Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Spectator Cuts the Aces Ruse

The idea here is that the first cut is forced at a break near center to form two piles, each with two Aces on top. Then each pile is freely cut again to form four piles. Two Aces are turned up and dropped onto the two null piles. Then the other two Aces are turned up and dropped on the piles from which they came. Visual confusion makes it seem as if each pile had an Ace on top.

This ruse was first published in 1956 in a set of lecture notes by Francis Haxton, An English Trip. However, due to the obscurity of these notes, the idea went unnoticed until it was independently reinvented years later by an international sampling of cardmen.

The basic concept, in a primitive form, appeared within a brief note on an idea by Bob Veeser in Ed Marlo's Faro Controlled Miracles, 1964, p. 64. Veeser used a single bluff. Marlo mentions the possibility (although a risky one) of cutting only three piles and using the bluff twice.

Ian Baxter published a Four-Ace Cutting handling that is very close, if not identical, to Haxton's: “P.P.P.P.” in Linking Ring, Vol. 49 No. 10, Oct. 1969, p. 66-68. After Baxter, there followed a number of others:

  • Paul Harris (“Silver and Aces,” The Magic of Paul Harris, 1976, p. 49)
  • Harry Lorayne (“Double Take”, Quantum Leaps, 1979, p. 214, “the concept isn't mine”)
  • Al Smith (“Cross-Over Aces,” The Talon, No. 2, p. 13, c. 1980)
  • Father Cyprian (“Swindle Cut Aces,” The Elegant Card Magic of Father Cyprian, 1980, p. 10)
  • Gary Ouellet (“Three Second Wonder,” The Close-up Illusions of Gary Ouellet, Volume One, 1981; VHS)
  • Shigeo Takagi (“Who Cuts First?” The Amazing Miracles of Shigeo Takagi, 1990, p. 40, and “To the Cut,” Apocalypse, Vol. 13 No. 4, Apr. 1990, p. 1770)

Interestingly, this ruse, according to Genii, Vol. 62 No. 8, Aug. 1999, p. 43, may also have been used by Frank Thompson. Cy Keller also credits Thompson in his Lecture 1.1, c. 1979, p. 3.