"Accidental" Misdirection


In Al Leech’s excellent book on misdirection “Don’t Look Now” he talks about misdirection which occurs as the result of an apparent accident.

There can be not stronger misdirection than a carefully planned accident.

Leech talks about how a card can “accidently” fall to the floor or it can fail to appear in a pocket which provides cover to transfer the deck to another hand with the card ready to produce from another pocket. Of course this should not be done in ever trick as  Leech also wisely states; overuse would make the spectator think you were simply inept. In fact in most cases it should never be done at all, however there may be special circumstances when this can be an effective ploy and is worth keeping in the back of your mind for such an occasion.

Anyways I found an excellent example of this which I’d failed to spot several times before realizing what was going on – it comes from the one and only Tom Mullica – see if you can spot it during the card sections.

This originally appeared in “Stuff the White Rabbit”.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. cardmagic10 says:

    Yeah – I remember this from when I first saw the show (back in 1997?). Anyway – I apprecite the Al Leech connection since that Al Leech booklet is the only thing of his I haven’t read. I have all his card booklets (there is some real gold buried there) – but not the work on misdirection.

    On the same show – Tom Mullica does a brilliant repeat cards under glass. The method is very sneaky since he loads 4 X cards under the glass just after he reveals the 4 selected cards he has just (secretly) snuck under there. This means he can later on do a very clean (and ‘hands off’) cards under glass repeat which is even stronger than the inital phase. He then casually switches the X cards for the selections (which are on top of the deck). The sleight used is very casual looking and I am surprised that more people don’t do this trick the way Tom does since it is the best method I have come across. It makes for an ultra clean (and sneaky) effect. It was possibily the strongest effect from when I first saw the TV show. It had me completely fooled for the first 3/4 viewings…

    Another thing. Tom said he never rehearsed the ‘cigarette eating’ act since it hurt too much. He could only do the trick when he had the adrenaline of a live performance to help deal with the pain.

    A great magician. Very sad to think he is no longer with us.


    PS Oh – and to show I was taking notes. It’s when he drops the pen…

    1. Dave Jones says:

      Joe – I’m pleased to say that Tom is very much still with us after recovering completely for a serious illness. A great performer and a lovely bloke!

  2. cardmagic10 says:

    Another funny thing about Tom’s act is that he once entered it into the FISM competition. Anyway – he was disqualified since the judges thought he really was eating cigarettes and as such the act was more of a ‘geek act’ than a ‘magic act’. Of course – the whole effect was just an illusion.

    A similar thing happened to Lennart Green in the FISM competition. He was disqualified since the judges thought he was a heavily gimmicked deck.

    Happily – they learned of their mistake and Lennart re-entered the competition 4 years later and won first prize…


  3. cardmagic10 says:

    Sorry – I take back my inital comment on Tom Mullica’s health. Of course – I am delighted to be wrong here!

    Well done to Tom, for knocking the big C on it’s head! Magic can’t afford to keep losing such talented people…

    All the best,


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