In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.

Magic Trick

magician-29694_960_720This is something quite a bit different from me. I’m an amateur magician, and last week I took part in a 7 day challenge to turn a magic trick I could do into a masterpiece. I’m sure this isn’t yet a masterpiece, but it’s the script I’ve written for myself. And, as it is writing and it took me some time and dedication to craft, it fits the blog. It’s sorta fiction, as most magic is, and I’ve tried to cover up methods, so no one needs to fear “exposure.”



a three-phase card-matching routine script
based on work by Karl Fulves and Bob Longe.

Phase 1

(Not really a trick)

Okay everyone, I’ve got something I’d like to try out. It’s about connection, rapport, like the idea that people can connect on the same wavelength and share moments, like when friends can sit together with just a cup of coffee and suddenly start laughing about the same thing even though no one uttered a word. That can happen even for people who were strangers moments before. Apparently, all you need is to spend a few second staring into each other’s eyes for a minor connection to build.

I guess I need a volunteer.

Look around the audience and select someone who seems reluctant, preferably a man. Make eye contact with him and wait a beat.

How about you?

Gesture for him to acknowledge.

Okay. So have you heard about this idea that people can connect on a subliminal level? Like when people can finish each other’s sentences and stuff like that?

Wait for an answer.

Right, like that. But I don’t know if we’ll manage to make that connection or not. There are a few ways to tell. We could just play rock, paper, scissors, but that’s sort of silly, and the odds of matching throws are just too high. We could shout out a random number from 1 to 10 and see if we come close, but that seems too easy as well. We could play tic-tac-toe and see who wins, or if we come to a draw, but that is too competitive and I hate to lose.

I’ve got a better one in mind. I saw famous magicians Penn and Teller perform on their show Fool Us. They performed a magic trick they call Love Ritual. They had people pick two cards and then tear them into four pieces and through some magic, after throwing away all the pieces except two, two people turned over their card pieces and they matched.

Now, I don’t have cards I can just throw away like that.

I’m a teacher.

Pause for reaction.

And, as Penn said, unless you’re a moron, you’re going to end up with matches so long as you follow the directions. So perhaps that’s still not random enough.

When I told my friends about this connection idea, they just laughed it off as paranormal bunk, but I’m not so sure. I’ve seen a lot of stuff I can’t explain, but just because I don’t understand how it works doesn’t mean there’s magic or something. For example, I don’t understand calculus. And I’m not really sure how my liver works, but somehow I made it through college and service in the Navy.

Pause for a reaction.

Okay, so let’s try something. Look into my eyes.

Stare at spectator intently.

And try not to fall in love with me.

Wait an uncomfortable length of time. Spectator should break eye contact first.

I think that was probably long enough.

Fan out cards for volunteer to pick one.

Pull out a card and place it on the table in front of you, face down. Don’t look just yet. I don’t want you accidentally showing me your card value or suit or anything.

And I’ll take one myself.

Fan cards so I can see them. REDACTED take one REDACTED.

On the count of three, we’ll turn them over and see if we’ve actually made that connection.

One, two, three!

Flip cards and without looking shout:

See! We’ve made a connection! The science is ri–

Trail off as I look down and see that cards don’t match.

Shit. Well, maybe it didn’t work because you fell in love, and you know, “Opposites attract.”

Pause for a laugh.

Okay, thanks anyway. Maybe I can try it again with someone else who can manage to remain platonic.

Gather up the cards and shuffle them.

Phase 2

(Fulves’ Gemini Twins)

So, yeah, that was a failure. I guess I need a new volunteer.

Look around the audience and select someone that’s relatively attractive, preferably a woman. Make eye contact with her and have her come up to the front.

Yes, yes. I can see it already. I think this will go much better. But you know magicians aren’t supposed to repeat a trick. Even one that’s a failure.

Pause for a laugh.

So let’s try this a different way. Can you shuffle a deck of cards without making a catastrophic mess?

Pause for a laugh.

I guess we’ll find out.

Hand her the cards. Compliment her regardless of how well she shuffles.

Nicely done. Let’s see how well they’re shuffled.

Take back the cards, fan, and REDACTED. Close them back up.

Yep, looks okay. So let’s see if our connection is any better than his.

Glance at first volunteer and pause for a laugh.

Stare into my eyes.

Stare at her until she breaks contact.

Okay, so let’s see, let’s see.

Fan through the cards and REDACTED. Pull two cards to the side face down and then close the deck back up and hand it to the volunteer.

So, take this deck in your hand, and what I’d like you to do is take a card in your hand, one at a time without looking at it, and just think for a brief second. Then drop it to the table. Keep dealing the cards one by one like this until you feel the urge to stop.

Wait a for about 10 cards and then say, exasperated:

Preferably somewhere before the end of the deck. I mean, we don’t have all day.

Spectator stops.

Okay. Are you sure? One more or one less? Alright, let’s mark where you stopped.

Place the faceup REDACTED.

Now, place the rest of the pack on top so we don’t lose our place.

Wait for spectator to follow instructions.

Now neaten up the pile so it’s easier to pick up, and then do the same thing, one card at a time.

Spectator deals until they stop.

Again, are you sure? Let’s mark it.

