Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Alternating Red-Black Setup for Location

Charles Jordan seems to be the first to exploit the basic principle that supports this method, in his marketed trick “Premo Detection”, advertised in The Sphinx, Vol. 16 No. 8, Oct. 1916, p. 162. The instruction sheet for this trick was included by Karl Fulves in Charles T. Jordan Collected Tricks, 1975, p. 142. A deck with one-way backs is set up with the backs alternating in their orientation. When a card is freely removed and noted, its position is secretly transposed with the card above it on its return to the deck. The disruption of the pattern of alternating backs identifies the selection.

Jordan returned to this idea three years later, with “Change Your Mind” in Thirty Card Mysteries, 1919, p. 72. This location offers more complex and baffling conditions in which a combination of one-way backs and an even-odd separation is used to identify two cards, the positions of which are reversed by a spectator as he chooses one.

Theodore Annemann utilized the same principle of an alternating orientation of the cards in a deck of one-way backs in “The Alternate Detection” in Sh-h-h--! It's a Secret, 1934, p. 14. His addition was to have two adjacent cards chosen, each by a different person, and then have the cards returned in reverse order.

In “Out of This Universe”, published in Genii, Vol. 19 No. 9, Aug. 1955, p. 410, Larry Becker used the idea of an alternating color setup to produce selected cards in a magically segregated pack, by subtly transposing the positions of the chosen cards in the setup during their selection.

Juan Tamariz built this idea into an extraordinary routine with his “Neither Blind Nor Silly,” published as “Blown Away” in Apocalypse, Vol. 10 No. 7, July 1987, p. 1369; and then in Sonata, 1991, p. 211.