Posted by: jockmackenzie | May 29, 2009

Speaking – Magic 2


One of the beauties of teaching activities like magic is that students will often offer tricks of their own or will be inspired to seek information outside class because the topic has piqued their interest. In my recent magical journey, Garrett brought us the “Wand and Disappearing Candy” trick, Kole showed us the “Disappearing and Reappearing Paper Match” and Kade explained how to break a wooden matchstick inside a handkerchief and then restore it to its original form.

The Black Magic trick explained in the last entry is an extremely simple but effective trick. Today’s offering is more complicated but one that totally blew me away when I first discovered it.

“Speed Reader” works like this. The magician places 6 classroom novels on a desk. He asks an audience member to select a book, then another book, and then another. (Through a series of moves “forcing” the selection, the magician assures himself of ending with the right book. I will explain the “forcing” idea in a later entry. For now, it would suffice to merely begin with one book.)

Once one book remains, the magician pretends to speed read through the book, picking it up and flipping the pages. Next a deck of cards is shown to the class. The magician fans the cards for all to see – noting the obvious mixture of varied suits and numbers. To underline the random nature of the cards, the magician then cuts the deck two or three times.

An audience member is selected to pick the top two cards from the deck. The value of these cards is added together and the audience member turns to the appropriate page in the book. e.g. if the top two cards were a 9 and a 2, the audience member would add 9 + 2 and get 11, then turn to page 11.

Once at the chosen page, the audience member is then instructed to note the page number and add the individual numbers together. e.g. on page 11, the audience member would add 1 + 1 and get 2. The audience member is finally instructed to count over to, in this case, the second word on the page. (One more example – if the two cards at the top of the deck were a King and a Queen the audience member would add 13 and 12 to get 25, then add 2 +5 to get 7, then count over to the 7th word on the page. There’s always a wrinkle and here I note all cards have regular value except face cards K = 13, Q = 12, Jack = 11).

The magician asks the audience member to share the word he/she has arrived at (for speed sake, perhaps with only a few classmates nearby) and then to concentrate on the word, send a telepathic signal, yada, yada, yada alakazingledoodle and SURPRISE the magician announces the exact word.

EXPLANATION – the deck has been stacked in such a way that the top two cards will always add up to either 14 or 15. The magician must memorize two words – the 5th word on page 14, the 6th word on page 15 of any book he/she chooses in the classroom. To prepare the deck, remove 2 aces, then arrange the cards in this order: 9, 5, 10, 4, jack, 3, queen, 2, king, ace, king, 2, queen, 3, jack, 4, 10, 5, 9, 6, 8, 7, 7, 8, 6, 9, 5, 10, 4, jack, 3, queen, 2, king, ace, king, 2, queen, 3, jack, 4, 10, 5, 9, 6, 8, 7, 7, 8, 6.

According to the photocopied page from my 1980-something file, my source for this particular trick was “50 Contemporary Versions of the Masters’ Tricks.”

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