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The 21 Card Trick
THE 21 CARD TRICK
WHAT YOU NEED:
A regular deck of playing cards.
Remove the playing cards from their case. Give the cards a shuffle. Spread them face up in your hands, to show that they are well mixed. Next, deal out 21 cards. Place the remainder of the deck aside.
Select a spectator to help in the experiment. After you have your helper. Give the helper the 21 cards and have the helper look through the cards with their backs towards you, being careful not to let you see their faces.
Then you ask the helper to just think of one of the cards. After, the helper has confirmed a card is thought of. Have the helper shuffle the packet.
You have the packet returned to you. You confirm that the helper had a free choice and that only the helper knows the name of the thought of card.
Hold the packet face down. Begin dealing the cards face up, from left to right. After you have dealt the third face up card. Deal off three more cards from left to right, placing each of these on top of the first three, but leave the indexes showing.
Continue this dealing until you have dealt all of the cards and now have three rows of 7 cards each.
Ask the helper to tell you in which row, 1, 2, or 3 (point to each row from your right to left), is their thought of card in. But don't tell you the name of the card.
Whichever row that the helper says that their card is in, you square the packets and in assembling them, make sure that the packet with their thought of card goes between the other two packets.
Hold the packet face down and repeat the dealing sequence for a second time.
Dealing three rows of 7 cards each from left to right.
Again, after the helper tells you, without naming their card, in which row their card is. Square the cards and place the row with their thought of card between the other two rows.
You tell the helper that you will do this once more. Repeat the dealing sequence as before.
But, this time. You secretly remember the 11th card in the middle row. (This will be the helper's thought of card). Continue dealing until you have dealt all of the cards.
Now that you secretly knows the helper's thought of card. You will now reveal it in a startling revelation by appearing to read their mind.
Square the cards in any order. Place them aside face down.
You recap, saying to helper: "Okay. You shuffled a packet of cards. Then you thought of one of the cards. That was a free selection. No one knows the name of your card. I dealt the cards out several times. You confirmed seeing your card. That helps you to remember your card.
"Now, look at me in my eyes. Concentrate on your card. Begin saying the name of your card in your mind over and over. Louder and louder". (You pause). Then dramatically begin saying the name of their thought of card.
Lets say that the helper thought of the 3 of Hearts.
You repeat dramatically: "Three of Hearts, three of Hearts, three of Hearts..."
Their reaction of astonishment will confirm to the rest of the audience that you are correct!
Comments and suggestions
This is a Mathematic trick. No one knows to date why it works. It just does. This is one of those tricks where the working of the trick is just as mystifying as the trick itself.
It has stood the test of time. This is not one to fool Magicians. But, it does fool Laymen. It is a good beginner Mentalism trick to get one started on the road to Mentalism and Magic as a hobby or just to be the life of the party or to become interested in becoming a professional.