the selected
Queen. Set down this packet and have your helper put his finger on it. Then proceed to divine the
identity of his card.
Continue by proposing a game of Four-Pile Monte. Mix the four piles, changing their positions very
slowly and obviously, so that your helper can follow his card. Then ask him under which pile he thinks his
card is. When he points to it, appear surprised that he got it.
Then, acting as if enlightenment has just struck, say, "It was not easy for me to divine your card, but
you couldn't have gone wrong, since they are all Queens!" Turn over all four piles, revealing a Queen at the
bottom of each. You can now proceed with your favorite routine using the four Queens.

June 15--..Devant and Goliath
The famous British magician David Devant (1868-1941) once visited an art exhibition, accompanied by a
devotee of his. At one point in their visit they arrived at a painting titled "David Devant Goliath" (French
for "David Standing Before Goliath").
The young man looked at Devant in great admiration and exclaimed, "What!-and you're also a
famous painter?"

June 16-- Thoughts on Cups ..and ..Balis Loads
I have found that using fruit and vegetables as final loads produces the best quality-to-price ratio. Garden
produce gets a much better reaction than large balls, but a smaller reaction than live baby chicks or mice.
Fruit and vegetables, however, are more practical than livestock; especially realistic artificial fruit.
For four loads my choice is:a potato, a tomato and a lemon-all three artificial-and a real head of
garlic or an onion. At the end I hand out the artificial potato, as it feels like a genuine one, and the garlic
or the onion. I take the potato back and leave the garlic in the audience.
The loaded cups can be moved unobtrusively forward once or twice, giving the impression they are
empty, as the extended little fingers secure the loads inside.
When the first load is revealed, the audience's reaction is very strong. It is tempting to wait and take
the applause before exposing the next loads, thinking the initial reaction can be realized with each load
as it is uncovered. The great masters of the Cups and Balls agree that the loads should be revealed in a
tight sequence: bam-bam, bam-bam. The cumulative reaction at the end will be all one can ask for,
and the audience will feel better in bestowing it.

June 17=-Cups ..and ..Balis Pendulum Loading
Johnny Thompson acquainted me with the technique used by Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller to load the
Cups and Balls in the final sequence of their routines. Johnny calls it the "pendulum load".
Often, at least one of the loads flashes, even in experienced hands, as there is a tendency, engen-
dered by fear of being caught, to turn the loading hand outward as it stuffs the load into the cup as
quickly as possible.
Once recognized, this tendency can be fought. To do this, keep your left hand, which we'll assume
to be the one that is loading, with its back toward the audience at all times, and when moving it, imitate
the swing of a pendulum, which doesn't turn. Don't move the left hand toward the cup; instead keep it
still as the right hand sets the cup over the load. The right hand comes from above and feeds the cup into
the fork of the left thumb and onto the fruit.
Some performers maintain that the left hand should cross the right hand, holding the cup and load-

ing it in transit, as Tommy Wonder did. Dai Vernon, though, kept his left hand and its load still as soon
as they came from the pocket, and then set the cup onto the load in a secondary in-transit action, thus
freeing the right hand, which would then pick up a ball or another cup or the wand, or do anything that
would be recognized as the main motivating action. This is the great secret to loading a cup imperceptibly.

June l8-Vernon Anecdote
In 1978 a few magicians from Berlin booked Dai Vernon to perform magic and to lecture for them over
an entire week. One evening they were at the home of Willi Wessel, one of the sponsors. For the occasion,
Willi had a card table re-covered with an expensive velvet.
Dai Vernon, in his enthusiasm, accidentally let his cigar tumble and burn a hole in the new cover. He
immediately apologized and wanted to pay for the damage.
But Willi Wessel simply handed him a pen and said, "Please, Professor, just sign it!"

June 19--Vernon Accused of Child Abuse
In Dai Vernon's own words:

Dr. Daley and Iwere practicing stacking dice. It was around two in the morning. My wife Jeanne
was reading and paid no attention. Suddenly the door to the room opened and my son Derek
peeked in. My wife said, "Derek, go to bed. You have to get up at seven and it's going on three
He closed the door, but shortly repeated and my wife Jeanne said, "Derek, close the door
and go to bed:'
When he returned my wife said, "Derek, if you don't go to bed, I'll have your father show
you a card trick!" He let out a scream and never returned.
~.. ,...
,... ~ ~ Vernon continued:
~ .... ;3 .
•• ; (i)'~.s.
My older boy Ted was pouting about something and I took him on my lap and said cheer up
and I'll show you a card trick. My wife said, "How dare you torture that child. Remember, he's
mine, too:' 42

June 20-Marlofactor
This story was told to me in November 2005 by Alex Elmsley at the International Magic Convention in
London. Sadly, less than two months later, Elmsley died.

Alexander Elmsley and Edward Marlo were riding in the subway in Chicago. Ed asked Alex if he
didn't get upset when he saw that so many were stealing his ideas and publishing them.
Alex thought for a moment, and then answered, "Not really-after all, it's just a card trick."
Whereupon Marlo replied, "Yes, but that's all I've got:'


June 21--Carta ..da..Fe
Burning a playing card is not as easy and safe as it seems. Usually you have to resort to dousing the card

with lighter fluid or alcohol.

A good, safe and showy way to burn a card is to place it into a small envelope, and then light the
envelope. Start by holding the envelope at one corner until the envelope starts burning really well; then
place it into a clear glass ashtray or some other transparent container.
Besides aiding in the burning, the envelope adds some mystery.

June22-Clear Writing
This tip was given to me by Fredo Raxon (1923-2008), a very successful entertainer and mentalist from
Germany-and a greatly respected friend.
Sometimes it is necessary to have a spectator write a word legibly, so that you can secretly read it
later, or someone else can read it out aloud at the denouement of the piece. At such times, you don't
want hesitation, as this might expose your method or adversely affect the drama of your climax. How do
you assure that your helper writes clearly?
Ask the person to think of his word as a picture-and then as a written word. "Concentrate on the
first letter. Please write it down." Wait until he has done this. "Now think of the second letter; and write it
down. Please think of each letter before you write it. I will turn around so I can't be accused of watching you."
This last bit is very important, for otherwise the audience will think you know the number of letters in
the word and might thereby guess it. That would still be extremely difficult, but we don't want to allow
them even that possible explanation, do we!

June 23-- Thoughts on CLASSIC SAMPLER

Because it is a slim book, I was able to read Michael Skinner's Classic Sampler in one day. Many might
believe its low page count means there isn't much in it. But Skinner was a working professional of the
highest caliber, and therefore he knew the truth.
Just reading the introductory article titled "Profile'; written by the crime-fiction author William Mur~
ray, you will find some gems. For instance, Murray describes how Skinner approaches a table, and how he
practices, and he defines the essence of Dai Vernon's philosophy of art. You will also learn many of the
lines and scripts Skinner uses in performance, and you will get an idea of his repertoire. In this introduction
I counted the atmospheric description of fourteen effects, as seen through the eyes of a non-magician,
There is also a good helping of wisdom; not from an intellectual, which Skinner was not, but from a
sensitive, talented individual who did passionately what he loved most: magic.
When I read Michael Skinner's professional scripts, I am amazed, because they are, almost with-
out exception, purely descriptive. If one read these without knowing the context and the person, most
would seem utterly flat, shallow.
One woman, though, on witnessing his performance, said, "You're challenging a whole concept of
the universe. It's what shamans and magicians have always done-lift people's hearts and minds beyond
themselves. There's a healing quality in this."
I don't know if this is true, but that's what she felt. I'm sure this reaction would be difficult for some
to explain. Here is a pleasant man with a trivial presentation for a card trick. But he does it so well, with
such technical and communicative expertise, you can't help being spellbound. His magic has a stronger
impact on the public than that of most people who strive for sophisticated presentations. Why? Because

~III!!II-"""'--- ----------------------------------------

classic effects have an intrinsic symbolic meaning, and it isn't necessary to dress them with a lot of pre-
sentation, any more than a cook would use the finest ingredients, and then smother them with a heavy
sauce that kills their inherent qualities.
As for the tricks, you might want to compare "Gemini Calling" from my book Card College Lightest
(p. 39) with Skinner's "The Business on the Business Card Prediction" (p. 1). Check out the bomb-door
bottom by Ed Marlo and Skinner's delayed cull, used in this trick.
"The Mona Lisa Card Trick" (p. 4) is one of the best items in the book-short but beautiful.
"The Conus AcesJ/ (p. 6) sounds good. Pay attention to the way Skinner culls two sets of four of a
kind, described in the first paragraph on page 20; and how he manages the loading of a palmed card into
a Balducci-style wallet (pp. 24-5).
"For Lovers Only" (p. 27) has fine potential, and "Birthday Telepathy" (p. 29) is an excellent tele-
phone trick.
Pages 35-9 offer work on the memorized deck.
'Torn and Restored Soda Straw Wrapper" (p. 40) is a solid piece of semi-impromptu magic.
"The Boomerang Card" (p. 43) is another exceptional item.
Skinner's handling of Leipzig's "Slap Aces" (p. 46) is worth reading, especially his method of showing
that the Aces have vanished from the deck.
"A Poker Deal" (p. 56) uses a basic construct, but with great professional routining-powerful stuff.
From "Knocking Out the AcesJ/ (p. 76) you may want to study the productions of the first Ace and
the last, since these contain useful principles-and there is a lovely story with Vernon and Scarne.
Last but not least, "The Cutting Edge" (p. 80) is worth the price of the book. When you get it, read
that first and it will make your day.

June 24--Staging a Three-Card Monte Game
George H. Devol's famous autobiography, Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi,43 is an interesting
book, although after reading the first twenty pages you've read it all-just the people and places change.
What I found brilliant, however, was the psychological staging of the Monte game, in which he
specialized. I found information here not mentioned by Garcia, Ortiz and other excellent sources on the
topic. It is best to get the book, since it is a classic and belongs in any reference library on crooked gam-
bling. Meanwhile, here is a sample to wet your appetite.
Devol frequently worked with a partner on Mississippi boats. After identifying a sucker they would
go to work. The approach was different from that of Monte workers on the street."

After supper I opened up monte, and caught a good many suckers. Myoid producer (the big
sucker) was watching the game and me too. We had about finished up, when my partner said
to myoid friend (still the big sucker), "I would like to make a bet, but I am unlucky, will you bet
this $50 for me?" He took the $50, put it up, and won. Then he put up $50 for himself, and lost.
My partner wanted to know how he made such a mistake ...

That's wonderful psychology, isn't it? Especially if you consider that the sucker had been taken in by
Devol previously, and he still hadn't learned his lesson. He put up his money again, out of sheer greed.
Devol describes several variations.
Maybe this story of his, or another, could be used to frame your own Three-Card Monte presentation.

June 25~Bill in Lemon Concentrate
To arrive at my version of the classic Billin Lemon, Idecided first to try to identify the problems in this trick,
as I perceived them. I then set about finding personal solutions. Here's the list of the problems Igenerated.

* How can the lemon be introduced?

* Does it have to be a lemon? What is the best fruit or other object for this purpose?
* What is the best way to prepare the lemon? Could this be done in a way that allowed you to
later give it away? Alternatively, how might the lemon be switched?
* How do I get the money from the audience in an efficient and painless way? (Getting someone
to loan you a bill is often awkward and creates a delay.)
* How can the bill be identified with such certainty that it leaves no doubt it is the same bill?
* Ifyou have the serial number of the bill noted, how can this be done in an interesting and com-

municative way? (See February 8, p. 46.)
* If you work with a torn corner, how can the corner be switched imperceptibly and while sur-
rounded? (See May 15, p. 146.)
* What is the best, most magical and memorable way of making the bill vanish?
* How can the connection be made from the vanished bill to the lemon? Why should the bill
lodge in the lemon, of all places?
* Should the performer or an audience member cut open the lemon?
* What type of knife is practical to carry, safe and looks interesting?
* What is the justification for not restoring the corner to the bill? Is one needed? And if you
restore it, won't they think it's a different bill? (That's just common sense.)
* How do you deal with giving a wet, sticky bill back to its lender?
* How is the pocket management of the props (using the least number of pockets while leaving
maximum room in these pockets for other props)?
* Can I create a concise version of this rather long routine for special events?

Byasking yourselfthese questions and finding answers for yourself, you will come up with a personal
version of this great, great classic. And that is originality of a sort, isn't it!

June 26-Applause
Spectators want to applaud, to show that they like the performer and what he has done. And they need
to applaud; it serves as a "valve" to release pressure created when strong astonishment is felt. The receipt
of applause depends on how you structure content and form. For content you need to choose a good
effect with an interesting plot, a clear and easy to follow construction, and a surprising and mystifying
impact. Here are a few considerations.
First, always first, comes the likeability of the performer. For an audience to like a performer, he does
not have to be particularly funny or gentle or kind, but he should be fascinating, unusual, remarkable,
communicative, and he must do something interesting. There are many ways and styles of doing this.
Second is the construction of the effect. The points at which you want to receive applause are ide-
ally the final moments of meaning, and should be recognizable as such to the audience. For instance, if
you make four coins penetrate a table and fall into a glass, after the confirmation of each penetration, a
subordinate element of meaning is concluded, and this can elicit applause-if you wish it.
In this lies a problem of clear construction. Various cues projected by the performer signal whether
he wishes to receive applause or not. The most important of these signs are pausing at the right moment
(a theatrical and constructional problem), for the right length of time (a timing problem), using appro-
priate body language (a presentational and communicative problem), and proper wording (a problem
of spoken and silent scripts).
It is hard enough to get sufficient applause at the right places in stage and parlor settings; but it is
even more difficult in close-up situations, especially when doing magic from table to table. I'll describe a
specific technique exactly as I use it, so that you may understand the principles employed and come up
with your own interpretation. When an effect has ended ...

* I look at the audience, moving my gaze from left to right to include everyone at the table.
* I take one step backward.
* I smile naturally (not a strained or "Las Vegas" smile).
* I spread my hands palms upward, as if to say, "Voila," "That's it folks," taking care, like the smile,
to keep it natural; not too broad, but close to the body and appropriate for close-up condi-
tions. I want to avoid the "TV magic-star arm spread" or the "Las Vegas style spread': which
might be suitable for choreographed stage performances, but looks ludicrous and pathetic in
close-up circumstances.
* I then join my hands, producing a sound resembling the first clap of applause.
* I immediately spread my hands again slightly.
* And I look at the spectators, again from left to right, smiling ..

I have been using this seven-step strategy for many years and I've never found anything that works
better, for me, to get "spontaneous" applause. It works mainly because it contains several stimuli that
are associated on a level of collective consciousness with applause, and these work as archetypal asso-
ciations, independent of the culture in which you are performing. Such moments of applause can be
created by conditioning an audience to applaud.
However, this means you must receive a roundof applause in the first place. As soon as you get the
applause, you can make use of the strategy described above. It will then serve as a subtly established cue,
and should be repeated from time to time when you want applause.
Don't overuse this technique. I find it preferable and more tasteful not to ask directly for applause.
You've probably heard standard lines like "The audience usually applauds here," or "I didn't hear the
applause:' In my opinion, such lines belittle the performer and diminish his refinement.


June 26-Applause
Spectators want to applaud, to show that they like the performer and what he has done. And they need
to applaud; it serves as a "valve" to release pressure created when strong astonishment is felt. The receipt
of applause depends on how you structure content and form. For content you need to choose a good
effect with an interesting, plot, a clear and easy to follow construction, and a surprising and mystifying
impact. Here are a few considerations.
First, always first, comes the likeability of the performer. For an audience to like a performer, he does
not have to be particularly funny or gentle or kind, but he should be fascinating, unusual, remarkable,
communicative, and he must do something interesting. There are many ways and styles of doing this.
Second is the construction of the effect. The points at which you want to receive applause are ide-
ally the final moments of meaning, and should be recognizable as such to the audience. For instance, if
you make four coins penetrate a table and fall into a glass, after the confirmation of each penetration, a
subordinate element of meaning is concluded, and this can elicit applause-if you wish it.
In this lies a problem of clear construction. Various cues projected by the performer signal whether
he wishes to receive applause or not. The most important of these signs are pausing at the right moment
(a theatrical and constructional problem), for the right length of time (a timing problem), using appro-
priate body language (a presentational and communicative problem), and proper wording (a problem
of spoken and silent scripts).
It is hard enough to get sufficient applause at the right places in stage and parlor settings; but it is
even more difficult in close-up situations, especially when doing magic from table to table. I'll describe a
specific technique exactly as I use it, so that you may understand the principles employed and come up
with your own interpretation. When an effect has ended ...


* I look at the audience, moving my gaze from left to right to include everyone at the table.
* I take one step backward.
* I smile naturally (not a strained or "Las Vegas" smile).
* I spread my hands palms upward, as if to say, "Voila," "That's it folks," taking care, like the smile,
to keep it natural; not too broad, but close to the body and appropriate for close-up condi-
tions. I want to avoid the 'TV magic-star arm spread" or the "Las Vegas style spread': which
might be suitable for choreographed stage performances, but looks ludicrous and pathetic in
close-up circumstances.
* I then join my hands, producing a sound resembling the first clap of applause.
* I immediately spread my hands again slightly.
* And I look at the spectators, again from left to right, smiling ..

I have been using this seven-step strategy for many years and I've never found anything that works
better, for me, to get "spontaneous" applause. It works mainly because it contains several stimuli that
are associated on a level of collective consciousness with applause, and these work as archetypal asso-
ciations, independent of the culture in which you are performing. Such moments of applause can be
created by conditioning an audience to applaud.
However, this means you must receive a round of applause in the first place. As soon as you get the
applause, you can make use of the strategy described above. It will then serve as a subtly established cue,
and should be repeated from time to time when you want applause.
Don't overuse this technique. I find it preferable and more tasteful not to ask directly for applause.
You've probably heard standard lines like "The audience usually applauds here," or "I didn't hear the
applause:' In my opinion, such lines belittle the performer and diminish his refinement.

June 27--Applauding Vivaldi
While thinking about applause yesterday, Iwas reminded of a recent visit to a concert featuring the beau-
tiful compositions of Antonio Lucio Vivaldi. Each time I go to such events, I'm amazed by two things.
First, that in contrast to a magic act, the performers receive little or no applause between movements.
The-applause at the end, however, is usually much louder and more sustained than the cumulative
applause of most world-class magicians I have witnessed. (I will not consider staged "standing ovations")
Second, in classical concerts there seems to be a collective understanding of when to applaud, since
applause isonly given at specific moments during the performance. No one would dream of applauding at
the wrong time. This leads to several thoughts. The audiences that go to a concert are usually better edu-
cated about the instruments, music and musicians than audiences gathered for a magician's performance.
You might argue that a piece of music can be previously known, and therefore establishes a code of
behavior that can be learned by an audience before the concert. This isn't possible with a magician, since
he doesn't hand out a libretto of his act. Iam led to believe that a concert audience, being more educated
about music than they are about magic, will show their appreciation louder, longer and more clearly. Or
are there just more accomplished classical music performances than there are good magic performances?
Is it possible to educate an audience more about magic, without talking about its secrets? I suggest
occasionally including a piece in which the audience is explicitly or implicitly invited to be silent until
the end. This could be a piece done to music, or an effect with a poetic presentation done in a subdued
manner. Both these examples make for a welcome change of pace in a program, and they may provoke
a reaction similar to that experienced in a concert.
Of course, this seems possible only in more formal performance settings·. But what if it was done in
other settings, too?


June 28--An Artist's Copyright Notice

Looking through the collection of lecture notes I've accumulated over the past twenty-five years, Ifound
a lot of useful effects, techniques and bits. In one of Flip's sets of lecture notes there is a copyright notice
I like for various reasons. You might, too.

I make my entire living from inventing and performing magic. My original routines are created
as pieces of art, like poems and design objects. Some of them took a long time to develop
and/or finding refined details by trying them out in actual performances. Please treat them
accordingly. Ifyou copy these ideas without paying for them to the author, you steal his intel-
lectual property, which is dishonest. But if you have to, the least you can do is to compensate
me by sending your written commentaries, experiences or your originalities in this field. That's
reasonable, don't you agree? I know you can be trusted!

In a time when DVDs are illegally duplicated, and books are made into PDF files and downloaded
for free on the Internet without the author's permission, Flip's words are as valid as they were when he
wrote them; perhaps even more so. (Reprinted with his permission.)


June 29--Breast ..Pocket Ploy
It is sometimes desirable to keep the outer breast pocket of your jacket open a bit, to get rid of small
objects secretly, such as a coin, a thimble, ete. You could of course construct some gimmick to do the
job, or you can bunch up a handkerchief in the pocket. However, the following method is probably the
simplest and most self-contained. It can be set up in a matter of seconds and undone just as quickly.
Simply pull out the lining of the breast pocket and stuff it partly back in, letting the material bunch
up. This keeps the mouth of the breast pocket open.
Should it be necessary to close it, you can easily and naturally push the lining back down by sticking
your fingers into the pocket in a casual gesture or by taking out an object you have palmed or previously
dropped inside.
By pulling up the pocket along its central seam, you can even create two compartments. This was
shown to me in 1992 by my good friend John Carney, during one of our many enjoyable meetings at the
Escorial Card Conference of the Escuela Magica de Madrid.

I had the privilege to spend time on several occasions with the great Albert Goshman. (He always teased
me by telling me I was the first person to have ordered and paid for his book.)
Albert told me that many magicians would attend his lectures time after time, and these amateur
conjurers always bought a set of his sponge balls even though, since they seldom performed, they had
dozens of unused or rarely used sets already in their drawers. He thought this behavior was due to the
strange belief that, when they bought the sponges, they were unconsciously hoping to buy some part of
Albert Goshman. "They want to buy a piece of me!"
That indicates a remarkable success-and also provides an insight into what is really important in
a performance.

July l--Details for a Climax
Dai Vernon's "Climax for a Dice Routine'r" is a beautiful pocket trick that can be performed on almost
, any occasion. It even plays for audiences of several dozen people. Lewis Ganson tells us that when Dai
Vernon performed this little piece for Her Majesty, Queen Louise of Sweden, it caused great amusement
and he had to repeat it by royal request. If you don't have this effect in your repertoire, you are missing
out on something.
I have one thing to add to this wonderful trick, concerning the smallest die. This tip was given to me
by Carlhorst Meier from Nuremberg, a dear friend and mentor. Searching for the small die in your pocket
at the moment it has to be stolen can be awkward and cause a suspicious delay. To avoid searching, fum-
bling and hesitation, I use a lot of small dice, about fifteen, in my outer jacket-pocket. They line up nicely
along the bottom seam and won't interfere with other items in the pocket, an important criterion for
any performer. Yet, at any time, I can reach into the pocket and instantly grab at least one die.
Also, it is important that the large die produced at the end of the routine contrast as strongly as pos-
sible in size with the normal-sized dice, to create maximum impact at the climax. I suggest starting with
the selection of the large die, choosing the largest that you can comfortably and securely hide in your
fist. Then choose four other dice that are as small as possible while still looking like dice of a size we are
accustomed to using for board games. A size a bit smaller than the usual transparent dice used in casinos
will do. And the small dice should be as tiny as possible.

July 2~Climax for a Knife Routine
An effective climax to almost any trick or routine using a pocket knife is to transform the knife into many
small knives'. Here is a practical method for achieving this.
Fill a thumb tip with the tiny knives and seal the opening with a short cork that, when in place,
protrudes a little distance beyond the rim of the thumb tip. Carry the loaded thumb tip in one of your
left-hand pockets.
When the time for the transformation approaches, finger palm the thumb tip in your left hand, with
the opening of the tip turned toward your thumb. Then, while your hand is still in your pocket, use your
thumb to pop off the cork and leave it behind. If seated, you can delay the use of the loaded thumb tip
by storing it in the crook of your left knee, and later retrieve it in your left hand. Hold the thumb tip in a
loose fist, its opening toward your thumb.
Holding the knife in your right hand, you apparently push it into your left fist. In reality, though, you
execute one of the standard knife vanishes and palm the knife in your right hand. To effect the magic,
pour the small knives out of your left hand.
As the audience reacts, relax and ditch the palmed knife (if seated, let it fall into your lap; ifstanding,
let it drop into the jacket pocket as you take a step back), and insert your left thumb into the thumb tip.
Casually open both hands palms up as you accept the applause.
With experience, you'll find your own solution for getting rid of the knife. For example, you might
include a small pill with the knives in the thumb tip. When you spill the them onto the table, notice the
pill, pick it up and put it into your pocket, leaving the knife there, too. IIGh, that's my superpowers pill. I'll
need that later." Or simply bring the pill near the pocket and let the knife fall imperceptibly into it.
The load of tiny knives can be reset by once more finger palming the thumb tip in your left hand,
while your right hand picks up all the little knives and drops them into the circle of the left forefinger and
thumb, collecting them in the loose fist (and its thumb-tip lining).
Place your left hand into your pocket and use the middle, ring and little fingers to hold the filled
thumb tip against the palm as you grip the cork with your free thumb and forefinger and fit it into the
opening of the thumb tip. You're ready to go again. The procedure should look as if you have simply
gathered the knives into your left hand and placed them into your pocket.

July 3-A Touch for Clifton's Ring Steal
This is a thought on Emil Clifton's ring steal. The original sleight was first published in Earl Nelson's excel-
lent book variations." Rather than stealing the ring as the right hand moves upward, try this:
The ring has been threaded onto the cord and rests at its center. Set the ring on your left palm, let-
ting the ends of the cord dangle from their respective sides.

Close your left hand into a fist around the ring and cord, and
turn it back up.
With your right hand, take the end of the cord dangling from
the right-hand side, gripping it near the fist, and draw it softly over
the back of the fist, letting it fall over the left side.

Immediately after your right hand

has crossed over the back of the left, Z
continue its action by lowering it until
it can grasp the other end of the cord.
During this downward movement the
left little finger opens imperceptibly
and lets the ring drop from the fist. The
right hand catches it on its journey to
grip the end of the cord.

This hand then draws the end up and over the fist, as it did the
other, crossing the ends of the cord over the back of the fist. In the
process, you slide the ring off the cord and finger palm it.
I first saw this used by my close friend Lennart Green.

July 4--San Giovanni Bosco
On the occasion of one of my recurring lectures in Milan, Carlo Faggi, the president of the club, gave me
a piece of San Giovanni Bosco's shroud, presented in a miniature frame.

(actual size)

If you could sew together all the pieces of any particular shroud being sold, it would result in an
• expanse of cloth vast enough to cover acres. Confronted with this, church representatives have replied
with sober sincerity that any tatter brought into the same room with the original shroud or a portion of
it will acquire the characteristics of the original, and therefore may be considered identical to it.
A few days ago I put a pile of blank paper slips next to a bundle of money in a drawer, and I'm
excited to see the results. Nothing has happened so far-but the story would make a nice presentation,
wouldn't it?

July 5--Gestures
Gestures constitute much of the vocabulary of body language. Body language is like any spoken lan-
guage. Unfortunately, to many magicians it is a foreign language. Everyone who performs magic should
be at least bilingual, speaking his native tongue and the body language that goes with it.
Like a spoken language, body language has a grammar: vocabulary, orthography, pronunciation,
punctuation and syntax. Always remember that gestures are culturally coded. Ifyou touch your thumb
to your forefinger, forming a circle, and spread the other three fingers, in most cultures this means "okay"
and is a positive sign. But in some occidental cultures, such as that of Greece, the same gesture is obscene.
There are several other signs and gestures the meanings of which change dramatically from culture
to culture. The intelligent and urbane performer will learn the differences and will use gestures and signs
in an unambiguous and correct context.
The more senses you can appeal to in your performances, the clearer your message will be. Ifa word,
which reaches a person via the ear, is accompanied by an appropriate gesture, which appeals to the eye,
the message will be received twice and assures better understanding.
Gestures can also add grace, an essential element of artistic performance.
As an assignment, take a favorite trick of yours and write a "gestures script': or at least go through
the trick step by step and think about how you could improve clarity in what you say and do by the
01 deliberate use of gestures.

__ I!III!II!"'-----:--------------------------

July 6--lnvitations by Avalanche

This is another idea I received through the Escuela Magica de Madrid. Many beginners and amateurs are
busy with a daily job and have fewer opportunities to perform than they would like. And when such
opportunities arise, they don't often allow experimentation or honest feedback.
"Invitations by avalanche" will generate one show a week in a comfortable setting, with the possibil-
ity of trying out new material or of testing a set repertoire in front of different audiences, from which one
can receive detailed feedback. Here is how it works.
Get together with four or five magician friends, each of whom has roughly a ten-minute set he
can perform. Together you will have a program of under an hour. Invite a dozen or fewer non-magician
friends to your home. A good time for this might be after work and before dinner, so that you don't take
up anyone's evening, when people may have appointments or family commitments. But after dinner can
also work.
When your guests arsive, serve them a drink, introduce them to each other, and then do the show.
Afterward, invite them to stay for another drink. At this point ask them questions about what they have
seen. What did they like? What didn't they like? Why? What was the most impressive thing they wit-
nessed? The members of the Escuela actually had their audiences fill out questionnaires.
To close the session, ask if any of the guests would like to have a similar gathering at their homes.
If each of them hosts a small party, inviting another group of non-magician friends and friends of those
friends, you can easily have a show every week for several years.
True, the shows aren't paid-but what a great way to learn, experiment and progress. And the gath-
erings needn't be just about the show. If you invite the right kind of guests, these friendly meetings can
yield paid work as well. However, Iwant to stress, this idea is not about money. This is about studying the
art and progressing as a performer.

July 7-. The Empty Pocket
The top-of-the-pocket dodge is very old and widely known among magicians. However, not all pockets
these clo:ysClxecon<;,tmc.tecl\N\tn tne. "l"e.c,uisite
too corner that makes concealment of an object possible.
Here is a beautifully simple and useful stratagem tnat allows )'ou to n\d.e an)' sma\\ ob\ect, such as a com
or penknife, in almost any style of pants pocket while turning it inside out to show it empty.
The object is already in your pocket or you may have it palmed and drop it into the pocket as you
reach in. Grab the lowermost point of the lining and pull it out in one straight, uniform movement.
The object will remain hidden and be obscured from the audience's view behind the lining in a kind of
impromptu, natural pocket.
Once the pocket lining is sticking out of your pants, you may gently slap it with the back of your
hand, and then, again gently, push it back in. Done correctly and executed with the self-confidence that
grows from experience and competence, this looks very disarming and innocent.
This was shown to me by close-up magician extraordinaire Steve Draun during his visit to my home
in Muttenz in November 2005.

July 8-Double Divination
The red cards of the deck are secretly separated from the black cards. Assume the red cards are on top
of the blacks.
Spread the top half of the face-down deck and have someone on your right take a card (red).
Continue to spread through the cards, into the lower half, and have someone on your left take a
I •
card (black).
I After the two cards have been noted, again begin to spread through the deck and have the person
on your left return his card in the upper half (red).
Turn then to the person on your right as you continue spreading, and have him replace his card in
the lower half (black).
Thus, the black selection is replaced in the red half, and the red selection in the black half. So far, all
is standard procedure.
Separate the deck near the middle and riffle shuffle the halves into each other. With a little practice
you will find it relatively easy to spot the odd-colored card in the midst of the left half, where the indices
can be observed during the riffling. Remember this card.
Apparently push the cards together, but in reality execute a push-through shuffle and strip out. This
reverses the position of the halves.
Immediately do another riffle shuffle, again watching for the odd-colored card in the left-hand half.
This will be the other selection.
Push the interlaced cards legitimately together this time and square the deck. This action will throw
off even informed onlookers who may have perceived your first false shuffle, and they will be wondering
what possible purpose it served.
You are left with a perfectly shuffled deck that carries no trace of the principle at work. And you
know the two selections!
This cunning subterfuge was told to me in August 1994 by the remarkable Gordon Bruce of

July 9-Fantastic Tranceposition
Ascanio, a close friend of Fred Kaps, showed me this and said it was one of Fred's favorite card tricks. I've
never seen it in print in this form, although it is clearly a variant of Elmer Biddle's classic effect, 'Trancen-
dent"." It is beautifully structured and I note it here to prevent its loss.
Have a card selected and control it to the tenth position from the bottom of the deck ("Controlled
Control': explained on April 2, p. 103, was Fred Kaps's choice).
Turn the deck face up, obtain a break under the card on the face and start the first half of a double
undercut, cutting about half the deck from bottom to top. Immediately cut all the cards above the break
to the table. From the remaining half peel off five cards, one by one, into your left hand. This simulates
the actions of the Biddle stealbut is honest. Ask your helper whether he saw his card. When he says he
hasn't, place the five-card packet face down to your left on the table.
Put the portion you hold onto the tabled half and pick up the reassembled deck. This retains the
stack at the face.
Repeat the double undercut to lose the card at the face and cut the portion above the break to the
table. Again peel five cards off the portion you have retained, displaying their faces. This time, however,
the third card will be the selection, and you steal it under the right hand's packet as you draw off the
fourth card, executing the Biddle steal."
When you ask if he saw his card, your helper will admit he has. Place the left hand's packet face down
in front of him and ask him to put his finger on it. As he does this, use your left hand to pick up the tabled
portion of the deck and set it on top of the right hand's packet. The selection is the rear card of the deck.
As you next turn the deck face down and set it aside, palm off the selection. Then, as you smoothly
scoop up the first pile of cards you placed down, add the palmed card to the top.
Turn the packet face up and deal its six cards into a face-up pile-but count them as five, dealing
the last two cards as one. This positions the selection second from the face.
Turn the pile face down and doa buckle count while reversing the order of the cards as you count
them. This brings the selection third from the top.
Make a magical gesture to indicate a card traveling invisibly from your helper's pile to yours; then
have him discover that his card has vanished from his pile-and show you now have six cards and his is
in the middle of them!

July ll-Marketing
I've studied the subject of marketing extensively. I've read many books on the topic and taken several
expensive courses in general marketing, direct marketing, public relations, cold-calling and so on. Yet, I
don't do any marketing in its usual forms.
Isuspect this reflects my lack of a desire to be a "professional" magician, in the business sense of that
word. In 1988 Iquit my safe and well-paid job as a translator and interpreter, to be able to devote the full
day to the study and practice of magic, without financial considerations. I found myself improving my
magic and the presentational skills associated with it; and I was lucky the markets I happened to serve
needed and liked what I liked: good magic, done well.
When I started thinking about how I was able to make such a comfortable living without practic-
ing any of the marketing activities my professional colleagues keep preaching about in books, tapes and
lectures, I realized I was using a different kind of marketing: word-of-mouth.
There is more to word-of-mouth marketing than just having people talk about you in a way that
results in generating business-much more. My favorite book on the topic is Jerry R. Wilson's Word-
of-Mouth Marketing. I hope this makes you curious about considering how you can devote more
time to the artistic side of magic and less time to the marketing of it, while attaining and maintaining
financial security.

