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Dear Mitch,

My husband and I were in an Amish restaurant recently when you came in for breakfast with some friends. My son recognized you as the "math guy", explaining to us that you're almost always wearing one of those tee shirts that people in town sometimes wear, and that he's been bugging us for!

Anyway, we weren't staring, but we noticed you were performing some kind of card trick and we couldn't help but watch. Wow! I have to tell you it was interesting and amazing, especially to my husband who had been a pretty avid fan of magic for much of his life. My question is this:

After seeing you do the trick (which we enjoyed more than we had anticipated!) my husband suggested that there was math involved but my son said that he'd seen the trick before and the person performing it in his school had absolutely no interest or ability in math, so he doubted there was much mathematics to it. I promised I would write in and settle their bet. Without revealing what magicians don't reveal, can you tell me -- Was there some mathematical principle involved or not?


Mrs. G. Strong,

Sarasota, FL


Dear Mrs. Strong,

Funny you should ask. As it turns out, there wasn't any math involved but as it happens I made up a version of an old trick for the sole purpose of coming up with something that would serve as a motivator for a person to practice the use of mnemonics (memory tricks). And, as it also happens, the person for whom I developed this trick is my beloved son, 7-year-old Sawyer Adler, Magician Extraordinaire. So, a few weeks ago when the whole thing came to me I promised him I would teach it to him and he would have the exclusive possession over it for a while before I shared it with the world. And since he and I haven't yet had the chance to enjoy that experience, I am going to have to hold off sharing it on this website until after he has had the exclusive chance I promised. That will begin very soon I promise (you and him). Then, after his chance to practice it and entertain his friends to his satisfaction and gives me the O.K. I will explain and reveal the simple but fun trick right here on this website, so, stay tuned, be patient, and you too will learn how to use it to amuse yourself and your friends (as you observed, it does seem to surprise people!).

Until then,