Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Ribbon Spread Hideout

This idea was recorded sometime in the 1930s or 1940s in Jacob Daley's Notebooks, n.d. (c. 1974), n.p. (item 80) as Dai Vernon's. The entry applies the concealment to the vanish of a reversed card in the deck. This concealment is sometimes incorrectly attributed to Charles Nyquist, due to his article titled “The Ribbonspread Reverse” in Hugard's Magic Monthly, Vol. 6 No. 3, Aug. 1948, p. 453. However, Nyquist was clear in this article that all he was claiming as original is the idea of flipping over the ribbon-spread deck to produce the hidden, reversed card in it. He did not claim the principle of rightjogging one or more reversed cards to conceal them in a ribbon spread. Daley's attribution of this idea to Vernon is the only source we have.

Edward Marlo applied this hideout principle to a faro-shuffled deck, for concealing multiple cards. See Faro Controlled Miracles, 1964, p. 59. Marlo was trying to solve a problem Dai Vernon mentioned in 1952, in which, after a shuffled deck has been ribbon spread, four Aces appear face up in different locations upon the deck being spread a second time. Alex Elmsley was exploring similar territory during the 1950s, and Marlo included “Elmsley's Ultra Mental” (Elmsley later called it “Brainweave”) in the work just cited (p. 52). In this trick, Elmsley applied an angle jog to a faro-woven packet, to approximate the effect of the Ultra Mental Deck with an unprepared pack.

In England, enthusiast Bob Bridson was experimenting with combining the faro shuffle and the Ribbon Spread Hideout. Alex Elmsley recalled Bridson, in the early 1950s, showing him the idea of faro weaving the red cards into the blacks and offsetting the halves sidewise, so that the deck could be ribbon spread in one direction and only red cards would show, and then turned end for end and ribbon spread again to show all black cards. This was around the same time Marlo was exploring similar ideas in the States. See The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, Vol. II, by Stephen Minch, 1994, p. 338.


Prior to hiding cards in a spread, magicians were hiding cards beneath the spread. See Clayton W. Rosencrance's “The Card That Didn't Turn” in The Sphinx, Vol. 22 No. 9, Nov. 1923, p. 272.

(Related: Impromptu Long-Short Deck)