July 12--lntriguing Thoughts
Someone has chosen and remembered a card, then replaced it in the deck. Let's assume you know this
card or can locate it easily, either because you've forced it, glimpsed it or placed a key card next to it.
Turn slightly to the left and have your helper stand or sit behind you. You might even insist that she
put a hand on your shoulder. Sound social and communicative judgment are needed to determine how
far you can go with this, taking into account the situation, crowd and occasion. This is a highly dramatic
tableau and will arouse intrigue.
Start dealing the cards face up into a pile. Look at the cards as they are dealt and have your helper
do the same. Emphasize to, her, "Look at the cards, never look at me. Look at the cards and when you see
your card, think stop. Don't do anything else-just
think stop."
When you reach her card, stop and say loudly, "Stop! The Three of Hearts-you are thinking of the
Three of Hearts"
To reinforce the idea that the card has been merely thought of, you could use a wording such as this
as you are dealing: "Think of your card-/ can hear your thoughts. JJ

This location and divination-two effects-create a strong impact. In reality, you've only performed
a location, but it will be experienced and remembered as if you had read your subject's thoughts-and
then found her card.

July 13--Notebooks and Storage for Information
Todays computers and database software offer wonderful solutions to maintain notes. After defining
appropriate criteria, every entry can be easily cross-referenced and searched. Laptops and handheld min-
iature computers make all data available almost anywhere, anytime. With e-mail, homepages and Web
servers" the information can be put at the disposal of others as well.
Nevertheless, I still favor the paper approach, since I find it more tactile and pleasantly old-fash-
ioned, even though cross-referencing is admittedly difficult and troublesome. The important thing is to
find a method of keeping notes that isfun for you. Otherwise you will never do it.
I'll tell you how I deal with note keeping, not because I think my method is superior to others, but
because I hope that reading about it will give you a few ideas for storing and retrieving your magical
knowledge in an effective way.
I nearly always carry a small notebook and have the recording function of my mobile phone as an
additional tool. Itransfer the notes from these to my main archive almost daily. This archive consists of six
components. The first has several hundred folders, each with the name of a magician on it. Every time I
receive an item from a new magician, Icreate a folder for him or her. The folders receive anything pertain-
ing to this person: business cards, photocopies of feature articles in magazines, lecture notes, Christmas
cards, ete. I also have many folders devoted to subjects (see the entry for November 23, "Categories for
s; My Filing System", p. 348).
Component Two consists of various types of notebooks. I have "technical notebooks': which are
loose-leaf binders with alphabetical division tabs, listing all the technical categories Ican think of-I have

July 14-Card Control Demonstration
"I'm going to show you how a card cheat controls important cards while
he is shuffling the deck." Openly place the four Aces face down on top
of the face-down deck and cap it with any face-up card.
Undercut about half the deck to the right and start a regular riffle
• shuffle, trying to separate the Aces by weaving in a few cards from
= . -l
the right-hand packet, but drop the face-up card last. Spread the tele- ~
scoped deck to show how the Aces have been dispersed to be lost.
Push the spread back into lengthwise alignment and apparently
square and cut the cards. In reality you perform Dai Vernon's Triumph
shuffle." Finish the shuffle by cutting the half with the face-up card
forward and dropping the other half on top. This apparently loses the
face-up card along with the Aces-but the Aces are actually delivered
back to the top, where you can show them, perhaps through a simple
but pretty flourish, such as Roxy's star turnover display, described in
Card College, Volume 4 (p. 1020).
This makes a nice introduction to the "Climax to an Unexpected
Poker Deal': which is on tomorrow's schedule.

July 1 S--Climax to an Unexpected Poker Deal
This was inspired by Dr.Jacob Daley's problem "Negative Stock Shuffle': posed in Karl Fulves's Riffle Shuf-
fle Technique, Preliminary Notes on Part OneY
Although this solution requires a setup of roughly a quarter of the deck, it is worth the effort. By
using Juan Tamariz's "Secret Setup" procedure explained in Card College, Volume 5 (p. 1124), you can do
this from a shuffled deck, any time you like. And tomorrow we'll discuss another useful technique for
such situations.
The setup consists of twelve arranged cards with two indifferent cards added on top. Reading from
the top down these cards are: X-X-2-9-2-9-KS-2-QS-2-9-JS-9-10S.
The Aces are out of the deck, having been produced or used in a previous demonstration; perhaps
"Card Control Demonstration': described yesterday.
Ribbon spread the deck face down and openly insert the four Aces at five-card intervals from the
top. The first Ace, inserted fifth from the top, has to be the spade; the suit order of the other Aces is
irrelevant. As you insert the Aces, explain that a card cheat, to win in a five-handed game of poker, has to
place those cards he wishes to receive five cards apart in the deck.

"But what do you do if two players suddenly drop out? A cheat would have to resort to a complicated
set of shujffes, but as a magician I simply shujffe the deck once and cut it, and all is done." In reality, all you
do is get rid of the top two indifferent cards, and then honestly deal three five-card hands. Everything else
is automatic. To get rid of the two cards, you could simply use a double undercut followed by an injog
shuffle that retains the top fifteen cards. However, to make it look more like a professional card game, a
riffle shuffle procedure should be used, such as a Zarrow shuffle or a push-through with a block transfer,
the block consisting of two cards.
According to card-table practice, you should have the deck cut, which means you must "hop" the
cut when you reassemble the deck. See "Best Hop" on February 11 (p. 50) for an excellent method.
If you now deal three hands of five cards, the first player will receive four Twos, the second player
four Nines and you receive a royal Rush in spades. That's a lot of effect for very little effort.


July 16--Postcard Cue Card
PURPOSE:To cue a needed card order and allow you to set it up under the noses of your audience.
Assume you want secretly to arrange the cards for yesterday's "Climax to an Unex-
pected Poker Deal" from a shuffled deck. Show your audience a postcard that depicts a gambling scene.
There are dozens available (search the Internet for Caravaggio, George de La Tour, Cezanne, Picasso, Bal-
thus, etc.), or you can inexpensively create your own.
Comment that cheating with cards is as old as playing cards themselves, and that cheaters have
been depicted by many famous painters. Claim that this postcard was sent to you by a successful card
cheat whose name you aren't at liberty to mention. Devise your own story, guided by the scene on
the card.
Casually set the postcard aside, message-side upward. Into the written message from "your acquain-
tance" you have inserted the order of the cards you need, either in symbols or written out, so that with
a few glances at the card you have the arrangement.
The stacking can be done during a relaxed moment when you are apparently toying with the cards;
or you can us~ Tamariz's "Secret Setup" strategy (see yesterday's entry), or another method you prefer.

July 17--Wrong Card
What should you do if you ask someone to name his selection, you turn up the card on the table and it
is not the right one; either because your helper has misnamed or misremembered the card, or because
you've made an error?
Let's assume the Three of Hearts has been chosen, and you have mistakenly produced the Queen of
Spades. You know you have the wrong card on the table the moment your helper names his selection.
You therefore say, "f'II change the Three of Hearts into the Queen of Spades!" Turn the Queen of Spades face
up and treat the whole thing as a gag.
Or you could say, "Oh, this is the Three of Hearts, but it has disguised itself as the Queen of Spades."
If you deliver the line correctly and have previously established your magical competence, people will
believe it is a gag and laugh. This gives you enough time to switch the Queen of Spades, using a top
change, for the Three of Hearts. Then say, "Of course, if you like, I can change it back." Snap the card, tap
it against a glass or make any other magical gesture that theatrically suggests the change; then turn the
card face up to display the correct one.
Ididn't mention how you get the correct card to the top for the change, did I?When the fine British

professional Tony Griffith finds he has turned up the wrong card, he says, "Someday, somewhere, some-
how, somebody will select the Queen of Spades. And then I will have my miracle!" Delivered properly, this
is funny (it's the rhythm), and it gives you enough time to look for the correct card as you casually run
through the deck while laughing with your audience.
I suggest that, rather than immediately producing the correct card from your pocket or wallet, as
this is so often done, you try the top change ploy instead.

July 18- Table Magic I:Thoughts on Opening Private Shows at Tables
How to approach a table or a group is among the most frequent questions magicians ask, and not just
beginners. In my opinion, the best way is to have been previously announced by the host, so that you
are anticipated as a "magical surprise" or "special guest". When your host or hostess mentions your name
and perhaps explains that you are going to perform for them individually during the evening, stand
beside him or her, or at least where everyone can see you, look at the audience, moving your gaze from
one side of the group to the other, and greet them with a simple "Good evening." Use your personality
rather than a trick.
When ready to approach the first table, look for a group that is not engaged in busy conversation.
Approach these people, but stop two steps away. Look at each person seated at the table and smile sin-
cerely. Someone will inevitably make eye contact with you. Maintain their gaze, immediately approach
the table and greet the person who's looking at you: "Good evening!"
This automatically causes other people at the table to look at you. Look back, engaging everyone's
gaze for a moment, and say something like "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. May I interrupt your
conversation for just a moment." Make this a statement, not a question, and use the tone of someone
who can confidently-but not arrogantly-back up this request with competence, knowledge and skill.
If you have been introduced by the host, they will smile and listen to you, and you can begin your
ex; performance. If you have not been able to get an introduction, you could follow up by saying, "We have
a special surprise for you tonight." Pause. "The surprise is me." You'll get a pleasant reaction and people will
laugh. Wait three seconds to acknowledge it. Don't proceed immediately; and smile back. Anything else
will be interpreted as impolite by sensitive individuals.

My professional experience has taught me that even hardened business people have some kind
of sensitivity, and recognize it when someone else has it, too. liMy name is Roberto Giobbi-and I'm a
magician, a conjurer; an illusionist by profession. Ifyou like, I would be happy to do a little private show for
you-just for you and your friends."
That's of course just the idea. I've found this offer is almost always cordially received. The main
reason for this receptivity might be because I never deliver this line as a "sales pitch"; instead, it is clear
to everyone that I sincerely believe what I've said, and it honestly reflects much of my attitude toward
magic, life and people. I believe there is no marketing strategy that can replace sincerity, especially when it
is fortified with a master's degree in competence and unconditional, life-long devotion to your discipline.
I sometimes explain very briefly that there is no stage tonight, which is why I'm going to perform a
private show for them-now, if they like. I've never had anyone say no.
If I'm going to do a formal show later, which I often do, I will say so and explain that this is a little
starter, to give them an idea of what they can expect.
Table tents can also facilitate your approach. For a young or sophisticated crowd, a modern design is
preferable; but for family events a figure of a miniature top hat with bunny, bearing a message relative to
the event is okay. It might even include room for a few of your business cards. You can go a step further
by having one or several of your posters displayed where guests enter the dining room.
Often the client will send an invitation for the event, either printed or as e-rnail with a PDF attach-
ment. Sometimes it's possible to include a photograph and short biographical paragraph that mentions
you will be performing at the event.
These and many more ideas, such as give-aways, newspaper ads and drawings, can make it easier to
start performing for a group, whether they are sitting at a table or standing in a meeting room.

July 19-- Table Magic II: Getting to the Next Table
Here is an idea Pat Page gave' me, which opens the social doors to all the other tables after you've done
the first (see yesterday).
At the end of your performance at the first table, humorously ask if they would mind helping you
get to the people at the next table, whom you haven't met yet. With a smile ask for a thunderous round
of applause. If you have done a good job and the group likes you, they will eagerly cooperate with good
humor, clapping, cheering, maybe even stomping their feet.
But even if their response is only half this, I guarantee that almost everyone within range of hearing
will turn around and wonder what is happening.
This is the moment to take a step back, spread your arms and make a little bow. This makes it clear
to anyone watching that the group's pleasure is directed at you. I can tell you from experience that you
won't have any difficulties being received at the next table.
Ifyou like, and it fits your style, you can make the same request at each table. This might even result
in a competition between tables, each trying to outdo the other with their applause. (This extended
strategy doesn't suit my personality.)
P.5.If you need to approach a group either seated or standing that includes someone of particular
importance (a president, a famous billionaire, the Pope), insist that the host or someone well-known to
the group accompany you and introduce you. All you need to do now is deliver-but no book can teach
you that.

July 20- Table Magic III:Openers for Private Shows at Tables
Having explained over the past two days some opening strategies, here are three ideas for trick openers.

Despite an occasional disparaging comment from some magicians, don't dismiss Ron Wilson's intro-
ductory ploy for the color-changing knife: IIHas anyone lost a white knife? No? Then maybe someone has
lost a red knife?" Tommy Wonder has adapted this to a color-changing lighter.
The funniest of all these ploys was told to me by my dear friend Camilo Vazquez of Madrid. Camilo
opens a box that contains an apparently severed finger. IIHasanybody lost a finger?" This, of course, is the
old children's trick using a box with a hole in the bottom through which you stick your finger; letting it
lie on a bed of cotton. When most are laughing, move the finger a little. These tactics are good, provided
they are presented with the right attitude and sense of humor. That is difficult to teach. Experience and
common sense are the best instructors.
Ifa candle is on the table, you can use flash paper; cotton or string. Simply approach the table and
stand between two guests, saying something like "Excuse me, may I?"Then hold the flash material above
the flame rather than in it. This is more effective. And when the flash has almost extinguished, produce

a coin, a purse or any prop you intend to use in your opening trick and that you can comfortably hide in
your hand. (Remember the sponge ball production we studied on June 11, p. 174?) This opener has to be
delivered with good judgment or it can appear aggressive. Again, experience will inform you. w
A curious or impossible-looking object-such as the topo-
logically impossible "Hypercard" -rests on the guests' tables
when they arrive. It is an easy matter to approach the table and
ask, "Good evening, folks. Do you know what this item here isfor?"
The explanation leads you directly into an introduction of your-
self and your performance.
Analogous to the above, you might place on each table any three-dimensional puzzle that is diffi-
cult to solve. You can then approach the table at any time and ask, "Good evening, folks. Has anyone been
able to solve this puzzle here?" Regardless of the answer, you've broken the ice and have a start. If no one
has been able to solve the puzzle, do so for them before starting the performance.

July 21- Thoughts on "Table-Hopping"
I confess I dislike the term "table-hopping" intensely, and "strolling magic" and "walk-around magic"
hardly less so. I think such terms lack the dignity we would like to give to our magic and to ourselves,
regardless of our being amateurs or professionals.
As a technical term among ourselves, I suggest we use the simple and intuitive term "repeat table-
magic". When speaking with people outside our craft, I advocate the term "private show".
Whenever a client calls me and asks for "table-hopping" or "strolling magic" -yes, even the public
has started using these terms-or whenever I have to explain the concept, I will say, "Besides a formal
show, I can also do a private show at every table for your guests. Think of me as a special guest who has an
unusual talent. During the evening I willjoin groups who sit at a table or stand around, and I'lldo a private
show just for them. Then I will join another group and do a different show for these people, until everyone
has had a personal performance. We will never need to monopolize everyone's attention, so your guests can
socialize or do other things, which is a very important function of your event. But at any given moment they
can enjoy a private show that will entertain them and give them a new topic to discuss, which refreshes
their interaction."
This speech must be adapted to circumstances, but the idea and the terms remain constant.
Ifirmly believe that, by doing "private shows" rather than "table-hopping': you not only put yourself
w on a higher social plane, you also potentially increase your fee!

July 22- The Fred Kaps Color Change
I know this will catch every expert's attention, because no one I've asked over the years has heard of this
sleight. I recorded it in my notebooks as soon as Ascanio showed it to me. Ascanio, as I've mentioned
before, was a close friend of Fred Kaps, and Kaps had many such gems that have never been published.
Hold the deck face up in left-hand dealing position. Your right hand already hides a card in classic
palm, face against the palm. The card may be palmed from the bottom of the deck immediately before
you wish to execute the color change, as is common practice.'? but a better tactic is to palm the card ear-
lier and hold it out, either in the crook of your knee, between your thigh and the chair, in a pocket or...1
call on your ingenuity. Then retrieve it in classic palm when the time approaches for the color change .

.Pass your right hand over the face of the deck, in standard
color-change fashion-except that the hand never completely cov-
ers the deck; it leaves the left half of the face visible.

~ ---

Perform this magical wave again. And again; but on the

(t ~~ ~
third pass of the hand, when the face of the deck is half covered,
straighten your left ring finger, place its tip on the right edge of

) P 7 the palmed card and quickly pull the card to the left. Simulta-
neously and smoothly, move your right hand to the right, in the
same fashion as before.

The resulting color change looks absolutely amazing-much better than most color changes."
This change is visually stunning, but thanks to its partial cover it leaves enough to the imagination
to make it magical.
Ifyou palm two cards instead of one, you can thumb off the transformed card after the color change.
And if you use duplicate Jokers-well, I'll leave that to you to figure out.

July 23-- Talk
The impact a magician has on an audience is not created just during the formal performance, as I long
believed. From over thirty years of experience, practicing magic as an amateur, semi-professional and
later as a full-time pro, I've discovered the time you spend with your audience before and after the per-
formance may be of near equal importance in creating the impression you leave with your spectators.
Be able to talk intelligently about magic with laypeople, including doctors, lawyers, CEOs and anyone
who excels in his or her job. Know the key facts of magic history, as well as its most important perform-
ers, inventors and authors. Know the influence they exerted. Know about cross-cultural developments,
about the philosophical implications and psychological fundamentals. Know why magic deceives and
fascinates educated people.
Questions from the public, both naive and intelligent, are frequently the same, the world over. Be
ready to answer them politely, intelligently and memorably.

July 24--0pener
Instead of using a quick effect to open a card act, why not tell an anecdote? Here is one you might not
have heard or may have forgotten.

The famous British dramatist George Bernard Shaw once sent Winston Churchill, then prime minis-
ter, two tickets for the opening night of one of Shaw's plays. In a note he wrote, "I would be very pleased
to welcome you at the premiere of my play. I enclose a second ticket for a friend-in case you have one:'
Churchill answered, "I won't be able to attend the first night of your play. But please send me two
tickets for the second night-in case there will be one:'
When your audience's amusement at this story subsides, continue, "This will be only the second time
I've performed this experiment. I hope it works this time-it is very difficult.JJ

There are dozens of exquisite anecdotes that can be used to lead into an act or an individual piece .

July 25-- The Simplest Deck Switch
The simplest deck switch conceivable consists in putting the deck in use into one pocket, then taking the
cooler from another pocket. Let's see how this switch can be done artistically, through the addition of a
few details of handling, timing and misdirection.
At the end of a strong effect, when the audience is still reacting, swiftly insert the deck into its case
and hold it in left-hand dealing position as you accept the applause or respond to the audience's com-
ments. Then calmly put both hands into your pockets, with the intention of getting some small object,
for instance a visually interesting box that contains a prediction, or anything that makes sense within the
context of the next piece.
As your left hand leaves behind the used deck, your right hand seizes the object.
Both hands come from their pockets and handle the object while you make a pertinent comment.
Eventually hand this object to someone.
With the greatest nonchalance, both put both hands once more into their pockets and pick up the
cooler in your right hand. You must consider these actions as above suspicion and utterly inconsequential.
As you remove your hands from the pockets, bring them together and place the cased cooler into
left-hand dealing position. This reprises the image of the position of things before you went to the pockets.
Either take the deck directly out of its case and proceed, or hand the cased deck to someone and
reclaim it later.
This switch can also be done with an un cased deck of cards.
Remember: Simplicity is a privilege of the master.

July 26~One ..Deck Do
This uses a marked deck, but in such a way that even card experts should be misled.
Have someone shuffle the pack and cut it into two approximately equal piles. He gives you either of
them and each of you spreads his half on the table.
You and he then push a card from your respective spreads, privately note it and write its name on a
billet. The two billets are folded and placed aside.
Due to the marks, you will know your counterpart's card from its back. Remember this card, forget
yours-easy-and on your billet write the name of any card. If you write the name of a card that is in
your spread there is a small chance it will be chosen later. This is an outcome to be desired.
Each of you replaces his card in his half of the deck, shuffles the cards and cuts them. You then
exchange halves.
You explain that each of you will now take another card, but you will not make your choices by con-
sidering the faces; the choices will be made intuitively. As you mention that the choice won't be made by
considering the faces, illustrate by spreading your cards briefly face up in your hands. Quickly locate your
partner's card and maintain a break below it in the spread.
Close the spread and turn the packet face down, but retain the break.
Each of you now takes a card and places it face down on the table. You take the card under your
break (your helper's card), and he takes a random one. Again, you will know its identity from its back as
soon as he places it on the table.
Pick up your billet, open it and misread it, announcing the card now in front of your helper as your I
previous selection. He opens his billet and reads aloud the name of the card you have in front of you.
You both turn your cards over, proving that, as incredible as this may seem, he and you have been
able by magical intuition to locate each other's card.
The more you perform this, the more often it will occur that your assistant will choose the card writ-
ten on your billet. When it happens, exert your privilege.
To explain your helper's ability, you might transfer your power to him by touching your forefinger
to his, ia Michelangelo's God Creates Adam. This or a similar presentation is needed to create theatrical
continuity and to give the effect a concept and raison d'etre.

July 27~One ..Way Turnaround
You find yourself using a deck with a one-way back design. Here's a clever and practically surefire way of
having a chosen card replaced with its back reversed in the pack-and you won't even touch the cards.
You need the help of three spectators: Sl, S2 and S3. Hand the deck to Sl and ask him to give it a
"little shuffle': followed by a cut. Pantomime an overhand shuffle in the air. This minimizes the small risk
that your helper might do an awkward riffle shuffle that reverses cards. (Should this ever happen, don't
despair. Simply do another trick. If you are reading this Secret Agenda, you have more than one from
which to choose.)
Next instruct him to spread the cards in his hands and have S2 take one and remember it.
Tell Sl to hand the deck to S3,who should be positioned opposite him. This automatically turns the
deck end for end in orientation to the person who holds it.
Instruct S3 to give the deck another overhand shuffle and cut. Then ask S3 to spread the cards in his
hands, and to have S2 replace his selection in the deck.
Each of the three now briefly overhand shuffles and cuts the deck.
Through this process the selected card has been turned around and may be easily located. Try this
and surprise yourself.


July 28- The Involuntary Stooge

This is another extremely satisfying way of turning a selection end for end in a one-way deck. Again, you
do not touch the cards during the selection and replacement process.
Ask someone sitting opposite you to shuffle and cut the deck. She then spreads it face down on the
table and takes any card she wishes from the spread.
To show it to the rest of the group, ask her to come around to your side of the table and to show the
card to everyone while you look away. In this action the card will automatically be turned around. When
she now inserts it back into the spread, all that is needed has been done.
At this point she may shuffle and cut the deck once more, to her heart's content, but you are still
able to locate her selection.
This procedure was shown to me in February 1995 by the great Parisian card-magician Bernard Bilis.
Bernard attributed it to Fred Kaps, who apparently used this ploy with great success-as have I,ever since.
You can use this strategy with any deck at any time by using the twenty-two "pointer" cards of the
deck; that is, those cards having an asymmetrical arrangement of pips or one-way faces, such as the Aces
and Threes of Hearts, Clubs and Spades, ete. Position these cards in the center of the deck and guide the
choice of a card from this section. The rest of the procedure is as explained above.
To reveal the selection while still not touching the deck, you might ask your helper to deal the cards
face up and think stop when she sees hers. Due to its reversed orientation, you will be able to stop her at
the correct card.
Don't forget to name the card aloud when you stop her-the audience will remember that you
divined the card and mysteriously made her stop at it.

July 29--More One-Way Ploys
Here's another extremely subtle way of imperceptibly turning around a card that has been selected from
among the twenty-two one-way pointer cards in the deck (see yesterday's "The Involuntary Stooge").
Do an incomplete faro, weaving the twenty-two pointer cards into the rest, and leaving the pointer
portion out jogged. You may include a few non-pointers at the face of the packet, if you like. (By the way,
to get twenty-two cards or a bit more, simply estimate less than half the deck when you cut off the top
portion for the faro shuffle.)
With the deck in its telescoped condition, have a card peeked at in the outer tier, and obtain a break
in the lower portion at the point where the card is looked at (standard incomplete faro procedure). In a
squaring action, secretly slide the peeked card from the outer portion down into the inner one." Then
twist the protruding cards to strip them from the rest, turning them end for end in the process.
Drop them on top of the others and immediately shuffle the cards. The most natural method in
this circumstance is an overhand shuffle, since you have the cards in hand at the end of the selection
procedure. You can, though, follow up with a riffle shuffle, and then even hand the deck to someone for
shuffling. Under these circumstances it seems it would be impossible to locate the selection. Yet, it is the
only one-way face that lies in opposition to all the others.
For details of handling, as well as how to justify the incomplete faro configuration, see Card
College, Volume 3, (p. 689). And recall our discussion on July 12 ("Intriguing Thoughts': p. 207), for sug-
gestions on how to reveal the card.

jIII!I!!_ •••••-----------------_._---

July 30-A Safer One ..Way

What if a card chosen from a one-way deck is inadvertently turned around by your helper, foiling your
plan to locate it in the pack? There are several recovery strategies you may resort to in such a situation,
some of which are described in this book. But let's look at an even better solution, namely avoiding the
problem in the first place. Here's an excellent idea to assure that a selected card is always kept in the nee-
essary orientation to the deck.
Hand your helper a clothespin. Then spread the cards face down in your hands and ask her to select
any card by clipping the clothespin to the outer end of it. Once she has attached the clothespin, she
may draw the card from the spread, show it around and even drop it. When she replaces the card, you
can be sure its orientation hasn't changed. Whatever technique you have used to turn the deck around,
the selection will be replaced in a way that allows you to locate it. This also works beautifully with 'The
Involuntary Stooge" ploy we talked about on July 28.
As far as I know, this idea has never before seen print; at least not in English. It was told to me by Ron
Wohl, who credited it to the German amateur magician Max Giebe.


July 31---Cross ..Referencing Practice

In several places in the Card College series, I hinted at this powerful practice concept, but I would like to
be more explicit. here. There are sleights that are difficult to execute not only manually, but also-and
more importantly-because they arouse self-doubt and fear of failure. This is a situation within oneself
that must be faced and resolved. The top change, pass and classic force are prominent examples of such
intimidating sleights.
Executing such sleights, during performance but out of context, helps to install the necessary psy-
chological skill, resulting in greater self-confidence. To practice the pass, you might execute it at certain
points iJ;la trick where it isn't required. For example, when someone has just taken a card and everyone
is still looking at it, execute the pass; or do a side steal or palm the top card and replace it.
When you are shuffling the deck and no control of the cards is necessary, execute a false shuffle,
such as a push-through or the more difficult and delicate pull-out shuffle. Ifyou miss, it doesn't matter.
And if you think anyone saw you do a false shuffle, immediately follow it with a genuine shuffle that
appears similar, to dispel any suspicion of sleight-of-hand. Or try doing a perfect faro shuffle when a
regular shuffle is required.
The most common example given of this method of practice is the classic force. Whenever you have
a card chosen, attempt to force one. If you succeed, fix the experience in your memory; and if you miss,
forget about it.
Practicing different sleights in this way during performance, when success is not imperative, will
activate what I call"cross-referencing practice". Ifyou do this on a regular basis, you will gain confidence
when success is critical. And should you miss or get caught as you practice, nothing terrible can happen,
since there is no relevance to the method for the effect you are performing.

August 1~Uniqueness
Dai Vernon, one of the wisest of men when it came to magic, said it in two words: "Be yourself'
And T.A. Waters observed, "The ancient Greek philosophers already said that we are what we do. If
we do what others do, we are not being ourselves." S6 That's an excellent way of expressing it.
Personality is felt by our audiences when we do what we love, when we express through our magic
our interests (a window onto our intellect) and passions (our emotional world). This is quite different
from doing something just because we know we can make money from it.
Ascanio often quoted Picasso: "A craftsman does what he can sell; an artist sells what he does:'

August 2--- The Invisible Thimble
This is a beautiful production of a thimble. I saw the exceptional Fantasio (Ricardo Roucau) do it at
his lecture in 1988 at the Magic Hands Convention in Sindelfingen, Germany. It is explained here with
his blessing.
Hold a thimble in right-hand thumb palm.
As you explain what you are about to do, reach out with your left hand and apparently pluck an
invisible thimble from the air.
Place it onto your right forefinger.

Now say that you are really going to do it.

As your left hand plucks the invisible thimble,
insert the tip of your right forefinger into the
thumb-palmed thimble and produce it.

Coordinate the appearance of the thimble

with the left hand's action of apparently plac-
ing its invisible thimble onto the forefinger-the
thimble seems to appear as you put it on!
It is important to move only your left hand,
keeping the right hand with its extended forefin-
ger as still as possible. This is the main secret to
creating the illusion.

August 3--Folded Card to Purse Frame
Here is a simple but effective idea that can stand alone as a quickie or be used as the climax for a card
routine, such as the Ambitious Card.
A purse frame is in your right pocket. Have a card selected, signed and returned to the deck. Control
it to the bottom. Now deal face-down cards to the table until your helper calls stop. Have her turn over
the card reached and, as she does this and finds it isn't hers, pick up the dealt cards, insert them into the
center of the deck and use the subsequent squaring action as cover to fold the bottom card secretly into
fourths or sixths. I use John Scarne's Mercury card fold," although another folding technique-Vanni
Bossi's,Tommy Wonder's, Gaetan Bloom's-can also be used.
Take out the purse frame and ask your helper to open it.
When she looks inside and admits she can't find anything, take
back the closed frame and hold it between your left thumb and
forefinger at its hinged left end.

Pass your right forefinger through the space where a

bag should be and say, "You didn't find anything in here?"
Pivot the frame a half turn to your left, delivering it to
standard production position. Snap it open, reach inside
with the tips of your right thumb and forefinger, grip the
folded card that lies in left-hand finger palm and pull it
out straight up. "Oh, you missed this."
Snap the purse frame closed on one of the corners
of the folded card and hand the frame and card to your
helper. When she opens the purse and unfolds the card, she
will identify it as her signed selection.
Clip one corner of the unfolded card between the arms
of the purse frame and put the assemblage on the table.
This makes an interesting, surreal and memorable picture
that recaps the effect in one image.


August 4--Ambitious I
Today is the first of seven days that will deal exclusively with ideas pertaining to the Ambitious Card. Let's
start with one of the finest climaxes for this classic, Fred Braue's pop-up card." Here is what I believe to
be the best and cleanest handling, one that avoids confusion.
Lift two cards as one from the top of the deck and repeatedly
"bow it, bringing its ends together, with the face of the double turned
toward the audience. While doing this, move your hand slowly and
continuously from side to side, apparently to display the card to
everyone, but in reality to protect the double thickness of the card
from detection.
Start to set the card on the table, but interrupt the action
briefly (actio interruptus) by replacing it on the deck in an in-transit
action that frees your right hand to move an object aside or brush
some crumb or bit of fluff from the tabletop.
Immediately take the bent top card and drop it face down on the table as you point out that all the
other cards are flat, holding up the deck in elevated dealing position while the pads of the fingers press
on the sides of the cards to keep the bent selection down and flat on top.
With your right hand, cut off about half the deck, holding it in end grip and pressing down lightly
with the tip of your right forefinger on top of the packet. Immediately slip the tabled card onto the left
hand's packet, continuing to let the bend in the card show clearly.

· -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Slowly put the right hand's packet onto the left's, so that
the bent card is visibly pushed flat. All this should be done
with the cards held in elevated dealing position.

Instruct everyone to look at the sides of the deck and not to blink.
With your left forefinger, press strongly upward on the center
of the bottom of the deck, while the thumb and fingers pull down-
ward on the sides of the deck. This creates tension on the cards, so
that when the tips of the thumb and fingers release the top card at
its sides, it will noticeably jump up, much more so than if it were
released without the added tension. Don't underestimate this point,
as it dramatically strengthens
Magic Christian of Vienna.)
the effect. (I learned this touch from

August 5-Ambitious II
Execute a double turnover to display the Ambitious Card.
Turn the double face down, take the top card and insert it half way into the outer end of the deck.
Slip the deck into the card case, with the card believed to be the selection still protruding.

Hold up the deck in its case and have _~

your helper push the out jogged card flush.

Give the case a slight shake for magical effect; then slowly and clearly pull the deck more than half
way out of the case.
Ask your helper to remove the top card and turn it face up-it is his signed selection!
The card case adds a dramatic element, creating expectation, suspense and emotion.

August 6~Ambitious III: Creating an Impromptu Double ..Backer
Here are two ways to turn the second card from the top secretly face up, so that a "natural" double-
backer is created.
FIRSTMETHOD:While holding the deck face down in left-hand dealing position, use your left thumb
to push over the top card in preparation to turn it up on the deck. In this action, also push the second
card slightly to the right and catch a little-finger break beneath it as you flip the top card face up to dis-
play the ambitious selection. Thus, the little finger now holds a break under the top two cards.
ItMaybe you can see how the card rises to the top if I bury it under only one card." Grasp the back-to-
back double card in right-hand end grip and use it to flip the next card on the deck sideways and face up.
Put this card face up under the right hand's double card and flip all three cards (apparently only
two) face down on the deck, catching a break beneath them.
Since this procedure might cause confusion about the positions of the two displayed cards, you
immediately clarify things by gripping the three cards above the break in right-hand end grip. Move the
triple card to the right while you use the pads of your left fingers to drag its bottom card to the left. Then
use the remaining double to flip the selection face up on the deck. Similarly flip it again face down, but let
it land slightly injogged, and cover it with what isapparently a single card but is really a face-to-face double.
Casually square all the cards, once more obtaining a little-finger break under the top three. "Your
signed card, covered by just one card."
Perform a magical gesture; then do a triple turnover, exposing the face of the ambitious card. Deal
it into your right hand. A face-down card shows on the deck. Take care not to expose the reversed card
just below it. Everything appears just as it should. You may hand the selection to its owner. ItYou may feel
it. It's really your card, isn't it?" 59
SECONDMETHOD:After it has returned to the top, sail the ambitious card face up onto the table.
"Obviously there are no duplicates of your card in the deck; not on top, not on the bottom, not in the center.
That's why I asked you to sign it." Execute the Daley double turnover reverse. That is, do a double turn-
over, then turn your left hand palm down with the deck to display the bottom card. While the deck is
face up, use your right finger pads to draw the lower~ost card off the deck, turn it face up and replace
it beneath the deck. Then turn your left hand palm up, bringing the deck once more face down. This
secretly reverses the second card from the top."
With an impromptu double-backer on top, you are ready to perform tomorrow's illusive sequence.

August 7 =-Amblticus IV
This is my handling and extension of a brilliant Zingone-Braue sequence, which resembles a beautiful
idea by Neal Elias." It makes a nice ending to any Ambitious Card routine.
You have an impromptu double-backer on top of the deck and are holding a break below it.
Set the ambitious card face up on the deck, then apparently flip it face down, in reality turning over
the top three cards as one. Insert the top two cards as one into the approximate center of the deck, but
as you push this double card flush, obtain a left little-finger break above it (for refined handlings, see
January 13: "A Delicate Double Lift': p. 17; and April 7: "In Lieu of the Diagonal Push-In", p. 108).
Show the ambitious card has risen by flipping it face up on the deck.
As the effect registers and the audience's attention momentarily relaxes, do a slip cut, cutting the
cards above the break to the table while using your left thumb to draw the face-up ambitious card onto
the lower packet and on top ofthe double-backer.
Do a triple turnover (made easy by the natural break caused by the face-up card third from the top),
grasp the top two cards as one in right-hand end grip and place them onto the tabled pile. Then dribble
the rest of the left hand's packet onto the pile.
Make a magical gesture and show the ambitious card is once more on top.
There is now one face-up card in the middle of the face-down deck. Turn the deck face up and insert
the ambitious card face down into it-but steal it from the deck, using a diagonal palm shift," which
leaves it palmed in your left hand.
With your right hand, immediately carry the deck forward and ribbon spread the cards face up. A
face-down card is visible in the center of the spread and is assumed to be the ambitious card. You may
push it forward for half its length from the spread and ask your helper to put her finger on it.
Meanwhile, you may load the palmed selection into a wallet, which you hand to someone else.
(Since the card is palmed in your left hand, and the majority carry their wallets in the inside left breast
pocket of the jacket, consider the technique for loading the card given in Card College, Volume 3, p.724.
There it is described with the card palmed in the right hand, but the procedure works just as well with
the right and left hands trading tasks.)
Or you can drop the card between your legs and onto your chair, so that you can later reveal you
are sitting on it; or ...

