Because someone needs to share this..

by Wouldn't you like to know?

The essay below is not mine, and has been found freely shared online. I do not claim ownership of it and am simply reposting it here for people to read.
If you’ve already read it, share it around. If this if your first time reading it, enjoy the fuck out of it and share it ’til it hurts.


Dust-Motes In the Gird
©1999 by Jon Racherbaumer

“Raise tempers, goad and lacerate,
raise a whirlwind.”

Collegial relationships in magic are delicate things. Many are based on how “relatives” relate to their common interests and how they connect on issues. Sometimes it depends on where their agendas intersect and for how long. If it turns out that your colleague is likable and fun to be around, another kind of enduring bond is formed. A friendship ensues. Unfortunately, besides the Work, more things conspire to separate and divide magicians than unite and unify them. One of the great dividers is geography. If a colleague does not live in the same city, interaction only takes place during visits, at magic conventions, or infrequent vacation trips. Therefore, continuity is marked and marred by circumstantial interruptions. We resort to telephone conversations, letters, faxes, and now the Internet. In many cases, the only link between colleagues is sporadic letter-writing. For example, my relationship with Stephen Minch was epistolary for over twenty years before we actually met face-to-face. I have shared only two sessions with Ken Krenzel, yet we have talked on the telephone and have corresponded for almost thirty years. I have only been in Gene Maze’s presence twice, but I consider him a “brother” in the Magic Hood.

In a roundabout way, this brings me to the subject of Harry Lorayne, an old and battle-scarred colleague.

Harry, for those of you who don’t know, is—shall we say?—“a piece of work.”
Nevertheless, there are more things about him to like than to dislike.

I’m currently, no doubt, on his [vulgarité/insulte] list. This is partially due to guilt-by-relationship, naming my tie to Richard Kaufman. Harry considers Richie (as he calls Kaufman in charitable moments) an unrepentant “prunk” (Harry’s neologism, combining “punk” and “prick”). Their ongoing Slam Contest dates back to their Apocalyptic split. More recently, Harry took extreme exception to a footnote regarding the Halo Cut published in Magie Duvivier (1996), p. 80:

The Halo Bottom Slip Cut is explained in Rim Shots (1973), p. 131. The paternity of this move is still in contention. Many attribute the technique to Derek Dingle. However, although no documentation exists, hearsay testimony credits Frank Thompson with the move. He used the friction technique, but also used a pinky break above the bottom card. Neal Elias is also said to have had a similar sleight years ago.

(This seemed a fair way to report the provenance of this move. Harry thought otherwise.)

In the past, Harry published a few of my contributions in Apocalypse and Best of Friends, and we have been corresponding and sparring for years. We started out (in Harry’s words) enemies. My satire (“The Adventures of Harry Inane”) in Hierophant ruffled his feathers and over the years he vacillates between being ticked off and uneasily tolerant. The last time I saw him in person was 1978.

Harry’s first hard-cover book, Close-up Card Magic, is a classic. I love that book. It rekindled my interest in card magic back in 1965. All of our past, personal meetings were cordial, interesting, and fun, and to this day, I admire his energy, enthusiasm, and stylized way of presenting magic. I even enjoy and find amusing certain aspects of his otherwise irksome egocentricity. And who else can take a mediocre or bad trick and make it look like a miracle?

My biggest gripe against Harry-the-I is his appropriation of certain ideas, tricks, and sleights. I’m willing to accept claims of innocent reinvention (when they are plausible); however, his insistence of claiming certain things—even after he has been shown evidence to the contrary—is annoying and indefensible.

Pointing out such provenance is a lose-lose proposition. Those entitled to receive credit are usually dead and most magicians are not interested in the history of ideas, moves, and tricks. Those guilty of legitimate reinvention become upset or disappointed because they have been scooped and guilty of plagiarism are put in an awkward position or unfavorable light. They also construe such revelations as “personal attacks.”

