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Trick Courtesy of: Edward Jackman (

Original Author: Unknown

Effect: A simulation of Houdini's Metamorphosis (sub-trunk) -- one of the most well known and often performed stage illusions shrunk down to card deck size.

The King of Spades, Queen of Hearts and the two red aces are removed from the deck. The deck is cut into two nearly equal halves and set on the table near the box. The King of Spades, representing Houdini, is placed face up between the two face down red aces, handcuffing him.

These three cards are placed on top of one half of the deck (aces face down) and the other half of the deck is placed on top, representing the bag he is tied in. The deck is placed inside its box, representing the trunk, and the flap is closed. Rubber bands, representing the chains and locks, are placed around the box in each of the three possible directions.

A screen just large enough to hide the deck is placed on the table. The box is held in the left hand flap end up. The Queen of Hearts above screen in the right hand facing the audience. On the count of ONE, the left hand takes the deck behind the screen. On the count of TWO, the right hand comes down with the Queen behind the screen. On the count of THREE the right hand comes up from behind the screen holding the King of Spades.

The screen is knocked over. The deck appears to be in the same condition it was two seconds before. The Queen is dropped on the table for the viewers to scrutinize. The rubber bands are removed and handed out for examination. The deck is removed from the box and the box is given out for close inspection. The deck is turned face up and spread. Only one card is upside down and it is in between the two read aces. The card is removed and flipped over it is the Queen of Hearts.

The Method: The deck must have somewhat of a natural bend so that you can easily cut to a reversed card. Once the King and the Aces are placed in the middle of the deck, the deck is placed face down in the left hand in position for a one-handed pass. Under cover of the right arm reaching across to the left side of the table to pick up the box, the deck is cut at break the caused from the upward bend of the face-up down King, leaving the face-up King on the bottom of the deck. The cards are placed in the box with the King closest to the 'stamp' side of the box, that is, where the flap will be inserted.

The flap is inserted between the King and the rest of the deck. Three rubber bands are placed in this order: The first around the edges of the box, the second passing around the flap, bottom and top of the box, crossing the broken stamp, and the third around the girth or waist of the box.

When the left hand takes the box behind the screen, the index finger is quickly placed on the top of the flap and the second rubber band is rolled to the left off the flap and held in place against the edge of the box.

The Queen is inserted between the King and the flap. The King is removed and the rubber band is rolled back into place. (For an easier verion that probably plays just as well, eliminate the the 2nd of the three rubber bands altogether.)

Under cover of handing the box for examination, the deck is given another one-handed pass.

Presentation of the trick is the same as the stage version. It works better if the audience is familiar with the stage illusion and is done just as broadly, tongue in cheek of course. If anyone has suggestions for improvements, I'd like to hear them. The one hand cuts, especially the second one, are clumsy.

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