Butter Rum Cartoon

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Here's a gift for the readers of the Butter Rum Cartoon. I am going to share with you the secret of the Magazine Trick. My family has been having fun entertaining and befuddling guests and friends with this throughout our lives, and now you can, too. All it takes is at least two people in the room who know the secret of the trick, and at least one who doesn't. For the illustrations below, I've used all the same magazines, simply because they were handy here for me to grab. But you can use any variety of magazines and all different ones if you like, Time and Boys' Life, upside-down, right-side up, whatever.

First, you lay out nine magazines on the floor like this.

Then while one person who knows the secret leaves the room, the rest of the people pick one magazine of the nine. When he returns, you point at one of the magazines with a stick and ask, "Is it this one?" If it's the wrong one, he'll say "No." You continue pointing at different magazines, asking, "Is it this one?" and when you point at the right one, he'll say "Yes." People will be amazed, and will come up with all sorts of guesses as to how it's done. If someone thinks they know, have him go out of the room and come back and see if he's right. If he is, he can join in the fun. And people who know the secret can take turns with the stick.

The secret lies with the first magazine you point to. It can be any of the nine magazines, it doesn't matter. You imagine that the first magazine is a miniature of all nine, like this. And where you point to on the cover of the first magazine will reveal which magazine of the nine was chosen.

So if you point, say, to the bottom center of the first magazine, it says that the secret magazine chosen is the bottom center of the group of nine.

If you point to the center of the first magazine, it says that the secret magazine is the center one of the group of nine...
and so on.

It's so simple, but it's funny what complicated codes some people will come up with in guessing how it's done. Since comparatively few people of the world's population read the Butter Rum Cartoon, I have dared to share the secret with you. Even my brother-in-law, who currently lives with us, does not know how this trick is done, and probably won't read this. So, now that you know, have fun.

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