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

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

Note: For those of you who own ACAAN: A Fresh Approach to an Age-Old Plot, this uses a totally different principle.


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 asks to borrow a deck of playing cards from either spectator, as he wishes to use a borrowed deck for the routine. Once a deck has been provided, the magician turns to the other spectator and 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. Shuffle the deck, then cut off some cards - any amount up to a quarter or so of the deck. Though you choose exactly how many. I'll look away as you do this." The spectator follows instructions: they shuffle the deck, then cut off some cards. The magician then asks them to secretly count these cards and hide them. Once they're done, the magician turns back around to face them. He takes the rest of the deck and tells the spectator that they are to think of whatever card corresponds to their secret number (as he gives a demonstration). After they've understood, the magician looks away and begins to show them cards one by one. At some point he stops and remarks that they've probably got a card in mind by now (which they have, say the 4H). The cards are then collected up, and the spectator's hidden portion of cards is lost into the deck too, thereby reassembling the entire deck.

At this point, the magician asks the first spectator to turn over their selected card (that they previously selected from the special deck). They do so, and it is seen to have the number (say) 29 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 29. How amazing would it be if his [the second spectator] thought of 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 (29) - once they've dealt 29 cards face down, the second spectator is asked to reveal their thought of card (4H) for the first time. Finally, the 29th card is turned over (by anyone other than the magician) and it is seen to be the 4H. 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 deck from which a card is selected can be borrowed. It's just a regular shuffled deck.

1st edition 2024, PDF 19 pages.
word count: 7285 which is equivalent to 29 standard pages of text

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