Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.
Bob Farmer
Posts: 2748
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Short card above selection.

Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Bob Farmer » November 17th, 2020, 11:57 am

I am looking for the instructions for Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die,” the ad for which reads as follows:


From the fertile brain of Mr. Dai Vernon comes a MENTAL STUNNER! Here are the facts. Imagine this effect and the IMPACT ON THE AUDIENCE!

The performer displays several cards face up and deals them in a random manner on the table top, some face up, some face down. NOW he gives a spectator an imaginary die and asks that he examine (?) it and then roll it. Since only the spectator can “see” the die he must indicate aloud the number he rolled. But BEFORE he does, the performer writes a prediction.

Now for the first time the number is revealed. THE PERFORMER HAS CORRECTLY INDICATED THE CARD AT THE MENTALLY SELECTED NUMBER!!

No nonsense with the prediction. No sleight of hand. No duplicate cards. just simply an impossibility! Complete ONLY $2.00 postpaid

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25724
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 17th, 2020, 12:47 pm

You might check The Castle Notes.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Joe Lyons
Posts: 473
Joined: November 13th, 2017, 8:27 am
Favorite Magician: Wonder
Location: Texas

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Joe Lyons » November 17th, 2020, 1:22 pm

Looks like he released it a few years later as "Dai Vernon's Crystal Cube".

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25724
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 17th, 2020, 1:54 pm

Dai Vernon's original set of cards for this trick, courtesy of David Ben.

Image

Image
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Bob Farmer
Posts: 2748
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Short card above selection.

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Bob Farmer » November 17th, 2020, 3:26 pm

The prediction must be, "You will pick the red card." The cards are arranged on the table so any number from 1 to 6 will take you to either the AS with the red back or the 6D. I haven't figured out how that might work.

Bill Mullins sent me the explanation. Thank you Bill. I'll type it up and post it later.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1630
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 17th, 2020, 5:15 pm

I will look forward to the explanation. Sounds like it could be a fun routine and pretty strong, as well. This reminded me of a routine I came up with years ago that was always popular at the bar, that I call "Alfred's Magical Game Show." (Well, some of the ideas used in the routine are mine, and others I came across in my travels and reading). Anyway, 5 cards are taken out of a small envelope along with a dollar bill folded in half. As in Vernon's Mental Die routine, one card has a different-colored back from the others, but the colors on the faces of the card are irrelevant. The cards are displayed face-up in a horizontal row, and the spectator is instructed that if they choose the "winning card," they will win the grand prize of one dollar. Sometimes I use a nice, new, crisp two dollar bill. People love those.

Holding a quarter or half dollar from above, in a sort of biddle grip, with my thumb and fingers, I move the coin slowly down the row of cards a few inches above them, explaining that they are to mimic my actions and that when they get the feeling or vibration of which card is the winner, they are to place the coin on that card. The coin is then handed to them to do just that. The game is rigged so that no matter which card they place the coin on, they will turn out to be correct, and win the grand prize of one dollar. The routine is constructed so that they are 100% convinced that they picked the winner with no help from me whatsoever (and they are 100% wrong about that). This routine is really a lot of fun, has a strong emotional hook, and ends with a happy spectator and often rambunctious applause (for the winner, but I get the credit when the management or prospective clients are within earshot. Diabolical, huh?). But wait, isn't it kind of pricey to pay a dollar or two to a spectator every time the routine is performed? Not at all - I have been repaid tenfold in tips for my investment.

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4241
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Brad Henderson » November 17th, 2020, 6:40 pm

Description says cards are dealt in random order. I would position the cards so you have essentially a hot rod force (Counting from the left or right to the chosen card) OR you use the number that appears on the die to designate the specific card.

