The Book: The book is well written. Those people are wrong. This book is about his card work; which is stupidly amazing. You learn to "Jazz" around and become a dynamic performer. As a fan of Jazz music, this is a very similar style based off improvisational techniques.
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It is an effect so impossible that it has had the best brains in magic scratching their heads in search of a solution. Some refused to believe the effect existed at all, that it was mere rumour, mis-reporting or perhaps even a hoax set up by the publicity master himself. In fact, the creation of the legend was a surprise even to David. He has been performing what is now widely known as The Berglas Effect fox many years, both on stage and in less formal settings, the routine evolving out of the clean and direct way he works with playing cards, using minimal handling to achieve miraculous effects.
It was the release of a Magicassette audio recording by Martin Breese that drew the attention of magicians to the routine and stimulated discussion. The card effects happen with the men on the stage and me off the stage. I get one man to point to somebody in the audience who calls out a card. Somebody else in the audience calls out a number. Someone else says from the top or bottom of the pack. When the man on stage counts to that number, somehow, the card is the right card in that position.
Later on the tape, David performed the effect for Martin Breese who on naming the Jack of Clubs and calling for the number nineteen was amazed to find the card at that very number. And that was after being given the choice of dealing from either the top or the bottom of the pack! The performance sent cardworkers delving into their libraries in search of similar effects.
It was Jon Racherbaumer, writing in his book. The chance for a personal demonstration came at the British Ring Convention at Hastings in , where David was helping fill in time between the competitors in the Close-l p Competition.
He found himself performing his brand of card magic at the very table where Gus Southall. David asked Gus to name a card while another spectator called out a number.
As usual the card was found at the selected number in the pack. Gus is a stooge! Five minutes to touchdown, and he asked me to take a case containing a deck from a holdall that lay at his feet. He asked me to take the cards from the case and count to the number I had given him, namely twenty-two.
Some magicians took the description too literally and assumed that the bag he mentioned played a part in the working. Perhaps, they suggested, it hid more than one pack of cards, maybe as many as fifty-two. The rumours and speculation continued as magicians struggled to fit each new description into some kind of model that would reveal the true secret.
He asked me to name a card and any number under fifty. My reply was the Seven of Hearts and forty-two. He motioned me into his study and pointed to a deck of cards on his desk.
He handed the cased deck to me. When I counted down to the forty-second card I discovered the Seven of Hearts.
The experience was chilling! Three years later, Barrie met David again. They were driving around London, with David at the wheel, when he asked Barrie to name a card. He chose the Four of Spades.
Then he selcctcd a number. So Barrie, put the book down now! Revelations: David has been asked countless times to explain the method behind The Berglas Effect and he has always declined. This was not to keep the secret from fellow magicians or perpetuate the legend.
It was for a far more practical reason. The Berglas Effect embodies everything that makes David the performer he is. It is so finely tailored to his own way of working that it is doubtful whether he could ever describe the method so completely that some other performer could make it work for them. Anyone looking for a simple description will not find it here.
But if you are looking for miracles, you might want to stay awhile. He has never performed card tricks in the standard way. He rarely has cards removed from the pack, returned and then the pack shuffled.
He prefers to use his Think of a Card techniques so that cards are merely thought of. This is much more magical and more suited to his particular style.
Instead of people taking cards, he fans the pack and they think of one. Fie might go to several different people and each of them merely thinks of a card. In an impromptu performance he will reveal the cards in quick succession; one might be reversed, another in his pocket, a third under an ashtray and so on. It is a routine he has been using for many years but it is not built along rigid lines.
He will take advantage of the circumstances and environment around him. It was a natural step to have people name cards rather than think of them. And you mention one, and you David memorises all the cards called out and can set them up for their revelation long before the effect seems to have begun. So by the time he has done a trick with the first card, he has already set up the second.
