Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Fillman Principle

Using opposing grains of the pasteboard in playing cards (lengthwise vs. widthwise) to differentiate between cards is described as a card cheat's technique by the anonymous author (believed to be Ange Goudar) of L’antidote ou le Contrepoison des Chevaliers d’Industrie, ou Joueurs de Profession, 1768; see Lori Pieper's English translation in Gibecière, Vol. 7 No. 2, Summer 2012, p. 104. The author does not state the method for distinguishing between the two grains. Presumably, it would be either by texture or flexibility.

Tan Hock Chuan explained the idea of using the flexibility of the grain as a means of identifying a particular card in a group in his “An Uncanny Detection” to The Sphinx, Vol. 37 No. 4, June 1938, p. 93. Bob Fillman later marketed “The Fillman Miracle Principle,” c. 1954 (using the same concept as that in Tan Hock Chuan's trick).