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The Berglas Effect

Here is my solution to one of the most sought after methods in magic. I will keep the
explanation brief, with the hope that those reading will not miss the beauty in this
simple approach to creating the illusion of this now legendary effect.

It uses “pre show” in a slightly different way to the traditional use of this principle. I
employ this ruse during walk around as I go from group to group, as opposed to
before the show as is standard.

This allows for a way of structuring the effect that creates an incredibly clean version
of any card at any number. As well as my use of “pre show” the principles of “dual
reality” and the “definition=creation” rule are combined to create a greater
deception. This will become clearer as we move on.

Of course there has to be a compromise in method somewhere.

I have bought a lot of different manuscripts based on this premise and have always
been disappointed with the solutions of others. I do not want to have to use any
additional props, use multiple decks or write anything down.

It is for this reason, as well as the fact that I have a desire to create magic which is
simple in construction and relies less on physical trickery and sleight of hand, that I
came up with this version.

This way of thinking has become something of a trade mark for me and has helped
me to create a name for myself in magic.

Unfortunately this method will only work in a walk around environment. However, I
have used this in smaller venues to great success.

To begin. Perform your standard set to a group of people during walk around then
before moving on, ask one of the people present the following.

“Think of any playing card out of the whole deck AND then name
it out loud.”

Say they name the “7 of Clubs”. Spread through the deck face up and locate their
card, cutting it casually to the top of the deck as you say

“Good. It is in there! This might work then. Make sure you


remember it as I am going to ask you for your card, the (7 of
Clubs) in another trick. I will be back for you in a moment.”

Place the deck away in its box and then move on to the next group and introduce
yourself. Hand the deck to one of the group saying

“Take the deck and name any number in between 1 and 52. Make
it an easy one!”

This line makes it more likely that the participant will chose a lower number. It does
not matter what number they say with this method but it will make the count later on
easier, if they name one nearer the middle. They name any number as they hold the
deck. This will become important later on.

As soon as you have their number, take the deck back as if forgetting to show them
that the deck is normal. You don't state this directly but show the deck to be normal
indirectly in the following way instead. Take the deck out of the box and spread
through the cards faces towards the spectators.

“I should show you before we begin that they are all different.”

This should look as if you had simply forgotten and that you would normally only ask
the participant for a number once they are holding onto the deck.

It is at this point in the presentation you perform the “move”, if it can be called such.
As you spread through, secretly count to the card at the position of the named number
and then cut the card at this position to the face of the deck. This will leave the freely
selected card, which was on the top of the deck at the freely selected number in the
deck.

Place the deck away in the box and hand it back to the participant asking for their
number again, as if you have forgotten it and could therefore not use this information
to do anything “tricky” whilst handling the deck.

“Take the deck back. I don't want to touch it at all. What was your
number again?”

The “move” will go by completely unnoticed due to the structure of the routine and
the fact that it is done in apparent fairness.

All of the work is now done before the trick has apparently even begun. The deck is
on display, held by the participant and can remain untouched by the magician but
they are still able to perform this apparently impossible feat.
If you are worried about getting the count and think you may take too long then say
the following words before doing the open display.

“I am going to spread through the deck slowly so that you know


they really are all different.”

This will give you all of the time you need to get your count. It is important you do
not stop at their number but hold the card with your thumb and continue spreading
the remainder of the deck before cutting it to the top.

“I need two people for this. I will get someone from across the
room. Someone who could not possibly know what number you
are thinking of. I will be back in a moment. Make sure no one
tampers with the deck while I am gone. Thank you.”

You now go and get the other previously “pre showed” spectator and bring them to
the second group to start the effect proper. Once each participant has been brought
together and you have the attention of the whole group you are now ready to
introduce the effect.

“I am going to attempt something which is considered almost


impossible by most magicians. The effect is as follows. One
person names any playing card out of the whole deck. Another
names any number in between 1 and 52. Then someone other than
the performer counts down to that number in the deck. The freely
named playing card is then found at the position in the deck of the
freely named number.”

This briefly explains the effect to the audience. Now comes the main deception and
the scripting which creates the overall effect in the minds of everyone watching.

“This has become a legendary effect for a few reasons;


The deck is on display from the start. The playing card named is a
completely free choice made by the participant. The number
named is also a free choice. NO secret assistants are used and the
magician does not touch the deck after both the playing card AND
number have been named out loud.”
By stipulating the conditions for the legendary effect in this way, you create the
effect. This is the “definition=creation” rule applied in a slightly different way. They
will have to agree with all of what you say and acknowledge that these “test
conditions” are being adhered to and will therefore be fooled by the trick.

This script also indicates to the audience the impossibility of such a feat.

Look at the participant, who is thinking of a playing card and state the following, as if
you are reading their mind.

“You are thinking of a playing card already, aren't you? Yeah. I


thought so. Name the card you are thinking of out loud now.”

They will say the “7 of Clubs” or whatever card they named previously.

Turn to the other participant and say

“Don't change your mind BUT if you would name a number in


between 1 and 52.”

They respond with their number.

I ask each participant if their choice was indeed a free choice, after each of them has
named either their playing card or number.

“This was a free choice you have just named out loud now, yes!? I
have not just asked you to play along, have I?”

They will have to agree with you, as what you say is true. I also sometimes add a
convincer here to make sure.

“Is there any reason you thought of this specific card? It isn't your
favourite or something like that, is it?”

If they say a different playing card to the one previously stated, simply remind them
of the correct card by saying

“NO. It is NOT that card. You thought of a different one before


this one, didn't you? Name that one instead. It is important that
you don't change your mind.”

Now all that is left to do is have someone take out the deck and confirm that the
freely thought of card is at the freely thought of position in the deck. I do this by
directing the participant holding the deck to take out the deck

“Making sure you don't disrupt their order”

and direct them to deal the cards face up into my outstretched palm, stopping them
just before the called out number to add suspense to the reveal and final climax.

Before their card is revealed at the correct position. I ask the participant who called
out a card to name it out loud again as a reminder to everyone watching and then
have the participant turn over the last card in the count.

“Excellent. Don't tell them how you do it! You both did perfectly.”

This last line ensures no one speaks after the fact, if they work out what may have
taken place. There really is nothing to worry about here. I have had participants
mention to the rest of the audience that I asked them for a card previously and have
still fooled everyone with this method. This is due to the strength of the presentation
as well as the fact that the work is hidden in the way the routine is structured.

I think this plays best with larger groups. The routine itself creating suspense and a
definite applause cue for the audience.

Please study the words well. It is in such seemingly innocent statements that the
desired outcome is achieved and the illusion of magic is sustained.

I could have held onto this method for a lot longer and kept it between just myself
and a few friends only but have decided it is time to share this.

Enjoy!

Fraser.

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