Secret Agenda – January 15 – Control Ruse

This can be very useful. I’ve longed used double undercuts, overhand shuffles, and the old standby, “fiddling with the deck” to get a specific card into a needed position from the top (or bottom) of the deck.  This “ruse” appears very natural and is easy to do.  And I love the potential of incorporating it into an “Any Card at Any Number” (ACAAN) scenario.

Speaking of ACAAN, I, like many magicians, love the concept and enjoy reading whatever is written on the subject, but I think I like it more as an intellectual exercise than as a worker effect. In actual practice, I prefer a similar concept, the spelling trick. The ruse that Roberto has given us here can be inserted quite nicely into such a routine.

Normally, I have a spectator shuffle a deck, insuring that nobody can know the position of any card.  I then riffle through the deck and have them stop me anytime, remembering the card.  This card is then glimpsed.

I mention of the ability of many magicians to steal cards from the deck when nobody is looking. I then run through the deck so they can make sure their card is still present.  It is during this run-through that I mentally spell the glimpsed card (or even better, their name) starting at the point where their card lies,  and then mentally spell an additional card (which I memorize), positioned where the first spelling ended (or my name, beginning where their name ended).  When finished, I cut the deck at that point (or, if necessary, start a mini run-through again from the face of the deck and cut the needed number of cards to the back, and then I’m set to do a very entertaining double spelling effect – first a “random” card that I just “think up” (or my name), and then after being successful, their card (or their name), and ending on their selection.  The effect is that the spectator is so “magical” that when they thoroughly shuffled the deck, they magically (or subconsciously) programmed it to find their card.

The appearance of their thought of card at the end of its spelling, or at the end of their name, is stronger (in my opinion) than a randomly selected number.  (Unless that number has a special  for them – like a favorite age, or last two digits of their phone number, or date of their birthday, etc.)  It’s all about relevance.

But now, with today’s entry, I can have them name any card that might have significance to them, or that they like, and then pretend to find it and place it on the table.  During the “finding” of their card, I can position it to it’s needed position and I’m set to go.  (I’d still recommend they shuffle the deck first, and make sure they watch to see that I don’t remix the cards.  The cutting of extra cards to the front or back of the deck, by the way, isn’t noticed because I address them with a direct question or comment and separate my hands as if distracted – when I put both halves back together, it appears I haven’t done anything and nobody notices the cut.)

Whew!  This was a much more technical writeup than I anticipated.  If you have any questions on the procedure I just attempted to describe, please contact me and I’ll be happy to clarify.

Anyway – a nice control ruse that’s fun to play with.