August 8--Ambitious V
Regardless of how convincing the selection of a card has been, and how nonsensical it would be to
assume there is a duplicate of it in the deck, I think it is indispensable to have the ambitious card signed,
no later than after its second ascension.
After having tried many ways of having the card marked, I've come back to the simple idea of ask-
ing my helper to write her first name in block letters on the face of the card. (I find it better to use a
female helper for the Ambitious Card, as this plot appeals to women, and their perceptible reaction is
typically stronger.)
At some point in the routine-I find the third phase before the finish the best-bring the card to a
position corresponding to the number of letters in your helper's name. For instance, if her name is Edith,
bring her card fifth from the top.
After having apparently lost the card in the deck, turn the top card face up. It isn't hers. Show sur-
prise and dismay. Explain that in such cases you have to call the card. Cards, like humans, must of course
be called by their names.
Ask for the name of the card, and when she says it, explain that, no, the card's name is Edith. Spell
E-D-I-T-H, dealing one card for each letter, and turn up the last card to reveal the signed selection. This
is simple, but so very effective.
The three phases that can top this, in my experience, are:

1. the pop-up card (August 4, p. 232);

2. the penultimate phase of Vernon's routine in Stars of Magic, during which the helper takes the
deck in her hands and then turns the selection over herself;
3. the Card-to-Wallet finale.

August 9--Ambitious VI
Show that the ambitious card has returned to the top, then drop it face down on the table.
With the deck face down in left-hand
dealing position, use your right hand to slide
the top half to the right. Let the left fingertips
glide across the face of the right hand's packet -+- _~~~~~
and, as that hand is about to set its packet
onto the table, rotate your left hand 'palm
down as you slide the right hand's bottom
card squarely under the left hand's packet.
The action is that of a K.M. move.
There is now an indifferent card face down and hidden beneath the left hand's face-up packet.
Without pausing, lower your left hand, still palm down, to the face-down ambitious card and pick it up
under the packet.
Immediately turn your left hand palm up and display the face of the ambitious card. There is a face-
up card secretly beneath it.
Turn the face-up double card face down on its packet and drop the top card-apparently the ambi-
tious one-onto the tabled pile, letting it land in an out jogged position.Then drop or dribble the left
hand's remaining cards onto the rest, apparently burying the ambitious card.
Pull the protruding card cleanly square with the remainder of the deck, perform a magical gesture-
CIJ and show the ambitious card is back on top.
Correctly executed, this series of actions looks perfectly innocent. It can also be used as a substitute
for a double lift.

August 10--Ambitious Problem
Here is a card problem for you to solve. The effect is perceived as this:
You cut the deck into three approximately equal piles; let's call them one, two and three, counting
from right to left.
We'll assume the ambitious card is the Ace of Spades. You show the Ace and insert it into Pile One.
You snap your fingers and show that the Ace has risen to the top of the pile. •
You next insert the Ace into Pile Two.
Again you snap your fingers and show that the Ace has come to the top.
Finally you show the Ace and put it into Pile Three on your left.
After an adequate pause and magical gesture, you show it has once more risen to the top.
You explain that the ambition of the Ace of Spades has affected the other Aces in the deck and-
turning over the top card of each pile, you reveal the other three Aces.
From here you may segue into your favorite Ace Assembly, using the Ace of Spades as the leader
Ace, confirming its role as an Ambitious Leader (there you have a titlel).
As an added challenge, you might let someone else cut the deck into three piles, rather than doing
it yourself.

August 11- Trick Questions
There is a category of puzzles called "trick questions". Here is a classic example.

"Some months in the year have thirty days, and some have thirty-one. How many months in the year
have twenty-eight days?"
Most people will answer, "One. February;' even after considering there may be a hidden trap.
The answer is twelve, because every month of the year has twenty-eight days. (If you judge your
audience to be particularly bright, ask, "Some months in the year have thirty days, and some have thirty-
one. Without counting, can you say how many months in the year have thirty days?" The correct answer
is eleven.)

The interesting thing about trick questions is that they give us a glimpse at how our minds work,
how we solve problems and how we create our realities. This is obviously of great interest to all of us who
look at magic beyond mere tricks, techniques and entertainment, because it points to the part of human
thinking that makes our deceptions (and life!)work.
The trick question fulfills several functions. It can be amusing in social situations; and it can help you
lead the discussion to interesting subjects, even when in company that would think cognitive psychol-
ogy is a dirty term-but you needn't mention that, any more than you need mention tuber magnatum
when you are eating white truffles.
Trick questions can be clever ice-breakers for an impromptu performance and might even serve as
an intelligent plot for most tricks, close-up or on stage.
On the Internet you can find many exquisite trick questions. Simply enter the term into your search
engine and navigate through the links.

August 12---More Trick Questions
Here's a fine trick question. Start by asking someone three or four questions to which he will certainly
answer "yes': such as "Do you know a river longer than the East River?" or "Do you know a city bigger than
San Francisco?" Eventually ask, "Do you know a greater idiot than you?"
Sensing that all the questions have been a setup to elicit an habitual "yes': your victim will quickly
answer "No!" And that is, of course, how the amusement is manufactured.

To ensure that this works nearly every time, precede this series of questions with other trick ques-
tions. These create the desired mindset. Here's a classic that will function as a setup, even if your victim
knows it and answers correctly.
Point to a white surface and ask, "What color is this?"
He will answer, "White."
Repeat this with other white objects, such as "What color isfresh snow?"
After you have received three or four answers of "white", deliver your punch line: "What does a
cow drink?"
Almost everyone who hasn't fallen for this ploy already will answer, "Milk," thanks to the preceding
"white" answers and anticipating the trick question.
But a cow drinks water, doesn't she?
However, whatever his answer, your victim is now primed to state very soon that he is an idiot.

August 13-Pocket ..Calculator Magic
Ask someone to name any number between one and ten. Assume he answers five.
Mentally multiply his number by nine. Enter the result,
forty-five, into a pocket calculator and immediately press the
multiplication key. If you do this quickly, it should look as if you
have simply turned on the calculator. Don't let anyone see the
display yet.
Now openly enter 1, 2, 3, 4,5,6,7, 9-skipping the number 8.
Hold the calculator with your thumb close to the equals key
and let him see the numbers on the display.
Ask your helper to name his number in a loud voice. When
he does so, blow on the calculator-it's an ancient magical
ceremony-and imperceptibly hit the equals key. You needn't
move your thumb to do this. Simply give the calculator a very
light, almost imperceptible flip toward yourself as you blow on
the display. When it settles again, its own weight will cause the
lower edge of the equals key to lightly hit the thumb between
its tip and pad. As a result, the display fills with a string of his
chosen number!
Instead of having the person name a number, you can ask him to take any card and think of its value.
Simply glimpse the card taken, or force a known one.

, £

August 14-The Ghoti is a Fish

This is not only fun and little known, it also shows the terrible logic that lies at the foundation of any
language (especially English!).
Write the word GHOTI in big letters on a piece of paper and declare that it is pronounced FISH in
English. Your audience will look at you, not knowing whether to be polite or tell you you're nuts. You
then proceed to prove your case.
GH is pronounced F, as in cough.

o is pronounced I, as in women.
TI is pronounced SH, as in nation.

Therefore, GHOTI must be pronounced FISH. Quod erat demonstrandum.


SOLUTION TO PROBLEM 1: Draw one horizontal stroke over the central I.This forms the letter T. The new formation
reads: 10TOI0

SOLUTION TO PROBLEM 2: 99 9/9 (that's 99 + 1 = 100).

This represents the time "ten minutes to ten': which is 950 (9:50).


4 + 4 + 4 + 44 + 444 = 500

SOLUTION TO PROBLEM 4: Using matches, depict the number 29 in Roman notation: XXIX. If you now take away
one match, the I, you will be left with XXX,the Roman numeral for 30.

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was raqumu 1341U!E1qo 01 paau nOA op 5mO} AUEW MOH:£ W3190~d

i51!8!p IEJ!lUap! mo} 41!M OOL raqumu 1341ME..Ip nOA op MOH-Z W3190~d

'056 OlU! 5!41 a>lEW 13>10..115

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uaded jo aJa!d E uo 8U!MOII0} 1341ME..IO-L W3190~d

5walqOJd JaqwnN Jno:l--S llSninv

August 16--An Optical Curiosity
This is a very pleasing stunt to be done before the dinner glasses are filled, or at the end of a meal, at
which point it might lead to an impromptu performance of magic.

Pick up a glass and ask each of the other guests to do likewise

with their glasses. Instruct them to tilt the glass slightly, so that the
outer and inner halves of the rim are visible to them.

Everyone is now told to close one eye and imagine the positions
of the rims inverted or flipped. Suddenly the glass will seem to bend
and stand at an angle contrary to the logic of its foot, and by slightly
moving the hand, an eerie movement of the glass will be obtained.
This is amazing and very few people fail to make the perceptual
shift required to observe the illusion. Ifirst saw the famous mathema-
tician John Conway demonstrate this optical illusion at the Gathering
for Gardner convention in Atlanta in March 2006.

August 17 -Old Props
There are many tricks that use "strange" props. There are the nickel- and chromium-plated tubes and
vases made in the early twentieth century by manufacturers such as Conradi and P & L.And there are
items no longer in common use, such as men's hats, cigarette cases and milk bottles; and soon to join
them sugar cubes, match boxes and handkerchiefs. Their loss in daily life is to be mourned when they are
indispensable to the performance of beautiful tricks.
An example is the "Kangaroo Card",62 You put a deck into
a man's hat, on one side of the crease, and the selection (which
you've controlled to the top or bottom of the pack) secretly on
the other side. You then make the card fly into the air by giving it
a smart fillip at the bottom of the hat.
You can revive these wonderful tricks by justifying the neces-
sary props. Just say you received them from an old magician. You
might tell an amusing anecdote about him.
Or perhaps you found the props in a box your great grand-
father had stored in your attic.
Or you bought them at a magic auction.
You might even show an old catalog and photo of the prop, allowing your audience a glimpse into
the complex world of conjuring and its past. (Photoshop and modern computer printers allow you to
reproduce a page showing any item you need, which you can then insert into an auction catalog.)

August 18--Greetings by Night
Show an addressed and stamped envelope and explain it was sent to you by a special friend who
is psychic.
Someone is asked to make a selection from a large collection of postage stamps. Let's assume he
takes one from Austria.
When he looks at the envelope, it is seen to have come from the same country!
METHOD:You force one of three stamps. A small stamp collector's book is gimmicked to do this.
Every other page has various stamps from France, the USA and Austria (or any three countries you
like). The pages that lie between these force pages have a variety of stamps from other countries. It isn't
necessary to fill the pages with stamps; sometimes even one is sufficient. Trim every other page short
at its fore-edge. You have thus made up a "Svengali Stamp Book"; that is, a "blow book': like the Magic
Coloring Book.
Let's say the three options are Austria, France and the USA. You have an out to cover each of the
three forced stamps.
If an Austrian stamp is chosen, show that the sender on the back of the envelope has an address
from Vienna, Austria. Then show that the stamp on the envelope is also Austrian.
If a US stamp is chosen, disregard the envelope and immediately explain that there is a postcard
inside. The postcard is solid black on the front, but has a white line printed on the upper right corner:
"Greetings from New York by Night."
If a French stamp is chosen, disregard the envelope and show the postcard, but cover the white line
with your thumb. Explain that the black expanse is a scene of Paris by night. The audience assumes this
is a gag. However, on the back of the postcard it says, "Paris by Night." A hand-written message reads
something like "Hello Roberto-I miss you so much. Paris is dark without you. Love, Christine."
This makes for a nice introduction to a stronger and more elaborate mental piece.

August 19- Teafor Profit
This is a lovely little impromptu effect in which a burning tea bag is magically changed into a ten-dollar
bill. It makes use of a little-known feature inherent in the material from which tea bags are made.
The only preparation is to have a crumpled up ten-dollar bill in your right pocket and a lighter in
your left pocket.
Whenever the time is right, take a tea bag, empty the tea from it and write "$10" on the empty bag.
Lay it onto a little plate or ashtray on the table.
Reach into your left and right pockets simultaneously, and bring out the lighter in your left hand.
Immediately after the lighter comes into view, bring your right hand from its pocket, apparently empty,
but loosely finger palming the crumpled bill.
Set fire to the tea bag. The burning paper will float mysteriously up into the air. When it reaches
approximately chest height, grab the "fire" with both hands, rub your palms together-and produce the
bill at your fingertips, where you slowly open it out.

August 20-- The Versatile Wallet
For any professional close-up magician it is a prime necessity to choose effects that conserve pocket
space. This is especially true for the close-up worker who must do multiple sets at the same engagement.
Whenever possible, he will choose instruments and props that can be used for several effects and not
just for one. A wallet fills the entire inner left pocket of the jacket and should therefore perform numer-
ous duties. Here are some ideas.

* If you use a wallet built to receive a sealed envelope in its zippered compartment, choose one
like the Ed Balducci type wallet, which can be used afterward to load any type of object (card,
bill, credit card) into the same compartment.
* Store a Paper-to-Money set in the wallet.
* Store several pieces of flash paper in it, for use in producing a folded bill or other small object.
* Store an empty, ordinary envelope in it, for such effects as "The Substitution Envelope Mystery"
from The Card Magic of Paul LePaul.
* Store a few special cards in it, such as the 3Y2 of Clubs and the Fifty-Two-on-One gag cards. The
latter is a good out if you fail to find a chosen card.
* Store several "curious cards" that display an unusual optical illusion. Use these as conversation
pieces and ice-breakers.
* Store several of your business cards.

August 21--lyophilized Money
In Robert-Houdins landmark book Comment on Devieni Sorcier: Les Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la
Magie (translated into English by Professor Hoffmann as The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic), there is a
stunning little coin trick he calls "La piece fusible'; 63 in which a borrowed coin is first vanished in the flame
of a candle, and then materializes from the same flame at the tips of the performer's fingers. Due to infla-
tion, we need to use a large-denomination bill, and we can take advantage of modern props-a lighter
and flash paper. Aside from these minor adjustments, we owe all to Robert-Houdin.
EFFECT: A piece of white paper is burnt, upon which it instantly transforms into a fifty-dollar bill, and
that subsequently, and very slowly, into a hundred-dollar bill.
METHOD:Take a fifty-dollar bill and fold it r;:::======+=======t=======iilrl--I
three times, making a square packet. Glue an outer (

corner of this to the corresponding corner on the -- -(-----§~~

back of a similarly folded hundred-dollar bill. ( I
r I
Put this prepared double-bill into your right ( I
front trousers-pocket, hundred side nearest you.
Have a lighter in your left front trousers pocket, and a square piece of flash paper, approximately the
size of the bill packet, in your wallet. I carry several there, so that I can repeat the effect.
"Yve made a revolutionary discovery. This is lyophilized money; it'sfreeze-dried. I have different curren-
cies for when I travel." Take the piece of flash paper from your wallet and hand it to someone on your left
to look at. Set the wallet on the table.
"0f course you need a catalyst to transform the lyophilized bill back to its original state. It's so much
faster than going to a bank to exchange currency or cash a travelers' check, and it's cheaper than credit

cards:' With both hands, go into your trousers pockets, the left hand grabbing the lighter while the right
hand finger palms the folded bills. Bring out the left hand a little before the right hand.
Display the lighter-though you maintain it's a "catalyst". Immediately transfer it to your right hand,
affording cover for the palmed bill-packet,
Extend your left hand, asking for the return of the flash paper-or rather, your freeze-dried money.
With your right hand, give the lighter to the person and immediately take the flash paper from him as
you mime with your empty left hand lighting the lighter, to "activate the catalyzer". Note that all these trans-
fers are choreographed to suggest both hands are empty, while all the props are efficiently set into place.
Hold the flash paper above the flame, not in it, and as the paper ignites from the rising heat, move it
in front of you. Reaching this position, keep the hand stationary, and just before the flame goes out, push
the folded bill packet into view. In doing this, you may move the hand slightly at the wrist a few times, in
a sort of fanning movement; but keep the hand anchored in the same space.
"When it cools off, it changes back into its original form-fifty dollars!" Keeping your hand in the same
space, unfold the fifty-dollar bill while you keep the hundred-dollar bill hidden behind it. You can cover
the hundred with your thumb as you briefly display both sides of the fifty. The effect is very good.
"Maybe that was too fast. Let me do this slowly." Fold the fifty, and then unfold the hundred. The
handling is very similar to that used in the $100 BillSwitch. You turn the folded hundred outward as you
make the last fold of the fifty, and then unfold the hundred.
"Normally I give the money away-but you don't need it so I'llkeep it." Put it in your wallet, then put
the wallet away.
To reset for the next performance, instead of putting the hundred-dollar bill into the wallet, simply
fold it up and put the packet into your right front trousers pocket with the hundred side toward your
body. You're set to go again.

August 22- The Creation of an Egg
A piece of cigarette paper is squeezed into a ball. The performer takes a drinking straw and slowly
"blows up" the paper ball until it is seen to have become an egg, which is then broken into a glass.
METHOD:Have a sponge egg in your outer left jacket-pocket; and a real egg, along with a packet of
king-size cigarette papers in your outer right pocket. Also have a drinking straw convenient to your right
hand; for instance, in your inner left breast-pocket.
Reach into your outer pockets and bring the cigarette packet from the right pocket, closely followed
by your left hand, which exits its pocket with the sponge egg compressed between the tips of the thumb
and first two fingers.
Transfer the packet to the left hand, helping conceal the sponge egg there, and with your right hand
remove a cigarette paper. Set the cigarette packet on the table and use both hands to bunch up the ciga-
rette paper into a loose little ball.
For a moment, hold the ball at the left fingertips, in front of the hidden sponge egg; then transfer
both to the corresponding right fingertips, pinching the paper ball between the right thumb and finger-
tips, while the compressed sponge egg-taking the place of the paper ball-is displayed at the fingertips.
Mention that you need a magic wand. Look at your jacket, then return the visible "ball" (the sponge
egg) ~ack to your left fingertips, allowing your right hand to reach into your left breast-pocket and bring
out the straw. At the same time, you rid yourself of the paper ball. Note how all the secret actions have
been imbedded within in-transit actions.
Hold one end of the straw to the sponge egg and lightly blow into the other end. Simultaneously,
let the sponge egg expand slowly until it assumes its final form. This slow transformation into an egg is
a very visual and astonishing moment. Use the resultant interval of surprise to put the straw into your
right outer pocket and secure the real egg. Transfer the left hand's sponge egg to your right that
you can reach for a stemmed glass that sits at your left. In making this transfer, squash the sponge egg
against the real egg. You then break the latter into the glass. This is the climax.
Drop the shells into the glass and retain the sponge egg, hidden in your right hand. Reach into your
pocket for a handkerchief to clean your hands and leave behind the sponge egg.
NOTE:To eliminate the cigarette paper (an item most people these days consider it odd to have-
unless you desire the inevitable drug jokes), use the paper wrapper from the straw in its place. This also
makes the effect self-contained. Your assignment: Rechoreograph the handling to make this possible.

August 23-Double Divination
This is a very effective method for divining two thought-of cards. A stacked deck is needed. Any system
works: Stebbins-Galasso, Eight Kings, Tamariz, Aronson, ete.
Give the cards a false shuffle and have the two persons who will assist you give the deck a complete
cut. Place it face down on the table, step back and ask the first helper to cut off a portion and hold it with
the face of the packet against his heart.
Have the second helper do likewise.
"The deck has been thoroughly shuffied and you've each cut off a portion, which you're now holding
close to your heart." In concert to these words, you illustrate the actions with the balance of the deck,
performing a quick overhand shuffle, and then holding the face of the packet against your chest. During
the shuffle, run the top card to the bottom and glimpse it while bringing the packet to your chest. This
card cues the second helper's card to you, as his selection is the preceding card in the stack.
Ask Helper Two to look at his card for the first time. Using your favorite staging, divine the card,
apparently reading his mind. As soon as you've announced the card he's thinking of, have him show it to
everyone for better effect.
Take his packet and drop it onto yours. Ask Helper One to now look at his card, remember it, and
then shuffle his packet "once more". Bysaying once more, you imply that these cards have been shuffled
before. This not only strengthens the first divination, it also implants a piece of information in the audi-
ence's memory that will later make it impossible to reconstruct the method.
When you instruct Helper One to shuffle his packet, you again illustrate by giving your cards a brief
overhand shuffle that brings the top card to the bottom, where you glimpse it. The all-around square-up
glimpse fits our need perfectly" This informs you of Helper One's card.
To dramatize the second divination, write the name of the card on a large notepad; for close-up
work, a piece of paper will do. Then have the person name his card aloud. Show that you are correct.
Carlhorst Meier first showed me this effect. Instead of a deck of playing cards, Carlhorst liked to use
a pack of twenty-five symbols the order of which he had memorized.

August 24-Cutting to a Crimp
When cutting to a crimp, Dai Vernon always suggested that, rather than trying to cut directly to the
crimp, you grasp the entire deck in right-hand end grip, lift it a fraction of an inch, and then slightly relax
your fingers. The result should be that the block of cards below the crimp will drop almost automatically
to the table.
Another stratagem to be used whenever it is appropriate is to ask someone to cut the deck. Many
times he will unknowingly cut to the crimp for you!
What do you do, though, when he fails to come to your aid? 97.347% of the time, he will be off by
only a few cards. In such cases I say, "Thank you very much. That's what I call a proper cut. In the last show
I did, I had an incredibly finicky fellow take the deck like this and ask, 'Can I cut just a few cards!"
Demonstrate by taking the deck very close to your eyes, as if you were legally blind, and cut to the
crimp. Besides being amusing, you won't miss.
I finish by saying, "Of course I didn't mind, because you can cut wherever you like." You can't imagine
how much pleasure doing things like this can give until you've tried them.
And what about the remaining 2.653% of the time? Simply have one or even two other people cut
the deck. There's a very good chance one of them will cut to the crimp. And if this doesn't happen, resort
to the stratagem just explained and adapt your script.

August 25-Cigarette Paper Divination
I had the great pleasure of meeting Alex Elmsley in November 2005 at the MacMillan Convention in
London, just weeks before his untimely death the following January. We had an unforgettable session
that lasted into the wee hours. One of many items he showed me was this:
Have someone privately write on a cigarette paper a name, a number, a one- or two-word topic for
a question, ete. Instruct her to roll the cigarette paper into a little ball and to drop it onto a saucer on the
table. Because it is dropped, it will bounce off the saucer and onto the table.
Immediately pick it up and put it back on the saucer, taking advantage of the situation to switch the
person's pellet for a blank one you have hidden between the first two fingers of your right hand.
Immediately tell her to pick up the saucer and a lighter that is also on the table. You may now turn
away or even leave the room as the pellet is burnt.
With your back turned to the group, you proceed to read the stolen message. If you've left the
room, this is even easier.
You're now ready for some impressive thought reading.

With Alex Elmsley and Richard Kaufman

August 26~Recovering from FISM at Giobbi's
Sharing good food, good wine and good magic at the Giobbi home in Switzerland in 1997, right after
the FISM convention in Dresden, Germany, with Guy Hollingworth, Max Maven, Lennart Green, Aurelio
Paviato and Vanni Bossi.

The main course was Frank Garcia's super meatloaf from his Super Subtle Card Miracles. After dinner
each of us did one unpublished trick for the group. Wish you had been there.


August 27 '"-Tricks for Children

I have never developed the skills necessary to perform for small children. Consequently, I don't enjoy
doing children's shows. However, occasionally I find myself in situations where I cannot refuse a request
to perform for children. If they are between the ages of twelve and sixteen the problem becomes easier,
as they can be approached as if they were adults, although they'll react differently, since they are in their
"scientific phase': during which it's important to find out how everything works. With this type of audi-
ence only very good magic very well done will prevail. I recommend good sleight-of-hand (card) magic.
Here are some tricks from my adult repertoire that also work for children of most ages.

* The Linking Rings (better spoken than done to music; use a routine with figures)
* Card in Lemon
* Cut and Restored Rope; also "Professor's Nightmare" and extended rope routines (see George
Sand, ShigeoTakagi, Daryl, Tabary).
* Three Ballsand a Net (see The Dai Vernon Book of Magic by Ganson, p. 61)
* "Homing Card Plus" (Card College, Volume 2, p.288)
* Pat Page's "Cards to Pocket" (Ganson's Routined Manipulation Finale, p.200)
* Any Sponge Ball routine
* Any Copper-Silver Transposition
* The Egg Bag
* Cards Across
* Coins Across into glass or onto saucer
* Cups and Balls
* Sponge and Bowl routine (Benson type)
* Gypsy Thread
* Brainwave
* Nudist Deck
* A straightforward book test
* Dai Vernon's "Climax for a Dice Routine" done on a net held by two spectators"
* Ring Off Wand or Cord (borrow a ring from an adult bystander)
* Three-Card Monte, Martin Lewis's"Sidewalk Shuffle': Ken Brooke's "Find the Ace" or Joe Riding's
"The Only Three Card Trick in the World Using Four Cards"

August 28--Rank of Poker Hands
Here is a nicely laid-out list of the rank of hands in poker. You can photocopy it, maybe blow it up a bit,
and have it laminated at your local print shop. I use it with every poker demonstration. In my experience
there are always a few people who don't know the rules of poker, or don't remember them exactly.

best possible hand

sequential values, same suit


three of a kind and a pair

non-sequential, same suit

sequential, mixed suits





August 29-- The Program is Wild
This is based on an idea told to me by my dear friend Camilo Vazquez and is attributed to Fred Kaps.
From a pack of blank cards remove eight and perform Takagi's "The Wild Blanks':65 but instead
of replicating a signature, a different picture-cards, coins, dice, etc.-appears magically on each card.
Someone then chooses a picture, say the coins, whereupon you do a coin trick. This is continued with
other pictures, resulting in a "Wild Act': or as the French would put it, an act a la carte.
You draw a magic wand on one of the cards, and it is with this card that you effect the "printing':
theatrically speaking. The pictures that appear might be a deck of cards (prompting a card trick), coins
(coin tricks), thought waves (a mental trick), a bunny or top hat (the 'Tamariz Rabbits"), balls (a Sponge
Ball routine or the "Three-Ball Transposition"), dice (Dai Vernon's "Climax for a Dice Routine"), etc.
Use a deck of about twenty double-blank cards. On the top seven draw seven pictures of your
props. Cap everything with a double-blank card.
Holding the blank deck with the setup on top, spread the cards in your hands showing all the cards
to be blank. Turn the deck over and using a handling that appears similar to that just done, show this
side to be blank, too; but as you reach the lower third of the deck, push off all the cards above the bot-
tom double-blank, and show both sides of it to finish the display. You can use any moves you know to
show the deck completely blank (All Backs routines are a good source for techniques), but don't overdo
it. Simply handing a few cards out to spectators, and casually showing the rest on both sides might be
more convincing than many a fancy move.
Square the deck, turn it over and deal the top eight cards onto the table, flashing both sides of the
first double-blank card. You can use the Takagi procedure (or some other you prefer) to show the eight
cards all blank as you deal them, pictures downward, into rows on the table. Regardless of what handling
you use, take the double-blank card and draw a magic wand on it.
Tap each of the other cards with the wand card and reveal the pictures. Then: "Choose any item, and
I'llperform an illusion with itfor you:' That's a nice introduction to any close-up program. At the end you
may give the card with the wand to someone who has assisted you: ''To put magic in your life." (Some of you
won't resist the temptation of putting a sticker with your contact information on the back of this card.)
To ensure that you finish on a particularly strong note, keep a "bonus" item in reserve, to close your
'a la carte" act. Simply touch the wand card to your pocket or to a bag that contains the necessary instru-
ment and take it out: "And for a finale ..."

August 30--Another Key-Card Placement
Here is a procedure that looks extremely fair while it sets a key card next to a selection.
Ask someone to shuffle and cut the deck. When he has finished, gently riffle the cards and glimpse
the top one."
Openly dribble the deck onto the table and ask someone to call stop whenever she likes. You
might first dribble the complete deck onto the table, then repeat the procedure for the selection to
be made. This assures that your helper understands what to do and stops you somewhere near the
middle of the pack.
"Please take the card you stopped me at." As you say this, transfer the undribbled cards to left-hand
dealing position (an in-transit action), then use your freed right hand to point to the top card of the
tabled pile (the main action).
As your helper takes the card, looks at it and shows it to the group, use your right hand to pick up
the tabled portion and place it onto the cards in your left hand. However, keep a break between the
packets. The card beneath the break is your key card. Managing the selection process with in-transit and
main actions as described, imperceptibly gets the key card into the required position.
Turn back to your helper and again dribble the cards onto the table, stopping when you reach
the break. "And please replace your card ..." She will drop her card onto the dribbled portion (and onto
your key card).
Immediately dribble the remaining cards on top of the rest, continuing your sentence: "somewhere
in the deck, where we will lose it." Don't deliver this last line until she has replaced the card. Otherwise, she
might feel challenged and refuse to return the card at the spot you have stopped.
From here you can briefly ribbon spread the face-down cards, and then give them a brief overhand
shuffle, keeping the key card and the selection together. This is a very disarming handling.
Ifyour key card is crimped or a short card, you can immediately locate it and bring the selection to
the bottom, the top or any position you desire.

August 31-Linking Rings
Learn a good Linking Rings routine. I recommend Dai Vernon's "Symphony of the Rings", which uses
six rings.
Besides being a wonderful trick, albeit very old and widely seen, the Linking Rings is a Classic with a
capital C; for all the right reasons.
It has served me well in many situations. I can tell you from years of practical experience that it is
the extremely rare trick that can so easily attract a crowd when working trade shows and similar venues,
and keep the people there while you segue into your presentation. The Linking Rings is one. The Miser's
Dream is another.
The Linking Rings is also a great back-up trick, when you have forgotten a prop or something goes
wrong; or when you've arrived at a location and, in spite of having discussed your requirements beforehand
with your clients (mandatory for any professional), you find the performing conditions are not as prom-
ised (you must perform surrounded, etc.). Besides the instruments for my act, I always carry a bag with
my set of Linking Rings, and it has saved me from more than one disaster.
Dai Vernon often did his routine with a smaller set of rings. I've seen several of his performances
on television using small rings. This is a very good idea for repeat table-magic and private shows (walk-
around) at which you find you must perform at a huge table or for several tables at once, or you must
deal with a larger group en masse. For all other performing situations, I prefer larger rings.

September 1--0kito ..san Meets Mr. Terrific
To justify an Okito box (or other coin box), use it as a pill box. This idea is not original with me. In fact,
it is said Theodore Bamberg's first coin box was a pill box he started playing with during a hospital stay. I
would like, though, to add the following idea.
Place little candies in the box that dissolve quickly when you put them in your mouth. Include sev-
eral colors.
Show the coin box at the beginning of your program, take out the "pills" and explain that each
gives you a special enhanced or supernatural ability. Before each trick you do, you swallow one of the
pills; and because of the power each provides, you are able to succeed in whatever your trick requires
(reading minds, predicting an event, memorizing the order of a complete deck, making the cards do
your bidding, etc.).
There is room for lots of situation comedy; perhaps you accidentally swallow two pills or get the
wrong one. This recalls Mister Terrific, an American sitcom from the late 1960s. Mr. Terrific was a shrnen-
drick who worked as a gas-station attendant. Taking a "power pill" turned him into a superman and
enabled him to be a secret crime-fighter.
Mister Terrific was one of my favorite series as a kid. I watched a German-dubbed version, called
immer. wenn er Pi/len nahm (Whenever He Took Pills),a title Ithink much better than the original. Much
of the show's humor was derived from Mr. Terrific struggling to complete that week's assignment before
the power of the pill wore off.
You could make the efficacy of your pill one minute and get into a similar humorous problem, but
then use your "real magical powers" to bring the situation to a happy ending.
You might also let one or several spectators take a pill, allowing them to accomplish an impossible
feat (such as succeeding with "Out of This World").
And along the way, there is the innocent "pill box': waiting to make coins do impossible things.

September 2-Favorite Films
Here are five of my favorite films:

1. Tampopo (Juzo Itami)-Even if this film were only about eating and sex, it would be extraordi-
narily good. But it is about many more things than just earthly pleasures. It is about excellence. a
humanistic excellence that I greatly prefer to the hardcore Western variety, which generally con-
siders merit in just two forms: power and money.
2. The Sting (George Roy Hill)- This has to be a favorite for any magician. Apart from the brilliant
plot, so expertly directed and deftly interpreted, it provides an overt dramatic construction and
a subtle psychological construction. It takes both, in perfect equilibrium, to create an intellectual
and emotional experience. This is as true for good movies as it is for good magic.
3. Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (Ted Kotcheff)-Europe's most famous chefs are killed
in ways that parallel how they prepare their own specialties. Crime fiction and black humor work
here in a delicious combination. The main theme of this film, gastronomy, is the basis of all art.
Why? Gastronomy is about eating. If you don't eat you die. And if you're dead you can't be an
artist. Therefore, gastronomy is the basis of all art. Any questions?
4. Le voyage dans la lune (Trip to the Moon)-This was the first film by Georges Melies I saw. I was a
youngster at the time, visiting the film museum in Basel, the curator of which was Friedrich Diir-
renrnatts brother. Even though I then was ignorant of who Melies was and his significance in film
history and magic, I was absolutely enthralled and fascinated. Le voyage dans la lune is magical in
plot and in execution.
5. Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton)-If I wasn't a magician, I would want to be James Bond. I don't mind
reducing life to its essentials. Alas all is more complex in real life. My favorite Bond movies are
those starring Sean Connery and Roger Moore, featuring less graphic violence and more humor
and frivolity. I like things left to the imagination. As in magic, the spectator's imagination is the
magician's most important ally.
BONUS: L:aile ou la cuisse (Claude Zidi)- This film stands in close competition with two others:

Louis de Funes's La Grande Vadrouille and Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob. Funes demonstrates that
personality always comes first-before gags, before slapstick and before comedy in general. Per-
sonality creates humor, not the reverse.

September l-Edge ..Marked Cards
Rather than marking the true edge of the card, mark the top of the
card near the edge.

If the deck is squared,

either in your hands or on the
table, nothing can be seen.

But if you hold the deck and naturally

bevel it, the mark becomes visible.

