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Giant Soul-mates
A Lesson in the Gilbreath Principle
by Jim Gerrish

I first heard about the Gilbreath Principle in my teens. Once I found out it was some obscure mathematical conjecture, I lost interest; mathematics and I have long had a shaky hate-love relationship, and I have avoided straining my brain whenever possible. Yet, I have also long been interested in some of the magic possibilities that others have mentioned, while invoking the name of St. Gilbreath.

The Gilbreath Principle is the closest thing this world has to REAL MAGIC, given to us by mathematician Norman L. Gilbreath, who, in July of 1958, presented it to the mathematical community in the Linking Ring Magazine, after observing card patterns by chance while doing arithmetic on a napkin. This Search for a Giant card's Soul-mate is just one of the ways the principle can be used and I will try to teach it in such a way that you appreciate what REAL MAGIC is all about. Your audience will find itself drawn up into the magic quest as well, as four or five spectators participate in making it impossible for any trickery to be involved in locating NOT a chosen card, but its Soul-mate from the thoroughly shuffled and mixed deck of GIANT cards.

Nothing to build in this one - just buy a deck of giant or jumbo sized playing cards. In the meantime, you can practice this with any size deck of 52 cards.

What's a Soul-mate? Suppose a person selected the 7 of hearts from a deck of cards, as shown above. The magician would then go looking for that card in the typical magic trick. The mind reader might try to read the card chooser’s mind to discover the card. But neither the card chooser, nor a magician, nor a mind reader has any idea about the location of the “Soul-mate” of the 7 of hearts, the 7 of diamonds, which matches the chosen card both in value and in color. That would be most difficult, and yet that’s the kind of psychic hunt upon which we intend to embark, requiring not magic tricks, nor mind reading, but genuine clairvoyance. Gilbreath will deliver, if only you believe in the magic of mathematics that we will be experiencing.



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