What are my goals in writing about Harry’s penchant for taking credit for things he didn’t invent? Contrary to what my critics contend, I’m truly interested in finding facts related to the provenance of everything. I also think that creators should hold themselves accountable about what they publish or claim as their own. They should also be eager to receive complaints about their work and to diligently correct mistakes of fact and to fairly acknowledge previous references when they are pointed out to them.

With these thoughts in mind here is an article called…


Harry Lorayne a.k.a. Harry Ratzer recently blasted Richard Kaufman and myself, taking exception to a tiny footnote in Magie Duvivier (1996) regarding the so-called Halo Cut. This small and impartial credit apparently annoyed him; but Lorayne’s subsequent criticism (in Apocalypse) impugns my credibility as a conscientious historian. As my esteemed and calmer colleague, Stephen Minch, puts it—Good historians are always interested in further documentation that alters or adds to what we know and have discovered about magic’s complex development. In this regard, consider the following…

The goal of this assay is to point out a few facts grounded in the body of work Lorayne has amassed during the past forty years. Such facts are obdurate, glistening finds that guide historians in their quest to make sense of our history, especially its documents and how they relate to other works. They reveal the roles writers, interlocutors, essayists, critics, gossipists, pundits, and scoundrels play in this complicated scheme of things. This is a small step in the ongoing process of tracing the ancestral links of tricks, sleights, and ideas.


Lorayne’s career as a writer on magic began when Lou Tannen published a landmark book called Close-up Card Magic (1962). This trick-anthology, in the Rufus Steele mold, became a best-seller. More important, it was a hard cover book, written in a chatty, formulaic style that appealed to average magicians. It was also an anomaly because magic dealers did not publish many hard-cover books exclusively devoted to card tricks back then. After 1940, only a handful come to mind: Hilliard’s Card Magic (1944), Card Control (1946), The Card Magic of Le Paul (1949), Scarne On Card Tricks (1950), Effective Card Magic (1952), and Professional Card Magic (1961). There were, after all, only a few specialists in the 50’s and early 60’s. How many hard-core cardmen could there be? Fifty? A hundred? Close-up Card Magic not only appealed to the established community of cardmen, it was partially responsible for inspiring neophytes to become cardmen. If this is so, it also helped establish a new and conspicuous class of consumers—a special-interest group that spread the word and could make or break reputations.

Timing is everything and the appearance of Close-up Card Magic was fortuitous. While he collected 82 tricks, Lorayne only named 18 other magician-friends and colleagues. If the reader remembered anything, it would be his photograph and name. Lorayne left clues in his Foreword:

“…I have given credit whenever and wherever I could. If I have overlooked anyone, it is unintentional, and I offer my apologies in advance. So far as I know—most, if not all of course, of the effects, routines and ideas herein are of my own conception.”

If you study Close-up Card Magic and compare it to the Published Record then and now, you find that Lorayne overlooked at least twenty other magicians , even though he asserted that as “far as I [he] know—most, not all of course, of the effects, routines, and ideas…are my [his] own conception,” This is how the game is played. Although they have never been codified, there are rules.

Rule One: Explain a sleight’s specific technique without attribution.

Example: In Close-up Card Magic (p. 16), Lorayne explains the Faro Shuffle, which was not widely known or practiced at the time. Jerry Andrus is not credited with the specific way of weaving the sections from the top. He mentions that a book has been written on the shuffle, but does not mention it.

Rule Two: Crib from obscure sources or make sure that the idea is sufficiently “buried” in the literature, then credit someone else or take credit yourself by mentioning no one.

Example: The trick called “Stop!” on p. 64 is published in 50 Tricks (1946) by Rufus Steele. It is called “I Should Judge” (p. 38). There is no attribution in Steele’s book.

Example: “Lazy Man’s Card Trick” (p. 199) is credited to Jack Miller and Al Koran. Koran apparently fooled Lorayne with his presentation, but the principle was published in 50 Tricks (credited to Doc Miller). “That Number Down” is found on p. 34.

