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The Berglas Effect: Magic’s Best Card Trick

Forty. Forty-one. Forty-two. I turned over the forty third card.

It was the seven of diamonds. I stared at it, each gobsmacked and baffled. Gobsmacked as a result of it appeared wildly unbelievable that he’d come so shut. Baffled as a result of it wasn’t spot on.

“One off,” Mr. Berglas mentioned, evenly.

He didn’t attempt to promote 43 as a triumph. On the opposite, he mentioned that in lectures to magicians he has at all times informed his viewers that one off isn’t shut sufficient.

I left his home in a muddle, and I’ve returned to that muddle each time I consider this efficiency. Off by one appears, on some degree, extra perplexing than nailing it. Off by one implies that there’s nothing computerized about this ACAAN, that it isn’t a contraption that merely works when deployed. It’s extra like archery, which requires follow and focus and might finish with one thing aside from a bull’s-eye.

I ran these concepts by Aaron Fisher, a extremely regarded American magician who did a commentary in July on his YouTube channel of an previous dwell present by Mr. Berglas. Mr. Fisher mentioned he didn’t know what to make of 43 both. But he famous that Mr. Berglas is just not famend for dazzling sleight of hand.

“He messes with minds,” Mr. Fisher mentioned, “not decks.”

None of this resolved the stooge question. Mr. Berglas could have a lot of totally different strategies, relying on the circumstances. “He never knows what he’s going to do before he does it,” Richard Kaufman writes in “The Berglas Effects” — word the plural — a prolonged guide for magicians that explains each card trick within the Berglas canon, with one very notable exception.

The guide means that Mr. Berglas is nothing if not a masterful improviser and a born gambler. What looks like a cohesive efficiency is definitely a high-wire show of spontaneity with a heavy overlay of psychological manipulation. In hindsight, it appears seemingly that his anger was a part of the present, a framing system. “I don’t need to prove myself” is only a totally different, extra contentious model of “You’ll never forget what is going to happen next.”

Once you’ve been informed {that a} demonstration is “out of the question,” you’re prepared to go away empty-handed. Compared to nothing, off by one isn’t simply thrillingly shut. It’s superb.

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