A well-known, but, when well executed, very effective, trick is performed with the aid of one or two boxes, known as "card-boxes." They are about half an inch deep, and sufficiently large to hold a card very easily indeed; that is to say, there is a good eighth of an inch to spare all round the card when it is in the box. The boxes are black inside, and are furnished with a thin piece of wood, also blackened, which is placed loosely within and fills up the entire interior space. This piece of wood is the secret of the box, for by its means a card is made to appear and disappear. Suppose that the box is wide open, and in the right-hand half is placed the card, whilst the left-hand half contains the piece of wood. If, on the box being closed (which movement must be rapidly executed, or the wood may unexpectedly fall out) the left-hand half is turned over on to the right-hand half, the card contained in the latter will necessarily be covered by the blackened piece of wood, and will appear to have vanished entirely when the box is re-opened. By simply turning the box over, the card will be made to appear.
The trick is performed by means of a duplicate card, which can either be forced, and, after being placed in the box, made to return invisibly into the pack whilst the latter is being held by one of the audience, or the box may contain one of the duplicate cards in the first instance. The other one can then be forced, replaced in the pack, brought to the top, and palmed. The pack may then be examined, after the card has been shown to be in the box, to prove that it really has gone from it. The proper time for replacing the card in the pack is immediately after the person has finished the examination. You take the cards from him, and, placing the palmed card on the top of the pack, make the pass, and so bring it to the middle; you can then perform the operation of passing it invisibly from the box back again to the pack, where it will, of course, be found. Opinion is divided on the question of handing the box or boxes round for examination. If this is done, the trick decidedly attains lustre thereby, but, of course, the false wooden bottoms must be concealed about the performer's person, and slipped in whilst retiring to his table. In showing the boxes round with the false bottoms in them, keep a finger on the latter, and knock the boxes about a good deal with the wand to show they are solid, &c. In "passing" the card, either from box to pack, or vice versâ, make a great show of taking it from either place by means of the wand, on the end of which you seriously declare you can distinctly see it. Conjurors are able to make great capital out of doing simply nothing at all; and as it is impossible, when performing with nothing, to make any mistakes, then is the time to do the most extraordinary things. The trick with the boxes can be varied by having two duplicate cards of different denominations, one of each kind being concealed in a box. Say the cards are the six of clubs and king of hearts. Force these cards from the pack and place the drawn king in the box containing the six, and the drawn six in the box containing the king. You have only to turn the boxes over to effect the change, although you of course affect to bring it about by magical means. You may then remove one six and one king from the boxes, leaving one of each still concealed, and, placing them in the pack, bring them to the top, palming them and proceeding as directed for one card only. This makes a very pretty trick. The boxes are best purchased from a conjuring repository, where they can be obtained cheaply.