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ACAAN: a fresh approach to an age-old plot
by Unnamed Magician

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ACAAN: a fresh approach to an age-old plot by Unnamed Magician


The magician introduces a special deck of 52 cards, where each card is seen to have a number 1 through 52 printed on it. The spectators (two of them) are asked to verify that all the numbers are indeed different, that there aren't any duplicate numbers. The magician hands one spectator this special deck (in a face-down position) and says, "I want you to select a number 1 through 52. But instead of just thinking of a number 1 through 52, I want you to randomly select one. Like that, even you don't know what number you'd end up with, thereby eliminating any psychological influence. So, please, begin dealing the cards face down one by one." The spectator is then asked to stop dealing at a point of their choosing. Once they do, they are asked to deal the card they stopped at face down off to the side (without looking at it).

Next, the magician introduces another deck of cards: this time a deck of playing cards. He removes the cards from the box and hands them to the other spectator for examination - they can verify that all the cards are in fact different. Then, the magician says, "Just as the first spectator randomly selected a number, I want you to randomly select a playing card. Again, randomness is important so as to eliminate any psychological influence. Here's what I want you to do. Cut off approximately a third of the deck, give it a shuffle, and note whatever card ends up on top. Then, cut off more than half of the remaining cards and drop them on top of your third in order to bury your card." The spectator follows these instructions (let's suppose their selection is the 7D). Once they're done, the magician asks them to give the combined pile of cards some cuts in order to further lose their selected card - following these cuts, he invites the spectator to take the remainder of the deck, give it a shuffle and place it on top of the combined pile in order to reassemble the entire deck. The magician says, "After all the shuffling and cutting that you just did, it should be impossible for anyone to know the exact position of your card in the deck."

At this point, the magician asks the first spectator to turn over their selected card (that they previously selected from the special number deck). They do so, and it is seen to have the number (say) 31 printed on it. The magician says, "You could've selected any number. After all, as you saw, all the numbers were different. But you selected 31. How amazing would it be if his [the second spectator] selected card is at your chosen number?" Both spectators would acknowledge the impossibility of the proposed feat. The magician then invites one of them to count down to the chosen number (31) - once they've dealt 31 cards face down, the second spectator is asked to reveal their selected card (7D) for the first time. Finally, the 31st card is turned over (by anyone other than the magician) and it is seen to be the 7D. An astounding coincidence.

Some important conditions of note:

  • The special deck from which a number is selected contains no duplicate numbers. And it contains every number 1 through 52. So you can create this deck at home using any standard blank 52-card deck or using any stack of 52 blank index cards. The first spectator can stop dealing anywhere in this deck (a totally free choice).
  • The deck from which a card is selected contains no duplicates either.

1st edition 2024, PDF 20 pages.
word count: 7013 which is equivalent to 28 standard pages of text

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