Rule Three: Take a previously published, original method-procedure from an old magazine, allude to it in a vague way, then add additional handling and phases. Since you have created a routine, you get credit for everything.

Example: “Coincidentally Yours” (p.) takes an idea from Ande Furlong that is buried in Hugard’s Magic Monthly (Vol. 8 – No. 11: April, 1951), p. 775. Granted: The extension, layout, and presentation are redeeming features and should be acknowledged and credited, but why omit Furlong’s name?

Rule Four: Take an idea from one source and combine it with another presentation, then credit someone else or take credit yourself. This kind of combinatorial activity makes back-tracking research very difficult.

Example: “Sam-ultaneous” (p. 114) is credited to Sam Schwartz, who apparently showed it to Lorayne. The mathematical principle should be credited to Professor Sidney Lawrence and was published in Ten Self Working Master Effects. The principle was later published by Hen Fetsch in Five O’Fetsch as “The Smith Myth,” credited to Fred Smith of Buffalo, New York. The presentation angle is derived from Paul Curry’s “Power Of Thought.” If Lorayne is called on any of these omissions, he can blame Schwartz.

Rule Five: Take an unpublished sleight, give it a name, and publish it before the originators can document their origination.

Example One: Lorayne was shown the Bottom Slip Cut by Derek Dingle. When Richard Kaufman asked him about this when they were on speaking terms, Harry admitted that Dingle had shown him the sleight. By then, however, cardmen were reacting favorably to it and the HaLo Cut title-attribution was taking hold.

Example Two: There is the rubber-band linking effect explained in The Magic Book (1977) by Karl Fulves, p. 44. This is Fulves’ handling of Ken Crossen’s trick. Lorayne published a similar handling using playing cards in Quantum Leaps (1979), p. 152. Bev Bergeron claims that he was performing this trick many years prior to Lorayne’s publication of “The Best Gosh Darn Impromptu Linking Card Effect You’ll Ever See” and he teaches it on his video instruction tape. Only Lorayne knows if he was inspired by the rubber-band link, but the underlying idea is the same and the rubber-band trick predates Lorayne’s application.. Most creations do not happen in psychic void. As Lucretius wrote, Nil posse creari de nilo (“nothing can be created out of nothing”). This is not to necessarily impugn Lorayne’s so-called creation but to simply show that two good ideas are ancestrally linked (no pun) in the Published Record. Bergeron’s claim can be challenged. However, given Lorayne’s history of tenaciously claiming certain ideas, sleights, and tricks that are not his to claim, it invites speculation about all his other claims, especially when provenance is unclear or at best murky.

Rule Six: Take a published trick from another book and put it in your book, claiming that you worked out a method apparently based on hearing a description of the effect. Change the name of the effect, change the identities of the principal cards used, then allude to somebody nobody knows.

Example One: On p. 32 of Close-up Card Magic is an effect titled “Aces Wild” which is identical to “Four Of A Kind” from Inner Secrets Of Card Magic (1959), p.19. Dai Vernon’s method uses Queens and excellent misdirection. Lorayne substituted Queens and credited the underlying idea to Ron Johnson. It is difficult to believe that Lorayne was ignorant of Vernon’s book, which was published two years prior to Close-up Card Magic.

Example Two: Lorayne published a routine called “The Equalizer” in Trend Setters (1990), p. 172, that is largely derived from Simon Aronson’s Shuffle-Bored (1980). Lorayne waited almost a decade and alludes to Aronson, but he rationalizes that he desired an impromptu version, subsequently created his own, and then felt justified in publishing it. When Lorayne’s version was published, Aronson noted that Lorayne’s solution was similar to what Aronson had already offered in “Controlled Shuffle-bored” in his original booklet. Aronson wrote and apprised Lorayne of this similarity. Lorayne acknowledged that he had never read Aronson’s original manuscript, hence claimed ignorance of Aronson’s impromptu, no-stack versions. If the situation was reversed, how would Lorayne have reacted?

