Astrotwins

EFFECT The magician/psychic talks about "astro twins" and then suggests an experiment with six pairs of twins. The spectator eliminates cards two at a time until just two remain. When these are turned over they are seen to be a pair of "astro twins". As an extra climax the magician turns over the discarded pairs to show that they are all sets of twins also.

ROUTINE "Have you ever heard about astrological twins - two people being born at the same time and place and leading similar lives? King George IV of England had one who was a chimney sweep. They were both keen gamblers. The king bet on horses, the sweep on donkeys. On the same day the king was kicked by a horse, his astro twin was kicked by a donkey. They also both went bankrupt at the same time. It's amazing isn't it? One was a prince, the other a pauper, but so many events happened to them at the exact same time.

"Even more amazingly, George IV's father, King George III also had an astro twin. Not only were they both born on the same day and married on the same day, but they also had the same number of children with the same sex differentiation, and both died on the same day!

"There are many other examples, of course, but you may have heard of those ones. Do you think you could have an astro twin?"

"No." "Maybe." "Perhaps." "I'm a real twin." etc.

"Let's try an experiment to see if you could recognize your astro twin if he or she turned up. I have here six sets of astro twins. For convenience I have named them in pairs. Here we have Bill 1 and Bill 2. They make up one set of twins. Here is King George 1 and King George 2. (The magician displays the cards with the pairs side by side, making two columns. My selection is Bill 1, Jenny 1, King George 1, Cleopatra 1, Basil 1 and Vikki 1. This selection is repeated with Bill 2, Jenny 2, etc. The magician picks up the cards in one column first, followed by the second. This means that he ends up with twelve facedown cards in the following order: Bill 1, Jenny 1, King George 1, Cleopatra 1, Basil 1, Vikki 1, Bill 2, Jenny 2, King George 2, Cleopatra 2, Basil 2 and Vikki 2. The magician then deals six cards face-down on the table and places the remaining six beside them. This means that the cards in the first pile are in reverse order to the cards in the second pile.)

"Now, here's the test to see if you can recognize your astro twin if you ever see him or her. We use a special magic spelJ called 'Aslm Twit? bccsc< ?(KkCcd 6$' rwiiTstart with whatever pile you wish. I will take cards from the top of that pile and place them at the bottom, card for each letter of each word. At any time you can say 'stop' I'll immediately continue the spelling on the other pile. You can 'stop' as often as you like. Do you understand?"

"Good. Which pile shall I start with?" "That one."

"Fine. Now the first word of the spell is 'astro1. That is A (one card taken from the top of the face-down pile and placed at the bottom), S (another card moved)."

"Stop!"

"Very good. I'll continue spelling with the other pile until you say 'stop' again. T, R -"

"Stop!"

"All right. I'll change piles. O. That is the first word of the spell. What I do now is place the top card of each pile to one side, like that. They have been discarded. Now we'll continue. The next word is 'twin'. Which pile shall I start with?"

"That one."

(The magician continues on in this way, changing piles whenever the spectator says 'stop', and placing the top card of each pile to one side l after spelling each word. Finally, just two cards are left. In fact, there is no need to spell out the last word 'up'. I usually point at one card and say, "U", and then say "P" while indicating the other card.)

"Now for the moment of truth. Two cards are left. I wonder if they are a pair of astro twins. Now you were in total control. You could have told me to stop at any time. If you had said 'stop' one time less or one time more the outcome would be completely different. (A lie.) Turn over the cards and see if you were successful. Bill 1 and Bill 2! That is marvellous! You must be psychic!"

(After allowing the success of the experiment to sink in, the magician happens to notice the discarded cards.)

"I wonder how you did with the pairs you eliminated. Look at this! King George 1 and King George 2! Vikki 1 and Vikki 2!" (The magician shows that all the pairs match.)

EXPLANATION The routine is entirely self-working. I used to do this as a card trick many years ago. Unfortunately, I have not been able to track it down in my library. If you do know who originated this, please let me know so I can give proper credit. I have got a feeling that it is an old, old trick that has been around for ever, but could easily be wrong.

All you need do is write six pairs of names on the back of business cards and you are ready to perform. People love thinking and talking about astrological twins. Try it and see!

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