Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Three of Clubs Trick

The roots of this prediction effect — in which the performer lays down a card, someone freely names a card, and the card on the table is flipped up to show it is the named one — are found in August Roterberg's New Era Card Tricks, 1897, p. 158 & 167, where he gives four methods, all unattributed, under the titles “Marvelous Coincidence,” and “Grande Clairvoyance Mysterieuse,” respectively. The latter appeared a year earlier in German in Friedrich Wilhelm Conradi's Der Moderne Karten Künstler , 1896, p. 52. And all this work grew from similar ideas by Johann Hofzinser, described within “Pre-Determination of Thought” in Kartenkünste, 1910, p. 59 of the Sharpe translation.

R. W. Hull advertised a trick in Linking Ring, Vol. 10 No. 7, Sep. 1930, p. 791, titled “The Hypnotic Joker.” It was a one-deck version of the effect treated by Roterberg, whose methods all openly employed two decks. Hull's “The Hypnotic Joker” was never released. Its method is believed to have appeared in Greater Magic, 1938, p. 327, under the title “Three of Clubs”, with no credit to an inventor. This method recombined elements of the methods in Roterberg. Stewart James eventually made the connection between Hull's “The Hypnotic Joker” and “Three of Clubs,” which was published in Hugard's Magic Monthly, Vol. 20 No. 9, May 1963, p. 66.

The methodological structure that “Three of Clubs” employed was also developed by Jack McMillen before Hull began advertising “The Hypnotic Joker.” This appeared in his “The Transformer Card” within The Sphinx, Vol. 28 No. 1, Mar. 1929, p. 25. While their structures are the same, the main difference between McMillen's and Hull's approaches is that Hull placed the initial card on the table, whereas McMillen placed it in his pocket.