Rule Seven: Take a routine that has been published many times, add your name to its title, then boldly reprint over and over until future generations of readers assume it is yours. If possible, include your version in a book sold to the public.

Example: Lorayne boldly published “Lorayne’s Poker Deal” in Hugard’s Magic Monthly (March, 1958). This boldness could be interpreted as ambitious audacity because Lorayne did not mention the three previously published versions in the same magazine. Although a man who made a living by his trained memory, Lorayne uses phrases like: “…the principle involved is probably older than me.” He then claimed the presentation (fast-talking patter), adding that he experimented and performed the trick for about fifteen years. If his claim is true, he began experimenting in 1943, a year after Marlo published Let’s See The Deck (1942). This is the booklet that explains the Gardner-Marlo Poker Deal, a precursor of the “Lorayne Poker Deal.”

Please consider these assertions: (1) The principle of a pick-up stack is older than the poker deals based on it and its originator is unknown. (2) Jean Hugard was the first to publish an application-presentation of this principle, using a pseudo-gambling approach. (3) The Gardner-Marlo Poker Routine established a prototypal routine. Its commercial approach inspired many copies and set the standard. (4) Lorayne expropriated most of this routine and publishing it in two of his books without credit.


The pilfered poker deal in question is an exploitation of what card cheats call a “slug”—a group of cards prearranged or already set for the purpose of cheating. Therefore, the notion of taking advantage of ready-made card arrangements is derived from the gaming table. Cheats call them pickup stacks.

Suppose a cheat is playing poker and he spots three high cards (Kings) among the face-up cards of the previous round. He could then pick up the “played cards” so that the Kings ended up fourth, eighth, and twelfth from the top of the deck. If such cards happened to be fortuitously and correctly positioned and no adjustments are necessary, the cheat can grin and proceed. With the Kings set, he simply performs a false shuffle, deals a four-handed game, and the Kings fall to him. This easy, no-stacking stack requires no run-ups or riffle-shuffle stacking. Such ready-made slugs are ready-made or can be easily arranged as discards and played cards are returned to the deck for the next round.

Cheats the cyclic nature of re-dealing cards, especially if the dealt cards are not mixed. In other words, if you deal five hands of poker, the cards are dealt in rotation. The first player gets the first, sixth, eleventh, sixteenth, and twenty-first cards of the top twenty-five-card stock. Suppose the fifth card in each player’s hand is part of a desired slug. If the five hands are replaced onto the talon without being disturbed, the slug-cards automatically fall into the fifth hand during the next round.

Marlo explained this concept in Let’s See The Deck (1942) and told me the basic idea came from the gaming table, but the first application was published in Card Manipulations – Series 5 (1936). Jean Hugard described “An Effective Poker Deal” on p. 108 of that booklet. He wrote that it is “an easy way to gain a reputation” for dealing good poker hands at will. He also chose the most impressive slug, a Royal Flush in any suit but Spades. It is previously placed on top and retained during an Overhand Jog Shuffle. The deck is handed to a spectator, who deals out five hands of poker. The magician shows each hand, then replaces them face down on the deck. Another Jog Shuffle is performed and the Royal-Flush is set. The magician deals out five hands and the fifth hand wins the money.

Marlo wrote in Let’s See The Deck:

“A couple of years ago [1940], Martin Gardner and I were in a restaurant in Chicago discussing magic effects. Among them were various poker deals and stacks. It was quite by accident that we stumbled onto the idea of stacking certain cards while apparently explaining to the audience how gamblers operate.”

So, the routine described in Marlo’s booklet became the influential paradigm for the next forty years.

