12 Years a Snap: A Pick-a-Card Magic Idea by Calvin Sze

Updated: Jul 14, 2019

As a magician, you should always be ready. But what if you are asked to do a magic trick and you're caught offhanded? With this short routine, you are able to last a strong impression with something so small that'll fit in your wallet - something that you'll always carry with your spare change.


This is a one-of-a-kind magic trick starting with the cliche of pick-a-card but ending with something 12 years in the making. 12 years is an estimate but it takes at least a decade for this trick to work - the longer the better - because you'll have to allow yourself to age in order to prepare a convincing timestamp.


You start by grabbing a playing card; hold it and take a snapshot of yourself with it in a photo booth; then let gravity relentlessly pull your facial muscles downwards in the next 12 years. Prepare the photo as follows and you're ready to go.


Write from the first row “I have a premonition that after 12 years, at the same moment, someone (or target spectator’s name) will ask me to do a card trick and will choose (the suit of the card). Could it be serendipity?”, with an erasable ball pen, if you intend to reuse the card. At the bottom right hand corner, put down “Taken on/in (current day and month but a year dated 12 years back)” diagonally. Put this in a compartment in your wallet with the first line sticking outwards.


When you're invited to do a card trick or when you approach your target spectator, ask them to select a card with your favourite method. Tell them that you have a card in your wallet you want to show them. Pull out the photo bit by bit, revealing each row of writing gradually so that the suspense is established. Since the date is written diagonally, it will be revealed right before the words “Taken on/in”, which will eventually play a role in giving a hint that the card is actually a photo.


At this point, your spectators will be curious if the card is really a photo and who is in it. Just let them pull the photo all the way out and turn it over. You’re going to get a wow!

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since 2018 by Calvin Sze