Equivocation is a technique by which a magician appears to have intended a particular outcome, when in actuality the outcome is one of several alternative outcomes. It's also known as a Magician's Choice.
In a typical example of the Magician's Choice, the magician will ask a spectator to make an apparently free choice among several items. No matter what choices the spectator makes, the magician ends up with the item which he wanted the spectator to choose.
In a simple example, the performer may deal two cards face down onto the table, requiring for the purposes of his trick that the card on the right be selected. He will ask the spectator to choose one of the cards. If the spectator chooses the card on the left, the performer will say something like "you keep this card, I'll take the remaining card." If the spectator chooses the card on the right, the performer might say "okay, let's use the card you chose." Thus, the choice of which card to use is really made by the magician, hence the term "Magician's Choice."
References and Variations
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- Le Choix du magicien, page 150 in Testament de Jérome Sharp by Henri Decremps (1785)
- In Case of Failure, page 118 in Sleight of Hand by Edwin Sachs (1877)
- Verbal Control by Phil Goldstein
- Max Maven's Video Mind series
- Annemann's Practical Mental Magic
- Hedonist Makes Up All The Rules in Paul Harris' Art of Astonishment (Originally in Brainstorm in the Bahamas).
- Encyclopedia of Impromptu Card Forces by Lewis Jones (2nd Edition, 2010)