6 Nights Of Scrutiny - INTRODUCTION


When I was about fourteen I read a story about a magician by the name of John Scarne. John Scarne’s claim to fame was that he could take a deck of cards shuffled by someone else, and cut to all four aces. He even did it for Arnold Rothstein, the man accused of fixing the World Series of 1919. Rothstein hired him on six successive nights in an attempt to discover his secret, but Rothstein and his men couldn’t figure it out. John Scarne took his secret to the grave.

I immediately began trying to figure out how he might have accomplished the feat. The story became a source of inspiration to me. Believing it can be done is an important step to accomplishing anything. Knowing it can be done is much more powerful. No one ran a mile in under four minutes until Roger Bannister did it in 1954, and after that many broke the four minute mark. Knowing that it had been done resulted in an increase in their achievement. In a similar way, the John Scarne story has had an effect on me. The inspiration that the story sparked in me is the source of many of my achievements in the world of magic. There is a significant difference though: There is proof that Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes because it is [1]captured on video, and [2]other people were there who could verify it. Therein lies the rub with John Scarne’s ace cutting story. There is no evidence that he cut the aces the way he said he did. He never did it on video and nobody ever reported seeing him do it in the way he described in the story. Lacking evidence, faith is all that remains.

And so, I relied on faith. It has been said that a rising tide lifts all ships and that applies to the four minute mile better than the four aces. Applying the same concept to the ace cutting, it’s as if my ship was rising with the tide, but water was pouring in through a hole in the ship at the same time. The hole in the ship being my skepticism as to whether Scarne really did cut the aces as he described. Doubts kept entering my mind. I spent time contemplating the truthfulness of the story which took my attention from recreating it. Had there been proof, I wouldn’t have spent valuable time contemplating. In this book I will examine those doubts, and be making a case to you throughout. I will not leave you hanging without my conclusion as to whether this great mystery was accomplished or not.


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