This effect is based on a trick called “The Magic Die,” from a set of lecture notes entitled “Original Close-Up Routines” by Claude Rix. I found a later generation of the effect in “DeSouza’s DeCeptions: The Magic of Marc DeSouza” by David Acer. Marc called his routine “Die of Destiny.” In addition to adapting the routine for use with special cards, I have reduced the number of cards, added the use of number cards and a four-sided rod, as well as this story:
Witchcraft in medieval England was not something well tolerated among the citizenry. In fact, if one was suspected of practicing such a vocation, one was subject to a sort of prosecution involving society’s own ritual. A packet of cards depicting various images, some good and some bad, would be spread out on the table before the accused. The accused would choose one of the cards, which could well determine her fate. After looking at the card and showing it to several witnesses, she would replace the card in the pack at a position of her choosing.
The cards would then be mixed and then dealt into four equal piles. Any extra cards would be set aside. Now, four number cards were handed to the woman, and she was directed to place one card on top of each of the four piles, as she desired. Then, a rod was introduced. The suspect would roll the rod, thus allowing Fate to select a particular pile. The other piles were removed from consideration.
The remaining cards were then dealt into four piles, with the extra cards removed from play. Again, the number cards were given to the accused; again she would place them one on each card at her discretion. Again, the rod was rolled, thus selecting one card. The remaining three cards were removed. The remaining card could determine the accused’s fate, for if the card chosen by Fate herself was in fact the originally selected card, the accused’s fate would be confirmed, and her future would play out accordingly. Failure of Fate to select the originally selected card would result in immediate banishment from the community, regardless of the original selection. So, if the accused selected a positive symbol, she would hope that Fate would find the same card.
If the original selection was negative, she would pray for Fate to find any card but hers. And so now, I must ask you, what card did you choose at the beginning of this ritual? The Coffin? Symbol of death. That means you must be hoping for any card but the Coffin. At this point, banishment never looked so good, huh? Let’s have a look, shall we? Indeed, Fate has chosen the same Coffin card, condemning you to be burned at the stake! Of course, this is just a story from long ago, so you should be just fine. By the way, I conducted this little ritual for a lady just the other night. She was fortunate enough to select the Clover (symbol for good luck), and Fate found her card, just like it did yours. Just earlier today I learned that she won $25,000 on a scratch-off lottery ticket! Nothing to worry about, though. I’m pretty sure that was just a coincidence. Thanks for your help, and good luck to you.
What you receive: - Twenty-two cards depicting various images with meanings - Four number cards - One four-sided rod, a sort of four-sided die, if you will - One burlap bag with twine, within which to carry the cards - One instruction booklet printed on parchment-like paper