Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Feigned Mistake

The ploy of planning or pretending to make an error during a presentation, with the secret purpose of advancing the method and/or building a sense of difficulty, is described by Edmé-Gilles Guyot in his Nouvelles récréations physiques et mathématiques, Vol. 2, 1769, p. 150, in the context of shuffling twenty-four alphabet cards and making them come out in alphabetic order. The cards are shuffled, but fail to be in the desired arrangement. A second shuffle, however, achieves the goal.