Magic Trick: The Congenial Aces

Select from the pack the four aces (four cards of any other denomination would serve equally well, but aces are best for effect), and allow the pack to be thoroughly examined for the purpose of showing that there are no others contained in it. Give one ace to one person, another to a second person, and the remaining two to a third. Have the first ace placed at the top of the pack, the second at the bottom, and the third and fourth in what the audience will suppose to be the middle of the pack, but in reality between the top and bottom cards brought together by means of the pass. As you turn to the third person holding aces you pretend to open the pack in the middle, but in reality make the pass, but without bringing the two portions together again. The two remaining aces are thus innocently placed between the two already restored to the pack, which you instantly close up, whilst calling particular attention to the fact that you do so with all possible deliberation and slowness. Now command all four aces to join company in the centre of the pack. On the pack being opened, the command will be found to have been obeyed. The trick can be varied by placing a red ace in the centre and a black one on the top or bottom, and then causing them to change places by means of the pass. But the most startling change of all is when two aces of one colour are placed in the centre, and the two of the other colour, one on the top and one at the bottom, and then made to change places. The company cannot realise that this can possibly be accomplished in so brief a space of time; but it is simple enough. It should always be produced as a final effect, the performer saying, "Now I will show you something more remarkable still." He then places, say, the two red aces in the centre of the pack, and one black ace on the top and the other at the bottom. In order to convince the company thoroughly that things are as stated, the pack is turned over and opened slightly, fanwise. In showing the cards thus, it will be very easy to insert the little finger between the two red aces unperceived, and the double-handed pass is made in the act of turning the pack over. It is instantly placed in the hands of one of the company, who may be asked to blow upon it, or to perform any other operation equally unlikely to bring about any magical change, and then the cards can be examined without the performer approaching them again. But, in such cases, much depends upon how the pack is examined, and it should always be done under the performer's directions. For instance, he would say, "On the top was a black ace; will you please look at the top card now? — you will see that it is a red one. At the bottom was also a black ace; turn the pack over, please, and you will find a red one there also. In the centre were two red aces; kindly look there, and you will find the black ones." By this means, the whole of the company are informed of what has taken place, which would only be unsatisfactorily done if it were left in the hands of the temporary holder of the cards, who only thinks of satisfying his own curiosity.

The single-handed pass (Fig. 28, &c.) may be employed in this trick to great advantage, whenever it is required to bring cards from the outsides to the centre. Where cards, already in the centre, have to be brought to the top or bottom, the insertion of the little finger is necessary, and so the double-handed pass has to be employed. In such cases, the employment of the pass depicted at Fig. 33 would be possible; but the performer would have to execute it in a more masterly manner than I have yet seen exhibited. For the first phase described, the single-handed pass (Fig. 28, &c.) is perfect. Two aces are placed, one at the top and the other at the bottom of the pack, and as the performer turns to the holder of the two others, he executes the pass, leaving the cards open, precisely as depicted at Fig. 30, turning the hand slightly downwards, so that the ace in the middle shall not be visible. It then appears to the spectators as if he had merely opened the cards slightly; and, when the two aces are inserted, the top half is allowed to fall to, and the pack given there and then into the hands of one of the audience.