Maths and Magic

Mutus Nomen Dedit Cocis is a classic card plot in card magic based on a mnemonic that works with a 20-card mathematical cross-reference principle trick known as the Pairs Repaired. To start with you dish out twenty cards randomly in pairs face down, and ask ten people to take a pair each, and remember them.

Pick up the pairs in their order, and lay them face up on the table according to the Mutus Nomen Dedit Cocis memorisation method shown below.

M  U  T  U  S
1    2  3   2  4

D   E   D   I   T
5   6   5   7   3

N  O  M  E  N
8   9  1   6   8

C    O  C   I  S
10  9  10  7  4

Visualising these words in your mind on the table you can take the first card of the first pair and place it on the ‘M’ of Mutus and the second in the pair on the ‘M’ in Nomen. The next pair goes in the two ‘U’s of Mutus. The cards of the third pair would go on the ‘T’ in Mutus and Dedit; and so on until all the cards are laid in their places.

The whole table consists of ten letters, each repeated so you can point out a persons cards to them just by knowing what rows they are in; if the person says their cards are in the first and last rows you can point them out in the positions of the letters ‘S’. The video below shows the trick in action (same trick different words).

photo credit :  zeevveez

photo credit : zeevveez

It’s kind of a mathmatical trick. Maths and magic often feature together. The Pentagram is quite famous as a magical symbol (amongst other things), has a pentagon inside and also a special number hidden called the Golden ratio which is approximately 1.618 and according to the voice over guy in Disney’s Donald Duck in Mathmagic land it was ‘our old friend Pythagorous who discovered that the pentagram was full of mathamagic’

Sam Loyd used the same principles for his missing square puzzle and which are now in the infinite chocolate trick – if only :-)

What? No Juice?

This is a colourful trick that goes down well at a party. Known as “The Riboon from the Orange,” it was a great favourite with that grand conjurer, the late David Devant.


From a bowl of oranges, one is selected and marked by a member of the audience, and given to the magician, who makes passes over it with his magic wand.


Then he nicks the peel, and from the orange extracts yards – and – yards – and – yards – and yards of brightly coloured ribbon.



Here’s The Secret -

WNJ042This little device, prepared beforehand, threads a long, stout needle through the orange.

WNJ062Ribbon is threaded through eye of needle and coiled tightly. End of ribbon is lightly gummed to coil. The coil with needle pointed outwards, is palmed in your left hand. The orange is forced on to the needle point & pressed down. Make a slit in orange with a knife, and pull out needle – the ribbon will follow!



Houdini Christmas Card

From the Boston Public Library :

The Spirit of Old Santa Claus
Communicates with me :
From spirit debunking task I pause
To heed his worthy plea.

I stir myself to print these thoughts –
A poor but sincere way,
To let You know I’m thinking lots
Of You this Christmas Day.

- Houdini -