Name the Hidden Thirteen
Here is the final card trick. You will look at 39 cards at reasonable speed and then name the hidden, remaining 13. I am sure you won’t believe this really works, until you try it, but stick with me and you will amaze yourself. If not, you can have your money back at the end of this blog. This is an incredible trick, it’s much easier than it sounds, and it really shows off the latent power of the human visual brain (computer geeks might call this “exploiting the GPU” – the Graphics Processing Unit).
Take your time for your first time through it. Ten or 15 minutes would be a good pace. With a little practice, you will be able to work it down to 4 minutes (one card every 6 seconds), then to 2 minutes (one card every 3 seconds), even in a noisy room. This makes a great party trick. Faster than that will take serious work, but the world record speed is around 20 seconds (two cards per second)
Shuffle a deck of cards (the best way is to spread them out on a table, mix them around, and then riffle them a few times – just riffling a pack does not really mix them up enough). Deal out thirteen cards, face down, and put them aside. Turn the other 39 face up and memorize them, in order. Construct a little mental movie in your head, using the picture words associated with the cards that you have learned in the earlier installments of this blog. If you need to review them, go do that now, before beginning your first time through the trick.
After building and locking in the mental movie, go down the list of picture words in your mind and you will EASILY be able to name the cards that were NOT in your movie. Just say them out loud (the card names, not the picture words :), and those will be the cards in the 13 that are face down. Have someone else check you, or check yourself, it doesn’t matter. If you’re not impressed beyond belief, you can have your money back for this blog, as I said.
The hardest part about this is making SURE you connect each picture word to the next in the movie, so that you don’t miss one. The usual rules are in force: the more Personal, Exaggerated, Colorful, Absurd, Moving, and Emotional, the easier to remember. Take your time when just starting. You may make a mistake or two when just starting out, but with just a little practice, you won’t make any more mistakes.
Let me walk you through an actual session I did just before writing this. The memory is good enough that I can recall the movie and name the hidden thirteen even after writing the above. The TV is on, my family is talking in the room, but I’m still able to do this with good reliability.
You walk into a
BAR (S4), and the first person you meet is a
TEETOTALER (DJ), wearing his Salvation-Army
BADGE (S6), you look down at his feet and see that his
TOES (D10) are exposed. In his left hand he holds a plate with a fully dressed baked
POTATO (SJ), and draped over his left arm is a towel with a brightly colored scene of a coral
REEF (H8), and in his other hand is a
BATON (SQ), with which he rattles the bars of a monkey
CAGE (C6), and the monkey excitedly points to the beer
TAP (D9). The handle of the tap is a
CAM (C3) shaft, and the bartender is a
TOT (DA). She pulls a beer and brings it to the end of the bar and places it on a
PODIUM (SK). On the podium is a small
TOTEM (DK), and next to that is a black
CAT (CA) curled up inside a small, inflatable
CATAMARAN (CK). The bartender turns her
BACK (S7), and you see a tattoo of a
RAT (HA). As she walks back, she steps on a
TACK (D7), which is a switch that activates a miniature slot-car
RACE (H10) game at the other end of the bar. The cars go around very fast, and one
CAR (C4) flies off and strikes a robot
TITAN (DQ), switching it on. The robot wanders outdoors into the
RAIN (H2), slips on a
BALL (S5), falls down and breaks the
PIPE (S9) in his mouth. The
TAM (D3) he was wearing flies of his head and lands on the
RACK (H7) of antlers on the caribou head mounted on the wall outside the bar. The caribou begins to weep and wipes its eyes with a
TISSUE (D6), causing a machine-gun to fire bullets
RAT-A-TAT (HJ), which strike a woman taking a
TAN (D2) in the rain, and the
REAR (H4) of a Corvette parked outdoors. The driver of the Corvette has his arm draped outside the open window, and there is a terrible
RASH (H6) on his arm, and a lump of green, glowing
RADIUM (HK) in his other hand. The radiation from the radium is melting the car seats, which are made of
RATTAN (HQ) instead of leather or vinyl. His passenger has a
BEEF (S8) dinner and one hand, and has a
KATANA (CQ) in the other. She hands the katana to a
CADET (CJ) waiting outside her door, and the cadet goes back into the bar, bumping her head on one of the ceiling
BEAM (S3)s, dislodging a decorative baseball
BAT (SA), which fall onto the floor and gets stuck in a patch of sticky
Now, I go through the entire list of all 52 picture words for the cards in my mind, and the ones that AREN’T in my movie are in all caps.
tot, tan, tam, tar, TAIL (D5), tissue, tack, TAFFY (D8), tap, toes, teetotaler, titan, totem
rat, rain, RAM (H3), rear, RAIL (H5), rash, rack, reef, ROPE (H9), race, rat-a-tat, rattan, radium
cat, CAN (C2), cam, car, COAL (C5), cage, CAKE (C7), CUFF (C8), CAP (C9), CASE (C10), cadet, katana, catamaran
bat, BEAN (S2), beam, bar, ball, badge, back, beef, pipe, BASE (S10), potato, baton, podium.
Try it. Let me know how you like it!