The Numbers Game

[wpedon id=”88″]One of the things I actually enjoy about magic is using presentations that rely on things that I completely don’t believe in, and to present them as a skeptic.  It can open up some interesting dynamics – are you performing it tongue in cheek?  are you implying that maybe there is something behind it you can’t explain?  Are you presenting it as a skeptic to show just how easy a thing it is to fake with trickery?  All of these become options.

Of course, there’s no shortage of things you can present this way; telepathy, clairvoyance, coincidence, intuition, predictions, astrology, hypnosis and so on.

This uses the slightly crazy theme of numerology.  As a ‘thing’, I can’t quite get my head around how it might work, but obviously some people think it isn’t just babble, and it’s that, to some extent, which makes it interesting to me  (in the same way that I frequently perform tricks with Star Signs – I’m not interested in Astrology, but I’m interested in the fact that other people are interested, if you catch my drift).

Numerology also allows us to justify a certain amount of mathematical procedure with a deck of cards, and so this presentation gives me the opportunity to use a force that I usually wouldn’t touch with a very long stick – the 10 – 20 force.

So, prepare yourself by grabbing a prediction card.  Ideally, make it blank backed, and on the blank side, write out the digits 1 – 9 and their numerological meanings.  I’ll set out a list below, but if you want to customise it, check out this crazy at your own peril..

  1. Leadership and Drive
  2. Sensitive and Cooperative
  3. Creative and Dynamic
  4. Dependable and Methodical
  5. Energetic and Daring
  6. Protective and Compassionate
  7. Analytical and Focussed
  8. Balanced and Realistic
  9. Compassionate and Generous


So now, you have a card that has the meanings on one side, and a card face on the other (assume the King of Hearts).  The spectators will not be aware of the card side until the end of the trick, so there’s a nice ‘Prediction in full view that you never knew about’ thing happening, but of course if you don’t have a blank backer, you can just as easily write the meanings on a slip of paper, pop it into an envelope with a King of Hearts from a different deck, and you’d be just as set.

To perform, beg, borrow or steal a deck of cards, have it shuffled, and spread through, explaining that playing cards have always been used for fortune telling, and actually pre-date the Tarot Deck.  Use this collection of probably-lies to cover finding the King of Hearts, and moving it to 10th from top.  If I see the King early in the spread, I just count nine cards behind it, split the pack at that point, and then causally talk, reassembling the deck the other way, so the King of Hearts ends up 10th.

If it appears later in the spread, I find it better to just cull it to the back, and then add nine cards onto it with an overhand shuffle.  Either way.

Have the spectator lift off about half the cards for themselves, and set them down in front of them.  Using your packet to demonstrate, ask them to cut off about half the cards, which will give them a secret and random number, which will work as their daily numerology number.

So, they cut off about half (which, given that they have approximately 26 cards, will be a total between 10 and 20).

Ask them to count the cards face down on the table, one at a time.  Again, you have half the deck so you can demonstrate to ensure that they understand before you begin.

They count their cards, and find there is, say, 17 in total.

‘Oh!  Your numerology number needs to be a single digit.  Erm… OK, we’ll make one by adding the 1 and the 7 from 17.  So that’s 8!  Deal 8 cards in a pile in front of you.’

Your spectator follows the instructions, and then you can discard all the cards aside from the 8 in front of the spectator.

‘The number 8 suggests that you are balanced and realistic, and has lead you to this card… the King of Hearts!  The King of Hearts apparently represents a man who is very close to you, obviously a balanced and realistic man, who has good advice to offer.  Apparently, if you believe in this kind of thing.  Which, I don’t… but then, there was this…’

Following the presentation, have the spectator turn over the top card of their packet, to find it’s the King of Hearts, and then reveal the prediction matches.

Maybe there’s something in this after all…

But probably not.


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