The Stained Glass Effect (PDF) by Simon Caine £6.00 / $9.80
Available at: http://www.simoncmagic.co.uk/p/stained-glass.html
Card conjurors’ passion for the ACAAN plot shows no sign of waning. It seems like every month, someone releases yet another method. Simon Caine is the latest seeker to join the interminable quest for an elusive, exquisite method that has been hyperbolically dubbed the Holy Grail.
Mr. Caine’s writing is adequate and he does a pretty good job of teaching his method. The text contains several typographical errors. The author includes his patter and he cites his recent inspirational sources.
Participant #1 shuffles her own deck. The performer spreads it face down on the table. The participant freely removes a card from the spread and retains it. Let’s say it’s the Nine of Clubs. The performer reassembles the deck and squares it.
He addresses participant #2 and tells her that he wants her to cut a packet off the top of the deck. As a demonstration, he cuts off a packet and completes the cut.
Participant #2 cuts off a packet, places it under the table and counts the cards to determine a secret number. Let’s say her number is 22. She tables the packet and places the balance of the deck on top of it.
The performer spreads the deck face down on the table as he recaps the fairness of the card and number selection procedures. He gathers the spread, but he misses the bottom card. He squares the deck and places the bottom card on top of it.
Participant #1 places her card on top of the deck and cuts the deck. Both participants cut the deck. The performer cuts the deck a final time.
Participant #2 counts cards off the top of the deck and places the 22nd card face down in front of participant #1.
Participant #1 turns the card face up and discovers her Nine of Clubs.
Mr. Caine’s method relies upon a well known type of card artifice. While nothing is added to or removed from the participant’s deck, the performer must, uh, modify the deck while he initially toys with it. Then the participant can shuffle and examine the deck to her heart’s content.
The author discusses a strategy for cognitively restructuring the participants’ memories of the proceedings to cause them to believe that they merely thought of the card and the number, and that the performer didn’t touch the deck.
This familiar strategy is often effective when the method doesn’t involve a significant amount of card handling. But in Mr. Caine’s method, the participants and the performer are continuously handling the cards.
Participant #1 will remember that she physically picked a card, momentarily guarded it and then cut it back into the deck.
Participant #2 has probably never selected a number by cutting off a packet of cards and counting them under the table. That will be a novel, notable experience for her. Her memory of the procedure will be reinforced by the performer’s insulting demonstration of how to cut a packet off the top of the deck. No amount of sleight of mind will cause her to misremember that she merely thought of a card.
Mr. Caine’s displacement of the bottom card after reassembling the spread deck looks, at best, like sloppy card handling and at worst, suspicious. I would eliminate that procedure. Dealing 22 cards and turning over the next card to reveal the selection is strong enough for David Berglas, so it’s okey dokey with me.
After the participants repeatedly cut the deck, why does the performer have to give it a final cut? Unless cutting the deck is an important part of the method, why does he bother doing it?
I must evaluate Mr. Caine’s method in light of the bevy of published ACAAN methods. While the author’s method isn’t laughably bad, it is overshadowed by a number of superior methods.
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