These are salient aspects of the Gardner-Marlo Poker Routine: (1) The Kings are openly placed on the bottom of the deck as the Aces are secretly culled to the top. (2) Five hands of poker are dealt. (3) The magician openly demonstrates that a card cheat deals off the bottom of the deck during the second, third, fourth, and fifth rounds. (4) The fifth hand is shown to be four Kings. The Four-Ace slug is now set when the five hands are replaced on top of the talon. (5) The magician now claims to stack the deck. In reality, he performs a false shuffle and retains the top twenty-five cards. (6) He deals out five hands of poker, picks up and replaces the first four hands onto the talon, then reveals the four Aces in the fifth hand. The Kings-slug is now set on top for a climactic deal because they are fifth, tenth, fifteenth, and twentieth. (7) The magician asks the spectator to choose a hand from one to five. He performs another false shuffle. If the first hand is chosen, four cards are lost from the top. If the second one is picked, he loses three. If the third one is picked, he loses two. If the fourth hand is picked, he loses one. The fifth hand is pat.

Marlo did not explain how to lose these top cards. Cardmen assumed they were lost by Double Cutting or during Overhand or Riffle Shuffles. However, the basic procedure was tipped and the rest was left up to the reader. The cognoscenti took note of the Gardner-Marlo Poker Deal, but the size of the cognoscenti was small in the 40’s. How many magicians performed real or pseudo-gambling demonstrations during that time? Ten? Twenty? Four magicians immediately come to mind: John Scarne, Audley Walsh, Stewart James, and Russel J. Duck (Rusduck). Regardless, it is likely that the Gardner-Marlo Poker Routine was making the rounds when Jean Hugard published a thinly-disguised version in Hugard’s Magic Monthly (Volume IV – Number 6: November, 1946).

Hugard called it “Can You Deal A Good Poker Hand?” and did not credit or mention the Gardner-Marlo Poker Deal nor did he cite the one he published in Card Manipulations ten years earlier. Harry Lorayne is not the only one with amnesia. The concept cribbed by Hugard is identical to the Gardner-Marlo Poker Deal. More important, the presentation is the same. Hugard put four Kings on the bottom as he secretly set the Aces on top. The rest follows the Gardner-Marlo presentation and the only thing he added “for a brilliant finale” [Hugard] was to maneuver two Aces to the top and two to the bottom after the last round. He then disclosed the Aces by performing the Hofzinser Toss. (This is a double hand-to-hand toss that ends with each hand holding a pair of cards. See “The Four Eights,” pp. 37-38 in Kartenkunste.) Hugard remained consistent. He did not credit Hofzinser either.

Hugard apparently liked the trick. Four years later, the same routine surfaced in Hugard’s Magic Monthly (Volume VIII – Number 5: October, 1950), contributed by Clayton Rawson (The Great Merlini). It used the first two deals explained by Hugard and mentions “Can You Deal A Good Poker Hand” (although he left out the adjective “good”) and called his version “Poker Player’s Nightmare.” His method uses an extra, stacked half-deck and a pocket-switch to ring-in the slug. For the climax, the operator deals a Straight, Flush, Full House, and Four-of-a-Kind to his four opponents. He gets a Royal Flush. This is a logical extension, but the extensive preparation was probably off-putting to casual readers. Rawson knew how to correctly create a good plot and was willing to pay the price of a set-up.

Eight years later, Orville Meyer takes another crack at this poker deal in Hugard’s Magic Monthly (Volume XII – Number 3: August, 1954). Meyer credits his sources and wrote: “This trick has an interesting history with versions in Card Manipulations, the November 1946 Magic Monthly, Marlo’s Let See The Deck, and the Royal Road to Card Magic, by Hugard and Braue.” Meyer, an honorable man, gave credit when it was due. Hugard continued to omit previous references in Royal Road To Card Magic (1949), pp. 141-142.

Meyer’s “Poker Deal” is like the original Hugard routine in Card Manipulations. That is, he secretly set a Royal Flush and four indifferent cards of the same suit on top of the deck. When the Aces-Hand is placed on top, two are set to fill the Flush and Royal Flush. On the second deal, the operator gets the Royal Flush and the Flush falls into the fourth hand. Finally, Meyer performed an Overhand Shuffle to run the required number of cards off the top to effect the climax.

