Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Self-cutting Deck (Haunted Pack)

Al Baker popularized the trick with his “Pack That Cuts Itself” in Book One, 1933, p. 7. Animated playing cards go back much farther, though. One such precursor was “The Hypnotised Card” in August Roterberg's New Era Card Tricks 1897, p. 68. A thread was laid over the lower half of the deck. One end of the thread was stuck to the table's edge, the other end to a wand. By raising the wand, the thread tipped the upper half of the deck over, face up, with the selection revealed on its face.

In an unpublished notebook circa 1800, an effect was attributed to a magician named Rees in which a card – secretly attached to a length of hair – would slide out of a tabled spread and follow the performer around. Will Houstoun transcribed this anonymous work and published it as The Notebook, 2009, p. 23.