Card Tricks for the Fractured Mind by Peter Duffie

Read exclusive online reviews of products and discuss them.
Tom Frame
Posts: 1057
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Del Ray
Location: San Francisco

Card Tricks for the Fractured Mind by Peter Duffie

Postby Tom Frame » September 14th, 2011, 10:17 am

Card Tricks for the Fractured Mind (ebook) by Peter Duffie $14.95
47 pages, 85 photographs, 2 illustrations
Available at:

Ive been worried about Peter Duffies mental health ever since the publication of Card Compulsions in 1995. Over the years, I have anxiously monitored his inexorable descent into madness. Fortunately, the torturous tempest that rages in his head has not impaired his magical creativity. His latest cry for help, Card Tricks for the Fractured Mind, features a dozen effects from his mental maelstrom.

The author writes well and does a fine job of teaching the material. There are a few typographical errors and grammatical glitches, but they dont interfere with the instruction.

Mr. Duffie dutifully cites his inspirational sources.

In the Table of Contents, the effects names are hyperlinked. Click on an effect and youre taken to the desired page.

The photographs are clear and helpful.

K.F.C.: The performer displays a ribbon with a sticker affixed to one end. He cuts half of the deck to the table and retains the other half in his hand. A participant freely touches a card from the in-hand packet. The performer brings the selection to the top of the deck, turns it face-up and has the participant sign its face. He turns the card face-down and places it on top of the tabled portion. He cuts the tabled portion and turns it face-up.

The performer turns the top card of his packet face-up, displaying a Joker. He turns the Joker face-down and attaches the sticker to its back so that the ribbon hangs over the inner end of the cards. He inserts the ribboned Joker into the center of his packet, turns the packet face-up and places it on top of the tabled portion.

The performer picks up the deck and holds it with its face toward the participant and the ribbon hanging down. He pulls down on the ribbon and the Joker emerges from the bottom of the deck. He pushes the Joker square with the deck.

The participant pulls down on the ribbon and her selection rises from the top of the deck. She pulls her card out of the deck and discovers that the ribbon is securely attached to it.

This is the authors version of Karl Fulves Fall & Rise that appeared in Notes from Underground (1973). I wasnt familiar with this effect. Its novel and the counterintuitive climax creates quite a surprise. Mr. Duffie wisely prints his contact information on the sticker. Though he doesnt mention it, I recommend letting the participant keep the ribboned card. I like it.

Misdirection Monte: A participant freely selects and signs a card, which is lost in the deck. The performer turns over the top card of the deck, displays a black Queen and tables it face-up. He flips over the next two cards, displaying the red Aces. He tables the deck and flips the Aces face-down in his hand.

The performer sandwiches the face-down Queen between the Aces. He shows that the Queen is on top, in the middle and on the bottom of the three card packet.

The performer tables the Queen face-down and the participant covers it with her hand. He fans the two face-up Aces. He taps the Aces on the participants hand and a face-down card appears between them. He turns the card face-up, revealing the Queen. The participant discovers her card beneath her hand.

I like how Mr. Duffie performs a version of Ed Marlos Quick 3-Way to illustrate how difficult it is to keep track of a single card. This demonstration provides foreshadowing for the transposition. I like it.

Broadside: A participant freely selects a card, which is lost in the deck. The performer turns over the top card of the deck, displaying the Ace of Spades. He inserts the face-up Ace perpendicularly into the face-down deck and then turns the deck face-up. The participant uses her index finger to pin the protruding face-down Ace to the table as the performer withdraws the deck and tables it.

The performer removes the Ace from his pocket. The participant turns over the card beneath her finger and discovers her card.

This is a cool combination of Claude Chandlers Sideways Changing Card from Magic Circle Magic with Card to Pocket. I like it.

From Beyond the Veil: From a shuffled deck, the performer gives a packet of eight cards to participant #1 and another eight card packet to participant #2. They shuffle their packets and then deal a few cards onto the table. The participants shuffle their remaining packets and remember the top cards. Their in-hand cards and tabled cards are combined into one packet.

The performer states that his pal in the spirit world is sending him the image of the Five of Diamonds. Participant #1 picks up the packet and deals five cards into a face-down pile. She passes the remaining cards to participant #2 who spells Diamonds by dealing one card for each letter. The participants name their selected cards. They turn over the top cards of their piles and discover them.

The authors handling cleverly camouflages a well known Gene Finnell technique. I like it.

Biddle Wed: The performer tables mismatched pairs of Kings and Queens. He drops each pair on top of the next pair to assemble the packet. He turns the packet face-up and displays the mismatched pair at the face. He turns the packet face-down and counts the cards into his hand, reversing their order. He turns the top two cards (previously on the bottom) face-up and their suits now match. He repeats this procedure, causing the remaining pairs to match.

If a sentient lay person wants to transfer two cards from the bottom of a packet to the top, they simply grab the cards and slap them on top. They would never consider reverse counting all eight cards just to move two cards. Thats too much work.

When they witness the performer repeatedly engaging in this unnatural procedure, they must conclude that he is doing something sneaky. Superior methods exist. I dont like it.

Dance Steps: The performer places the Kings on top of the Queens. He tables a six card packet while retaining a pair in his hand. He turns over the tabled cards a pair at a time, revealing three perfect matches. He snaps the pair in his hand face-up, revealing the final matching pair.

