Magic Trick: The Sympathetic Cards

Palm a few (say, four) cards, and ask one of the audience to take any number, without any reference to their specification, from the pack. Suppose eight are taken: how many is quite immaterial. Borrow a handkerchief; and after satisfying all that there is nothing whatever in it, ask for the eight cards, to which number add, unperceived, those you have palmed, and place the whole in the handkerchief with great deliberation. Fold the handkerchief up, and ask someone to hold it very firmly. Now have some cards drawn from the pack. "Any number you please," you will say carelessly, taking particular care that neither more nor less than four are chosen, the "force" being here brought into play. You now ask the person who selected the first batch how many are in the handkerchief, and the answer in this instance will be eight. "Eight, and four I have here, will make twelve, will they not? Now, sir," addressing the party holding the handkerchief containing the cards, "please to keep a firm hold whilst I pass these four cards into the handkerchief to join the other eight". Make a movement as though you threw the cards towards the handkerchief, palming them, and then have the handkerchief opened and the cards counted. The beauty of the trick is that the audience apparently selects the number of cards in each instance, the idea of any previous calculation on your part taking place being thereby precluded. Be careful to call attention to the number of cards in the handkerchief, and to the number to be passed into it, or the effect of the trick will be lost. This trick is sometimes performed without a handkerchief, the cards being given to be held in the hand only. Which method is the better is purely a matter of opinion, and the learner may follow which he pleases. Do not allow the drawer of the second batch of cards to examine the faces of them, or it will be noticed that they did not pass into the handkerchief, should anyone be 'cute enough to look for them. This possible contretemps can be avoided by having duplicate cards palmed in the first instance, in which case the faces of the cards should be shown to the audience, who will be asked to remember them. This is decidedly an additional feature to the trick, but it entails far more trouble. It is for the learner to try these little things, and then retain or relinquish their use as he finds it assist or trouble him.

Another way of performing this trick is to ask one of the company to count thirty cards from the pack, and then to cut them roughly into two parts. Taking one of the parts, ask a spectator to count them. Suppose the number is sixteen. Taking them momentarily in the hands, for the implied purpose of describing exactly what you wish done, you place the four palmed cards upon the sixteen, and then instruct the spectator to hold them very securely. Now count the other heap. There will be fourteen cards, which number you announce to be quite correct, sixteen and fourteen together making thirty. Pick the cards from the table, and, in giving them to someone to hold, palm off four, taking the wand in the hand to cover the constrained position of it. Now you command four cards to pass from the heap last picked up to the one first given to be held, and, when the cards are counted, this will be found to have taken place. The trick may be reversed with success; the ten heap having the palmed cards secretly put back, and given to be held again, the twenty cards heap having four abstracted before being finally parted with. The cards are then commanded to go back to their original places. This method will possibly be found more difficult than the first one, in which a handkerchief is used.

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