Considering everything published prior to 1958, what can Lorayne claim?

How do the various presentations differ?

Hugard’s initial presentation was ostensibly a demonstration of skill. The performer permits the spectator to deal some poker hands, producing average results. The performer then deals some hands and gets a Royal Flush. This suggests a high degree of (invisible) skill. Marlo took a slightly different tack. He pretended to share inside information on cheating techniques. He said, “Everyone is interested in how to win at cards, especially poker.” Lorayne uses the same approach: “Well, I can’t show you how to cheat! That would be unethical—but I can show you how I learned to cheat at Poker, if you’re interested.” If you ignore the unintentional comic line about the ethics of exposing unethical card cheats, what do you think of Lorayne’s code of silence when it comes to keeping the secrets of petty crooks?

One thing is certain: Lorayne borrows from the best. This is why he reprinted the Gardner-Marlo poker deal in Close-Up Card Magic and The Magic Book. Check out his last two sentences regarding this effect in Close-Up Card Magic:

“If you don’t get a round of applause, each time, when you’re through performing it for laymen—re-read this. You’re doing something wrong!”

Marlo’s words from Let’s See The Deck:

“Take your bow and the audience will applaud. If they don’t —give up card magic.”

Rule Eight: When you expropriate a move, make sure that it was published in an obscure or out-of-print book or is not published at all. Regardless of what anyone says to the contrary, claim that you devised it on your own. If that does not work, explain that your version is fully finessed and is therefore different.

Example: The Lorayne Force, HaLo Cut, Illogical Double Lift, Epitome Location, and the Ultra Move. Let’s start off with the Ultra Move, which Lorayne published in Afterthoughts (1975), claiming that he had been doing this move for a long time and was responsible for perfecting it.

This move dates back to Nouvelle Magie Blanche Devoilee (1854) and was described as a one-handed top change credited to Ponsin. Another reference, pointed out by John Braun, is Magic Without Apparatus by Camille Gaultier, p. 215. There the sleight is attributed to a conjurer by the name of M. Moreau. It is also mentioned in The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic, p. 186, by Robert Houdin. Finally, Arthur Buckley published a version in Card Control (1940), calling it “A Different Top Change: Mass Hypnotism” (p. 88).

Lorayne was probably unaware of the early references; however, he admitted being told about the Buckley reference. (Told about, not taught.) He insists that the move “is similar, but not the same”…whatever that means? To prove that he knew about the mechanics, he points out how he used it as a flourish in the Ambitious Card routine published in Close-up Card Magic (pp. 55-56). In a letter written by T. Nelson Downs to Eddie “Tex” McGuire in 1924, Downs writes in conjunction with the Fourth Method of a routine titled, “T.N.D. Card That Always Comes To The Top”:

Requires considerable skill and is only acquired by a great amount of practice. It’s a single-handed Top Change. To accomplish this Top Change, pack is held in palm in position for dealing: thumb is on top of pack, little finger at bottom end of pack and the first finger at the top end as if to deal the top card off the side. You tilt the pack up and push top card over about two-thirds or three-fourths the way off side of pack, at the same time tilting pack up to show top card. Saying “Is this your card?” the top card is balanced between the index and little finger which act as a pivot. At the same time the rear part of the thumb pulls back the second card and performer lets the top card drop down behind and UNDER second card in lowering the hand.

Since this move has been published in many sources, why does Harry continue to call it his Ultra Move?

Derek Dingle showed the Halo Cut to Lorayne, who saw its flexible applicability. He admitted to Richard Kaufman that Dingle showed him the move. Since there is no documentation or Lorayne was the only one to publish and name the move, it becomes his by default.

The Illogical Double Lift has an interesting background.