User avatar
Spellbinder
Posts: 430
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Spellbinder » November 17th, 2020, 10:25 pm

Yusif Tremil (currently working at The Magic Nook) recently released his "Penetrating Die" which includes a similar mental selection of a playing card, but chosen by the roll of an actual physical die. There are 3 magic surprises that then occur. The first one is that the die visibly penetrates through a pack of playing cards. The second surprise is that the card chosen by the spectator vanishes from the pack of playing cards. When the die penetrated the cards, it dropped down to the table. It can be picked up by a spectator and rolled and the number rolled is then used to count down in the remaining deck of playing cards, where it locates the vanished card as the third surprise. The trick can be found in The Wizards' Journal #43-02. Unlike Dai Vernon's trick, this one comes up with six different random cards each time it is performed.
Phineas Spellbinder
The Magic Nook

Denis Behr
Posts: 368
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Munich
Contact:

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Denis Behr » November 18th, 2020, 5:03 am

That's usually credited to Arthur Carter (Pentagram, Dec. 1951). Here's a list of references just for that type of prediction: https://www.conjuringarchive.com/list/category/2313

El Mystico
Posts: 1027
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Leamington Spa
Contact:

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby El Mystico » November 18th, 2020, 5:27 am

Also see The Red Prediction in Martin Gardner Presents, Chapter Nine.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5453
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Bill Mullins » November 18th, 2020, 11:10 am

Brad Henderson wrote:Description says cards are dealt in random order.


Hint: they aren't.

Jack Shalom
Posts: 1014
Joined: February 7th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brooklyn NY

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Jack Shalom » November 18th, 2020, 11:59 am

Make sure the Ace is face up and the six face down.

If one red card is in the middle of one of the two horizontal rows, and the other red card is at the end of a row, there are lots of possibilities:

Roll a one or a six, simply turn over the appropriate card to show red.

Roll a two or a five, and count to reach the middle card. Which row you start with is determined by the number.

Roll a three or six, count to reach the end card. Which row you start with is determined by the number.

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4241
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Brad Henderson » November 18th, 2020, 1:05 pm

Bill, I took ‘random’ to mean that the cards are in a specific prescribed order BUT that order is NOT in numerical sequence.

If that order is xA6xxx then you can designate a red card with any roll of a die. Either by counting from left or right for 2-5 or using the designated value if 1 or 6 is rolled.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1630
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 18th, 2020, 1:54 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:If one red card is in the middle of one of the two horizontal rows, and the other red card is at the end of a row, there are lots of possibilities...Roll a two or a five, and count to reach the middle card. Which row you start with is determined by the number.

Roll a three or six, count to reach the end card. Which row you start with is determined by the number.


There is no need to have two rows. In fact, that makes the procedure highly suspect, if not glaringly obvious. All 6 cards can be lined up adjacent to one another in a single horizontal row.

pixsmith
Posts: 100
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Arlington, TX

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby pixsmith » November 18th, 2020, 3:07 pm

I have a copy of the instructions, published by the elders of Magic, and wrote this up for a routine in a local magic newsletter. I can send you the copy of the routine if you want, and also the originals, if you don't mind that I'll have to think about where it might be.

If memory serves, the wording of the prediction reads, "The number you roll will correspond to the red card."

federico luduena
Posts: 14
Joined: June 25th, 2012, 10:36 am

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby federico luduena » November 19th, 2020, 11:12 am

I used to do the version in Self-Working Table Magic. Didn't know it was Vernon's, although I did know it was not Carter's, since the latter uses 10 cards and it is not as elegant. Good to know that Vernon improved that. Another source is "The Red Card Prediction", in Corinda, step 10, p326.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1630
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 20th, 2020, 10:43 am

federico luduena wrote:I used to do the version in Self-Working Table Magic. Didn't know it was Vernon's, although I did know it was not Carter's, since the latter uses 10 cards and it is not as elegant. Good to know that Vernon improved that. Another source is "The Red Card Prediction", in Corinda, step 10, p326.


