Magic Trick: Correcting a Mistake

The pack is handed out to be shuffled and some one is asked to select a card and without looking at it to lay it on the table, face down, and place something on it. A second person is then asked to select three cards, at random, and without looking at them to place them also on the table.

Now the performer declares that by virtue of a certain hypnotic power he possesses, he has caused the two persons to select four cards of the same value. To prove the truth of this the three cards last chosen are turned over and are found to be of the same spot value, but when the first card is turned up, it proves to be, to the great humiliation of the performer, of an entirely different value. "Ah," cries the embarrassed conjurer, "I remember now, that the moon is in a different quarter from what I thought it to be. However, that can be remedied, and I shall yet do what I set out to do. Please turn the three cards down once more. I shall now simply wave my hands over the cards and mentally repeat the mystic formula. Be good enough to turn the cards face up again. I knew I could do it!" To the surprise of the audience, the cards are seen to be of the same value as that of the card first chosen.

Clever as this trick is, it is very simple. At the start the pack is arranged with an ace on top; immediately under it are three queens, and under these are the other three aces. To begin, the performer makes the "pass," so as to bring the top cards to about the middle of the pack, and forces the first ace. Again making the "pass" he brings the pack again to its original arrangement. The ace is laid on the table and covered with something. On his way to the second person the conjurer palms at least six cards from the top of the pack. The second person now draws three cards, without looking at them, and places them on top of the pack. When the pack is returned to the performer he lays the palmed cards secretly on top of the pack. A third person is now requested to take the pack and lay the three top cards, supposed to be those that were selected, faces downward, in a row on the table. Carelessly taking the pack in his left hand the performer picks up with his right one of the three cards, turns it over, and shows that it is a queen. Then he asks some one to turn over a second card, and that also proves to be a queen. While the attention of the audience is drawn to the second queen, the performer, by means of "the bottom change" exchanges the queen that is in his hand for one of the aces, which he lays on the table. Some one is now asked to turn over the third card, and that being a queen, the performer remarks that so far he has been successful. Picking up the two queens in an off-hand way, he says, "We have had the Queens of spades, hearts, and clubs. All we need is the Queen of diamonds. Will some one turn over the covered card and see if it is she?" While attention is directed to that card, Mr. Conjurer exchanges the two queens, that are still in his hand, for the two aces that are on top of the pack, and throws them, faces down, on the table. The trick is done and needs no further explanation.