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Posts tagged Alex Elmsley
Perfecting the Elmsley Count... (11.32)

Over the past year, we've seen the lowest market correlation of any fund in the business. You will, of course, want to know why and how. So come sit in and shadow me for a day, because it's like asking a magician how they do their tricks. We all know it's not magic. It's the opposite of magic. It's grinding, focused work, it's sitting on their bed for weeks, months at a time, working slip cuts, perfecting the Elmsley Count so that the audience never sees where the cards really are. No. It's not magic. But when the effect is presented, it sure feels like a miracle.


Alex Elmsley (2 March 1929 – 8 January 2006) was a Scottish magician and computer programmer. He was notable for his invention of the Ghost Count or Elmsley Count, creating mathematical card tricks, and for publishing the mathematics of playing card shuffling. He began practising magic in 1946, as a teenager. He studied physics and mathematics at Cambridge University; whilst there he was also secretary of the Pentacle Club. He was a patent agent, and later a computer expert, in his day job. Otherwise, he was an amateur card and close-up magician. He was awarded an Academy of Magical Arts Creative Fellowship in 1972. He created a number of well-known magic tricks, including The Four Card Trick, Between Your Palms, Point Of Departure] and Diamond Cut Diamond.

He named the special count used in The Four Card Trick the ghost count, though it would later become known as the Elmsley Count - a false count (often done with four cards) where the surface of a card is hidden while the cards are passed from one hand to another.