Once people know you perform magic, I find it's very difficult to perform something and have it genuinely come off as some sort of "magical coincidence." Everything just seems like a trick.
However, I've recently come up with a slight variation on a Joshua Jay effect that honestly feels like it could be just a bizarre coincidence.
Here's how it looks. You and your friend are hanging out together but doing your own thing. You're reading a magic book and you tell your friend you'd like to show him a trick. You quickly scan the book again to make sure you have the details correct, then you put a blue playing card in the book as a bookmark and set it aside.
You pull out a red deck and perform the trick. Your spectator gets a free choice of any card in the deck, the card is returned to the deck, and then they can name any number between 1 and 52. You count down to that number in the deck... and it's not their card.
"Aw, crud," you say and reach for the book to see what went wrong. You flip through a couple times looking for your bookmark and then you find it.
"Hold on," you say, "What number did you name?"
Your friend says "28."
You point to the page where the bookmark was. It's 28.
"That's funny," you say. You take out the card, pause and say, "Wait... what card did you pick?"
Your spectator says the four of hearts. You turn the card from your book over, it's the four of hearts.
In Josh's effect, the card magically transports from the deck to the book. I wanted to see how it would play if it wasn't intended to be a trick. So the spectator sees the card being used as a bookmark, it's clearly a card from another deck. In Josh's trick, when he goes to the book at the end, he's clearly ramping up for the climax of the trick. Here you're just going to the book to find out what you did wrong.
Because they don't know the trick is still going on at that point, you don't need to do as much proving and showing as Josh does at the end of the trick. But also, because they don't know the trick is still going, you have to move swiftly to keep their attention. You don't want it to feel like, "Okay, I'll go back to my book and you go back to what you were doing." You have to keep them "on the line," and be like, "Wait a sec, let me figure this out."
Josh's original trick is great. But it also plays really well in this context, at least it has in the few times I've performed it. As long as you remember that you should be a little amazed by this as well, I think it will come off for your spectators as it did for mine, as a truly just a crazy coincidence.
You might think, "But wouldn't I rather have an effect seem truly impossible more than just a weird coincidence?" In many cases, yes. But if something genuinely feels like a wildly unlikely coincidence, that can provide a different kind of "magical" experience for people. And it's good to diversify the types of experiences you try to deliver.
Below you can see video of Josh performing the effect. He teaches it in a lot of places: The Talk About Tricks DVD set, The Methods in Magic DVD, his recent Reel Magic lecture, his first Penguin Live Lecture, his first At the Table lecture, the Unreal DVD set. Basically anytime a camera is pointed at him he's teaching this trick. I guarantee the Josh Jay sex tape features him explaining this effect at the end.
Here's the pdf with some of my Quinta thoughts I mentioned previously. These are just some small ideas that allow you to be more explicit with what's going to happen before a number is even named.
Normally I'd put a password on this sort of thing, but there are a number of different places you could legitimately have learned Quinta from that I couldn't come up with one password to be like, "Oh it's the first word on page 8," or whatever. The truth is, there's not enough information here to sort out the workings of Quinta in anything other than the most general way. If you have any interest in the effect at all you should pick it up in some form. I recommend the Quinta ebook.
I talked last week about another year of the Jerx in 2018. That's probably not going to happen now. At least if this article is to be believed.
I hope it's not the case, but I'm pretty scared it might be true. If there are any two groups known for their spot-on predictions of what the future holds, it's Christians and numerologists.
Catch ya on the flip-flop, Dan. Don't come crawling back to the GLOMM, because your ban is permanent. And also because I'm sure crawling is some weird fetish for you and I don't want to deal with you all horned-up because you've been wriggling around in a diaper all day.
Yet another person risks his life by destroying a copy of Expert at the Card Table for some stupid Jerx Points.
For his own safety, he does try and misdirect anyone who casually stumbles across the video with this description:
Erdnase's timeless, enjoyable, and witty book, Expert at the Card Table, has pleased magicians and lay people alike for generations. With a focus on entertainment and wonder, it is truly a book like none other. Here I share my thoughts about this wonderful classic of magic.
Please stop this madness, everyone! I don't want more blood on my hands!