There is a trick in the book ‘The Card Magic of Paul LePaul’ which has fascinated me since my youth: it is the ‘Cards and Envelope Mystery’. The effect is that four signed Aces vanish from the deck and appear in a sealed envelope.
It is a great trick — it has a simple plot, and the construction is as simple as possible. The handling is straightforward, and it complicates nothing. OK, you use an advanced sleight-of-hand method to steal the cards out of the deck, palm them, and then load them into the envelope. But this keeps the ‘magicians’ only interested in self-working material away.
I am offering a variation of the ‘Diagonal Palm Shift’ (DPS), which makes a difference. Working performers will notice that the handling is a lot smoother this way. That’s how it should look:
My preparation of the envelopes is the same as in LePaul’s trick. I use the slit envelope because I can give that to the spectator at the end. I believe the torn envelope preparation is still the most practical method.
Most of the time, I used a trick wallet which contains the envelope. For more formal presentations, I will go with the classic method (described in the book) using the stack of envelopes. Roberto Giobbi described his variation and handling in one of his books; read it — it’s excellent.
There isn’t much to change with this classic approach. It is the most direct way to go.
The spectators sign the four cards. While they are doing this, four indifferent cards are placed face-up in the middle of the deck. I use a casual and straightforward ‘Braue Reversal’ for this.
I replace the signed cards into the deck which I square and turn face up. Now I execute the DPS. The basic handling is the same as for the classic DPS, but I added a simple movement that places the deck into the correct position for being spread onto the table.
It is done after the DPS, when turning the deck face up right before spreading it out on the table. Important here is the position of the left fingers, which have to grip the deck in a certain way.
The first finger is curled and on top of the deck. The other fingers are at the front end of the deck on the underside. The deck can be gripped that way without the help of the thumb (which rests near the inner end of the deck).
After executing the DPS, the left hand immediately grabs the deck between the fingers and lifts it up and forward, turning it face-up in the process. The deck is then placed into dealing position in the right hand, over the palmed cards. This affords good cover.
After a slight pause the left hand takes the deck away from the right hand and moves forward towards the table. The deck is then spread in a wide spread, so that the spectators can see the four reversed cards in the middle of the spread (supposedly the four aces).
The left hand with its palmed cards goes into the pocket to remove the stack of envelopes and loads the signed Aces in that process.
When you go through these motions, you see that all actions are natural and appear innocent. It seems as if the right hand just turns the deck face-up to prepare the spreading of the cards onto the table.