A simple version of producing the named card at a chosen number is often included in these performances. When fanning the pack he may spot that a named card is at the seventh position from the top of the pack. He will then ask someone to, "Mention a number to me. If seven, David will then ask them to remind him of their card. On dealing down to that number they are amazed to find their selection. They are particularly stunned because of the deliberate hands-off approach that David adopts. And he never touched the cards!
He asked them to "Give me a number between one and eleven. They are dealt face up onto the table as David counts aloud. Everyone can see that none of the dealt cards match the number being called. He stops the deal after the seventh card, reminds the spectators how extraordinary it would be if the eighth card was indeed an Eight, the Eight of Clubs, and then has it turned over. It may be seventh from the top but the volunteer has chosen the number thirteen. David will surreptitiously slide six cards from the bottom of the pack and, while gesturing, casually put them on top.
It is now the thirteenth card. The pack is placed on the table while he talks about something else. And what was the number you wanted? And again, if performed correctly, the audience will forget that he had any opportunity to place the card there. It is literally jazzing with the cards, thinking up spur of the moment effects and methods and implementing them in the best way possible given the circumstances under which he is performing.
Sometimes the effects are as fresh to David as they arc to the audience. On other occasions, experience has taught him well-known routes along wiiich miracles can be found. The key is to locate the cards quickly and invisibly and set them up for their revelations using any viable means at his disposal.
A Foundation For Miracles As well as being able to perform The Berglas Effect with a borrowed, shuffled pack, David has also used a set-up pack, particularly for more formal occasions. Here, at least, we have a structure on which to hang our description. Using a set-up the named cards can be located incredibly quickly without David ever looking at the faces of the cards.
Using a set-up pack in a routine in which spectators are calling out cards has other advantages. Eight or nine people have called out cards and David has memorised them all. Not only that but because of the set-up he knows where each card lies in the pack. With eight or nine selected cards out of a possible fifty-four the pack contains two Jokers David is, as he says, "going to get lucky. Or it could even be in the centre of the pack where, as it happens, David could cut to it more on that later.
Any card that lay in those fortunate positions, he could reveal instantly. In reality, if any of those lucky breaks materialised David would keep them to himself for now. They are the foundations for a miraculous finale, why waste them? Ideally he wants to begin the routine with a very strong revelation and finish it with a miracle.
Obviously everything else in-between has to be strong too—in the eyes of the audience they should all be miracles—but the first and last revelations need to be stand-out items.
A set-up pack also makes it unnecessary for David to secretly count cards if he needs to cut a batch of cards, say, from the bottom to the top. He knows the name of the twelfth card from the face of the pack in his set-up so could fan the cards, spot that particular card and quickly cut the pack at that point. I Iowever, what he prefers to do is rely on his ability to cut to any card in the set-up with an error margin of one card either way.
An obvious use of the technique in conjunction with a set-up pack is to cut a named card to the top. More interestingly the same technique can also be used to cut a packet containing a known number of cards. Effectively it means that any named card can be positioned quickly at any position in the pack.
David says that the task of doing this is not as daunting as it may first appear. It is not difficult to estimate the centre of the pack or visually divide the pack into quarters.
Even the beginner can estimate the position of any card in a set-up within six or seven cards. Getting that down to just one card either way is just a matter of constant practise.
Radio[ edit ] Berglas first became a household name in Britain through his regular performances on BBC radio, an unusual role for a magician. He conducted what he called "Nationwide Psychological Experiments", involving millions of listeners in their homes. This part of the show required listeners to write in to confirm their reaction. His weekly broadcasts included sensational stunts, including hanging a box over Regent Street, London for a whole week.
The Berglas Effect is widely considered amongst magicians to be the holy grail of card magic. It should be noted that some versions of the Effect involve a shuffled deck. There is a fierce debate amongst magicians as to whether the Berglas Effect is a controlled card trick, an instance of luck or the stuff of mythology. I am inclined to believe it is a combination of all three factors. Two phenomenal performances of the Berglas Effect can be viewed here: The original Berglas effect, which is only known and performed by David Berglas and Marc Paul, has four strict criteria. The deck is available for viewing prior to the trick the cards are not touched by the magician.