C"5 Once you know how to handle the deck and how to look for the mark, the dot can be diminished
G:l until only you can see it.
This is very useful in combination with any type of short card, and especially a corner-short, as it is
much easier to find the short card by riffling when you know its approximate location by sight. If it is very
close to the top or bottom, you can give the deck a quick shuffle that moves the marked card nearer the
center before you cut to it.


September 4-Relative Circles

Here is a fascinating stunt that fits into many talks, workshops and performances. It is one of those rare
things that is easy to do, involves the audience and creates an immediate insight (at least for most).
Hold your right hand above your head and extend the forefinger. Start moving the hand clockwise;
that is, in a rightward circle.
Now slowly lower your arm, but keep your forefinger pointing upward and circling in the same
direction. When the forefinger is at about chest height, look at your forefinger again. It is now turning
counterclockwise (to the left), although you never changed the direction of its movement!
If Professor Einstein had known this demonstration, he might have used it to show that perceptions
are relative to the standpoint of the observer. This is a beautiful analogy to use in various situations. I
leave it to you to imagine them. (This stunt was shown to me by Madeleine Solomon on my visit to
Chicago in March 2009.)

September 5-Any Wallet a Himber Wallet
I found the basic idea here in a 1962 publication by Marvillo (stage name of Arnold Liebertz of Germany,
1927-1989) titled How Do You Do It Yourself? Magicfor YouY I've never seen anyone use this and would
hazard a substantial sum you've not heard of it.
Take two identical postcards and glue them back to back, but with the images in reverse orientation
to each other; top to bottom, and bottom to top. This creates a double-faced postcard. You may also
glue them similarly face to face, leaving the address sides exposed; but if you do this, first write identical
messages and your address on both cards, apply identical stamps and mail them separately to yourself
on the same day. When your receive them, glue the picture sides together.
Put this prepared postcard inside your wallet (but not
inside a compartment of it), along with whatever item you wish
to switch in (a playing card, a pay envelope, etc.), under it.
During performance, you place the matching item, that
which you wish to switch out, on top of the postcard and close
the wallet.
As you set the wallet on the table, turn it lengthwise,
end over end. When you reopen the wallet, the audience sees

exactly the same postcard surface in the same orientation but the object that was hidden under the
postcard is now in view.
It isn't even necessary to revolve the wallet. Ifthe closing and the opening are separated by a positive
insertion, and the opening does not immediately follow the closing, this is sufficiently deceptive. In this
case, however, the cards must be glued with their outer surfaces aligned-top to top, bottom to bot-
tom-rather than in opposition.
Here is a presentation that amuses me. Show a postcard depicting Saint Anthony of Padua and
explain that he will help you find the chosen card (he's the patron saint of lost articles).
Put a blank card into an envelope and place this on top of the postcard in your wallet.
Close the wallet, turning it over in the process.
Mention a few more things about Saint Anthony (positive insertion), then reopen the wallet, expos-
ing the opposite side of the postcard, saying that you've just realized you have forgotten to address the
envelope. Let someone do this, which serves the same purpose as signing the envelope, but is more subtle.
Then cleanly close the wallet and reopen it in the same way, without reversing it-and remove the
card from the addressed envelope, showing that it has changed to the person's selection-actually a
duplicate of it, "converted" through your very, very strong faith.
Using a wallet is perfectly compatible with the presentation, since saints and their authority, the
church, want to be paid for their services.

September 6-Card Counting Demonstration
Have a set of known cards on the bottom of the deck, say, the first ten cards from Tamariz's Mnemonica
stack or any system you know (barring the Stebbins-Galasso stack, the arithmetic progression of which
might be noticed by astute spectators).
Give the deck a riffle shuffle and cut, retaining the bottom stock. Finish by having someone give the
deck a complete cut.
Start the "counting demonstration" by dealing various hands of blackjack, until you arrive at the
bank of known cards. You will know you have reached the bank as soon as the first memorized card
turns up.
Explain that, by card counting, you know the values of the cards that are about to be dealt. To make
this feat more believable, name only the values of the cards, not their full identities.
Done within a longer routine of gambling demonstrations, this can be quite impressive.

September 7=-Card Counting Enhanced
Here is a variation on yesterday's trick. You secretly know the identity of the bottom seven cards of the
deck. If you're good at memorizing cards, you can do this on the fly, by ribbon spreading the cards and
remembering the values like you would a phone number. If,though, you are like me-who occasionally
forgets the card I've just forced-you may want to use seven cards from a setup you've memorized.
Give the deck a convincing false shuffle and false cut that retain the bottom seven cards in order
and position."
Start the demonstration by dealing one eight-hand round of blackjack. Explain that, while you play
the game and take care of the details of all the bets, you must also keep track of the values of the cards.
Quickly deal and play one or two more rounds until you are left with only seven cards undealt.
Now announce the values of these cards. To make this visible to everyone, fan the cards with the
faces toward them, while you turn your head and call out the values: "Tne seven cards left are two Fours,
a Seven, a Two, a Three, a Six and an Ace. Is that right?"
Wait for confirmation, then deliver the coup de grace: "I think I can also name the exact identity of
some of the cards." Name four of the cards slowly, pause-then name the remaining cards rapidly.

September 8-Concerning Hand Movements
* Keep the hands away from the body.
* Get the deck out of your hands as often as possible, either setting it on the table or into someone's
* Use full movements. Fred Kaps used to observe that being both a stage and a close-up magician
had two advantages. It brings the broadness of stage movements to close-up, providing better
and clearer communication; and it brings the technical precision needed in close-up to stage
work, enhancing the level of deception.
* The closer you come to the climax, the more your movements should approach the space the cli-
max willoccur in, and the slower and more economical they should be, to help focus the audience's
attention. This is similar to raising the voice as a means to express an approaching culmination.
Such increases shouldn't be obvious or exaggerated, and must fit your style of expression.

September 9-Cards and Perception
Black cards can be perceived better than red cards from a distance, but their suits are less well known.
The suit most recognized by people who don't play cards is hearts. Ifyou perform for a larger group
and you don't want to become mired in a drama-killing discussion of the identity of the chosen card
when you produce it, force a low heart card, such as the Two or Four.
Regarding jumbo-index cards, I agree with Max Maven that normal cards are better; because most
people perceive a card as a whole and will recognize a normal card face more easily than its unfamiliar
jumbo-index counterpart.
As to oversized or jumbo cards, I don't believe they are perceived as normal, and therefore become
suspect. In my opinion and experience, when tricks designed to be done with normal-sized playing cards
are converted for use with jumbo cards, they lose their impact. Besides the perception of jumbo cards
as abnormal objects-which shouldn't be underestimated-there is something worse.jumbo cards lack
the fascination and charm of ordinary playing cards. I would go so far as to say they lose their symbolic
meaning, at least in great part. There are very few tricks in which jumbo cards work. Examples are Ken
Brooke's "Flying Ace': Martin Lewis's "Sidewalk Shuffle" and Fred Kaps's handling of Joe Riding's "Only
Three Card Trick in the World Using Four Cards".

September 10---Visual Effect Versus Conceptual Effect
A good performance alternates between visual and conceptual effects, and appeals to both the heart
and the mind.
After years of professional performing, I believe that, as a rule, it is better to start with a visual effect,
ideally one that reflects an intelligent side of you. Consider Philippe Socrates opener, "Revue de Presse".
This is a refinement of a trick known as "Fregoli Press': invented in the 1950s by Parisian magic-shop
owner Mayette. In this effect, a newspaper changes four times, so that the audience sees five different
papers, the last being Chinese. With each change, a headline is read out that has a connection to the
event and the group that forms the audience.
While not a sensational effect, it is visual-and the cleverness of the headlines and the intrinsic
informational nature of newspapers appeal to the intellect. Drawing on this idea, you can develop other
opening sequences.
Card tricks are generally conceptual in nature. Therefore, they are better suited for later spots in the
act, rather than as openers. Exceptions are rare: card manipulations, Six-Card Repeat and a snappy Cards
to Pocket routine are examples.

September ll-Pause and Applause
A pause is to magic what salt is to the soup. It is always important, but especially after the climax occurs.
People need time to ...

* see what happens

* be astonished
* appreciate what they have seen
* demonstrate their appreciation through applause

Ascanio called it the "pause of assimilation". The beginner is prone to forget to give the audience
time to go through these phases; but so are many professionals performing on "automatic pilot". Paus-
ing a few beats allows the spectators time to savor the experience of the miracle that has just occurred,
and gives them a chance to resolve their emotions by expressing gratitude to the performer through
applause. It is like giving someone a gift, and then a chance to thank you.
When I invite someone into my home and he brings a gift wrapped in gift paper, I like to open the
package, see what is inside, and then thank him for the thing he has brought. I realized how important
this is when I brought a gift I had chosen for my hosts, after carefully considering their interests and taste,
and they just set it aside on a table with a casual "Thanks:' This made me feel bad.
The Japanese, who have the custom of exchanging business cards when they meet for the first time,
make it a ritual to take the business card with both hands and look at it for at least three seconds before
putting it away. Next time you give someone a business card, if the person stuffs it into his pocket with-
out even looking at it and starts to talk about something else, notice how you feel about this.
These two examples have a lot to do with the psychology with which the climax to an effect should
be managed.


September 12- The Art of Close-up Magic
Close-up magic is more than just an art; it is an art within life. Unlike painting, literature, ballet, music or
theater, close-up magic establishes a direct connection with the audience.
Even when we perform something as simple as a Sponge Ball routine, we touch the spectator physi-
cally, which is not part of the communicative grammar of other art forms. This is unique and very special
to the field of close-up magic.
Interaction is another unique factor, which introduces a variable element. The participant's imme-
diate reactions and decisions make the performance look and feel spontaneous and the climax seem
unexpected; had the person taken another card, named another number, ere, the outcome might have
been totally different. (Sometimes this is actually the case.)
In close-up, naturalness, sincerity and authenticity are far more important than dramatic abilities.
In fact, any type of acting is immediately seen through by an intelligent audience, and it alienates them.
Close-up requires precision and technical skill of the highest order, and can have a greater and more
memorable impact than the most lavish Las Vegas show.
Doing good close-up is extremely difficult, but artistically and humanly, it is deeply rewarding.
Close-up, in its various forms of expression, is in my opinion the future of magic.

September 13-- The Beauty of Asymmetry
As a rule, an asymmetrical position is more beautiful than a symmetrical one. This is especially important
at the moment the climax occurs. For example, when you have completely stretched out the restored
thread in the Gypsy or Hindu Thread trick, don't hold the hands at the same height and distance from
your body. Instead, hold the right hand a little higher than the left, and the left a little farther forward.
Asymmetry is more dramatic and looks better.
"Every move a picture" is a line often used to produce laughter; but there is more to it. As you
practice a trick, occasionally stop, as if caught in a photo, and look at the configuration of your hands
and props. How could this position be changed to look better? Striving to obtain asymmetry will often
improve it.
BONUS: Doing this exercise a few times will provide a new perceptual tool that you will hencefor-
ward apply to all your magic. It's like an idiom within a language.

September 14-- Triple Divination
Assume that three persons each hold a card, all apparently free selections (and maybe they are) that you
are not supposed to know (but of course you do).
Rather than simply naming each card, one after another, try to dramatize the revelations. Begin by
providing a small piece of information concerning the identity of the first card, such as its color.
Jump to the second person and give her some fragment regarding the identity of her card.
Then move on to the third person and do the same.
Jump back to the first person and say something further about the identity of his card.
Increasing your pace, continue addressing each person in rotation, making three circuits; and only
on the third round give the full name of each card, one after the other.
See if you don't get a stronger response than when you just name the cards outright.
Pacing is important. The gradual revelation of the cards must not be done too quickly or too loudly.
You must find just the right speed and delivery.
This technique can also be applied effectively to the revelation of three objects other than cards.

September 15-Thinking Mode
Dai Vernon used to say, "Use your head!" No personal, intelligent and artistic interpretation can be had
without thought. True, a lot can be done with intuition and inspiration, but I'm convinced that one can
achieve only so much with these gifts. The amount will vary from person to person, but in the end a large
part has to be accomplished by thinking.
In my early years in magic I found that reading a book written by an intelligent author would kick
me into "thinking mode". If I then practiced a trick, many good ideas would surface and improve it.
I would recommend nonfiction books concerned with philosophy, cultural history, art, ete. How-
ever, some people will be inspired by reading good fiction or poetry, or by looking at photographs of
great paintings and sculptures.
To some this approach might seem impractical and time-consuming; but you needn't do it for every
trick. Besides, what does time-consuming mean? What do you do with the time you don't consume?
Something consumes it. Do you actually use it in a better or more pleasurable or more rewarding way?

September 16--Ready Freddie
When I was twenty years old, I spent half a year in London studying the English language. Every Monday
I would go to the Magic Circle, where I would meet some wonderful people, especially when the official
meeting had adjourned and the group moved to the Marlborough Arms, a nearby pub.
Fred Robinson was in this group. He spoke often and very highly about Fred Kaps, a close friend
of his. He told me Kaps was always ready to perform. When he was asked, he seemed to have the
objects he needed-a deck of cards, coins or something else-in his hands before the request was
made. He somehow knew what he was going to perform for every request, a fact that gave him great
I don't mean to say you should always be ready to perform, like a trained dog, every time someone
asks; quite the contrary.
But when you decide to perform, either impromptu or scheduled, cause the instruments to come
effortlessly to your hands as you look at the audience and deliver some introductory remarks. This gener-
ates a great atmosphere and underlines your competence.

September 17--Magic and Space
Make magic spatial. Gaze into space, imagine a "magic zone': and then throw something into that space
or reach into it.
In his rope routine, Flip throws the rope up into the air, and when it comes down something magical
has happened; a knot has appeared or vanished, someones ring has materialized in a loop in the rope, ete.
Another example of using space for a magical effect: Throw a random card into the air like a boo-
merang and, upon catching it, it has transformed into the selected one.
The implication in both examples is that the rope and the card went into a particular space that has
magical qualities, and they were transformed there.
Make some of your effects happen while in the air. Rather than just producing a coin or a card at the
fingertips, imagine reaching into a magic space and taking the object from there. Your attitude will be dif-
ferent, and I promise it will communicate with the audience. There is a magical quality to it that may have
to do with the idea that in the air you can't touch the object; but there is also something symbolic about it.
The air, after all, is one of the four basic elements, along with water, earth and fire.


September 18-- The Pareto Principle in Magic
The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few and the principle of factor
sparsity) states that, in many instances, 80% of events come from 20% of their causes. Joseph M. Juran,
a consultant in the field of business management, suggested the principle and named it after the Italian
economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy went to 20% of the population. It is
a common rule of thumb in business that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.
We can safely assume that a well-executed piece of magic appeals 80% to the emotions and 20% to
logic. We devote 80% of our efforts to the study of technique, and only 20% to presentation, communi-
cation, meaning, psychology. We should reverse these percentages.
Of course this is possible only after we have already acquired the basic knowledge and skills of
magic, and that takes time. More about that tomorrow.

September 19-- The Spiral of Evolution
Dai Vernon is known to have observed, "You have to be in magic for ten years before you start to get
an idea what it is all about:' After almost forty years in magic, I tend to agree. Maybe it is like martial
arts-once you've earned a black belt, the real learning begins; up to that point you've just acquired the
necessary basics. Some schools of thought perceive that such evolutions occur in four steps:

1. unconscious incompetence
2. conscious incompetence
3. conscious competence
4. unconscious competence

Example: When you don't even know that a double lift exists, you're in Situation 1.
When you get the information, but still can't do it well, you're in Situation 2.
When you master the sleight, you're in Situation 3.
But it is only when you can do it "in your sleep': effortlessly and without thinking about the mechan-
ics, that you've reached the level of mastery that positions you in Situation 4.
Or look at it this way: When you start in magic, you do the simple things, because you don't know
anything else. This is simplicity by ignorance. You next progress by adding complication and complexity.
Eventually you come back to simplicity, not in an act of regression, but as a return to the essential, with
an informed view from the top. You have added insight. Your progress has been a spiral that has moved
you to higher levels from which you now have an overview.


September 20-Personal Reaction: Feel the Magic
How do you react at the moment the climax of an effect occurs?
Ascanio always mentioned the choir in Greek tragedy. The Greek choir had the function of "corn-
menting" on the situation played out on stage. "Look, the hero has died, what will they do?"
In a similar sense, we should be aware of the fact that our own reactions at the moment the climax
occurs are important to the audience's perception of the climax and their reaction to it. Our own reac-
tion emphasizes the effect and coaches the audience's emotional reaction.
But what is the best way to behave? What should we think? What should our silent or spoken
script be?
Juan Tamariz says that you have to reflect your personal astonishment, as if you had witnessed the
effect as a miracle, in the same way you wish your audience to experience it. To do this, look at the most
expressive spectators and think about their enjoyment. It is like going to the circus with your children
and enjoying it through their enjoyment. The more the performer feels the effect, the more the spec-
tators will feel it. They need to know why you are happy. You're happy because your work succeeded
so well. You're happy because they're happy. This is wonderful advice on a question I have never heard
anyone ask.
Yesterday I saw a show by a professional performer that confirms for me the immense utility of this
concept. He did some great mental effects, but as soon as he reached each climax, and the audience
applauded, he immediately picked up the prop needed to perform his next piece.
Hefailed to recognize now-amazing the effect he had just produced was, and the strong emotion it pro-
duced in his audience. His behavior made me, as a spectator, feel that what I had just experienced wasn't
so important after all, and that it was just a demonstration. He had killed the magical atmosphere.
I believe it is necessary to take a moment, even if it is only a few seconds, to acknowledge the emo-
tions of the audience. (See "Prologue" and "Epilogue': December 30 and 31, pp. 390-391.)

September 21--Bringing Objects to Life
Breathe life into objects, through the tools of personification, sound, proper movement and attribution
of characteristics. Here are a few examples.

* Personification: Cannibal Cards, the Elevator Trick (that is, acrobatic cards)
* Sound: snapping a card (to hide the fact it is a double, or before a transformation occurs), clink-
ing two coins
* Proper movement: doing a one-handed cut as you hold out the deck to be cut

The personification of objects is a powerful tool that enables the performer to hook the audience's
emotions; but it is also dangerous if over-used or used incorrectly. It is like the proverbial salt in the soup:
neither too much nor too little, but just right.
The use of analogies and metaphors should be treated with similar delicacy.

September 22--Stage Movement
In his classic textbook Greater Magic (p. 274), John Northern Hilliard wrote of the force:

The ocular factor has to do with the immemorial habit of the human eye to move from left
to right. The good stage manager builds his important ensembles from left to right. The adept
artist cunningly arranges his composition so that the eye of the beholder will travel from the
left of the canvas to the center.

This is, of course, as seen from your audience's perspective. A practical application of this technique
manifests in any Four-Ace Assembly where the Aces are laid out in a J-forrnation: three Aces in a row,
and the fourth centered behind them.
To make the actions and the effect easier and more natural for spectators to follow, rather than start
with the Ace on your left, as most would do intuitively, following the natural tendency mentioned by
Hilliard, start with the Ace on your right.
This concept can be applied effectively to most situations where a repetition or an enumeration is
used to enhance clarity.
Using the same logic, move from your right to your left when you mention several things, and
anchor them into areas in front of you.

September 23--Accidental Drop
How to behave when we accidentally drop an object?
Ifon stage, put your right foot directly beside the dropped article, then pick it up while maintaining
eye contact with the audience.
To pick up the object gracefully from the floor, don't bend over at the waist, but bend at the knees,
use your right hand to grasp the object, which avoids crossing the body, and then stand up straight again.
Use a similar approach when you drop something on the table. Simply bring your nearest hand over
the object and drop it straight down while you continue to look at the audience.
The only exception is if trickery might be suspected as you pick up the object. This could be the case
if you were to drop the rolled up pieces while performing the Gypsy or Hindu Thread. Here the audience
might suspect you did this purposely, to switch the pieces. In such a case, keep your eyes focused on
the pieces as you reach for them slowly and explicitly, perhaps even mentioning that you aren't going to
indulge in any sort of trickery.

September 24--Breaking in a New Deck
More often than not, when I open up a new pack, the quality of the cards is insufficient for advanced
card magic. Some decks are printed or trimmed poorly, which positions the backs and faces asymmetri-
cally on the card surfaces. Unfortunately, this is only the case with some of the cards and rarely with the
entire pack, so it can't even be used as an improvised one-way deck (although a group of cards might be).
Even worse are rough edges caused by dull cutting blades. Here is a simple, quick and cheap remedy
for rough edges.
Take a piece of relatively rough cardboard, larger than the deck. Grip the deck firmly and rub its ends
and sides quickly back and forth a few times on the cardboard while pressing hard.
You can also bevel the sides slightly and repeat the rubbing, doing so as you bevel the deck first one
way and then the other. This quickly smoothes the edges, making them amenable to faro shuffles and
other expert handling.

September 25-Subtext
Subtext and symbolism instill meaning in a trick, without explicitly having to define or even mention
the meaning to the audience. The term subtext is used in linguistics and the arts. It defines a further
level of meaning beneath (Latin: sub) the surface of a spoken language or work of art, and provides an
additional dimension of expression. Subtext is about implicit, symbolic meaning, about something not
overtly announced by the performer (or author, or actor). Rather, it becomes something understood by
the observer as the piece unfolds.
The grammatical toolbox of subtext contains metaphor, simile and analogy. Subtext therefore
becomes a fundamental component of art. Every good magic effect has at least one subtext; first and
foremost the classics. This is one of the major reasons the classics have survived through time and across
cultures. In this sense, the Linking Rings are about freedom; the Gypsy Thread about death and res~
urrection, or immortality; the Floating Lady about transcendence; a gambling demonstration about
the mastery over fate and the seduction of Lady Luck. Houdini's escapes were very popular in his time,
especially (but not only) for the socially deprived, because they symbolized social and personal ernanci-
pation, freedom.
All good tricks have an intrinsically fascinating subtext. Don't undermine it with an inadequate
presentation. When a performer understands and respects the subtext of a magic effect during its per-
formance, it will be more dramatic, artistic and entertaining.

September 26-Ending a Private Show at a Table
I'm often asked how to approach a table when doing magic, but I've never been asked how to leave a
table. In my opinion, informed by experience, your exit is as important as your entrance, and requires
careful thought. Here are a few ideas.

* Thank the party for their attention and appreciation, and wish them a continued good evening.
* Leave a business card, not so much to get business, but so that they know who has entertained
them-it's a question of politeness, not of marketing.
* Leave a folding card with a little poem, and maybe a signed card.
* Leave an unusual card, such as one with a corner missing, or one that has been restored but is
still creased. (We'll talk further about this on November 19, p. 354.)
* Leave a "magic wand" made of a rolled-up piece of paper that, when unrolled, says something
pertaining to the event, or to yourself, or both.
* Leave a little souvenir, such as a puzzle, an origami figure (maybe made from a dollar bill);
even-if it fits your style and the type of event-a balloon or a bunny in a cylinder.

September 27-Useless Tricks
Some authors proclaim, "There are no bad tricks, only bad magicians:' While this inanity has been
repeated over and over again, that doesn't make it true, and I don't believe it.
One difference between an amateur and a professional is that the professional not only knows what
good tricks and bad tricks are, he also knows when to do a particularly good trick and when not to.
There are excellent tricks that are not suited for every circumstance, but which shouldn't be elimi-
nated because of this. Too often we exercise too pragmatic an approach to magic. "Oh, Slydini's one-coin
routine uses lapping. I can't perform it because I do walk-around and table magic."
It's true that Slydinis routine is completely unsuited for these venues. So are most gambling dem-
onstrations, since they require a table and space to deal out the cards. But how often has it happened
that, after your show, you have been asked by the organizer of the event to have a drink with him and his
guests? And hasn't it happened more often than not during such an occasion that you've been asked to
do "just one more trick, please"? Here is the moment when the "impractical" stuff-the "One-Coin Rou-
tine" and "Vernon Poker Demonstration"-shine. I'll bet there is no trick in your "practical" repertoire
that is as strong and memorable as these routines by Slydini and Vernon.

September 28-Symbolism in Magic
Here are a few objects from fairy tales and myths that appear in magic performances and can convey
symbolic meaning.

* Glass tumbler or wine glass (coffin made of glass)

* Mirror (on the wall)
* Fire
* Genii from the bottle, bottle
* Diamond finger ring
* Key
* Salt
* Shadow
* Breath (blowing on an object to effect the rnagicr"
* Time, watch, midnight, time limit
* Cap of invisibility; creation of the deck; deck produced from fire, water, air, earth
* Cornucopia, horn of abundance
* A double-backed card acts like a zero in mathematics. Roman versus Arabic numbers. The All
Backs effect is about the creation of the cards:
* In the trick Card at Called Number, the symbolic universe of playing cards and that of numbers
(mathematics) come together.

September 29--Number Puzzles
PROBLEM: Write the following numbers as shown.
Then ask someone to continue the series. Try to solve this before you look at the answer below.

Here is an excellent follow-up. Regardless of whether the previous puzzle was solved or not, it has
created a mindset that makes the following puzzle practically insolvable. You only need to know the
phone number of one of your guests, let's assume it is 1-213-876-4355. Now write it down in groups,
such as these:
1 21 38 764 3 5
Ask him to fill in a last digit that follows logically from the previous ones. If he doesn't know this
puzzle, he will stare at the figures forever and not notice his own phone number.
This, like all puzzles, is an excellent opening for a conversation about perception and thinking, or as
an ice-breaker for an impromptu performance.

·Jla '(sauO OMl PUE OMI suo 'auO suo) LllL LL S!rxau aYl aJOjaJa41
·(auO auo PUE OMI suo) LLlL S!rxau a41
·(sauO OMl) iz S!aJoJaJaYl aU!llxau a41
·(auO ouo) LLS!l! 'l! saquosap aU!llxau a41
.LE Yl!MSlJElS aU!llSJY a41
·aJoJaq aU!IaYl saquosap aU!1yJE3 :NOll.nl0S

September 30-Counter~lntuition
To solve problems we strive to think logically, but more often than not we use intuition. Deception can
occur when logic is used against intuition and vice versa. When this happens, we talk about counter-
intuition. Here is a puzzle that shows this in a remarkable way.
Take two black cards and a red one. Mix them face down on the table and ask someone to choose
one, explaining that the red card wins, a black card loses. He does not, however, look at his card yet.
Whatever card he takes, you look at the other two, which are either two black cards or a red and a
black card. You then turn a black card face up.
Ask your friend if he would like to exchange his card for the other face-down card, or if he wishes
to keep the one he has chosen. Eventually tell everyone that if he changes he will double his chances
of winning.
Most-often all-won't believe you. They assume that one choice is as good as the other. This is
apparently logical thinking, but it's false logic or intuitive thinking. The real mathematical truth is that,
to win in the long run, he should always make the exchange. Here is the best and simplest way I've found
to explain why this is so.
Point out that there are three possibilities if he changes:
1. You take the red card-if you exchange, you lose.
2. You take one of the black cards-if you exchange it for the red card, you win.
3. You take the other black card-if you exchange it for the red card, you win.
Therefore, if you exchange cards, you win two times out of three. If,on the other hand ...
1. You take the red card-and keep it, you win.
2. You take a black card-and keep it, you lose.
3. You take the other black card-and keep it, you again lose.
Therefore, if you don't change, you lose twice.
From this you can see that you double your chances of winning when you exchange cards.
When you are explaining this to your audience, to help make the reasoning clearer, use a second
packet consisting ofa red card with a red back and two black cards with blue backs. Ifyou carry both sets
in your wallet, you are always ready to do this.
This logic puzzle is known as the Monte Hall Problem. It has stumped some of the sharpest minds
in the world, and is responsible for some very heated arguments in intellectual circles.


October l--Logic Dethroned
Here are a few more items that rely on the way logic defeats itself; but in all cases here, linguistic decep-
tion occurs. Not everyone will appreciate the intelligence and implications concealed in this type of
problem. As is so often the case, there is no recipe for success-but I can tell you what leads to certain
failure: Trying to please everyone!

* A cat has seven tails. If you don't believe me, please answer this: Have you ever seen a cat with
six tails? Iwould presume not. SO NO CAT has six tails. But A CAT has one more tail than NO CAT-
therefore, A CAT has seven tails. Any questions?

* What is better: a ham sandwich or eternal happiness? Well, I hope you agree, that NOTHING is
better than eternal happiness. But if you are hungry, a ham sandwich is better than NOTHING.
Therefore, a ham sandwich is better than eternal happiness. There you are.

* Tell someone he is the slowest person on earth. Nobody is slower than him, and you are going
to prove it. Instruct him to walk a short distance, then ask him, "Whom did you overtake?" He
will truthfully answer, "Nobody:' Deliver your punch line: "You see, Nobody is slower than you!"

October 2--Paradox Prediction
My friend, the consummate mentalist, Max Maven came up with this amusing presentation, which I
like very much. It is based on an idea by Martin Gardner called the "Appolinax Prediction': and Max has
kindly allowed me to share it with you.
You need two pieces of paper, a pen and an alarm clock (optional). Write on one of the pieces of
paper, "You will write NO.}} Below this write a time that is two or three minutes ahead of the present one;
for instance, if it is 12:05, you write 12:08.
Fold up the paper without revealing what you have written and place it in a glass or some other
secure place, visible to all. Explain that you have written about an event in the future. Set the alarm clock
to go off at 12:08, "So that we don't miss the moment"
Hand someone the unused piece of paper and the pen. Explain that you will ask him shortly to write
down YES or NO, to indicate if he thinks your prediction will be correct or not. Stress that if he thinks the
prediction will be correct, he must write YES, meaning yes, the prediction is right. Ifhe thinks your predic-
tion will be wrong, he must write NO, meaning no, the prediction is not right.
Then tell him that if he's wrong, he must pay you a penny, and if you are wrong you will pay him a
hundred dollars.
But tell him he must write his decision the instant the alarm clock goes off. This creates suspense.
As soon as the alarm clock sounds, he writes down his choice: YES or NO.
Now have him open your prediction and read the message to the group. Ifhe wrote NO, you're right,
because you predicted he would write No-and you win.
If he wrote YES, believing your prediction would be correct, he's wrong, because the prediction is
not correct-and you win.
Don't forget to ask for the penny, as this makes for an amusing coda.
Give your victim your prediction slip, so that he can play the same trick on his friends.
This can, of course, lead into the performance of a more serious piece.

October 3- Two-Coin Transposition and Vanish
This was shown to me by my good friend Tony Cachadifia on my visit to his home in Barcelona in Novem-
ber 1998. To understand the action, you must be familiar with that classic of coin magic, the "Tenkai
Pennies". Ifyou don't know it, see Bobo's New Modern Coin Magic (p. 363).
Show two coins, one in each hand, and ask someone to guess, in a few moments, if the coins are
heads up or tails up. Place your hands briefly behind your back, apparently to create a particular arrange-
ment, but do nothing. Bring your hands forward again and wait for your helper's guess. Whatever she
says, say that one is heads up and the other tails up. Use the handling of the "Tenkai Pennies': which
apparently shows a coin in each hand, one tails up, the other heads up. This sequence serves to create a
procedure of "conditioned naturalness': as it simulates your next actions.
Close the hands and hold them apart. "Heads and tails are like a positive pole and a negative one-
they attract each other." With your eyes, follow the invisible flight of the coin from your left hand to your
right hand. Then show the left hand empty, and both coins in your right hand.
Offer to do the feat again. Take a coin into each hand, place them behind your back and secretly
drop the right hand's coin into your hip pocket. Bring your hands forward again and let the person guess.
Regardless of what combination she names, again use the "Tenkai Pennies" handling to show a coin in
each hand, one heads up, the other tails up. In reality, you're showing the same coin twice, as before. The
coin can be shown very freely in your right hand, reinforcing the idea that the other coin is in your left.
Close both hands, holding them apart. Use your right hand to indicate that the coins don't actually
travel through the air, but instead go up the left sleeve, across the body and down the right sleeve. As
the hand traces this route, secretly drop the coin, which you've
worked out of the fist and have clipped at the heel of the right
hand, into the outer breast pocket of your shirt or jacket.
Hold your hands apart again, in the same areas they occu-
pied when you previously showed the coins. This reinforces the
image of each hand holding a coin. Further reinforce this image "<,
by repeating the same words you used before. Open your left ~\
hand and wait a few seconds for everyone to picture the two
coins in your right hand. Then open the right hand. The coins ~
have vanished! -~

October 4---(opper ..Silver Transposition
Have a silver and a copper coin of similar sizes (for example, a half dollar and an old-style British penny)
in a small, leather, clasp purse.
Take the coins from the purse, show it empty and ask someone to select a coin. Let's say the penny is
chosen. Take it at your right fingertips and apparently place it into the purse. In reality, your right thumb
slides the coin up into finger palm as you seemingly put it into the purse and close the clasp.
As the left hand gestures with the purse, shift the coin to right-hand classic palm. You can then
throw the purse back and forth, from hand to hand, using the Malini subtlety to hide the coin. Eventually
set the closed purse in front of a spectator.
Take the remaining coin and use your favorite Spellbound change to transform the half dollar into
the penny.
Pick up the purse and shake it near your ear, pretending to hear the half dollar inside. You may load
the half dollar behind the purse and throw it from hand to hand a few times to derail any thought that
the coin is hidden in your hands.
Eventually open the purse and pretend to dump out the half dollar as you let it drop from behind
the purse and into your opposite hand. Alternatively, you may keep the half dollar in right-hand finger
palm, reach into the open purse and use your right thumb to push the coin to the fingertips as you
apparently extract it.
To discover the precise details of this handling, do the honest actions a few times and watch your-
self in a mirror. Later commit these actions to video. Then, as you practice the sleights, imitate the exact
handling Gestalt you see.

October 5--Five Books
jean Benedetti's Stanislavski: An Introduction, Methuen, London, 1982. Stanislavski's autobiography con-
sists of An Actor Prepares, Building a Character and Creating a Role. They are fine books but not easy
to read. Benedetti's book tells you everything you need to know about the world-famous Stanislavski
system, which has changed the world of acting. You will learn a lot, and pleasantly, from Benedetti's
mere seventy-nine pages.
Timothy Gallwey's The Inner Game of Tennis, Random House, Inc., New York, 1974. While a music-
academy student, Rafael Benatar had a professor who recommended this book. It deals with what
happens in one's mind during a performance; mental blocks, nervousness and all the things that
cause you to make mistakes with material you have mastered and can perform faultlessly when prac-
ticing without pressure at home. Now, if this isn't a subject for magicians, I don't know what is. Get
a copy today.
Paul Watzlawick's Change, W. W. Norton and Co., New York, 1974; and How Real is Real?, Random House,
New York, 1976. I have many books by Watzlawick, a psychotherapist and specialist in the psycho-
logical aspects of communication. I particularly recommend these two books of his. Most of his work
deals with how people interpret the outside world when forming a subjective reality. It is hard to
imagine a subject closer to the essence of magic, since all deception is the result of constructing a false
reality. Ask your librarian for Watzlawick's books. You will quickly determine the right one for you.
joseph O'Connor and john Seymour's Introducing NLP: Psychological Skills for Understanding and Influ-
encing People, The Aquarian Press, Detroit, 1993. NLP is short for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Ifyou
read this book without prejudice, you can't help finding ideas that are enormously practical.
E. H. Gombrich's Art and J1/usion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, Princeton Univer-
sity Press, 1969. This book focuses on the perception of the artist and of the onlooker. Gombrich asks,
What happens in the head of the artist when he looks at a scene and translates his thoughts and emo-
tions into a painting? And how does the viewer of this painting in turn decode the painting? Will he
get all the thoughts and emotions of the painter? I hope you ask these questions when you interpret
a trick from a book. You should wonder what goes on in the spectators' minds when you perform,
because that's where the real magic happens. Not in the fingers but in the head. Several chapters in
this book can be directly adapted to magic. Absolutely brilliant!

