The spectator selects a card from a deck of numbered cards.
The magician then deals out four hands of cards and asks the
spectator to guess which hand adds up to the same number he
has chosen.?Incredibly, the spectator is correct. The chosen
hand does add up to his selected number. But that's not all.
Each of the other three hands also reveals the chosen
The four hands are quickly arranged into a 4 x 4 grid to
form a magic square. Each column, diagonal, row now adds up
to the chosen number. Even the four corners total the
Finally, the cards are turned over to reveal a message that
also predicts the chosen number. Complete with special deck.
Totally self-working. Easy to reset. Different numbers can
Magic Square. Number cards. Message on the back of the
cards. When I first read the blurb for this effect, I felt
that this was squarely in the category of mental magic and
passed on getting this, just like others are saying on the
forum. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with
magic squares, playing cards, or messages that are on the
backs of cards. But all three together just felt too much
like mental magic.
Then, on second thought, I decided that since it was labeled
as mentalism, I'd give it a chance and check it out. After
watching the instructional DVD, my interest was definitely
piqued and I decided I wanted to try this out. So I
customized the cards and performed it a few times.
Wow! My initial reaction couldn't have been more wrong! THE
GRID packed as strong a punch as any many others in my
repertoire. And with just a little thought to the script,
the message on the back of the playing cards satisfied my
criteria for mentalism.
This routine is filled with many, many moments of multiple
amazement, a phrase Chuck Hickok likes to say. First, a
deck of cards is shown. This deck has a Bicycle-like red
back and a variety of numbers printed on the face. A
handful of number cards are given to a participant, who
mixes them up, chooses one at random, and places it aside
Then four piles of four numbers are dealt. The participant
chooses one. The numbers in that chosen pile are added up.
Let's say the total is 42. Now that face down numbered card
is turned up and it is 42. The other cards that could've
been chosen are shown to be all different demonstrating it
was a completely free choice. In fact, any of the remaining
cards could have been chosen and will create an entirely
different outcome (in other words, a different set of
Now, if the performer stops right here, that would serve as
a pretty good effect. But like Stewart James' classic
effect, it goes "Further Than That."
The performer then shows the other three piles also add up
to 42. In spreading out the cards, the performer has made a
grid a four by four grid with the sixteen cards. It is, as
you might've guessed and as stated in the blurb, a magic
square. As in a typical magic square performance, the
performer points out the columns, rows, corners, etc, all up
to 42. All the typical magic square combinations can be
At this point, the performer could stop. This effect would
be a quite powerful performance at this point. But the
routine isn't over. The performer has one last punch.
In the presentation I use, I explain that the reason why
this whole routine worked is because I influenced the
participant to choose that particular number. To prove it,
I wrote a message on the backs of the cards. I flip the
cards over. Eight of the twelve cards have words written on
the backs and they form a message that specifically states
that I knew the participant "would select the number 42."
The effect isn't that a message mysteriously appears on the
backs of the cards. Rather that the message was there all
along but not evident for what it is until the cards are
turned over together. Also, the message must be pre-written
by the performer. It is not pre-printed. (There is a little
more work that needs to be done, in terms of customizing the
cards, but it is a one-time preparation and doesn't take
One consideration to this effect is that you must use a
table. This is not something that would fit into a stage or
parlour act. I can't even see adapting it to stage or
parlour as practical. I can see this as part of a close-up
act or as something to perform at a table in a hospitality
suite. One can also use the chosen number to do a reading
and use the explanation of knowing that type of individual
would select that number, if that suits your style.
The effect itself is easy to do. The cards do all the work
and, unlike most magic square routines, no memorization is
necessary. The most you have to do is some cutting of the
cards, dealing them out, and arranging it. The cards are
brilliantly designed so that the cards will give you cues to
help you lay them out correctly and also to re-set the deck.
And that brings us to another consideration. Those with
poor eyesight may have a little bit of trouble performing
this. At my age, I need glasses and, so long as the light
is good, I have not had any troubles. Richard Wiseman, as
one will see in the video, wears glasses, too. But I know
that there may be a few for which this may be an issue and
so I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it.
The DVD is professionally shot and Wiseman's explanations
are mostly clear. There were some details I thought should
have been mentioned and/or emphasized. For example, the
performer must make sure the first card is dealt to a
specific pile that is determined by whether the participant
is sitting next to you or across from you. This is shown,
but not pointed out, and should be made crystal clear.
Also, there is one number which if chosen eliminates the
need to cut the deck. This wasn't explained and I had to
discover it on my own.
I really like the structure of THE GRID and, so far, it has
been playing very well for me. I really like this as I've
gotten very strong reactions to this. But I know that some
will see this as I initially did and think that "magic
squares plus cards plus message adds up to something that
doesn't fit my style." And I won't argue with that at all.
The less who perform this wonderful routine, the better for