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Menetekel Deck

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The Mene-Tekel (or Menetekel Deck or The Self-Shifting Pack) is a mechanical deck credited to Burling Hull (1910).

A card is selected and placed back in the center of the deck. Instantly it jumps to the top of the deck.

It is based on an old principle that can be found in The Discoverie of Witchcraft and Clever and Pleasant Inventions (both from 1584), and which is commonly known as the Blow Book. It is similar to a Svengali Deck, but the arrangement of cards is different to allow different effects.


An early deck that accomplished this effect was Mundus Vult Decipi by Friedrich Wilhem Conradi in 1896[1].

In 1908 the first ad appeared in The Sphinx for Hull's The Devil's Pass, which he claims he invented at the age of eleven.[2] and which was improved three years later. It was then later being sold as the Lanigiro Pack (original spelled backwards).

An early description (possibly the first published) appeared in Ellis Stanyon's New Card Tricks, 4th Series in 1910 as the "First Arrangement" of The Fin de Siecle Magic Pack of Cards. That was the name Stanyon gave to all decks using the long-and-short principle of the Blow Book. He described the Svengali Deck, for example, as the "Third Arrangement" of The "Fin de Siecle" Pack.

Eventually the name "Mene, Tekel" was applied by the Boston magic dealer W.D. LeRoy. His inspiration for the name came from the biblical phrase "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin" used in the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel. The message has been interpreted to mean "Counted, counted, weighted and divided." From these words Leroy created the title which was actually more than attractive gobbledygook. The words describe the basic secret of the deck.[3]

In the Magic Circular (1958), Sam Sharpe credits Donald Holmes for introducing it.[4]


  • Ellis Stanyon called this deck the 'Fin-De-Siècle Forcing Pack (end of the century).[5]
  • Nu Mene Tekel Deck which used one-way back designs to locate the removed card, eliminating the need for short cards or roughing.[6]

Tricks Using

  • Chapter XIV Magic With A Mene-Tekel Pack Of Cards: Jean Hugard, Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (1937, pp. 256-260).
    • The Mene-Tekel Deck (pp. 256-258).
    • Controlling Several Cards (p. 258).
    • Card Into Pocket. A Second Method (p. 258).
    • From A Hat (J. F. Orrin) (p. 258).
    • Card and Number (J. F. Orrin) (pp. 258-259).
    • One in Four (J. F. Orrin) (p. 259).
    • The Pocket Rising Card (J. F. Orrin) (pp. 259-260).
    • Cards and Slates (Gravatt) (p. 260).
    • Coincidence Mene-Tekel (Gravatt) (p. 260).


  1. Conradi, Friedrich Wilhelm: Der Moderne Kartenkünstler (1896) ppg 77-78
  2. Ad in The Sphinx, February, 1908
  3. Two MENE CARD TRICKS by Jim Steinmeyer, Magic, April 1997
  4. S. H. Sharpe: Conjuring Definitions (The Magic Circular, Volume 53, 1958) pg 58
  5. Karl Fulves: Ellis Stanyon's Best Card Tricks (Dover, Mineola, NY, 1999) ppg 195-196, reprint from Stanyon's Magic, Vol. 14, no. 6, March 1914, page 58.
  6. Glenn Gravatt: Final Selection (Magic Limited, Oakland, CA, 1957) ppg 34-35