October 6---Paradoxes
Here is a list of favorite paradoxes. Magic is surreal and paradoxical in some ways, so knowing a few para-
doxes is not only amusing, but can be used to lead into a performance in an unusual and interesting way.

"AllGreeks are liars." (Socrates)

"I'm an atheist, thank God:' (Luis Bufluel)
She says to him, "If you don't give me this fur coat, I'll tell your wife you gave me a fur coat:'
"I would like my right hand to be able to do what my left hand does and vice versa:'
"Can God, the Almighty, create a stone that he cannot carry himself? If he can't create it, he isn't
almighty. But if he can create such a stone, which he cannot carry, then he's not almighty either."
"The rarer something is, the more expensive it is. A horse that costs only ten dollars is an absolute
rarity; therefore it should be much sought after and expensive:' (Lennart Green)
A blind man said, "Let's see what we can do."
A sign in Braille: "Please do not touch!"
Mona Lisa smiles because Leonardo painted her.
"The place is so crowded, nobody goes there anymore." (Yogi Berra)
"Who is it?" asks the psychic as someone knocks on the door.
"Hello, I must be going!" (song by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, sung by Groucho Marx)
"I can resist everything except temptation:' (Oscar Wilde)
Jesus crossed himself (made the sign of the cross).
In the Black Forest the leaves become yellow and red.

October 7-Smullyan Kiss
This is a splendid (and useful) example from Professor Raymond Smullyan's repertoire.
Let's assume you are a man who desires to kiss a woman. (By the way, this proposition works in
whatever way your inclinations lead.) Propose the following to the person who has attracted your affec-
tion. "! bet you / can kiss you without getting any nearer than twenty inches from you. Actually, I'm not
allowed to touch you in any way with my hands or any part of my body, let alone my lips."
Set a small stake, such as a dime or a piece of chocolate (Swiss or Belgian chocolate preferred), or
just make it a bet of honor.
When she agrees, tell her she must close her eyes. As soon as she does, kiss her and say, "Okay, I've
lost. You win." Pay up.
(Neither the author nor his publisher accept any responsibility for what might happen next.)

October 8-Bar Bet
Here is a clever bar bet that is another interesting example of counter-intuition.
You will need two red cards-the "losing" cards-and seven black cards. Shuffle these nine cards
and distribute them face down in a three-by-three layout.
Ask someone to choose any row, column or diagonal of three cards. If his triplet includes a red card,
he loses; if it doesn't, he wins.
Intuitively one would think that, with only two red cards and seven black cards, the chances cer-
tainly favor avoiding a red card. However; the mathematics of the truth are different. With even the worst
distribution, there is still a fifty-fifty chance you will win.
Some configurations will even produce six chances out of eight in your favor.
As with all probability bets, you must play several rounds. The more games you play, the more you
will win.

l4 .•. 7•••

•! ••
•• "'61 •• !
l•• ~4 ••• l••
•ttt!• ••• ••
•••• ttt! ••••••••

.. ~

84 .•.
~4 ~

, .6
Worst Case-You win half the time. Best Case-You win six times out of eight!

October 9-Another BarBet
Place a coin on the table and cover it with an opaque object, such as a playing card, a beer mat or a credit
card. Bet that you can pick up the coin without touching the cover in any way. Nor will you blow on it.
Reach under the table or, if there is one, the table cloth and, taking care not to move the card, come
close to it, then bring your hand into view with a duplicate coin, which you've had palmed. "There you
are. I've got it."
Your victim will lift the cover in disbelief, at which point you simply take the coin resting under it.
You've fulfilled your claim. You've picked up the coin without touching the cover. (Your opponent has
done that for youl)
If you wish to be very wicked, place a visible smudge or similar distinguishing mark on both coins.
When you lay the bet, make a little joke about the mark, to assure everyone notices it. "Oh, look, the eagle
is bald and dirty." When you produce the duplicate coin, throw it onto the table and say nothing. Most
will notice the smudge themselves.

October 10~ The Vanishing Pen
This is an extension of an item Isaw Steve Beam do in a lecture in Salzburg, Austria, in 1995.1° You need a
pen with a cap that clips to your pocket. Clip the pen to the left inside breast pocket of your jacket, with
the pen hanging outside the pocket. You also require an identical second cap, which you carry in your
right-side jacket pocket.
When someone asks for a pen, palm the extra cap in your right
hand as your left hand swings open the left side of your jacket, let-
ting everyone see the pen on your pocket. II/ have one. Would that be
okay?" With your right hand, pretend to take the pen. In reality, let the
jacket close, moving the real pen out of view, and shift the palmed
cap to your fingertips, holding it as if the pen rests behind your hand.
With your left hand, "remove" the cap, clicking its edge against your right thumbnail to produce an
audible click, like the sound made when the cap is legitimately removed from the pen. To enhance the
illusion, move only your left hand, holding the right hand still. The visual information you've provided,
and the natural assumption made by everyone that you are holding a pen, will create a convincing image
in the minds of the spectators.
Start to hand the pen to the person who requested it; then stop, look at the imaginary pen and gen-
tly blow on it as you slowly open your right fingers. Draw attention to the vanish, rather than hand over
the "pen', saying something like "Look; this is a magician's pen-it always plays tricks on me."
Wait three seconds to let the audience assimilate the effect. Then look at the cap and vanish it any way
you like. A simple false transfer is fine: Apparently pass the pen cap to your left hand, but actually thumb
palm it in your right hand; then show it has disappeared. Immediately seize a lapel in each hand (which
affords perfect cover for the palmed cap) and open the jacket. Look at the pen, clipped back on your pocket
where it started. In the off-beat created by this surprise, turn slightly to your right, relax your right hand
and imperceptibly drop the palmed cap into the right-side jacket pocket. The pen you now hand to your
acquaintance could be a special one. When you later return the pen to your pocket, you're reset.
You can perform this without a jacket, by clipping just the pen cap to your shirt pocket. This creates
o the illusion of the pen standing inside the pocket. In this case, no extra pieces are used. Just take the pen
cap from your pocket while your hand hides the absence of the pen. (This is the method Steve Beam
originally published.)

October 11- Table Magic Opener
This is an excellent opener when you perform for people at a table or when you approach a group to per-
form for them at a party. After briefly introducing yourself, ask who believes in clairvoyance. Ifnecessary,
explain the meaning of the word: the ability to gain unknown information by means of extra-sensory
perception. Ask for a show of hands from the believers. Assume that four individuals raise their hand.
Unfold a billet you've had in your hand and show what is written on it: "4".You may, if you prefer,
call this precognition-the ability to see the future=-but'its really a thumb writer.
A less direct approach is to have the Threes, Fours and Fives set on top of the deck, operating on
the likelihood that three, four or five hands will be raised. You can then do a quick Cutting the Aces type
routine, revealing the appropriate set of matching values on top of each pile.
You could also use a Himber Wallet, with an envelope on each side; or a simple two-way envelope
with two cards in each compartment; or any device you prefer that delivers multiple outs.

October 12--Business Card Ideas
When asked for your business card, pat your jacket as if looking for one, place your hands into your pock-
ets and classic palm a card in your right hand. Turn slightly to your right as you withdraw the right hand
from its pocket. It is easy at this point to transfer the card to right-hand back palm.
"Gh, / never carry business cards on me. / keep them in an air pocket." Look up into the space in front
of you, as if searching for your magical air-pocket. Spot it, reach into it with your right hand and produce
the card from back palm. "Gh, here it is."
The impact of this on a lay audience is inversely proportional to the degree of triviality this descrip-
tion may have raised in your mind.

When handing out.a business card, draw a little puzzle on its back. "You may like to try to solve this.
If you can't find the solution, give me a call or send me an e-mail" You can have the puzzle printed on the
card, but drawing it on the spur of the moment looks spontaneous and personal; furthermore, it will allow
you to choose a puzzle that may have some relevance to the situation or the interests of your companion.

Use an office hole punch to put a hole in the corner of one of your business cards.
When you hand out the card, wait for the recipient to ask about the hole. Explain, "/ bet / can push
this coin through that hole." As you mention the coin, magically produce it from the card; the larger the
coin, the better.
Hand the coin and card to your acquaintance and invite him to try. Eventually take a pencil and do
the age-old stunt, inserting the pencil through the hole and using the end of the pencil to push the coin
along the table or on your hand.
Conclude with a punch line such as "That's creative problem solving. Ifyou ever have an event, J'IIsolve
your problem of professional entertainment."

P &

October 13-Puzzle of the Nine letters

Draw a three-by-three square and fill it in with the letters O-T-T, F-F-S, S- -, leaving the last two
squares of the bottom row empty. The puzzle is to figure out what letters go into these two squares.

0 T T
S ?


The two letters that answer the puzzle are "E" and "N".
Why? Because the other letters are the first letters of the numbers from one to seven. That's 0 for
One, T for Two, T for Three, F for Four, F for Five, S for Six, and S for Seven. Therefore, E is for Eight, and
N is for Nine.
This is a nice item for an emcee, or to draw on the back of your business card, as suggested in the
idea yesterday.

October 14-The Binary Down-Under Deal
The down-under deal, also called the Australian deal, consists of dealing the top card to the table (down),
then putting the next card beneath the rest ofthe packet (under). You continue by dealing the next card
to the table and the following one under those in your hand. These actions are repeated until you are
holding only one card.
Now consider this problem: You are holding a packet of cards that contains a selection, and you
wish to produce that card as the last when doing a down-under deal. At what position must the selec-
tion start for this to happen?
Here is a simple mnemonic that you will remember for the rest of your life:

Qown-under Qeal has two Ds, like Qouble the Difference.

And that's all you need to remember, once you have understood what a binary sequence is; namely,
the numbers 2, 4, B, 16, 32, ete. You don't even have to remember these numbers, since knowing what a
binary number is suffices. All you need is the difference between the number of cards in your packet and
the highest binary number that fits within that number. If you have nineteen cards, the highest binary
contained in 19 is 16. The Qifference is 3 (19 - 16 = 3). Ifyou Qouble that Difference (Down-under Deal)
you obtain 6. The card must therefore begin sixth from the top of the packet if it is to appear last in the
dealing procedure.

October 1 S--Magical Supination and Pronation
This was shown to me by my dear friend and magical genius Lennart Green on one
of his many memorable visits to my home.
Hold your right hand palm up and explain that, to turn the hand palm down,
the wrist must visibly turn. Turn your hand back and forth a few times, pointing
out that the sides of the wrist turn and the thumb lies at the opposite side of the
hand after each turn.
Ask your companions to perform the following actions with you. Hold the
right hand palm up and extended forward at a right angle from the body.

J "( Bringthe hand up to shoulder height-

) then over the heart and down-

v then return it into its starting position, extended

at right angles in front of the body. At this
point you will find the hand has rotated ninety
degrees, and its palm is turned to your left.
If you now repeat these actions exactly,
the hand will rotate another ninety degrees and
end up palm down!
Stress that the wrist must be kept stiff, so
that it does not turn.

They will be amazed at seeing their hand (and yours) inexplicably palm down, although they made
every effort not to turn the wrist and hand.

October 16--Cliches
When people witness the performance of a magician, they tend to come up with all sorts of solutions for
his tricks. Spectators are satisfied with these "solutions" even though most are completely wrong. This
is an intriguing issue to consider, given that we all do problem solving on a daily basis. It is a basic task in
life. One must wonder how often in politics, economy, religion and other disciplines people are satisfied
with the first solution they come up with, right or wrong. I leave this for you to contemplate.
Coming back to our theorizing spectators, here are some of the solutions they present to us.

* It's up your sleeve.

* You are quick with your hands.
* You talk a lot and distract our attention.
* You are using a confederate.

Your challenge: Can you come up with a multi-phase routine that uses these solutions as a premise,
and each phase proves one of them wrong-without making the audience or any member of it look or
feel foolish?

October 17--Bottle Cap Prediction
This was shown to me by David Williamson in May 2000 in Barcelona, where we were booked to perform
for a company on the beautiful roof of the Arts Hotel. I'm grateful to him for allowing me to pass it on
to you."
You show five bottle caps from different beverages and force one of them, using equivoque. Let's say
the forced cap is from a Heineken bottle.
Explain that you have a prediction and reach into your inner breast pocket, from which you pro-
duce a full bottle of Heineken beer. Pause.
Then say that perhaps they think you have five bottles in different pockets. Admit that you do,
tapping the pockets of your jacket and pants with a pencil or another hard object. Clinks of glass
bottles are heard.
Then take the bottles swiftly out-they are all Heineken!
While the demand for pocket space limits the practicality of this trick in most circumstances, it is
tailor-made for special engagements with companies that manufacture beverages or medications, and
it can be adapted to other products. Imagine walking up to the table at which the management of
Heineken is sitting and springing this on them!

October 18-- Thoughts on Coin Boxes
Back on September 1 ("Okito-san Meets Mr. Terrific': p. 262), we touched on the problem of how we
might presentationally motivate the use of magician's coin boxes with coins, which when unadorned
must look terribly odd to the laity.
The first step is not to carry the coins in the box itself. Have them in a separate purse or pocket. Use
the box to hold small objects: paper clips, stickers, rubber bands, candy, pills. The pills might be "magic
pills" that can be transformed into coins.
Or show the coins in a purse, commenting that each of the pills cost you a coin. (This might lead to
a transposition of pills and coins.)
There is an infinite number of explanations possible to bring the box and coins together through
chance or association. Examine your personal associations and interests for useful motivations.
Once you've presented some reason for introducing the coins, you can use them in conjunction
with the box. Bringing the box and coins together in this fashion makes much more sense.
To maintain the believability of your presentational motive, at the end of the routine, replace the
coins in the purse and the other objects back in the coin box.
Handling the coin box: How about pretending to unscrew the lid from the box before opening it,
and screwing it back on when closing it?

October 19-- The Obedient Lemon
Remember the old "Obedient Ball" trick?72 A version of it I find fascinating uses a lemon instead of a
wooden ball." A lemon is pierced and threaded onto a long ribbon. Anchoring an end of the ribbon
under one foot, the performer holds the opposite end in one hand.
Holding the lemon hear the top of the ribbon, he announces that it will obey his orders. Asking the
lemon, "How do you say 'yes'?" he lets the lemon go. It naturally slides down the ribbon, but stops mysteri-
ously at the center. Bringing it back up to the top of the ribbon, he asks, "And how do you say 'no'?" Letting
the lemon go, it slides all the way down to his foot.
Two members of the audience are now asked, "Please give me two numbers below five." Let's assume
two and three are named. TII ask the lemon to make a small calculation. How much is three plus two?"
Letting the lemon drop, it stops five times on its journey toward his foot.
The lemon might also divine the suit and value of a chosen (forced or glimpsed) card. "ls it a heart?"
"ls it a diamond?" "is it a picture card?" And so on.
This trick is so old, it's new again. The secret is a short section of metal or plas-
tic tubing that is slightly curved. The lemon is prepared by neatly cutting off both
ends, inserting the tube down the length of the fruit, and then gluing the ends back
into place, using a "super glue" intended for porous materials.
In performance, the lemon may be chosen (forced) from a fruit basket, its
ends cut off and the ribbon threaded through it, using a long needle, thin enough
to navigate the curvature of the tube with little or no hindrance. The needle makes
it credible that the lemon is being freshly pierced.
If at the free end of the ribbon you tie a knot greater in size than the width
of the tube, when the presentation is finished, you can pull the ribbon from the
lemon, and the tube will come along with it. Stealing the tube in this manner, the
lemon is able to meet examination, if wished.


October 20--Calendar Prediction
This is one of the best applications I know for Mel Stover's wonderful II Days of Force"." Use it to intro-
duce a corporate kick-off or similar event, at which you speak about the forecast of the business year
or a particular project scheduled to be completed. Then use this prediction effect to imply that you are
predicting a successful outcome for the company's plans.
You may use PowerPoint to proj-
ect the calendar for the applicable year
on a screen, or you may simply use a
1 2 3 4 5 6
flip chart, an overhead projector or a
large printed sheet of paper. Have a
month freely selected, or use a month 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
that has a special bearing on your talk
or the company's project. Have some- 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
one decide on any four-by-four square
of days within the determined month. 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Point out to the group that many other I
four-by-four combinations of numbers
28 29 30 31
might have been chosen, each contain-
ing a different array of numbers.
Reproduce the selected array on a flip chart. (If you have used a predetermined month drawn on
a flip chart, simply draw a frame around the four-by-four selection.) As you are doing this, you have
enough time to add the first and last numbers and double the result. Using the dates illustrated here,
you would add 3 and 27, giving you 30. This multiplied by 2 produces 60. Write "I predict 60" on a piece
of paper and place this into an envelope. Draw a question mark on the envelope, or write "Our Future"
or-anything that fits your presentation. Then hand the envelope to someone to hold.
Ask another person to select any number from the array. Circle it, jot it down next to the selected
square of dates and strike out the rest of the numbers in the row and column in which the chosen num-
ber lies. Repeat this procedure with three other people, one after the other, letting each pick any of the
remaining numbers. When you add the four circled numbers, they will total 60.

.. ..
~ ~------------------------------------------------------------------------------~---------

Ask the person holding the envelope to open it and read your prediction to the group. After the
audience reacts, use the receptive atmosphere you've just created to deliver your message or introduce
your talk; something like: liMy prediction was correct. And I also predict we will reach our goal for the year.
This meeting is about our strategies to do so." That's a fine start.
Additional ideas:
If you print a calendar on the back of your business card, you'll be set to perform this piece any-
where, anytime, and give it away.
If your presentation is about a specific number (the sixtieth anniversary of a colleague, a forty per-
cent increase in profit, business, production, etc.), you can construct a grid that forces this number.

October 21- The Psychic Rubber Band
Take a rubber band wide enough to write a word on and stretch it as far as you can without breaking it.
Fix it in this stretched position and write something on it. This might be a prediction, a mess-age fed to
an impromptu stooge, ete. This preparation is made easier if someone holds the band stretched while
you do the writing.
When the band is released, the writing becomes compressed into an insignificant black patch. Yet,
when it is stretched out again, the message can be read. It is a very novel and amusing way of revealing a
prediction or an out.
The band might be around a deck of cards from which a card is selected. The name of the card is
disclosed on the rubber band. Other ideas will occur to you.

October 22--Venus VS. Mars
My dear friend Tony Cachadifia saw Fred Kaps perform a version of Nick Trost's "The Odd-Colored Back"
(aka "Eight-Card Brainwave"}" in which he used the male-female symbol cards conceived by Kirk Stiles
and marketed in 1965 as "Boy Meets Girl". At the time I'm writing, these neatly printed cards are still
available from Magic, Ine.
Or you can draw your own on eight blank-faced
cards (or double-blank cards). On the faces of four of
these cards draw the symbol for Venus ~, which rep-
resents the female principle of life. On the other four
cards draw the symbol of Mars c5, standing for the
male principle. Arrange the cards in alternating order.
Shuffle the cards in some manner that maintains the alternation. For instance, you might overhand
shuffle the packet, running any odd number of cards and throwing the balance on top. A Charlier shuffle
is also very deceptive with a small packet. Repeat the shuffle once or twice.
Now ask a lady to cut the packet with her left hand, which instills a little intrigue into the procedure.
Spread the cards in your hands and have her touch one. Break the spread at this point and drop her
card face down onto the table.
When you reassemble the packet, place the cards that rested above the selection under the rest,
which subtly cuts the packet at the point where the selection is extracted.
If you now perform Ed Marlo's Olram subtlety" to show that the seven cards you're holding are
apparently all male or all female; the sex will be the opposite of the card your helper has selected. Then
turn up her card. It seems to be the only one of its sex in the packet.
This makes a nice introduction to a more elaborate routine using the theme of the differences (or
similarities) of the sexes. The widely known pop-psychology book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From
Venus by John Gray should give you lots of presentational ideas. You might explore: Who governs the
world, men or women? Are women really more sensitive than men? Will the next President be a man or
a woman? Start thinking of the possibilities.
There is another great thing about this short and simple, yet effective trick. It can be adapted to
other symbols, letters, drawings, company logos, slogans, photos, ete.

October 23-An Overhand Shuffle Card Control
This technique controls a selection replaced in the midst of an overhand shuffle, bringing the card
secretly to the top of the deck. I'll give you the basic handling first, then a couple of variations.
Have a card selected and noted. Start an overhand shuffle and ask your helper to call stop at any-
time. Interrupt the shuffle as commanded and have the card replaced on top of the left hand's shuffled
packet. Immediately resume shuffling, but execute an optical shuffle." That is, move your right hand as
if shuffling more cards onto the left hand's packet, but really take none. After about four "empty" shuffle
strokes, throw all the right hand's cards onto the left's, letting the bottom few cards of the right-hand
packet land injogged and remain so.
Immediately use your right thumb to pick up a break under the injog, then shuffle off to the break
and throw the remainder on top. The selection is now on top of the deck.
Instead of shuffling off to the break, you may transfer the break to your left little finger as the deck
settles into dealing position. Then cut several small packets to the table. When you reach the break, drop
the remaining portion of the deck on top. This again brings the selection to the top.
Or, rather than throwing the right hand's packet into an injogged position as the last action of the
optical shuffle, you might look up at the spectators, and when their gaze rises to meet yours, drop the
right hand's packet behind the left's. Correctly done, the nature of this last shuffle action is impercep-
tible-and the selection is on top of the deck without further ado.

October 24-Automatic Key-CardPlacement
Someone chooses a card and shuffles it back into the deck, but in the process it is placed next to a key
card, making it available for future location. When you read the explanation, the idea may seem obvious,
but nothing could be further from the truth. This procedure even fools magicians.
Give the deck a quick overhand shuffle and hand it to someone, asking him to shuffle the cards as
well. Mime the action of an overhand shuffle. Your shuffle and the subsequent pantomime should be
enough to guide him to shuffle in the overhand manner.
Next ask him to cut off a portion from the top of the deck, turn it face up and drop it back onto the
face-down balance. "Since I can see the card you cut to, look at the last face-up card." He will spread the
cards in his hands while tipping the faces of the cards toward himself, so that you cannot see the card he
is noting. This is an instinctive action, and you normally won't have to suggest it. If your helper doesn't
protect the faces from you, as soon as he starts spreading the cards you will immediately see that you
must advise his caution. As he notes the card, you will easily be able to see the bottom card of the deck.
This becomes your key card. Look away as soon as you've seen it.
When he tells you he's done, ask him to turn the face-up cards face down again on the deck. This
brings his selection to the top, but you immediately have him cut the deck and give it a shuffle to lose
the card. Again mime the actions of an overhand shuffle. As soon as he starts, ask him to cut the deck
onto your hand once-only once. Byemphasizing the cut, you curtail his shuffling, minimizing the risk of
separating his selection from your key card.
Although this principle has been used in different ways before, I think this particular handling is
original. I know it is deceptive.


October 2S--Stay!
Many magic books are study books, not armchair reads. We place them on a table and follow the instruc-
tions with the instruments in hand. Unfortunately, many books don't cooperate, and flop shut rather
than staying open when you let go of them. What can you do with such a book?
With a large bulldog clip, fasten the smaller portion of the book open to its cover. Or ...

Open up the book near center. Set your thumbnail on

the top end of the gutter of the book and press down firmly
as you glide the thumbnail to the bottom.

Pick up a page on the left and one the right, and run your thumbnail down each side of them.

Gather the next two pages and repeat. Do this until you reach the covers. Any book treated like this
will lie open at any page you wish.

October 26--Which Wine Would You Like?
Here's a gratifying thing you can do when you next invite friends to your place for dinner. (For those who
don't care for wine, relax today and resume reading tomorrow. Those who think life is too short to drink
lemonade or cheap wine with a good meal, read on.)
Using Roy Baker's PATED force (acronym for Point At Two Eliminate One), you apparently give your
guests a choice of wines. In reality, you force the wine you desire. Place an odd number of wine bottles on
the table and explain the procedure:
"I take any two bottles, then you point to the one you don't like. We'll eliminate that bottle and put the
other back, since it is potentially one you might want. Then you do the same thing and /'IIeliminate one of
the two bottles. We'll take turns until one bottle is left, and that will be the one we'll open."
Start the game by picking up two of the bottles you don't want. When your friend points to one of
these, put it aside and return the remaining bottle to the selection pool.
Now your friend selects two bottles, and you eliminate one you don't wish. He places the other back
in the active group.
Continue in this manner, taking turns, until one bottle is left-the one you wish to drink. Forcing it
is a simple matter, as you only give your friend a choice between two wines you don't wish, and when you
choose, you always eliminate an undesired bottle.
Up to here there is no magic effect, just secret satisfaction. You can leave it at that; or you can show
a menu you have printed, listing all the courses of the meal you are about to sit down to, and the exact
name and year of the bottle of wine you have forced.
To dramatize the effect, you might wrap each bottle in a sheet of newspaper, making sure you can
recognize the force bottle by either a mark or a feature in the newsprint. Each time a bottle is eliminated,
unwrap it to show what it is.
This opens possibilities for additional effects. For instance, you might use six red wines and one
white, the latter suiting the upcoming course of fish or seafood.
You can find many daily uses for the PATED force, such as forcing a billet bearing the name of a res-
taurant at which you have secretly made a reservation. This can be particularly effective if the restaurant
is so desirable your guests know reservations must be made at least a month in advance-and all the
other billets carry names of fast-food joints.

October 27 -Getting Rid of Extra Cards Above a Selection
Assume the selected card is fourth from the top of the deck. We want to get rid of three cards and bring
the selection to the top. The following procedures will do this.

* Use a lift shuffle running four cards, lifting them behind the rest, shuffling off and dropping the
lifted four-card-packet last, on top. (See January 19: "Lift Shuffle Applications-Study in the
Polyvalence of a Sleight': p. 24).
* Use a block transfer shuffle, such as a Zarrow shuffle, a Triumph shuffle, a push-through or pull-
out shuffle.
* Do Marlo's bluff cut (February 27, p. 66), cutting the unwanted top cards to the bottom in what
appears to be a single cut.
* Reveal the selection using a quadruple lift, and then get rid of the extra cards by means of the
K.M. move."
* Hold the deck face down in dealing position and deal three cards face up in a pile on the table.
"Your card could be on top, but I'm afraid it isn't. It would make things much easier for me."
Adding this light touch of humor relaxes the audience's attention as you turn the deck face up.
Deal a few cards from the face onto the three cards on the table.
"Even at the bottom would be a help." Use the last card to scoop up the tabled pile and
replace it on the face of the deck. Look up as you turn the deck face down again. The desired
card is now on top.
Done nonchalantly, this is deceptive and efficient. It is far superior to the standard ploy of
showing the top three cards and burying them in the deck, then showing the bottom three cards
and burying them, while saying, "Your card is not on the top or on the bottom." For this to make
sense, the shown cards would have to be returned to their original positions, not buried, right?

October 29-- The Fake Take and Variations
This technique is used to switch a card. It may serve various functions, not least of which is as a control.
Spread the deck face down in your hands and ask someone to touch the back of a card. Separate the
spread at that spot, with the indicated card at the face of the right hand's portion.
While maintaining the spread configuration of the cards, lift your right hand to expose the face of
his card to your helper. Turn your head away as you do this and keep the left hand still, with its spread
portion of the deck parallel to the floor.
Next, turn your head back, lower your right hand and bring the two spreads together, apparently
taking the bottom card of the right hand's portion on top of the left's. Really,you simply feign this trans-
fer, and then deal the top card of the left hand's spread to the table.
Put the right hand's spread onto the left's and square the cards, but keep a break between the two
portions. You can later pass, cut or shuffle the selection above the break to the bottom.
If you want to bring it directly to the bottom as you join the two spreads, use the right hand to
gesture at the tabled card, or nudge it forward. This brings the right hand's spread lower than the left's.
When you then bring the spreads together, it is natural to place the right hand's cards below the left's.
This is much subtler than transposing the two portions immediately after tabling the card.
To learn this sequence correctly, first go through the honest actions, learning their Gestalt. Then
imitate that, simulating the movements of the hands and fingers, as you master the switch.
VARIATION 1: As you apparently transfer the selection to the left hand's cards, instead add a card to
the face of the right hand's spread. After you've thumbed the top card of the left hand's spread onto the
table, you can casually gesture with the right hand's spread, flashing an indifferent card on its face.
VARIATION 2: Instead of taking nothing, take two cards from the face of the right hand's spread
onto the left hand's, and then thumb off the top card. The selection will now be on top of the left
hand's spread."

October 30-Book for an Island
"If I had to take only one book to the proverbial island, I would rather go down with the ship."

In interviews and similar situations we are often asked what three, five or ten books we would
choose if stranded on a desert island.
I have created my own Island Book. I've already mentioned it to you, back on July 13 (p. 209). It is a
thick spiral-bound book with about three hundred blank pages. Each time I come across a trick I con-
sider worthwhile, but I don't have time to work on it, I make a photocopy of it and stick it into the book.
That book is full of excellent ideas, and on a desert island I would certainly have the time to absorb
and implement them. (Remember, on a desert island, all your electronic devices will work only while the
batteries are charged.)

October 31--- The Magic Menu
I like gourmet restaurants for many reasons, some reaching beyond the food. One of my first gourmet
dining experiences was in Paul Bocuse's restaurant, L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges. At the end of a
spectacular meal we were given the beautiful menu card to keep. Ever since, whenever Ifind myself in an
outstanding restaurant, I ask for such a card for myself and my guests.
Years ago I used to print a flyer for my performances, designed to be given to the spectators at the
end of the show. It was a single sheet folded once to form four pages. My photo and the title of the show
appeared on the front page. (I remember Icalled one show "Soiree des Illusions" and another "An Hour of
Deception': naively hoping to get some sort of blessing from Robert-Houdin and Hofzinser.) The second
and third pages carried a list of the pieces I'd performed, with a short description of the effects. And the
back page offered my various achievements as a magician, and contact information for future bookings.
I was reminded of this a few days ago, when a gentleman booked me for a private show for himself
and four guests, to take place at a table in an elegant restaurant in Switzerland. Had I remembered it at
the time, a "Magic Menu" would have been a nice touch. I think I'llstart doing this again. IfIdon't, maybe
you should.


ovember l-A Built-In Shiner
Using a deck with gilded edges, such as Rambler No. 23 Gilt Edges, hold a card face down in your right
hand, while your left hand holds the deck well squared, with its left side upward. The index of the right
hand's card can be recognized in the reflection.
I think it more deceptive if you keep your left
hand still and move the single card from left to right
with the outward intent of showing it to everyone
(and indeed you are!).
During this traveling display action there is
enough time-one or two seconds are ample-to
/J /~---:~n/~I"Z
;k( ) ~I

sight the index of the card in the shining surface of 1fII
the gilded side of the squared deck.
Using cards with gilded edges might also be an
effective marketing gimmick: "The Man with the
Golden Cards".

November 2-- To Practice Estimation
An excellent and practical way of practicing one's estimation skills is to use a memorized deck, or any
deck stack that permits you to calculate the position of a card quickly. If you don't know one, stack the
deck by suits arranged in Ace through King order.
Here's how you practice. Set the stacked deck in front of you and try to cut off twenty cards. This is
one of the easiest numbers to estimate, because it is visually just under half the deck. It is also one of the
most useful positions to estimate.
After making the cut, check the bottom card of the packet-it should be the twentieth card in your
stack. If it isn't, the card you see will tell you how far off your cut is. Replace the packet, square the cards
and cut again.
When you can cut to twenty with reasonable accuracy, start practicing other numbers. Each time you
cut, you can verify your accuracy by checking the card cut to. This saves a lot of time-consuming counting.
This is also a valuable practice tool for the memorized deck. Each time you cut off a packet, vary its
size and don't aim for a particular number of cards. Only after you have cut, estimate the number you've
cut to and think of the card at that position. Then check the bottom card of the cut-off portion to see if
you have estimated correctly.

November 3-Early Giobbi

November 4-Belchou Varied
This is Richard Vollmer's elegant variation (described with his permission) on the well-known Ace-cutting
trick by Steve Belchou."
On top of the deck is any Five, followed
by two indifferent cards, then the four Aces. ~, ,
As you give the deck a shuffle and cut,
both false, talk about the importance of cut-
ting to good cards in a head-to-head
of poker. Ask someone to cut the deck into
four roughly equal piles. As he does this,

keep track of the pile with the setup on top.
Here we'll assume it to be farthest to your
right. Turn up the top card on each pile and
place it in front of its pile. Let's say these are
a Four, a Seven, a King and a Five.
Pick up the pile behind the Four and count four cards into a face-down pile in the space just occu-
pied by the pile from which you are dealing.
Follow this by dealing one card onto each of the other three piles. If you need a reason for this, you
might say, "Because that's the rule-and I make the rules." Set the remaining cards you hold onto the pile
of four dealt cards.
Repeat this procedure with the other three piles, counting seven cards, ten (for the King) and five.
If you have a high card, such as a Nine, a Ten or a court card, and estimate that you don't have enough
cards to reach the full count, explain, "Besides being counted, the cards can even be spelled," and spell the
value of the card. This mixture of counting with spelling actually makes the procedure more interesting.
On the third card, to increase attention after two repetitions, you might say something like liKings
are wild. What value would you like it to have?" Your helper then determines the number to which you
count or spell.
When you have finished counting five cards off the fourth pile and have dealt a card onto each of
the other three piles, an Ace will lie on top of all four, which you may reveal to suit any theme you wish
to give this intriguing piece. This procedure is excellent. It might even fool magicians!

£ &

November 5-.. Teach a Layperson

Have a list of items you might teach to a layperson, for those occasions when you are asked to teach a
trick, or when it seems appropriate. Think not only of magic tricks, but also of stunts, quizzes and puzzles
that are easy to teach, easy to learn and easy to do.
Not so easy, is it? There are several good ones in this Agenda.
Henri Decremps, in his Testament de Jerome Sharp, writes that in such a situation Giuseppe Pinetti,
the mega-star of eighteenth century conjuring, would teach a one-handed pass (you could use the Char-
lier cut). He would then say, "When you've mastered this easy sleight, come back and I'llteach you more:'
How cruel.