After seeing Federico's informative post, I dusted off my copy of Self-Working Table Magic. The version contained in the book (which I assume is Fulves' adaptation) is entitled, "The Red Prediction," and appears on pages 35 through 37 of the book. Fulves gives credit to Arthur Carter for having devised "the basic idea for this ingenious trick," but indicates that, "The present routine is adapted from a Routine of Dai Vernon's." In studying Fulves' handling, I noted that if the spectator mentally "rolls" a 4 or a 5, Fulves indicates that the spectator is directed to do the counting (from the spectator's left to right). For the other rolls in the Fulves adaptation where counting needs to be done (i.e. when the spectator "rolls" a 2 or a 3), the magician does the counting (from the magician's left to right). The more I thought about this variance in the procedure, the more I realized that it was an excellent subtlety. Of course, the optimal procedure to follow could depend upon whether the spectator is across the table from the magician or on the same side.

The wording of the prediction in Fulves' version is less subtle than other versions I have come across, but certainly direct. It states: "You will choose the only red card." I think that part of the fun (and impact) of a routine like this is choosing a clever wording for the prediction, although I can understand why some magicians might find it more suitable to their style or persona to go the direct route, as Fulves did.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5453
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Bill Mullins » November 20th, 2020, 1:47 pm

Although Self-Working Table Magic is credited to Fulves, the book clearly shows a great deal of influence from Martin Gardner. I wonder how much of this trick is his, and how much is Fulves's.

User avatar
Brad Jeffers
Posts: 1072
Joined: April 11th, 2008, 5:52 pm
Location: Savannah, GA

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Brad Jeffers » November 20th, 2020, 2:13 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:I think that part of the fun (and impact) of a routine like this is choosing a clever wording for the prediction, although I can understand why some magicians might find it more suitable to their style or persona to go the direct route, as Fulves did.

I think there should be no clever wording on the written prediction. It should be as succinct as possible.

I would even edit the Fulves model to read simply ... "You will choose the red card".

You should however, use clever wording for the selection of the card during the expository phase of the trick, saying something along the lines of ... "The number you roll on the die will correspond to one of these six cards".

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1630
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 20th, 2020, 2:22 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Although Self-Working Table Magic is credited to Fulves, the book clearly shows a great deal of influence from Martin Gardner. I wonder how much of this trick is his, and how much is Fulves's.


Exactly. That's why I was careful to say that I "assume" it is Fulves' adaptation. It is interesting to consider, though, that in "The Thirteenth Turn," (trick no. 24 in the book, at. p. 28), Fulves begins by specifically stating: "This puzzling mystery uses only one die. It is the invention of Martin Gardner." And then, in regard to the very next trick, "Spell-A-Die" (trick no. 25, at p. 29), he states in the first sentence, "After inventing the above routine [meaning The Thirteenth Turn"], Martin Gardner devised a startling new presentation for the principle." It seems odd that he would've have taken pains to credit Gardner multiple times in the book, yet omit to do so for "The Red Prediction," if in fact it was Gardner's. Indeed, Fulves gives credit to many different magicians throughout the book.
Last edited by MagicbyAlfred on November 20th, 2020, 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1630
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 20th, 2020, 2:28 pm

Brad Jeffers wrote:
MagicbyAlfred wrote:I think that part of the fun (and impact) of a routine like this is choosing a clever wording for the prediction, although I can understand why some magicians might find it more suitable to their style or persona to go the direct route, as Fulves did.

I think there should be no clever wording on the written prediction. It should be as succinct as possible.

I would even edit the Fulves model to read simply ... "You will choose the red card".

You should however, use clever wording for the selection of the card during the expository phase of the trick, saying something along the lines of ... "The number you roll on the die will correspond to one of these six cards".


I see your point, Brad, but then again, I'm not so sure the word "choose" should be used in the wording of the prediction. Think about it...

pixsmith
Posts: 100
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Arlington, TX

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby pixsmith » November 20th, 2020, 6:42 pm

Here's a link for the routine, the background on the effect itself that I dug up, and the method as it was published in the release from the elders (at the end of the document) for anyone interested.

It's a google doc; if you want to download or print it, you should be able to, but contact me if for some reason it won't and I'll figure something out.

