The Psychic PickpocketI’ve finally gotten around to documenting my own trick, called The Psychic Pickpocket. Perhaps it’s been done before, or there are variants, but I haven’t seen them. However, my experience is rather limited, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this was already done. I’m just satisfied with myself that this is an original trick.

The spectator chooses a card as the deck is being shuffled from one hand to the other. The card is shown to everyone but remains unseen to the magician. The spectator is told to memorize the card and to multiply the card’s value (the Jack is ten, Queens is eleven, and so forth). That number is the dollar value of the card. Let us assume that he has chosen the nine of hearts (unbeknownst to the magician at this point). The spectator is asked to produce his wallet, which is then opened and turned horizontally. The card is placed in the wallet, sandwiched between the two halves. The wallet is then returned to the spectator’s pocket.

The magician proceeds to flash some cards at the spectator who is instructed to keep a poker face, saying that he can read his reaction to the cards despite the poker face. The magician reads the spectator’s face and determines that he has $90 in his wallet. The magician then guesses the card’s color, then the suit, finally stating the card (the nine of hearts).The effect, however, has not been fully performed yet. Guessing someone’s randomly chosen secret card without going through the deck is interesting and powerful in itself. However, the magician will proceed to steal that card, worth $90, right out of the wallet by bumping into him. In that instant, the magician has gained possession of the card. He suggests to the spectator that he should check his wallet. At this moment the magician produces the nine of hearts with flourish, from his own pocket or from thin air, or however else the magician chooses.

The method is actually quite variable. I’m sure there are various ways to achieve this.

I’m still trying to see if there are ways to improve on the timing and impact of the effect. This is obviously not an effect you would use to imply that you have magical powers. Rather, it is an impressive show of skill.

I’m working on creating an actual act. I wanted to do one about romance. Since The Amazing Pickpocket is based on the illusion of extreme manual dexterity, it does not imply anything magical. I think I will structure my act with The Amazing Pickpocket as the second trick. I agree with Brad Christian when he says that the first trick you show people should be short, simple and impactful, which is why I would probably do a quick ambitious card trick to show the “one-handed pass”. Then I’ll go on to perform The Psychic Pickpocket. I think I’d like to move from there to talk about how these are simple sleights, but that I have learned real magic, like moving a crimped card from the middle of the deck through to the top with the crimp intact, transforming one card into another, and changing cards right in the spectator’s hands. Things that are a more “magical”.

I still find myself going back to my ellusionist “boot camp” series: Crash 1 and Crash 2, Ninja 1 and Ninja 2, and How to do Street Magic. There’s a lot to learn, so off I go.