Magic Trick: The Transformation of the Jack of Clubs

Three of the Jack of clubs are distributed as follows in the pack: One is laid on the top, a second is placed the third from the top, and the third next to the bottom. The performer makes the "pass" so as to bring the top Jack to the middle of the pack, and forces it on one of the audience, who is asked to look at it, so as to know it again, and then put it back in the same place in the pack. Again the pass is made and the card is brought back to its original position. The performer now ruffles the pack with his left hand and, showing the bottom card to the one who drew the card, asks whether that is the card he selected. As the bottom card is, let us say, the seven of spades, the answer, necessarily, must be "No." "That's a bad beginning," says the performer, "and as that particular card is the most fractious one in the pack, always pushing itself in where it is not wanted, I'll get it out of the way and lay it on the table." Lowering the pack, face downward, he slips back the seven of spades with the third finger of the left hand, which is at the bottom of the pack, and with the second finger and thumb of the right hand takes instead the card that follows, a Jack of clubs, and places it, face down, on the table. Then putting his little finger between the two top cards and the rest of the pack he passes those two cards to the bottom. There will be now one Jack of clubs on top of the pack and another next to the bottom, while at the bottom is some indifferent card, say, the nine of diamonds.

"As I was so unfortunate with the first card," continues the performer, "I hope to do better this time. I think you will find, sir, that the card now at the bottom is the one you selected."

He shows the card and is again told he is wrong. "Dear me," he exclaims, "I don't know that I can do better than put it alongside of the other on the table." He proceeds as with the seven of spades and lays the second Jack of clubs on the table. "As many good things go in threes," he says, "let me try once more. As I have had no luck at the bottom of the pack, suppose I try the top for a change." He now, apparently, shows the top card, but, really, shows the two top cards as one, the second being, we will suppose, the ten of hearts. Keeping the two cards well together, his thumb at the top and first finger beneath, he slides them to the right. protruding about an inch. The thumb of the left hand keeps them in position. Now the thumb and first finger of the right hand turn up the two cards just a trifle, so as to bring in sight the ten of hearts, as shown in Fig. 46. The moment he is told that it is not the selected card the performer presses the cards down to their normal position, and with the right thumb slides the Jack of clubs free of the ten of hearts, holding it between the thumb and first finger. At the same time the left thumb draws the ten of hearts back on the pack. With a little care this change is imperceptible.

Fig. 46

The Jack of clubs is now placed on the table, face downward, with the others.

The seven of spades and the nine of diamonds are now brought from the bottom of the pack to the top, and they will be in the following order: First, the top card, which is the seven of spades; second, the nine of diamonds; and third and last, the ten of hearts.

The three Jack of clubs are on the table, faces down.

"So far," says the performer, "my endeavors have come to naught." Then turning to one of the audience, he says, "Perhaps this gentleman may be more successful. Will you, sir, be good enough to select one of those cards that are on the table?" The performer picks up the one that is pointed out, and shows it to be the Jack of clubs. As he is putting it back on the table he exchanges it, by the bottom change for the top card, the seven of spades. Then a second card is selected and that proves to be a Jack of clubs. "That's very remarkable," he says, "the Jack of clubs has evidently come to life." While saying this he makes the exchange again, this time for the nine of diamonds, which he throws carelessly alongside the other card, face down. He then turns over the third card. "Jack of clubs again! Why, it seems to be nothing else," he says, and exchanging it this time by the top change for the ten of hearts, lays that on the table. As there can not be more than one Jack of clubs in the pack, the performer declares there must be a mistake somewhere, and asks some one to turn the cards over, and they prove to be the cards that were first shown, which were declared to be wrong. In the meanwhile the performer gets rid of the two bottom Jacks, and throws down the pack so that it may be examined.