Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

User Tools

Site Tools

Twisting the Aces

This trick by Dai Vernon has become a classic, spawning hundreds of variations. It originally appeared in Dai Vernon's More Inner Secrets of Card Magic by Lewis Ganson, 1960, p. 5. “Twisting the Aces” also single-handedly popularized Alex Elmsley's false display, the Elmsley Count.

Edward Marlo's “Upside Down” in Marlo in Spades (1947, p. 50), although quite different in effect and method, can be seen as a precursor.

In 1963, Marlo published other tricks in which cards turned face up and down again, in a progression; see The Linking Ring, Vol. 43 No. 9, Sep. 1963, p. 64-74. These tricks came from notes Marlo made in 1955 through 1957. All used false displays other than the Elmsley Count. For a detailed account of Marlo's work, see Jon Racherbaumer's The Ascanio Spread, 1976, p. 28; and The Olram File, Vol. 1 No. 12, June 1992, p. 11. On a typed sheet in Marlo's files, dated Aug. 15, 1958, it is stated: “shown by Dai Vernon”, under which Marlo handwrote, “Based on Marlo's 'One To Four' – see Notes of July 20, 1957.” While this trick may have preceded Vernon's “Twisting the Aces”, it is difficult to see how Vernon might have “based” his trick on Marlo's private notes. “One to Four” wasn't published until 1963 in The Linking Ring cited above, p. 65.