November 6-A Bold Force
The card to be forced is on the bottom of the deck.
Have someone cut off a large portion of the pack. It is best if about three-quarters of the cards are
taken, but in theory it doesn't matter how many she takes.
Ask her, "Do you know how many cards you've cut off?" It's highly unlikely that she does. To find out,
pick up the packet left on the table and count the cards into a face-down pile. Assume there are fifteen.
"Since the deck has fifty-two cards, you must have ..." Those who calculate with you should end up
with thirty-seven.
"Okay, if you have thirty-seven cards, that's the thirty-eighth." Point to the top card of the pile on the
table. "Please take it and look at it." When she does, she will be looking at the card originally at the bot-
tom of the deck.
This force is so old, most don't know it, and it will deceive even experienced magicians, let alone
the public.
To add a bit more conviction to the freedom of the selection, you can take the next two or three
cards from the top of the tabled pile, saying, "Had you cut off more cards, you would now be looking at the
thirty-ninth, the fortieth or forty-first card."
If your trick allows for the force card to be lost in the deck, you can ask your helper to replace her
card at the spot she took it and drop her cut-off portion on top. The picture created reinforces the idea
that her card comes from somewhere in the middle of the deck.


November 7-Quick Sellers

This lovely little quickie can serve to introduce a more substantial miracle. It is only one of many excellent
ideas by the creative British magician Tom Sellers (1890-1961), among whose many inventions is "Just
Chance" (aka "Bank Night").
You must first turn nine cards secretly face up on the bottom of the deck, and get any Ten on top.
An economical way to achieve this is to spread the cards face up in your hands, silently count nine cards
from the face, insert your right little finger under them, creating a wedge break, and then cull any Ten to
the top." If you transfer the break to the left little finger, you can turn the deck face down and execute a
mechanical reverse." secretly turning the nine cards face up under the pack.
Force the Ten without exposing the nine reversed cards. Then riffle shuffle the cards, distributing the
face-up cards in the deck without flashing them. This is best done by performing two closed riffle shuffles.
Ask your helper to show everyone his selection-vthe forced Ten, we hope.
Take the Ten and insert it face up into the approximate center of the deck.
Snap your fingers or perform any other gesture symbolizing the occurrence of magic; then slowly
ribbon spread the deck to reveal exactly ten face-up cards in the otherwise face-down pack.

November 8-Card to Envelope and Wallet
, would like to pose this as a problem for you to solve:
Whenever I've seen a Signed (or Unsigned) Card to Envelope-often produced from inside the zip-
pered compartment of a wallet-the sealed envelope (excellent point, because this shows even to those
far away that the envelope is closed) is opened and a card is taken out.
But what would you expect to be in an envelope?
Yes, a letter-not a playing card.
So, when your lay assistant opens the envelope, how about having him first remove a letter, an
invoice, a testament-something that makes sense, guided by your presentation. Ask him to read it,
and have the contents explain that the playing card is included in the envelope, which he finds when
he looks again.
Points to ponder:
How do you prevent the person from seeing the card when he takes the letter from the envelope?
Or could it be loaded afterward?
Rather than a playing card, could another object be used, such as a credit card, a bill, a ring-or a
couple of these items?
What if the object was in a second smaller envelope, which was also sealed?



November 9-How to limit a Number

It is occasionally necessary to ask someone to name a number; but have the choice subtly limited to a
certain range; for example, not more than twelve. This need arises in many mathematically based tricks.
Here are a few ways to limit the named number without making the limitation obvious.

* Hand your helper two real or imaginary dice. Ask her to throw them and add up the spots on
top-the range is limited from two to twelve.
* Deal your helper a hand of blackjack, either with real or imaginary cards-and ask him how
many points he received. This creates a range between fifteen and twenty-five, depending on
how the hand plays out.
* Ask for a specific month and use its numeric equivalent, from one (January) to twelve (Decem-
ber). Or ask for a day in a month, which limits the range from one to thirty-one.
* Ask for your helper's zodiacal sign and use its numeric equivalent, which again limits the choice
from one to twelve.
* German-speaking children playa game in which each child shows a number of fingers at the
command "fins, lwei, steil" This limits the number from zero to five if one hand is used (as is
usually the case when the game is played), or zero to ten if two hands are allowed. This game is
relatively unknown, I believe, in English-speaking countries, but the idea of holding up fingers
can still be used, with or without reference to a children's game.

November 1O-..An Ascanian Buckle Count Subtlety
Let's say you wish to count five cards as four, or simply

spread them as four, from the left hand into the right.
The cards are briefly held spread in your hands, and then
squared again. This procedure by Ascanio looks and is
r'" ~~' i'


I ~

handled like the usual buckle count, until the moment ¥ 7 ~ ~ "'-
the left hand places the last card under the rest. ~ !~

" Q~. After the buckle, immediately put the left thumbtip near the

center of the left edge of the double card.

The thumb then pushes the double a bit to the right as (~
the cards are spread slightly further apart in the hands. ~
You hold the spread in this "expanded" condition for a
moment, and then square the cards back into your left hand.

The whole thing looks and feels something like stretching and relaxing a rubber band. It seems as if
all the cards are sliding over each other, and that double cards aren't possible.
Here is another fine touch. Use the left forefinger or middle finger to start the buckling of the bot-
tom card away from the cards above it; but buckle the card very, very slightly. No separation must show
at the outer end of the packet. This is achieved by pressing diagonally toward the base of the left thumb.
This action is only used to get an initial, minute separation. Ifthe break needs to be enlarged or held,
use the left little finger to pull down on the inner right corner of the bottom card (or cards, in the case of
multiple buckles). To manage this imperceptibly, use the outer joint crease of the left little finger, rather
than the tip."

November ll--When You've Lost the Card
You've lost control of a selected card. What do you do now?

1. Carry a fifty-two-on-one gag card in your wallet that shows all fifty-two cards on one side, and on
the other another card, say the Seven of Diamonds. Keep the card in an envelope with a question
mark or some mysterious looking symbol on it. As soon as you realize you've lost the card, locate
the Seven of Diamonds and force it on a second person. Remove the envelope from your wallet
and explain that it contains exact duplicates of the selected cards.
Ask the first person to name his card. In response, reveal the fifty-two-on-one side of the
card. "l'm joking. This is only the back of the card-what was your card, sir?" When the second
person names his card, turn over the gag card to reveal the Seven of Diamonds. You now know
the name of the first person's card and can proceed to produce it a little later, instead of another
chosen card. If you use a Kaps-Balducci wallet to carry the gag card, the lost selection can be
found in its zippered compartment.

2. The moment you realize you've lost the card, immediately say that you forgot to have the card
signed. Hand the deck to your helper and ask him to take his card out. Meanwhile, reach for a pen
and hand it to him. When he's done, take the card back-and don't lose it this time!


November 12--Finger Questions
Here are two puzzles that work well when done one after the other.

Hold both hands side by side, with all your fingers stretched out and your palms turned outward.
Ask your victim, "How many fingers do you see?"
He should answer, "Ten:'
Immediately follow-up by asking, "And how many fingers on ten hands?" As you say, "on ten hands?"
open both hands, again with the palms toward him, and move them slightly back and forth, in a sort of
"counting gesture': illustrating your words. This causes the person to answer intuitively, "One Hundred:'
But, no; because ten hands have-yes, fifty, not one hundred fingers, haven't they?

After a brief pause, hold up your right fist; then extend your thumb and first two fingers. "How many
fingers do you see now?"
Most people will answer, "Three;' whereupon you immediately counter, "No, you see five!"
Due to the expectation set up by the first trick question, most will fall for it. That's a very nice way to
bring into your presentation Picasso's frequent observation, "We look, but we don't see:'

As I've mentioned several times before, this kind of stunt is an excellent opening for a conversation
about perception, logic or thinking in general; from which you can move on to psychology or philosophy.
From there you can lead into a good magic trick by simply saying something like "Let me demonstrate
with a practical example."

November 13-Sucker Effect
At a relatively early point in his life Dai Vernon had studied Nate Leipzig'sact in such depth, he could do it
in its entirety. In a meeting with Leipzig he told him so, and Leipzig, always the gentleman, complimented
young Vernon profusely.
He then asked, "Vernon, can you also do my color-change routine? Would you do it for me with all
the details?" Vernon complied.
Technically, he did the routine impeccably, including the last color change, where the right hand is
kept stiff alongside the deck, suggesting the changed card has been palmed.
After a brief pause, he turned the hand over to show it empty, and looking into the imaginary audi-
ence said, "No, no, it's not here:'
Leipzig praised Vernon on his accomplishment. "You do this very well. But you've missed one thing:'
He then taught Vernon an important lesson:
When revealing the empty hand, he should not look at the entire audience, but at only a single spec-
tator; and say with a smile, "No, sir; it's not here!" Now everyone else will think, "Oh, how could that guy
be so stupid;' and they will react and applaud. Ifyou look at the entire audience, it would be like slapping
everyone in the face, telling them how stupid all of them are.
Iwould like to add, if I may comment on a master's advice, that it is also possible to look at an imagi-
nary spectator in an imaginary first row, so that no one feels bad, and exactly the same result is obtained.

November 14--Marlo's Hands

This is a hitherto unpublished sequence of photos

showing Edward Marlo's hands performing the
pass. These were sent to me by Dr. Jimmy Nuzzo,
one of Marlo's closest friends.



November 15-Seven Tips on Practice
Here are seven excellent ideas on how to effectively practice and make the process more enjoyable.

1. Serial practice (Ascanio): You want to practice a trick that requires a setup. Prepare five decks with
the necessary arrangement and set them on a side table. Take the first deck and go through the
trick once. When you are done, put this deck aside and repeat with each of the other four decks.
2. Metronome: Take a sleight, such as the Elmsley count, and practice in time to a metronome, set-
ting it at different speeds. Do the same thing when practicing a trick. The sleight or trick will
feel completely different, depending on the rhythm to which it is performed. This will give you
a feeling for tempo. To maintain interest throughout a performance, it is a good idea to vary the
rhythm. The first time I heard about using a metronome for magic was in Juan Tamariz's 1979
lecture at Ron McMillan's convention.
3. Regularity: If possible, practice every day, at the same time and in the same place. Even if it is only
fifteen minutes a day, it will yield better results than practicing for hours during only a day or two.
4. Deck of Tricks: Take a deck and on the face of each card write the name of a trick you would like to
keep in your repertoire. Use this as your practice deck when you are at home or when you travel.
Cut to a card, look at the name of the trick, and then practice it. Ifyou are in a public place, where
practice is unsuitable, practice the trick mentally, going through it in detail in your mind.
5. Use a deck of cards with sixty-five cards: Add thirteen extra cards to your regular deck and practice
your sleights with it. Then, when you perform with a normal deck of fifty-two, everything will feel
easier. This was told to me by Gordon Bruce.
6. XXXL: Another approach to this discipline is to use an oversized deck (usually these are produced
as promotional decks for companies), or oversized coins.
7. Vary Card Conditions: Use five decks in different conditions, from new to well-worn."

November 16--Vanni Bossi'sWild Money
This is an alternative presentation for Fred Kapss "Newspaper to Dollar Bills':more commonly known as
"Flash Cash"." Kapss lecture notes and the trick itself can be purchased from various sources.
From your wallet or money clip take the "Flash Cash" set-which we'll assume appears as pieces of
newspaper on one side and twenty-dollar bills on the other. You display the paper side.
Explain that money attracts money, and that you have found a way to apply this principle to every-
day life. Borrow a twenty-dollar bill or take one from your wallet. Put it on top of the gimmicked stack.
You can now proceed with the standard handling, folding the outer end of the set over toward
yourself, gripping the outer end of the folded packet, and then "shaking" it forward and open to show a
miraculous transformation of the pieces of newspaper into twenty-dollar bills.
Transfer one bill to the bottom. You can now freely show the bills on both sides as you once more
pass them from hand to hand, displaying them. This is one of the many unpublished ideas my dear friend
Vanni Bossi told me.
Ifyou borrowed a bill, don't forget to return it.
If the spectator insists that you should give him all the money, explain that this was the demo ver-
sion.lfhe wants to buy the software and the hardware, it will cost him $10,000. No one has accepted this
offer-so far.

November 17-More Thoughts on "Flash Cash"
I have found seven loose bills, plus the bill on the gimmick, to be the right number necessary to get the
best effect. This number is convincing to the audience, yet makes the handling easy.
Instead of using blank pieces of paper or pieces of newspaper, take pieces from glossy magazines
with clearly recognizable titles and photos. When possible, choose material that relates to the event or
venue. As an example ...
Ifyou work for a company, you can use paper cut from their publicity material. Regardless of whether
they sell products or services, you can always say something like "i'vefound an entirely new way to make
money with your Xyz." Show the pieces of paper from their prospectus or advertizing that depicts their
products and slogans; then change them into money. This can be adapted in many ways and is a very
effective opener for a trade show act or corporate work.
I find the most practical way to carry the set is unfolded in my wallet. To assure smooth handling,
treat both the bills and the paper, front and back, with fanning powder (zinc stearate).
"Flash Cash" is a nice finale for Fred Kapss "Eleven Dollar Bill Trick". At the end replace the bills
in your Himber Wallet. On second thought, open it again and change the one-dollar bills into larger
denomination bills, or change them into gift vouchers that you give to your two assistants from the audi-
ence. Maybe the company for which you are performing wants to reward two of their employees. You
can do this magically. Suggest the idea when being booked.

November 18- Yet Another Idea for "Flash Cash"
Instead of changing paper to money, you can change one currency into another. This is especially effec-
tive if you work events abroad.
If you were to work, say, for a British company on the European continent, you might change pound
notes into euros; or dollars into pounds, if you work for U.s. clients in the U.K. You could also change
pieces of paper that are of different sizes into bills of various denominations. The world hasn't adopted
one currency yet. There are still dollars, Swiss francs, euros, Swedish kroners, British pounds, Japanese yen
and many more.
But how do you handle the different sizes? That's very easy. You need only adjust the gimmick. Let's
assume you wish to change dollars into fifty euro bills. Dollars are narrower than euros.
Take a fifty euro bill, fold it in the usual way for "Flash Cash': then position two one-dollar bills side
by side on the euro note, so that they entirely cover its upper surface. Glue them in place.

The effect now is even better. Not only do you change the currency, you also change its size.

November 19-Bridge Over Hindu
This is an effective way to have a selected card replaced during a Hindu shuffle and control it to the top.
Keeping in mind Ron Wohl's idea of, whenever possible, having a card selected in the same way as
it will later be replaced, start a Hindu shuffle and ask someone to call stop at anytime. As you give these
instructions, you demonstrate how you will be shuffling.
However, this innocent-seeming gesture hides the prep-
aration for the upcoming control. As your left hand pulls off
the first packet in the first action of the shuffle, bridge the
packet at its outer end by pressing down with the left thumb
and middle finger as the forefinger presses up on the face at
.the center of the outer end. As you do this, you are looking
at the audience and speaking.
As soon as you have finished the shuffle, give the
deck an all-around square-up, which turns the bridged end
toward you.
After this "demonstration" start another Hindu shuffle and stop when told to. Let your helper take
the top card of the left hand's shuffled-off portion. Have him note the card and replace it on the packet.
Either drop all the right hand's cards on top, placing the bridged block directly onto the selection, or
Hindu shuffle the cards from the right hand on top, taking with the first stroke the bottom block, before
completing the shuffle normally from the top."
From here on, the selection, being marked off by the bridged
block, can be controlled to the top or be left in place and used there.
Tomorrow we'll learn "Pass At the Bridge': which can be very useful
in conjunction with this control. (Also recall the January 29 entry,
"Bridge Control': p. 36.)


November 20-Pass At the Bridge

This is a different handling of the display pass taught in Card College, Volume 4 (p. 985).
The right hand cuts off several packets, showing the card at the face of each, commenting that
the chosen card is lost in the deck. Within this process, the pass is executed and the selection brought
to the top.
A bridged block in the approximate center of the deck marks off a previously selected card, which
rests immediately below the bridge. (See yesterday's "Bridge Over Hindu" for a pleasing way to achieve
this situation.) You can delay the control by setting the deck momentarily aside or by ribbon spreading
it; both are desirable and effective throw-offs.
When you are ready to do the display pass, hold the deck face down in left-hand dealing position.
With your right hand, cut off a small packet and briefly display its face. Replace the packet and cut off
a slightly larger one. Display its face and replace the packet. Make a third cut, this time directly at the
bridge, and display the face of the packet. Along the way you comment, "Your card is somewhere in the
deck, but I don't assume it is one of these, right? In that case I would have been lucky" As you say this, look
at your helper. This and the light humor of the last remark are sufficient cover for the following action.
Replace the right hand's packet, but insert the left little finger under it, as if readying for a classic
pass. Now do the actions of the display pass; that is, execute the pass, lifting the packet below the break
and showing its face. Lower the right hand's packet over the deck and drop off a few cards from the bot-
tom. Again flash the face of the right hand's packet, then do one
more drop and display. When you place the right hand's remain-
ing cards on the deck, the selection will be on top.
This handling changes the moment the pass is executed. To
cut to the bridge you need a light touch, and it is perfectly okay to
look at the cards at that moment, to check the accuracy of your
cut and correct it if necessary, by dropping or picking up cards in
the subsequent cut. Then do the display pass.
The management and handling given in Card College, like so many things, was taught to me by Juan
Tamariz. I've added the bridge, which facilitates the change in timing. It is the detail of cutting off small
packets, along with the delayed timing and the dynamics of the gaze that make this completely decep-
tive. It even fools experts."

November 21--How to Read a Book
Here are a few things I've been doing when reading a book.

* I put an X on the top corner of the page, if there is anything I wish to find later; or I use post-it
flags to mark desired pages.
* I use a scoring system to mark each item beside its title (for details see tomorrow's entry).
* I mark the items of interest in the table of contents, either with a sign (x, hook, arrow, etc.) or
with a scoring symbol.
* Items I find very interesting go into my notebooks, which I still write by hand, using a favorite
fountain pen.
* I photocopy interesting items and stick them into a notebook (see October 30, "Book for an
Island': p. 323), or I put them into a filing system (see November 23, "Categories for My Filing
System': p. 348). I have done this for thirty years, and still do. If I had to start now, I'd scan the
pages of interest and put them into a computer database, organized by specific criteria.

November 22--Scoring System
This is the scoring system I've been using for more than thirty years to rank items in publications. It will
not look very logical to you, because it has grown and evolved over the years, like a European city; but I
still use it. I'm sure you can find some ideas you can adapt.

* No good gets a "potato" = "0"

* Not read, maybe read later gets a "stroke" = "_"
* What I like is rated: good, very good and excellent. Ialso use a period (full stop), an exclamation
mark, an underscore and sometimes even a double-underscore for each of these classifying
terms, so an .Item can b e: goo d",goo d ., gQQQ.,
II II II d ~.,
goo di"., very goo d", very goo d ., very
11 1It'TI""\r\rI 11 II II II 11 II

good:: ete. You might instead use a scoring system from 1 to 10, which would be much more
logical. My system is more emotional.
* I rate the degree of difficulty (DD) from 1 to 5. An item marked "DDS" I might never do. However,
this might change with increasing skill.Tricks marked DDS by me twenty years ago, today might
get a DD2. Only items with DD1 and DD2 go into my performing repertoire. The rest I might
practice occasionally, or keep for academic purposes. This way, I never perform at the top of my
abilities and have enough "in reserve': should I get in trouble.
* I identify the category: an effect (E), a technique (T), a subtlety (S), a principle (Pri), a theory
(TH), a quickie (Q), an anecdote (A), a gag (G), a bit of business (BB),a good presentation (P), a
sleightless item (NS), a "commercial item': meaning effective for the public (C).
* I also write comments if I don't have an established symbol for what Iwant to remember. These
are made in pencil next to the title of the item and can include credits, cross-references, per-
sonal ideas, ete. If there isn't enough space for the comment on the page, I write it on a Post-it
note and stick it to the page.
* I underscore interesting passages, either with pencil (additionally putting a stroke in the margin)
or with a yellow highlighter (I feel yellow is more discrete than other colors).

I'm respectful of expensive and beautiful books, but put marks in them anyhow, harboring the illu-
sion that th'i$~makes the book even more valuable. Of course, everything is strictly subjective, and Idon't
use all criteria with every item.

November 23--Categories for My Filing System
I have a filing cabinet filled with folders tabbed by categories. Into this cabinet Ifile anything (photocop-
ies, lecture notes, ads, photos, any flat item) that pertains to one of the categories. One cabinet holds
152 folders, arranged alphabetically by name: Annemann, Ascanio, Hofzinser, Robert-Houdin, Tamariz,
Vernon, ete. A second cabinet is organized using the following subjects:

Acting Lessons Coin Routines with Gimmicks Magic Memorabilia

Advertising and Magic Coins and Boxes Marketing
Articles on Magic Unpublished Coins: Techniques Mental
Art in Magic and Gambling Conventions Notes
Balls Cups and Balls, Bowls Optical Illusions
Bibliographies Dealer Catalogs Personal
Biographies Dice Psychology: General
Book Plates Electronic Tricks Puzzles
Book Projects Emcee Radio Magic
Card Routines Esoteric/Paranormal Ropes
Cards and Coins Expositions Salon, Stage, General Magic
Cards: Packet Tricks Fan Mail Sects/Occultism
Cards: Special Cards and Decks Film and Magic Sources of Tricks, Techniques ...
Cards: Techniques Floating Effects and Techniques Sources for Materials to Buy
Close-up Gambling Special Presentations
Children's Magic History Sponge Balls
Circus Instruction Sheets Techniques and Principles
Columns Interesting Articles Theater
Conferences and Conventions Lectures for Laypeople TV
Correspondence: Magic Lectures Various: Magic
Coin Routines Magic Boxes Wallets

November 24-Synonyms for the Word "Trick"
Amazement Experiment Problem
Amazing Thing Experimentation Puzzle
Brainteaser Exploit Quest into the Unknown
Challenge Feat Riddle
Conundrum Illogical Happening Scientific Finding
Curious Bit Impossibility Strange Incident
Deep Secret Magic Test
Demonstration Marvel Triumph of Mind Over Matter
Display of Skill Miracle Triumph of Skill Over the Impossible
Effect Mystery Unexplainable Occurrence
Enigma Performance Unexplored Act
Exhibition Phenomenon Unusual Accomplishment
Experience Piece Wonder

November 25-- That's Not Commercial
A commercial trick, some will say, is one that can be performed for the public in a professional context.
I agree, but what is a professional context?
Performers who do repeat table magic and strolling magic will have a different definition from that
held by those who do trade shows; and those who do mainly television will have yet another definition,
as will those doing children's magic and those doing street magic.
This shows that there really is no such thing as a commercial trick. However, there are good tricks and
bad tricks, and there are tricks that are good under certain circumstances and not so good under others.
It is therefore essential to understand what these performing categories are about, by developing personal
criteria, tastes and beliefs about them.
Then occasionally revise all the above.

November 26- You Have to Entertain Them First
In my opinion, this is an inversion of cause and effect, like asking how the hens know the size of the egg
cups. First is the personality, then the effect, then the method and finally presentation, in that order.
As a result of excellence being applied to these criteria, entertainment occurs.
So really, one doesn't have to worry at all about entertaining them, but one has to worry a lot about
all those other things.

November 27-..Magic Lottery
Here is a very attractive idea I have been using in lectures as well as in performances over the past twenty-
five years.
Buy some file cards in maybe ten different colors. For lectures, assign categories to each color: cards,
coins, close-up, mentalism, techniques, subtleties, presentations,sleightless, anecdotes, commercial,
books, theory, ete.
Write these categories on a flipchart, a poster board or project them onto a screen, so that everyone
knows what they are.
On each file card write the name of an item appropriate to the category coded by the color. For
example, a file card colored-coded for "cards" might have "My version of Do-as-I-Do" or "Rollover Aces
Plus" on it; a "theory" file card might have "How to Practice" or "How to Handle Nervousness"; and so on.
If you have ten categories and ten items for each, you will generate one hundred cards.
Fold each of these up and put them all into an attractive fish bowl or large brandy snifter. This not
only looks good, it will be the basis for improvising an extremely interesting and varied lecture.
Although the procedure can vary, I usually ask someone to pick a color, and then to take any card
of that color. I then perform the trick or technique chosen, or I talk about the selected subject. For varia-
tion, I ask that they choose at least one card of each color. To make sure the lecture has a solid structure,
with a good opener and a strong finish, I often select the first item and the last myself.
This idea can also be easily applied to a performance. (Refer back to August 29, "The Program is
Wild': p. 259, for related ideas.)

November 28---Guest 80
At one point in my professional career I u t I called a Magic Guest Book, modeled after an idea
mentioned to me by my good friend Gaetan rom Paris. It was a leather-bound book with blank
pages. The nicer the book, the better.
After having performed for a group at a tabl book before them and remarked that, if they
enjoyed the show, they might wish to write sornethi book and sign it. I also asked them to date
their entry, or Idid this myself by beginning a new "cha re the place and date of my performance
was specified.
I did everything possible in my invitation and tone to a t the group felt no pressure to write
something. To avoid any sense of awkwardness or demand, e book with them while I busied
myself elsewhere. When possible, I collected it after the party h therwise, I returned and asked
if I might take it.
You will be amazed how creative some people become. They Ie poems, draw cartoons
and write witty things. I've never used any of it for publicity purposes, because I felt it would tarnish the
"magic" -but you could.
Gaetan told me he used to do this when he worked restaurants in Paris, and that he would put a few
banknotes between the pages. This suggested to the guests that they could leave a tip with their verbal
appreciations. I never did this, as in Switzerland it isn't customary to work for tips. But my readers in the
New World will certainly know how to use this idea to their advantage.

November 29-- Torn and Restored Ploy
To the right is a photo of a page from the Magic Guest Book mentioned yesterday. Never mind the Ger-
man text, simply look at the illustration. It refers to a torn and restored card effect I did for a group that
night. At the end I gave them the restored card, and what you see in the illustration is what they came
up with afterward.
I think there is a great lesson here. After having apparently restored the torn pieces, it is much more
impressive to leave the "restored" card creased, with the corner missing, than to give it back with the
creases magically removed and the corner restored. It somehow makes it more believable that the pieces
have been fused back together; and each time they look at the card they will remember that it used to
be torn and was then restored. The creases can be felt, and they arouse the spectators' memories of the
magical experience. Something is left to the imagination.
If you give back a completely restored and "ironed" card, it will look like any other card, and many
will think to themselves that this is just a duplicate you switched in. And they would be right!

~~ ~Ci: ~
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}sr-, •
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X©~~L- •
').~ Q;) cl. \(Q lA.l<.R ~- \

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November 30-- Torn and Restored Justification
Why do we tear a corner off a playing card? And why do we tear the card up at all?
Yes, I know, it's necessary to do the trick or because the method requires it; but that's looking at a
trick from the performer's standpoint. Let's look at it from the audience's perspective and try to find a
few reasons that are theatrically, dramatically sound.

* "Let's sign this card to make sure it's unique." Look for a pen, but you've apparently misplaced it.
Pause. Tear off a corner. "Would you accept that as a sign of uniqueness?"
* Tap a card firmly on the table, bending one corner. Look at it in consternation. "Qh, I've ruined
it." Tear off the corner. "Let's take it off, so nobody notices it." Absurd, but it makes a sort of sense
and it amuses.
* "Let's mark the card in a discreet way." Tear off the corner.
* Instead of tearing the corner completely off, let it hang by a last bit. Have your helper complete
the separation. "You're all witnesses-he destroyed it."
* "You get to keep a little piece. In case the capital gets lost, you still have a ten percent interest rate."
This will make sense to most investment bankers.
* Have four people each sign a corner of the card. You now have a reason to tear off a corner
and give it to its signer. You might even tear the card into four pieces and hand each person
a piece.
* Talk about the corner as being a "genetic fingerprint or signature': and mention that you cannot
tear two pieces of paper in precisely the same way, just as you cannot sign your name twice in
precisely the same way.
* Use a metaphor or an idiom, such as: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

December 1,....., The Rememorized Deck
When I was about twenty I started working with a memorized deck, inspired by some wonderful tricks
Carlhorst Meier showed me on my first attendance to the German Cardworkshop. At that time the
Cardworkshop was a yearly gathering of about fifteen card experts from German-speaking Europe.
Carlhorst always used the Stebbins-Galasso system.
Although this is an excellent system, I soon realized that a well-memorized deck offered the same
advantages and many more. So I set out to translate the Nikola system (described in The Encyclopedia of
Card Tricks) into German. It took me several weeks of intense work to find fitting key words in German,
and then to become competent with the order.
The following year, Juan Tamariz invited me to stay at his home for a week-an amazing honor for
a twenty-one year old. Among the first things I did for Juan that summer in 1980 were tricks with my
memorized deck. He was then working on his system, and of course he totally overwhelmed me with
his findings. Idropped my system and adopted his. When, after the great effort of unlearning Nikola and
then learning Juan's stack, Ifinally mastered it. I felt very proud.
When I visited Juan the following year, the first thing he told me was that he had considerably
improved his system. He now had a completely different one, which he called took
me years to unlearn the second stack and memorize the new one. That's the stack everyone now knows,
from Juan's fantastic book, Mnemonica.

December 2--2nd December
Today is 2.12, a palindromic date. A palindrome is a word that reads the same left to right and right to
left, such as Anna or Otto.
Palindromes have a magical quality to them; they are surprising, playful and intriguing. (See the
entry for February 8, p. 46, for an example of how palindromes can be worked into a presentation.) Here
are a few.

* Red rum, sir, is murder.

* (Adam to Eve, in English, which was already the universal language): Madam, I'm Adam.
* A man, a plan, a canal-Panama.
* Here are some in foreign languages, to make an impression when you next travel.
* German: fin Neger mit Gazelle jagt im Regen nie. (A black man with a gazelle never hunts when
it rains.)
* Italian: I topi non avevano nipoti. (The mice didn't have nephews.)
* Spanish: Somos 0 no somos. (Are we or are we not.)
* French: La mere Gide digere mal. (Mother Gide has bad digestion.)

In Card College, Volume 3, there is a trick titled "The Palindrome Cards". It is one of the most over-
looked little gems in the series. (The author says so hirnselfl) It is on page 585-a palindromic number.
Can this be a coincidence? (I must remember to ask my publisher, Stephen Minch-whose name is a
palindrome in proto-Sumerian.)

P &

December 3--Anagrams
Here are three clever anagrams. Like palindromes, I feel there is a magical quality to anagrams. By simply
shuttling around the components of a word, you get something completely different-it's like a color
change. Actually, anagrams could lead into an effect where things change.



December 4-A Koan for True Innovation
"To innovate in cooking, it is more difficult to attack a boiled egg than a pheasant mousse. It is those
dishes without possible recourse that remain the challenge of the great cooks."
(Raymond Olivier in the foreword to La Cuisine, 1967, related by Ron Wohl)

And in magic?

December S--Photos With ...

Tony Cachadifia Vanni Bossi

December 6-Ascanio's Subtlety for Stealing a Coin
This move is perfect to get into position for Ross Bertram's "Coin Assembly" from Stars of Magic (195t
p. 136) or Dr. Daley's "Motile" from Bobo's New Modern Coin Magic (1966, p. 383).

Four coins are laid out in what looks like a square configura-
tion. However, the coin at the inner right (C) lies out of alignment,
0- - - - - ¢-
about an inch to the left of B. I

¢- I

o - - - @+
Take two cards in hand and explain

that with them two coins can be cov-

ered in different combinations. You now
show three "guileless" examples. Start by
covering the coins at A and B,then those
at D and C, followed by those at Band
C. Note that the left hand's card lies over
the coin at C, and therefore a bit to the
left of that corner of the square.

As you assume each of these positions, rest the backs of your fingers on the coins and move the
thumbs aside, letting the cards lie loosely on your fingertips and the table. Then, when ready to move on,
replace each thumb on its respective card and go to the next position.
Covering these three positions explains the idea to the spectators and convinces them of the inno-
cence of your actions, thus creating a pattern of conditioned naturalness that makes the impending steal
of the misaligned coin at C deceptive.
Just before boredom sets in, you lift your gaze, looking at the audience, and ask the obscuring (and
mildly bewildering) question, "Did I explain myselj?"
Precisely at this moment, move your right hand from B to C, just to the right of the left hand's card,
with the left side of the right hand's card overlapping the right side of the left hand's card for about
3/s"-and a fraction of a second later move your left hand from C to A, using the backs of the left fingers
to slide the coin at C over the tabletop to A. The illusion that the cards never touch is very convincing.
Leave the cards in their respective positions. There is now no coin at C and two coins at A. (Instead
of leaving the stolen coin directly under A, you can delay the placement and apply some of the subtleties
described in Ross Bertram's "Coin Assembly" in Stars of Magic, p. 136.)
Smooth handling and a casual attitude are required. Make sure before you start that the perfor-
mance surface allows the coin to slide easily and quietly. A hard tabletop can cause a telltale scraping
sound, and some materials with a pile impede the movement of the coin.
As you will appreciate, since the two cards do not cover each other as the steal is made, the handling
appears very clean and creates the illusion that they never touch. The rhythm is spritely, yet relaxed.
ADDITIONALIDEA:Arrange the coins in a diamond configuration, rather than in a square.

December 7-Simplicity and Essence
Albert Einstein once stated that to be a good scientist, more often than not one had to discard many
things, even though you have devoted a lot of time to them.
This is excellent advice, although it hurts, for anybody studying and practicing magic. After over
forty years in magic I would state that it is necessary to devote a lot of time to things that don't seem to
have an immediate apparent use, and to discard many of the things one has come up with. This is espe-
cially true when one constructs a performance piece.
Take the Cups and Balls,or the Ambitious Card or the Miser's Dream. You may have studied dozens
of moves and accumulated numerous sequences, possibilities and gimmicks; you may have come up
with countless fitting lines-but eventually you must reduce everything to its essence, like a chef does a
good sauce.
This is very much what Antoine de Saint-Exupery meant when he said, "Perfection is achieved, not
when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away:' What is left is the beauty
of simplicity, which is reached not for lack of imagination and genius, nor for laziness or ignorance, but as
the result of experience, wisdom and good taste. Here are a few inspiring quotes.

"Simplicity is the privilege of the masters:' (Unknown)

"I like outward simplicity that hides great complexity." (Miguel de Unamuno)
"By his restrictions the master proclaims himself." (Goethe)
"God always takes the simplest way:' (Albert Einstein)
"Simplicity is the form of true greatness:' (Francesco De Sanctis)
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex .... It takes a touch of genius-and a
lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction:' (Albert Einstein)

December 8-Artistic Magic
QUESTION:What do the following terms have in common?

Whole Misdirection
Detail Timing
Management Originality
Choice of Effect Emotional Appeal
Dramatic Construction Spontaneity
Psychological Construction Charisma and Charm
Subtext Beliefs, Criteria and Taste
Recognize and Respect the Effect Devotion and Diligence
Economy of Movement Respect
~ Handling and Skill Likeability
Virtuosity Experience
Ease Passion

ANSWER:Taken together; understood and applied in one's study and performance of conjuring, they
form what I would call Artistic Magic.

December 9---A Touch on the Braue Addition
The Braue addition" is used for a partial switch of a group of cards; for example, to switch three Aces for
three indifferent cards as the four Aces are shown. Here is a description of such a switch that features a
refinement you may like.
Hold the four Aces, squared and face up, in right-hand end grip. Beneath them you have stolen three
face-down cards." In your left hand is the balance of the deck,face down and in dealing position.
"I will do this very slowly, and with only one hand, so no trickery is possible."

Per the standard handling, use your left thumb to

peel the first Ace face up onto the deck, where it lands
sidejogged for about 3/8".