Place the face-up REDACTED.

Now place the remaining cards on top to mark where you stopped. So, let’s recap. You shuffled the deck ensuring that they’re random. Then I took out two cards whose faces you couldn’t see. You dealt down until you felt the urge to stop, and then we marked your stopping point with one of my cards, the first time you could have seen which ones I picked. You then continued with the deal until you again felt the need to stop. I gave you a chance to change your mind, and then we marked your second stopping point. And I haven’t touched the deck since you shuffled it. I’m going to spread the cards out.

Spread the cards out and pull out the face up card and the card to its right.

And I’m going to pull out my card and the card you stopped on.

Gather up the rest of the cards and set them to the side.

Okay, so again, you stopped and I marked your stopping point with this card. There’s a one in 52 chance of random success here but I think it’s going to work this time.

Turn over and show that they match.

Now, that could just have been random coincidence, but

Turn over the other match.

We clearly made a connection. Unlike the guy who fell deeply in love with me.

Point to first volunteer and stare. Pause for reaction as I gather up the cards.

Thanks for volunteering. Please head back to your seat.


Phase 3

(Longe’s 3-Card Surprise)

Alright. That went well. Maybe we can give it one more go? But let’s make it even harder. Let’s try connecting with three people and matching their cards. I’ll need three volunteers.

Look in audience and pull up three people, preferably a mix of men and women. Seat them left, center, and right.

Okay. Can you shuffle these please?

Hand cards to spectator on the right. REDACTED. When spectator hands it back. REDACTED. Turn to spectator on the left.

Now, look into my eyes, and let’s see if we can make a solid connection or not.

Stare at spectator on the left and do it for an uncomfortable length of time.

Okay. That was…Weird.

Pause for a reaction.

Well, let’s keep going I guess. Hmm.

Pull up deck and fan through to find REDACTED. Place it face down in front of the spectator.

Alright, that’s mine. Now, let’s pick yours.

Fan cards for a free selection. Allow spectator to take the card.

Now place it face up on top of this card.

Gesture to the face down card. REDACTED

And then cover it with your hands so no one else can get to it or switch it out or something because now they really want to connect with me. Like that guy.

Spectator covers the card. Make sure they don’t peek or anything. Turn to the spectator in the middle. Stare for a second.

Your turn.

Continue staring for just a bit too long. Then fan through cards and pull up REDACTED. Place it face down in front of them.

Let’s make this a bit more random. Tell me when to stop.

Dribble cards. When spectator says, “Stop,” stop and show them their card. Then place it face up on the other card, REDACTED and point to the first spectator’s hands.

Now cover this like they did.

Spectator covers the card. Make sure they don’t peek or anything. Turn to the spectator in the right. Stare for a second.

Last but not least.

Continue staring for just a bit too long. Then fan through cards and pull up REDACTED. Place it face down in front of them.

Once again, let’s change how we select your card to make it even more random.

Overhand shuffle REDACTED Overhand shuffle one more time REDACTED

I’m going to shuffle like this—

Demonstrate Hindu shuffle REDACTED. Return cards to left hand dealer’s grip.

And you tell me when to stop.

Start Hindu shuffle REDACTED. When spectator says stop, REDACTED. Push deck forward for spectator to take the card.

Take out the card and then place it on top face up. Now cover it like the others.

Turn to middle spectator.

Please uncover your cards.

Pick up the two cards. Turn to right spectator.

And you.

Pick up the two cards and place them on top. Turn back to the left spectator, who should lift up hands without prompting. Pick up those two cards and place them on top.

Okay, so we have these six cards, right? I just want to make sure that you haven’t tried to sneak one in on me and make a connection we don’t have.

Stare at first spectator. Pause for a laugh.

One, two, three, four, five, and –

Count cards REDACTED.

Six. Yup, just six cards. Okay, you had these—

Place top two cards in front of middle spectator.

And you had these—

Place next two cards in front of right spectator.

And you had these—

Place last two cards in front of left spectator (same order that you picked up the cards). Stay staring at first spectator. Slide face up card off face down card.

You were first, and you selected the—

Read face up card.

And before you picked your card, I placed down the—

Flip card so that only I can see, say card name, and place down beside the other one showing match.

Nice! I guess we really did make that connection. You should try this with your significant other and see if they’re as compatible as we are.

Turn to middle spectator.

You chose second, and you selected the—

Read face up card.

And before you picked your card, I placed down the—

Flip card so that only I can see, say card name, and place down beside the other one showing match.

Hey, that’s pretty good. Say, you don’t have a boyfriend, do you? Ignore the wedding ring on my last hand. I know I have.


Not really.

Turn to last spectator.

But maybe I’ll make an exception.

Turn back to middle spectator.

I sort of suspected we’d be friends, but you can never really tell, can you?

Turn back to left spectator.

Don’t mess this up! The whole thing rests on you now. You chose the—

Read face up card.

And before you picked your card, I placed down the—

Flip card so that only I can see, say card name, and place down beside the other one showing match.

Excellent! Mind if I call you later?

Pause for reaction as I gather up the cards and place them back into the card box.

No need to give me your number. We made that connection, see? I think I already know it.

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