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Lie Detector

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Lie Detector is a classic plot in card magic in which a magician can detect the selected card by having the spectator's purposely miscall it.

First suggested by Vincent Dalban in a letter sent to Theodore Annemann on December 5, 1934. Annemann published in Jinx January 1935 (No. 4) as a posed problem. The original plot as proposed by Dalban:

"The member of the audience shuffles the pack of cards and then, while the performer’s back is turned he deals the cards slowly face up onto the table, each time calling aloud the name of each card as dealt. Occasionally, he deals one card and calls the name of another but whenever he does this the performer pulls him up at once. The performer seems to know when the man is telling a lie."


Lie Speller

Lie Speller is a variation developed by Martin Gardner in the 1930s in which the spectator answers questions and is allowed to lie or tell the truth as the magician spells out the answer using the cards, the selected card ends up being the last card dealt.


  • Spell Me (Henry Christ): The Jinx, No. 30 (March 1937, p. 195).
    • The New Spell Me (Henry Christ): The Jinx, No. 37 (October 1937, pp. 249-250).
  • The Best Lie Detector (Marty Kane): Apocalypse, Vol. 16 No. 2 (February 1993, pp. 2173-2174).
    • Quick and Direct (Harry Lorayne): Apocalypse, Vol. 16 No. 3 (March 1993, p. 2187).
    • Untitled variation (Harry Lorayne): Apocalypse, Vol. 18 No. 11 (November 1995, p. 2579).
  • Divided We Lie (Peter Duffie): Peter Duffie, Effortless Card Magic (1997, pp. 48-49).
  • The Lie Detective (Peter Duffie): Peter Duffie, Effortless Card Magic (1997, pp. 50-51).
  • Lie Stebbins (Peter Duffie): Peter Duffie, Effortless Card Magic (1997, pp. 51-53).
  • Lie Stebbins Plus! (Peter Duffie): Peter Duffie, Effortless Card Magic (1997, pp. 54-55).