You now turn this Ace face down with just your left hand. To
do this, position the tip of your left thumb on the left side of the
Ace and push to the right, until the left side of the Ace reaches the
right side of the pack. The thumb and pads of the fingers control
the Ace, gripping it at its left side and making its right side to rise.

Without a pause, the left ring and middle fingers push up further,
forcing the right side of the Ace to continue rising, until the card is bal-
anced on its right side and tips over, face down onto the deck. A fraction
of a second before the card falls, move your left thumb to the left, clear-
ing a path for the Ace to land.

Repeat the same peel and tip-over actions with the next two Aces in their turn. As soon as the third
Ace topples over, smoothly place the right hand's last Ace (and its concealed indifferent cards) squarely
onto the deck, and turn the Ace face down, exactly as you have the previous three.
With your left thumb, immediately push the top Ace about half its width to the right and lift the left
hand to display the face of the Ace. Lower the hand and deal the Ace to the table. (If you are performing
an Ace Assembly, this will be the leader Ace, probably the Ace of Spades.)
Without missing a beat, deal the next three cards, believed to be Aces, into a face-down row in front
of the first Ace. All dealing is done strictly with the left hand, in a slow and deliberate manner.
You are now in position for any of a multitude of Ace Assemblies. Perhaps you can continue to per-
form the effect with just one hand.
This handling solves the problem of how and why the right hand places the last Ace (with the hid-
den cards) onto the deck, rather than simply turning it over directly on the pack, which would seem the
logical handling. I think it is an excellent approach, but it should be used only once in a performance, at a
point when you wish to draw particular attention to the fairness of your actions.

December 1O-List of Intelligentsia
This is a list (incomplete and subjective, as are all lists) of those magicians who possess or have shown
in their writings, lectures and performances a particular interest in the theoretical, conceptual and philo-
sophical aspects of conjuring.

AI Schneider Jacques Delord John Nevil Maskelyne

Arturo de Ascanio larny Ian Swiss Peter Lamont
Aurelio Paviato Jeff McBride Peter Samelson
Charles Reynolds Jim Steinmeyer Richard Wiseman
Dai Vernon Johann N. Hofzinser Robert E. Neale
Dariel Fitzkee John Carney Robert-Houdin
Darwin Ortiz Jon Racherbaumer Roberto Giobbi
David Parr Jose Carroll Ron Bauer
Eugene Burger Juan Tamariz Sam Sharpe
Gabi Pareras Larry Hass Stephen Minch
Gaetan Bloom Lennart Green T. A. Waters
Henning Nelms Max Maven Tom Stone
Henri Decremps Miguel Angel Gea Tommy Wonder

December 12-Applications of the All-Around Square-Up
Some actions are used over and over during a card performance. It is of more than academic interest to
see what techniques can be imbedded in such innocent-looking actions. Here is a non-exhaustive list of
techniques that can be executed as you apparently just neaten the deck with an all-around square-up."

* Turning the deck around. This seems so obvious. When you have to turn the deck around-say
when using one-way backs, or a packet of one-way faces, or a Stripper deck-you do so with the
accompanying little flourish of an all-around square-up. The tactic is hidden in the open.
* Turningjust some cards around. Sometimes you need to turn around only one portion of the pack.
Hold a little-finger break below the cards to be rotated. Perform the all-around square-up, but
retain the cards below the break in left-hand dealing grip as you turn around the portion above.
* Top palm one or several cards in the right hand and immediately give the deck an all-around
* Bottom palm one or several cards in the left hand and immediately give the deck an all-around
* Replace one or several cards palmed in the right hand on top of the deck in the second action of
the all-around square-up.
* Replace one or several cards palmed in the left hand on the bottom of the deck as the all-around
square-up is performed.
* Palm the bottom card of the deck in your left hand (see Aaron Fisher's palm in the September
2009 issue of Genii, Vol. 72, No.9, p.34).


* The all-around square-up is an ideal action for glimpsing the bottom card; but it is also useful for
glimpsing the top card, if your right forefinger swivels the top card; or glimpsing a card within the
deck, if the deck is stepped at a break-or even all three cards together.
* Bycombining a little-finger count with a step, a card at any position from the top can be glimpsed
(ideally within the top ten), and if the break is obtained from the bottom, by means of a mul-
tiple buckle or a right-thumb riffle, the same can be done from there.
* There are several passes that use the action of the all-around square-up as a cover, such as
Larry Jennings's circular shift." Balthazar Fuentes's square-up pass" and Bruce Cervons free-
turn pass."
* The all-around square-up can be used in conjunction with a half pass to cover the reversal of
any number of cards, as Henry Christ did in his Christ twist."
* To bring, in a casual manner, a crimp or other mark on one side of a card to the other side of the
deck. For example, to bring a corner crimp from the outer right corner to the inner left corner.
* To estimate the position of a visually marked card, and thus facilitate its relocation. For instance,
before cutting to a crimp or an edge marked card, it is very useful to know its approximate loca-
tion in the deck.
* Done with a partial deck, the all-around square-up allows you to look at the sides of the packet
from different angles, after which you can better estimate its size or get a better visual image
that can later be used for estimation or other purposes.

Other techniques to which this type of analysis can be applied are the swing cut, the Charlier cut,
the double lift, the Elmsley count and many, many more.

December 13-Usefully Useless
"There is nothing more useful than the useless:' (Chinese proverb)

Sundays are my days off. One way to celebrate this is to take from the shelf a book of no apparent prac-
tical use and study it. For many years these have been the days I read and practiced the material from
books such as Marlos Magazine.
It is incredibly relaxing to read and practice material you believe will be of no use at all, as there is no
pressure to learn something-you're just doing it for pleasure.
Eventually such activities become useful all the same, which is as paradoxical as it gets, but none-
theless true. I would even say that the more purposeless an activity is, the more useful it is going to
prove-at some point.
As Voltaire said, 'The superfluous, a very necessary thing .. "

December 14-lnform Your Audience
Occasionally, use the presentation of a trick to tell your audience something about the rich and complex
world of magic. You might tell them a bit about how magicians organize socially and how they educate
themselves. These are questions we are often asked, so interest is clearly there.
"We have many region at national and international conventions, where amateur and professional
magicians from all over the world gather to discuss the many aspects of magic. There are lectures, work-
shops and talks about the latest inventions, history and theories."
Ifyour audience shows strong interest, you may expand on this, but always be prepared to say some-
thing intelligent that validates our discipline.
You can also say something about our amazingly vast literature.
"t'm often asked how we magicians come up with our performance pieces. We have a rich literary
tradition that started in 1584 with a French and a British book. They are considered to be the first books to
reveal and explain the workings of tricks. Hundreds of thousands of works on magic have been published
since that time. Today sees the publication of nearly a book a day."
When I do a performance, besides trying to astonish and entertain the audience, I make sure they
leave my show with at least one piece of information about magic that they didn't arrive with.


December 15-A Special-Deck Mnemonic

Here is a simple but practical aid when you work with special decks or decks that have been prearranged.
Always place any unprepared deck into its case with the back upward and visible in the thumb
notch. However, when you case any gimmicked or stacked deck, position it with its face upward and
discernible in the thumb notch.
When you use this rule, whenever you open a case to take out a deck, should the pack be face up,
you will immediately know there is something special about it; and often the card on the face will cue
you to its precise nature.
This is very helpful when you use several decks in a session, or if you have prepared decks a few days
in advance and stored them until they are needed.
This idea was told to me by Lennart Green. We use it all the time in our professional work.

December 16- The Most Incredible Magic Trick
What is the most incredible magic trick you have ever witnessed? I'll tell you mine. I was around twenty
years old and it was the summer of 1980 or 1981. Iwas staying at the summer apartment of Juan Tamariz
in San Lorenzo del Escorial, the city of the now worid-famousJornadas Cartomagicas del Escorial, a yearly
gathering where members of the Escuela Magica de Madrid and invited guests come to discuss card
magic in great depth and detail for three days and two nights!
At some point Tamariz asked me to name a card, any card. I remember as if it were yesterday
(although it is roughly thirty years ago); I said the Five of Diamonds.
During our session we had been using six or seven decks. Picking up the last deck we'd handled, he
showed me the Five of Diamonds had disappeared from it. He then had me take each of the other decks
from their cases. Lo and behold, the card on the face of each of them was the Five of Diamonds!
Considering that we had sessioned for forty-eight hours without sleep (I'm sure it was more), inter-
rupted by just a few meals and a short walk, Iwas absolutely speechless. He had been fooling me for two
long days with his latest mnemonic deck, he had used trick decks on me I'd never dreamed existed and
he'd pulled shenanigans only he could come up with. But this was too much!
A shiver went down my spine, and for a few seconds I believed this was the real thing. It was an
unforgettable moment of disorienting emotion.
I think I mumbled a clipped "Good night," and left for a very long sleep.

December 17-Creativity
I believe that "normal" creativity, as opposed to that of the genius, is not a genetic privilege. Edison is sup-
posed to have said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration:' But for this
advice to work, we need tools; that is, knowledge and skills. The more tools we can put into our toolbox,
the more creatively we will be able to solve problems. Remember Abraham Maslow's comment: "If the
only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."
I welcome any ideas and abilities I can handle and feel comfortable with, regardless of where they
come from. If it is a religious belief and it makes sense to me, it goes into my toolbox, even though I'm
not a religious person.
It doesn't matter whether it comes from the political left or right, NLP or Transcendental Medita-
tion, from a philosopher or from a card cheat.
The worst practice, in my opinion and experience, is to make a "religion': a dogma, out of anyone
belief, just because it sounds fascinating, and then to try to convince others that this is the ultimate truth.
To me all beliefs are in some way fascinating; some more than others. All these "solutions" are mod-
els, and as Tao teaches us, the map is not the territory. The models are not the truth, but they try to
represent the truth from a specific angle, so that we may create a subjective reality about what we think
is true. The more angles we can obtain, the better our chances of getting an idea of what is true.
While I don't believe it is ever possible to recognize what reality truly is, at least a more informed
opinion is possible, which allows us to be tolerant and live more sanely.
Some communication experts once said that you need to spend "quality time" with your children;
and it doesn't matter how much time you spend with them, as long as it is meaningful time.
I'm not sure about that. I believe you have to spend a lot of time with your children.
It's the same with creativity. Neither talent nor technique can compensate for the fact that one
needs to spend a lot of time thinking about something. Only then will you come up with creative solutions
and interpretations.

December 18--Mind Map of CARD COLLEGE, VOLUMES 3 and 4
I've often been asked how I wrote Card College. The mind map below is for Volumes 3 and 4. It took
me about a year to complete. I then considered the main work done. Now I only had to write it. That
took nearly another year. It might have been a bit more complex than that, but that is the essence of
what happened.

December 19-Mind Mapping Vernon
Here's another example of how I use mind maps. This one is for my seminar on the magic and life
of Dai Vernon. The comments of this mind map take eighty pages, which comprise my book Dai
Vernon-Life & Work.

Ue.U -'f!.tt.4


December 20- Top Stock Control
Here is away to control a large top stock, say thirteen cards.
Perform the first part of Dai Vernon's cold-deck cut." This is comprised of a triple cut that results in
transferring about two-thirds of the deck from the top to the bottom. Keep a left-thumb break between
the two portions.
With that thumb, pick up at least the top stock, which lies on top of what is now the lower two-
thirds of the deck. Then swiftly undercut the remaining cards, about a third of the deck, to the right.
Shuffle this third into the cards above the break, first dropping a few cards from the bottom of the
right-hand packet into the break, and then shuffling the rest normally.
When you push the cards together, use your right thumb to lift the right-hand portion of the deck
very slightly, and catch a break between this portion and the unshuffled lower cards on the left. The
break will lie immediately above the stock you wish to preserve. It is best to form and hold this break with
both thumbs. This makes the task easy and safe.
Now resume the actions of Dai Vernon's cold-deck cut, sliding the deck forward on the table while
maintaining the break, and then cutting the deck at the break and completing the cut. Alternatively,
perform a running cut until you reach the break, and finish by dropping the original stock on top.
This procedure maintains a fairly large top stock, but is very hard to follow, even for a trained eye.

December 21-Books VS. Videos
Being an author of many books and several DVDs, I have
no doubt that both media have their strengths and
-- Book ~
weaknesses, and that the student who balances their use
in healthy proportion will gain the most. A good pro-
portion I've found is that of a not so dry vodka martini,
shaken, not stirred: four-fifths books to one-fifth DVDs.
Creative process
Creative process

The diagram here shows what I think is the essential dif-

ference between the two media. I ~

8 8
The author of a book must first comprehend how
he does what he does, and then he must find a way to Performer - DVD ~

explain this insight to others. This leads him to a clearer

understanding of what he does and why; and the
moment he writes, it forces him to create and use a certain terminology, and to put things into a logical
order. Even in the simplest of writings, this is a creative act.
When the reader decodes the written instructions, he has to pass through another act of creativity
to transform the author's words into actions. If the author and the reader are both intelligent, this will
yield excellent results.
In a video production, the performer can simply do what he does. It will suffice that he does it well
(which is unfortunately not always the case), without a need to consciously understand the underpin-
nings of his work. This is often the case with excellent intuitive performers.
And the viewer doesn't need to make an effort to decode the information, as he must with abstract
written instruction. He can simply copy what he sees. In this, a two-fold creation process is lost.
Technical books, as well as technical videos, are not about documenting a performance; they are
about teaching; and teaching is a different profession from performing, although few seem aware of it.
A good teacher needs to think about what he wants to say and how he wants to say it, in a way
the student not only correctly understands, but also is able to absorb and transform into a skill. And the
teacher must take care that all this happens with the least effort and the greatest pleasure.
There are exceptions in both media, but generally I would say there are far more good books than
there are good DVDs.

December 22-Daley's Sandwich Switch
PURPOSE:The Ace of Spades lies face down on top of the deck. The face-down Ace of Hearts is sand-
wiched between two face-up red Jacks. The Ace of Hearts is shown to be the Ace of Spades as the two
Aces are secretly switched.
METHOD:As stated, the two sandwich cards, the red Jacks, are face up and the Ace of Hearts is face
down between them. You are holding the remaining cards face down in left-hand dealing position. As
your right hand picks up the sandwich, the left little finger obtains a break under the Ace of Spades on
top of the deck.
Place the sandwich on the deck, in an in-transit action, as you point to the two face-up cards (the
main action).
Flip the top Jack sidewise and face down on the deck, and immediately deal it stud fashion face up
onto the table. This should look like a small, unpretentious flourish.
Immediately turn over the three cards above the break as one. This brings the face of the Ace of
Spades into view. There is a discrepancy here, as the other face-up Jack should show as you turn the triple
over, but the visual information of the Ace of Spades overwhelms this in the spectators' perception.
Look up as you turn the triple card face down again, and deal it face down onto the tabled Jack,
offsetting it diagonally.
Flip the face-up Jack, now resting on top of the deck, face down and stud deal it face up onto the
two cards on the table, duplicating your treatment of the first Jack. The spectators see two face-up Jacks
with a face-down card between them, which they assume is the Ace of Spades. In reality, it is the Ace of
Hearts, and the Ace of Spades lies on top of the deck.
This idea is one of many pearls buried in Jacob Daley's Notebooks, and is a variation of the switch
used in Daley's "Itinerant Pasteboards" from Stars of Magic (p. 109), a brilliant maneuver worth look-

December 23-Show VS. Teach
"I'm going to show you how this trick works:'
This opening gambit has been used in numerous effects. Even though the explanation given is
bogus, saying, "I'm going to show you how this trick works," is like letting your pants drop. It echoes the
cheap sensationalism of a Masked Magician.
Instead, try saying, "t'm going to teach you how this trick is done./lThis appeals to a completely different
set of emotions. It's as if you are going to transfer your magical power to the spectators. Metaphorically,
it's like a scaled-down version of God touching Adam's finger in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel fresco.
That's a strong enticement-to teach the whole thing. It hardly seems possible-but maybe? ..
However you phrase it, eventually you are not going to explain the true method to the audience, or
at least not in a way they expect. This misleading tactic is a dramatic technique used outside magic as
well. It is employed in films, theater and novels (especially crime fiction).
To avoid having this tactic perceived as a cheap and transparent ploy, it has to be carefully woven
into the dramatic structure of the piece. The setup has to have meaning and must lead to an intelligent
conclusion, so that in the end the spectator doesn't feel betrayed, but instead will say, "That was clever;
so beautiful"
This is very much like the enjoyment of being constantly misled in a movie like The Sting. Since magic
is a live entertainment, the performer's attitude plays an important role, as does his management of the
audiences' emotions. To make these considerations deliberate and to interpret them with sensibility
makes for artistic magic.

December 24--Going to the Pocket
Joachim Wolf, aka Marnac, a professional actor and director, and also an enthusiastic magical performer,
author and lecturer; taught me many things about the presentation of magic. Here is one of them. To a
professional who doesn't already know this, it might be worth the proverbial price of the book-it would
be to me.

When you want to put your hand into your pocket to assume a pos-
ture of relaxation as you talk, don't push back your jacket to do so. This is
how peasants used to do it, in order to show off the chain on their gold
Even when you wear a cummerbund or vest, you are exposing your
belly. Depending on your physique, this can be disadvantageous.

The elegant way of entering the pocket is to come from the back and
below, lifting the bottom edge of the coat. If you have a double-cut coat
with side vents, you should insert your hand through the cut, and then into
the pocket. This approach looks so much better.
If, however; you are going to your pocket to produce some article (for
example, in a Card to Pocket effect), pushing back the front of the jacket is
desirable, as here you wish the hand's entrance to and exit from the pocket
to be clearly seen, unobscured by the folds of the jacket.

December 25,......,ALayman's Memory

Shortly after I had sent out my Christmas letter in 2000, I received a response from Manfred Wetzel.
He had seen me perform at a corporate function years before. I emphasize the span of time because it
illustrates how enduring and impressive the experience we give in a performance may be for some in our
audience. Mr. Wetzel wrote me:

Well, to dwell in thoughts upon the dream world of my childhood is like your magic. Your kind
message made this clear to me. To be enchanted, even though just temporarily, enriches one's
awareness of life.

I've carried a copy of this letter with me for quite a while, and I read it before doing a show. It
makes everything less trivial and shows that what we do and how we do it matter to others as well as
to ourselves.

December 26--Classic Card Tricks Not to be Forgotten
This is a subjective and incomplete selection of card tricks that, when capably performed and under the
right circumstances, will have great impact. In alphabetical order:

"All Backs" by Dai Vernon, in Hugard's and Braue's Expert Card Technique, 3rd edition, p. 459.
"Business Card Prophesy': in BillSimon's Effective Card Magic. p.32.
"Dave's Delight" and "Surprise Package" in Frank Garcia's Super Subtle Card Miracles, pp. 31 and 182.
"Follow the Leader" by Dai Vernon, in Hilliard's Greater Magic, p. 578.
"Itinerant Pasteboards" by Jacob Daley in Stars of Magic, p. 107.
"I've Got a Surprise for You" by Eddie Fechter in Jerry Mentzer's Magician Nightly, p. 1.
"Last Trick of Dr. Daley" in Lewis Ganson's The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, p. 210.
"Marx Brother's" in Richard Kaufman's Secrets of Brother John Hamman, p.234.
"Mona Lisa Card Trick" in Michael Skinner's Classic Sampler, p.4.
"Point of Departure" and "Between Your Palms" by Alex Elmsley, in Stephen Minch's Collected Works
of Alex Elmsley, Volume I/, pp. 118 and 246.
"The Slap Trick" by Dai Vernon in Stephen Minch's Vernon Chronicles, Volume 2, p. 20.
"Smiling Mule" in Roy Walton's The Complete Walton, Volume I, p. 175.
"Substitution Envelope Mystery" and "Gymnastic Aces" in Paul LePaul's The Card Magic of LePaul,
pp. 143 and 207.
"1002nd Aces" by Alex Elmsley, in Stephen Minch's Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, Volume I, p.213.
"Three in a Million" in Frank Garcia's Million Dollar Card Secrets, p. 32.
"Travelers" by Dai Vernon in Stars of Magic, p. 97.
"Twisting the Aces': "Emotional Reaction': "Matching the Cards': "Four of a Kind" and "The Trick
That Cannot be Explained" in Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card Magic trilogy by Lewis Ganson.
"Vernon Poker Demonstration" in Ganson's The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, p.222.

December 27-An Unusual Double Lift
This is a double lift Fred Kaps used frequently. I've not been able to
find it in print. Here is my recollection of it, as Ascanio explained it
Hold the deck face down in left-hand dealing position. Draw
attention to the outer left corner where your left thumb pulls down
and openly lets the top card escape. Place your right thumb on the
back of this card and curl the right forefinger down onto the edge of
the released outer left corner of the card as if to grip it.

Simultaneously, push down for a fraction of a second with the

right thumb on the card and immediately let it rise again. However,
in the instant you have narrowed the gap between the top card and
the deck, your left thumb releases the corner of the second card from
the top. Due to the short distance, the quick release of the card and
the Gestalt of the movement, this secret action is completely invisible
to the human eye. You should also split the audience's attention by
looking up briefly, and then down again.
Grip the double card at its outer left corner, between your right
forefinger and thumb ...

and turn it end over end, face up, squarely onto the deck; but retain a
fine left little-finger break beneath it.
To turn the card face down again, use Cliff Green's delicate dou-
ble lift (explained on January 13, p. 17).
If you use Kaps's double lift in the context of an Ambitious Card
routine, after turning the double face down on the deck, mimic the
actions of the double lift as you take the top card, clearly releasing it
off the left thumb, and insert it into the center of the deck. Then show
it has returned to the top, always using the same mode of handling.

December 28- The Ten Greatest Card Tricks
Here are what I consider the ten best card tricks ever invented. In alphabetical order:

* Ambitious Card
* "Brainwave" (Dai Vernon and Paul Fox)
* Card on Wall or Ceiling version)
* Card Stabbing on Table
* "Out of This World" (in Paul Curry's Worlds Beyond, p. 183)
* Rising Cards (Tamariz routine)
* "Rito de Iniciaci6n" (Luis Garcia/Juan Tamariz)
* Slow-Motion Ace Assembly (Vernon, Ascanio and Tamariz)
* 'Total Coincidence" (Tamariz, in Sonata, p.224)
* "Triumph" (Dai Vernon in Stars of Magic, p.23)

December 29-- The Utility Bag and the Essentials Utility Bag
This bag is a lifesaver for any performer traveling to a booking. Mine is 9" x 5" x 3W', small enough to fit
in any piece of luggage. It is all leather, so it looks good; it is soft and practically indestructible; and it is
black, so it never looks dirty. In it I carry the following:

* An all-in-one make-up in a compact case

* Mirror with table stand (as large as will fit at the bottom of the bag)
* Facial tissues
* Large tissues (to wipe your hands)
* A "Please do not disturb" door sign made of indestructible plastic for hotels
* A shoeshine cloth (re-usable)
* Toilet paper (a small flat package)
* A small chromium-plated plate (approximately five inches in diameter, to burn paper, ete.)
* A toothbrush and toothpaste
* Two sealed decks of cards (red- and blue-backed)
* A small notepad
* Black and green markers
* Scotch tape in its dispenser
* An around-the-neck-holder for a hand mike
* A small vial of hand-cream
* A glue stick (for paper, ete.)
* A small tube of instant glue (for porous material)
* A complete set of metal cutlery in a napkin

Inside this larger utility bag, I have a smaller bag, my Essentials Utility Bag, which can be carried
separately for smaller functions. In it is:

* Safety pins and paper clips

* A nail file, nail and cuticle scissors
* A small comb
* A pencil with eraser, and a pencil stub
* Pain tablets
* Throatlozenges
* A sewing kit (needles, different colored threads, buttons)
* A set of cuff links, and jewelry that can replace a tie on a shirt
* A tie tack
* Matches and a lighter
* Disinfectant cream
* Band-Aids
* Sugar, salt, pepper and a toothpick kit
* Zinc stearate for cards, in small envelope
* A small X-acto knife
* A Swiss army knife
* Rubber bands
* Spare shoelaces
* A small LED-flashlight
You'll want to create your own bag, dictated by your needs. As a rule, I suggest: Each time you are on
an engagement and you find you need something, add it to your utility bagfor the next time. Use only the
best materials. After a few years, you will have assembled your own perfect bag.

December 30-Prologue
In his lectures and books Rene Lavand says, "Every good trick starts with a prologue and ends with an
epilogue:' They have been used as long as people have been telling stories, and are a cornerstone for any
solid dramatic (and psychological) construction.
A magic act has a prologue, and so does every trick. The prologue for the act establishes the per-
former's persona and his style, making them think, "This is an interesting human being."
The prologue of a trick introduces the plot and, usually, the instruments and props used. And it
makes the spectators curious, so that they say to themselves, "Oh, he has something to tell us. Ithink this
is worth watching:' It is what in refined gastronomy is called an amuse-bouche, an exquisite little starter
that comes as a gift from the chef, to tickle the guest's appetite. In the opera it is called an "overture':
which sets the mood, silences the audience and intrigues them.
In this sense, the prologue has a function within the dramatic construction of the trick, but it also
creates expectations, and colors the audience's subsequent perceptions. In this, it clearly functions as
part of the psychological construction of a piece.
A prologue can be a very short story, an anecdote or just a simple statement, such as: "This is what
magic historians consider the earliest documented magic effect. Here is my interpretation of it." Or you can
introduce an intriguing prop by saying, "Iacquired this jacket at a recent auction in Chicago. It belonged to
one of the most important and influential magicians who ever lived-Dai Vernon. Some people believe that
if you wear this jacket, you can reproduce one of his most famous mysteries, which he called 'The Travelers:"
Have you got a prologue for each of your performance pieces?
Tomorrow I'll tell you why I think an epilogue is a necessary and integral part of any good piece
of magic.

December 31-Epilogue
The epilogue is a brief sequence happening after the climax of an effect. The dramatic function of an
epilogue is to let the audience relive the effect in a few seconds and fully realize its impossibility; to make
them think, "This is a miracle!" It also helps to engrave the effect in the memory.
In a psychological sense the epilogue offers spectators yet another way of experiencing the effect.
This change of perspective serves the important purpose of taking the edge off the intellectual "sting"
any magic effect causes and that comes forth once the beautiful sensation of wonderment wanes; the
moment when the spectator starts to ask himself, "How did he do that?" This moment of "intellectual
frustration': as Juan Tamariz once called it, has to be managed intelligently if the spectators are to go
away with the sense of beauty an astonishing piece of magic should create in their minds and hearts.
For instance, let's say you've just done "Brainwave': and the Eight of Hearts has been chosen and
produced. After the applause has subsided, you might say, "You know, I always put this card with a red
back into a blue deck. And when someone names the Eight of Hearts, weil, I've been lucky."
Pause to let the various thoughts and emotions manifest, and then add, "However, I'm happy to say
that in the past five years I've performed this experiment I've always been lucky!"
If the effect is particularly strong, I might add yet another epilogue by handing the person who
named the card my business card as I say, "Ifyou have sleepless nights, here is my card. You may call me
until two o'clock in the morning. After that, please send an e-mail"
When Itold this to my friend John Carney, he immediately suggested giving the spectator an aspirin:
"If this gives you a headache, take one of these." I suggest you don't give the person real medication, but
rather a candy tablet.
If you do a trick with a time-travel presentation, you could use this epilogue, given to me by David
Williamson years ago: "The best thing, however, is that all of us are now one minute younger."

And having reached this last day in December, you and I are now one year older.
I hope you've enjoyed the twelve months we've spent together.


1. For details on how to obtain a break when picking up a ribbon spread, see Card College Volume 1, p. 143.
2. Card College, Volume 3, p. 536.
3. See Paul Curry's Worlds Beyond, Hermetic Press, p. 327.
4. Perhaps the flip-flap cut from Card College Volume 2, p.402.
5. Two good choices are the snap-over color change in Card College, Volume 5, p. 1133; and the flip-flop change
in Card College, Volume 3, p.747.
6. Card College, Volume 1, p. 33.
7. The Vernon Chronicles, Volume 2, Minch, p. 89.
8. A detailed description of each item can be found in my column "The Genii Session': Genii magazine, Vol. 69,
No.1, January 2006, p. 24.
9. Card College, Volume 2, p. 257.
10. Card College, Volume 1, p. 67. This, by the way, is an excellent control.
11. This false shuffle has been discovered by several magicians, including myself. Alex Elmsley may have been the
first. While he didn't publish the shuffle until 1997, in his lecture notes Alex Is At It Again (p. 7), it is believed he
developed the shuffle sometime in the 1950s, inspired, as he states, by a similar concept by Bill Reid. Another
magician to whom this shuffle presented itself is Pascal Monmoine, who contributed it to the May 1984 issue
of Apocalypse (Vol. 7, No.5, p. 923).
12. I recommend Dai Vernon's "Back Breaker" in The Vernon Chronicles, Volume 3, p. 37.
13. See "Top-Card Riffle Glimpse" in Card College, Volume 2, p. 355.
14. "Inserting a Card into a Break': p. 533.
15. Also see "The Overhand Shuffle Glimpse" on p. 1122 of Card College, Volume 5.
16. See Erdnase's Expert at the Card Table, p. 137; Dai Vernon's handling in Revelations, 1984, p. 138; or better still,
the expanded edition, Revelation, 2008, p. 177-also see Card College, Volume 3, p.767.
17. In the May 1955 issue of riugards Magic Monthly (Vol. 12, No. 12, p. 285).
18. The earliest description I've found of it is in Erdnase's The Expert at the Card Table (p. 164), listed as the "Fourth
Method" in the chapter on "Blind Shuffles, Retaining Entire Order". I highly recommend the expanded ver-
sion of Dai Vernon's annotated edition of this classic text: Revelation (Mike Caveney's Magic Words: Pasadena,
2008). There you will find the description on p. 200. Also see Hilliard's Greater Magic, "the weave or Greek
shuffle" (p. 171), which is illustrated, but with an inferior description to that in Erdnase.
19. The preeminent magic historian William Kalush has located a trick based on this principle in an unpublished
manuscript titled Triparty, written by Nicolas Chuquet in 1484.
20. This deceptive control was invented by the renowned bar magician Eddie Fechter of Buffalo, N.Y. It was first
published in Card Cavalcade by Jerry Mentzer, 1972, p. 52.
21. December 1986, Vol. 13, No.4, p. 231.
22. See Card College, Vol. 5, p. 1101, Checkpoint 2.
23. The principle of this sleight was first described in the context of a tabled handling by S. W. Erdnase in The
Expert at the Card Table (1906, pp. 103-4). The in-the-hands handling was later popularized by Dai Vernon,
with the publication of his "Cutting the Aces" in Stars of Magic (1946).
24. Card College, Volume 3, p. 529.
25. See "Fan and Step" in Card College, Volume 3, p. 536.
26. See "Combination False Shuffle and Cut" in Card College, Volume 3, p. 646, for an illustrated description.
27. Stars of Magic, p. 23; or see Card College, Volume 3, "The Triumph Shuffle'; p. 642.
28. Card College, Volume 1, p. 69.
29. Stars of Magic, p. 23.
30. Genii, Vol. 39, No.5, May 1975, p. 234.
31. Tilt and its subtleties are described in detail in Card College, Volume 4, p. 995.
32. See Card College, Volume 2, p. 311.
33. The principle of counting something twice goes back many centuries, but is seldom used. The best magic trick
I know that uses it is Paul Curry's "The Case of the Missing Hat" in Paul Curry's Worlds Beyond, 2001, p. 327.
34. Quoted from Genii, Vol. 69, No.5, May 2006, p. 32.
35. See my essay "Who Is Afraid of the Stage?" (Genii, Vol. 72, No. 11, November 2009, p. 55) for a discussion on
how to deal with stage fright.
36. Genii, Vol. 70, No. 10, October 2007, "Puzzles and Bar Bets with Playing Cards and Other Objects'; p. 20.
37. Solution: The elk throws himself on the ground and the bullet passes over

its head!
38. Ireland Magic Co., 1961.
39. To avoid such situations entirely, see "Outs for Disasters and Disturbances"
in Card College, Volume 2, p.461.
40. Check the clever applications of the Mexican Joe crimp to a complete deck
in Dai Vernon's More Inner Secrets of Card Magic by Lewis Ganson (p. 60).

41. Card College Volume 4, p. 818.
42. From Vernon's Genii column (Vol. 51, No. t.Iuly 1987, p. 19). Richard Kaufman has published all the Vernon col-
umns in a large book, The Vernon Touch, supplemented by some wonderful photos, and I highly recommend it.
43. First edition 1887, Devol and Haines; facsimile edition by Applewood Books.
44. See Darwin Ortiz in The Annotated Erdnase and Gambling Scams.
45. The Dai Vernon Book of Magic by Lewis Ganson, p. 183, originally published by Harry Stanley, London; later
reprints by Supreme Magic, Bideford, and L&LPublishing, Tahoe, CA.
46. Mark Wilson Publications and Magic Words, p. 103.
47. Milbourne Christopher first published the idea of spotting a single selection resting in a different colored bank
during the interlacing of the cards for a tabled riffle shuffle. See Hugard's Magic Monthly, Vol. 18, No.9, May
1961, p. 99. Previously, Jack McMillen and Judson Brown contributed 'Tell Tale Color" to the December 1940
issue of The Sphinx, Vol. 39, No. 10, p. 247. In this article, McMillen and Brown explained how the odd-colored
card could be sighted while riffling for the division of the deck in preparation for an in-the-hands riffle shuffle.
Christopher, though, in his HMM article, quotes from private notes made by Jean Hugard on July 18, 1934, in
which this idea was recorded over six years prior to its appearance in The Sphinx. Gordon Bruce has built on all
this, with an elegant strategy for sighting two selections.
48. Genii, Vol. 11, No.8, April 1947, p. 241.
49. Card College, Volume 3, p. 507.
50. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Somerset, NJ, 1991.
51. Teaneck, NJ, 1972, p. 21.
52. Card College, Volume 3, p. 717.
53. The side-slip color change from Card College, Volume 3, p. 739, is an exception-understandably, since it was
inspired by the Kaps change. It looks even better!
54. For another excellent application of one-way faces, see "Routine 5" in Card College Light, p. 87.
55. This sliding transfer is an idea by Don Weber and Edward Marlo. Marlo first published it in the October 1960
issue of The Gen (Vol. 16, No.6, p. 130).
56. The T.A. Waters Video, Doug Malloy: USA; 1990.
57. A description ofthis, lacking attribution to Scarne, can be found in Hugard's and Braue's Expert Card Technique
(p. 305), and in Card College, Volume 5 (p. 1354).
58. Originally described in Hugard and Braue's Expert Card Technique, p. 285; a detailed explanation is also given
in Card College, Volume 2, p. 341.

