Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Spirit/Secret Mathematician

In this effect the performer places a shuffled deck in his pocket and, without looking at the deck, is able to remove a card of the same suit as the selection. He then removes a number of cards the values of which have a combined total of the value of the selection. For example, if the selection was the Ten of Clubs, the performer would remove an Eight and a Two to represent the Ten.

This effect employs a basic binary principle. It was first published by Charles Jordan as “The Spirit Mathematician” in his booklet Ten New Impromptu Card Tricks, 1920, p. 5.

It is reported in Genii, Vol. 64 No. 12, Dec. 2001, p. 56, that at around this time Arthur Finley was performing the same trick in New York. The trick was eventually reprinted with “Findley” listed as the creator in the Jean Hugard's The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, 1937, p. 35, retitled “The Secret Mathematician”. In the introduction of the trick it is stated that “It was first sold by Jordan some 20 years ago.”

For more information on the Jordan-Finley contention, see Charles Jordan Controversy.