Lecture16 Marucci

Effect: The magician shows two sets of five Tarot cards; the sets are the same, one each of the Magician, the Hanged Man, the Fool, Death, and the Devil. He also shows a piece of weathered parchment, with the words "Ecce Sum Simon Magus".

After being instructed, the spectator spells each word and, as she does, the magician puts one card from either pile of five to the bottom of that pile (the spectator picks which pile the magician will use and may switch piles in mid-word; it's her free choice). After each word is spelled, with the spectator scrambling the choices as much or as little as she wants, the top cards on the pile are turned over on the last letter - and seen to match. This is repeated for all four words - and each time the cards match. Finally, with just one card left in each pile, they are turned over and, of course, match.

Working: You'll need two sets of five matching Tarot cards and a piece of paper with the words "Ecce Sum Simon Magus" written on it. Age the paper by crumpling it, and darkening it by whatever method you choose. When the two sets of cards are shown, one is reverse counted and placed face down on the table. The other cards are shown but are NOT reverse counted. They are put on the table face down.

From here on, the effect is self-working. No matter how the spectator switches from pile to pile (or she may spell all the letters from one pile), the two cards (one from each pile) that are on top of the piles after the last letter of the word has been spelled will match. And, of course, when four sets of cards match, the last two will match.

Presentation: Because the effect is self-working, virtually all the work is put into the presentation:-

"The powers of the occult, the powers of darkness have been with us for centuries - nay, millennia. Two thousand years ago, there was a man who claimed fantastic powers. His name was Simon Magus - we would translate that as Simon the Magician. He held crowds in awe in the Middle East and even in the capital of the world - Rome itself. But he was also forever seeking to expand his power and, when he heard of the apostle Peter, he sought him out".

"Peter, at that time, was carrying the word of the Gospel and, among the miracles that occurred, with him as the instrument, was the raising of the dead".

"Simon Magus was determined to find the secret of the raising of the dead - as if such a thing could be taught, like a simple magic illusion. Despite his offering Peter vast worldly wealth, Simon Magus was rightfully rebuffed and he returned to Rome, where he died attempting to prove that he had the power of flight - he plunged to his death from a tower built especially for that purpose. But was Simon Magus simply a fraud, a trickster, a predecessor of modern stage magicians? Or, perhaps, did he have real power, of which we today are unaware? Perhaps this may answer that question."

Bring out the two sets of Tarot cards, show and count them and place them face down on the table. Then bring out the "ancient" parchment.

"The words on this aged parchment are 'Ecce Sum Simon Magus', which can be translated as 'Behold, I am Simon the Magician'. This piece of paper is apparently the only thing left from his grymoire, his book of magical spells. And yet even this may still have some of his power. "Shall we try to find out?"

Have the spectator spell each word, one letter at a time and, on each letter, put a card to the bottom of whichever pile she chooses. When each word is finished being spelled and the cards moved to the bottom of the pile(s), turn over the top face-down card on each pile - they will match.
"The power of that long-dead charlatan apparently still lives on. Or, perhaps, it is all just a coincidence."

Second thoughts: Given the right acting by the magician, this makes for a very powerful presentation. The piece of paper with the words on it can be a plain piece of paper, artificially aged. There are a couple of suggested ways of doing this: Lightly brush the paper with brown shoe polish, or smear black coffee over the paper. I use a piece of parchment paper, write the words in calligraphic-style letters, and then singe the edges of the paper with a match, to make it look as if it were a page from a book that had been burned. This is, of course, a dressed-up version of that old chestnut, Will The Cards Match. But I never cared for the original version; the use of those words tipped the spectator to the ending before the trick even began. This version is much more deceptive and - I hope - entertaining.

Peter Marucci.


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All the material in this lecture is copyrighted with all rights reserved to Peter Marucci, 2002.