59. This handling is based on a double-lift reverse created by Dr. Jacob Daley and S. Leo Horowitz, which is
described in Card College, Volume 2, p. 368.
60. For greater detail, see Card College, Volume 2, p. 370.
61. The sequence by Fred Braue and Luis Zingone is described in The Braue Notebooks, Volume 8, Jeff Busby Magic,
1997, p. 22. The Elias idea can be found in Marlo's Tilt booklet, 1962, p. 28. An updated handling is described in
Card College, Volume 4, p. 1009.
62. This excellent trick, suitable for parlor and small stages, can be found on p. 171 of Hugard and Braue's Royal
Road to Card Magic.
63. p.77 in the French edition; p. 89 in the English.
64. Card College, Volume 2, p. 357.
65. See Richard Kaufman's The Amazing Miracles ofShigeo Takagi, Kaufman and Greenberg, 1990, p. 24.
66. See the top-card riffle glimpse in Card College, Volume 2, p. 355.
67. See the "Simplex Envelope Switch'; p. 8.
68. Ithink the best method of doing this is the combination false shuffle and cut, inspired by Erdnase, in Card Col-
lege, Volume 3, p. 646.
69. See Carl Gustav lung's Man and His Symbols, p. 81.
70. The original idea was published in Steve's magazine, The Trapdoor, No.4, 1984, p. 56.
71. This is David's elaboration on Dan Alessini and George Kirkendall's "Bottle Capper'; published in Syzygy, Vol. 1,
No.3, p. 9.
72. The "Obedient Ball" is believed to have come to the west from Japan. It was manufactured for magicians
as early as 1873, by J. M. Hartz in New York. In 1876 Professor Hoffmann explained its working in Modern
Magic (London, p. 301). Since 1933, most magicians have become aware of the effect in the form of a pocket
trick, "Cubic" a small brass or plastic cube on a string, which has a secret locking mechanism that allows it
to be examined.
73. This idea was published by Dicksonn in Mes Trues, Paris, 1893, p. 29, under the title "Le citron obeissant"
74. The Phoenix, No. 77, Feb. 2,1945, p. 313.
75. See The New Tops, Vol. 10, Nos. 8/9, August/Sept. 1970, p. 52.
76. See M.I.N.T., Volume I, Tahoma, CA, 1988, p. 187; or Card College, Volume 3, p.603.
77. Card College, Volume 2, p. 260.
78. See The K.M. Move by Ed Marlo, Chicago, 1962; or Card College, Volume 3, p. 518.
79. This is related to the Kaps switch, described in Card College, Volume 4, p. 816.

80. This was first published in the June 1939 issue of The Dragon, Vol. 8, No.6, p. 7. It appears as "A Poker Player's
Picnic" in Hugard and Braue's Royal Road to Card Magic, 1951, p. 30; as "Bekhous Aces" in Martin Gardner's
Mathematics Magic and Mystery, 1956, p. 27; and is included in many beginners' texts on conjuring.
81. Card College, Volume 1, p. 187.
82. Card College, Volume 4, p.991.
83. For the basic handling of the buckle technique, check Card College, Volume 1, p. 212; and for the buckle count
Card College, Volume 2, p.318.
84. This piece of advice is given in Britland and Gazzo's Phantom of the Card Table, p. 207.
85. See Kaps's Lecture Notes, n.d, p. 5. Kaps in turn was inspired by Patrick Page's "Easy Money".
86. Details for this are given in Card College, Volume 1, p. 158.
87. The inspirational source is a sleight Victor Farelli titled "The Horace Goldin Pass". You can find it in Hugard's
Magic Monthly, Volume XII, Number 12, May 1955, p. 285. There Farelli relates how Goldin fooled him again
and again. Goldin waited twenty years to teach him the sleight! What Goldin did, according to Farelli's descrip-
tion, was simply the pass action, followed immediately by the display of the card on the face of the right hand's
portion. That portion was then placed on top of the deck, which brought the selection to the top. That's the
principle, absent Tamariz's refinements given in Card College. Farelli further relates that the sleight was not
original with Goldin, but had been described under the title "Slicker Sleight" in the May 1930 issue of The
Sphinx (Vol. XXIX,No.3, p. 126) by Charles A. Leedy. I wouldn't be surprised, as so often happens, if an even
earlier reference eventually turns up.
88. Card College, Volume 1, p. 204.
89. See "The Secret Addition of Cards'; Card College, Volume 1, p. 203.
90. Card College, Volume 1, p. 20.
91. Richard's Almanac, No. 17/18, February 1984, p. 171.
92. See his Arempn996, p. 36.
93. Ultra Cervon by Stephen Minch, 1990, p. 125.
94. Best of Friends by Harry Lorayne, 1982, p. 509; also Card College, Volume 4, p.988.
95. See Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic by Lewis Ganson, 1976, Supreme Magic edition, p. 168;
L&LPublishing edition, p. 125; also Card College, Volume 2, p. 389.

"1002nd Aces" 385 Applauding Vivaldi 192
2nd December 358 Applause 190
Applications of the All-Around Square-Up 370
Abrams, Max 102 "Appolinax Prediction" 294
Accidental Drop 285 Architecture Pack, The 56
Actor Prepares, An 297 Archive for Special Decks 6
Actus Interruptus 29 Arden, Paul 90
Advice from the Masters 121 Aristotle 21,28,43,54
After the Break 101 Art and tIIusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 56 Representation 297
A Life Among Secrets: The Uncommon Life and Adventures Artanis 176
of Eddie Fields 55 ';4.rtanis" Explains the Bottom Deal 176
"All Backs" (Vernon) 96,385 Artistic Magic 365
all-around square-up 370 Artist's Copyright Notice, An 193
Amazing Coincidence, The 71 Art of Close-up Magic, The 102,274
Ambitious I 232 Art of Magic, The 158
Ambitious II 234 Ascanian Buckle Count Subtlety, An 334
Ambitious III:Creating an Impromptu Double-Backer 235 Ascanio, Arturo de 7,21,29,61,64,74,90,102,126,171,
Ambitious IV 236 204,219,229,273,282,334,340,348,361,362,368,
Ambitious V 237 386,387
Ambitious VI 238 Ascanio's Subtlety for Stealing a Coin 362
"Ambitious Card" (Vernon) 122,162 Astaire, Fred 43
Ambitious Problem 239 Automatic Key-Card Placement 317
Ammar, Michael 102 Aventures de Rabbi jacob, Les 263
Anagrams 359
Anecdote (Funes and Rothschild) 169 Bacon, Francis vii
Annemann: The Life and Times of a Legend 102 Balthus 212
Annemann, Theodore 102,348 Bamberg, David (Fu-Manchu) 55,102
Another Bar Bet 301 Bamberg, Theodore 262
Another Card Production 134 Banyai, Istvan 56
Another Key-Card Placement 260 Bar Bet 300
Another Overhand Shuffle Glimpse 67 Bar Bet, Another 301
Anton, Juan 126 Barnhardt, Russel 93
Any Wallet a Himber Wallet 266 Bauer, Ron 368
Beam, Steve 302 Bossi, Vanni 48,49,231,256,341,361
Beauty of Asymmetry, The 275 Bottle Cap Prediction 309
Beckett, Samuel 82 "Boy Meets Girl" 315
Behnke, Leo 6 "Brainwave" 387,391
Belchou, Steve 328 Brandon, Arthur 55
Belchou Varied 328 Braue addition 366
Ben, David 55 Braue, Frederick 53, 96, 102, 232, 236, 385
Benatar, Rafael 62, 297 Breaking in a New Deck 286
Benedetti, Jean 149, 297 Breast-Pocket Ploy 194
Benefits of Practicing Magic 98 Bridge Control 36
"Benson's Bowl" 96,257 Bridge Over Hindu 344
"Berg Knot Variation" 96 Bringing Objects to Life 283
Berra, Yogi 42, 298 Brooke, Ken 257,271
Bertram, Charles 55 Bruce Cervon's Castle Notebooks viii
Bertram, Ross 362, 363 Bruce, Gordon 27, 203, 340
Best Hop 50 buckle count 334
Best of Slydini and More, The 96 Building a Character 297
Better Magic-Better Magician 131 Built-In Shiner, A 325
"Between Your Palms" 385 Buiiuel, Luis 298
Biddle, Elmer 204 Burger, Eugene 368
Bills, Bernard 30,225 Busby, Jeff 55
Bill in Lemon Concentrate 189 Business Card Ideas 304
Binarelli, Tony 145 "Business Card Prophesy" 385
Binary Down-Under Deal, The 306
Biolek, Alfred 82 Cachadiiia, Tony 295,315,361
Bloom, Gaetan 231,353,368 Calendar Prediction 312
Bobo, J. B. 53, 96, 102, 295, 362 Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da 212
Bocuse, Paul 324 Card College Light series x, 102
Bold Force, A 330 Card College, Volumes 1-5 x,102
Bond, James 263 Card Control Demonstration 210
Book for an Island 323 Card Counting Demonstration 268
book preparation 318 Card Counting Enhanced 269
Books of Wonder; The 16 Card Expert, The 143
Books VS. Videos 380 Card Magic of LePaul, The 53, 93, 385
Boomerang 18 card switch 47
Bosco, San Giovanni 21,199 Card to Envelope and Wallet 332

Cards and Coins-and a Plot 112 "Color-Changing Pack" 122
Cards and Perception 271 "Color-Changing Pack" (Vernon's) 122
Carlin, George 76 Comment on Devient Sorcier 250
Carlyle, Francis 116 Commerce Versus Art 117
Carlyle's criterion 116 Complete Vanish of a Coin 32
Carney,john 194,368 Complete Walton, Volume I, The 385
Carroll, lose 368 Complex Conjuring 114
Carta-da-Fe 184 Concerning Hand Movements 270
"Case of the Missing Hat" 5 Confidences et Revelations 55
Categories for My Filing System 348 Confucius 60
"Cavorting Aces" 40 Connery, Sean 263
Cervantes, Miguel de 61 Conradi 246
Cervon, Bruce 96 Conservation of Magic, The 6
Cezanne, Paul 212 Control Ruse 19
Change 297 Control with a Swing Cut at a Break 63
Changing Decks 8 Controlled Control 103
Charles Bertram: The Court Conjurer 55 controlling a card 19,36,63,69,88,91,103,316,321
Cheating at Texas Hold'em-Essentials 129 Conway, john 245
"Chinese Classic" 122 Cooper, Fennimore 132
Christ, Henry 371 Cooper, Tommy 43
Churchill, Winston 221 Copper-Silver Transposition 296
Cigarette Paper Divination 255 Corinda, Tony 53,102
Clarity 153 Corner Switch for a Bill 146
Classic Card Tricks Not to be Forgotten 385 Counter-Intuition 292
Classic Sampler 186,385 Cover for the Top Change 100
Clear Writing 185 Cover Pass, Details of Handling 27
Cliches 308 Creating a Role 297
Clifton, Emil 198 Creation 151
Clifton's ring steal 198 Creation of an Egg, The 252
"Climax for a Dice Routine" 196,257,259 Creativity 376
Climax for a Knife Routine 197 crimp, cutting to 254
Climax to an Unexpected Poker Deal 211 Critique and Reviews 111
"Coin Assembly" (Bertram) 362,363 Cross-Referencing Practice 228
CoinMagic 102 cull 25
Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, The 53, 385 Cups-and-Balls Pendulum Loading 180
color change 219 Curry, Paul 5, 130

"Cutting the Aces" 162 Devol, George H. 188
Cutting to a Crimp 254 Disney, Walt 90
Cyclic False Shuffle 84 Do-as-I-Do, One-Deck 223
Dagen, Eihei 90
Dai Vernon: A Biography 55 double-backer, impromptu 235
Dai Vernon Book of Magic, The 53, 96, 102, 122, 257, 385 Double Divination 203, 253
Dai Vernon-Life & Work 378 double lift 17
Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card Magic 81, 102, 122, 385 Double Lift Replacement 37
Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic 52, 93 Double Lift Substitute 89
Daley, Jacob 14,40,177,182,211,362,381,385 Double Undercut Control 95
"Daley's Great Card Discovery" 14 down-under deal 306
Daley's Sandwich Switch 381 Draun, Steve 93, 202
Daif, Salvador 82 Draw Advantage 166
Daryl 257 Durrenrnatt, Fredrich 263
"Dave's Delight" 385
David Roth's Expert Coin Magic 102 Early Giobbi 327
da Vinci, Leonardo 42, 54 Easton, Daryl 257
Dawes, Edwin 55 Edge-Marked Cards 264
"Days of Force" 312 Edison, Thomas Alva 376
De Sanctis, Francesco 364 Effective Card Magic 385
De Viribus Quantitatis viii "Eight-Card Brainwave" 315
Dead Heat 176 Einstein, Albert 59,72,364
Dealing Procedure in Gambling Demonstrations 129 "Eleven Dollar BillTrick" 342
deck switch 8, 222 Elias, Neal 236
Decremps, Henri 329,368 Elliott.Iames William 121
Defining Magic 130 Ellis,Jardine 172
Delicate Double Lift, A 17 Elmsley, Alex 57,96, 183,255,361,385
Delord, Jacques 368 Elmsley count 28
Der Magier mit dem blauen Stein: Erlebnisse eines Zauber- Emotional Out, An 81
kiinsuers 55 "Emotional Reaction" 81,385
Designing Miracles 102 Emperor William 43
Details 42 Empty Pocket, The 202
Details for a Climax 196 Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, The 357
Details of Handling on the Cover Pass 27 Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic, The 53
Devant and Goliath 178 Encyclopedic Dictionary of Magic 102
Devant, David 64, 178 Endfield, Cy 53

Ending a Private Show at a Table 288 Flash Production of a Sponge Ball 174
Entertaining Card Magic 53 Flash Technique 13
Epilogue 391 Haubert, Gustave 42
Erdnase, S. W. 102 Flip (Hallema) 193,279
Essential Library, An 102 "Flying Ace" 271
estimation 326 Folded Card to Purse Frame 231
Evening with Charlie Miller; An 160 "Follow the Leader" (Vernon) 385
"Expansion of Texture" 122 Fontane, Theodore 90
Expert at the Card Table, The 102, 104 Force and a Location, A 31
Expert Card Technique 53,96,102,108,385 force (card) 51, 330
Extremely Mental 153 Formal Minimalism 167
Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi 188
Faggi, Carlo 199 Four Ace Production 135
Fake Take and Variations, The 322 Four Number Problems 244
Fan Control 97 "Four of a Kind" 385
Fantasio (Ricardo Roucau) 230 Fox, Paul 387
Fantastic Tranceposition 204 Frakson, Jose xii, 35, 126
Farelli, Victor 83 France, Anatole 153
Favorite Biographies of Magicians 55 Fred Braue Notebooks, The viii
Favorite Bo~ks for the (Not So) Illiterate 56 Fred Kaps Color Change, The 219
Favorite Criticisms 43 Fred Kaps's Birthday 170
Favorite Films 263 Fred Kaps's Force 51
Fechter, Eddie 91, 385 "Fregoli Press" 272
Fechter's Slide Control 91 Fricker, Francois 82
Fields, Eddie 96 Frisch, Max 54
filing system 348 Frivolous Stack, A 123
"Find the Ace" 257 From the Tip of My Cigar 11
Finger Questions 336 Fulves, Karl 96,211
Finley, Arthur 94 Fu-Manchu (David Bamberg) 55,102
Fischer, Ottokar 102 Funes, Louis de 169,263
Fisher, Aaron 370 Futagawa, Shigeo 102
Fisher, John 43
Fitzkee, Dariel 102,368 Gallwey, Timothy 297
Five Books 297 Ganson, Lewis 52,53,81,93,96,102,196,257,385
Five Readers Over My Shoulder 155 Garcia, Frank 188,256,385
"Flash Cash" 341,342,343 Garcia, Luis 387

Gardner, Martin 53, 55, 294 Gunst, Pekka 159
Gauguin, Paul 54 "Gymnastic Aces" 385
Gea, Miguel Angel 368
Geometry Versus Art 45 Haecker, Theodor 64
Gestalt Theory for Magic 28 Haldimann, Dieter 83
Gestures 200 Hallema, Flip 193,279
Getting Rid of Extra Cards Above a Selection 320 Hamburg, Howard 130
Ghoti is a Fish, The 243 Hamilton, Guy 263
Giebe, Max 227 "Happy Birthday Card Trick" 88
Give and Take 39-40 Harrison, Glenn 96
Give It a Stab 86 Hass, Larry 368
glimpse 67 Heath, Roy 110
God Creates Adam 223 Heraclitus of Ephesus 7
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 54,60,64,364 Hill, George Roy 263
Goetz, Curt 82 Hilliard.Iohn Northern 53,102,284,385
Going to the Pocket 383 Hoffmann, Professor 250
Goldfinger 263 Hofzinser, Johann Nepomuk 61,324,348,368
Goldin, Horace 55,83 Holderlin, Johann 54
Goldin Pass 83 Hollingworth, Guy 256
Gombrich, E. H. 297 Holmes and Magic 152
Gomez Ortega, Rafael 76 Holmes, Sherlock 64,152
Good and Better 92 Honest Deceiver; An 130
Goshman, Albert 7,195 How Did You Do That? 59.
Gramsci, Antonio 90 How Do You Do It Yourself? Magic Jor You 266
Gray, John 315 How Real is Real? 297
Greater Magic 53,102,284,385 How Real is Reality? 124
Green, Cliff 17,70 How to Limit a Number 333
Green, Graham 132 How to Memorize a Serial Number Entertainingly 46
Green, Lennart 10,130,198,256,298,307,368,374 How to Read a Book 346
Greetings by Night 247 Hugard, Jean 53,96, 102, 130, 385
Griffith, Tony 213 Humorous Out, A 78
Grippo, Jimmy 119
Grismer cull 25 Idea for a Close-up Act 148
Grismer, Ray 25 Illusion Show 55, 102
Grosse Zauberschule 132 Immer; wenn er Pillen nahm 262
Guest Book 353 impromptu double-backer 235

In Lieu of the Diagonal Push-In 108 Kant, Immanuel 90
Inform Your Audience 373 Kaps, Fred 11,51,148,170,171,204,219,225,259,270,271,
Inner Game of Tennis, The 297 278,315,341,342,386
Intriguing Thoughts 207 Kaps on the Hofzinser top change 170
Introducing NLP: Psychological Skills for Understanding and Kaufman, Richard 93,102,255,385
Influencing People 297 key-card placement 52,260, 317
Introduction to Coin Magic 102 Koan for True Innovation, A 360
Invisible Thimble, The 230 Kotcheff, Ted 263
Invitations by Avalanche 201
Involuntary Stooge, The 225 La Cuisine 360
Isn't It Wonderful? 55 La Grande Vadrouille 263
Itami, juzo 263 L'aile ou la cuisse 263
"Itinerant Pasteboards" 381,385 Lamont, Peter 368
It's Fun to be Fooled 55 Lapping Elmsley 137
"I've Got a Surprise for You" 385 "Last Trick of Dr. Daley" 385
La Tour, George de 212
j. N. Hofzinser's Card Conjuring 102 Lavand, Rene 61,64,76, 361, 390
jacob Daley's Notebooks viii, 14, 381 Layman's Memory, A 384
jam Sessions 205 Le voyage dans la lune (Trip to the Moon) 263
Jardine EllisLectures 172 Lecture Notes 1 (Racherbaumer) 130
jason, George 64 Leipzig, Nate 187,337
jaspers, Karl 21 "Leipzig's Opener" 122
jay, Ricky 76 LePaul, Paul 53, 93, 385
jennings, Larry 27 Lewis, Martin 257,271
johnson, Karl 55 Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph viii
jokes 26 Liebertz, Arnold (Marvillo) 266
journal in the Night 64 Lift Shuffie-A Study in the Polyvalence of a Sleight 24
juan Tamariz and His Teachers 126 Limited Edition 130
ludah, Stewart 11 Lindgren, Astrid 132
jumbo cards 271 Linking Rings 261
jumbo-index cards 271 List of Intelligentsia 368
luran, joseph M. 280 Logical Trickery 14
just Like That! 43 Logic Dethroned 293
Lorayne, Harry 102
Kalmar, Bert 298 Lore, Guy 30
"Kangaroo Card" 246 Lynn, Collin 321

Lynn's Bold-Pass Card Control 321 Marlofactor 183
Lyophilized Money 250 Marnac (Joachim Wolf) 383
Marvillo 266
Magical Supination and Pronation 307 "Marx Brothers" (Hamman) 385
Magic and Gambling 119 Marx, Groucho 76, 298
Magic and Music 154 Maskelyne, John Nevil 130, 368
Magic and Showmanship 102 Maslow, Abraham 168,376
Magic and Space 279 Masters of Deception-Escher, Dal! & the Artists of Optical
Magic by Misdirection 102 Illusion 56
Magic Christian 233 "Matching the Cards" 122,385
Magic for Theater 149 Mathematical Control, A 87
Magician and the Cardsharp, The 55 Maugham, W. Somerset viii
Magician Nightly 385 Maven,Max x,43, 128, 130, 172,256,271,294,368
Magician's Magic 130 May, Karl 132
Magic Lottery 352 Mayette 272
Magic Menu, The 324 McBride, Jeff 130, 368
Magic of Ascanio, The 102 McMillan, Ron 340
Magic of Michael Ammar, The 102 Meier, Carlhorst 196,253,357
Magic of the Hands 138 Melies, Georges 263
Magic Show, The 56 Memoirs of Robert-Houdin 21,55,102
Magischer Zirkel von Deutschland 132 Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus 315
Magritte, Rene 20 "Mental Card Miracle" 96
Make it Shorter 125 Mentzer, Jerry 385
Malek, David 129 Michelangelo 21,42,223,382
Malini, Max 27 Miller, Charles 160, 180
Man Who Was Erdnase, The 55 Million Dollar Card Secrets 385
Mandelbrot, Benoit 114 Milo & Roger: A Magical Life 55
Manzi, Homero 61 Minch, Stephen 53, 55, 93, 96, 368, 385
Marchese, Alfredo 16 Mind Map of Card College, Volumes 3 and 4 377
Marino, Luis 147 Mind Mapping Vernon 378
Marketing 206 Mind, Myth & Magick 102
Marlo, Edward 57,66,93,164,183,187,315,338 "Miracle Coins to the Pocket" 96
Marlo in Spades 93 Mister Terrific 262
Marlo's Bluff Cut 66 Mnemonica 357
Marlo's Hands 338 Mnemonics at the Gym 120
Marlo's Magazine 372 "Mona Lisa Card Trick" 385

Monte Hall Problem, The 292 Obedient Lemon, The 311
Moore, Roger 263 O'Connor, Joseph 297
More and Further Magic of the Hands 139 "Odd-Colored Back" 315
More One-Way Ploys 226 Okito-san Meets Mr. Terrific 262
More Thoughts on "Flash Cash" 342 Old Props 246
More Trick Questions 241 Olivier, Raymond 360
Moreno, Gabriel 37-38,109 On Shoes 147
Moroso, Denis 145 On Taking Notes 118
Most Incredible Magic Trick, The 375 "One Coin Routine" 96,289
"Motile" (Daley) 362 One-Deck Do-as-l-Do 223
Muller, Lutz 113 One-Liners (Picasso's) 136
Multiple Peek Control 68 One-Way Ploys, More 226
Murray, William 186 One-Way Turnaround 224
Mutter, Anne-Sophie 154 "Only Three Card Trick in the World Using Four Cards"
My Birthday-A Biographical Bit 132 257,271
My Epitaph 127 Opener (using an anecdote) 221
Operating Principles in Card Magic 22
"Nap Hand Deal" 96 Optical Curiosity (with a glass) 245
Nathanson, Leon 96 Ortiz, Darwin 102,188,368
Neale, Robert E. 368 out 78,79,80,81,165
"Negative Stock Shuffle" 211 Out and Quickie 79
Nelms, Henning 102,368 Out and Quickie, Solution for 80
Nelson, Earl 198 Out of Proportion 106
Nestroy 82 "Out of This World" 387
Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) 168 Overhand Shuffle Card Control, An 316
New Era Card Tricks 133
New Modern Coin Magic, The 53,96,102,295,362 P & L 246
"Newspaper to Dollar Bills"(Kaps) 341 Pacioli, Luca viii
No Hands, Ma 40 Page, Patrick 11,216,257
Not So Mathematical Control, A 88 palindromes 46, 358
Notebooks and Storage for Information 208 Para, Psi und Pseudo 113
number problems 244,291 Paradoxes 298
Number Puzzles 291 Paradox Prediction 294
Nuzzo, Jimmy 338 Pareras, Gabi 368
Pareto Principle in Magic, The 280
"Obedient Ball" 311 Pareto, Vilfredo 280

Parr, David 368 Quick Sellers 331
Parrish, Robert 160 Quotes in Presentation and Defense 20
Pass At the Bridge 345 Quotes on Astonishment and Wonderment 54
pass (cards) 83, 345
Paul Curry's Worlds Beyond 387 Racherbaume~Jon 130,368
Pause and Applause 273 Ramsay, John 27
Paviato, Aurelio 11,256, 361, 368 Rank of Poker Hands 258
Penetrating Rubber Band Gag 12 Raxon, Fredo 185
Personal Reaction: Feel the Magic 282 Ray, Del 128
Photos With ... 361 Ready Freddie 278
Picasso, Pablo 20,45,54,56,59,90,124,136,212,229,336 Recovering from FISM at Giobbi's 256
Picasso's One-Liners 56, 136 Red-Black False Riffle Shuffle, A 104
Picking Up the Deck 41 Reger, Max 43
Pinetti, Giuseppe 329, 387 Reich-Ranicki, Marcel 111
Plato 64 Reindeer Puzzle 159
Pocket-Calculator Magic 242 Reinhardt, Max 54
Pocus, Boris 153 Relative Circles 265
"Point of Departure" 385 Remember, You Shuffled I 74
Poor Man's Luxury, The 38 Remember; You Shuffled II 75
pop-up card 232 Remembering 16
Portwood, AI 8 Rememorized Deck, The 357
Postcard Cue Card 212 Repetition 162
Power and the Glory, The 132 Replies to Journalists 150
prediction 294,309,319 Revelation 102
Presentation and Handling for Six Guests in Five Rooms 4 Revelations 25
Professional Card Magic 17, 70 Reynolds, Charles 368
Program is Wild, The 259 Re-Zoom 56
Prologue 390 Rhod, Daniel 30
Prop or Instrument 73 Riding, Joe 257,271
Psychic Rubber Band, The 314 Riffle ShujJfe Technique, Preliminary Notes on Part One 211
Psychological Meaning of Magic for a Spectator 113 "Rito de Iniciaci6n" 387
Push-In 77 Robert-Houdin, Jean-Eugene 21,55,64,102,250,324,348,368
Puzzle of the Nine Letters 305 Roberto Giobbi Taped Live! At the 7th British Close-up Magic
Symposium 96
Qualities of Excellence 145 Robinson, Fred 278
Queen Louise of Sweden 196 Rosenthal, Harvey 164

Roterberg, August 133 Sharpe, Sam 368
Rothschild, Baron de 169 Shaw, George Bernard 111,221
Roucau, Ricardo (Fantasio) 230 shiner 325
Routined Manipulation Finale 53,257 Short Routine with Sponges, A 173
Roxy 210 Showmanship for Magicians 102
rubber band 12,314 Show VS. Teach 382
Ruby, Harry 298 "Sidewalk Shuffle" 257,271
Russell, Bertrand 43,82 Sillicisms 161
Simon, Bill 385
Sabuda, Robert 56 Simon, Frank 93
Safer One-Way, A 227 Simple Single-Card Switch 47
Saint-Exupery, Antoine de 364 Simplest Deck Switch, The 222
Samelson, Peter 368 Simplicity and Essence 364
San Giovanni Bosco 199 Si Stebbins/Galasso 107
Sand, George 257 "Six-Card Repeat" 96
Sanvert, Iean-Iacques 30, 130 Skinner, Michael 186,187,385
Savoir Vivre 44 "Slap Aces" 187
Scarne.Iohn 187,231 "Slap Trick" 385
Schneider, AI 368 "Slow-Motion Aces" 162
• Schnitzler, Arthur 64 Slydini Encores 96
Schroth, Horst 82 Slydini, Tony 50,96,289
Schwarzman, Howard 41 "Smiling Mule" 40,385
Schweizer, Albert 90 Smullyan Kiss 299
Scoring System (for filing) 347 Smullyan, Raymond 299
Script 15 Socrate, Philippe 272
Seckel, AI 56 Socrates 298
Secrets Draun from Underground 93 Solomon, Madeleine 265
Secrets of Brother John Hamman 385 Sonata 53, 93, 387
Secrets of Conjuring and Magic, The 250 Souvenir Card 48
Select Secrets 122 Special-Deck Mnemonic, A 374
Self-Criticism 105 Spiral of Evolution, The 281
Sellers, Tom 331 Spirit of Magic x
Semel, Jeff 93 "Sponge and Bowl Routine" 96
Setteducati, Mark 56 sponge balls 173,174,175
Seven Tips on Practice 340 Spontaneity 7
Seymour, John 297 Stage Fright 156

Stage Movement 284 table pass (hop) 50
Staging a Three-Card Monte Game 188 Takagi, Shigeo 257,259, 361, 369
Stanislavski: An Introduction 297 Talk 220
Stanislavski, Constantin 149,297 Tamariz,juan xii, 34-35, 50, 53, 59, 61, 74, 93,102,116,126,
Stars of Magic 53,96,102,122,162,362,363,381,385,387 130,211,212,28~340,345,348,357,368,375,38~391
Stay! (book preparation) 318 Tamariz on the Subject of Magic on TV 34
Steinmeyer, Jim 368 "Tamariz Rabbits" 259
Steranko, Jim 93 Tampopo 263
Stevenson, Robert Lewis 132 Tarbell Course in Magic, The vii, 53,102
Stiles, Kirk 315 Tarbell, Harlan vii,102
Sting, The 263, 382 Taytelbaum, Eddie 52,93
Stone, Tom 368 Tea for Profit 248
stooge, impromptu 225 Teach a Layperson 329
Stover, Mel 312 Teller 130
Strong Magic 102 Ten Favorite Little-Known or Little-Used Sleights 93
Structure and Chaos 115 Ten Greatest Card Tricks, The 387
"Substitution Envelope Mystery" 385 Ten Most Underestimated Tricks, The 96
Subtext 287 Ten Professional Tips 369
Subtleties for Sponge Ball Magic 175 Ten Tips on Marketing Yourself 58
Sucker Bet 10 'Tenkai Pennies" 295
Sucker Effect 337 Tent Vanish Subtlety 94
Super Subtle Card Miracles 256, 385 Teschner, Rainer 65,69
"Surprise Package" 385 Teschner's Selection Control 69
Swing Cut at a Break 62 Teschner's Top-Stock Control 65
Swiss, jamy Ian 368 Testament de jerome Sharp 329
Symbolism in Magic 290 That's Not Commercial 350
"Symphony of the Rings" 261 Thinking Mode 277
Synonyms for the Word "Trick" 349 Thirteen Steps to Mentalism 53,102
Thompson,john 122,180,361
Tabary, Francis 257 Thompson, Peter 110
"Table-Hopping', Thoughts on 218 Thoughts on Classic Sampler 186
Table Magic I:Thoughts on Opening Private Shows at Thoughts on Coin Boxes 310
Tables 214 Thoughts on Cups-and-Balls Loads 179
Table Magic II:Getting to the Next Table 216 Thoughts on Del Ray 128
Table Magic III:Openers for Private Shows at Tables 217 Thoughts on "Table-Hopping" 218
Table Magic Opener 303 "Three-Ball Transposition" 259

Three Favorite Anecdotes 57 Trixini 55
"Three in a Million" 385 Trost,Nick 315
Tilt to the Hilt 133 Twelve Books to Reread 53
Tip on Tips 30 "Twisting the Aces" 385
To Practice Estimation 326 Two Jokes 26
To Separate a Deck at a Specific Point 3 Two-Coin Transposition and Vanish 295
Tomorrow Never Dies 76
top change 100,170 Ultimate Magic of the Hands 142
Top Dozen Einstein Quotes 72 Ultra Cervon 96
Top Fifteen Humorous Quotes 82 Unamuno, Miguel de 364
Top (Non)Sense Quotes 76 Uniqueness 229
Top Palm Subtlety and Quickie 144 Unorthodox Second Deal 33
Top Quotes Related to Magic 64 Unusual Double Lift,An 386
Top Seven Maxims of Life 60 Upside-Down Lady 110
Top Stock Control 379 Usefully Useless 372
Top-Stock Control with Riffle Shuffle 157 Useless Tricks 289
Top Ten General Quotes 90 Utility Bag and the Essentials Utility Bag, The 388
Top Ten Quotes Related to Card Magic 61
Top Ten Quotes Related to the Hand 21 Valery, Paul 42
Torn and Restored Card 160 Van der Meer, Ron 56
Torn and Restored Justification 356 van Gogh, Vincent 20
Torn and Restored Ploy 354 Vanishing Pen, The 302
"Total Coincidence" 387 Vanni Bossi's Wild Money 341
Touch for Clifton's Ring Steal, A 198 Variations 198
Touch on the Braue Addition, A 366 Vazquez, Camilo 217,259,361
"Trancendent" 204 Venus VS. Mars 315
Transformation 164 Vernon Accused of Child Abuse 182
'Travelers" 73, 96, 162, 385, 390 Vernon Anecdote (at the Wessel home) 181
Trick Questions 240 Vernon Chronicles, Volume 2, The 385
Trick Questions, More 241 Vernon Chronicles, Volume 3, The 93
"Trick That Cannot be Explained" 385 Vernon, Dai ix,x, 8, 11, 17,25,32,42,73,77, 81, 93, 96, 98,
'Trick That Cannot be Reconstructed" 17 102,108,109,121,122,126,133,153,157,162,177,180,
Tricks for Children 257 181,182,186,187,196,210,229,254,257,259,261,277,
Triple Divination 276 281,28~337,34a368,36~378,379,38~38~390
"Triumph" 109,387 Vernon Meets Daley 177
Triumph for Okito 109 "Vernon Poker Demonstration" 96, 289, 385

Vernor, Derek 182 Wilde, Oscar 298
Vernor, Jeanne 182 Williamson, David 309,391
Vernor, Ted 182 Wilsmann, A. Ch. 54
Versatile Card Magic 93 Wilson, Jerry R. 58,206
Versatile Pellet Switch 11 Wilson, Ron 217
Versatile Wallet, The 249 "Winged Silver" 122
Visual Effect Versus Conceptual Effect 272 Wiseman, Richard 368
Vivaldi, Antonio Lucio 192 Wishes 163
Vollmer, Richard 328 Wittgenstein, Ludwig 76
Voltaire 372 Wohl, Ron 51,106,166,176,227,344,360
Wolf, Joachim (Marnac) 383
Waitingfor Godot 82 Wonder, Tommy 16,180,217,231,368
Waldmann, Werner 132 Word-oi-Mouth Marketing 58,206
Walton, Roy 40, 385 Wright, Steven 61
Waste Books, The viii Writer's Motivation I 140
Waters, T. A. 102, 229, 368 Writer's Motivation II 141
Watzlawick, Paul 297 Writer's Notebook, A viii
Wessel, Willi 181 Wrong Card 213
Wetzel, Manfred 384
Whaley, Bart 55, 102 Yet Another Idea for "Flash Cash" 343

What Is a Good Trick? 116 You 195

When You've Lost the Card 335 You Have to Entertain Them First 351
Which Wine Would You Like? 319
Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? 263 Zidi, Claude 263
Who's Who in Magic 102 Zingone, Luis 236
''Wild Blanks" 259 Zoom 56