Here is my creepy contribution to this discussion. Back in the day, I first field tested this item on my brand new mother in law. She still feels unfortable being around me. I like that. This effect first saw print in the November/December 2002 issue of Tom Cutts' now defunct magazine, AM/PM.
A MENTAL CASE
I had been obsessing about this effect for several years. I envisioned a clear, non-sleight method that would convince my participant that somehow, our thoughts converged, as evidenced by the slam-dunk revelations.
Luckily, I became reacquainted with a form of card artifice that I had avoided for my entire magic life. I avoided it because it seemed like too much work, and because I couldnt get over the nagging feelings of guilt that I imagined I would experience when utilizing this principal.
Well, Im all better now. In support of that ludicrous claim, I offer the following effect. If presented properly, your participant will want to abandon her former life and devote her life to you. Be gentle with her.
EFFECT: The participant has the Ace through 5 of Clubs. You have the Ace through 5 of Spades. You each shuffle your packets, then fan their faces toward your respective faces. The participant freely discards a card and tables it face-down. You do the same, and place your discard on top of hers. This is repeated three times, leaving you each holding one card.
You reveal your cards and they are mates! For further frying, the discarded pairs are turned over and they are all mates!!
REQUIREMENTS: A marked deck. I use and heartily endorse the Boris Wild system.
PRESENTATION: Remove the requisite cards from the deck. Place the Club cards face up in front of your participant and table your face-up Spades in front of you.
Have you ever thoughtfully considered the personalities of playing cards? No, of course not. You have a real life. You have things to do. Me, I think about this stuff a lot, because I have too much free time on my hands.
My perseveration has resulted in not only a deep understanding of the personalities of each card in the deck, but has yielded a Pasteboard Opinion Poll. The goal of this poll is to assess why people hold onto, or discard a particular card, after learning something about its personality.
Would you like to take my poll?
After delivering this line, resist the temptation to leer or burst into laughter or put your hands in your pockets and fiddle around. Appear sincere, while grinning and howling inside.
Great! Please arrange your cards in a row, from left to right, in Ace to Five order. Ill do the same.
You both do so.
As I tell you a little about each card, stare at it, to help you remember as much as possible about it. I will be watching your eyes. Okay, heres some little-known information about the personalities of these cards:
The Ace is the most powerful card in the deck, and it knows it. Sadly, it has allowed its lofty stature to go to its pointy head. It rarely hangs out with the other cards, because it is too busy staring in the mirror and wallowing in its own narcissistic froth.
The 2 has gained much acclaim in Poker circles, thanks to the wacky concept that Deuces are wild. It has always had a problem with being referred to as a Deuce. It feels that its unique Two-ness has been lost in the shuffle. And it also realizes that without card games, it is the lowest value card in the deck. It has bipolar disorder.
The 3 rejoices in the fact that it is NOT the lowest value card in the deck. But it spends way too much time reminding the other cards of its status. And it keeps picking on the 2. The other cards realize that the 3 is an anxiety-riddled bully, with no self-esteem.
The 4 is a pleasant, well-mannered card. It doesnt cause a fuss. It tries to go unnoticed, because it doesnt want to be reminded of its traumatic upbringing at the hands of abusive inkers and cutters. And it lives with the painful reality that it could be discarded at any time.
The 5 is a great friend of Blackjack dealers, who seem to deal it to themselves a lot when they have to hit on 16. The 5 enjoys a very secure, comfortable life. Still, it struggles with the reality that it is little more than a whore in the vast money machine.
Wow! That was uplifting, huh? So, now that youve learned more than you ever wanted to know about the personalities of these cards, lets get on with the survey. Scoop up your cards, turn them face-down and mix them.
You each do so.
Now spread your cards out in a lovely fan, with their faces toward you, like youre studying a Poker hand.
Model this for your participant by holding your fan close to your face, so that your eyes are kind of peering at her above your cards.
One card at a time, were each going to discard the cards that we like least. Do not base your choices on the values of the cards, but rather on how appealing or repellent you find their personalities.