Lorayne claimed that he came up with a way to switch a card, then published “The Illogical Double Lift” in Quantum Leaps (1979).This happens to be a technical variation of the K. M. Move previously published in Marlo’s Magazine – Volume One (1976). Marlo informed Lorayne of his reinvention. He immediately wrote Marlo, arguing that his move was different (September 3, 1986):

As far as the “Latest KM Move” is concerned, I can’t agree with you at all. I do not remember the conversation with Barry Price, so let’s not concern ourselves with that. And, I do not have your Magazine #1, so can’t check that.

But, I have read the copy of the KM Move booklet you sent pretty carefully. In every case, you are left with a card in your right hand. My Illogical Double Lift does not do that at all. Please check it out in QUANTUM LEAPS (which, incidentally, although published in 1979, I had most of it written before 1976.) That’s not important. The point is that the Illogical Double Lift is different because the two cards go flush up against the deck, and the left thumb deals the rear card to the table. Nowhere is that done in the K.M. booklet. Now, if you teach it that way in your Magazine #1, I’d like to see it, and if so — I’ll be more than happy to mention it in APOCALYPSE.

I have checked Latest K.M. Move in Formula One Close-up again. I’m afraid I haven’t changed my mind. Suddenly, the left thumb deals the rear card to the table after the 2 cards are placed up against the (turning face up) deck. This is exactly my Illogical Double Lift. And, frankly, even if the same move had been in print before (and if it was, I haven’t seen it yet), the writer of Formula One could have mentioned QUANTUM LEAPS — I think that would have been the normal thing to do.

Please let me see your variation in your Magazine #1. Right now, I have to stand by the statement I made — put “Latest” alongside my “Illogical” and you would find it a chore to tell ’em apart.

Show me where I’m wrong Ed and, as usual, I will be more than happy to oblige you. As a matter of fact, if it’s that important to you, I’ll mention that they are slightly different, although I do not believe that. (I’m surprised that you don’t see it — that “Illogical” is different than KM, and “Latest” is exactly like “Illogical.”)

Let me know — I’m way ahead on issues, and if I do have to say something about this, I’d like to do it in the early part of next year.

I have been very busy, and it’s possible that I’ve read things too quickly. I may be wrong — I just don’t see it at the moment. I really don’t mind admitting that I’m wrong when I know that I definitely am. I don’t think so in this case.

P.S. And in all cases, in K.M. Move, a card (or cards) is stolen back onto the deck with the left fingers. This is not done in the Illogical Double Lift. Honestly, I think if an apology is due it’s due me! “Latest” in Formula One is really a rip-off of my “Illogical,” unless you can show me another source before “Illogical” appeared. If I’m wrong, I’ll certainly apologize in print.

Digression: If you are unfamiliar with the K.M. Move in question, its underlying concept is to secretly turn one card as you handled another one. Its strength lies in its simultaneity. Sometimes its mechanics result in a switch. A germane example is on page 4 of Marlo’s original K.M. Move booklet:

While the K.M. Move has been described with the top card face down, it can be done with the top card face up. Simply turn the top card face up, do a Double Lift of the cards back to back, go into the K.M. Move with Forward Fingering Action thus ending up with the face-up card still face-up in the right hand while at the same time secretly reversing the other card on top. By using the Reverse Fingering Action with the top card face up you will appear to have taken this face up card face down into the right hand when actually you will have righted the original face up card and end up with the exchanged card face down in right hand. It is actually illogical but looks all right because of the Wrist Turn to the left hand.

Marlo replied to Lorayne’s letter (September 8, 1986):


Since you have not seen Vol-I of the Magazine, I went out of my way to have pages 39 to 70 copied for you. This includes the K.M. Move in its various forms and applications. The opening method on page 39 is a description of the original handling because by this time the K.M. Move booklet was out of print. The method on pages 41 to 43 was devised in 1963 and between 1963 and 1970 was recorded by a half dozen magicians in their Notes. Over the years I came up with additional ideas and handlings and applications of this particular method. At present have more handlings and applications that have not been published.