It's a pretty great little trick, believe it or not, and worth a look. I think the placement and the reveals are pretty clever, and feel very natural.

https://bit.ly/PixSmithDaisDie

YMMV,

Pix

Bob Farmer
Posts: 2748
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Short card above selection.

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Bob Farmer » November 21st, 2020, 7:50 am

This is great! Thank you.

Jim Martin
Posts: 530
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: St. Louis

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Jim Martin » November 21st, 2020, 8:55 am

Thanks very much - fabulous!
Jim Martin
St. Louis MO

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1630
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 21st, 2020, 9:28 am

pixsmith wrote: It's a pretty great little trick


That it is! Thank you very much for sharing the routine and all the lore behind it. There's virtually no limit to the (as Bob White might say) "foolishness" that can be conducted with this piece. It is a canvas upon which each magician can creatively paint their own images and colors. I particularly like the lines: "you may roll again until you are happy with your number -- or until the cops arrive to bust up our evening’s entertainment," and "The race may not always be to the swift, nor the victory to the strong, but that's how the smart money bets. And I am going to bet that these folks will reward you with a nice round of applause for your efforts.” There's also a line in the Fulves (?) adaptation of the routine in Self-Working Table Magic (p. 35 et. seq.) that's pretty clever, where the magician tells the spectator to roll the "invisible die" few times to satisfy him/herself that it isn't "loaded."

I also found it interesting (but not surprising) that Vernon was very particular and picky about the wording of the prediction, insisting that it must be, "The number you roll will correspond to the red card.” This, as opposed, for example, to "You will roll the number of the red card,” which Pix notes is a wording he has seen other magicians use, and that "doesn't play as well." I have some of my own ideas for presentation of the routine and as to how the message on the paper should be worded (actually, not as a prediction at all), but that is for another day...

pixsmith
Posts: 100
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Arlington, TX

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby pixsmith » November 21st, 2020, 3:23 pm

I have some of my own ideas for presentation of the routine and as to how the message on the paper should be worded (actually, not as a prediction at all), but that is for another day...


That prediction thing bugged me, so that's why I rewrote it as the bet. Even though it is exactly the same, it felt different to me that way, and more in line with all the tomfoolery.

Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate it!

Cheers,

Pix

Edited to add: The whole "race to the swift" thing is from Damon Runyon's writing, where he credits sportswriter Hugh Keough. I picked Runyon for this as a frame because the rhythm of his language is really great, and it lends itself well to a trick like this, where I wanted to relax the thinking and make it easy to "go along" with what's being said without listening too hard, or pondering stuff more than needed.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1630
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 21st, 2020, 5:13 pm

Good creative and insightful thinking, Pix - all the way around.

User avatar
Paco Nagata
Posts: 299
Joined: July 3rd, 2019, 6:47 am
Favorite Magician: Juan Tamariz
Location: Madrid, Spain.

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Paco Nagata » November 23rd, 2020, 11:42 pm

This wonderful card magic trick reached Spain through Karl Fulves' books translated into Spanish.
It was translated as "La única carta roja" (the only one red card), so it has been considered here as Martin Gardner's idea.
Lots of information here as I had not idea about Vernon's reference.
I'm very happy to know much more about this interesting trick. I've had the experience to performed it in some family party with great reactions (of course).

With this post I just wanted to express my personal gratitud for this interesting thread, specially to pixsmith for sharing this great document about it! Thank you very much!
"The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician"
https://bit.ly/2lXdO2O
"La pasion de un cartómago aficionado"
https://bit.ly/2kkjpjn
Latest erratum corrections and improvements update, 16/06/2020.

Bob Farmer
Posts: 2748
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Short card above selection.

Re: Dai Vernon’s “Mental Die”

Postby Bob Farmer » November 24th, 2020, 9:01 am

I have now put together a manuscript on the trick. See:

https://www.lybrary.com/the-red-predict ... 24058.html


Return to “Mentalism & Mental Magic”