Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Reverse Spread

Frederick Montague recorded the earliest known description and application of the topological idea of reversing a portion of a handheld spread. With this he accomplished the control of the card to second from the top of the deck. It appeared in Westminster Wizardry, 1928, p. 74. Montague's technique only involves reversing one half of the spread. The first published technique to reverse both halves of the spread—secretly cutting the packet in the process—appeared in Karl Fulves's Card Under Glass, 1979, p. 78. The technique is used with a packet of four cards. Fulves credits it as an unpublished move of Fr. Cyprian's.

J. B. Bernat used the same technique as Cyprian—albeit with a full deck—for a method to place a key card next to a selection. He published this under the title of “Engaño Óptico” in Cartomagia: 30 años después, 1981, p. 69. He claims to have come up with the idea in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

This predates Piet Forton's claim of a similar move sometime in the 1960s. Forton and Wolff von Keyserlingk published their work using the reverse spread to effect a “pass” control (identical in concept to Cyprian's move) in Inside CardMagic II, 1996, p. 47, edited by Oliver Erens, as “Light-reft Spread Pass”. (See the English translation in Concertos for Pasteboard, p. 43.) Bernat's creation date, and Cyprian's publication date both precede Forton's and von Keyserlingk's.

(On a related note, in The Linking Ring, Vol. 82 No. 9, Sep. 2002, p. 88, Allan Ackerman describes the same idea under the title “Ultimate Gesture Cut,” saying that it had been developed after a visiting magician – whose name he couldn't recall – showed him a reverse-spread handling of the Prophesy Move in 1976. This Prophesy Move application is given on p. 95.)