So as you yourself pointed out, you would find it a chore to distinguish the difference between the Latest K.M. Move and the Illogical Double Lift.

After you have read the enclosed 39 to 70 pages on the K. M. Move, I will let you decide how you wish to proceed in this matter without causing yourself any undue embarrassment with your readers of APOCALYPSE.

Meantime, wishing you continued success with all your projects and the best to you–


Lorayne replied to this letter on September 11, 1986:

Hi Ed:

I was hoping that Randy Wakeman would call you before you went through the trouble of making copies, etc. I’d written to him — because he sent me a variation of the ace-cutting routine, which I’ll run in Apocalypse when I can and mentioned the Latest KM Move. In the meantime, I had someone check Magazine #1 for me.

Well, as soon as that person started to read page 41 to me, I said — “That’s it – stop; Eddie is right.”

Lorayne kept his word and mentioned the confusion in Apocalypse, but printing apologies, corrections, and errata does not eliminate confusion for future readers or students. The original books and articles initially causing confusion and misunderstanding are not altered or amended. Anyone reading them receives the same misinformation.

Rule Nine: When you want to obtain credit for a principle, give it a name and then write a booklet that expropriates ideas, finesses, and methods from others so that informed magicians will remember only the booklet and the name of the principle. This is the Overshadowing Tactic.

Lorayne published a booklet called The Epitome Location in 1976. He writes: “This is all based on an idea that has intrigued me since childhood. It is probably older than you and me.” He is right about that. The principle of Card Counting dates back to Hooper’s Rational Recreations (1744), so it is very old. Lorayne only mentions Outs, Precautions, and Challenges and omits references by Joe Berg, Martin Gardner, Satya Ranjan Roy, Kunard, and Ken Beale. In fact, one of the best ideas in the book is called “Twice As Fast,” (p. 21) which Lorayne writes is “a major breakthrough.” Ken Beale published this concept in Ibidem #2.

The Rules of Expropriation and Reformulation have been consciously and unconsciously used by many magicians throughout history, including Vernon and Marlo. Because Marlo published an incredible number of tricks, methods, and sleights, he was constantly accused of stealing tricks and ideas. Vernon, on the other hand, did not care about giving or receiving credits. If you study Marlo’s writings, you will find that he was usually careful about crediting others while clarifying his own claims. Over the years, he credited hundreds of other creative magicians. He was, in fact, particularly precise about making distinctions when the provenance was murky or moot. Lorayne’s case is different because when he is challenged, he becomes contentious and argumentative about anything that does not support his case or cause. Any inaccurate claims by anyone should be exposed, documented, and the record, clarified. Lorayne’s culpability is well-known to colleagues who know where the bones are buried and to scholars who have conscientiously studied the literature. As a major player and contributor to our literature, Lorayne should acknowledge his influences and confess to points of inspiration. When and where previous sources are cited, he should forthrightly acknowledge them. He should pay homage to each and every precursor, especially those he knows about. When others are pointed out to him, he should add them to his list.

The dry, dusty dormancy of our literature holds most, if not all, of the answers and truths. Creative cardmen who contribute to it should be accountable and know much about the provenance of our tricks, sleights, and ideas. Moreover, they should be willing to address, when confronted, any and all challenges to what is overlooked and omitted in rational, responsible ways. To act otherwise is a potentially perilous course of action. It engenders suspicious speculation and unsympathetic censure, casting a shadow over everything else, including claims that are otherwise legitimate and uncontaminated.

This article was originally planned to be published in The Looking Glass. Richard Kaufman and I discussed the pros and cons of publishing it in Genii or Facsimile. Friends dissuaded Richard from publishing it. I’m sure Harry, providing he reads it, will be exceptionally displeased. Part of me hope that he will take the high road. The cynic in me expects him to counter-attack. Hence, the negative beat goes on…

“Half A Headache” was published in Ibidem #2 (August, 1955) and later in Richard Kaufman’s Ibidem – Volume 1 (1993), p. 21.