Magic Trick: The Force

This is the last of the elementary principles to be learnt, and is a highly important one. It is hardly a feat of sleight of hand, although requiring considerable practice and determination to carry out properly. The act of forcing a card consists in inducing the chooser of a card to select from those proffered by you any particular card you please. As will hereafter transpire, it is highly essential for some tricks that a particular card, and none other, be chosen. The best method is as follows: Have the card which you desire to have selected at the bottom of the pack, in which the finger is inserted ready for the pass. As you advance for the purpose of presenting the cards, make the pass and allow the middle finger to remain under what was the bottom card, now somewhere in the middle. Spread out the cards, keeping them in constant motion, and as the chooser's hand is put forward to select a card, the middle finger should run the desired card into it. This action must be performed as naturally as possible. There must be no distinct motion of pushing the card into the hand, the cards being so manipulated that it always appears as if they were only just ready as the chooser's hand reaches them. Usually the difficulty of forcing a card is very small indeed, persons unacquainted with the ruse taking the first card that reaches their fingers with charming simplicity. In the event of a failure, do not appear in the least degree disconcerted, but "force" the card on some more tractable person, and then ask a third party to choose between the two cards selected. You will explain that your reason for having two cards chosen is to prove that you do not "force" any card, and then say, "Now, which card shall I take?" If the card you want is indicated, say, "This one, then, I am to use for my trick;" but if the other card is pointed at, then say, "This card I am to take away," and suit the action to the word. By this means you will appear to have given the audience a free choice, and at the same time obtained your own private ends. The beginner is sure to be nervous in forcing a card, and he must endeavour to overcome the feeling as quickly as possible. Some performers (I won't say conjurors) use what is called a "forcing pack," viz., a pack consisting entirely of cards of one particular kind, which will, of course, be that which is required for the trick. As, however, it is utterly impossible to allow such a pack to be examined, and highly disastrous to allow any number of the cards to fall or otherwise become seen, the conjuror should disdain to seek such adventitious aid as that afforded by a "forcing pack," the possession of which generally causes the appellation of "duffer" to attach itself to the owner.

With a command of the foregoing "elementary principles" the performer may attempt anything with the cards, taking care, however, always to rehearse any new combination carefully, lest it prove too much for him in the hour of trial. As previously stated, tricks with cards are without end, and the conjuror may vary his causes and effects at will. I give, however, a few of the most favourite tricks, so as to afford an idea of what may be attempted by the learner.