The performer assembles the pairs into one packet and shuffles it to divorce the couples. He turns the top card of the packet face-up, displaying a red King. He uses it to flip the next card face-up, displaying a black Queen. He flips the cards face-down onto the packet and then tables them as a pair.

He repeats this procedure two more times. The performer taps the tabled pairs with the pair remaining in his hand. He turns the pairs face-up, revealing four perfect matches.

This is Mr. Duffies revised handling of his effect "Life is One Great Dance" that appeared in Imagine (1991).

I like the first phase. The method is economical. From a theatrical standpoint, causing four couples to fall in love, wed, and have wild sex happily ever after is a very good thing indeed. He should have ended the effect right here.

Instead, the performer destroys this bliss by divorcing the couples just so that he can repeat the effect. Even though the couples ultimately reunite, this phase has a mean-spirited, self-serving feel to it. I dont like it.

Numberville: The shuffled deck is held by participant #1. Participant #2 freely cuts off a portion of the deck and covertly counts her cards to establish a secret number. Meanwhile, participant #1 freely selects a card from her portion of the deck and cuts it back into the deck.

The performer retrieves participant #1s portion and buries participant #2s cards in the middle of it. Participant #2 takes the complete deck. The performer removes a card, claiming that it is the selection. He replaces it in the deck, stating that it is now positioned at the secret number.

Participant #2 announces her number, say 17. She counts to that number, taking the 17th card in her hand. Participant #1 names her card. Participant #2 turns over the card, revealing the selection.

Mr. Duffies method of perpetrating this quasi-CAAN effect is clever, well constructed and semi-automatic. I like it.

Royal Apex: The performer places the four Queens face-up on top of the face-down deck. He lifts the Queens off of the deck as he slides the uppermost Queen onto the deck. He covers that Queen with the remaining Queens. He spreads the top cards of the deck, revealing that one Queen has vanished. This procedure is repeated two more times to vanish two more Queens. The performer places the remaining Queen face-up on the deck and waves his hand over it, causing it to vanish.

The performer cuts the deck into four piles, revealing a face-up King atop each pile. He slides each King off of its pile. He turns the top cards of each pile face-up, revealing that each King has found its same-suit Queen.

This effect is based upon Frank Garcias Apex Ace that appeared Harry Loraynes Close-Up Card Magic. It incorporates part of Jay Oses handling of the same effect.

The effect is strong and the authors method is sound. I like it.

Populace Revisited: The performer tables the face-up red Aces in one pile and the face-up black Aces in another pile. Three cards are freely selected and lost in the deck. The performer places the red Aces on top of the deck, displays them and then tables them face-up, slightly spread.

He places the black Aces on top of the deck and displays them. He lifts them off of the deck, picks up the red Aces beneath them and deposits the four Aces back on top of the deck. He spreads the top seven cards and reveals that three face-down cards are sandwiched among the Aces. The participants name their selections and the performer turns the cards face-up, revealing them.

This is an alternative version of the authors effect Populace that appeared in Covert Concepts. In this version, all four Aces are visible at all times.

This handling is neither natural nor presentationally motivated. The red Aces are on the table. Then theyre on the deck. Then theyre back on the table. Next, the black Aces go from the table to the deck, then back to the table for the red Aces, and then back to the deck again! Im feeling dizzy. Superior versions exist. I dont like it.

Post Production: Two cards are selected, signed and lost in the deck. The performer introduces an invisible Post-it pad, tears off a sheet and sticks it to the top of the deck. He taps the deck, stating that he has caused the Post-it note to sink down into the deck. He cuts the deck and reveals a Post-it note stuck to the back of a card. He turns the card face-up, revealing the second participants selection.

The performer turns the selection face-down and participant #1 writes her initials on the Post-it. He folds the sheet forward so that it protrudes over the edge of the card and then cuts the card into the middle of the deck.

Participant #1 names her card. She pulls on the Post-it note and discovers that the second participants selection has transformed into her card.

This is a cool, fun effect with a simple, yet effective method. I like it.

Searles Aces: A participant removes the four Aces from the deck and tables them in a face-down row. The performer takes the deck, thumbs over the top few cards and displays them. He lifts them off the deck and deposits them face-down on top of one of the Aces. He picks up the packet, displays the Ace at its face, drops the packet face-down onto the deck and cuts the deck.

This procedure of covering an Ace with indifferent cards and losing the packet in the deck is repeated two more times.

The performer removes the top three cards of the deck and drops them on top of the final Ace. The participant turns over the packet and discovers all four Aces.

This is Mr. Duffies version of an Ace effect that appeared in the Lin Searles folio of Pallbearers Review. In his version, the guard cards that are dropped onto each Ace are shown to be random cards. This feature significantly enhances the effect. I like it.

Safe Cracker: The performer inserts a Four face-down into the deck, leaving about a third of it visibly protruding from the deck. He cracks open the deck at this in-jog and the Four instantly transforms into the four Aces.

This is an interesting, effective method for performing this type of splitting effect. I like it.

"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

Posts: 383
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: UK

Re: Card Tricks for the Fractured Mind by Peter Duffie

Postby pduffie » September 14th, 2011, 4:42 pm

Thank you, Tom

Your detailed review is much appreciated.

Best Wishes


Return to “Light from the Lamp ONLINE.”