When reading through old Victorian books on parlor games and activities, for researching party ideas, I frequently come across vintage party tricks and illusions. Many of these tricks are elaborate requiring complicated set ups. Some of these tricks, however, are reasonably simple to perform and could be included in a kid’s party of today.
The idea of presenting these tricks is that eventually I can build up a small collection of them so that they can be included in a School of Wizardry and Witchcraft (i.e. the popular Harry Potter Hogwarts) party theme. These tricks, however, can be performed at any party gathering. The tricks can be presented by the host and then explained so that the party guests can perform them, on their own, to the amazement of their family and friends!
Reading cards from their backs
This trick involves taking a deck of cards that you know the top card of. You simply take a pack of cards look at the top one then place the cards back in the card case. For the sake of an example let’s say this top card is the “King of Diamonds”. You then take out the pack and show the cards to the audience (but not yourself) to show them it is a real pack of 52 cards. You then quickly place the cards on a table, face down, and ask an audience member to ‘cut the deck’ about a third of the way down. You then ask another member of the audience to cut the remaining deck so you have 3 small stacks of cards (cut randomly) on the table. You then tell the audience that you are going to name all the 3 top cards (one on each stack) before you look at them. You ask the audience to remember the cards you are naming, to check later. You then announce that the card you are about to draw is the “King of Diamonds” (the one you know is on the first stack) and you draw a card from the 3rd stack and look at it. You don’t show this card to the audience but you smile and say, “I was right”. Lets say the card you have just drawn is the 8 of Spades, you now state the card you are drawing from the 2nd stack is the 8 of Spades. You then draw the 10 of clubs. You now announce that the card from the 1st stack is the 10 of clubs and you pick up the 1st card, which is the King of Diamonds. You then ask the audience to repeat each card you said you have drawn (King of Diamonds, 8 of Spades and 10 of Clubs), as they call them out you show that particular card from the 3 cards in your hand.
Identify one of more “Drawn cards”
This trick is again simple and for preparation you need to turn the bottom card of the deck ‘face up’ so that the back of the card is facing down. You then need to ask 3 audience members to pick a card as you fan them out “face down”. Be careful not to show the last card, which is face up. The members of the audience take their cards look at them then place them back into the deck. Just before they place their cards back into the deck, you secretly turn the deck over so that the bottom card is now on the top but still face down and the other cards are face up (but not showing). As with most magic tricks the action (of turning over the deck) is masked by you moving your hands around (causing a diversion) and saying to the card holders, “go ahead and show your cards to the rest of the audience” You now have to hold the deck firmly as each audience member that has a card places it pack in the deck. They will need to slightly force their cards anywhere in the deck as you hold it firmly so as not to reveal that all the cards (apart from the top) are now face up. When they have placed their cards back in the deck you turn aside, so the audience cannot see the cards, and you can pick out the ones that are face down (not the bottom card). You then show these 3 cards to the audience, who agree that they were the 3 cards selected.