My Favorite Magic Card Trick – ESP Demonstration
This magic card trick was taught to me when I was ten years old by a Polish immigrant who was visiting my grandmother. Since then I have had a lot of fun entertaining with this card trick – it is a guaranteed jaw dropper.
This simple card trick uses a standard deck of playing cards. It is an easy to learn card trick and only requires a little presentation skill.
Step 1. Pre-arranging the cards.
Remove the following cards from the standard deck of 52 cards: Ace, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 of Spades, Clubs and Hearts, and also the 7 of Diamonds. This totals 19 cards.
Look these cards over carefully. There is something different about them from the rest of the cards in the deck. None of these 19 cards are symmetrical; the other ones in the deck are symmetrical and therefore cannot be used. And, this is the secret behind doing this trick.
Look at the Ace of Spades. Notice how the large Spade points in one direction. Let’s call that direction ‘North.’ The same is true of the Ace of Clubs and the Ace of Hearts; they too point to the North. Now look at the 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9 of Spades. They have more Spades pointing North than they have pointing South. The same is true of the 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9 of Clubs and Hearts. The 7 of Diamonds has one more diamond at one half of the card than the other; we will call the half of the card that has the extra diamond as the North end. Now arrange all these 19 cards so that they all point North; i.e., when you are looking at them the North ends are all on top. You are now ready to perform the card trick.
Step 2a: Pre-stacking the deck.
Take these 19 cards and place them on top of a deck of cards in your desk before your guests arrive. After the guests arrive, somehow the conversation, guided by you or your shill (wife, friend, etc) goes to ESP. At the appropriate time ask your wife, or child to get your cards from the desk. By someone else getting the cards and bringing them to you it disassociates you from the cards and is less likely to make someone think you manipulated the cards when you went to get them.
Or, stack someone else’s deck of cards. For example, while in college I found out that one student who lived a few rooms down from me had a deck of cards in his desk. When he wasn’t present I pre-arranged his deck. The next day a few of us were sitting around chatting and the topic of ESP came up. That is when I asked if anyone had a deck of cards handy, and the fellow whose deck I pre-arranged was quick to go to his room to bring his cards. I proceeded to do the trick and he had no idea that I had stacked his deck.
Another time when I was able to stack a deck of playing cards surreptitiously was when I was attending a corporate training program. The instructor had been entertaining the class by performing card tricks. During the lunch break, while everyone was out, I pre-arranged his cards. When he came back from lunch I asked him for his cards so I could show him a trick. He was quick to oblige.
Step2b: Stacking the deck while others are around.
While you are already playing cards with your friends and there is a break in the game, casually pick up the deck and play with it while sorting through it for the non-symmetrical cards, and arrange them to all point North. You can do this even while others are around talking to one another and not paying much attention to what you are doing. Place them on top of the other cards. With a little practice you will be able to do this rather quickly (obviously you do not want to announce that you will do a card trick before you are ready, otherwise you will have everyone’s attention on you while you are trying to get the deck arranged). Continue playing with the cards, and do some false shuffles making sure to keep the 19 pre-arranged cards on top of the deck.
Say something like, “I’d like to show you something,” or, “Want to see a card trick?” or “Do you want to see a demonstration in ESP?”
Step 3: Beginning the trick. (It is best performed while seated across the table from the person.)
Say something like, “Let’s take a few cards here,” as you peal off the 19 cards from the top of the deck. “It’s easier to work with a smaller batch of cards.”
Then, shuffle the cards, making sure not to change the alignment of any of the cards.
Then, fan the cards out in front of the person and ask him to pull a card from the fanned cards, and to look at it.
As the person pulls the card out collapse the fan back into a small squared off stack. Watch the person’s eyes. Just as his eyes look at his selected card, you rotate the squared off stack of cards 180 degrees. This changes the alignment of the entire stack of cards in relationship to the card that was selected.
To quickly and smoothly rotate the deck I hold the small squared off stack of cards in my right hand, between my middle finger and thumb. I use the middle finger and thumb as pivots. I casually cup my left hand partially over the stack, then I rotate the stack 180 degrees using my left index finger as I extend my right hand with the rotated deck towards the person during which time I ask the person to insert the card back into the stack.
It is important to observe if the person rotates his selected card before placing it back into the stack. In that case you do not rotate your stack. Or, if you rotated it already you will need to rotate it back again. Your timing is important here.
After the card has been inserted into the stack you will have 18 cards pointing ‘North,’ i.e. in the same direction, and the selected card pointing in the opposite direction.
Next, shuffle the stack, making sure not to change the alignment of any of the cards. You can then ask the person to cut the deck.
Step 4: Finding the card.
Here is where you use some acting skill. Hold the stack of cards in your right hand, all facing down. Tell the person something like, “I will turn the cards over quickly one at a time onto the table. While I am doing this I would like you to concentrate on your selected card. I will pass over your card until I have turned over all the cards, so don’t indicate to me, except mentally, what your card may be.”
It should be easy for you to locate the card since it will be the only one that is pointing in the opposite direction from the others.
When you turn over one card after another make sure to scatter them around a little and say, “keep concentrating.” But, when you scatter the cards, keep them aligned – you don’t want to rotate any of them. With experience you will be able to quickly turn over card after card and be able to identify the card that is oppositely aligned. Continued
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