So, study your cards, remembering what I told you about them. When you decide upon the card that you like the least, stare at it. I will be watching you eyes. Dont stare at me. I hate that! Focus on that card. Then, without letting me see it, slowly remove it and discard it face-down, right here.
Point to a spot on the table, off to your left. This will be the beginning of a left to right row of four pairs of cards, so be space conscious.
Ill do the same. We will continue this discard process until were both left with a single card. Our favorite card. Then well reveal our cards and attempt to make some sense of this data.
I chose to give the participant Clubs because, thanks to Wilds system, they are a quick and easy read when the participant fans the cards. So, simply read the card that your participant removes and table your mate on top of it!
Try to remove your card at the precise moment that your participant removes hers. This is important because it subtly conveys the feeling that the two of you are in synch. Its easy to do because you know the identity of the participants card the instant she touches it.
DO NOT make the horrendous mistake of letting the participant table her card, then staring at it and reading it, then looking at your fan, then removing a card and placing it on top of hers. That looks like youre reading its back! If you cant identify the card while its still in the fan, then you shouldnt be doing this trick.
During the discard process, spend as much time as possible actually staring into your participants eyes. She may quickly glance at you while staring at her card or as she is removing and tabling it. This is a good thing. You want her to believe that you are staring at her eyes, not at the backs of her cards. If your eyes should meet during the process, this will help support that desired belief.
After youve both discarded three cards, the tasteful patter continues.
So, it has come down to these two cards. This is where the rubber meets the road. Where the knuckle greets the nut. Without thinking too much about that last remark, lets eliminate one more card.
You each do so.
So here we are, feverishly clutching our favorite cards. You can just feel the tension, cant you? Okay, show your card to the crowd and me.
She displays her card.
Ah, the (whatever). What was it about that card that compelled you to choose it?
Your participants explanation of why she chose the card is often revealing and interesting. It can provide you with fodder for engaging repartee. Make the most of it.
I chose my card for completely different, disturbing personal reasons that I refuse to discuss. Despite this or perhaps because of it, somehow, in some strange manner, our thoughts converged.
Turn your card around to reveal the match! The participant and crowd are delighted and assume that this is the climax to the effect. Let this moment breathe. While the moment is breathing, take the participants card and table it and your card in a face-up fan between you and the row of pairs.
Now, lets consider the discards. Heres the first card you discarded.
As you say this, turn the left-most pair of the row face-up, keeping the pair squared.
What was it about the (whatever) that you found so extremely unpleasant?
Again, make the most of the participants response. Repeat this with the remaining pairs, from left to right, resulting in four face-up, squared pairs.
How interesting. Thank you for letting me peek into your head. And now Ill let you peek into mine.
Spread apart the fingers of both hands. Place your left fingertips onto the left two pairs and your right fingertips onto the right two pairs. Slowly draw both hands toward you, revealing the perfect mates!
RUMINATIONS: The very few of you who would even consider performing this effect may worry that it is Too Perfect. That the participant and crowd, having no other explanatory avenues to pursue, will correctly surmise that you are using readers. For you, I offer the following variations.
The participant and you place your discards into a single, face-down pile. You make sure to keep the pile somewhat messy. After revealing your mates, square the discard pile with both hands, then flip the pile face-up, like youre turning the page of a book.
Place your right fingers and thumb together, so it looks like your palming a card. Lower your hand onto the pile and slowly spread it to the right, forming a spread. The edge of your right thumb actually does most of the spreading. Point out how the discards are perfectly paired throughout the spread.
The point of this method is to suggest that by handling the discard pile, you might have executed some expert sleight of hand to arrange the discards into pairs. This gives the crowd a possible explanation, however far-fetched it may be.
The other variation is to simply place your discards, one at a time, on top of the deck without showing them. Reveal that your remaining cards match and the trick is over. This greatly reduces the impact of the effect, placing it into the category of a highly unlikely coincidence. But, youll never have to worry that the trick is Too Perfect.