Magic Trick: The Pass

One of the foremost artifices resorted to in card conjuring is that known as the "pass," "shift," or sauter la coupe, as it is called in French. By this sleight a card which has been placed in the middle of the pack is transferred to either the top or the bottom without any one perceiving it. The position of two or more cards may be changed as readily as that of one card.

In order to do this the lower part of the pack on which a chosen card is placed must take the place of the upper part, which, in turn, goes to the bottom; in other words the positions of the two halves or portions are reversed.

When a card that has been selected is to be replaced in the pack, the performer opens the pack, as shown in Fig. 1. The card is received on the lower portion of the pack, which is then closed. In closing it, however, the tip of the little finger of the left hand is inserted between the two portions. The pack is now lying in the left hand in the position shown in Fig. 2, that is, with the thumb on the top of the pack and the fingers on the opposite side, the little finger dividing the pack in two.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Placing his right hand over his left, the performer grasps the lower portion of the pack between the thumb at the bottom and the second finger at the top, as in Fig. 3. The top packet which is now held by the fingers of the left hand, the little finger below and the other fingers on top, is drawn away by opening out the fingers, and when it is clear of the lower packet the fingers are closed again, bringing it thereby to the bottom. So that the two packets may clear each other in passing, the right side of the lower packet must be raised a little, as shown in Figs. 4 and 5. The part marked A in Fig. 4 presses steadily against the root of the left thumb. At BB it is held between the ball of the thumb and the second finger of the right hand. While in this position if the lower part of the left thumb exerts a pressure at A, the side CC will be raised, the thumb and second finger of the right hand at BB acting as pivots. The movements of the two packets must be simultaneous, and be made noiselessly. The right hand acts as a screen to hide the manipulations and should be held motionless. The pack is held at an angle of about forty-five degrees.

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

The manipulations should be practised before a mirror and slowly until the exact moves are reached, but until then speed ought not be sought.

Instead of opening the pack bookwise to receive the selected card, it may be spread out like a fan between the hands, and the little finger inserted when closing it.

Fig. 5

When it is desired to bring the selected card to the bottom of the pack instead of the top, the little finger of the left hand must be placed under the card.

The "pass" may be made with one hand, but as it is almost impossible to make it invisibly it is of little practical use, and need not be considered here.

There is still another method, an excellent one, whereby the position of a card is changed and it is brought from the middle of the pack to the top or the bottom or from the top to the bottom and vice versa. This is known as

Index of Magic Tricks | Previous Trick: Card Tricks - Introduction | Next Trick: The Clip